A/N: Well, I had planned on having a life today. You know, running the streets, giving stimulus to the economy by spending money I didn't have. My muse thought otherwise. "You will sit down at the computer and write your ass off today," she told me. And I said okay. I'm easy that way. This is pure Wincest free crack. I leave that kind of thing to the hands of my more talented sisters and brothers.
Disclaimer: I don't own any of these guys. Really. I don't.
Summary: He needed a body, and taking that tall shaggy Winchester boy seemed like a plan. Then the memo came down from the Head Office that the kid was off-limits, so Amun shifted his attention to the eldest Winchester brother. And that was when the crap hit the fan.
Amun Sung Ta almost groaned aloud when he saw Belial coming towards him.
"Well, there you are, handsome! Good morning!"
It took an effort not to cringe at the sound of Belial's voice, all light and airy and too damned chirpy by half, so Amun jammed his host's hands into his jeans pockets, lowered his head, stared at the carpet and kept right on shuffling along. He was in the Los Angeles branch of Wolfram and Hart. There was the elevator and there was the exit. Amun was leaving the building, and he didn't really care which way he took, either.
The body he currently occupied was on loan from Lillith. That insufferable bitch. She didn't need human familiars to take a vessel. She was in the big leagues, and she just took what she wanted. She was rubbing it in, he just knew it. But he needed a body, even if it was a newly dead one, so he took it anyway when she offered it to him.
Needing humans to soften up his vessels, now that was bad enough. Another thing that tended to grind his gears was being constantly reminded that his name was almost the same as that other one.
Anung un Rama. Hellboy.
Even though he was on earth now, everybody still regarded him in awe. He was the next Big Thing. The Great Destroyer. The Red Beast of Babylon.
Amun ducked his head and kept right on stepping. Maybe it was all a mistake. Maybe Belial was calling out to somebody behind him.
"Sweetie? Pumpkin? Amun, can I talk to you for just a sec?"
Oh shit. Amun stopped dead in his tracks.
Even though he was a huge sonofabitch, Belial had the moves of someone less than half his size. He maneuvered that bulk of his smoothly, turned on a dime and fell in right alongside Amun. Belial threw one huge arm wrapped around Amun's shoulders. It was like being hugged by Sasquatch or something.
"You're headed in the right direction. Walk with me, sweetie. We have to talk," Belial gushed.
Amun walked slowly, like he was headed to his own exorcism.
"Now listen, cupcake, I know you're feeling kind of sensitive about what happened. Don't worry about it." Belial patted him on the hand. "Mama fix. I just came by to give you some pointers. Your learning curve is just…different from the others."
Different? Hah! He'd been doing this kind of thing for the last thousand years.
He needed a body, and taking that tall shaggy Winchester boy seemed like a plan. Then the memo came down from the Head Office that the kid was off-limits, so Amun shifted his attention to the eldest brother. And that was when the crap hit the fan.
Now, how the hell was he supposed to know that the eldest boy, that Dean, was the avatar for the Trickster God Coyote?
"You know I'm out of the loop," Amun groused. "I don't get half the memos I need. And I'm not invited to any of the staff meetings." Hades, he sounded pathetic. Ya want some cheese with that whine?
"Well, okay, let's get real for just a minute. I know," Belial giggled and ripped the air in two as he did a handflap with that monstrous paw of his. "Just saw Dr. Phil on the tube and I thought of you. Now, let's just say for the sake of argument that Dean Winchester was one of those helpless humans, and he didn't have that nasty old wild dog inside him. Which, I hear by the way, he's gorgeous, too." Another handflap. "What would your followers have done to him?"
"Uh, beat him unmercifully. Tortured him until he gladly submitted to my will," Amun gritted out.
"Now, see! That's your problem! I've seen pictures of that kid. He's gorgeous. Green eyes. Dark blond hair. Got a mouth and a body made for sinning."
Amun looked blank. Belial sounded like he was about to have an orgasm just by describing Winchester. Oh yeah, this was starting to feel…creepy. Trés awkward.
