Title: Dead Letters (BtVS/Supernatural crossover) (4/??)
Content: Swearing, drinking, smoking, action, angst, humor, non-graphic depiction of torture, mention of sexual situations
Timeline: Post-Chosen for BtVS (and goes AU pre-Conviction for A:tS), goes AU post-Family Remains for Supernatural.
Disclaimer: BtVS is the property of Joss Whedon and the Fox Corporation; Supernatural goes to Kripke and the CW.
Archive: Here and TtH. If you'd like it, let me know.
Author's Notes: Un-beta'd
Summary: Sometimes packages can't be delivered. The likelihood of this increases if the package slips into the wrong dimension.
Chapter Notes: Takes place during On the Head of a Pin.
It had been a long drive, and as he twisted the key in the lock to the latest motel room, Dean wanted nothing more than to collapse into bed. The last thing he wanted to see was a pair of angels standing in front of the twin beds. “Oh, come on!”
“You are needed,” intoned Uriel.
“Needed for what?” asked Spike, appearing behind the angels and pre-empting Dean’s comment. Both angels spun around to face him, Castiel then twisting back to cast a confused look at Dean.
“Who is this spirit?” he asked Dean.
Dean laughed, dropping his duffel on the floor. “Boy, for being lieutenants of the one and only all-powerful God, you two never seem to know anything useful.” He motioned to Sam to hand it over, and Sam produced the amulet, laying it in his brother’s hand. “This mean anything to you?”
Castiel approached them to examine it. “What is it?”
“It’s Spike’s home,” replied Sam. “His spirit’s attached to it. It’s apparently indestructible, and it burns demons.” Dean did a quick double take at this revelation, but it only broke his poker face for a moment. Castiel picked the amulet out of Dean’s grasp, cradling it reverently. Uriel’s eyes widened when he got a better look at the bauble.
“Pure, unalloyed creation,” Uriel breathed.
Sam’s eyes narrowed. “What, like an angel’s grace?”
Castiel tilted his head. “Yes. And no. This talisman, it is a conduit, not a container. But a faint residue remains.” He pressed the amulet to his nose, inhaling deeply. “And it is fresh,” he finished, offering to pass the amulet to Uriel.
Dean couldn’t tell if Uriel’s expression was triumphant or tragic. “This cannot be,” whispered Uriel.
“Could you two please be a little more vague?” asked Spike. If it were possible for a ghost to combust under the force of angelic glares, Spike would have in that moment. Castiel recovered first.
“The grace within angels is ancient. Billions of years old, as we are. This grace is new. Within the last ten years.” He traded a look with Uriel. “It has been much longer than that since our Father was last seen.”
Spike was surprised to learn that an angel could indeed lift a ghost, as Uriel hoisted him into the air by his underarms. “Have you seen Him, foolish spirit?”
Spike considered the question. “Is He a flash of light? Bone-searing impossible white light? Because I saw that. Right before I showed up in the middle of this god-forsaken boondocks dimension.” ‘God-forsaken’ hadn’t been the best choice of words perhaps, because Spike found himself flung backwards through the hotel wall, though fortunately the adjoining room was unoccupied. Spike gathered his wits and stood up to walk back through the wall to the other room. “Did I strike a nerve there, Huggy-Bear?”
Uriel lunged to grab Spike again, but Castiel intercepted him. “This changes things. If we could find our Father, speak directly to Him...” Castiel’s voice trailed off, and Uriel ceased straining. He pointed a finger at Spike.
“You will tell us where you saw our Father.”
Spike crossed his arms. “And what good will that do me?”
Dean glowered. “It might help, I dunno, avert the apocalypse, maybe?”
Spike snorted. “Maybe. That God’s always ineffable, never know what He’s got up His divine sleeve. No, I’m thinking short term. I want a body.” He brushed his duster off with the backs of his hands. “This body. I want it back. I’m sick of this Casper routine.” Spike nodded to himself. “Oh, and a pack of smokes.”
Uriel contained his anger poorly. “You dare to presume-” but once again Castiel intervened.
“I can see no harm in granting this request. And besides, there is more than sufficient grace in this conduit to provide what you ask.” Castiel took the amulet back from Uriel, gripping it tighter for a moment while holding up his hand. “There.”
