Title: Meg and Benny's Excellent Adventure
Pairings/Warnings: Meg/Castiel, implied Meg/Jimmy Novak, mentions of Sam/Amelia, show-level violence
Summary: Meg and Benny go on a roadtrip. Pretexting, hunting, LARPing, and bickering over music in the car ensue.
The best thing about a college town was that people didn’t ask questions when college students did weird things. A couple of grad students looking for a place to stash a whole lot of their stuff so they could downsize in anticipation of a semester abroad could easily rent a storage unit in the middle of the night on the edge of town. A couple of engineering students buying supplies from a local hardware store to make a miniature trebuchet for a finals project were offered indulgent smiles and lots of help.
“Are we really building a trebuchet?” Benny asked after they left the craft store with some sides of leather and a leather-tooling kit.
“Nope,” Meg said, and proceeded to craft her own demon torture table, complete with demon bindings carved into the leather straps.
Benny sat on the camp chair in the corner, stumped.
“Make yourself useful,” Meg said. She nodded at her backpack. “There’s a notebook in there with instructions for making a demon bomb.”
Benny rifled around in her backpack and fished out the Lisa Frank unicorn notebook. He raised his eyebrows. “This yours?” He hadn’t seen the cover last time.
“Claire’s choice. She claims it was on sale. She’s a teenage girl, though.” Meg focused on carving the symbols into the leather just so. Alistair wanted his students to understand every aspect of torture, physical and psychological. Before they ever go to lay a finger on another soul, they spent decades cleaning and preparing his tools, and after that making tools of their own. A fine artist had to appreciate tools. Dean skipped the tool training because he was on an accelerated schedule. Apocalypse and whatnot.
Benny made himself comfortable on the freezing cement floor and sorted through the baggies of ingredients they’d bought in Kansas City. They were working by the light of an emergency storm lamp, the storage locker door locked down tight to keep them from prying eyes.
“Anyone who busts on in here will think we’ve got some drug distribution going on,” Benny said.
“Which is why we’re going to be quiet so no one busts on in here,” Meg said. “We’ll trade places once I get done with the leather. I’ll need your help.”
“Framing the table,” Meg said. “I bought nails but no hammer. Too noisy.”
“Then how can I help you frame?”
“Benny, you’re a vampire, supernaturally strong. Nails are like thumbtacks to you. Don’t play dumb with me.”
“Fine,” Benny said. He glanced at his watch. “Registration ends soon.”
Meg pursed her lips. “I’d rather have all this done before we try to take on Abby. We don’t know if she has back-up yet.”
Benny nodded. “Like you said, we don’t need to sleep.”
Meg pursed her lips thoughtfully. She said, “Take Trusty, stake out Abby. Pin the devil’s trap patch to a bag and put it over her head. She won’t be able to smoke out or use any of her demonic power. Bring her back here.”
Benny nodded. “Will do.”
“Don’t get caught.”
“I won’t. She thinks I’m human.”
Meg had yet to test how the buckles and straps on the rack would hold when Benny returned with a suspiciously human-sized bundle. The bundle squirmed and made muffled cries for help, but Benny’s vampire grip was implacable.
“Almost got caught by the night manager,” Benny said, and laid his cargo on the ground. He’d rolled Abby in a tarp to transport her, so they had to unroll her.
“You know what she isn’t?” Meg asked.
“What?” Benny looked confused at the question.
“A riddle wrapped inside an enigma wrapped in a taco.” Meg twitched the tarp aside with an efficient flick of her wrist, dumping Abby unceremoniously onto the cement floor.
Abby grunted in pain.
Benny looked at Meg; he thought she was crazy. He hadn’t caught the allusion, then. Maybe Meg ought to find the Supernatural books on tape for the next time they took a long drive.
Together, they hoisted Abby onto the rack and strapped her down.
“It would be more efficient if we stripped her clothes off,” Meg said as Benny fastened the last buckle.
