Here is part eleven
Heaven is taken by the Darkness
Father and Son
I was once like you are now,
and I know that it’s not easy,
To be calm when you’ve found something going on.
But take your time, think a lot,
Why, think of everything you’ve got.
For you will still be here tomorrow,
but your dreams may not…
Bobby heard the claxon of alarms sounding just like a red alert on the Starship Enterprise but off in the distance. For all he knew, Gene Roddenberry had a hand in it. He moved to the bars, trying to see down the long hallway. For heaven, it was not very well lit. He supposed they did that on purpose as part of the punishment. There were a lot of aspects to heaven’s lock up that were way better than any jail on earth he’d ever been in. All in all, being behind bars hadn’t been so bad, except for the lack of anything to do and the isolation part of it. Not that he’d had a lot of company before, but now there was no option to talk to anyone except the occasional angel who came by to check on him. To make sure he was still there, he was certain. They knew he’d try to get out and they were right.
The lights, what few there were, flickered off in the distance. “That can’t be good,” Bobby muttered, sticking his face against the bars to see as far as he could. A long seemingly endless hall with jail cells lining the way ran in either direction. He couldn’t see a way out. Didn’t seem there was one.
The noise of a door slamming open and then closed echoed toward him, followed by the sound of running. Keys jangled and an angel skidded to a halt in front of the cell. He wasn’t the usual guard and he was frantically paging through the key ring to find the right one.
“What’s going on?” Bobby asked, trying to stay calm. He tried to recall the last time he’d seen an angel panic.
“Heaven is under attack,” he said and finally found the right key. He kept looking down the hall the same direction he’d run in from.
The angel glanced up at him as he turned the lock. “That’s an odd thing to say.”
“Never mind. From what?”
“The Darkness,” he said and threw the door open. “You have to run. Go down to the third corridor. Take a left, then two hallways, and another left. There’s a door, the third one on the right. Go through it. You’ll find a set of stairs. Two flights down, go through the door and straight across to another door. Those stairs will take you down to the underground. We think that’s where some souls have gathered.”
While he spoke and Bobby was trying to remember all the turns, the angel set his hand over his heart, or where his heart would be if he still had a beating one. A flick of light passed into him. The angel pulled out a pen next and grabbed Bobby’s hand.
“This mark will protect those you find. Hopefully. Now run.”
The angel turned from him, facing the absence of light that was barreling at them, powering up as he did. Bobby stared for a moment, and understood what the angel meant by the Darkness. He turned and fled.
“I think this is it,” John said, shinning a light along the wall to the ceiling above them where a number of symbols were scrawled, hunter signs and enochian warding. It had been a while, but he remembered.
Now it was just a question of finding the latch. The ceiling was low, so that wasn’t too difficult either. Angels were creatures of order, so finding the one thing out of place was easy. John had figured that out almost right from the start, much to the angels’ consternation. He’d spent a very long time heaven-hopping, at least until he’d found the one place he wanted to stay. He reached back for Mary and triggered the door.
A stairway materialized and a yellow haze of light filtered down. The space was filled with the silhouettes of a number of people he didn’t immediately recognize, until one unmistakable mullet appeared.
“As I live and breathe,” Ash said, smiling as he reached a hand down. He gasped when he saw Mary. “You found her!” he said and he laughed. “Come on. Come on in. Hey everybody, listen up. Things just got a little better for us. Everybody, this is John Winchester. And Mary. The ones who started it all.”
The Road House hadn’t changed at all since the last time John had been there, however long ago that had been, not too long after Sam and Dean had made that fateful trip through heaven. First off, he saw a slight redhead, an Asian kid, and a beautiful brunette with an attitude.
He turned, recognizing the voice and laughed. “Ellen!” As he moved to embrace her, and she threw her arms around his neck, he saw Bill Harvelle standing behind her, smiling along with everyone else. “Bill.”
It occurred to him then that there were more than a few people here who might hold him responsible for Bill’s death, including Bill himself. “It’s damn good to see you, John,” he said, relieving that particular worry and took Ellen’s place, thumping his back and laughing. Bill looked beyond him. “This must be Mary.”
She had hung back, hesitant to come into a room so full of people she didn’t know at all. John didn’t know everyone, but enough to be more at ease. He pulled Mary to his side. He suspected every single person here knew their story. “Mary, this is Bill and Ellen. They helped me a lot when I first got started.”
“And we knew Sam and Dean,” Ellen said, nodding to a young blonde girl in her early twenties leaning against the bar counter. “Jo and I.”
“Jo? Joanna? Your daughter? Well look at that. She’s all grown up.”
