Ruby had done a lot of things in her long and sordid career as a demon, all in the name of freeing Lucifer. She had devoted herself fully and completely to him, to doing his will and brining him forth. The Winchesters might not think demons have faith, but they do. Ruby was the most devote of them all. She would do anything in the name of that faith. But she had never imagined she would find herself stuck doing babysitting duty to a church mouse like Anna. Ruby was powerful beyond what the Winchester’s knew, beyond what anyone knew, the only notable exception being Lilith. Lilith was the only one who knew what Ruby was capable of. And yet here she was in an abandoned cabin alone with Anna, while the Winchesters were probably off getting themselves killed and spoiling all of her plans. But this was important, Anna was important. The angels wanted Anna dead. At least they had that in common.
“Thank you, you saved me.” Anna’s soft voice was dripping with honey sweet sincerity and if Ruby was capable of feeling such emotions it might have made her feel guilty.
Ruby waved a hand dismissively, “It’s fine really, saving the lost and helpless has become somewhat of a hobby as of late.” It was true, in a way, if it wasn’t for her then Sam and Dean and countless others would be dead. And besides, what she was doing wasn’t wrong. She was bringing forth Lucifer, an archangel. He might not be the god the Winchesters wanted, but he was the best thing that could happen to this world. She wasn’t lying to them, well she was, but at least on one point she was telling the truth. She remembered what it meant to be human. She remembered how cold and evil men could be. She remembered in her final moments crying out to God in a desperate hope, clinging to the possibility of light even as darkness took her. Her prayers were answered when she woke up in Hell. God might have ignored her prayers, but at least Lucifer had been listening. The god that had created the world had left it to go to Hell. If he didn’t plan on intervening to save it, then that said all she needed to know. At least Lucifer wanted to have a hand in the way the world worked. Lucifer wasn’t damnation, he was salvation, and even if he couldn’t see it now, eventually Sam would understand that.
“If it weren’t for you and Sam and Dean I’d be dead right now. I don’t know what’s going on, but I know God sent you. I don’t think you appreciate what that means to me, that you were there when I needed, need, someone the most.”
She put one hand against Ruby’s cheek and leaned in and kissed her, softly, hesitantly. It only lasted a moment before she pulled back, looking embarrassed. “I’m sorry, that was…I don’t know what came over me.” Ruby could still feel the warmth from where Anna had touched her, she wanted to pull Anna against her and show her to kiss someone properly.
Instead she asked what had been bothering her since she met the girl, “Why aren’t you afraid of me? Wasn’t your father a pastor? Didn’t he teach you to be afraid of demons? Shouldn’t you be hiding under the bed, or something?”
“My father taught me about good and evil, it’s what a person chooses that makes them who they are. It doesn’t matter that you’re a demon. You have a good heart, I can feel it.”
No one had ever said that about her. Even Sam didn’t believe she was good. At his best he saw them as two fucked up people who had come together out of desperation and need. He saw her as his best, and only, option. He never said she was good, never even tried to pretend he thought she “had a good heart.” He was right of course. Ruby took Anna’s hand and put it over her heart.
“Can you feel that? My heart doesn’t beat. My heart is as dead as I am. I don’t have a good heart; I don’t have a heart at all.” She didn’t know why she was doing this. She was fighting against Anna’s faith in her. It was beneficial that Anna believed she was good, she didn’t know why she was trying to make Anna see her for what she was.
“I know what you’re trying to do, you don’t believe in yourself. You don’t believe that when it comes down to it you can make choose the right path. I’ve seen evil, I’ve seen its true form. And I can see you, past the body you wear, and you are beautiful. And I know you don’t believe that, but it doesn’t matter, because I believe in you.”
Ruby didn’t know what to say to that, so she didn’t say anything at all. She would let the church mouse believe what she wanted. There was no reason to take away her faith. Ruby was going to end the world, but she could afford to let Anna believe in her lies. Anna’s belief was so sincere that for just a moment Ruby was almost able to believe it herself.
