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All Creatures of Our God and King 2/2

September 9th, 2009 (02:08 pm)

A/N:  Notes in part one.
 

Castiel found him again, and his face was stricken.

“Not good news, I presume?” Zachariah asked.

“Lilith has taken Dean Winchester,” Castiel breathed. “They say he could be the one.”

“The righteous man?” Zachariah mused. “Of all the souls in the pit, what makes them so sure it’s this one?”

“The nature of his deal. A life for a life.”

“It’s been done before,” Zachariah said.

“The nature of his terms,” Castiel persisted. “One year. He only got one year.”

“All deals with the Devil are selfish,” Zachariah reprimanded. “Surely you know that.”

“God has favor on those he has favor on,” Castiel said. “Dean Winchester has been blessed.”

Zachariah sighed, looking down again. He had stopped watching, peaking in only time to time to monitor the Winchesters. “That is what they say, isn’t it?” he asked.

“He is one that has been ordained.”

“God has a habit of that, doesn’t he?” Zachariah smirked. “Dean Winchester is barely a step up from Jacob. At least he had the decency acknowledge God. Why we continually choose the impudent and unworthy is totally beyond me.”

Castiel looked perplexed. “Sir, what shall we do?”

Zachariah sighed again, turning away from the sight of Dean’s soul in Hell. “Take your battalion. Throw everything you have against the gates of Hell. Once you break in, the real battle will begin. You will lose many, but you must prevail. Find Dean Winchester and pull him out.”

“Me, sir?” Castiel asked.

With raised eyebrows, Zachariah appraised him. “You doubt your role?”

“I merely wonder if it would go faster with an archangel’s presence,” Castiel said. “Time is of the essence. They torture his soul as we speak.”

“Do no question your orders,” Zachariah commanded.

Castiel bowed his head. “I apologize. This situation...it worries me.”

“Worries you?” Zachariah asked. “And how is that?”

“The fate of the world,” Castiel said. “Rests in the hands of a soul in Hell. What this soul sets in motion, I fear nothing can stop.”

“Ye of little faith, Castiel,” Zachariah reprimanded. “Go and perform your duty.”

The younger angel hesitated a moment more, looking fully at his superior. “Do you think we can avert this crisis?” Castiel asked. “Will we be successful?”

Zachariah merely smiled. “As God wills it,” he replied.

And Castiel went on his way.

-o-

Zachariah had seen magnificent concerts on Earth, beautiful symphonies, intricate dances, people working together, weaving together a production that was so much more than the sum of its parts. These things were awesome, even by Heaven’s standards.

But they were nothing compared to the great play Zachariah created. Azazel reaped chaos for its sheer sake, turning the tainted children against each other in a violent display of the worst in human nature. Sam Winchester stayed defiant to the end, giving mercy where he should have taken vengeance. Dean Winchester remained steadfast throughout it all, pursuing his brother’s safety above all else.

Sam Winchester fell. Dean Winchester followed him. And Lilith stayed true to her part, and bought Dean Winchester’s soul and condemned both brothers to fates worse than they could have ever imagined.

The Heavens cried. Hell rejoiced. And Zachariah relished in his masterpiece.

-o-

While his soldiers are attacked the gates of Hell to find Dean Winchester, Zachariah walked up to the back gate and called for Lilith. She came to meet him swathed in white.

“An angel of the Lord,” she said. “How quaint.”

“You have something I want,” Zachariah said.

“Dean Winchester is mine,” she said, with a toss of her head. “You can kill me and I still will not let him go.”

Zachariah shook his head. “Dean Winchester you can keep,” he said. “He’s fitting in right according to plan.”

Her eyes narrowed. “I thought you were supposed to stop this from happening.”

“Sweetheart, surely your boss has told you how this story ends,” he said.

She looked at him warily. “He only told me the beginning: break a righteous man in Hell. Dean Winchester is good enough for that.”

“Just barely,” Zachariah conceded. “All that stupid human love and sacrifice. But the beginning, my dear, is only part of the story.”

“And what is the rest?” she asked.

Zachariah smiled. “That would spoil it,” he said. “But I can tell you this: not all orders are designed for your personal benefit.”

