There is blood on Deanna’s hands. It drips down her arms in cooling droplets. Soaks into the rolled back cuffs of her shirt staining it an even darker, copper heavy red. She smiles broad and bloody and true. God does she smile. Because this feels good. Too good.
She can feel the tension of the First Blade in her hand. Barely a blade at all. Almost a blunt instrument. Like her – a blunt bludgeon of a thing sharpened by use more than thought and only really made useful by magic, destiny and circumstance. There was probably something poetic in that. But right now, right here it doesn’t matter. All that matters is the blood and the hunt. And the freedom. Oh god the freedom. Real freedom, at last.
She takes a deep breath she doesn’t even need. She can taste the fire, and the blood, the pain and fear on the air, sulfur sweet, the almost milky smell of broken bones, and the bitter burnt magic of dying demons, and as always that perfect combination of apple shampoo, old fashioned lipstick, and sex. It smells like hope used to feel.
She looks up and Abaddon standing before her now, having stepped delicately over the destruction and dead bodies that fill the room. There isn’t a hair out of place and what feels like real pride in her eyes. The Queen catches Deanna’s waist and pulls her forward. Kisses her like violence. And Deanna lets herself respond. Buries one bloody hand in the demon’s perfect copper hair and kisses back like all Hell is on the line. Because it is. It always is.
“You ready, baby?” Abaddon asks.
“As I’ll ever be,” Deanna grins back.
They are so damn close now. Close to finishing this. Binding the Mark so they can rule Hell and eventually Heaven too. So close Dee can taste it on their breaths. Of course the spell requires her brother’s blood. But that isn’t going to be a problem. Between Deanna’s planning and Abaddon’s brutality there is nothing that can stop them. Not even Sam Winchester at his most righteous.
“You are glorious like this,” Abaddon says. She wipes a streak of viceira off Dee’s cheek as she says it.
Dee can feel the twisted knot of lusts inside her. Lust for blood, lust for flesh, lust for power, lust for her Queen. It’s so wrong it’s right. Deanna puts the Blade away in it’s holster on her leg, so she can get both hands on Abaddon’s skin. Both hands on her face and drag her back to kissing for redemption.
“I won’t be long,” Dee assures the Queen. “You’re my Queen and I couldn’t stay away if I wanted to. You know that right?”
“I do. But I don’t need to,” Abaddon says. It’s imperious, commanding, a little cold. And just the right mix to get Dee’s demonic blood flowing hot.
“I wanna dance,” Dee says, and drops to her knees without further preamble. Her hands smeer bloody streaks on Abaddon’s tight leather pants as she pulls them open, she disapproves suddenly of their existence. Not quite enough to burn them off - they look too good the rest of the time - but enough to pull them roughly. Abaddon lets her. Lets her worship at the Demon Queen’s altar of a body. Abaddon arches her back and lets out a breathless moan when Dee gets her hands on that coppery cunt. The blood on her hands is still tacky slick and it smudges into golden-red curls, smears across peach skin, and she can taste it when she finally applies her tongue to the demon’s clit. Blood, woman, violence, and demon. What more could she want. She sighs into it and Abbadon’s nails sink into her hair, into her scalp hard enough to draw blood.
Somewhere else, in another universe, as far away as two breaths and as close as eternity… another version of Deanna wakes up screaming in an empty bed.
The Road So Far…
6 Months Earlier - Eugene, Oregon
Okay, so this Tracy chick was a bitch, and kinda stupid – seriously who empties their only clip of demon trap bullets into one demon without even waiting to see if they work - but that didn’t mean she deserved to go out like this. Dee figured she could buy the chick some time while Abaddon tried to shred Deanna into kitty meat.
She could almost feel Sam’s disapproval of that plan from here, even though he was God knows where with Irv. Though, he’d probably be even more bitchy if she let the chick get killed for the high crime of almost making Sam cry. A no win on the little brother’s disapproval front then. May as well play the hero she was always told she was.
Deanna did the only thing she could think of when Abaddon started advancing on them with all 6 demon trap bullets uselessly buried in Kevlar. She threw a flask full of holy water in the demon’s face and tossed her car keys to Tracy.
“Listen, my car is three blocks over,” Deanna told her. “Go get more bullets, more holy water, get everything.”
“No, n-no, but…” Tracy stammered out. “What about you?”
“Just go!”” Dee shouted back in her best command voice. The voice that got Sam to actually move when they were kids. The one that could even get dad up and moving through a drunk haze. And it worked on lost little Tracy and her stupid booty shorts too. She was up and running.
“Alone at last,” Abaddon said from behind Dee’s back. Her voice was back to normal, so already over a face full of holy water then.
Deanna pulled a stolen angel blade from her jacket. Cas had said some bullshit about angelic power making them stronger once but then Dee knew she was able to kill Zach with one… so if it worked on an angel maybe it’d work on a Knight of Hell. Gotta be worth a shot. Or a few seconds at least. She charged.
She wished she could be surprised when Abaddon feinted then twisted into the attack, disarming Deanna in one fluid move and twisting her into an awkward face to face arm hold. Bitch.
The problem was Deanna wasn’t used to fighting targets with such a similar level of calculated brutality and agility. Deanna used her attackers’ moves against them all the time and having it turned on her was both impressive and infuriating. She glared.
