Disclaimer: The characters of "Supernatural" were created by Eric Kripke and are owned by the CW Network. No profit is being made.

Story title was inspired from a line in the Lord of the Rings: the Fellowship of the Ring

The story picks up in the final minutes of the season 7 finale "Survival of the Fittest" and goes from there. This will be AU once the season starts but I had to do something to fill the Hellatus until the season 8 premiere on October 3, 2012. This will be a chapter story.

Side Note: I may incorporate various spoilers for season 8 as they leak out, so they may be weaved into this story, as well. Also, I picked the location of where Dean and Castiel ended up after the explosion based on the way Dante wrote in the "Divine Comedy" because his description of Ante-Purgatory sounds a lot like the environment Dean and Castiel were standing in at season 7's end.

Happy reading, I hope!

When All Other Lights Go Out

Chapter 1: Exile

By Dawn Nyberg

"If there's no one beside you when your soul embarks, then I'll follow you into the dark, I will follow you into the dark" ~lyrics excerpt from Death Cab for Cutie, I Will Follow You into the Dark

"Where's Dean?" Sam barked at Crowley, his eyes panicked.

Crowley smirked at the youngest Winchester enjoying the panic in the young man's face and the desperate sound behind the demanded question. "That bone has a bit of a kick … God weapons often do. You should pout a warning on the box," he quipped.

"Where are they Crowley," Sam shouted in response. He was tired of the demon's attitude. He needed to know what happened to Dean, to Castiel and the sheer lack of knowledge as to his brother's whereabouts was making the bile churn in Sam's stomach.

"Can't help you Sam," Crowley answered easily with a glint in his eye. He was clearly enjoying the situation. He quickly took Kevin as he directed two of his demons to take the young man. Sam watched them take him and turn back to Crowley, "sorry, Sam, the prophet is mine. You got what you wanted, Dick's dead … save the world, so I want one little prophet.

Sam looked desperate and Crowley could almost taste the angst coming from the young man like a good aged whiskey, "sorry moose, wish I could help you. You certainly got a lot on your plate right now. Looks like you are well and truly on your own," and with that he was gone leaving Sam standing in the empty lab at Sucrocorp splashed with the black blood of Dick Roman's demise. Sam stood there the final words of Crowley sinking in as he looked around. His panic and desperation climbing at the realization that the demon was right, he was alone, completely alone.

"Dean?" his voice a whisper as he said his brother's name to the empty lab while looking for some hint toward what happened to Dean.

"Wake up," the demand was even-toned but brooked no argument. Dean opened his eyes to a dark landscape. "Good, we need to get out of here," Castiel spoke as Dean got on his feet looking around.

"Where are we?"

"You don't know?" Castiel watches Dean's confused face.

"Last I remember we ganked Dick," he answered bluntly.

"And, where would he go in death?" Castiel watched the realization of their situation wash over Dean's face.

"What? Are you tellin' me …"

"Every soul here is a monster. This is where they come to pray on each other for all eternity." Castiel confirmed.

"We're in Purgatory? How do we get out?" Dean cast nervous tense eyes around looking into the deep shadows of the woods surrounding him and Cas as he looked back at the fallen angel for a solution.

"I'm afraid we're more likely to be ripped to shreds," his tone matter of fact. Dean's eyes shifted back to the sounds of the woods. He could here the creatures around them and turned back to Castiel.

"Cas, I think we better …" his statement died on his lips when he turned fully around only to discover Castiel had left him alone in the marshy woods. He turned slowly back around toward the noises surrounding him. He could see dark shadows of creatures; some crouched and surrounding him while others appeared to the run the perimeter. Red eyes peered at him through the woods and thicket. There was a dull light almost like moonlight coming from somewhere and it cast off the dark marshy waters a few steps away. Dean watched the shadows draw closer, heard the growls, saw the piercing red eyes never wavering from him. He let a breath out, "Oh, shit," … yeah, he thought, that about sums it up.

There was a rush of movement from his side and Dean turned toward the hairless, gangly creature that was running full tilt at him from the woods. In the dim light of Purgatory the creature looked like a Wendigo but ran on all fours like a dog, however, where it lacked in muscle it made up for in size. It was slightly larger than a hellhound. The snarling mouth opened wide as it leaped for Dean. The hunter went to dodge the attack but the creature never made it to him. He heard an animalistic scream from the animal and then silence. Dean looked up toward where the creature should have been but saw Castiel there instead tossing the now limp creature aside. "Cas?"

"We need to go," Cas reached down and before Dean could say another word Castiel removed him from the killing field.

He and Cas had been sitting in mostly silence for the better part of a couple hours Dean guessed since he had yelled at Castiel for leaving him but calmed down when the angel had merely left to see if he could locate Sam here. Dean was only partially relieved that his little brother wasn't here, but also worried that he wasn't. At least if he were here he could keep an eye on his sibling, but instead he was left with the knowledge that his brother was left holding the bag in the middle of Leviathan central. He chewed his bottom lip absently as he worried that his brother could have been hurt or killed when Dick blew up. Dean hunched toward the small fire, "man, who would have figured Purgatory would be on the cold side."

"Ante-Purgatory," Cas corrected.

"Huh?" Dean's face looked confused.

"This place is Ante-Purgatory that is Purgatory," Castiel pointed across the reed-grown seashore of sorts toward a large mountain.

