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26 December 2009 @ 05:16 pm
[fanfic] World Without End, Amen - Chapter 8  
Two random notes. One, I finished this fic! Yay! Two, I will have a little schlocky one-shot up tonight as well. Pure fluff. :D

Title: World Without End, Amen
Chapter: Eight
Author: tiptoe39
Fandom/Pairing: Supernatural, some understated Dean/Castiel
Rating: PG
Summary: Dean and Castiel have a long, long talk. Sam arrives at the devil's doorstep. All does not go according to plan.
Spoilers: Up through 5x10.
Previous Chapters: here.

World Without End, Amen - Chapter 8

The sky was dark with smoke and blood.  Dean estimated he'd lost a good dozen men in the first attack; now another ten looked like they'd gone down. At this rate it looked like they'd be down to half their number by the time Death got tired and let them rest for a while.

The Reapers had become creatures Dean had never seen before. He figured that in the presence of their master, their true natures must come out. He wondered if the kind Reapers he'd known-- Tessa, and the others-- had also been transformed by Death's presence on the Earth. Just the thought of it was enough to make him angry as hell.

"Do something," came a plea from behind him, and Dean realized it was aimed at him, that these people were asking him to save them. He could at least do that much. And he'd be damned-- again-- if he was going to let these bastards keep him from getting to Sam. He had a job to do, and he was going to do it.

Castiel's fingers touched his shoulder, and he felt a jolt of warmth go through him. He glanced at the presence beside him. And suddenly everything was clear.

Power poured from his hands, and the Reaper-creatures howled in dismay as their death-rattles shook the road. Everything in front of him was blinding white; beside him, Castiel did the same. Side by side they stepped forward, beating the monsters back, hands outstretched. When they were done, and the foul smoke of burning hellbeasts was clear, they were left alone with Evil, still clutching at his eyes, and Death, who was smiling and applauding sincerely.

"Lovely," he said, "absolutely lovely. I told you, evil or good, it makes no difference to me. It all ends in Death, and you've given me quite a feast. I thank you, Mr. Winchester."

"Don't mention it," Dean said flatly. He marched up and placed his hand on that skinny, flat chest.

Death looked down, then back up at him with a sickening smile. "You can't be serious," he said. "You think a little sunshine is going to stop me?"

"Yeah," Dean said. "Yeah, as a matter of fact I do. And do you know why?"

"Oh, please enlighten me."

"You see all those people back there?" Dean said. Keeping his palm flat on Death's chest, he shrugged over his shoulder.

"Like a buffet," Death said, licking his lips.

Dean leaned in close to drive the message home. "Every single one of them believes I can defeat you."

For the first time, Death looked nervous. "So what?" he said. "What does them believing some lie have to do with anything?"

"Well, nothing. But I bet it's hurting your friend there a whole lot." Dean winked, clicking his tongue, down at the wounded figure of Evil. "See, I know about you guys. I know what you bring. Despair." He looked at Death. "Apathy." He glanced at Evil. "It's all our human failings, it's all that stuff you use against us. But the problem is, when there's belief, there's no more apathy. And you have a real hard time getting despair to win..."

He turned then, slowly, and waved at the crowd. Dirty, bloodstained, and exhausted, five dozen hands went up to return the salute.

"...when there's hope."

Death's eyes went wide and bare.

The blast that went through him shone in a wide arc, illuminating the air behind him, as though the sun were rising on the road ahead. Even in the heat of it, Dean felt a chill go through him as the essence of Death fled the scene, the body he had been wearing crumbling to dark soot and burning embers.

And then he turned and happily staked Evil in the heart.

"Like hell it's all in how you look at it," he said, kicking the body aside.

Castiel was staring at him. That much he could feel in his bones. But when he turned, and began to hear the other sounds around him again, Dean realized that Castiel wasn't the only one.  The hunters on the front lines, the ones who had fought off the invasion with their disciplined gunfire and iron will, were all looking at him.

And they were all cheering.

Dean gave an awkward wave. His glance to Castiel said, What the hell?

Castiel just shrugged. Dean thought he saw the corners of his mouth turn up.

**

They'd built over it. The house on the lot was completely different than the one Sam remembered, the one they'd gone back to visit at the beginning of their search for their father. Still, he looked at it with as much trepidation as if he had a million memories within those walls. The shapes were different, but the space was the same. What happened there had still happened, and it was still the reason he was standing there today.

