A/N: I'm back. If you have good health and a stable home life you better cherish it. That's all I'm saying.
A/N #2: Waves to LeeMarieJack. Hey there, bet you thought I forgot, didn't you?
Up now: Horseman!Dean gets an unexpected visit from a most persistent visitor. The clock's ticking and Abaddon's ascension (and the end of the world ) is drawing near…
In life, as in death, one sees only what one wants to see.
He's been accused of a lot of things in his long and varied lives, but whether eternal or human, but no one has ever accused Dean Winchester of being subtle.
…you dumb sonofabitch…
The man in black steps out of the darkness onto Las Vegas Boulevard, his face shrouded in the deep shadow of his hood.
…listen to me….
That voice is a whisper that goes unheard. Static. Background noise. Dean ignores it. He ignores everything but the way his power sings underneath his skin. He feels good. Pretty damn good, actually. He's fully a Horseman in this moment. This is all he ever wanted, to save his family from Circe, stop Abaddon, save the city and the world.
"Play your part in this, Dean," the witch told him. "Give us a show, and I'll release your loved ones."
They want a show? Dean thinks darkly. I'll damn well give them all one they won't soon forget.
A block away Abaddon the Fallen looms overhead like the worst (and last) nightmare the world has ever seen. His gigantic black wings lie folded tight against his bony back, but his shoulder spines writhe and uncoil with a life all their own. Neon light reflects pale and sickly on his bone white hide. The airspace around him is filled with the sharp buzz of wings and shrill laughter.
His horde of locust creatures are in attendance; they circle and worship his glorious presence.
…A Beautiful Mind The Home Game…
Las Vegas, Nevada is an improbable island of brightly colored neon, magical water volcanos, storybook castles and pirate ships. The Eiffel Tower stands tall and Lady Liberty raises her torch into the night. This street scene, with the Horseman, a giant, and a swarm of locust things is no more fantastical than anything else Vegas offers.
…we don't have time for this…
The ground shakes underfoot, then slides from side to side with a jerk. Dean ignores it.
…he's coming for us…
He casually tosses his hood back onto his broad shoulders, and those well-known features emerge from the darkness: wide green eyes, spiky dark blond hair. That patrician nose, the corners of his full lips turned upwards slightly in a smirk. Left hand gloved in black leather, his right hand's a shifting ghostly thing, composed of various light and darker shades of golden light that matches the glint in his right eye. Fine thin fine scars surround that eye like an ancient tribal sun. Truth to tell, he looks inhumanly beautiful, terrifying and totally Other.
Dean Winchester looks exactly like the things he and his family used to hunt.
And what he does next only reinforces that impression. He drops his gaze on Abaddon and his minions like a gunsight.
The horde swoops and flits in the dark air. Abaddon smiles, a toothy crescent of jagged yellow bone and writhing maggots. Several hundred of his locusts hover around him. "We love you" they whisper. It's music to his ears, if he had any.
Something bright, merciless and eternal flares in Dean's eyes.
The horde dies screaming in a violent snap of copper light.
…we don't have fucking time for this…
The look of surprise that crosses Abaddon's boney face would be comical if he weren't so damned ugly. His massive wings unfurl as he turns in Dean's direction. The maggots in his mouth retreat even deeper as his bone teeth grow longer and sharper.
Huge black eyes lock with wide green ones.
"Last death pays for all." Dean's voice resonates with barely restrained power. "Let's get this done."
Abaddon doesn't answer.
Someone else does.
-YOU STUPID BASTARD, YOU'RE GONNA LISTEN TO ME. RIGHT THE HELL NOW-
That voice booms thunder inside his head, an icepick of red hot pain that jabs him right between the eyes. Dean groans out loud. He grabs his head as he doubles over in pain.
Light blurs and darkens. Abaddon and the street scene disappears, and the wide open space around Dean closes in, wraps around him, dusty and suffocating, like a cocoon.
Or a tomb.
The space turns around him, and he realizes he's curled up on his side, lying helpless like a child's carelessly discarded toy. Rough, broken concrete scrapes his right cheek raw and bloody. His right side feels itchy. Dust swirls in the air around him; this throat hitches painfully as he tries to catch his breath.
Dean feels his heart skitter and gallop like a startled foal. This isn't what he had.
The ground shakes again.
This isn't what he wants.
The sudden pain, the feeling of total helplessness sends a bolt of pure terror up his spine. Dean reaches out for his power.
There isn't any. Nothing happens.
His power is gone.
Words catch in his throat. He wants to beg, to plead to whoever's out there, whoever's listening, but God's on her damned cruise somewhere, and the words catch roughly in his throat. He'd never give the bitch the satisfaction of begging for help anyway.
Everything ends, Samirah told him once. He imagines seeing her sleek, proud form in the darkness that surrounds him. Whether you want it to or not. Everything ends. A feeling of loss grips Dean, total and all-consuming.
Not like this...not like this-
…damn you, you gotta wake up…
The space around him shakes, harder this time. Heavy objects crash and fall above and behind him.
…he's coming for us….
Dean shakes his head. No.
No? The voice sounds amused.
This…this isn't what I want…
No shit. Might not be what you want, pal, but it's what you're gonna get.
Broken beams overhead shift and fall. More dust rises into the air.
Deal with it, the voice says, not unkindly. There's a touch of irony there. Irony, and regret. And Dean knows if he met whoever this is face to face he would kill the bastard without hesitation.
