The jungle was hot. That didn't came as a surprise to anyone, but I can assure you that, unless you've been in one, you simply cannot imagine the kind of heat that surrounds you completely, like a blanket made of hellfire.
The vegetation didn't help, either. Nor did the humidity. The jungle didn't want them there, and it didn't hesitate to make that as clear as possible. Moving was incredibly difficult, and uncomfortable, and tiring.
They all carried machetes, except for Sera, even when she was the one leading the expedition. The jungle didn't mind her, it seemed, because she slipped easily through the trees and leaves, while the rest of them had to chop open their way through.
"Are you sure it's this way?" Asked Dean, for what had to be the millionth time.
"Yes," she replied. At first, her responses were more elaborated and informative, but now the length of their journey was wearing in on her and to be honest, Dean was getting on her nerves.
But before she could even think about it, she froze.
Sam, who was behind her, ran into her, and Dean almost did the same.
Ahead of them, a small clearing of trees waited. There was something that resembled a tent to keep the rain from a rustic bed and an old, beaten down suitcase, which were all the "furniture" in the place.
Sera got closer, and as soon as she stepped in the clearance, a ring of holy fire lit around her.
"Don't move!" A voice ordered from somewhere near them. Dean and Sam, already out of the jungle, froze, waiting for another sign of life. "The angel and the demon will join the two humans slowly, or else your friend here will die."
"We don't want to hurt you," tried to soothe Sera, but the voice wasn't having it. Crowley and Castiel did as they'd been told, and walked up to Sam and Dean.
Sera shot them a calming look, but she could tell that it just wasn't working.
"Madziel?" Castiel tried and the voice gasped. "We need your help. My name is-"
" Castiel, I know. I've heard of you." He frowned, and Madziel went on, "No matter how far I go, I can still hear the gossiping and the rumors."
Castiel didn't have an answer for that, so Seraphiel was the one to talk.
"Do you know who I am?"
The voice waited. "Seraphiel... I heard you were dead."
"And we heard you shattered," replied Dean, as ever impatient. "Why don't you come out and we do a little catching up?"
Sera and Sam glared at him, but he pretended not to see them.
The voice laughed, but this time, it came from an exact location. The group looked up to see a pair of eyes glistening from a tree.
"Very well..." Madziel's body was hidden by leaves and branches, but their face was visible- barely. The skin blended in perfectly with the background, the only thing separating them being the eyes and the too-white teeth. "I hope you truly didn't come here with foul intentions, or else I'd be forced to make you leave... You understand that, right?"
"Yes," replied Sera solemnly before anyone else could get a word out. "But we need your help-"
"It that why you brought a demon to my home?"
Crowley froze for a second, considering his options. Dean didn't miss a beat.
"I think that's your cue to leave."
"Don't. Not until I'm sure he's harmless."
That made the demon return to his usual confidence, a little watered down, of course, but not enough for it to be noticeable.
And if while the rest of them tried to convince Madziel to help them, he focused on making a contingency plan in case they decided he was a threat- Then nobody needed to know.
"He will not try anything against you, I guarantee you. He needs you even more than we do."
"So you keep saying... What exactly is that you're asking for?"
"There's a spell we need, but it seems like we need someone like you to perform it."
"Someone like me ?" They chuckled, " Shattered , you mean?"
Sera hesitated. "Yes. Shattered."
"Uh. I see." In a second, Madziel was no longer there and they're hanging from a branch on the other end of the clearance, eyes still wide open but with their body more visible. Their hair was dark blonde, in a sun-kissed fashion that remembered Dean of his own to a degree, although his was way better kept. Their body was covered in leather clothing and animal skin, that hid somewhat poorly a wide collection of scars and bite marks all over their body. They were barefoot, too, which only added to this Tarzan-y vibe they had going on.
"Is that why you came all the way out here? For a spell?"
"Yes," replied Castiel, confidently, "we wouldn't have if it weren't life or death."
"What's the spell for?"
"There's a demon, named Nyila, who has managed to turn herself immune to Grace, and now is trying to take over Hell."
"And why would you care about that?"
"Because she's not stopping there," replied Sam, "and we don't know what she's planning next. As far as we know, she could try to exterminate all angels, yourself included."
"Have you ever met an angel?" Madziel shot back, "Whatever this Nyila has in store for them, they have it coming."
"You think I don't remember what was like? Back up there?" Their voice turned to a whisper as they hugged the branch closer to their body, protectively. "Some things you simply can not forget."
"I'm sorry, Madziel," said Sera.
Her voice turned their focus back on the ring of holy fire that was still burning. The heaviness of their words eased as they spoke.
"But I remember what you did for me, too."
"What do you mean?"
"Seraphiel. My Garrison and I reported to you for a very long time. When we succeeded, you were there to praise us. And when we didn't, you were also there, ready to take the blame for our mistakes." The archangel looked at the floor, and Madziel jumped down from their tree, descending gracefully and putting the fire out with them. "Did you think I'd forget about you? You're the reason I'm here. You saw me feel emotions , - which were forbidden- , for this place and for the other angels, and you kept it a secret."
They reached out for Sera's face, but she still wouldn't look at them.
"It was nothing. I was just glad you were enjoying your job."
"Don't dismiss my memories, archangel. I know well that you lied to many of my superiors to keep me safe. I will never forget such kindness."
"I'm- It means a lot. Thank you."
"But as you say, this favor isn't just for you. Which is why I have to ask for something from them too."
"What is it?" Asked Dean, carefully.
"There are men, humans, infiltrating my jungle. Explorers I don't mind, but these have come here with ill intentions, and they're killing my home. I've tried to fight them but they keep coming back." Sera nodded, slowly, and made eye contact with her friends. "Make them leave and I'll perform your spell."
"We'll do our best," promised Sera, and she turned around to regroup.
"How in the hell are we supposed to stop deforestation?" Whispered Dean, exasperated.
"I can do that," Crowley muttered, faking disinterest. When he felt the questioning stares, he went on, "What? I'll just pay them off, and worst case scenario I'll kill whoever's in charge and replace them with an ecologist or something."
"You can actually do that?" Asked Sam, impressed.
"If it means getting rid of Nyila I'll even stop global warming."
" Okay great," cut off Dean, dragging Crowley by the suit and bringing him up to Madziel. "He can get rid of your problem."
"Is that so, demon?"
"The name's Crowley," he said, "and yes, I can. All I need is to get some reception and it should be done in the next few days."
Crowley pulled out his phone and showed it to them. "Signal. For this. As soon as I can get in touch with my people, it'll be only a matter of time."
"Seraphiel," called out Madziel, not taking their eyes off Crowley, "is he telling the truth?"
"Yes. You have my word."
The angel looked up, golden eyes meeting Sera's, with a wide, toothy smile on their face.
"Then let's go."