Chapter Six: Whatever Happened to Prophesy Girl
Heaven's Descent: What Ever Happened to Prophesy Girl?Rating:
Teen or so? Characters/Pairing(s):
Castiel, Jimmy (SPN), Giles, Angel, Cordelia, Buffy, Willow (BTVS), Aziraphale, Crowley (Good Omens), Kit, salesgirl (mine)Summary:
When the Anointed didn't arise, there were angel-related headaches all around. Castiel is unintentionally obnoxious, and Aziraphale finally shows his pretty face.Disclaimer:
All I own is the weird stuff from my brain, and even some of that is just borrowed. Anything SPN is Kripke, SG1 is MGM, BTVS is Joss, and whatever others got their fingers in the copyrights cookie jar.Warnings:
Spoilers up to the end of Season 5 of Supernatural.Chapter 06: What Ever Happened to Prophesy Girl?~@~"Many people, meeting Aziraphale for the first time, formed three impressions: that he was English, that he was intelligent, and that he was gayer than a tree full of monkeys on nitrous oxide."
- Direct Quote from Good Omens~@~
The night had been quiet. Absolutely nothing had happened, even though according to prophesy, something
was supposed to have happened last night. Rupert Giles slipped his glasses off to rub his eyes with the heels of his hands, trying to stave off an impending headache. Yes, Rupert,
he told himself facetiously, Buffy was right. There's nothing strange happening at all. Though the prophesies said that the Anointed One was supposed to arise last night, they were
wrong and Buffy was right. Something must be going on that we don't know about, something that the prophets didn't account for...
He had stayed up all night worrying for nothing, and Buffy
was the one who was right. All of the omens said that Sunnydale's Hellmouth was the most active one since Sodom and Gomorrah, yet... nothing was happening. More had been happening before
Buffy's arrival than since. It wasn't that she was the Slayer; that couldn't be the reason for the unnatural silence, the lack of things moving. Slayers were frightening to supernatural creatures, but there was little that could frighten an entire Hellmouth
Giles had no idea what he was going to tell the Watchers' Council. He would... he would be laughed out of his profession, for claiming that Sunnydale was on a Hellmouth. It was too quiet, now, to be a Hellmouth, and he had already sent that report, well over a month ago. There was no Anointed One, and Hell if he could tell if the Hellmouth was just a piece of fiction, except that Angel seemed to know what he was talking about. "Speak of the devil and who shall appear?" he muttered, nodding a greeting to the ex-vampire who had slipped in while he wasn't watching.
"The devil," Angel replied, shrugging. One of his hands was tightly clenched in the plastic wrapper of a package of corn crisps. "Dorito?" he offered, holding the bag out. Giles politely declined, and Angel shrugged again, "Your loss. I thought it might be a good idea to tell you that I've had my ear to the ground. Something big was supposed to happen last night, and... Let's just say that a certain demon, who shall remain unnamed, came to me to tell me about it. He didn't seem to be pleased."
The Watcher waited while the ex-vampire continued to munch on his crisps. Once it seemed that the silence was dragging out, he coughed lightly and said, "So why did he come to you about it?"
"I guess he expected me to know why," Angel grunted. "I was of the Aurelius line, you know. The Anointed One is an Aurelian prophesy, and by not coming to fruition, it stops up a lot of other prophesies. And to top it off, the Master of the line is gone, blessed out of existence by the look of it. I went down there to look around, and the place felt a lot like that... when Castiel took the demon out of me."
"So that's what did it," Giles groaned and sat down to polish his glasses. "I was worrying about this all night. You couldn't have come earlier?"
"I slept," Angel replied, unrepentant.
"And I could have slept," sighed the Watcher. "I was right to worry, though. It would have happened if it weren't for Castiel. Angel, if this demon comes and talks to you again... What will you tell him?"
Angel was silent for a long moment; then he said, "I believe in fairies? Honestly, I don't know. Do we even know what Castiel is?"
"An angel," Giles murmured. "At least he believes so. Wrath of the heavens and all that. I looked it up, and apparently he is the Angel of Thursday, of Travel and... I don't know. It didn't seem to have any relevance to his presence here, on the Hellmouth. I just wish we knew what he wanted here..." ~@~
Currently, Castiel wanted to know why Jimmy had called him. While he had been glad of the excuse to escape Michael's presence, he had never gotten around to speaking with Joshua (which suddenly seemed a lot less urgent, now that he had been to Heaven and left it, already). "She won't leave the foyer," his double was saying, making an exasperated gesture toward said part of the house. "I don't even know how she found this place..."
The fox was in the foyer. "She didn't say why she came?" Castiel asked, choosing to amble there in a human manner.
"No, but she did say something about the local supernatural community being in shambles." With one hand, Jimmy made a broad, dismissive gesture, and then ran it through his hair. "I guess she just wanted to bother you. Speaking of bothering, though, she seemed pretty bothered when I talked to her, freaked out might be a better way to put it. She seemed to think I was a Body Snatcher," he said, amused, as they reached the foyer.
"It's quite the opposite, I assure you," Castiel told the kitsune as she jerked around, startled at their sudden appearance.
"I don't know why I continue saying these things around you," Jimmy sighed, and turned to head back into the den.
Castiel frowned after him, mildly confused. He suspected that he just missed another pop culture reference. "He-ey!" the fox announced, eyes wide and excited. "I know! You're body doubles!"
He gave it a moment's thought then agreed with Kit's assessment. "I suppose that's true."
"Pod people," Jimmy corrected with a vague half smile - just to look a little more like a pod person, and Castiel wouldn't have known that without checking first.
"I can't believe you," Kit declared, glaring. "You let me think you were a body snatcher."
"No," Castiel said, shaking his head. "That's me."
