Spoilers: Set post Season 8
Warnings: zombie gore, mild sexual content
Prompt: 303 SPN Meg/Castiel - It's the end of the world again and they're just a little bit powerless and a little bit trapped together. Might as well go out with a bang.
A/N: Written for zombi_fic_ation's Zombie Fest 2013. I've got to admit, I had quite a bit of fun with this one, as I haven't had much occasion to let my Megstiel flag fly. I'm tempted to write more for this 'verse, either a sequel or a companion story. Thoughts?
Disclaimer: I do not own Supernatural.
It happened liked this:
The sky fell. Then the world fell. The ones left behind were too busy to ask why, but he knew. He knew they all fell because of him.
Castiel ran for his life. Branches whipped at the blood soiled sleeves of his rain coat, and mud clung to the soles of his shoes, making each step too heavy. He wanted to move faster, he had always been able to move faster, to fly, but this, this under-used and under-fed human body, couldn't move any quicker.
He wanted to stop in his tracks. He wanted to let the dead take him. Because he knew he deserved it. These people behind him, the ones who wanted to rip out his throat with their teeth and tear into his body with their ragged nails…these were innocent victims of a fate that shouldn't have existed. They were simply hungry. In this case, for life.
It had taken mere hours for Castiel to realize exactly what had happened after Metatron had cast out the angels of heaven. Overcome with grief and confusion, he'd thought he could sink no further as he watched what remained of his brothers and sisters fall like stars, and he hadn't questioned where their graces would land, or if Metatron had managed to extract their essence, like he'd stolen Castiel's. The answers came soon enough.
The humans didn't know, would never understand, how a meteor shower brought the dead back to life…Their bodies, at least. But soulless corpses rose where the shattered, mutilated graces fell, scattered like rain drops over the world. Castiel understood; where there was Grace, there was life.
And in this case, that life craved more life. Craved it like a starving animal. The dead rose and ripped open the living until those corpses touched Grace and rose themselves.
He let out a groan of frustration, forcing himself up the side of a ditch, clawing at the dirt to pull his tired body up. He felt fingers wrap around his ankle and jerk.
Castiel slid back down into the mud, knocking the corpse down with him. He was faster. Or he could be, if only he could move, but he froze, his back on the earth, his eyes on the blue midday sky. The corpse was fresh, a man in a sheriff's uniform, his face ashen and bloodless and livid as he crawled back up onto his knees to lean over the fallen angel. Wet, purple intestines hung out beneath him, limp and flopping against Castiel's stomach.
A pop sounded, followed by the delayed crack of a gunshot. The deputy's head exploded out, his body tumbling after the fragments of skull.
Castiel pushed off the corpse's legs and sat up on his knees. Footsteps sounded and he glanced up, past the curve of the ditch. She leaned into sight, a smirk on her lips and a hunting rifle in her hands.
"Well, look at that, Clarence. Headshots do work."
He released a breath, relief washing over him as he soaked in the sight of her. She looked healthy for a dead woman, her t-shirt and jeans faded but clean, her wavy hair still two-toned but recently trimmed until all that remained of the blond was a few inches of fried tresses. She was maybe a little thinner since the last time he saw her but there was color to her cheeks. A normal woman, that's what she would look like to anyone else, but Castiel knew the truth.
"Meg." He swallowed, his throat too dry. "You're here."
She spared him only a glance before she tucked her gun under one arm and turned her back to him, disappearing once again into the woods. He heard her voice, though, just a few feet away. "Are you coming? Or do you want to stick around and wait for more of these Romero rejects to arrive?"
Castiel pushed himself up and followed.
Meg handed him a bottle of water and collapsed down onto the delicate looking sofa beside him. The wide window in front of them, one of the few that was facing the ridge and high enough to not need boarding, provided a sweeping view of a river and treetops and let in enough light to leave the sitting room bright. Meg pretended to soak it in, but Castiel could see her fidget and knew she was bored already with the silence.
