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27 December 2009 @ 05:10 pm
[fanfic] World Without End, Amen - Chapter 9  
Title: World Without End, Amen
Chapter: Nine
Author: tiptoe39
Fandom/Pairing: Supernatural, some understated Dean/Castiel
Rating: PG
Summary: Sam and Bobby make a deal with the devil. Dean comes to a crisis point.
Spoilers: Up through 5x10.
Previous Chapters: here.



World Without End, Amen - Chapter 9

Sam stalled him as long as he could think. By dawn he knew the names of every demon Lucifer could think to mention, had heard the story of the Fall in greater detail than he ever wanted, and had a vision -- in detail a horror-movie director could never imagine -- of just what Lucifer planned to do once he'd gotten into Sam's body. But when the sun rose, Lucifer stood up.

"I'm sorry to do this to you, Sam," he said with an apologetic shrug. "But I'm afraid your friend does have to die now. You've made sure he knows way too much."

"No," Sam said. "I still have questions."

"Oh, but I'm sleepy." Lucifer stifled an exhausted yawn. "I think it's time for beddy-bye. Your brother will be here shortly, and I want to make sure he gets the full welcome wagon."

"Dean." Sam's mouth fell around the name before he could stop himself.

"Tsk, tsk." Lucifer shook a finger at him. "I see your brain starting to flip into high gear. Dean won't be able to save you, Sir Robert." He looked down at Bobby disdainfully. "So I suppose now's the time when I ask you how you'd like to die. Of course, if you want to keep playing dumb, that's your own prerogative, but--"

"You still haven't answered my question," Sam broke in. "About Castiel."

"You're trying to distract me." Lucifer's tone was strangely sharp in the midst of all his melodrama. "Let's not play games, Sam. I have too much respect for you to do that. I'd appreciate the same courtesy."

"And I'd appreciate it if you'd fulfill your end of the bargain," Sam snapped. "I'm here, aren't I? I did what you asked. Now it's time you fulfilled your part of the bargain. Tell me about Castiel."

"I don't think I want to give away that information for free."

"Then take me for it."

The words came without a moment of hesitation, and they came in a strong voice. After a night of closed-mouth glaring, Bobby had leaped into full animation, grabbing the arm of the man Lucifer was wearing and tugging hard on it.

Sam turned toward the bed, eyes filled with horror. "Bobby, no."

Bobby ignored him, his eyes fixed on Lucifer's face. "Tell him what he wants to know, and you can do whatever you want with me. My body, my soul."

Lucifer looked down at him, momentarily halted. Bobby went on. "Come on, I've killed enough of your underlings that you've got a good slot for me on the rack down there. Don't insult my pride by saying no, you king-sized douchebag." He squeezed Lucifer's wrist with a bearlike fist, and Lucifer winced, annoyed.

"It's a tempting offer," he said. "Your soul for Castiel's big secret. I might be persuaded. There's just one problem. It's not your soul I'm after, it's his body. But I'll make you a counteroffer. No, two counteroffers."

"I'm listening," Bobby said, letting him go and crossing his arms over his chest.

"Your life for the information. Sam I trust, but you I don't. No offense, but you don't get to leave here with the big payoff. It just wouldn't be smart." He grinned. "And I'll put your soul in his hands."

"Wait," Sam said. "Wait a minute. You two, stop this."

Lucifer ignored him. "He says yes, you're spared the rack. He says no, you're damned. I'll give you two an hour to think it over while I take a quick nap. See you in sixty." And waving, he was through the door again, leaving Sam and Bobby alone.

Sam leapt to his feet. "Bobby, this is insane. Stop it."

"Oh, sit down and shut up, boy," Bobby said. "This is the best chance we've got." Ignoring him, Sam rushed from door to window, trying unsuccessfully to unlock or push or smash something. Bobby watched him, frowning. "What the hell are you gonna do? Carry me out?"

"If I have to."

"Well, it ain't gonna work, princess. Why are you so damn determined to make me feel useless? How do you think I felt out there, stuck in that chair, watching you two with all these angels fawning all over you? Least I could do is give you an opening."

Sam sank onto the bed and buried his head in his hands. "I should have just trusted Dean," he said. "I shouldn't have worried about him. Whatever Cas' secret is, it can't be worth your life."

