Crowley twisted a spike deeper into Samandiriel's brain. "Give me a name!"
"Aaaahhh!" Samandiriel screamed. "Don - Donatello Tortoise!"
Crowley's eyes went wide. "Do you think I'm a fool, angel? I thought you were done resisting. I want a real prophet's name!" He twisted the screw again.
Samandiriel screamed and sobbed. "No- No!" He managed, gasping, before his ability to speak deserted him.
By the time he recovered enough to form words again, he had decided it might be best just to skip that one and go to the next prophet on the list.
Sam, Dean, and Donatello were all gaping at Chuck. Chuck looked around at them uncertainly. "I thought I was very clever, actually," he said.
Donatello made a funny choked noise. "So what you're telling me right now is that my name is, actually, literally a cosmic joke? God thought it would be funny to name me after a ninja turtle... which, might I remind you, hadn't even come out yet when I was young?"
Chuck shrank back in his seat a little. "... yes? Sorry?"
"Wait, I thought you were Professor Redfield," Dean objected.
Donatello sighed. "I was forced to assume a different name for teaching after the first batch of students born in the eighties started showing up in my classes." He ignored, with a long-suffering air, Dean's poorly stifled snickers and Sam's suspiciously straight face. He was sure that that aborted jerking motion represented an under-the-table kick, though. "All right. Go on."
"Where was I," Chuck muttered. "Never mind, we were done there anyway. Moving right along."
Kevin knew he had no time to waste in Heaven. "Hello!" He yelled. "I have a mission from God!"
No angels appeared.
He tried again. "My name is Kevin Tran, Prophet of the Lord, and I have been sent here directly by God to carry out an important task!"
He looked around. He was in his old bedroom with his cello and his girlfriend lounging on the bed.
If he looked at Channing for too long, he started to feel tears welling up, so instead he stomped out the door. "I don't have time for this," he muttered. It was kind of nice to be able to stomp again; it hadn't really worked when he was a ghost. Not satisfyingly, anyway.
He was in another memory. His mom was helping him study; he must have been very young in this one.
"Think, Kevin," he muttered to himself. "Running from memory to memory won't get me anywhere; I need to figure out the puzzle. For Dean it was a road, for Bobby a loose thread, for Ash computer coding..."
His eyes fell on a decorative border to a picture on the wall. He leaned closer. It was Enochian lettering. "Pretty sure that wasn't on the original," he muttered, snatching it off the wall. He started to read.
A new door opened up in his wall. He went through it.
A roomful of angels looked up and stared at him. "Yes, hello, weren't you listening?" He snapped. "Mission from God here, the first any of you has heard from the big guy in ages, and you can't be bothered to get up and show me around? I'm telling you I need access to Heaven's inner workings, the big switchboard in the sky. Who's in charge of that?"
The angels all stared at each other uneasily. Some of them shuffled their feet.
"Mortals aren't allowed... I mean, we can't let just anybody..." One of them finally said.
Kevin fixed him with a gimlet eye and channeled his fake FBI phone-answering persona, or possibly his mother. "Oh, and a prophet is just anybody now, is it? The direct mouthpiece of God, isn't that what I am? And you're standing there arguing with me! Do you even know everything Metatron screwed up when you all let him have the run of the place?"
He had them, finally; cowed, they led him where he wanted to go.
Heaven's switchboard, it turned out, had really kind of a lot of switches. Kevin stared at the banks of consoles stretching off towards the horizon and tried not to let his dismay show.
"Right," he muttered. "I need a user's manual."
The angels were no help; apparently they didn't know what it all did, either. Or rather, the few who had worked here and understood it had all been killed somewhere along the way. The last few years had been bad for the angels.
"What about Metatron, though?" Kevin muttered. "He obviously figured out some of this crap."
But Metatron was on earth, and that wasn't likely to change.
Two hours later, Kevin jerked his head up. "Metatron. I spent years squinting at that douche's chicken scratches. I know him ... once a scribe, always a scribe. If he didn't take notes when he was figuring all this out, I'll eat his damn tablets."
He jumped up. The nearest angel looked befuddled. Kevin pointed at him.
"But he wouldn't want you lot having access to them, so he would have hidden them. It's just a question of where."
He looked around as though expecting the notes to magically appear in some corner he hadn't looked yet.
"Ok, but this whole place is just a metaphysical manifestation, right?" Talking to himself was working so far. He'd kind of gotten into the habit lately. "It's not reality, it's just a representation of it, filtered through my mind."
He turned around. "So how does anyone find anything?" He answered himself, "You have to follow a trail of associations. Which means I have to figure out what Metatron associated with the switchboard. An association that wouldn't be obvious to the rest of you guys."
Kevin got a sinking feeling in the pit of his stomach. He looked at the angel. "I think I need to go back to my heaven, please."
The angel took him back without arguing. Kevin wondered if he thought he'd given up.
He put his hand on his door. "I need to go back to the bunker. To the day I died," he said quietly, then opened the door. He could feel a little resistance, as several happier memories tried to insert themselves into the room instead, but he focused hard on the one he was aiming for and they receded.
He opened the door and there was Sam - no, Gadreel - with his hand on Kevin's face, scorching his eyes out. As he watched from the door, Dean came into the room, yelling, uselessly. Gadreel dropped a card on Kevin's old body's chest and left. Kevin closed his eyes against Dean's grief and walked over to the card. He picked it up. It had his name on it, in Metatron's familiar handwriting. He flipped it over.
The bunker room dissolved around him and he was back in the switchboard room, staring at one particular switch. It was in the 'off' position.
Kevin hesitated. In many ways, being a prophet had ruined his life. Did he have the right to inflict that all over on someone else? Was it fair to do that to some poor average Joe?
He'd been really angry at Heaven for a long time. That was the real reason he'd stayed on earth as a ghost even after the pearly gates reopened: he hadn't wanted anything to do with this place, with angels, with whatever their stupid notion of eternal reward might be, as though anything could make up for all the shit they'd put him through.
But he'd had time to calm down and reflect. Yeah, he'd gotten a bad deal. But on the other hand, his mom hadn't been killed by demons or eaten by Leviathan, and neither had a lot of other people.
How many people got to say they'd helped save the world?
Kevin reached out and flipped the switch.
That same moment, in a small town, a bolt of lightning struck through a dark rolling fog, and hit an unassuming chemistry professor.
"Well, it did save my life," Donatello said quietly. "I certainly can't complain so far."
"Wait a minute," Sam said. "So you had time to give Kevin instructions on all that before you sent him upstairs?"
"Or," Dean said, "did he come up with it all on his own?"
Chuck just smiled a little, and kept his mouth shut.