Thank you so much VegasGranny and Ncsupnatfan for pre-reading. This chapter is un-beta'd, so I apologize for all remaining mistakes.
In June 2019 I was in Majorca on holiday with my sister. I was on a mountain train ride when I had an idea. Surrounded by the most amazing views and under the warm sun, I got out my phone and made notes. Gripped by inspiration, the idea wouldn't rest, and I had to get my thoughts down before they slipped away. The file names for all these chapters throughout the writing process was Things I Do Up A Mountain, as I had no title until today.
This is not going to be an easy story. It does not have the strong Sam/Dean bond I try to feature on in my stories. It's unlike anything I've ever written before, but I hope you'll give it a chance. I promise the bond is back in the sequel. That said, if you do read and enjoy, please leave a review. It means the world to me to hear you're enjoying what you're reading. It enthuses me to write more — and there is still a little left of the sequel left to write.
"Oh, buddy. We could've been something, you and me," Lucifer said. "We could've remade the universe. It would've been great. We could've been better gods than Dad. And I really wanted that, pal. I wanted that. But now if I can't have it with you, I don't need you. I just need your power."
Sam watched in helpless horror as Lucifer withdrew an archangel blade from his jacket and sliced across Jack's throat.
His mind reeled as he tried to make sense of what he was seeing, of what was happening. This had happened before; he knew this moment. Lucifer would absorb Jack's grace, and then he'd take Sam and Jack then try to force one of them to kill the other. Jack would be on the point of killing himself to save Sam, to leave him to end Lucifer, when Dean would arrive with Michael as a passenger that would take control when Lucifer was dead.
That whole nightmare spiraled from the moment he remembered, so how was he seeing it again? What the hell was happening.
He leaped forward, not sure what he could do to stop Lucifer but needing to act, and then he staggered as his head swam with dizziness. He blinked, still desperate to get to Jack, and he felt a jolt as he realized his position had changed.
He was now in Lucifer's place facing Jack. His mouth was open as grace flowed from Jack's throat and into him. He felt it entering, flooding him with warmth and power in a way he'd not felt since he was drinking demon blood, though this was more, so much more. The power spread through his veins, lighting each nerve. It was unlike anything he'd felt before.
He made an inarticulate sound of shock and pressed his hand to Jack's throat as if he could staunch the flow of grace. Jack's eyes widened, and then an incredible and grossly wrong thing happened. Light glowed under Sam's hand as he felt a hum as if he'd pressed it to a loudspeaker. He yanked his hand back automatically and saw that Jack's wound had healed.
"What…" he said breathlessly. "Jack?"
Castiel grabbed Jack and yanked him away from Sam then stood in front of him as if shielding him. Sam's eyes found Dean, searching for reassurance as he always did in times of stress. He found him, but he wasn't alone. Lucifer was standing beside Dean, and both their faces bore looks of hatred.
The expression, familiar in Lucifer's face from the Cage, was unknown on Dean's. No matter how bad things had gotten between then, even when Dean had been stalking Sam with a hammer, he'd never looked at him like that.
"You!" Sam snarled, taking a step towards Lucifer.
There was a laugh behind them, and Sam looked past him automatically to see Michael crumpled on the floor in his broken vessel. He was staring at Sam, his eyes bright with mirth. His laughter ended as his mouth opened and blue-white light filled the air as he escaped his ruined vessel and burst through the open door.
Sam's moment's distraction was all it took for Castiel to act. His blade slipped into his hand, and he plunged it into the side of Sam's stomach.
Sam grunted, but it was a sound of shock, not real pain. It hurt, but not with the right kind of pain. Sam had been stabbed before, and he knew the way it scorched like a burn, but this was muted, warm but not hot. It felt more like an annoyance than an injury. He looked down and saw that there was blue-white light bleeding from the wound with the red blood.
What was happening to him?
"Cas!" Dean shouted.
Sam pushed Castiel aside, shoving him to the floor with far more ease than should be possible, and advanced on Lucifer.
Dean tried to step in his path, but he was quickly shoved away, too. Sam reached Lucifer and grabbed him by the throat. Lucifer's eyes widened and his face reddened as Sam lifted him into the air until his feet were dangling.
He dragged Lucifer close and growled into his face. "What did you do?"
