Supernatural: Length of Chain (9/22)
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 wasn't in a good place, mentally speaking, during her most current hunt. Things had been strange since the beginning. First of all, they were after a pair of lamias, a monster which—according to any and all research Jo could find on the subject—rarely set foot outside of Greece. Of course, in said research, she had also stumbled across the fact that Sam and Dean had taken one down in Wisconsin. Of course, the news article had not explicitly said such a thing, but Jo knew the Winchesters well enough to see the signs. And, thanks to that article, she already knew that fire—and salt a rosemary, thanks to additional research—was the way to go. But that was only the tip of the "off" iceberg. The second little fact about this hunt that had set alarms ringing in the huntress's head was the fact that Malcolm and Nell were not with her. No, instead, Crowley had sent her with two completely different demons—men that Jo had not bothered to learn the names of. Crowley had only told her that Malcolm and Nell were needed elsewhere, and that they'd be back with her on the next hunt.
And, as strange as it was, Jo was finding herself missing the more familiar demons sorely. She knew their fighting styles, and they knew hers. It was making her hunts a bit easier—not easy, but easier. But with the two newer demons, Jo was blaming every blow the female lamia—one of a pair—was landing on them. They had tracked the woman—whose claws reminded Jo of some large bird of prey—to a local pizza joint, which, to Jo's everlasting relief, had a brick pizza oven build in it. The lamia was strong, but Jo was getting hits in on it. But she honestly was unsure on what, if any, damage it was doing. Jo was getting tired, her soreness from Crowley's torturing just now going away—only to be replaced by the freshness of a hunt and lack of a hot, hot shower.
"Get the damn fire started!" Jo shouted at the two demons—nearly identical to each other, both with bright blond hair and deep blue eyes—who stood and looked on at the fight.
"Crowley wants the lamia alive," Demon One said, and Jo sighed, ducking under a slash of claws from the lamia.
The lamia's long, black mane of hair whipped around as the creature pulled up her leather-clad leg to try and land a roundhouse in Jo's chest. However, Jo continued her duck, rolling to come up behind the monster and land a kick of her own in the lamia's back. The monster collided, hard, with the edge of a booth table.
"And you're sure you aren't Nell?" Jo quipped before whirled, jabbing a finger in the direction of the oven. "There's another lamia not far from here. I figure these two are mates. Start the fire, rosemary and salt. And then we'll bag the second one."
"Είμαι πάρα πολύ ισχυρή για εσάς;" the lamia said… or asked. Jo really couldn't tell, as she didn't speak Greek.
Apparently, Demon Two did, and he chuckled. Jo glared back at him.
"The fire, now!"
The lamia came charging at Jo, leaving her only enough time to whirl to the monster's left. She heard the demons get to work on the fire, and Jo sucked in a breath. All she had to do was hold off the monster for a little while longer, then she could form a fresh plan for the second lamia. The one in front of her now grinned, sharp teeth making its mouth resemble that of a shark's. It spouted something else at her in Greek, and she threw a right-hook, knocking a few of those pointy teeth out onto the floor. The monster recoiled, placing both clawed hands to its mouth in pain. Jo took full advantage of the moment. She delivered blow after blow on the monster, driving it back into the open kitchen of the restaurant—separated by the rest of the building only by a high counter that morphed into a bar farther down.
Jo could hear the strong flames of the oven before she see them, and she felt them soon after that. Apparently, demons were excellent fire starters. She kicked at the lamia again, placing the heel of her boot right on the monster's jaw.
"Rosemary and salt?" she demanded of the demons, and both nodded. "All right, now!"
The demons lunged forward, each one grabbing one of the lamia's arms. Jo grabbed both of her feet by their ankles, and, head first, they feed her body into the flames. She screamed, roaring in pain until the flames finally trailed down her body and destroyed anything left that could scream. Charred and flaking, the remains fell from the oven, falling into two large chunks of burnt flesh and bone. And, oddly, it didn't smell all that bad. Jo figured it must have been the rosemary.
"Crowley wanted that lamia alive," Demon One said again.
Jo ran a hand through her hair, trying her best not to scream. Of course the demon was right. Crowley was going to be pissed. Like he always was. But Jo only sighed.
"We'll get the second one. We just need a better plan. A better way of capturing it without having to fight it for too long. These things are strong," she explained.
