A/N: A while back Miyth sent me a list of songs that would make interesting tracks for fics, and I finally tried my hand at some. So this is where I'll be posting them. They're going to be a variety of original one shots, episode tags, and some introspective pieces. Thank you Miyth and 29Pieces for beta reading this first one!
Supernatural and the song lyrics are not mine.
Song: "Murder Incorporated" by Bruce Springsteen
Setting: Season 5
Characters: Dean, Sam, Castiel, Bobby
Summary: When Cas gets captured by demons, nothing is going to stop the Winchesters from rescuing him.
"Murder Incorporated" - Bruce Springsteen
Bobby's got a gun that he keeps beneath his pillow
Out on the street your chances are zero
Bobby bolted upright in bed, whipping his .38 out from under his pillow and pointing it at the shadowy intruder. It took him a split moment to recognize the tan trench coat.
"You got a death wish?" he scowled, shoving the gun back in its place as he reached his other hand up to rub his eyes.
"Those bullets wouldn't hurt me," Cas replied. He sounded oddly tired. "Especially not here, in your dream."
"In my what?" Bobby jerked ramrod straight again, only to realize he'd swung his legs over the side of the bed—on his own, without having to lift them with his hands. He glanced around for his wheelchair, but it wasn't there. Other than that, his house looked exactly the same as he'd fallen asleep to…save for some igneous tinges around the window frames that simmered like brimstone. Bobby made a point of not looking outside. With Cas here, the usual screams in the distance were mercifully silent.
"I haven't been able to reach Dean or Sam," Cas continued. He was staying starkly still, which wasn't new for the angel, but there was definitely a certain weariness to his posture.
"They're on a hunt," Bobby said.
Castiel nodded slowly. "I need you to warn them."
Bobby surged to his feet. Damn, he missed his legs. The nightmares where he was still stuck in that chair while the world burned were the worst—and all too close to their actual future. "Warn them about what?"
"Some demons have set a trap. You need to tell Sam and Dean to stay away."
Balls, Bobby mentally cursed. "What kind of trap? And how do you know about it?"
Cas swayed slightly. "I'm…I'm the bait," he ground out.
Bobby's brows shot upward. "Excuse me?"
Castiel shook his head in apparent vexation. "I was careless and got caught. The demons will try to lure the Winchesters in, so you have to warn them."
"Warn them to stay away?" Bobby repeated dubiously. "And what about you?"
"Hopefully the demons will tire of waiting eventually," Cas said, defeated weariness heavy in his tone. "I have to go. It takes too much energy to maintain the dream link."
"Cas, wait—" The angel vanished, and Bobby's eyes snapped open to the exact same place in his study, only he was lying on the bed again, and when he pushed himself up, his legs didn't respond and the wheelchair was right by his bed where he'd left it. The windows were still dark with night, but no blazes reflected off the glass from the fields.
"Damn self-sacrificing angel," he muttered as he snatched up his phone and dialed Dean. The line clicked after two rings.
"Hey, Bobby, we just finished the hunt," Dean greeted.
"Good, because I've got another one for ya."
"Come on," Dean whined. "We've been working practically nonstop here, Bobby."
"Yeah, well, your angel went and got himself captured by demons," he snipped.
That shut Dean up for a moment. "What the hell are you talking about?"
Bobby explained about Cas's little dream visit and stupid request for Sam and Dean to stay away.
"I'm gonna kill him," Dean growled.
"You have to rescue the idgit first," Bobby pointed out. "Just be careful. Cas didn't say how many demons were involved."
"Yeah, well, it doesn't matter how many," Dean replied. "Those sons-of-bitches don't know who they're messing with."
Take a look around you (come on now)
It ain't too complicated
You're messin' with Murder Incorporated
Dean loaded the magazine with bullets and slid it into his gun with a click. Then he set it aside and reached into the weapons duffel to pull out an angel blade. It was nice having two things they could kill demons with, instead of only the demon-killing knife.
Dean grabbed Sam's handgun and loaded its magazine as well while Sam tapped determinedly at the buttons on his phone.
"Okay, I found Cas's GPS. Matches the address we got."
Shortly after hanging up with Bobby, Dean had gotten a text from Cas that had an address and a cryptic, "Come now." Dean hadn't bothered responding.
"How long?" he asked.
Sam's brow furrowed as he did the mental calculation. "Three hours."
A muscle in Dean's jaw ticked. Three hours more in addition to who knew how many Cas had already been in the hands of demons.