Lucifer seemed to be trying to speak, and though Sam couldn't hear the words, he thought the whisper of desperate breath sounded like his brother's name.
"Nick!" Dean shouted.
"Take it back!" Sam ordered.
Lucifer's eyes were wide and scared, and Sam was immensely confused. How was he bleeding grace and Lucifer being overpowered so easily? This had to be some kind of crazy dream or hallucination. The last thing he remembered was being in the cemetery with Dean, Castiel, and Jack's body, surrounded by the zombies that Chuck had created in revenge for Sam shooting him. It had been, to use Chuck's words, the end.
Maybe he'd lost his mind. He couldn't have rewound a year to this moment, and he definitely couldn't be some kind of angel.
Something slammed into the back of Sam's skull, and he dropped Lucifer and spun around, his mind spinning with confusion.
Jack was standing in front of him, a dagger in his hand with a golden blade and black leather-wrapped handle. Though he was shaking and pale, he looked furious, and he spoke between his teeth. "You hurt my family."
Sam's eyes moved between the blade in Jack's tremoring hand and the determined look in his eyes, and he knew Jack was going to kill him.
"Do it, Jack!" Dean urged.
Jack jabbed the blade forward, and at the same moment, Sam felt something spread from the center of his back, a new weight, and then the floor disappeared from under his feet. There was a rush of speed and strength before he landed—that was the only word for it—in front of the familiar burned-out husk of what had once been a farmhouse then a sanctuary for his small family.
He was at Bobby's house, and unless he was very wrong, he had just flown there.
A throat cleared behind him, and he turned to see Chuck standing on what had been the porch of Bobby's house, his hands stuffed in his pockets.
Fire spread through Sam's veins, and the weight at his back spread so that it seemed to be reaching for the air like fingers. "You!" he shouted.
"Me." Chuck walked down the steps and pulled his hands free and pointed them at Sam. "What do you think?"
"I think you're an asshole. What have you done to me?"
Chuck laughed. "I call this a rewrite. The last book got away from me, you guys started making choices I didn't agree with. I let you go with it for a while, as a character-driven story is always better than what you get when you force characters to follow an outline, but I didn't like the end result. I think this new idea will be much better."
Sam glared at him. "So this is the new story? I'm an angel?" He infected the word with derision for the insanity of what was happening.
Chuck shrugged. "You can't deny it's original for me. I've never done this to you before. You've been soulless, you've both been possessed by an archangel, Dean's been a demon, but you've never experienced life on the flipside. I changed things up a little. You are technically an archangel, but I'm tweaking that a little, too. I don't want a superpowered Sam running the show." He tipped his head. "That would be far too easy. A good story comes with obstacles and character development. You wouldn't believe the development I'm expecting from you this time."
"What about Lucifer?" Sam asked. "What's his part in all of this?"
"You mean Nick?" Chuck grinned. "That's my favorite part. Two birds, one stone. I get to give him a second chance while getting my revenge on you. See, you shot me, Sam. I didn't like that." His jaw jutted out. "It was a plot twist I wasn't expecting or willing to accept. It wasn't all bad though; I enjoyed the surprise of it. You and Dean are usually predictable, and I don't have much trouble making you do what I want. The only time you really challenge me is when I am putting you up against each other. Like when you were throwing your tantrum over Gadreel. I had to kill Dean to make that right, which wasn't exactly original. And making Dean a demon… The fight he put up about killing you…" He whistled. "You both became so real to me when I was doing that."
"We are real!" Sam snapped. "We're not just characters in one of your sick stories."
"Sure you're not," Chuck said, his eyes dancing with mirth. "You're all your own man. I am just an observer. At least that's what you are now. I admit I was the one with the typewriter before. But this time…" He gave a little shiver. "I am letting you run the sandbox this time."
Sam clenched his teeth, his anger bubbling to the surface again. "What's the point? How does making me an archangel make the story better?"
"It doesn't really," Chuck admitted. "Not that alone anyway, which is why I'm doing this…" He withdrew a knife from his pocket and raised it. Sam tried to back away, but Chuck gripped his arm painfully tight and held him. With a satisfied smile, he swiped the tip of the knife quickly across Sam's throat.
Sam felt warmth rise and then a terrible sense of loss as grace bled from him into the air. Chuck raised a small glass vial in his free hand, and the grace flowed into it. The pain of Sam's stab wound seemed to grow as the grace left him until it was like a firebrand pressed to his stomach.