Then she gasped as Abaddon pushed through the hold into a crippling attack. It said something spectacularly depressing about her life that Deanna recognized the sound of her shoulder dislocating a moment before the pain hit and forced her to her knees. Dee focused on breathing through the pain trying to ignore the way the demon looked her over. That expression was way too hot for a fight – but then again maybe that’s what gets Abaddon off. Goddamnit Winchester, what the hell? She just dislocated your damn shoulder that is no one’s idea of a come on. Probably…
“I missed you, Dee.” Abaddon smirked right up into Deanna’s face. “Did you miss me?” Okay, that was a come on.
Somewhere far off Deanna heard a crash. Close to that sniper fire from earlier, if she had to guess. Goddamn it. She spared a moment to hope that Sammy was safe and prayed that a hidden angel was enough to keep him that way. Then she looked into Abaddon’s newly restored meat suit and smiled back.
“So appreciate you kids coming when I call.” Abaddon spoke into her ear, breath too hot for human against the sensitive skin on Deanna’s neck. The smell of apple and vanilla shouldn’t mix so seductively with sulfur. “I think that's what I like most about you Winchesters. You're so obedient. And suicidally stupid. I like that, too.”
“Are we gonna fight or make out?” Dee even managed to smirk back at her. “'Cause I'm getting some real mixed signals here.” Deanna had never been above using her sexuality to make a monster uncomfortable. And even if there was a grain of truth in it, so what? She was still buying time for Tracy, not to mention Irv and Sam. That was the whole point, right? Her arm was going numb.
“I want Crowley. Or what's left of him.” Right to the point then. Damn it.
“Yeah? What's in it for me?” Deanna said. She was still being way more flirtatious than she should and dragging things out. She wasn’t above selling out Crowley if she needed to, though. She wasn’t even really sure what she planned on using him for anyway. They would still need a way to kill Abaddon but that didn’t have to happen today. Maybe she really could argue, flirt, or buy their way out of this?
“I let you…” Abaddon stopped suddenly, like she just changed her mind. She gave Dee a calculating kind of look that swept her whole body in a way that made Dee hot and cold at the same time. When their eyes met again Deanna could see the moment the demon decided to go off script. “Where’s the kid?” she asked it like a test.
And that really got Deanna’s attention. She struggled against the hold for the first time, even though it sent new sparks of pain shooting through her shoulder, and she realized she was held down by demonic power as much as the pain. She clenched her teeth and almost spat her next words, “You stay the fuck away from MJ, hell-bitch.”
“Ah, ah, ah.” Abaddon looked way too pleased with Dee’s reaction. “I didn’t say I was going to hurt your little runt now did I? I mean, I could, obviously… but that isn’t what I was thinking, at all.”
Could she? Could she hurt the kid? Mary Jo was pretty much the most powerful thing even the Winchesters had ever come across apart from Death and Lucifer. Was a Knight of Hell really that big a deal? Of course MJ’s powers weren’t under her control yet. How much did the demon even know? Enough that her first thought wasn’t to use MJ as a target or a threat to Dee - that’s for sure. And even that might be too much.
Deanna just glared at her and bit down on a pained whimper. She wanted to know what came next, just what exactly the demon was offering but she didn’t want to give in. Backing down just wasn’t in Dee’s nature, especially not if her kid or her brother were under threat. Protecting her family was all she had ever had. No matter how bad it got. This wasn’t even close to the worst thing she had done to buy Sammy some time. Hell, it wasn’t even the first time she had flirted with a monster to do so.
Abaddon ran one overly familiar claw-tipped nail across Dee’s chest. Bisecting her anti-possession tattoo in a sinister way, and caught Deanna’s eye again as she did it.
“You know, I've loved this body since the moment I first saw it. You're the perfect vessel, Deanna. You give a girl all sorts of nasty ideas… we could raise a lot of Hell, you and I.”
“Not really my style,” Dee said automatically. What was with the subject change – was it one? And why the fuck did it sound tempting? Deanna knew a seductively framed threat when she heard one. She also knew she probably wouldn’t put up with it from Crowley, or anyone else. So why was she this time?
“Isn’t it?” Abaddon asked like she was reading Dee’s mind. Which she couldn’t, ha, thank you horribly invasive but useful Enochian bone branding.
Deanna felt herself smirk back, anyway. She always did have an escalating weakness for a hot redhead. Starting with that son-of-a-bitch Ian Blake in 10th grade, then Rhonda Hurley, then Anna, hell even Charlie turned out to be a freaking mistake. Maybe she had a problem…
There was a bright flash of blue light and the sound of demons screaming as they flickered out of existence – it was a distinctive sound that Dee would admit to enjoying just a little more that she should.
“An angel?” Abaddon said, suddenly a lot more threatening than seductive again.
“Yep, didn’t think we’d come here with out back-up did you?” Deanna said taking back control of the situation as quickly as she could. “I think that’s your cue.”
Abaddon didn’t look pleased but she backed off arms up.
“For now – but we still gotta talk business sometime. See you later, sweetheart.”
She was gone before Deanna’s hand even closed back over her angel blade. Probably just as well. Deanna wasn’t actually sure if she would have stabbed her or not at that point.
