Supernatural: Length of Chain (4/22)
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!
Jo had always enjoyed water. She used to love to go swimming. Lakes, the ocean, a chlorinated pool, she loved them all. Hell, she even got a kick out of taking a leisurely bath or long shower. But, as she dragged her soaked-through body out of the lake, getting back to her feet only as her hands reached the dry shore of the frigid lake, Jo found herself really hating water. And it didn't help that she had a small audience laughing at her.
His name was Malcolm. No last name. Or, rather, Jo didn't know the last name. And he was a demon. Of course, at the moment, there were no pressing signs to support that fact. His eyes were a soft brown, a cruel glint in them as he continued to laugh as Jo pulled her dripping form upright, and his hair was a close cut, dirty blond. He was dressed in dirty jeans, and a cotton t-shirt with a long-sleeved, olive green button-up pulled over it and left open.
"Nice night for a swim, I take it?" Malcolm called as Jo shook off as much excess water as she could off one leg, then the other, then both arms.
She wrung the water out of her hair, tossing it behind her back with a wet thwap. She turned her own, dark brown eyes to him and snarled.
"Shut up before I kicked your ass all up and down this shoreline."
Malcolm threw up his hands, nodding. "Touchy, touchy."
Jo rolled her eyes. She hated him. She hated both of the demons that had been "assigned" to help her out on her hunts. Of course, Jo knew the truth to this. If Crowley was going to, willingly, let her go out on hunts, then he wanted eyes on her. Back up was a secondary role. But, to Malcolm and the other's—Nell—credit, they knew that their job was to pick up this monsters and bring them home to Crowley. A good thing that made them eager to aid in the hunting aspect… a bad thing when Jo felt she needed to make the call for a kill over a capture.
"Did you at least see which way the damned Naga went?" Jo huffed.
Malcolm turned, pointing toward a gaping maw of a cave entrance.
"That way," he said, chuckling.
Jo spit some foul tasting lake water out onto the ground, groaning.
"Damn naga," she said, trudging farther up the shore to where her bag of weapons lay open.
Half-snake, half-human, nagas were most prominently found in Hindu nations. But here she was, in the middle of Nowhere, Alabama, hunting just that. Crowley had been right about the monster sightings. He definitely did not have a naga. It had taken quite a while for Jo to track it down, spending most of the past days—another question of time, since it could've been months for all she knew—going back and forth between Crowley's manor and Alabama looking for the damned things. This was not to mention all the little bitty hunts she had done in between, snaring other monsters for Crowley in her quest for the naga. But, to her chagrin, for all the research she had done on the appearance, abilities, and location of this naga… she hadn't really researched a way to kill it. Of course, she knew that Crowley would found on that… but shit happens, and if it came down to her or the naga—like it had with the ghouls—then the naga was going to be one headless snake-person.
"Back," Nell announced as she appeared beside Malcolm.
Jo picked up a machete from her bag, arching a brow at the red-haired demon. Nell was pretty, voluptuous some might even call her. She was curvy in all the right places, her long hair thick and wavy, and her eyes the brightest green that Jo had ever seen. But a demon was a demon, and Nell was a deadly one. In fact, had it not been for her affection for Crowley—thanks to his new role of being her boss—she would probably have no qualms in joining Jo for slaughtering the monster, bloody. And she abhorred research. Which, as the appointed leader of the hunt, Jo had taken a special pleasure in sending her to do just that.
"What did you find?" Jo asked, resting the weapon on her shoulder. "Did you find out how to kill it?"
Nell sighed, glaring at Jo.
"Crowley wants it alive for questioning."
Jo bit down the groan that she knew was coming before it even had a chance to get started. She had been groaning a lot lately… especially when demons were involved. Damn demons had a one-track mind, and it seemed that the lesser ones were always eager to be directed and bossed around by those higher on the food chain. Apparently, an afterlife in Hell took all the initiative out of you.
"I know that," Jo said. "But it still wouldn't hurt to know what will injure it, now would it?"
Nell seemed to drink that in, considering it. Finally she shrugged.
"Well, it doesn't matter. Got no clue how to kill it."
Jo threw her hands up in the air, putting her back to the two demons. She rested her forehead on the cool metal of the blade, her eyes drifting shut for just a moment. With a sigh, and without opening her eyes, she pointed at the sack of weapons behind her.
"Load up… we're gonna have to go after it. Just wish we knew more than what it could to us."
"I said I didn't know how to kill it," Nell said, drawing out a few of the words longer than necessary.