The kitsune turned her glare on him. "That's not funny."
"I wasn't joking." His eyebrows pulled together as he grew mildly exasperated.
"He wasn't joking," Jimmy agreed. "He stole my body, took it for a joy ride; got stabbed less than an hour later, believe it or not."
Kit scowled. "Well, you're obviously not a good one."
"I am too," the angel found himself protesting. "I asked for permission first." Unlike a demon would have...
"He talked me into it," agreed his former vessel. "Next thing I knew, I was stabbed, shot, blown up... banished to the nether reaches of the universe... Where, exactly, was that Cas? I can't remember it very clearly, and let's just say, self-banishment? You shouldn't do that. It's not good for you."
"Away," Castiel replied, shrugging. The three stood in the center of the den; this wasn't a problem for the angel, but the other two seemed off put.
"You've got no chairs," complained Kit.
"No TV, either," Jimmy agreed. He glanced at Castiel with a faint smile that faded quickly. "We really should get one."
An hour later, Crowley was wondering how he had been dragged into that particular quest.~@~
The clerk in the electronics department wrung her hands together and watched the two strange men peruse the television section. One of the two wore a disheveled suit and trenchcoat and his hair was a mess and he needed to shave, badly, while the other was dressed all in black, with slicked back hair and sunglasses. She was confused as to which one would be safer to approach. There was something foreboding about the first man, and the second was sort of creepy.
In the end, she decided to approach neither of them, but instead followed them at a safe distance in case they needed help. Sunglasses Guy seemed interested in the new flat screen TVs, but the other guy stopped in front of the portables. "This one's black and white," he said, fascinated, apparently, at the versatility of modern technology.
She could handle them. She could. She once sold a surround sound stereo system to an honest to god one eyed one horned flying purple people eater (apparently it was really hard to find purple people). She could do this. Menacing auras were not enough to keep her away. These guys needed a TV. She could sense
it. Selling things just happened to be her best talent, and in the electronics department, it was showcased. She would
sell these guys a TV whether they liked it or not. She would ignore the teenagers having a shopping cart race down the next aisle, and she would ignore the crazy lady loudly trying to talk Trenchcoat Guy's twin (who managed to look very normal, in comparison to his brother) into buying her a giant stuffed rabbit fifteen feet away.
"We have color now, Castiel. We don't watch black and white TV anymore. Color is better." The other man continued to peruse the much larger flatscreen TVs. "How's the picture quality on this 40 inch over here, miss?"
The clerk very nearly gasped. The man was talking to her! Slipping into sales pitch mode, she immediately began talking him toward the more expensive newer LCD display televisions. "Picture quality is a lot better on these, and they come with a two year guaranteed warranty. They use less electricity, and the screen stays cool."
He gave it a dubious look and turned to the other man. "What do you think, Cas?"
"It's big." There was a faint frown on the other man's face, as though big was not a good thing. "The hotels never had TVs that big." Okay, weirdo,
she thought and tried to keep it from showing on her face. "Hotels can't afford to have good TVs in every room," she said. "That's why they usually only have smaller ones."
Pursing his lips slightly, he said, "Oh," like it was a revelation. His eyes flickered over the shape of the television, then the boxes down below. "I'll take five," he decided. "And this one." He held up a much smaller box that contained one of the portables. Turning to Sunglasses Guy, he asked, "Do we need anything else?"
"Furniture," the man sighed. "A stereo system or five, to go with the five TVs, would be nice. Washer and dryer. A dishwasher and some other kitchen appliances. You know what? I'll take care of it. You go... examine the bedding or something; find out what Jimmy wants... Better, send Jimmy over here, and we'll figure it out. Don't have to worry your pretty little head over it."
Trenchcoat Guy just looked confused, and the clerk wondered if it was the "pretty little head" comment. Her suspicion was vindicated when he said, "My head is very nearly the same size as yours," in a quietly accusing tone.
"And I'm not being literal," the man said, rubbing his face with one hand. "It's a saying, Castiel. Just, hand me your little TV and go, send Jimmy over here." Castiel did as he was told, and shortly the twin came over, grinning. "I'm having suspicions, seeing that look."
"What? Kit wanted the rabbit, and I thought, 'Hey, it's not my credit rating...' so..." The twin, who must have been Jimmy, shrugged.
"Will you be needing anything else?" asked the clerk, pulling a cart out to get the TVs.
"I also suspect that the rabbit is just a drop in the ocean compared to this," said Jimmy, before moving to help the clerk.
She had just enough time to think how human and nice Jimmy seemed in contrast to his twin before she heard Sunglasses Guy yelling, "What are you planning to do with a ten foot rabbit?" and she knew that her day had hit its peak of weirdness. ~@~
Some days, when Giles walked into the library, there was already someone there. Sometimes it was Buffy; other times it was Angel. On one memorable occasion, it was Cordelia. Today, however, it was an
angel. He hadn't understood when Buffy had told him about Castiel. She had said that he looked just like Jimmy, on the surface, but underneath... There was something alien about the way he held himself, about the tilt of his head as he read from one of Giles' books. Without even looking up from the book, he said, "I have been intending to speak with you."
Not to copy Buffy, but Castiel was giving him a wiggins without even trying. "Have you now?" he asked, carefully making his way to the book cage, where he kept his weapons. He wondered if any of them would even work on an angel.
"I wouldn't bother, if I were you." Castiel finally looked up from the book he had been perusing. "I have been stabbed with far more deadly things than what you keep in there, and that was when I was weaker. You have nothing that would have much effect on me."
"I see," Giles replied grimly.