“I do not understand,” she said. “You must explain.”

He shrugged. “Ask around,” he said. “I’m sure someone knows.”

She pursed her lips and glared at him. “You said you wanted something.”

“Yes, just a small thing,” he said.

“And why should I help you?” Lilith asked.

“You know how the righteous man in Hell is only half the battle?” Zachariah asked.

“There are other seals, I am aware,” she said.

“Check the fine print, darling,” he said. “Break one righteous man in Hell, taint another righteous soul on Earth. It takes two, I’m afraid, and right now, you’ve only got one.”

“And why should I believe you?”

“I’m the one with the wings,” he said with a coy smile. “Trust me when I say that this will be mutually beneficial.”

She looked uncertain. “What will I gain?”

“The adoration of your coming King,” he said.

“And what if I want something more?”

“How about a chance at God’s redemption?” he asked. “This is His work, after all.”

“You can save me from this existence?” she asked. “Can you raise me from Hell so that I may never have to return?”

“With pleasure, when the time is right, sweetheart,” he said. “But that favor, dear.”

She licked her lips, anxious. The Earth was her playground, with souls to torture and bodies to break. The souls of the condemned were never as much fun, and she wanted out. “Name your price.”

And Zachariah did.

-o-

Zachariah pulled the demon to Earth and she came to that plane with a start.

“You saved me,” she gasped. “Why?”

Zachariah dusted off his hands. “It’s pretty simple,” he said. “It seems you might be rather useful.”

The demon just looked at him. “Useful? To an angel?”

“God works even through the lowliest of creatures. Even a demon like you, Ruby.”

“That’s an interesting interpretation of that verse.”

“If you’d rather go back to Hell, I’m sure that can be arranged.”

She shook her head quickly. “No, no,” she said. “I’m listening.”

Zachariah nodded in satisfaction. “Good,” he said. “I’m told you know a human called Sam Winchester.”

She snorted at that. “Yeah, for all the good it did me,” she said.

“What were you trying to do with him?”

“What do you think I was trying to do with him?” she asked. “He’s the one, isn’t he? Earth’s righteous man? Primed to be broken and turned against his race?”

“You’ve done your homework,” Zachariah said. “Impressive.”

“It would have been more impressive if Lilith hadn’t stopped me,” she said, sulking a little. “Do you think she knows his role?”

Zachariah waved a hand. “Lilith is like a confused child, hot and cold. She wants simple things and fails to think through the consequences. To her, Sam Winchester is competition. Killing him would be a feat.”

“And would destroy our chances,” Ruby said. Then she eyed him. “So why would you pull me out when I want your public enemy number one walking free?”

“Something about mysterious ways and all,” Zachariah said with a shrug. “It doesn’t matter. All you need to know is that you will do as I tell you.”

“And that is?”

“Find Sam Winchester,” he said. “Find him, break him, and you will have your reward.”

She looked surprised. “You are handing him over to me? What about the apocalypse? What about his soul?”

“You leave the apocalypse to me,” Zachariah said. Then he shrugged. “And his soul is of no concern of mine. He will make his choices, one wrong after the other and damn himself quite well.”

“Stacking the deck with a demon in his corner isn’t exactly fair,” she said with incredulity.

“Oh, please,” Zachariah said. “What is his soul to you?”

“You think I wish this existence on anyone?”

“Aw, how sweet,” he said. “You do remember what it is like to be human.”

“You really don’t care?”

“Sam Winchester’s soul is not your concern,” he replied harshly.

“I thought it was yours.”

“Go figure,” he said with a smile. “You were wrong. Don’t be wrong again or you will not get any second chances.”

With that, he snapped his fingers and ascended back to Heaven.

-o-

By the time Dean Winchester was saved, they were ten years too late. The first seal was broken. And for Zachariah, everything was going according to plan.

Castiel restored Dean Winchester to his body, but Zachariah refused to let him forget. “He needs his pain,” he explained. “It will be his strength.”

“But it breaks him,” Castiel said. “He does not deserve such pain.”

“You failed to prevent him from breaking the first seal, Castiel,” Zachariah noted. “Do not forget that lapse.”

Castiel swallowed, his silence acknowledging his chastisement.

