Characters: OC, mentions of Dean Winchester, Sam Winchester
Rating: PG-13 for dark themes, general angst
Word Count: 1589
Warnings: AU, speculative future fic, character death, angst
A/N: I've had this idea floating around in my head for ages. I had a version of this story almost complete a few months ago, and then my stupid computer ate it (thank you Vista). So, now, after much rethinking, reworking, and re-imagining, I've finally got it done. Thank you very much to engel82 for the quick beta and help with the title! This is a first person narrative from an unnamed Hunter's POV. Set in the future, so spoilers for all episodes aired, especially "All Hell Breaks Loose, Part 2" (2.22).
Disclaimer: I own nothing and no money is being made, no copyright infringement intended! "Supernatural" and its characters are owned by Eric Kripke, Warner Brothers, the CW network, et al. This is fiction written entirely for entertainment purposes only. Not mine; don't sue, please. I repeat: not mine.
Summary: A few years in the future, the war is raging on, and it's not looking good for humanity. As many Hunters all but give up and concede victory to the forces of hell, might there be a new hope?
The war rages on, day in, day out, year, after year, after year. One moment blending into the next until you can’t tell one day from another—one year from another. We hunters try, we fight valiantly, but each day more fall, either dying at the hands of Hell’s Army and her General, destroyed by possession, driven mad by constant losses, or occasionally falling to the darkness—joining the things we hunt.
But ever since their General ascended to power, and our general descended into hell, the onslaught has been unrelenting, our failures have only mounted, and it’s seemed clear that it is only a matter of time before we fall. Before all humanity loses and the darkness envelops the earth…
Hunters, as a general rule, have chosen to vilify Dean Winchester, picking him as the scapegoat, the reason, the hated failure to blame for why everything in the world is so wrong. I can’t abide by this condemnation. I’ve studied the history; I know the facts—or at least as close to the facts as one can get when everyone who knows “the truth” is either dead, damned, an agent of hell, or in hiding. I know enough to know it wasn’t Dean Winchester, or even Sam Winchester, who opened that Devil’s Gate. By all accounts they both tried to stop it—and it was in stopping it that everything went wrong, or at least more wrong. Bit if Dean and Sam both weren’t there, it would have been worse, or the same, or at least not better—except…
The point is it’s easy to point fingers at a dead man and say “he’s the source,” “it’s his fault,” “he’s to blame.” The dead can’t talk back. But in truth, those are just excuses for our own shortcomings. If the rest of the hunters fought harder, or gave less stock to prophesy and destiny, we might just win. Ironic, isn’t it, that while our community decries the supernatural as evil and abnormal, we cling to it and its metaphysical pronunciations to absolve us of our responsibility for our own survival. We abdicate our voice to naysayers who are already convinced that we’ve lost, while our fallen savior is a man who never believed in fate or destiny himself.
There was no way Dean could have known that by making that deal he was dooming the world—that selling his soul and resurrecting his brother was all part of Hell’s plan. There were other ways the war could have gone, but that was Hell’s number one choice—the double bonus—get the General they’ve always wanted while taking humanity’s general away from us. The deck was stacked against us—against Dean—from the moment John Winchester thrust baby Sammy into his arms. From that point on Dean could never see any goal more important than protecting and saving his brother, and he could never believe that he was important, that he had a purpose, that Dean Winchester was supposed to save human kind from the forces of hell. So he did the only thing he could—he sold his soul to “save” his brother—sacrificing himself to the only cause that really mattered. There was no way for Dean to know that it would be saving Sam—or trying, at least—that would send his brother over the edge, turn Sam into the monster he was always afraid he would become.
