Supernatural: Length of Chain (6/22)
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!
"Son of a—" Jo yelled, being cut off as her body crashed into the far wall of the, abandoned, home's kitchen.
She heard the dry wall crack underneath the force of the collision, and she rolled down it to crash to the darkly stained hardwood flooring. Dazed, she glanced behind her to take in the damage to the wall, sneering at the country blue-and-white checkered wall paper—completely with blue bonnet geese dancing their way about the trim at the very top of the walls. A near-perfect imprint of her back and rear end folded in from where she had hit, and Jo groaned, feeling it even more as she pulled herself to her feet.
It hadn't been so long since Jo had been made aware that Dean was back in the game of hunting. At least, that's how it had felt to her as she had been confined to mostly research on various different species and the possibilities on where they could be hiding their alphas. The last hunt—save for this one—that she had been on had been right after Dean and Sam had come up against the Alpha Shapeshifter. Crowley had practically salivated over the idea of having that particular alpha, and hadn't hesitated in the least to send Malcolm, Nell, and Jo after it. The problem was that after it had snatched the baby shifter from Sam and Dean, it had pulled a Houdini. Poof. Not a trace to be found anywhere. Jo had come home from that hunt betting on getting the necklace that night. However, some divine power had intervened, and they had gotten a lead on another kind of alpha. The Alpha Ghoul. Thankfully, that alpha was particularly arrogant. He'd been feeding, a lot, regardless of live or dead prey. He'd practically bull's eyed where he would be, and Jo and her demons had been on their way.
"Joanna, on your feet!" Nell called from another room in the house.
"Check," Jo shouted back, retrieving her machete—which had had the good graces to fall not far from her hand.
In yet another room—living room, maybe—Jo heard Malcolm be thrown like a discarded toy. He landed, swearing. It would have been funny, had the source of the throw had not been entering the kitchen at that very moment.
He looked normal, the man entering the room. A douchebag, yes, but normal. His skin was a tad shallow, but his black hair was healthy and bouncy, falling in loose locks around his ears—the hairdo being lightly shaved on the bottom layer. He was dressed in a charcoal gray suit that seemed to shimmer silver in the moonlight that was leaking in through the various busted windows in the house. His eyes were a dull, white-blue, and his lips were purple—stained red. He was tall, standing a head taller than Jo, and he was grinning at her.
"I assume you know who I am," he said, his voice a cold velvet, seeming to suck all the heat from the room.
From behind him, Nell—her vibrant hair a beacon in the night once more—came rushing in. He batted her away as easily as one might bat a fly. Jo wanted desperately to roll her eyes and stomp away like a child. Honestly, what good were demons to her when this guy was just putting them down again and again?
"Yeah," Jo said, tightening her grip on her weapon. "I know what you are too, Mordiggian."
Mordiggian's grin widened, and Jo lifted her blade. She would give almost anything to be able to swing it, taking the damn creature's head and sending it to the great beyond. Her body felt covered in bruises, and those were just from the five minutes Malcolm, Nell, and Jo had been there. She was cut, aching, and bleeding. Mordiggian was strong, leaving no question why he was to be feared as the alpha of his species. He cocked his head to the side, lifting a long, thin arm to point an equally thin finger at her. He seemed to be tracing her outline, and a pink tongue snaked out to wet his cracked lips. Jo grimaced.
"Ah, and I'll assume that the talk of me being the Alpha Ghoul is not just talk. I am the oldest, the first."
Crowley wanted it alive. She could almost hear Nell's voice repeating her favorite mantra in her mind. Malcolm appeared in the doorway behind Mordiggian as the alpha inched closer to Jo. Malcolm caught the huntresses eyes, clearly asking what she thought ought to be done to bag the monster. Frankly, she didn't have the foggiest idea. Ghouls were monsters like any other, but Jo had never truly been concerned with them. Yeah, they were strong. Yeah, they ate flesh—mostly of the dead, but sometimes of the living. Yeah, the only real way to take them out was by decapitation or severe head trauma. But, on the scale of least scariest to most scariest monsters… they came in fairly low for her. Like, a two or something. She had been warned by Crowley—and then by Malcolm and Nell—that the alpha would be stronger than any other ghoul. That he might even possess different talents. But, in her arrogance, she had brushed off the concerns. But they had been right. And Mordiggian had just spent the better part of ten minutes showing her her own ass.
"Yeah, the first. I guess that's why 'alpha' is attached, yeah?" Jo said, letting the acid drip.
Mordiggian threw back his head, laughing. The sound made Jo's body shiver, and she had to remind herself that if she killed an alpha—one of the creatures Crowley wanted above all others—then the necklace might be the least of her worries. That was, if Mordiggian didn't get to her first. The Alpha Ghoul inched ever closer, still tracing her outline with his finger.
