A Demon Calls
S s S s S
Disclaimers and whatnot: Stuff and nonsense. Supernatural, its characters and storylines belong to someone else, not me. You win, Kripke.
Oh hell, I thought I was over SPN and those boys and then came that blasted finale. Oh Sam. Oh Dean, etc etc. Watch out for expletives, gratuitous use of British vernacular and other such frippery.
S s S s S
I can't help it you know, I 'm a bit of a busybody when it comes down to it. I'd like to say it's in my genes, but I don't think I have any. Not like that anyway. Of course, it's in my job description to stick my nose in where it's not wanted. Can't get the weasely little buggers to make deals it you don't know what makes 'em tick. As habits go it's rather ingrained and although modesty, false as it is, might tempt me to deny it, I am rather good at it. And Lord love 'em, but humans can be so fucking dense. Maybe that's why he does. Love 'em, that is, they're not much use for anything else. So naturally, I was pretty bloody relieved to see my old oppo Lucifer stuck back where he belongs. Smooth talking devil. Ha! I crack myself up sometimes.
Now, to get back to the problem at hand, I can't leave well enough alone I suppose. I mean, I magnanimously give that old git Singer back his soul while goody two-shoes Castiel wafts back up to heaven on a cloud of his own self-righteous farts, little Sammy Winchester takes a swan dive and Dean Winchester is left to shack up with a hot bendy babe and play happy families. It's been some time since the whole shebang and while I could leave the sorry sod alone wallowing in blissful ignorance, it's just not the way I get things done. That and the demise of poor Gerald.
I can hear it in the wind, whispers of this and that. Bad news travels fast, circling overhead like a hungry vulture waiting for the corpse to stop twitching. Somebody's been pussy-footing around and rattling cages, I don't like to be melodramatic; okay so that's a lie, they never did eat my tailor you know, but it's hard to thread a needle when your head's been shoved up your arse. I don't like the stories I'm hearing, something's out there and frankly it's giving me the willies. Luci-boy is still all tucked up safe and sound, I'm sure of that.
I was looking forward to a quieter, less fraught existence. My numbers are down; deals don't make themselves and getting qualified help these days, nightmare I tell you, utter nightmare.
I'll have to go and see the big girl's blouse for myself. His liver will thank me, if nothing else. Lucky for him, he's still invisible to most long-leggedy beasties. You don't think I stick my neck out for these mud monkeys if I didn't have ways of keeping tabs on them, do you?
A square little house on a long, straight street, the living room's an ode to all things IKEA. Not that I'm complaining mind you, one of my more successful deals, long since called in. The poor slob in question is passed out on the couch, a slosh of the good stuff slipping from his slack hand. It's midnight the witching hour, what can I say? I always did have a flair for the dramatic.
I lean in and whisper his name, he flinches. Christ on a bike, his breath must be about 60 percent proof. Makes my eyes water. I try again, dragging out the syllables. His eyes blink open, it takes his bloodshot orbs a second or two to focus and then he jerks upright and is vertical and swaying, whiskey spilling across the berber. At least the stain won't show, an important consideration when purchasing floor coverings. I speak from bitter experience.
"You, you...," he splutters.
"Dean Winchester, sharp as ever." I give him my friendliest smile. His eyes narrow and he glances up.
"No, I'm not here to toast the missus. Good grief, such a saddening lack of trust. Do you really think I'd supply you with the means to stop the apocalypse just so I can come back and torment you after the fact?" I huff indignantly and cross my arms. "And I might add, not one of you ungrateful twats bothered to say thank you."
He recovers his equilibrium fairly quickly, which bodes well for my plans. "Crowley. What do you want me to say? Nice to see you? It's been a while? You're still a demon, just like every other evil son of a bitch that ruined my life, my family and took my brother from me." He leans in, spitting the words at me and I wave a hand in front of my face. "So excuse my lack of gratitude. And she's not my wife."
