Spoiler warning: Spoilers for events through Season 5, Episode 14 (My Bloody Valentine)
Warnings: non-consensual sexual touching/molestation, abuse, harsh language
Genre: slash (male/male)
Author note: I do not warn for character death in any of my stories, since I consider it a plot spoiler. If character death is an emotional trigger for you, I urge you to avoid my work. Thank you for understanding.
Disclaimer: All characters from Supernatural are the intellectual property of Eric Kripke, Warner Bros. Television, and Kripke Enterprises. I make no profit from this fanfiction.
Dedication: This story has been written for Pledge-a-thon Charity Round I, and is dedicated to Here4Castiel for sponsoring this fic with her generous donation to Misha Collins's UNICEF page for Haiti Earthquake Relief. All links are listed on my author page.
At the first touch of the binding spell gliding corpse-cold over his grace, he presses a button and sends his pre-typed message into the ether.
Now all he can do is pray (Father, keep them safe), although what good is prayer when the supplicant has little hope of being heard?
The small triangles of pancake are absently placed in precise stacks, forming miniature monuments stranded in a sea of tacky syrup. Talk show psychologists would call this behavior evidence of a troubled mind displaying traces of obsessive-compulsive disorder.
Dean calls it Nucking Futs.
"Sam, for fuck's sake!"
His brother startles, the fork in his Gigantor hand making short work of his carbohydrate Lego set. "Uh, sorry."
Dean snatches his plate away and scrapes the sticky mess into the trash. "Yeah, you're gonna be even sorrier, 'cause it's your turn to do the breakfast dishes. Now shut up and eat." He shoves a bowl of cereal in front of Sam, followed by the milk carton.
"Look, I'm not really in the mood—"
"Don't bother finishing that sentence, 'cause I don't give a good goddamn what you're in the mood for. You're gonna eat something for breakfast or else I'll—" He pauses, the childhood threat of 'shove it down your throat with a broom handle' suddenly losing all humor after their experience with Twinkie Man two weeks ago. Yeah, no.
"—or else," he finishes weakly. He musters up as much brotherly tenderness as he can. "Sam, you gotta eat. You look like shit."
Sam snorts. "Yeah, thanks. You too."
Dean knows it's true, knows that the dark circles under his eyes run a close second to the raccoon rings around Sam's bleak gaze. Thing is, he's not stuck looking at his own miserable mug. On the other hand, if he has to keep confronting the gaunt hollowness etched across Sam's bony features, he's gonna volunteer his brother for hosting a Saturday afternoon monster movie marathon.
"Still prettier than you any day, Sasquatch." He pours his own bowl of cereal, drowns it in milk, and takes a huge bite. Teach by example, John had always told him (and isn't it funny that he now thinks of his dad as John ever since Michael stared out of his father's eyes?) The cereal tastes like ashes in his mouth, but he keeps going until Sam finally relents and takes his own bite.
Dean picks up the newspaper, pretending to be absorbed in Sioux Falls' recent crime wave of three car break-ins while making sure that Sam eats at least half his cereal. He can tell from Sam's hunched shoulders that his brother knows he's watching him, but they're just going to keep acting normal, chewing their cardboard-tasting breakfast until they achieve true normality, or one of them drops. Right now, Dean doesn't care which.
Bobby wheels past them in a rush, thumping against cabinets and slamming doors as he searches for something.
"Coffee's already on," Dean says, and gets only a grunt in reply. Bobby seems to sense Dean's stare, because he turns away to rummage in another cabinet, but not before Dean has caught a glimpse of his face.
He looks just as bad as the two of them—pale, with bloodshot eyes glaring from beneath his hat brim—and that's fucking weird. Dean knows it hasn't been easy hosting a demon-blood detox session for the past two weeks, but Bobby had seemed the one normal, functioning person among them. Well, Bobby and Cas, if you didn't count Cas's slight increase in broodiness, probably unnoticeable to anyone but Dean.
Now that he thinks about it, he recalls the sound of Bobby's wheels squeaking in his downstairs bedroom throughout the past two nights, while Dean tried to divide his time between watching over Sam, who had finally moved to the upstairs bedroom, and blunting his thoughts with a bottle of JD.
He decides to tackle the situation with his usual slick, diplomatic skill. "What's with the sleeplessness, Bobby?"
The old hunter hesitates for a fraction of a second before resuming his rummaging. "None of your damn business."
Yeah, that went well.
Dean flips the newspaper back up while keeping an eye on Bobby, looking for another opening gambit.
