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20 December 2009 @ 04:57 pm
[fanfic] World Without End, Amen - Chapter 4  
Title: World Without End, Amen
Chapter: Four
Author: tiptoe39
Fandom/Pairing: Supernatural, some understated Dean/Castiel
Rating: PG
Summary: The caravan starts to move. Sam calls bullshit.
Spoilers: Up through 5x10.
Previous Chapters: One | Two | Three


World Without End, Amen - Chapter 4

It took Bobby another night to get back to health. Dean stayed up with him specifically so he could give him the riot act for thinking he could subsist on nothing but water. Upon the first nag, Bobby fixed him with a blistering look. "I couldn't afford to get sick," he barked. "If there was a chance there was something in the food supply, I couldn't take it. This old body's not as good at fighting as it used to be."

"Bull, Bobby. You're more of a soldier now than you ever were."

"Well, there's no point denying it," Bobby shrugged. "Ever since I put on 25 years a while back, I've known that I haven't got forever." His mustache twitched. "But I didn't drop dead. That tells me that if I take good care of myself, I could have a good two and a half decades left. So I didn't want to screw that up."

"And starving yourself was self-protection." Dean put his feet up on the couch, and Bobby slapped at them, irritated.

"Well, how was I supposed to know the whole point was to make me starve to death?" Bobby grumbled.  "Anyway, I suppose your angel friend helped you make those warding charms. Nice work."

Dean scratched his neck. "Remind me to tell you more about those someday, Bobby."

"What's with that?"

"No, nothing." Dean patted Bobby on the shoulder. "Get some sleep."

Bobby eventually took Dean up on his advice, but Dean himself slept fitfully,  He kept seeing the relief on people's faces when they picked up those charms, Sam's sudden change of heart. That belief in him that he'd begged Sam to have, vindicated, or so Sam thought. He hated knowing that he was deceiving every one of them.

**

Sam broke in with the first rays of dawn. "I know where Lucifer is," he said.

Bobby was awake, but Dean had fallen asleep on a chair by the bed and made several annoyed, snorting sounds before he could find coherence.

"He's in Lawrence," Sam said hurriedly, pulling up a chair. "He's at our old house. He told me-- he told me he'd discovered something there that I should know about it."

"What?" Dean was still shaking himself awake.

"I don't know. He just told me that if I wanted to come, that's where he'd be."

"Well, isn't that nice of him," Bobby said. His flat tone had regained the power that it had been missing before. "Sending you a personal invite."

"It makes sense," Dean said sourly, getting to his feet and stretching out. "He can't find you, so he tries to get you to come to him. We're not the only ones who can lay a trap."

"It's good news, right?" Sam said. "I mean, if we know where he is, we can go after him."

"It's a trap." Bobby and Dean said in unison.

"Well, yeah, but since when has that ever stopped us? Plus, look outside." Sam gestured at the window. "We aren't exactly on our own in this. Maybe it's time to stand and fight."

"Don't be stupid," Bobby snapped, but Dean crossed to the window. Outside was everything he was confronting, everything he'd have to face in one final screwing-up of his courage. God, this was going to suck.

"Dean?" Sam looked across at him. "What are you thinking?"

Clenching his right hand into a fist, Dean turned to him. "I'm thinking, this is going to be a hell of a road trip," he said cheerfully as his nails bit into his skin.

**

The good news was, it was a pretty straightforward journey. South of South Dakota was Nebraska. South of that was Kansas. So as long as the group headed south, there wasn't much getting lost. And this was a group of hunters, after all: CB radios were in as ample supply as cell phones, and there were probably a good number of folks who could do smoke signals if necessary.

Unfortunately, apart from the direction, there was no clue what the travel would bring. Lucifer could let them come unhindered, or he could send tempests and tornadoes against them. One thing they wouldn't have was the element of surprise. A hundred hunters were pretty damn hard to conceal.

Bobby briefed the leaders of the caravans the night before, laying out maps on a folding card table in the middle of the yard. As final preparations and packing-up ensued, one of the women took the protective charm from the door to her van and brandished it in front of Bobby. "Is this going to protect us?" she asked.

Blindsided by the question, Bobby blinked. "I suppose you'd have to ask Dean about that," he said.

"Where is he?"

And then, from another corner -- "Yes, let's hear from Dean."

"Maybe he has something else that could help us."

Like a sudden gust of wind, Dean's name rippled through the crowd. Bobby watched the group turn as one and begin moving toward the house, leaving him and his half-laid plans stupidly, lamely in the background. He shouted protests, sounding as ornery as he could, then grabbed his maps and his notes and wheeled after them only to discover, with a sinking of his heart, that Dean had come out to meet them.

"All right," he was saying. "All right. Listen. This isn't going to be easy, all right? But I'll be fighting with you." Bobby snorted to himself at the sentiment. As though just having that yahoo there would make everything easier. But as he wheeled himself over to the ramp, faces in the crowd came into view, and those faces were glowing with hope. It made him want to throw up a little.

He made sure to pinch Dean where it hurt on his way inside.