It was slow, at first, or so I’ve pieced together from the records and eye-witness accounts that survive and the few Hunters in exile that would talk to me. Little things. Nothing too alarming. Sam seemed more eager to “get the job done,” less hesitant to kill. But then again, Sam was doing so much in secret, trying to save Dean without Dean knowing, so that it wouldn’t trigger the demons’ failsafe and make Sam drop dead. What Dean thought was a fair stipulation given his history with deals and demons was actually the perfect trap. As Sam fought harder and searched broader, he grew more and more desperate. He tried darker and darker spells researched ever more ancient texts, and finally, he tapped into his own powers—his demonically tainted powers, the powers of the Chosen One—lowering the barriers he had instinctively erected in his mind. It was worth the risk, right? If I was in Sam’s shoes, I probably would have thought the same. Any chance to save his brother, anything he could do to repay Dean for all his sacrifices, anything to save Dean from eternal damnation—anything to not have to face life alone… But we know the road to hell is paved with good intentions, and it turns out, so is the road to hell on earth.
Before he could find a way to save Dean, Sam had fallen to the power, to the call—it wouldn’t matter if Dean was dead or alive, damned or not, if Sam’s army won. Sam’s powers could make it right—he could strike down those who would hurt his brother, buy back Dean’s soul for himself, strike out at the other threats to them in the world—the human threats—and make a new world that would accept the Winchester brothers as they were. It would be eternal freedom for Sam and Dean. They promised, and Sam was just desperate enough to believe, to listen to the voices that plagued his dreams, the visions that came to him while he was awake, the voice inside that said “there is no other way.” Dean found out too late. Even if he could have broken the deal (to kill Sam; to stop Sam) he wouldn’t have done it. Dean had always known he would never be able to kill his brother, because how can a man destroy his only reason for living? It was in this forced separation—the clause that Dean thought brought extra collateral—the removal of Dean from his role as guardian and protector of Sam while Sam was at his most desperate that sealed our fate.
So, Dean died, Sam grew darker and stronger, for now his brother had actually been taken from him, and the twisted whispers in his mind told him the only way to make it right was to make earth pay… After all, it was a human (at least in part) that killed Sam, that made Dean make that deal, and if hell got to walk the earth, then Dean would be able to walk the earth and Sam could see him again. Without his brother to watch out for him, the demons got their way, and the Hunters began to fall. And we realized that Dean was the one who could have led us to victory. But he was dead, damned, gone… by his own hand, or at least, his own dealings. Dean’s ultimate sacrifice became the ultimate victory for the forces of hell.
The darkness falls earlier each day. Less and less light reaches the earth, and someday soon, the light will go out for good. Everyone notices now. There’s no way not to. The religious pray to their gods and beg for forgiveness as if somehow hell on earth is a punishment for our shortcomings or digressions. The rest of us continue to fight, even though the Chosen One and his army draw ever closer to breaking the last seal and allowing the world below to spill forth unhindered and unyielding, signaling the end of humanity’s freedom. There is no reason. It just is… Or maybe, maybe it is our punishment—self-inflicted—for listening to destiny and prophecy, and giving up when there is still air in our lungs and blood in our veins and another chance to send back hell.
And maybe, maybe in all the darkness, there is hope (and maybe that’s the point). It comes first in exorcisms. Demons talking through the anguish; letting slip strange tidings. Most say it’s a trick. Demons lie. Or they tell you things to make you fall into their traps. But then it happens more and more. Hunters win a battle for once—not a single human life lost, but a dozen demons destroyed. An escaped spirit begs to be destroyed, not sent back because rumor has it hell’s not a good place for him right now; his enemies will destroy him. We dismiss it. After all, maybe spirits always have enemies in hell—maybe this one got out against their leaders’ wishes—we’re very good at rationalizing when we want to be. For all Hunters’ skepticism, sometimes we take it a little too far; we refuse to see good where it exists.
But then, something rumbles, the ground shifts, the air burns with sulfur, and demons seem to be fleeing to earth—not coming to fight, but coming to hide, to escape. Arriving wounded and babbling, easily captured, more easily killed. Their General speaks. The Chosen One is worried—or is he hopeful—he says there’s a war, in hell. The tortured and subjugated are taking up arms against their captors, the lowest of the low fighting back and refusing to follow the demonic hierarchy; slaves overthrowing their masters; spirits of the damned staging a riot in their prison of flesh and blood and bone. And at the helm, is Dean Winchester—our general rising to lead us at last. He will fight his way out of hell—I know he can do it—and maybe then, he can save his brother (and humanity) at last.