"You seem to be well armed against demons," Castiel said in a tolerant tone; "although, you should probably carry more salt. It's a common item, which makes it too often overlooked. But better hunters than you and yours rely heavily on it." The Watcher bit down an angry retort as Castiel's face ran through a gamut of inscrutable expressions. It was like the angel only realized that he was being insulting after he had spoken. "My apologies; I don't often speak with unfamiliar humans. I don't mean to offend."
"What did you want to say to me?" Giles asked, trying to put the irritation behind him.
"I hadn't thought about it." The angel looked back down at the book in his hand. "This is a very rare book. It had information that I had been seeking in it." He frowned down at it like it had done something wrong by having said information within it. "If I wanted that information, you can be sure that less benevolent creatures would want it. You may wish to keep it under guard." He then quietly passed the book over to Giles. The title was in Sanskrit. "I have already gotten the information I need from it."
"What information were you looking for?" The book was old, and he wasn't entirely certain that it was one of his. He had a few books in Sanskrit, and this wasn't one of them. It suddenly topped the list of things he needed to translate now
"Places of imprisonment," Castiel said in what Giles thought was an unnecessarily ominous tone.
"'Places of imprisonment'?" asked Giles, frowning. "Of what, demons?" He supposed that demons might deserve that tone.
"Worse," was the harsh reply. A chill went up the Watcher's spine. What could be worse than imprisoned demons? Castiel smiled slightly, as though reading Giles' mind. It abruptly occurred to him that Castiel probably could
. "Angels." The angel's tone was still dark, but carried an oddly wistful undertone. "Freeing any of them would... probably not be wise."
Suddenly, Giles knew. "You're going to do it anyway."
"Perhaps," the angel agreed. "They are my family."
Giles turned and walked away from the angel, internally grasping for another subject. "What... What happened to the vampires?" he asked.
"There were vampires?" Castiel blinked at him, brows furrowed in thought. "There were no vampires. There were weak demons that claimed to be vampires, but there were no vampires."
"Weak?" Giles echoed, feeling a little weak himself.
"They could not walk in the day. True vampires can." The angel idly traced words on the cover of another book. For some reason, it stuck in the Watcher's mind that it was a schoolbook, Jesse's chemistry book. Of all the books on the table, Castiel was toying with that
one, with a vague sort of interest. His bright blue eyes even scanned a few pages before he turned back to Giles. "They could not stand in my presence. They crumbled to dust standing in the same room as me, in the church beneath the school." The angel laughed quietly, shaking his head. "Built over a Hellmouth. I find this ironic." The smile on his face invited Giles to share his amusement, but Giles was stuck on one thing.
is the Hellmouth?" he asked.
The smile dropped away immediately. "Directly beneath us." He scrutinized Giles' paling face. "I suspect that someone is up to something," the angel murmured, thoughtful. "It makes sense, to build a church here, but a school? Human teenagers are unstable enough without spending so much time above such an influence. If it would help, I would have reconsecrated the church."
"A little help is better than none," Giles said hoarsely.
The angel's blue eyes narrowed on him, and Castiel nodded slowly. "Prudent point." And he disappeared with a sound not unlike rustling feathers.
The Watcher lifted a hand and dropped it. "Alright," he sighed. "I'll just... look over this book, then. I don't suppose you'll be coming back any time soon?" Only silence answered him. ~@~
Crowley waited until Jimmy shuffled into the kitchen, eyes halfway glued shut with sleep and hair even wilder than usual, to bring up his bargain with Castiel. Jimmy stared at him blearily, and Crowley wondered if the man even realized just how much not-human he was now. He had exactly the same amount of stubble spread liberally across his jaw as his double, and probably hadn't even thought
about shaving since Adam had split the two apart. "I said, 'I want you guys to hold up your end of the bargain.'" He crossed his arms in front of him petulantly, and waited for a response.
"Okay," Jimmy said and shuffled toward the counter to start the new coffee maker and stare at it for the next five minutes. "Get Aziraphale out here, right?" It had been weeks, and the conversation hadn't even been with Jimmy. Crowley was pretty sure that at the time the man had been perfectly miserable, sitting in the back of the Bentley. "Do you have his number?"
"Yeah. I got his email address too. He doesn't use it though. His computer is like, twenty years old, and he doesn't really know how to use the internet." Crowley sipped at the cup of tea that had been sitting in front of him and grimaced. Lipton, yuck. "He gets phones though. Although, you have no idea how long that took. Angel's still stuck in the fifties, poor thing."
Jimmy gave him a half-assed smirk and returned to staring at the coffee. Crowley was inclined to blame Jimmy for the Lipton. He had had
Twinnings, but it all disappeared, replaced with this orange pekoe crap. Silently, he vowed for revenge, even as he sipped again. Jimmy yawned loudly, and pulled a mug from the cupboard blindly, as he used his other hand to rub the sleep from his eyes. "What time is it in New York?"
"Ten," Crowley said. "He'll be up, puttering about his shop, not selling anything." Taking out a piece of paper and a pen, he scribbled Aziraphale's number down and slid it across the table to where Jimmy was going to sit.
The demi-angel glanced at it as he sat down, blowing steam away from his coffee, too timid to actually drink it yet. Jimmy started to nod off again after seating himself. To keep this from happening, Crowley kicked him in the shins, figuring that it would be half-way decent revenge for the tea. Jimmy jerked back upright with a pained expression. "Jerk," he grunted.
"Yeah, well, that's what you get for swapping good tea for Lipton," Crowley replied, finishing his cup.
