|Back to Splintered|
Over the next few weeks, Dean and Sam began to heal. Dean from the injuries inflicted by Alistair. Sam from the traumatic effects of withdrawal. The bond between them also started to mend, but that wasn’t a wound that could be bandaged or a broken limb that could be set in plaster. Rebuilding what they’d lost would take time, they both knew that. So they helped Bobby and Chuck and Pamela research. They went on supply runs together, even had breakfast in the local diner once or twice. Gradually, they began to ease back into familiar patterns, but with one big difference. They were both through lying.
At night, they curled up together in one bed, sleeping wrapped up in each other, needing the comfort and the closeness, but not taking it any further than that. Neither of them was ready to bare their souls yet.
On a day when they’d gone as far as they could with the intel they had, and Chuck seemed to be going through a dry spell, Pamela and Bobby joined Chuck in the living room where the prophet had his laptop open on his knees.
“What are you working on?” Pamela asked as she sat down on the couch next to him.
“I have no idea.” Chuck continued to type.
Bobby flopped down into one of the battered armchairs, resting his head against the back of it and closing his eyes. The front door opened, and Sam and Dean wandered into the room, shrugging off their jackets. Dean took the other armchair and Sam perched on the arm of the couch, occasionally glancing at the screen as Chuck worked.
“So what we got?” Dean stretched his legs out in front of him.
“I got nothing.” Bobby yawned.
“Me neither. I’ve never known the spirit world to be so quiet.” Pamela sighed.
Chuck said nothing, just continued to type.
“We can’t just sit here and wait for something to happen.” Now he was well on the mend, Dean was getting restless. “One thing we do know is that we have to take Ruby out of the game.”
“Agreed.” Sam nodded, as did Bobby.
“Chuck? Any insights?” Dean turned round to look at the prophet who was frantically typing on his laptop.
“Only that at some point, she’s incredibly pissed off with you,” Chuck replied, distracted.
“Well, that’s helpful.” Dean smiled then rolled his eyes. He turned back to the others. “We need to know what she knows.”
“No torture.” Sam glared at Dean. “You’re not torturing anyone.”
“I didn’t mention torture. But if it comes to it …”
“No,” Sam snapped. “I’ll talk to her.”
“No way.” Dean rounded on him. “You’re not going back to her.”
“She thinks she has me whipped. We can use that.”
“Sam,” Dean warned.
“Have you got a better idea? Other than you cutting yourself a slice?” Sam added.
Dean drew a breath to speak, but then deflated. “Not yet, but I’m sure I’ll think of something.”
“We don’t have time to wait,” Sam objected.
“Let us help.” Anna and Castiel appeared in the room without warning.
Chuck squealed with fright and clutched his laptop to his chest.
“Do you idjits never think of landing on the doorstep and knocking?” Bobby huffed.
“Cas? Are you okay?” Dean asked, concerned. The angel looked like he hadn’t slept for a week.
“I’m fine,” Castiel reassured, even though he didn’t feel fine.
Dean got up off the couch so Anna could sit down, and Sam was hit by a small stab of jealousy at the way his brother looked at her. He tried to remember that he had been sleeping with a demon, and Dean and Anna had only spent one night together, but it still stung.
“I’ve been trying to find out what Zachariah’s plans are,” Castiel explained. “I don’t know everything yet, but I do know that once you and Sam went your separate ways, he saw it as a good thing. He’s not pleased that you have reconciled. It’s as if he wants Sam on his own.”
“Or with Ruby. Why would an angel want Sam hanging out with a demon?” Dean mused.
“He may have a darker agenda. Uriel wanted Lucifer to rise, and killed all those who wouldn’t join him.”
“We think Zachariah wants the same thing,” Anna added.
“He wants to start the apocalypse? That’s crazy!”
“If Lucifer rises, there will be a war between heaven and hell, and the earth will be cleansed of human life.”
“I knew he wasn’t one of the good guys!” Dean couldn’t help feeling a little smug.
“So we still have to kill Lilith to stop her breaking the seals and freeing Lucifer?” Sam wasn’t quite ready to let his need for revenge drop altogether.
“I’m still not convinced that’s a good thing,” Pamela said, but she’d noticed that at least Sam hadn’t said it was down to him to kill Lilith. “Something in my gut tells me it’s the wrong way to go.”
“Hmmm, something’s not quite right.” Chuck had put down his laptop and was busy tracing strands of twine along the wall with his fingers. He unpinned the photograph of an ancient statue that he’d scrawled “Lilith” across, and moved it along to the far end of the timeline, pinning it over a sheet of paper that had 66 written on it in big red letters. “That’s better.”