He took a long draw off the bottle. "Meg, I -"
"So," she interrupted, before he could begin, "what brings you way out here to visit little ol' me? Because if you're here to blame me for the zombie apocalypse, I can't take credit…This time."
Castiel opened his mouth, then closed it again, staring down at a spot between his feet. "No," he finally replied, "this was not demonic."
Deep down, he hadn't expected her to still be in this house, but he'd needed a reachable goal after the corpses rose. Finding her had kept him alive for the last week as he hid and ran and scavenged.
The phone lines were out, the cell towers no longer working for the public, before he ever got his fingers on a phone. Powerless as both a human and a fallen angel, he didn't have a way to find Sam and Dean. To even let them know he was alive. To even insure himself that they were alive. His first instinct was to get to Kansas, where he hoped they'd be, inside their bunker and still breathing, despite the odds, but the first sign he ran across announced that he was in the state of New York.
Castiel wasn't sure if Metatron had cast him here on purpose, so his story could be a more entertaining one, or if perhaps, during the fall, he'd willed himself to land here. Either way, it could be no coincidence that he fell within forty miles of where he'd last seen Meg. Where he'd left her behind in one of the lavish, remote, and completely empty, estates that Balthazar had 'acquired' so many years ago.
He didn't think she'd stay here, though. Perhaps she wasn't sure where to go. She was vulnerable in this state. If Crowley found out Castiel had returned to Lucifer's crypt, had managed to salvage what was left of her, she'd be hunted by the King of Hell once again, and she couldn't run from him this time.
That was if the King of Hell still existed. Castiel couldn't be sure. He had no clue who'd lived and died, if demons still roamed the earth…There was so much he wished he could know. So many questions eating him alive.
She moved to push her hair behind her ear, drawing him out of his thoughts, and Castiel watched her reach up again to rub the spot beneath her ribs, where the angel blade had entered.
"Does it hurt still?" Castiel asked.
Meg shot him a glare, as if he'd said something offensive, and Castiel was sure he hadn't in this case. Still, he imagined she was offended with his concern. After all, he had no right to ask about her health after he'd abandoned her to go hide the angel tablet. Her and the Winchesters; it seemed they'd responded the same to his choice.
But he'd saved her, too, so a part of him had expected gratitude. The sacrifice of her demonic powers, he realized, had probably squashed all likelihood of a thank you. He'd had no choice in that matter, though. The angel sword was a unique weapon for killing demons. It burned out their essence, their strength, and left the body to bleed out just like any other blade might.
Her wound had went deep, the sword slicing through her stomach and spine. It should have been an instant death, but some small flicker of life remained, seconds from burning out. Castiel had thought her too far gone but he'd healed the body anyway, in tribute to her. He'd been surprised when Meg, instead of the vessel's owner, had been the one to awaken, in pain, broken. Alive but completely powerless.
Castiel knew how that felt.
Meg's expression lost its hard edge, her voice slow and husky as she reached a conclusion, "You're not just out of juice…your wings have been plucked, haven't they? You're not an angel. "
He met her eye, and he couldn't understand if it was understanding or pleasure on her face, but he knew it wasn't grief. He'd expected grief. Or anger. After all, he wasn't of any use to her anymore. She'd lost her most powerful ally.
"The angel Metatron cut my grace from me, and he used it to cast all the angels from heaven."
She could tell him to leave. Make him if she wanted; she had more weapons than him. Castiel stood up, waiting for her to make her move, wondering where he could go after this. Wondering if he'd survive another day alone.
Meg leaned back into the sofa, shrugging her shoulders. "Then I can't really call you Clarence anymore, can I?"
He blinked at her, confused.
"What?" she asked, smirking. "Please tell me you're not going to go into self-pity mode now."
"I can't help," he said, his hard voice breaking. "I can't help anyone. What's happened to the world…I did this. I chose to not listen to my family, and this is the consequence. I can't help you become as you once were, Meg. I can't help the angels return to Heaven." His body trembled, and he shook his head. "I can't help any of the humans I've condemned."