Another ice pick to the brain, sharp and agonizing. It takes his breath away and sends him spiraling upwards.
…wakey wakey, wavy gravy…
Dean opens his eyes with a jerk.
He sees darkness and the twisted, melted remains of a waist high white metal railing in front of him. Broken glass crunches underneath his boots as he staggers backwards, suddenly off balance. His mouth fills with the taste of rusted metal and dirt, and he can't understand why.
Something's wrong. He can't keep his balance. His right side feels itchy.
Dean glances down at himself, and his eyes widen in disbelief.
His once immaculate Horseman gear is ripped and torn, coated with layer of fine grey dust. Bruises and slashes bloom in his skin, and he knows the raised round marks are stings.
Dean blinks at the long metal rod sticking out of his right side.
Rebar, he thinks dully to himself. The rod moves with every breath he takes, and he knows he can taste the damn thing, right down to the molecular level. Definitely not one of the perks of being a Horseman.
Dean sways, dangerously off balance. He throws out his left hand as his knees buckle; his palm smacks up against twisted steel metal. Knowledge of his whereabouts comes as easily to him as it always has: Observation deck. Strathosphere Tower. Las Vegas, Nevada.
Dense black smoke fills the air. The acrid stink of burning plastic would shrivel the lungs of any human unfortunate enough to breathe it in. If any were still alive, that is.
None are. The city is a corpse. The only light is the flickering flames of gas lines burning all over the city, and flickering lights as electrical systems stutter their last.
He's stood on high ground countless times and watched whole cities and civilizations come to their pre-destined end.
Times have changed. The death of Las Vegas was something he never wanted to see.
He leans against the wall, brings both hands up, palms in, hooks the fingers of both hands into claws, and he hates the way his arms and hands shake. His left hand is clothed in black leather, and his right glows faintly with the power of Samuel Colt's special gun. This is everything he has, past and present. And it's useless.
He's useless. He's failed this city, failed his family.
The air fills with the dry papery rustle of shrouds as reapers come to gather their harvest. They're in no hurry, and why should they be? Las Vegas is broken and shattered like human dreams. Egyptian pyramids, pirate ships, storybook castles, all smashed to bits. The head of the Sphinx at the Luxor lies upside down in the rubble several feet away from its body, its gaze just as inscrutable as ever. The huge Jolly Roger sign at Treasure Island survived mostly intact, but now it tilts backwards at a slant, grinning broadly at the sky as if celebrating its partial good fortune. The devastation at New York New York is a precursor of what will happen to that city on the east coast.
That's not the worst of it. Across from the Tower lies the remains of the MGM Grand. Despite the pain in his side Dean's breathing quickens at the sight of the place.
…it's about time, dumbass…
His physical body is over there, buried in the rubble. Gone, but not forgotten, apparently.
Pale Abaddon kneels in front of the wreckage, his massive dark wings spread out for balance. Caught souls orbit him like planets circling a distant dark sun. His locust swarm circle outermost, dark, shrill and gleeful.
The MGM Lion was sheared off at its base when Dean hit the building. The fact that it weighs several tons did not offer any protection at all. The Fallen wraps his long bony fingers around the uprooted statue and stares at it idly, turning it over and over like a woman in a supermarket somewhere checking out fruit at the produce section. It doesn't hold his interest for long.
"Huh. Stupid cat." He carelessly tosses the statue aside, then sits back on his heels. His massive head tilts to one side as he surveys the ruined building with interest.
"Little brother? Are you awake in there?" Abaddon murmurs. He chuckles heartily to himself as he leans forward and paws at the wreckage. He pulls out a bent and twisted I beam, sniffs at it, and then tosses the heavy metal carelessly over one winged shoulder. "I'd hate to think you'd forgotten all about me."
"Okay," a rough voice from behind says. "Now that I've got your attention-"
Dean's eyes flash bright copper. That voice. That damned irritating voice-
The Horseman leads with his left hand as he turns around. He moves quickly, smoothly, despite his weakness and the length of rusted metal embedded in his side. Green eyes flash bright copper as he grabs the intruder by the front of his jacket. Dean freezes him in place with a thought. The newcomer's boots dangle a full foot off the pavement as Dean lifts him up effortlessly.
The energy of the Colt flares up between Dean's fingertips, begging to be used.
The man looks at him and rolls his eyes. Dean glares at the familiar face. Wide green eyes, light stubble. The bastard even has on his leather jacket, damn it!
"Dude. I'm not cowering in fear, so you can drop the wrathful Horseman bit. Unhand my leather. NOW."
"Who the hell are you?"
"I'm not a mind fuck. There's nobody but us inside that hard head of yours."
"Who are you?"
I'm your better half. The human one, remember? "
"You can't be-"
"Come on, Dean! You know who I am. You've been ignoring my ass all day."
Dean flinches as the ground shakes again. He looks over his shoulder at the MGM Grand, and he already knows what he's going to see: A massive cloud of dust rises from the front of the building. Abaddon chuckles with delight and pulls at the wreckage even harder.
Human!Dean shakes his head. "Abby's getting close. Listen up. We don't have much time."
Next: Mary and Samirah are cornered on the roof of the Imperial Palace. Sam confronts Demon!John. Rika and Tiesen meet the Leviathan. Chale runs into trouble at the Roadhouse. Dean confronts Abaddon for the final time.