A World Away - Men of Letters Bunker
Deanna wakes up gasping for air. Her skin is too hot and her heart is racing. She tries to chase a confused memory of red hair that smelled like demons instead of angel. It felt wrong but good. Apple and fig and vanilla. And dry blood.
Dee has a lot of nightmares. Waking up in a cold sweat isn’t exactly new. Hell, Purgatory, an apocalypse or three, the fire that took her mom, three weeks with a soulless sister, and her life in general. They were all fuel for nighttime fears, even her normal dreams are more blood than anything.
She is just thankful that she doesn’t get night terrors and sleep paralysis like Samantha does, or did for years after the demon blood and again after Castiel broke that damn wall in her mind. In their life it is desperately important for someone to know the difference between real demons and imagined ones. She shakes off that thought along with the lingering traces of the dark dream. It wasn’t real she reminds herself. She’s safe here in her own bed. Safe.
The strange thing about tonight's dream was Abaddon, again. That was who held her down in the dream. And this isn’t the first time either. Why Abaddon? She’d hardly been a real threat even when she wasn’t buried in a bunch of little boxes. Not with Anna going all arch-angelic fury on her ass after the demon nearly killed Henry.
Damn it. Deanna is fully awake now. She stretches out reaching for comfort by some reflex but the other side of the bed is empty. As usual for this time of night. Still slightly warm though. The faint smell of cut grass, clean skin and the very edge of angelic ozone lingers. Sometimes, on nights like this, she wishes angels slept.
As if on cue the baby starts crying in the next room. Okay maybe a spouse that doesn’t sleep isn’t all bad. She can imagine with an edge of physical clarity how hard this would be alone. She smiles and gets up even though the crying has already stopped before she even gets her slippers on. She’s awake now anyway.
She slips into what Samantha only half-jokingly refers to as her ‘dead guy robe’ and makes her way out into the cold hall.
Even with Charlie’s help they never have quite figured out how to get the central heating to work in the corridors at night. At least it gives her another excuse for the dead guy robe anyway. She’s never quite managed to admit that she likes the MoL logo on her chest, likes the sense of history in this place and in herself. Even if they were long dead she just likes the feeling that a Winchester somewhere might have belonged somewhere. Might have been part of something that wasn’t all guns and blood. It was stupid. Sammy would understand - she always understands - but Dee isn’t comfortable with what Sam and Anna both call ‘emotional vulnerability’. So screw it. She wears the robe without comment, puts up with the teasing, and builds her little home inside the warded walls of an underground bunker in the middle of Kansas. She is the closest she has ever been to happy and that is going to have to be good enough for the well-meaning and way too nosy women in her life.
She pushes the door open to the makeshift nursery and takes in the softly lit domesticity. God, if you told her ten years ago that she would ever have this she probably would have punch you. And that was before it all went down too, before the apocalypse, before Hell. Back when demons scared her. But that was also before red haired angels. Before Anna.
She leans up against the door frame to observe the little scene. Anna carefully laying Bethany back down in her Ikea crib. It looks so out of place among the Men of Letters furniture and yet somehow perfect. Most babies probably don’t have an Enochian and Sumerian protection symbol theme for their nursery either. But this kid is a Winchester. It makes more sense than kittens. And Anna, of all people, had gone over Dee’s ward work - not to make it more powerful but to add chibi style angels and bunny rabbits around the sigils.
“Did you just angel wammy my baby?” Deanna says softly, trying to keep the smile out of her voice and failing.
“No, she just likes me better,” Anna responds with that huge smile that still manages to make Deanna’s breath catch. “And you should be asleep too, Winchester.”
“Can’t.” Dee shrugs. She could kick herself for the angel wammy comment. She wasn’t asking Anna to put her out. She hates needing that and it’s been months, almost a year, since the nightmares got that bad anyway. She reaches out a hand and Anna takes it letting herself be pulled into Deanna’s arms. “Almost mornin’ anyway,” Dee mumbles into apple scented hair.
Anna looks up at her in a way that is far too knowing. It’s the kind of knowing that comes from knowing Dee as a person, and from just being Anna not from the angel thing, so it makes Dee’s heart hurt a little. Being both known and loved by this celestial creature still takes her by surprise some days. Every day, maybe. And knowing how close they came to losing each other, it makes it all the sweeter to have her here now.
“How about I help distract you?” Anna offers. Her smile turns coy and she leans up to press an almost chaste kiss to Deanna’s lips. And, yeah, okay - that’s the sort of help even Winchester pride can’t refuse.
Dee kisses her back hard enough to banish any lingering thoughts of sulfur and apple blossom. Covers the nightmare over with fresh grass and cool grace. She tangles her fingers in hair that’s just the right kind of red and pulls her lover back towards their shared room. Thankful for sound proofing and the 4am stillness around them.
Men of Letters Bunker - A few steps closer to Hell…
It had been pure luck that Sam was in the room when Castiel called Deanna that first time. And it was luck again when he found a lead that he thought he could trick Dee into following, when Cas still hadn’t turned up a week later.
The first time Deanna had glanced at the phone screen, unknown number, and answered - because they always answered that even if they didn’t want to. They never knew when it would be yet another friend bleeding out.
