Crowley was standing back out of the action, checking his phone. He had performed all the heroic acts he cared to do for one day and he had a lot of pressing things on his agenda that required attention. Hell didn’t just run itself, you know.
The Goddess cast an appraising glance his direction. Her eyes bored into him and she narrowed them into slits and clenched her jaw and her hands balled up into fists and he reckoned that he must have finally outlived his usefulness. He prepared himself mentally for destruction. But he didn’t really worry much, he had a right knack for coming back to life again and it hadn’t failed him yet.
After a moment, he could ignore her gaze no longer. “What?”
“You know what I did wrong with the angels, Crowley?” Crowley pointed at himself, as if he surprised that she was talking to him. But she was, of course, and he wasn’t surprised at all, because she needed him. God needed Hell like Sheriff Joe Arpaio needed tent city jails. And he WAS Hell. He was the heart and soul and brains and balls of Hell and God Herself by all rights ought to come crawling to him to beg assistance. And perhaps he’d make her do exactly that, in time. Crawl and beg. “They never had blood in their teeth. How can you really be good, if you don’t know bad? I think that’s why I always favored Lucifer. He walked on the wild side.”
“And you’re telling me this, why?”
“I need new angels. A host of them. And I need someone to make them for me. Out of beings that know darkness and thus, can totally fight against it.” She grinned a sideways grin and there was mischief and a kind of a mad glee in it.
Crowley suddenly realized with a nauseating certainty what was about to happen to him; it was worse than being destroyed, far worse, and he took a step back, raising his hands in front of him, to try and protect himself. “Oh, no, oh no you don’t….”
The Goddess burst into a glow that swirled around her as if she was standing in a whirlwind. With a gesture, it separated from her and enveloped Crowley and swirled around him a few times before entering him and then blinking out, leaving him feeling rather unpleasantly violated. He staggered a few paces with his face contorted into an agonized grimace before recovering. “I name thee Oriphiel and elevate thee to archangel. Make me angels, from demons, Oriphiel.” She gestured dismissively with a faraway expression. “I’ve resurrected a few of the best for you. They’ll find you. And if you could keep them from causing too much trouble in the meantime that would be, like, super awesome?”
Crowley winced and groaned. Because this was simply awful. An angel? Intolerable! He unfurled a set of angel’s wings and inspected them with extreme displeasure. “Bloody hell! I don’t have the first idea of how to be an angel!” Or even a smidgeon of desire, although he did realize with dismay that he now possessed a very strong urge to please and protect the miniature and adorable, I mean really, just look at her, precious thing, darling, simply darling…BOLLOCKS what was happening to him?!?….but really, how lovely she was, this delicate goddess standing before him.
“I’ll make you a teacher.” Jovi clapped her hands twice and the Archangel Gabriel reappeared from whereever it had been that he’d gone to upon his demise. Gabriel appeared surprised, but not that surprised. Crowley understood the feeling; once you’ve been resurrected a few times over the novelty wears off. Dean Winchester sidled over then, casting a wary glance at everything that had transpired. Crowley-Now-Oriphiel felt a surge of pride over the magnificence of his wings – because they were quite nice – and spread them out a bit wider so Dean would notice and be impressed by them.
Gabriel looked about with a calculating expression and seemed to immediately grasp every implication of every nuance of every development even though Crowley-Now-Oriphiel wasn’t quite sure he understood it all himself and he’d been an eyewitness. With a smirk Gabriel fell to his knees at Winchester’s feet, even though no one was glowing. Suck-up. “I see the Dark Lady has returned. Nice.” He glanced appraisingly at Dean. “And she brought a friend.”
“I made him myself!” The Goddess was nearly breathless from excitement. Gabriel took it all in with great amusement.
Winchester did not share the enthusiasm. “Uh, Jovi, I couldn’t help but notice there’s an awful lot of, uh, activity going on over here.”
She beamed with pride. “Yeah! I turned Crowley into an angel…bet ya didn’t see that coming!”