Jo turned back toward Nell, letting the machete hang limply by her side. She could see that both demons had taken that short moment of her being turned away to do as she ordered—arm themselves. Malcolm also had a machete, which left Nell with the short sword. Apparently, they were both thinking along with the same lines as Jo. Better luck in cutting it—taking its head, if necessary or if Jo had any say in it—than risk a bullet full of rock salt doing jack, except to piss it off.
"Then what do you know, Nell?"
Nell's pink little tongue shot out, wetting her crimson painted lips. Jo shook her head as the demon woman seemed to deliberately drag out the silence, just to aggravate the hunter.
"Stop being such a bitch, Nell, or I just take the damn thing's head," Jo threatened, using her machete to point toward the cave's mouth—several feet away, but still clearly visible, even in the sparse moonlight.
Nell's eyes narrowed. "Crowley wants it alive."
Jo wanted to hurt the weapon at her… aimed right at her pale neck. Her instinct told her to do it, and it was the very same instinct that told her to march into that cave and take the naga's head as well. But Jo knew that that wasn't an option. She'd already killed one monster that Crowley had specifically asked for. Absently, her free hand rose to the heart pendant of her necklace, fiddling with it. It was just a tiny thing, the pendant, no bigger than the palm of her hand. But the weight of it… it felt like the weight of the world, and it burned hotter than any Hell Jo could imagine when Crowley used it on her.
"Um, hello?" Malcolm said, waving a hand. "If you two are done having your little cat fight, I think we ought to get this naga before he slithers onward."
Jo nodded. He was right. Her hand still grasping and playing with the necklace, she turned her attention to Nell.
"What did you find out?"
Nell crossed her thin arms over her torso.
"I found out that nagas like treasure. Kind of like dragons, they like to guard it… only they covet it more. After too long, they begin to believe it was always theirs."
"We need a plan," Jo muttered.
Nell nodded her head toward the direction of Jo's raised hand, the one grasping the necklace.
"Well, we have the bait, deary. That pretty little bauble you were ought to attract the naga nicely."
Jo shook her head, her hand dropping as if she suddenly remembered where it was.
"We can't use this. We need another plan," she said.
For good measure, and because she could still see Nell gazing at it, Jo tucked the necklace as far as she could inside the collar of her shirt. Malcolm huffed.
"Well, I don't have any treasure. Do any of you?" he said, eyeing the two women before him.
Nell shook her head, but Jo only bit at her bottom lip, thinking. Her eyes fell to the leather satchel that lay wide open on the ground, all manner of weapons spilling out. Treasure… she had to have something within that bag that could count. Then, like a bolt of lightning, it hit her. She knelt down before the bag, digging inside while the two demons moved closer to hover over her.
"What are you doing?" Nell asked.
"I think I have a good substitute treasure," Jo said, digging a bit more. Finally, she grinned, adding, "These ought to do it."
She stood back up, unfurling her left fist before her two companions. Five, shiny, silver bullets rolled inside of her palm. Nell seemed impressed by this, and she tilted her head toward the cave.
"Then let's go bag us a naga," she said.
The three of them started the small trek toward the cave, with Malcolm taking the lead—as he was the only one who thought to grab a flashlight from the bag. The cave was only a handful of feet from the lake, so it took only moments to arrive. Malcolm paused just at the entrance, letting his beam of white light rove and probe as far into the darkness as it could. When nothing seemed to be waiting for them at the entrance, Jo motioned for them to continue inward. However, just three steps inside the mouth of the cave, Nell put a hand on Jo's shoulder, pulling her to a stop. Jo turned, blinking at the demon—whose red hair seemed to shine in the dark, even without the light being pointed on it. The rest of her, however, just melded in, as she wore a black, semi-lacy blouse and a pair of black denim jeans. It was also no wonder what color her half-boots were.
"I learned something else that might be useful," she whispered, which Jo had to admit was probably a good call. "Nagas can be lulled into submission—sleep—by music."
Jo rolled her eyes. Of course they could. And here she was, without her mp3 player or mp3 speakers. Like she ever thought to carry them on a hunt anyhow.
"Thanks for the head's up. Any particular kind of music?" Jo asked as the three of them continued their walk into the cave.
Nell shrugged. "Didn't say."
The pushed forward, deep within the cave… so deep that the sound of dripping water was echoing off the walls and in their ears. Jo's grip on her machete tightened. She had no idea how deep this cave went, but she was certain the naga couldn't have gotten far. Every few feet, she would toss out a silver bullet… hoping that that would help draw the naga out. She got confirmation on that idea when Malcolm cried out in front of her. The flashlight went flying from his hands, landing—spinning—on the ground. Jo saw in flashes of the beam as it twirled Malcolm be swept, hard, into the left, then right, cave walls. Nell took a step back, and Jo held her ground, her machete at the ready.
