Part 2 – every dog has its day
"They're...they're gone?" The Archangel Michael was clearly unhappy. The air around his essence churned and boiled with his anger.
Zachariah rolled his shoulders underneath that well tailored grey suit of his. He plucked nervously at the knot of his expensive looking red and black tie. "It's just a minor glitch, that's all."
"Minor? Minor? Dean Winchester was going to say yes. I can't sense him anymore. Picking that Adam Milligan boy as a back-up was your idea, Zachariah, and you lost him. And now you're telling me that my brother Lucifer is in the Pit?"
"You have to get him out!"
"Uh…we…we can't. Whoever lured him in jammed the lock. No one can get in or out."
"I see. Is Father back?"
Zachariah spread his hands wide. He hoped the smile on his face was calm and filled with confidence. "We don't know."
"You mean you don't know." Michael turned away, and the air grew quiet. There was a moment when Zachariah thought he was safe.
That moment didn't last.
"You do know what you are to me now, don't you, Zachariah?"
"You're expendable," the archangel growled.
Michael's power rose up all around him, and Zachariah began to scream.
Dean Winchester was the last thing Castiel remembered before everything went white.
Dean Winchester was the first thing Castiel saw when he came out of the white.
Castiel struggled up on his hands and knees. His essence still showed, but overlaid that he saw an image, an illusion, of Jimmy Novak's flesh. The humans couldn't see this; it was obvious what they thought they saw was Castiel's bruised, bloody vessel.
They were apparently in Bobby Singer's living room now. Dean was dressed exactly the same, but there was something different about him this time. Singer sat on the opposite end of the sofa.
"I was on my way to give myself up to Michael." Dean said out loud. "I remember crossing the street. I was gonna talk to one'a those Jesus freaks, tell him to get on the horn so Mike could come get me. Next thing I saw was you and this dude who looked like me. So," a muscle in Dean's jaw twitched. "You were gonna beat my ass, huh? So much for that friggin' special bond between us."
Sam Winchester grunted in disgust. Castiel wearily turned his head to look at the would be boy King. "Why? Who told you to do that?"
"I…I thought…I can explain -"
"Explain?" Sam huffed. "Explain what? We told you to go get him, to stop him, not beat him." The younger Winchester scowled and drew himself up to his full height. His hands clenched into fists. "You lay a hand on my brother, and I will end you."
The angel had forgotten how fiercely protective the brothers were of each other. At last Castiel realized what was different about Dean, what was missing. It was over. He was done.
Bobby Singer shook his head. "Looks like Daddy's home. He spanked you good."
Castiel groaned softly as he slowly stood up. "This…this is the end, then?"
"Time for you to go." Dean glared at him.
"Dean, you don't realize what you're saying -"
"Yeah, I do. For the first time in two years, I do. Get moving, Castiel. Don't let the door hit you in the tail feathers on the way out."
Castiel didn't understand the reference, but he understood the meaning behind the words.
At the same time
The house looked the same as it had when he'd left. Amelia's car was outside.
"What day is this?" Jimmy said hoarsely. He stood there staring at the house. He stared up into the night sky as though he were expecting something, and he didn't dare move.
"Um…Thursday," the dog sitting by his side replied. The expression on the animal's face softened. "It's okay. They're inside. They're waiting for you."
"What if Castiel comes back?"
The dog rolled his eyes. "Trust me. He won't."
Jimmy looked around nervously. "I was wrong. I wanted to be of service, so I prayed for that. I abandoned my family. I left Amelia and Claire."
"No harm, no foul. You can't always get what you want. But if you try sometimes, you get what you need."
That seemed familiar. Jimmy took a few hesitant steps down the sidewalk. The closer he got to the house, the better he felt.
He paused, then turned back to the dog. Something tight loosened inside his chest. "That saying," he said with a slight smile, "was that from God?"
That smirk seemed familiar too. "Dude. Mick Jagger and the Rolling Stones."
The animal winked at him and disappeared from view.
Two hours later
Dean stripped down to his bare skin, reached inside the shower stall, and dialed up a stream of warm, nearly hot water. Bobby's shower wasn't a steam shower, but it was still pretty damn good. Dean stepped into the spray, enjoying the way the water felt against his tight muscles. He closed his eyes as he turned into the spray, allowing the water to soak into his broad, strong back. After that clusterfuck with Castiel this was exactly what he needed.