It took them a little bit to come up with that plan since demons, as Jo was quickly finding out, weren't planners by nature. Apparently, those like Yellow Eyes and Crowley were rarities. But once they had it, they were off. It wasn't hard to follow the male lamia's trail; he was hungry, and leaving much destruction in his wake because of it. But no bodies, of which Jo was thankful. It took them another thirty minutes to catch up with the lamia, and a simple ten to trap it. Sometimes, those demonic powers came in handy, especially when they worked on the monsters. Of course, this left Jo with the question of if all of her previous hunts with Malcolm and Nell could've been that easy. A little frozen against a wall or the ground, and then poof to the prison. They had the lamia in a cell in moments, and the two new demons left without a word. Jo only shook her head.
"Sometimes, I don't know whose screwing with me, and who isn't," she muttered, stepping back out of the lamia's clawed reach.
She rolled one of a million pains out of her shoulder, rubbing it as she did so. Her feet turned, and for the first time, in was in the direction of the exit instead of the operation room. Of course, instantly, she began to wonder if she should inform Crowley of the new addition. She paused at the end of the hall, glancing behind her as a light flickered at the other end. She bit lightly at her lip, weighing the options. Worse came worse, she could always just seek Crowley out at the manor. He seemed to pop in there at least once in a night… and Jo had a sneaking suspicion that that had everything to do with checking in on her. She hovered in place for a moment longer before shaking her head and continuing toward the exit of the building. Crowley would find her, or she would find him. She didn't have to check in with him after every hunt, by God.
Her walk wasn't any different from any other night. Turn right up at the next hall, left down the one after that. However, right when she was about to turn down the hall that the exit was clearly visible on the other end of, she paused. A noise, coming from the opposite end—the opposite direction—made her stomach feel like she had swallowed a weight. It sounded like crying… but not just any crying. Like an infant crying, a baby. Jo barely gave it a thought. She turned, stepping as softly as possible to lessen the clicking of her boots on the cement, and headed in the direction of the sound. She had never been down this hall before, and she noticed that there wasn't one cell located on it. Instead, solid, metal doors—with only a rectangular window at the top and a mail-box sized hole at the bottom as the only give in their structure—lined the way, and as Jo neared the end of the hall, she caught a glimpse of familiar bright, radiant red hair. A swish of black skirt disappeared right after it, and Jo came to a stop right beside the nearest open door. She pressed her back hard up against the hall, and put all her focus on hearing the conversation going on within… which was hard to do, because the room was positively filled with the sound of crying babies.
"That's the last one," Nell's voice said, and Jo heard the squeaking of wheels as something was pushed away.
"Well, well, isn't this a lovely sight? A room full of shapeshifter brats. I don't think I've seen this many basinets since the last time I raided a nursery for Lilith," Crowley reminisced.
Jo's brow furrowed. Shifter babies? She placed a hand to her stomach, willing her panicked breath to slow. Something about this made her feel positively sick.
"And we're to use all these babies for what? Bait for the alpha?" Malcolm's voice asked.
Well, that answered why she had not had her two usually hunting partners with her tonight for the lamias. She heard the sound of Crowley's loafers on the cement floor as he shifted positions, and Jo had to fight the urge to run the other way. She pressed herself as hard as she could against the wall; anything to get her feet to stay in place.
"In a manner of speaking," Crowley drawled.
No one spoke for a moment, and Jo feared for a moment that it was because they knew of her presence. But Crowley finally sighed, and she could hear the annoyance in the move.
"Don't you remember what Baldy told us about the Alpha Shifter? He basically bypassed the tussle altogether just to snatch the babe and run."
"So you want to lure him here?" Nell asked.
"If only," Crowley scoffed. "No. I only mean to lure him out into the open. He'll be searching for the children, which will make him far easier to find and target."
"Nice," Malcolm commented, and Jo could almost imagine the look of contempt on Crowley's face as the King of Hell replied, snidely, "Quite."
Babies for bait. Innocent children with barely enough life in them to decide whether they were going to be blood-thirsty monsters or normal members of society. Parents out there worried sick or dead because of this. Jo wanted to scream. She wanted to vomit. Her whole body shook with the conflicting emotions, and she only resigned herself to standing her ground.
"So, I don't mean to sound insolent, Boss," Nell began slowly, "but why did we have to do this by ourselves? I mean, as much as the little bitch gets on my nerves, Jo could've been useful on this."
"Isn't it obvious?" Crowley exclaimed, incredulous. "Look at this adorable little buggers. Shifters or not, Miss Harvelle would've taken one look at these bouncing bundles of clawed joy and backed down. She would've been way too sympathetic to have ever brought them to me."
"But, the necklace? Don't you have it cursed or something?" Nell asked.
"In this case, I don't think it would've mattered much."