Spike laughed. “‘There’ what?” Then he tilted his head back and it whacked into the wall. “Ow.” Sam and Dean couldn’t repress their grins. Spike shot them a dirty look, then started patting his pockets. As promised, a pack of Morleys was in his left pocket. He lit one and inhaled luxuriantly. “That’s better.” He ignored the dirty looks that the brothers Winchester were now directing at him and leaned back against the wall. “So, what would you like to know?”
Castiel tilted his head to the side. “You already know the question.”
“Fine. If it was indeed God, as you lot seem to think it was, then I was in a cave beneath the Hellmouth in Sunnydale, California. The First Evil had opened the gate to Hell and all sorts of nasty beasts were climbing out. Fortunately, I had an army of Slayers with me who helped beat the beasties back. Then that little trinket, which was around my neck at the time, started to heat up. I told the Slayers to clear out, and that blinding white light consumed me, and the cave, and sealed off Hell to be fended off another day.” Spike took another drag and blew out a smoke ring that Castiel wiped away from his face.
“There is no such town as Sunnydale in California,” said Castiel.
Spike grinned. “Not on this world, no. But where I’m from, well, there used to be one anyway.”
Uriel grunted. “You mean to say that you are from another world?”
“I do believe I already said that, mate.” Spike flicked a column of ash in the angels’ direction.
“And how did you arrive here?” asked Castiel.
Spike licked his lips. “I was delivered. U.S. Mail. No return address included, I’m afraid, Peaches.”
Castiel turned to the Winchesters. Sam nodded. “We have the envelope in the car somewhere.”
Spike walked over to the bathroom and doused the end of his cigarette butt under the faucet before depositing it in the trash. “So, let me just lay this all out for you. Your absent Dad, who’s apparently found planes more interesting than this one to play about in, no real trick that, and who no doubt knew in His omniscient way that your world was headed towards apocalypse, decided that what you lot needed was me.” Spike cracked his neck to one side and flexed his fingers. “Of course, I appreciate the way He asked if I felt like it, but nevermind. Point me to the violence, and I’ll take care of things.”
Uriel sniffed. “And why would our Father send you without sending us revelation?”
“Maybe He didn’t know who He could trust,” said Spike. “Other than the painfully trustworthy Winchesters here. Look how earnest they are.” The brothers in question looked more wrathful than trustworthy as he said it, but Spike was on a roll now. “Anyway, you mentioned that they were needed. What for?”
Castiel spoke first. “Angels are dying. Seven from our garrison have been killed, and we don’t know how.”
Spike arched his eyebrows. “Really? And you thought the brothers clueless could shed some light on the subject? Your tender faith is, well, it’s touching.”
“We have captured the demon Alistair,” continued Castiel, apparently not acknowledging Spike’s condescension. “But we need an interrogator. Dean is the most effective that we know.”
Light danced in Spike’s eyes, while Dean flinched. “Well, well. Looks like it’s your lucky day. Dollars to doughnuts, I’ve had more practice at it than the pup.” He glanced up at Dean. “They wanted you to torture again, and well, I’ve heard more than enough of your whinging about that than to wish a repeat performance.”
Uriel shook his head. “We are here for Dean.”
“Dean’s standing right here, and I don’t plan on torturing anyone,” growled Dean.
“And you got me instead.” Spike let out a bark of laughter. “What’s the boy had: ten years experience behind the flogger? I was torturing folk long before he was even a misbegotten glint in his father’s eye.” He took a few steps closer to Uriel. “Unless you specifically wanted young Dean here to suffer the indignity of returning to his least favorite habits? But then you’re angels, not sadists, right?”
Uriel huffed. “You will do.”
Spike grinned. “Excellent. Before we’re off, Dean, Sam, a word please?” He walked out of the room, and the brothers followed behind him, Sam shutting the door. “There’s something deeply wrong with this.”
“What, you mean them wanting me to torture, or you being eager to? ” asked Dean.
“Won’t be the first time I took one for the team, Dean,” said Spike.
Dean’s nostrils flared. “How the hell have you had so much experience torturing people? I thought you were some kind of hero, not some psycho sadist.”
