Supernatural: Length of Chain (16/22)
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!
Another car lost to the cause of finding Purgatory, Malcolm had snatched Jo up and whisked her away back to Crowley's manor. Of course, Nell had gone ahead, and Jo had made the argument that she at least needed the items within the car. So, once she had her duffle slung over her shoulder, Nell already a good five or ten minutes ahead of them, Malcolm dropped her off—and vanished—just inside the manor's front doors. Sighing, Jo made the short walk to her room, tossing the duffle inside. She made to follow after, but a deep rumbling in her stomach pulled her to a halt. She rubbed a hand across her midsection, sighing, and turning toward the kitchen. This, as it were, put her walking right by the large sitting room/office, where the door was slightly ajar. Jo could already smell the scotch before she could see Crowley sitting, reclined back, in one of his ridiculously long lounge chairs. The large, flat screen television that hung on the wall opposite the chair was on, a black and white movie playing on it at a low volume. Jo shook her head, took one step towards passing the room altogether, and was called to a stop.
"Jo, darling. Could you come in here, please?" Crowley called, not even bothering to tear his eyes away from his movie.
Jo lifted her hand to the necklace, rubbing it nervously. Damn it all. All she wanted was a quick bite to eat and bed. Crowley couldn't wait one more day to hear about how she oh-so-obviously didn't have Eve? She rolled her eyes.
"Can't this wait? I'm kind of hungry, and you were the one on me about making sure I ate," she argued.
The television was switched off, and now Crowley was standing, scotch still in hand, facing her in the doorway.
"Do we really have to do this, Joanna? Get in here. Now."
Jo sighed. She entered the sitting room, Crowley indicating for her to shut the door behind her. Jo did as she was told, and Crowley gestured her closer to the desk that set on the far right of the room. Its top was filled with items not normally seen on a desk—a demonic bowl, a plain, pewter bowl, a tall, thick black pillar candle, and oddly the most normal thing on the desk, one of those perpetual motion sculptures. Crowley leaned against the outside edge of the desk, crossing his arms and finishing his scotch. He smacked his lips, once, and locked eyes with the huntress.
"Nell paid me a visit not too long ago," he said.
Jo groaned, putting her back to the King of Hell for a moment before turning back. She shrugged, throwing her hands up in the air.
"Should I even bother giving you my side of the story? I mean, if your little girlfriend has already ratted me out, what are the chances of you believing me? I mean, really?"
Crowley grinned. "Enlighten me anyways, sweetheart. Because, as Nell describes it, you let Eve, my precious key to Purgatory, waltz right bloody by you!"
Jo shook her head, noting how Crowley had set his scotch glass down and how he was no longer reclined on the desk.
"I didn't have a choice, Crowley. You weren't there. Eve? She's strong. She flicked Malcolm and Nell away like they were nothing. And she didn't want to fight."
"Didn't want to fight? Since when are we in the business of asking these monsters what it is that they want?" Crowley growled.
Poor wording, Jo supposed, but that was honestly the only way to describe it. She pursed her lips, her eyes locked on Crowley's.
"Eve would've killed me. And she didn't want to fight. She gave me a message to give to you, since, apparently, she knows what you're up to."
Crowley's brow arched. "Really? And what was said message?"
"She said, 'back off, or you'll regret it.'"
Crowley laughed, leaning forward to even slap his knee once. Jo's body tensed. She was definitely not the expected reaction. There was a trap here, a catch to this seemingly jovial mood. And, when the King of Hell lifted his face to smirk at her, she saw it a moment too late. He had his right hand around her throat, the chain of the antique necklace biting into her flesh, and he whirled, shoving her down against the flat top of the desk. Most of the items were thrown to the floor, only the black pillar candle being caught in Crowley's free hand. He pressed Jo down hard, sliding her up so that her head fell backward off the other side of the desk, her hair caught somewhere between hanging freely down and being caught underneath her. She choked against the force he held his hand there, and he let up, if only a little. Shaking his head, he tsked at her.
