A short list of changes for this AU:

-The events of season seven will have an effect on the plot.

-There is no back door to hell. Just forget it even exists.

-Benny is still alive. His death was a waste of a fantastic new character, and I refuse to roll with it. Assume the events of "Taxi Driver," with the

exception of the completion of the second trial, never happened.

-Sam's Gap Year happened for an important, plot-relevant reason that will be explored.

-Amelia actually matters, and her romance with Sam is tied to the rest of the plot.

-Dean's experiences in Purgatory are still a part of the plot, and his relationship with Benny is still important.

-The Gates of Hell plot will be resolved in a completely different fashion, and much of 8.23, "Sacrifice," will unfold differently.

The events of this fic still take place after 8.22, "Clip Show," and there will be spoilers for some events in the finale.

As always, I hope you guys enjoy the fic.

The place was a bit…dusty for Crowley's taste, but Lucifer always had had a bit of a messy streak. He swiped his finger across the surface of the stone table in the center of the crypt, staring critically at the ball of dirt and cobwebs at the end of it.

"Bloody slob," he muttered under his breath.

He dared speak no louder than that. Call him superstitious, but Crowley wasn't one to underestimate those who would do him harm; Lucifer might be at the center of the earth roasting in his cage, but that didn't mean taunting him was a wise decision. Things were bad enough with heaven's Chief Intelligence Officer and her agents on his arse; no need to tempt fate. Especially considering the task he was about to undertake.

His shoes tapped the flagstone floor as he walked over to the north wall of the crypt, eyeing the floor for booby traps. Spotting none, he swiped at the wall with his palms, clearing the dust away and revealing the inscriptions underneath.

Can't believe I've been driven to this.

It was amazing, really. He'd been sure Rocky and Bullwinkle were finished for at least a few years – plenty of time for him to find the tablet. He'd planned to lay low, get the damn thing, and destroy it for good. After the prophet had translated it, of course. It should have been so simple.

But he was coming to learn something he thought he'd already known – that Sam and Dean Winchester were something more than men. More than angels or demons or monsters. He wasn't sure what they were. But they needed to be stopped.

Had to be stopped.

He was a crafty bugger – he'd ditched Lucifer during the apocalypse, damn it! – but he could sense that it was nearing five o'clock on his day in the sun. Things were happening, things he'd thought were impossible, and if he didn't make some major moves, the gates of hell would be closed, no matter how many of the Winchesters' old saves he sent to meet their maker.

Plan A is just never enough, is it?

Sam had completed two of the trials, and only he could complete the third. Crowley would have thought all the evil muck running through Sam's veins would've made him a rotten choice for world savior, but it seemed he was going right on ahead anyway.


But there was a way to make sure he was unsuitable. A way to scar his soul so badly he'd be lucky to end up north of the seventh circle when his blasphemous life finally ended. A way to keep the gates open and get the Winchesters off the nice list.


He cleared away the last of the dust on the wall, and began to read.