Supernatural: Length of Chain (3/22)
current song: "Cry Me a River" by Justin Timberlake
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!
Jo groaned, making a sound somewhere between "ew" and "ick" as she lifted up her right boot, kicking the cuffed ghoul into the empty cell before her. She slammed the barred door shut, the ghoul breaking the cuffs in an instant and whirling to reach out for her through the bars. She jumped back, out of reach, and sighed, rubbing a hand on her aching lower back. The ghoul snarled at her, calling her all sorts of nasty names, but she ignored him. Gingerly, she looked down at the short jacket she wore, picking at its left shoulder and noting the large rip in the seam there. She sighed, moving that same hand up to her face, wincing as it came across the cut that was just now scabbing over on her cheek.
The ghoul—who was currently taking the form of his last victim, a dark haired man with dull blue eyes, high cheek bones, and shallow-colored skin—grinned at her, his teeth almost unnaturally pearly white.
"You tasted good," he purred, licking his right forefinger as if her blood was still on it.
Jo resisted the strong urge to vomit, running a hand through her hair and finding it just as matted as she feared it would be. She blinked, and, without a sound, she went from being the only one standing before the ghoul, to having Crowley on her right side. The demon, dressed in his usual black suit and long coat, jerked a thumb in the direction of the cell.
"What's the deal with this, then?" he asked.
Jo turned her back, keeping her feet facing forward, as a series of pops ran up her spine. She sighed, turning to glare at Crowley.
"You look like hell," Crowley said before she could speak.
She smirked. "You would know, wouldn't you?"
"Clever. But onto the matter of our ghoulish friend here. What gives? Did the demons I sent you with not deliver the message?"
He seemed genuinely confused, and Jo arched a brow at him. Shrugging, she shook her head.
"You mean the one about wanting the other ghoul that was with this one?" she asked.
Crowley grinned, and it was not at all a happy gesture.
"Ah, so you did know that. Then, explain to me, please, why in the hell that this lowly piece of filth is the one in the cage instead!"
Jo did not even bother to flinch as Crowley's voice had deepened and become immensely more gravelly through his inquiry. She ran another hand down her face, finding in that one moment that she had not one, but two stinging cuts to contend with—the other being on her forehead. She hissed at touching them, turning her tired eyes back to the King of Hell.
"The other ghoul is dead, Crowley."
Crowley huffed out a chuckle, backing away from her for a moment in disbelief. When he approached her again, it was a move that oddly reminded Jo of scenes from a nature documentary, something like a jungle cat stalking its prey.
"Oh, my misunderstanding. The other ghoul is dead, then? Well, why would that be?"
Jo crossed her arms.
"You know, if you weren't a demon, I would worry about your blood pressure," she snipped.
But Crowley was in no mood for games, and Jo could almost imagine smoke curling out of his ears simply from the intensity of his glare. She sighed.
"The other ghoul was going to kill me. It had me cornered. So, I killed it first," she explained.
Crowley bit lightly at his bottom lip, obviously trying to sort through the tirade building up inside of himself. His tongue slipped out, wetting his lips, as he took just a moment longer to get his point ordered in his mind. The whole time, Jo simply stared at him, arms still crossed. Finally, he sighed.
"Joanna," he said with such a forced calm that Jo had to resist the urge to back away. "This uselessly piece of garbage is not worth the scum that's on my very expensive loafers. I'm looking for bloody Purgatory, not the nearest McDonald's! If I needed information that every ghoul would have, then I wouldn't have bothered with the damn message! You're lucky if I choose just to use that bauble on you."
He pointed to the ruby, heart-shaped pendent on the necklace, his voice was growing louder. But rather than making Jo fearful, that move only seemed to raise her ire. Her arms fell apart, and she raised a slender finger to Crowley's face, taking a hard step forward.
"Look," she snapped. "This was my hunt, as per our agreement! I chose to make the kill, rather than die myself, especially considering the fun side effects this damn chain will have on me if I do die. So, as far as I'm concerned, you can kiss my ass. You asked for a ghoul. I brought you a damned ghoul."