"No," Bobby said, steel in his voice. "It's something big. I can feel it in my bones. He wouldn't go to these lengths if it wasn't huge. And dangerous to him. We can't pass up this chance. You know that." He leaned forward and put a hand on Sam's shoulder. "This is the end of the world we're talking about. If that's not worth my life, then my life has meant nothing."

"Don't say that." Sam couldn't even look at him.  His eyes were starting to tear up.

"You know," Bobby said quietly, "I always thought the whole end-of-the-world thing was full of it. I mean, everyone's running around like chickens with their heads cut off about the apocalypse, but don't those old prayers always finish up with 'World Without End, Amen'? Doesn't seem to me God would much want to see the world end. Always thought it was a mistake."

"Maybe Zachariah was right," Sam said. "Maybe God has left the building after all."

Bobby shook his head. "Don't you start believing that," he said. "You were always the one who believed, Sam. In God, in people being good. In your brother. Don't stop believing now."

His eyes red with suppressed tears, Sam looked up at him. The resolve in Bobby's face was implacable. He nodded.

"Never forget who you are, boy." Bobby's features crinkled into a smile. "Who you really are, and that's got nothing to do with any apocalyptic prophecy or what some yellow-eyed sumbitch did to you. It's you, your heart," he said. "That's who you are. You're a human being. That means you choose your own destiny, and that's something no angel can ever do."

The tears flowed now, but a flash of steel and purpose had passed between them, and Sam's vision was as clear as it had ever been. He knew what he had to do now. Bobby had given him the answer, as clear as if he'd been whispered to by God himself.

"We should finish it," he said quietly.

Bobby nodded. He put his hand on Sam's head. "That new haircut doesn't look half bad," he said jokingly. "Who was your hairdresser?"

Sam laughed. "Oh, some guy," he said. His eyes softened. "Some guy I'll never forget."

"That does my heart good." Bobby patted his head briefly. "Now let's see if I can't get all these words right." He pulled a sheaf of paper from his jacket pocket, looked at it briefly, and began to chant.

**

The ground started to shake when they were five miles outside Lawrence city limits. The sky darkened in four. When they hit the exit, it became clear that the darkness wasn't all stormclouds.

Lawrence was lit up like some sort of macabre, twisted Christmas tree. Lightning flashed through the sky. Swarms of insects and birds pelted the caravan in mad kamikaze storms. A farmhouse was on fire. Dark smoke poured out of a grain silo. Everything evil that had ever walked the earth was there-- and was celebrating.

Dean burst from his car. He was all muscle and bravado, pushing forward against a wind that gusted against him with all the force of a steamroller there to plant him flat on the pavement and push him through the concrete into the earth. Beneath him, the tar burned hot. The soles of Dean's boots began to melt. He didn't notice.

He didn't, notice, either, how behind him, the remaining hunters had coalesced into a tight circle, how they were fighting off every creature and every danger that came near, how the howling and gnashing teeth of creatures beyond human imagination were turned back at every pass by the iron rods and silver bullets and salt and sheer willpower of seven dozen hunters who had seen plenty in their time and would not brook leaving Dean to his own devices.

Then a crack of thunder sounded directly above them, and Dean looked up in enough time to see the body of Bobby Singer fall from the sky.

He hit the concrete with the sickening sound of snapping bones and tearing flesh. His face was serene, his body showed no signs of a struggle. No wounds, but no life. Dean tore forward, laid his hand on Bobby's chest as though to try to pound his heart back into motion, but the corpse was already cold. He scrambled to his feet and stumbled backward, trembling. "Oh, my God," he whispered. "Oh, my God, Bobby. No."

The crowd broke ahead of him, and suddenly Dean was left in their wake, standing uselessly on the road as he watched them mourn the man who'd really put this army together, the man to whom he owed everything, He buried his head his hands. At once he was blind, mute, incoherent and broken.

He couldn't save Bobby. He couldn't protect the one man who'd given everything to protect him. When he was stupid, when he was blind, when he let rage and terror build up inside him until he couldn't think, Bobby had always been there to slap some sense into him. And now Bobby was gone. It was like the root had been yanked out of Dean's world.