Dean raised his eyebrows. “Are you gonna start making sense anytime soon?”
Chuck flipped him off. “It’s not an exact science.”
Dean turned back to the others with a sigh. “Whatever. So, Ruby. We grab her, try and find out what she knows.”
“And how do we do that?” Bobby scrubbed a hand over his face. It had been a long day.
“We use me as bait.” It wasn’t something Sam wanted to do, but he didn’t see any other way.
“No!” Dean rounded on his brother.
“I’m strong enough, Dean,” Sam countered.
“Strong enough to what? Kill her?”
“Yes, but I’m strong enough to resist her too, to say no. That’s what you’re worried about, isn’t it? That I’ll go back to drinking her blood.”
“No, Sam, that’s not it, okay?”
“We don’t have a choice.”
“Yes we do! We’ll find another way.” Dean scowled and stormed off, slamming the door behind him.
Sam watched through the window as he got into the Impala and sat there, holding on to the steering wheel. He didn’t switch the engine on though, and Sam guessed he’d needed the familiarity of his sanctuary.
“He’s scared of losing you.” Pamela leaned over and squeezed Sam’s knee.
“I know he is.” Sam would have done anything to stay there, safe and warm with Dean, but it wasn’t an option. “And we all know Ruby has to die once we’ve got her trapped.” He turned back to the others, determination on his face.
“You can’t kill her, not yet.”
They all turned to look at Pamela.
“At this stage, it’s a risk to expend all your energy on killing her in case you need it for something else.”
“I’ll set up a devil’s trap. This time it won’t fail.” Castiel promised.
“We’re gonna need somewhere to stash her. I might have an idea where.” Bobby volunteered.
“We can keep watch on her, night and day.” Anna offered.
“Okay, so we trap her for now. I’ll contact her, get her to meet me. I know Dean doesn’t like it, but he’s got to know it’s the only way.”
Sam outlined the rest of his plan. When Dean walked back in half an hour later, Bobby went to make a few calls, Castiel and Anna left, trading glances with Sam before they disappeared in a flurry of wings, and Pamela and Sam went off to meditate. That left Dean alone with Chuck, who was muttering to himself as he ran his fingers over the pages and pictures on the wall. Dean joined him, looking over the mass of information.
“So, tell me again what it all means.”
Chuck eyed Dean as if he’d grown another head. Dean did his share of the research, but he wasn’t in to it as much as Sam was.
“In case we missed something,” Dean shrugged.
“Okay.” Chuck happily began at the beginning, telling the fragmented story again, hoping something new would fall into place.
In the early hours of the following morning, Sam crept downstairs, his bag in his hand. He got almost to the front door when a someone put a hand on his shoulder. He jumped and slowly turned.
“You leaving without saying goodbye, boy?”
“If I don’t, he won’t let me go.”
Bobby nodded and pulled Sam into a hug. “Take care of yourself, you hear?”
“I will,” Sam promised. “Take care of Dean? He’d going to be pissed, but maybe that’s for the best.”
“What do you mean?”
“I take off in the middle of the night, Dean yells up a storm the next morning. What does that look like from a distance?”
“You think she’s been having you watched?”
“Yeah, I do.”
“You know where you’re going?”
Sam nodded. “See you soon, Bobby.”
“Count on it.”
Bobby watched from the window until Sam pulled away in the beaten up Pinto that had been parked side by side with the Impala.
He had no doubt the next couple of days would be a rough ride.
Sam waited for two days before he made the call. Two days without Dean, and the doubts began to creep back into his head in the dark. He pushed them away. He could do this, do what needed to be done. For Dean.
"I’ve got a lead on Lilith."
"You have? That's good news."
"If we move now, I can take her down. I ... I need it, Ruby, need to be strong enough."
"It's okay Sammy, tell me where you need me to be."
Ruby walked into the disused warehouse Sam had given her directions to. It was too early to kill Lilith, but getting Sam back by her side, back to needing her, was the important thing. Whatever he’d come up with couldn’t be much, and Ruby had every confidence that she could keep Sam with her until the time was right. She'd heard that the reconciliation between the brothers had been short lived, and Sam was on his own again. And Sam on his own was so easily manipulated. All that latent power wrapped up in such a pretty package of angst and pain. Ruby couldn't help licking her lips at the thought of Sam, needy and hurting.