Chuck peered at it for a moment, then wiped a hand across Sam's throat, healing the shallow wound and said, "That'll do. I don't want you completely powerless. You've got to be convincing."
Sam pressed his hand to the wound on his stomach. "You can take what you want from me, I'm still killing Lucifer."
"You're really not," Chuck said. "I told you, this is Lucifer's second chance, too. He's protected from you. You can choke him all you like, but you can't kill him. He's going to have his chance at normal while you suffer. See, he really is Dean's brother now. Dean and Nick Winchester are the men that saved the world—more than once."
He stopped and stared at Sam a moment, taking in his horrified reaction. Sam felt like he was being burned by the realization. Nick had his life. Sam was trapped as this… thing… and Nick was… He winced. Nick was a Winchester.
Chuck looked pleased with the effect his words had and went on smugly, "Sam Winchester has been erased from their memories. You never existed. It was only ever Nick and Dean. You, Sam, are the one that tried to end it, that tortured Nick for almost two centuries in the Cage. You are Lucifer now."
Sam felt as if all the air had been driven from his lungs, and he couldn't breathe in again. He was Lucifer! Of all the torments Chuck could have thought up, of the ways he could have killed him, he had done chosen something Sam couldn't have imagined in his worst nightmares.
Chuck clapped his hands, clearly delighted. "This right here, your pain, is what is making this story great." He tapped his chin. "So… if you're worried about Lucifer hurting them, you don't need to be. Nick loves his family." He laughed softly. "I couldn't have Lucifer hurting and killing them now, could I? What would be the point of that? Not a very good storyline and way too short. For you to know Dean is happy and will never know you just puts the icing on the cake."
Sam's heart sank. If Chuck was telling the truth, and he had no reason to doubt him after what he'd seen in the bunker, it meant he'd lost Dean completely. Nothing he could do, no matter how ardently he pleaded his case or how much of Chuck's deceit he shared, Dean would never see the truth. Dean hated Lucifer with a passion that was almost as intense as Sam's. And if Nick had taken Sam's place…
His fisted hands shook. "You bastard!"
"I'll take that just this once because I figure I've earned it, but that's the last time you get to insult me, Sam. And it's the last time you and I are going to be having a face-to-face until the end."
"I thought 'the end' was what you did to us in that cemetery."
Chuck rubbed the back of his neck. "Yeah, that wasn't my best plan, admittedly. What I always loved about your story was the angst. When one of you is hurting, it makes the story for me."
Sam was sickened. He and Dean had been through so much in their lives, more than anyone ever should have to face, and Chuck had enjoyed it. It had been his entertainment. And now he had created this new horror. Seeing him kill Jack had been awful, but he'd still not seen how twisted Chuck was until now.
Chuck considered him a moment then sighed, "Obviously, I prefer it when you're both hurting, as that's usually how it works, but this time it's all you. And you were always my favorite one to hurt. If I'd let my original plot play out, you'd both have been dead within weeks, and there would be no do-over with the rules I'd applied to your canon. I am going to sit back and watch this story play out, loving every moment of it because I won't know what's coming this time." He rubbed his hands together, his eyes bright with expectation.
"And if I tell Dean what you've done?" Sam ventured, still a smidgen of hope in him.
"He won't believe you," Chuck said dismissively. "I've made sure of that. If you're smart, you'll leave Dean and Nick alone. Let them live their lives together. There's one obvious end to this story, and I'm not telling you what it is. I want to see if you guess it before reach it on your own." He spread his arms. "And that's me done. Enjoy the story, make it good. I'll be watching closely."
He looked Sam up and down one time, laughed, and pressed a hand to Sam's stomach, right over his wound. "This pain is different, right?" he asked. "It's real? This is all real."
It was. This pain wasn't Hell, not a dream or hallucination as Sam wished it was. This was life.
Chuck pressed down harder, and Sam groaned in pain. He tried to shove Chuck away, but before he could make contact, Chuck was gone, and Sam was alone, blood trickling down onto his pants, and his heart racing.
What was he supposed to do now?
So… What do you think? Is this a world you want to follow me into? It's unlike anything I've done before, and I'm excited about it. If you're willing to join me, I can promise a wild ride and many twists and turns.
Until next time…
Clowns or Midgets xxx