A/N: Thanks to On-A-Dare, for a quick beta, and to Lynne, to whom this idea owes its genesis. Not mine, only playing, etc.
morning, Sam and Dean. The woman you are looking at is known to you –
in Dean's case in the biblical sense – as Anna Milton, rogue
angel, psych ward escapee, and fan polarizer. She recently, while the
two of you were busy detoxing and angsting, respectively, disappeared
in a Blinding White Light of Ambiguity. Your mission, should
you choose to accept it (and really, when have the two of you ever
walked away from any mission ever offered to you by anyone), is to
storm the gates of heaven, find Anna Milton, and return her to Earth.
Preferably before her dye job fades and her hair starts looking all
brassy. Should you or any of your team be caught or killed,
Kripke will disavow any knowledge of your existence, plunging you
into a deeply meta existential crisis from which you may never
recover. Or, you know, he'll just find a way to resurrect you.
Again. This tape will self-destruct in five seconds. Good luck, boys.
Four . . . three . . . two . . . what do you mean, 'Sam replaced
the tape player with an iPod'? Dammit. Dean, would you
Your mission, should you choose to accept it (and really, when have the two of you ever walked away from any mission ever offered to you by anyone), is to storm the gates of heaven, find Anna Milton, and return her to Earth. Preferably before her dye job fades and her hair starts looking all brassy.
Should you or any of your team be caught or killed, Kripke will disavow any knowledge of your existence, plunging you into a deeply meta existential crisis from which you may never recover. Or, you know, he'll just find a way to resurrect you. Again. This tape will self-destruct in five seconds. Good luck, boys. Four . . . three . . . two . . . what do you mean, 'Sam replaced the tape player with an iPod'? Dammit. Dean, would you mind—
"Dude, you just shot my iPod!"
"I'm sensing a problem here," Sam said.
"You mean like the part where we're supposed to storm the gates of heaven? Hey, wait. Wasn't that the movie where Legolas defended Jerusalem?"
"No, that was Kingdom of Heaven."
"That movie sucked."
"Dean, focus please?"
"Yeah, all right. What's the problem?"
"The whole 'team' thing." Sam began flinging file folders onto the Impala's dashboard. "I mean, Pamela, Andy, Missouri, Caleb, Hendrickson, Ruby, Bela, Ellen, Jo, Pastor Jim, Ash . . . pretty much everyone we've ever worked with is now dead, or evil, or both. Or they haven't been seen in at least two seasons."
"What do you mean? We got Bobby. And Cas."
"And you think that's enough to storm heaven?"
"Well, yeah. Come on, Sammy, this is a take off on Mission: Impossible, not Mission: Kinda Challenging."
"I guess. Just, please tell me it's the TV show and not the movies. I'm still mad that they made Mr. Phelps evil."
"Oh, it's totally the TV show. The author is bonkers, but she's not batshit insane."
"But you always throw scissors," Sam said, staring in horror at Dean's hand, palm down and parallel to the floor. "Always."
"You don't think I learned anything from finding Dad's baby mama in a bloody smear? Paper covers rock, dude. The Zachariah mask is all yours."
"But I don't look anything like Zachariah," Sam said. "I'm too tall. I'm too . . . hot. Why can't Bobby be Zachariah?"
"You don't think I'm goin' on this crazy trip, do you?" Bobby asked. "I'm only here because I was hopin' Barbara Bain was gonna show up."
"Oh, yeah," Dean said. "She was a babe."
"Wasn't she, though?"
"You don't think maybe the angels will notice Zachariah is suddenly a foot taller, way more fit, human and has veins pumping with demon blood?" Sam demanded.
"You're thinkin' like this is a serious fic, Sam. This is crack; logic don't apply here, boy," Bobby said.
"Also," said Dean, "you're officially no longer allowed to trot out the 'but I have demon blood' excuse. You've overused it."
"Fine," Sam snapped. "But I think we're going to need a little more than me in a mask to storm heaven."
"I have a flame thrower," Dean said.
"How do you figure that will help?"
"Oh, it won't. But don't I look cool?"
"We also have this," Castiel said, appearing suddenly with his arms full of bottles of—
"Is that Evian?"
"Yes. Unholy water. The perfect blend of pretension, questionable environmental responsibility, and the evil of blatant product placement. Plus, it's French."
"So . . . we have a mask and some bottled water. All we need to do now is figure out how to get to heaven," Dean said.
"I've been researching this," Sam says. "It's not going to be easy. We may have to level some mountains and raise some valleys. Or get a camel through an eye of a needle. Or perform a lot of good works, die, and hope for the best."