"You know, I've never favored the female form. I'm very fond of it, no doubt. I've mated with many. But any time I've had to eat a girl, I've rushed out to gorge myself on a man—so I can assume a form I can feel… powerful in."
The thought of ghouls mating made Jo want to vomit. But she bit the feeling down, smirking at him.
"And who says a girl can't be powerful?" she asked.
Nell appeared in the opposite doorway, the demon's eyes asking the same question as Malcolm's had: What do we do? Jo was winging it in every sense of the term. But she could feel the arrogance roll off of Mordiggian in waves. If she kept him talking, she was sure that the moment would present itself. She just had to keep the talk going… keeping the actual fighting to a minimal. Because, to be honest, she wasn't a match for him. And she wasn't sure if Malcolm or Nell were either.
"Oh, don't misunderstand me," Mordiggian said. "Women can be most powerful. If allowed to blossom… but me… I just don't have a green thumb."
He chuckled at his own pun, and Jo couldn't hold it back this time. She rolled her eyes. And she could almost see the flash of anger in Mordiggian's. Apparently, he wasn't sued to being disliked.
"How dare you disrespect me, child," he growled, stalking ever closer to Jo. "Do you know the immensity of my power? How I have affected the world? Why, I am so well known—even to those who think my species is a myth—that I stand right alongside Cthulhu in H.P. Lovecraft's works."
"Your mom must be so proud," Jo snipped.
The Alpha Ghoul's grin was wolf-like. "You know nothing of my mother. But, if this Crowley—this roach that has risen to the throne of Hell—keeps collecting her children, you might know of her soon enough."
Jo blinked, not liking the way those words made her heart stop beating for a moment. So much for a flippant insult. She let her gaze flicker up over Mordiggian's shoulders, hoping that her demon companions were at least troubleshooting the problem of bagging the alpha. Thankfully, Nell was silently loading a tranquilizer gun… and Malcolm seemed to be doing the same.
"I bore of you, child. And I grow hungry," Mordiggian said, his voice guttural.
The Alpha Ghoul launched himself at Jo, and Jo heard both tranquilizer guns shoot at the same time. Mordiggian cried out, enraged, as Jo side-stepped him, watching him crash into the hole her body had made in the wall earlier. He yanked himself back out as Jo moved to stand with Malcolm and Nell.
"Reload," she shouted as Mordiggian jumped for them again, yanking the darts from his back like they were nothing but errant thorns from a rose bush.
Jo ducked low, kicking out and catching the Alpha Ghoul in the stomach. Apparently, the tranquilizers were having some effect, because he stumbled back fairly easily, looking a little spun. Jo heard two more darts whizz by her ears and saw them implant themselves in Mordiggian's face.
"Well…" the ghoul slurred, "fuck."
He fell over, out cold. Jo tucked her blade in her belt.
"Let's get him back and put away in the prison. Now," she said.
Her demon companions didn't need telling twice. Malcolm grabbed Mordiggian, and Nell grabbed Jo. Before they knew it, they were in front of an empty cell, tossing Mordiggian's limp body inside and slamming the door. The three had a moment to sigh, and then they were joined by Crowley.
"I can't bloody believe it!" he shouted, sounded elated, which was something Jo had yet to hear from him. "You got him! And you're all alive. I'd say 'well done,' but by the looks on everyone's faces, this was more luck than anything else."
Jo and Malcolm frowned at the King of Hell, but Nell seemed to beam at him.
"We brought you the Alpha Ghoul, boss," she gushed.
Crowley smiled at her, running the back of his index finger down her cheek. "So you have, pet. Well done, indeed."
The moment Crowley and Nell's backs were turned, Jo made a gagging motion with her finger. Even Malcolm had to chuckle. Crowley whirled back around, clapping his hands once.
"So, anything else interesting happen?"
Jo shrugged. "He was a talkative little monster. He kept talking about… Lovecraft? Was that it?"
Malcolm nodded. "Yeah. He said that he was so popular or whatever that he had made it into the, uh… the… the Cthulhu stories? I think."
"No kidding?" Crowley said, and the way he was rubbing his hands together, Jo imagined the Grinch who stole Christmas.
"What's so great about that?" Jo asked.
Crowley approached the huntress, tapping her nose once. "Mind your nose, dearie. It's rather cute to get chopped off."
Jo's brow furrowed, but she said nothing more. If Crowley didn't want to tell her… then she would find out herself. She crossed her arms and yawned, widely. Crowley shook his head and waved his hand.
"Go home, girl. You've actually done very well tonight. I've no more need of you," he said.
