AUTHOR'S NOTES – To Hell And Back (Season 4)

This is the sequel to my previous story Hell to Pay which covers Season 3 of Supernatural, and prior to that there are my stories All Hell Breaks Loose & Highway to Hell which cover Seasons 2 and 1 respectively. If you haven't read any of those yet, I suggest you start with Highway to Hell because otherwise you're jumping into a story already in progress, and it will give you all the background you need to know about who Beth is and her story. (Plus, it's like several weeks (at least) worth of fun stories!)

This story picks up prior to the start of Season 4 – Supernatural. Beth and Sam are frantically trying to come up with a way to rescue Dean's soul from Hell while still dealing with their grief over his loss, and Dean faces an uncertain future full of misery and torture that never seems to end.

Disclaimer: I don't own Supernatural, its characters or any of the storyline that follows the show itself. Any changes to storyline and addition of characters (ie. Beth & Jefferson, just to name a couple) are all mine :)

The only OC I don't own is Cole Singer – she's a crossover from my friend EarthhAngel. Be sure to go check out her story How To Save A Lifefor some John Winchester focused writing, plus some early Dean & Beth back story :) It's been an absolute ball collaborating on that story and there's plenty more story to come!


AN: Fair warning, somewhat graphic scenes of torture methods used in here, some readers may find them disturbing.

It's a shorter chapter than usual, but there's a few short stories to be told before I can get to Lazarus Rising - this is the first.


Give me a reason to believe that you're gone
I see your shadow so I know they're all wrong
Moonlight on the soft brown earth
It leads me to where you lay
They took you away from me but now I'm taking you home

I will stay forever here with you
My love
The softly spoken words you gave me
Even in death our love goes on

Some say I'm crazy for my love, Oh my love
But no bonds can hold me from your side, Oh my love
They don't know you can't leave me
They don't hear you singing to me

And I can't love you, anymore than I do
People die, but real love is forever.


EVEN IN DEATH


Beth's POV

Dean and I had never talked about what was going to happen after, perhaps we'd been in too much denial that it was ever going to pass, but mostly it was we'd been trying to make the most of every moment until the end that we couldn't indulge in that kind of talk.

I could barely move, my body weakened from days of not eating, of barely drinking. It had only been because Sam had forced me to drink cups of tea in the last day or so that I wasn't completely depleted. It hadn't been much, but it had been enough to keep me going, to warm me in the cold room.

Bobby looked at me with concern when I finally exited. He was pacing and looked like he was going to lecture me, but the look I shot him was clear. I would take no attitude for what I'd been through, what I was going through, and what was to come. No one knew what I was feeling, the emptiness I had inside.

It was night when I walked outside for the first time in over four days. I stared up at the stars twinkling overhead, remembering all the times Dean and I had done that – sitting on that Impala just enjoying the silence. Closing my eyes I prayed to my angel, to God, to whomever was listening for the strength to get through these next few moments; for the wisdom to make the right decisions for us all.

When I finally re-entered the building we'd been in I saw maps on the table and so I crossed to them, staring at the lines before me.

"Where are we?" I asked Sam, who was standing nearby, watching me closely.

"Mahomet, Illinois," he answered quietly, and I nodded. We'd traveled about three hours from Indiana then, if my calculations were correct. I didn't remember a moment of it, I was starting to wonder if any of this would come back to me in time.

Bobby came into the room carrying a simple pine box and I stared at it; the meaning of this item took a while to register in my brain, and when it did I had to fight off every urge in my body to run back into where Dean's body was and prevent anyone from touching him. I balled my fists by my sides and closed my eyes, wanting so badly to not think about what had to come next.

"We could take him to Mom..." Sam started but I shook my head.

"No, it can't be anywhere public, we need private, secluded, somewhere people aren't going to look for him," I said. I'd been giving it a lot of thought.

"Then where?" Sam asked. "Bobby's?"

"Might make him a target if we were to attract the attention of demons," I said, dropping my voice so Bobby couldn't hear. "We don't know what we're going to have to do in order to get him out."

Sam sighed and nodded.

"My mother's family has property near Pontiac, it's quiet, secluded, wooded – but also close to Route 66, to a road and civilisation. My uncle cares for it now and I know he'd never sell it because of my mom," the more I thought about it, the better the idea sounded.

Sam nodded, seeing the wisdom in keeping Dean close but not too close. I plotted a route to follow and the place where the property was, it had been a long time, but we'd camped there a lot when I was a young teen, I knew the way.

"Sam," Bobby's voice sounded from the doorway of the room where Dean currently was. "I'm gonna need your help."

I followed them into the room, hovering as they attempted to lift Dean into the box. He was heavy, or maybe we were all weak from grief and fatigue because they struggled to place him carefully in the box.

Sam took me by the arm and pulled me away before I could be lulled back to Dean's side, I watched as Bobby put the lid on.

"Don't seal it..." I said quietly. "Not yet."

He looked up at me, frustrated, but then nodded. When we had everything in Bobby's truck, I climbed in the passenger side, letting Sam take the Impala. It would only take an hour to reach our destination, and I wasn't chancing being separated and not seeing this job through.

Thankfully Bobby didn't try to make conversation on the way there, I closed my eyes and for the first time in days I slept.

The truck stopping woke me. Sliding out the door, I stretched and a yawn escaped me. I vaguely remembered a clearly beyond the initial entry to the property; with the lights from the truck and the half-full moon overhead, I could just see a narrow deer path to the green grass beyond the trees surrounding it.