But she wasn't a fool. She'd checked out the warehouse as soon as she'd gotten into town. Empty, no sign of Sam or the rest of the motley crew he'd been hanging out with since he'd ditched her. She'd known he'd be back, as soon as he understood that the others couldn't give him what she could.
There was the glow of a light in the small office at the far end of the warehouse and Ruby made her way towards it, picking her way between puddles on the floor where the rain had gotten in through the damaged roof. She liked a leaky building, it made it impossible to add a decent devil's trap. She'd been around for long enough to know that caution was always advised, no matter what the circumstances.
She peered in the door. Sam sat at a small table. There was a moldy camp bed in one corner, dirt and filth covering everything.
"Not exactly the honeymoon suite." She smiled at him as he scrambled to his feet.
"Ruby! You're late." Sam's hands were shaking.
"Had things to do, Sammy, but I'm here now." she glanced around. "And really not wanting to stick around this place. Why here?"
"I had to ditch Bobby, didn't want him to see me ... to know ..."
"You didn't tell him?"
"How could I? I'm a freak to him, to all of them already but if they knew ..." Sam looked down dejectedly.
“What about Dean?”
“He doesn’t want me around.” Sam’s whole body trembled.
"It's okay, I'll take care of you," She purred and reached up to stroke hair that was in desperate need of washing. "There's a motel on the edge of town. We can get you cleaned up there."
"I need it, Ruby. Please." Sam grabbed her waist and pulled her closer.
"Easy, tiger." She squirmed away and took hold of her hand, pulling him out of the warehouse and towards the Mustang.
There was a sign hanging outside the motel. "Under New Management". And by the look of the outside, all peeling paint, it was probably a good thing.
The guy behind the desk signed her in, took the cash payment and glanced out the door to where Sam sat in the car.
"Your boyfriend doesn't look too good."
“And how is that your business?"
"None of my business as long as I don't end up with an OD'd corpse in my room."
Ruby snatched the key. As soon as Sam was back on his feet, they were out of there. She led Sam inside, hardly glancing at the tattered paper on the walls. She took his hand and tugged him onto the bed.
"Why don't we take care of that itch first, then you can get cleaned up?"
He nodded eagerly and stood up to take off his jacket. Ruby reached down for the small knife at her ankle, but Sam took a step back, then another.
"Sammy? It's okay baby, you know you want it."
"No, he really doesn't." Dean walked out of the bathroom, a grim smile on his face.
"You!" Ruby snarled and threw herself at Dean, slamming up against the invisible wall of a devil's trap. "No! You played me!" She raged at Sam, who was standing taller, the trembling gone.
“No more than you played me,” Sam countered.
"Did you tell your brother all the things you did while he was gone, Sammy? All the nasty things we did?" Ruby grinned as Sam squirmed, looking uncomfortable.
"I already know everything."
"I don't believe he told you everything, Dean. How he got so high on my blood that he fucked me raw, how he ..."
"Don't." Sam rasped.
Dean moved closer, and put his fingers under Sam's chin, lifting his head up until their eyes met.
"I know everything, Sam. He told me, and let me read the unpublished books." Despite Ruby being in a cast iron devil’s trap, Dean didn’t want to mention Chuck by name.
"When?" Sam swallowed nervously.
"Soon as I came out of hospital."
Sam's breathing became ragged. Dean had known before he'd gone down to the panic room to chase away the hallucinations, before he'd kissed Sam again for the first time in months. His eyes widened at the implications, that Dean knew every dirty secret and had forgiven him.
"So you're fucking again?” Ruby snorted. “So what? Without my help, you'll never find her, never get revenge, and you know that's gonna eat away at you, Sam. All these months, all the sacrifices you've made, all the things you've done? You know it can't end here, you know you can't let it go. You need me. Or are you going to hunt down random demons to snack on?"
"I don't need you, not anymore." Sam raised his arm, the flat of his palm facing her.
Ruby opened her mouth to speak, but was silenced by an unexpected force. Sam took hold of the demon inside it's meatsuit, and yanked it free, holding it in the air inside the devil's trap. Ruby writhed in his grasp.
"Okay, that's impressive." Dean sounded genuinely awed.
Sam's eyes glowed faintly as he pushed the swirling smoke down to the bed and held it there. Then with a flick of his hand, he flicked the demon upwards and then slammed it back into the body lying by the side of the bed. Shakily, Ruby stood up and eyed Sam, her eyes wide.
"You knew, all this time, that I didn't need the demon blood."