He snorted. “Yeah, and if someone walks in on that, they’ll put us away forever.”
“They can try. They couldn’t keep us and you know it.”
“That I do.” Benny nodded at Abby. “What now?”
Meg reached out, tugged off the black bag Benny had improvised with an old t-shirt. He’d pinned the devil’s trap patch onto the t-shirt to keep Abby from smoking out.
She stared at them, wide-eyed, afraid.
Meg reached out, tugged the gag aside. “Scream all you want,” she said. “I covered the walls in soundproofing charms.”
Abby looked around at the charms. Some were Enochian. Some were demonic. “Who are you? Why have you brought me here?” She writhed against her restraints. “Why have you done this?” She looked down at the tooling on the leather, and she sounded genuinely confused.
“We just have a few questions for you, Bela.”
She shook her head. She sounded terrified. “No. My name’s Abby. I’m a history major from Kentucky State. My mum and dad are –”
“Dead, because you made a deal with a crossroads demon, who came for you and took you to Hell, and now you’re back topside and doing his dirty work,” Meg said.
Abby shook her head, more vehemently. “That’s not true! Who are you? Are you hunters? Hunters aren’t real. Supernatural is fiction. Please, let me go.”
Meg reached up, unfastened her hex bag necklace, and set it aside. “Not hunters, Princess Di.”
Abby sank back, dawning realization replacing the fear in her eyes. “You’re a demon.”
“Which is how I know you’re one, and your real name.”
“Abby is my real name.”
“Funny how you kept that,” Meg said. “Most people don’t bother.”
“I always liked my name.” Abby lifted her chin. “I don’t think we’ve met, Stunt Demon Number Eighty-Seven.”
“No,” Meg agreed, “we’ve never met. But I know a whole lot about you.”
Abby eyed Benny. “Who’s your friend?”
“Go ahead,” Meg said. “Show her.”
Benny divested himself of his hex bag necklace and waited several beats.
Confusion crossed Abby’s face once more. “A demon and a vampire? At a Supernatural convention? Is this some kind of ego trip for you?”
“She is pretty egotistical,” Benny said.
Meg rolled her eyes. “Way to have my back.”
Confusion gave way to dawning realization once more. “Bloody hell,” Abby said. “You’re him. Really him. Benny the vampire.”
“Benny Lafitte,” he corrected.
“You’ve read Supernatural. No one dies forever.” The corner of Benny’s mouth curved up in amusement.
Abby eyed Meg up and down. “Then who are you? Ruby? Lilith?”
“Please,” Meg said. “I’m done with the following thing. I’d been a demon for millennia before Ruby ever figured out how to unlace her own corset. But enough about me. I want to know about you.” Meg reached into her pack and drew out her Purgatory axe. “How did you make it topside? Pull a favor for Crowley? Pull something else for Crowley?”
“I’m not a crossroads demon,” Abby said. Her eyes widened when she saw the axe. “And I wouldn’t touch Crowley with a ten foot pole.”
“And yet you got close enough to give him a pistol.” Meg snickered at her own unintentional innuendo. “You wouldn’t be manning a table at a Supernatural convention if you were a crossroads demon. You’re up to something else. I want to know what it is.”
“Why should I tell you?”
“Because,” Meg said, “I apprenticed under Alistair, and if you don’t tell me of your own free will, you’ll tell me to make it stop hurting.”
“Meg.” Abby shrank back involuntarily.
“That’s my name. Don’t wear it out.” Meg grinned.
Abby bit her lip. “Look, I don’t know much.”
“And why should I believe you?”
“I got myself smuggled out of hell,” Abby said. “Sharon helped me. In return I’m helping her get a promotion with Crowley. Once that’s done, I’m going my own way.”
“What’s Sharon’s brilliant plan to get a promotion?”
“Find the newest prophet,” Abby said.
“Does Crowley have the demon tablet?” Meg asked.