"Obviously, you want to be killed. You want the pain and torture that Hell brings, that this necklace will drag you down to. After all, I can think of no other reason why you'd disobey your master so much, so often. I mean, I've trained hellhounds. Never have I had to punish one as much as I've had to punish you. I mean, are you really keen on seeing if I'm bluffing with what this pretty little trinket means for you?"
He let up a little bit more on her throat, and Jo sucked in one defiant breath.
"You are not my master," she gasped.
His hand tightened again, and Jo was sure that the chain of the necklace had broken her flesh now. He pressed his body up against hers, leaving Jo unable to flail with anything more than just her arms, which were now grasping the single arm Crowley held her down by. He sighed.
"What will it take you to learn, girl? How do you still hold on to the delusion that you have any control in this situation? That you can still believe that you are anything more than my puppet?"
Jo dug her nails into his arm, and Crowley chuckled, his eyes trailing to the long, thick pillar candle in his left hand.
"Maybe you need a nice, humbling example of servitude," he said.
He slid his hand up, using his forearm to pin her chest, and pried her mouth open. She struggled beneath him, but it was no use. Crowley was still a demon, and now he was a demon with the extra kick of being the King of Hell. He may not look it, but he packed a serious wallop. Jo watched helplessly as he lifted up the black, single-wick candle. He turned it so that the tapered wick-end—the rest of the candle being very true to its name in its shape—and huffed.
"Just remember, sweetie," he said, grinning down. "This could be a lot more humiliating for you. Frankly, I'm still going easy on you. Last chance for that, by the way."
Jo's eyes narrowed in confusion, her mind unable to fathom what he could mean to do to her with the candle. But a second later, she had her answer. He shoved the wick-end of the candle deep into her mouth, moving his hand so that he forced her lips to close around the waxy object. She gagged as he shoved it as far back as he could without doing permanent damage, withdrawing it almost all the way, only to drive it home again.
"Oh, something tells me that you're a girl who can take it deep," he laughed.
Hot tears welled up in her eyes as he continued to force her to give felliatio to the candle. All the while, he grinned down at her, moving the candle faster and faster—as if he were truly, sexually, enjoying this. And, for all Jo knew, he might be. Her face turned a bright red as she thought of all the intimate ways Crowley had seen her. It sickened her to know that this torture, this punishment, that he was performing on her now was the perfect one, the one to remind her of all the others—of the first, truly terrible one when she had just showered, of the one he had made her strip for, and even of that tiny little moment in the shifter warehouse where he had reached to pull her dress hem down to its proper length. Her teeth caught on the wax, curls of it coming off in her mouth as Crowley continued to move it in and out. Tears finally broke free and rolled silently down her cheeks, and Crowley practically glowed with triumph. The candle was making her throat sore—she could feel the wick tickle the back of her throat, making her gag every time he shoved it in deep—and it was enough to make her stomach churn. Her nails dug into his arm, but that only seemed to spurn him on.
"That's right, Johanna. Now you're beginning to see," he said, his voice coming in husky breaths, as if she were actually performing the act on his flesh. "This little image you have of yourself? The powerful huntress? The independent girl who can stand up to the big, bad King of Hell? The one who can take the torture and save the day? It's all shit. In reality, you're nothing more than my plaything, my pet. You will do what I say, when I say it! Or I'll put you down just like any other disobedient pup."
Jo dug her nails in as hard as possible, even managing to work her fingers up underneath his suit's jacket and shirt. She could feel them breaking flesh as she put all the strength she had into it, could feel the warm blood on her fingertips. But he kept the candle moving, and now he was even leaning his body harder into hers. Panic was setting in. This punishment wasn't going to end like the others. She could feel it. Things were about to go from bad to unimaginably worse if something didn't stop it.
Almost on cue, the familiar sound of an angel's arrival sounded behind Crowley. The demon let his eyes slide over his shoulder as he gentle removed the candle from Jo's mouth. He set it, upright, beside her head—the better for Castiel not to see.