And he saw, finally, how foolish he was to stand at the head of this army.

He turned around. He couldn't look them in the face. It was too much to bear, to look at every last one of them, Bobby's friends all, grieving, and have no words of comfort with him. Where was his bravado now? Where was his leadership? He was a stupid kid who thought he could handle taking down the devil, and it never occurred to him that he might lose those people he leaned on most. This whole thing was a mistake. And he was reminded of that first night after Ellen and Jo had gone, standing out in the oak grove with Castiel, and saying, "There has to be a better way."  Standing before him and swearing that he was not going to let one more innocent person die because he thought he could handle himself. They'd lost thirty men since this journey had started. Three blocks from the farmhouse and Dean was ready to march right back out of town.

He'd do it alone. He'd see these people to safety and he'd get back here and if he had to say yes to Michael so be it because he could not do this, he wasn't strong enough, he sure as hell wasn't smart enough, and he just plain wasn't good enough. Who the hell was he, anyway? He was beer-drinking girl-chasing belching brawling Dean Winchester, who had never been much more than a punk kid and who at his worst had tortured souls for ten years running. Why did he think he could save the world, anyway?

Then he had a bearded face in his. It was Bobby's old friend, Travis, and he looked like hell -- his nose running, his whole face wet and the white tufts of hair matted down with tears.  He grabbed Dean by the shoulders with tattoo-patterned hands, turned him right around and marched him forward.

"You are going to finish this," he said, quietly.

Dean resisted. "Stupid old man," he said, "what the hell do you think you're doing? Leave me alone!"

"Get him," shouted another hunter. "Give him one for us, Dean."

"What?"

Another shout. Another pat on the back. Dean was being pushed through the crowd, touched by ten, twenty, thirty hands. Words whispered past his ears that he didn't recognize. Good luck and you can do it and kick his ass and do it for Bobby and finally it was just too much and Dean turned and screamed, "Shut up!"

The hunters did.

"Look at him!" Dean yelled, flinging a hand toward Bobby's body. "I let that happen! I let him die!"

His voice echoed weirdly through the open streets. The thunder above had quieted down.

"I've done nothing but lie to you people," he said, his voice breaking with honest agony. "Those seals I gave you did nothing. I don't have a damn clue what I'm going to do when I get in there. I don't know how to kill Lucifer. I don't know anything. This is all my fault."

The truth of it was stunning enough that the group stayed quiet for another minute.

The silence felt like a condemnation, stinging confirmation of his own self-doubt. It broke the anger and outrage own into despair, and Dean put a hand over his face. "I'm sorry," he whispered into the stale air. "I'm sorry."  He fell to his knees.

"Oh, get the hell up."

The voice was Travis', but it sounded so much like Bobby that Dean had to snap up his head in shock.

The bearded old hunter was standing over him, hands on his hips. The dark ink of his tattoos gleamed as though alive. "You going to tell me that what you did to those demons was another lie?" Travis said. "We saw you. We saw the power come from you."

"You don't understand," Dean protested. "That only worked because you all believed in me. You all thought I was some sort of great leader, but..."

"We still believe in you," said a woman from the crowd.

"You're still our leader," said another one.

"Are you all stupid?" Dean didn't mean it to come out so biting, but he knew no other way to say it. "You could all die. You should get out of here while you still can."

"So we'll die," Travis said. "We're hunters. We always knew that was coming. Come on, boy. If it's believing that matters, why don't you try believing in us? We've got your back."

He held out a hand to Dean. The tattoo on his palm read Bobby's Left-Hand Man.

Dean thought he might know who the right-hand man had been.

He took Travis' hand and got to his feet. Standing there, suddenly utterly human in all his honesty and despair, he felt like he was looking at these people with his real face for the first time. And their gazes didn't falter. A candle of hope lit in his heart.

"Thank you," he said, to Travis. And then to the group. "Thank you."

With one final nod, he ran ahead toward his destination.

**

As Dean approached, the first thing he saw was that the house was new and unfamiliar. The next was that an unearthly glow was pouring from it, turning it into an illuminated gem, all sharp angles and gleaming surfaces. As though the house were itself a burning ember, it blazed sharp and bright. The ground was still shaking beneath him. The air was cut by gusts of wind and pockets of heat and cold that stung and seared him as he moved.