"Oh, living in sin, are we? How gauche." I try to keep things light.
"Cut the crap. What do you want?" He snarls weakly.
I study him for a moment, his skin is sallow and his middle looks considerably softer and sags forlornly downward. He smells not just of alcohol but of too much sleep and the weight of despair, a stale, sour smell that ordinarily I find quite invigorating, this time though it seems such a waste.
"I was going to ask a favor but seeing how you've got more bags under your eyes than the luggage carousel at LaGuardia, I'm not sure you up to anything more than this pissant house husband act you've got going. How the mighty have fallen." I'm not surprised when he lunges clumsily at me, I flit off to the side as he smacks face down onto the floor. He groans and rolls over, breathing heavily.
"Fuck you," he mutters.
I squat down beside him and pat his shoulder. "Not right now, love. Now listen carefully, somebody's been sneaking around our mutual friend's super secret hideout. Who, what or why I don't know and for the good of all interested parties I'd like to know. You locked him up nice and tight and we don't want anybody letting him out now. Do we?" I'd hope to pique his interest right off the bat and while I'm not the most sensitive fellow there's no mistaking the flash of pain that pinches his features before his face settles into a hard mask of indifference.
"Find someone else to your dirty work," he sits up slowly and shakes his head. "This is my life now. I've paid my dues more times than I can count. Even if you're telling the truth, what's in it for me? Get lost, Crowley. I'm happy as I am." He turns away from me. I sigh and stand, time for more parlor tricks. You'd have thought he would have learnt his lesson by now.
"Dean, Dean, Dean." I singsong, "Demon, remember? I know what's going on in that sad, lonely, empty head of yours. Come on, you're about as happy as a pig at a luau. So you made a promise, big deal. Admit it; you had more fun in hell than you do here."
Slowly he gets to his feet and to my surprise gives me a tight smile. "I guess I should be grateful for the vote of confidence and maybe you're right, but so what? Nothing good ever came from dealing with demons. Nothing. It is what it is, Crowley and nobody can change that even if I wanted them too. This," he gestures around him, "might not be what I want, but it's all I've got. Even you should be able to understand that."
I dab at a non-existent tear. "So poignant," I sniff and sidle up to him; he attempts to ignore me and gazes ahead blankly. I lean in to whisper, "I think something got out." I was going to keep this tidbit under my hat but I never did like keeping secrets, especially when it's in my interest to do otherwise. It's quite remarkable how often that happens.
He looks up frowning, and I waggle my eyebrows.
I valiantly resist the opening and whisper again, rather loudly. "I think something got out of the pit."
His frown deepens. "I thought you said Lucifer was locked up nice and tight."
See? See what I mean? Fucking dense. Despite not wanting to coddle the inebriate, I exert my considerable self control and refrain from letting loose my usual plethora of catty insults. I remind him pleasantly, "There was more than just the big D himself way down there." I step away and drop onto the couch. "So I am reliably informed."
He stands there, blinking in consternation and I smirk as the dull light of comprehension dawns in his red-rimmed eyes. He stares at me. "What…who was it?" he croaks.
Now it pains me to say, I don't really know. Sure, it's one or the other or possibly both. Too powerful to be human, in my opinion. Not that Dean needs to know that.
I clap my hands together, "Well, that's why I'm here, telling you. So you can put those hunter instincts of yours to good use." I lean forward and reaching out my index finger poke his belly, "That's if you've haven't gone soft on me." I grin and wink at him. "I hate it when that happens." The joke flies over his head and disappears into the night and he's still staring at me, eyes big and round, mouth working silently. I can hear the grinding of jumbled thoughts tumbling around in his head, questions and denials smacking against his skull until only one thought remains. A rather predictable thought at that.
"Sammy." He breathes reverently and he's on his knees in front of me, hands gripping my knees, hard. It's rather painful actually and painfully embarrassing. It's nice when humans know their true place in the order of things but even demons have their limits. I squirm slightly, I could lie to him unfortunately there is always the remote chance he'll try and gut me like a fish if he thinks I've been telling tales. He'd have to catch me first, like that's ever going to happen but it's a tedious situation I just don't have time for.