"Castiel," he said, letting go of Jo and turning. "Did my favorite girl pray to you?"
"I… didn't," Jo managed to cough out, her throat feeling raw.
He mouth and jaw ached as well, and she struggled to put herself on her feet, rubbing the place where Crowley's hand had been. Her tears had long since dried, forgotten in the desperation of trying to get Crowley to stop before things got too out of hand, so she was hopeful that Castiel wouldn't comment on what he had just arrived in the middle of.
"No, she did not pray for me. Rather, I am here to ask your permission in borrowing Jo for a time," the angel replied.
Heat rose to Jo's face as she gritted her teeth. Borrow her? Like she was Crowley's damn possession? Jo pushed herself off the desk, moving to stand beside the demon as he arched a brow at Castiel. He glanced from Jo to Cas before chuckling.
"Why not?" he said. "Since you asked so nicely. And since I'm done with her for the moment anyway."
Jo's body shook with the effort of trying to keep her outrage in check. Thankfully, Crowley was in a rather chatty mood tonight, and addressed Jo before she could even form the words to express her rage.
"Play nice with Cas, Jo," he said before turning back to Castiel. "Just make sure my girl makes it home safe and sound, you understand?"
"Of course," Castiel said.
Before Jo could say or ask anything, the angel strode forward and placed a hand on her shoulder. In a flash, they were standing in one of those rent-by-the month storage bins, random, unmarked brown packing boxes piled up all around them. Her eyes narrowed.
"Why should I even help you? I mean, the last time I saw you, I believe I was telling you where you could get off at. I'll admit you got me out of a pinch back there, but really, didn't it occur to you that I might be done with helping you?" she ranted.
"I know you went looking for a weapon in Louisiana," he said, turning about in place, as if he had X-ray vision and was looking for something inside one of the multitude of boxes.
"Balthazar told you?" she asked.
He nodded. "Raphael means to finish it tonight, but Balthazar came to me. He told me that he had hidden the weapons all about the United States. We were being spied upon, an angel loyal to Raphael. We realized it soon, but not soon enough. So we formed a plan. Balthazar said that he had since moved the weapons all to one location, a motel room that was spelled so that only the key to the room would grant it access. He said he would bring it to Sam and Dean while I ran."
"So, you're running? Then why bring me along?" Jo asked, reaching down to make sure her trusty knife was on her.
"I'm not running. Sam and Dean are the distraction. Raphael has sent Virgil after them, to get the key and the location. But Balthazar will send them, and possibly Virgil, into an alternate dimension. I have no doubt that Raphael means to pull Virgil, with the key, back into our world by midnight… at least, in our world's time. So we must have the weapons gathered by then."
Jo's mouth dropped open into an O of surprise. "You're using Sam and Dean as decoys? That's just wrong, Cas."
Exasperated, Castiel whirled, throwing his hands in the air.
"I had no other choice. Now, will you help me or not?" he asked.
Jo nodded. "Yes. Of course. In whatever way I can. Now, why are we here? And where is here?"
"It's a storage facility outside of Swartz Creek, Michigan. Balthazar has hidden two of the weapons here," Castiel said.
His eyes left her again, scanning the room once more. Finally, he pointed somewhere into the darkened rear of the room.
"There. In the second box on that row," he said, rushing to the back.
Jo watched him disappear from sight, the sound of items jumbling about following, only to have him reappear with a cloth and a dagger in his hands.
"Where are we going to put them all, as we're gathering? We can't just tote them all around with us," she said.
"I've got the perfect location," he said, resting a hand on her shoulder.
In a flash, they were back in Crowley's manor, in Jo's room to be precise. She whirled, watching Castiel lay the items on her bed.
"Here?" she asked incredulously. "Is that really such a good idea?"
"It's the best one we have at the moment," he said. "Come on."
And they were gone again, reappearing inside a darkened house this time. On first glance, it looked to be just a normal home, but on closer inspection, Jo realized it was nothing more than one of those model houses that realtors liked to use in up and coming neighborhoods. Castiel disappeared from flawless living room they had landed in, and Jo followed after him into a similarly perfect kitchen.