"I needed you bound to me." She admitted without remorse, crying out as she was pushed back through the air to be pinned against the wall behind the bed, fingers clutching at the unseen hand around her throat. Sam's hand tightened, and Ruby's body jerked as he lit a fire inside her, just as he had with Alistair.
Dean laid a hand on his arm.
"Cool it, Sammy, just for a while longer."
Sam's chest heaved, but with a snarl, he let her drop.
"She was right about one thing. You stink, dude." Dean squeezed his arm. "Go and clean up. I'll watch her."
Sam nodded, heading to the bathroom and closing the door behind him.
"I see you've got your boy back on the leash."
Dean couldn't help being happy at the fear behind the act of bravado Ruby was putting up.
"He's free of you, bitch, that's all that matters."
"So what now? He could have killed me. Why did you stop him?"
Dean snorted. "This isn't a movie, sweetheart. I'm not gonna sit here and tell you what happens next, no matter how well you're trussed up."
"About that. Don't you think the overly nosy manager is gonna come running if I start screaming loud enough to make his other guests nervous?"
"Who? Damien? A few years back, a demon possessed his wife. Bobby pulled it out, saved her, so Damien was happy to help when we needed somewhere to stash you for a while. There are no other guests." Dean smirked.
Ruby howled and flung herself at Dean, clawing against the trap. He didn't flinch, which only made her angrier.
"Lilith will drag your sorry ass back to hell before the end!! She'll put you right back where you should be, and when Sam kills her, you'll all regret he ever trusted me!!" she raged.
"He isn't going to kill her." Dean stated, only smiling in triumph when she blanched at what he'd said. "Thanks. That's all I needed to know."
Dean leaned forward, until his face was so close to hers, she could feel his breath on her cheek.
"I don't know why, and I don't care why it's important to you that he kills her, but it's not going to happen, not now."
Sam emerged from the bathroom wearing the change of clothes Dean had brought for him. Dean stood up and winked at Ruby. "Time to go."
Sam nodded and without a backward glance, strode from the room.
"You're just going to leave me here?"
"Not without a guard." Dean grinned again as Anna appeared. He took her hand and whispered “Thanks,” into her ear. “Stay in touch.”
Dean turned back to look at Ruby as he opened the door.
"In case you didn't get it, you're on death row. Soon as we're done out there, Sam gets to kill you."
They left the angel and the demon alone. Outside, Castiel was waiting.
“The devil’s trap will not fail, I’ve made sure of that,” Castiel reassured both brothers. “She will be watched around the clock.”
“Thanks Cas.” Dean patted his shoulder. “Now all we have to do is find Lilith.”
“And that was so easy last time.” Sam’s words dripped sarcasm.
“Time to go.” Castiel reached out and touched their foreheads. Seconds later, the motel parking lot was deserted again.
Back at Bobby's place, Chuck whimpered in his sleep. Pamela hunkered down beside him, not wanting to wake him before he'd seen all he needed to see.
Inside the prophet's head, tumblers turned, images flashed and some things fell into place as others skittered away.
He woke with a start.
"She has to be broken. Into pieces. That’s what the explosion was." He shook his head. "I need to write."
He flipped open the laptop. His fingers raced over the keys as he got down everything he could remember, then he printed out each insight and stood in front of the wall.
"Chuck?" Bobby strode into the room.
"They did it, they trapped Ruby."
"I know, I just got off the phone with Dean."
"I got the blow by blow version. And I got something else."
He pointed to one word, handwritten on a piece of paper, the word ringed in red.
When Dean and Sam got back, Bobby had taken Pamela into town for supplies. The boys examined the new intel on the wall.
"She ... blows apart. Into pieces."
"How? Wouldn't that kill her? Isn't that what we're trying not to do now?" Dean’s exasperation was showing.
"I don't know!! If I knew, don't you think I'd tell you? Things were much easier before you screwed everything up." Chuck threw his hands in the air. "If you hadn't left Sam after the siren thing, my visions would still be nice and linear and we'd know what was going to happen."
"You'd know. Which wouldn't exactly help, because we wouldn't know you exist!!"
"Only maybe you would if things had played out how they were supposed to!"
"Guys?" Sam rolled his eyes.
"So all this is my fault?" Dean took a step closer to Chuck, glowering.
"Guys!! This isn't helping! We need to focus on how the hell to shatter Lilith without killing her." Sam stepped between them glaring at them both. "What did it look like? Chuck?"
"All I saw was Lilith exploding." Chuck pouted.
"Can you put yourself back in the vision,” Sam suggested. “Take a deeper look?"
