Author's Note: Thanks for all the comments! :) Your feedback means the world to me.
Warnings: Some violence.
Bevell's expression is impassive, but there's the slightest edge of irritation in her gaze, as if two strangers being in her bedroom are nothing more pressing than remembering to take out the trash. "What are you doing in my flat?"
Dean stares her up and down. She doesn't look like much. Nothing glaringly impressive about her features. But she took them. His brother. His best friend. She took them. Left the weird chalk-art looking sigils that he'd never seen before, but had runes in Enochian, written across the floor. She's the reason he hasn't seen either of them in almost a month.
Dean's fingers tighten around the angel feather. Ever since the Mark, violence has felt different. Harder, sharper; too real, but a lucid dream all at once. The relief has faded since then, but not all of the urges haven't: Stab her in the eye.
He sucks in air between his teeth to clear his head. Calm himself. "It's a lovely location," Dean says slowly, "you ever think of putting it up for sale?"
"No." Bevell's tone is flat. Her gun is pointed between the two of them, clearly unsure which one would be more of a threat. The bullets, Dean doubts, are devil's trap. The most they're going to do is annoy Crowley. Her thumb shifts, cocking the weapon. "Get out. Now."
Dean takes a step forward. Crowley's gaze slides to him.
Bevell's gun jumps from in-between to aimed at his chest. Dean bites back a laugh. He could care less about whether or not she shoots him. He just wants to know where Sam and Cas are. And Alastair made sure he could get information off of people. The weapon in his hands feels like a test. Suddenly, even with the small connection it provides him to Cas, Dean wants nothing than to be further from the bloody angel feather.
Focus, he chides himself. You really are going to get yourself shot.
"You work for the British Men of Letters. Your name is Antonia Bevell. You got a kid, about six years old, but don't have a library card. We right so far?"
There. The slip from of annoyance to unease. Her fingers re-wrap around the handle, shifting up. Her pointer finger twitches towards the trigger, but remains pressed against the side in safety. Not her first time handling a gun, then.
Bevell's lower lip pulls in, "Let's say you are. Why should I care?"
Dean allows a callous smile to creep up his face. His thumb rubs up the side of the feather. "Ah-ah. We're asking the questions here, sweetheart. So why don't we sit down and talk about this like adults? Without the guns?"
"Talk about what?"
"The Men of Letters."
Bevell's eyes narrow a fraction and she tilts her head as if trying to see him in a better light. Her gun drops slightly with surprise. There's a small pause, "Dean Winchester?"
Dean's gaze flicks slightly towards Crowley, who's looking between the two of them with vague interest. How on earth...?
"Yeah." He says after a moment. In the long span of things, he's been a serial killer what? Three times now? It's not like getting a picture or his name is exactly hard anymore if you know where to look. And given that she has Sam and Cas, Bevell knows where to trust her sources.
"You're dead." Bevell says flatly. "You have been for almost a month."
"Oh, don't we all wish that was true?" Crowley asks. Dean's gaze flicks up towards the ceiling in annoyance, even as his stomach twists. His wrists throb dully in the phantom ache of suspension.
Never let them see you sweat.
"If you're so freakin' adamant about—" Dean starts to say, but Bevell takes the moment of distraction and lowers her gun towards his legs, discharging it. Having caught the movement in the corner of his eye, Dean is already pulling back and away from her when he's tossed backwards forcefully into a nearby dresser.
His back smacks against the hard edge and he hisses as he is momentarily blind and winded. Freakin' demonic powers from Satan. Crowley just stopped him from getting shot, he realizes dazedly. The bullet embedded itself in the carpet instead of what would have been his knee or quad.
The gun fires again.
"Really?" Crowley's voice is filled with indignation. "I just had this suit pressed."
Bevell swears lowly.
Dean shakes his head to clear it, lifting his eyes. He's already pushing up off the floor, but takes a moment to pull his jacket's sleeve down over his palm so he can grab Cas's feather without slicing up his skin. His shoulder aches from the collision, but it's more a minor annoyance than anything else.
Bevell is frozen in place, one of Crowley's hands stretched out in a fist, the other lightly patting down the hole in his suit coat.
"Can you believe the audacity?" Crowley pinches the broken fabric between two fingers. For the strangest reason, Dean gets the impression the demon isn't speaking about the suit coat. He looks back up towards Bevell, lips a hard line. "I should finish this now. We can collect the information from someone else."
Who? Dean wants to demand. We spent weeks looking for her.
Bevell eyes flick between the two of them, urgent. Not one for active duty, then. At least, not with demons.
"No." The words are harder than they should be to say. "We need her alive."
