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Heaven Doesn't Want Us, Hell's Afraid We'll Take Over

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Heaven and Hell rarely agreed on anything. When they did, it was usually something pretty damn important. The only thing they'd agreed on in the last five-hundred years, was this: the Winchesters needed to stay alive.

Neither side favored them -- quite the opposite. Hell had gone through many Kings since Lucifer was imprisoned (by Sam). If Sam were to die, the throne would be his, whether he chose it or not.

As for Dean...well -- nobody was sure where he'd end up exactly. If he went downstairs, he'd be by Sam's side, and just the thought of that was enough to send demons scurrying to hide in the comforting, flesh-searing pits of hellfire. If Dean went upstairs, the tenuous structure of Heaven would likely collapse, just from his presence alone.

No, they had to stay alive, that much was certain.

So they did. They lived, they hunted, and they drove from state to state in a huge black, beautiful car that never needed fuel or fixing (though Dean liked to give her a tune-up every now and then anyway). They stopped at diners from time to time -- out of nostalgia, not necessity. Those few souls that witnessed them sit, eat (a burger and a slice of pie for Dean, a salad for Sam), and leave, would tell their friends about it with a mix of giddiness, awe and reverence. It was considered good luck for diners to have fresh pie on hand -- particularly apple.

-------

The Winchesters were legend. Seen too often to be a myth, but too rarely to be a given fact. It had been that way for centuries -- ever since Dean's final death.

Sam and Dean were sleeping -- exhausted after a particularly difficult hunt. Six leviathans found them and immediately started devouring Dean. Sam sat up, turned and stared at what was left of his brother -- an arm hanging out of the mouth of one of the leviathans.

Sam pressed his thumb into the inside of his other palm, pushing against an old scar. Still staring at Dean's arm, Sam blinked a few times, and then said, "No." very quietly. Two of the leviathans moved closer to Sam, and opened their mouths -- baring their sharp teeth and huge lashing tongues, but Sam didn't move. He just said, "No." again. Then he closed his eyes, threw his head back and screamed.

Hell flowed out of Sam. It poured from his mouth and sunk into the leviathans with hooks of fire, ice and pain. Sam opened his eyes and the leviathan still gnawing on Dean's arm simply ceased to be. It disintegrated and everything left of Dean fell back onto his bed in heavy, messy chunks.

All the power the Morningstar had longed to wield flowed through Sam, his skin nearly translucent with it. Hell pulled the leviathans down and they screamed in fear. They tried everything they could to hang on, but Hell had become a living thing -- the embodiment of Sam's rage -- an extension of his will. Hell devoured them until there was nothing left. The few remaining pleaded with Sam -- offered him anything, everything if only he would show mercy, but he didn't hear them.

The problem, of course, was that Hell, once given Sam's purpose, didn't stop. It couldn't. It consumed everything -- covering the Earth and wiping it clean of all life. Leviathan, demon, monster, human and everything else.

Death took issue with that.

He waded through Hellfire until he saw Sam sitting on the bed surrounded by what was left of his brother. Death clucked his tongue, disapprovingly. He reached forward and rested his hand on Sam's forehead. Sam slumped forward, and Hell fell back.

Death brought Dean back because he had a soft spot for him. He would never admit it, of course, but then again nobody dared ask him. Death brought Dean back along with all the other lives lost when Sam lost hold. He did not, however, bring the leviathans back.

Dean sat next to Sam on the bed, and Sam stared at him for nearly two hours before accepting that he was real. They were never apart again after that.

-------


"And that is why we always follow the two state rule when we visit the United States." Bela concluded. She eyed her employees sternly. "Bruce, would you like to share your recent experience with the group?"

"Bruce" wasn't much to look at these days. He'd been one of Bela's top salesman, collecting more than a dozen human souls a month with truly creative deals. He was a prodigy, and had been one of her favorites -- until he made the mistake of setting up shop in Ohio just as Dean and Sam were passing through. There wasn't a whole lot left of Bruce now. Sam had left him with little more than his voice, and the memory of what happened in Ohio.

Bela knew Bruce continued to exist only because the Winchesters wanted to send her a message. Any demons that got too close to the brothers simply stopped existing. Bruce hadn't even seen them, he'd just entered the state while they were still there.

Bruce -- what was left of him, which amounted to little more than a puff of smoke -- drifted slowly, turning from Bela to face the other crossroads demons. His voice was barely a whisper, and it was incredibly difficult for him to put a cohesive thought together, but he managed to form two words. "Stay...away." His essence started to thin out more, as if the effort itself had cost him some of himself, but he added, "Stay...faaaaar...away."

"Thank you Bruce." Bela nodded at the little black cloud and turned to look at the other demons in the group. "Alice, you look confused. Speak."