An old man was raking the leaves in the yard. "Hey there, young man," he said mildly as Sam approached. "He's waiting for you inside. I think he's made you some lemonade." Just a hint of black eyes glittered in the waning afternoon light.

Sam took a deep breath, balled his fists into tight crunches, and marched on the door.

The lemonade was on a nice-looking coffee table in the living room. Photographs dotted the walls, and the whole place smelled of one of those potpourri candles. And sipping his own glass, sitting on the couch, dressed in a pair of overalls he must have filched from the fellow in the yard before his unfortunate possession, was Lucifer. He gave a big smile. "There you are. I was wondering when you were finally going to get here. Have a glass of lemonade."

Sam walked stiffly into the room.

"Oh, and you might as well take that gun and that stake out of your pocket. There are standing orders around here not to hurt you, and, well, they won't work on me. But you knew that, right?"

Shaking his head, pressing his lips into a flat expression of exasperation, Sam followed his orders. He laid out on the table a wooden stake, his revolver, and a couple of other tools for good measure.

"See, that's what I like about you, Sam. When you do something, you're straightforward about it. No deceit, no tricks. You'll be straight with me, and you know I'll be the same with you. That's why you came."

"I didn't come for small talk," Sam said with a grimace.

"No, of course you didn't. You've got questions." Lucifer set down his glass and folded his hands behind his head, putting his feet up on the coffee table. The glass cracked beneath the force of his heels. "Well, ask away. I'll answer whatever I can."

"Castiel," Sam said. "What do you know about him? Why is he dangerous?"

"Oh." Lucifer clicked his tongue. "That's the big question. You can't just go right for that, that's not fair. It'd ruin my dramatic structure. Come on, start off with something easier. I know you have more questions than that."

Sam finally gave in and sat on an easy chair across from the sofa. "Why me?"

"Oh, I think you've had that explained to you many times already. I understand my brother Gabriel actually poked his head out of hiding in order to say so?" Lucifer chuckled.

"There's any number of sons who have complicated relationships with their fathers," Sam said. "I'm hardly the only case."

"Oh, but it's you, Sam. You're the son of one who was a hunter before you were born and one who was a hunter after. Your life's always been bound up in the war between Heaven and Hell. And let's not forget the wonderful service of my dear departed friend Azazel, who did his part to make sure that you'd be ready for me." He shrugged. "I'm sorry, but this cake has been baking since before you were a twinkle in your daddy's eye."

"That's another thing I don't get," Sam said. "Why are you so intent in fulfilling this destiny? Doesn't it make you feel trapped? Like things shouldn't have to be this way?"

Lucifer's face went dark. "I'll tell you what it is to feel trapped," he said. "Trapped is having your ass locked in the dark pit for millennia, and all you can do, all you can think about, is how damned unfair it is that you're punished for loving your own father." He pounded the table. "That-- that-- is what it is to feel trapped. So when you whine to me about how you want to fight your destiny, guess how much sympathy I have for you, little baby Winchester?" His eyes flashed. "Not too much."

Sam sat forward. "But all that time you've been down there," he said, "people have been making up stories about how you were going to come up and destroy the world. They think they know you, but they don't, do they? Why would you let them write your story for you? Why not prove them all wrong?"

The level intensity of his gaze seemed to flummox Lucifer, who sat up straight again, his feet hitting the floor with a house-shaking thump. "You're tenacious," he said slowly. "I like that about you, Sam, I do. This is who you really are, isn't it? A hard-nosed psychological warrior who knows what he has to do and say to get what he wants. You would have made a damn good lawyer." He chuckled. "I bet we have lots to talk about. Stay awhile. Oh, and... let's invite your friend in, shall we?"

Sam tried to get to his feet. He couldn't. The chair held him sure as any bonds. He could only twist his neck and stare in horror as the front door opened and the limp body of Bobby Singer floated in.

**

Castiel had done Dean the favor of sticking around for the afternoon ride. Once the adrenaline rush of the fight wore off, the trauma of the day began to sink in, and grief settled over the army even as they picked up and drove on toward their goal for the night. People needed Dean to hold them together, so he bucked up and did what he had to do keep people driving. But, he told Castiel, he couldn't do it if no one was there for him. So Castiel sat in the passenger seat and watched Dean with grave eyes as he picked up the CB radio to talk to his troops.

"We're all in a lot of pain," Dean said in a hard voice. "What happened today was... awful. But we're in a war now, and we cannot turn back. We all know what the stakes are. That's why we're hunters. That's why we're here."