Sam joined me, sliding his arm around my shoulders and tossed me a sad smile. I nodded toward the trees and looked up at him.

"Over there," I said quietly. He peered past the trees and nodded.

"Yeah, that's good," he agreed.

Bobby was watching us, pacing by the truck and rubbing at his face. He looked exhausted, like he had aged a decade in just a few days. I sighed and turned to the Impala, going for the shovels.

"We can do it," Sam said. I shook my head negatively and pulled them out.

Without waiting for the men I walked across the field, letting them bring Dean while I pushed through the underbrush to the clearing. It was large, and I looked up at the night sky. I was captivated by the light of the moon, staring up as I felt the soft ground beneath me, and I let it lead me to where I should dig, ending up almost in the dead centre of the clearing.

Something about having the path of the moon and sun overhead, the stars looking down appealed to me. I put one shovel on the ground and then looked at the earth beneath my feet, hesitating. Was I really going to do this?

I pulled myself deep within, withdrawing from the outer world, nothing but the task at hand in my mind. Putting foot to the shovel, I started to dig.

After a few moments Sam came with a couple of lanterns, placing them on the ground and then put his hand on my arm.

"Let me," he said. I nodded at the other shovel and he looked over at Bobby, the idea that they would do the digging clear in his eyes.

"No," I said, pausing and clinging to the shovel. "No, this is my job, he would do it for me."

Sam sighed and nodded, picking up the other shovel and shrugging at Bobby.

Within an hour we had the hole dug. I hoisted myself out of the cool earth and dusted my hands off, feeling completely exhausted from the physical effort after days of having just sat. I realised that I hadn't eaten in almost a week, I was surprised I was still even functioning.

Bobby and Sam brought the pine box over and sat it by the hole. Sam moved to get back in there so they could lower it but I grabbed his arm, searching his eyes.

"I need a moment," I said, and he nodded, kissing me on the forehead. The gesture, though well meant, brought tears to my eyes as I thought about all the times Dean had done that, how he had showered me with little moments of affection, now heart breaking in their tenderness.

"Okay," Sam said, nodding and moving away. He and Bobby walked together, back toward the vehicles and I fell to my knees beside the box. Pushing off the lid I stared down at Dean's face again, his lifeless body before me. He was pale in the moonlight and I shivered just looking at him.

Sam had closed his eyelids and it was a blessing not to have to see those hazel orbs staring out at me, devoid of life. I swallowed hard, suddenly lost for words, not knowing what to do. How could I just put him in the ground? How could I do any of this?

I stretched out a tentative hand and ran it along his cheek. He was so cold to the touch, nothing like I remembered, and it drove home my cold harsh reality. He was gone, and I was sitting and mourning a shell, a vessel for a soul that was now being tormented in Hell.

My throat ached as deep heart wrenching sobs fell from my lips and I pressed my forehead to his, letting my tears wash over his face. It was the first time I'd really cried since he'd been taken, the tears had been caught in my throat until now, unable to leave.

I don't know how long I sat there, but the moon watched unwavering in its light, cold and detached, just like I now had to become. Sam had returned, standing quietly beside me and waiting. I looked up at him finally and his eyes were filled with grief and loss, he was battling to keep it together.

"Okay," I said, nodding. I looked at Dean one more time and then felt for his hand, sliding his ring from his finger, it felt heavy in my hands. I slid it over my own ring, finding that it nested perfectly over my own with the size difference, now it was snug and safe on my finger.

I leaned in to kiss Dean's lips one more time, a single tear running down my cheek. "You come get this back off me, you hear?" I whispered, leaning my forehead to his.

Cole had found my father's rosary among John's things some time ago and sent it to me. I knew now what I was going to do with it. I had taken it out of the Impala before getting the shovels.

I slipped it around Dean's neck, looking at it quietly against his skin, and feeling my own – it's twin – hanging around my own neck, before taking the amulet he always wore from his neck.

Stroking a hand along his face, I felt a resolve coming to me, a quiet calm that started to surround me as I pushed down all the grief, the pain and the tears. I nodded at him, biting my lip and taking a deep breath.

"I love you," I said softly. "I'll see you soon."

I got up, sliding the amulet around Sam's neck and then walking away to let Sam and Bobby say their goodbyes. When they'd lowered the coffin in place, I returned, taking up the shovel again, glaring at Sam when he tried to take it from me.

"I can do it," I said. I had to do this. I had to see it through. With every bit of dirt that went in the ground, covering the pine box, and slowly filling the hole I felt my resolve toughen. Like a hard outer shell, everything went dull and lifeless, I now had one thing only on my mind.

"Now we hunt," I said to Sam as we finished the burial. He nodded, his own resolve showing clearly in his eyes.


Dean's POV

Lightning flashed around me, close and terrifying as I looked around at the millions of chains strung from the darkness beyond. There was no end to it, spiraling down into a pit of screams. Hooks pierced my shoulder and ribcage, my ankles and wrists. I'd never felt anything so painful as they pulled from all directions, I was impaled, and unable to move. "Help!" I screamed in the darkness, waiting for a reply. "Somebody help me!" The sickening feeling of flesh tearing with the pull of the chains gutted me, I screamed as I felt it rip from my side, opening up a gaping wound. "Help! Sammy! Beth!" I fought for breath, the pain almost unbearable, gasping every breath as blood flooded my mouth. The sound of my voice echoed emptily in the darkness, but still I screamed. "Beth!"


Seven Days Later
Pasadena, California

Beth's POV

"Beth! Beth!"