He watched as the demi-angel slowly dialed Aziraphale's number into that tiny cell phone of his. "Hello," he said after a moment. "This is Jimmy Novak, calling on behalf of an Anthony J Crowley? Yes, no, for some reason, he decided not to call you himself." Jimmy yawned into his hand before speaking further. "No, no, he's not in any trouble that I know of. I think he wants you to visit him, because he can't visit you, or something. No, I understand completely. We've got nothing to do with that... Why yes, we were in New York a while back, but the timing wasn't so good, and we were actually planning to go and see you. No, that was Castiel. No, he's not with them... No, Crowley's here, and I don't know where Cas is right now. No, I think he wanted to ask you about the Apocalypse. No, no, nothing like that. Here, talk to Crowley."
Crowley suddenly found his hand full of a tiny cell phone. "Hey, angel," he said, bemused.
The tiny speaker let him hear remarkably clearly Aziraphale's put upon sigh. "Crowley, dearest, whatever are you getting up to now? I thought we agreed to lay low for a while? And where's Adam?"
"Adam... He handed me over to Castiel. Supposedly, he'd be a better protection or something. He might be... if he was ever here. I get kinda nervous, not having any idea where he is most of the time." Across the table, Jimmy wore a concerned look. "It's not so bad out here, though. All the little bads are afraid of me, so they don't give me any trouble."
"But you want me to come out there... Where are you, Crowley?" Aziraphale had the most coaxing voice Crowley had ever heard.
"California. Little town called Sunnydale. It has a Hellmouth... Funny thing about that, most of the things in Hell don't like to come out that way. No one wants to go the easy way, you know." Crowley coughed slightly. "Did you know I'm talking on a cell phone? It's about as long as my finger, and not even as thick. Amazing, what humans come up with..."
"Crowley," Aziraphale chided, "that's not important right now. If you need me to come out there, I will."
"Yes Mummy," Crowley sighed. "I'd been planning on visiting you when Adam and Pepper were in New York... Then I ran into that angel, and things haven't been the same since. There were hundreds of little demons running around when we got here, but the population seems to be shrinking. I think the poor creatures are running away from Mr. Not-so-Subtle here." Jimmy, a lot more awake now, was making a not so subtle face across the table at him, consisting of an arched eyebrow and a frown. He was quiet, though, just drinking his coffee and eavesdropping on Crowley's conversation.
"I worry about you sometimes. Will you be easy to find... Of course you will. Give me twenty minutes to close up shop... Nevermind. I seem to have forgotten my Open sign today..." Crowley chuckled at the sound of dismay Aziraphale made at that discovery. "Not much of a loss, I suppose," the angel sighed. "I'll just lock everything up and be right over..."
He was still chuckling when the angel absentmindedly hung up on him. "He forgot to open shop," he explained to the look on Jimmy's face. "He'll come up with any excuse not to sell his books, but he usually remembers to open the shop." ~@~
Duma, the Angel of Silence, was supposed to be in the middle of Australia. Sadly, human prophets were often quite vague on such matters. Castiel pondered his search strategy, and had just begun to implement it when another angel, one of lower rank than himself, appeared. He knew her, of course. It shouldn't have shocked him to see her vessel, pale and perfect as it was. Tonasaphiel had died in that same vessel, and to the human eye, she looked exactly the same as she had then, except her eyes were open and bright, and her throat was fully intact.
"Hello, Castiel," she said cheerfully. White cloth shifted around her body, and she tipped her head, trying to look into his eyes. "I was sent to speak with you, but you already know that, don't you?"
"I could have made that assumption," he responded dryly, trying to force his human body to breathe evenly. "What are you supposed to say, Tonasaphiel? Michael has already spoken to me, quite recently."
"And you left him high and dry," she responded, amused. "The whole garrison is worried about you, Castiel, but that's not why I'm here. I'm supposed to ask where Uriel is, and what your Choice was." The other angel seemed to think on these words for a moment then nodded. "That's what I'm supposed to say to you."
"What were your orders?" Castiel asked, knowing that Tonasaphiel was one who regularly reinterpreted her orders. She was always followed them quite technically; as the humans would say, to the crosses on the Ts and the dots on the Is, without following the actual spirit of her orders.
"I am to go directly to you, and ask you where Uriel is. Then I am to ask you what your Choice was. Then I am to return to Heaven." She smiled; a coy smile that didn't suit the face of an angel, yet matched her personality perfectly.
"And what will you do once Heaven's questions are answered?" he asked intently.
"Take a look, see what Jesus is up to, I suppose. They never said when I had to go back." She pouted slightly. "I think my favorite student must have found something interesting to occupy himself with. Then, perhaps I'll tour the human world. It sounds like it might be fun."
Castiel sat quietly for several long moments. "Uriel is a dog right now, learning about human mercy. My Choice is... an ongoing project, I'm afraid."
"Hey, what do you think of these pagan gods that have been running around lately? I could go take a look at them!"
Ignoring the fact that "these pagan gods" have been around longer than human memory, Castiel replied shortly, "Yeah, you go do that." He was also ignoring the fact that he was still technically her superior, and that with these words, he was basically giving her permission to run rampant and do whatever she wished. Tonasaphiel had never been known for... well, one could always say that she was known as a good teacher and a healer, and leave it at that. Usually, one would forebear mentioning that the Lazarus Incident (an incident that Heaven pretended was supposed
to happen, just like Christ supposedly left for Heaven right away) was a sign that she was too good at both, and often went a bit too far when there was no one to hold her back.
Thankfully she was no longer Castiel's responsibility. Currently, the search for Duma was more important than Tonasaphiel's possible future indiscretions. Said search was likely to be a long one, but he was starting to feel traces of Grace in the rocks late in the day. The traces were faded, years old, and if Castiel were to guess, five years ago, Duma had been here
. Now, there was nothing but wind and rock, and the faint sound of a distant didgeridoo.~@~
It had been worse, Castiel supposed, that he had gotten the place correct, only to find that Duma had vacated the premises quite some time previous. As he had promised Major Carter, he was now using the computers at the NID compound, which hadn't been at all difficult to find. They had extensive geographical data, data that would have been irrelevant to the angel, but quite relevant to the humans who had compiled it. The geographical data was useful now, however, because it helped him to narrow down his search. Duma was no longer in Australia, so his location was, for now, irrelevant.
