Supernatural: The End, Part 3
3 – Witching Hour
Metatron couldn’t believe those shaved apes did it.
He knew it was within the realm of possibility that they would destroy the world, and in fact it was a guarantee they would at some point – most evolved races ran into that problem at a certain point. But the thought that the Winchesters would? Crazy. They were so stupid! Did they not think that maybe the Mark of Cain existed for a reason beyond the obvious? He knew Castiel was out of the loop, because obvs, but it was hilarious to think those buffoons could accomplish anything. They weren’t good more than they were lucky, and they had a habit of picking good allies. While Cas was pathetic, he did have his moments, and Crowley was quite possibly the cleverest demon he had ever come across. He was slick enough to talk Pestilence into a health insurance plan.
But Metatron had prepared for the worst, in case the idiots managed to do it. He found a genuine nuclear survival bunker, a quarter of a mile underground. It was made of metal and concrete slabs, and could, in theory, survive a direct strike with a bunker buster missile. Metatron didn’t actually care about any of that. He cared about the air filtering system, which was state of the art.
If the Darkness got loose, there was still a chance it could get him down here, but he figured it would take a while. It would give him enough time to figure out how to take over Hell.
If he couldn’t take over Heaven – which seemed to be out now, especially since he was mortal – he was pretty sure he could find something on the demon tablet that would allow it. Okay, yeah, he had to get over the whole mortal thing first, and Crowley was going to be a bitch, but he had a good feeling about this. He could work it. And since this shitball little planet was doomed, it was time to try another dimension.
Metatron knew it had happened when the special little emergency radio he had down here fuzzed out. There were no radio signals at all, which was impossible … unless a big ass EMP had gone off, or the Darkness was out. For the first few minutes, Metatron just couldn’t stop laughing. Those morons went and did it. They removed the Mark. Son of a bitch.
The Winchesters were very nearsighted. They thought the demon tablets were only for closing the gates of Hell. But there was so much else you could do with it. For instance, there was a recipe for expelling all the demons from Hell. Now why would someone do such a thing, unleash true Hell on Earth? Because it was easier to take over Hell that way. Once the Demons were banished, you could just waltz in, put up a few fortification spells, and run the joint. Crowley was going to be a pain in the ass, he knew it, but he was sure he could best him. Once you were on Hell’s throne, it was easy to call the shots. Him not being a demon was something he was going to have to work out sooner rather than later, but he had some time. Get in Hell, fortify first. The rest he could figure out. And who was going to notice all the demons on Earth anyway? If the Darkness was loose, the demons would be quaint in comparison.
He had everything he needed for the spell. He was just going to figure out where to make his entrance, and brave the Darkness. Unlike Heaven, Hell had many entrances, as it was generally accepted that no one was actually going to look for a way in. Entering was super easy, but leaving was the hard part.
“Well, this is a drab place.” The sound of a woman’s accented voice made him jump up from the table where he had been plotting.
Standing in the main room of his concrete bunker was a woman with long, curly red hair, wearing a dark blue velvet dress. He’d never seen her before, and hadn’t a clue how she got in here. He didn’t think she was an angel, mainly because she was smiling at him, and angels usually didn’t do that. “Who the hell are you?” He had taken to wearing an angel blade under his shirt, just in case Cas got a drop on him.
“The name’s Rowena. I don’t think we’ve been properly introduced,” she said, holding out her hand. Did she actually expect him to kiss it? Her accent was Scottish. Or maybe Irish – he habitually got those two mixed up.
She actually tittered. “Dear me no. And I’m not a feathered freak either, in case that was your next question. You were Metatron, weren’t you?”
“I still am Metatron. My grace is gone, but I’m still me. Now tell me who the hell you are before I fill your ass full of lead.”
She gave him a pained smile. She was wearing an awful lot of lipstick. It made her mouth look bloody. “We have some common enemies, you and I. Crowley, Castiel, the Winchesters. Ring any bells?”
Metatron folded up his papers where he’d been sketching out his siege of Hell. She was smiling and cheerful, and making his skin crawl. “How did you teleport into my bunker? How did you find me?” He had Enochian wards up, demon wards as well. He wasn’t stupid. But no Human could have teleported in, so exactly what had he forgotten?
She beamed at him. “I didn’t mean to find you at all. I put out a location spell on the demon tablet. Finding you here is just a happy accident.” She looked around at the cement walls with the Enochian sigils daubed on them in blood. “Is it against your religion to hire a decorator? Hell’s basement looks better than this.”
The mention of Hell threw him off, but the spell could only mean one thing. “You’re a witch.” Did he have time to get his gun? He’d forgotten all about the possibilities of witches.
“Correction. I’m the best damn witch this planet has ever seen.” She raised her hand, and suddenly Metatron was frozen to the spot. He couldn’t even blink. “And I’m going to rip Hell right out from under that snot nosed brat of mine.” She held out her other hand, and the demon tablet flew right to her. Metatron kept trying to move, but it felt like she had turned his body to stone.