The next thing he saw was Castiel. His face was grave. His arms were spread wide as a barrier.

"Don't," he said.

Dean came to a skidding halt. "Cas, what the hell..."

Castiel shook his head, and his hands came down to grab Dean by the forearms. His eyes were wild, frightened, and his hold on Dean's arms shook.

"It's too late," he said. "It's too late."

Dean didn't have time for this. "What? What the hell do you mean it's too late? Let me go!"

Castiel's grip tightened. "He did it, Dean," he said. "Sam said yes."

to be continued
 
 
 
rockstarpeach: OMG Iantorockstarpeach on December 28th, 2009 01:39 am (UTC)
GAH!!!!

Okay... where to start...

First, I just want to say that this fic is royally pissing me off. And uh, don't take that in a bad way, because only fics that I'm really enjoying have the ability to do that. So, congrats on sucking me into your story, and making me care :)

The whole Dean/Bobby thing is just breaking my freakin' heart! I don't understand why Bobby would resent Dean so much, why he'd go off with Sam, and it kills me that Bobby would have his last big heart to heart before he died, with Sam.

Bobby has always loved Dean more, and the relationship between Dean and Bobby is the without a doubt the most functional relationship in all of SPN. It's just devastating that the two of them didn't even get a goodbye.

*sigh*

And No!! NO!!! Sam!!! He said yes?!?! *weeps*

And of course, the Dean/Cas was adorable. I love how Dean knows there's something that needs working out, but there's no time for it.

So... more now?

:)
Tiptoe39: plz like metiptoe39 on December 28th, 2009 01:51 am (UTC)
Yeah, well, that's pretty much what I was afraid of. I think my take on Bobby is very, very different than most people's. I see him right now (in the series) as starting down a road in terms of aging and injury that can take a very, very tragic turn. I might be subbing in some of my experiences with my grandmother, who became quite depressed toward the end, and it was heartbreaking to watch.

And I never really thought Bobby's relationship was stronger with Dean. In a way, I see Bobby and Sam as more simpatico, especially after Bobby's taken out of action. They're both researchers, both men who put thought into things. I see them as being able to do a lot if they put their heads together.

I guess, I guess it's just taking a really big risk publishing this, and I am happy that you have stuck with it even though it didn't do exactly what you wanted it to. The story told itself to me, and I didn't really get a whole lot of control. (Ask my husband, he knows I was torturing myself as late as yesterday saying "OMG I should find some way he doesn't die" but... I just couldn't.)

Three more parts to go.
Kevin Jonesmulder200 on December 28th, 2009 06:57 am (UTC)
Damn! Talk about leaving people hanging! I really hope Sam knows what the hell he is doing. I'm putting my trust in you for that.

And poor Bobby! I had a feeling since the beginning that he was gonna bite the dust. It just seemed natural.
Tiptoe39tiptoe39 on December 28th, 2009 01:49 pm (UTC)
Well, I appreciate the trust. (>.>) Hope I don't disappoint.

Yeah, I felt bad offing Bobby, but I really thought it was the most in-character course of action for him. He's at a point now where if he thought his life would buy something valuable, he'd sell it easily. Poor dude.
latvela: future cas deanlatvela on December 28th, 2009 12:32 pm (UTC)
Sam said yes?! Oh, damn! And I really want to know what the secret about Castiel is, if it's even true!

Loved the Sam and Bobby scene. Poor Bobby, and poor Dean, how awful! It was pretty awesome what Travis said, though, about the hunters.
Tiptoe39tiptoe39 on December 28th, 2009 01:48 pm (UTC)
The secret will come out, eventually... :D :D

Thank you for reading, three more parts to go, hope you'll stick around!
Shiro01shiro01 on December 28th, 2009 07:21 pm (UTC)
Hmm. It seems that the death of Bobby Singer was inevitable after all. Such a shame.
Tiptoe39: sorry! - venustiptoe39 on December 28th, 2009 07:28 pm (UTC)
I had a feeling you wouldn't like that part much. But thanks for reading it anyway. I hope that when things come together you'll feel like there was justice done...