Disclaimer: I do not own these characters. No copyright infringement is intended and I make no profit from this story. Kripke owns John and Bobby (and his salvage yard) and Whedon owns Illyria.A Bond is a Two Way Street
John and Bobby relaxed on the porch, the soft twilight of late summer broken only by the faint flickering glow of the fireflies and the steady cacophony of the crickets hiding in the scrubby patches of grass in the salvage-yard. Bobby took a long drink of beer, loosely grasping the bottle in his oil-stained hand as he watched Illyria shadow-sparring with the latest Rumsfeld. She was fencing with an abandoned tire iron as the dog danced around her feet, his tongue lolling out in a peculiar doggie smile.
“Damn dog loves her,” Bobby grumbled. “He’s not supposed to be cavortin’ with the enemy.”
John laughed, his head tilting back with the sudden burst of sound, drawing Illyria’s attention with the rich, warm tones spilling from his chest. He jerked his chin slightly when he caught her eyes, indicating she should return to her sparring and not to worry.
“I could say the same of my boys,” John admitted with a small grin, nestling the neck of his beer bottle between his long fingers as he absently swung it back and forth between his knees.
“Heard you were a grandpa twice over. Congratulations,” Bobby said dryly, still studying the graceful figure of the demon staying in his home. “Though I always expected it’d be Dean first, unknowingly leavin’ a little Winchester behind somewhere.”
“I’ve been expecting that since he turned fifteen,” John agreed with a grimace. He pursed his lips speculatively. “Sarah’s a nice girl…so is Ava. My boys did well for themselves.”
“They have a chance at the life ya always hoped for ‘em,” Bobby said reassuringly. With a side-long glance, Bobby asked, “So you havin’ sex with her, yet?”
John choked on the beer he had just swallowed as Bobby chuckled, reaching for a new bottle in the ice chest by his chair. “It’s been nearly six years and every time I see you, it’s the same question,” John coughed. “At least you stopped tryin’ to shoot us on sight.” John glanced over at Illyria to make sure she wasn’t hearing any of this before muttering, “I think I’d prefer being shot at to the sexual interrogations.”
Bobby shrugged. “What with you suddenly bein’ alive an’ married to a demon – a corporeal
demon, at that – wanted to be sure nothin’ hinky was goin’ on.”
“We’re not married,” John growled. “It’s a cover.”
“Oh?” Bobby asked, arching his eyebrows until they nearly disappeared under the brim of his dirty trucker’s hat. “So the whole eternal bond thing don’t mean nothin’? Kinda thought that’s what marriage pretty much was.”
John glared at him, his brows forming a dark line over the deep hazel of his eyes. Bobby ignored him, casting his gaze over to the shadowy expanse of dirt where Illyria was still fighting with his dog, her pale skin glowing in the darkening night. “She’s not bad to look at, at least,” Bobby admitted. “Could’a been stuck with horns or somethin’.” He took a contemplative sip. “Get enough beer in me to overlook the whole demon thing, I might have a go at her.”
John coughed up another draft of beer through his nose, making Bobby grin slyly in his direction. “Don’t tell me you haven’t thought about it none. Stuck with her 24/7 like y’are?”
“I haven’t,” John sputtered, wiping droplets of beer from his nose and chin as he flushed, glad for the concealing cloak of the deepening twilight.
“You ain’t a man if ya haven’t,” Bobby admonished teasingly. “I’ve seen ya two all curled up nice and cozy in the mornin’s.”
“She’s not human,” John reminded him. “Would you have sex with Rumsfeld? Same thing.”
Bobby turned his head, squinting to study his dog pouncing at Illyria’s feet like a clumsy puppy. “Maybe if he had a rack like hers an’ brushed his teeth.”
John’s laugh started small, building up into another warm rumble, drawing Illyria and Rumsfeld towards the small porch where they sat. Illyria studied the empty beer bottles at their feet, stating clearly, “Perhaps it is time to go inside. I believe you have imbibed enough.”
Bobby arched another eyebrow and coughed into his hand, “Not married, huh?”
“My Guide becomes very tactile when he has had much to drink,” Illyria declared, her bold eyes bright in the darkness as she cocked her head intently in Bobby’s direction.
“He does, does he?” Bobby asked, chuckling softly. John frowned at his obvious amusement, clenching his hands to keep from reaching out to brush Illyria’s arm, as was his instinctive response to her proximity.
Illyria nodded curtly, her blue-brown hair falling forward to curtain her pale features in shadow. “I have been told to handcuff him to the bedpost if he becomes too – how do you put it, John? – grabby. He ordered it so.”