Whatever Cas had opened with it wasn’t enough because Dee’s response had been “Fuck off, Cas.”
She was about to hang up when Sam snatched the phone out of her hands and glared at her.
Cas had fallen. Again. For them, again. And when he said as much to Dee she had laughed at him. That rough broken laugh. That twisted mockery of what his sister was before the Apocalypse. And she had said “No, Sam. He never does it for us. He does everything for him. Trust me.”
Then she’d stomped out of the room. He had found her in the library a half hour after, hugging a confused looking MJ. He had felt physically sick for a moment when he almost thought she was on the verge of telling her daughter who the kid’s real father was. But she’d been angry at Cas before. Really angry. Scared of him even. And even then, she had never once dropped the lie. She cared about MJ, cared too much to tell her what she really was. And goddamnit wasn’t that his sister all over. Selfishly self-sacrificing to her core. Castiel might be the worst substitute father on the face of the Earth but it was still better than the truth, so the lie held. They all pretended that they didn’t know. Because Dee couldn’t stand the thought of how her kid would feel if she knew what she really was. So they all played this stupid game of silence and half-lies.
Dee had just sat there and cried into MJ’s hair until Sam had pulled her off and told MJ to go ask Kevin to take her to school. That was still been new, too. Dee letting Sam touch her again. If the trials had given him one thing it was that. Somehow coming so damn close to death, again, had convinced Dee that she would rather have him, even after the Apocalypse. He had to wonder how much was his own sacrifice and how much was yet another betrayal from Cas though. Had to wonder if he was just a replacement for his own substitute.
That had been a week ago and things still hadn’t got any better. Dee pretty much refused to even talk about finding Cas. Sam had to do something.
Sam couldn’t really believe that Cas actually killed that nephilim either but it didn’t change anything really. Cas must have known how Dee would react to it. He must have known that she would be seeing MJ’s face not some unknown waitress in California. Maybe he had done it on purpose to push her away - who the hell knew. Not Sam that was for damn sure. In the end it didn’t matter though, they had Abaddon on their tails, a whole slew of fallen angels and Metatron to deal with. And they owed Cas, whether Dee saw it or not.
Sam pushed the memories and tangents aside. Thinking about that wasn’t going to help him find their missing former angel any quicker. The dead girl near Cas’s last known location wasn’t enough of a lead. But two priests with burned out eyes - that had to be enough to get Deanna moving.
She’d been on edge ever since their encounter with Abaddon a few days ago though. Irv’s sacrifice and Tracy’s 7 year long grudge had hit Sam hard too - but somehow Dee was the one about to climb out of her own skin from it.
As if she had heard him thinking about her Deanna stalked into the room, still wrapped in that damn dead guy robe and glaring at him over her cup of too strong too sweet coffee.
“What?” she demanded. Like he was the weird one. Typical.
“I think I’ve got a lead on… the angels. They’re looking for something in Emory Park, Iowa - it's only a few hours away. Thought you might wanna check it out?”
“I’d rather gank ghosts and ghouls but I suppose angels are still monsters, right?” she said. Smug in a way that showed she knew her cavalier attitude would bug him. “Lemme get dressed and make sure Kev’s got enough cash and we’re off.”
Sam wasn’t sure if he was grateful or terrified at how easy that was.
St. Anne's Cathedral, Emory Park, Iowa - 6 hours later…
“Clarence…” Sam said with wry humour. “It’s kind of sweet. That’s the name Meg used to call him. He probably doesn’t even know it’s a pretty famous angel.”
Deanna had that clenched jaw look. Arms crossed for a moment before she shifted to gripping the steering wheel. Jaw still twitching. She was not happy about coming to look for Cas. She might even be resisting the urge to punch Sam over it. Sam wasn’t surprised but maybe a little disappointed.
Sam could never decide just how his sister felt about the angel that pulled her out of Hell. She was mostly gay, he knew that much from observation. Like a 5 on the Kinsey scale - at least. And he really shouldn’t have thought about his sister as often as he did during that freshman Human Sexualities course but what can you do. He knew she picked up guys sometimes - he suspected it was only if it was easier. And she did have a few boyfriends when they were teenagers - though that could have been to placate Dad as much as any natural proclivity. And then there had been the ‘doublemint twins’ - dear god why. And, well, most of all Sam wondered because there was a damn good reason they could all go along pretending that MJ was Cas’s kid. So they must have… at least once… but as he watched her in that moment, he still wasn’t sure one way or the other.
He remembered that her Siren was a guy… but not just any guy. A guy like Sam. She didn’t want a better lover - she wanted a better brother. Maybe Sam was just shooting himself in the foot following this path and pulling Cas back into their lives. But when did that ever stop a Winchester from doing the ‘right thing’... certainly never stopped Dee, even if her ‘right thing’ was usually a twisted almost selfish kind of loyalty. With Deanna it always came down to family. Sex was something she did. Family was something she was, it was in her bones. It was then that Sam finally realized it, only a brother could hurt her the way Cas had…
Sam suddenly knew how she felt about Cas and just how he hurt her - because Sam was always hurting her in just the same way.
“Take a picture.” Deanna’s voice dragged Sam back into the moment. “It’ll last longer.”