Something was different all right, and Dean didn't know what. He felt clear headed. It was as though he'd been asleep or drugged for the past two years. He was grateful for being pulled out of hell, but the angels had their own agenda, that much was clear. He was Michael's Sword, he was the Righteous Man Who Broke The First Seal, he was useful, but he was also stubborn and willful and apparently tonight Castiel felt that needed to be beaten out of him.
Dean remembered the times Castiel threatened to put him right back in Hell if he didn't behave. Yeah, the dude claimed he was his friend, but none of that felt friendly. Castiel's rage when he discovered Dean was going to give himself up to Michael seemed a little too personal, like maybe Dean was throwing a monkey wrench into whatever plans he had going.
Whatever those plans were didn't matter anymore. Apparently the Dude Upstairs was back from vacation, and He'd hit the reset button.
It was just as well. It was time to move on. The Apocalypse was done. Maybe he and Sam could get back to saving people, hunting things. Maybe they could even have a life out there, somewhere. It was worth taking a look.
Dean opened his eyes and reached for the shower gel. He wasn't really paying any attention as he smoothed the gel over his skin. He knew what he wouldn't see, and that was his scars. They were a source of pride with him, evidence that he'd hunted fugs and survived. He missed his scars when he came back from hell. Yeah, it was a new start, but damn, did the powers that be have to take all of 'em away?
What he was seeing finally hit him, stopped Dean dead in his tracks.
Something was different, all right.
Freckles? Check. He still had them.
Scars? Well, damn.
They were back.
Those clawmarks around his right ankle. Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The puncture wound in his side, the one he'd gotten up in Salt Lake City, Utah. It was back. He turned this way and that in the shower. He wasn't seeing things.
His scars were back. All of them.
As Dean stared at his right shoulder he had an epiphany. Light bulbs went off over his head big time; everything was explained in that one blinding flash. He realized why he was seeing things clearly now. He'd been Obi-waned all this time.
Dean's right shoulder was just as unmarked as it had been his last night on earth, before Lillith's hellhounds pulled him down and ripped him open.
Castiel's handprint was gone.
Back to 1997
Julia Wright never noticed the man following her that day. She couldn't have done anything about it even if she had. He was six feet four, solidly built, and his eyes were pitch black.
The demons inhabiting the stolen meat suit never noticed the quite large, Hollywood handsome coyote that padded up behind them, either. There were two demons inside. One was for Julia. The other one would power the male meatsuit while Julia was possessed and raped. The result would be a Cambion, better known as the AntiChrist, half demon, half human, all powerful.
That was the plan, at least.
The meatsuit was a firefighter named Brian Elliott. He awoke with a headache hours later. He couldn't remember how or why he woke up in that part of town.
Demons taste like chicken to a certain Trickster God. Lemon pepper deli rotisserie chicken, to be exact.
Julia was never raped that day, or any other day. Months later she met Robert Turner, a normal human male. They were married a year later.
Julia and Robert Turner had a son, Jessie. He was definitely normal, even though sometimes he dreamed that this large wild dog looked in on him from time to time.
It was nice in the park. Sunshine, warm breeze. Adam Milligan sat back against the wrought iron park bench. He closed his eyes and turned his face up to the sun.
He didn't know how, but he knew exactly when he was not alone. He straightened up and opened his eyes.
The big dog sat on the bench beside him. It pricked its ears alertly.
"Never did thank you for getting me away from Zachariah," Adam murmured softly. He couldn't help it; he shuddered at the thought of that obnoxious fat prick in the grey suit.
The dog shrugged. "De nada, muchacho."
They sat there in silence for a moment. A large white mama duck paddled across the lake with her four ducklings in tow. Adam couldn't help it; he felt his eyes mist up.
"You sure about this, kid?" The dog said gruffly. Adam blinked. That voice sounded awfully familiar. He tried, but he couldn't place it. "It's a one-way ticket to Heaven. Say the word and you can have a life down here. Your choice."
Adam shook his head. "I want to be with my mom."
In the Garden
Sometimes, a dog's just gotta run. He or she has gotta chase stuff. Simple as that.
It's not about the eating, just the fact that the chasing feels so damn good. It stirs the soul, gets the blood pumping. Not so good for the chasee, but it does wonders for the one doing the chasing.
Balthazar couldn't remember what happened, exactly. One minute he was large and human and two legged, and now, well, he was decidedly small and squeaky and furry. He hated that. He turned and scowled at his ass. It was disgusting, a cute little powerpuff tail now. He could only imagine what the rest of him looked like.
This looked like one of Father's jokes.
Balthazar wasn't about to wax all eloquent about the Rainbow Bridge. He loved pigs (bacon) cows (beef), chicken (drumsticks) and all the other members of the animal kingdom. He loved them in their place, which was on his plate.
