?

Log in

 
 
18 December 2009 @ 10:12 am
[fanfic] World Without End, Amen - Chapter 2 of 10  
Title: World Without End, Amen
Chapter: Two
Author: tiptoe39
Fandom/Pairing: Supernatural, some understated Dean/Castiel
Rating: PG
Summary: Bobby's a hell of a general. Dean starts his lessons.
Spoilers: Up through 5x10.
Previous Chapters: One


World Without End, Amen - Chapter Two

It was beginning to look like Woodstock on Bobby's front lawn.

They'd come in trailers, they'd come in campers, they'd come bearing pup tents like this was a Boy Scout campfire. Some had hitchhiked. Some had taken three-hundred-dollar taxi rides. Nearly a hundred had gathered by a half a week into things, and there were more coming every day.

Bobby, it seemed, knew more people than Dean and Sam had ever expected him to know. He came harrumphing down the ramp the two of them had fitted for him when he first got home from the hospital and wheeled around the yard, throwing curmudgeonly greetings here and there. Everyone seemed pleased to see him, and everyone had a story about the good old days, when Bobby had saved someone's life or introduced someone to her future husband or helped someone get through that time a demon had possessed their father. It was almost surreal to hear every day a new tale of his best days, people looking down at that wheelchair with nothing but pride and respect in their eyes. And it made Bobby perk up, too, sit up a little straighter and start to hold himself the way he used to. Old Ironsides, marching proudly among his troops, a wounded veteran and proud to be one.

"He's like Lieutenant Dan," Sam said once with a smirk.

"Who?"

"Didn't you ever see Forrest Gump?" And then another stifled snicker-- "You know, Tom Hanks as the dumb guy who accomplishes so much?"

"Sounds like one of those heartwarming goody-two-shoes flicks," Dean grumbled.

"I would have thought you'd identify with it," Sam said, and it took Dean a moment to realize that was his cue to put down the gun he was polishing and pound Sam like he deserved for being such a wise-ass.

Guns, speaking of which, were a problem. Bobby had a hell of an arsenal, as did a lot of the hunters who had come. But there were economies of scale to consider, not to mention ammunition, and eventually Bobby tasked Sam and Dean with driving out to the neighboring states to grab what they could. A different state, a different city each day, even driving one of Bobby's old junk heaps or another instead of taking the Impala every time. They had to be invisible, forgettable, or there'd be alerts that someone in the area was collecting an arsenal.

Even with their best efforts, though, local police had taken notice of the impromptu gathering. Bobby swore at them, called them every name in the book, swore that if they were going to stand there and laugh at his family reunion then he'd happily go downtown and insult their mother some more. And yet somehow -- and maybe it was Bobby's natural charm, or maybe it was the psychics working double-time to confuse the hell out of the poor cops -- they managed to stay clean.

"Bobby's trying to give me a coronary," Dean said, walking through the house to get a beer from the fridge. "I don't know how he manages to cut it this close all the time, but I've got to hand it to him, guy knows how to handle himself."

"He managed for a good long while before we were ever born." Sam was looking out the window. "And it looks like ours aren't the only lives he's touched. By a long shot."

"Heh." Dean took a swig of the beer, then spat. "Blech. Foul." When Sam laughed, he shot him a nasty look.

"It's funny," Sam said quietly, "but when I look out at all of that, I actually think we might stand a chance."

Dean didn't feel that way. He looked out at the trailers and trucks and tents and saw nothing but carnage waiting to happen. All these people, all these good hunters and good folks that Bobby counted as friends, and they were all going to be offered up as a sacrifice. Bobby had talked up the chance that they wouldn't, but Dean knew better than to believe for a minute they'd come out alive. He rubbed his eyes and forced another swallow of beer down, but when he looked out the window, all he saw were corpses that hadn't fallen yet.

**

One of the hidden blessings of this time of readying was the simplicity of getting away. Dean didn't much like lying low, but he had to admit that it was nice to be able to jump in the car and head out when he started to itch. He took the state highway down to the next town over and drank a beer, or had a burger, or-- best of all-- met with Castiel, who was beginning to teach him an ancient language of signs and symbols that could be leveraged to trap or confuse an angel.

"This sort of thing's usually Sammy's territory," Dean said one night when the loops and arrows began to all blur together. "I'm not so good with spells and magic and crap. I'm much more of the beat-em-up type."

"You underestimate your own intelligence," Castiel said lightly, drawing the next set of signs in liquid light on the tabletop. "You're catching on quickly."

