The White Storm
“He’s coming,” Sam exhaled, barely breathing, fear closing off his body and mind. The end of the world was here and it was all his fault. Dean was right; the voicemail playing over and over in his mind. He was a monster, hoisted up by his own ego and need to prove his tainted soul worthy. “I’m so sorry,” he said, repeating himself in a half-strangled voice. The words just didn’t seem enough.
Gripping the bloodied knife in his hand, Dean couldn’t take a moment to steel his courage. Everything was moving so fast and spinning out of control. This, right here, was Ground Zero for Armageddon and if he’d just been less of a dick and reached out to Sam instead of pushing him away, things could have been different. He’d started this mess and in confronting Sam the way he’d done he’d precipitated it. This was all his fault.
“Sam, get behind me!” He barked, positioning himself before the great and swirling vortex that seemed to get bigger every second. Staring into the brilliant white center of the maelstrom, Dean knew this was it. This was the end.
“Dean—” Sam began in protest when his big brother hauled him forcefully back behind him.
“This is my deal, quit fighting me on this!”
More objections came to his lips but they died there. Hadn’t it been his refusal to believe Dean could stop the Apocalypse that caused him to make it happen? He knew Dean hadn’t meant the words as a slap to the face but they stung nonetheless.
Dean was pretty sure the knife would be as effective in killing Lucifer as a toothpick but the time to lament his arsenal was past. The demons wanted this to happen, the angels wanted this to happen and the supernatural, in general, was just fantasy television to most people. He and Sam were the only ones trying to stop all of this from going down and both sides had played them. Everything in his life had led to this moment and he had to fight and die or fall back and be hunted by angels and demons.
At that point, if it was even possible, there were things he hated even more than the creature about to be released. Even more than demons. At least the damn demons were fighting for something, not just acting like a bunch of desperate housewives inventing drama just to prop up their sad and pathetic lack of existence. At least their actions weren’t the cause of impotent boredom. He didn’t even want to consider finding Lucifer’s Achilles heel and by some one in a gazillion chance he actually won this good vs. evil pissing contest. The angels would probably fucking kill him, Sam and Cas just for ruining their chances to prove whose dick was bigger. This was a no-win situation and only a Goddamn miracle would save them. If Zachariah was right and he was the only one who could kill Lucifer and he bit it here in round one, everyone, even the angels were fucked and all their well-laid and seriously dubious plans would be destroyed.
“Geniuses,” Dean mumbled.
“What?” Sam asked.
“Nothing. I just fucking hate angels.”
She materialized at the end of the hall, her muscles tight and she arched on the balls of her feet. Light poured into the dark stone corridor from the sanctuary and the overwhelming smell of ozone filled the air.
“This would be almost funny,” she began, pushing off at a speed faster than sound, “if it weren’t so damned pathetic!” A battle cry escaped her lips as she broke through the sanctuary doors, her powerful muscles forcing her up into a long leap, the light of the gateway reflecting off the steel of her armor and making her a hot-white bullet. Swords raised she fell to the center of the vortex, spinning the blades like a turbine, the razor-sharp edges tearing through the energy like paper.
“What the—” Dean began, having only heard the scream and the white glint of steel drive into the light. Now energy tore through the sanctum and the boys were caught in what most resembled warring thunderstorms. Dean slammed Sam away from the flying sparks and pressed him to the far wall. “Stay here,” he ordered, heading back to the fray when Sam caught hold of his arm.
“Are you nuts? You stay here!”
“Winchester!” A female voice from the center of the energy twister called out to them. Neither knew who she was speaking to. A golden dagger was suddenly thrown and landed right before Dean’s feet. “Get your ass over here!”
Setting his face, Dean bent and dug the blade from the grout with a sharp pull. With both knives in his hands he squared his shoulders and moved forward when Sam held him back again. A second later another blade shot out of nowhere, burying itself to the hilt just a hair’s breath away from Sam’s right eye. He swallowed. Hard.
Shaking free of Sam, Dean raced to the light show.
