Supernatural: Length of Chain (2/22)
Author Name: Patriciatepes (Patricia de Lioncourt @ fanfiction.net )
Characters: Jo, Castiel, Crowley, with an assortment of others in minor roles
Pairing: Castiel/Jo/Crowley triangle; with Jo/Crowley not being remotely romantic
Chapter Links: Prev | Next
Warnings: (For complete, whole story) Torture, swearing, blood play, knife play, sex, noncon, dubcon, fighting, monster death, character death
Summary: SPN Season 6. Jo Harvelle remembered dying, a hellhound at the cause. Imagine her surprise when she wakes up, a cursed necklace about her neck that binds her to the service of the current King of Hell, Crowley. When Castiel appears, she's sure that she's saved… only to learn the truth. Now, bound by a beautiful, cursed antique, Jo must do as Crowley orders, hunting for the answers to accessing Purgatory… or else.
Disclaimer: I don't own Supernatural or any related characters. They belong to Kripke. No money made here. Art by the awesome casper_san.
Author's Notes: Written for the spn_hardcore_bb. And also for the hc_bingo wild card square, using torture. OMG, I so didn't expect this story to be as long as it turned out to be. Just a quick note on the rating: yes, there are some scenes that definitely require that rating. Granted, there are also several scenes that are of a much softer nature. A nice balance I would say. Also, huge thanks to my awesome friend and beta Kimmi! And to twisted_slinky for cheering me on as I outlined and helping bounce the many issues I encountered off her. Also, that thanks extends to my artist, casper_san, who was just super awesome. I know she was just as busy as I was trying to do other challenges while doing my art, so yes, huge thanks! Drop by her art masterpost and give it some love! Hope you enjoy!
There was really nowhere that Jo could go. With Crowley having her on such a leash—her hand flew to the necklace with little thought before she pulled it away, disgusted—she was trapped in every meaning of the word. But she just couldn't do it. Couldn't be in the room with those two. Just thinking about it, the partnering of the two, make Jo feel sick, so she focused instead on the only destination she had as an option to get away. The cell she had awoken in.
She found it faster than she had found Crowley, striding in only to stop and glare at the brick wall. Only a single window, a tiny, rectangle with bars on it as well, illuminated it against the gloom of the prison. She wanted to scream, wanted to rage, wanted to tear the damned necklace off. However, she knew that none of these things were viable options for her. Instead, she fumed, glaring at the sunlight leaking through the window as if it were mocking her.
A flutter of wings, and Jo didn't turn.
"Go away, Cas," Jo growled.
"I wish to explain," he said.
Jo rolled her eyes. She crossed her arms across her torso, still refusing to turn and look the angel in the eye.
"Explain how you're partnered with a demon? And that you're keeping it a secret from Dean and Sam. Oh, and did I understand that right? That Sam was dead, and is now alive, and no one's told Dean?"
Now she whirled, her hair arching past her. Castiel looked properly abashed, and now he wouldn't meet her eyes, finding something quite interesting on the dirty floor apparently.
"Crowley is the King of Hell," Castiel began, and Jo scoffed, throwing her hands up in the air in a gesture of giving up.
"Yeah, 'cause that's better!" she all but shouted at him.
Castiel shook his head. "No, please, listen! I need the souls."
Jo arched a brow. "Souls?"
"Souls are power. Why do you think demons are so apt to purchase them? And Purgatory has several, untapped, unclaimed souls. With those souls, those hundreds of thousands, I could win the war in Heaven, and we wouldn't have to worry about the Apocalypse ever again. We could have the freedom that Dean and Sam fought for. That Sam died for."
Jo pursed her lips, giving the angel all the glare she could manage. She took a single step toward him, her arms still crossed.
"Why aren't the souls claimed?" Jo asked, her voice almost a whisper.
Castiel blinked, and Jo thought that that might be the first time she had ever seen him do so. She took another step toward him, and she half expected him to back away. But he was still an angel, she supposed, and backing down against a human was not something they were accustomed to doing. So he remained, eyes averted, as she stalked upon him.