It was unfortunate that they had no data on Hell, or on the Realm of Dreams. However, they did have data on Alexandria, which, according to Giles' book, was the location that Raziel had been. Raziel hadn't Fallen, and he wasn't imprisoned, as the book had implied, but he had been... kicked out, for lack of a better phrase, for doing exactly as he was supposed to do. Castiel hadn't understood at the time; in fact, he still didn't quite understand why Heaven had driven Raziel out.
He suspected that it was another case of Heaven not liking proactive angels.
On a whim, he looked up Adamical Magic (something that Heaven blamed exclusively on Raziel and his Book of Knowledge), just to see if the NID had access to any of it. He sat blinking and nonplussed at what came up on his screen. Programmed into the binary code that the computers ran on were Enochian runes. Worse, they were poorly written Enochian runes.
"Someone," Castiel murmured, frowning, "is reaching beyond themselves." And if he would trust any of the government types with Enochian spells, it certainly wouldn't be the men and women at the NID; Daniel, perhaps, and some of the others at the SGC, but not the NID.
With a finely focused wave of Intent, the angel carefully destroyed every ounce of information contained on all of the NID's computer drives down to the molecular level. No matter how good their information retrieval devices were, there was no way that they would be able to trace down the slightest bit of information from a single computer drive. To make sure that he got his point across, he swept through their hard files as well, disintegrating every piece of paper that had information about Enochian runes on it.
Luckily for him, their grammar was terrible.
It was obvious what they had been trying to do. After he had left them that single time, they wanted to acquire him somehow. They didn't specifically say this, but Castiel thought it was rather obvious, and not a surprise, either. What he wanted to know, however, was how they had come across this information. He suspected that it could become a problem later, but he would have to come back to it. He had other things to do. ~@~
SG1 sat fidgeting (with the exception of Teal'c, who no one would ever accuse of fidgeting) in General Hammond's office as the man paced back and forth behind his desk. "We don't have control over him," he grunted, "and he's not one of ours. He's some kind of higher being, and we don't even know what kind, we just do our best not to piss him off, because we don't even know what he's capable of, other than coming back from being turned into sludge against the Iris. No, we have nothing to do with that. I don't think that we could stop him if we tried." The General sighed and stopped, facing away from the team.
Jack made a phone sign with one hand, and twisted up his face into a weird, querulous expression at Daniel. Teal'c raised an eyebrow, not understanding Jack's unsubtle attempt at communication. For that matter, neither did Daniel nor Sam. Daniel shrugged, subtly pointed at Hammond and made a shushing motion, just as the General turned around. Hammond merely arched an eyebrow in an unconscious echo of Teal'c's earlier response, and continued listening to the telephone.
"Yes, we'll have a memo sent out. Whoever sees him first will tell him that it was appalling behavior. Hopefully they won't be smited."
"Smote," Daniel corrected quietly, unable to help himself.
Hammond arched the eyebrow again. "Smote. Well, according to our sources, his name is the same as the Angel of Thursday, so smiting might actually be on the board. No, I don't think anyone actually thinks he's an angel. It's possible that the name of the angel came from him, but truth is, we don't actually know
. What do we know? He doesn't need a Gate to get to other planets. He can appear and disappear into and out of locked and enclosed spaces as he pleases. He can get turned to sludge one moment and be perfectly fine in seconds. He can make a Gameboy, the component parts of which were melted
, not only work, but get the highest possible score on Tetris... No, it's harder than it sounds..."
The General frowned as Jack snickered, but otherwise ignored him.
"No, I believe the last time he was spotted, he helped SG1 with a communication problem. There seems to be no language he can't speak. Add that to his list of super-powers. According to the reports, there was another one that showed up as well, but that one doesn't seem to be making any waves." Hammond closed his eyes when Jack interrupted him.
"He seemed to really annoy Cas," Jack piped up, then fell silent when his team shushed him.
"That one goes by the name Gabriel, and that's all we know about him other than he apparently shares Castiel's planet hopping ability." The General rubbed his forehead with his unoccupied hand. "Presumably, that would be the Archangel Gabriel, but again, we don't know for sure. Look, it's in the reports. I could repeat every little thing we know about them if it would make you feel better, but as I told you, it's not much."
"His brother made a wood baby," Sam stated. It was in a report already, but it bore repeating.
"Supposedly one of his siblings is fond of bizarre practical jokes," Hammond said wryly, understanding the need for the reiteration of that particular piece of information. "There was a Weekly World News type of incident in Canada that Castiel said... what were the words? 'It looks like his work,' I believe." The General chuckled, shaking his head. "I'm sorry, but we still don't have a whole lot of information. It bothers us too."
"Why a wood baby, though?" asked Jack, trying to be quiet.
Sam's lips pursed, "He said that Jimmy saw a movie about it once." She shrugged.
"And that still bothers me. Who the heck is Jimmy?" Jack frowned, glancing over at Hammond, who was again listening intently to the phone. "He just gestured at himself when I asked... Should I ask again?"
"Yes, I understand," said Hammond, looking relieved. "We'll do our best. Thank you. Have a good day." He carefully hung up the phone and sighed. "Ask him who Jimmy is," Hammond ordered quietly. "Also, see if we can't get a way to contact him in case of incidents like today's."
"What happened today, General Hammond?" Teal'c asked in that implacable way of his.