The next morning they headed out, a hundred hunters armed to the teeth and ready for the long drive and longer fight. Bobby in his jalopy led the parade, with Dean and Sam in the Impala close behind. A stranger collection of vehicles had never been seen -- a Rolling Thunder rally this wasn't. Careful to stay under the speed limit, wary of anything that could halt their progress southward, the macabre Macy's Parade hurtled along toward a final showdown.

**

You're coming. I can't tell you how happy that makes me, Sam. We have so much to talk about.

Another damn dream. This time he was in the car. He didn't remember dozing off, and the ride had been so mind-numbingly tedious that he was stuck in it even in dreamland, with Dean beside him listening to bad music and batting at the steering wheel.

Even in a dream, it'd be weird to talk to himself in front of Dean, so Sam kept his answer internal. I'm not coming to make you happy.

Of course you're not,
Lucifer's voice replied. But you're coming. I do wish you weren't bringing the entourage.

Sam frowned at his reflection in the window glass. Bite me.

A tempting offer. But we have some business to take care of first.

What business?


That angel your brother's so fond of. Castiel. He needs to go. He's not on your side, Sam. He never has been.

Sam glanced at Dean. I don't know what you're talking about.

Do you think angels don't feel jealousy? Possession? Castiel thinks he owns Dean. He's trying to steal him away from you, Sam. He's whispering meaningless secrets in his ear, trying to entice him. Have you asked him about those sigils yet? Those oh-so-powerful protection charms?

One hung from the rear-view mirror. Sam watched the cardboard disk bounce. What about them?

You know they're worthless, right? They do nothing. It's all a mass hallucination. Faith healing.

You're crazy. Cas wouldn't lie to Dean.
Sam shook his head. Dean's eyes darted over, rested on his, then on the charm, then returned to the road ahead.

Oh, he didn't. Dean knew very well what he was doing. Castiel was the one who convinced him to lie to everyone. Lie to you, Sam. Of course, if you're just going to take his word for it, who can blame you? But if you do decide to ask, I think you'll find I'm right.

Sam looked at Dean. He was back to tapping out a happy rhythm on the steering wheel, clueless and carefree. It occurred to him then that this wasn't a dream -- he hadn't been asleep at all.

**

The first pit stop of the first day was a strip mall on the South Dakota/Nebraska border. Plenty of different restaurants for people to choose from, and while at least a quarter of the crowd went for the greasy-spoon diner, there were those who decided on Mongolian barbecue or foot-long sandwiches instead. Still, Dean could feel the eyes on him from the minute he sat down, and halfway through the meal he got up and muttered, "I have to go clear my head," stomping unceremoniously away from the half-finished cheeseburger.

Sam and Bobby watched him go, then looked at each other. "If he's taken up smoking, I'm gonna whup that boy's ass," Bobby declared, but his expression was far sourer than mere tobacco deserved.

Sam's grimace answered his. "I don't think it's a cigarette break," he said, craning his neck to watch Dean's figure amble out the door and past the windows.

Behind the strip mall there was a wooded area. The air was pungent with fumes from the dumpsters, but it felt real, the unique Midwestern blend of industry and farmland. Castiel was sitting on a wide tree stump that had once been home to a monster oak.  Dean locked eyes with him, then came over and kicked at the rotting bark.

"They're looking at me," he said. "Everywhere I go, it's like people are expecting me to say something or do something. I feel like a frigging idiot."

"You inspired them," Castiel replied.

"I didn't like it. I don't like acting like I have Heaven on my side when the truth is, if it weren't for Michael, they'd probably spank me silly." Dean kicked the stump again, then sank down onto it, hanging his head and running a hand through his hair. "Tell me this is worth it, Cas."

"You have an army that is willing to fight alongside you," Castiel said. "That in itself is worth so much."

"Yeah, I know." Dean tilted his head to look at him. "I just hope the timing on this thing is right. I still don't know enough to beat this guy."

"I'll keep teaching you. Whatever I know."

Dean shoved Castiel's body gently with his own, a friendly nudge. "Thanks. Hey, maybe soon I'll be able to protect them all with more than fake charms. Right?"

Castiel nodded. Behind a dumpster on the edge of the building, Sam caught his breath, and his eyes widened.

**

In the car after lunch, Sam took down the charm from the rear view mirror and turned it over in his hands. "So what does it say?" he asked, trying to sound casual.

"What?"

"What does it say? Is it some sort of ancient language?"

A bead of sweat appeared on the edge of Dean's forehead. "Not exactly. It's... all kinds of angel mumbo-jumbo. You know. Like the stuff Crowley had on the outside of his house."

"Really." Sam frowned. "Because you know what it looks like to me?"

"What's that?"

He tossed it roughly at Dean. "Crap, that's what. It looks like crap."

Dean dodged it, glanced nervously at him and returned his eyes deliberately to the road. "Sorry you don't like my taste in interior decorating, Sammy."

