A Jimmy Novak story.
It has never been one of his vices, but it seems it will cost him everything… or whatever is left of the everything he's given up previously.
The pain that rips through him comes from behind. It's a shredding sensation that begins over his shoulders in the ephemeral (his wings) and shocks like an electrical current through his vessel. He's screaming, but with his True voice and the earth quakes with his agony. Then he slams into and is pinned to the wall. He's crying out against a sort of shock and terror not known since Raphael tore him asunder and his hands snap back to grasp the razor of snowy stone punched through his wings. The shards glow hellish red and blister his vessel's hands to the bone, sears the prints – intricate, beautifully detailed swirls of individuality – off his fingers, chars his palms with a smell like cooking meat but he doesn't stop because he must, he must get free.
"You cannot remove them. Your caste is too low."
He tries anyway. He pours power like glacial water down his arms into his hands and he grasps one of the shards – Feathers. He used his own feathers. Only his would be white… – pinning him in the physical and spiritual realm. With a snarl he rips one free, slices a deep groove into Jimmy's phalange bones. Blood soaks everything. Coats his hand in liquid red. His throat has already been cut. The pain is unbelievable (is beyond the physical) and he cannot conceive of removing another one. He cannot comprehend doing it one more time (There are five more,) even to save himself. ("Hey, Happymeal." "Oh my God- er- uh- I didn't mean to- sorry. It's an honor, really.") He grabs another anyway and ignores the white hot fire that incinerates his hands and sends spiral bursts of bloody cold through his grace. It hurts. It hurts. It hurts. He cannot stop.
"Loyalty." The enemy says it again with the same soft admiration as in Carthage, Missouri. "Yours is astoundingly sad. How many times will the Winchesters take your life?"
He wrenches another feather free. It clatters as a silver blade to the floor as his mind blanks with shock. There is heat in cold. There is pleasure with agony. His whole being is vibrating itself to pieces to get away from the pain. He cannot stop. He cannot stop. Hecannotstop. When he comes to, he's staring at his hands: the devastated black and bloody raw ruin of Jimmy's palms. He's hanging off the wall like a ruined tapestry, tethered up by invisible cords of electricity that are rooted in his grace but pinned spread and burning to the wall behind him. From every point of penetration rivers of fire course.
The body of Nick Marshall (age 36, wife and child both murdered, born of a bad bloodline) is standing before him. The enemy's gaze even through Nick's now cataract-grayed eyes is infinitely sympathetic. When he looks at him, he's hypnotic, reassuring and beautiful. His expression holds all the love of a brother for another and he can trust him, he can trust him if anyone – but this is a lie because his rotting eyes are utterly empty and pitiless, full of wrath and hatred, the blackest most all consuming pride and horror. He sees the Fall in his stare, quivering black shafts of heat and damnation: the howling rage that will know no satiation.
The enemy touches his vessel's face. "I did give you a chance, brother."
"You will never find them."
A small smile. "I will. All of them. But their trials are not yours anymore. Be at peace."
"You know nothing of my trials," the angel growls. "Go to hell."
Which is exactly when Lucifer punches his fist through Castiel's chest and rips out his grace.
(And for an instant, around his neck, a small metal amulet burns white hot.)
And a star falls in Austin, Missouri.
part i: in the name of their false war
When he opens his eyes there are three demons grinning down at him and Jimmy thinks, immediately, something is off. Since when does Mr. Thursday let him see anything during a fight? Typically the angel is exceptionally good at keeping Jimmy separate from what happens to his body (not always of course. He knows the feel of a blade punched through his ribs, hot bullets in his belly, and – once – being nuked by an archangel) so this is strange. He waits a split second for Castiel to pull him away from the surface again, put him under and let him sleep through this ordeal like he always does, to be unaware…
And then one of the girl demons grabs him by the hair.
"Aww! Poor baby. Did that hurt? I'm sorry, I'll kiss it and make it better," croons the blonde bombshell mockingly, dragging him across the dirty gymnasium floor. They are in what looks like an abandoned school. Filthy banners for the 'Austin Angels' hang in sagging bows from the walls. The windows are blasted mouths of glass teeth, the bleachers blown apart like they've been plowed by a series of poorly driven semi trucks. The blonde's fake nails are drawing blood on his scalp. The other demons are howling.