Meg only raised a brow, her voice slow and silky. "Who the hell told you to save anyone?"
Castiel's eyes narrowed. "I told you, this is my - "
"Your fault," Meg filled in, rolling her eyes. She sat up a bit straighter. "Yeah, yeah, 'poor me, I've been a bad boy, blah blah blah'…Are you kidding me? Who are you talking to here?" She smiled, cocking her head to one side. "Have we forgotten how much blood I've shed for my various causes? Not to brag or anything, but I've done some very naughty things."
His gaze darkened with anger. "I've killed far more than you."
"We keeping score now?"
"I've - " He broke off, looking away from her, his face flush in shame. His voice was much quieter when it returned. "I don't know what to do."
Her eyes swept over him, a curve at the corner of her mouth. "I've got one idea," she replied, sex in her tone.
Even Castiel could pick up on the innuendo, and he pursed his lips. "This is not the time. The world is - "
"It's not ending, idiot." She snorted. "It's changing. And it's been through worse. I'm sure the Winchesters are all hard at work being big-damn-heroes. Now take your clothes off. You owe me."
"But Sam was gravely - "
Meg reached out, tugging at the loose end of his belt until he was forced to take a step closer. His eyes widened in surprise when she popped the buckle open, sufficiently stopping him from speaking when his mouth opened in protest.
"Cas, I know I've said this before, but it's still true…" She stared up at him as she slowly pulled down his zipper. "You're much cuter when you're shutting up."
It was raining outside, leaving the world gray, and Castiel enjoyed watching the change in weather outside the window. Some bit of normal remained. Not all had been changed when they fell. It gave him just the tiniest bit of hope.
He lifted his coffee mug up, enjoying the heat at his lips, the bitter sweet taste on his tongue. Another sign of normalcy.
"You know, Starbucks won't be open, where we're going," Meg said, from the bed. "We could stay here instead. We have enough supplies to last us through our first winter, a memory foam mattress, a lovely fireplace…And did I mention the coffee?"
He turned to her, the corners of his mouth curving when he saw her pale legs hanging out from under the sheet, one propped up to give him a glimpse of her hip. She was watching his naked body openly, not with lust but with intensity. As if she were memorizing his form, in case she never saw it again.
"You don't have to go," he said, gently, and he meant it. "I won't ask you to leave your sanctuary."
Meg eased her head back down onto the pillow, sighing at its soft embrace. "I'm going," she lamented, grinning to herself. "I am. But you should probably know, we're not going to make it to Kansas alive. It's fifteen hundred miles away, Cas. A lot of dead between here and there, and I hate to break it to you, but your aim? It sucks."
"We may not survive," he agreed. Castiel tilted his head to the side, trying to read the emotion on her face. "I have to try…Why are you going if you believe we'll fail?"
Meg didn't answer, watching the ceiling above her instead. She raised her hand above her face, staring at her fingertips as if there were something sticky on them. "I've always enjoyed roadtrips," she finally replied.
They made it as far as Illinois in a month. Running and stealing. Hiding for days in abandoned buildings while hordes passed. Driving for days down lonesome, corpseless back roads. It was stop and go, but it was moving, and that was enough for them.
When Meg asked him why he wanted to detour to Pontiac, he'd said it was because they needed something there, and she'd been too exhausted to reply with more than a quip at the time. It was in a too-quiet house, crouched down beneath a busted out window, that she'd brought it up again.
"Sam hid Dean's body here. While big brother was in hell," she said, softly, as if to herself.
Castiel hadn't thought of it that way, as Dean being 'hid', but it was true. As an angel, he'd been too busy fighting his way through Hell to pay attention to where his charge's earthly body was being moved, but, after he'd freed the soul, he'd followed it back into its flesh, healing the rotting corpse. So, yes, he'd found it easily enough, but it wasn't until long after that he'd considered what Sam had done to try and bring Dean back. How he'd traveled with his brother's body until Bobby Singer forced him to give burn it or give it a grave. He hadn't considered any of that in a very long time, until they'd passed into Illinois.