Sam's voice quietly got my attention and I woke up with a start, finding myself lying against the cold, roughly hewn path we'd located that overlooked the reservoir. Catching my breath I sat up and looked around us. We were surrounded by tall cliffs fed down from the mountain above, all leading into a narrow S-shaped rocky defile.

"Sam..." I said wearily, rubbing my eyes. "You let me sleep?"

"You gotta sleep sometime," he said, handing me a hot coffee from one of the Thermos' we'd brought with us. I was surprised it had kept its heat since this morning, but grateful just the same.

"I don't mind the sleeping," I said, taking a sip of coffee and swallowing it. "It's the dreaming I wish would stop."

"Dean again?" He asked, looking at me as if he knew. I nodded silently.

"Well, maybe this will give us the access we need," he said, nodding toward a rocky outcropping below. For decades people had been disappearing in this area, never to be seen again.

Tonight was overshadowed, literally, with a full lunar eclipse, and we'd heard that a black arts group of people would be arriving to try and open the gate, releasing more demons into the world. They were idiots and had no idea what they were doing, likely they were going to get themselves killed.

Jo had told Sam about this place during the wedding, apparently they'd done a lot of talking. This was where her father had been killed when John and he had gone after a Hellspawn. It was a Devil's Gate, but it wasn't active all the time. Arriving in Pasadena to look into it as a possible way to get Dean back, we'd heard about the ritual to take place tonight.

"There," Sam said, pointing to a flickering light to the side of us. Coming in from the lower level along a walking path for the reservoir were nine people in dark cloaks, their faces hidden by cowls. I frowned and gathered my things to me – holy water and my sidearm stocked with rock salt. They wouldn't kill a demon, but would slow them down, and they were the best we had. Sam had Ruby's knife, the only real weapon against anything that might come out of that Gate, and the only asset we had if we were going in.

Slipping my knapsack on to my back I crouched in the darkness, watching as the group came to a stop in front of a huge funnel-like convergence from the mountain's runoff field. This was where the gate was said to be.

The eclipse would be starting in fifteen minutes, they were cutting it close. Sam and I moved silently to our feet. He lowered me down a level by laying on the ground and hanging over the ledge slightly, my hand clasped in his own before dropping me carefully to the hard earth below.

I paused when I landed, waiting to see if we'd drawn any attention. We hadn't and I nodded up at Sam who I could see in the light of the full moon. He wriggled over the edge and lowered himself slowly, his height a greater advantage than mine, and he didn't have far to drop.

We didn't know what to expect, whether this coven knew what they were doing or not, but it was worth the risk, because if we were lucky they might get lucky, and that meant that we could save them from a world of hurt while at the same time gaining access to where we needed to be.

The sky started to darken, and the blood red of the eclipse started to cross the face of the moon, edging it's way to the centre. I swallowed hard, watching as the ritual began. Satisfied that they were thoroughly distracted, Sam and I inched our way around the circle and into the camping grounds nearby.

The Reservoir was a holiday destination for summer camps and families alike. There were many well tended lawns and areas being prepared for the onslaught of families on vacation in a few weeks time.

The tree line gave us a good vantage point now that we knew the group's location, and we belly crawled up to the edge, watching. Sam scowled as some of the incantations worked their way back to us.

"Idiots. They're summoning a host of demons?" He asked, shaking his head. "What do they think is gonna happen, they're gonna be friends?"

I shrugged and zeroed in on one of the women in particular that was drawing my attention. She had long strawberry blonde hair and when she looked up I couldn't see any whites in her eyes. The sickness in my stomach made sense now that I saw her.

"I don't think they know what they're doing. Other than... that one," I said, pointing the woman out.

"Demon?" He asked, looking at me.

"Yeah," I said with a nod.

Sam sighed and nodded, gripping the knife in his hand as we set about waiting.

Eclipses aren't fast by any stretch of the imagination, and I found my mind wandering as we waited for the next phase of the ritual to begin.

I thought about Dean and what he must be going through. The dreams were lessening in frequency, but they still came every night to torment me. I wanted to shut them out of my mind, to remember Dean as I had memorised his face: soft, smiling, and always ready to kiss me. Instead, all I saw was the anguished cries of a tortured man and it was killing me.

The eclipse peaked finally and we saw the blonde demon step into the circle of worshipers. She smiled and waved one of the girls forward. The girl, who looked like she was barely eighteen, stepped forward hesitantly. Without warning the woman withdrew a kriss knife from the folds of her cloak and plunged it into the heart of the girl, drawing a shocked gasp from the rest of the people gathered.

"Oh dammit!" I muttered, moving to get up but Sam stilled me, a hand on my arm. I looked at him, frowning.

"She's already dead, there's nothing we can do," he said quietly, his eyes dark and determined. I bit my lip, struggling with that statement.

The people started to panic as the girl spluttered in her own blood, falling to the ground.

"With this sacrifice, we call forward the Seven! Come! Join us!" The woman called out. "Let your sins be of this world again!"

"Oh shit," Sam cursed, looking anxiously at me. We'd met these guys before. The portal opened and we moved up to the group, hoping to head off the onslaught before it began. We'd already poured salt along the path, leaving open the obvious access points for the expected party, just in case, now we sealed it off from our end and moved quietly in the dark to where the Devil's gate was shimmering in the rock face.

A swirling mix of colours descended from the gate into the people standing as they started to run and scream. In the panic I managed to seal off the rest of the salt ring and prayed that it was going to hold as the wind picked up from the atmospheric changes caused by the portal.

