Supernatural: Length of Chain (5/22)
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!
It had been a little over a week, but no longer than two, when Samuel finally dragged the djinn woman into the prison. Jo was certain this time… she'd kept a real close eye on her calendar. Samuel dropped the djinn woman, unceremoniously, on the empty, cot-less bed, before exiting the cell and slamming the barred door shut behind him. Apparently, they had slipped the djinn something, because she didn't stir at all. Jo looked up, pushing herself off the small strip of brick in between the djinn's cell and the next, her eyes trained on Samuel.
"You saw them?" she asked, no preamble to be found.
Samuel put his back to her, and Jo could almost imagine the expression that she couldn't see. Cold… calculating. Deciding—based on Jo's initial reaction to him and the knowledge that he seemed to be working with Crowley of his own volition—whether to answer straight… or tell her to fuck off. Jo was expecting the latter. Instead, she got somewhere in between.
"I'm busy, Jo. But yeah, I saw 'em. Nothing you can do with that info anyway," Samuel said, starting toward the exit of the building.
He took one step; Jo mimicked him.
"Were they… okay? Were they all right, Sam and Dean?"
Samuel waved his hand over his shoulder, not even bothering to turn.
"Sam's the same hardass he's been since I've met him, and Dean was… well, understandably surprised to see both me and Sam alive. Now I'm gone, girl, do you understand?"
All the while, he kept walking, and not turning. And Jo stopped following. She sighed, watching as Samuel walked his way out of sight. Beside her, inside the cell, the djinn woman began to stir. As soon as she was capable of finding her voice, the djinn began to curse and swear at anything and everything she could see… including Jo when she finally looked up. The huntress sighed.
"Whatever," she said, turning on heel and leaving the cells—more and more of them becoming monster-filled thanks to Samuel and his crew, and Jo, Malcolm, and Nell—behind.
She wasn't sure where her feet were taking her. It wasn't out of the prison… that would've been in the other direction. Instead, she was heading farther—deeper—inside. It dawned on her that, perhaps out of months of habit, that this was just automatic for her now. Seeing a monster locked away… then seeking out Crowley for the next assignment. The thought made her stomach curl, and her hand inched its way up her shirt, finding the ruby-red heart pendant there. She toyed with it a moment, letting it slip in and out of her fingers as nothing but her feet guided her forward. Vaguely, she was aware that she was fairly close to the operation room in the prison. Her eyes flitted up for a moment, seeing the double, swinging doors—stained with blood that didn't help her churning stomach relax—in the distance, and they seemed tiny to her.
She heard the fluttering wings before she even thought to look up. As a result, she collided—just a little bit—with Castiel. She bounced back, apologetic, and forced herself to focus on the newly arrived angel. His head was cocked sideways—in the way that only he and cats seemed to be able to do—and Jo pushed a smile on her face.
"Howdy, Cas," she said.
That seemed to alarm him more, and Jo almost laughed to see how his blue eyes widened. She shook her head, finally taking her hand off the necklace, and crossing it with the other arm across her torso.
"Since it's popped to mind, I hate to say that I haven't managed to find anything about those weap—that thing you asked me to keep an eye on," she said, catching herself just in time.
She was really off her game tonight. It was a good thing that she wasn't on a hunt. At this rate, she'd have been dead in moments. She liked to blame Sam and Dean for this distraction. Or at least, blame the fact she knew that something more was going on behind the scenes in their life… and there wasn't a damn thing she could do about it. She was alive. Castiel and Crowley were in cahoots. They wanted to crack open Purgatory. Samuel was working for Crowley. And Sam… something was wrong. And Jo had a feeling that a few of the people she was around—Crowley, Cas—knew more than what they let on about that. And worse of all of it… Jo was working for Crowley too… whether she wanted to or not. Did that make her any better than the rest?
Castiel seemed to sense her reverie, and he leaned in, as close as he could without touching her. Jo blinked, locking eyes with him again.
"Thank you. For searching. Please, continue to do so," he said, gently and yet firm… like he had to work hard to get her to stay with him.
Jo shrugged, moving past the angel in the direction of the operation room.
She made it four steps past him when he called her to a stop.
"Where are you going?"
She turned in place, making an exasperated shrug.
"That seems to be the question I've been struggling with," she said. She went silent for a moment, finally rolling her eyes and adding, "I guess I'm looking for Crowley. To see if he's got another monster for me to bag."
Castiel arched a brow, and just the intensity of the question written all over his face made Jo sigh.
"What?" she asked.
"Nothing. It's just… I never expected this."
Jo didn't say anything, waiting for him to elaborate. After a moment, he did, gesturing towards the doors.
"You seemed to be falling right into step with what Crowley wants of you. I guess I expected more… rebellion."
Something in those words… they weren't accusatory… they weren't harsh… but they sparked something. A fire replaced the churning in the pit of her stomach, and she stomped her way into the angel's face.
"Yeah, because I'm the one falling in line!"
She whirled, stomping her way toward the doors, and she could hear Castiel following behind. So she continued her rant.
