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19 December 2009 @ 05:39 pm
[fanfic] World Without End, Amen - Chapter 3 of 10  
Actually, it might go to 11, I'm discovering...


Title: World Without End, Amen
Chapter: Three
Author: tiptoe39
Fandom/Pairing: Supernatural, some understated Dean/Castiel
Rating: PG
Summary: Dean takes a step he doesn't want to take. Lucifer reaches out and touches someone.
Spoilers: Up through 5x10.
Previous Chapters: One | Two



World Without End, Amen - Chapter 3

"He's not dying of starvation," Castiel said.

The car nearly veered off the road. Dean slammed his hands on the steering wheel. "Jesus!"

"Not quite."

"That's humor, Cas. I'm impressed." Dean switched off the car radio and looked in his rear view mirror. "Well, I was coming out to see you, but I guess I might as well just pull the hell over now."

"I didn't think you'd want to wait."

Dean took a breath. "No. No, I don't." The Impala squealed as it careened to the side of the road, finding steady purchase on the shoulder of the highway against a dry patch of grass. "You want to get in the front seat, at least?"

Castiel was already there. Dean jumped again.

"It's fear," Castiel said, not reacting to Dean's surprise but gazing at him levelly. "Behind each horseman is a destructive human emotion. War incited anger. Death brings despair. With Famine, it's fear. Bobby is afraid of dying, and so he's starved himself to keep from getting sick. He's killing himself with fear."

"So, what, because Sam and I aren't afraid, we're not getting sick?"

"No." Castiel frowned. "I suspect you're being kept well for a different purpose."

"Well, everybody knows why Sam's kept squeaky clean," Dean said, grimacing. "But there's no reason to protect me."

"Or," Castiel said, "you just aren't becoming afraid."

"That's bull," Dean said. "I'm scared to death of this thing. We could lose all these people for no reason other than they're afraid to eat."

"But you are not afraid for yourself."

That set Dean silent again. He shook his head and looked at his hands. How could he be afraid for himself? By all rights he should be dead already. Every day he was still here was a gift he didn't deserve. The least he could do was try his damnedest to save the world before it came to its senses and kicked him back to the pit again.

He became aware then that Castiel was looking at him funny. And by funny Dean meant really, really weirdly. Castiel's brow was furrowed and his lips were parted, but he wasn't speaking, just hovering there on the edge of speech. He looked... conflicted. Almost pained.

"Don't think such things about yourself," he finally said.

Dean grumbled. "Who told you to read my mind, anyway?"

"I'm sorry." Castiel turned his head away, and Dean could breathe again. What a weird look that had been.

"Anyway. The point is, we need to figure out how to stop it. There has to be a way, right?"

Castiel shifted in the seat. "There is a way," he said slowly. "I'm not sure you're going to like it, though."

**

Sam cornered him the minute he returned. "What the hell is wrong with you?"

Dean slammed the car door. "Whoa. Sammy. What's up?"

"What's up? What's up is you take off with Bobby practically dying of starvation without a single word or a clue where you were going, you don't answer your phone, you leave me here alone..." Sam ran out of words and resorted to pacing the grass, running his fingers through his hair and snorting like a startled horse.

 "Sammy. Sammy, relax." Dean tried to grab him by the shoulder, but Sam whirled, knocking a "whoa" out of him.

"Don't tell me to relax!" Sam pointed up at the house. "You left me all alone to deal with this. That's not cool, Dean."

"All alone?" In a sweep of the hand Dean took in the throng of vehicles and tents. "You call this alone?"

"As a matter of fact, I do. You think I know any of these people, Dean? You think I can trust any of them? They can't trust us. We're going to lead them into a trap!"

"Shh." Dean looked around nervously. "You know that's not true. They know what we're facing. Let's go inside and talk about this, Sam. You're upset."

Sam's jaw twitched. "Yeah. Yeah, all right."

They walked into the house, and Dean thought he'd calmed Sam down until the bang of the screen door set him off again. He shivered all over-- again like a spooked horse, Dean thought with a bit of amusement-- and turned on Dean. "So where were you?"

"Nowhere. Clearing my head."

"You're lying."

"Sammy." A warning tone.

"Whatever. Where the hell's Cas?" The suddenness and the closeness of Sam's non sequiter to the mark were enough to make Dean shake. "We haven't seen him in days. You'd think he'd be raring to go on this. This whole Army of God thing."