Alice flinched, wishing she'd kept her emotions more guarded. "I just...you -- you met the Winchesters -- more than once, and you survived!"

Bela smirked,"Yes, well...that was a long time ago. Things were different then. They were different then. So was I."

Her demons stared at her with expressions ranging from utter boredom to morbid curiosity. Bela let out a sigh and told them about her past encounters with the brothers. She may have left out a detail or two regarding her last interaction with them, but she made sure to point out how enamored they'd both been with her, and how cleverly she'd bested them on more than one occasion.

-------

Meg sat in her throne -- her legs slung over one of the arms, her head resting against the other, and reflected on how long it had taken her to finally, finally become Hell's Queen. It all started after Crowley met his rather spectacular end.

                                        
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Crowley had made the mistake of approaching the Winchesters and offering a truce, right after Sam took out the leviathans. Death had reset things, but that didn't mean some hadn't felt what had really happened -- what could easily happen again if Sam decided to try for round two. Crowley figured it was better to try to get in the Winchesters' favor quickly.

He knocked on the door of their motel room, holding a freshly baked lemon meringue pie (the best in the world, point of fact -- from a tiny little bakery in Berkshire), and put on his most pleasant smile.

Dean opened the door and stared at him. Crowley tried to hand Dean the pie, but Dean must not have known it was the very best lemon meringue pie in the world, because he wasn't the slightest bit impressed, and wouldn't even take the pie.

Crowley moved past Dean, set the pie on the table by the window and turned to face Sam, whose eyes were locked on him.

"Sam, nice to see you again. Hear you did us all quite the favor -- getting rid of those pesky little serpents." Crowley cleared his throat awkwardly at Sam's complete lack of reaction, and continued, "I wanted to express my gratitude and assure you that you won't have any trouble from me or mine. We'll keep our distance."

Dean walked from behind Crowley to stand next to Sam, who was still sitting on the bed watching Crowley with unblinking eyes. Dean smirked, "That's nice. See the thing is, Crowley, the leviathans escaped in the first place because of Cas...and because of you." Dean shrugged his shoulders nonchalantly and continued, "Cas is...taken care of, but you...well -- you're still here." Dean folded his arms across his chest and glanced at Sam. "What are you thinking, Sammy?"

Sam's only answer was a slight twitch of his lips. Then Crowley got a personal replay of what the leviathans had put Dean through. He was torn limb from limb, his meatsuit and soul chewed up by invisible teeth as Sam and Dean watched. Sam let the remaining chunks of Crowley's meatsuit fall back onto the bed, just as it had happened with Dean. He held his hand over the flesh and pulled the last few fragments of Crowley's soul into his palm.

Sam cocked his head and stared at the little ball of blackened soul.

"What do we do with him?" Dean asked, sitting down next to Sam on the bed.

Sam smiled and watched as the little ball burned with a bright white flame and then disappeared. He looked towards the chunks of skin, bone and flesh behind him and nodded.

                                                                                          -------

Meg had entered Hell's throne room after nobody had heard from Crowley in nearly three days (three days above, which was just over a year down below), and found a messy little pile of meat sitting in Crowley's seat. She'd be lying if she said it hadn't made her smile, just a little.

Regardless, the message was clear -- stay away. So she did. She stayed down below, not even daring to set foot above ground, in case Sam and Dean decided to repay her for her past actions.

The throne didn't come easy. There were more than two dozen other demons who wanted the crown, half of them much stronger then her. Luckily for Meg, nobody else had her excessively overdeveloped survival instinct.

She let out a bored sigh and played with the buckles on her boot, wondering how she'd spend today, and the day after that. Ruling Hell wasn't nearly as exciting as she'd hoped it would be. She closed her eyes and longed for the days when Lucifer walked the Earth. He might have had little to no love for demons, but at least he'd made things exciting. Plus, back then she hadn't been in exile in Hell. She never thought she'd miss seeing the sky quite this much.

She stood up and and wandered out of the throne room to find somebody to torture. Anything to pass the time.

-------

The brothers still hunted, moving from one state to the next however the mood struck them. Sometimes Dean picked the hunt -- he'd close in on his target and bring it down with ruthless efficiency as Sam watched, approvingly. More often then not, Dean would save lives in doing so. It wasn't clear to anyone if he did it for them, or for Sam, or for himself, but it didn't really matter in the end.

Other times, Sam would pick up on something nearby (which could mean anything from one mile away to a thousand) and Dean would drive until Sam found what he was looking for. Sam didn't always steer them towards hunts. Once, he made Dean drive for three days straight because he wanted the best possible view of the Leonid meteor shower. The oddest thing about that night, for Dean, was how much closer the meteorites seemed to get while they were watching. They were lying on the roof of the Impala, looking straight up. Dean glanced to the side once, and only once, and then kept staring straight up until the meteorites were the right distance from them again.