"Well, anyway. Here's my point." Belial tightened his hold and Amun felt his host's eyes bulge out. "He would have made a fine vessel, but darling, you were going to seriously bruise the merchandise. Now I know that's how you were raised, the Old Testament and all, but this is the 21st century and you have to evolve to fit the times. You had in your possession one of the finest examples of human manhood on the planet, with the face of a fallen angel. Spectacular. Breathtaking. And after your followers beat him to a pulp, you were going to wear his skin. His bruised, broken skin. What kind of sense does that make?"
"That's how my dad did it," Amun said stiffly.
"My point exactly. Oh, he could get away with that way back in the day, but this isn't your Dad's day. Now stop pouting and listen. Here comes the lecture now, but it's for your own good and we both know that."
Amun scowled. Then he figured he might as well listen and get this over with.
"We use the internet a lot now. YouTube, MySpace, Facebook. Live Journal. As soon as we can we're even gonna infiltrate FanFiction, add some pictures to all those pretty words out there. You have to play to your audience, dear. You're an influence peddler demon. It's your schtick. It's what you do. You have to have a face to go with the message. Look at Amatha there. When she needs a vessel, all she has to do is advertise. The humans line up around the block. She possesses them for two years, and afterwards they get a lifetime pension, healthcare, including dental, I might add. She even throws in this little sticker that they can put on the bumper of their cars so that they never get another speeding or parking ticket. Ever. She gives them a card that they can carry around in their wallets." Belial looked suitably impressed.
Amatha. Hmph. Another bitch.
"You put the word out that you're looking for a vessel, and humans hide. We don't have time to track them down, dear. Time is of the essence in a lot of the things we do."
Just then Satan or Beelzebub or whoever must have been feeling merciful, because Belial's cell went off. The ringtone was "Wind Beneath my Wings."
Bette Midler. Figures.
"Excuse me, sweetie, I have to take this."
Belial stood there eyeing the nearest exit.
"What? Again? I told her that Amy Winehouse girl was off limits. No, she's not supposed to go near Spears again. I know she did such a good job before, but that's old news now. If you've seen Brittany bald-headed once you don't need to see that again. We need something fresh." Belial rolled his eyes. "All right. I'm coming. Don't smudge that salt line until I get there, oh-kay?"
Belial flipped his phone shut and Amun actually felt a surge of hope. The long nightmare was about to be over.
"Well, sugar plum, I gotta run. Think about what I said, 'kay?" And just like that, Belial disappeared in a snap of yellow hellfire.
Turns out that was the high point of the day.
Everybody knew. Conversations stopped when he came into the room. Everybody stared.
He heard the whispers. Loser. Freak.
No, freak would have been a step up. He heard loser more often.
The best thing to do with a bad day is to end it. Amun found himself bellying up to the bar in Dionysus' place, right off 52nd street.
Everyone in the place was too busy trying to hook up to take notice of him. Deities and normals, spirits and demons. The place was packed, and it felt good to be ignored for once. And to think his mama wanted him to go into politics. Should have listened to her, because it wasn't good to want to be ignored, not in his line of work.
Amun ordered a double shot of whiskey with a dash of Ambrosia. He drank half and then just sat there staring at the amber liquid at the bottom of the glass.
"Hey, handsome. Aw baby, what's the matter?"
Amun looked dully to his left, then he perked up a little.
Maman Brigitte was a hottie. Her dreadlocked black hair reached her waist. Smooth chocolate skin, big beautiful brown eyes, she had a heart shaped face and a body that made grown men get stupid and weep uncontrollably.
She smiled back at him, and right then and there Amun decided that maybe he'd better pull back a little. Just his luck he'd get the hell beaten out of him for flirting with Baron Samedi's wife. The Ghede Loa were Haitian spirits of the dead, and just because they were dead didn't mean that they didn't want to have a good time. They were rowdy, loud and irreverent. He'd never met Maman Brigitte before, but he'd hung out with some of the others. Back when life was good.
Amun glanced around quickly, and Maman Brigitte laughed. "He's not around, you damn silly fool. Left him at home for once."
"I heard 'bout your troubles," she said softly. "Asked around to see if somebody could help. Here." She thrust this business card into his hands.