“Now we need Dean Winchester to turn his failure into victory.”

“But how?” Castiel asked. “He feels worthless.”

“Then we give him worth,” Zachariah said. “He is chosen by the Lord. He is greatly blessed. It is your duty to keep him alive and safe and prepare him for his role.”

“And what is his role?”

“To kill Lucifer, of course.”

Castiel gaped. “But--that is Christ’s role alone.”

“Lucifer is a fallen angel. He can be felled just like any one of us. Dean Winchester has been to Hell. He has known Lucifer’s ways. He is capable of this. I have no doubt.”

“I do not know if he will accept.”

“Tell him enough to keep him in line,” Zachariah ordered. “Given what he’s done, he should be chomping at the bit for redemption.”

“And if he does not believe he is worthy?”

“Well, isn’t that the beauty of grace,” Zachariah said with an indifferent smile. “Seriously, his feelings are not my concern. His cooperation is. Earn his trust, push his buttons. See what you need to do to get him on board. Be his friend, for all I care. We need Dean Winchester.”

“And what of Sam Winchester?”

Zachariah snorted. “Keep him as far away from Dean as possible,” he said. “I don’t need some demon boy messing around with my one-way ticket to stopping Lucifer.”

“But--”

“But nothing,” Zachariah said. “You have your orders.”

And he snapped his fingers, and Castiel was gone.

Zachariah turned to the scene below him, watched Dean Winchester hug his brother for the first time since coming back. “Enjoy it while it lasts, boys,” he said. “Because between a torturer and a demon blood addict, you’d better believe there’s Hell to pay.”

-o-

Zachariah heard Sam Winchester’s prayer.

He heard the prayers of thanks for his brother’s life. He heard the prayers for forgiveness for his sins. He heard the prayers for absolution, to make right what he had done so terribly wrong.

They were sincere and broken and earnest.

They made Zachariah sick.

Sam Winchester couldn’t find forgiveness. Not now. Not ever. Sam Winchester was the key, the righteous man on Earth. Zachariah had seen the end. He knew how it was supposed to go. And a repentant, whole Sam Winchester just wouldn’t do it.

You will have a part to play as my will unfolds, I know, and I entrust you to it. My will be done, on Earth as it is in Heaven.

God’s will was for restoration, Zachariah remembered. Restoration would never come until destruction had.

Sam Winchester was to be evil; God had willed it.

It was up to Zachariah to make sure it happened.

With a smile, he called Uriel to his presence. “Good servant,” he said. “I have a job I think you’re going to like.”

The angel cocked his head, skeptical and hopeful as Zachariah delineated his plan.

-o-

It wasn’t working. All of Castiel’s earnest do-good talks, all of Ruby’s dark manipulations, yet the Winchester brothers just weren’t quite breaking. Dean wasn’t rising to the occasion and Sam wasn’t slinking off to create doom and gloom and that was all after getting one brother laid out in the hospital sobbing and the other juicing up on demon blood. Zachariah had sicced a succubus on them, for all the good it was worth, and they were close--so close--but they hadn’t quite left each other yet.

It was time for an intervention.

It had been years since he’d been to Earth, and he would have liked to keep his hands clean for a while longer until the real fun began. But Castiel was proving himself too wishy-washy and Ruby was proving to be not as persuasive as he hoped.

He found the brothers sleeping in a motel room just outside Memphis. They looked younger than he thought they should, and yet so much older, too. Worn around the edges, frayed and weary, as though they’d lived the years of their lives far too hard.

Which, of course they had; Zachariah had made sure of that. Yet, in all of that, these two Winchester yahoos weren’t seeing how useful they were. Dean was going to save the world if Zachariah had to put the sword in his hand and push him toward the devil himself. And Sam was going to destroy it, even if he had to open his mouth and feed him the demon blood himself.

Not that they were quite to that point, yet. He made have allowed Uriel’s insubordination, but Zachariah was still counting on his heroic homecoming for their great God and Father. So, for now, a little trip to set things straight.

He’d give Dean everything, make a life that was wonderful and perfect, to show him that wasn’t what he wanted. Then the boy would come walking back to them, just like the eager little sheep he was supposed to be.