"So, out of curiosity, why do you need me for this?" she asked.
It seemed as if she were going for some sort of record of perfect timing tonight, as another flutter of wings announced another angel's arrival. Jo whirled, finding herself face to face with a young man with short, blond-red hair and a smattering of freckles across his pale features.
"That's why," Castiel said as she charged forward.
His angel killing knife dropped into his hand as he engaged the other angel in combat.
"Find the weapon!" he yelled after Jo, dodging a knife swipe to his face.
Jo nodded, running into the kitchen. She pulled open two or three different drawers before she realized that she had no idea what it was that she was looking for. She turned, eyes wide as Castiel sidestepped a move that put him too close to being gutted.
"What is this weapon?" she called.
The other angel grinned. "Yes, Castiel? What is the weapon that we're searching for here?"
Castiel lifted his leg, landing a kick in the other angel's stomach, causing him to fly backward and land on his back.
"A cup. A very old, old cup," he said. "It looks like a goblet."
With a roar, the other angel was back on his feet as Jo rushed to the cabinets, throwing them open and tossing the fake china to the floor. Finally, she caught side of a plain, metal goblet. She reached forward, snatching it and whirling.
"I've got it, Cas. Let's go!" she said.
The angel moved to clothes-line Cas, but he whirled around the move, plunging his knife into his opponent's stomach. The angel cried out, falling back as light shone out of his eyes and mouth.
"Well done, Jo," he said, taking her back to her room to drop the divine weapon off.
Jo barely had time to drop the cup on the bed before they were in another, different location. This time, it was a seemingly empty field in a place that Jo couldn't identify. She turned in place, her head shaking.
"What in the hell could the weapon be here?" she asked.
Castiel grinned in the way that said the joke he perceived might only be funny to him. Jo stared at him until he nodded and explained, "We're searching for the weapons of Heaven."
Cas chuckled low. "And you said 'what in the hell.' Ironic."
Jo shook her head. "I'm not sure if that's actually irony or not. But, at least you're getting closer. Seriously, though, what are we looking for here?"
Castiel seemed a little crestfallen, but he began to scan their surroundings nonetheless. Finally, his eyes fell on something in the distance—something that Jo had no hope of seeing. He reached out, touching her shoulder, and suddenly they were several yards—maybe several hundred yards—away from where they had been. He pointed down at a low piece of shrubbery that lined this edge of the field, marking it off from the too-thin cement barrier that kept it, in turn, separated from the road.
"A shrubbery? Okay, we don't have to find a tree and a herring too, do we?" she asked.
Castiel arched a brow at her. "What? What does a fish have to do with the weapons?"
She laughed, the noise escaping her body in a single breath. "Never mind. So… do we uproot it? Or do we have to pot it?"
"It's not a normal bush, Jo. We can just take it. It won't die," Castiel said, reaching down.
He grasped the bush by the barely visible stem underneath and yanked it skyward. Suddenly, Cas's head turned to the left.
"We have to hurry. I can hear another of my brothers coming," he said, grasping her shoulder.
Again, they were back in her room, and Castiel laid the bush—dirty stem and all—on the plush red comforter of Jo's bed. She grinned, thinking of how that would dearly irk the King of Hell. She was glad she was coming along on this little mission.
"We've only a few more," her angel companion said as Jo glimpsed her watch.
"It's almost midnight. We've only got about an hour and a half," she noted.
He nodded once, laying a hand on her. "Let's go."
They made it through a whole six more weapons without being caught by one of the angels that sided with Raphael. The pile on Jo's bed in Crowley's manor was growing quite large, and with only one more weapon left to collect—Gabriel's horn, the actual one this time—Jo knew that their lucky streak was unlikely to last.
They arrived in the middle of a closed music store, a line of trumpets hanging from the top inside of the display window.
"Dean went to a music shop as well when he thought he was after the horn," Castiel explained as he approached the instruments.