“Sorry,” he muttered. He wasn’t sorry about staring but it’d do. She’d never let them get close enough to the topics he really wanted to say sorry for.
She started the car, just a little more viciously than she normally would, and drove off. Sam had to take that as agreement to try and find Cas. It’d do for now.
Deanna nuzzles into the slightly cool skin behind Anna’s ear and runs her hands down the angel’s bare sides. If there is one thing she misses about Anna’s two brief stints at humanity it is her body heat. Angels tend to run a little cold - only few degrees or so but enough to notice. Anna’s never been as cold as Lucifer or Michael had been. But it’s just enough to remind Deanna that her lover isn’t quite human. Some days it is sexy but other times it’s just unsettling and she can never be sure what will trigger which reaction.
This time she pushes all that aside. She focuses on the soft, fair skin under her lips instead and the way the angel shivers in sweet anticipation under her kisses. Dee smiles into Anna’s skin and massages her fingers deep into her shoulderblades. If she focuses just right and Anna’s blood is running fast enough then she can almost tell where her allegorical wings merge with human reality. Anna’s back doesn’t get sore anymore - it did when she was human. She told Dee once that she always wondered why but once she got her grace back she realised the wings never went away. They weren’t gone - just bound inside her. Powered not by grace but part of her soul. Mystical something or other - but Dee likes the idea anyway. Likes the idea that her angel was always a little bit more than the eye could see.
And she really likes soothing away the half-remembered aches - her callused, short nailed hunter’s hands on smooth creamy angelic flesh. The way Anna arches up under her, pushes back a little into Dee’s thighs where she is straddling her angel’s lower back. Dee is just starting to tense up, giving in to the rising heat under her skin, turn the soft kisses into something hotter. Open mouthed, a little teeth too… turning her massage from sensual to sexual. Indulge in skin on skin slide- when Anna’s phone buzzes loud on the bedside table.
“Arg,” Deanna complains and lets her body go boneless. Falls forward onto Anna knowing she can take all of Dee’s considerable muscle mass. “Ignore it?” Dee whines. She knows it’s useless. But she digs her blunt nails into Anna’s side anyway - in just the place that she knows gets her going, angel’d up or not. It doesn’t work. But at least she tried.
Anna rolls Dee off like she weighs nothing. At least she looks apologetic about it and the kiss she gives Dee almost makes up for the interruption. It promises that she’ll make it up to her later. It doesn’t stop Dee from flopping back onto the bed with an exaggerated sigh though.
It is the first time that Samantha has taken out a newly human Castiel on a case without either Dee or Anna as back-up. And Dee can’t really blame her wife for her concern over her idiot sibling. If Sammy was the one suddenly weakened and running off to hunt a ghoul for the first time then Dee would have been just as edgy. Probably worse actually - she’d been bad enough when she was too pregnant to go on hunts and had been left at home with the prophet while Anna and Sam went on hunts. And Anna had been all angel and Samantha was actually functional most of the time.
She knows Anna feels responsible for Cas’s newfound humanity somehow. Like it was her fault her little brother was a gullible idiot. Dee manages to stop herself laughing at the thought. It was like Anna thought it was her fault that she was the only angel that knew how to live without orders or something. Dee really does sigh at that one.
Anna is smiling as she texts back. So whatever the really badly timed interruption had been about it wasn’t life or death. Which means it shouldn’t take too long-
Anna drops the phone back onto the bedside table and rolls over. Crawls right into Deanna’s lap.
“Where were we?” she whispers right into Dee’s ear. And Dee presses up into her, breast to breast, yeah she can handle the odd interruption so long as the apology felt like this.
“Here,” she answers and wraps a hand in the angel’s tangled red hair pulling her down into a deep kiss. Slick, sweet, and perfectly distracting. Just a little too good to be called divine…
Back in black…
Deanna couldn’t freaking breathe. Of fucking course it got worse. It always got worse.
She’d seen more angel blinded people than she cared to know. She’d seen what happened when grace burned through a human body. She had come close to knowing it herself more than once. But now she knew it with a shocking intimacy.
She knew it on Kevin. Little Kevin who had been so like Sam at that age. So full of hope and longing for his normal life and his AP classes… Kevin who had been so damn brave and wandered into this through no fault of his own. Kevin whose fate had literally burned him… Kevin who Dee had damned with her desperation to save Sam. She wanted to cry but it caught in her throat.
Deanna had sold her soul for her brother before and honestly probably would again even knowing it had almost burned the freaking world. But this was worse somehow. She hadn’t sold herself. This time she sold something real - she’d sold someone else. Sold Kevin almost as clearly as she’d sold herself in the past. And god damn it she wasn’t sure it was worth it. Wasn’t sure if she would do this one again. And wasn’t sure which option made her a worse excuse for a human and a hunter.
And then it got freaking worse. Because then she heard MJ gasp. Heard her baby cry out. Heard and felt and knew that MJ was seeing just what Mommy had done. 7 years old and looking at this… it was worse. So much worse.
“Don’t look, baby,” Dee managed to gasp out. Managed to put a hand flat out towards her child but couldn’t look at her. Not yet. Still couldn’t pull her eyes away from Kevin’s burned out face. Couldn’t pull her eyes away from what she had done… not yet. Oh god… Sam. She still had to save Sam…
Using Crowley to get Sam back just made sense. As much as anything made sense right then anyway.