He’d give Sam nothing that he wanted, make life miserable and boring, to show him that there wasn’t anything here for him. Then the boy would go out and create his own destiny, just like the blinded goat he was supposed to be.

It was perfect, and it was good, and Zachariah put a finger to Dean’s head and then one to Sam’s and sat back to watch the fun begin.

-o-

Two angels dragged Castiel before him. The angel was trembling, bruised and weary. When he looked up into Zachariah’s eyes, there are tears.

“Please,” Castiel said. “We need to help them. Before it’s too late.”

Zachariah looked pensive, drumming his fingers on his desk. “By them, I assume you mean the Winchester brothers?”

“Yes,” Castiel said earnestly. “I fear there are more traitors among us, and I fear that Dean and Sam cannot endure much more. They are both ready to break.”

Zachariah nodded, once and twice. “And what do you think we should do?”

“Tell them everything,” Castiel supplied readily, his eyes lighting with hope. “Tell them that Dean will not have to kill Lucifer as long as Sam does not kill Lilith. If they knew, then they could join forces again. Sam would stop using the demon blood, he would stop trusting the demon called Ruby, and they would fight evil together.”

Zachariah nodded again, considering it carefully. “That is a lovely idea, Cas,” he said. “I’m sure the brothers would be much happier for it.”

“And the world a better place,” Castiel continued eagerly. “Please, let me go back, let me--”

“Yeah, I’m thinking not so much,” Zachariah said. “See, it’d be good for them. Not so good for us.”

Castiel’s face went blank then creased with confusion. “I thought our purpose was to serve and protect them.”

“No,” Zachariah said. “Our purpose is to serve our God and Father. Your time with them has made you soft, Castiel. It is time to remember your true purpose.”

“To protect His children.”

Zachariah shook his head. “To do His will.”

“He does not will them harm,” he said. “He would not want to see them like this.”

“Well, as God’s not around at the moment, good thing He doesn’t have to, huh?”

Castiel just looked at him, his eyes wide and jaw slack. “But--”

“But nothing. I’ve entertained your doubts and your questions too long. You are a soldier of the Lord, and it is time to remember how this began.”

“I do not understand,” Castiel said, his head dropping.

“Look, Castiel,” Zachariah said. “And it will be crystal clear.”

And before them played snippets from history, grainy black and white images, but the effective was still the same. Children dying of hunger. Men killing one another in senseless battle. Women suffering agonizing illness until their deaths.

“These are the people we didn’t save,” Zachariah said. “These are the ones we could have saved if we’d only done this sooner.”

The images went on, endless and terrible, until Castiel screamed with them, until he cried all his tears, and was left spent at Zachariah’s feet.

“How do we stop it?” he croaked hours later. “How do we stop this from happening?”

Zachariah kneeled down, putting a gentle hand on Castiel’s head. “That’s my boy,” he cooed.

-o-

Almost there, and still not close enough. Just hours to go, and they were wavering on him. All Zachariah’s decisions, every situation he’d contrived, and those brothers were ready to cave in and apologize after nearly destroying each other just hours before.

He had never hated the human capacity for love quite like he did then.

God’s will was stronger than the meager efforts of man. Zachariah was confident of that. All he had to do was keep them apart, maintain the status quo. Castiel had let Sam out and secured Dean’s allegiance: both key to the endgame.

Still, it made him nervous, having both boys still in a position to reconcile--to stop what he had so painstakingly begun. So he pulled Dean out of the game to keep him safe and he pushed Sam so deep into the fray that even if he tried to turn back now, the kid would drown in it. Most of the rest was up to Ruby at this point, and she was in fine form these days. All Zachariah needed was to make one phone call, seal off Dean Winchester, and wait and watch perdition rise.

-o-

He’d always sort of wondered why God felt so good on that seventh day. But watching as the eleventh hour heralded closer and closer, he didn’t have to wonder anymore.

This was God’s plan, all right, but it was all Zachariah’s doing. God had set it in motion, but Zachariah had made sure all the pieces fell into place. He’d constructed a puzzle of God’s infinite chaos, made sense of that harsh mix of free will and destruction and he could see the hope of Heaven on Earth shining in the horizon.

