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The Angel was on fire 1/2- SPN/Dresden Files, SPN/Hellblazer Crossover
Castiel sauntering downwards
aescu
Title: The Angel was on fire (and it totally was my fault)
Author:
aescu
Characters: Castiel, Harry Dresden, John Constantine
Classification: SPN/The Dresden Files, SPN/Hellblazer Crossover
Rating: PG-13
Wordcount: ~4.000 + 31 comic pages
Warnings: spoilers for 5.08 (SPN), Storm Front (DF), All His Engines (HB)
Disclaimer: I own nothing except a sick fantasy; The comic pages are slightly modified excerpts taken from 'All His Engines' (DC Comics)
Summary: What happened with Castiel during the events of 5.08? In my head he was not thrown into TV-Land...
AN: You do not have to be familiar with either The Dresden Files or Hellblazer for this story to make sense. But it probably would be more entertaining for you.


AN2: First of all I have to thank the wizardofvienna for pointing out the most obvious errors I still am dumb enough to miss. And then I have to thank him for not only introducing me to the awesome Hellblazer comics (and generously providing his copy of 'All His Engines' for this story) but to the world of Harry Dresden, too. So, yeah, thanks :D

My office is on the fifth floor of a building in downtown Chicago. The door sign just says, "Harry Dresden, Wizard" and most of the time it leads to the neatly and just a tiny bit chaotic room I am usually acquiring those kinda jobs that pay the rent. As I said, it's on the fifth floor, meaning that any potential clients tend to take the elevator. Unless they're a wizard like me. Technology has a tendency to fail us and being stuck in a tiny and dark box for a few hours suddenly starts to sound appealing compared to what else could happen if one of my kind uses such facilities. Like the breaks suddenly no longer working resulting of the cabin rushing towards the bottom of a building faster than my own car goes...
As I said, normal people stick to the elevator; I use the stairs.

When on this particular day suddenly the door opened and a man stepped into my slightly-more-chaotic-than-average office, I was understandably confused. There had be no soft 'ping' indicating the arrival of the elevator on the desired floor, nor was this man panting as if he'd just climbed five floors worth of stairs. He was just calm, staring into my eyes as if he wanted to provoke a soulgaze.

When a wizard looks you right into the eyes, he can see beyond that fake front all humans use to build. He gets a glimpse of who you truly are. But with most doors this one opens in two directions. Not only the wizard himself gets this kind of insight but his counterpart sees the wizard's soul, too. Most people knowing of that little effect make a habit out of not looking one of my kind directly into the eyes.

Whoever this fellow was, he either didn't care or didn't know because he kept staring. So I braced myself for what I knew would be coming. A soulgaze never is a pleasant event. It doesn't hurt - sometimes - but it still is very disorienting and people have even fainted catching a glimpse of my true self. Okay, one person has. But still, it isn't something I wanna do before breakfast if I can avoid it.

Too late I noticed the power suddenly filling my office, the way this small fellow in his too big trench coat, was nearly larger than life and surrounded by some kind of awe-inspiring aura. This was no human being. Despite being handsome with his intense blue eyes and dark, tousled hair, he lacked the unearthly beauty of the Fae. Perhaps he was some kind of demon or were-creature?

But when I tried to look away it was already too late; the soulgaze had just started.

The first thing that I noticed was that it had taken much longer to trigger this soulgaze. Normally you just have to look into a wizard's eyes, no fleeting glimpse, just one real look and off you go.

The second realization let me nearly sink to my knees. I am not a particularly religious person. God and me just don't seem to agree on most of the things. But even I notice one of His angels. I haven't ever met one of them before - heck, I'm not even sure anyone of the White Council has in the last couple of centuries, still this guy in his ill-fitting clothes and with his awkward stance was one of Them!

The thing about angels - and other supernatural stuff - is that they're not capable of joining into a soulgaze. It's for example totally safe to stare into a vampire's eyes - if anything regarding a vampire can be addressed as 'safe'. So why had we both just joined into one of those...

I did not have time to follow that particular train of thoughts as now the 'real' gazing started, leaving me shaking with sensations. This guy was filled to the brim with doubt no angel should feel, and pain, and anger - all those emotions you normally wouldn't associate with an angel of the Lord. And there was something else… some kind of determination and devotion that made this being a very, very dangerous opponent.

I knew that I was swaying on my feet and had to grab the back of my chair for support when I finally managed to lower my eyes and tried to catch my breath again. Whereas the angel didn't so much as blink. Great, this was the second person this week to engage into a soul gaze with me and just shrug it off.

So when I felt confident enough that my knees wouldn't buckle any second and that my voice should sound steady enough again to address my new visitor, I extended my arm towards the second chair and said: "Please sit down and tell my what I can do for you."

