Rating: R (language, violence)
Length: under 30K total; this chapter, 1,000 words
Spoilers: through the end of Season Four
Summary: What if Sam and Dean knew one crucial piece of information about the future before Dean's deal came due? Would it have changed everything, or would the end result have been the same? AU version of Season Four, written for spn_30snapshots .
Master table is here. Prompt for this chapter: dawn.
Sam ran a hand through his hair, grimacing. Uriel had dumped him in this imitation nineteenth-century drawing room—minus the doors and windows—and disappeared. Dean had to be going nuts.
They'd been getting closer again, the horror of what Sam had nearly done to Dean and himself serving as a sorely-needed wake-up call. It was still awkward at times, but they'd done a fine job of saving the reaper Tessa, with the help of Bobby's friend Pamela. Sam shivered, remembering how he'd come to after the spirit-walking to find her fending off a demon. He'd acted instantly, pulling out the demon before remembering his audience. The psychic had freaked out, warning him that no good could come of what he was doing. Considering he'd saved her life, he wasn't inclined to listen.
A voice broke his reverie. "Sam, come with me. Now."
He whirled around to see Castiel, exuding his usual odd mixture of powerful and rumpled. "Where's Dean?"
"He needs your help," Castiel replied. "We have to go."
Sam glared. "Then why am I here in the first place?"
"It wasn't my—" For the first time, Castiel looked flustered. Then he straightened his shoulders. "There's no time to explain."
Two fingers reached up, and before Sam could swat them away, he again felt a jerk like his brain was being pulled through the top of his skull. Before he could gasp, he was standing in a dark, dingy building in front of a steel door with a small window.
Castiel's hand was on his arm before he could look. "Alastair got free and is attacking your brother. You get to Dean; I will stop Alastair. Understood?"
The angel's eyes were blazing, and Sam knew that as much as he wanted to demand answers, now was not the time. "Yeah," he said, reaching for the door.
They burst into the room and saw Dean spread-eagled against the far wall, blood streaking the side of his face, lips curled in a snarl. Thankfully, he obviously had a lot of fight left in him from the way he was struggling against the demon's grip.
"Alastair!" Castiel's voice boomed through the high-ceilinged room. "Release him!"
"But I'm not finished yet," the demon sneered, and Sam watched in horror as he raised a slender knife and laid the edge of the blade along the apple of Dean's cheek.
Dean suddenly went perfectly still. Even from this distance, Sam could see fear darkening his eyes, both fresh and remembered, and something inside of him snapped. "Let him go," Sam demanded coldly.
In reply, Alastair drew down the knife in a quick stroke, bright red welling along Dean's cheek as the hunter let out a startled cry.
Sam didn't even have to think. He reached out and pulled, wishing that he could do more to Alastair than exorcize him. He wished that he could tear the demon to shreds and stomp on the remains, set him on fire and let him burn for all that he had done to Dean in Hell and God only knew what had happened here.
Instead, he pressed his hand downward, palm towards the rough concrete, and watched as black smoke burned into the ground.
When everything was silent, Alastair's possessed human sprawled in a crumpled heap. Sam stooped to check his pulse and then shook his head at Dean, who was watching warily, wiping the blood off his cheek with the back of his hand.
"What?" Sam asked, slightly exasperated. They'd had a long talk after the siren, and Dean had shared that while he wasn't completely comfortable with what Sam could do, it was more good than bad, and he wasn't going to give Sam any crap about it.
"We warned you," came Castiel's voice, deeper than normal, and Sam realized where Dean's wariness had come from.
He turned to face the angel a few feet away, bright blue eyes boring into Sam and shoulders rolling back as if he was flexing his wings. "This is exactly what you were told not to do," Castiel warned.
"It's not a demon," Dean interrupted, his voice raspier than usual. When Castiel shot him a look, he gestured at the chains hanging from a star-shaped metal rack, stained with blood. "He said only an angel can kill another angel."
"Are you sure?" Castiel asked, brows lowered.
Dean's voice was laced with a dark certainty that made Sam's stomach drop. "Yeah. I am." Then he shook himself. "Besides, you've got some explaining to do."
Sam's gaze skipped past the battered table with…implements…scattered over it, focusing on the extremely-complicated devil's trap chalked onto the floor. Instantly, he saw the gap—a smudged line in the chalk with a dripping pipe above it. "Did you draw that?" he demanded, whirling on Castiel.
Castiel looked startled. "No, it was—" Then his face paled and his gaze fell. "I must go," he said, jerkily. Then he vanished.
Silence fell, heavy and thick. Sam took a hesitant step forward. "You okay, man?"
"Peachy," Dean quickly replied, not meeting his eyes. "You got any idea where the hell we are?"
Sam shook his head. "I haven't even seen what's outside."
"Me neither." Dean's shoulders jerked in a shudder, and then he was brushing past Sam, moving for the exit.
It was an old meatpacking plant, according to the faded sign on the side of the building. The faint tinge of dawn pointed them east, and the dry, dusty landscape suggested they might still be in Wyoming. Sam turned to look at his brother and saw that he was barely holding it together, eyes roaming around like he was expecting Alastair to show up right in front of him. "Let's find our way out of here, okay?" Sam said gently.
"Yeah," Dean roughly agreed. He started walking towards the dirt road leading away from the building. Sam followed, the ever-brighter light of morning guiding their steps and throwing each pebble on the stony ground into sharp relief.