Just beyond the glow of Lucifer’s last stand, of course.

Perhaps Lucifer should have scared him, but Zachariah had seen too many wars and had made deals with too many demons to fear one of his own. Because to make a mistake was to fall, and it always cost people their lives. It cost Azazel. It cost Uriel.

And now, with the rebel Anna in his grasp, it would cost her, too.

“Can you see it now?” he asked her. “Can you see why you’re wrong?”

She pulled at her bindings and looked at him with fierceness in her eyes. “I can see I was wrong to ever follow your orders.”

Zachariah tsked and shook his head. “You gave all this up for chocolate cake and sex.”

“I gave it up for love,” she said. “God gave us free will, and I used it. I didn’t do everything right, but at least I drew my line in the sand and stood by it. You distort the truth of God for your own purposes.”

Zachariah raised his eyebrows. “I’m just playing out His will.”

“You’re manipulating His children.”

“And you’re fornicating with them,” he shot back.

Her jaw clenched. “I was honest in my feelings.”

“And so am I.”

“You are taking their will from them,” she said. “I thought it was our job to lay out the options, to give them the choice.”

“And I am,” he said.

“Is that why you’re not telling Dean how to stop Lucifer from rising? Is that why you’re setting Sam Winchester up to destroy the world?”

“It’s still their choice,” he said. “Free will means they get to choose. It doesn’t necessarily mean I have to show them all the options.”

“Yes, it does!” Anna cried. “I remember! I remember the beginning. I remember who we were in the beginning!”

Zachariah looked at her, studied her for a long moment, and tried to remember. He remembered the years of waiting, the years of loss, the years of misery.

And he remembered God’s orders, to do His will. First and foremost, to do His will.

“You know,” Zachariah said. “He told me this story wasn’t written yet, no matter what our little friend Chuck might think. He told me that I had a role in this, an important one. He said the sick need a doctor, not the healthy. This world you fell for, this world is sick. It is evil. A little bloodshed on my account is nothing compared to what they do to each other. I have grounds to smite every last one of the, little old ladies and newborn babies included. But I’m not. I’m going to save them.”

Anna’s mouth was flat and her face was stony. “Is it not written that God delays His return so that all may be saved? That He does not wish to lose even one?”

Zachariah laughed at that. “Well, then he failed at that the moment Eve took a bite of that apple. Sam Winchester’s snarfing down way more than apples at this point, so the way I figure, we don’t have long to go. So, you might as well sit back and enjoy the show.”

She opened her mouth to protest, and Zachariah flicked his wrist. Anna found herself mute and immobile, her eyes screaming at him.

He smiled. “In silence, of course,” he said. “I wouldn’t want to miss anything.”

-o-

The end of the world was not without surprises. Castiel defected and Dean Winchester found his heart again, but lucky for Zachariah, they weren’t the key players at the moment. It was Sam Winchester’s turn at bat, and Zachariah had sequestered that boy so well that not even his gnawing doubts could stop him now.

Zachariah sat on the edge of his seat, fingers clenched into fists, watching and waiting, hoping and praying.

Then Sam’s eyes went black and Lilith was dead and victory was his.

The terrifying glow of Lucifer’s light, the shock on Ruby’s face when Dean gutted her, the brokenness of Sam Winchester’s soul: all necessary betrayals.

But no sacrifice greater than his own, and Zachariah had seen the end, and he waited for his reward in full.

-o-

In the end, the Heavens ran red with blood and the sun burned perilously low in the sky. The Earth had been scorched, the ground torn and formless, with the vast stretches of the oceans tainted with the bodies of the dead.

Zachariah walked over the expanse, and there was no need to take a host, since all other life on Earth was dead. If they had not been devoured by the swell of demons that ravaged the Earth, the blast of Lucifer’s great light as he exposed himself fully to the world obliterated the rest.

It was not hard to find him, the great opposition. And yet, Zachariah chose to walk the Earth one last time in order to understand his failure.

As he neared, he crossed the last great battle field, the standoff between good and evil. He saw the last of his soldiers slaughtered, the blaze of wings burned into the ground in overlapping open graves. The hosts of demons were strewn, gutted and bloodied, sightless eyes and vacant souls where the demon and humans had been likewise expelled.