She gave the tablet a once over, still smiling like this was a jolly lark. “With this and The Book of the Damned, it should be no problem at all throwing my traitorous son out on his boney arse. Maybe I’ll turn him mortal again. He wouldn’t last five minutes.”
“The Book of the Damned?” Metatron repeated. Of all the things she said, that was the most alarming. “Did you unleash the Darkness?”
She shrugged with a rather surprising amount of nonchalance. “Only in a technical sense.” The tablet disappeared into thin air, and she smiled, impressed with her own parlor trick. “Tell me, dearie, are there more tablets like this? I’ve heard tell of an angel one.”
“It was destroyed.”
“Was it now?” She came close to him, and if he could have moved, he’d have had a great opportunity to pop her head off her smug neck. As it was, she looked at him, and Metatron could’ve sworn he felt her in his head for a split second, rooting around like a dog looking for a lost bone. “That’s a shame. I guess I’ll have to make do without it.” She reached under his shirt, and pulled out his angel blade. “Oh goody, I’ve always wanted one of these.”
She was close enough to kiss him, but that wasn’t what Rowena had in mind. Instead, she gazed longingly at the knife, and said, “Let’s see if it works, shall we?”
Metatron was so paralyzed by her spell, he didn’t even feel it as she sliced his head off.
Sam was well aware of the irony, and really didn’t appreciate it, for all the good that did.
A little over an hour ago, he was pleading with Dean not to kill him. Now he was dead, but so was Death, and the Darkness had taken over the planet. And he was still walking and talking. He was also still doing research, which could either be his Heaven or his Hell, depending on what he was looking up. Right now, it was Hell.
Dean was a mess. He was pacing, fidgeting, a ball of anger with no outlet. Dean knew he had fucked up, and while he was mentally beating himself up, outwardly he didn’t know how to cope. So he was already drinking beer, and Sam knew better than to point out how early it was. Besides, if the world was ending, who cared? Get drunk. Hell, he should be on his fifth whiskey by now.
But no, rather than drinking, Sam was pursuing what appeared to be a hopeless cause. He wasn’t hungry, he wasn’t thirsty, and he belatedly realized he hadn’t even tried to breathe. This was death, huh? It wasn’t too bad, at least for the moment. He could take some comfort in that.
Sam slammed closed the old book he’d been searching, and shoved it over to the pile of ones that he’d already searched. “Anything?” Dean asked.
“No. Darkness, if it is ever mentioned, it’s only in a euphemistic way. I haven’t found anything about the death of Death, either.”
Dean sighed and collapsed into a chair at the end of the table. He put his half empty beer bottle down with a heavy clunk. “So we’re back to screwed?”
“I don’t think we ever left screwed.”
Dean pulled out his phone by force of habit, but since it was a brick, he tossed it down the table, where it came to rest with the books. “There’s gotta be something we can do besides sitting here with our thumbs up our asses.”
Sam grabbed one of the books from his unsearched stack and slid it across to him. “Get reading.”
Dean sighed heavily and gave him number three of his fifteen assorted irritated looks (number twelve was his personal favorite), but he picked up the book and cracked it open. Sam opened his book, and searched the index.
Dean kept shooting him looks out of the corner of his eye, and Sam knew he was working up to something. Sam knew what too. Finally, Dean said, “Sam, I’m sorry.”
“It’s fine.” Weirdly enough, it was. Maybe this was another side effect of death, but Sam felt strangely … relieved? Yeah, that was the only word for it. It felt like he could finally rest, and he hated himself for that cowardice. But it was true. Maybe he could get off the merry-go-round, leave the world saving to someone else. Except there might be no way to save the world, and whose fault was that?
“No, it’s not. I’m –“
“Dean,” he interrupted, wishing he could sigh. Well, maybe he could, but he was kind of afraid to try. “Really. It’s okay. No one knows shit happens more than us, and if you have a pity party about this I’m going to bludgeon you to death with this book. So shut up and read.”
Dean looked mildly surprised, but Sam went back to skimming the index. A few seconds went by before Dean muttered, “Someone’s bitchy today.”
Sam didn’t respond, but he did smirk a little.
After a minute, Cas suddenly appeared in the center of the room, as he was wont to do. Sam had never said it, but sometimes he wished he could put a bell on his neck so they always knew the second he showed up.
“Tell me you got something for us,” Dean said.
Castiel approached the table, and while his expressions were often hard to read – no one had a poker face like an angel – he looked as concerned as he ever did. “Not really. Hannah is researching a ritual for me.”
Hannah was the angel now in charge of Heaven. Sam wasn’t surprised that’s where he went, but after they broke Metatron out of prison, he was a little shocked Cas would risk it. “What ritual?” Sam wondered. “Computers are down, but I have all the books you could want.”
Cas shook his head. “They wouldn’t have anything on this ritual. It’s Ascension.”
Dean looked at Sam, hoping he knew what he was talking about. Sam could only shrug. “Gonna hafta unpack that for us, Cas.”
“It’s a ritual to turn me into the new Angel of Death.”