“Plenty about me you don’t know, and don’t want to.” Spike shoved his hands in his pockets. “Sam, you said Ruby’s on her way?”
Sam nodded. “That’s right.”
“Good. See if she knows what can kill an angel.” Spike’s eyes flickered to the door. “Dean, you might want to call that Bobby fellow, see if he has any ideas either.”
Dean pursed his lips. “Why do you want to know that?”
Spike sighed. “Because you don’t entirely trust our feathered friends and neither do I.”
“Cas is all right,” said Dean.
“And Uriel?” asked Sam. Dean looked from Sam to Spike, exhaled , and then nodded.
Spike turned directly to Dean. “Anything special I should know about Alistair?”
“He’s the demon you met back in Greybull. He’s a sadistic bastard. Head of the torture division down in the Pit, from what I saw.” Dean looked down before continuing. “You’re going to have to be creative.”
“Don’t worry too much about that.” Spike turned and put his hand on the handle. “One last thing I’ve been wondering about and you should too: is there a list of these seals anywhere? And if so, why haven’t the angels or Ruby given it to you?” He glanced back. “Good luck, boys.” With that, he reentered the hotel room, closing the door behind him. Sam and Dean were only a few seconds behind him, but by the time they got in, Spike and the angels had disappeared.
“Damn it,” muttered Sam.
Spike took in his new surroundings. “An abattoir? You sure aren’t ones for subtlety, are you?”
Uriel was getting better at controlling his temper with Spike. “You’ll find your subject on the other side of that door,” he pointed.
“We haven’t much time,” said Castiel. “You will find the necessary... implements on that cart.”
Spike smirked. “So you’ll get your hands just that bit dirty. Good to know.” He walked over to the cart and started wheeling it over to the steel door, whistling ‘The Irish Rover’ quietly to himself. “See you on the other side, gentlemen.” He swung the door open and pushed the cart through, the door slamming shut loudly behind him. Spike stopped the cart just short of the circle chalked on the ground and surveyed his quarry.
Alistair was strapped to what appeared to be a cast iron six-pointed star. He was staring at Spike. “You found a body.”
Spike shrugged off his duster and hung it from a convenient hook. “That I did.”
“What are you?” Alistair looked him up and down. “I don’t think I’ve met your kind before.”
“You catch on quick, you do.” Spike found a stool overturned in a corner and set it up just outside of the circle, brushing off the top of it before sitting. “I thought we could have a chat.”
Alistair’s eyes narrowed. “‘A chat?’” he echoed. “What about?”
Spike allowed his eyes to glint yellow as he lit a cigarette. “Angels.”
“I’m tellin’ ya, Dean, even the tiny bit of literature I’ve got that supposes angels exist doesn’t say a damn thing about killing them,” groused Bobby from the other end of the line. “Nobody on our side would want to kill one. I hate to say it, but that demon witch your brother likes so well is going to be your best source on this.”
Dean rubbed his eyes. “Okay, fine. What about a list of the seals?”
He could hear the heavy thump of a book hitting Bobby’s desk. “That’s less impossible but still tricky. There’s not a list so much as every once in awhile somebody mentions a prophecy in the middle of a text. Finding all six hundred-odd of them is gonna be a bitch.”
Dean grinned. “Johnny Walker Black?”
Bobby grunted, “Green,” and hung up. Dean chuckled to himself as he tucked the phone away. On the other side of the room, to Dean’s pleasure, Sam and Ruby were speaking in raised voices.
“If there’s not a list, how the hell do you always know when we’re dealing with a seal?” demanded Sam, looming over the demon.
“I pay attention. I listen to demon gossip. If you haven’t noticed, every time I’ve told you that there’s a seal in danger, I’m always one of the last ones to the party. That’s because I’ve been busy finding out that there’s a seal getting broken!” Ruby’s eyes glinted black.
Sam faltered then turned. “Well, Lilith must have a list to be working off of.”
Ruby snorted. “Sure, Spike says it, so it must be true.” Her eyes narrowed. “Why so trusting all of a sudden, Sam? What’s that ghost got on you?”
“He ain’t got crap on Sam,” said Dean. “He’s an ass. But he’s got a point. We’ve been going about this whole apocalypse thing all wrong.”