And then, at the mouth of what used to be a cave, Zachariah found Sam Winchester.

The face was remarkably intact, nearly unmarred except for a gash along his hairline. But his body was mangled, neck twisted unnaturally and the bottom half torn away entirely. The boy had taken on too many demons with nothing more than holy water and an exorcism. It had been his last stand, the last stand of the human race against the demonic forces that plagued it. Sam was the last one there to protect his brother, Zachariah’s chosen one, to give him the time he needed to kill Lucifer.

He had failed.

Zachariah did not linger and left Sam Winchester where lay. The cave before him had been carved into a mountain once, but it had been leveled by the blast, and was nothing more than rubble. Still, Zachariah crossed the threshold and beheld the fallen form of Dean Winchester.

The chosen one had fought hard and valiantly, wielding his sword with a might unparalleled by human achievement. But the boy had never had a chance, for Zachariah could see now that this had never been his destiny. Dean Winchester was human, and nothing more, merely mortal and finite, and he had been felled by a meager flick of Lucifer’s powerful wrist.

That was when the darkness had descended. The sun flickered on and off but the cave did not need the light. Not with the sheer beauty of Lucifer’s awesome glow to illuminate the bloody scene.

Zachariah approached his foe, the counterpoint to his existence. The years he had spent in opposition to this one, the deals he had made to see this one defeated. Zachariah had believed in his Lord to save them from this, but at the end of all things, Zachariah was alone, face to face with these unholy being.

As he regarded his foe, the sheer presence of the devil filled him with the utmost disdain and the purest awe. How foolish he had been, to pit mere angels and lowly humans against this greatness. Evil or good, the power could not be denied, and Zachariah was humbled by it. For where Zachariah had created a symphony, Lucifer had composed a full-scale operatic victory, so vast and so complete that it obliterated everything else in its path. “The first to fall,” Zachariah breathed. “They speak of you much in Heaven and on Earth.”

Then Lucifer unfurled, rising to his full height, and Zachariah recognized his countenance from the starry expanse all those ages ago. “The first to fall and yet the only one still standing,” he said, and he sounded congenial and friendly. The expression on his bedazzling face was pleasant and endearing, and Zachariah found himself struck dumb.

The Great Beast did not seem fazed. He rolled his shoulders, looking down at Zachariah. The two beings studied each other for a long moment, before Lucifer said, “They have said you are a great leader, Zachariah. I wanted to believe that you were worthy of this task.”

Zachariah felt weak and vulnerable and it took all he had not to fall to his knees before the power of his foe. “I am just an angel,” he said.

Lucifer cocked his head. “Just an angel?” he asked. “You are God’s chosen. You have been selected for great things, dear child. Do you not see?”

“I see death and destruction,” Zachariah said. “I did not seek this end. All I did, I performed to avert this crisis.”

“A necessary sacrifice,” Lucifer said with a shrug. “Your victory cannot come without a cost.”

“But there is nothing,” Zachariah said. “You have won.”

Lucifer shook his head sadly. “My dear Zachariah,” he said. “Has your faith suffered so greatly?”

Zachariah did not understand.

The Devil continued. “This existence is like the water rushing down a stream. It ebbs and flows, and rocks and sticks ripple the surface, but the end destination is always the same. We all have our part to play, whether we are a stick or stone or the strong current that guides it. And we can deny the journey and we can forget the beginning but the ending will always find us, no matter how hard we try.”

And Zachariah felt young again, sitting before God in wonder and asking for just one more explanation.

Lucifer leaned closed, gathering the glittering robes that veiled him. “Remember, Zachariah: it is not the fall that kills you.”

Zachariah looked at him, drawn into his comely features, and seeing the awesome heights of God’s craftsmanship. Still mesmerized, Zachariah was confused.

Stepping away, Lucifer smiled. “It’s the sudden stop at the end.”

Then the Earth rumbled and the Heavens tore and Zachariah was tossed to the ground before existence blinked out entirely.

-o-

When Zachariah came back into himself, he found himself at the feet of his Lord. “Master,” he cried, filled with sudden joy that he had not felt since he was very young. “It is as you have written.”