"What you talkin' about Willis," Dean quipped and just shook his head at the fact his angel friend was just as dense as he always was with humor and pop culture sayings. "Different Strokes …" when Castiel still looked confused Dean added, "It's a TV show from the 80's man," he paused and shook his head, "never mind." Dean replied with frustration. "So, that mountain lookin' thing is Purgatory, how we gettin' there?"

"It won't be easy." Castiel responded flatly.

"Just pop us up there Cas, like you did in the woods … you know do your angel thing. Look you already said you can't zap us out of here but you can get around inside, right?"

"My powers are limited here … this place wasn't meant for angels or man." Dean looked serious for a moment then a bittersweet look of memory crossed his face.

"Yeah, Bobby said this place was like 'the backside of your worst nightmares. It's all blood and bone and darkness … filled with the bodies and souls of all things hungry, sharp and nasty.'"

"You still mourn for him," Castiel's voice was soft and the understanding tone had Dean looking at him. He sounded like the old Cas before he took on Sam's crazy. "He was a good man."

"Cas," Dean looked at the angel with hope.

"Sleep, you need the rest. We will make our way to Purgatory tomorrow. I'll keep watch," he turned his back and Dean said nothing else. They were in a rock-like alcove that overlooked a vast plain a small fire to keep the chill at bay but the small flames were blocked by a small rock out cropping hiding the light from anything that might see it below. Dean eased back and closed his eyes, not really sleeping but trying to just be still for a moment. "I'm sure he is okay." Castiel said suddenly. Dean raised his head.

"Who?" Dean confused by the sudden sentence.

"Sam," Castiel cast a look over his shoulder toward Dean.

"Yeah," Dean's replied but he still felt hollow. He wouldn't relax until he could see his little brother with his own eyes. "But, you're sure he's not here somewhere, right?"

"I promise you he is not," Castiel assured as he met Dean's eyes. The young hunter had a sudden thought and sat all the way forward.

"Cas, you say tomorrow but is it tomorrow?" Castiel looked confused by the question. Dean huffed a breath, "I mean when I was in Hell it felt like forty years but for Sammy it was four months. Is tomorrow really tomorrow?"

The angel turned and looked at Dean, and by the look in his eyes Dean knew and his stomach dropped. "Just say it," Dean's voice was tight.

"It moves differently here than in Hell or the Earthly plain," Castiel offered without a lot of elaboration.

"O-kay," Dean drew the word out a bit. "How much?"

"It's hard to say," Cas replied. "What may feel like a day or two here will be closer to a week possibly two for Sam."

"Dammit, so you're saying that down here I'm on the better end of the deal compared to Sam? You're saying that if it takes us very long to get out of here I'm hanging Sammy out to dry, right?"

"I'm sure he doesn't see it that way Dean. I suspect your brother will turn over every stone to find you."

"Yeah, and where has that got him in the past? Screw sleep, we gotta get the hell out of here, man." Dean made a move to stand.

"It is no use … you're exhausted and you will be no good to your brother if you get yourself shredded to pieces. Your body needs the rest after the trip to get here when you killed Dick Roman."

Dean went to argue but Castiel silenced his words when he stood up walked over to Dean and said nothing. Dean couldn't figure out what he was doing. Castiel crouched down and leaned in and Dean promptly leaned back, "Ah, remember what I said about personal space Cas?"

The angel actually smirked and before Dean knew what he was doing he touched Dean's forehead putting him to sleep instantly. "Sleep," Cas said quietly and stood up returning to his quiet sentry duty.

Jodie Mills wiped her hands on the kitchen towel and leaned back looking into her dining room at Sam hunched over his laptop. Her lips thinned at the dark circles under his eyes and the angry black and blue bruising that ran down the side of his face. He'd had a confrontation with a leviathan on his way out of Sucrocorp. The diagnosis was given by a good friend of hers that owed her a favor. He had said that Sam had a mild concussion and bruising but no broken facial bones. Sam had shown up three days ago running on empty and he hadn't really rested at all since coming to her. He had explained to her what happened and that Dean and Castiel were 'just gone' and he was looking for answers. She was glad she now lived at the edge of town and had shortly after her husband and son died when she decided she couldn't live in their house anymore. She got a place with a little over an acre of land on the edge of town which garnered her some privacy which just happened to allow Sam to stay without drawing notice. The teapot whistled and she walked over to it and poured the steaming water over the chamomile tea bag and took it into the dining room.

Sam's eyes slid toward the mug, "I'm good Sheriff Mills," he replied and returned to the laptop. Her hand closed the laptop and Sam's eyes shot up toward her.

"First, it's Jodie and second you're not good not by a long shot," her voice brooked no argument. "Now, drink the damn tea. I'm not afraid to break out the mom voice if I have to young man," she smirked at him but he knew she was serious. He dropped his eyes and reached for the mug.

"Thanks, Jodie."

"Now, when you're done drinking that I want you to go upstairs take a hot shower and go to bed," and when it looked like Sam was about to protest she leveled a look, "no but's Sam. You look like death warmed over, finish your tea and go upstairs the Internet will still be waiting for you in the morning … after 9:00 preferably," she smiled softly at his slight nod and gently squeezed his shoulder.

She sat with him until he had drained the mug dry and watched him go up the stairs toward his bathroom and bedroom. He looked like he carried the burden of the world on his shoulders. Her mind wondered to thoughts of Dean and prayed for his safe return from wherever he may be.

To Be Continued ….