Dean gaped and who could blame him, after all who bloody HAD seen that coming? If Crowley-Now-Oriphiel had, he’d surely have ducked. But he found he was getting rather used to the idea, he found that it wasn’t as objectionable as he’d originally thought, so he couldn’t help but gloat. “An archangel!” Winchester’s eyes bugged out for a second from the shock. “Oriphiel. That’s a name with some…gravitas, eh?”
“And I remade Gabriel…FUN!!
Gabriel winked comically at Dean. “I give the best worship you have ever had, Big Boy.”
Winchester sighed, exasperated. Jovi winced. “Don’t be mad.”
Dean digested this news. He clearly wasn’t happy; Crowley knew him well enough to sense his displeasure, but he was still in the honeymoon period, it seemed. “Check with me next time, ok, Jovi? Before you do the big ticket items??”
“Ok. Yes Sir.” She was positively delighted by being told what to do. Really, she was lovely, wasn’t she? Dear little thing. Crowley-Now-Oriphiel found he couldn’t half wait to serve her.
Gabriel rose to his feet to address Winchester. “Gee whiz, I should have asked first. Mother, may I?” Dean ground his teeth. Then Gabriel turned his attention to Jovi. “You’re not the Dark Lady this time, are you?” Jovi glanced at Dean from the corner of her eyelashes and shook her head no. “I see. It’s a good look for ya. If, a bit unexpected. I’ll go tell it on the mountain.” He paused and took a moment, as if trying to absorb everything that had just happened. He laughed, delighted by it all, ever a creature of chaos. “Be seeing you, Dad. Thanksgiving is gonna be here before you know it.” He leaned in and spoke quietly so Jovi couldn’t hear. “Enjoy the ride.”
Gabriel nodded Oriphiel’s way and they disappeared, off to do good, and Oriphiel was quite surprised to find he was rather looking forward to the endeavor.
Doing good. Might be a nice change of pace, really.
Ok. Dean didn’t want to be too hasty, too rash, so before speaking he took a brief moment to go over a few things that had transpired over the past hour…that…that maybe didn’t seem exactly like stellar ideas. Lucifer was free, Gabriel, that freaking troublemaker, had been resurrected, Michael was evil and also, free, Crowley was an angel, and he himself was God. Ok. A lot to take in, there. Don’t yell. He bit his tongue hard and had to swallow a couple times because he kinda felt like yelling sort of a lot and he thought that maybe him yelling might be the wrong move to make, like maybe she might react badly to that. Everything was cool. Everything was just fine and dandy. Ok. No yelling. “The Dark Lady? Why do they keep calling you that?”
Jovi paused for a moment as if considering how best to phrase her reply. “Um, cause, whenever I want to do anything really crazy, I always turn into a woman. I’m not really sure why? I just do! I’m usually, uh, not very happy then? So the angels learned a long time ago, whenever I showed up in female form, trouble was sure to follow.” She seemed a little embarrassed. “Wrath, and stuff. But that was before.”
“Well, before you, naturally!”
“Are, you, uh. Going to turn into a dude at any point in the near future?” This question seemed kind of important to ask.
“No. That’s the part I put into you. So to speak. Heh. I’m a girl permanently now? I felt like since you’ve only ever been a guy, it would probably be too big of an adjustment for you to make, to be a switch hitter. Whereas I was a genderless glowing ball of light for trillions of years before I started taking on vessels, so it’d be easier for me to be flexible in the boy-girl department.”
“Well, I must admit, that is a huge relief. If I was going to wake up tomorrow with…” He gestured to indicate girly bits. “I wanted to know.” Dean realized suddenly that Jovi was shivering. He felt very solicitous of her well-being. That connection, no doubt. It was like a suction cup now. Each time he examined it, probed it with the new Swiss Army Knife of perceptive abilities he seemed to have folded up within his brain now, he thought it had maybe gotten a little stronger, that connection had. He wondered if it would keep growing or if it would level off at some point. “Are you all right?” For the first time in ever it felt like, he wondered if he might be capable of caring about someone other than Sam. Really caring. He hadn’t cared for so long, the idea felt a little terrifying.