Bobby’s eruption of rusty laughter caused Rumsfeld to bark in accompaniment, and he cut off John’s denial with a wave of his hand. “I just got my Christmas present for your boys, John,” Bobby snickered with a wicked gleam to his eyes. “Might just have to go in the newsletter.”
Bobby stepped back, gesturing for Illyria to enter his home first, whispering to John, “So you never think about it, huh? Kinky bastard.”
John manfully refrained from punching him on the arm as Illyria passed Bobby’s threshold, instead replying under his breath, “You’re disturbed, Bobby.”
Bobby replied with a defeated sigh, his shoulders slumping slightly as they followed Illyria inside. Recognizing the signs, John glanced around the doorframe, looking for whatever new demonic countermeasure Bobby had tried to test this time in order to keep Illyria-level demons out.
“Didn’t work, I take it?” John asked politely, leaning in to study one of the runes carved by the door and dotted with what only could be…, “Is this blood
? You’re using blood rituals now?”
“God-dammit, John,” Bobby muttered, taking off his cap and slapping it against his thigh as he thought. “I gotta find some way to keep the Big Guys out. She strolls in and out like this is some kind of 24 hour Mini-Mart, expectin’ me to pass her a Slurpee.”
“You don’t really have to worry about her level droppin’ by, Bobby,” John pointed out. “She’s…unique.” John surreptitiously glanced at Illyria with a fond smile, before realization struck and he smoothed his features into casual disinterest before Bobby could notice.
Bobby shook his head, rubbing his hand over his gray beard as he replied off-handedly, “She’s only unique until there’s another one, and then where’d we be?”
John noted that look cementing itself on Bobby’s face - the one that, shortly after he’d discovered John’s surprise resurrection with his blue haired cohort, led to extensive research and testing in ways to break the bond that held John to Illyria, until John wound up splayed naked in the backyard under a full moon with Bobby suggesting that John recite the lyrics to “Brown-Eyed Girl” backwards while simultaneously rubbing his belly and patting his head ‘cause he was fucking out of ideas.
Illyria was quite impressed with John’s ability to simultaneously rub and pat and asked him to repeat the performance at every opportunity until John lost his temper, pointing out that she had kind of missed the objective and to just stop asking, for fuck’s sake.
Illyria observed that John seemed to lack the understanding that if these attempts were successful, his soul would only be going back to Hell because neither of them could stay on this plane without the other. She stoically reminded him he should be sure of what he wanted if he planned to continue playing with his associate. John asked her why she hadn’t shared this information earlier and Illyria replied, with something like a shrug, that she had been curious to see if it might work – and if collecting a forsworn soul and a former Demon-God would require the arrival of the entire
horde of Hell’s angels, or if only a few hundred would be dispatched.
Any further testing stopped the same day.
John decided to get while the getting was good. No one was safe when Bobby got that look. “We’re hittin’ the sack,” John began, mentally cursing himself for the careless wording when Bobby’s eyes focused on Illyria standing so closely beside John, bringing a subtle smirk to his features.
Late that night, after the clock chimed 2:00, Bobby felt a heavy presence behind him. He heard no sound, but the skin along his spine crawled in warning, tickling that part of his brain that urged him to fight or flee – and flee was ahead by a nose. Bobby steeled his resolve and murmured softly, “Hello, Illyria. Does John know you’re out and about?”
“He slumbers,” she replied evenly, coming to stand nearby, but well outside the arm’s length that eased his nerves. Illyria had picked up rather quickly that she freaked Bobby the fuck out when John wasn’t around. “I grew bored.”
Bobby swiveled in his chair, the open book barely concealing the gun hidden on his lap. He set both aside, knowing neither would serve as a useful weapon against her should she decide to tear out his throat.
Illyria’s bright blue eyes glanced from the weapon to his grizzled features, still shaded by the cap he wore throughout the day. “You do not trust me,” she said, something like amusement coloring her tone. “You are wise, for a human.”
“I’ve spent years researchin’ that bond thing that ties John to you,” Bobby informed her, reaching for the comfort of the warm bottle of beer on his desk. He took a swig before stating, “You haven’t told him, have you.”
“Told him what?” Illyria asked, with a bird-like tilt of her head.
“Don’t be coy,” Bobby snorted, almost smiling. “It ain’t cute on a millions of years old Demon-God.”
Illyria merely nodded her head a fraction, granting him permission to continue.
“The bond…the way it was designed was to make a slave of the servant, tie his soul to your physical being so that he would bend to your will. It was a way to force mindless devotion so eternal servitude wouldn’t be so trying on the ‘master’.”
“That is so,” Illyria agreed. “Lucifer did not want to take any chances of escape.”
Bobby dared to glance at her out from beneath the shadowy brim of his hat before adding, “But it didn’t work that way. Somethin’ fucked it up.”