Dean sighed. "What is this? Prophecy 101?" That resulted in both Sam and Chuck glaring at him, so he went to get beer from the fridge. He got back as Chuck was recalling all the details he could, his eyes closed.
"Her eyes were white, and she was smiling, then it got fuzzy, then she explodes." He frowned as he concentrated, then shook his head. "That’s all I got.”
“So there was blood and guts everywhere?” Sam asked.
“No, no, there wasn’t. There was rubble. Which doesn’t make sense. If the body of the woman she’s possessing exploded, it would have been messy and gross, but this was more like … more like when a wrecking ball hits a building and shatters bricks or concrete.”
Dean drank deeply from the bottle, gazing out of the window into Bobby's yard, only half listening to Chuck.
“What if she’s not in her meat suit when she shatters?”
“A demon without a meat suit wouldn’t shatter, Dean, not like that.”
“It would if it was in something else, something solid like stone.”
Sam looked at him and nodded. "We’d need a binding spell, strongest there is."
"You pull her out of her meatsuit, force her into something solid. We bind her ass into it and then we break it, shatter it, get Cas to scatter the pieces round the fucking globe." Dean grinned triumphantly.
"That fits." Chuck confirmed.
“And it wouldn’t kill her.” Sam smiled.
“Finally, we have a plan.” Dean raised his bottle and the others clinked theirs against it. “Go team!”
It was excruciating, waiting around for the perfect time to end Lilith to roll around. Bobby tired everything he could think of to find her, called in all kinds of favors, but they had nothing. Seals were being broken so randomly that they didn’t have a chance to save them. So they put their faith in Chuck to tell them when the time was right.
For Chuck, things slowly started to fall into place. Order began to emerge from chaos, but it was still peppered with missing pieces. Some were blank spots while some crept around the edges of Chuck’s first moments of wakefulness, elusive and slippery, always just out of reach.
Now when he woke up, he had an audience: Dean, demanding answers; Sam worrying about what Chuck would have to say; Bobby waiting patiently; and Pamela staring at him with unseeing plastic eyes, still more perceptive than most sighted people Chuck had met. Even Castiel and Anna took turns in between watching Ruby.
He told them what he’d seen. Seals breaking, snippets of languages he didn’t understand, and what they would have for breakfast the following morning. At least, Sam pointed out, that meant they were still going to be alive the next day.
Dean worked tirelessly on learning the binding ritual. Bobby coached him until they both knew it by heart and back to front. Dean knew if he screwed up, it wouldn’t matter how strong Sam was. One way or another, it would all be over.
Sam worked on getting stronger. Pamela taught him how to gather energy from whatever was around him, pulling in natural power and channeling it with his own, effectively doubling his abilities.
Then one morning, Chuck woke up with a start, rubbing sleep out of his eyes.
“She’ll be in the convent in Ilchester in two days.”
There was stunned silence for a moment, then Sam and Dean got to their feet, making plans as they headed to the kitchen.
“We need to talk to Cas and Anna. How long will it take to …”
“Wait!” Chuck yelled. “Now I know why you can’t kill her.” He got up and walked to the wall, reaching out and staring at the number sixty six overlaid with the small statue. “Lilith is the sixty sixth seal. If you kill her, Sam, Lucifer rises.”
Sam paled. Dean reached out to steady him.
“What if I’d … I was going to do it, I wanted to badly to kill her …”
“But you didn’t. Now we know why Ruby was stringing you along.” Dean kept a hold of Sam’s arm.
“It had to be done at a certain time, at a certain place by a certain person.” Chuck explained. “It means there’s no leeway. If she dies at your hand, Satan will be freed from hell.”
Sam and Dean left the next day, leaving their friends behind. They drove towards Ilchester with heavy but determined hearts.
“In case we don’t make it, I just wanted to …” Dean sighed, still finding it hard to get the words out. “We’re good, right?” He glanced at Sam, who was smiling at him. The kind of smile he remembered from years back, before things had gone to hell.
“Yeah, we’re good.”
“Okay. I just wanted to make sure.”
“Aren’t you the one who hates chick flick moments?” Sam teased.
Dean blushed, then grinned and just like that, the last pieces slotted into place. They would never be the same people they’d been before John made his deal and set his sons on the dark path they’d been walking. They were back to being brothers, and that was all that mattered.
Now all they had to do was survive.
Zachariah appeared outside the motel room Ruby was being held in. Two angels in black suits flanked him as he strode towards the door and motioned one of them to kick it down. The other ran inside, and Zachariah walked in after them, grinning as they restrained Anna.
