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The Erinyes

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Ellen shifted, pounding her fist against her leg because it was falling asleep. She'd been perched in the lowest girders of the interchange since before sundown; it was almost midnight, and her target would be arriving at any moment. She took her gloves off and stuffed them in her pocket; she would need her hands free for this.

Suddenly, he was there and listening to Rufus bitch about freezing his balls off in the January night.

"You asked for me," Crowley interrupted. "You specifically asked for the King of the Crossroads, and you have been graced with my presence per the terms of the ritual you invoked. Don't whine to me about your inability to conduct research and find a ritual more suited to your own preferences."

"I don't want you," Rufus said. "She does."

Ellen dropped down from the girders and landed in front of Crowley. As she straightened, she pulled the Colt from her thigh holster and pointed it at him.

"Ellen Harvelle, what a surprise. Oh deary me, I never could have anticipated this situation." He snapped his fingers. When nothing happened, he snapped them again.

"You know why it's good to have friends?" she asked.

"Enlighten me, o wise one,” he said.

"Because they might be willing to help you out when they're not neck-deep in shit themselves. For example, an angel might find a long-forgotten text. A hunter might translate that long-forgotten text and do the ritual described in it. Other hunters, younger hunters —"

"With mighty fine asses!" Dean shouted from above.

"— might masquerade as road crew and clamber around like bats to put up all sorts of interesting additions to the highways and byways of this fine state."

Crowley started tapping his fingers against his legs, a pattern Ellen recognized as one designed to disrupt ritual spells; apparently, he'd been dealing with stupid amateurs for a really long time. When nothing happened, he yawned and then examined his fingernails. "And the point of these subjunctive situations?"

She edged closer and shoved the barrel of the Colt under his chin. "Give me my daughter back, you son of a bitch."

"Why, Ellen, you want me to pull her down from the delights of Heaven? I'm shocked at your selfishness, truly."

"She was torn apart by Hellhounds, taken to death in their teeth. Heaven isn’t where they take their prey." She stepped into his space, close enough that she could smell the stink of his coffee-laden breath and see the nervous sweat on his brow, and cocked the Colt. "My daughter's life in exchange for yours. That's the deal."

He grinned at her and laughed. "Oh, my dear, it's a deal."

He pulled her to him and kissed her fiercely. She took control, inscribing riders and conditions with her teeth and tongue, and he let her have her way. When they broke apart, he was still smirking. "I'll be seeing you," he said. He winked at her and disappeared.

She took a deep breath before turning around.

"Hi, baby," she said. She didn't want to cry, but she was pretty sure that it was inevitable.

"Hi, Mom."