He packed up their readied weapons and grabbed the duffel. "Let's go."
Do you check over your shoulder everywhere that you go
Walkin' down the street, there's eyes in every shadow
Take a look around you (come on now)
Sam's footsteps echoed loudly in the dark alley as he cautiously made his way toward the abandoned building in the rear where Cas's phone was pinging from. The night was chilly with a brisk breeze that sent pieces of trash skittering across the asphalt like rats. Something rattled from behind, and Sam froze to cast a wary look over his shoulder. At the mouth of the alleyway, a streetlight buzzed.
Sam turned forward again, and went rigid as he came face to face with a black-eyed, burly man. There was a scuffing sound, and Sam twisted to find a second demon slipping into the space behind him. This one wore a brunette meatsuit whose red lips pulled upward in a minacious smile.
"About time you showed up," she purred. "We were beginning to think you didn't care about the feather duster at all. He certainly kept insisting you wouldn't come." She clucked her tongue. "Guess he was wrong."
Sam clenched his fists. "Where is he?"
"Inside." The demon waggled her brows. "We'll show you."
Sam narrowed his eyes. "Actually, I can find my own way in, thanks. You, you can go to Hell."
She snorted. "Honey, you're a fish caught in a net. What are you gonna do—" She didn't finish her sentence.
That equipment you got's so outdated
You can't compete with Murder Incorporated
Everywhere you look now, Murder Incorporated
Dean stepped in behind the brunette demon and rammed the angel blade through her throat. She cut off mid-sentence from whatever crap she was giving Sam, body arching as orange lightning fritzed throughout her skeleton.
Sam surged forward, whipping out the demon-killing knife, and stabbed the other demon in the chest before he could even think of making a move. Both lit up with flashing ocher, and Dean and Sam pulled their blades out at the same time. The demons dropped to the ground.
Sam lifted his gaze to Dean's. "He's in there."
Dean tightened his grip on the hilt of his blade. We're coming, Cas.
So you keep a little secret down deep inside your dresser drawer
For dealing with the heat you're feelin' out on the killin' floor
Castiel bit back a cry and tried to curl in on himself as another fiery brand was jabbed into his shoulder. The smell of singed fabric and charred flesh wafted up to burn his nostrils, coupled with the pain of his true form being seared. The demons had coated metal prods in holy oil before bringing the tips to a smolder. And Castiel couldn't escape their poking, trapped in a circle of holy fire already. He'd been brought to his knees hours ago, and finally the pain and exhaustion had been too much, and now he was a wretched ball on the floor, the edges of the fire ring licking at his wings no matter how hard he tried to tuck them in.
He longed for deliverance. For the divine retribution of his garrison swooping in to smite every last piece of vermin where they stood.
But that was not going to happen. Castiel would not call out to his brothers for help, anyway, as they were likely to come and simply do worse than this. No one was coming for him. He hoped the demons would grow bored eventually, especially if he didn't give them the satisfaction of a full scream.
Everything burned, and Castiel's vision had dimmed to nothing but the writhing flames of Hell roaring up around him. Soon it would consume him.
We're coming, Cas, filtered faintly through his mind, muffled by the cackling echoing in his ears.
It was a nice wish, one he only let himself hope for in the secret depths of his heart. Maybe if he let himself believe it, too, he could drown out the rest until it was over.
No matter where you step you feel you're never out of danger
So the comfort that you keep's a gold-plated snub-nose thirty-two
Dean and Sam swept into the building with fluid synchronization. The demons weren't even trying to hide, confident in their outer sentinels. That was their second mistake. The first was taking Cas.
Dean's blood turned to ice at the sight of the angel on the ground, trapped in a ring of holy fire as a demon stalked around the edge, jabbing him with a smoldering iron. Three other demons were laughing and jeering, too absorbed to notice their perimeter had been breached.
Dean whipped out his gun and emptied the magazine into the demon torturing Cas. It wouldn't kill the bastard, but it'd be enough to put a stop to the games. The other demons whirled in shock and dismay. Dean and Sam charged forward, each stabbing a demon before they could react. The third threw himself at Dean, knocking them both to the floor. Dean tried to get his arm up enough to wield the angel blade, but the demon grabbed his wrist and slammed it against the concrete.
Sam darted in and thrust the demon-killing knife into the demon's side, right between the ribs. He gasped and jerked, body flashing with dying throes. Sam kicked the dead demon away as Dean scrambled to his feet, just as the last demon was getting up, eyes flicking black with rage as it stumbled forward, torso riddled with holes.