"Yeah, when they were after Veritas, right?"
Castiel nodded, placing a hand on each horn in turn. From the look on his face, Jo could tell that he was in the deepest concentration, his lips pursed tightly together. Finally, when he arrived at the last horn in the line, he smiled, tugging it down from its hook.
"This is it," he announced, turning.
"Fantastic, brother," said a voice from behind Jo.
In the next moment, she felt herself being thrown backward, the newly arrived angel having gripped her throat and tossing her over his shoulder. Almost like she was a wadded piece of discarded paper. She managed to crash into a large drum set mostly, with only her torso smacking the wood paneled wall behind them and sliding down. She groaned, trying her best to get back to her feet. However, she had help there. A hand came down at her throat, pressing the chain of the necklace into her flesh, and lifted her up off the ground. Her vision blurred around the edges a bit before she forced herself to focus in on her attacker.
He was tall, very tall. Her feet were dangling in the air, but he was holding her so that their heads were level with one another. He was also built like a linebacker. His hair was shaved close to his head, and black from what Jo could see of it.
"Remiel," Castiel said. "Put her down. She has nothing to do with this."
"And yet," Remiel said, shaking Jo once, "you've been toting this little Mud Monkey around with you all evening."
His voice was deep and rumbling, like angry thunder before a terrible storm. She struggled, kicking him once or twice experimentally. But when he didn't so much as flinch, she stopped, and began to just trust that Castiel could get her out of this.
"She's… my friend," Castiel said, and the words sounded painful.
"And you won't remove the necklace from her? Free her from its terrible promise?"
Jo's eyes widened. How many damn people knew about this thing? When Castiel didn't answer Remiel, he chuckled.
"Ah, you aren't the one who put it on, though, are you? But you still have the power to remove it, and you won't. Which means… she has information. Information you don't want someone to know. Perhaps I should carry her to Raphael, have him remove the necklace. Then, he could make this pretty little monkey sing for him."
"No," Castiel growled, his fist tightening around his angel blade—when that had appeared in his hand, Jo had no idea.
"Then the horn, Castiel. Now."
Remiel tightened his grip, and try as she might, the little choked sound she wanted to keep in escaped. Castiel's eyes drifted, just for a second, down to the horn before turning back to Jo.
"Put her down first," Castiel said.
Remiel shook his head. "Not going to happen."
Castiel surveyed the horn again. And Jo watched as his grip loosened on it. Her eyes widened. He was going to do it. He was going to hand over the horn. To save her. She had begged him to save her time and time again, every time she asked him to remove the necklace. Every time she told him what Crowley did to her in his little torture sessions. She had just about convinced herself, by now, that Castiel didn't give a damn about her. But…
Like a ton of bricks, it hit her.
"Don't," she choked out.
Remiel laughed. "I'll kill you. Cas knows that."
Castiel looked just as surprised by her reaction as Jo had been by his. She locked eyes with him, trying to make him understand. Trying to make him see that he should do what he had to do to keep the weapon. The weapons were his only hope. Not Purgatory. And a part of him, she thought in that moment, might think that too… even if it were only a small part.
"Don't," she repeated.
"So, what will it be, Cas? Sacrifice the human for the horn? Or the horn for the human?"
Castiel's eyes were still trained on Jo's dangling form. And his grip tightened on the horn once more.
"Jo," he said.
A brief pause in which the two only stared at one another. Finally, he sighed.
"Close your eyes," he finished.
"What?" Remiel said, truly surprised.
Instead of the horn, Castiel hurled the angel blade at his angelic brother. The action caught the new angel off guard, and cost him dearly. The weapon lodged itself in between Remiel's eyes, and Jo closed her own eyes just in time to miss the light show. Now dead, his grip slackened, and Jo landed on her feet, coughing. Castiel rushed over to her.
"Are you okay?" he asked.
She nodded. "Let's go."
In a flash, they were back in her room, the horn added to the assortment of weapons.