It was all worth it in the end, when (after the Impala's tires were safely back on the ground) Sam turned to Dean with the biggest smile he'd had in years. Dean was determined to make that smile less of a rarity -- no matter what it took. Dean took one last look up at the sky and winked, thinking, "Did you see that Bobby?"

-------

Bobby chuckled as he laid down his cards. "Full house."

Rufus let out an annoyed grunt, and put his cards on the table, face-down.

"Oh come on now." Bobby complained.

"Two pair, two pair!" Rufus snapped and flipped his cards over angrily. "Not like it does me any good." He took a sip of his drink and added, "You'd think up here, I'd at least win every once in a while."

Bobby smirked, "You'd think." He leaned back in his chair and watched the clouds passing overhead. He'd been surprised at how serene his heaven ended up being. Somehow he'd thought he'd never find peace -- even in death.

"Want to head to the Roadhouse?" Rufus asked, standing up and stretching.

Bobby nodded, "Yeah. Sounds like a plan."

-------

Heaven wasn't like it used to be. After Castiel cleaned house, nobody had taken his place. An uneasy truce had formed between the few remaining angels, but they'd put their differences aside, agreeing that more fighting wouldn't benefit anyone. Heaven was essentially without a ruler, and because of that the souls residing there had begun reshaping it. Travel between heavens was a lot easier now, especially in cases where those heavens were the homes of souls who'd known each other in life.

Bobby and Rufus wandered out of the park and down a dirt road a bit until they saw the Roadhouse in the distance.

Rufus pushed open the door and immediately heard a "Rufus!" from Ash, who was sitting on one of the bar-stools next to Pamela. They both raised their beer bottles towards the door. Ellen came out from behind the counter to hand Bobby a beer and give him a peck on the cheek.

"Where's Jo?" Bobby asked.

"Out back, watching." Ellen said, smirking.

"Oh yeah? Anything good on?" Rufus chuckled.

"See for yourself." Ellen said, pushing open the back door.

Jo was standing a few feet away, next to a birdbath.

Bobby and Rufus walked over to her and peered over the edge into the water.

"What're they up to?" Bobby asked.

Jo raised an eyebrow, "Dean's in a mood. They just cleared Newark."

"Poltergeist central?" Rufus asked. "That's all that's left there, ain't it?"

"Yeah, well -- that's all that was there." Jo said.

Bobby stared into the water and saw Dean waving his hands around angrily. "What's he so pissed about?"

"Sam wanted to go to Newark because of their library." Jo grinned, "I guess they're one of the few states with actual books left. Problem is, they don't have any people, so they don't have any diners, bars, or anything else Dean might be remotely interested in."

They watched Sam sit on the floor, ignoring Dean. He was busy pulling books off of shelves, floating them through the air and stacking them on top of each other.

"Where are you planning on putting all of these?" Dean yelled, "They're not gonna fit in the the trunk, Sammy!"

Sam laughed, "That's okay. We don't have to take them with us. I just want to make sure the good ones are safe."

Dean put his hand on his forehead and mumbled, "Okay...and how are you going to keep them safe, if we're not taking them with us?"

Sam grinned and looked up at the ceiling, "Bobby's gonna hold onto them for me. Aren't you, Bobby?"

Bobby coughed in surprise and said, "Uh...yeah, I guess. You're not...gonna make me carry all of that are you?"

"You have a bookshelf that's practically empty in your basement." Sam said.

"I do?"

"You do now." Dean muttered. "Sam, stop pestering Bobby. Man deserves his rest!"

"Wait a damn minute!" Bobby said, "You ain't pestering." He smiled, and added, "I miss you two knuckleheads."

"Hey Sam!" Rufus yelled, "They got any mystery books left? Any Robert Parker?"

"You don't have to yell, Rufus." Jo said, softly.

Sam closed his eyes for a few moments, reached out his hand, and a dozen smaller books floated over and formed a new pile next to Dean's feet. "Yeah, a few. Where do you want 'em?"

Rufus grinned, flashing his teeth. "Right on my couch'd be fine. Thanks, Sam!"

Dean glared up at them, smirked and gave a mock-salute.

The water shimmered a bit and the image faded.

"Guess that's it for today." Jo said, turning away from the bird-bath. She slung her left arm through Bobby's arm, and her right arm over Rufus's shoulder as they headed back to the Roadhouse.

"Damn kids." Bobby muttered, smiling.

-------

Heaven and Hell rarely agreed on anything. When they did, it was usually something pretty damn important. The only thing they'd agreed on in the last five-hundred years, was this: the Winchesters needed to stay alive.