"Hey!" she called out.
Hissing, like a hundred snakes had just turned their attention upon her, filled the cave. Jo saw, in the narrow beam of light, an acid green tail whip to the back of the cave as a man's torso came into view. It was unclothed, muscled, and mocha-colored. The naga's hair was black, falling from the top of its very human head—save for the snake-like fangs protruding from the otherwise normal mouth—to just past where the human half melded into the snake half, at where a normal person's waist would've been.
"Wanna play?" Jo called.
In a flash, the tail whipped out as the naga tried to sweep Jo off her feet. But she had already fought this thing once tonight. She had been expecting this. She jumped, vertically, lifting up her feet like she used to when she played jump rope as a kid. Her boots landed back on the rocky floor with a dulled thud, and she rolled closer to the Naga, lashing out with her machete.
"Alive, Harvelle. Crowley wants it alive," Nell screeched from behind her.
Jo's blade caught the naga on the arm, which royally pissed it off. It scooped her up like toy and tossed her over to Malcolm, to softened her fall marginally by half-catching her, half-falling with her. The moment Jo was back on her feet, her head whipped toward Nell.
"Fuck Crowley," she shouted.
But Nell didn't hear her, as she was busy dodging the naga's blows now. Jo took this moment to think, as quickly as possible, on how in the world she was ever gonna get this naga back to the prison—without having to kill it. However, Malcolm seemed to be ahead of her on ideas.
"Music," he said. "Didn't Nell say music would put it to sleep?"
"But we don't have anything that plays music," Jo said, shouting a warning soon after to dodge a whip of the naga's tail.
"Why don't you just sing?" Malcolm said, shoving Jo out of the way as the naga took a swipe at him.
Jo landed on her side. Normally, she would be thankful for such a save. But these were demons… and although they might not have the full story from Crowley on Jo, they knew that she was an asset to him. And Crowley really didn't like it when someone hurt his assets.
"Sing, damn it!" Nell shouted, jumping, then ducking the naga.
Jo leapt to her feet, singing the first song she could think of. A pop hit she had heard about a million times while driving to hunt the naga—yes, because Crowley had finally provided her with a car… for hunts only. Jo had felt out of loop quite a bit since her resurrection, so she had begun to take an interest in modern musicians, and Malcolm—who had rode part of the way with her—had informed her that the artist's name had been Kesha. Knowing that there was no way in Hell this was going to sound any good, but that it was their only hope anyway, Jo began to sing the song.
Everybody paused, with all eyes turning to Jo. But she kept singing, even as Nell arched a brow at her.
"Friggin' really?" the demon said exasperatedly.
But it was working. The effect seemed almost instantaneous. The naga began to sway back and forth, back and forth, until it finally curled itself into a coil. Nell's tune was changing now, as she grinned over at Jo.
"Whatever you do, chickie, don't stop singing!" she said.
Like she had plans to. But Jo was a little curious about the end game here. After all, she couldn't very well sing all the way from this cave in Alabama back to the prison. However, Malcolm and Nell were moving, with Nell placing a hand on the naga's shoulder, and Malcolm hooking a hand under Jo's arm. All the while, Jo kept singing, but her eyes—full of questions—shot between the two demons.
Nell and Malcolm locked eyes and nodded. And in the blink of an eye, they went from being in the middle of a dark, dank cave, to being in the well-lit, dilapidated prison, standing in front of a large, unused cell. Malcolm released Jo's arm, moving to help Nell drag the sleeping naga into the cell. And Jo kept singing right up until the moment they shut the cell. She stopped, taking a deep breath. The naga still slumbered, and Jo sighed.
"Go back and get those weapons and the car," Jo said. "I'm going to bed."
She didn't wait to see if they listened, pushing past them and heading for the exit of the prison. She made the familiar walk toward the manor—sorely missing her car with her feet positively aching. She waited on the doorman to buzz her in, and then she headed directly for her room—more specifically, the adjoining bathroom. She dug out her pajamas—a set of fuzzy pants and a purple tank top—and fresh underthings. It was odd how Crowley had allowed her to stock her room with such necessary things, but she had not looked the gift horse in the mouth. Instead, she readily accepted it, taking it as one of the few things that either Castiel or Crowley could every do to help ease her into her role of slavery.
