Chapter Twelve: Blood Sugar ((Pendulum))
Crowley was not looking forward to this.
He supposed he should have been. Most demons would kill to be in a spot like his. In fact, most demons DID kill to be in spots much worse than his. But there was a distinct difference between them and Crowley. Most demons were overconfident. They thought human and angel alike was no match for them; that they'd always win out in the end. Crowley held no such delusions. He knew exactly what was coming for him. The humans, for starters, were bad enough. Hunters. Two very skilled hunters, with the means to make his life very difficult. Or very short, depending on how the fight went.
And then there were the angels. The first one wasn't so bad. Being an angel in Purgatory didn't really mean much. He wouldn't have any of his angelic powers down here, so unless the Hunters had been training him, he wasn't going to put up much fight. And even if they had, he'd only been with them for a few days. That wasn't any time to pick up the important parts of being a Hunter.
The archangel though. Gabriel. That could be a problem. Crowley knew Gabriel wouldn't have much of his powers, but any bit was enough as far as he was concerned.
It was complicated.
He had to come up with a plan. That was what Crowley was good at. Most demons failed right off the bat because they didn't plan for minor oversights like stubborn humans or capricious archangels. He knew from his sources that they were on their way. They had a car with a trunk full of weapons that were specifically used to kill and maim demons. He didn't want that.
So he had to make sure the car didn't make it. Sure, he could kill them all in the process, but he didn't hold high hopes for that actually working. Besides, he needed at least two of them. One of the humans had Lucifer's pendant. And the archangel was useful.
Killing them was out of the question for now. At least two of them. The others were disposable.
Crowley gave a sharp whistle. Within minutes, a dog bounded through the hall, skidding across the hardwood floor before padding into the living room to him. This might have been cute, were the dog not taller on four legs than Crowley was on two. Crowley still thought it was cute. His pet Hellhound was a shaggy black- furred giant. His tail wagged excitedly as the demon gave it a few scratches behind the ear.
"That's a good boy
Are you ready to go fetch?"
The Hellhound barked. The pictures shook against their places on the walls.
"I spy with my little eye, something
"Gabe, if you don't shut up, I swear
Sam sighed, pressing his forehead against the glass. "Leave him alone, Dean, he's just bored. We've been driving all day."
"It's like having kids!"
"Hey, I resemble that remark," the archangel grinned. "I'm so much older than you anyway."
"We'll believe it when you act it, Fun Size."
"Oh, short jokes. That's clever."
Crowley didn't have anything to worry about. Sam was going to kill them both.
Behind him in the backseat, Castiel stared out the window. His fingers idly toyed with the bandages on his other arm.
"We'd be there already if someone hadn't zapped us to some park that was half a day's drive away!"
"Better than the wolves, wasn't it?"
"Anywhere in seclusion with you? That's debatable."
"Well, next time I'll make sure you get left behind then. You'll be the best chew toy they've ever had."
Sam felt his eye twitch in annoyance. "Will you two just"
The car was silent. Everyone who wasn't driving stared into the backseat at Castiel, and even Dean chanced a few glances through the rearview mirror. The angel was curled in on himself, glaring. There was a dangerous glint in his eyes that Dean had only seen once. And that was before two demons had wound up toast.
"Dean, pull over at the next stop." He growled. The hunter arched a brow, but nodded.
He took the next exit, rolling the car to a stop in the parking lot of a rest area. Castiel pushed the door open, getting out before speaking.
"We all need a break. Especially from each other." He pointed to Gabriel and Dean. "Before you two end up fighting, or before Sam and I kill you."
Sam bit back a grin. He was thinking exactly the same thing, but he didn't think it was a good idea to grin in the face of a furious angel. There was probably some kind of smiting involved.
Castiel, having said his piece, turned on a heel and stormed off, leaving a thoroughly surprised Hunter and archangel in the car staring after him. Sam got out as well, stretching his long legs. His brother stared at him, and he answered with a 'what are you gonna do' shrug. Then he went off in search of something out of a vending machine to eat.
"What was that all about?" Gabriel muttered, pressed against the door.
"Beats me. I think they're cranky."