"Or we could take the short cut," Castiel said. And, hands glowing white, he touched both brothers' foreheads.
"Cas, where the hell are we?" Dean asked, looking around the strange, cluttered world they found themselves in.
"We are inside the author's brain," Castiel said. "We should be able to bypass the long, drawn out quest for heaven, and just skip to the end. Turn left, and don't touch anything," he added, just as Dean reached out and poked at a small translucent key. It fell and vanished in a poof of smoke.
"Was that important?"
"Only if she needs to drive. That was the location of her car keys."
"Oops. But, hey, she'll find them eventually, right?" Dean asked.
"Or she will walk," Castiel said.
"Hey, what is this?" Sam asked.
"The approximately nine percent of the periodic table that she can remember," Castiel said.
"But eight isn't the atomic number of lithium."
"I didn't say she remembered it accurately."
"My God," said Dean, "this poor woman knows all the words to 'Oops! . . . I Did It Again.'"
"Wait, why do you?" Sam asked.
Dean cleared his throat. "Which way?"
"Turn right at all the dialogue she remembers from Whedon shows, keep going till you find her biscuit recipe, and watch out for the pit full of broken bodies of characters she's cut from stories. It should be right there."
"There's nothing here but a bunch of walls, Cas," Sam said.
"Find the fourth one," Castiel said, pulling out a rope with a grappling hook. "We should be able to rappel down the other side of it and right back into our story."
"This is heaven?" Sam said, looking around. "It looks like a corridor in Soviet bloc military base."
"This is merely a construct. Heaven is beyond the author's comprehension."
"But why construct this?" Dean asked.
"Because she did not think the story would work if we had to rescue Anna from a giant library."
"Whatever. Let's just do this and get out of here," Dean says.
"Right," Castiel said, and pulled the grate off an air vent. "After you."
"More freakin' ducts," Dean said. He nodded to Sam. "You go first, Zach-face."
"Look, why do I have to wear the damn mask if we're gonna be sneaking through air ducts?"
Approximately twenty minutes, five air ducts, two elevator shafts, and a supply closet later, Sam dropped though a hole in the ceiling and into Anna's cell.
"Aren't you a little a tall for a management angel?" Anna asked.
"That's what I keep saying," Sam said.
"Did you just Star Wars us?" Dean demanded, dropping into the cell as well.
"Couldn't resist. So this is a rescue?"
"Yes," said Castiel. He didn't so much drop through the ceiling as vanish from the vent and reappear on the floor. "Hello, Anna."
"I wasn't expecting to see you, Cas. Change of heart?"
"I owe you an apology." Castiel hesitated. "My bad?"
"Touching as this little reunion is, could we maybe get out now and patch up later?" Dean said.
Castiel stepped forward and put his hand on the door. It opened with a snick and a flash of white light.
They emerged from Anna's cell into a hallway that looked remarkably like the one they had begun in.
Really, really remarkably like it.
And – "Hey, isn't that the grate you removed so we could get into the ducts?" Sam asked, pointing to the piece of metal leaning up against the wall, twenty feet away.
"You dragged us all that way through the vents instead of going twenty feet down an empty corridor?"
"It was what was required by the construct," Castiel said.
"Of course it was," Dean said.
Further discussion was cut off when two other angels turned down the hallway and stopped. "Zachariah?" one of them said, her eyes flicking from Sam-in-the-mask to Anna and back. "Is everything all right here?"
"Everything is fine. Just fine. We're all fine, here," Sam said.
"Well, okay then," the angel said. "Just checking. Hey, have you been working out or something?"
"Maybe a little."
"Well, you look great. Guess I'll see you in choir rehearsal," she said. She and her companion continued down the hall.
"Told you the mask would work, Sammy," Dean said.
"That is also required by the construct," Castiel said.
"So, can we get out of here now?" Anna asked.
Castiel nodded, and opened a door that lead to a sunlight gravel driveway, where the Impala stood waiting for them.
"How did the car get here?" Sam asked.
"Oh, you know. The show always ended with the IMF team driving away from their successful mission," Dean said, opening the driver's door. "You coming? Or would you rather break out a couple of beers and sit on the hood and talk about our feelings and all that shit?"
"Emote later," Anna said, letting herself into the backseat. "Drive now."
"I believe that would be wise," Castiel said, taking the seat next to her.
Sam slid in the shotgun seat and pulled off his Zachariah mask. "Sounds like a plan to me."
Dean grinned, gunned the engine, and charged through the gates of heaven, with "Highway to Hell" blaring through the Impala's open windows.
Oh, but if anyone knows where the author left her car keys, could you please tell her? Thanks.