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World On Fire

Title: World On Fire
Author: jaune_chat
Fandom: Supernatural/Silent Hill (movie)
Characters/Pairings: Sam Winchester, Dean Winchester, Castiel
Rating: R
Warnings: Violence, disturbing images.
Word Count: 2,210
Prompt/Summary: (Written for spring 2012 dark_fest) Supernatural/Silent Hill, Team Free Will, They knew going in that hunting in Silent Hill was a bad idea, but they had no idea what the place does to angels.



The echo from the slamming car door was swallowed up in the ever-present fog and smoke. It was as if the deserted streets forbade any louder noise. Dean checked behind him three times to be certain no one uninvited was following them, even though no had even been on the road for the last twenty miles. Silent Hill didn’t encourage any visitors. It certain hadn’t welcomed Castiel and the Winchesters; Dean had swerved the car to avoid something in the road a half-hour back and the resulting fishtailing and desperate yanking on the steering wheel to avoid slamming into the roadside cliff had given them all a knock on the head and a five-minute involuntary nap. Well, at least him and Sam, he didn’t know about Cas. The angel hadn’t said a word since they’d gotten here.

Dean resolutely turned his face forward and saw Sam do the same, creeping along with his shotgun out, Ruby’s knife stuck in his belt. Castiel trailed them, moving like he was in slow motion. Any other time Dean might have snapped at him to shake a leg – they were after a nest of demons after all, but not now. Moving carefully was golden here. Dean had spent his life running through condemned buildings and fire-trap motels, but never a place where the ground itself could give way and drop him into a fiery pit. The thought had given him a few bad moments as Hell memories mercilessly replayed themselves behind his eyes.

The air here stank of sulfur and burned rock, making it impossible to tell if demons were near. And if that weren’t bad enough, there had been plenty of folks who’d died up here even before a gang of demons had decided to make it their home base, and their ghosts might still be lingering. Dean would have given the whole place a pass, except they didn’t dare let Lucifer or any of his buddies get the message that the Winchesters weren’t willing to go to any distance to stop the impending Apocalypse.

Dean breathed the filthy air and kept going, pausing just long enough to wrap a bandana around his mouth and nose. Feathery ash collected on his jacket as it fell from the sky like snow, and Sam and Cas started to look like monochrome sketches the further they penetrated into town. Main Street had an air of abrupt abandonment, with old cars slowly rusting by the side of the road and window displays showing increasingly gray wares. It was like the townspeople had just walked away from Silent Hill without a backwards glance. But unlike Riverbend, Oregon, there were no bodies or signs of violence. Frequent storefronts had going out of business signs, but a startling amount of merchandise left behind, like the shopkeepers had given up trying to sell their inventory and fled.

It felt like Croatoan all over again. The silence was suffocating.

“Where are they?” Sam whispered. Dean shook his head. The town was so silent that a nest full of demons should have stood out.

“They are waiting,” Castiel rasped, sounding shocking loud.

“For what?” Dean asked.

Castiel sounded even less human than normal, eyes fixed in a thousand-yard stare, like his attention was on something Dean couldn’t see or hear. “Change. They are waiting for the conditions to be more favorable. They know you are here.”

“How?” Sam demanded. They’d been keeping an obsessive lookout since they’d gotten here; surely they would have noticed any watchers.

“The door was opened…”

“Cas?” Dean prompted, when Castiel fell silent.

The angel shook his head and looked down the street. “You aren’t safe here.”

“Yeah, when are we?” Dean said rhetorically, and picked up the pace a little. “Come on, the faster we take out these bozos, the faster we can get out of here.”

--

Sam could see Dean’s nervousness in every move he made. This place didn’t want them there. It was what made it so perfect for a demon hiding place. They’d tracked all the signs and portents in the surrounding towns to this one town. One off-the-map place, a town abandoned because of a coal-mine fire and a long and checkered history of violence reaching back over a hundred years. Prisons, executions, cults, witch-burnings, abductions, it was a wonder they hadn’t been here before, to be honest. It should have been a demon hotspot, and all the evidence pointed to at least five demons being holed up here, if not more. They wouldn’t have dared come here without Castiel.

Cas himself wasn’t giving Sam a warm and fuzzy feeling of confidence. He barely seemed with it, staring around the barren, ash-covered town like he was seeing something underneath the crumbling buildings and-.

Sam’s heart practically pounded out of his chest when he heard a sudden moan behind him. Usually a few odd noises didn’t phase him, but the gurgling, pain-filled wail couldn’t have come from anything but someone undergoing torture. He snuck a look behind him and froze, momentarily arrested by the two-legged, faceless, dripping thing shambling down the street towards them. This wasn’t part of their playbook, wasn’t anything he’d seen before. He wasn’t even sure what to call it, just noted the slick skin and boneless, eel-like movements before swinging his gun around.

Dean was keeping a bead on the creature, and hesitating just the same as Sam. One way of calling down more trouble than they could afford was to shoot and break the silence unless they had to. Not to mention they didn’t know if lead or salt could even hurt the creature. But with it moaning and crying out, as well as dripping something that was smoking and burning the pavement wherever it hit, Sam wasn’t going to try to slit its throat. It probably didn’t even have a throat to slit.

“Cas?” Dean asked urgently, backing up a measured step as he tightened his grip on his gun. The thing shambled closer, a hoarse, gurgling sound coming up from inside it. Castiel only stared, detached, as if he were utterly unaware of the danger. Sam exchanged a look with his brother and shouldered his shotgun more firmly.

