Sam moans, takes a ragged breath, and then starts coughing again. His throat is raw and his head aches from lack of oxygen.
"You're Sam, right?"
He opens one eye to see an anxious man—boy—looking down at him. His eyes are wide and sympathetic, and Sam groans again and tries to roll over.
"Water?" he croaks.
"Of course." The boy rises and leaves the room for a moment, and Sam tests all his bindings to see what freedom has been left him.
Not much. His neck is still tethered to the bolt on the floor, his wrist and ankle cuffs still joined. He’s stretched out on his back though instead of hunched over kneeling, and his hands are now cuffed in front of him, so he supposes he should be thankful for small favors.
The boy returns swiftly and spreads a soft white blanket over Sam's body before uncapping a bottle of water. Sam raises his head as much as possible and the boy tips the bottle to Sam's dry lips.
"Sam Winchester, right?" he asks when Sam has finished drinking and laid his head on the floor again.
"I know you?" Sam asks, and the kid shakes his head. "I remember from when you were on the news last fall. When they said you and your brother killed all those charges."
"Right." Sam closes his eyes again.
"I know you didn't do that."
"How do you know?"
"Because you're a hero," the kid says, and Sam chuckles darkly.
"I'm a trainwreck," Sam disagrees. "But I'm not a murderer, no. They faked that footage."
"I knew it!" the kid says.
"Who're you?" Sam asks, noting the purple collar around the boy’s throat, though otherwise he's dressed in simple slacks and a button down, not any obvious slave clothing.
"Hi Kevin. Thanks for the water." He winces at the toll each word takes out on his abused throat. "We need to get the hell out of here."
Cas finally shows up the day before Roman’s big event, looking vaguely confused like always and holding a bag of groceries under one arm. Dean scowls at him and growls, "Finally come to your senses?"
"I don’t want to fight, Dean."
"So you're what, here to make us dinner?"
Cas turns to Meg. “I thought that was obvious. Was that not obvious?”
"C'mon in, Clarence," Meg says with more affection than Dean's ever heard from her.
Cas thrusts a netted bag into Dean’s hand. “Please accept these tangelos as a gesture of solidarity.”
Dean pleads and threatens and shames, pulls out every trick in his arsenal to get Cas to help them out, but Cas parries every attempt.
"You've actually been in that dammed building, Cas, we could really use your eyes and ears on the inside."
"Did you know that dolphins don't drink sea water?"
"Apparently salt water is damaging to dolphins just like other mammals."
"Cas, dammit, they've got my brother!"
Cas goes to look out the graffiti covered window but doesn't answer.
Dean scowls at his back. "What, did you run out of things to say about freaking dolphins?" Dean finally asks.
Cas gives him a wounded look. "I did not think you appreciated my dolphin facts."
"You got that right."
After engineering Sam’s rescue from the re-ed camp, Cas had staged an unsuccessful attempt to gain control of the Angels, whose infighting had reached epic proportions. It had not gone well, and Cas had become increasingly unstable, finally deciding he was no longer capable of fighting for the rebellion any longer. None of Dean’s threats or pleas or bribes had worked to change Cas’s mind so far, and Dean was out of patience.
Sam tugs futilely at his bonds, more force of habit than anything else. Besides the fact that Roman's right-hand woman Susan is watching him like a hawk, the penthouse is crawling with purple collars—someone to tend the patio plants, someone to cook, someone to clean. It doesn't seem very cost-effective, until Sam takes note of how very thin they all are. Guesses it’s not too much overhead if you don’t feed your slaves very much.
Kevin seems pretty well in comparison. He'd whispered to Sam the night before that he was here 'voluntarily' and hoped Roman would honor the contract and let him go in a few years.
"I shouldn't even hope that, right?" Kevin had said. "If he lets me go it's probably because he found some younger, more talented musician to blackmail into being his full-time CD player."
“If tomorrow night goes well, maybe—” Sam starts to say, but breaks off when another charge enters the room.