Crowley sneers at him. "Pity."
It is, isn't it? Imagine all the blood you could draw from her…
Dean's jaw aches from how tightly he's clenching his teeth. He forces numb feet forward and grabs Bevell's arm with bloody fingers, hauling her back towards the kitchen. The gun is laying in the hall behind her, probably tossed from her grip by Crowley. Dean leaves it there.
Garth looks up from the living room area towards them as they approach, lowering the folder he had lifted in front of his face. His eyebrows raise, but he says nothing.
Dean shoves Bevell into one of the four chairs at the table, slapping the angel feather down on the other side and turns to grab a tissue from the box at the center of the table. Wiping his bloody palms, he takes the second and gathers himself together. He's so close. So close. And it's here that he can feel himself crumbling apart.
There's three cuts that are long, but thankfully shallow. It will be painful for a few days, but nothing he hasn't already endured. Wiping with the tissue only smears the blood across his hands, painting it the familiar hue of blood red.
Dean lifts his head up and turns to face the woman. Her jaw is gritted, but she doesn't look nearly as in control as she did earlier when defiant eyes raise to his.
"Where are they?" Dean demands. "Where is my brother and the angel?"
Bevell's lips thin, gaze flicking towards Crowley as he comes into place beside Dean, but returns to him just as quickly. In what is clearly an effort to regain the upper hand, she lifts up her hands and rests joined fingers on the wooden tabletop with an air of ease that belies the rigid line in her shoulders. "Why would I tell you?"
Dean feels his head tilt slightly. "Because I'm not my brother."
Bevell's brow draws together in obvious confusion. "I beg your pardon?"
Dean's eyes narrow, and his fingers curl against the varnished wood. He didn't realize he was gripping the back of a chair until now. "Because Sam—he'd want to talk about this. Discuss a quid pro quo. I don't care. You either help us or we kill you. You say you know who I am? You know my body count. You really think that some random Brit is going to bother me?"
He's a killer, with oceans of blood on his hands. Enough to drown in. That's never going to change. Mark or no Mark.
Dean hears Garth get up behind him.
Bevell's fingers clench tighter until they're nearly white, gaze pinned on his face. She tosses blonde hair away from her eyes, and contrary to what he'd expected, her shoulders visibly relax. "Do you know what my job is, Mr. Winchester?"
What does that—? "What?"
"Do you know what my job is?" she repeats.
"Full time librarian, part time kidnapper?" Dean quips. The words fill the silence, but they're hollow. His humor feels like a flat tire he's told to drag everywhere. It rolls, but bumpily, hitting every crevice in the road as it goes.
Bevell's lips quirk, "No. I'm one of the Men of Letters' profilers. My job is to know all about you, your brother, and Cas." The nickname feels foreign when it rolls off her tongue, and oddly, it makes him angry. "It wasn't my first unit, but all Men of letters' are skilled in multiple areas. My expertise has always been the mind. That's why I know you aren't going to shoot me, Dean Winchester."
His mouth splits into a dry smile. "Oh?"
She leans forward a fraction, "Underneath all that rage, you're nothing but a scared little boy." His tongue presses against the inside of his teeth when she smiles slightly, "I know lots of children, Mr. Winchester. Do they strike you as killers?"
He's been killing since his dad shoved a gun into his hands at six.
Dean lets his fingers lightly rest on Cas's feather, letting the threat speak itself. "Clearly you don't know a lot about my childhood. You're, uh, mystic ball tell you that?"
"No, don't be ridiculous. Your brother did."
His façade falls. He can feel it crack, breaking the mask of anger and nothingness that he's been playing for days. His face has drained of color, and his hands are loose instead of clutching. He feels sick, but full of adrenaline.
"There. See. Your brother is a weakness to you. One mention and you're ready to shrivel at my feet for answers." Bevell's tone has gained some confidence, and her eyes slide away from him to Crowley, voice picking up speed. "You're a demon. I could smell you from down the hall. And you," she looks at Garth, brow drawing together. "Hunter?"
"Favorite cousin." Garth's voice is thick with sarcasm.
"All their cousins are dead." Bevell's voice is flat.
Dean twitches, left hand curling around the chair again.
Garth raises his .45 toward her head, thumbing a bullet into the chamber. "Not the favorite. So why don't we get down to business here, and you stop playing mind games and start talkin'? Where are they?"
Bevell's lips press together and she looks away, jaw clenched.
He doesn't know if it's worse or better. She's a snake, using her words like venom-filled bites. Lies upon lies.
Crowley smooths a hand across the top of the table, his tone careless. "Would you prefer we wait until your spawn is out of child jail? Do you know how many spells require children's bones? I'd love to add to my collection, and I know my mother would as well."