All of her hard work was finally coming to fruition, it wouldn’t be long before Lilith would be dead, Sam’s power was undeniable and Lilith didn’t stand a chance. She should be happy, elated that this was finally happening, after all of her hard work. But all she could think of was Anna. Anna was an angel, one that had fought against Lucifer, tried to keep Lilith from breaking the seals. She could only imagine what would happen to her when Lucifer rose. And everything she wanted, everything she worked for, everything she thought she wanted, none of it mattered now. Now that it was finally happening, now that it was all falling into place, all she could think of was Anna. It may have taken her death and becoming a demon to finally see it, but for the first time she understood what it meant to have something worth sacrificing everything for.
“Sam, wait!” She put a hand on his arm to try and stop him, but it was no use. Her revelation had come too late, Lilith was dead and Lucifer was rising.
The moment she saw Dean come bursting through the church doors she knew what was coming. She had been to Hell and now she was going to die, again, and she didn’t know what came next. She didn’t know what awaited a demon on the other side, but it couldn’t be good. Nothing in her life had ever been good. That wasn’t true; there had been one bright light in all the darkness
“Sam, wait!” She put a hand on his arm to try and stop him, but it was no use. Her revelation had come too late, Lilith was dead and Lucifer was rising.
The moment she saw Dean come bursting through the church doors she knew what was coming. She had been to Hell and now she was going to die, again, and she didn’t know what came next. She didn’t know what awaited a demon on the other side, but it couldn’t be good. Nothing in her life had ever been good. That wasn’t true; there had been one bright light in all the darkness. In the final moment she thought of the face of an angel and felt peace before darkness fell.
She came to, suddenly, taking in a deep breath that filled her aching chest with air. She was cold and alone and only distantly aware that she should be in a lot of pain. Instead she felt better than she had, well ever. Who she was and why she was there were distant and she knew she didn't want to remember. She looked around shifting on the cold stone floor, trying to get a handle on her bearings. The memories started to push in against her consciousness. There had been shouting then blinding pain, then nothing. She didn't want to remember. She rolled onto her side and tried to push back against the memories that surfaced. There was no helping it. She remembered. Lucifer had risen, then Sam and Dean had killed her. She should have seen it coming; death followed the Winchesters wherever they went. And she had been naïve to think Sam would be onboard with her plan, once he found out what was really going on. They were supposed to rule in the new world together, side by side, enjoying all the rewards deserving of those who had brought forth the morning light himself. Instead she had been willing to give up everything to save just one angel. She had gotten everything she had worked for, but all she felt was cold and empty.
She sat up, wondering how it was she was alive, she had died, again. And the first time it had happened she had woken up somewhere hot and far less pleasant than the decrepit church she was in now. It must have been Lucifer; he was as am archangel after all. He had this kind of power. It appeared that even if Sam had forsaken her, her lord had not.
She didn't know what to do or where to go. She had been brought back, no doubt as a reward for her loyalty to Lucifer. But now she was left without direction.
She put a hand to her stomach trying to get a handle on her emotions. The spark she had felt before was still there, still with her. She had wanted to tell Sam, she wanted to tell him he was going to be a father. But then that would have distracted him from his purpose, he had to stay focused. She would have told him after. That was the plan anyway. But now Sam was gone and it was too late. She had finally found something worth fighting for but she had found it once it was too late to turn back. She closed her eyes and did something she hadn’t done in a long time – she prayed. She prayed to Lucifer or God or Michael or whoever was left listening. Someone had to be there, someone had brought her back, it was only fair that they answer her now. If they had brought her back they must want something from her, might as well find out what that was. But her prayers were left unanswered and she was left alone in the cold and the dark. She stood slowly, gingerly and climbed over the rubble of what was left of the church.