"Guess we shouldn't wake them up so early anymore
Dean chuckled, sliding out of the car. Coffee sounded good.
He found the angel staring at one of the vending machines along the row of them. He remembered when they were traveling by themselves, and the machines they'd found in the bus station. He grinned.
"Want some chips?"
Castiel glanced up at him. He'd calmed down considerably, which Dean was glad for.
"I apologize for snapping."
Dean shrugged. "Don't worry about it. It happens when you cram four people in a car for a day or two. Hell, you should see what happens when it's just me and Sammy after a week."
Castiel half- smiled. Dean fed some change he'd found in the Impala's glove compartment into the machine. He turned to ask the angel what looked good, and found Castiel pointing, his finger pressed against the glass. Dean hit the buttons.
"Getting used to this picking food thing, huh?"
The angel shrugged, pulling the bag out of the bin at the bottom. "I remember these from the first of the machines we used."
Dean nodded, moving to the next machine to get some coffee.
been meaning to thank you."
The hunter blinked, looking over after pressing a few buttons. The machine spat out a cup, which it started to fill with hot coffee. "What for?"
"For helping me," he pulled at the bag's edges, more for something to do than for actual desire to open them. "I had no idea what I was doing at first. I'm sure I still don't. Being human is more difficult than I imagined. Without your help, I'm not sure where I would have wound up. I'd probably still be in that fire trap in the woods."
Dean shrugged, taking his cup. "I'm sure you'd have managed. But I'm glad I could help." He sipped his coffee, making a mental note to help Castiel further in the future. Then he forgot about it, because he realized he'd already planned that awhile ago.
He wondered when exactly he'd come to that conclusion.
The pair walked back to the car. Sam was leaning against the side, drinking a bottle of some kind of juice and waiting for everyone else to return. There was no sign of Gabriel. Dean didn't know whether that was a blessing or a curse.
When the archangel returned, beaming, half an hour later with his arms laden in candy bars, he settled on curse.
Dean wasn't exaggerating about Gabriel taking them out of their way. They were still catching up from the detour. He couldn't really blame the archangel though, even if he'd snapped earlier. He'd gotten them out of a tough situation, before anyone was seriously hurt.
It was still annoying though.
An hour after their rest stop break, they passed the diner they'd stopped at the previous day. There were no wolves. They didn't plan on stopping anyway. One ambush in a spot was enough to pretty much swear it off forever.
There wasn't much conversation. When they talked, they argued. And though neither Dean nor Gabriel would actually admit it, they were tired of arguing. They also didn't want to risk pissing Castiel off again. Dean had amended the Driver Music Rule to now include no comments from the backseat, and was currently playing whatever tape he picked up first. While most of the car had been replicated from Dean's own in Kansas, there had been a few slight additions. Namely to the tape collection, which now included some things from Sam's collection if he still collected tapes, instead of mp3s like the rest of the world and even a few of Gabriel's choices. Castiel, not having much input in the musical world, was pretty good with anything.
So they played Music Roulette. It was a way to pass time, and kept them from yelling at each other. They were in the middle of what Sam informed Dean was a group called Massive Attack, whatever that was. He couldn't be sure if this was Sam's or Gabriel's. Castiel seemed content with it as well, and Dean had to admit, he didn't mind it as much as some of the others. The archangel had weird taste in music; weirder than Sam, and that was saying something. They'd learned that much with the last tape that had played, some kind of techno in another language. Gabriel had informed them it was Indian. Dean had been working on rule amendments to the game that included an automatic forfeit if said music was in another language.
The drums beat on in some sort of tribal pattern, as something hit the side of the car, hard. The Impala swerved, and Dean let out a curse, gripping the wheel tight to correct it. Luckily no one else was on the road in the daytime.
"What the hell was that?!"
Sam leaned out the open window. Whatever it was had hit the passenger side. He saw nothing beside the road. "Dude, I think you hit something."
"I didn't see anything!" It would be just his luck to hit a deer or something out here. Sam would kill him.
There was another thud, this time on the opposite side. Dean swerved again, this time toward the shoulder lane. Gabriel slid into the middle seat.
"That wasn't us hitting something, that's something hitting us!" the archangel yelped. He'd felt something hit the door hard enough to push it against him.