Jo bowed, openly and very much in mocking. "Of course, your majesty."
Crowley grinned, wagging a finger at her as she turned and made her way out of the prison.
"Careful, a man could get used to that," he called after her.
She flipped him off, and Crowley laughed.
"Far too busy tonight, I'm afraid."
Jo shook her head and kept walking, not slowing a bit until she had reached the manor—and her room. Her boots were the first thing she took care of, moaning in relief as she pulled the things off her aching feet. Next, she switched into her pajamas—the same she had worn the night Crowley had told her of the alphas. Then, as she pulled her hair back into a messy bun, her eyes fell onto her laptop. The name Mordiggian had spoken, Lovecraft, was rolling around in her mind. Before she knew it, she was at her computer, searching for anything and everything she could find. As it turned out, H.P. Lovecraft was an author known for his horror and weird fiction—particularly his Cthulhu mythos. Jo dug a little deeper, and the more she found… the worse she felt.
Apparently, Lovecraft was an atheist, but was curious of a scientific variety. But this didn't exclude mystical or ritualistic trials—such as séances. Some conspiracy theorists even supposed that he performed several of those rituals and séances successfully, which is why his writings were about what they were about. Some of those theorists say that his fascination with other dimensions was a big part of those experimental rituals. Jo's stomach couldn't take much more. She closed all that she had found, opening a fresh search engine window on her browser. But, her fingers poise above the keys, she simply stared at her screen.
The closer she got to learn about the nitty-gritty of Purgatory, the more it cemented the fact that it was no good. She had to get Castiel to listen. To make him understand that this deal with Crowley, this partnership… it was no good. Something told her that the very world was at stake. And, albeit a selfish endeavor, Jo knew that getting Castiel to see all of this was also the only way she was ever going to get the necklace off. Crowley was never going to remove it. It made Jo too cooperative… too useful to him. His slave, unable to even dream of fighting back for fear of her immortal soul. Jo's hand grabbed at the ruby heart, fiddling with it like she had so many times before.
She sighed, forcing herself to let it go for the moment, and thought more on Castiel. It wasn't a giant leap to make it to the favor he had asked of her—keeping an eye out for the weapons of Heaven. So Jo began her research, one particular weapon the angel had mentioned—the Moses Staff—sticking out to her. She researched anything she could think of. She checked all around the United States to see if any museums had gotten in any interesting staff exhibits. That had led her to some pretty disturbing, erotic-themed museum sites. But then, she began to expand her net, thinking of more than just the physical object. The plagues of Egypt… she began to find cases, instances where there were some deaths that sounded damned familiar. And all of the cases were coming out of the same town: Easter, Pennsylvania. Jo grinned, pushing back from the desk. She pursed her lips, trying to think of the next best course of action. After all, there was a chance she could be wrong about the connection. She didn't think she was… but, just in case. An image of Castiel flashed across the huntress's mind's eye, and she frowned. She remembered how weary he had looked when he had asked her for this favor, how tired. Jo cast her eyes up on the ceiling.
"Cas, it's me, Jo. You're probably busy, so you don't have to show… but I just wanted to tell you… there are these cases in Easter, Pennsylvania… I think there might be a weapon there. Might want to keep an eye out on that place. Um, yeah… that's it. Uh… amen?" Jo prayed.
She waited a moment. What for, she wasn't sure. But finally, as her stomach growled, she took it on faith that Castiel had received the message. Her stomach growled again, urging her out of the chair, and out of the room. She had found her appetite increasing, for reasons she couldn't explain. She was no less trapped by Crowley and the necklace than before… maybe she had just realized—or her body had—that starving herself was no way to find an escape. Jo wound her way through the halls of the manor, coming to a stop in the large, cold kitchen.
It was Tuscan inspired, the décor. Beige, rough tiles covered the floor, with the walls in the same burnt sienna with grape trim. Two walls were covered with counters and cabinets, with a large island counter—with attached stove top—in the very center of the kitchen. Copper pots hung underneath the high cabinets across from the island counter, and this is where Jo headed, making a stop by the black, large refrigerator to pull out deli-sliced chicken and some cheddar cheese. On her way to the cutting board underneath the shiny pots, she picked up a loaf of wheat bread to drag along.
It always fairly surprised Jo that Crowley kept the kitchen as stocked as he did. She was almost positive that the filled cabinets couldn't all be just for her. After all, she was sure that demons didn't have to eat as humans did. Then again, she amended as she pulled out two slices of bread and began to slowly fill them with the chicken, demons did tend to enjoy more of the simple pleasures of human life, like food, drink, and sex. She knew that Crowley definitely enjoyed his drink. She laughed, thinking of the various bottles of liquor she had seen about the manor. She laid on two slices of cheese on top of her chicken as she heard the click of shoes on the tile behind her.