It was funny how human memory worked.
Meg was right, Sam had hid Dean there, because leaving the body where it had fallen would have made it easy for demons to find. And because he needed it somewhere he could dig it up again, if he ever succeeded.
"I somehow doubt we're visiting an empty grave," she added, a smirk in her voice. "Not like it's anything special. Rising from the dead is so mainstream these days…Everyone's doing it."
Castiel swallowed hard, watching the whites of her eyes in the darkness, and let his fingers move over the duffel between them until they found hers. He squeezed in reply, warning her that the zombies were still trailing them, and she went quiet again.
After an hour passed, he checked out the window, his body more relaxed when he slid down beside her once more. "They're gone for now. I think we can stay here for the rest of the night."
"Not very fortified," she noted, but didn't argue. "Is there a reason we're not stealing a car and moving on?"
"It's close," Castiel replied.
"The storage bunker."
"Well, that sounds significantly more interesting than a Winchester's Greatest Hits tour."
Castiel pulled the strap of his bag over his shoulder and held her hand, leading her behind him further into the house. When they reached the first bedroom with a lock on the door, she slipped past him, inside, checking the window and closet, and then gave the bed a regretful glance before pushing the top mattress off. Castiel moved in to help her stand it against the wall, blocking off the window.
It was pitch black inside and stifling hot. A pinprick of light appeared, then grew, the oil lamp's glow filling the room and casting halos over its two occupants.
Castiel saw the raised brow on Meg's dirt-streaked face. "Bobby Singer," he said. "Bobby Singer stayed in this area a few weeks after Sam buried Dean. He thought of burning the body behind Sam's back but chose not to. Instead he built a shelter nearby."
"And filled it with fun goodies?"
"Precisely," Castiel replied. "However, I'm unsure of its current state. The Winchesters may have raided it after Bobby's death, if they knew of its location."
"You don't know?" Meg asked.
"I was never omniscient," he reminded her, "and at that time…at that time was not very helpful."
"Oh, yes, off playing house. I remember." Meg smirked, shaking her head. Then the smile left her, replaced by a somber frown. "We need ammo."
They wouldn't make it out of the state without it. They'd ran out on the Ohio/Pennsylvania line but managed to rummage through every gun shop they ran across, keeping their guns loaded. Only, the longer they spent out in this world, the further west they made it, the more stores they ran across that had already been raided. The last place they'd stopped hadn't had a single round left.
Maybe that wouldn't have been such a bad thing if they'd planned on hitching to one of the survivors' camps they'd heard rumor of outside of Cleveland and Toledo. But they were headed to Kansas. Come Hell, high water, or zombies.
And they were only a little over halfway there. Still, they could make it before winter, even at this stop and go pace, if they lived that long.
"You know the stupid thing about all this?" Meg asked, unrolling her sleeping bag. "By the time we reach Tweedle-dee and Tweedle-dum's fortress of solitude, they'll probably have fixed the world."
Castiel smiled, wanting to point out how much faith she had in the hunters, but he stopped himself. This, he remembered, was simply her way of reminding him that this friends were alive. Most days he believed her. Some days he didn't. The latter never made him want to stop, though, not anymore. Not so long as she was beside him.
He leaned over their bags, kissing the top of her head, his fresh beard scratching against her smooth forehead. He could taste sweat and dirt and blood on her hair, but it gave him comfort.
"Would you still want to go to Kansas, if the world were fixed?" he asked, into her hair.
He could feel her hands moving beneath his coat, pushing the tattered cloth down off his shoulders.
She chuckled against the ripe shirt beneath and went to work, tugging it over his head. She enjoyed this, he knew, this fragment of control as she undressed him, and he didn't interrupt her.
Her dark eyes didn't rise to meet his, but he could see the curve of her lips and knew she was silently laughing at him, because he'd asked the same question. Again.
"I've got nothing better to do," she finally answered.
