Disclaimer: As usual, nothing belongs to me. The title comes from a Modesty Blaise novel of the same title, by Peter O'Donnell.
This is a response to oldshoe's challenge 2045 on Twisting the Hellmouth. Description is not included, as it would have acted as a spoiler. I can however say that this story takes place after the end of Supernatural's season 3.
I hope you guys excuse the melodramatic tone - writing anything other than straight up comedy is hard.
"It's the only way Bobby. You know it is."
Sam Winchester's voice burned with fervour. Seeing him stand there so, eyes sunken with misery and sleep deprivation, shoulders hunched in despair, clutching an ancient text on demonology, Bobby Singer swallowed the acid taste of fear. It was not the first time that Sam Winchester had frightened him, and Bobby was smart enough to know that it would not be the last. What the boy was suggesting…
Bobby shuddered. It was hardly a suggestion anymore. Sam was too far gone with grief and rage. He would proceed whether Bobby assisted him or not, and as for stopping him, well, Bobby still enjoyed his life. He would not want to end it prematurely at the hands of a young man he had for so long thought of as a son.
That it had come to this…
"Are you going to help me?"
Bobby sighed, and not for the first time wished that he had never met John Winchester and his wretched brood.
"Do I have a choice, boy?"
Bobby thought Sam had the grace to look ashamed. Perhaps he only imagined it.
The preparations took longer than expected. They were attempting a powerful summoning spell, perhaps the most powerful, and Bobby was grateful that Sam concentrated all his intensity on the task at hand. The spell was complicated to say the least, and required a blood sacrifice. No death, thankfully, but blood would have to be spilled. It would be Sam, who would be offering of his own body. Bobby shuddered again. He didn't know what frightened him more; the idea that the spell would fail, or that it would succeed. It could only be performed once, this both Sam and Bobby knew, and they only had a limited amount of time at their disposal.
They only had one opportunity to make it right. The human body only held so much blood.
Sam was determined to bleed for as long as it would take, Bobby knew. He would rip the world apart piece by piece if it would get him what he wanted.
Bobby's thoughts were interrupted when Sam began to chant, voice reverberating with power. Despite the many hours of meticulous preparation required for the rite, the actual spell itself was surprisingly short. Bobby watched as Sam bent in supplication and cut his left forearm just above the wrist with a ceremonial dagger provided for the purpose. He saw the young man stare at his hands for a moment as the blood began to flow, before letting it drip onto the runic script of the binding circle.
For the longest moment, nothing happened.
Bobby did not know whether to feel relief or fear, yet the respite did not last. A moment later power crackled where blood touched chalk, and as Sam stood, wrist bleeding, the protective circle flashed once, twice, and an indistinct shape began form within the chalk outline. Bobby felt terror in his breast. It was madness, pure madness! Salt and chalk were the only things keeping a literal fate worse than death at bay.
The circle suddenly flared so brightly that Bobby instinctively threw up his arms to shield his eyes. He saw Sam do the same. As the light faded and his eyesight returned, Bobby hesitated to look within the circle. He so badly did not want to know what horrors might have manifested themselves within!
And yet, not knowing proved almost worse. Jerkily, Bobby lowered his arms, and stopped, staring in shock.
The apparition stared back.
Bobby was uncertain as to how long the room's inhabitants were locked in silent standstill, but to his surprise, Sam was not the first to break the silence. Instead, the apparition spoke.
It spoke thus:
Truth be told, Bobby had not known what to suspect. He had seen more than his share of horrors in his life, and yet, when it came to the shape the Devil himself would take when summoned, Bobby's mind had stayed mercifully blank. Whatever he might have expected, this was not it. A treacherous voice deep within his mind whispered that he would never have expected Lucifer to appear so…pedestrian. It was almost like a bad Adam Sandler movie.
He stared at the Devil. The Devil stared back. His, or rather, her large blue eyes swung alternately between Bobby and Sam, and Bobby had to credit it, they looked worried. He did not flatter himself that it was true. Lucifer was the Father of Lies, and while his temporary incarceration might be irksome, sooner or later, he would free himself.
He always did.
Still, Bobby could not help but puzzle over the appearance the Prince of Darkness, Lord of the Morningstar had chosen to manifest in.
Though he disliked and distrusted children, Bobby had to admit that as terrifying appearances went, teenage girls had never ranked particularly highly on the list of his personal nightmares, much less teenage girls dressed in slightly tawdry costumes. One had to credit the Lord of Hell with a sense of humour at least. Why else would he have chosen to present himself in the body of a tall, slightly gangly looking child with big blue eyes and long straight brown hair currently held back by a flimsy plastic band to which two bright red horns had been glued? Occasionally the horns lit up, as if battery powered.
The rest of the outfit was equally bewildering. A short red skirt and black tank top were visible beneath a shiny red cape, and in her hands were clutched a cheap looking plastic pitchfork, the kind one could buy for a dollar at any number of stores around Halloween. Bobby instinctively knew that if the girl, the Devil, were to turn around, a forked tail would be visibly pinned to the back of the outfit. Bewildered, he shook his head. Who would have thought that the Light-Bringer would be so…tacky?
Sam seemed to share in his bewilderment, as he had yet to speak. Lucifer did not share in their silence.