“Damn it,” Dean whispered, and the air was abruptly filled with the roar of exploding rock salt and lead. The creature stumbled back a pace with every hit, Sam and Dean staggering their shots to keep it off-balance. Everything went smoothly, until Castiel suddenly moved. He crossed their line of fire so fast it was all Sam could do to pull his finger away from the trigger in time as Cas lunged in, swinging a rusted pipe like a sword. It connected with the top of the thing, exploding it with the force of the blow. Sam ducked away from the steaming, oozing chunks and heard Dean swear as the acidic spittle scored his jacket.

“Jesus, Cas!” Dean roared, anger obliterating his caution. Castiel rounded on them, staring them both down as the destroyed creature collapsed into a heap at his feet. Sam was reminded of Dean’s story of the first time he’d ever seen Castiel, wings flickering in the shadows of lightning, proving he was an angel of the Lord. Not human.

Not human at all.

Sam’s heart began to hammer in his throat as air raid sirens began to wail.

--

“Cas, what the hell?” Dean shouted as he struggled out of his jacket before the corrosive goo could get through to his skin.

“Yes, Dean.” Castiel was staring past them again, raising his pipe in bloody salute. Dean turned to see five figures running towards them at the end of the street. Somehow, even at that distance, Dean could see the darkness in their eyes. And the fear.

“Hey!” Dean shouldered his shotgun and waited for the demons to swarm them. The one in front waved his hands and screamed something into the sooty air, but it was swallowed up by the wail of the sirens. The light began to fail, and as the sirens dropped into silence, darkness swallowed them up. Dean fumbled for his flashlight, dropping the shotgun without a second thought and pulling out his pearl-handled automatic. Rock salt wouldn’t do him a damn bit of good if he couldn’t see what he was aiming at.

Beside him Sam’s flashlight switched on at almost the same time, and both of the jaws dropped. In the beams of light, the town was changing before their eyes. Flakes of paint peeled away from the walls, revealing rusted metal and blood where brick and wood should have been. The street beneath their feet cracked like glass, turning into powder beneath their feet, revealing cobblestones of bone with mortar of smoldering ash. Bigger sections fell away entirely, and fiery light gleamed in their depths.

The demons had frozen in place a mere dozen feet from Sam and Dean, their feet and legs now lashed to the ground with strands of barbed wire. And behind them, something huge loomed. Almost reluctant to see, Sam and Dean moved their flashlights up. Immediately they wished they hadn’t. A powerfully-built body wearing a robe of tattered human skin was slowly walking towards the tethered demons with the inevitability of fate. An irregular iron pyramid covered its head, seeming bolted into its neck. It should have looked ludicrous; it didn’t. It was more as if the pyramid was covering a face that should never be seen in the light. It dragged an enormous knife behind it, scoring the street and leaving behind a trail of flame.

The demons looked behind them and started screaming, mouths open wide as if to try to escape their hosts. The darkness seemed to push back against them, forcing them to stay. The only thing coming out of them was screaming. Two more lurching steps and the pyramid-headed thing was nearly within reach, heaving up the knife as if to split one of the demons in half. It looked like whatever the demons had been waiting for, they hadn’t been expecting this.

“Dean…” Sam’s voice held a note of fear and urgency that made Dean quickly look behind him. And he froze, as if he were held in place as much as the demons.

Castiel was changing, flakes of cloth and even skin falling away from him, revealing something different underneath. His suit and trenchcoat fell away to uncover the dull gleam of metal armor, flakes of rust fell from the pipe to show a broadsword, and Jimmy Novak’s form shredded to reveal a tall and gleaming warrior with wings of steel and blue fire. There was no recognition in the eyes underneath the helm-slit, no trace of the angel that had fought alongside them.

Now was only Heaven’s soldier, faced with an implacable foe.

Dean and Sam ducked as Castiel literally flew over them, his sword slashing through a demon without a pause, aiming at the creature behind it. Pyramid Head howled, his voice reverberating within the metal chamber, and thrust his knife to meet Castiel’s flying charge. Every time the knife met the sword, molten metal flew and spattered. The remaining demons went up in pillars of flame as it touched them, their screams echoing through the streets.

Dean stood back-to-back with his brother as the cries seemed to echo back. Instead of diminishing, each echo called another creature from the darkness. Half-seen things crawled out of every alley, every window, attracted to Castiel like a moth to a flame. Ash-gray children that burned like fire and screamed like babies, swarming insects with human faces, things Sam didn’t even have names for. And like the moth, the closer they got, the sooner they burned. Castiel’s sword rose and fell in gleaming arcs, scything down everything near him. Pyramid Head actually dropped back a pace, seeming to urge the other creatures forward into Castiel’s range. His howls of rage turned into wicked howls of laughter as Castiel fought on and on and on and on…

“Dean!” Sam yelled, as Dean stood mesmerized by Castiel’s dance of death. “We gotta go now!”

“We can’t leave Cas!” Dean said, trying to see a route to him through the sea of monstrosities.

Castiel didn’t look up at them, didn’t even seem to care that the two chosen Vessels of the Apocalypse could be an inch from death. He just plunged his sword into another writhing body, shouting Enochian battle cries. This had been a lure, a trap, a way to draw any angelic help away from the Winchesters, and they had walked right into it.

“Dean, he’s already gone!”

Sam actually had to drag him away, back down Main Street, back towards the Impala, which was miraculously intact. The horrors coming out of every crevice seemed to ignore them as Sam managed to get her started and sped down the road out of Silent Hill.

Dean looked back only once before the dark lifted and the light returned. He could still see Castiel fighting, the crowds never diminishing, as he fought a fight that could never end.

He closed his eyes, Hell memories playing themselves across his mental movie screen, and knew why he felt déjà vu as they emerged back into a world on the brink of Apocalypse.

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