A flicker of unease swept over Illyria’s still features, almost imperceptible, and she didn’t reply, holding herself still as if readying herself for attack.
“The locus of the bond is always a demon who, by definition, doesn’t have a soul. It’s the soul
that’s bound, so the demon was always safe.”
Illyria nodded again, her smooth features not giving anything away.
Bobby took a breath, explaining on the soft exhale, “But you have
a soul – or, at least, remnants of one.” He raised his eyes to hers, saying quietly, “You’re just as bound as he is.”
The faint tightening of Illyria’s mouth was all the answer he needed.
“He’ll love you one day,” Bobby admitted with a resigned sigh. “He may not now, but he will.”
Bobby shook off the pretense of humbleness and stared straight at her, eyes hard. “I know
John. He’s already protective and I see the way he smiles at you when he thinks neither of us is lookin’. It’s in his nature to love what he protects.” Bobby took another drink, grumbling, “God-damned hard to tell, but that’s just the way he was built.”
Bobby continued with another sigh, “And you’ll love him as much as a demon with the shredded left-over bits of a soul can.”
A flash of insult crossed Illyria’s face, and she said bluntly, “I shall not
. Old Ones do not sully themselves with such base human constructs.”
Bobby laughed before remembering John still asleep just through the door. He leaned forward as he told her, “You keep tellin’ yourself that and maybe it’ll be true.”
Bobby warned her in an almost friendly manner as he turned to pick up the book again, “I kinda like you and all – you’re amusin’ and you made John occasionally pleasant to be around – not so much glowerin’ and pure pissiness from him anymore; however, I’m still lookin’ for a way to break him outta this.”
him,” Illyria stated with a sharp glint to her eyes. “You do not know what he endured until the bond freed him.” She took several steps forward, her body coiling in her odd predator’s stance as if readying to pounce. “I will allow no mistake of yours to result in his return there. He is my
“You know,” Bobby said with sudden understanding. “I think you really believe that – that you saved
A soft clearing of the throat pulled their attention from each other, bringing their focus to the tousled John Winchester lounging in the doorway, his sleep heavy eyes glittering warningly in the dim light of the room. “She did, Bobby,” John stated, his voice a low purr from disuse, “in the only way she could. Not her fault that...Heaven was no longer an option.”
John took a shuddering breath before continuing, “Between eternity in Hell or eternity with Illyria, so far I think it wasn’t such a bad exchange.” He reached out a hand to grasp Illyria, pulling her close against his side as if needing to feel her skin on his. The brush of her armored carapace over his bare chest brought a surge of clarity, clearing the befuddlement of sleep from John’s gaze.
“One prison for another, John – same thing, but with prettier packaging,” Bobby interrupted gently.
John’s voice hardened and he growled, “When you’ve
had the flesh torn from your bones and fed to….” John paused, squeezing his eyes shut and taking several deep breaths to control his rising panic.
The memories shuttered closed behind his eyes and he faced them with an expression nearly devoid of emotion. “I expect you two to get along,” John continued calmly, making his voice sound stronger, “and to not try to kill each other when I’m asleep.” John chuckled lightly, adding, “You two are like children, fighting over the same toy.”
His features emptied into harsh edges and planes as he stated. “I am no one’s
toy. I’m my own man and I expect you both to remember that, bond or not.”
John’s arm slid around Illyria’s waist, his palm splayed over her belly as he restrained her against him. A vague sense of unease made the bond hum and he said over her shoulder, “Now you two can stay up and fight – no killin’ him, please, Illyria; we are houseguests after all – or Illyria can come back to bed with me and leave Bobby to his work. Those are your options.”
With that, John’s arm slipped from around Illyria and he melted back into the shadows of the guest room, leaving the two behind him.
A flicker of disbelief – and perhaps disappointment – swept over Bobby’s face before he turned to Illyria and said sullenly, “I think we just been told.” He slammed the book closed and muttered, “You’re not so bad – you’ve actually been a good influence on him. He’s kinda gotten reasonable.”
Illyria nodded in agreement, her eyes following her Guide as the sensations of his flash of panicked memory burned along her skin.
“Truce,” Bobby suggested, “at least while you’re here.”
Illyria nodded once more before giving in to the pull that led her back to the guestroom where John was waiting, a silent Rumsfeld making his way from under Bobby’s desk to trail after her with an almost guilty look in Bobby’s direction.
As Rumsfeld disappeared into the dimness of the guest room and the door swung closed behind him, Bobby shook his head in disbelief. “Damn dog.”
Bobby muttered something about Hell freezing over as he finally clicked off the lamp, leaving his study shielded within the concealing dark. Author's Note: Thanks to tigriswolf for beta-ing this story. I was a desperate woman since both my usual betas had RL steal them away. Lucky things!