Twelve hours later Sam and Dean arrived in downtown River Pass, Colorado. It was dark outside- late evening- and both Winchesters could immediately see that something was not right.
The streets were eerily deserted.
Both Winchesters were on high-alert for any sudden movement or sound.
"Dean! Look out!" Sam reached out and grabbed his brother's arm as a girl appeared in front of the Impala.
Tires screeching, Dean slammed on the brakes just before the car could hit the young woman.
Sam let go of his brother before Dean could pull his arm out of his grasp and unbuckled his seatbelt.
"Stay in the car, Sam," Dean instructed and started getting out of the vehicle himself.
"But she might be hurt," Sam suggested. The girl was standing only inches from the bumper, her face blank and her eyes wide. Her pink hair fluttered off her shoulders in the wind.
Dean reached into the glove compartment and pulled out a pistol, checking to see it was loaded, he slid it into the waistband of his jeans at the back.
"Sam, if you get out of the car so help me God…" Dean didn't finish the sentence and his brother nodded, having no intention of obeying his brother if things started going downhill.
"Dean!" Sam called his brother's name but Dean ignored him.
"Hey, are you okay Miss?" Dean asked as he approached the young girl.
"Oh yes, I'm fine. Now," the pink-haired high schooler smiled and her eyes turned pitch black.
Dean wasn't fast enough to grab his gun and the demon flung him into the air. He crashed over the Impala's roof and onto the asphalt.
"DEAN!" Sam shouted and shoved his door open. Ignoring the threat, he ran to the back of the car.
Dean was pulling himself up, one hand on the trunk of the Impala, the other at the small of his back.
"Get the trunk open," Dean muttered and fished his keys out of his pocket.
Sam reached toward his brother's outstretched hand when the sound of footsteps alerted him to the girl's approach.
"Hi Sam," the pink-haired demon smiled and Sam paled visibly.
"What did you do? Where is everyone? Where's Rufus?" Dean growled at the demon, pointing his gun at her face.
"We didn't do anything to this town, Dean-o," a new voice spoke and both Winchesters turned to look at the dark-haired woman who appeared. She wore knee-high leather boots, skinny jeans, a dark blue shirt and a black vest.
Dean, the only one with a weapon, was unsure of which demon to aim at.
"This town used to have a lumber and saw mill but the factory closed down and when everyone lost their jobs, they all moved away," the dark-haired demon explained, "So you can blame all this on the Recession, not us."
The demon spread her arms out wide to indicate the whole town.
"So there was no demon horde? Was Rufus even here?" Dean asked and the pink-haired demon shook her head.
"What the hell do you want with us?" Dean demanded, worried for his brother and if the demons had any plans for him.
"Oh, don't be so naïve," the dark-haired demon said, "Sorry, but not everything is about you, Dean."
"Sam," Dean lowered his voice so that only his brother would be able to hear, "Run. Get out of here."
"I'm not leaving you," Sam whispered steadfastly.
"They want you! Get away," Dean argued, "I can handle it."
"That's not nice, you know," the pink-haired demon chimed in, "Why don't you share with the rest of the class?"
"Fuck you!" Dean snarled and squeezed a shot off, catching the dark-haired demon in the abdomen.
Ignoring the second demon, both Winchesters took off running down the quiet street. Sam, with his longer legs, outpaced his brother easily. Realizing this, Sam looked over his shoulder and slowed his stride.
"Run Sam!" Dean shouted, losing ground as he fought to keep up with his sibling.
Sam glanced at the boarded up shops along the stretch of road and jogged to a storefront that wasn't covered with plywood.
Shattering one of the glass panels in the door, Sam reached in and unlocked it, ignoring of the sharp shards cutting his arm.
"Dean, in here," Sam called to his brother as he approached.
Once both were inside, Sam looked around frantically for something to barricade the door.
"Maybe there's salt in here," Dean muttered under his breath as Sam kept watch at the door.
"I'm sorry, Dean," Sam said softly, causing his brother to look up at him.