“Where is he?” Zachariah’s hand lashed out and caught Anna across the face. “No-one betrays me, especially not a sniveling humanitarian like Castiel.” He hit her again, but she glared back at him, defiance in her eyes.
On the bed, Ruby grinned gleefully until Zachariah’s attentions turned to her. He reached in to the trap and touched her on the forehead intending to slowly fry her from the inside. But he stopped and looked at her, mulling over what to do with her. He let her go, stood back and scuffed his foot over the outline of the devil’s trap on the floor.
“Get out of here. It’s not too late.”
Ruby eyed him warily, but stepped out of her prison and ran out of the door.
“No!!” Anna raged and struggled against her captors.
Zachariah turned his attentions back to her.
“So you used your charms to corrupt him, make him think that the Winchesters were worth saving.”
“No, he didn’t trust you, he never trusted you. He’s not like you, Zachariah, or like me. He still has faith, faith that he’s doing the right thing.”
“Well I think it’s time we taught him a lesson. Showed him what happens to angels who disobey, and as for you? We’re taking you back to be ‘re-educated’.”
“You’re not taking her anywhere.” Behind Zachariah, Castiel slammed his bloodied palm against a sigil drawn in blood on the wall.
Anna closed her eyes tightly and dropped to the ground as Zachariah and his two henchmen were blown out of the room.
“Anna.” Castiel picked her up and smoothed the hair back from her face.
“They set her free.” Anna slumped in Castiel’s arms. “Sam and Dean, they need to know.”
“I’m not leaving you here.”
“I’ll be fine. Go, Cas, they need you.”
“Go to Bobby’s, I’ll see you there after …”
She kissed him softly. “I will see you there.”
Her faith in him gave him strength and he left, hoping he wouldn’t be too late.
They separated before they got to the convent. Dean hung back, ready to join Sam once his brother took control of Lilith. Then Dean would bind her into the altar stone. Dean fingered the silver chain around his wrist which matched the one around his neck with a heavy charm hanging from it. All part of the ritual, Bobby said, so Dean wore it, refusing to take his amulet off.
He watched Sam stride confidently into the convent until he disappeared from sight. Dean crept closer, moving into a better position to see what was going on in the chapel if he could. He’d made it to the big oak door which hung off its hinges, and could hear voices inside, when the touch of cold metal to his throat stopped him in his tracks.
“If we didn’t need you as leverage, I’d gut you right here and pull out your intestines inch by inch by inch.” Ruby growled.
Dean remembered what Chuck had said about Ruby being pissed at him. It was a shame it didn’t look like he’d live to tell him he’d been dead on with that prediction. He turned in her grasp, the knife nicking his neck as he moved, but she brought her knee up and he doubled over in pain, falling to his knees.
“It must suck to be you right now,” she observed as she grabbed him by the scruff of the neck and punched him in the face.
Dean groaned, but propelled himself forwards, wrapping his arms around her legs, and pulling her to the ground. But she kicked out, slamming the heel of her boot against one of his knees.
Inside, Sam walked down the long corridor towards the chapel, the scene of the massacre years before. The doors stood wide open and he didn’t stop until he was standing in the middle of the large room, facing the thing that had become his obsession.
“Sam.” Lilith smiled. “Good of you to come.”
He didn’t waste any time with small talk. He raised his hand, and reached out with his mind, pulling in power, just as Pamela had shown him. He directed it at Lilith, and she flew backwards through the air and slammed against the altar. She lay still for a moment, then raised her head and grinned at him.
“You’ve been practicing. I’m impressed.”
“Glad to hear it. I’m only just getting started.” He turned his hand, and her head slammed back as he twisted the demon inside her.
She panted through the pain. “Not going to kill me Sam? Are you not strong enough for that?” She goaded him, but he smiled back at her.
“Oh, I’m strong enough, but I have other plans for you.” Again he tormented her, until she cried out. He wondered where Dean was. Now she was in his grasp, it was time to bind her.
‘Are we too late to join the party?” Ruby dragged a half unconscious Dean into the chapel. “Hi Sammy, how’ve you been?” She pushed Dean to the ground, pulling out a knife and squatting down beside him to hold it to his throat.
“Did you think we didn’t know what you had planned? You’re going to kill me, Sam, or you’ll get to watch your brother bleed out right in front of you.”
“Don’t, Sam.” Dean gasped out.
White hot rage spiked through him. Lilith had taken Dean away from him once before, and she wasn’t going to do it again. He held her in place and raised his other hand in Ruby’s direction. With a flick of his wrist, she was pushed back by an invisible force, hitting a rotten pew as he made sure she couldn’t reach Dean.