He’s given up on testing his bonds, though he’ll start tugging on them again in an hour if history is anything to go by. Except for bathroom breaks, he’s been chained to the middle of Dick’s living room for since his arrival and he’s going kind of crazy. There’s a bit more slack in his chain now, so every so often he'll do push-ups or sit-ups just to do something.
He hasn’t eaten since his arrest though, and after a few dozen push-ups he gets kind of dizzy.
Some hero. He’s going to starve to death in Roman’s penthouse surrounded by slaves, every one of them too scared to feed themselves let alone help him out.
He wants to take back each and every time he ever made fun of Dean for eating like a pig. A cheeseburger would pretty much make him weep at this point.
Kevin is practicing his cello, playing something so sad and low that even Sam, who would be the first to admit he doesn't know crap about music, feels an ache in his chest. When he gets to the end of the song he stops what he’s doing, Sam guesses to tune up. He’s just plucking one string over and over again. Pluuuck-pluck-pluck. Pluck. Pluck-Pluuuck. Pluuuck-pluck.
He tunes the same note over and over until Sam finally gets it.
It’s Morse code.
He looks over his shoulder and Kevin smiles at him, hopeful and scared.
The lobby of the RRE Headquarters has been transformed into a flowering garden. Tropical plants of every color imaginable decorate the normally sparse space, and the tall glass elevator has been lit with rippling blue lights that give it the appearance of a waterfall, the effect only enhanced by the wall fountain near the front doors.
“People are gonna be peeing all night,” mutters the event coordinator, running a hand through her auburn hair. She’s not a huge fan of water.
She moves from station to station, checking on the food, the décor, the musicians, the stage where Mr. Roman will make his big speech. She’s been told enough times that everything has to be absolutely perfect. She tugs nervously at the purple collar around her neck, making notes on her clipboard. She confers with the head of event security, a no-nonsense woman in her mid-forties. She makes sure the slave handler knows where to stash the purple collared slaves when their keepers don’t want them around. He tells her terrible jokes to make her laugh but the look she gives him is so threatening he scampers back to his post, all gawky limbs and goofy grin.
Finally she stands in the center of the large space and surveys her work.
For Dick, at least, and a few hundred of his closest, richest friends.
She wishes she had her tools with her. If anyplace she’d ever been deserved to light up the sky until nothing remained but ash, it was this office building. She couldn’t understand why no one else saw the coils of evil that wrapped around the skyscraper.
She tries not to look at the centerpiece onstage, at the slave chained to the wall, blindfolded and helpless. She tries but it’s impossible to not see. He’s shaking, though she can’t tell whether from fear, the chill of the air conditioning, or the stress placed on his arms from his almost hanging position. He’s wearing a pair of worn jeans and nothing else, and it’s the most tasteless thing she’s ever seen. That’s saying a lot considering she’s helped her mom plan weddings and events for the fabulously wealthy since she was 10.
She remembers him, the slave onstage, from the bad time, the time when her anger got the better of her and she had to go ‘take some time off to think about what she’d done.’ (What she’d done was set her brother’s custodian on fire.) By rights she should have been hanged by now. Her doctor though, he'd taken a liking to her and pulled some strings and here she is, sex toy and party planner to the stars.
The slave had been very kind to her when she was in the institution, and she's sorry he has to be here tonight. She wishes she could help him escape. She wishes she could cleanse the entire building with the purity of fire. No more custodians, no more slaves.
“I’m impressed, Marin!”
She turns, plasters a fake smile on her face, and crosses the room to her own custodian.
“What do you think, Dr. Kadinsky?” she asks sweetly.
“Perfection. Just like you. I knew you’d do us both proud.” He gives her a kiss. She’s well-schooled enough to hide her revulsion. She leans in and returns his kiss as fire dances behind her eyes.
Richard Roman knows how to work a tux, Dick thinks as he admires himself in the full length mirror.
Richard Roman talks about himself in the third person, and Richard Roman looks like he was born in a tuxedo, and never mind that he spent the first few years of his life scrabbling for everything he got, every scrap of food, every piece of shabby clothing.