Even when they arrived at the motel for the night, Dean couldn't relax. He was called from room to room to face intrusive questions or give a pep talk or wish a speedy recovery to a laid-up hunter who'd gotten on the wrong end of some sharp teeth. He was wavering, sweaty and exhausted by the time he finally managed to get to his own room.

His very own room. In other words, it was empty.

How weird it was to be in an empty motel room. This was supposed to be the place where he and Sam let the job go, kicked back and had a couple of beers. Without that comfort, it was just a big, empty hole.

He was about ready to start climbing the walls when the phone rang.

"Yeah?"

"Dean." Castiel's voice.

"What is it."

"May I come in?"

Dean ran to the door. Castiel was looking back through the peephole at him, phone still pressed to his ear.

With a brisk burst of laughter, Dean opened the door. "You are the most unintentionally hilarious person I have ever met," he said.

"Thank you. I think."

"I take it you're here to teach me some more angel fu," Dean said. "Unless you think what I did back there's going to be enough to kill the devil."

"No," Castiel said, "it won't. Your power has diminished with the deaths in your party. Of those who follow you, there are most likely some who are beginning to doubt you."

"So we took a hit," Dean said, sinking into a chair by the window. "I was afraid of that. All right, what else can we do?"

"I don't know." Castiel gave a sigh. "I still have not been able to discern why Lucifer was concerned about my presence that night. I'm starting to think--"

"...that we misread the whole thing, yeah," Dean said. "That we don't have any secret weapon after all."

Castiel was silent for a long moment. They didn't look at each other.

"Hey, Cas," Dean said. "You ever think that maybe, just maybe, Sam and Bobby have some kind of plan?"

The angel looked at him with sober eyes. "Yes," he said, his low, gravelly voice scraping the bottom edges of the word. "I'd almost count on it." He crossed in front of Dean, looking out the window briefly with a suspicious flicker in his eyes, then sat on the bed across from the chair where Dean was slumping. Their feet nearly touched on the carpet.

"Why do you suppose they didn't tell me about it?"

Castiel's answer was immediate, and so level that it unnerved Dean. "Perhaps for the same reason we didn't tell them."

"Hmm." Dean leaned forward, head lolling on his fists and eyes downcast. "I hate that, that I just have to trust them."

"I'm sure they hate that they just have to trust you," Castiel said.

"I don't think they do trust me."

"Of course they do. They left you in command of this army. They wouldn't do that if they didn't think you could lead it."

Dean looked up at him. "Are you trying to make me feel better?" he said.

Castiel frowned, squinting. "Of course. Should I not?"

"Not if it isn't true."

"But it is. Can't something true make you feel better?"

Dean gave a rueful chuckle. "Sorry," he said. "I guess I'm just cynical that way. The truth sucks, so if something makes you feel better, it's got to be a lie."

"That makes no sense." Castiel's puzzled expression just dragged another peal of laughter out of Dean. "Why are you laughing?"

Shaking his head, Dean got up, then perched himself on the bed next to his companion. "No reason," he said. "I'm glad you're here, that's all." He put a hand on the angel's back, flat, fingers spread. Castiel turned to the side to watch his face.

It was a quiet moment, but at some point Dean looked up and caught Castiel's eye. Something happened then, something that took the smile off his face and made him blink rapidly. Gravity, or magnetism, or some other force, and his hand tightened on Cas' back. He could feel the air humming all around him. He was leaning in. His vision was blurring.

Then Castiel went rigid. He looked around, sitting up straight, all his muscles tensing. It was as though someone had whistled in a tone only he could perceive. He whipped his head around, then put a palm to his forehead. His jaw was trembling.

"Cas. Cas!" Dean grabbed him by the shoulder. "What's going on, man?"

Castiel's head turned once, twice more, then found Dean's eyes. His skin had gone gray. He tried to speak, but only a chalky cough found its way from his lungs.

"Cas!" Dean shook him.

Whatever it was that had held him let go again, and Castiel went limp. "I'm sorry," he said.

"Sorry, don't be sorry, just tell me what the hell just happened!"

Dark eyes scrutinized his face. "You must not tell anyone," he said slowly.

"Yeah, sure, of course. Our secret." Dean's impatience spilled over. "Come on, what was it?"

Castiel looked around the room suspiciously. His hand reached for Dean's, his grip needy, begging for balance. Finally, secure in the connection, he leaned in. "I'm hearing something," he said, low and tremulous. "Something coming from inside me. A... a whisper. And I don't know what it is."