God looked over the destruction of the Earth. He looked over the souls of the fallen, the bodies of His angels. Then he looked back at His trusted servant. “This is what you offer me? All my years away, and this is all you can offer me?”

Zachariah looked up, surprised. “But, Lord,” he said. “I have fulfilled your will. The Earth has been saved and all its inhabitants are at rest now. You predestined this. I saw it at the beginning.”

“And yet you did not learn its lessons,” God said. “The future is a gift, and you could have changed it for the better. Yet you killed and you destroyed. You turned a blind eye and you offered my beloved creatures your indifference instead of your love.”

“But angels do not love,” Zachariah said.

God smiled sadly. “All things are created to love. You could have saved them much pain and thereby saved yourself.”

Zachariah’s eyes widened. “What do you mean, Lord?”

God touched the darkened expanse and it sprang to life, offering the view of ages past. “And who are they?” Zachariah asked, watching the people live and die before him. “I do not know them.”

“They are those who have suffered because of you,” God said. “The ones I entrusted to you and the ones you squandered.”

Zachariah watched in morbid fascination as the display morphed on, faces he didn’t recognize: young, old, male, female, angels, human. Then he saw Sam Winchester’s broken, bloody body where it had fallen on the battle field. Sam Winchester’s soul had never even sought entrance at Heaven’s gates, for he did not have the hope to believe in his own salvation. He was not damned by action, but by despair.

Dean Winchester’s marred visage quickly followed. Dean Winchester’s soul had retired to Heaven without a fight. He had not killed Lucifer, because that had never been his destiny. He was the same as his brother in the end, a pawn in a great war, not useful beyond his deeds and lost in a destiny Zachariah had sealed him into.

Zachariah finally looked away.

“What you do unto the least of these,” God said. “You have done unto me.”

He did not look up. “But I did it for your victory. I sacrificed to bring you glory.”

“I do not need you to create my glory for me,” God said.

Zachariah turned his face to the Lord. “But you told me in the beginning that I had a role to play in this.”

God smiled at him. “And I had hoped that would be enough to change how this story ends. The curse of free will, which is one you understand too well, my son.”

“But you came,” he said. “You saved them.”

“They saved themselves,” God said. “And your choices condemn you. Go in peace, my son, and maybe someday you will find your way back to me.”

-o-

In the beginning, God made the heavens and the light. The earth was formless and empty, and darkness covered the deep waters. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.

Somewhere beneath the Earthly realms, far from the glory of Heaven, a new darkness rises. The souls of the fallen perish there, where fire burns all day and all night, and there is no refuge from the agony. It is formless there, bleak and desolate, but a white light rises there as well, outcast and wrong.

He desired chaos and control, power and pride. He has been there eons and mere seconds; it’s hard to tell. The darkness has stripped away his goodness, it has stripped away his senses, until he remembers to burn so bright that it burns away every other part of him. It’s worth it, though, to just have a chance to see.

He has forgotten much of what he was before, but he still extends his wings and burns with a righteous justice that he inflicts upon those around him. They are easy to control, easy to manipulate, so he uses them to do his bidding. He will find a way, he thinks, to dig his way out of this pit, to find his way to the surface once again. And then he will have justice on those who did this to him; he will bring balance to the darkness of the world he lives in.

His justice will be fierce and his methods will be cruel, but he will not force anyone to act beyond their will. Free will is paramount, and he knows these lesser beings are made to love. If he can use their love, and turn it into their hate, then he can rule them all.

Because Zachariah has seen the end, and this time, he thinks, maybe he can get it right.

 

Comments

Posted by: sendintheclowns (sendintheklowns)
Posted at: September 10th, 2009 01:00 am (UTC)
winchester v winchester

Lucifer leaned closed, gathering the glittering robes that veiled him. “Remember, Zachariah: it is not the fall that kills you.”

Zachariah looked at him, drawn into his comely features, and seeing the awesome heights of God’s craftsmanship. Still mesmerized, Zachariah was confused.

Stepping away, Lucifer smiled. “It’s the sudden stop at the end.”

Is it wrong that I find Lucifer to be the most fascinating character? And I like how Zachariah manipulates Lilith and Ruby to bring about events.

