Disclaimer: Kripke owns all… lucky son of a gun.
Language Warning: Some strong language
Spoiler: Set a few days after "Heaven and Hell"
Author's Notes: A HUGE amount of thanks to sidjack for her help, Angelustatt for her feedback, and KadySN for sheer awesome-possumness. You gal's rocketh my socks!
"Yeah, I'll be right along boys. 'Uncle James' needs to make a phone call first," said the Trickster, smiling as he pulled up the number on Dean's phone.
Chapter The Sixth
The cell phone went off with a shrill sound, pulling the man from his studies of a book on ancient Babylonian burial rites. He reached over, grabbed the phone out from under the pile of papers it had been buried beneath, looked at the number. His heart instantly started to beat a little faster; the only time Dean seemed to call anymore was if something was wrong.
Bobby Singer sent out a quick prayer to whoever was listening that the news wasn't of major cataclysmic proportions for the two men he'd grown to love as sons, and clicked open the phone.
"Bzzt! I'm sorry, but Dean can't come to the phone right now, he's kinda busy" chirped the voice on the other end of the line – a voice that was most assuredly NOT Dean Winchester. Bobby scowled – this wasn't good. Whoever he was, the man sounded beyond pleased with himself, and although his voice had a somewhat familiar ring, the older hunter couldn't quite place it.
"Who is this?" he asked.
"I made THAT little of an impression on you? Dang, I really need to try harder…"
"Who in the hell is this?" Bobby growled, his patience wearing thin. "And where's Dean?"
"I told you, Bobby – can I call you Bobby, by the way? Always liked that name better than 'Robert'. Or 'Bob'. Anyway, Dean's busy. Sam is too, so don't even bother asking for him."
For the first time Bobby began to notice the background noise wherever the call was coming from. It sounded like a playground or a schoolyard; he could hear shouting and laughter, but couldn't quite make out the voices. What were the Winchesters doing there? And who was this smug bastard that somehow had a hold of Dean's phone? He took a deep breath, tried to keep his voice level. "I'm gonna ask you one last time, Mister…"
"Oh, I've gone by so many names throughout the years, sometimes it's hard to keep track of them all. I-" The voice suddenly cut away from the phone; the speaker was apparently talking to someone else for a moment. "Sammy, quit spinning around like that, the chains won't hold and you'll make yourself puke. Sit back up and – there we go! Good boy!" The voice came closer to the receiver again. "What a little handful! Well, not exactly a little handful, but… What were we talking about? Oh! That's right. For right now you can call me Dean and Sammy's 'Uncle James.'" A small chuckle with a slight undercurrent of malice reached Bobby's ear.
"Or I can go by 'James Jesse', if you prefer."
Bobby wracked his brains; he was certain the caller was giving him some kind of backhanded clue to his true identity, since he knew damn well Dean and Sam (Where did this idjit get off calling him "Sammy", anyway? More to the point, why was Sam allowing it?) didn't have an "Uncle James".
And why did the name "James Jesse" sound so dang familiar?
It took him a moment, but then he realized where he'd heard that moniker before. James Jesse was a foe of the comic book hero known as The Flash, and his criminal alias was…
Bobby's hand tightened so hard over the cell phone it was a testimony to its makers that it didn't shatter in his grip. "Trickster" he snarled, the word loaded with fury.
"Ding, got in one! Congratulations! Y'know, I don't care what everyone else says about you, Bobby – you're one smart guy!"
"Where are the Winchesters? What have you done with them?"
An annoyed huff popped down the line. "Does this sound like I've done anything with them?" The phone was held out again so he could hear the noises more clearly.
The sounds made the breath catch in Bobby's throat; he never thought he would hear them again. Dean and Sam, their voices so light and playful, laughing so freely, so unfettered by… everything. For a brief moment he was happy, until he remembered who he was talking to, who was responsible for this… whatever "this" was. NOTHING the Trickster did was done without strings attached, and those strings could quickly turn into a noose.
"I'll rephrase the question, then," Bobby growled. "What have you done to them?"
"Oh for crying out loud! You Hunters are all so freaking paranoid! A good psychiatrist would make a fortune dealing with you guys! Well done, you've figured it out: I've locked them in a room full of Laughing Gas and… oooh, you know that's actually a really good one! I'll have to write that down, save it for another time… dammit, you never have a notebook around when you want one. Maybe I can type that idea into the phone someplace. Hey, do you know where Dean got this phone? It's really nice. Wonder what kind of minutes you get with this thing. Takes great pictures, let me tell you."
"Pictures? Pictures of what?" Bobby asked, although he had a sinking feeling he knew the answer.
"Why, of the boys, of course! Got to save these kinds of moments for posterity, you know. You should see them, Bobby. They're having so much – Dean, don't try and stand up on that, buddy, you'll fall flat on your face – fun." A slight pause. "Yes, you really do need to see this. I know you're a big part of the guys' lives, right? I mean, you SHOULD have been able to talk to them before things had gotten as bad as they have-"
"Now just one damn minute!" Bobby roared. Demigod or not, there was no way he was taking that laying down. "Don't you DARE lecture me about what I could have done for those boys, you son of a bitch! You think for one minute I would've just LET Dean do something so –"
"Okay, okay, that was a bit of cheap shot, I'll admit. I mean, it's not like anyone can get between a Winchester and their whole 'I've got to be all noble and self-sacrificing' vibe, right? But I was serious, Bobby – you need to be here."
"Where's 'here', exactly'?" Bobby said, rising up from his chair. If he could keep the Trickster talking, maybe he could stall for enough time to grab some stakes and –
"That's for me to know and you to find out" came the reply. "You just quit looking around for a stake and walk to your front door."
That last remark brought the hunter up short. "How did you –"?
A fond chuckle escaped the Trickster's lips. Humans… they were just so predictable. "Dude, I wouldn't NEED to be a demigod to know that right now you're looking for a weapon or twenty right now. Now will you please just do what I said?"
Bobby's shoulders straightened and a determined gleam came into his eyes as he adjusted his hat. Whatever the Trickster's game was, it was apparent that for Sam and Dean's sakes he was going to have to play it. He walked over to his front door, put his hand on the knob. "Okay, I'm here."
"Now shut your eyes."
"You've gotta be kidding me. What the hell for?"
"Not the best time to be questioning me, Bobby. Just do it." Snarling, the man obeyed. "Now just open the door and walk out."
Bobby took a deep breath, and stepped out the door.
Ah, yes, a cliffhanger. I know, I know, I'm just THAT evil.