"I liked this meatsuit," he spat, and waved his arm.
An invisible force knocked Dean's legs out from under him and sent him flying into the wall. He hit with a harsh thwack and then fell to the floor with a thud. Sam was a sprawled mass of limbs a few feet away.
Dean gritted his teeth and tried to get up, but with a flick of his wrist, the demon had him pinned. Dammit!
The demon stalked around the edge of the holy fire. "You know, we really only need Lucifer's vessel alive. You, I'm sure he'd accept as a head mounted on a pike." The demon crooked his fingers, and Dean felt a pressure closing over his throat.
From inside the ring of fire, Cas suddenly pushed himself up, and shot a hand out over the wall of flames. He threw his head back with a guttural scream as the fire seemed to surge with glee, spurring up around his arm, but Cas didn't stop until he'd yanked the demon down to fall across the flames, and then the bastard was screaming too.
The pressure on Dean's throat vanished, and he surged to his feet just as Sam did. The demon rolled out of the flames, shrieking as they continued to lap at his body. Dean adjusted his grip on his angel blade, and jumped in to deliver a killing blow, yanking the weapon out just as quickly so he wouldn't get burned. The demon fell limp, orange lightning melding with the flames still crackling over him.
Dean whirled toward Cas, who was laying on the ground again and clutching his burned arm to his chest. "Cas!" He leaped over the flames, harmless to humans, and dropped down next to the angel. "Cas, hey, we're here. We got you."
Cas's eyelids dragged open. The last of the flames dancing in his pupils died down as Sam slapped a piece of canvas over the ring to extinguish it. Then he was crouching down next to Cas as well.
"Oh god," Sam choked.
Dean's jaw was tight as he surveyed Cas's injuries—dozens of burns across his entire body, small, probably from the smoldering iron. The worst was his hand and arm, inflamed and charred from Cas pulling the demon down like that.
"Dean," Cas rasped. "Sam…" He licked his lips. "Are you…real?"
"Yeah," Dean said. "And we're getting you out of here."
You got a job downtown, man it leaves your head cold
And everywhere you look life ain't got no soul
That apartment you live in feels like it's just a place to hide
Dean had to drive a ways to get out of the bad part of town and find a motel with enough distance between them and demon central in case more showed up. He would have preferred to go straight to Bobby's, but Cas needed patching up, badly. By the time they got him into a room, he still wasn't healing, and his jaw was clenched so tightly in obvious pain that his face was practically bloodless. Dean wanted to know what bastard had given those demons the idea to use holy fire on an angel.
He and Sam settled into the rhythm that came from years of post-hunts: setting out the first aid and supplies in the order each item would be needed, filling a bowl with water and laying out the motel towels. Dean had even grabbed a bottle of whiskey out of habit, only to realize that wasn't going to do Cas much good. Shit, Dean didn't want him to have to be awake and lucid for this.
Cas was leaning back against the headboard, eyes squeezed shut with an intense pinch between his brows.
"Hey, man," Dean said, "this is gonna hurt, but I don't think we have anything strong enough to take the edge off for you."
Cas opened his eyes, and there was a brief flicker of fear in them before his expression hardened staunchly. "It won't be worse than…before," he said carefully, as though enunciating each word took effort.
Yeah, well, that didn't make Dean feel any better about it. He took a seat on one edge of the bed, Sam on the other, and together they started helping Cas out of the trench coat, suit jacket, and dress shirt. It would have been easier to just cut them off, but somehow that seemed sacrilegious. Cas gritted his teeth and stoically endured it, only grunting when the rough fabric brushed over raw flesh, despite how careful the Winchesters were trying to be.
The burns were worse when fully exposed, and Dean had to pause to quell his roiling anger. Sam's jaw ticked with equal wrath. But they both put it aside and began methodically working their way down Cas's injuries. Dean started on the arm first, because it was the worst.
Cas hissed through his teeth as Dean wiped a wet cloth over the singed flesh.
"Easy," Dean replied automatically. "It'll be better when we're done." He hoped the angel's mojo would repair all this sooner rather than later, because Cas's hand was pretty messed up. They'd have to bandage it like an oven mitt.
Though he was focused on his work, Dean could feel Cas's gaze boring into him. He did his best to ignore it, because Cas was just awkward that way.
"Why did you walk into that trap?" Cas finally asked.
Dean glanced up briefly to give him a 'duh' look. "Because you were in there."
"But it was a trap. You and Sam could have been captured and taken to Lucifer."