And broken Sam.

And cluelss Zachariah.

Stunning work!



Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: September 15th, 2009 07:25 pm (UTC)
bloody hero

I think one of my favorite parts of this fic is Zachariah's complete manipulations--the idea that he worked with Ruby just really worked for me.

Anyway, thanks for humoring me on this one :)

Posted by: ghostfour (ghostfour)
Posted at: September 10th, 2009 02:47 am (UTC)

Wow.

Okay... you have managed to make me feel for Cas... which is a pretty amazing thing.

Also, I love how Zach's speech patterns, how his way of relating to freaking *creation* changes as he deals more and more with the demons. Zach doesn't so much fall, as saunter vaguely downwards (to quote Pratchett). The Machiavellian ways that he plans Dean's and Sam's breaking... not knowing that he's *wrong*...

Prefect.

I still hate the angels, though. ;)

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: September 15th, 2009 07:27 pm (UTC)
scarred for life

LOL, NO! NO sympathy for CAS! Hate him MORE!

For me, the introduction of angels was hard because of personal religious views I hold. To see the show present sort of an indifferent God and such callous angels was hard to swallow. So this was my attempt to bridge the gap--to keep true to the show but still tell God's side of the story, in a sense :)

I'm glad you gave it a try--I know it was a really weird fic.

And I still wish the angels would just go away and give me my show back. At this point, I'd even let them take Dean with them...

:)

Thanks!

Posted by: percysowner (percysowner)
Posted at: September 10th, 2009 11:06 am (UTC)

Gorgeous story, and an interesting take on Zach. I think the hardest part for me is that Sam goes to Hell and Dean to heaven, because I'm not sure Dean will still be Dean if he can feel peace while Sam is in Hell. Zach truly messed up both boy and the world.

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: September 15th, 2009 07:28 pm (UTC)
winchester brothers

Well, if it makes you feel better, in my mind, when God finally does come back, he makes a few final tweaks and brings Sam back where he belongs--in eternal peace.

I just think God would be just like that.

Thanks!

Posted by: percysowner (percysowner)
Posted at: September 15th, 2009 08:25 pm (UTC)

Oh, I think God would be like that too. But then again, since I personally would never let anyone suffer for eternity and since I figure God is more merciful than I am I don't believe in Hell outside of fiction.

Posted by: Dani (pinkphoenix1985)
Posted at: September 10th, 2009 08:48 pm (UTC)

TWO WORDS- ABSOLUTELY BRILLIANT!!!!!

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: September 15th, 2009 07:29 pm (UTC)
never desert you

Thank you! I was worried people would just think this fic is really weird. Which, it is. So I'm glad you liked it anyway :)

Posted by: Dani (pinkphoenix1985)
Posted at: September 16th, 2009 03:21 pm (UTC)

to be honest, it did take me a little while to get into the story but then WOW you blew me away with the concept :D

Posted by: sam_dean_hot (sam_dean_hot)
Posted at: March 22nd, 2010 12:37 am (UTC)

That was terribly awesome. The show already had me disliking Zachariah. His behavior and dealings in this fic made me like him even less. I mean, I can understand that he thought he was doing the right thing, but he really did misconstrue God's will. Still, wonderful story. I've missed reading your stuff. ;o)

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: March 26th, 2010 02:50 pm (UTC)
brothers2

Aw, thanks! I'm glad you liked this one--it's a little out there, so it's good to know it still works for some readers.

Posted by: Moogs (moogsthewriter)
Posted at: January 24th, 2011 06:48 am (UTC)
SW Luke - pensive

So I don't think I ever told you how much I loved you for writing this back in the day when you wrote it for me. :) Because there is some seriously deep, deep stuff in here, and I just... oh, these boys. This story. This *show*! It breaks my heart just thinking about it.

But yes, I loved this. Loved the point of view, and the interpretation and the awesomeness of it. <3 You are too good to me.

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: January 24th, 2011 03:02 pm (UTC)
never desert you

I'm glad you liked it! Actually, for awhile I was very worried that you thought I was nuts for writing and posting this for you, so to hear that you don't think it's completely weird makes me feel a little bit better. It is by far one of my strangest fics ever :)

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