"For what?" Dean grunted.
"For getting you into this mess," Sam answered, "it's my fault."
Dean didn't reply. Sam's shoulders slumped.
"Why didn't you run when I told you?" Dean asked.
"I wasn't going to leave you, Dean!" Sam exclaimed.
"Ah, so this is where you're hiding!" a feminine voice caused Dean to curse out loud.
The two demons appeared and walked toward the shop front at a leisurely pace.
The pink-haired demon opened the door and stepped through first. She raised one hand and Dean gave a grunt of pain as he hit the wall.
"Dean!" Sam cried out and tried to run to his brother but found he could not move. The second demon had her eyes fixed on him, trapping him where he stood.
"Don't hurt him!" Sam stared wide-eyed at the two women.
The pink-haired demon smiled, "You tried to kill me. I'm just returning the favour."
"R-Ruby?" Sam gasped at the uniform-clad girl.
"What am I? Chopped liver?" the dark-haired demon asked; one hand on her cocked hip.
Sam could have cared less who the second demon was- all he cared about was his brother and how the hell he would get them both out of this alive.
"Oh c'mon Sam," the demon said in an exasperated voice, "we were so close once. Don't you remember?"
It took moments for Sam to connect the dots, "Meg… it's you… but I thought you were in Hell."
"I had some extra vacation days I needed to use or lose," Meg smirked and nodded to Ruby.
Sam stared, trapped, as Ruby stepped up to his brother.
"Dean! No! Get away from him!" Sam shouted at the demon.
The pink-haired demon smiled innocently at the eldest Winchester, "Do you like my new meatsuit?"
Dean glared at the demon, "Go to Hell, bitch."
"After you," Ruby grinned and flicked out her hand.
Dean's neck shattered audibly, his limp body falling to the floor in a crumpled heap.
"NO!" Sam cried out and fought against the invisible force holding him.
With a smirk, Meg released her power from Sam and watched as he stumbled forward, dropping to his knees before his brother's body.
"D-Dean," Sam choked back the tears that threatened to flood his eyes and he gently lifted his older brother's head. Dean's eyes were open and empty, "I'm so sorry. God, I'm so s-sorry for e-everything!"
Sam lifted his brother and hugged him to his chest. The tears finally came and Sam sobbed openly.
Ruby crossed her arms over her chest and looked over her shoulder at Meg, "As entertaining as this is to watch, we're somewhat on a schedule."
Meg sighed, "You're such a party-pooper."
Ruby shook her head and approached the grieving Winchester.
"Sam," she intoned in a sultry voice and was slightly surprised when the young man actually looked up.
Ruby bent down and brushed Sam's hair back from his brow. Sam had tears trailing down his face and he clutched Dean's body even tighter against him.
Leaning over even farther, Ruby whispered in the young man's ear, "I'm sorry."
Ruby kissed Sam's temple.
Bobby hadn't heard anything from the Winchesters and he was growing anxious. Surely Dean would have called to say they'd arrived?
Bobby hated being left behind, only able to wait for news to come meet the boys… or not.
Determined to do something except peer out the front window into the yard every ten minutes, Bobby went to his bank of phones in the kitchen and dialed Rufus's number again. He had been trying to contact his friend ever since the Winchesters had left but without any success.
The phone rang twice before his friend picked up.
"About time you answered," Bobby growled.
"I didn't know I was supposed to sit by the phone!" Rufus replied.
"You don't answer your damned phone for hours, Rufus, I expect you to be dead!" Bobby chastised, surprised by the fellow hunter's calm tone.
"Oh, you'd like that, wouldn't you?" Rufus grated back.
"Listen, just hold tight a little while longer – Sam and Dean should be at River Pass soon," Bobby assured his friend.
"The Winchesters? Rufus asked, "Why you sending them my way? Damn Bobby, you must really be worried about me."
Bobby didn't speak for a moment. Had Rufus forgotten that he was sending reinforcements to help with the demons?