“Cut through!” The voice screamed and Dean began to hack through the radiance. He felt like he was getting nowhere pretty fucking fast but he kept at it, the light falling off like dead skin.
“Any chance I could have gotten the Magic Machete?!” He called out.
“The knife isn’t what’s cutting through or I’d be done by now!” She shouted, the winds whipping around and around like a hurricane. “I’m slowing him down for you!” She said, tearing more light apart only to have it quickly reform. It was only the strokes Dean cut that seemed to be permanent.
Like a Mack truck, her words hit him and he paused. “For m—”
A sudden explosion from the center of the whirlpool blew Dean off his feet and sent him flying across the room poised to slam headfirst against the unforgiving stone wall when he was stopped upside down in midair. Facing the epicenter of the blast he finally saw her, her arm outstretched to him as the blinding white light surged around her. Her eyes . . . he couldn’t look away from her eyes.
“Sam Winchester!” She yelled. “Grab the hilt!”
It took Sam a second to understand her but when the swirling wall of energy made its way to rush and overtake him, Sam instinctively grabbed for the weapon. He hissed as his palm and fingers were torn open on the small razor-like points there. “What the—” he gasped just as the energy hit him and spread all around him but though he felt it trying to make its way into him, it failed to gain purchase. The white storm suddenly roared, the voice it emitted was deep and rumbling, the Earth under them shaking. The light broke apart, mushroom clouding and pushing him nearly off his feet from the power of it.
Darkness swallowed them.
Dean unceremoniously dropped to the ground, “Ouch!”
Sam collapsed to the floor, clutching his bleeding hand. Uncontrollable tears were wreaking havoc through him.
They both turned to her.
Placing her swords back into their scabbards she had a dispassionate look on her face. “I apologize for all of this,” she said, moving to Dean and grabbing him up under the arms like an unruly toddler. She turned and went to Sam. Handling him a little more aggressively, she hauled him over to Dean. He couldn’t seem to stop the weeping. “It’s hard to watch over an entire planet when the sum of your oversight department sees Revelation as a ‘How-To’ instead of a ‘What-Not-To.’”
“Who are you?” Dean breathed, trying to split his focus between the woman and his kid brother. A moment later he just turned completely to Sam. “What’d you do to him?”
“Neutralized the poison in him. It won’t last forever though. We need to go.”
“Neutralize? With what? Eau de PMS?!”
She went to the wall and ripped the dagger from the stone. The handle was covered in thorns. “These thorns once drew blood from the body of Christ. He is with Sam now and where he is, the Beast cannot be.”
Dean’s mouth parted and his mind tried to focus. “Jesus Christ?”
She arched her brow, “No, Wilbur Christ of Buffalo, New York.” She grabbed Sam by the jaw and stared into his eyes. A moment passed and then he started to scream. Piercing, blood-curdling wails ricocheted off the walls. “Good,” she grinned. “Repentance. Remorse.” She looked up to Dean’s anxious face, “You can still save him.” She took the golden dagger from him and slipped it into her steel boots. “Fortunate. I was about to kill him.”
Dean pulled his now hysterical brother into his arms, trying to stop his frantic screams. “Listen lady—”
With a blink, he opened his eyes to find he and Sam were now in the middle of Chuck’s living room. Castiel was seated on the couch . . . eating a bowl of cereal. Chuck was just leaving the room, a carton of milk and a box of Honey Nut Cheerios were in his hands when he found himself face to face with Gabriel.
She was smirking and looking to the cereal. “Hilarious,” she murmured, walking around him.
Feeling his heart palpitating in his chest he took a long swig of the milk.
Going to Castiel, she opened her palm and a small teddy bear bottle of honey appeared. She offered it to him and he took it, gratefully. “How do you feel?” She asked.
“Better,” he quietly said.
“Yo!” Dean shouted. “Earth to Joan of Arc!”
She turned to him and crouched before them, her hand moving to Sam when Dean shifted him as much as he could, murder in his gaze.
With a sigh she said, “Fine.” She snapped her fingers and Sam collapsed against Dean, unconsciousness swallowing him.