I grip his hands and push them away. "Oh, get up. Personal space, hmm?"
He doesn't move, kneeling on the floor gazing into middle distance, slack jawed and silent inside and out, which is rather disturbing truth be told. Bugger, maybe I miscalculated. Humans have an annoying habit of wearing out too quickly, I've had cars that have lasted longer admittedly I tend not to torture them quite as much. I ponder the situation for a second or two trying to decide if he's worth the effort. I clear my throat noisily when suddenly he's on his feet and for a brief instant there's fire in his eyes and color in his cheeks. Welcome back to the world, Dean Winchester.
"Are you sure?" he demands, "The truth, Crowley. Or God help me, I'll have your head on a plate."
"Ah ha. The truth. Always a tricky proposition Dean, old bean. All I can tell you is that something or someone was there, poking around that cage," I take a deep breath, totally unnecessary but it adds a certain something to the gravity of the situation, "and that something ripped poor Gerald to shreds without so much as a by-your-leave."
"My favorite hell hound." I turn away from the incredulous gaze, "I left him there, to keep an eye on things for me. And now he's no more. I'd had him since he was a puppy." I turn back to jab a finger at his chest. "It hurts, you know, and frankly it pisses me off something rotten, hell hounds are next too impossible to kill and all that was left of my Gerald was a few bits of fur and some blood stains." You should have seen that little chiseler when I first got him, paws the size of dinner plates, big souless red eyes and teeth that wouldn't quit.
"Gerald." Dean's nodding thoughtfully, "Was he the one that time?"
"Yes, yes he was. You owe him, saved your bacon." I'd forgotten about that, it was a busy time, easily done.
"I suppose it makes up for the time a whole gang of 'em tore me apart and dragged me to hell." There's an edge to his voice and he's standing straighter and if I'm not mistaken, which hardly, there's a definite effort to suck in that gut. The boy's onboard, like I ever had any doubt. I could sell sulfur wholesale to hell, charge double and they'd thank me for it. And when I say could, I mean did. The boy just needs a little push and he'll be where I want him.
"The past is the past Dean. Do you want to take that chance? Do you want to sit here and rot away in this tastefully decorated surburban prison when your brother might be out there? Can you risk it Dean?"
Oh the sweet, sweet rush that comes with the careless application of the truth. It's something he never really understood and that's what let him down in the end. This time I can hear it, although it's oddly muffled that faint echo of his thoughts, his wants. No, no, no, his decision reverberates through him.
"You bastard," is all he says. What do you know, maybe he's learnt something after all.
"I'll take that as an indication of your agreed particpation in the proceedings." I clap him on the shoulder, "Let's get this show on the road."
Dean tilts his head and gives me a long look and once again his thoughts are uncomfortably obscure, the lad has hidden talents. I'll have to look into that. He raises his eyes upward. "Give me a few minutes, will ya? There are a couple of things I have to do."
"Don't let me keep you," I can be gracious in victory, "go have your hallmark moment. I'll be waiting outside." I leave him.
Five minutes later the front door bangs and he's jogging down the drive, now I'm not one for excessive sentiment, but even from where I'm standing that seems a little short for a tender, heartfelt good-bye. He pushes past me rubbing his cheek and wincing. He says nothing, his head down as he pulls open the car door, leaning away from me. He's trying to hide it, trying to suppress the frisson of anticipation that minutely shakes his body. He's fooling nobody, which is probably why her indoors walloped him.
Who'd have thought it, a demon giving him hope? Better keep it quiet or every hell-born tuppenny wanker who thinks too much of themselves will be trying it on, and I can't have that. Whoever it is out there is officially on my shit list and come heaven or hell I'm going to make them pay. And Dean Winchester is going to help me do it.