"Out of necessity." Dean traced them on his own page. "Trust me, the minute this is all over, I'm forgetting everything you ever taught me." He grinned at Castiel, who, to his great surprise, looked sort of sad.

"Not everything, I hope," the angel said quietly.

Dean peered at him. "Well, no, not everything," he said, wondering what he was doing reassuring someone who didn't seem to have many emotions at all. He set down his pen and leaned over the table. "Why? What are you thinking about, Cas?"

"Nothing." His eyes slid sideways, dark as beads of oil. "I just find myself hoping... that you won't forget about me when all this is over."

"Why would I?" Dean frowned.

"Because I would," said Castiel quietly.

That hurt, more than Dean expected. The words felt like a pincer taken to his gut, his muscles folding in on itself. "Am I that forgettable?" he said, shrugging, trying to look cavalier and casual. "Way to make a guy feel good about himself, Cas."

"I'm immortal," Castiel said. "If I am not killed, I will live forever. Millions upon millions of years, Dean. I can't even count the number of people I must have forgotten about by now. It used to be that we walked the earth more frequently. In times of miracles. But I can't remember it. I can't remember it at all. So I think that most likely, it's only a matter of time before I forget about you, too."

Dean was struggling with what to say when he saw what looked suspiciously like tears in Castiel's eyes. The sight took the breath away from him, and spontaneously, he covered Castiel's hand with his own. "Look," he said, "what matters is that you're here now, right? So I'll fade away after a couple thousand years. So what? Now is now, later is later."

He was going to leave it at that, but something itched at him, and he kept going. "And let me tell you, there's something nice about being mortal, too. I might not live that long, but I remember people I care about. And I care about you, Cas. So I'm not going to forget you."

The words and the hand beneath his were too much to take together. He pulled back and, embarrassed, picked up his pen to start tracing symbols again.

"Dean."

Castiel had spoken his name, but his gaze was on something faraway. "Do you think my Father has forgotten about me?"

It was a question Dean couldn't even begin to find an answer for. He started several times, taking a breath, sometimes letting a small sound escape his mouth. But what could he possibly say? He hadn't even really believed in God before Castiel. What did he know about such a being? Only that Castiel believed in him.

And Dean, who had always been a nonbeliever, believed in Castiel-- sometimes to his own chagrin-- with all his might. So if life was at all fair, Castiel's faith would be vindicated.

**

Life wasn't fair.

It was one of the supreme joys of Death's existence. He was certain as taxes, and took a piece out of you with almost as much diversity and imagination as a painter could take with the bristles of a brush and a blank canvas. He enjoyed the array of diseases, accidents, pestilences and violent encounters that he caused. The epic poetry of a man sacrificing his own life to save his brother-- beautiful. But there was also the absurdist fun of a man who let a raccoon maul him to death, or a wife taking little pieces out of her husband to dip in fondue. So much death. And so much foreplay, too-- even those things that led to death were fun in their own way. Sickness. Injury. Despair.

And Death was a people person, too. He came to everyone, sooner or later, introduced himself and said hello. Those few that he called members of his family were more privileged than most, though -- for when they asked him to visit there was surely a great feast to be had. And so he surveyed the spread being laid out in a nearby state, his mouth watering, eager to start.

Wait, Lucifer said. Wait. Everyone has his role to play. So yours shall be. Patience, my old friend, they will all need you sooner or later. For now, your brother is on his way.

It rankled him, but Death knew the words were true. He'd have his turn. So why not wait, why not allow the suffering to build up slowly before he sunk his teeth in? It would be his turn as surely as the sun would rise on this tawdry, filthy little planet tomorrow. So he sat back and reveled in the certainty of the sheer unfairness of it all.

Life was a bitch-- and then there was him.

**

The first person got sick the next day. It was a thirteen-year-old, daughter of a hunter who didn't have anywhere else to stash her kid, so she came along. So kids had lousy immune systems, and there was some talk that she'd had a sip of beer the night before which might have been more than a sip and she might have not had the stomach for it. Fine. So it wasn't really a big worry until someone else got ill, this time a forty-year-old veteran who'd survived in the jungle in South Asia back in the day, and he was all the way across the camp from the pre-teen but was having the same problems. Stomach cramps, vomiting, inability to keep anything down. Bobby sent the two of them to the hospital, but then the next day ten people in the camp were sick, and the following day it was twenty-five.