Relying on Cas came a little harder. And when the hell had that happened? When did her life become a place where trusting the former King of Hell was easier than trusting a goddamn angel.
In the end she left Cas to look after MJ and went with Crowley to find his NSA contact.
She hated the car Cas had appropriated. But ‘Ze- correction Gadreel, was riding around rough shod in her baby just like he was riding around in her baby brother - and that thought had to stop before she puked. So that meant the hideous and badly maintained gold Continental was their ride for the duration. Great.
She glanced over at Crowley.
“What?” she snarled when she saw him blatantly staring at her.
“Nothing, Princess,” Crowley said with his usual sneer. “Demon, remember? I can smell the self-hatred from here. It’s a good look on you.”
“Shut up before I shut you up,” she snapped back. She pulled the gear shift harder than needed and pushed the car harder than she should. Considering how badly maintained the piece of shit was it’d probably fall apart on them. Right then she didn’t care one bit. She needed this bullshit over. One way or another.
Yet another abandoned warehouse - Sommerset, Pennsylvania
Belladonna remembered more about being human than is natural for a demon. As much as anything about any demon can be considered natural anyway.
She knew why too. Because she knew enough about demons even before her little trip to the pits. The first reason is simple, it was because she held out for longer than she should have. Longer than their precious Righteous Woman even. And when she was human she might have tried to pretend, to herself at least, that she did it out of pride or some grand gesture. Maybe even pretend that it was about being too good or too strong to break. But that would have been a lie. It was fear. It was the part of her that was still little Bela not-yet-Talbot. The part that was scared of hurting someone else. The part that saved baby birds because seeing them hurt, hurt her. The part that was kind out of selfishness. The part that saw inflicting pain on others as a kind of torture in itself. That was the part that held out too long.
Of course, she broke eventually. Everyone does eventually. Everyone put on that path will break - it is a fact of the universe.
The second and simplest reason she still has some humanity hidden in all that black smoke is the fact she never ‘graduated’ - she broke and she cut just as deep into others as they had cut into her. Even after Alistair was gone, there had been others. Kalista stood out the most for some reason. Guiding Belladonna’s hands. Guiding her laugh. Pushing, pushing, always pushing. Closer, closer, always closer to the bitter black inside. But never quite deeming her ready. She remembered watching him hang there. With her father’s face, maybe her father’s soul - did it matter? She remembered almost wanting it, almost hating it, almost needing to do it… But she never did. They never let her. So she never really claimed what she was becoming even as she worked demonic day after hell night. Never really resting. Letting the humanity bleed out of her soul into the Hellforge and waiting for it all to be gone so she could just stop caring and hurting and… wanting not to want things.
But that never happened. Because the third reason she still remembers everything about her human existence is because the Queen wanted her to. And possibly the King before her but that one Bel- no Belladonna (don’t forget - names are important - don’t forget) was never clear on. Crowley had come to watch her a few times but he never outright asked her anything. He could have been biding his time. Or he could have just been curious. Or maybe he just didn’t know or didn’t care to use what and who she used to be to his advantage. Either way it wasn’t until he went missing that Abaddon made her way back down into the Pit to find a little lost soul and drag her not-quite-demon self back into the light.
Belladonna remembered what greatful was. What it was meant to feel like. But she wasn’t grateful. Not really. She was demon enough for that at least. She wasn’t even loyal really. She was mostly obedient. Mostly she just liked having something to do that didn’t always hurt. So she went along with it. The lack of pain, the feeling of sun on stolen skin, the vague sense of purpose - it was all a payment. For services rendered. So she was loyal to Abaddon as much as she ever was to the highest bidder. She was professional. And that was enough for both of them, for now.
So that’s why Belladonna remembered the who of who she was trailing. That was why she remembered that terse final phone call. Remembered letting herself beg Deanna bloody Winchester to help her. Remembered the refusal too. Kind of wanted to blame Deanna. Kind of wanted to strip off her skin and make her beg instead. But it was an abstract desire. An abstract memory. If she couldn’t cut into the man who damned her through his actions as much as she damned herself by selling her soul, then how could she cut into the woman who just let it play out? If she can’t cut her wretched family how would she cut anyone else she knows
Though Deanna and Bela were related actually - distantly. She always wondered - they look so similar after all. Well, looked. Her new meat-suit was still British but that’s about the only thing shared with her old skin. She was dark haired and olive skinned now, small, lythe with eyes so dark they’re almost black even human. A gymnast because Belladonna needed a body she could twist and use the way she used to. A body she could push hard and fast and smooth, get into tight spaces, and fingers nimble enough to pick locks and snag wallets. A simple and unremarkable face - because Bel- Belladonna was sick of using any face the way she used to use hers and she had enough other skills that it didn’t matter.