Dean bit his lip. "Sammy, listen to me. This is important." He laid a hand on Sam's arm, guided him down to a chair in the living room and sank onto the couch next to him.  "The whole point of this is to make us scared. We get scared, we stop trusting each other. That's what they want."

"They. You mean Lucifer. You still think I'm just going to get pissed off and say yes to him."

"No. No, I mean both of us. Lucifer gets you, Michael gets me, it's the same thing. It's the end of the world either way. I'm in as much trouble as you are."

Sam flushed, let his head fall onto his palm. "Dean, what if we lose Bobby?"

"We're not going to lose him."

"How can you be so sure?"

Dean cursed himself for not having a better answer. "Because I have a plan, OK?"

Sam's face lit up. "You do? That's great. Tell me."

Yeah, it was a stupid answer all right. Dean had painted himself into a corner, and now he looked around desperately for a way to slip out of it. None presented itself. "I can't," he muttered.

"Why not?"

"I just can't. I need you to trust me on this." He grabbed Sam's hand. "Please, Sam. They want us to doubt each other. So we've got to believe in each other instead. Believe in me, trust me on this, it'll make us both stronger. It'll make it harder for them to tear us apart."

Sam blinked at him, and it felt for an instant like he was looking at a stranger. But he nodded.

**

It was just starting to get light out when Dean came out of the house. Under his arm he carried a burlap pouch, one of Bobby's old sacks from when he was on the road more often. There were circles under his eyes, but their gaze was sharp, and when he spoke his words cut through the morning air with their hoarse rasp. "All right, everybody. I need you to gather round."

Sam followed him at a distance. Upstairs, Bobby had risen and was watching through an open window. Slowly, haggard faces peeked out from car doors and tent flaps, and Dean waited patiently, occasionally repeating his call or waving people forward, until a good-sized crowd had gathered at the foot of the porch steps. Crows were cawing on the power lines along the highway. The morning was cool and blue, and even with the nip in the air there was a warmth, the possibility for hope lifting along with the red sun on the horizon.

"Good news today," Dean said. "You all know Bobby got sick last night, but he's going to be fine." A pleased murmur broke out in the crowd. "The better news is, you're all going to be fine."

He undid the drawstrings on the pouch. "Someone's been getting into our food, that much we know. We don't know who it is, we can't catch them. But we can protect ourselves." From the bag he drew a tangle of lanyards, shoestring rope with a circle in cardboard hanging from the center of each. On the cardboard, in indelible ink, was drawn an intricate symbol. "I want each of you to put one of these over the entrance to your trailers, your campers, wherever you keep your food supply."

Sam started. "Where did you--" Dean shot him a quick look, and he fell back.

"We all know about curses," Dean went on. "But there are two sides to everything. You can curse objects, but you can bless them, too. This sigil will protect you from the effects of the attack. But it's only as powerful as your belief in it," he added with a warning. "The minute you decide it's going to do nothing, that's exactly what it'll do.

"We're all good at believing in evil," he said. "Now's the time for us to try to believe in good for a change. It's a bigger challenge, but I'm asking you to give it a try. Just for a little while."

For a moment the camp was silent. Then murmurs of assent started to rise, and before long the throng pressed forward. Sam came to kneel next to Dean, helping him in passing the charms out to the crowd.

"I recognize those symbols," he said quietly. "You have been talking to Cas, haven't you, Dean?"

"Leave it, Sam."

"Don't get me wrong, I think it's great. It's brilliant," Sam said. "Why didn't you tell me? Did you think I'd disapprove?"

Dean kept his face carefully neutral. "It's not that."

"Well, I think it's great." Sam's smile was irrepressible. "And for what it's worth, Dean-- you've changed."

A squint. "How do you mean?"

Sam shrugged, took a moment to nod at a thankful fellow who was clutching the sigil close to his chest. "I mean, you were always a lone wolf, but just now, you acted like a leader. These people would follow you, Dean. Into battle or wherever. They believe in you."

Dean smiled. "As long as you believe in me, Sammy, that's all I need."

Sam beamed at him. At long last, everything felt right. But a minute later, the smile was gone from Dean's face and something else had taken its place, something Sam couldn't help but find disturbing. It was the look Dean gave when he was telling a lie.

**

There's only one problem, really.

Sam was dreaming. He knew the voice, though, and dream or no, he sat up in bed and growled. "Lucifer."