Bevell's face drains of color. She looks stark-white against the yellow hue of the lightbulbs. "Leave him out of this. My work has nothing to do with him."
Dean snorts. "He know Mommy has held at least two men against their will for twenty-six days?"
Her glare is fierce, but meaningless.
"It does," Crowley promises, his voice steadily rising the more words he speaks, as if his temper is loosening with every syllable. "You made it. So why don't you save me the pleasure of removing your child's limbs, and start talking!"
Bevell flinches back from the sound.
Bevell's heated eyes stare between them, as if looking for cracks and fissures. But Dean doesn't stop. Garth's hand doesn't lower. Crowley remains impassive. Silence, Dean has learned, is the best way to gain information. Anticipation is often the killing blow.
Bevell waits. Dean waits. They all wait. Round in the circle of silence and hate they go.
Her chin lifts up a fraction, indicating the MacBook on the other side of the table. "Hand that to me." None of them move. Her eyes cloud with visible annoyance. "I can't help you without it. Hand it to me."
"Locations might work differently in London, but in the US, we just tell people an address." Dean says. His hands are starting to ache. The blood is pooling between his fingertips, attempting to dry in flaky masses. He needs to actually wash and bandage the cuts. Fix yet another injury to add to his already beaten arms.
"I'm attempting to give you one."
"No." Dean corrects. Her eyes pull up to him. "You're trying to evade again. I'm not an idiot. You think that you can buy yourself time. Maybe contact your buddies, let them know we're coming."
She doesn't correct him.
He feels very tired.
"Child jail releases their prisoners in about an hour. I think we can fill the time." Crowley suggests.
His hands bounce in agitation. Dean doesn't want to include the kid. He doesn't want that, but it's starting to look like he won't get much of a choice. C'mon, make this easier for everyone, he wills her, just give it up.
Bevell's jaw tightens to the point it looks painful. "Fine." She hisses out between her teeth. "Get me some paper. I'll write it down for you."
"That won't be necessary," Garth promises, handing the gun to Dean's good hand and reaching across the table with long arms to grab the laptop. He pulls it towards himself and sits down beside Bevell, pushing open the screen. The computer takes it's time loading the lock screen. Garth's fingers hover over the keyboard, looking to the woman expectantly.
Her lips press into an unhappy line. "Arthur. No capitals."
"That your son's name?" Garth asks, typing the password in. A scathing look is all the werewolf receives in answer.
The desktop loads slowly, but Garth waits with more patience than Dean can muster until they start returning feed instead of a blank screen. Two different browsers are open, an array of photos, and live feed of four different rooms from somewhere.
Three small rooms that are clearly cells, and what looks like some sort of hospital room. Dean nearly slumps forward with relief when he sees the familiar tall figure laying in one of the hospital beds.
He's one of three patients there, but the only one restrained. The room's lights are bright, offering as good a view as he's going to get through the grainy footage. His brother is completely lax against the mattress, an IV port feeding into one elbow, oxygen mask strapped loosely to the lower half of his face. He's clean shaven. Skin stretches around bone, sunken eyes swallowed up by what look like bruises. He looks terrible. Thin to the point of gaunt, pale and sickly. Sam doesn't get sick. Dean hasn't seen him look that rough since the Trials.
What did they do?
His skin looks unmarked, but if Sam were truly fine, then he'd be moving. Or awake. Or—something.
He looks dead.
Dean has to force his eyes away, even as much as he wants to drink up the sight of his sibling, he can't. Cold Oak feels like a bruise he's poking at. At least he's alive. It could be worse. They could have taken a hand or something. At least he's alive. Doesn't even look to be in any pain, but that could be drugs.
"Hm." Crowley intones.
Bevell is side eyeing him as if waiting for an explosion. Dean swallows anything he was going to say. There was nothing. What can he? What words can fill up a month of absence and failure? Anything he wants to speak is for only Sam.
Garth's eyes are moving between the four screens as well, and it's with obvious reluctance that he shrinks the window and pulls up a browser. It's currently open on a page of angelic spells, but Dean doesn't give it more than a cursory glance before Garth is opening Google Maps.
"Address?" the hunter asks.
Bevell opens her mouth.
Crowley leans forward, up into her personal space. "I would recommend that you keep your forked tongue between your teeth. I have a thing for liars. There's a special place reserved for you in my kingdom."
Garth clicks something, and Dean's gaze flicks back to the computer. He pulled up the photos. Whether it was intentional or not doesn't really matter.
Dean stops breathing.
God, please no.
Prompt: Oxygen Mask