“Yep,” Jo said, pushing herself off the counter, arms folded. “And you’re the guy who got my dad killed. Nice to meet you.”
“Jo,” Bill said sharply. “Come on. It wasn’t like that.”
“It’s okay, Bill. It kinda was. I’m sorry, Jo.”
“Well it’s not like he’s alone in that or anything,” Ash said, flipping his hair back. “Pretty much everyone in here is dead because of a Winchester. Here, let me introduce you around. This is Pamela. She’s our resident psychic. Kevin Tran, prophet.”
“Say again?” John said.
“Prophet of the Lord, or something like that. Translates the Word of God. Tough job,” Ash said as Kevin held out his hand and nodded his head. “And this here’s Celeste Middleton, only she goes by Charlie Bradbury. I didn’t ask. Whatever floats your boat there.”
“And you all knew our boys?” Mary asked and they nodded.
Charlie, the cute, petite redhead waved her hand awkwardly. “I think I’m the last one to see them. Newbie here. They were sort of all right. In the middle of something pretty terrible, as usual, but I have a feeling they got it figured out, considering.”
“You mean the Darkness,” John said.
“Yeah, I’m pretty sure they’re why it’s here. See, Dean had the Mark of Cain and he died, and then it turned him into a demon, except Sam saved him, and then they found a way to get it off using the Book of the Damned,” she said in a rush that left John staring. He hadn’t heard any of this over angel radio. “I’m guessing about that last part because, well, I ended up dead right after I figured out the key to the codex that translated the Book. There was this creepy family, the Stynes—”
John held up a hand. “I think I get the picture. I don’t think we have time right now for all the details.” He turned to Ash and Bill. “Is this everyone?”
“There are a few out looking for others. Everyone we can gather.”
Ash shook his head. “Not yet. I mean, he’s up here, according to these two,” and he pointed to Kevin and Charlie, “but I haven’t been able to find him yet. That usually means the angels have him on some sort of special lock down. It’s what they do to keep the trouble-makers contained.”
“If either Sam or Dean were here,” Mary said, “would you know it?”
“They’re alive,” Ash said. “I have them on a special alert. I mean, Dean has had a tough time of it lately, but he’s been yanked back fast enough that I couldn’t get to him, and that’s pretty fast. I’ve gotten very used to those boys showing up here now and again. They die a lot. But they have angel friends and I swear, God’s got to be on their side.”
“God?” John said.
“The big man himself.” Ash nodded. “I know He’s been MIA, but there’s no other explanation for how many times those two get resurrected.”
“Everyone here warded?” John asked.
Bill nodded to that. “So is this place. Pretty heavily.”
“Not sure it’ll hold,” John said. “I warded my place but this Darkness rolled right over it. Is there a plan?”
The regular door to the outside opened and closed. Pastor Jim and Caleb with him came in leading three other hunters that John recognized; Olivia Lowry, Carl Bates, and RC Adams. John had been alone for so long, staying ahead of angel raids that he’d forgotten how good it felt to be among people he’d known, people who’d helped him through bad times. He was especially happy to introduce Mary to Pastor Jim and Caleb.
After everyone had settled again, they got to work trying to figure out a plan. John was impressed with Ash’s knowledge of heaven and how everything worked. He had his computer already rigged to show where the Darkness had infiltrated. John blinked at the pattern he saw.
Ash was shaking his head. “So far it doesn’t look like it’s bothering with too many heavens, but the places it’s been to, outside the angel pathways, I can’t make out any clear reason for it.”
“I can,” John said and everyone looked to him. “They’re all places I’ve been. Every one of them.” He glanced around the room. “Which means it’s somehow able to track me.”
“Well that figures,” a familiar voice made them all turn.
“Bobby!” John laughed. “And Rufus, you old dog. Damn, it’s good to see you two.”
There didn’t seem to be any held-over grudges, though of all people, Bobby Singer had the right, but he was beaming and then he saw Mary. “I know who you must be. It’s an honor to finally meet you, Mary. I knew your boys and I can tell you, they’re the finest men I’ve ever known. You should be proud.”
“He had a big hand in the way they turned out,” John said. There’d been a time when Bobby’s interference had annoyed him, but it was all different now. He knew how important it was to Mary to know people who’d known Sam and Dean.
“I played a part,” Bobby said, acknowledging the fact that there’d been differences between them with a side-glance and a smile. “And I’ll be happy to tell you all about them, but we should probably—”
“Save it until we’re out of trouble,” Mary finished for him. “Why do you think the Darkness is after you, John?”
But he didn’t know.
“It’s got to be because of Sam and Dean,” Kevin Tran, the prophet said. “It’s the bloodline.”