“My vessel is cold. And wants a cheeseburger. And lip balm.”
“I could go for a cheeseburger myself.” A cheeseburger. That sounded like an entirely good idea. So Dean focused, his brain hiccupped, and suddenly they were back at the bunker.
Sam glanced around, annoyed, disoriented. They were back in the bunker. Dean. Dean had done it. Adam was tucked into bed in a spare room that they never went into. The spare room hadn’t even had a bed in it before but now Adam was tucked into a bed in there. Wearing pajamas. In a bed with sheets and pillows and a duvet cover that looked like it had come from a Pottery Barn catalog. Dean had done all that in a split second, with a thought. Sam sent him a venomous glare. “Future reference, I don’t like that.”
“I’ll ask first next time. Provided that time allows.”
“Sigh. Next time. Where’s Cas?”
“Archangel confab. Gabriel, back from the dead, Castiel, and uh. Crowley, if you can believe that. She says we need three, minimum. Archangels, I mean. And apparently he was handy.”
Sam laughed bitterly. “That seems to be about par for the course, doesn’t it? Lucifer is free, Michael’s gone over to the dark side, and Crowley is an archangel. And as almost freaking always, only one of us is human. Go Team Winchester.”
Sam exited into the main living area of the bunker. Dean followed, shutting the door to Adam’s room behind him with his mind. Out of the corner of his eye Sam saw the door swing shut seemingly of its own accord and winced, but Dean didn’t notice. “Heh. A guy could get used to that. Getting beers and finding the remote and never even having to get up off the couch.”
Of course that where his mind went first. Alcohol and the remote. “Where is IT.”
“SHE, was cold and hungry.”
Sam’s voice dripped with sarcasm and it wasn’t a fraction of what he felt. “Aw. Poor IT.”
“I think you should stop calling her that.”
“It’s not a her, Dean, it’s an IT.” Put IT in a pretty package and Dean couldn’t help himself. Idiot.
“Not any more. She’s a her now, and forever. She gave me the dude stuff. This is a new configuration we’re trying out here.”
“Gee, that’s so sweet. Manic Pixie God Girl. Dean, I cannot believe you are blind to the fact that this…this…thing…is messing with your mind. Your soul. And everything else. It has made our existence a living Hell, literally, for our entire lives.”
“Seriously, enough already. You of all people. Enough.”
“How much did she mess with, Dean? She says not Mom, ok, I’ll choose to believe that. But what DID she do? To get you low enough so you’d be OK with this? Dad? Ellen, Jo? Bobby? Dean, think about it. How much did she take away from you, so she could have whatever was left?” Sam paused, deciding how best to twist the knife. “Lisa and Ben?”
Dean inhaled sharply through his teeth. “Sammy, you little…”
“Hear me out. She admitted she was in control of Crowley, making him do things to help you, why not hurt you too, if it served her purposes? Hurt the people you care about? Drive them away from you? If there’s one thing I’ve learned about the nature of God during all this, Dean, it’s that people are nothing but means to an end to IT.”
That gave Dean pause for a moment and Jovi must have been eavesdropping because she appeared in front of Sam in a fury. She was freakishly tiny, like Snooki or Tila Tequila. He realized he had to be like 2 feet taller than her practically. Sam wondered if he could pick her up and snap her like a twig, but of course it was actually the other way around. “Go on, Sam. IT’S right here. IT’S listening. IT promises not to go totally Biblical on your ass. Please, continue.”
Sam smirked. “I’m not afraid of you. What more can you do to me than what you already have? Send me to Hell? Been there, done that. Take away everyone I love? Done that, too. Take my soul? Too late. You’ve proved again and again, GOD, or Jovi, or whatever you want to call yourself, that you will stop at nothing, hurt anyone for no better reason than you want people to like you. It’s disgusting!”
“I don’t want people like me, I NEED people to like me, and that is an entirely different thing altogether! I can’t help my nature any more than you can!”