“How long do you think you’ve got before your power starts to fail? Then Dean will die, Sam.” Lilith goaded.
Dean struggled to his knees, shaking his head to clear it.
“Dean?” Sam’s voice was strained.
“It’s okay, I got it.” He took the charm Bobby had given him out of his pocket but it slipped from his fingers and hit the floor.
Ruby tried to get up, but Sam pushed her down again. Sam glanced around frantically. He couldn’t hold them both and help Dean. There was a rustle of angel wings and Castiel was by his brother’s side, holding him up and pressing the dropped talisman into his hand.
“And I’ve got you.”
Dean rested back against Castiel and began to speak the words of the ritual, preparing the way for the binding.
Sam kept Ruby pinned down, and turned his attentions to Lilith. He twisted the demon around inside the body into knots, taking her almost to the brink of death, waiting until the right moment, until Dean was ready, then he ripped her free and slammed her into the stone angel that stood on the altar.
Dean’s voice rose as he chanted, and moved the talisman through the air in front of him in, drawing a pentagram in the air. He spoke the words learned by heart, binding her into the statue as Sam held her fast. Dean struggled to get to his feet and Castiel helped him stagger the few feet to the statue. Dean drew the sharp point of the talisman across his palm and let a fat drop of blood drip from his fist. As it hit the stone, he spoke the last words.
“Reus vos es quod reus vos mos umquam exsisto!”
For a split second, there was silence then the convent began to shake as a scream of rage howled around the chapel.
The ground tilted below their feet, and rubble began to fall from the ceiling, large chunks of stone crashing to the ground.
“Finish it!” Sam yelled over the noise.
Castiel pulled Dean away from the statue as Dean reached into his jacket for his gun and aimed right between the statue’s eyes. The sound of the shot was lost in the cacophony of noise as the convent began to collapse, but the old stone of the angel shattered, just like Chuck had predicted, scattering dust and stone into the air.
Sam ducked to avoid being hit, and lost his grip on Ruby. She threw herself at him, screaming with rage, knife raised above her head. Sam scrambled backwards and tried to stop her but he’d drained the last of his power and saw her smile in triumph as the knife slashed down towards his heart. But it never reached him. An arm snaked around her from behind, and her own demon killing blade was thrust up between her ribs. Sam watched as her body lit up from the inside, jerked once, twice, then slumped forward. She fell to the floor, and left Dean standing there, bloodied knife in his hand.
Behind him, Castiel was picking himself up off the floor, and staggering through the rapidly disintegrating chapel towards them. He pulled Sam to his feet and touched them both lightly on their foreheads.
Instantly, they were back at Bobby’s, sprawled over his living room floor.
"We did it?" Dean asked as Sam crawled towards him and started checking him over to assess the damage Ruby had done.
"We did." Sam nodded, then panicked as Dean passed out in his arms.
With the possible apocalypse averted, things began to get back to normal. Pamela insisted on going home, mainly so Bobby could have his bed back because she knew sleeping on the small couch in the dining room hadn’t been doing his back any good. Anna stayed around for a few days, then left without a word. Dean swore Castiel was pining for her.
Castiel angeled Dean and Sam back to Ilchester to pick up the Impala. Dean was horrified to find out that she’d been dented in several places by the “Gas main” explosion, as it was being called in the neighborhood. Sam left him dusting her down and wandered over to where the chapel had once been. The whole place was flattened, rubble everywhere, and there was no way to tell which bits belonged to the statue Lilith had been bound into.
Castiel followed Sam and they both looked down at the debris.
“So much for scattering her around the globe.” Sam sighed.
Castiel nodded as Dean came up behind them, and flipped on the EMF meter. He passed it over several piles of rock, picking up pieces that it spiked over. He handed them to Castiel with a grin.
“Least if these pieces end up in Australia or Africa, there’s no putting her back together again, right?”
Castiel nodded and left on his mission.
“Is it going to take much work to fix her?” Sam asked as they walked back to the car.
“Nah, couple of days work.”
They got in, and drove off, but they didn’t get very far. Dean pulled over at the first motel they came across.
“Why are we stopping here?”
“Because Bobby’s place is too crowded.”
“You want some alone time, Dean?” Sam asked, amused and puzzled.
“No, not alone.” Dean turned to Sam and closed the distance between them, kissing his brother soundly.
“Oh.” Sam murmured as Dean sat back. “Are you sure you’re up for this?”