I really didn't like the idea of working for an angel but it wasn't as if I had much of choice. Angels are strong, powerful creatures that could rip a human's head off with just one tiny thought. And after what hat happened with Bianca, after nearly being ripped to threads by her in her true vampire-form, I wasn't much in a fighting mood.

I like to think the reason why I've stayed alive for so long despite doing what I do, is that I have always stuck to one rule: Try not to get involved with the supernatural too much and for god's sake, don't take them as clients. Stick to the humans. Of course it's not easy obeying to this rule being the only open practitioner of magic in all of Chicago and working as consultant for police's Special Investigations. But I had the distinct feeling that right now would change. Perhaps for ever. Oh, I hate it when I'm right…

Very stiffly the angel sat down on the offered chair and waited for me to take my seat, too. "My name is Castiel," he said in a very low and quiet voice that seemed to rumble through his entire form. "I am an angel of the Lord." He studied me as if checking for any kind of reaction. I tried very hard not to give him any. "I have become aware that I no longer seem to be located in my own world. Unfortunately I neither have the means to return to where I belong to nor do I know what kind of being sent me here. I want to employ your services in helping me find a way back or learning the nature of my abductor."

I sighed and answered, "My usual charge for an investigation is fifty dollars an hour, plus expenses." I really did not want to accept this one. But as I've said before, I didn't had much of a choice. Who I am to turn down an angel after all…

This job sounded a lot more challenging than what I normally do. Reality altering beings? There were only two that came to my mind almost instantly - and if one of them was involved, the angel better started looking for an apartment and job 'cause he would be staying here for the rest of his eternal live. Mab, high sidhe and Queen of the Winter Court or Titania, also a high sidhe and Queen of Summer Court. Very powerful and very dangerous beings that I was not willing to provoke or even confront. Not for all the money the angel could offer me.

"I do not possess money, Mr. Desden," the angels deep voice pulled me out of my thoughts again.

"Well, then… you'll have to think of some other way to pay me. How about you come back, let's say, tomorrow afternoon and use the time to come up with an alternate method of compensation?"

--


When the angel didn't come back the next day I simply filed the last events away under 'not important but weird stuff' in my memory and moved on. I already had a lot on my plate with Victor Sells doing black magic and my somewhat desperate plan to confront him and stop his activities - which would very likely end with a very dead Harry. However, when I rushed up towards my office on that not-so-beautiful day, the only thing on my mind was Murphy.

Lieutenant Karrin Murphy, or 'Murph', head of Special Investigations, the division of the Chicago Police Department that handles all the strange cases with supernatural involvement, is a good friend of mine. She has hired me as consultant for SI more than just a couple of times and these days the majority of my bills get paid by the money I charge her.

Murph is a small and friendly looking woman with golden hair and eyes the color of the midsummer sky. Despite her somewhat harmless appearance, she is also a very skilled fighter, not only with but without a gun also. She once told me that she'd started learning Aikido when she was about four or five years old. Murph can throw around people much stronger and heavier than she is, with alarming ease - she has already proven she could beat the snot out of me on more than one occasion.

Despite herself being perfectly capable of holding her own in a battle, I was more than just a little concerned. I had just talked to her on the phone and knew she was in my office, going through my drawers in search for something entirely different to what she had just found. In the middle drawer of my desk I had stuffed away a small pendant, a charm made out of a dried black scorpion, not much bigger than the palm of my hand. An item that I had gotten from Monica Sells who had wanted me to look into the disappearance of her husband, Victor Sells. Who in return turned out to be a very powerful, very ruthless man summoning demons and performing black magic in general. When I had taken a closer look at the scorpion a few days earlier, I had failed to notice any kind of enchantment on the dead creature but still the tiny scorpion had given me the creeps. I had stuffed it away, into my desk, hoping I wouldn't have to take the thing out again.

The phone call between Murphy and me had ended with her opening said drawer, a clicking sound, the receiver clattering to the floor, a few gunshots, ricochets and then a scream. I didn't know what had happened, but I had a pretty good mental picture of the tiny scorpion attacking Murph with its poisonous stinger.

I don't know much about scorpions, much less about magically resurrected ones, but I've always associated black scorpions with deathly poison. That alone made me hurry. And I knew enough about the darker aspects of wizardry to make me fly the five stories up to my office.

Turns out the scorpion wasn't black but one of these dark brown ones that are native to the Chicago neighborhoods. The aren't exactly deadly, more of a nuisance like the sting of a bumblebee. But this one had the size of a fully grown German sheep dog. And it had apparently managed to sting Murphy. She was lying half under my desk, just her tennis shoes visible. When the thing noticed me it, ducked into the shadows so that I was no longer able to see it. I heard it shuffling a bit then there was just silence.