"Glad that you've handled your depression, lack of food issue," Crowley said from right behind her, causing her to jump and whirl.
He was smiling at her, his long, black coat oddly missing—leaving only the expensive suit underneath visible. It was all in black, the suit, save for a deep, blood red tie this evening. He laughed at her.
"You know, you're rather a hermit," Crowley said, as Jo turned back to her sandwich. "You really should join me for a drink one night after a hunt. Might do you wonders."
Jo glared down at her sandwich so strongly that she wondered if she continued it much longer if her bread would toast.
"We're not friends, Crowley," she said, as evenly as possible. "I only drink with friends."
The sound of a knife being removed from its place in a block made her blood run cold. Her eyes shot up to a pot above her head, watching in its coppery reflection as Crowley eyeballed a large butcher's knife.
"I heard you, Joanna. I heard you praying to Castiel earlier this evening. And I wonder. Should I angel-proof this manor, like I had my last? I mean, is that really going to be a problem?"
Jo whirled, leaning back against the edge of the counter. Her heart thudded in her chest, her brain rabbiting around, anxious and panicked that she might be struck, truly alone, with Crowley and whatever other demons waltzed in and out of the manor if he so chose to angel proof it. This was the very last thing she wanted. As pissed as she was with Castiel… as much as she questioned the angel's judgment… he was still her only friend in this. Crowley could and would take that away from her, and she was desperate to keep him from doing so. Of course, she wouldn't give the demon the satisfaction of letting him see that on her face. She kept her look even, stoic, as she stared the King of Hell down.
He stalked closer to her, idly, slowly, turning the knife back and forth in his hand… letting the florescent light of the kitchen play off the blade.
"I also wonder, love, if you remember a certain conversation we had some time ago. The one where you're my, not Castiel's, pet."
Jo tried. She really did try to keep it in. But that familiar, rage-filled flame licked up at her insides.
"I'm nobody's pet," she growled.
Crowley closed the distance between the two of them. Their bodies, from his leg locking her against the counter as he wedged his knee in between her legs, to their torsos, were touching. She could feel his hot breath on her cheeks as she turned her face away, and she could even detect a hint of sulfur there. He lifted the butcher knife to her cheek, resting the cool blade against her tender flesh, flat-side down. With his left hand, he reached up, hooking a finger and thumb around the chain of the cursed necklace. He tugged on it, just hard enough to remind Jo that it was there—as if wearing it day in and day out weren't enough.
"I don't know about that, pet. I do seem to have you on a leash," he whispered.
"Only way you can keep a girl these days, huh, Crowley? Although, I suppose Nell seems willing enough," Jo snapped.
A deep throated chuckle escaped Crowley's lips as he slid the knife's blade, dull-edge against her flesh, down her cheek. He continued to move it down her jaw, pulling it slowly underneath her chin, and he let the too-sharp tip of it graze her neck. She hissed as she felt the pull of the skin on the blade.
"There are worse things, Joanna. Worse things other than our pretty little trinket. I've been in Hell a long, long time, princess. Longer than what has even passed here on Earth. There are worse things, girl," he said, leaning in to whisper directly in her ear. "And I know how to do them all."
He pulled the knife down her shoulder now, continuing down her arm, letting the tip of it bite into her skin just above the crook of her elbow. She hissed, feeling a droplet of warm blood trail after the blade. Jo's breath caught, wondering what Crowley was going to do next. Something told her that these threats were more than idle, but, at the moment, she couldn't tell if they were just threats… or promises.
Suddenly, Crowley pulled away from her, smiling, and flipped the knife in the air. He caught the blade gingerly, but easily, and offered her the wooden handle. She took it, and she hated the way her hands shook as she did.
"Just thought you ought to know," he said, cheerily. "Now, finish your sandwich. Can't afford to have you fall out on me… especially after the wonderful job you did bringing me the Alpha Ghoul this evening."
Crowley made his way across the kitchen, opening a cabinet there and withdrawing a bottle of caramel colored liquor and a scotch glass. He poured it, almost to the brim, as Jo did nothing but eye him silently.
"You know," he said, putting the bottle away, "we should have a movie night or something. Get to know one another now that we live in the same house. Could be fun. Perhaps after your next hunt or something. Cheers."
And with that, he lifted his glass, took a drink, and walked from the room. Jo felt her knees quake, her grip on the knife he had handed her tightening involuntarily. Hot tears were falling quietly from her eyes, and she whirled. With a cry of fury, she brought the knife up and stabbed it down, as hard as she could, into the wooden cutting board beside her sandwich. She leaned forward, spending the next few moments just trying to get her body under control.