She wasn’t surprised by the destruction she encountered, trees and grass had been charred. Nothing was left alive, save for her, and really, she hadn’t been alive in a long time. She made her way to the road and began walking, but the destruction she had encountered didn’t end with the church. It became less severe the further out she went, but the trees were still broke, and the road was broken in places. Most notably there was a distinct lack of people. She could always hear them, the low thrum of life all around her, the signs of humanity, but they were all ostensibly missing. Maybe this was Lucifer’s doing. Maybe this was the paradise he had promised, a world free of the scourge of humanity. For paradise this wasn’t what she had pictured. She had pictured standing by Sam’s side and watching the world burn, cleansed to be brought new. But this was desolate, empty. Maybe it wasn’t the world she had been hoping for. But it wasn’t just the world that was different. She felt different. It wasn’t quite something she could pinpoint, she hurt all over, she had been through Hell, a few aches should be this noticeable. But something had changed, she wasn’t herself. Her body remained tense and on guard as she walked, she was aware of every noise, careful of every step. Something had happened and she still didn’t have a handle on it. She was very nearly alone. The only presence left that she could feel was that of her unborn child, a still small spark safe within her. She didn’t miss the soft rustle of feathers behind her back and she paused before slowly turning to see who it was.
It was Castiel, looking as serious as ever, trench coat and all. “Well, if you’re going to kill me, I guess I can’t really complain. I suppose a person can only come back to life so many times.” She tried to sound glib, but it was difficult to quell the growing fear. She had her new found life, she didn’t want to give it up again. But it was more than just her life she was worrying about, her hand going almost unconsciously to her stomach.
“I’m not here to harm you, or your child. I’m here to help you.”
Well that was just about the last thing she was expecting. “And why might you do that?” In general angels didn’t take a favorable view of demons and she saw no reason this should be different.
“I know you are carrying Sam’s child. Whatever else may have happened your child is innocent. And I believe you were brought back for a reason. There are few forces powerful enough to bring back the dead, and your life, I believe, is evidence of my father’s lingering presence in the world.”
She disagreed, she was quite certain Lucifer, or Sam, or Samifer had brought her back as a reward for her loyalty. But she wasn’t going to correct the angel if it meant he was going to help her.
He filled her in on what had happened while she had been gone. She wasn’t sure what had happened to her in the interim. She didn’t remember heaven or Hell or anything in between. It had been just like going to sleep and waking back up. But while she had been away Sam had said yes to Lucifer, and Michael had convinced Dean he could save Sam and destroy Lucifer, if only Dean said yes to him as well. They had their final battle and in the end they had only managed to kill one another, taking a good portion of the world along with them. So now the world lay broken, claimed by neither heaven nor hell. It appeared, in the end, everyone had lost. And what was left of humanity was left to pick up the pieces.
Castiel was true to his word, taking care of her, and protecting her. He took her to a hotel he had found, somewhere they could rest and regroup.
The hotel was empty when they arrived, as least it was empty as far as she was concerned. She didn’t endeavor to determine if there was anyone residing in any of the rooms. If they weren’t inclined to bother them, she was willing to leave whoever, or whatever, was there alone. She slid beneath the sheets, grateful for their warmth. She didn’t do well in the cold. Maybe it was a demon thing, she wasn’t really sure. Maybe she had always had a problem with the cold. She wished she could remember more of her former life. Most of it was hazy, with patches that came in perfectly clear. Like seeing landmarks in a heavy fog. There were aspects she could remember clearly, and parts she couldn’t forget no matter how hard she tried. But most of it was lost in the haze. Did she always like fries? Did she always have a problem with the cold? Did she prefer tulips or roses, or maybe lilies? They were all lost to. All the small details that made up who a person was, and they were all lost to her.
She supposed Sam and Dean probably thought she had been lying about the whole thing. But she wasn’t. She remembered being human, and she remembered exactly what that meant. But that was exactly why she had done what she did. She remembered what it meant to be human and that was why she thought the world deserved to end. Lucifer was supposed to come with his cleansing fire and make the world right, he was going to fix everything. Humanity was the worst thing to have ever happened to the world. Lucifer was going to fix all of that. But none of it had gone according to plan. Now they were all gone. Sam, Lucifer, Dean and Michael, they were all dead. And she was left alone, in a world that was past saving. She tried to block the thoughts out of her mind. But it was difficult and they kept pushing in.
The bed creaked in protest and she felt the mattress depress behind her. A trench coat clad arm wrapped around her middle.
She sighed heavily, “Castiel, what are you doing?”