The shock gets him before the fear. The disbelief that this is happening to him again because – Chrissake – if your resident angel drops the ball once on the whole possession thing, that's understandable but twice is pushing his limited human patience. He has a fraction of a second between thunderous heartbeats to be annoyed with his supposed guardian hijacker… and then he realizes – like a bomb dropping into his skull – that he is alone in a room with three demons.
They throw him on his stomach at the free throw line and he scrambles to his feet, aware suddenly of dirt and blood that isn't his (or is his, but from injuries he no longer has) streaking his face, his hands, his clothes. Heaven's dry cleaners are closed apparently or Cas didn't have time for it. Speaking of… 'Where the hell is he?' The demons are leering, circling him in a manner that makes him think strongly of hyenas, sends blood thrumming faster through him. The blonde girl is laving her lip-gloss with her tongue. Jimmy can feel his pulse in his finger tips. His body is charged with hyperawareness, every nerve buzzing.
"Where's Castiel?" he manages.
The trio sneers at him, repeating his question back in leery whiny tones. "Oooh! Where's Castiel! Castiel! Ehhh! Poor baby! No Castiel!" They laugh, mouths gaping hideously, a little too wide, baring too much teeth. A man who could be a high school math teacher chortles and steps menacingly forward. His eyes are opaque black. "Your cloud-hopper isn't here, meat suit. It's just you and us and God." His cohorts shriek, falling against each other with laughter and Jimmy's stomach pitches violently. "You can pray if you like. We'll give you a few minutes to get the Big Guy to smite us."
Anger spikes through him, interrupting the fear; disrupts it long enough for him to demand, "What did you do to Castiel?"
The Professor's hand snaps out so fast Jimmy doesn't see it until it wraps around his throat. The vessel's breath smells like Listerine as he clenches Jimmy's windpipe. "Don't play dumb," he snarls. "I know that's difficult given your condition, but this is your one moment to shine, kiddo." He shakes Jimmy so hard his teeth come together on this tongue, drawing blood. "So c'mon!" Shakes him again. "Shine! Where the hell is your heavenly co-pilot, eh? Where's he gone?"
He lets Jimmy go at last so he can breathe. He coughs wildly, clutching his throat and panics a little because he has no idea what they're talking about.
The Professor gets in his face again, hissing, "Tell us how he did it."
"Did what?" Jimmy demands hoarsely.
Crack! The blow whites out the vision in his right eye as the Professor plows his fist into Jimmy's face and he staggers sideways. 'Ow! God!' He clutches the side of his face as the red pain throbs through the bones of his skull. The demons aren't laughing any more. They are standing around him, faces blank, eyes full of sick black slick and radiating menace that makes every nerve in his body tighten in sick anticipation: the calcium bands of his ribs snapped, eyes full of blood, skin grated, bone ripped from roots of bone… He clenches his eyes shut briefly and swallows his fear.
"I don't know what you want."
"We want you to tell us where your buddy winged off to after Brooklyn."
Crack! For a moment Jimmy can't see or hear anything, just the ringing whine of the impact. There's too much blood in his mouth, a salty metal fluid and he spits it on the floor. "I don't understand what you want!" he shouts, vision still shattered by lights. "Castiel didn't tell me! I don't know anything!"
Someone moves in close, puts her face near his and when his vision clears she looks like a soccer mom; smells like cheap Pantene when she leans into his ear to breathe horrible things.
"He left you alone, Jimmy." His own name shocks him for some reason, make his breath hitch. "He broke his promise."
"There is no point in protecting him." The Professor. "Save yourself, kid."
Soccer Mom grabs chin, twitches his head to look at her. "None of this has to hurt, Jimmy." The fear is so powerful it makes his body ache from it. "Just tell us what you know."
"I'm… I'm not telling you anything," he says bravely.