“Dean,” Castiel said, calling out over his cereal. “He’s fine.”
“How the hell do you think this is fine?!”
Gabriel rolled her eyes. Throwing her gaze to Castiel she said, “We’ll be back. Take care of the boy.”
“What?” Dean said. “What are you—”
A moment later he was alone with her in the center of an endless grassy field. The sky above was azure blue and the grass was the deepest emerald green. She wore a 1930’s style pair of high-waist grey sailor pants and a satin, black and white gingham blouse. A red scarf was tied around her neck and her hair was in soft waves. Her arms however clashed with the retro effect—they were completely sleeved in ornate tattoos. He recognized some Latin, some Greek and the rest in languages he could not at all recognize.
She followed his eyes. “Ah. Boyscouts get badges. Archangels get inked.”
“Archangels?” Of course, he knew it had to be but he never . . .
She took a step forward through the grass, “Gabriel.”
A super massive freak-out was pending but Hell, he’d almost come face to face with Satan, meeting Gabriel shouldn’t have come as a shock. “Somebody’s knocked up?” He smirked.
Her glare could fry bacon, “Oh sure, I’ve never heard that one before.”
He scratched his head, “So . . . that’s not a—”
“Vessel? No. Just a shell so your brain doesn’t ooze from your ears when you’re looking at me.”
“You can do that?”
“Amongst other things.”
“Where are we?”
“Between time. I can’t GPS it for you.”
“Where the Hell have you been?!” He demanded, finally remembering himself. “Do you have any fucking idea what we’ve been through?!”
Her head shifted and his lips sealed.
“There is a time for furious outrage and you’ll have your chance to lament how you’ve been wronged but right now you have to listen. Okay?” She asked. Seconds passed and the fury in his stare dimmed. He nodded and he regained power over his mouth.
Grumbling he said, “You can do all this shit but you couldn’t pop in to find out more than half your angels were going dark side?”
“The universe is a really big place, Winchester. I have a version of Armageddon going on at some part of every galaxy every other year. Trust me, this wasn’t personal.” He opened his mouth, seeking clarification on that point when she rolled her eyes, “We’ll talk about it later. I need you to focus.”
He grit his teeth, “On what? You stopped it.”
“I stopped what?”
“The apocalypse. You stopped it. What do you need us for?”
“Wrong on both points. What was stopped tonight was Lucifer’s ascension into a human host, not the apocalypse and I didn’t stop it, you did.”
“Like I said, different versions of Armageddon going on at some part of every galaxy every other year. There are only a few of us.”
“Yes. Generals. The others are rank and file. There’s a reason for that.”
“Other than they’re all homicidal psychos who suck?”
“They haven’t made an appropriate impression on you; again, I’m sorry for that.” Her mirrored eyes seemed to flash. “They’re a disgrace and they’ll all be dealt with, trust me.” He pictured the likes of Uriel and Zachariah meeting her swords and a small smile hovered across his lips. “When demons set the wheels in motion for a world’s end we counter it with a balance. Sam was their play.” She stepped up to face him. “You were ours.”
He stared at her and couldn’t tell if she was full of—“Bullshit.”
“The righteous man who begins it. That’s you.” She inched in closer to him. “That’s why you haven’t seen yourself reflected in my eyes yet. That’s why you won’t.” She nodded slightly to the side, “And that’s why your brother’s mind was almost broken by what he saw.”
“Shut up,” he warned.
“He’s at a dangerous precipice, Winchester, and unless you pull him back from the edge, you will have to kill him.”
“Hell I will.”
“He’s the Host. One child, cultivated to house Lucifer. His entire life was designed with that purpose in mind. Azazel, the children, the drinking of the blood, all designed to twist and form the perfect human tabernacle.”
With a sudden recollection, Dean’s eyes widened, “It went after him—”
“That’s why he had to be cut with the thorns. The demon blood was neutralized by Christ’s. Lucifer would have taken over his body and the boy’s soul would have burned in the process.”
