Jack slunked into the Diving Demon and flopped onto a stool. He’d just gotten back to town and he hadn’t even been home yet. Ugh. He wasn’t looking forward to dusting but he needed a drink.
Cain immediately poured a glass of bourbon. “Where the devil have you been these past few weeks?”
“I was looking for Glenn Miller,” Jack downed the glass in one go. “I told Castiel.”
Jack and Castiel had the same taste in music and both were fans of the band leader. They’d gone to a concert together once--that was a fun night.
“Ah, that explains it. He’s only forthcoming when prompted. I take it you didn’t find him.”
“His plane’s just gone. Poof. No sign of it. Another. The good stuff this time.”
Cain sighed and pulled a bottle from under the counter. The good stuff may have been on the top shelf but the really good stuff was under the bar. It was like a secret menu. “The angels should be here soon.” Cain filled the glass. “I don’t understand why you’re so upset. Miller would have died eventually anyway.”
Jack glared at him “But think of the music he could have made between now and then. Didn’t they have famous people when you were human?
“No. Well...I did gain quite a bit of notoriety when I killed my brother.”
Before Jack could even formulate a response the bell above the door chimed and the three angels (even after fifty years Jack still had trouble getting used to that) walked in.
“Hello Jack” Castiel smiled brightly at him--maybe he’d get a pity fuck tonight, “Welcome home.”
“Thanks” Jack took a sip of his drink.
Castiel sat next to him “You didn’t find him?”
“Of course not,” Gabriel sat on the other side of Jack. Balthazar sat next to Castiel. Jack and Balthazar weren’t the best of friends. Balthazar’s hedonistic ways made Jack look like a choir boy.
“What’s that supposed to mean?” Jack asked the archangel.
“It was his time, Jack. I’m sorry.”
“Then where the hell is his plane?”
Gabriel shrugged “I don’t know. Maybe that Rift of yours.”
“Of mine? I didn’t cause it.”
“Time Lords and future time travellers caused it.”
“I didn’t invent time travel. Anyway, the Rift is centered in Cardiff. That’s not where the plane disappeared. And what do you mean it was his time? He could have been making music for at least two or three more decades.”
“The good die young, what can I say?”
“That is the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard. Young people shouldn’t die.”
“But they do. It happens.”
“Future boy,” Balthazar spoke up for the first time since entering the bar “didn’t you know Miller’s plane would vanish?”
Jack felt sick and he turned his glare on the Frenchy-English angel “yes but…”
“Then why didn’t you stop him from getting on that plane?”
“I forgot the exact date, okay. Besides, you’re not supposed to use time travel for personal gain.”
“How would saving Glenn Miller be personal gain?” Gabriel asked.
“Would anyone care to donate a bowl of blood?” Cain asked randomly.
Everyone stared at him “What?”
“Someone’s trying to contact me,” Cain tapped his head. “Feels like Asmodeus.”
“What does he want with you?” Balthazar sputtered.
“He’s an acquaintance.”
“Demons communicate in the stupidest ways,” Gabriel muttered. “Well angel blood won’t work. Jack? Your blood should do. We should know what Asmodeus wants.”
Jack shrugged “Sure, whatever. Not like it’s gonna kill me. How much you need?”
“Not much at all. I just need a…”
Gabriel snapped his fingers and a stone bowl appeared on the bar.
“Thank you,” Cain said. “Jack, your arm please?”
Jack shrugged off his coat and rolled up his sleeve. He held his arm over the bowl.
Cain produced a knife and made a clean cut on Jack’s forearm. Blood poured into the bowl. When it wasn’t even an inch deep, Cain handed him a towel. “Thank you, Jack.”
“No problem,” Jack sat back and pressed the towel to his wound. It would heal in about a minute.
Cain spoke some demon mumbo jumbo into the bowel. The blood bubbled in response, apparently.
“Well?” Gabriel asked. “You know angels can’t tune into Demon telephone.”
“He wants to visit me” Cain said.
“Why?” all three angels asked.