Hand sanitizer did nothing. Keeping inside your own tent did nothing. The minute someone seemed like they were getting better, they'd go right back into the thick of it the next day. Three days and a full third of the camp was subsisting on nothing but water. The fourth day, people started fainting from lack of nourishment.

"Food's poisoned," Dean declared. "Has to be. Something's been getting into our food supply."

"But everyone's getting their own supplies," Sam said. He, Dean, and Bobby were inexplicably fine; nothing they'd had seemed to go bad, with the possible exception of that old-as-the-hills beer Dean had sucked down at the beginning of the encampment. "And I was grocery shopping with that Ramona woman yesterday. We took apples from the same bin. How come hers made her sick and mine was fine?"

Dean, who had been biting into one of those apples, choked a little bit but forced it down.

"Doesn't feel natural," Bobby said. His voice was hoarse, thin, and he stopped to cough before going on. "Starting to wonder if someone in our camp's doing something to sabotage us. Trying to take our little army down before it gets on its feet."

"Demons?" Sam said.

Dean scoffed. "That's impossible. Everyone's checked at the gate. There's enough anti-possession mumbo-jumbo around this place to choke a hellhound."

"Then maybe it's not a demon," Bobby said, wheeling into the next room. "Maybe it's something else."

He took down an illuminated copy of the New Testament from a shelf. Weeks ago, the book had been covered in dust. Now it was brushed off almost every day. Bobby slid his fingers between the pages and flipped it open. His hand glided over an illustration of bodies heaped up, emaciated and white, as a figure in the background cast a skeletal hand over the pile of corpses.

"Famine," he said.

"The horseman?"

"He's trying to starve our asses," Bobby said. "There are some well folks out there that are refusing to eat now. Afraid they'll end up sick as their buddies."

"So how do we stop him?" Sam asked.

"We don't," Bobby said grimly. They both looked over at him.

"War got his bloodbath. Death got his disaster. If Famine wants a plague, then Famine's goddamn well going to get a plague," Bobby said dourly. "It's all we can do to wait it out and hope we can recover as many soldiers as we can."

"Bobby, that's insane," Dean said, snatching the book from his hand. "That's not the way we operate."

"If he doesn't succeed with us he'll do it somewhere else," Bobby snapped. "Someplace we can't reach in time. People are going to die no matter what we do."

Dean grabbed him by the shoulders. "Cut it out." He shook him, and Bobby's body yielded, strangely light between the clamping palms of his hands. Dean saw then that the circles under his eyes were deeper than they'd ever been, that his cheeks had sunken and his complexion had gone white.

And that's when Bobby wavered and fell limp in his arms.

A whirl of sounds and sensations -- Sam shouting, a few of their friends breaking through the front door, hands lifting Bobby's fame out of the chair and lying him down on the bed -- and the next clear thing Dean recalled was a woman looking up and saying, "He's dehydrated, malnourished. He hasn't eaten for five days, at least."

"But that-- that can't be--" Sam's voice. Breathless with disbelief. It all sounded like voices through glass to Dean. He was backing out of the bedroom, backing down the stairs. Sam was calling after him. Horror had sucked the meat out of his senses. He was blacking out, moving without thinking.

His hands clutched around the metal of his car keys and the bite of their jagged teeth snapped him back into reality. Turning, shutting out everything but the sudden purpose that had seized him, Dean ran for the car, jammed the keys in the ignition, and sped away.

to be continued
 
 
 
10% literal, 90% metaphor: *slow look* : Castielspeccygeekgrrl on December 18th, 2009 03:50 pm (UTC)
Aaaaaaah!

I wish I could be more coherent but I only got like three hours of sleep, so: aaaaah! omg, you bring the plot so good. You do Dean awesomely. (although he does not drink bear, he drinks beer lol) this story makes me flap my hands around!
Tiptoe39: rentiptoe39 on December 18th, 2009 04:02 pm (UTC)
He'd totally drink a bear if you gave it to him in liquid form. The plot on this has gotten insane. Chapter 8 is killing me. Thank you for being typo police <3 <3 <3 love you!
denazia on December 18th, 2009 11:01 pm (UTC)
OMGOMGOMG! This is like reading an episode of the Show. Awesome. My favorite kind of fic actually. I really liked Dean's and Castiel's discussion about Castiel forgetting him. Sad and touching. Looking forward to more.
Tiptoe39tiptoe39 on December 19th, 2009 01:09 am (UTC)
Thank you. i think you'll find the episodic nature of it doesn't let up right until the end. Writing it is sort of like watching a marathon. :)
Thank you so much for reading and commenting... that always means so damn much to me.