Abby shook her head. “I don’t know. No one knows where it is. Last we heard, the Winchesters had both tablets, but then everything went sideways in Heaven. If one is to believe the newest prophet, posing as a fanfiction author the same way Kevin Tran did, then the angel Gadreel had possession of both tablets before surrendering the angel tablet to Metatron. No further mention of the demon tablet has been made.”
“What do you know about the newest prophet?” Meg asked.
Abby bit her lip. “If I tell you – Sharon will know. She’ll think I betrayed her. She’ll give me to Crowley. I –”
“You will face worse with me for not giving up the information than whatever Crowley might do to you for keeping it to yourself.” Meg spun the Purgatory axe idly. “I saw you sitting there, reading the Supernatural books. Crowley took me in hand-to-hand combat, but even when he was King of Hell, I could make him hurt in ways most demons could never dream of.”
“I really don’t know much,” Abby said.
Meg twirled her axe again, hefted it, and Abby cringed.
Meg paused. “Let’s start small,” she said. “Benny, get the holy oil and the blowtorch.”
Benny fished around in his duffel bag for the holy oil cambion buster pack and a little propane blowtorch. When he produced these, Abby’s eyes went wide with terror.
Meg considered these for a moment, then said, “That’s a little bit overkill. But give me the oil.”
Benny put the cambion buster pack aside and handed her a vial of holy oil instead. Meg removed the cork stopper smoothly, aware of Abby’s gaze on her every second of the way, and then she reached out, grabbed one of Abby’s hands. Abby curled it into a fist.
Meg lifted her chin at Benny, who eyed her, annoyed at being made to play the thug, but he reached out and uncurled Abby’s fingers. Meg started with the pinky, dipped it into the vial of holy oil, and fired up the blowtorch.
“So, the newest prophet. What do you know?”
“Clairestiel!” Abby cried. “She’s the prophet.”
Benny was unimpressed. “She was alive when Kevin was prophet. Only one at at a time, if I recall. In fact, she was writing before Kevin became a prophet. But if she’s still writing, then she isn’t dead, and how did Kevin become prophet?”
Abby cast him a scathing look that was still terrified around the edges. “I get that the Bible is popularly thought of as fiction these days, but there can be more than one prophet at a time. They fulfill different roles. Kevin Tran and those who follow him are the Keepers of The Word, translators. Clairestiel, whoever he or she really is, is a regular kind of prophet. The gospel-writing kind.”
“Kevin wrote his own share of the Winchester Gospels,” Benny said. “Try again.” He brought the blow torch to her finger.
Meg inhaled deeply. She’d missed the scent of burning skin, not because she liked it, but because it was the scent of Hell, of home. No, no demon liked being down there. But she remembered being there. Certainty and misery and all that.
Abby screamed and arched her back. Benny yanked the torch away instinctively and shut it off, darting a nervous glance at the storage locker door.
Meg was unconcerned, because she knew her soundproofing charms all too well.
“I’m telling the truth!” Abby sobbed. “That’s all we know! We think Clairestiel is the prophet. It’s a long con. We make her trust us enough to meet in person or give up her location, and then we grab her.”
“Does Sharon know how to reach Clairestiel now?” Meg asked. She dipped another of Abby’s fingers in the holy oil.
Abby shook her head, trembling. “No. No. We wouldn’t be here if we knew how to reach her.” She blinked wet eyes up at Meg. “I know you hate Crowley. I hate Crowley. I could be helpful, an ally. Please. Just –”
Meg looked at Benny. He shrugged. Meg plucked the blowtorch from his grasp and fired it up.
Abby shook her head. “No no no no, don’t, please don’t –” She closed her eyes and turned her head, and Meg lifted her head at Benny. He punched Abby in the head.
She went limp and unconscious in an instant.
“You’ve got a great left cross,” Meg said. “Excellent.” She turned the blowtorch off and set it aside. Then she loosed the leather restraints enough to roll Abby onto her stomach. She brushed Abby’s hair away from the nape of her neck.