The people stopped screaming and looked around, salacious grins starting to accent their faces. Sam and I exchanged panicked looks, standing back from the circle, he had the knife ready in case, but we really didn't want to have to kill anyone if we could get out of it, one dead already was bad enough.

"Do you really think you can hold me in a salt ring?" A man asked, turning arrogant eyes to Sam. "Me?"

"Hello Pride," Sam smirked, "well, we weren't expecting the seven of you, in fact, didn't we… kill … some of you?"

Furious eyes turned to us and a young girl stepped forward, scowling. "We had to make some replacements, thanks to your little stunt," she said, eying off the knife in Sam's hands. "We won't make the same mistake again."

"No, you won't, because you're not staying here," I said, starting the exorcism. "Exorcizamus te, omnis immundus spiritus, omnis satanica potestas, omnis incursio infernalis adversarii..."

The wind picked up again and I saw the salt starting to shift on the ground, we were running out of time. Three demons came to stand in front of me and laughed, watching as the salt drew thinner and thinner.

"Sam…"

"Keep going," he urged.

"Omnis legio, omnis congregatio et secta diabolica, ergo, draco maledicte et omnis legio diabolica, adjuramus te, cessa decipere humanas creaturas…" I didn't get any further. The salt broke and the three rushed me. I rolled to the side as Sam stabbed one in the throat with the knife, swinging around and connecting in the stomach with the other. The third, the girl who had started the whole ritual in the first place jumped me, hitting my forehead into the ground painfully.

I groaned and then she was lifted off me, tossed across a line of low-lying bushes by someone. I looked up, confused and then saw cheeky blue eyes look at me with a grin before I was kicked in the stomach and a man got his hands on me.

"Jefferson!" I exclaimed breathlessly as I hit a tree, the man pinning me there.

"Hey princess, miss me?" He asked, grabbing another demon and tossing her in the direction of the other one behind the bushes. I didn't have time to respond as I felt a rippling sensation wash over me and I stared into the black eyes of the demon holding me.

Jefferson found himself jumped by another demon and they wrestled, each trying to gain the upper hand while Sam was in a standoff with the remaining two, knife held out in front of him.

"You can't live without me," the man said to me and his eyes faded to green, I blinked, swearing that I'd just seen Dean, but then he was gone and I groaned from the pain in my shoulder where a branch was digging in.

"No," I whimpered, pushing at the demon and realising that Dean and I had taken it out together the last time.

"Remember me sweetheart? You tried to drown me in a bathtub," he said with a lick along my face. "I've got better things planned for you," he promised. "Let's start with how you deal with the guilt of lusting after someone other than your lover."

He touched my face and I fought it so hard, but he was strong. My heart skipped a beat and my stomach tightened as I looked over to where Sam had just stabbed another demon. Jefferson laughed, finally getting the upper hand on the demon he was tussling with; throwing her in the same direction he had the others. I had a moment to wonder why the others were just standing there watching us, but then it was awash with burning desire as I watched Jefferson move.

I closed my eyes, forcing myself to look away and the demon holding me laughed. "You're not strong enough," he whispered in my ear.

"Maybe not, but I am," Sam's voice said from behind. He'd moved behind and held the knife to the throat of the demon, pulling him back off me. I fell to the ground without the support of the other man, a legless heap of raging hormones, my body itching to be touched.

"Sam! Over here!" Jefferson called, and pointed to the other demons. Sam looked questioningly and then laughed when he got to the bushes.

"Nice," he said with an approving nod.

I looked up curiously, managing to crawl to my feet and stumbled over to another tree, seeing that Jefferson had drawn a devil's trap on the earth with red spray paint. It was this which was keeping the demons penned.

"Never a dull moment with you Winchesters, that's for sure," he said with a short laugh and it rippled through my whole body in a mesmerising melody. I shuddered, pushing it back, pulling into my mind Dean's face, and his torment, wanting to shut out any lustful feelings I might be experiencing. I fell to the ground again, curling my legs in front of me and wrapping my arms around them. Lust looked over and snickered.

"Beth!" Jefferson said, moving toward me.

"No!" Sam said, cutting in. "No… don't… she's been touched by Lust," he said. "Don't trigger her into something she doesn't want to do."

Jefferson looked conflicted, but let me stay on the ground, turning back to the demons. I forced back the feelings running wild in me and got to my feet, avoiding the boys. It wasn't just Jefferson I was feeling them for and there was nothing more distressing than wanting to suddenly take a bite out of Sam. The Devil's Gate was still spinning behind us and I looked. We were so close.

"We have to go," I said, looking at the bodies of the dead demons on the ground. "Now."

"Wait," Sam said, looking at the gathered demons.

"Sam…"

"They might have information for us," he said, shaking his head.

"And they might not! That gate isn't going to stay open forever!" I said, looking up as the eclipse started to wane.

"You won't survive ten minutes in there," the woman who had initiated the ritual said, coming to stand at the edge of the trap.

"We'll see," Sam said cockily.

"Sam!" I snapped. "We're wasting time!" I headed for the gate but Jefferson grabbed my arm. A feeling of intense longing rushed along the skin and I felt areas tense that shouldn't tense for anyone but Dean.

"Don't!" I said, pulling away. "Don't touch me!"

Jefferson looked at me conflicted and then nodded. "Sorry. Just… don't go rushing off Beth, we need answers."

"I need Dean!" I said. "I already have all the answers I need from this lot, and there's a damn door right there!"

The girl laughed at my distress and I felt anger boil in my blood.