“Physical contact is supposed to be of comfort while sleeping.”
“Angels don’t sleep.”
“Neither do demons.”
There was a heavy silence after that, and she wondered if Castiel was waiting for her to say something. She tried to think of a good response, before finally settling on the truth.
“I’m still trying to get used to that part again. Maybe I was brought back wrong.”
“It is possible, it is also possible that the baby is effecting you. Maybe your body is adapting to it’s needs.”
She didn’t try to be surprised at his words. He knew, of course he knew. Stupid angels had to know everything that happened. She didn’t respond. She didn’t know what to say.
“Did Sam know?”
“No, I was going to tell him. I kept trying to, but I wasn’t sure how he would take it. I thought I could tell him…after. I tried to stop him, you know. At the last minute I called out to him, I tried to tell him to stop, but it was already too late.”
“We both could have done more to prevent this. For our own reasons we both believed we were doing to right thing. Now it’s too late and we both must live with the consequences.”
“Well, aren’t you just a ball of positivity.” The angel didn’t respond and she considered tell him to leave, but there wasn’t much point. For good or bad they were in this together.
“So, the world just ended, what are you going to do now?” She tried to keep her tone upbeat, not that it mattered.
“There is very little of my father’s creation left. I’d like to see as much of it as I can, before it’s gone forever.”
She clapped her hands together decisively. “The world’s most depressing road trip it is! I’m game! I mean, it’s not like I have anything better to do. I have something penciled in for about nine months down the line, but until then, I’m all yours. Where to first?”
It wasn’t exactly difficult to find a car that worked, they had plenty to choose from. It didn’t take her long to hotwire one and get it going. They drove in silence past crumbling building and burnt trees. The further into the country they got, the more normal things looked. The world, it would seem, wasn’t entirely ruined. In fact, much of it seemed entirely intact, perfectly preserved, as if simple abandoned. People had just up and left everything behind. She contemplated what it must have been like for them. To go from not believing in angels, beyond an abstract metaphysical concept, to finding out two archangels were about to end the world. To have your world both expanded and ended in one day, that must have been something alright.
Castiel gave her directions and when he finally told her to stop, she pulled up a dirt drive and stopped in front of a building.
She wanted to ask Cas if he still about Dean, still thought about him when they were together. She missed Sam, of course she did, but Cas was much more than just a warm body to fill his place. She wanted to know that she was more than that to Cas. She wanted to tell him that she wouldn’t compete with a ghost, that she wouldn’t play second fiddle to Dean fucking Winchester. She wanted to tell him that if he wanted to be with her, he had to be with her, not the just using her as a place holder for the one he really wanted. But she couldn’t bring herself to say it. She didn’t get to want things anymore. She had helped to break the world. She didn’t get to make demands. She had to be happy with what goodness there was left in it, what she hadn’t broken. So they laid there in the silence and the dark a world of unspoken words stretching out between them.
They continued on like that. They would travel stopping along the way at whatever tourist traps Castiel found along the way. Sometimes they were odd, like the giant balls of twine, and sometimes they were just restaurants or shops, whatever was left of them. It was anything that caught Castiel’s eye along the way, and she went along with it. She was a drift, in a way, Castiel one of her last anchors to the world. But beneath it all she felt the slow ticking of the clock as the days passed one into another. It was a silent timer inside of her head – counting down – nine months left, 8 months left, and on it went. Eventually as her time grew closer they were going to have to settle down somewhere safe.
She watched the sunrise outside of the window, the golden-red rays casting long shadows and the turning the walls the color of blood. During the night Castiel had wrapped his arm around her waist, one hand resting on the curve of her belly. She listened to the sound of breathing, her baby was still, a hush fallen over the world. 'Angels don't sleep,' Castiel had said that the first night he had laid down to sleep next to her. Now as she listened to the even sound of his breathing she knew she wasn't the only one who was changing. She wanted to believe the arm around her was possessive, that it was more than just her child that Castiel wanted to protect. But she couldn't kid herself. He loved humanity, he had fallen for it. He wanted to protect what amounted to the last remnants of it, the only thing left of the Winchesters that he had loved. He had fallen for them, for humanity, not for her. She had done horrible deeds, even before she was a demon. Even as a human she had done more harm than good, she didn't deserve to be loved.
