Don't own american gods or supernatural.
Mercury scrutinized the dripping figure standing in front of the Elysian Fields Hotel's front desk, a tight smile pulling his lips.
"I'm so sorry sir, we don't seem to have an open room. It's the storm- caused us to be booked up instantly."
"I have a reservation," the mad said gruffly. He was tall, dark, and appeared to be completely unconcerned by the stale stare sent his way. A gold coin rolled its way over his hands, appearing to vanish and reappear near the brim of his coat pocket. "It's probably under the name Wednesday."
Mercury frowned. "I'm sorry sir, but we are expecting that guest to check in this evening. He called ahead to check his reservations."
A small smile slipped its way onto the man's face, and he looked up from the coin. "Mr. Wednesday did not have the full support of our representatives. I got a call asking me to fill in for him."
"Ah, in that case," Hermes brushed aside his frown and pulled a set of keys from under the counter. "Enjoy your stay here, Mr...?"
"You can call me Shadow."
Balder smiled warmly at the gathering.
"Welcome friends, it is an honor to see you all here this evening. The angel's Judeo-Christian appocolypse affects the whole world, from the Carribeen," he noded to the skeletal dark skinned man, "to the Mediterranean," Mercury's eyes flickered in acknowledgement, "to south Asia." Here Balder kissed Kali's hand. She smirked.
"The question we must all face here is this: What are we all going to do about it?"
There was a rumble of agreement, broken by a slight cough.
Balder's eyes flashed. "You have something to say?"
The perpatrator looked up, and Balder, for a moment, felt as though he were looking into the afterimage of a warped mirror. He scowled, and the vision vanished. This was why he seldom left Europe; there were too many other versions of himself running around.
America was the worst though. Here gods hung around like moth eaten curtains: threadbare and forgotten, too stubborn to know when to just die when humans stopped believing in you.
The name tag on the man's shirt read 'Shadow'. Shadow palmed a gold coin he had been tinkering with and slumped back into his chair.
"I didn't mean to interrupt, just clearing my throat. Sorry for interrupting."
Balder's smile stiffened. "Very well then, if we may continue?"
The couple in suite 143 vanished, mid proposal, safely tucked into the freezer. Mercury wiped his hands unnecessarily down his jacket, inwardly pleased with his own doings. Roach motel indeed. He chuckled.
"I don't want there to be any funny business," a dark voice said behind him.
Mercury spun to see the hulking shape of Mr. Wednesday's replacement outlined by the shadows. "I was just preparing the main course."
The man's expression remained neutral, though a creeper of wariness wound its way around the god's spine.
"I don't know how you guys handle a party where you're from, but here we do things differently."
The Roman god felt an uncomfortable pressure against his mind and he swallowed reflexively. "We still need to keep the humans out of the way for out get together."
The man appeared to think it over. "I guess that's fine, so long as no body get's hurt and they're all free to go once we've cleaned up."
Mercury nodded frantically, already making a mental note to hide the head and entrail surprise in the kitchen.
"Loki," Shadow growled.
The short god looked up at him, a grin playing across his face.
"So you're the demi-god everyone's been talking about! My counterpart here said you're a real bundle of laughs."
A crease began at the corner of Shadow's mouth twisting his lip. "I hear you've been passing yourself off as a Trickster here; quite the anomality for a god to willingly abandon his home and travel."
Something dark gold flickered through Loki's eyes and his grin fossilized. "Well, you know the stories, I like to get around. Anancy says 'Hi' by the way."
"Mr. Nancy has been dead for a while now."
"Lately permanent conditions seem to just be suggestions."
"Well if you ever feel the need to play messenger," the word lingered with meaning over the tall man'd lips, "tell Mr. Nancy his son is doing well, if you see him again." He drifted away to peruse the buffet.
The lolipop between Gabriel's teeth shattered as he watched him go.
Dean threw himself behind the table with Sam as the devil waltzed into the room, unaware that someone was already crouched behind it.
"Who are you supposed to be, the god of coin tricks?" Dean snarked. The man- god- man, glared out of the corner of his eye and vanished the gold coin in his hand.
"I take it that Spotty over there isn't your friend either."
"Nope," Dean agreed.
The coin reappeared between the man's fingers. "You sure are a popular guy."
"You have no idea."
Suddenly Gabriel appeared at Dean's elbow. The trickster's eyes met Shadow's for an instant, but it was long enough to convey a storm of meaning.
Shadow's dark eyes glanced at the Winchester brothers before focusing back on Gabriel. He nodded once.
"Guard this with your life," the angel said, speaking to more than just Dean, before diving into the fray.
"Turn onto the highway here, that should get us to Cairo."
Sam looked at the hulking figure in the back seat. "You mean Cairo: like Kai-row?"
"No, I mean Cairo, like Kay-row. I have some friends we can stay with for a day or two up there, it shouldn't be a problem."
"Look," Dean's glare magnified in the rear view mirror bore into his unwanted passenger, "I've had enough of all of you gods and your hodoo. I'll drop you wherever, so long as it's on our way, but Sam and I are getting out of this mess before another one of you lot tries to, I don't know, eat our hearts out or something!"
Shadow smiled. "Mr. Jackel prefers his hearts on the embalming table."
"What can you tell me about him?" Sam asked.
Mr. Ibis straightened his golden spectacles. "You mean Shadow."
"Yeah. That's not his real name is it?"
"As it is, yes. That's the only name he's got. I believe he had another, but that was some time ago. Around the time the war ended I suppose."
Sam frowned. "War? Like, World War II or the Civil War, or..."
"Oh nothing like that," Mr. Ibis waved him off. "No this was a war of belief between gods here in America. I guess you could call it a civil war, but there really wasn't anything civil about it."
"Well, some of the older gods though that there wasn't enough belief to go around between them and the younger generation- or at least that is what most believed the war to be about. In any case, right as the two armies are posed to smash each other into oblivion, Shadow comes flying in on the back of a thunderbird and tells them all to knock it off."
Mr. Ibis chuckles like dry papyrus brushing together. "Gives them all a talking to, like an angry nursemaid. Tells the new age gods to stop being so pretentious and the older ones to go back to the old countries if they couldn't learn to get along."
Sam digested this, mind furiously picking apart the details into a cohesive idea. "What does he get out of helping us? Does he think we stand a chance of winning?"
Mr. Ibis fixed Sam with a piercing stare. "That should be of no concern to you. The only thing you need to know is that that boy is the one all the gods in America believe in, and the belief of gods, even transient ones like us, is no small 's doing you a favor by bringing you both here, so that should say something favorable about his moral character."
"Will you help us stop the apocalypse?" Sam's expression was earnest as he cornered Shadow in the hallway. "Will you help us stop the Devil?"
"You do your own time kid. Me getting mixed up in all this won't do either of us any favors." Shadow didn't meet Sam's eyes as he walked away.
Dean pulled the impala away from the rundown house, the disk Gabriel had told him to guard burning a hole in his pocket.
He could see the man-god-whatever Shadow in the rear view mirror watching them from an upstairs window. A spark of gold flickered its way across his fingers. The coin stopped, as if sensing an audience, and vanished. The hand rose in silent farewell.
Dean looked away, stuffing the memory of the strange not quite man, fallen angel, and god infested hotel into a small box in the pit of his mind.
Behind him, Shadow smiled.