It gave Jo, oddly, both a sense of pride and fear that Crowley could have so accurately made such a call about her. She would've never brought these babies to that bastard… and he had known it. Which meant that the lamia hunt, her now extra sore ass, was nothing more than a cheap distraction. A new anger fueled her as she balled her hands into fists.
"So… after you have the Alpha… what do you plan to do with all these kids?' Malcolm asked.
Crowley chuckled. "Well. I've always wondered what roasted shifter tasted like."
Jo gagged, but silently. No more conversation followed, nor did the sound of feet exiting the room. Taking a gulp of air in, and banking of the natural laziness of demons, she dared a peek around the corner.
Crowley, Malcolm and Nell were gone. Instead, only a room filled with white, hooded, rolling basinets remained. She tiptoed her way into the room, and as soon as her first footfall echoed about the room, the infants began to cry out as one. They screamed and roared and cried like only young babies could. Jo put a cold finger to her lips, trying her best to shush them.
"I won't hurt you," she whispered. "I promise. I won't hurt you."
She made her way into the semi-circle of basinets, her eyes seeing children of all races laid out before her. All of them were precious, so innocent as they wailed helplessly against their captors. Jo's heart seized in her chest, tears filling her eyes as her mind wandered back to the likely fate of these babies' parents. She moved her way slowly, as stealthily as a cat, farther into the room. Glanced down at every basinet, her heart breaking over and over again as she met with only tear-streaked, chubby faces. Finally, she arrived in the middle of the semi-circle. The baby laying before her was blonde, rosy-cheeked, with deep chocolate eyes. She—because the baby just looked feminine—was short and kind of chubby in a cute, cherub way. She cried like all the rest, but she seemed to have had her fill of scream. Instead, she only whined a little and moaned, kicking out at the air like it was to blame for her problems. Jo vaguely wondered if they were hungry, or if Crowley had even thought about keeping them fed when he had set upon this plan.
But Jo's eyes focused in on the little girl before her, and she drew in a deep breath. It was crazy, she knew, but the baby… she reminded Jo of her, when she had been a baby. Of course, all Jo knew of herself as an infant was all anyone ever knew—pictures. But this kid… she was the spitting image of Jo. Maybe that was the shifter in the child. Maybe she had seen Jo, and taken on the closes form to the woman standing over her that she could do as a baby. That seemed probable, the huntress was sure.
"It'll be okay," Jo cooed at her.
The baby shushed a bit, hiccupping with still a handful of tears falling. Jo looked around the room, feeling her body quake. She couldn't let Crowley get away with this.
"I won't let him hurt you," Jo stated to the children, as if that would give them any comfort.
But there was no way she could stop it. How would she ever get all of the children out of the prison? There had to be at least fifteen babies before her. Her tongue snaked out, wetting her lips as she lost herself to thought. There had to be a way. There had to be a way to save them. Then, the proverbial lightbulb went off. She turned her eyes toward the ceiling.
"Castiel, please. I need your help. These babies… Oh, please, Cas, I need you," she prayed.
And she waited. When he didn't show, her stomach churned. What if Castiel knew about this? What if… what if he was even okay with it? That thought hurt her most of all, and she wanted to double over with the pain it caused her. She turned her attention back to the babies. Her eyes fell on the one that looked so much like her. She snatched the baby up the basinet, holding her close.
"I'll find a way to get the rest of you, I swear," she said.
She stalked from the room, noting how the baby had grasped onto the necklace. She seemed to look up at Jo, a question in her eyes. Could she feel the curse on it? Was that an ability that monster babies had? Jo paused at the doorway, looking as far as she could for anyone who might be about as she gently pried the child's hand from the heart-shaped pendant.
Jo took off down the hall, heading on a straightaway for the exit. She wanted to run, full out, but such a racket from her shoes would've certainly drawn any attention from any demons in the vicinity. She settled at a brisk walk, with the exit seeming miles away. But she arrived at it finally, bursting through it like freeing herself from invisible bonds. And, instead of turning in the direction of the manor, she went the opposite way. And as soon as the prison was out of sight, she ran. She ran as hard as she could, gripping the baby against her bosom. The shifter girl wasn't crying, and she seemed oddly calm in Jo's arms.
"Please. Please, let there be houses out here," she hoped aloud as she ran, gasping in the cold night air as she moved.