"What's so bad about Purgatory that you couldn't have gone to Dean or Sam with this?" she pressed.
This time, Castiel did back away. He pulled his eyes to hers.
"The creatures that Dean, Sam, you, and people like you all regularly hunt. That's where their souls go. It's not run by Heaven, or by Hell."
Jo shook her head. "That's crazy. Human souls are one thing, but monsters? There's no way of knowing what they'd do to you."
"I can handle it."
"I can," he said, now advancing upon her.
Jo held her ground. She'd been bullied enough today. She'd be damned if it was going to happen again.
"So, what does Crowley get out of this? You get to win the war in Heaven. What does he get?"
"Cemented in his position as King of Hell."
Jo sighed. "Now, how did I know that? Jesus, Cas. You know, I know I don't know you all that well. We've only met once or twice, but Dean spoke a lot about you. He did. And the stuff he told me, how highly he thinks of you… it's a good thing you are keeping this a secret. Because I don't know what this would do to him, to know that his best friend is partners with the King of Hell."
Castiel sighed, blowing it all out of his nose. He moved toward the cot-less bed and sat down on it, leaning forward to rest his forearms on his knees. He clasped his hands and bowed his head, and for a minute, Jo thought she was about to witness an angel praying. Instead, he gazed up at her.
"You've got to help us, Jo. If you don't hunt for us, then… then I don't know what Crowley will do to you. And I can't be here all the time."
"Or you could, I don't know, take off the necklace."
Castiel laughed, an entirely mirthless sound. "Would you find Dean, and tell him what we're doing here?"
Jo pursed her lips. She could lie. She could. But the both of them would know it for what it was. She huffed, nodding.
"Yeah. I would."
"Then I can't."
Jo moved to sit beside him, just separated enough to let him know that this was not a means of comfort. She leaned up a little, turning her face so that she caught his eyes.
"So you'd let Crowley torture me, over letting Dean finding out and stopping you?" she asked, her voice barely more than a whisper.
"It doesn't have to be that way. You'd be hunting. Stopping those creatures from harming innocents, like always."
"No," Jo said, pushing herself to her feet. "I'd be taking those creatures to Crowley, for God only knows what."
Castiel formed a deep frown in response. Shaking his head, he stood.
"I'm doing what I can to keep you safe."
"Other than taking the necklace off?"
"So it's work for Crowley or be tortured by Crowley? Those are my options?" Jo asked.
"Or be dragged down to Hell," Castiel gently reminded.
Jo nodded. "Fine."
Without another word, she stalked out of the cell, heading back in the direction of the room where she had initially found Crowley. She pushed past the two double doors, leaving them swinging behind her, and she wasn't the least bit surprised to find that Castiel had beaten her to the punch. Crowley glanced up from his place by the medical table, where a long gurney had been added. He lowered the iPhone in his hands, tucking it in a pocket.
"Come to vent, dear?" he asked.
"I have conditions," Jo said.
Crowley laughed. "You're not really in the place to negotiate."
He waved his right hand, making the motion like he was about to snap his fingers, but refrained with a chuckle. Castiel turned to him.
"Hear her out."
Crowley crossed his arms, shrugging.
"I'll hunt. I'll help bring you monsters, since I don't really seem to have a choice in that anyway," she began.
"But," she said, raising a finger. "I'm not going to play second string to any damn demons. I do the hunts on my terms, with them listening to me, you understand? And Sam and Dean? They don't hear about me. Got it?"
She didn't have the full story on the stopping of the Apocalypse, but just from what she'd heard—Sam dying, Dean not knowing he was alive, Dean living happily somewhere—her reappearing alive was the last thing the Winchesters needed.
"That sort of defeats your true purpose, darling," Crowley pointed out.
"No dice. They don't hear about me, or I don't hunt."
Crowley raised his hand, seconds away from snapping his fingers, and Jo was already prepping for the pain. But Castiel stopped him.