"We'll see who's laughing when you're sent back to Hell," I said. I started reciting the exorcism again and they screamed in pain, grasping their heads.

"Beth, stop!" Sam said, grabbing me. I shook him off, continuing to recite the incantation.

"Send me back; I'll only have more fun down there now I've seen what I've seen; now I know who is down there. I hadn't heard…" Lust said, stepping forward when I paused for breath. I froze, looking at the boys.

"Kill him," I said to Sam, glancing down at the knife in his hand.

"No," he said, shaking his head.

"Sam!"

"No, you said it yourself, we're not taking any innocent lives unless forced to," he said adamantly. I stared into the eyes of the man in front of me. They were green, like Dean's, and I felt frustrated tears come up.

"Do it and you'll be sorry…" he said in a sing-song voice.

"I adjure you…if I see you up here again, I don't care if you're possessing the Pope himself, I'll kill you," I said with a glare, starting up the exorcism again. "adjuramus te cessa decipere humanas creaturas, eisque æternæ perditionìs venenum propinare ut ecclesiam tuam secura tibi facias libertate servire, te rogamus, audi nos!"

With the final words, smoke poured from the mouths of the innocent, naive people who had been possessed and then sank into the ground. "I'm sorry Dean," I said softly, and then I turned to the gate.

"Let's go!"

"Uh, guys…" Jefferson said, looking back to where the original group had been. The girl who had been sacrificed suddenly stood, looking at us with black eyes and smirked, shaking her head.

"In hac autem, claudite ostium, et signavit Luciferi!" She uttered toward the gate.

"No!" Sam yelled, realising what she was doing as the final words shut the door and set a seal of Lucifer rang across to us. Sam moved quickly, but not quick enough as the eclipse finished, the full moon now hanging brightly in the sky once more and the portal into Hell closed with the words spoken from the demon now possessing the dead body of the sacrificed woman. I looked from where the gate had been to the demon, but she was gone, one moment there, the next faded into the darkness from which she had come. And our opportunity was gone with her.


Dean's POV

Three years. I'd already been down here three years and it seemed as if no end was in sight. I was so thirsty, the latest game of Alistair's being to give me nothing but salt water, he thought it ironic that we were in an inferno and yet the one thing torturing me was the ice cold sea water he was force feeding me. My skin felt like it would shrivel off my bones, and it probably would eventually. I'd certainly seen more than one way to skin a cat in my time here; unfortunately I'd been the cat on all occasions.

Suddenly through the heat haze a woman walked, a shimmering sheer robe hanging from her curves, her familiar curves. I looked up as hands took hold of my face, lifting my face gently. It was something I hadn't had in a long, long time and I'd almost forgotten how it felt to be caressed softly.

"Dean…" Beth's voice washed over me and I blinked. It couldn't be her. But then... Lilith had killed me, there'd been no talk about what had happened to Sam and Beth, maybe she'd killed them and dragged them down here too?

My throat and mouth were so dry I couldn't even speak, I tried to lick my cracked and broken lips, but my tongue was just as dry. She held up a glass of water to my mouth and I drank greedily from it, sighing with relief from the coolness washing down my throat.

"Beth," I whispered hoarsely, barely believing my eyes.

"Come on, we have to get you out of here," she said, pulling at the bonds that were holding me strapped to some ancient rack that looked like it belonged in a house of tortures. Well, it did, and it fit right in here.

Just as I got my first hand free she shrieked and was pulled from me by one of Alistair's henchmen.

"No!" I yelled, it came out hoarse and broken, I'd screamed so much in the last few years I could barely get any noise out now. But give it time and Alistair would come up with some other way to make me yell. He'd just found one.

The henchmen held Beth around the mouth so she couldn't make a noise, and she struggled to no avail. Alistair stepped around and into view with an amused look on his face, turning to another newcomer.

"I told you," the other said, smirking at me. Demons, they didn't all look human down here, it was hard to describe them. Sometimes they took the form of humans, sometimes they took their true forms, and this varied to great degrees.

This beast was a giant, with a bulging penis hanging between his legs, half erect and evident from the lack of clothing he wore. He was deformed and looked as if he'd been pulled from a furnace, burn scars all over his body. He turned to grin at me, a cackle rising from his throat.

I closed my eyes and when I opened them Alistair was peering at me in curiosity. "So what? This is the part where I get prison treatment?" I asked, shuddering at the thought.

"Oh no my friend, definitely not, I could never be so … crass…"

"Yeah right," I muttered.

"But your wife on the other hand… I don't know that she's going to get out of things that easily," he said and Beth's eyes widened in horror. I struggled against the bonds holding me, my one freed wrist now firmly attached to the rack again by another demon during the initial melee.

"Don't… I'll kill you … I swear to God!"

"Get off the rack," he said, looking at me patiently. "Do it to her yourself," he offered. I shook my head. I couldn't… I wouldn't do what he wanted to another soul, because it wasn't just sex he was talking about.

Beth was forced to her knees next to the demon and he yanked her head back with a hand full of hair. In the back of my mind I knew it wasn't her, it couldn't be her, but part of me doubted. Part of me wondered if this wasn't a doomed rescue, and now she would be stuck down here with me too.

I closed my eyes as the creature forced himself into her mouth and she whimpered.

"Make him watch!" Alistair ordered a couple of his henchmen and I felt unspeakable pain as my eyelids were pulled open. "Watch or I'll have them cut off," he said with an evil smile. I glared at him, but relented, turning to the scene that was growing even more horrible by the second. I forced myself to watch, to shut something down inside of me that screamed at me to do something, to stop it, to get off the rack. But I couldn't do it. It wasn't her, it couldn't be her.