Cas wasn’t completely angel anymore. He’d been around them too long, been briefly mortal, been briefly insane. He was at least familiar with the concept of humor, even if it was still unusual at best. Sam knew it was possible he was joking. But he didn’t think so.
Dean clearly thought not as well. He was already standing. “What the hell did you just say?”
“The Horsemen were all angels before they became the Horsemen. If I become Death, it will restore balance to the universe.”
“Are you frigging insane?” Dean yelled. At least now he had a target for his rage. “You wanna become a goddamn Horseman? How does that help expel the Darkness?”
“It doesn’t. But it’s a starting point.”
Dean shook his head. “I can’t believe I’m hearing this.”
Cas turned his focus on Dean, determined to convince him of something. “If I am Death, I will have the power to return many of the Darkness claimed to life.”
Now they were both staring at him. “What?”
“Death has resurrection powers?” Sam asked. He imagined, if his heart was still beating, it would have sped up.
“In a manner of speaking, yes. There is a certain amount of time in which Death can reject souls. Death’s rejection brings them back.”
Dean looked at Sam, and he saw something really troubling in Dean’s expression: hope. It was amazing how often hope had turned into a gut punch for the Winchesters. It was like a family curse. After a long moment, Dean looked back at Cas. “How long will this Ascension take?”
“Wait a minute,” Sam said. “If you’re Death, can you expel the Darkness? I mean, you can rob them of souls.”
Cas gave him a hangdog look that was actually kind of a constant for him. He suspected Cas spent a lot of time feeling bad for Humans, even though he didn’t say it. “I don’t think so. It could hurt it, but we’d need more power to truly expel the Darkness.”
“You’re not gonna say all the Horsemen, are you?” Dean asked. “’Cause I’m thinkin’ they’re holding a grudge.”
“It wouldn’t be wise to summon them,” Cas agreed.
“What happens to you?” Sam wondered.
That made Dean realize he’d forgotten all about the finer details of the plan. “Yeah. What if you do become a Horseman? We gonna have a repeat of you being an overpowered dickhead?”
Cas shrugged, which was always a troubling gesture from him. “I don’t know. I hope not.”
“Don’t you think we should find out first?” Dean replied.
“I’m not sure there’s any way to do that.”
Sam rubbed his eyes as Dean told Cas that this was crazy. Sometimes Sam felt like he could leave the room, and it would be a long time before either of them noticed he was missing. Sam figured it was because Cas was sent to pull Dean out of Hell, and it created a bond between them closer than Sam and Cas had ever had. But he found it kind of comforting because – except for the time Cas lost his mind – he knew he would always look out for Dean, so maybe Sam didn’t have to. The funniest thing was, Dean had a genuine guardian angel here on Earth, and never seemed to realize it. How he missed Cas’s devotion was just a puzzling example of one of Dean’s blind spots. Cas never calling him on it just proved how much of an angel he was.
“We need a plan,” Sam finally interrupted. “Becoming Death is part of one, but there’s nothing if we can’t find a way to beat back the Darkness.” He focused on Cas, who was back to paying attention to him. “You’ve dealt with it before, yes?”
“Not personally. But angels have. The Darkness had to be beaten and contained before the Earth was habitable.”
Sam closed his book, because he knew it had no helpful information. He suspected no Earthly library could be of assistance right now. “How did they do it?”
“All the angels fought. So did God. But he’s …”
“Fucked off to another universe?” Dean suggested.
Cas shot him a remarkably evil look. “Missing. And there aren’t as many angels as there used to be. We don’t have the manpower.”
“Could we make it up somehow?” Sam asked. “Spells, rituals, something?”
“We gotta assload of weapons,” Dean said. “Any of those help?”
Cas shook his head. “I don’t see how. No weapon is …” Cas suddenly trailed off, looking of towards a nowhere point in the middle distance. “Oh. Why didn’t I think of that before?”
“Think of what?” Sam asked, but somewhere between blinks, Cas had disappeared again.
“Thanks for the head’s up,” Dean shouted to the ceiling. Sarcasm didn’t work when the person you were talking to was nowhere near you.
But Dean’s previous comment had made Sam think. The Men of Letters had so many artifacts, so many dangerous tomes. Was there really nothing that could help? He stood up from the table, done with these books. “Maybe we oughta check out the vault.”
“Think demon branded chains and shotguns full of rock salt are gonna make any difference?”
“Not the main vault. The forbidden vault.”
Dean raised an eyebrow. “I like the way you’re thinkin’. Let’s go.”
What they discovered when they went through the plans for this place was there was a secret room underneath the main weapons vault. It was absurdly hard to access and open – you had to pass various tests, like an adventurer in a fairy tale – but hidden within were items the Men of Letters considered nuclear. Weapons and artifacts too dangerous to keep with the rest, and yet too difficult to destroy. They’d never used them, because each object extracted a horrible price for its use, either from the person wielding it, or the people around them. In fact, over the main door, which was five feet of iron and salt infused concrete, was a very famous motto written in Latin. The English translation was Abandon Hope, All Ye Who Enter Here.
They’d already abandoned hope. Now it was time to go nuclear.