Dick has never hid the fact that he was born poor as a churchmouse, but he doesn’t talk about it much these days. “The Story of Dick” has served its purpose, he tells people now, and there’s no sense looking to the past when this great nation needs to be looking to the future. His hard-luck story is the kind of thing that’s helped him convince hundreds of thousands of fence-sitters that they would be more likely to follow him up the economic ladder rather than sliding down into their own poverty and ruin. Richard Roman is nothing if not a gifted speaker, and in the early days he knew just how to charm an audience, get them eating out of their hands, so a system of “compassionate custody,” of helping people out until they could help themselves, made more sense than hundreds of years of democracy had.
That his history is just that, made up so he would seem relatable to the idiots at the bottom of the food chain, well, nobody needs to know that, and thank goodness he took control of the country’s communication systems when he did before some snot-nosed journalist uncovered his actual history.
He’s garnered a lot of goodwill but probably not enough to survive the revelation that he killed his parents for their life insurance.
Some of his supporters are clamoring for Dick to run for president and he pretends to consider the idea but he knows he’s the most powerful man in the country, and soon he’ll be the most powerful man in the world. The president is his puppet, and it’s useful to keep things that way.
Once he lays out the rest of his plans tonight for a select few attendees at his Shareholder’s Gala, things will fall right into place. He and Crowley can finish the job of ruining Lucifer, and then he’ll set his sights on Crowley.
The fly in the ointment is Dean Winchester, running loose and probably wreaking havoc in his city. He’d had him, the little shit, and can’t believe he’s gotten away.
But, he’s pretty sure he can get Dean to show his face tonight if he thinks it will save his brother. He’s put out the word, Dean’s freedom for Sam’s life, and he’s sure the network of renegades and thieves have clued Dean in.
By midnight, he’ll have both Winchesters in his grasp and then it will be time for a very public execution. That should stamp out the last fires of rebellion that keep springing up.
A little dancing, a little drinking, a little hanging. What a glorious day, Dick thinks as he adjusts his bowtie one last time.
He steps out of the restroom and makes his way to the stage to thunderous applause and cheers, and smiles benignly at his friends, shareholders, constituents. That little slut Kandinsky had vouched for had indeed done a marvelous job transforming his spacious, cold lobby into a place of warmth and revelry.
The lights are low except for the rippling blue lights dancing on the glass elevator, and the spotlight trained on the stage. He looks out on the sea of tuxes and sparkling gowns, with the occasional purple collar trailing behind somebody, and feels as much contentment as a sociopath like him could ever hope to.
Truly, he has arrived.
Dean is seven blocks away from RRE Headquarters, watching Roman's face light up the sky as he greets his honored guests and fellow citizens.
"This is a special day for the Northwest Corporate State, and I’m flattered so many of my favorite people could attend my little party," he says, pausing to smile modestly.
Dean takes out his pistol and practices target shooting Roman's 20-foot projected forehead until he sees a woman hurry past, looking back at him over her shoulder.
Right. When in Roman's...
"I know many of you are aware of how much hard work has gone into creating this little slice of nirvana here in the good ol' US of A," Roman continues, "and how we must fight each and every day against those who would threaten to disrupt our way of lives. It was with great sorrow that I learned one of these threats was here in our city, in our county, intent on assassinating me and whoever else he could wipe out!"
The crowd boos and the camera moves over Dick's shoulder to where a slave, naked from the waist up, is chained to the platform.
Dean wants to punch someone. Shoot someone. Kill someone.
"I know our 'special guest' needs no introduction," Dick tells the crowd, to nervous titters, "but nevertheless, I'd like to formally introduce you to one Samuel Winchester, whose feats of sabotage and terror have been felt all over this country! Samuel Winchester who has rained fear and anger down upon us just because we're trying to help our great nation!
"Now, I don't know about you," Dick continues, his conversational patter still working it's magic even though a current of deep unease is rippling through the crowd, "but my Grammy told me that a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. Am I right?"
Heads nod slowly.
"My Grammy was a very wise woman, but today I’m going to have to disagree with her. One Winchester in the hand is fine, but let's see if we can't flush the other one out of the bush!"