"Is it Tuesday?" the Devil spoke with the voice of a little girl, shaking his…her head, "It must be, stuff like this always happens on a Tuesday!"
Bobby did not know how to make sense of this, but did not have to puzzle it over before very long, as in the next moment, Sam's hoarse voice addressed the demon before them.
"Give him back," he rasped, blood dripping from his open wrist, providing the power necessary to keep the circle closed.
The Devil stared. He…oh fine, she stared at Sam and Bobby in turn.
"Sorry?" she asked a moment later, "give who back?"
"Don't pretend you don't know," Sam screamed, making both Bobby and the Devil jump in surprise, "I know you know. You always know! Give him back!"
The girl, the demon, blinked and Bobby saw her finally completely take in the scene before her: the chalk and salt circle powered by Sam, the runes and herbs decorating the walls and floor and finally Bobby himself.
"Uh, I think what we have here is a basic case of mistaken identity," the demon spoke, and Bobby was almost impressed by how sincere her voice sounded, by how wide and frightened her eyes seemed. The Father of Lies obviously deserved the name, "See, my name is Dawn, and clearly, you think I'm someone I'm not. I don't exactly know who that is, and I really, really don't want to find out, so I'm just going to, uh, I'm just going to leave and pretend I never saw your creepy monster trapping cave, and we'll say no more about it."
True to her words, the demon made to cross the circle. Bobby did not know who was more startled, he or Lucifer, when the circle held.
"Oh crap!" the demon moaned, and Bobby could see that she was breathing heavily, "Oh this is bad."
Bobby could feel himself shaking, unable to speak. Sam stepped towards the circle, intensity masking his face.
"Give. Him. Back," he managed to force out, "Give him back and I'll let you go. I know you can do it. You can do anything," and the bitterness with which he said this twisted something in Bobby's chest.
"But I don't know what you're talking about," the demon wailed, "I don't know who you think I am, and I don't know what you want from me! I haven't taken anyone, and I want to go home."
"Stop it!" Sam shouted, fist clenched, "stop pretending to have feelings! You're not a person, you don't have the right! You don't have the right to stand there, and pretend to be human. We know what you are!"
At this, the demon went pale.
"I am human," she whispered, "I'm just a girl, I don't open anything anymore. I'm just a girl."
This obviously didn't sway Sam, as he reached for a bottle Bobby knew to contain holy water.
"If you won't give him back, I'll have to hurt you until you do," he rasped, and true to his word, splashed the blessed water straight into the demon's face. Yet instead of screaming in the pain Bobby knew the demon must be feeling, she just stood there, looking faintly shocked, mascara running slightly.
"Was that…did you…I'm not a demon," she finally managed to blurt out.
"Of course you are," Sam replied panting lightly, not letting the holy water's failure faze him, and Bobby realised that the blood loss must be starting to become a strain, "You took my brother, you bitch, and I won't let you leave here without giving him back."
"Oh," the demon said, and if Bobby hadn't known better, he would have thought that he detected empathy in her voice, "oh. I get it now. When did he die?"
"Stop pretending you don't know," Sam whispered, shaking lightly.
"I'm sorry, I really am, but I can't help you," the demon spoke softly, "And honestly, even if I could, I wouldn't. It's not right, what you're talking about, bringing someone back like that. It just isn't. I know you think right now that you can't make it without him, but what you're talking about is just wrong. You don't know what it'll do to him, ripping him out of heaven like that. You don't know how empty he'll be, how sad, how lifeless. He won't be the brother you knew, please believe me, I know."
At this, Sam lifted his head, though Bobby could only begin to guess what it cost him, "Who said anything about heaven?" he asked weakly. The blood at his wrist was bleeding sluggishly now, and Bobby knew that once it stopped flowing altogether, the demon would be released, and they die. This had been the most badly thought through plan ever.
"Huh," the demon spoke once more, "well…I don't actually know in that case. I suppose it's doable. I mean, Angel came back, and yeah, he was bat-shit insane for a while, but he got better, right?"
Bobby thought this was mostly a rhetorical question. He had little time to continue this thought, however, as the binding circle chose that very moment to flicker and break.
"The blood starts to flow, and until it stops flowing, it'll never stop", the demon spoke, almost sadly, and to his horror, Bobby saw her step easily over the now useless barrier. He threw himself at Sam, intent on buying the boy a few precious seconds to get away. His intent was forestalled when the demon knelt by Sam, awkwardly patting him on the shoulder, "I'm really very sorry about your brother, but if I ever see you trying to open the Hellmouth to get your brother out, I'm going to get my sister to kick your ass."
With these words, the demon made her way towards the door, only turning around long enough to say: "I don't suppose either of you know the best way back to California from here? No? Figures."
With that she was gone.
Bobby shook his head in wonder at still being alive, and pulled the still figure of Sam towards him. To his surprise, Sam was not unconscious as he had at first assumed. The boy was exhausted and drained to be sure, and the faster Bobby could get him to a doctor, the better, but his eyes glowed with a feverish light and as Bobby managed to get his large body upright enough to stumble towards the exit, and with it, the truck, he thought he heard him whisper.
"A Hellmouth, Bobby…"