That seemed to silence even the monster locked away, as he fell back against the bars, gripping them as if he could tear them about. But neither Jo nor Crowley paid it any mind. Ghouls were strong, just like any other creature that stalked the night, but they weren't strong enough to rip through iron bars. Crowley chuckled at her breathlessly.
"The end result of the game, you little idiot, has to be what I want, or else it is pointless."
Jo smirk, giggling. Crowley's face fell, his eyes blazing as she did nothing but shrug at him, rather nonchalantly.
"Well, I managed to save a few innocent lives, so I still got what I wanted."
It happened in an instant. Crowley snapped his fingers, with a growl, and Jo felt that all-consuming fire. She cried out with the shock of it, losing her footing and feeling only the cold cement hit the entirety of her body as the fire raged on. Her fingers curled, her nails digging into the rock, and she felt oddly frozen in place as she cried out over and over again. The fire raced up her spine, filling her mind until she was sure that her hair was nothing more than the flames dancing overhead. She kicked out, as if this was something she could remove, but it was an exercise in futility.
"Um, am I interrupting something… intimate?" called a voice somewhere over her head.
It was male, and she was only partly sure that she had not imagined it. She faintly heard the snap of fingers, and the fire stopped. She gasped, sucking in air again like she thirsted for it. Groaning, she rolled over to her stomach, pushing herself up by her hands. She gazed up, finding that, indeed, the voice had been real. The man standing over her was nothing extraordinary. He was lean, but not overly muscled. He was dressed in a pair of jeans that could use a wash, a brown belt, and a blue cotton button-up that was tucked into the jeans. He was bald, completely, and his skin was dark—like he had a nice tan.
"Ah," Crowley said as Jo finished pushing herself to her feet.
She noted how neither man helped her. She hadn't really expected Crowley too, but that spoke volumes to her about this new arrival. Apparently, her curiosity about the man's origin was all too clear on her face, as Crowley stepped forward, placing a hand to Jo's back. She tensed, strongly wanting to step forward, but Crowley stood so that it was more than obvious that this would be a poor move on her part.
"Joanna Harvelle, this is Samuel Campbell, Dean and Sam's maternal grandfather," Crowley said, a happiness that was almost sickly sweet coating the words.
Jo's eyes widened as she stared at this man. Dean and Sam's grandfather? What was he doing here?
"Nice to meet you," Samuel said, again making no move to be congenial with her.
"Oh," Crowley said, an acidic grin on his face, "just so you know. Don't mention this to Sam or Dean. Jo's, apparently, my little secret."
Samuel shrugged. "Got no problem with that. I've got another catch for you."
Crowley stepped away from Jo, his grin much happier. He clapped his hands together, rubbing them.
"Wonderful. Now that's the sort of thing I expect out of my employees!" the King of Hell declared.
"I'm not your damned employee. I'm just your slave," Jo snapped.
Samuel raised a brow at this, and Crowley turned. He ran a hand through a lock of her hair, and she batted him away.
"That you are, dear. That you are."
"It's the kappa that you wanted," Samuel continued, as if this exchange had not fazed him in the least.
Of course, it probably hadn't. Samuel didn't know of her connection to Sam and Dean. Of course, now that she knew his—not only to them, but to Crowley as well—it left her reeling. First Castiel, but now the Winchesters' own grandfather aiding the King of Hell in his pursuit of Purgatory? It made Jo's heart ache, and bile rise to her throat. She wanted to scream, to rant and to rave about how the world had apparently gone mad in the time since her death. Instead, she held her tongue as she listened to Crowley instruct Samuel on where to put the kappa. Samuel nodded along, like this was simply business as usual.
"Now that that's all taken care of," Crowley said with another clap of his hands, bringing Jo back from her thoughts, "why don't you escort Samuel out, my little Jo?"
Jo snarled at Crowley but nodded. She took a step toward Samuel, gesturing in the direction of the exit of the prison. But Crowley stopped her, placing both his hands on her shoulders. He tugged her back a step, almost hugging her body to his.