As the beast had his way with what looked like Beth, I grew firmer in my resolve, it wasn't her. But God it pained me to look at the woman even knowing that. Every fiber in my body was struggling to kill the demon and save her from her torment.

Eventually the ruse faded and the image of Beth with it, to reveal just another soul, one damned to this torment as I was. She was bloody and beaten, lying on the rocky floor beneath her after the demon was spent. Brown eyes that could have been Beth's looked up at me and she whimpered. "Please help me," she whispered and I swallowed, biting my lip. I couldn't help myself, let alone anyone else.

"Interesting," Alistair said with a smirk, walking past me. "Just so you know, our dear friend Lust here, had a run-in with your beautiful wife. But she didn't succeed in getting where she wanted to go, shame that. No doubt she'll try again though, you Winchesters are nothing if not stubborn," he walked away. "Take her away, do with her what you will for now, but I think we'll have a few more of those shows… even after he had convinced himself it wasn't her, he still doubted. He doesn't like to watch it regardless of whether it's her or not."

I groaned, leaning back on the rack. At least I'd had some actual water, of course that was fading fast as the heat seemed to kick up a degree or ten. I at least had some news. Regardless of how long I'd been down here, Beth, and I presumed Sam, were alive, and they were still looking for a way to get me out of here. All I had to do was hold on a little longer.


3 days later
Malibu, California

Beth's POV

I woke up with my skin crawling, gasping for air and Sam reached out for me in the fading darkness from the stretcher next to the couch.

"You okay?" He asked and I nodded, sitting up and taking his hand in mine.

"Yeah, yeah…" I muttered, running a hand through my hair. I didn't want to tell him I'd just watched Dean get eaten alive by scarab beetles, almost an identical scene to something out of The Mummy only slower, so much slower, taking days. The screams had been shattering.

"You want to talk about it?"

"No," I said quickly, shaking my head. Sam sighed and looked at me, worry in his eyes. "I'm okay, thanks," I added a little softer.

I squeezed his hand again and then stood up, moving over to the kitchen of Jefferson's penthouse suite to get a soda from the fridge. Walking out on to the balcony overlooking the twinkling city lights of Malibu, I paused and took a long drink.

They're just dreams, I told myself, they're not real. It was simply the byproduct of an over active imagination and watching too many horror shows with Dean. Which made me think that what was happening to him was probably far worse than anything I could dream up, and that sent a shiver down my spine as I grasped the railing tightly until my knuckles went white. Don't think about it. You're no good to him if you can't set this aside and do the job.

I picked up my drink again and went inside. Sam was awake now, making coffee in the kitchen. I sat down at Jefferson's desk and flipped open his laptop, staring at the screen.

"Hmmm," I said, looking at the password protection.

"hamsterdance," Jefferson's voice sounded behind me.

"Huh?" I said, turning around and looking at him in surprise.

"The password," he said, leaning against the wall with a smirk. "hamsterdance."

"Oh," I said with a grin, turning back to the computer and typing it into the screen. "Interesting…"

"Haven't you ever seen that? It's like iconic from the time before Google… probably. I don't know. But it's hilarious," he said with a chuckle. I shook my head, staring at the wallpaper of a thousand moving hamsters.

"You never fail to surprise me," I said.

"What you looking up?" Sam asked as he started making breakfast, my stomach stirred at the thought of eggs and bacon, I hadn't eaten for days, but at the same time it seemed wrong to be eating while Dean was in Hell. Stop it, I told myself, he would want you to go on living, to go on fighting, and to get him the heck out of Hell, you can't do that if you die from starvation!

"Uh, I don't know yet. You think maybe we should look for the Colt to try and open the Devil's Gate in Wyoming again?"

"Beth, don't you think this time was bad enough?" Jefferson asked, frowning.

"Well, we have to think of something!" I snapped.

"And we will!" Sam said, leaving the food and coming over to sit next to me. I inched away a little. I was still feeling the after effects of Lust's touch after three days and it was making my skin crawl whenever I was around them, yet I didn't want to be alone either.

"What if we summon the crossroads demon?" I asked, refusing to give up.

"And offer them what?!" Jefferson asked. "You going to give up your soul this time for Dean?"

"Maybe!"

"Well that's just stupid!" He snapped back, eyes flashing angrily at me. "You think he'd thank you for doing that?"

"I don't care!" I yelled back at him. "At least it wouldn't be him down there screaming for us to help him, getting sliced and diced and God knows what else they're doing to him!" I stopped, gasping for a breath as tears caught in my throat.

"Guys!" Sam interceded, "come on, this isn't helping. Beth, you know Dean wouldn't want that... it's the whole reason he made the deal in the first place, so you wouldn't end up down there."

"It's also why I can't just leave him down there, it was my deal Sam... mine," I said, shaking my head. I stood up and walked out on to the balcony again, the town was starting to wake up, although in truth it never really slept, but the tourists were out now, scurrying about on the streets below us.

Hands found my shoulders and for a brief moment I allowed myself to think it was Dean, leaning back into them. Then I forced myself to remember, and pulled away.

"Beth..." Jefferson said, leaning against the railing and crossing his arms. "You know, I promised you I wouldn't keep bugging you, checking how you're doing, and all the rest."