She heard Castiel’s breathing change indicating that he had woken up, but he didn’t move.
“Good morning,” his voice was sleep rough.
He must be aware that he was becoming less angelic, but he didn’t comment and neither did she.
She felt him starting to stir, shifting to get out of bed, she assumed. She spoke up, partly to keep him from leaving and partly before she lost her nerve again.
“Am I going to Hell?” It had been worrying her, Hell was an unpleasant place, even for demons, but now the thought of her child ascending to heaven while she was went to Hell, spending an eternity seperated, was unbearable.
“No.” Castiel’s reply should have been comforting but she was having trouble believing.
“You sound sure.” She replied.
“You are human now, with a human soul, that gives you a second chance. The victims of my father’s plan will go to heaven, a compensation, I suppose, for the part they played.”
“And that’s what I am? A victim?” She asked.
“Yes, events were set in motion from the beginning of time that would lead to the end of the world.
You were instrumental in the divine plan.” His voice sounded hollow and bitter. “You believed in a distant father that was supposed to fix all the ills of the world. Even if you had put your faith in God, not Lucifer, the result would have been the same. Every path led here. You greatest sin was your faith. You were as much a pawn in all of this as the Winchesters themselves.”
“What about you? Will you ever return to heaven?” It shouldn’t have been the most pressing question at that moment, but the thought of going to Heaven was a cold comfort if it meant being separated from her angel.
He sighed, his breath warm against the back of her neck. “I’m not sure I would be welcome there anymore.”
“Stay with me, wherever I go I want you by my side, whatever that might mean. Never leave me, Cas, whatever happens, promise me we’ll be together.” Perhaps it was reckless and stupid to lay herself so bare, but she had nothing left to lose.
“I promise.” It was simple, but his words were enough.
She had put her faith in Lucifer, and she had put her faith in Sam. She had thought they would be together for an eternity, they would rule the new world side by side. But both had betrayed her. Maybe this time she had found the right person to put her faith in. Whatever it meant, whatever they were to each other, she didn’t need to define it, she just needed him. Everything else could fade away as long as they could be together, be the family she never thought she could have.
She stared in wonder, at their destination. This was what it had all been leading up to, and she was having a hard time not being overwhelmed by it.
“I remember the creation of the Grand Canyon. It was solid rock, watching it split open was beautiful.” Castiel remarked, awe tinging his voice.
Ruby simply nodded, that would have been something to see. It was a testament, no matter how much of the world was destroyed, God’s creation still remained intact. Not all of the world was ephemeral it would seem. She put a hand over her rounded belly as she looked out. They would have to come back here someday, when her child was old enough to appreciate it. She liked the idea, that there was still beauty left in the world for her baby to see one day.
Seeing the Grand Canyon felt like an ending in a way, their journey’s end. After that they settled down into the business of, well, settling down. It took sometime and effort but they finally found a place that was suitable. It had once been a bar, and though it was still mostly in tact, the owners had since abandoned it. They went about fixing it up and getting things ready. They decided to turn it into a new Roadhouse. It would be a haven or a rest stop for anyone who needed it.
In those days it was becoming easier for Ruby to settle into her new life. She couldn’t exactly forget what she had done, but since no one knew her, and only Castiel knew the part she played in the end of the world, it was easy enough to pretend she had always been human. She wasn’t a demon anymore, and being human was taking some getting used to, but it was becoming easier with each passing day.
Ruby held her new daughter in her arms, watching the child sleep. “Samantha,” she said quietly, not looking up when Castiel came up beside her. She didn’t save Sam, but she a part of him would continue on. All the souveniers and post cards she had collected along their journey were spread out across the shelves in the room. She would keep them safe and show Samantha when she was old enough, and they would explain the significance of each one to her. It wasn’t much, but it was pieces, evidence of what the world had once been. She could make sure that the best of what had been would go on, in some small way at least. She had helped break the world, but she could help fix it.