This short piece follows immediately on from the season 3 finale so has spoilers and if you don't wanna know then don't enter! I am very grateful to Cookie for letting me pay homage to her wonderful "The Long Hard Road Out of Hell" with these words, and endlessly grateful to Kirsty, Lou and Amanda for helping me shape the raw words into something with more promise. I hope you like it.

Salvation By DeansBabyBird


He thought he'd known pain. That it had been his constant companion. That he'd known how to 'suck it up' and get on with the job, but it had never been like this.

Now his every waking minute reverberated with the backbeat of evil that hummed feverishly down the wires suspending his convulsing limbs. It thrummed incessantly with a wearying violence that rigoured muscle and ground bone on bone until he was sure he would shatter with the cadence of exquisite pain it created. It was the insistent surety of relentless agony that strove to defeat him, and its rhythm was the soft pulse of his pathetic whimpers as he trembled in his shackles.

It whispered for him to weep; was the melody of his screams. The top notes of his pitiful song were wrought by the sporadic jolts of cruelty that pulsed pain of even greater intensity down the hawsers, governing his obscene aerial ballet.


He thought he'd known fear. That it, too, had been his constant companion. That he'd been able to find his 'game face' and get on with the job, but it had never been like this.

He lived each moment with a leaden weight of terror crushing at his chest, images of horror and violation and disgust dancing obscenely before his fear-dilated eyes. In his head he heard the voices of madness chittering and shrieking with delight at his torment. They showed him, over and over again, the ruination of all he held dear and when he begged for mercy they screeched their pleasure and rewarded him with images of death and wanton destruction born of his failures.

His sob of lonely, broken humanity was their ambrosia and they fed from his shuddering carcass like the harbingers of decay and death that they were.


This was his existence now. It was his world. His waking agony and his sleeping nightmare.

And yet it would become his strength, his redemption.

His salvation.


He had no way of knowing how long he'd dwelt in pain and fear; no way to chart time in the fetid void that was his despised existence, no way of knowing the exact moment he'd found himself and began to claw his way back from insanity and ruination.

And it was an irrelevant detail because all that mattered was he had.

He turned his agony to armour; moulded his despair into a weapon of infinite power to strike back at the seething horde.

He became all that he could be, and he shone with the light of his belief.



This was his shield.

When they reviled him with images too hideous to contemplate, he closed his limpid green eyes; withdrew into his quaking heart to seek the perpetual flame that was his unwavering love for his family. He deadened himself to their foul imagery and saw instead his mother's laughing face, felt the wind in his hair as she whirled him around her in the sunshine of an almost forgotten, normal world. He heard her voice; like a cool drench of water for his parched throat, and his heart beat in defiance of their depravity as they howled their rage around him.


This was his sword.

He concentrated on his body. Not the piece of meat suspended from the cruel, piercing hooks and violating restraints that was the plaything of evil, but the lithe, graceful machine that did his bidding in an instant. He remembered the feeling of power that his disciplined muscles gave him as he ran and fought and triumphed over the creatures of the underworld. And he felt again the crushing strength of his father's arms about him on those precious occasions when he'd been held.

He took that, and they... the creatures of turpitude and perdition, shrieked their outrage as his broken body defied their torture again and again and again.


This was his heart.

He wrapped himself in memories of his brother. He blocked out the screams of searing agony that they dragged from him, and heard instead his brother's laughter or his soft voice detailing some piece of tedious research methodically sought and triumphantly found. He pushed into the background the vision of crimson decay that lived constantly with him and saw only the warm hazel of his brother's gaze holding him in its safety.


He took that one word and held back the regiments of the damned. Defying the ungodly army that assaulted him. He endured through all they brought to destroy him. He was at peace. That one word was his salvation.


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