Title: A Legal Way Out
Notes: Post Malleus maleficarum
Disclaimer: None of these characters belong to me, more's the pity.
Post was rare for the Winchester boys. No bank accounts, no tax demands, no birthday cards following them around from place to place. Dean looked thoughtfully at the two letters in his hand, both addressed to him, one from the Roadhouse and one from Bobby. Sam was watching him anxiously.
"Quit staring at me," Dean snapped. "People will think I just broke up with you."
"Aren't you going to open them?"
Dean handed one letter to Sam and the two brothers opened the letters together and read silently.
Dear Mr Winchester,
We write to advise you that your soul is now in the possession of Wolfram and Hart. The terms of your agreement with our agent are set out as attached and we trust that you will abide by the same. Our agent will contact you to arrange collection in 325 days, 40 days having already elapsed since your original agreement. Should you have any queries regarding the same please do not hesitate to contact us.
Attorney at Law
"What the hell is Wolfram and Hart?" Dean asked. "Some sort of law firm?"
Bobby nodded. "I've heard of them, they're a worldwide organisation. A law firm, supposedly kosher but I've heard rumours and none of them good."
"Are they like Hell's laywers?" Dean grinned. "Cos I've got my own right here." He slapped Sam on the shoulder but all his younger brother did was glare at him.
"Dean, there's no way out of this contract. It's pretty watertight. I can't believe you..."
"Saved your life?" Dean's expression was surprised. "Believe it little brother."
Six months later, 183 days, 4392 hours, not that Sam was counting, they stopped by the Roadhouse and Ellen handed them a letter. Dean looked at the thick cream envelope, marked on the back with some sort of symbol, a wolf, a ram and a hart, before opening it quickly. Sam watched as the expression on his brother's face turned from resignation to bemusement to sheer confusion. He handed Sam the letter and lowered his head down to rest on the bar.
Dear Mr Winchester,
We write to advise you that the Los Angeles office of Wolfram and Hart has undergone a change in management. We have now had the chance to consider your file and would be grateful if you could make an appointment at our offices to discuss your case further. We can confirm that your contract will not be terminated at this appointment but would urge you to respond to this letter at the earliest opportunity so that this matter can be dealt with sooner rather than later as we understand you are on something of a deadline.
"What does this mean?" Sam asked. Dean shook his head mutely.
"Does it mean they're going to let you off the hook? Maybe make some sort of new deal?"
"I don't know Sam!" Dean snapped and then softened as he saw his brother's hurt expression. "I don't know."
"Maybe it's a trap."
"Yeah maybe." Dean took the letter from Sam and re-read it carefully. "A change in management. Bobby said that they weren't exactly reputable before. I wonder what they are now."
Ruby's voice came from behind them. She was standing in the centre of the bar, her hands raised to show they were empty, her eyes clear. Ellen stood behind her, a rifle aimed at Ruby's back. Ruby glanced over her shoulder.
"You know that won't stop me, right?"
"Maybe not, but it'll definitely hurt." Ellen's voice was pure steel.
"And ruin a perfectly decent jacket." Ruby looked back at the Winchesters. "Would you mind?"
"Mind what?" Dean shrugged. "You're a demon. Are you asking me to tell Ellen not to shoot you?"
"Dean," Sam nudged his brother. He moved forward to take Ruby's hands and lower them. "She's OK."
"You've got to be kidding me," the rifle did not waver. "You're protecting a demon?"
"I am," Ruby smiled at Sam and turned to face Ellen. "Oh I am a demon. But there's a bit more to it than that. Dean?"
Dean shrugged a little. "She might have saved our lives a time or two," he mumbled.
"And that's a reason not to shoot you?" Ellen's eyes flicked to Dean, to Sam and then back to Ruby.
"It's a reason not to kill me immediately. And if you kill me you won't get the heads up on Wolfram and Hart."
Ellen conceded the point. She lowered the rifle. "Do demons drink whiskey?" she asked, moving behind the bar.
"This demon does." Ruby settled herself on a barstool next to Dean and Sam took the stool next to her. Ellen set out four glasses and a bottle of Jack Daniels and Ruby downed her shot in one before holding her glass out for more.
"Tell me, what do you know about a vampire named Angel?"