“Going back to Cain and Abel,” Charlie said. “I read it in the books,” she went on quickly, looking around the room and up at the ceiling as if afraid it might all collapse in on them at any moment.
“We should probably get moving then,” Rufus suggested.
“Yeah, but where?” Ash said.
“I found a room down in the underground,” Bobby said, pointing to the space in the floor that opened to the belly of heaven. “It ain’t much, but it’ll have to do. Doesn’t seem like the Darkness can get in there. Been no sign of it the whole time I was under.”
“It’s warded against everything,” John agreed. “Except angels. Do we have any idea how to fight it?”
“Some,” Bobby said and reopened the doorway.
“More than some,” Kevin said. “Angel blades, holy oil, and holy water stop it, and the warding.”
“How is it you know?” John asked.
“I read it. Word of God and all that,” Kevin said in a slightly sarcastic tone. “I remember seeing it on the angel tablet. I didn’t understand it at the time. I’ll see if I can find anything around here we can use.”
John nodded to that. He paused to think while the others started filing down the stairs. “Ash, we need a way to throw the Darkness off the scent. You got anything?”
“Pamela,” John stopped her from going down, “can you get through to the other side from here? I think I need to talk to my sons.”
She was hesitant. “It’s a little different coming from here. They’ll need a psychic on their end. Otherwise, it’s like shooting bullets blindfolded.”
John grunted at that. “Sam’s psychic. Always has been. He’s fought it his whole life, but I suspect he still is.”
“Maybe I can get through to him then,” she said, but didn’t seem too confident. Maybe she didn’t believe him.
“Give it a try. Let me know if you do,” John said and turned back to Ash, but Pamela reacted to the order with surprise – almost indignation. Mary laughed.
“He’s a little rough around the edges,” she said when John didn’t think he’d done anything offensive. “If he tells you to do something, it’s easier if you just assume he’s asking nicely.”
John stared at them as Mary patted Pamela’s arm as the two headed down the stairs. “What?”
“Some things haven’t changed,” Rufus said and followed after them.
Bobby laughed. “No they haven’t.”
“I’ve changed,” John said in his own defense. He got laughed at again.
“Learned to play well with others somewhere along the way?” Bobby asked him.
John rolled his eyes to the ceiling, but then recognized an issue. “I wouldn’t go that far,” he said. “And we don’t really have time for this.”
“Oh just tack on please and thank you at the end of the command, John. It’ll probably go a lot smoother for you.”
“You want to be in charge of this thing, Bobby?”
“Not at all.” He smirked at him. “Just have a little say so once in a while, and you know, don’t think you have to figure a way out of this all by yourself. We’re all in this together.” He grabbed up a duffle from behind the counter and went to help Kevin with the weapons.
The other hunters helped with that too before disappearing down the stairs. Ash stayed at the counter, busily typing on his computer. “What do you got?” John asked him.
Just then the lights flickered. That was their cue to get out, but Ash stood abruptly and started rushing around the Road House, using a piece of chalk to mark up the walls, the windows, and all the doors.
“Bobby, that’s it. Time to go,” John said, grabbing Kevin and aiming him for the stairs. There wasn’t anyone else left when Bobby hurried down the steps. “Ash, come on.”
Ash ignored him, hurrying all around the room. The walls started moving and John knew they were out of time. “Go sit at the bar,” Ash said, digging out a phone from his pocket. “Do it, John. This’ll work.”
So John did as asked, sitting at the bar.
“Try to look relaxed, man. You know, like John Winchester without a care in the world,” Ash instructed and started snapping pictures. “Now go stand over there. Same thing. You aren’t worried in the least.” He took pictures, circling around him as he spoke. “Just another second here and I’ll have it. Give me a nice smirk.”
“We don’t have another second,” John said, complying with the requested expression.
“Got it,” Ash said, grabbed his computer up and dashed for the stairs.
John followed him and as the door closed they heard the whole building heave. Ash immediately set to work again, crouching down right there in the hallway. Everyone else had gone ahead.
On the screen, which glowed a strange sort of green, John saw an image of himself somehow projected into the Road House above, sitting at the bar, only the image was animated. Then there was another image of him standing, and somehow Ash turned that into 20 of him, all doing the same things, standing or sitting, until with one push of a key, they all disappeared except one, calmly sitting there sipping a whiskey.
“We have to stay here,” Ash whispered, “so you can talk if it comes in. Maybe we can get some intel, you know, on why it’s looking for you. And I need to be close to control the holograms.”
“Holograms? Like Star Trek?”
“Eh, yeah. Kinda. Next Generation though.”
John couldn’t remember actually watching that version. Even still, everything was divided in his life between before Mary died and after. He only nodded though because he heard things slamming overhead.