Her limbs were growing tired and heavy, the initial adrenalin wearing off. But she pushed on, repeating her wish over and over until it was coming out in little puffs of words. Soon, she wasn't even aware of the distance she had gone or how long she had been running. But she came into a suburban area. Houses, nice white ones with black roofs and well-kept lawns and gardens, lay out before her. Tears of relief flooded her eyes as she gave the baby in her arms a quick hug. She slowed herself back to that brisk walk as she crossed the darkened road, her eyes searching any of the houses that still had lights on in the windows.
She was searching for normal. She was looking for happy. She wanted to be sure that whoever she left this poor baby with, that she would stand a chance. Finally, she came to a stop. The house was one story, sort of a stucco pink in color with brown roof and trim. The garden was full of a multitude of flowers, and a couple of gnomes and flamingos. However, it was what Jo saw in the window that made her pause. There were children still awake—a boy and a girl, younger than ten, but older than five—playing with a father who was clearly winding down from a day at an office somewhere. The mother of the family was laughing at her husband and children, content to simply watch them in their play. It was picture perfect. More than what Jo could've hoped to find, and exactly what this shifter child needed.
Slowly, and hoping that this family didn't have one of those automatic porch lights, Jo wound her way up the dark pathway to the front door. Gently, she laid the baby on the doorstep, shaking her head at the cliché of it. But, what was necessary was necessary. Taking a deep breath, she hit the doorbell and ran, ducking behind a huge tree in the family's front yard. The door was opened soon after, and the father called the mother to see what he had found.
Jo listened as the two discussed the baby and what should be done. The couple seemed horrified to have this baby on their doorstep, but it gave Jo a great relief to hear them commit, aloud to each other, to making sure they did everything they could for the baby. Contacting the police, finding a good home… that was all that Jo wanted. And as soon as the adults shut the door on their house, Jo emerged and began to walk back toward the prison.
Her head was filled with dark thoughts, wondering how she was ever going to repeat that kind act for the rest of the babies. But they needed to be saved, one way or another. She ducked her head, barely mindful of her steps, as her thoughts raced. Crowley couldn't see it through on his plans. Those babies… they were just that. Babies. They deserved a life, freedom. A chance to make their own choices. And Crowley saw them as nothing more than worms for fishing. Maybe, if she kept trying, she could get Castiel to listen to her. And then he could help her get the babies to a safe place. It seemed as good as plan as any, but Jo knew that a plan B would be a good idea.
"Well, well, well," Crowley's voice sounded ahead of her, causing her to give a start and stop dead in her tracks.
His hands were shoved deep into the pockets of his long coat, and he had that "I know what you did" grin in place. Jo shook her head, denying everything before anything was ever spoken aloud.
"You've been a bad, bad girl," he said, removing one of his hands and snapping his fingers.
In a blink of an eye, they were no longer outside. They were in the manor—Jo could tell by the color scheme and smell, cigars and liquor with a hint of sulfur and musk—but they weren't in her room. Or in any room of the manor she had been in yet. It was a bedroom, to be sure, but the bed was just as big as Jo's, if not bigger, and draped entirely in black. The door had built in bookshelves on either side and they were filled—like Jo's room—but this place had one decidedly obvious difference. Weapons—knives, swords, axes, whips, and anything else imaginable—lined the walls, and the desk that stood where Jo's writing desk stood had only medical tools lain upon it. She stood right in the center of the room, the foot of the bed mere feet from her. She whirled, intent on running to don't-know-where, only to come face to face with Crowley. His coat and suit jacket were removed, and Jo knew that this was a bad indication. He reached out with his right hand, gripping her throat so tightly that she was sure that an ounce more of pressure would collapse her esophagus. He forced her back, dragging her full up on the bed by his grip alone, only stopping when her head rested on the soft, fluffy pillows at the head. He straddled her, resting his hands on the bed above both of her shoulders, pinning her.
"Tsk, tsk, tsk. I'm so disappointed in you, sweetheart. I would've thought you'd have learned your lesson by now. I mean, did you really think you would get away with that little stunt?" Crowley asked, leaning his face over hers.
"I couldn't let you do it," Jo confessed. "I couldn't let you hurt the babies. I had to do whatever it took. And I'd do it again and again, until they're all safe."
Crowley rolled his eyes, sitting back on his haunches.
"You know what you are, Harvelle? You're a hypocrite. These babies are the same monsters that will come back and not hesitate to kill you when they grow up. Oh, but then you won't have one problem with killing them. I'm doing you a favor, really, by grabbing them so early. I'm saving you the trouble."
Jo struggled underneath Crowley, trying to wiggle her way out. He only grinned.
"Oh, yes. I like that move. Why don't you do it some more and see what happens?" he chuckled.