"I'm the good little slave, sure. Then what are you, Castiel? Just the bitch? I'm falling in line? You've got no right!"
Jo shoved both of her hands on both doors, sending them flying open to smack, loudly, on the walls on either side. Crowley, mid-clean up based on the bloody instruments and plastic apron he wore, with no body in sight, raised a brow at the two of them.
But that wasn't to say that Crowley wasn't alone. A man, dressed in jeans, a long sleeved gray shirt, and a dark-washed denim jacket stood across a tray of bloodied equipment from Crowley. His face was long, rounded at the chin but squarish in the forehead, and his skin was olive. His eyes, however, were unreadable as any one, natural color… as they were completely black. Demon black. Jo paused as Crowley turned back to the demon.
"Keep at it," Crowley said to him, nodding his head towards the door.
The demon muttered some sort of assent, exiting the room in between Jo and Castiel. He grinned back at them just as the doors closed behind him, and Jo moved her attention back to Crowley, brow furrowed.
"None of your concern, love, I assure you," Crowley said, anticipating her question before it could be formed.
Jo opened her mouth to argue, but Castiel stepped forward. Crowley pushed the tray of blades away, reaching behind to untie the apron.
"Any information yet on Purgatory?" Castiel asked.
Calmly, too calmly, Crowley lifted the apron over his head. He balled it up, tossed it behind him, and turned to Castiel. He smiled, which instantly flipped into a frown.
"I haven't got squat! In fact, what I have aspires to be squat! These monsters are nothing but the scum of the earth. They couldn't be the heavy hitters if they tried," he growled, throwing his hands out and flipping the tray of tools off onto the cement floor, letting them clatter noisily.
Castiel sighed, putting his back to the demon. Jo crossed her arms, trying her best not to smirk at the oh-so obviously childish temper that the King of Hell possessed. Petty, petty demons… but, overall, this news was good for her. No information, meant no Purgatory. And her gut told her that that was a good thing indeed.
"I need the alphas, and not a one of these monsters—vampires, ghouls, djinn—not one of them are high enough on the food chain to even begin to know where they're at," Crowley continued, his temper easing back into the land of control.
"I guess this is where I fit in," Jo said.
All eyes in the room landed on the young huntress. But she was stone, not moving so much as a muscle at the intensity of gazes levied on her by the angel and the demon. Crowley grinned, laughing, as he stalked his way closer to her. He stopped just a foot or so from her, and Jo felt her body tense against her will.
"My, my," Crowley said, his voice almost a whisper. "Don't we think highly of our self? So ready and willing to aid me in getting the alphas… yet not a bloody clue as to where they could be."
Castiel stepped forward, sensing—as Jo did—where this was heading. He put himself between Crowley and Jo.
"We could use her, Crowley," he said. "She's a natural resource… a hunter born into the life like the Winchesters. She might be the fresh eyes you need."
Jo wanted to snap. Wanted to curse Castiel for daring to defend her. But she held her tongue, watching, silently, as Castiel side-stepped to allow Crowley closer. The demon was grinning at her, looking positively Cheshire, as he lifted his hand, running the back of his index finger down her cheek. Jo turned away from the touch, biting the inside of her cheek so hard that she was beginning to taste that familiar iron again. Crowley chuckled.
"And use her I will. But not yet."
He turned, moving away from her, and making the same dismissive wave that Samuel had just moments earlier.
"Leave, Joanna. I have no use for you at the moment."
Jo felt heat rush her face, and she could almost see the redness in her pale cheeks through the power of imagination alone. She dared a step toward Crowley, unable to stop the words before they spilled over her lips.
"I'm not a dog to be commanded, Crowley. I think you ought to remember that if you want my help with those alphas."
Crowley glanced over his shoulder at her, brow raised. It was a standoff, with Castiel looking on as their captive audience—unsure if it was too early to intervene. Or too late.
"I ought to, ought I?"
It was a whisper. A dare. He wanted to see what she would do next. And, if Jo was a girl in control of the situation she was in, a girl with a cool head on the situation, she might have backed off. As it was, though, she was pissed.
"Yeah," she said, almost breathless. "And you know what else? You ought to be happy—pleased, even—that I'm so quick to come and ask you what I can do for you next. Despite the fact that I despise you. Despite the fact that I think this hunt for Purgatory will lead to nothing but death and destruction… and I'm not just talking of the human variety. Despite the fact that, if I could find the slightest opportunity, I would kill you without even thinking twice."
Crowley turned toward her, grinning.
"Is that so?" he said.
And he snapped his fingers. Jo thought she should be used to the all-consuming pain by now. Used to the way it made her forget where her feet were, that the pain of crashing down to the cement floor, screaming, should be nothing now. But she wasn't. It still left her lungs begging for breath, and her body for relief. That fire was flowing through her veins like blood.
"Crowley, stop!" Castiel growled, and Jo could feel his hands, like a soothing balm, clasp her body about the shoulders.
She heard another snap, and the pain vanished. Jo sat up, with Castiel aiding her, as she drank in the air. The moment she could, she jerked herself out of Castiel's grasp, and both she and the angel rose to their feet. Crowley rolled his eyes at the both of them.