"Dean Winchester, I know you're watching," Dick smiles directly into the camera. Dean is vibrating with fury.
"And you probably think you're going to swoop in here and save your brother and yourself, but not this time." He snaps his finger and Edgar steps up next to Dick. He's holding a horse whip.
"If you don't want your brother flayed on live tv, you'll turn yourself into the nearest police station."
He makes a big show of checking his watch and says, "You have till, oh, say ten o'clock."
The slave handler leads the purple collared charges to a hallway off of the main lobby where they can be checked in like handbags and coats. He chats with them like they're people, and the charges all look at each other uneasily.
"My name's Garth, I'm here to make y'all comfortable while the big-wigs have their party," he says as he leads a group of them towards the conference room. "Make sure everybody gets a purple ticket so we'll know who's supposed to pick you up later!"
Krissy snatches her ticket from him with a scowl. She hasn't been caught long enough to be "trained up properly" (gag) and she's been operating in a pretty constant state of rage since she was snagged.
She had done some investigating after the giant paid her apartment a visit, enough to realize that she'd unknowingly rejected help from Sam-fucking-Winchester. But the next time she tried the number her dad had given her, the phone had been dead. Krissy was on her own.
She'd spent the next few weeks trying to track him and his brother down. She made it all the way from Kansas to Missouri and up into Iowa until she was caught in a trap just over the state line, and she put up such a fight that she had to be tasered before they transported her to the Central Charge Center.
At least she's heard where they're keeping her dad. As soon as she sees a chance she's making a break for it. Get him out and get them both out of the country, that's Krissy's plan. And so what if they have tracking implants? She'll figure something out.
First step run, second step find dad. He'll know how to fix their stupid tracking chips.
She looks at the purple ticket in her hand, lucky number 53, and then turns it over and goes still.
There's a symbol on the other side, hastily drawn, showing a broken collar. She looks around at the others in the room with her and sees her expression mirrored on their faces. Small amount of hope, mostly fear and resignation.
Theirs would not be the first slave revolt attempted, and everybody knows how those always turn out. She stands up a little straighter anyway. Those fuckers want a fight, she'll give them one. Make her dad proud.
First step fight, second step run, third step find dad.
She's gonna march out there and clobber the bitch who bought her "for a little light housekeeping and then, who knows, maybe once Jason is sixteen..."
Maggie Stark sips at her champagne cocktail and watches the man in the corner. He's strange, the way he doesn't smile, the way his head tilts sometimes like he's listening to voices in his head give him orders.
But he is very fine looking, and just the kind of evening's entertainment she's looking for to piss off Don. She’s seething on the inside; just thinking of her husband makes her want to poke his wandering eyes out. A pleasure slave and a mistress? Maggie's not going to take that lying down. But two can play Don's bedroom games.
She approaches the man, who’s watching the crowd from the shadows instead of mingling. He has dark hair that looks feathery-soft to the touch and wide lips that she’d like to nibble on.
"So what's your name, handsome?" Maggie asks with a coy smile as she nibbles at the fruit in her drink.
He glances at her and then continues surveying the guests. "Cas."
"Well Cas, I was thinking maybe you'd like to accompany back to my hotel room for a night cap."
“It’s only 8:30,” he points out, eyes still sweeping the room. Then he looks at her again. “Have you been enjoying the canapés?”
“Um, no? What?” Maggie is nonplussed. She knows she looks scorching in her sky blue silk gown, and he’s barely acknowledging her presence.
“This is not a good party,” he says as he looks to the stage, where the prisoner is being kept. “You should leave.”
She snorts and turns away, beyond irritated. He should have been falling all over her. A couple more circuits of the room and he won't be able to resist her.
He was right about one thing, the crab puffs are delicious.
Dick is moving about the crowd, smiling and shaking hands. He notices that many people are avoiding looking at the stage, and he's okay with that. Not everybody is as strong as Dick after all, that's why his people need him.