"I know, and thank you," I said, closing my eyes. I was sick to death of all the phone calls from Bobby, Cole and Lisa... even Jo and Ellen. How did they think I was doing? What did they expect from me? Did they just want me to give up and start grieving, let him go? I didn't want to talk about my feelings, I didn't want to talk at all unless it meant putting a plan in place. The only people who so far had honoured that were Jefferson and Sam, and for the latter it was more because he was in exactly the same place I was.

"But it was on the proviso you don't go and do anything stupid and suicidal, that you don't just give up," Jefferson continued. I looked at him and sighed, nodding.

"Yeah, okay," I said softly.

"I promise you, we will get him out of there," he said, looking at me resolutely.

"Yeah, okay."

"I think we need to start by looking for Lilith," he said, and I glanced at him surprised. He snickered. "Don't look at me like that, I've been doing this a Hell of a lot longer than any of you, I have game plans too you know." I smiled and nodded.

"And, much as it pains me, I think the first place we start looking is exactly where you suggested..." Jefferson said as Sam stepped out on the balcony to join us.

"The crossroads," I said.

"Yeah, the crossroads," he said with a sigh. "Have some breakfast, and I'll take you to somewhere that is fairly secluded, we won't be interrupted by random travellers."

"Speaking of breakfast," Sam said with a raised eyebrow. "It's ready." I smiled again, my stomach rumbling. Man I was hungry!


Dean's POV

The rag in my mouth was soaked again so rapidly I thought I might pass out from the very fear of what was going to happen next. I fought it, trying to constrict my throat so that I wouldn't take the water in, so that I could still breathe. It was a pointless endeavour. No matter how many times they did this to me it always ended up the same. Panic overcame me and my breathing became erratic, all I could see what Sammy's face in front of me, and he was smiling down on me, and I had to keep going for him. I had to keep him safe. My lungs burned from the lack of oxygen as I gulped down the water being poured into my mouth, trying to keep it from my lungs. I was drowning. I would die soon, and it would all begin again. Why I fought it every time I didn't know, must be that Winchester stubbornness that Alistair kept talking about. I screamed in agony through the very rag in my mouth as my ulna snapped from the pressure of trying to escape the bonds holding me to the rack.

"That's enough," Alistair's voice said and instantly it stopped and the rag was removed.

"Get up off the rack, Dean. Do yourself a favour. Nobody cares what you're doing down here. They all get off the rack eventually."

"Never," I said adamantly, my voice hoarse and sore.

Alistair smiled cruelly and nodded at the two demons hovering over me. "Have it your way."

"No... no!" I fought the restraints as once again the rag was forced over my mouth and the water started being poured down my throat again, my stomach became distended with bloat, and I screamed from the pain as the barbed wire wrapped around me dug in, splitting me open and spilling blood, water and bile across the floor. The water entered my lungs as I screamed; I spluttered, gasping for air and then mercifully passed out.


Crossroads
Present Day

Beth's POV

We were going to draw a large devil's trap over the entire road and then summon the demon, but Jefferson said it wasn't necessary. I frowned at him, but he refused to elaborate. When the demon arrived, it was in the body of a pretty Paris Hilton wannabe, smiling until she saw Sam and me. Her eyes flashed red, and she scowled.

"Well I was going to say hello... but it seems I don't need to sell you on anything," she said with a raised eyebrow.

"We want information," Sam said, stepping toward her.

"And why should I give you information?" She asked, circling him and looking him up and down. "What's in it for me handsome?"

"Oh, you tell us what we want to know and we promise not to kill you," Sam said with a smile.

"Really?" She asked, looking at him and walking straight up to him. "Nothing to... sweeten the pot? A girl can get awful lonely out here you know," she said.

"Now now," Jefferson said, stepping out from where he'd been watching this all unfold. "You might make a man insecure with talk like that."

She sighed and turned to face him. "Jefferson, darling. To what do I owe this pleasure?"

"You know her?" I asked incredulously, looking at Jefferson.

"We've...crossed paths," Jefferson said with a smile, looking at the demon.

"That's putting it mildly," she said with a grin.

"Okay, I don't want to know..." I said, shaking my head. "Can you help us or not?"

"The question should be ... will I help you, Beth. Not can."

"How do you know who I am?" I asked suspiciously.

"Because everyone knows who you are ... the great Mrs Winchester... on some wild crusade to free her husband from Hell. Accompanied by her equally as fanatical and just as dashing brother. Why you don't just upgrade and move on is beyond me," she said with a shrug, giving Sam a hungry look.

"Enough," Jefferson said tiredly. "Will you give us the information we need? I have payment." I looked at him in shock, bargaining, with demons no less?

"Our usual deal?"

Jefferson nodded and she looked at him curiously.

"I'd love to help you darling, you know I would. But I'm afraid there's been strict instruction to everyone. No one is to deal with the Winchesters. Not me, not the gatekeepers, not even the warlords themselves. Dean is to stay where he is," she said.

"Why?" Jefferson asked.

"Why not?"

"There's always a price, why is this one not on the table?" He asked.

She sighed and crossed her arms. "I don't know, I just know he's important to someone down there, and he's being kept from the tour in solitary confinement... for the most part... enjoying some of Hell's more intimate experiences." I shuddered, I didn't want to think about what that could mean, especially if it was anything like my dreams.

"Come on Altea, we go a long way back..." Jefferson said. "Give me some real information." He walked up to her, standing right in her face and she almost looked sad when she lifted her face to him.

"If I thought I wouldn't end up in the same place Dean is I would, for old times' sake, but I'm not going there. They've taken several of my ... colleagues ... in there in recent times and none of them have emerged yet."