"And remember, Samuel, Jo here is our very special, secret girl," he said, chuckling in her ear.
Jo shrugged him off, but Samuel nodded.
"Right. Sam won't hear a word about her… not that my group knows about my working with you anyway," the old hunter sighed.
Jo paused, mid-step. Sam was with his grandfather? And this man was working with Crowley? Willingly? She bit the inside of her cheek, stopping only when it grew unbearably painful. Samuel started toward the exit, and Jo followed, almost like an afterthought. She could almost picture Crowley's darkly gleeful smile at her back, so she was resolute not to turn around as she and Samuel wove up the halls and out of the demon's sight.
"So, I'm going to assume that you know my grandsons?" Samuel asked, throwing a sideways glance her way.
Jo nodded. "Yeah. I'm a friend."
"And you're working for Crowley? What? He got you under a deal?"
Jo pursed her lips. "No. He's got me under a chain."
She tugged, ever so gently, at her necklace. And Samuel nodded, his lips forming a silent, "Ah."
They curved up another set of corridors in silence, neither looking at the other. Jo could feel herself fuming over her newly gained knowledge, and she was sure that she could not trust herself for long to keep it bit down.
"So, you're close to the boys? Or were?" Samuel asked.
"You know Sam pretty well then."
Jo arched a blonde brow up at him as the dingy doors of the exit came into view.
"I guess you might say that. Why?"
"Well, it's just… he's not how I might imagine that he was. He's a damn fine hunter, don't get me wrong. I mean, he's probably one of the best I've ever seen."
Just as the two reached the door, Crowley was there waiting for them. His hands were shoved casually into his pockets, waiting for them like he had been there for hours rather than the seconds that were closer to the truth.
"What do you mean, he's not what you pictured?" Jo asked as she and Samuel came to a stop before Crowley.
"He's… dark. Stoic. I can't get a read on what's going on with him."
Both hunters turned their eyes to the demon, who only shrugged. He leaned on the push-arm of the door, the metal connecting with a click, as the door slide open. Crowley held it as such, nodding toward the outside.
"Off with you, Jo. I need you to research some monster sightings in Alabama. Might be something we don't have," he said.
Jo sighed. "Fine. I'll start on it. In the morning, you know, after I sleep."
She slid past Crowley out into the crisp night air, listening as Samuel followed after.
"Nice meeting you," Samuel said, and Jo had a feeling that that sentiment was not a reflex for the old man.
It brought her to a stop, turning to face him. Samuel shrugged.
"Maybe we can talk some other time. I'd like to learn a bit more about my grandsons from a friend of theirs."
Jo could feel it coming up, the anger she felt, and this time, she was too late to quell it. She grinned, nodding.
"Yeah. You know what? That sounds fun. And in return, you can help me work through my thoughts on a certain topic."
Samuel looked her questioningly. "Oh?"
"Yeah. The topic of how surprised Sam and Dean might be if they knew just how many of their loved ones were full of complete shit."
She whirled on her heel after hearing Crowley say, "Burn." Jo didn't even bother trying to reply to that, simply stalking off in the direction of the manor.
She had been hunting for Crowley for several weeks now. So this darkened route on half-broken sidewalks that eventually turned into freshly paved roads and immaculate yards was all too familiar to her. Crowley's new and almost overcompensating-ly large manor sat atop a sloping drive. The gates, when she finally arrived before them, were always closed, and a part of her wondered if they were really the wrought iron that they appeared to be. She buzzed the demon that had gotten stuck with the lowly job of Crowley's doorman, and he made some sort of smart comment over the intercom as he allowed the gates to swing slowly open. Jo could have responded, but she'd had enough of verbal sparring for the evening.
She huffed her way up the drive, opening the unlocked front door of the manor—because, when you're the King of Hell, why bothering locking your doors? She supposed it was too much to hope that Crowley might provide her with a car, and the thought alone of asking for one made her want to double over in laughter. Yeah, because the demon was just oh-so giving. She crossed through the foyer of the manor, flipping off a demon that wolf whistled in her direction. Up a narrow hall, second door on the right, she turned, leaning onto the door as she pushed it open. She found herself in her appointed room, and she all but slammed the door behind her.