Jo shut the door behind her, the click echoing softly off the white tiled room's walls. She stripped off everything but the damned necklace, and turned on the shower just as hot as she could take it. The shower was black walled, with no attached tub—that was separate, and garden sized in the far left hand corner of the room. It closed with a blurred glass slider, grasped on either side by silver colored metal handles. Jo stood behind the glass, staring through it at the now foggy image of the bathroom, letting the hot water trail down her pale flesh. The heat left red whelps, long lines of them, down her body, and Jo moaned to be suddenly so warm. She hadn't realized it until this very moment, but she had been just frigid ever since she had landed in the lake water—or rather, dragged there on the tail of a supremely pissed off naga. Jo's hand rose, grabbing at the black bottle of two-in-one shampoo and conditioner. She poured a little in her hands and stepped out from under the stream of water to run it evenly through her hair. Then, back under the steamy water she went, her finger just grazing the chain of her necklace. It was hot, absorbing all and releasing none of the heat of the water. She hissed, swearing, as she yanked her hand the rest of the way into her hair.
Oh, how she wished the damn thing would just rust into oblivion. But that would probably have some negative side effects on her as well. She finished with her shower, twirling the knobs as quickly as she could to shut them off, and stepped out onto the white, fuzzy bath rug. She grabbed the black towel handing on the outside of the shower door, using it dry off and wind her hair up in it. Following that, she got dressed and released her hair once more to blow it dry. Finally fully dry and clean, she stepped back into the bedroom.
Her stomach rumbled, and she pressed a hand to it. She hadn't been kind to it recently, eating the smallest of meals. And that was only when she thought to actually eat. She had never been one to gorge herself on food… but she'd never starved herself either. But she shook her head, her gaze landing on the laptop on the desk. Food could wait a while longer, she figured, as she took a seat before the computer. It had been some time since she had spoken with Castiel about the missing weapons of Heaven, and her promised research had left much to be desired. So she went immediately to her usual resources—local newspaper sites she had become familiar with, search engines, and blogs—looking for anything that could possibly be a Biblical weapon.
Losing track of time, like she seemed to be able to do so easily since her resurrection, Jo had made a complete circle of the internet. Or, at least, that's what it felt like to her. But if the weapons were missing, she figured that someone had to be using them… or selling them. She went to the first auction site she could think of, typing like a madwoman, when suddenly the alluring smell of a burger and some fries assaulted her nose. She was pretty sure that demons didn't have to eat, unless they just wanted to, so she highly doubted that the smell was coming from the manor's kitchen. She was moments away from investigating, the rumbling in her stomach becoming suddenly painful, when a white sack with little spots of grease stains plopped down beside her right arm. She jumped, whirling to find Crowley, hands tucking into the pockets of his long coat, standing over her. She closed the laptop—the less Crowley knew about missing weapons of Heaven, the better, she figured.
"I want you to eat every bite of that mess," he said, pointing to the fast food bag.
Jo arched a brow at him as he crossed the room, stopping just in front of the soft, low-built chairs in the corner across from her writing desk. He looked back at her, again nodding toward the food.
"My eyes tell me that you've liked to starve yourself. I can't have you dying from lack of nutrition before I can actually have use of you, now can I?"
He sat down in the chair, reclining in it, as he crossed his legs, ankle-over-knee. Jo smirked, grabbing up the bag and peeking inside. Fries and some massive thing that called itself a burger but was really a heart attack waiting to happen. But she couldn't lie. It did smell good. She rolled the bag back up, setting it back on the desk as she stood. Suddenly very aware that she was dressed in her bedclothes, she crossed her arms across her chest—hoping that it didn't look too much like she was trying to cover herself.
"That's so kind of you," she snipped at him.
"You know, it does make one wonder," he said, pointing now to the laptop, "what it is that you could possibly be looking up. I haven't given you any new nasty monsters to hunt. Oh, which thanks so much for the naga. I've always wanted on, ever since I was a boy. How in the world did you ever know?"
He fluttered his eyes, just for a moment, in an attempt that Jo could only suppose was to be a mockery of school-girl glee. Jo put her back to them, glaring down at the laptop.
"It's nothing that'll do you any harm," she said. "So why do you even care? It's none of your business."
Jo heard him rise from his seat, and she turned, finding him now less than an arm's length away from her. He cocked his head to the right, grinning.
"Is it for Castiel?"
Jo stared, long and hard, into those yellow-speckled green eyes. Snake, those eyes seemed to scream at her. Snake, snake, snake! He was still grinning at her, again like she wasn't in on the joke. And he wasn't looking away. She couldn't stand it anymore, staring that demon in the eyes. She looked away, and Crowley chuckled triumphantly. He moved closer to her, so much so that she could feel his coat brush against her. He seemed to loom over her, despite only being slightly taller than she was.