Luckily, Sam has roused himself from dark contemplation of his cereal bowl long enough to take notice of his surroundings. "Hey, have you guys talked to Castiel lately? I remember him hanging around when I first got out of the—when I first got out, but I haven't seen him for the past couple of days."
Bobby outright freezes in his chair, stopping Dean mid-breath as he's about to explain about the angel helping Rufus with a case. "What's going on here, Bobby?" He keeps his tone even and controlled despite the fact that everything inside him is ratcheting up to Red Alert levels.
Now the tension in the room is so strong that even Sam drops his spoon and stares. "Guys?"
Bobby wheels over to join them at the table with all the enthusiasm of a man going for a root canal. He removes his hat, runs his hand through his hair, and replaces the hat before placing his palms flat on the table. "Man's word is a man's word," he mutters into his beard.
Dean already feels his muscles bunching, but Sam clamps down hard on his forearm. "Yeah, we get that," Sam says mildly. "Dad and you pounded it into our heads. But you also taught us something that's even more important: you said we had to trust our gut. So I'm thinking—if you haven't been sleeping, maybe it's because your gut's telling you something you don't want to hear. But me and Dean need to hear it…please, Bobby."
Bobby exhales slowly, still staring at his hands. "I didn't ask for any of this. Wife gone, no kids; figured at least I got no one to worry about but myself. But then you two come along…" He glances up at them, his eyes shadowed with emotion. "And you got all the powers of Heaven and Hell gunning for you, 'cause you idjits can't do nothing by halves. The last goddamn thing I need is yet another one of you to give me gray hairs, but that's just what—" a choked sound emerges from his throat.
Dean's not sure what he wants to do: shake Bobby? Scream in his face?
Thankfully, Sam steps in again, his voice still low and soothing. "Okay, Bobby. All right. But you've got to tell us what happened to Castiel."
"Rufus." The voice is harsh with emotion, and it takes Dean a moment to realize it just came from his own mouth. "You said Rufus called for help with a case. Or was that a lie?"
Bobby flinches under the accusation. "Not all of it. Rufus called, all right, but he was just giving me a heads-up. Weird sort of happenings over in Cheyenne County, far southwest corner of Nebraska. Seemed like a poltergeist at first, then more like a shapeshifter, and finally like a witch. Thing was, everything about it had the hallmarks of cases you boys solved years ago. Rufus said it smelled wrong to him. I figured it was a trap, trying to lure you boys in. Your angel thought the same thing."
He scrubs his hands wearily over his face. "The only good thing about this latest Horseman crap was that you two were out of commission for awhile, so you couldn't take the bait. Your angel made me give my word I'd keep you boys out of it, then the damn fool goes traipsing over to see what's up. Told him to keep in touch by phone, but this is the last message he sent me, two nights ago already."
Bobby pushes his cell over to Dean, who snatches it up to read the text message.
It is as we suspected.
I depend upon you to keep them far from here.
When all is done, tell him I'm sorry.
"Sorry," Dean growls, shoving another belt of rock salt cartridges into the trunk of the Impala. "I'll show you sorry, you fuckbrained son of a bitch! When I get my hands on you, I'm plucking every damn feather out of your wings and shoving them so far up your ass, you'll be coughing goose down for a year!"
A long shadow falls across him in the slanting rays of morning sun. "Here," Sam hands him Ruby's knife in a sheath. "Do you want me to throw my duffle in the trunk or backseat?"
"Backse—whoa, wait! You can fucking forget it; you're not coming."
"Like hell I'm not." Sam stalks around the Impala and pulls open the rear passenger door, batting away Dean's grabs at his duffle bag.
"Sam, I mean it! You're in no shape to go anywhere right now, and besides," Dean glares at the stubborn set of his brother's jaw, "you'll be nothing but a liability to me. I got no time to keep an eye on you while I'm trying to pull Cas's feathered ass out of the fire." He means the words to sting, and they do—at least, they're stinging his throat even as he hurls them with intent to wound. Sam might be hurt by his brother's mistrust but, Dean figures, better hurt than dead.
Unfortunately, Sam is refusing to follow the script. Instead of pulling an emo bitchface with downturned mouth and teary eyes, he merely shrugs off the insult and gets in the front passenger seat, slamming the door shut behind him and cranking the window down. "You might as well give it up, because I'm not falling for your shit; I've got just as much right to go after Cas as you do. He's my friend, too. And you can take that look off your face, because I'm not saying that me and Cas are as close as the two of you, but the guy has risked his life a few times for me. I figure I owe him one…or two or ten, for that matter."