Dean sped up.
Castiel, who'd been asleep in his seat until the swerving had happened, sat up straight. "What's going on?"
"Not sure." Sam tightened his seat belt.
Dean glanced in his mirrors. He couldn't see anything on the road with them. He took a sharp turn as the highway curved. "There's nothing here!"
"Oh fuck me!" Gabriel blurted, eyes widening as he realized exactly what they were dealing with.
He leaned forward, into the space between the two front seats. "Hellhounds. Crowley sent Hellhounds after us. I can't BELIEVE he'd send freaking Hellhounds! They're invisible to everyone but the damned."
"How do we stop them?!" Sam gripped his seat tight as another collided with the front wheel, sending the car to the next lane once more.
"Funny thing about Hellhounds is that they're REALLY hard to stop," Gabriel replied. "Invisible and demonic and all that jazz."
Dean swerved again, sending Gabriel rolling into Castiel's side. The angel winced as his brother was shoved against his injured arm.
"Not really helping, Gabe!" Dean pressed his foot to the gas once again. If they couldn't stop them, then they'd have to outrun them.
What he hadn't counted on was the Hellhounds matching his speed, slamming into the side of the car once more. It spun out of control for a second before he managed to right it, only his years of driving experience stopped them from crashing right there. He let out a curse, righting the car and speeding along the highway.
"These bastards are messing up my car!" he growled, hands gripping the wheel so tight his knuckles were turning white.
Sam grabbed the shotgun from the floor of the passenger side. He couldn't see what he was aiming for, but anything would help at this point. Most of the weapons were in the trunk, which didn't do them any good now. He leaned out the window and fired blindly.
Something yelped in pain, and bounced off the side of the car. He'd actually hit one!
"Good job Sammy," Dean swerved quickly into the next lane, pushing the car as fast as it would go.
He fired again, and heard a similar noise. Either he was a very lucky shot right now, or there were just so many of them that he couldn't miss. One worried him a lot more than the other.
Another Hellhound slammed into the car, knocking it to the side. Dean turned the wheel sharply, trying to stay in the middle lane. He needed to stay away from the sides if at all possible; the last thing they needed was to end up in a ditch, surrounded by Hellhounds.
Gabriel rolled around in the backseat, tossed either which way by the car's motions. This would teach him to wear a seat belt next time, that was for sure.
He was pretty sure there'd be a next time, anyway.
Something ahead of them flickered in the light. There was nothing there, but there was all the same. Then they crashed right into it, full on. It was like hitting a brick wall. The car jolted to a halt, the front caving in. All four passengers were knocked forward.
Dean might have passed out for a moment, he wasn't sure. Moments later, he blinked open his eyes. Something pulled at the front door, wrenching it open. He put a hand to his head, slightly disoriented. Then he jumped up, recalling what had just happened.
Sam was sprawled in the passenger seat, unconscious. He looked like he'd hit his head on the impact. A thin trail of blood ran down his temple. Castiel was curled up in his seat. He wasn't moving. Gabriel was gone, and the back door was wide open.
Dean moved to help his brother when something yanked him out of the car by the back of his shirt. He barely had time to undo his seat belt before he got choked by it, as he was pulled out onto the pavement.
"Sam!" He moved to get up, to go back and help them, but it kept pulling. There was a Hellhound latched onto the back of his shirt, and it wasn't letting him go.
"Stupid mutt, get OFF!" Gabriel kicked at an invisible Hellhound, yelling. One foot flailed wildly, while the other was pulled out, dragging him away from the car.
Dean fought against the hound he was currently attached to, swinging blindly. He could see his brother and the angel, still inside the wrecked car, but the Hellhound was dragging him further away. He struggled, even heard a tear in the cloth, but the invisible dog only clamped his jaws down harder, this time catching Dean's shoulder.
He suddenly felt weak and exhausted. He fought against it; he needed to get away and help Sam and Castiel, but it was stronger than he was. Gabriel went quiet beside him. Dean cursed. He yelled and he struggled. But despite everything, his eyes started to close on their own.
The last thing he saw, before slipping into darkness, was the wrecked remains of the Impala, with Sam and Castiel too still inside.