Characters: Sam, Dean, Lucifer, Castiel, Bobby, Chuck
warnings: 2014!verse and all that entails
“I’ve never lied to you, and I never will,” says the Devil.
The sky is grey. Ash floats around him like slowly drifting snow. It's started to pile up on the abandoned buildings, making them look dusty and pale. Everything you say is a lie. You said you wouldn’t kill any humans.
Sam’s anger is impotent, trapped inside his own head. Millions are dead. You killed them! The Croatoan virus —
“Not a single one died by my hand,” Lucifer says, crouching down low to study an anthill in the middle of the cracked road. He unfolds one long finger out near the edge of the anthill. "What does the Croatoan virus do, Sam?”
It makes people violent, so bloodthirsty they tear each other apart. It makes them demonic.
“Not true. And you know that’s not true because otherwise we wouldn’t have to order delivery every time you’re feeling peckish. No demon blood, no demon.” An ant begins to crawl up the tip of his finger, and Lucifer lifts his hand up, bringing the ant to eye-level. “All the virus does is give the amygdala a little kick in the pants. It makes humans remember what they really are.” He smiles as the ant crawls from his finger onto the back of his hand. “Animals.”
You killed them. The virus was your doing. Not to mention the Earthquakes, the tsunamis, the floods.
“You know the ants survived all of those. They’re resourceful, well-organized and really quite beautiful.” There’s admiration in his voice, and his eyes narrow as he focuses in on the ant’s antennae.
You killed more than half the people on this planet. I don’t care about ants.
“There are far more ants on this planet right now than there are human souls — including all the billions in Hell and Heaven. They outnumber you. They always have. If you want to live in peace with them for the next few centuries you should at least show them some respect. I do.” He looks at the ant on the back of his hand one last time, and sends it flying with a gentle puff of air.
You don’t show anybody respect, the only one you care about is yourself!
“I care about you, Sam. I told you, I want you to be happy. I have done everything you asked of me. Dean, Bobby, Castiel — demons won’t go near them, they haven’t been infected, and I’ve killed every angel that’s looked at them funny. They won’t die until it’s their time. Just like you wanted.”
How do I know you’re not lying about that too? They could all be dead and I’d never even know.
“Of course you’d know. Have I ever denied you anything? You want to see them? We can go to Dean right now.”
“I thought you wanted to be sure he was okay.” He walks further down the street near the edge of the city and looks up at the highway signs. “Say the word and we’ll go to him. Right. Now.”
I don’t want him to see me. Not like this.
The Devil nods and takes flight, leaving the ashen sky of Philadelphia behind.
Reality is more of a constant now. It didn’t used to be…but then it all looks different from down here. Heaven isn’t just far away, it’s unreachable. Even if there was a way to climb back up, nobody’s left to throw down the ladder. There’s no place like home.
There’s no place like home. Home might not even be a place anymore. The last time the Host spoke it was in hushed, frightened whispers. It didn’t sound like them. It couldn’t be them. They were warriors, not cowards. They were divine. They were.
Of course, it doesn’t really matter in the end. This is all part of the Plan. It has to be. Otherwise….well otherwise it was all a Lie, and that’s just way too unpleasant to consider.
Reality is a constant, and humans are limited and humanity is beautiful and terrible and the worst thing that ever happened to the world, but it’s also the best thing. The very best thing. It all makes sense, and it makes sense to be here at the end of it all with the very people who still think they can stop it from ending.
They can’t, of course…but they don’t have to know that. It’s better not to know that. Ignorance is bliss, and bliss is something humans know how to achieve. Humans are clever. They always have been, especially when it comes to fooling themselves. Their chemistry is artistry and it targets the brain right where it hurts until nothing hurts, and everything is pastel and soft and warm and home. There’s no place like home. There’s no place like home.
“I’ll come back when I’m damn ready. Now get off the phone and go take care of your people. I’ll be fine,” Bobby says and hangs up. He turns his wheelchair away from his desk and heads back toward the bookshelf. Somewhere in his collection there’s a grimoire — a collection of old, old spells. It has a whole section about healing plagues, and at least two different ones about how to quell rage — how to just snuff it out.
Dean yelled at him when he said he had to go back to his house. He didn’t want anyone leaving Camp Chitaqua. It wasn’t safe. Dean was right of course, he usually was. He knew how to keep his group protected, and he was a born leader. But Bobby explained to him why he had to at least try to find the damn book. He’d left with Dean’s growls still in his ears, but he’d promised to head back by nightfall. He’s planning on doing just that, too. As long as he can find the damn book.
The book is on the top shelf. Of course it is. Why wouldn’t it be? Bobby pushes himself up out of his wheelchair and grabs hold of the bookshelf to keep his legs from giving out under him. He can’t get them all the way straight anymore. The shelf wobbles a bit from his grip but holds him up. He reaches up to the highest shelf, and his fingers just graze the bottom of the book. He forces his knees to lock, or tries to anyway. Then the bookshelf tilts forward just a bit and he lets go in a panic, afraid it’ll all come crashing down. He falls to the floor, hitting the wood with a noisy thump.