Carefully I hurried towards Murph. I really didn't want to have that thing in my back but I had to at least take a look at Karrin, make sure she was all right. Well, she wasn't. She lay curled on her side, golden hair sprawled out around her head, her eyes open but blind. I could see blood on her left shoulder - not an awful lot, just enough to get a hint of the size of the stinger that had caught her. I don't know a lot about poison, but when I touched Murphy I felt her heart racing and the shoulder was seriously swollen. Perhaps the sting of a tiny version of the brown scorpion was harmless but this one had been huge. And Murph was a tiny person. If enough poison had entered her system the odds were against her. She needed medical attention. Now.

I pulled out her phone - thankfully it decided to work - and called 911. The operator came on and took my name, address and asked about what case of medical emergency this was. I just told her to sent somebody equipped for poisoning and did not stay on the line as requested. I had other things to do right now. Like for example get the hell out of here - with Murph.

Unfortunately the scorpion did not agree. It took the opportunity and attacked just when I was about to try waking Murphy and start talking to her. A dry scuttling sound and it was there, right in front of me, it's stinger high up in the air, ready to pin me down, too, it's pinchers shooting forward towards my leg in an attempt to hold me down. I jumped away from it - as good as one can jump while on all fours - and managed to avoid the stinger in my eye by a hair. The spray of poison hit the left side of my face and almost instantly a numbing sensation spread across my cheek. I kicked with my entire strength at the scorpion, but the thing still managed to get me, ripping a part of my sweat pants away and tearing my leg open. Pain seared through me and I think I screamed something when I grabbed for the next thing I could hurl at the monster. It was the very drawer I had stuffed it in earlier this week. I had just managed to take hold of it when the scorpion made his next attack. Again the deadly stinger shot down towards me and I had barely time to get the drawer between me and the needle like thing. With a smacking sound it thrusted into the wood and stuck fast! I hurled the drawer away as far as I could. The scorpion with it's tail still in it, followed suit rather unwillingly.

I knew I didn't have much time before the creature would be able to launch another attack; it was already ripping the wooden drawer to shreds with its strong claws and soon the pincher would be freed again. Both my staff and my blasting rod had been lost in the scuffle and I did not dare to use improvised magic to kill something in such close quarters. My magic is strong, but I lack the necessary finesse to blast away a magical creature just a few feet away without hurting myself in the process. There wasn't enough time to come up with anything else so I decided to opt for flight.

I tried to heave Murphy to her feet when I heard it again. The click-clacking sound of the scorpion's chitin clad feet on the linoleum floor, a promise of another imminent attack I probably wouldn't be able to dodge again. With a groan I tried to double my efforts but it was more than a little awkward with our height difference. As I've already said, Murphy is a small woman, small and stocky whereas I am tall, well about 6'9". Trying to keep her upright while her own legs hardly managed to support her, was already straining before we had so much as left my office. And now that damn scorpion was about to attack us again.

There was a blur of motion, something tan colored intercepting the magical beast and while I tried to regain my equilibrium, I suddenly recognized our savior. Castiel, the angel had come to our rescue. Just with his bare hands he tried to hold off the poisonous stinger of the brown scorpion that had somehow had another growth spurt and now was about as big as a pony. I didn't know how strong angels usually were and frankly it didn't look as if he would manage to buy us more than a couple of seconds. I spotted my blasting rod just a few feet to my right underneath one of the comfy chairs I have for waiting clients. I could reach it, I would just have to lower Murphy again and… "Leave! Now!" The Angel barked while the scorpion tried to rip off one trouser clad leg. I didn't wait for a second order, I gripped Murph and hurried out of the office.

When we reached the end of the end of the hall, the stairway on my right, the elevator on my left, I stopped for a second, panting heavily. Stairs? No, I was barely able to walk with the dead weight of Murphy on my side. I would never manage to climb five stories while carrying her. My leg was on fire and I didn't know how long she had left. The ambulance would probably be here in a minute or two and if Murph wasn't down on the first floor by then, the paramedics would probably be at her side too late. So the elevator it was…

I pushed the button and waited. Something crashed through the doors of my office, the glass exploding and raining onto the floor of the hall. A tan heap bounced off the opposite wall and I saw the angel dazedly trying to get on his feet again. Cautiously and with a predatory stance the scorpion left my office, too.

The round lights above the elevator door had just managed to count up to three when the angel turned his head towards us and snarled, "Hurry up!" before he grabbed the pincher and tossed the enormous scorpion all the way along to the other side of the hall - it narrowly missed Murphy and me - before this time it was the magical beast that crushed against a wall with a loud banging noise. The sheer momentum of the throw sent the angel tumbling to his knees again. I could see a fair amount of blood painting the floor where Castiel had just stood a moment before.