"That's getting really old, you know," Jo snapped.
Crowley stalked towards her, one of the shiny surgical blades from the floor, the blood still crusted on it—and Jo couldn't even begin to guess when he had picked it up—in his hands. He slashed out at her face, missing openly. He laughed.
"We could always try something new, darling," he said.
"Enough, Crowley," Castiel said, standing shoulder-to-shoulder with Jo.
And Jo dearly wished he would just move away from her… that the both of them would.
"Fine, whatever. But our little pet here needs to learn how to stay and how to go. Else it'll be no treats for her," Crowley said, moving away.
Jo wanted to rage all over again at the King of Hell. But the pain was fresh in her body, and that kept her tongue in check. Castiel turned to gaze down at her.
"I'll take you home," he said, reaching for her.
She pulled out of the way, feeling bile rising to her throat as she thought of Crowley's manor as "home." "I'm walking."
"I'll accompany you," the angel insisted.
"Fine," she said, leaving the room.
Crowley laughed behind them, shouting after.
"Oh, the big angel has to guide the poor lost lamb home. Poor little Joanna," the demon laughed.
Jo didn't say anything. In fact, neither she nor Castiel spoke a word until they were clear of the factory. Once the clear, cool night air seemed to hit Jo, she sighed. She was so tired. It had been a little while since she'd been out on a hunt. At least as long as Samuel had been out after the djinn. When she was busy, running with Malcolm and Nell for Crowley, she didn't have time to think too hard. Just hunt, kill if necessary, and bag if possible. Those were her rules, not Crowley's. She didn't have time to realize just how tired she really was. Her eyes trailed up Castiel's profile, before falling back to the sidewalk under her boots.
"I know," Jo began, pausing. "I know that you were just trying to help me in there. And before then… in the hall… I guess you were just honestly confused."
Jo chanced a look at the angel, and he looked just as Jo had said. Confused.
"I still find myself unable to comprehend human behavior… even when it is happening to me. Most of the time, I don't understand why they do… why you do what you do."
"Well, speaking for my specifically, I've got this damned necklace to contend with. But, speaking for my species… I guess we're just fun that way."
A moment passed between them as the lawns began to get a little bit better… the high class that Crowley preferred. Jo laughed, all of sudden, and Castiel looked at her like she might have just lost her good senses.
"Sorry," she said, waving a hand. "I was just thinking… You know, when Dean was describing you to me… before I ever met you… he compared you to a child. I guess he was right… in a way."
Castiel seemed to bristle at that.
"I'm older than the entirety of your race. I remember your creation," he said, sounding just a hair snippy.
This only made Jo chuckle more. "That's not quite what I meant. I mean, learning-wise… like… with human behavior."
That relaxed the angel a bit… but not much. And Jo found that all terribly amusing. Another moment passed, as they seemed to be doing so quickly for Jo, and she finally nudged Castiel just a bit on the arm.
"I've heard of a few things," she said.
"Things that could be weapons of Heaven. I'm not sure. I think I'll have to wait and see what else turns up."
Castiel smiled, and Jo found it infectious.
"You have no idea how happy that makes me. Or how grateful I am for you doing this."
Something about those words, they hid a kind of sadness. And it hurt Jo just a little bit more than the activated necklace did. The huntress frowned, pushing a lock of hair behind her ear as the two approached the gates of Crowley's manor.
"How's it going? The war in Heaven?" she asked.
"Not well. Raphael… is strong. I'm not," he said.
It was hard, blunt. Truth. Jo felt like it had been a while before she had gotten any of it. She turned, pressing the button for the doorman and announcing herself. As the gates began to swing open, squeaking just a bit in the quiet night, Jo turned to Castiel.
"You don't need it," she said.
He looked at her… but there was no question there. He knew exactly what she was talking about.
"I believe you can win without Purgatory. And especially without Crowley. You can beat Raphael on your own. I know you can."
Castiel looked away, shaking his head. "You don't know what you're talking about."
Jo stepped forward, grasping the sleeves of his overcoat with her hands, tugging on them like a child might tug on a mother's apron strings.
"Please, Castiel. Please go to Sam and Dean. Tell them what's happening… before it's too late. Tell them what's going on in Heaven… tell them how bad it really is. I know they would help you. I know that."
Castiel locked his deep blue eyes on her, and the sadness, the pain, and the worry in them threatened to engulf her.
"I've never doubted that they would help. I just don't think they could."
He paused, gazing up at the manor on the hill.
"Go inside, Joanna," he said, and he vanished.
Jo felt the air rush from her, like a good sucker punch had been landed. Her body—and the cursed necklace—felt heavy as she trudged up the sloping drive. She paused at the door of the manor, leaning on the heavy knob of it. She leaned her head against the rough wood.
Her brain wanted to think. Wanted to reassure her. Wanted to cheer her or distract her. But, instead, it only replayed the image of Castiel, gazing at her like he had, as she entered the manor. It was haunting… and it tore at her heart. And, again, there wasn't a damn thing to be done.