"He wiped NID's entire
computer system," the General replied, the corners of his lips twitching as he said the words. "They are sure that he did more than that, but have no proof, because he wiped their video records as well. The only reason they even know he was there is because a technician saw him using the computers." Hammond chuckled and settled into his chair. "On that note, please, let him know that that isn't appropriate, but we aren't going to do anything but say the words, understand? As he seems to prefer contacting you, Colonel, you'll be the one in charge of telling him this. Thankfully, he seems to like you. I think that shows that he has the same questionable taste as the Asgard."
"Why, thank you, sir," Jack replied wryly. "I'll be sure to mention that."
"Why would he..?" Sam sighed, shaking her head. "I don't get it. Why did he wipe their computers? He said that he would use theirs, next time he needed to use one, but... did he find something he didn't like, do you think?"
"On that note," said Hammond, eying Jack, "you had probably better ask him that as well."
"Now, however, it's time to get the actual meeting started. Let's start with clarification of this latest incident involving your team..." The General tapped a sheaf of papers that had been on his desk throughout the phone call. "Let's start with you, Colonel."
"You'll have to be more specific, sir. There have been a lot of... incidents involving my team." Jack put on his most earnest expression and settled in for a long lecture, because he suspected that it was the incident in the mess hall that Hammond was talking about, and really, he didn't care what the guy with the ladle said, Jell-O was not a food.~@~
Daniel Jackson spent a lot of time going through ancient, crumbling texts, and he knew exactly how to treat them. Those over a certain age, or those that had been mishandled in the past, had to be treated with utmost care, so when Daniel flinched at the unexpected rustling sound behind him, his first reaction as the page crumbled was to gape at it in horror. A scent not unlike frankincense and myrrh with a faint overlay of brimstone and the smoky fragrance of expensive bourbon washed over his shoulder, and when Daniel turned his head, he was nose to nose with Castiel, whose blue eyes crinkled at the corners with faintly expressed amusement.
"It's inaccurate," Castiel said, with a smile that was difficult to see from so close.
The maybe-an-angel was standing far too close, and Daniel's spine prickled with discomfort. "How so?" he asked, trying to edge away unobtrusively. "Anyway, it's still expensive, one of a kind, and it's horrible, horrible, horrible that I just ruined the page! I... you shouldn't sneak up on people like that!"
Castiel blinked at him then reached over his shoulder, gently flicking his finger across the disintegrated paper. It looked exactly as it had before Daniel had started handling it. "There. Not a problem now, is it?" asked Cas, tilting his head slightly as though gaging Daniel's response. "I will try to be noisier next time."
Daniel coughed. "Dear god, no. If you did that, I might have killed more than a page. Just... don't appear so close, and then make a little noise as you close the distance, alright?" He waited for Castiel to nod before continuing. "I think... Well, Jack was supposed to tell you, because Jack usually sees you first, but... Since you're here, and I haven't heard about it, I'm going to assume that you haven't talked to Jack yet."
"I have not," Castiel confirmed.
"Alright." Daniel sighed, stepping away from the ancient text before he could accidentally redo what Castiel had undone. "He's supposed to say, what was it? The thing with NID's computers wasn't very nice, and that's pretty much it. Also, he was told to ask you, why'd you do that, and who's Jimmy?" He turned to actually look at the angel (probably not an angel, but whatever; it was getting irritating, dancing around the word in his mind, and at least it gave him something to think of Castiel as), who stood still, with his hands in the pockets of his beige trenchcoat. "And, why are you here, now? Usually, it's Jack you talk to, so... kinda weird, I think."
Castiel shrugged. "It didn't seem to be something that Jack would care to think of. The library at Alexandria has been gone a long time, and such things seem to be your area of interest. As for your superiors' questions: there was something very inappropriate hidden in their system... and Jimmy is my brother, I suppose you would say; my twin."
"You wanted to ask me
about the Library of Alexandria," Daniel asked dubiously. "Why?"
"It was a human accomplishment, and it is no longer there. I cannot seem to find the entrance." Castiel looked nonplussed by this.
"The fact that it isn't there anymore might be why you can't find the entrance," Daniel postulated, sighing.
"No, that isn't it," the angel replied, with a single negatory head shake. "It's like a shell game," he added, frowning.
"A shell game; you hide a small object under one of three identical larger objects and..."
Daniel interrupted, "I know what a shell game is, Castiel. I'm asking what
is like a shell game?"
In a gesture that seemed a little unlike the Castiel that SG1 was slowly growing used to, the angel pursed his lips and seemed to think about it. "How the entrance was hidden. I suspect that it was not hidden by humans." It sounded as though the very idea pained him. "Considering that the library was nearly destroyed... three, four times... As such, it is difficult to find the entrance."
"Why does that make it difficult to find?" asked Daniel, growing mildly ill-tempered. If it was destroyed, it was destroyed... Yet, Castiel had said "nearly", so Daniel had to assume that Castiel didn't believe it was gone.
"The one hiding it doesn't like tourists. I could go back to 47 BC, and still not find it. I suspect, as in the Garden, I'm supposed to do this manually." The angel sat in a nearby chair. "I suspect I wouldn't like to talk to Raziel anyway."
"Raziel?" Daniel asked quietly. The book he had been deciphering had mentioned Raziel.
"Don't trust the words in that book," Castiel said. "Raziel did not Fall, but one should expect him to be a bit tetchy, and not to like tourists."
"I see." Daniel didn't see. "Is it all wrong?" he asked, indicating the book.
The angel scanned the open page then flipped through several more, amazingly or not, not harming the book at all, in spite of his apparent lack of care. "Except for a few minor details," he shrugged. "It seems as though the scholars had nothing but particularly embarrassing details about each of..." Castiel waved a hand, indicating the book. "I haven't spoken to Raziel for quite some time, but I doubt he would like to be remembered as 'temperamental as a teething babe'; even were it true."