"Susan," he says warmly as she steps up beside him. "I’m thinking of having my cellist accompany the public flogging, is he here?"
"Yes sir, he's with the other charges at the end of the hall."
"Be a dear and fetch him. He's been a little too friendly with Winchester; he should see this too."
She starts to step away and he adds, "Oh, and Susan? Make sure he knows that if he misses a note he's up next."
She nods again and weaves in and out of the people and tables to get to the slaves.
Sam’s arms have been numb for some time now. It’s taking every bit of his willpower to ground himself in now and not let his PTSD overwhelm him. He breathes steadily, deciding in the end that maybe it’s a blessing that he’s been blindfolded. If he concentrates really hard, he can almost imagine that the party is happening very far away, that nobody’s witnessing his humiliation.
He hates being on display like this, hates that he’s being used to lure Dean out of hiding. They had planned to crash the gala anyway, but Dean’s out there alone and Sam doesn’t know if any of their backup came through. Kevin hadn’t had time to explain anything to him, just let him know that Dean had contacted him and the plan was moving forward. Sam wishes he could tell Dean to cut and run. They’re never going to win, they were stupid to think they could.
Nothing is working out as Dick planned. Everywhere he turns it seems there’s another looming disaster, and he’s making a mental note of how thoroughly he’s going to discipline every last person involved in ruining his big night. The caterer had somehow served a dish that was possibly contaminated, if reports he’s been getting of people leaving with upset stomachs could be believed. Thirty minutes ago the corner of the room had been the source of some noxious, sulfurous smell that had more crowds of people hightailing it out the door. There’s also been a report of some kind of disturbance where the charges are being kept, and Dick ordered them to be brought out to watch the main event.
Nothing like a little public flaying to restore some order. If he orders Winchester to be lashed once for every infraction he committed in the past couple of weeks alone, it won’t be long before his skin is falling off in ribbons.
Dick steps up to the mic, prepared to give Dean one last chance to surrender, when there's a hideous squeal of feedback and the television monitors turn blue. Everyone hushes and turns to the front expecting a presentation and though Dick has no idea what's happening, he flashes his brightest smile at the crowd. A good leader always projects calm.
The pieces are falling into place for him though. Too many strange coincidences and accidents have taken place tonight, and it’s becoming clear that he’s been sabotaged.
“Susan!” he barks. “Get me the head of security, now!”
A quick glance out the window shows that whatever pirate feed is about to go live is probably showing up on every screen in the city, every television’s tuned to the 24-hour Corporate News Channel.
The staticy blue screen dissolves into the image of his– his! – IT wizard. She waves a little and flashes an embarrassed smile, and then another voice says something snappy off screen and she stands up straighter.
From his position seven blocks away Dean can distinctly hear Meg's voice in the background, bitching at Charlie to get on with it.
“Oh, right,” Charlie says to someone off camera, her sheepish grin larger than life on the theater-sized screen. “Testing?"
Sam jerks in his chains as he hears Charlie’s voice. He can’t believe it’s actually happening, their plan’s been put in motion. And if it works….
"So, hi Chicago!" Charlie says. "Or I guess America? I’m Charlie Bradbury, today, and I've put together this very special presentation in honor of the man of the hour, Mr. Richard Roman!"
The crowd applauds but they look confused. The production quality is not exactly on par with Roman's usual broadcasts.
"Find her," Roman says to the head of Event Security. "She has to be nearby. Find her."
Jody Mills nods at him and turns briskly to give the other members of the security force instructions that will set them to chasing their tails.
The 10-foot tall projection of Charlie Bradbury continues."We all know and love the public Roman, but I think it's time we got to eavesdrop on some of his private moments."
The screen cuts to a slideshow of Richard Roman's greatest hits. Shaking hands with the president. Reading a picture book to grade-school students. Signing copies of his motivational book. Patting a dog. Cheering on the Bulls.
Then the audio kicks in.
ROMAN: Is there some sort of additive we can put in the charges’ diet supplements that will make them...a little more passive?
DR. GAINES: We're trying, sir, but it's tricky to manage without the productivity declining.