Ruby clenched her fists. “I already told you. There’s more than six-hundred possible seals! You can’t just pick one or two and stand guard in front of them. Especially now that they’re more than halfway through.”
“Which is just proof that our current strategy isn’t working,” said Sam. “The angels obviously don’t have this situation under control. We need to at least try.”
“The current strategy isn’t working because you haven’t been concentrating enough on finding and killing Lilith. If you kill her, you don’t have to worry about seals,” countered Ruby.
It was Dean’s turn to scoff. “Because there’s no way that another demon would pop up to replace her. Oh, wait – how long did it take her to replace Azazel? Because I don’t think we got two minutes of breathing room after the last time we killed the biggest, baddest demon.”
Ruby glared at Dean. “Lilith is special. She’s the first demon, the first human that Lucifer seduced. Demons don’t come any bigger or badder than that.” Ruby sighed heavily. “Kill Lilith and this all ends. I don’t know to make it any easier for you to understand.”
Sam pursed his lips. “Sure. Fine.”
Dean shook his head. “You make it sound so simple. So what’s your grand plan for killing Lilith? You happen to know what she did with the Colt? Because your little pig sticker didn’t do jack to Alistair, and if she’s as big and bad as you say, it’ll be lucky to give her a vague tickling sensation.” Ruby and Sam exchanged a look. “Oh, no. We’ve been down this road. And it is the road of No. Fucking. Way.”
“Do you have any better ideas?” asked Sam.
“Anything is a better idea than that,” said Dean. “Anyway, if you’re the one that’s going to kill Lilith and stop the apocalypse, then why’d the damned angels bother bringing me back?” He raised his hands as Sam jutted his chin out. “There’s got to be another way. One that doesn’t turn you into a monster.” Dean felt a moment’s regret as Sam flinched at the words, taking cold comfort in the truth of his statement.
Ruby groaned in frustration. “We don’t have time to find another way.”
“Quick and convenient doesn’t equal good or right,” said Dean. “And I don’t like the kind of pressure you’re putting on my brother to throw away his humanity.”
“I’m pressuring him because I’m trying to save humanity. As in, you know, all six billion of you?” She put her hands on her hips. “Sam, are you seriously going to let him make this decision for you? For the world?”
Sam’s brow furrowed as his gaze jumped back and forth between the two of them, words stuck in his throat. “I – there’s – at least-” Finally he settled on Ruby. “I don’t want to be a monster.”
Her eyes shut. “I can’t believe this.” After a moment she opened them and then grabbed her jacket of the bed, heading out the door. “Give me a call when you’ve learned to be a man. If the world hasn’t ended first.” The walls shook with the force of her door slamming.
Dean smiled at his brother, but Sam’s look remained dark. “We’ve got a month. We don’t come up with a better plan by then, and I’m calling her.” Dean opened his mouth to object, but Sam cut him off. “I am not worth more than the world, Dean. And whatever your angel pals say, I do have the power to stop Lilith. I don’t want to be a monster, but if that’s what it takes, then I will do it. And there’s nothing you, or Bobby, or Spike can say that’s going to change my mind.” Dean tilted his head at the inclusion of Spike in that list then Sam held up a finger. “One month, Dean. That’s it.” A shudder crept up Sam’s spine. “And I hope to God that we’ve got that much time left.”
Dean nodded. “Right. She have any idea of how to kill angels?” Sam shook his head. Dean glanced down at the laptop. “So, research then?”
Sam gave him a weary look then slumped into a chair, opening up the laptop. “Get some rest, Dean. You look like shit.”
Dean sat on the closer bed and pulled off his boots. “I’m not the only one.”
A hint of a smile pulled at Sam’s lips. “Yeah, well, it could be worse.”
Dean sighed, stretching out on the bed. “True.” Visions of Alistair on the rack flashed through his mind. “How much trouble do you think Spike can get into with Alistair and the angels?”
“You really want to know the answer to that question?” asked Sam with a chuckle.
“You’re probably right.” Dean let his eyelids slide shut and listened to the sounds of his brother typing. “It can wait until morning.” A few seconds later, Dean was asleep.