"Bobby? You still there?" Rufus' voice brought the grizzled hunter from his thoughts, "Did you say River Pass? You must be going senile! I ain't in River Pass, I'm up at Boulder."
Bobby's eyes widened, "So you didn't call me about a slew of demons terrorizing River Pass, Colorado?"
Bobby could almost hear Rufus' eyebrows raise, "What on Earth are you talking about? I never called you- I wasn't about to ruin the nice day I was having!"
As Bobby listened to Rufus, his heart rate began to speed up and fear settled in his belly.
"Do me a favour, will ya?" Call Dean's cell phone an' let me know if he answers."
Bobby hung up the phone and waited for Rufus to call him back.
"Went straight to voicemail, Bobby," Rufus returned when he got in contact with his friend again.
"Balls," Bobby swore and ran a hand over his beard.
"If you want, I can drive down to River Pass myself and check it out. Should only take a couple of hours."
Bobby refused his friend's offer and ended the call. Taking a deep breath, Bobby gathered his thoughts. Walking into the living room, he stared out the window, pulling off his baseball cap.
"You know I ain't much of a praying man, not since Karen passed… but sometimes things are outta my hands and I just gotta swallow my pride and ask for help. If you're listening, like Sam thinks you are- well, I need ya to get my boys through this in one piece. I don't know if it was you who got those boys onto that plane but if it was, can you do this one last thing?"
The house was silent when Bobby finished. He ran a hand through his hair and put his cap back on.
Turning to head into the kitchen, the old hunter jumped as he nearly collided with Castiel.
"What're you doing here?" Bobby exclaimed, surprised that the angel had decided to make an appearance.
"I heard you," Cas answered simply.
"Wasn't for you," Bobby grunted, trying to restore at least some dignity.
The trench-coat clad angel surveyed the living room, head cocked to one side, "Where are Sam and Dean?"
"They went to River Pass-" Bobby began but the angel had vanished, leaving him alone again.
Dean sat up with a gasp, his neck stiff but no longer broken. Glancing around, he immediately sought out his brother.
"Sammy!" Dean called out and startled when a pair of grey trouser-clad legs and shiny black dress shoes appeared in his line of sight.
Looking up, Dean narrowed his eyes at the owner of those legs, "Zachariah, where is my brother?!"
The angel smirked, "Haven't the foggiest."
"Liar," Dean snarled at the angel, "What the hell are you doing here?"
Zachariah rolled his eyes, "I'm here because it is time to do your job, Dean."
"My job? What the fuck are you talking about? I'm not doing anything for you assholes," Dean snapped.
Zachariah raised an eyebrow, "Don't you recall how you pledged your obedience to us? Or has that slipped your pint-sized brain?"
"You screwed us over!" Dean snarled, "I'd have to be crazy to do anything for you chuckleheads!"
The angel scowled, "Okay Dean, playtime's over. You're going to do what I say and just maybe I'll tell you where your precious little brother is."
Dean pulled himself up so that he was standing, he trusted Zachariah as far as he could throw him. Dean didn't forget that Meg and Ruby had attacked them before Zach had resurrected him.
"How about no, you narcissistic son of a bitch!" Dean snapped, mind working overtime to find a way out of this situation.
Zachariah glowered, "Big things are happening, Dean. Things you can't escape."
"I don't want to be involved," Dean argued, "You dicks got what you wanted: you started the Apocalypse-"
"Oh no, Dean, we didn't start the Apocalypse, you did," Zachariah interrupted, "Or should we say, Sammy did."
Dean opened his mouth to retort but then closed it.
"What big things are you talking about?" Dean asked instead, his curiosity piqued.
Zachariah smiled, "The Four Horsemen, oceans of blood, flaming hailstones, the whole nine yards."
Dean's eyes shot open in shock. The angel smiled even wider.
"Why can't you guys just stop it? You are angels after all?" Dean asked, no longer yelling but his tone didn't lose its heat.
"We can't do anything because it was always supposed to be you, Dean," Zachariah said, "That's what I've been trying to get through your thick skull since we first met."