Now that she was actually close enough to watch Deanna move she knew she wouldn’t try for vengeance. She could still read people like books. There’s no torture Belladonna could come up with that would be close to what Deanna already put herself through. And it wouldn’t be worth the price. The Queen wanted this one intact. Maybe to wear her… maybe something else. It doesn’t really matter. Belladonna had her orders and she’ll follow them. That’s enough. For now…
Belladonna pressed herself back further into the shadows. Crouched into the rafters like that she couldn’t see everything going on below - another abandoned warehouse how very Winchester. She couldn’t actually see Crowley or the angel possessing Sam Winchester. That didn’t really matter though, because she could hear enough to know what was going on - a double possession. Dangerous but clever. Putting a lot of faith in the soon-to-be-former King of Hell though.
From her hiding place what she could see was the kid - sitting in the corner and clutching and angel-blade like a normal child would a teddy bear. She was still surprised that they even brought the bloody kid for this. Bad parenting choices must run in the family. Deanna had walked out of the main room and come up behind the child once the possession started. Used her body to shield her child from seeing the horrors she was part of even before she was born. Had her arms wrapped around the kid - both trying to ignore what was going on and both failing.
She had heard about it, how could she not, every demon topside knew. Belladonna couldn’t imagine a world where hunters would actually plan to have a child but there it was. The great Deanna Winchester pregnant was an amusing thought - demons liked to assume it would have weakened her but Belladonna suspected the opposite.
The demons gossiped about the way that kid should be an obvious weakness - dreamed up ways they could use it against her. Belladonna knew that wasn’t true even before she saw them together. Just as with the brother, Deanna somehow got tougher when they were in danger. Turned into a viper. Threatening one or both of the younger Winchesters was probably the source of all those incidents that had turned Deanna into the demonic equivalent of the boogy-man.
This close Bela could see that the other more secret rumors about the kid were true too. Belladonna had her eyes blinked to black, and through her demonic sight she could see the sharp edges of blue-white grace twisted through the kid and scarred into its soul. Half-angel, half-human. Dangerous. Very dangerous if the myths were true.
“A demon and an angel walk into my brother,” Deanna said. Talking to Castiel but still hugging the kid like a lifeline. “Sounds like a bad joke.”
“Deanna,” Castiel said. “If this doesn’t work-”
“It’ll work.” Deanna didn’t even let him finish. Belladonna didn’t let herself wonder where that conviction was when hellhounds were tearing down Bela Talbot’s hotel room door - that way madness lay. It would have been admirable if it wasn’t so pathetic. And Belladonna was getting so good at the demon thing that she could almost convince herself she believed that.
What Deanna didn’t know was that it didn’t matter if it worked. Abaddon was already on her way. Belladonna knew that it was going to end bloody. She wasn’t quite demon enough to convince herself to get excited about that. She would be. One day. She was a work in progress - that was all. Got to be...
Abaddon was not impressed by Crowley’s little speech to her demons. Not at all.
She had always known that Azazel’s policy of turning the sold souls into new demons was stupid.
Sure it was evil - it was twisted and crazed and a nice big ‘fuck you’ to God and Heaven both. Taking those souls who had chosen, for whatever selfish reason, to damn themselves for a price or a gift in life and turn them, of all options, into demons was clever, and difficult. It proved a point: that anyone could be twisted by the darkness at the heart of Hell - given enough time. Anyone and anything could become a demon. However, it also resulted in weak demons. Salesmen breed more salesmen. Spies and thieves at least had their uses but what Hell needed was an army. And the sold souls were not an army.
They should have been focusing their energy on the murderers, the rapists, the inquisition, the unholy priests, the soldiers gone a little too wrong, the strong and the already broken. Not only were they easier to turn they were better, stronger, more predictable demons once broken. They did half the work of turning themselves in life - why waste all that effort. They should have been building a real army for centuries. Yet it had never been her place to argue. Now it was. Finally. Now it was time to be what she was always meant to be.
She was the ‘brute’ as Crowley put it. She was a fighter. A warrior. A Knight. Lucifer had chosen her for a reason and Cain had turned her into a real weapon for that reason, too. To fight and to win. Somewhere along the way Hell had lost sight of that. Lost sight of what demons were meant to be. But she hadn’t. She was a weapon. They were all meant to be weapons.
Crowley had said it wasn’t a fight. Said it was a campaign “hearts and minds” of demons he said. A campaign was just another kind of fight. It still came down to weapons - because demons were still weapons even if they didn’t know it anymore. Demons don’t need hearts - they need purposes. She just needed better ones. Better weapons. Better demons.
Belladonna had dropped down out of the rafters once Crowley had disappeared and Abaddon had finished eviscerating her less obedient minions. One had gotten away but that wasn’t important right now.
Belladonna bowed to her Queen. At least this demon seemed to know its place. Belladonna had actually followed her orders - stayed hidden because she was meant to rather than cowardice. Abaddon wasn’t stupid enough to assume she would have fought if it didn’t counteract her orders. But the point was she had an excuse. A reason. And this demon was a very special tool. She needed to be used as such. Abaddon would let her live a while longer. Probably.
“Yes?” Abaddon prompted. Belladonna - like the poison but still close to her human name. This wasn’t the weapon she needed… but maybe it held the key? “Tell me everything you observed before I arrived. And everything you know about Deanna Winchester. Everything.”
Crowley might, just might, have been right. And he maybe had it in him to win - or at least not lose if he set the terms. So she wouldn’t let him. If there was one thing Abaddon knew how to do it was start a fight. All you had to do was hit them hard enough in the right place. She was pretty sure she knew where that place was for their erstwhile King.