ROMAN: Well, you'll figure something out. Or else I'll have your firstborn! (Laughs)
DR. GAINES: Heh. Good one.
ROMAN: Get back to work.
. . .
ROMAN: You know, there's really only so many years a charge can be useful, depending on their particular talents. Then they revert back to leeches.
UNNAMED EXECUTIVE: (Laughs) What, you want some kind of equation to predict termination?
ROMAN: Exactly. It's all about efficiency.
. . .
UNNAMED SENATOR: That's going to take a lot of finessing Dick. I don't see how a bill like that could pass, to be honest.
ROMAN: I didn't get you elected for your honesty, Senator. I got you elected for your obedience.
UNNAMED SENATOR: Still, a clause that mandates all children born of slaves are slaves?
UNNAMED SENATOR: Of course, I meant charges. Is that even financially viable? You're talking about the care and feeding of an army of brats.
ROMAN: Let me worry about that. We need some guarantee that the labor force won't be shrinking any time soon.
"Guards!" Dick bellows. He looks around the room but sees they're all holding their posts.
"Stand down!" calls the head of security. She nods to him and he thinks maybe he recognizes her as someone who turned up as a possible Winchester ally a few months back. Judy something, or Jodi. How the hell did she end up on this detail?
Infiltrated. He's been infiltrated.
She smiles at him and keeps her hand on the butt of her gun.
He's just about to damn them all and make a break for the exit when Dean Winchester himself storms in.
"Dick!" he shouts.
Dick narrows his eyes and watches the crowd part as Dean approaches the stage.
"You!" he shouts. "Filthy, bottom-feeding garbage! You’re just in time to watch your brother die!"
Dean never takes his eyes off Dick as he climbs onstage.
"Nobody has to get hurt," Dean says. "But I’m not leaving this building without my brother.
"You're kidding, right?"
Dean pulls out a gun and trains it on Dick.
"Not even a little."
Sam hears Charlie's audio loop start up, and he relaxes in his chains. One way or another it will all be over soon. When Dean enters the lobby, his shouts reverberate around the stone and glass interior. He sounds ready and able to end Dick.
Sam's pissed that there's nothing he can do to help, pissed that he's still on display in front of these vultures, pissed that he actually has to feel grateful for being allowed to wear his jeans. He tugs at the chains again but a hand at his elbow stops him.
"This might work better," Kevin says, pulling off the blindfold and moving quickly to unlock the chains holding Sam's arms over his head.
Sam's arms fall heavy at his side, dead and useless, but he's free for the first time in days.
"Dean," he says, turning towards his brother but Kevin shakes his head.
"You need to help the other slaves. Come with me."
"But," Sam looks over his shoulder, catches his brother’s eye. Dean winks at him.
"Garth's getting them all hyped up to revolt," Kevin says, dragging Sam down the hall. "But there's some that are too young or scared or whatever, and we want you to lead them out of the building. In case things get messy."
"I don't like messy," Sam says.
"Look, you don't have to tell me, I’m a pacifist,” Kevin says. “And a vegan. Or I was."
As they make their way down the hall they’re fighting a throng of purple collars, rushing out to join the chaos in the main lobby.
"Who's ready to fight? Who's ready to win?" Sam hears Garth shout as he leads them into the melee. The slaves roar in approval.
"Was he a cheerleader?" Kevin whispers. Sam’s too exhausted and worried to contemplate such things.
“Later,” Sam mutters.
Somehow Garth has outfitted his slave army with whiffle ball bats, of all things.
"Umm," Sam says, stopping to watch the slaves run past. A dark haired girl catches his eye and gives him a look that manages to be both caustic and empathetic, and he wonders if he knows her.
"I think it's okay," Kevin says. "The guards and cops working the party are supposed to be on our side. Nobody's going to get shot for smashing someone with a plastic bat. Hopefully."
When they enter the conference room where the remaining slaves are being held, Sam turns to Kevin.
"You can get these guys someplace safe, right?” Sam asks, surveying the group. They mostly look like parents with too much to lose if the revolt goes badly, along with a woman who’s about six months pregnant.