Preferably with a side order of cocktail sauce, or au jus, or any other condiments.
Things were screwed up now, and Balthazar knew it. He twitched his nose as he cowered underneath that gigantic elephant ear plant. He heard rustling in the underbrush of the garden, and from the way the fur at the back of his neck raised up, he knew he was screwed. He just knew it.
The little grey squirrel hiding in the tall grass a few feet away scowled at him. "I'm the most buggered son in all Creation," it whispered.
Something huge and toothy chuckled with delight behind him. Balthazar took off like a shot, just like Crowley did, and Balthazar glimpsed the demon Meg as she bolted from cover too. Meg was a small black rabbit with beady black eyes. Yeah, a nearsighted person might have called her cute.
The ground thundered behind him, and Balthazar turned around just long enough to see sharply pricked ears, grayish brown fur, and this enormous smirk filled with teeth.
Balthazar ran like hell. So did Meg and Crowley.
And right about then they all realized that sound they'd heard while they were making their plans was God, laughing his ass off.
Late that night
Dionysus' Bar near Times Square roared on a quiet night, but this night the patrons in the bar roared even louder. The Apocalypse had been averted, and it was time to party.
Raphael sat in one of the booths near the door. He was a surly drunk. It was no surprise that he always drank alone. The Archangel Michael sat at the end of the bar, nursing a bottle of Di's finest whiskey. He sighed, low and sad, as Coyote hopped up on the bar stool next to him.
Allucquerre (Allie to her friends), the female bartender, used two of her eight arms to wipe up spilled booze from the countertop while she mixed drinks with the other six. It was thought that she was related to Kali, the Hindu goddess. Allie was actually one of Aunt Nancy's daughters. She winked at her fellow Trickster. "Boss says whatever you want is on the house."
Coyote grinned. "Oh yeah? Darlin', you know what I like."
Allie smirked. "Indeed I do." She lifted up a large mug of Ambrosia from underneath the counter.
Coyote's tail wagged a little harder.
"I lost my Sword. Both of them." Michael sighed again, and Roamer rolled his eyes as he drank deep.
"Luci's locked up in the pit. And somebody changed the lock."
Coyote wiped his mouth with the back of his left paw. "Yeah? Gee, that's a shame."
"You, uh, wouldn't know anything about that, now would you?"
"Me? No. I just got here," Coyote lied. He was the very picture of sincerity.
Michael stared moodily into the amber depths of his glass. "So what am I gonna do now?"
"I dunno." Coyote shrugged. He drained the rest of his Ambrosia, licked his lips, and then waggled his eyebrows suggestively. "Hey, those French nuns at the Sacred Heart convent outside Paris looked really lonely. You could go tend to the flock."
"Heck, why not? You need to turn over a new leaf. And anyway, nuns need love too."
The next day
Coyote trotted into view on the far side of Singer's Salvage Yard, just past that rusted out yellow school bus near the fence. He pricked his ears at the whiskey smooth voice behind him.
"About time you brought your ass back here, Fuzzy."
The Old Man stopped and turned around. Dean Winchester leaned against a dusty black pick-up truck frame.
"Those were some smooth moves. I bow to the master." Sure enough, the pup stood up and bowed from the waist, slow and respectful.
"Oh. You saw that, huh?"
"Yep." Dean stuck his hands in his pockets as he sauntered over. "Dad was headed over there. He was gonna have some words with that dude in the trenchcoat."
"Damn. I woulda loved to have seen that."
"Dude. You can always call do-over again, can't you?"
Coyote chuckled. Dean kept walking and the Old Man walked next to him.
"We missed you yesterday," Dean drawled as though it really wasn't a big deal, which meant it really really was. "Bobby fired up the grill."
"Oh." Coyote's ears drooped. "Sorry I missed it."
Dean shrugged. "No worries. We saved you a plate."
"You did?" Coyote brightened visibly. His ears perked up and the tip of his tail wagged a little.
"Yep. We did."
They walked along together in silence for a few feet, then Coyote laid his ears back. "Did, uh, did you guys go to Antelope Canyon like Sam wanted?"
"Nah. Sam wanted to wait until you got back."
Coyote's eyes widened. "He did?"
"Yeah. Dad did too. And Bobby. Wouldn't have been the same without you."
Coyote's grin got a little wider. He carried his tail higher.
Dean pretended not to notice.
Every dog has its day, sure enough, and this particular dog was having a mighty fine one.