Through one of the doorways, though it remained closed, a billow of black smoke seeped in through the seams before it coalesced into the shape of a woman. She had a long, narrow face with prominent cheekbones. Black hair accentuated the paleness of her face and the strangeness of her eyes. She was wrapped in shadow. It was hard to tell exactly what she looked like through the fritzing computer screen and the sheen of green light painted across it.
“You can’t run from me,” she said, taking a few steps toward him.
Ash was typing madly on the keyboard and the hologram of John stood and backed up. He nodded that John should say something.
“Does it look like I’m running?” he said and Ash typed more commands as he spoke. “Who are you? Or … what are you?”
“I am Amara. I am legion. I am your master from this moment on.”
“What do you want with me? Who knows, maybe I’ll come all peaceful like.”
“I know who you are, John.”
“A lot of people – souls, angels, demons – know who I am. What’s it to you?” The hologram John returned to the bar, leaning against it as he sipped his drink. “Why don’t you just give it to me straight, lady?”
She smiled but when she spoke her teeth barely parted. “I need you to talk to your son for me. He has something we need, something that belongs to us.”
“Which one? I have two boys.”
“What is it that he has? And why don’t you ask him yourself? I’m a little dead in case you didn’t notice.”
“It’s inside him and must be extracted. I’ve already asked. But I’m sure you’ll be able to convince him to cooperate.”
“Maybe,” John said. “This thing that has to be extracted – doesn’t sound too pleasant. You tell me he’ll be all right and I’ll come with you. No problems.”
She blinked and her jaw clenched. John didn’t believe for a second her next words would be the truth. “He’ll be fine. I give you my word.”
“Uh huh,” he said and patted Ash on the shoulder and whispered, “Time to cut this short.” He nodded to the screen. “Why can’t you just find him on your own? If you’re ‘legion’, it doesn’t sound like he’s got any place to hide.”
She didn’t answer except to move in the blink of an eye across the room to his side, reaching to grab him. Her hand went right through him, leaving her momentarily confused. Ash immediately made that hologram disappear and another appear across the room from her. That was followed by another and another until there were 20 of him standing.
“Maybe I’m here,” he said and Ash made one speak. “Or over here. Or here.”
“I will take you,” Amara spat. “You can’t stop me.”
“Maybe not,” all the Johns spoke at once. “Or maybe you’re just chasing shadows. Know this, Amara. Stay away from my boys. Ask around. Anyone will tell you, monsters who get too close, don’t survive.”
John nodded and Ash typed in the final commands. All the holograms moved to all the different exits Ash had set up and went through them, each glancing back with a final smirk before vanishing.
At the same time, Amara reached out with tendrils of darkness streaming from her fingertips to each of the illusions, but she was too late. A flare of light erupted through the Road House and she shrank from it until she realized that that too was an illusion.
John expected some sort of emotion from her, but she only stood with her head slightly tilted and then with an impatient flick of her hand, she vanished, returning to a swirling black mass. The green light from the screen winked out, and judging from the noises crashing and banging overhead, the Road House was being destroyed while they listened.
Ash bowed his head for a moment and then nodded, pushing to his feet.
“I’m sorry,” John said, knowing how Ash felt about the place.
“Eh, it doesn’t matter. I can get it back. It’s heaven, right?”
John nodded to that and indicated they should follow after the others, but another sound came to them down the long corridor, of several people running. Both he and Ash turned their flashlights and three people, two men and a woman, skidded to a halt.
They were breathing hard, as if they’d just run a long distance. The woman was slight, dirty blonde with a touch of red in her hair. One of the men, dark haired and blue-eyed, held her hand. The other man was taller, with short cropped brown hair, a narrow jaw and intense stare. He was dressed in a dark blue suit. His tie was pinned with an emblem John recognized even though he hadn’t seen it since he was a child.
“Who are you?” he said, blinking back to the present from a vision from a very long time ago.
The other man spoke first but pulled the woman behind him. “My name is Jimmy Novak. This is my wife, Amelia. We’re looking for—”
“Are you friend,” the first man asked, noting the angel blade John now held in his hand, “or foe?”
“We’re running from the Darkness,” Jimmy said, glancing between the two. “The angels said we might find help down here. We’re all warded from it. We’re looking for Bobby Singer.”
“I’m going to ask you one more time,” John said. “Who are you?”
“My name is of no import—”
“It’s important to me. Where did you get that pin?”
The man looked down at his tie. He clearly didn’t want to say who he was. John wasn’t sure he wanted to hear it, not after all this time.
“I’m looking for my son,” he said. “My name is Henry Winchester.”