“What are you doing?” Benny asked.
“Binding her soul inside her body. She can’t be exorcised, but she also can’t escape.” Meg unsheathed her knife and set to carving.
“Like you did to keep yourself inside Sam’s body in ‘Born Under a Bad Sign’? She’s read the books, too. She’ll figure it out.” Benny crossed his arms over his chest, skeptical.
“I’ll heal the binding link once I’m done so she doesn’t feel it. And also, Carver Edlund didn’t put everything in the books. Sam drinking demon blood? Didn’t come out till much later than it occurred in real life. Authorial censorship and all that. Not all my tricks are out there for the world to see. And besides, Crowley also knows spells to keep demons trapped in their meatsuits. Could be he taught it to Sharon, correct? Not to mention the extra added fun.” Meg finished the binding link and carved in another sigil.
“Extra added fun?” Benny echoed.
Meg waggled a little vial. “If she manages to smoke out, she lands here.” There was a symbol on it that matched the one she’d carved into the back of Abby’s neck. Then, with a zap of demon power, Abby was healed, sigils and fingers and all.
Meg rolled Abby onto her back and tightened the leather bindings. Then Meg splashed holy water across Abby’s face.
Abby returned to consciousness with a splutter, thrashing. “What did you do to me?” She wiggled her fingers instinctively.
“Abby, or Bela, or whatever you’re calling yourself these days,” Meg said. “I’ve decided to take you at your word. Ever since Alistair went the way of the dodo, the denizens of Hell have become progressively soft, now that waiting in a line endlessly is considered a form of torture. I can hardly expect you to stand up to real torture. Besides, the enemy of my enemy is my friend and whatever. Do you agree?”
Meg smiled, pleasant and vicious all at once. “Here’s what you’re going to do: you’re going to go back to your hotel room, report some debauchery with Benny here to Sharon, and you’re going to act like nothing untoward happened. Then you’re going to help us capture Sharon.”
“Why debauchery with me?” Benny protested.
“Fine. Debauchery with me. Whatever.” Meg rolled her eyes. “But you’re going to help us catch Sharon, and maybe, if you’re very good, we’ll let you help us interrogate her.”
Abby nodded again.
“We’re going to let you go now,” Meg said. “And don’t try anything stupid, like running to Crowley.”
Benny slid up to Abby, pure predation in his gaze. “Sam Winchester isn’t the only one who’s extra fun when he’s hopped up on demon blood.” He loosened her bonds slowly, holding her gaze the entire time. “So please, try something stupid. I kind of miss the high.”
Abby turned wide eyes toward Meg, who shrugged.
“He’s not lying,” Meg said.
Abby hopped to her feet, dusted off her clothes reflexively. Benny lifted the rolling gate and pushed her out into the night.
“Thanks for the help. I know you have better things to do than help us move boxes. We really appreciate all you’re doing for us,” he called after her, and then he closed the gate. As soon as the gate was locked and the soundproofing charms reactivated, he turned to Meg. “Do you really trust her?”
“No, but I do trust that she hates Crowley,” Meg said, “and they are getting softer down there. Do I think she told us the whole truth? No. But we’ll know if she tries anything funny. Nice touch with the demon blood threat, by the way.”
“Your kind taste horrible, for the record,” Benny said. “So, are we bringing Sharon back here for round three?”
“If we grab Sharon right after we grabbed Abby, that’ll look suspicious. Let’s see what, if anything, Abby leads us to.” Meg shrugged on her jacket, stowed her weapons in her backpack, and waggled the vial. “This will let us know if she goes anywhere near the town’s border. Now, we need to rest up, get all refreshed for a day of pretending to be humans pretending to be ourselves.”
Benny tipped the torture rack further back and climbed onto it, tugged his cap down over his eyes. He was asleep in moments.
Meg used her telekinesis to flip off the light. Then she closed her eyes, one hand curled around the vial, and waited.