That goes as well as he suspected. Someone grabs him and suddenly he is on his back, the Professor pinning his wrists over his head, Soccer Mom between his knees, the third demon – the Blonde Bombshell – looking on. Her smile is too wide, impossibly wide, distorting her face in a hideous glee that makes Jimmy's heart seize and his whole body electrify with terror. An adrenal catalyst reaction that makes him buck and thrash frantically to zero effect. His belly plunges. He can't move, or breathe, or think because theyaregoingtofuckingkillme he can't get his body to unclench. Soccer Mom rucks up his dress shirt beneath his jacket and overcoat, leans her body between his legs and jerks at the clasp of his belt. His mind freezes, jams on the impossible horror of this. Nonothisisn'thappening. The Blonde croons:
"We're gonna fuck you, baby. Then we're gonna gut you. We're gonna split you wide open while you breathe." Lord God, please help me. Please. God. "We're gonna put out those pretty blue eyes. We're gonna skin you piece by piece. We're gonna see what makes you tick, but you remember: we gave you a chance to stop this." She's smiling. "Are you praying, baby? Go on. You can do it out loud if you want. Futility makes my wet."
"Go to hell," Jimmy says clearly.
Soccer Mom reels back and punches him in the face. Then while the stars are burning novas into his eyes, she drops an elbow into his stomach. The pain doubles him up, but Soccer Mom and Professor drag his body flat. The Blonde stomps her tennis shoe into his midriff once, twice, begins a vicious frenzy of blows. He can't breathe through the pain and the bile. The toe of her Converse plows into his right temple; knocks the universe loose in his skull and stars spin crazy orbits in his aching brain. When everything realigns itself, the Blonde is sitting on his chest with her mouth pressed to his.
"Nnn," he protests ineffectively.
"Just enjoy it, sweetie," she breathes. Her lip gloss is sticky. It smears as she runs a wanton tongue across his mouth. Tastes of cheap sugar. "You want it. How long's it been? Over a year since you dicked that Amelia bitch you're hitched to. Angel running around in your skin, how long's it been since someone touched you? This is my gift to you, Jimmy."
"Don't you talk about her!" he growls, hatred rushing through him so intensely it hurts. "Don't you dare talk about her!"
"You're so sweet," she murmurs, gripping his chin so he can't head butt her as he'd like. "So loyal. So full of love." She slides her hands under his neck, holds his eyes forward so he has to meet her gaze. Her touch makes his skin crawl. "And they took it from you. Took everything from you. Your wife. Your daughter. Your future. Your autonomy. Everything you love they ripped away from you in the name of their false war and now tell me, Jimmy, where does that leave you but utterly fucked?" Her tone changes, becomes soothing. "But we can change that, Jimmy. Our father answers prayers. Our father walks the earth. Just tell us where Castiel is and our orders are to let you go. You can even go back to your family, Jimmy. Our creator will provi –"
He spits in her pretty/ugly face.
She backhands him for this, but seeing how she's offering him an accord with Lucifer, Jimmy has zero trouble making that decision. Frayed as his faith is, making deals with Satan he hasn't gotten real foggy about. Seriously, who falls for contracts with demons? He resumes struggling if for no other reason than the principle of the act. The Blonde hits him until he stops – light and dark spots reeling in his vision – then kisses him again, so hard his lip splits on a stray incisor and he thinks this is really it. After nearly two years having given everything, for a cause he knew nothing of save the limited expositions of his sometimes captor, he is going to die on the floor of a dirty gymnasium, left nothing, not even his dignity.
It doesn't seem fair.
As he stares at the ceiling, listless with shock, he wonders who will help the Winchesters now.
And then there's a sound. At first it's like an ambulance in the distance, like a siren. Then it builds, amps, shudders and becomes a terrible noise that he recognizes to be a voice, but is only a single, long, loud, piercing scream of triumphant rage. He covers his head just as the gym doors blow off their hinges. The demons shriek and a girl with black hair busts through the entrance looking like a hurricane in jeans and heels. Her eyes don't glow, but they smolder. Even in the dim light of the room she darkens the walls with the nimbus of wings spread against the windows. Her voice actually makes the air shudder and is touched with a hint of her True voice, the one that sounds like music and thunder.
"You have two choices. You can let him go or I can roast you alive in your meat suits."
Edit: Originally this was two chapters... then I realized that was dumb and condensed it to one. So no, you're not crazy. I am. Anyway, we're still on for Jimmy-related shenanigans and the Winchesters being baffled.