Sam gestured at Dean as if to say I told you so. “I told you so!” He said it because the gesture alone hadn’t felt like quite enough to get through Dean’s thick skull. Then he felt a surge of hot pain like a bee sting only more full of pus and he grabbed the side of his neck. A lump was developing there, swelling so quick he could feel it growing under his palm. “Did you just give me a boil?”
“Well…just one. Not like a plague of them or anything. Which, I could’ve.” Dean gave her a look and she gestured slightly and the boil vanished. “You have no idea what it is to be me, Sam Winchester. To have an insatiable need, ok there I admitted it, a need for companionship and to be utterly alone. To just want someone there with you in the endless nothing of infinity and eternity. For billions of years, stacking atoms into molecules and doublehelixing strand after strand of DNA thinking, oh maybe this time. Trial and error, failure after failure.” She turned to Dean to plead her case and Sam was relieved to see it on his brother’s face, to see that she was losing; that even though Dean liked this terrible God-ette her stock was dropping fast. “You know, I can’t even sleep. My vessel sleeps and I sit in there just waiting for another day. Dreading it. I gave you the gift of sleep, Dean…you should appreciate it.” She turned back to Sam and her eyes were crazy and she sounded more than a little unhinged. “Finally to get somewhere and find out the creation you worked so hard on and you wished and hoped for and waited for… just really isn’t that into you. That they mostly just want someone to blame when things go wrong. They take your gifts, and curse your name, and then they ask you for more gifts.” She stopped talking for a moment and muttered mostly to herself. “I don’t even know what I’m going to do if this doesn’t work out.”
Sam knew he had her on the ropes then and switched into full interrogation mode. “Jovi, yes or no, did you have Crowley hurt Lisa?”
“All you Men of Letters think you’re some kind of lawyer or something!”
“Answer the question, Jovi.” Jovi recoiled, what little of her composure that remained evaporating visibly when Dean spoke.
Finally, after a long, tortured moment, she replied. “I’m…I’m a jealous God, Dean.”
“Agh.” Dean said it like he’d been kicked in the guts. Sam laughed.
“I didn’t cause it to happen, but. But. I didn’t prevent it. I could have. I should have. Thought about it. But she’s very pretty, and I was in CHUCK. I’m not proud of it.”
Sam couldn’t help but ask. “You were in Chuck?”
“Very few vessels can contain me, Sam. I have to take what I can get.” She paused for a moment and her shoulders slumped. “I had to wait so long to find a female one. And this one isn’t even pretty. It’s like a very sexy Muppet.” She turned back to Dean, growing desperate. “I could have stopped it, I could have stopped it with…with Lisa…but I didn’t. And that’s the truth. I had to make sure you two were separated permanently and it just…it seemed like a super good opportunity.” She swallowed hard, then continued and Sam could hear the despair in her voice but he didn’t feel guilty for it, not one little bit. “It was for your own good, Dean. But also because I was jealous.” Dean absorbed the news stoically. “God Lesson One, sometimes you have to do little hurts to prevent big ones later on. If I hadn’t allowed that to happen, if I wouldn’t have made sure you were driven apart, what might have happened later on, Dean, when you were a demon? Could you have lived with yourself it if had been at your hands? Just sayin’.”
Dean had heard enough. “I think you need to leave.”
“I know. I’m going. Go ahead, unerase her memory. Tell her you’re God now, see how far that gets ya. Hey, maybe she’s into it. Some of em are. Have fun loving a gerbil.” She gave Sam a puzzled once over. “You win again, Sam. You must have been like the world’s cutest baby ever.” She disappeared, but then two seconds later she was back again, and furious. “You know what everyone hates about you Winchesters?? You are a couple of freaking hypocrites! The rules never apply to you, but boy howdy, everyone else better follow them to the letter, no matter what. Extenuating circumstances be damned. The word forgiveness is not in your vocabulary.” She spun away from Sam to address Dean and Dean alone. “Well, LEARN IT, Dean, because like it or not, you’re God now, and it’s kind of part of the gig!” She vanished again, this time for good.
Sam and Dean exchanged a look. “Your Becky is scarier than my Becky.”