"Is that it? Is that all of them?" Jo asked.
"Yes," Castiel said, moving to one side of the bed, facing the pile.
"So… what do you do now?"
"I have to secure them," he explained.
Jo glanced back at her watch and gasped.
"It's almost midnight. About ten till. Whatever you've gotta do to secure them, do it fast!"
"Close your eyes," the angel said to her for the second time that night.
Castiel began to glow, the white light emanating from him growing quickly in intensity. Jo covered her eyes as well as shut them—for good measure. She could feel the light, oddly enough, on her skin. She was sure it must have been covering the room, and she would've given nearly anything to have Crowley walk into the room at that exact moment. Alas, he did not, and the light faded away as Jo reopened her eyes.
The weapons were gone. Even the dirt from the bush was gone. Her bed was pristine, and Castiel nodded once. Jo shook her head.
"I don't understand," she said, stepping to the end of the bed. "Where did they go?"
"They're in me," he answered.
"They are a part of me now. That's where they're kept in Heaven," Castiel further explained.
Jo's brow furrowed. "Inside an angel?"
"Yes. Every millennia or so, an angel is elected to serve as guardian to the weapons. It's a high honor. That was how Balthazar was able to steal them. He was the elected angel, and then he faked his death. We thought we had lost the weapons forever, since we had been unable to recover his vessel's body. Of course, now we know why."
Jo couldn't help it. She was impressed. Both by Balthazar's cunning, and by just this basic tidbit from the side of Heaven. Vaguely, the whole thing reminded her of that movie, The Fifth Element. Castiel drew her attention back by moving around the corner, stopping just before he reached the center of the room.
"I have to go," he said.
Jo looked to her watch once more. It was now five minutes until midnight. She nodded.
"Get them back safely," she said.
He acknowledged her comment… but made no move to leave. She arched a brow at him.
"What are you doing, Cas? Go!"
"Jo… when I arrived earlier this evening…" Castiel began.
No. No, no, no. Jo could feel her face flushing. Please, she wanted to bed. Please don't ask this.
"What was Crowley doing to you?"
Jo felt the heat rush to her face as her embarrassment, her vulnerability laid bare once more, rose. She shook her head, and even though Castiel had not turned to face her yet, she thought she was sure that he could tell.
"Tell me," he said, now turning to face her fully.
She shook her head again. "I don't have time to explain."
"Joanna," he said, and it stunned her, the tone he used. It was oddly parental… yet not at all.
Jo sighed, turning her head so that she didn't have to look him in the eye.
"He was making me… perform a sexual action. On a candle. Very forcibly."
Castiel's eyes narrowed as he gave a tiny head shake. "I don't understand."
Jo's mind was awash in memories. Memories of all the times Crowley had made her feel uncomfortable in her own skin, of all the times she had been exposed to him. Her hand flew to the necklace—the damn, damn, damn thing—as she fumbled with its pendant.
"It was a lesson in subservience. In humiliation. And… it succeeded."
It was a long moment. She was sure it was past midnight now. Finally, for that reason alone, she forced herself to meet Castiel's eyes. They were side, almost a little glassy. It was almost as if he suffered from a deep pain.
"I'm sorry," he said finally, his voice almost hollow, like he couldn't reach parts of himself that he needed to… like it hurt too much. "I'm sorry I couldn't save you from… that."
"You mean that," she said.
"Of course I do."
She hadn't meant it accusingly, but she could understand his mistake. She managed a small smile.
"You can make it up to me. By making sure Sam and Dean get home safe… and stay that way. Deal?"
He nodded, in a storm of wings, he was gone. Jo's eyes lowered to the floor of her room, her hand moving up from the pendant now to where the chain rested against her neck. She worked her fingers, gingerly, underneath it, and winced. Her flesh was just now beginning to scab over… and she knew that Crowley, not Remiel, was at the cause of this wound. She pulled herself up onto the foot of the bed, gathering her knees underneath her chin. And, for she didn't know how long, she just sat there, telling herself not to cry.