Never Let Me Down Again, a Jesus Christ Superstar fanfiction by PhantomDaae1981.

Summary: Judas and Jesus meet and speak, an unknown number of years after the events of Jesus Christ Superstar. Jesus explains the difficult ultimatum given to him by God, leading to Judas being damned to Hell. Inspired by the 2000 movie version, starring Jerome Pradon as Judas. Contains slash: Judas/Jesus.

Disclaimer: I do not own Jesus Christ Superstar, nor do I own the Bible. I also do not own the Depeche Mode song from which I took the title of this story. This story contains a homosexual relationship between biblical persons; do not read if such ideas offend you.

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Judas had no idea how much time had passed since he flung himself into the proverbial pit. Millennia, perhaps? It didn't matter, anyway. Judas had known what he was doing; he had known that hanging himself, not to mention his rejection of God, would earn him a place in Hell.

He hadn't even cared. Eternal damnation seemed a fitting punishment for Judas Iscariot. Not because it was wrong to commit suicide, and not because it was wrong to reject God. No, Judas felt that he deserved his place in Hell for the simple reason that he had betrayed the man he loved, had fallen for God's pointless plan.

So, why did Judas now find himself swirling upwards in a vortex, the scorching misery of darkness gradually turning into cool and calming blue? The shift in temperature took Judas' breath away, and he briefly wondered if it was possible for something nonphysical, like a soul, to choke.

But it wasn't the temperature change that Judas found completely disarming; it was the change in mood. No longer full of a despair, from which not even death could provide escape, Judas found himself laughing. As he spun higher and higher, he found himself laughing harder and harder, until his tears of depression became tears of hysterical laughter, and he didn't have the slightest idea why.

The combination of dizzy spinning, rapidly dropping temperature, and lifting mood briefly caused Judas to lose consciousness. He began to drop back down into the strange tunnel, until a pair of hands quickly pulled him back up. It was the first contact he'd had with anyone since before his death, but he recognized the feel of those hands immediately. Judas opened his eyes and looked at the man who held him steady.

"Jesus..."

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Now, Judas stood on a hill. There were no crowds, no buildings... Just perfect green grass and a few wispy clouds floating across an aquamarine sky. Jesus faced him; the emotion on his face was somewhere between pity and love. Judas was unable to trust his own observations.

"Where am I? What is this..." he muttered.

"This is my Father's gift to me," Jesus replied. "He is rewarding me for having pleased Him... I wish I could tell you that this was for you, or that it was permanent. I desperately wish that I could tell you that, Judas... You don't deserve what's happened to you. But it's not up to me, not really, no matter what He says."

The words didn't sink in... All that Judas understood was that Jesus was here, in front of him. Judas stepped toward Jesus, fell into his arms, just as he had so many years ago in Gethsemane. Jesus cradled Judas in his arms, as they both began to weep.

"I'm truly sorry," Jesus sighed. "I wish I could have you at my side in Heaven."

"You have me with you now; I don't care where I've been before," Judas murmured. "Just please tell me: Does this mean you forgive me for betraying you? Because, I swear to you, I didn't know they would kill you. I was a fool; I should have known, but I didn't. I thought they'd just lock you up, and the others would run away, but I would stay; I would be there when you were released... I never wanted you dead, never."

"Oh, Judas... I know that. I've always known that. And I never wanted you dead, either, dear friend. I don't blame you for going to the high priests; you had to, in order to fulfill God's plan."

Judas pulled away, and Jesus saw the anger in his eyes.

"Yes. I helped fulfill God's plan. And, yet, I was sent to Hell."

"My Father didn't punish you for turning me in... He punished you for renouncing Him with your last breath when you killed yourself."

"Your Father wanted you dead." Guiltily, Judas looked away. "I don't want to fight with you, Jesus. Not anymore. That's all in the past; we're together now."

"No, Judas." Jesus' voice was firm. "It's not in the past; it's a decision I have to make everyday. But I wanted the chance to explain myself to you, and God has finally allowed me this chance."

"What are you talking about?"

"It's not as simple as my Father wanting me dead. I had to die, in order to save humanity. I had to make that sacrifice, for the sake of the world. It wasn't that hard, not really. But God wanted another sacrifice from me, and it's a continual sacrifice on my part." Jesus laughed bitterly. "And it's continual misery on your part."

Judas' head was swimming with confusion, but he waited for Jesus to speak again.

"God damned you to Hell for renouncing him during your suicide... But He gave me a choice when I died: I could either leave you to suffer in Hell, or I could lift you to my side. But, if I brought you out of Hell, God would not save humanity."

They were silent for several moments as Judas realized the meaning of Jesus' words.

"But... why?" Judas whispered.

"I don't really know... I don't pretend to understand everything my Father does. But it was either you or humanity. I suppose God wanted me to prove my selflessness, to show him I would not only sacrifice my life, but that I would also sacrifice my love, in order to save humankind. Technically, it's a choice I've made, and a choice I continue to make. But it's not a fair choice, obviously. I love you, Judas; I've always loved you. But you're one person. One person, compared to all of humanity. Do you have any idea how vast humanity is? I'm doing the right thing, but it fills me with misery. I might as well be in Hell, too."

Judas felt a lead weight pulling at his heart. God hadn't sent him to Hell; Jesus had. A large quantity of nobodies meant more to Jesus than the one man who loved him more deeply than anyone else ever would.

"Why did you bring me here? Why are you telling me this? You've brought me out of the eternal pits to explain yourself, but you're just going to send me back when you're done."

Jesus bowed his head in shame.

"Because I wanted you to understand. I didn't want you to blame me."

"Ah. Well, I didn't blame you. Until now."

"Judas, please try to understand the position I'm in!" Jesus pleaded. "It's all of humanity depending on me!"

"I do understand that, Jesus. And, if our roles were reversed, I'd save you in a heartbeat. Humanity can rot, for all I care. I would save you, because you are the man I love."

"Yes... You would," Jesus acknowledged, sadness in his voice.

Judas began to laugh.

"But, then again, I suppose that's why you are the Son of God, and I'm not."

"This was a bad idea," Jesus apologized. "I thought that if I could explain things to you, it would help. I was so happy when my Father finally granted my request to see you... I don't know what I thought would happen if I spoke to you; I should have known better. But, please, Judas... Is there any measure of comfort I can give you before you have to go back?"

Judas' eyes filled with tears.

"Perhaps, one... A kiss?"

Jesus quickly averted his gaze.

"I can't. I wish... But I can't. It's been forbidden."

Judas slowly turned away from Jesus.

"Then send me back. Being here with you, learning that you have done all of this to me, and you could take it all back, if you really wanted to... This knowledge is a worse Hell than anything Satan can dish out. Send me back."

"Judas..."

"Send me back."

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