Dean makes one last attempt, leaning in the passenger window to jab a finger at Sam. "You do realize that whatever trap he's caught in was meant for us, right? What makes you so sure that Lucifer isn't sitting there waiting for you with a tape measure and a smile?"
"I don't know what's waiting for us there. Could be Lucifer, could be Horsemen, could be angels, the biggest dicks of all. All I know is what a smart dude once told me: we're stronger together than apart."
Dean knows he's lost this battle, but he doesn't have to be gracious about it. "Fine. Just don't come crying to me when the Devil's got his dick up your ass and a chokehold on your soul."
"And thank you once again for a lovely mental image. Now go get the coordinates from Bobby so we can hit the road already."
"Hey, I thought I told you to—"
"No." Sam is glaring at him, and fuck if he hasn't been taking lessons from Cas on how to give the Smiteful Stare of Eternal Wrath. "You're going into that house and talking to Bobby, because he feels like shit for letting Cas get himself into this mess."
"'s'not his fault. Damn angel has a thick skull and stubborn streak a mile wide," Dean mutters. "Bobby knows I don't blame him."
"Then it won't hurt for you to actually say that out loud, to his face. No, shut up and listen for once. In case you haven't noticed, things are ramping up on the Apocalyptic scale, and every time we drive out of here, it could be the last time Bobby ever sees us. So we're not leaving him with any baggage to blame himself for, and we're not going with words left unsaid. I already said my piece to him, and now it's your turn. I'm not letting you back in the car until you're done."
Dean slaps the roof of the Impala in aggravation and strides back toward the house. Since when has Sam become such a fatalistic bastard? That's his job, damn it! All the same, he has to admit that Sam has a point, so with every step he takes toward the house, he allows the memories of Bobby and everything he's done for them flow through his mind. By the time he reaches the forlorn figure sitting near the bowls of disintegrating cereal, he doesn't have to fake the waves of genuine affection and bittersweet regret that color his voice.
The tainted essence curls around him, making his nerves tingle with revulsion even as it drags him back to consciousness. It is a scent-taste of corruption, the sickly sweet of rotting flesh barely covering a core of sulfur and hellfire. He forces his features to remained relaxed, trying to conceal his altered awareness from the captor who waits just beyond his closed eyelids.
"Wakey-wakey, angel-cakey. Mama wants to see those baby blues."
As he recognizes those poisoned-honey tones, a familiar feeling sweeps through him: not heavenly wrath but earthly aggravation, sounding like Dean's voice in his head as it growls, 'What's dead should stay dead.' Giving a mental shrug, he opens his eyes.
Were he human, he might find pleasure in the symmetrical features before him: wide, sparkling eyes, red lips parted in a smile, a cloud of dark hair. However, he is something more than human, and he can see the creature's true form writhing beneath its stolen outer shell. Abomination. Monstrosity.
Her smile widens. "There you are. I was beginning to think you might never wake up, and I was getting worried. Not that an angel death could be anything but good, but you know…" she wrinkles her nose, "…the smell. Impossible to get out of the upholstery."
His eyes dart around, taking in his surroundings as she revels in the sound of her own voice. Contrary to her words, there's no furniture in sight; it is an empty room, its cheap tiled floor coated with dust, long grooves denoting the former presence of cubicle walls. He remembers it now: the abandoned office building in the half-deserted town, darkened windows like empty eyes in the twilight. She hasn't moved him far, then, from the entrance where she had sprung her trap. Crude sigils drawn in blood line the walls, their lines rudimentary and amateurish but good enough to hold him in this place.
He doesn't like the dim glow fading from the dark liquid designs, the implication that an angel died to build this trap. Pain suddenly radiates outward from his shoulders, and he tries tugging his arms down from their spreadeagled position. It doesn't work; the cold burn of bloodiron holds his wrists fast to the wall.
"Give it up, Clarence. You won't be leaving here anytime soon, not until I say so, which will be…oh, never." She approaches with a casual, hip-swinging gait until she's inches from his face, the same as the last time they'd met. He finally understands Dean's objections to invasions of his personal space. She fits her hips against his in a way he knows would be intimate if they had been two humans.
"There now," she purrs, "so much nicer than the last time. No weapons you can use against me, no place we have to be." She grips his waist and rocks against him, her mouth parting in a feral grin. "So what's up, angel? Is that a gun in your pocket, or are you just glad to see me?"