Kevin Jonesmulder200 on December 18th, 2009 11:57 pm (UTC)
Wow! Things are getting really dour! First, Death and now Famine!

And that conversation between Cas and Dean? Very bittersweet!
Tiptoe39tiptoe39 on December 19th, 2009 01:10 am (UTC)
Oh, yeah, the horsemen are out, baby. :D

Thank you for reading! It means the world to me!
latvela: cas alien head tiltlatvela on December 19th, 2009 02:34 am (UTC)
I'm intrigued by where this is going! I wonder...is this the start of Camp Chitaqua? And ooh, Famine!

What Cas said is truly heartbreaking. And his question to Dean, too. Sad Cas makes me sad. But Dean comforting him is so sweet. I love their scene together ♥

I'm looking forward to the next chapter!
Tiptoe39: dean/castiptoe39 on December 19th, 2009 03:50 am (UTC)
Thank you so much! It's not quite Chitaqua-- consider it another way things could pan out.

I know, they're so sweet!!! :D

Thank you for reading!
rockstarpeach: Dean/Casrockstarpeach on December 19th, 2009 03:12 am (UTC)
Oh, this is just so... I love it!

I love that Bobby has all these friends, people who will back him up, and I love the plottiness of it all, using canon and expanding on it, and dude... OMG, Cas telling Dean he's going to forget him... *weeps*

There needs to be more of this. Right now.
Tiptoe39tiptoe39 on December 19th, 2009 03:51 am (UTC)
Oh, there's more.... stick around my dear!!

Thank you so, so, so much for reading! :)
wickedvirtue on December 21st, 2009 05:49 pm (UTC)
This is going to be so interesting, I can already tell! Thanks for putting something out right around Christmas; can't wait for more!
Tiptoe39tiptoe39 on December 21st, 2009 05:52 pm (UTC)
Thanks very much for reading! I've posted 4 of the parts so far - will post the 5th tonight -- I really would love it if you'd keep reading, and thanks for your comment! :3
yours truly: spn: deanonebrightmoment on December 24th, 2009 07:45 pm (UTC)
I'm only two chapters in and I'm really living this. great concept! can't wait to see where it goes.

though I'm definitely reading too fast.... each time I get to a section about Death my eyes seem to interpret it as Dean, then things get weird, and then I realize my mistake. lol.
Tiptoe39: dean winkstiptoe39 on December 25th, 2009 02:57 am (UTC)
wait until Death Vs. Dean. Then you'll be REALLY confused! hahah
The Devil's handmaiden: saint lucy of syracuseseraphim_grace on December 29th, 2009 02:23 am (UTC)
I'm reading this and holding over all impressions until i catch up but there's an oopsie
you've got famine and pestilence confused
there are 4 horsemen of the apocalypso (sic), death, war famine and pestilence
famine is hunger, droughts, bad crops, food going sour etc
pestilence is plague, sickness, bugs, etc
it's a silly mistake so I'm just pointing it out

now goes back to chapter three.
Tiptoe39tiptoe39 on December 29th, 2009 03:02 am (UTC)
According to the finest source ever (Wikipedia, heh heh), the horseman known as pestilence can also be known as Evil, Corruption, or Righteousness. I took the elements I liked and fused them together as I liked. Sorry if it doesn't ring true to you, but we all have our different interpretations of the mythologies. I hope the story holds up well enough for you that you can overlook the difference in our interpretations. If not, well, thanks for giving it a try!

:)
The Devil's handmaiden: kicked in the nutsseraphim_grace on December 29th, 2009 12:30 pm (UTC)
I'm a pedant, it's a curse. As I explained later it's not your research that's wrong....
kripke wa baka desu!
it doesn't affect the story at all, I understand what you're doing but the pedant in me is going...... and pulling faces
if i didn't like the story i wouldn't comment at all and it doesn't affect the story
but i have this wee bugbear
I happily do all my research (and am more than happy to share it 99.9% of the time) and then someone blunders in without any (you are not in this group - think Sailor Earth - and I turn from mild mannered fanficcer into rabid book waving psychopath
I'm getting better, supernatural didn't help with this I must admit.
i need a nice fandom with absolutely no backstory
but I wouldn't be happy there (you think I'm bad in this one, you should see the notes I have for Star Trek)
Tiptoe39: rentiptoe39 on December 29th, 2009 12:45 pm (UTC)
Aww, it's ok! As a copy editor I totally know how it is to be pedantic and unable to stop yourself!!! :D