Jefferson let out a frustrated sigh and ran a hand over his head. "We need to get at Lilith," he said, looking in her eyes.

"You'll have little chance of that, she's playing it close to home," she volunteered, "that much I can tell you."

"How close?"

"Fire and brimstone close," she replied. "She's spooked, boy wonder over here has her worried. But it won't be forever, she's plotting, biding her time and recovering."

"Is there anyone who can help us?" I asked, stepping forward and looking at her.

"Look, sweetheart, I feel for you, I do. But you should let him go, he's lost to you now, ain't nothing or no one in Hell that's going to help you out, not unless they have a death wish," she looked at me, her eyes cold and detached and I growled, walking away.

"She's like her mother," Altea remarked with a smirk and Jefferson hit her before I could spin around to stare.

"How does she know about my mother?" I asked, and Sam looked at her stunned.

"Because I was there the day she died," she said, standing up and rubbing her cheek.

"Liar," I whispered, tears brimming in my eyes. "My mother died in a car crash."

"Did she now?"

Jefferson was watching me, concerned look in his eyes, placing himself between us, a little closer to me. Sam frowned and moved closer to the demon, drawing out the knife. She looked at it and stepped back.

"I'm not lying," she said. "Threaten me all you want."

"Of course she's lying," I said. "That's what demons do."

"Tell us where Lilith is, no lies," Sam said, holding the knife up.

"Sam..." Jefferson ventured forward with a warning tone.

"No, Jefferson, either you're on our side, or hers, pick one," he snapped, looking at him. Jefferson stopped and looked insulted, shaking his head.

"You won't get any information out of her, but by all means kill the only friendly contact we have with Hell," he said, waving his arm in the air.

Sam hesitated and then looked at me, I was watching the demon carefully.

"Please," I said, stepping up to her and she looked surprised at the word. "Please, I'm begging you, if you know something, just... just tell us."

A moment passed and we all stood looking at her, she looked at me thoughtfully and then over at Jefferson.

"You'll owe me double, and if things get out, you never heard this from me." Jefferson nodded.

She sighed and crossed her arms, looking at me. "Hope, Colorado," she said, turning to Jefferson. "The site of the old Fore Inn, you remember?" He nodded. "There's a Devil's Gate near there, but you won't be able to open it. You'll need the help of a spirit, you'll find him there... goes by the name Hunter, has a big black dog. I wouldn't mention you're a Winchester though," she said with a smirk.

"Why not?" Sam asked.

"Because your Daddy killed him," she said with a grin, turning to walk away. "But who knows. Maybe he'll help, and maybe he won't. That's all I got, take it or leave it."

"We'll take it," Jefferson muttered, turning to me and I nodded.

"Thank you," I said to her retreating back.

"Thank me for what?" She asked, pausing to look back. "I didn't help you with anything." And then she was gone with a gust of wind, leaving the three of us to look at each other.

"Hope," I said, looking down at my hands and the wedding rings nestled together on my finger. "Seems kind of ironic."

"And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love." Jefferson said and I smiled.

"Corinthians again?" I asked, looking up at him. He nodded and grinned at me cheekily.

"Well it is one of the best," he said with a shrug.

Sam shook his head at us and started back toward the Impala, the knife dangling at his side. I watched him go and then sighed softly. Well if love was the greatest of all, then maybe we had half a chance at winning this race.


AUTHOR'S NOTES


Song for this chapter is: Even in Death by Evanescence


Hope you enjoyed reading! Welcome to the first installment of Season 4. We have a few more original pieces and a Ghostfacers flashback to go until we hit Lazarus Rising, but it is coming! Thanks for coming along for the ride :)


Don't forget we have a Facebook page if you're interested. Just do a search for Dean & Beth Supernatural Fanfic and it should come up, or PM me and I'll get you the URL via email, unfortunately Fanfiction doesn't allow direct links.


I'm always on the look out for people who have skill with making fan videos – if you can do this and are interested in collaborating on a Dean& Beth video please let me know! I'd love you forever!


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MORE ABOUT THE DEAN & BETH WORLD

This is the story of Beth (O'Malley) Winchester, daughter of a minister, also a hunter who was friends with John Winchester. Although she was unaware of his 'other job', as a teenager, Beth found out the hard way about the things that are out there in the dark when she was possessed by a demon, an old foe of her father's, and forced to kill him by her own hand.

John rescued her, exorcised the demon, and took her in, teaching her the ways of hunting. She and Dean developed a relationship which they finally pursued against John's wishes, eventually gaining his blessing when she was nearly killed during a hunt. They have done everything together since they were teenagers, and now face eternity apart unless they can come up with a miracle, to what lengths will Beth go to see Dean again?

This is Supernatural as I think it should be written. :) In general, I follow the series, writing Beth into it as we go – that's right, I don't change the plots all that much, that's not what this is about. Some become flashbacks, some change a bit to fit with the storyline I am creating around Beth, and there is more and more original content being added as I go along: all in all I hope you enjoy the way I write it, and come back for more!

Please post a review if you're enjoying the writing – I love to get feedback, especially if it's nice! If you have songs you'd like to suggest for any particular episodes, do so, I love to add to my playlists :) Likewise if you have any ideas around storyline, episodes etc. feel free to suggest them, I may not go with your ideas (because I have a fair idea on where I am taking the characters and the show) but I will always listen respectively and give you my thoughts in return – and I love suggestions for oneshots or things you'd like to see included in the story. Let me know what you like about the story! Everyone's encouragement just inspires me to keep going with it :D