Amun took the card and as soon as he touched it he knew it was magical. His skin tingled. After the day he'd had, that tingle felt nice.
The card was plain, made of smooth white card stock. The only thing printed on it was this:
The Body Shoppe
Quality Vessels, Guaranteed
"You oughta look into that," Maman Brigitte said over the din in the bar. "You can cut out the middleman that way. Save yourself some trouble."
"What…what is this?"
She raised an eyebrow. "Y'mean to tell me ya don't know what they do? Mon, you oughta get out more often. They can magic up a body for ya." She shrugged. "Whatever you want."
"I…I don't know…"
Maman Brigitte blinked. "Ah, darlin', there's no good way to say this…except just to come out and say it. You're a damned idiot."
She leaned closer and narrowed her eyes. "Aren't you tired of bein' a laughin' stock?"
Amun stared at his glass.
"Tired of people talkin' 'bout ya behind your back?" Maman Brigitte whispered.
Yes, he was. Amun blinked back the tears he felt. He didn't know why, but lately he felt very emo.
"Folks always mistakin' you for that Hellboy fella?"
Amun felt something he hadn't felt in a long time surge up inside him, white hot and bright. He didn't recognize it at first. Then he could. It was anger. Anger and pride.
He sat up on the bar stool a little straighter. Oh hell yeah.
She could see the fire in his eyes. She smiled a little as the bartender put a beer mug down in front of her.
"You could make 'em respect you once again. That place, all you got to do is want it badly enough, and that card will take you there. They do good work. It's all hush-hush. No one needs to know. And I won't tell."
Amun held the card between his fingers like it was a precious thing. "Thank you. I…I won't forget this."
Maman Brigitte laughed. "I bet you won't."
Amun slid off the barstool and actually had a bounce in his step as he walked out the door. He didn't turn around so he didn't see it when the air around Maman Brigitte shimmered like a desert mirage. Maman Brigitte shifted into Belial's massive form, and when the air became still once more Dean Winchester sat in his place.
Dean turned around to watch Amun go and raised his glass up in a mock salute. "Go get 'em, tiger."
The bartender, a retired vengeance demon by the name of Lloyd, didn't even blink. He was paid very well not to notice such things.
"Dumb bastard," Coyote growled. "When he gets there he'll find that the Body Shoppe is exclusive to the Theroiak Clan, the meanest, fiercest bunch of demon bastards around. No outsiders allowed. They will tear him a new one."
"If he's lucky." Dean murmured, frowning. That shapeshifting/genderswap thing was brand new to him. Sure, he loved women's bodies, loved the look and the feel of them, but he enjoyed being male.
Dean enjoyed the hell out of it.
He sat there a moment, taking inventory, making sure everything was back in its proper place. He had to resist the urge to pull out the neck of his t shirt and check and see if his boobs were still there.
Dean's boys made their presence known.
We're back, boss.
Sweet. At ease, men.
"Well, it's time to hit the road. I wanna be there to see the show." Dean slapped his money down on the bar. The bartender quirked an eye at him. "Your money's no good here," Lloyd growled roughly. "Boss' orders."
Dean grinned. "Okay. Thanks."
"It's the perks of the job, niño." Coyote was getting excited. Dean could feel it. A bored demi-god is a mischievous demi-god.
This was like Prank Wars, but on a grander scale. In a way they had that dummy Amun to thank for this. It was one thing to target Dean, but Sam too? Hell no. An example had to be made.
Sam still instigated Prank Wars on occasion. The last one went on for two weeks. Dead fish in Dean's bed one night, and the next morning Sam found himself brushing his teeth with Preparation-H. Dean could appreciate the whole back and forth of the Prank Wars and he retaliated on an appropriate level. He needed that, on a human scale.
But he also needed this.
"Now. Who's next?" The Old Man growled smoothly.
"Um…after this we're supposed to stop by the set of that CW show. Reaper. And after that we're gonna pay a visit to America's Top Model."
Coyote looked confused. "To trick 'em?"
"Dude. No. America's Top Model? Do I have to draw you a map? Come on! We got work to do."