Disgusted, she wrenched her hands up, pushing against his chest. But he didn't budge, and Jo paled. She was no weakling… So how badly did Crowley want to keep her there that he didn't even move? He laughed at her, grasping both her wrists and pinning them down.
"You have to learn, Jo. Otherwise, I'll just have to send you right back where I got you from," he said.
And, as if reminding her exactly where that was, he snapped his fingers. The necklace activated, and Jo bucked against the all-consuming pain. The weight of his body on her made Jo feel dirty, sick, but she could do nothing but flail and scream as the fire burned through her being. He snapped his fingers again, and Jo gasped.
"I made such a pretty mess of you last time. I wonder what I should do with you now. What could I possibly do that would make you realize that you are under my control? That my word is your law," he growled at her.
"I just… couldn't. I couldn't," Jo said, letting her head loll to the right—the better not to stare at him.
In a flash, he held a gleaming scalpel in his hand. Jo whined, shaking her head.
"Don't," she said, hating the word before it left her lips.
But the memories of his last torture session were too fresh on her mind, and played before her like some night terror come to life. She felt naked before the demon again, too vulnerable. Jo prided herself on being anything but helpless, knowing how to work any gun put into her hand and able to end a bar fight with a few well placed punches and kicks. But the weight of this necklace—of what it could do, of what it meant for her—was too great, and Jo was fighting hard not to cry. She bit her lip, hard, making herself focus on the self-inflicted pain. Crowley smiled down at her.
"Don't worry. I don't intend to cut you as much as I did last time," Crowley said, trailing the scalpel about her body, trying to find the perfect spot to begin. "You see, I've got pressing business down in Hell. So, unfortunately, I'll have to make my point with a lot less blood than I would like. Oh, but never you fear… this'll hurt just as bad."
He made quick slashes on her stomach and arms and cheeks. Jo gasped with each sting, but the pain was nothing compared to what she remembered, which made it more than bearable. She gritted her teeth, glaring up at the demon. He smiled down at her.
"Oh, don't look so smug, dear. Just because it's gotta be quick and dirty, doesn't mean it won't be as good," he said, curling his free hand into a fist.
It wasn't a pain she had felt often from him. But Jo curled in on herself, feeling like her organs were shifting—unnaturally—about inside her body, like invisible hands were gripping each one in turn and twisting and pulling at them. She arched her back, groaning as she bit down the urge to screech. Tears rolled down her face, the salt of the water stinging the cuts there, but she made no move to sob. No more satisfaction for this sick bastard. Jo was going to make sure of that. Crowley, for his part, seemed to find this terribly amusing. He released his hand, and the pain stopped. He leaned over her again, his face inches from hers.
"Why don't you pray for your angel?" he whispered.
His tongue snaked out, lapping up a trickle of blood rolling down Jo's face and mingling it with her tears. Jo gasped, turning it into a growl.
"Go ahead. Pray for Cas. Betcha, if he's smart, he won't show. He won't save you this time, Joanna. You're all mine tonight, princess."
And Jo was suddenly desperate to prove the King of Hell wrong. She prayed. Silently at first. Over and over in her mind, she called out for Cas as Crowley balled his hand again, making her insides twist and turn. While she writhed in pain, Crowley made a few other experimental slashes on her body. Jo breathed in what air she could manage as she screamed, her mind begging for Castiel to appear. Finally, unbidden, the words escaped from her lips in a scream.
"Castiel, please!" she yelled.
The torture stopped, and Crowley was nearly doubled over in laughter. When he leaned back up, he opened his arms wide.
"Nowhere to be seen," the demon said.
He brought the backside of his right hand across Jo's face, and she was sure something cracked. She spat blood onto the bed sheets as Crowley chuckled. He brought the palm of his hand back through, throwing her head in the other direction as the hit connected.
"We didn't hit a lot in Hell," he noted, almost wistfully. "Every demon there tells you there's always a better way to hurt someone other than just hitting them. But, sometimes, it's just bloody fun."
To prove his point, he landed a couple more slaps across Jo's face. Fresh tears rolled down one right after another, but she still resisted the urge to sob. Or to beg. The thought of begging Crowley to stop made her ill… and she would rather he killed her first. But, as Crowley snapped his fingers for the necklace again, Jo found her brain begging for Castiel to come. For the angel to save her as he had before. The cuts on her body stretched open as she arched her back against the fiery pain of the bauble about her neck. She screamed and screamed and prayed and prayed. And Crowley continued to cut, to activate and deactivate the necklace, and to tear at her insides for what seemed like an eternity.
And, not once, did Castiel ever show.