"A whisper?"

His eyes were wide and frightened. "It's almost as if there's a part of me that I don't know, but at the same time I feel it's been with me forever. And it has something to do with you."

Dean's heart thudded dully in his chest. "With me?"

"Yes." Castiel drew his hand away and looked at the carpet. "And that... rather uncomfortable question you asked me earlier."

Dean blanked. "Wait, what?"

"You asked me if I--" Castiel actually blushed. "If I was, if I felt love for you."

"Oh, God. If this whisper is your sex drive, I'm out of here." Dean rolled his eyes.

Castiel shook his head. "No. It's not that. But when I ponder that question, or when I look at you or think of you, I can hear it. Just now it was so loud, I... I thought for a moment I wasn't alone. I felt like something else was alive. Inside me."

Dean stood up instantly and backed away. "No. No more things inside people, Cas. We've got enough of that going on. Come on, spare me."

Castiel averted his eyes and shook his head. "Forgive me," he said. "It's not like that. I'm not being possessed. It's just.... it's nothing."

Regret pinched at Dean's heart. This was unusual. Castiel was revealing something personal to him, something uncomfortable. Maybe it was his sense of duty or his angelic temperament, but Castiel didn't tend to do things like that. It wasn't right of Dean to shut him out when he was taking such a chance.

"Look," he said, taking a measured step forward, "look. We're going to talk about this. You and me. Whatever it is that's going on here. I promise. But right now-- right now we're in the middle of a fight, and I can't--"

"I know." Castiel stood. His eyes didn't meet Dean's. "You have enough to think about. You'll be crossing the border tomorrow, and you'll need some sleep." He began to walk toward the door.

Dean watched him retreat. He was too deep in the thicket now to worry about the implications of this. He needed Cas too badly, and his people needed him too badly, to spend much time on it. But he couldn't leave it there, either. "We will talk about this, OK? We'll sit down, and we'll work it out. After.... after everything's over. We'll talk about it."

"But not right now. I know. I understand." Castiel moved toward the door. His expression betrayed no emotion.

For an instant Dean had a flash, an image of a possible future. Of what he could do, if he wanted to. If he had the time, and the courage.

Castiel heard it. He looked over his shoulder, his face flushed red. Their eyes held. There was a second of acute possibility.

"Good night, Dean," Castiel said in a half-whisper, and he left.

**

Bobby opened his eyes and immediately lunged forward at the thing in front of him. He very nearly landed a clawed hand in its eyes before realizing it was Sam.

"The hell?" he said, looking around. His useless legs lay limp on a flowered comforter; there were pillows piled behind his back. "Where am I?"

"In the house," Sam said. "One of Lucifer's goons got you."

"And you rescued me?" Bobby looked embarrassed. "Thanks, boy."

"Actually... no." Sam's brows knitted together. "Lucifer was pretty mad about it. He said he was going to have words with the demon who roughed you up."

Bobby's lips drew into a tight purse. "...Oh."

"I know." Neither had to say it: weird.

Sam gazed at the bedroom door. "He said he'd be back in a few minutes. We should talk. What happened?"

"Don't know. One minute I was putting down roots, the next-- smack."

"How far did you get?"

"Pretty far." There was a note of pride in Bobby's voice. "I managed to do the house. I was on my way out to widen the net when they got me."

Sam relaxed. "That's good, then. The house is good. As long as we're inside."

"If any of this works at all." Bobby leaned forward and put a hand on Sam's arm. "Did you get any information?"

"Not what we need," Sam said. "I'm still working on that."

"Sam." Bobby was staring at the doorknob, waiting for it to turn. His eyes were wide, scrutinizing. "You know he's not going to let me out of here alive."

"What? That's ridiculous, Bobby. We'll get you--"

"This is the devil, remember?" His grip on Sam's arm tightened, the bear fingers digging deep. "Stay focused, boy. This is not about me, and it's not about you. There is a whole world out there. Worry about them first."

Sam looked at him with wounded eyes. He remembered the man he saw in the hospital room, empty and unmoving. When he'd said to Dean that Bobby might not just bounce back this time, it wasn't entirely his legs he'd been speaking of. The wound had shattered his spirit, too, and Sam had the sinking feeling then, as he did now, that Bobby was coming to grips with the fact that he wasn't living for his own sake anymore.