"It's a cell phone." He frowns. "Why would I be glad to see you?"
She puffs out a small sigh (a breath of sulfur) and releases him. "I forgot. Just my luck to snare the poster boy for Angelic Erectile Dysfunction. Good thing the Winchester boys are on their way, or I might be forced to torture you out of sheer boredom. Though that's still a possibility."
A prickle of dread lifts the hair at the back of his neck, and he consciously suppresses a shiver, noting yet another weakness of this form. It isn't the thought of torture that frightens him, but the demon's certainty that Dean and Sam will walk into this trap. He'd taken rushed precautions to keep them out of this, but he doesn't know if he'd succeeded. "What makes you say that?"
"Torture? It's a demon thing, yanno. Oh, you mean the Winchesters." Her tongue slides out to lick at the corners of her smile. "You've no idea how long you've been unconscious, have you? By now, the Winchesters will be missing their pet. They're probably already tacking up Lost Angel signs and checking with animal control; it's only a matter of time before they show up here. And we'll be waiting for them, Clarence—just you and me."
He lowers his gaze to hide his gleam of hope. "Lucifer won't be here, then."
Her smile falters. "My Father…my Father is busy." She pushes away from him, pacing the office floor as if fascinated by the clack of her high-heeled boots against the dusty tiles. Pivoting to face him again, she juts her chin in defiance. "That's why we're here. I want to give him a present: his true vessel all wrapped up in a bow, and the Michael Sword on a platter. And you—you're just the bait, cloudhopper. Although perhaps my Father will give you to me as a plaything. My dogs and I could use some downtime."
So Lucifer wasn't behind this trap. It doesn't surprise him, considering the clumsiness of the sigils; Lucifer would've had him balanced between delicate agonies, drawing out his grace one shining, screaming thread at a time. However, even the equivalent of a crude chain and padlock is enough to hold him in place; he mustn't underestimate this demon. The bloodiron is a clever touch.
He tilts his head to match the angle of her defiance. "I thought I'd killed you with the fire circle."
Her laughter is harsh, as sharp and grating as shattering glass. "Don't you remember what I told you last time?" She gets back up in his face and reaches down between his legs. "You're nothing but an impotent…sap."
She punctuates each word with a vicious squeeze of his scrotum, sending shrills of agony racing up his spine. He tries to separate himself from the pain of his physical form but only succeeds in reducing his reaction to rasps of indrawn breath.
It's enough to satisfy her, and she releases him. "Hurts, doesn't it? Well, payback's always a bitch." She lifts her shirt to expose a thick line of scarred, puckered flesh across her midsection. "Look at what you've done. Bikini season is ruined for me."
He fights to regain control of his breathing. "Thought…you could heal your…hosts."
"So did I. Imagine my surprise when that angel fire burned right into me—the me inside, not this snivelling meatsuit. I was forced to abandon ship for a while, and guess what? This poor little girl had to deal with third degree burns all on her own." She purses her lips in mock sympathy. "She cried for hours, you know. Cried and cried, not only because of the pain, but also at the thought that an angel would do this to her. I have to say, her faith in you winged wusses and your deadbeat dad is just about…" she holds her thumb and forefinger a half-centimeter apart. "It's almost a mercy I took her over again."
"I am not Dean Winchester."
She lifts an eyebrow. "O-kay, that's a bit out of left field, but I'm game. What's that supposed to mean?"
"It means I don't hold myself responsible for," he pauses to remember the exact phrasing Dean had used, "the shit you evil bastards are wreaking on the world."
She crows in delight and claps her hands. "Very good, Clarence! You're getting more human by the second; got the lingo down and everything! It's a real pleasure watching you fall. By the way, how is that falling thing working out for you?"
"How is the 'rising up to heaven' thing working for you?"
"We're getting there. My Father makes progress each day, and once I give him his true vessel, it will only be a matter of dotting the i's and crossing the t's." She punctuates each letter with a poke in his chest.
He regards her silently. Less than a minute passes before she turns her back on him, fidgeting under his measured gaze, her movements more erratic and nervous than those of Dean at his most combative. She must hate silence, he realizes. He remembers Hell, the shrieking chaos of the torture chambers almost preferable to the pitch-black yawn of forgotten caverns and tunnels, empty of light, air, sound—except for the occasional drip of moisture from the blood-slimed walls.
He carefully makes his opening move. "So you enjoy peace. You are yearning for silent communion with other souls."