"That... would be kind of embarrassing, wouldn't it?" Daniel tried to look at the page that the angel currently held open.
"I think that it's more that that's most of what history remembers of him." Castiel skimmed the book further. "Unless you want to know things like that, this book is useless." He was silent for a long moment. "So you don't know where to find the entrance to the Library of Alexandria?"
Daniel didn't have to even think about it. "No."
"Pity. I don't suppose the SGC has any information about the realm of dreams?"
That one deserved a little more thought. "Do you mean, like a physical location?" Daniel was surprised to find that he was losing patience with the angel. He had always thought that he was more patient than Jack; apparently not. Jack never even said that he found the angel's questions irritating, and if there was one thing Jack didn't bother to hide, it was irritation.
"Yes," agreed the angel.
"No, we don't."
"Pity," he said again. Gently closing the book out of consideration to its age if not the information it contained, Castiel gave Daniel a long, considering look. "I won't be bothering NID again, unless they bother me first." He paused to continue examining Daniel's face. "I will not bother you next time. Jack seems easier with my presence."
Daniel blinked and Castiel was gone. He had the uneasy feeling that he had unintentionally insulted a higher being. ~@~
Aziraphale, Jimmy thought, looked a little like Brendan Fraser, only much shorter, and a little dumpy. He was friendly, almost too friendly, full of handshakes and, somewhat uncomfortably, hugs, for both Jimmy and Crowley, who turned red as Aziraphale appeared to squeeze the life out of him. The term "bone crushing hug" had never seemed so appropriate. "Crowley, dearest, it's so good to see you!" exclaimed the slightly dumpy blond. "I know you wanted to visit me, but it's hardly a problem for me to come to you, and you never call, do you? We're only ever a thought away, you know." Hug; crush; over-enthusiastic hug.
The wannabe demon was glaring at Jimmy, who tried to keep the amused look off of his face. "Don't even say it," Crowley hissed.
"Now, now, dearest, you are a guest here, aren't you? You should be a bit more polite, and shouldn't we go inside? I would love to see how this place is furnished." Jimmy amended his previous thought; Aziraphale looked like a short, dumpy, very gay
and British Brendan Fraser, emphasis on the very gay part, because there was just something about the way the angel moved that struck him that way.
Crowley, on the other hand, was like a better dressed Agent Smith, and Jimmy couldn't even say that, because the Matrix probably wasn't out yet. He would have to look into that. Crowley was the one to hustle them into the kitchen, where he made tea for all three of them. Jimmy would have declined if Aziraphale hadn't been so... enthusiastic.
Aziraphale remained enthusiastic up until he actually tasted the tea, whereupon he stopped to eye it curiously. "Dearest, what was in the box?" asked the angel, sniffing delicately at the tea. It smelled a bit like plum blossoms, and not at all like actual tea. "Not that it isn't good," he said, backpedaling quickly. "I just wasn't expecting it."
Crowley gave Jimmy the evil eye and went back to check the box. "I think it's herbal," he said, "herbal" coming out like a filthy epithet.
"Probably," Jimmy said, calmly sipping at his. It wasn't that bad, if one liked to drink watery perfume. The plum blossom scent seemed to cling a little, and it was kind of like drinking flowers. Strange, not too horrible, but not something he actually liked, either. Crowley wasn't wrong to blame him for the tea; after all, the thing with the Lipton was him too. Crowley had had it coming to him, though. "We're in the middle of a small prank war."
"Oh," the angel replied, looking disappointed (and he did "disappointed" like Brendan Fraser when someone kicks his puppy; he also did "disapproval" in a similarly overdone way). "I don't suppose you have proper cream, do you?"
The more Jimmy watched it done, the more he could almost grasp how Crowley did it, making things just appear. It was an abuse of angelic powers, and Gabriel did it all the time, but seeing Crowley do it... Jimmy could almost figure it out for himself. He idly flipped his cell phone in his hand, watching Crowley pull out proper clotted cream that he was trying to pretend didn't just appear out of nowhere. Jimmy didn't buy it, and apparently, neither did Aziraphale.
"You didn't have to, my dear. Milk would have been more than adequate." Still, he looked grateful for it, and seemed to read Crowley's silence as a desire for the subject to be dropped, and quickly. "Mr. Novak, was it? I was wondering, all the way here, what it was that you and Castiel needed to know about... Well, about the ah... I can't call it an Apocalypse, can I? After all, it didn't finish up, so, it wasn't really the End of Days, was it?"
"Yeah?" Jimmy frowned into his half-empty mug. "We were mostly wondering if both sides were pushing for it, I guess."
"Indeed," agreed Aziraphale, right as, at the same time, Crowley muttered, "You got that right."
"Of course, it would have been easier if Crowley had been willing to say something like that a little earlier." He smiled around the rim of the mug as he took another drink off of it. Aziraphale probably had the right idea, adding cream to it. "I'm sure Cas will be by eventually, if you want to hang around. I might even be able to find some real tea. I'm sure I hid it around here somewhere..."
Crowley pointedly didn't gnash his teeth at that. Aziraphale did the "disapproving" look.
"He ah, deserved it," Jimmy defended himself. "Like I said, prank war. It gets a little petty here and there, but the tea isn't the worst that happened."
"He keeps threatening to call me by my... other name," Crowley whined, pouting. "I just short-sheeted his bed. And dumped glitter in his closet, which wasn't that good of a joke, because he didn't seem to care. He would go out in jeans
if I let him. So guess who had to clean that up?" Strangely, Aziraphale didn't look at all sympathetic. "I also may have inflicted a minor curse on him. He doesn't drink; so every time he tries to drink water, kablammo, wine. It's not as funny now that he's caught onto it." Crowley looked perfectly proud of that one.