"Honey, I'm home," she said through gritted teeth.
A sound like a flock of birds landing echoed through the plush room, and Castiel was suddenly standing before, head cocked just to the right.
"Who are you talking to?" he asked.
Jo laughed half-heartedly. "Never mind. To what do I owe the pleasure of this unexpected visit?"
Weeks. She had been on several hunts for Crowley for several weeks. Hell, she hadn't even looked at a calendar. It might have been months now since her resurrection. Actually, months sounded a bit better. But in all that time, this was only the second time she had seen Castiel. She wondered if the angel knew just how intense her anger was at him, so he had simply chosen to stay away. Or maybe he'd been busy. After all, there was that whole Heavenly civil war thing going on.
"I need to ask a favor of you," he said, moving to take a seat on her bed.
Jo shook her head. "You know, I'm not really in a very generous mood at the moment."
She pushed herself off of the door, pulling out the chair that went to her writing desk. She plopped down onto it, crossing her legs knee-over-knee. Castiel had that inquisitive look on his face again.
"Are you all right?" he asked.
She laughed, throwing her hands into the air. She lowered her head, shaking it. When she brought her eyes back to the angel, she rolled them.
"You mean other than this damn necklace?" She tugged on the chain once, just for emphasis. "Yeah, I'm just dandy. Now what do you want?"
Castiel sighed and his left hand reached out to grasp the closest post to her canopy, gripping it tightly. Probably just shy of shattering the wood. Jo leaned forward in her chair, as if she could reach him from the rather vast expanse of floor between the two.
"The war in Heaven… it's going very badly," he said, his words spoken as if very deliberately chosen. "I have followers, those willing to fight against a second attempt at the Apocalypse. But it's not enough. We're not strong enough. Not as strong as Raphael."
He paused here, sighing again. Tiredness, the likes of which Jo had never seen on the angel's face in the short time she had known him, washed over his features. She stood, hesitating, but feeling a deep sorrow for him. But she held her ground, not retaking her seat, but not going to him either. Instead, Castiel gazed at her again.
"Something's… wrong," he said, his brow furrowing with thought.
Jo couldn't help it. A small snort of laugher escaped as she stepped just a bit closer, crossing her arms.
"You mean other than Heavenly civil war? Other than you allying yourself with the King of Hell? Something other than that is wrong?"
"Something is missing," Castiel said, and Jo didn't miss the hint of venom in his words. "Something's been taken. And I think—I fear—that it is the Weapons of Heaven."
Jo closed the distance a bit more, stopping to lean in on the same post Castiel still had his hand gripping.
"What do you mean?"
"You would know of them. Anyone even the slightest bit familiar with even the earthly Bible—despite what it gets wrong—would know them. The staff of Moses, Lot's Salt, the Holy Lance, things of that sort. I think they've been stolen."
Jo pursed her lips. "What does that mean exactly?"
Castiel shrugged. "I'm uncertain. But I highly doubt that it bodes well for humanity. The weapons are powerful. And, having them back… it might help tip the scales of the war in my favor, that is until—"
But he cut himself off. That was okay. Jo knew the rest of that sentence, "until we find Purgatory." She let any sort of reply on that subject die on her tongue. Castiel turned his bright blue eyes up to her, pleading.
"Will you help me find them? All I ask is that, in your hunts for Crowley, that you keep an eye out for anything that might seem… extraordinary."
Jo laughed. "That's a daily occurrence for hunters. But… yeah. I will. I'll keep an eye on the news too, while I'm having to research."
Relief seemed to spread over Castiel's features as he stood.
"Thank you," he said.
She said nothing, only acknowledging the words with a nod. Castiel put his back to her, and she thought that he meant to leave. However, he paused, glancing over his shoulder.
"Jo," he said.
"If Crowley ever does… too much. To you. Please, call for me."
With that, he vanished, the sound of his wings leaving the only evidence that he was ever there. Jo sighed, leaning her forehead against the cool post of her bed.
"He already has," she whispered.