Dean gritted his teeth, "You just don't want to do anything!"
Zachariah scoffed, "No, what we want is for you to close your cake-hole and do as you're told."
Dean tried to sidle across the wall and out from under Zachariah's glare.
"Not so fast, Dean," the angel reached out grabbed the young hunter's shoulder.
"Get your hands off me!" Dean snarled, shoving Zachariah's chubby hand away.
"Those demons who took your brother killed you quickly," Zachariah whispered, "But unlike me, they granted you a kindness."
Dean cursed under his breath and closed his eyes for a moment. He wished he could just get the hell out of this shop, this town, this state and find his brother.
When he opened his eyes again, Dean was disappointed to see Zachariah was still towering over him.
"What do you want me to do?!" Dean asked, rhetorically, "You wanted me to kill Lilith and I didn't do that and now you want me to, what, stop the Apocalypse?"
Zach shook his head, "Not stop the Apocalypse, no. But you can stop the Devil."
Dean blinked, "I can stop… the Devil?"
The angel nodded, "Oh yes, you actually have a very important part in this, Dean."
Dean's expression turned suspicious. He knew they needed to stop the Devil but there was no way in hell he was going to go along with whatever plans the angels had for him and Sam.
The sound of fluttering wings caused both Dean and Zachariah to look toward the front of the store. Dean feared that the new arrival was more of Zach's buddies and was immediately surprised to see Castiel standing in the doorway.
"Dean," the trench-coat clad angel said and walked forward.
Zachariah turned his attention on the intruder, "What are you doing here, Castiel? You cannot stop the Apocalypse."
Cas tilted his head, "I may not be able to stop the end of the world but I can stop you."
The angel reached out and touched Dean's hand, transporting them both instantly to Sioux Falls.
Dean stared at his sudden change in surroundings- he was standing in Bobby's living room- and caught sight of his old friend.
"Dean! Are you alright, son? Where's your brother?" Bobby asked.
The young hunter shook his head, "I'm okay Bobby but Sam's… he's gone…"
"Gone? Did he take off again?" Bobby asked worriedly.
"I wish he did," Dean looked at Cas and the older hunter in turn, "It was an ambush. Meg and Ruby attacked us… they killed me-"
"Killed you! Cas, did you find Dean?" Bobby interrupted.
"Zachariah arrived before I did," the angel answered, "he was the one who brought Dean back to life."
"Now I feel like I need to take a hot shower," Dean muttered before continuing.
"I think those two bitches took Sam," Dean finished sadly, "but I don't know why."
"Dean," Cas' voice caused two men to turn to the angel, "I believe I might know why the demons kidnapped Sam."
Ruby stared down at the unconscious youngest Winchester lying on the bed and crossed her arms over her chest.
The journey back to the farmhouse had taken a lot out of the demon- even with the power-boot Lucifer had given her. Meg had been jealous that Lucifer had given Ruby the same ability that had allowed her father to transport his 'special children' to Cold Oak, North Dakota. A fact which had made the pink-haired demon secretly pleased.
"Feeling nostalgic?" Meg's voice caused Ruby to bristle.
"Doesn't he look so sweet and innocent when he's sleeping?" Meg continued, sarcastically.
Ruby didn't answer. She turned to the bedroom doorway when a shadow darkened it.
Meg and Ruby moved to one side as Lucifer stepped quietly into the room.
The angel's gaze lit upon the sleeping Winchester and he smiled. Lucifer approached the young man and reached out one hand.
Ruby watched as her father brushed Sam's long bangs off his forehead before placing his hand on the young man's chest.
Ruby flinched when Sam jerked but remained unconscious.
"What did you do?" Meg asked, her brown eyes shining.
"I carved Enochian sigils into his ribs- they will keep him hidden from my brothers," Lucifer explained softly.
"Tell me the moment he awakens," Lucifer told Meg and the demon nodded eagerly.
Ruby watched silently as her father walked casually from the room.
Turning away, she sighed and left Meg alone with the young man.
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