Jimmy made a face. Three days of attempting to drink water was irritating to say the least. Fortunately, that little curse of Crowley's didn't work on juice or coffee, or even tea. It also seemed to be wearing off, slowly but surely. "That's why I've been drinking so much coffee," he confided.
"Boys will be boys, I suppose," sighed the angel. "What was it you were saying about real tea?" ~@~
"Why am I hanging out with you freaks?" Cordelia sighed, bored out of her mind as she sat with Buffy and Willow (of all people) in the library of all places. Giles had wanted to talk to her, but it turned out that he just wanted to know how she was connected to Castiel. She wasn't really, and she told him so. She rather liked Jimmy, but hadn't really talked to him much since trying to introduce him to Buffy and getting Angel de-vamped; and seriously, that was a surprise; Angel, a vampire? She would never have guessed. "Hmm... what's this?" She pulled the book that caught her eye a little closer. The writing on the front looked pretty, but there was no way she could read it. With a disgusted snort, she pushed it away.
It stopped suddenly before it slid more than a few inches, Giles' hand pressed flat on top of it. "I've been wondering what it is, as well," the librarian murmured. "It isn't one of mine, and I haven't the faintest idea how it got into my things." He traced the symbols on the cover with an air of frustration. "I have managed to read a few passages. In ancient Indian tradition they had something similar to Christian angels," he said, "beings of great power, ruling over the eternal struggle of good versus evil; terrible beings, with little care for humanity. Castiel said that some of his brethren are imprisoned all over the world, and that he intends to seek them out. Some of their locations were in this book."
Aware that she might sound just a little too eager, Cordelia suggested, "Why don't you ask Jimmy? He was inside Cas' head, right?"
"I don't think that's what they meant," Giles said, firmly massaging his forehead.
"Couldn't hurt," Buffy muttered. "You know, for a Hellmouth, this place is so dead."
"Hah, good one," giggled Willow. "I still want to know what Xander is. I mean, if I'm a demi-goddess." She didn't look like she actually believed it for one second. "Xander rattled him. Castiel seemed a little... you know... weird eye at Xander when he showed up, too."
"Where are Dumb and Dumber, anyway?" Cordelia asked. Not that she actually wanted to see Xander and Jesse. It was just that she thought it wise to know exactly where they were, in order to avoid them better.
"The boys are..." Buffy paused to purse her lips unattractively "...out being boys; talking about girls maybe. You know Jesse carries a torch for you. God knows why, but he does. And Xander... the less said, the better."
"If the boys are talking about girls, shouldn't we be talking about boys... Sorry Giles." The redheaded nerd glanced up at Giles with an innocent smile.
"Please, just pretend I'm not here. After all, I'm paid to be ignored." Collecting the book from the table, Giles retreated to his desk. "I'll be over here. Remember, this is a library, so talk quietly."
Willow blinked after him. "Adults are so weird." Turning to Buffy, she asked, "And what do you mean, the less said about Xander the better? I like
"And that's the incredible sense of taste that shops at Sears," Cordelia snorted. "Besides, even Harmony could tell you who he likes." She had no idea why she was still here. "Seriously, though. Winter Formal. I'm willing to help you two for free, even. Because no one deserves to see what Willow would wear on her own. Also, Giles, do you have any books on the stock market? I need to be armed for the next time I talk to Jimmy."
"Wait, what?" Buffy gave her a distrustful look. "Why would you need to read about the stock market? You're sixteen!"
"He's really into it, and I barely knew enough to keep up," she said with a smile. "He's not rich yet, but I bet you he will be, because he knew more about it than my father does. I asked, just to make sure, and Daddy didn't know anything about Apple stocks, and Jimmy was talking about making a few investments in some newer companies that he says will get really big soon. So, I want to know more so I can keep up with what he's saying." Cordelia could tell that Jimmy knew what he was talking about; more, she could tell that he'd taken great pleasure in outlining, though vaguely, his statistical analysis of next decade in the market. "It was hard to follow," she allowed, "but that would make it easier."
All three girls flinched when a large, glossy hardback thumped onto the table next to Cordelia. "The less I know, the better, I presume," said Giles, looking down at her over the rim of his glasses. The look in his eyes suggested that he planned on having a talk with Jimmy, and that wouldn't fit in with Cordelia's plans at all.
"So..." Cordelia frowned, not backing down from the librarian's look. "Winter Formal, anyone?"
The man sighed and returned to his desk.
The internet has died on me. Expect updates to become more sporadic. v.v' I so sorry. On a bonus side, because of intermittent migraines and poor sleeping patterns, also expect slight disjointedness. I still so sorry. >.> Heheh. *currently suffering from a vague -thumpthumpthump twinge- in the vicinity of the left nostril* Oh, what a world, what a world...Next Time: The Master's Dead
(or In Which the Slayer Has a Little Accident
) Time flies when you're having fun, and who knew that something so small as a carrot could bring out another Slayer? Angels are moving, and soon, the minions of Hell will take notice. The Prophet Chuck has a lot of writing to do, and visiting angels do little to ease his hangover.Excerpt: "Somewhere out there, there's a Father wondering what he did right, with that one," Chuck said around his beer moments after the sound of rustling feathers had faded away. It hadn't been an easy day, but finding out that the manuscripts he had been working on since college weren't what he thought they were just had to be the worst of it. He licked his lips. "So, I'm a prophet, huh?" he asked his empty apartment, his eyes dropping to a picture he had sketched hours before. It was of a woman, standing on the edge of the road, her hair dark around her face and her pale dress faded to nothing. "A prophet..."