He'd seen it happen to friends. As their parents aged, they had to contend with not only the physical decline but psychological scarring, too. What was it like, he often wondered, to realize you weren't in control of your body anymore? To need help with things that you used to do without thinking?

He'd been there while Jess was dealing with it. Her grandmother had declined into a deep depression as her hip surgeries kept her off her feet for longer and longer periods of time. As hard as seeing her so frail was, it was even harder for Jess to deal with her grandmother's crying jags, her calling herself useless and old and one foot in the grave. There had been one night her grandmother begged for someone to let her die. Jess had stayed on the phone with her mother for hours after that, and Sam had held her through the whole thing. When she finally went, there was a smile on Jess' face even as her tears fell. "At least she's not suffering anymore," she'd said.

It was a trauma that a life as a hunter didn't afford. No hunter lived long enough to grow old and become a liability. Bobby certainly had never expected to. The weight on his shoulders had to be heavier than Sam could even imagine. It was one of the reasons he'd agreed to go along with this plan. Bobby needed now more than ever to be an active, vital part of the mission. Sam could only pray things had not taken a turn for the very worst.

"Bobby Singer. It's an honor."

Lucifer stood in the doorway. His lanky frame, still peeling skin, was silhouetted in the bright hallway light. "I have to say, this is a throwback to the olden days. The general of the opposing camp, coming to my tent for a drink on the eve of battle. Not that I was around for those days. Locked up, you know. May I shake your hand, sir?"

Bobby clammed up, his eyes bulging out in trepidation and terror. Sam stood. "What are you doing?" he demanded.

"Sam." Lucifer fixed him with a wounded look. "Surely you didn't think I was going to treat your companion with any less respect than he deserves! Mister Singer here has been killing my children since long before you were born." He gave a light chuckle. "He's a worthy adversary. A legend, as they say, in his own time."

Sam looked over at Bobby, who was still staring, his jaw clamped shut.

"It is, of course, too bad that his own time will have to be ending shortly, but that's a discussion for later. Why don't we sit down and have a chat?"

to be continued

 
 
 
laurapetri: dean/castiellaurapetri on December 27th, 2009 02:54 am (UTC)
awesomer and awesomer
Tiptoe39: castieltiptoe39 on December 27th, 2009 01:16 pm (UTC)
Oh, I *really* hope I can keep that up. *is nervous* Thank you!!
10% literal, 90% metaphor: cleaning up nice : Dean/Castielspeccygeekgrrl on December 27th, 2009 05:26 am (UTC)
Can I just say that I freaking adore everything going on with Dean and Castiel? And I love how you're writing Lucifer. *flail*
Tiptoe39: funny matttiptoe39 on December 27th, 2009 01:17 pm (UTC)
Lucifer I have to say comes frighteningly easy for me. I think I might be a megalomaniacal villain deep inside.
Kevin Jonesmulder200 on December 27th, 2009 07:40 am (UTC)
Dude! Dean was awesome! Although, I love how he got embarrassed after it was over though.

And Cas and Dean are clearly growing closer. I love the way you describe Cas's growing feelings for Dean and his confusion over it. It must be hard for the poor guy. Still, even if Dean is freaked out by this revelation, he still stands by Cas. That was sweet.

And big surprise at Sam and Bobby's plan not going well. Of course, it wouldn't be that easy.
Tiptoe39tiptoe39 on December 27th, 2009 01:18 pm (UTC)
Yeah, since this fic is firmly in the pre-slash category I wanted to make sure the bonds between them were strong. I can see Dean, even if he's having a hetero freakout, still wanting to make sure Cas is comfortable. He cares about him, even if he doesn't really know what to label that caring.

Sam and Bobby's plan... Well, don't underestimate them, either. :D
latvela: future cas deanlatvela on December 27th, 2009 01:05 pm (UTC)
They're all in trouble now! I am quite irked at Sam for asking Lucifer about Castiel. Grr! But I'll keep in mind that they have a plan :)

Cas and Dean are so adorable together! I love that whisper inside Cas, and how he's confused by his feelings for Dean. And Cas calling Dean to get in is so hilariously cute!
Tiptoe39: plz like metiptoe39 on December 27th, 2009 01:20 pm (UTC)
Cas at my peephole outside my hotel room is one of those images that I would give my right arm and my left boob to see. :D :D :D :D :D

The trouble has just begun. I have a feeling the next chapter's gonna piss some people off... **dreads**

Thank you for reading!