Cain spoke into the bowl again “He is an old friend.”
“You just said he was only an acquaintance,” Jack pointed out.
“Not in town, Cain” Gabriel said, sounding authoritative which was always weird. “Meet him somewhere that’s not here if you want.”
“Of course,” Cain spoke into the bowl and then set it down. “I’ll meet him tomorrow in Collinsport.”
“Stay away from Collinwood. That place has been weird lately.”
“Lately?” Castiel and Balthazar both goggled at him.
“Who exactly is Asmodeus?” Jack asked. “I’d google it but that hasn’t been invented yet and my manipulator doesn’t have a demon dictionary.” Rule one of time travel was not to mention anything about the future but he didn’t think angels and a good demon counted.
“First of all, what on God’s green earth is google?” Gabriel asked. “Second, it’s called a library. There’s one right across the street.”
“2000, I think” Jack mused “or ‘99. 90 something. It all blends together. Pretty sure it was fairly new in 2006.”
“Shut up, Jack” Balthazar said.
Jack stood up “Gotta pee.”
“Thanks for announcing it,” Gabriel quipped.
When Jack stepped out of the stall, he found Castiel leaning against the sink, looking at him with that sexy smolder of his.
“That’s creepy, you know. I didn’t even hear you come in.”
“You missed Christmas” Castiel said.
“I know. Sorry.”
“And New Years.”
“Even more sorry. You gonna let me wash my hands?”
Smirking, Castiel stepped out of the way. “There’s really no sign of the plane?”
“No. Not yet anyway.” Jack turned on the tap with an elbow and got some soap. For someone who couldn’t die, he was kind of a germaphobe. “They think it went down somewhere over the English Channel.”
“Surely you knew it would happen and couldn’t prevent it?”
“What’s the point of being stuck here if I can’t at least try to fix things?” He rinsed his hands and shut off the water. He took the towel Castiel was offering. “I wanted to contribute to the search effort.” He sighed heavily “He and everyone else on board will never be found though.”
“I’m sorry,” he truly sounded it, unlike everyone else in the bar tonight. “He was a brilliant composer and band leader. What can I do to make you feel better?”
“I think you know exactly what…”
Castiel surged forward and captured his lips. Jack immediately responded by slipping his hands underneath the angel’s trench coat and pulling him closer. Castiel opened his mouth and Jack snaked in his tongue. Castiel grabbed Jack by the lapels and shoved him against the wall, slotting a knee between his legs. Jack absolutely relished being manhandled in the bedroom...or bathroom as the case may be. In all other aspects of his life, Jack preferred to be in control, especially after what the Time Agency did to him but nothing felt better than letting go with a trusted partner.
Jack pushed back slightly for a breath of air “Yours or mine?”
Castiel nipped at his lips “Yours. You live alone.”
Jack chuckled. Castiel’s brothers were nosy and neither one was overly fond of Jack. They still referred to him as “Cassie’s stray”. “You gonna fly me there, hot wings?”
Castiel rolled his eyes at the endearment and tapped two fingers to Jack’s forehead. An instant later they were in Jack’s bedroom. He would never tire of travelling this way, it was exhilarating and better than teleporting by device in his opinion.
Jack glanced around and noted the musty smell of a space being unused in a month and the chill of being unheated in that same amount of time. The chill was especially noticeable since he left his coat back at the bar.
“It’s freezing in here” he stated.
Castiel pulled him close again and latched onto his throat “I’ll keep you warm.”
“I know you will” Jack shoved the angel’s coat off his shoulders. “Too many clothes, Cas.”
Later they lay side by side in Jack’s bed, cuddling being far too intimate for either one of them. Jack knew he cared for Castiel, loved him really. But he didn’t think he was in love not like fairy tale romance love, not the kind where he was willing to dedicate himself to one person for the rest of eternity. Jack would like to have that one day but he didn’t think it was really possible.
“Something on your mind?” Castiel asked in his deep timbre.
“You were thinking about me.”