"Right," Kevin says, and then his brain catches up with his mouth. “Wait, me?" Kevin squeaks.
"Yes, you. Hurry up." Sam herds everybody down the hall towards the nearest emergency exit, explaining as he goes that if things are happening according to plan, the charge-tracking system is going to be permanently disabled within the next half hour.
"Good luck, Kevin. Thanks."
"Wait, Sam! Dean said you're to come with me."
"I'm sure he did."
Sam turns to back the way they just came from.
"But Dean said—"
"I know what Dean said, but you need to get these guys out of here. Get safe."
"I can't leave my brother out there alone!" Sam calls over his shoulder.
He runs down the corridor to find Dean, bare feet slapping on the cold ceramic floor. He's almost to the lobby's entrance when he suddenly finds himself flying backwards through the hall on an expanding wave of hot, pulsing air.
Dean is still on stage holding Roman hostage when the slave entrance opens and a stream of shouting men and women in purple tunics spills onto the floor. Dean knew to expect this but he's still taken aback for just a moment, at the sudden shouting and smashing of plastic bats against tables and skulls, and that's all the time Roman needs. He spins around behind Dean and wrenches his arm up behind him, pulling his own gun out and holding it to Dean's temple.
"How'd you hide that thing in a tux?" Dean tries for bravado.
"Silence!" Roman yells above the fighting crowd. Security has stepped in finally but they're moving the party guests out into the humid streets instead of rounding up the slaves, and Roman rage is boundless. He brought order out of chaos in this stinking cesspool and this is how he's repaid?
"I said silence!" he bellows again.
"Don't think anybody's listening to you anymore, Dick," Dean says. "So why don't you just call it quits?
Roman snarls. "And let that bottom-feeder Crowley be in charge? Forget it!"
"Well, if it helps you any, he's next on my to-do list."
"Shut up, vermin," Roman hisses. He points his gun at the ceiling and fires off two rounds. Dean takes the opportunity to elbow him in the gut and roll out of the way.
The room goes still except for the sound of Roman's own voice on an endless loop.
Is there some sort of additive we can put in the charges’ diet supplements that will make them...a little more passive?
"Go ahead," Roman tells Dean. "Be the big damn hero. What, you think one rebel with a gun is enough to bring me down?”
"No, but two rebels might work," says a voice behind him as the unmistakable pressure of a gun barrel is pressed against his neck.
"Cas, man," Dean says. "It is really good to see you."
And then the video feed changes again, goes live, and Charlie appears.
“There’s a virus that’s been running for hours, and it’s wiping the slate clean,” Charlie says. “We decided it was about time to take from the rich and give to the, you know, everybody.” She grins then, her smile luminescent, and Dean quirks a lip in appreciation. You go girl, he thinks.
Dick snarls like a rabid dog, all public façade of goodwill and compassion shattered. "If you think I'm letting you destroy everything, tear up my empire...”
"I don't want to shoot you," Dean says. "You might be more use to us alive anyway."
"You can't kill me," Roman says in a voice so cold it's almost inhuman. "I'm immortal."
"Dick, I am not fucking around," Dean says through gritted teeth.
"Neither am I!" Dick brings his own gun up again and fires.
Dean ducks out of the way and Cas takes a shot, missing Dick's head but winging him in the shoulder. From his position on the floor Dean fires his own weapon, hitting Dick in the stomach. Dick collapses, looks down at the spreading red stain on his white tuxedo shirt.
"You little parasite," Dick hisses. "This is all on your head." He turns to see his beautiful celebration being torn up by the very riff-raff he'd been trying to keep off the streets all this time, and he's filled with repulsion.
"Susan!" Dick calls. He coughs up a bubble of blood. Dean steps towards him, to finish him or secure him Dick doesn't know.
It doesn't matter.
"Here, sir." She materializes next to him and kneels at his side.
"What?" Dean asks, confused, as he watches Roman's assistant pull something out of her pocket and push the button.
Dean’s world turns upside down.