Notes: For the first two chapters of this fic I gleaned a lot of dialogue from the actual episode, so the die-hard fans might recognize a lot of it. I watched the episode a few times over and decided I really liked the dialogue and the way it progressed. I used about 80% of the actual dialogue from the episode along with my own, spinning what needed to be spun to make it work how I needed it. I will eventually, hopefully, be sprinkling in some season 6 plot as well, but overall this will likely wind up being a fix-it for the 6th season. Anyway, like I said before, this is my first heavy plotted fic for this series, so please be gentle. :3

Disclaimer: I own nothing, nothing I tell you! /sobs

The Road So Far
'the road to hell is paved with good intentions'


The winding path they've traveled thus far has been a long one; filled with twists and turns, rough bumps and dips, sharp corners that nearly had them teetering on the edge of insanity. It's been hard, and crazy, and there are so many things they would do over again if they could, and some they wouldn't. Some they had no control over at all; their mother, Jess, their father as well as the people they could not save despite their best efforts. Sometimes it feels as if this has been a long time coming. They've been doing this job for too long now to think - to know - that nothing ever goes their way, never has, and they'd be stupid to think it might.

Hope is a powerful notion.

Everything they've done, everything they've experienced, has likely been leading up to this. All the difficult decisions they've made throughout their lives have brought them to this pivotal point. Dean picking Sammy up at Stanford to the vicious hell-hounds coming to claim their meaty prize at the soft stroke of midnight. Sam's alliance, which Dean still likely holds a grudge, with the demon Ruby to the right handed grip of an Angel that pulled Dean from the fiery clutches of Hell itself. It took a long while to understand why it all happened like that, why he was brought back - and sometimes he wonders if it all could have been avoided if he'd just been able to let Sammy go.

And then of course, there's the Apocalypse. Yeah, no one saw that one coming either.

To say that was shocking would be a heavy understatement. Nothing, really, could have prepared the brothers for that. They still don't know how their little ragtag bunch is going to stop it. And then there's this shit about vessels and Michael and Lucifer - the fucking devil, can you believe that - and what the fuck does that have to do with them? Neither brother is going to say yes though, they know that. Not to say it hasn't been tempting of course - it's what the devil does best after all - to just say yes and get it over with, to let it end and to let those two twisted siblings just hash it all out on their own. But neither are that selfish or stupid - at least they'd like to think so. Why it even has to be them, neither really knows for sure.

Aside from the crazy fucked up shit that keeps happening to them, Castiel is another constant in their lives, on their search to stop the Apocalypse. How many times the Angel of Thursday has saved their asses, even they've lost count. And yeah, by now, they're willing to admit that Cas has grown on them a little, kinda like a friend and a lil' like family - course Sam would be more willing to admit to this than Dean would, stunted as he is in the art of 'feelings'. Maybe when it's over, before he goes back to that little fluffy-white castle in the sky, they'll give him a proper thanks. It's something to look forward to, a goal to have in these ever so bleak times.

And it's looking pretty damn bleak, to be completely honest. Nothing a good fifth of Jack can't fix, right? And really, Bobby's pretty much a goddamn Saint to put up with their shit half the time, the only real place they feel they can call home even for a short time. How many hours already have they spent pouring over the books in Bobby's study, looking for an answer? How many demons have they killed trying to wheedle information? Is there even a chance in Hell (hah, funny) that they can actually stop it? The other Angels on high - dick-less fucks that they are - don't seem to think so. And they say as much, usually followed by thunder and lighting and glass flying everywhere - that shit hurts you know! It's hard getting that crap out of your hair.

But it's come to this and now they're about to do probably the stupidest thing possible, of course, which is pretty much the Winchester way. You're not really a Winchester unless you're doing something incredibly stupid and dangerous. It's a bad idea to start with, they know that but what other option is there? But the boys are on board with it, Bobby and Cas too. And honestly, it helps having Cas in their corner with them. A little angel luck never hurt. They have nothing else left. No aces up their sleeve. Just four rings and a plan. A damn fool plan but a plan none the less, one they've all agreed upon even if it makes them a little uneasy and the likelihood of it blowing up in their faces is pretty fucking high - like about one-hundred percent and counting.

Dean knows at some point he's gotta let Sammy go, make is own choices, his own mistakes and learn from them, just as he had - not that Dean's ever really learned from his mistakes some people would argue - and the reality is that Sam probably won't either. But Sam isn't really Sammy anymore, and hasn't been for a long time now. Sam's gone and grown up on him, freakishly tall as he is, and maybe it's time he grew up too. Not like they've got much else to loose with the world going to hell in a hand basket.

They wonder now if all paths, no matter the decision or the outcome, would lead them to the same place in the end. None of them really understand why it has to be like this, why everyone seems hell bent on letting this happen; fate, destiny, prophecy. Words that mean fuck all to the Winchesters. Whatever happened to creating your own destiny? Following your own path? Fuck fate, fuck the angels and their goddamn prophecy. The Winchesters are going to cobble their own path, layered with their loss, their strength and their hope.

But nothing ever goes according to plan, does it?