"Well, we weren't."
"We were prepared, Cas," Sam put in. "Bobby told us it was a trap, so we knew what to expect."
Cas let out a huff of exasperation. "That was not why I warned Bobby in the first place."
Dean stopped cleaning the burn and threw Cas a dark glower. "You really think we'd just leave you there? To be tortured and killed by demons?"
The blank look he got from Cas in return doused Dean's heart in ice. He skewered the angel with a domineering glare.
"That would never happen, Cas. Even if it was Lucifer himself in that building, we would have come to get you."
Cas's eyes widened in alarm, and he tried to sit up. "No—"
"Yes," Dean interrupted.
Sam put a hand on Cas's shoulder, careful to avoid the burns, and gently pushed him back down.
"Saving people is what we do," Dean went on.
Cas averted his gaze. "I'm the one who's supposed to be protecting you," he muttered under his breath.
"We protect each other," Sam said, and there was a dark look in his eyes.
Cas looked away, jaw ticking in apparent irritation. Dean was pissed they even had to have this conversation.
"Get used to it," he said brusquely, and then turned his attention back to patching up his friend.
You're walkin' down the street you won't meet no one eye to eye
The cops reported you as just another homicide
But I can tell that you were just frustrated
From living with Murder Incorporated
Sam stood outside the abandoned building they'd rescued Cas from. After patching the angel up, Sam had taken the Impala to replenish their supplies while Dean watched over the stubbornly obtuse and loyal-to-a-fault angel. Cas hadn't wanted the Winchesters to come for him, hadn't believed they would. The idiot. Even the demons had realized before the angel that Cas could be used as a bargaining chip against the Winchesters. Because he was one of them now.
Which meant this wasn't over.
Sam pulled his hands out of his pockets and strode into the building. The dead demons were just where they'd left them in their hurry to get Cas out earlier. Realistically, they could just forgo cleanup on this one. The cops would write the murders off as occultish. Sam wanted to take certain precautions, though.
He dragged the four demons into a pile, in the middle of the scorched ring they'd set up to keep Cas trapped in. Then he salted and burned the bodies, just to make sure the souls from the demons' meatsuits wouldn't come back as ghosts. Sam stood in front of the bonfire and watched them all burn, the waves of heat buffeting his hair away from his face. He didn't move for several long minutes.
A shadow detached from behind a support beam and lunged at him. But Sam had been prepared. He sidestepped, twisting around to grab the assailant by the shirt and using his own momentum to slam him down on the ground. Sam whipped out the demon-killing knife and pressed it to the demon's throat.
"Thought one of you might come crawling out of the woodwork," he remarked casually.
The demon's eyes flicked black for a split second, then back to normal. "Guess the canary's cage got sprung. Lucifer will be disappointed."
"I bet he will." Sam pressed the knife harder against the demon's jugular, then started reciting an exorcism. The demon hissed and tried to thrash, but Sam bore down on him, keeping him pinned. One line away from finishing the incantation, Sam paused.
"Remember that I'm not killing you. So when you get back to Hell, spread the word. Anyone comes near my brother or our friends, it will be war. And you will lose."
Sam recited the last line, and the demon threw its head back with a scream as black smoke spewed from the body to splash down into the floor and disappear.
Sam stood up, sheathing his knife. The demon's meatsuit was breathing, so that was another life saved. Sam would wait until he was a few blocks away before placing an anonymous call to the police. He did, however, pull out his phone to make another call as he walked out.
"Well?" Bobby answered.
"We're all okay," Sam said. Well, they'd all be okay. "See you soon."
Everywhere you look now, Murder Incorporated
Castiel lay in the backseat of the Impala, propped up against one side with his legs tucked up on the seat. The loose-fitting flannel shirt Sam had loaned him billowed around the bandages covering his burns, and he held his injured arm protectively against his chest.
The Winchesters sat up front, both of them silent and shrouded in the night. Every few moments, orange halos from streetlights would illuminate half of their harsh profiles, jaws sharp and hard gazes fixed on the road ahead.
They had come for him. In the midst of what had seemed like endless torture, Castiel had looked up and seen the figures of two avenging warriors. Not angels, though. Not his heavenly brethren. But just as fierce. Castiel had watched Sam and Dean strike down those demons with unadulterated retribution—all to reach him.
He didn't know whether to be irked at their disobedience or awed by their devotion.
Either way, he was grateful. Yes, he was their guardian, but tonight Sam and Dean had proved equally capable. And Castiel felt safe under their wing.