"They won't hear about you, unless necessary."
Crowley turned, wide-eyed at the angel.
"That's the whole bloody reason I brought her back, was to lord her over Dean Winchester's head!"
"And you can… if they—or she—becomes too much of a problem. But that shouldn't be the case," Castiel explained.
Crowley growled. When he turned back to Jo, he gave a mock little bow and said, "Fine, princess. Do whatever you like, apparently."
"I don't think I've asked for much. Although, a nicer place to sleep other than that cell might be useful."
"Like I intended to keep you here," Crowley huffed. "Please. I can't even begin to imagine all the trouble you could get into here. No. I have just the place for you."
Jo's brow furrowed. She wasn't sure she liked the sound of that. But she nodded all the same.
"Fine. That's fine."
"Now that this has all been taken care of, I have pressing matters to attend to in Heaven," Castiel said. "I'll be in touch."
With a flutter of wings, Castiel was gone. Jo was suddenly all too aware that she was alone, again, with Crowley. And just as weaponless as before. It made her feel all too aware of her surrounds, with every little noise threatening to make her jump out of her skin. Her eyes scanned the room, noting that the only exit was very clearly behind her. She turned her attention back to Crowley, who was grinning like the cat who had caught dinner.
"Now that the business portion of the evening seems to have been taken care of, let's get you on your way, princess," he said.
With that, he snapped his fingers. In the instant after, Jo had expected pain. Instead, she found her surroundings entirely changed. She was in a lavish bedroom, done entirely in dark mahogany wood and mauve draping. The bed was four-poster, and large—at least a queen, maybe even a king. The room itself was large, with much more open space than what was probably necessary. A single set of leather chairs with a low, round coffee table set to Jo's right, two end tables set on either side of the massive bed, the walls on either side of one of the doors she could see were bookshelves, and there was a writing desk in the corner between one wall and a bookshelf.
"Huh," Jo said, walking over to window, hidden by heavy mauve curtains, on the right-hand wall.
She took a peek in between the two curtains and sighed. Bars on the window. Thick, most probably not iron, and not wide enough for anybody to squeeze through. Of course. Jo turned away, her eyes landing on the door opposite her. She crossed the room in several steps—she had been seriously tempted to jog—and opened the door the way any hunter ought to—cautiously. But on the other side was nothing more than an attached bathroom—full sized, with tub, shower, sink, and toilet.
"Like your new digs?" came Crowley's voice from behind her.
Jo jumped, whirling, slamming the bathroom door shut as she did. He smiled, obviously reveling in the fact that she was so nervous around him. Jo bit lightly at her bottom lip. She wouldn't be so damn jumpy if she just had a damn weapon.
"Where are we?" Jo asked, stepping toward the nearest poster of the bed—the lower, right hand one.
"My new home," Crowley said, sweeping his arms around. "Quite an upgrade from the one that those useless peons burned down on me. It's got all the gadgets and comforts you could want. Or, rather, all the gadgets and comforts I could want."
Jo rolled her eyes. Shaking her head, she took a couple steps, a bit more anger than confidence in them, toward the demon.
"I get it. I'm under your watch, your control. You don't have to keep rubbing it in," she snapped.
Crowley grinned brightly. "Well, after that little interlude with our fine, feathered friend, I thought you might be confused."
Jo dug her nails into the sides of her jeans. Gritting her teeth, she forced a small smile to her face.
"You know, you can't keep me so… contained. If you want me to hunt for you while I'm under your thumb, I'm going to need weapons. And since I'm sure you won't have me talking to many, if any, other hunters, I'm going to need ways to research."
Crowley's eyes narrowed nearly into slits. "I'm not stupid, you little brat. And I'll thank you to know that I can keep you however the hell I please!"
Jo raised her hands, motioning that she was backing down. "Fine. Okay. Well… what kind of resources will I have?"