I was just about to gather my will to throw magic against the scorpion that was stirring again, when - finally - with a soft 'ping' the elevator announced the opening of its doors. We hastily entered the cabin and I pushed the button for the lobby. The doors hadn't even started closing when I heard the scraping sound of huge claws coming towards us. I jabbed the button a few more times but the doors didn't start to move. I barely had time to activate my shield bracelet before the scorpion attacked us. The invisible shield of air met the force of the attack just an inch from my face and sent the beast rebouncing onto his back. Its feet flailing awkwardly in the air it struggled for a while before the doors closed at last and the car started to move.

I let out a breath and turned towards Murphy trying to examine her further, check whether she was still breathing… With a shrieking sound and a flickering of light the elevator stopped. Crap. "No, not now…," I mumbled and pushed a few of the buttons for good measure. Of course to no avail. Elevators hate me. And to prove that point smoke started coming out of the panel a few seconds later and the emergency light went out with a soft 'pop'. Darkness filled the small car.

The sound of shrieking metal a few feet above us in the elevator shaft and then a dull thud made he freeze. There was something on the car's roof. Something huge. Then the tearing sounds started.

"You got to be kidding me!" I yelled and felt desperation rise. The angel obviously hadn't managed to defeat the scorpion and now the thing was trying to rip open the metal roof to finally get to us and kill both Murph and me. Today really wasn't my day.

There weren't many options left. I still didn't have my blasting rod and using magic to attack anything inside the small car would mean the certain death of all of us. Dust rattled down in the darkness onto my face. Damn, I had to do something! We were sitting ducks in here while a scorpion the size of some French cars ripped open the elevator like a can of tinned food!

Think, Harry! Think! I could not use my blasting rod or staff and the shield bracelet would only prolong the inevitable. Damn, I should have crushed the thing when it had been just a dead bug! I heard the whining sound of breaking metal and then a gust of wind from above and a bit of light seeping into the car showed me a long tear in the roof. Thankfully it wasn't broad enough for the scorpion's stinger to fit trough but I could already see it ripping at the opening, making it bigger. I gathered my will. If I had to die, that thing would die too. I probably would take half of the story with me but hopefully I'd manage not to damage the structural integrity of the building. The fire would probably rage through the elevator shaft and… Oh. I suddenly knew what to do.

I continued gathering my will while I sank down onto my knees and pressed the palms of my hands flat against the floor. While above my head the scorpion frantically opened up the roof I focused all the power I had gathered beneath my hands, beneath the elevator. Air. There was lots of air inside the shaft. And that was what I reached for; air instead of fire.

It wasn't a particularly complex spell, more like one of the simplest I tend to use all the time for example to call my staff into my hands. But this time it was bigger, a hundred or perhaps a thousandfold.

"Vento servitas!" I bellowed and poured every bit if strength, of pain, anger, frustration and fear I could muster up into the spell. Beneath the car the winds rose up into a storm, a hurricane like column of air that suddenly hurled the elevator up as if it was nothing more than a ball thrown by an enormous pitcher. The force pressed me down on the floor and with a long whine and sparking of metal the car sped up the shaft. It was a tad more force than I had planned and I really hoped that I hadn't just killed us both.

My office building is twelve stories high. I didn't exactly know where we had started - second or third floor perhaps - but the car reached the end of the shaft in less than half a dozen frantic beats of my heart. The impact crushed the scorpion, the chintinous armor breaking with loud popping sounds, and sent both Murph and me flying towards the roof of our car. I kept her close to my body and tried to soften the impact for her. With a groan we both landed on the floor again, gooish ectoplasm dripping down on us from the dead scorpion.

That was when I figured out where the catch of my plan was. The elevator gave a little groan and started moving again. It was no longer supported by the wind I had called forth, and the short but violent journey upwards had melted the breaks away. Now we were rushing downwards, the car gaining more and more speed, and there was nothing that would stop us before the car would hit the bottom.

There was not enough time for me to gather my will and summon up another pillar of air or something alike. Instead I gabbed Murphy tight and focused on my bracelet. I couldn't make the secure bubble too strong or otherwise we would be crashed against it instead of the car's floor. It had to be flexible enough to spread the vicious force of the abrupt stop when we would hit the first floor. I had mere seconds to establish the shield before there was an enormous sound and I could feel extreme pressure on my shield. The bracelet grew hot and then… nothing.

When I opened my eyes again I was sitting on the floor of the devastated elevator. I wondered shortly what had happened to the angel, if he really had found his death trying to buy us enough time to escape and the fire department would later find his corpse - do angels leave corpses at all? - but then the doors opened and a bunch of stunned EMTs with emergency kits stood there staring at the elevator, me and Murphy. I had other things to worry about than a dead angel.



Proceed to the image-heavy part 2

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