"Doesn't it make you embarrassed?" Sam said. "I mean, it's one thing to lie to everyone else about the things, but hanging it on your own mirror like it actually means something to you?"

Another bead of sweat joined the first. "I don't know what you're talking about."

"Oh, don't you?" Sam sat back in the seat, the leather molding around his frame as he folded his arms over his chest. "You're going to lie to me, Dean, at least have the decency to come clean when I call you on it."

Dean's hands tightened on the steering wheel, and his jaw turned to iron. The radio hissed with the static between stations, and the engine growled as they ate up the road. The silence lasted just as long as it could.

"Dean."

"Listen, Sammy." Eyes turned to his, and their look was half-guilt, half-warning. "The key to the whole thing is faith. It's about believing. Just like I said before. That part wasn't a lie. If we believe in it, it'll work out. Not just you and me. Everybody."

"I can't believe I'm hearing this from you, of all people, Dean!" Sam smacked the dashboard with a sudden swinging palm. "You don't even believe what angels tell you."

"Oh, well, maybe I should have." Dean's mouth quirked into a sarcastic sneer. "Maybe I should have gone back and done whatever that dick Zachariah told me to. Is that what you're saying?"

"No, of course not. I just can't believe..." Sam sighed. "I can't believe you took that chance, put all those people in danger."

"I didn't put them in danger."

"You gave them a fake charm and told them it would solve their problems, Dean. What if we'd been wrong about Famine? What if the food really had been poisoned?"

"But we weren't. It wasn't."

"We didn't know that."

"Oh, what if, what if!" A slam on the steering wheel. "Let's ask a few more of those questions while we're at it. What if you hadn't started slurping bitch juice? What if you hadn't killed Lilith? Oh, wait, you did." Dean's face was sour. He twisted the knob on the radio past a frantic preacher into another stretch of musicless static.

Sam twitched. "That's not fair."

"Like hell it's not. It's the same thing. I never jumped down your throat for starting the damn apocalypse, did I? Now you're chewing me out for doing something that actually helped? Where the hell are your priorities, Sam? God damn it!"

"Dean." Sam took in several breaths, trying to calm himself. "I just... I don't know where you are on this. You're letting people believe you're some kind of miracle worker. You know they're trying to make you their leader, right? People are starting to talk about you like you're God or something."

"That's bullshit, Sammy--"

"Is it? Haven't you felt them staring at you? How would they feel if they knew you'd been lying to them all this time?"

And real fear came into Dean's eyes for the first time. "You wouldn't."

"No, Dean, no, I wouldn't." He sounded resigned. "I guess I'm just hoping you will. Eventually."

Dean heaved a long breath and forced himself to say it. "Thanks, Sam."

Round eyes slid toward his. "I just hope you know what you're doing," Sam said, and he shifted in his seat to gaze out the window.

"Yeah," Dean muttered. "Yeah, me too."

**

Nebraska seemed like such a random state. It wasn't a Dakota, it wasn't the home of a girl named Dorothy or a fine mountain range or a city called St. Louis or New Orleans, it was just sort of there, smack in the middle of the United States, the missing keyhole in the center with nothing to recommend its existence. Lucifer really couldn't figure out why on earth it was still on the map. He sort of cherished the idea of knocking it off, quite frankly.

Sam was on his way, and he was bringing that troublesome army of hunters there with him. Not that, with Death as his right-hand man, Lucifer needed any help getting rid of them. But there were four horseman, and he had kept the fourth in his back pocket as a trump card. What better place to unleash him than the state without a reason for being? So when the adorable army of rednecks crossed the border, Lucifer whispered, and that whisper went out to a thousand million dens of depravity and malice across the country. And a wave of Evil began its long, swift march toward the middest of the Midwest states.

to be continued


 
 
 
Kevin Jonesmulder200 on December 21st, 2009 02:12 am (UTC)
I sense things are going to get REALLY ugly soon. Poor Dean. He's certainly caught between a rock and and a hard place.
Tiptoe39tiptoe39 on December 21st, 2009 02:39 am (UTC)
Ugly doesn't even begin to hack it. Thank you so much for reading - it really means a lot to me. You're the best!
rockstarpeachrockstarpeach on December 21st, 2009 02:22 am (UTC)
I'm really happy that Sam didn't completely flip out when he found out that Dean had been lying. I like that he's still there for him, even though he's not happy about it.

And I want to see exactly what it is that Dean and Cas get up to together, and oh no!!! There's gonna be trouble when they get to Lawrence!

*hides*

Thanks for the update :)
Tiptoe39tiptoe39 on December 21st, 2009 02:38 am (UTC)
Thanks for being a loyal reader. You have no idea how much that means to me. Hugs.
latvela: cas alien head tiltlatvela on December 21st, 2009 01:30 pm (UTC)
Ooh, interesting! The fake charms is an unusual twist, and the cool thing about this is that I can understand where both Sam and Dean are coming from. Also, your Lucifer is creepy!
Tiptoe39tiptoe39 on December 21st, 2009 02:16 pm (UTC)
There's more twists to come. Thanks so much for reading!