Rating: R (language, violence)
Length: 26,915 total; this chapter, 572 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, and the previous chapter is here. Prompt for this chapter: minutes.
It was the hardest thing Sam had ever done, straining the limits of the freaky abilities he'd reluctantly learned how to use over the past year. His nose bled and his head nearly split open with pain, but he'd done it.
He'd drawn on all of the tricks he'd mastered in the past few months and reached into Lilith's new host and pulled. She'd lit up, incandescent, body bowed back against the altar, shaking and gasping as Sam burned the powerful demon out of its host. He'd held strong, clenching his fist and forcing the demon down into a singularity of light and then making it vanish with an audible pop! He'd stood there for a moment in triumph, glorying that he'd done it: he'd avenged Dean and killed Lilith and stopped the apocalypse.
Then he'd collapsed to the floor, head pounding like a bass drum but still able to hear Dean thundering across the room towards him.
It took a minute for Sam to realize that the pounding wasn't inside his skull. Nor was it from Dean's footsteps. It was a rumbling coming from the ground, somewhere deep below them. For a second Sam flashed back to earthquake drills at Stanford, and then he remembered they were in the marshes of Maryland, and the back of his neck started to prickle.
When he lifted his head, he saw Lilith's dead eyes staring back at him, the rictus of a grin stretching her lips. Then he saw the way her blood was running down the altar steps in a solid line, curving into a circle on the floor, and a cold fear began working its way down his spine.
"Sam," Dean said as he slid to his knees beside him, one hand on his back, the other holding the flask of holy water that was the closest thing to back-up he could provide. "What's going on?"
"I don't know," he managed through the pain in his head. The lines of blood were branching, moving inward in the circle, and for a second it looked incongruously like a peppermint candy, crimson blood curving over white marble.
Then the sigil started to move, to swirl, and the cold fear grew into sheer terror. Sam lurched to his feet, pulling Dean with him. "We gotta get out of here."
He'd killed Lilith. He'd stopped her from breaking the last seal. Hadn't he? Sam's mind raced. Had she set something into motion before her death, some kind of trap that he'd unknowingly triggered? He paused for a second, but Dean pulled him on towards the doors. The ground was shaking harder now, and the chapel was suddenly illuminated by a flare of light shooting out of the circle of Lilith's blood.
"Light-Bringer," Sam gasped in sudden, horrified realization. Oh, God, what had he done?
Dean grabbed his arm and shoved him forward. "We can figure it out later, Sam, let's just get the fuck out of here!"
They reached the doors together, tugging on the handles only to find that they wouldn't budge. The blazing light behind them cast their shadows sharply on the doors, and then the noise started up, a piercing keen that had both of them clapping their hands over their ears. The shrill sound grew louder, the light blinding even behind closed eyelids, and all Sam could think was that it wasn't supposed to be like this, something had gone horribly wrong—