Crowley jerked a thumb in the direction of the desk in the corner behind him, and Jo noticed for the first time that it had a laptop on it. She made her way over to it, booting it up. She nearly jumped out of her skin when Crowley appeared over her shoulder.
"Don't even think about using it to contact your little friends, either. I have eyes all over this place, and I will know if you've misbehaved."
He was too close for Jo's liking. She could feel his hot breath on her neck, smell the sulfur on him. She turned, deliberately moving to the bookshelf nearest her—and away from him.
"And these?" she said, pulling down a book at random. "I assume they're not just to look at?"
"Ding, ding," Crowley said, his smile saying something that even Jo couldn't read now.
He moved close to her again. Not as close as he had been before, but less than arm's length. This time, though, Jo was trapped. No way to just whirl out of grasp. He was too alert, too direct, for that to work.
"There's also a library here that should have sufficient information. Also, we demons are not without our knowledge. The ones you will have under your, ahem, command on your hunts should be able to assist. If they're not complete morons," Crowley continued.
He stepped closer to her, and Jo stepped back, feeling her back collide with the books and shelves. Trapped. Exactly where her mother had always taught her not to be. Crowley was still smiling, completely smug in his current position.
"I hope you understand that, under our little arrangement, if you're not on a hunt or at the prison, you'll be here. I can't have you out, running around without my knowledge. Gotta keep kitty at the kennel, you understand."
He was just way, way too close now. And she knew she should protest, should argue with this new clause to their arrangement. But, in truth, it gave her a bit of relief. The less she was in the outside world, the less chance she had of running into Sam or Dean and totally screwing up whatever lives they had now.
Crowley was even closer now. She had no idea when, but he had moved where he stood almost on top of her. She was pressed as hard as she could be up against the bookshelf, the corners of each tome digging into her. Crowley extended his left arm, laying his palm on the wall beside Jo. That left only the right as an escape plan, and that just wasn't going to happen. Too close, and too cluttered—the desk was just a handful of steps to the right.
"I figured that might be the case," she said, her eyes circling the room before landing back on the demon. "How far is the prison from here?"
"A few blocks. Walkable, easily," Crowley said, his voice low. Almost a whisper.
Jo swallowed, and hoped that it didn't look too much like a gulp. The books were beginning to ache against her back, but she did not ease up on the pressure. It was almost as if she wished she could meld into the wall. Crowley laughed, once, softly, leaning in even farther between the two of them.
"There is just one more thing, Joanna," he said, and the way he said her name made Jo's blood turn icy. "While Castiel might seem keen on keeping you safe and, well, kept like a little lost puppy, there's one thing I want you to remember."
He reached in with his right hand, lightly picking up the pendent of the cursed necklace, and Jo shuddered at just the merest touch of his finger to her flesh.
"And what's that?" she asked.
Crowley dropped the pendant, grinning. "Castiel might have the power to remove the necklace… but the power to wield it? That lies only with me."
He snapped his fingers, and Jo felt that familiar, horrible flame engulf her being again. She screamed, despite herself, sliding down the shelf. Her backside collided hard with the floor, and she tried desperately to reign in her voice. But the pain had been too unexpected, and it might have been her imagination, but it seemed even worse than before. She couldn't even feel her extremities, only the flame that burned at them from within her very bone. Her fingers dug into the plush carpet around her, and she bit her lip, hard enough to draw blood, in efforts to stop screaming.
Vaguely, she heard a snap above her, and the pain vanished just as suddenly as it had started. Jo fell sideways, leaning on the carpet, as she gazed up at Crowley, who had stepped back some now. His look was dark, glaring down at her with none of his smarmy charm anywhere to be seen. Jo's lip felt warm, and it wasn't too long before her brain registered the taste of iron on her tongue.
"You son of… a bitch," she snapped, panting.
"Cheers," he said.
And he was gone. Jo fell forward, breathing into the carpet, gripping it tightly in her hands.
"Bastard," she muttered.
She lay there, face down in the carpet, for a long, long time, strongly trying to resist the urge to cry. Crowley had gotten enough from her today.