Jack groaned “Damn angel senses.” He sighed and since he hated to talk about feelings, he lied “I was thinking about bondage and sex swings.”
Jack laughed “Oh pal, just you wait till they’re invented. You’re gonna love ‘em.”
The next evening Cain requested a town council meeting. That was rare itself but it was even weirder that he requested Jack be present. Jack hadn’t been allowed on the council since the Great Rubber Band Incident of 1931. It wasn’t fair, if you asked him because Hermes and Gabriel were much more likely to goof off. But they were immune from being voted off the island. Also, Jack tended to make references that went over everyone’s heads and it annoyed them. However, Castiel assured him that he would be reconsidered for a position in another ten years.
Freeman Cove Town Hall was in one of the largest buildings in town and was across the street from the Diving Demon. In addition to the town council chambers, the building also contained the mayor’s office, a rarely used courtroom and the library which took up most of the space.
The size of the council varied every so often but the permanent fixtures were the angels, Hermes and Cain--and of course, whoever the mayor was at the time. Currently the other members included Mayor Tobias Colt, a Man of Letters (and whose great-great uncle was the famed Samuel Colt), famous Wizard Merlin who ran the library (and who actually looked quite young), and Elizabeth Collins, a white witch (and distant relation of the creepy family in Collinsport).
There was one other permanent fixture on the Council but she wasn’t always in town. Apparently, today she was. She was called Charlotte Freeman and most people thought she was sister to Castiel, Gabriel, and Balthazar. Jack was one of the privileged few who knew the truth. Charlotte was the Goddess of All Creation and the angels’ mother. They were extremely devoted to her. Bad mouth their missing father all you want but say one bad word about Mom and you were up for some divine whoop-ass.
Mind that devotion didn’t stop Castiel from glaring at her whenever she flirted with Jack. Jack was actually kind of terrified of her.
He sat in one of the chairs which were there for when they had open town meetings. This was not one of those so Jack was alone in the audience while the council was up at the long table.
“I feel like I’m in trouble” he said, leaning back and crossing his arms over his chest.
“You’re not” Castiel assured him.
“Unfortunately” Balthazar muttered. Castiel whacked the back of his head.
Charlotte sighed “Boys, don’t start.”
Cain took a breath “I thought you might be interested to know what Asmodeus wants since you were there last night.”
“And what does the sulfur secretor want? No offense, Cain.” asked Hermes. Everyone knew that Hermes had a vehement distaste for demons, with Cain being basically the only exception.
Cain rolled his eyes “None taken, as always.” Cain, strictly speaking didn’t much care for other demons either except for apparently this Asmodeus guy “Asmodeus is requesting solace.”
Gabriel did a remarkable spit take with his too-sweet coffee “The fuck? Why?”
Mayor Colt sighed wearily “Gabriel, please don’t swear.”
“I can swear if I want, Tobias.”
Jack held up a hand “I don’t see why you’d think I’d care about this at all.”
“Jack has a point,” Elizabeth said “not that I don’t enjoy his input but he has nothing to do with who we allow in this town.”
“Not since the Great Rubber Band Incident of 1931 anyway” Merlin added.
“Are you people ever going to let that go?” Jack grumbled.
“I missed this incident, didn’t I?” Charlotte asked.
“It’s a good thing, you weren’t there” Balthazar said.
“It’s was quite funny, looking back on it though” Gabriel leaned back and put his feet up on the table.
“Uther would have had him executed” Merlin muttered.
“Nobody cares what Uther would have done” Elizabeth muttered back.
“I know. I’m just saying.”
“What would Arthur have done?”
“Joined in probably.”
Castiel whistled to get everyone’s attention “Cain, why does Asmodeus seek solace in Freeman Cove?”
“He’s grown weary of acting like a demon.”
“He fall in love or something?” Gabriel asked.
Cain nodded “With humanity, yes. I’m sure you angels can understand that.”
“Still don’t know why I’m supposed to care” Jack said.