Dean’s face was still bruised from his fight with Ruby, and his body wasn’t in much better shape.
“I need you, okay?” Dean squirmed with embarrassment.
“That’s a little touchy feely for you.” Sam was officially spooked.
“Chuck implied that I should talk to you more. About things.” And the embarrassment continued.
“How about less talk and you show me how you feel?” Sam suggested, his voice low, almost husky.
“Yeah, that works for me.” Dean was relieved and out of the car to book them a room in double time.
They dropped their bags on the floor and Dean pulled Sam close.
“I reckon Chuck has to be a perv to keep all that porn about us on his laptop.”
“He has porn? About us?” Sam panted as Dean’s hand slipped down the front of his jeans.
“Oh yeah. Remember that cabin we stayed at, in the blizzard?”
Dean pushed Sam down to the bed, and began to take his clothes off.
“Well that’s exactly what I’m gonna do to you now.”
Sam groaned as Dean lowered his head to kiss his bare stomach.
Dean smiled against Sam’s warm skin, thinking they had a lot of catching up to do.
Chuck went home, but only temporarily. He had a desire to travel, to be moving around, not sitting still anymore. Castiel appeared as he was packing and closing up the house, with good news.
"Your work is done, Chuck. You will no longer be plagued by visions."
"It’s not my doing. It comes from much higher." He didn’t intent to return to the garrison, but he hadn’t been cut off from heaven. He took this as confirmation that he was on the right path, wherever it may lead.
"Oh, right. What will you do now?"
"I’ll watch out for the Winchesters from afar, keep them as safe as I can."
"Atonement, Castiel? You know that's not necessary."
"If I’d opened my eyes sooner, things could have gone differently."
"Trust me, the way things worked out is a lot better than ... a lot better than it might have been."
Castiel looked at him.
"You saw what should have come to pass."
"When Dean shattered Lilith, I saw it all." Chuck reached for a bottle, but this time, it was freshly squeezed OJ. He was done living in a drunken haze. "There was a war, like nothing that's been seen before. A full blown apocalypse. Heaven and hell tore the planet apart, and they used the Winchesters to do it."
"Will you tell them?"
"No. It didn't happen, and now it never will. They don't need to hear what would have happened if Dean hadn't walked away from Sam that morning."
"You’re a good friend, Chuck."
Chuck huffed and smiled. "Maybe, but I could really do with not seeing them again for a while. Any of them."
Castiel cracked a rare smile. "That I can understand."
“What about Zachariah?”
“He’s devious, and escaped punishment for his actions, but I will not forget what he did. Farewell, Chuck.”
After the angel had gone, Chuck picked up an envelope that contained the manuscript of what might have been. He’d typed it all up and printed it off, but this wasn’t something he wanted to keep close. He put it in a box at the back of his closet, and closed the door.
He was finished, he was done, and for the first time in years, he felt optimistic when he thought of what might lie ahead.
He locked his house up, and put his bags in the trunk of the car. He fiddled with the iPod that Sam had given him for the journey and plugged it into the car. As he pulled away, shades on, arm resting on the open window, a song came on that he hadn’t heard in a long time and he smiled as he pulled out onto the open road.
Put on my blue suede shoes
And I boarded the plane
Touched down in the land of the Delta Blues
In the middle of the pouring rain …
I’d like to thank pinkfinity for the excellent vid. It’s the first time I’ve had a vid made for any of my fic, and it gives me a thrill every time I watch it.
Hugs and a lifetime’s supply of cookies must go to my lovely beta seleneheart. There was a little tweaking just before posting so any mistakes are mine.
And many thanks to wendy and thehighwaywoman for running the spn_j2_bigbang comm.
The idea for the story came to me the morning after I watched Sex and Violence for the first time. So much came out while Dean and Sam were under the siren’s spell, that I couldn’t see how they would be able to go back to working together. I wondered if the writers of the show would have them go their separate ways in the next episode, but of course they didn’t.
Then after the end of season four, I thought a lot about how the show could have gone if the brothers had split up after Sex and Violence, and how they would have eventually reconciled. I also loved Chuck and as soon as it was revealed he was a prophet, it set my mind working on how that could be used and explored in fic.
Once I put the two ideas together, I saw the potential for rewriting the end of season four and this story was born :)
As far as Chuck goes, in my own personal canon he isn’t God. He’s a writer and prophet, and the scene at the end of swan Song was God popping in to borrow his likeness for a little while.
If you’ve gotten this far, thanks for reading!
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