"You would do well, darling, to remember whom it is that you work for. You are mine, not the angel's. There are so many, many, many terrible things I can do to you, pretty—much more than just this little trinket."
He lifted the jewel of the necklace, dropping it so that it collided with her chest. Jo pursed her lips, as Crowley chuckled and continued.
"And there's not a thing in the world you could do about it… for fear of what this little necklace could do to you. You really should remember that."
Jo bit at the inside of her lip, nodding, still refusing to meet the King of Hell's eyes.
"I'll remember," she whispered.
She finally dared a glance at him, and he smiled. He lifted his right hand, snapping his fingers once. Jo flinched, shutting her eyes and expecting pain. But when it did not follow in the next instant, or the next, she opened them. She was in the prison, standing in a hall between two rows of monster-filled cells. She was suddenly aware that her feet her freezing, and she glanced down, remembering that she was still dressed for bed… which did not include socks or shoes.
"What the hell are you thinking?" she said, her voice turning shrill as she tried to keep it under control. "I'm freezing! I'm dressed for bed!"
Crowley grinned, slipping a hand behind her back and urging her forward.
"Oh, don't be so modest. Walk with me, talk with me," he said.
So the two began to move up the hall, in between the cells of snarling monsters—some of which Jo had helped catch… and they clearly remembered that. Crowley moved at a leisurely pace, making sure that Jo stepped in time with him.
"Do you know what the problem is with my little collection here, Joanna?" Crowley asked, gesturing at a couple of vampires who cursed them as they passed.
Jo sighed, rolling her eyes. "Not big enough? You seem like the kind of guy who likes big things, Crowley."
Crowley chuckled. "Well, yes, but not in the way you think. You see, my problem—my real problem—is that not one of these little bottom feeders is what I need. Not a one of them will be able to lead me to Purgatory. I need bigger fish."
Jo's brow furrowed as she turned to gaze at Crowley. "What do you mean?"
"Alphas, darling. Daddy needs alphas. That's what I need you to help me find."
"Alphas? What are those?" Jo asked.
"The firsts. The first vampire, the first shifter, the first ghoul, the first… well, anything. The oldest of their kind, and the most powerful. They are worshipped by their own kind, and they are supreme masters of their species. And, as such, they are well hidden."
Jo's stomach was rumbling again, but this time, it had nothing to do with hunger. She had a really bad feeling about where this conversation was heading. But she said nothing, waiting for Crowley to arrive at his point.
"Soon, hopefully, alphas will be exactly what I'll send you after, love."
And there it was. The final blow. He was going to use her to go after the best of the best. Had this been anyone else… Jo might have been flattered. But it was Crowley… and Jo just found herself worrying if this wasn't just a way to get rid of a failed plan that had several loose ends. After all, Castiel had made sure that Jo's terms were being held fast… which made null the true purpose of her resurrection. Jo bit her lip again, drinking in this new information. She didn't have long to ponder, though, as they were interrupted by another demon—one that Jo had not seen before.
He was a young man, maybe eighteen or nineteen… or at least, the human the demon was wearing was. He came at them at a run, skidding to a halt just moments before colliding with them. Crowley arched a brow at the boy, taking in his screen tee, and ripped jeans.
"Crowley, that djinn I've been tracking… I think I finally have it," he said.
"You better be more than just thinking that you have it," Crowley said, his voice a little gravelly with annoyance.
Djinns… those were something like genies. Jo remembered Dean telling her about one he had encountered.
"I am, sir. I'm sure of it. We finally have it. We can catch it," the demon said, obviously eager to please.
Jo sighed. "I guess I'll get ready."
The demon must have known more of Jo than Jo did of him, because he gave her a rather odd, knowing glance. He turned back to Crowley.
"The djinn is in Cicero, Indiana, sir," he said, his words obviously meaning more than just what was stated.
Jo looked to Crowley as he clicked his tongue in disappointment.
"Such a shame. Guess I'll have to use Baldy on this one," he said.
"Why go to Samuel? Usually, you're all too eager to use me," Jo said. "What's different?"
Crowley shrugged. "Well, sweetheart, it's your own rules. And I guess I'd have a mighty smiting down on my head if I broke them now."
Jo didn't miss the acidity in those words, but she ignored it. She shook her head, still not quite clear on what Crowley was saying. The King of Hell sighed, rolling his eyes.
"Cicero is where your beloved Dean is currently living."
Jo's eyes went wide.