That world Belladonna couldn’t imagine…
“Dee,” Anna is speaking fast but in a soft voice. “Dee, wake up. You’re okay…”
“Yeah, baby. It’s me.”
Deanna pushes off the last vestige of broken, twisted, horrified sleep and places a hand over Anna’s where it rests on her shoulder from shaking her awake. That had to be the strangest dream yet… Working with Crowley? Kevin dead? Some angel possessing that strangely familiar guy. Or had it been Sammy? No it was a guy - she thinks. It hurt like it. She was so confused. And the remnants of the dream flooded away just as quickly as they had arrived. The details blurred and gone. Everything had felt so damn wrong. So… broken.
She lets herself cling to Anna. She hates that kind of vulnerability. It seems worth it in this moment though. And god Anna smells good. Apple and cold.
“Thank you,” Dee whispers into the angel’s neck.
Anna chuckles at that. “No problem.”
“You’re my Queen,” Dee says, softer still. Talks to Anna’s skin as much as anything.
Anna laughs and traces the tattooed words along Deanna’s right arm. The words and designs Anna herself put there. “I know,” she says. And that’s enough.
Lebanon, KS - Someplace a darker…
The first time it happened was two weeks after Dee took the Mark of Cain.
That in itself was stupid, and impulsive, and she probably should have listened to what Cain was saying. But, what’s one more stupid move in a lifetime full of them. What’s one more regret, right?
Telling Sam had been hard though. She still couldn’t shake echos of that look on his face when she told him she worked the job with Crowley. The tension between them was the only thing that stopped her from pointing out that he was the Winchester with a history of banging demons so he didn’t need to look that shocked. Even keeping her mouth shut he’d still said he didn’t want to be her brother anymore. Said he’d work with her, he’d help with MJ but he couldn’t be… that.
Thinking about it hurt so much. Of-freaking-course think about it was all she could do now. She even slammed the door to the Impala as she got out. She did wince and think a silent sorry baby in its direction at least.
She’d dropped Sam off at the bunker and come straight here. Hadn’t even bothered going in to check on Cas and MJ. It was easier to run away at this point than playing house like nothing had changed. It was more honest. And her arm itched. The Mark hot on her skin and her whole body a little too ready for action.
It was early enough that the grocery store was almost empty. Too early for most people to be awake and Dee hadn’t even slept yet. Drove through the night to get away from Garth and his freakish little werewolf family that was still more together than hers. Still more human too, added a treacherous little voice. That trator in her mind always sounded a bit like John Winchester and wasn’t that a lovely Freudian observation.
She wandered through the market in search of eggs, fancy maple bacon, fresh fruit for Sam. She focused on planning breakfast instead of everything else. She had seen Krissy’s junk heap of a van outside when she dropped Sam off. Kid would be hungry and she was gonna owe her. She just didn’t trust Cas with MJ anymore. With Kevin gone and Sam this angry - well she needed a babysitter she could trust. And wasn’t that just like Crowley had said. She just freaking used people - she got Kevin killed and all she could think about is how inconvenient it was for the school run. Fuck.
She finished the shopping almost by instinct. Even smiled bright and flirtatious at the hot pretty-sure-she’s-a-lesbian clerk with the short pink hair and the more useful than she knows pentagram necklace.
Deanna wandered back to the car still lost in her own thoughts. Still lost in general. Then she felt the hot rush of air and the slight greasy feel in the air that heralded the arrival by teleportation. Not wings, no ozone and no flutter meant demon even without the sulfur (just meant he’d been topside longer than usual).
“Fuck off Crowley,” Dee said without turning around. “I already told you, you’re not my type.”
“I don’t think that little cockroach is anyone’s type,” Abaddon said from behind her.
A combination of luck and training saved her groceries from being dropped - just. Dee placed them on the passenger seat as carefully as she could instead. Bought just a few moments more to get her face and brain under control.
“What do you want, Hell-bitch?” Dee asked. Turning slowly. And holy shit the demon was even closer than she thought (although somewhere in her blood she had known and ignored it). They can do that. Powerful ones. They distort space just a little so even the most well trained hunter can’t always sense where they are. And this one was really freaking close. Right up in her face. Now that she noticed she could actually feel Abaddon’s body heat. Hotter than human. And smell apple, cinnamon and, yes, just on the edge a little sulfur. It wasn’t as unpleasant as it should have been. Goddamnit.
“I want you,” Abaddon said. Traced one red nail along Dee’s jaw. Eyes on Deanna’s lips for a moment before snapping back up to her eyes. “But first, I have a proposition.”
“Sorry,” Deanna tried to sneer back. “I don’t whore myself out anymore.”
“Don’t you?” Abaddon said. Far too knowing. And this time her eyes went to Deanna’s arm where the Mark burned hot on her skin. Pulsed with something she tried to ignore at the demon’s proximity. Pulled her in closer.
Abaddon’s Throne Room - Regents Hotel New York
It turns out that Abaddon's secret weapon was right in front of her the whole time. And Crowley even handed her over on a donkey bone platter. It was almost too good to be true. Almost…