Cain sighed “Because Asmodeus is possessing the body of Glenn Miller.”
Surprising everybody, Castiel was the first one to break the long silence that followed “What? How? Did he cause the plane to vanish?”
“No he did not. That was Fergus MacLeod’s doing.”
“Who in Tartarus is that?” Hermes asked.
“Apologies, he calls himself Crowley but Asmodeus refers to every demon by their original human name.”
Hermes groaned “Crowley is king of the crossroad demons. What’d he want with a plane full of musicians?”
“Asmodeus doesn’t know but he was able to save Miller before it happened.”
“I’ve met a natural witch named Rowena MacLeod” Elizabeth said, mostly to herself it seemed “evil bitch, she is. But she used to have a son named Fergus.”
“I’d ask if this Crowley guy named himself after the demon in Good Omens but that hasn’t been written yet. Have Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman even been born yet?” Jack wondered aloud, though he knew he probably wouldn’t get an answer. So he checked his manipulator “Nope. Three more years for Terry and Neil won’t be till 1960.” Nobody was paying him any attention. That was unfortunate, it was so cute when Castiel and Charlotte said “I don’t understand that reference” in unison. He stood up and cleared his throat “So, let me get this straight, those people are dead because a demon took them for some unknown reason? But if Glenn Miller is possessed does that mean he’s alive?”
“Hermes” Gabriel sounded commanding “check the status on those souls, please and Cain, I think we should hear Asmodeus’ case from the horse’s mouth. Castiel, set up the fanciest devil’s trap there is.”
Asmodeus stood calmly in the center of the devil’s trap. His eyes had flashed sickly yellow for a moment when he’d voluntarily stepped into but now they were normal. It was Glenn Miller’s body but it wasn’t Glenn Miller driving. They were all in the basement of Town Hall, except for Hermes who was still gathering intel.
“Is he even in there?” Jack asked.
“Yes” Asmodeus answered “but he’s asleep.”
Gabriel’s arms were crossed “He’s supposed to be dead. That plane was supposed to crash and Glenn Miller should be in heaven. Why did Crowley intervene?”
“I don’t know. I found out just before it happened.”
“Why did you save the band leader?”
Asmodeus shrugged “I like his music. I also needed a meatsuit. I can’t very well live amongst humans in my true form now could I? I admit, I was going to find a recently deceased body but this opportunity presented itself.”
“And why exactly do you seek solace in Freeman Cove?” Castiel asked.
“Wait, wait, before he answers” Hermes literally flew into the room and came to rest by Gabriel. “Crowley didn’t take those souls for himself. It was on orders from Azazel.”
The angels’ and demons’ eyes all flashed at that.
Charlotte was leaning against the wall “What does that little upstart want?”
“Unclear but my money’s on gathering up enough soul power to release Lucifer and jumpstart the Apocalypse.”
“Is that possible?” Castiel posed this question to Gabriel.
“How the hell should I know?” Gabriel sounded almost defensive.
Balthazar scoffed “As if we don’t know you helped Michael build the Cage.”
“Under duress! I didn’t have a choice. But” He shuffled his feet on the floor “it’s probably possible. I don’t know for sure but he would need a lot more souls than the plane. If he’s collecting them in a way no one is likely to notice it’ll take years. He can’t just steal everyone who dies, it would draw Heaven’s attention.”
“Can’t he just use all the souls in hell?” Tobias asked.
Gabriel shook his head “Those souls are too damaged. Besides even if he could, he would need all of them and that would throw everything out of balance. Heaven would notice that too.”
“So what can we do?”
Gabriel shrugged “Nothing right now. We’ll know if Heaven gets involved. Until then we just have to keep an eye out for suspicious demon activity. First things first though, Glenn Miller’s soul is going Upstairs. I don’t care what happens to his body. What Jack?”
Jack had risen his hand politely, rather uncharacteristic of him “Can I talk to him first?”
“It can’t hurt, brother” Castiel said.
Gabriel rolled his eyes “Christ, fine.”
The end. Of this part anyway.