It suddenly struck Dean just how close they’d been. The end of the world seemed like a collective thing but now he realized it meant Sam would die for it to happen. Even if the angels won the war, his brother would die. “How did you know? There were a bunch of psychic kids. Sam fucking died out there.”
“Your voice stopped him from killing the other child that night. Without you, he would have killed him and he would have become Azazel’s heir.”
“That still doesn’t—”
“Time isn’t linear. You’ve seen that. We knew exactly to whom you belonged.”
“I don’t trust you,” Dean said, his voice flat. “You people are all ends justify the means. I don’t think you’d even blink at the idea of killing Sam if you knew it would stop the apocalypse.”
“You’re right, I wouldn’t.” She said, that cool tone of voice sending icicles up his spine. “If he were damned, that is. Right now, he’s still an innocent and unlike the sorry excuses you’ve previously met, save the child Castiel, angels are and should always be the messengers of God. God doesn’t take innocent life.” Her nose curled in disgust, “Demons do that.”
Dean snorted, “Child?”
“He’s what? Four? Five thousand at most? He’s an infant.” She moved beyond him. “Sam was designed to be a vessel. You were designed to battle the Beast. Whether the Beast is in Sam or not, you must kill him, that is your destiny.”
“Designed? Destiny? I’m not a damn Terminator!”
She smiled, “You keep telling yourself that.” In another moment, they were back in Chuck’s living room. Sam was lying on the couch and Castiel hovered over him. Chuck was seated by his computer, furiously typing.
“Why couldn’t it be one of you?” Dean quietly asked, looking between her and Castiel. The angels exchanged glances.
Chuck’s hand popped up, “Ohh, got this one.”
“You’re back on track?” Dean asked, moving towards the Prophet.
“Stuff keeps melting and changing, it’s too fluid to really know but I’m getting facts. Tons and tons of facts and—it could only be a human. A very specific human to defeat Lucifer, same as Lucifer could only live in one specific vessel.” Everyone looked towards Sam. “You’re like,” he turned to Dean. “The essence of badass.”
Gabriel and Castiel rolled their eyes.
“Only the people of this world could save it. Angels are from a totally different part of reality. It’s the same idea with Jesus. It had to be a human living a human life. Except, Jesus was a cheat, right? He wasn’t exactly a human, was he?”
Gabriel hummed, “His mother and I had a long chat about that one. Have you ever looked into the eyes of a teenaged girl and told her she was about to give birth to God?” Shaking her head she said, “She was seriously fucked up for weeks.”
Chuck turned to Dean, “You’re not God, obviously,” he added as if it were an afterthought. “But you are a cheat.”
A thought tweaked at the edge of his consciousness and then it bloomed. Dean spun to face Castiel. He narrowed his stare. “You know what, Cas? I never met anyone who could ‘perceive your true form,’” he said with exaggerated air quotes. “You nearly blew my brains out with your voice because you thought I could understand Angelese, but I couldn’t so you had to pick up sad-sack Jimmy. You’ve been lying to me from jump street.”
Castiel shifted his gaze.
“Right,” Dean said with a slow nod. “Orders. Bullshit orders! But if you were just straight with me—”
Gabriel snapped her fingers again and Dean’s jaws locked. “Leave the drama at the door. Rebuild your ego on your own time. In the meantime we have work to do.”
“Work?” Dean mumbled behind clamped lips and Chuck just nodded behind his screen, back to typing.
Gesturing to Sam she said, “Demon blood detox and returning his soul to puppies and kittens so Lucifer stays a disembodied northern light.” To Castiel she said, “Dispatching the angels who have betrayed God and seeing that Hell has a whole new freshman class coming in.” To Chuck she grumbled, “Hmm.” And to Dean she said, “Training.”
“Training?” He mawed.
“Disembodied northern light or not, you think you’re in any shape to take down Lucifer and every demon on Earth Hell-bent on killing you, knowing you’re the only one who can kill him?” She laughed. “If you do, you’re delusional.”
Yeah. He really fucking hated angels.