“Aw hell,” Bobby mutters and rubs his elbow where it slammed into the floor. He pushes himself up gingerly and starts to move back towards his chair.
“Tui gratia Iovis gratia sit cura,” says a voice.
The laugh that follows is terrifying in its familiarity. That laugh used to belong to one of his boys, but it’s been twisted. It sounds like hatred. It sounds like bloodshed. Bobby looks up at Sam, holding the book, and he knows. He knows who he’s really looking at.
“The grace of Jupiter? Really?” the Devil asks, raising an eyebrow. He’s wearing a tailored suit that makes him look even taller, somehow. He crouches down low, until he’s nearly eye level with Bobby, slams the book shut with one hand and places it on the wheelchair. “There is no grace that will help you. There is no god that will help you.” He reaches out his hand, offering it to Bobby. “There’s just me.”
Dean was usually right about things. Except for when he was wrong. He’d said he had to stay away from his brother. He’d said it was safer that way. Idjit.
Lucifer smiles down at Bobby, patiently, and moves his hand closer.
Bobby spits in his eye.
Another one bites the dust.
“Keith was the third one this week, Dean,” Chuck says. “We keep losing people like this and —”
“And what?” Dean snaps. “Was there some other option available? Did you figure out how to cure Croats and just forget to tell us?”
“No, I —I just — ”
Dean’s rage is a quiet, seething thing these days, and that makes it all the more terrifying. “What exactly did you want me to do?”
Chuck swallows, eyes averted for just a moment before he looks back up at Dean. His eyes look darker these days, like the ash in the sky has started piling up behind them. “It would be nice if we didn’t have to execute our own.”
“You’re right, that would be nice. That’d be real nice. You know what else’d be nice? You getting off my back and doing your damn job!” Dean yells and storms off.
The rest of their group — what’s left of it — starts to wander away, some after Dean, some to their own areas of the compound.
“What’s my job, exactly?” Chuck asks. “What…what am I supposed to do?”
Dean drinks out of habit these days, mostly before trying to go to sleep. He gave up on trying to get drunk three years ago. He pours himself a shot of whiskey and stares at the glass, swirling the liquid around for a few seconds. “Good night, Sammy,” he says and brings the glass to his lips.
He can still hear his brother’s voice in the back of his head. Every year it gets a little softer, and on some days it’s barely more than a whisper, but there are still far too many mornings where the first thing he hears in his brain are his brother’s last words to him. He hears them again now. Dean, don’t do this.
“I had to. I had to,” Dean says, rubbing his temple. “I thought —”
His phone rings, interrupting his thoughts. He picks up the old rotary. “Hello?”
Bobby sounds oddly calm. He doesn’t think he can make it back tonight, he says. Maybe in the morning. Maybe. He needs more time to look for the book.
It takes every ounce of willpower Dean has to not drop the phone right that second and drive out to go get Bobby. He stands up twice, even puts his boots back on, but then he remembers all the other people counting on him to protect them. He’s still sitting on the edge of his cot, ten minutes later when he can’t take it anymore and calls Bobby back.
There’s no answer.
“I’ve never lied to you, and I never will,” says the Devil. “I have given you everything you’ve asked for and more.”
Sam hears the Devil speaking, of course. There’s no way to shut him out. He’s tried. He’s tried everything, and there’s no way out. He’s tried taking control of his body again — a hundred times, a thousand times — but he’s about as effective as a drop of water trying to fight against an ocean. He just can’t, and as much as he wants it all to stop, it won’t. It never stops.
“Tell me what you want, Sam. I want you to be happy. We’re going to be together until the very last second of the very last day, when there is nothing left on this little ball of dirt but us,” Lucifer says, amplifying his voice. He hates being ignored.
Sam can’t block out Lucifer’s voice, he can’t make it all go away. All he can do is focus on another voice. The only other voice he can still hear. He folds what’s left of himself into a tight little ball and focuses on that voice, on the last words that voice ever said to him. We’re not stronger when we’re together, Sam. I think we’re weaker. Sam has never felt weaker than he feels at this moment. Because whatever we have between us, love, family, whatever it is…they are always gonna use it against us, and you know that. Yeah…we’re better off apart. We got a better chance of dodging Lucifer and Michael and this whole damn thing, if we just go our own ways.
“Michael,” Lucifer says sadly. “He forced our hand. I didn’t want to kill him. I never wanted that. If he’d just…” He clenches his fingers into a fist, and above them the night sky brightens as a web of lightning writes Lucifer’s pain across the heavens in jagged strokes. “He was my brother.”
Brother. Brother. The loss, the horror of it all makes Sam want to scream, but his voice isn’t his own anymore. He tries to curl up even further and remembers the last two words his brother said to him, playing them back over and over. Bye, Sam. Bye, Sam. Bye, Sam. Sam buries himself as deep as he can until he can’t see or hear or feel anything but those two words.
Much, much later — weeks, months, a year later, Sam hears Lucifer say, “Oh, hello Dean.”
originally posted here