She barks out a laugh. "Hardly! That binding spell must've hit you harder than I thought and scrambled your underweight brain. Are you even seeing what's standing in front of you? I'm a demon, you know: pleasures of the flesh are my thing, not soulful meditation." She runs her hands over her host body's breasts, then down over her hips. "Give me a thick steak, a giant margarita, a warm body to burrow into, male, female, willing, unwilling…I'm not fussy."
He nods knowledgeably. "Lights and music. Las Vegas."
"You got it, Clarence. Sin City. Money, glitz, food for every appetite, no matter how twisted."
"Las Vegas is not in Heaven."
She snorts. "Does the term 'No duh' mean anything to you?"
"Hollywood is not in Heaven. Nor Paris nor New York nor…" he concentrates a moment, "Bora-Bora."
"Are all cloudhoppers as dim as you, or are you a special case? Honestly, angel, I know you're proud of your mad fifth-grade geography skillz, but you're getting tedious."
"All of these places are on Earth. Human-run, human-owned. Heaven is on a different plane. Eternal peace, eternal belonging, eternal…" he lowers his voice, "quiet."
He imagines he sees a slight shudder wrack her frame, but he can't be certain. The position he's pinned in is wearying, the bloodiron sapping his strength, and he has to blink several times to refocus his eyes. When his vision finally sharpens, she is up in his face, her eyes flashing.
"It doesn't matter. Once my Father takes us back to Heaven, he will make it into everything we want it to be. Not the holy roller pablum-bland version you winged eunuchs knew."
He tilts his head and does his best imitation of Dean Winchester's smirk. "Heaven is not a resort that needs remodeling. In any case, Lucifer has already shown his design preferences in his own kingdom: Hell. Everything you think you desire is on Earth—an Earth he intends to eradicate, as he intends to eradicate everything that is or ever was human. This is what Crowley fears: not only destruction of his preferred home, but also destruction of him and his fellow demons."
"You're a liar!" she hisses. "My Father would never hurt us; we are his favored children, his—"
"He is not your father." His voice cracks like a whip, and glass shatters in all the window frames. "You are not even the same species. Lucifer is a fallen angel. You originated from humankind, and as such, will be destroyed by him. Ask yourself this, demon: why are you here alone? What happened to your fellow demons who were with him in Carthage?"
She shakes her head slowly, backing away from him. "You don't understand. They were sacrifices, necessary for the ritual to summon Death. He told me he didn't want to do it, but—"
"He crushed them like insects, without thought or hesitation, the same way he will crush you. You mean nothing to him." He leans forward, and drops his voice to a confidential whisper. "You. Are. Nothing."
"Shut up! Shut your stupid, lying mouth!" She lunges at him and slaps his face hard, making his head snap to his right. Were he human, her demon strength would've knocked his head clean off. As it is, the pain reverberates through his skull, and he tastes blood on his lips.
He turns his head back toward her and spits at her feet.
"This was a mistake," she whispers, her voice trembling with rage. "Letting angels talk is always a mistake. I should've cut out your tongue while you were still unconscious, but no, I had to be nice, and look where it's got me. Now you have to be punished." She laughs under her breath, an unhinged sound brushed with madness. "But ordinary pain doesn't work on you martyr types, does it? I'm going to have to get creative, and for that, I need a different host."
She grabs his jaw, forcing it open to sweep her tongue around the inside of his mouth, licking at the blood on his lips. He struggles and tries to bite her, but her grip is too tight. Finally she releases him, shoving his head back so that it bangs against the wall. "Patience, angel. It may take me a little while to find the proper host, but I'll be back before you know it. In the meantime, you can amuse yourself with pondering the top twenty ways to defile an angel. There will be a quiz, or should I say," her mouth curves cruelly, "a practical exam."
She turns and strides away, and he stands listening until the sound of her heels fades into the distance.
After fifteen minutes of struggling with his bonds, even going so far as to force thin strands of his grace between his wrists and the bloodiron, he slumps in exhaustion. Goading the demon was one of those Dean Winchester, it-seemed-like-a-good-idea-at-the-time type plans. The good part is that it has succeeded insofar as buying him some extra time to find a way to warn Dean and Sam away from this place. The bad part is…
He chooses not to think about the bad part.
Bowing his head, he gathers up the tattered remnants of his faith and begins to pray.
To be continued
Author Note: (5-16-10) Sorry for the "false" story update alert. I had to edit and re-insert section breaks, since this site arbitrarily removed asterisk breaks from all fics.