Truth is, I'm very impressed. Famine came crawling back to me today like a wounded pet. It was a remarkable piece of work. The only question is, why is he keeping it from you? Everything he's doing with my dear little brother. Doesn't he think you can handle it?

At least the bastard wasn't standing there. A disembodied voice was easier to handle.

I don't want you thinking of me as some other person, Sam. I want you to start thinking of me as part of you. That's why Nick's not here. That and, he's just not in very good shape right now.

"What do you want?"

I want you to be yourself. You're a scholar. You ask questions. It's what you do best. I want you to keep asking them. For example, why isn't Castiel speaking to both of you?

"Cas has always been close to Dean. I'm not..."

But you could both use the information, right? If that's all that he's doing, giving Dean information. What could he possibly want to hide from you? Castiel is an angel, isn't he? He's one of the good guys.

"Not all angels are good guys. In case you hadn't noticed."

Mm. So true. All the more reason to worry. You know, if I were you, I'd follow him. I'd go find out exactly what they're doing. And if it isn't what you think-- if there's another reason he's keeping you out--

"Like what?" Sam slammed his palm down on the bed. "What are you trying to imply?"

Nothing in particular. But it's a nasty thing to be left out. To have the feeling the person you admire most in the world just doesn't think you measure up. I know, I've been there.

"I'm not following him."

No, of course you're not. It's not the kind of person you are. See, Sam, I don't want you to be anyone but you. I like you just as you are. So do what feels right to you. And I'm sure everything will work out in the end.

Sam looked around in vain, trying to see the voice as coming from anything but his own head, voicing anything but his own doubts. "Damn it," he muttered. 'Just leave me alone."

Very well. Good night, Sam.

"Go to hell."

He was met with silence. Sam settled down into bed and put his pillow over his head, shutting out the rest of this dream.

Oh. One more thing.

He squeezed his eyes closed.

I decided to go back to where everything began. Where your father set you boys on the path toward becoming what you are. Where your mother died. And I've made some discoveries here that I think you'd be interested in. Just in case you decide you want to talk some more. I'll be here.

to be continued
 
 
 
i dream of colors that have never been seenetoile444 on December 19th, 2009 11:28 pm (UTC)
I love this! Love where you are taking it! Dean secretly learning from Cas is just so "anti-Sam" and then to have Lucifer use this to poison Sam's thoughts! Very good!

I also approve of the whole "you have to believe in these charms to make them work".
Tiptoe39tiptoe39 on December 20th, 2009 03:38 pm (UTC)
There's more to that. I hope you'll stick around and find out what it is.

Thanks for reading!
rockstarpeachrockstarpeach on December 20th, 2009 03:54 am (UTC)
Ack! No!!!

Oh, Sammy, don't fall for Lucifer's BS. But yeah, he's totally got a point :) Dean is keeping things from Sam because he doesn't think he can handle it.

Very exciting!
Tiptoe39tiptoe39 on December 20th, 2009 03:39 pm (UTC)
Yes, it's very frustrating when Lucifer is right. And Sam knows he's being played, but then again, what else is he supposed to think?

Thanks for reading!
Kevin Jonesmulder200 on December 20th, 2009 04:19 am (UTC)
Oh dear! I fear that Sam is going to do something stupid. Dean should trust his brother more but considering the circumstances who can blame him.
Tiptoe39tiptoe39 on December 20th, 2009 03:40 pm (UTC)
Yeah, things are just all effed up at this point... they're both in untenable situations. Thanks so much for reading and commenting!!
latvela: cas alien head tiltlatvela on December 20th, 2009 10:44 pm (UTC)
Nice update! Dean learning from Cas! I love the idea of the signs on the cards to hang over the tents, and people needing to have faith for them to work. And Lucifer is so twisty and manipulative, I'm worried for Sam!
Tiptoe39tiptoe39 on December 20th, 2009 10:48 pm (UTC)
Thanks so much! I'm glad you like it. The next chapter is up now if you like... :3 Thanks for reading!
reading_is_inreading_is_in on January 15th, 2010 07:41 pm (UTC)
Oh how clever! The charm literally works because they believe in it, and only if they do. That was better than the canon idea of not believing other people were the enemy because of War.
Tiptoe39: dean funny facetiptoe39 on January 20th, 2010 04:01 am (UTC)
Ahaha! You think? Besides wouldn't that do cranky skeptical Dean in to realize he has to have faith... :}

Thanks again for the lovely comments!