Castiel ran for his life, and for hers.
His arm was hooked around her waist, holding her pressed against him as they moved, but he could feel her dragging, feel her weight pulling him down. Slowing them down. He clenched his teeth, working through the catch in his side, through the hunger pangs deep in his core. He had to keep moving. The dead were close, too close.
"Let me go," she said, wincing as her bad leg caught on a root. She tried to drag it, to make him drop her, but his grasp was iron. "Let me go, Cas!"
He didn't reply, pulling the two of them along and trying desperately to ignore the moans coming from behind them. He almost fell over it, the entrance to the bunker. He dropped her down beside him, putting a machete in her hand, the one that wasn't bloody from grasping the open wound at her thigh. He dug his fingers through the layer of dirt and crushed leaves covering the handle, then pushed the lever down until he heard a click.
The weight of the wooden door left him propped against the spring hinges, staring back at the horde closing in on them. They were moving slowly, most of their bodies deteriorated to the point of being bone and sinew, but there were too many, too spread out across the woods, to get past.
"Get inside," he snapped. "Now!"
Meg rolled over, letting her good leg take her down a few steps. He followed, catching the back of her jacket before she could fall forward. The door latched above them and for a moment, there was only darkness and quiet. It didn't last.
The sounds of clattering above them announced that the horde was overhead. Castiel scrambled to pull the flashlight off the side of his bag. The glow was bright enough for them to follow the steps by. When they reached the bottom, they held a collective breath.
The inside of the bunker was small, more of a storm house than a safe haven, but the walls were lined. Handguns, assault rifles, knifes, axes, books…
"Bobby Singer, you paranoid bastard," Meg breathed, in awe.
Castiel pulled her arm over his neck, hunching forward to help her hobble to a cot at the end of the small cell. He eased her down, then fell to his knees in front of her, dropping his duffel as he moved.
"Keep pressure on it," he said. The words felt strange, as if he'd only ever heard them on a television before. The sounded right though. Had Dean spoken them before? Or Sam? His memory wasn't what it used to be.
He dug into his pack, pulling free the first aid kit they'd collected. "We can do inventory of the weaponry after your wound is patched."
Meg leaned her head back against the concrete wall, letting out a sigh. "Good thing it's not like the movies, huh? It's not the bite that kills, it's the blood loss and infection. Lucky me."
"You're not dying," Castiel said, quietly, but he swallowed hard as he peeled away a piece of the denim at her thigh. The bite mark wasn't deep, but still seeping a steady stream of blood. And it was ragged, the edges already an angry red and warm to the touch. An infection was already setting in, and he wasn't sure if the meager bottle of antibiotics in his pack would be enough to help.
"Sure." She snorted, amused at him, but then sat up straight, looking over his shoulder. "Shine your light back at the door."
Castiel wanted to argue, but he saw the startled look on her face and did as she asked. The white glow landed on the stairs, then moved up to the opening. He saw it then, what had caught her eye. On the ceiling above, was a painted circle, a symbol he knew well.
"A devil's trap," he said. "I imagine Bobby warded all his storage bunkers in such a manner."
Meg blinked, surprised. "I walked through it…In and out again. Like it was nothing."
"Like you're human," Castiel corrected. He paused, hand pressing a wad of gauze into the bite wound, and looked up at her, his blue eyes sparkling with curiosity. "You still thought you were a demon."
"A weak demon. A useless demon," she replied, staring at the covered wound. She let out a pained hiss when he pressed down. "If I'm human…If I'm really human, what does that mean?"
"Are you asking where you'll go when you die?" Castiel asked. At her nod, he looked away, going back to tending her wound. "I'm not sure," he finally replied. "I'm not sure where either of us will go, when we die. But perhaps we'll be…I hope we're together."
"You're such a sap, Clarence."
He smiled to himself. "I thought you weren't calling me that anymore."
"Felt like you earned it."
"We can't stay here forever."
Castiel pretended not to hear here, hoping she'd fall back asleep. They been locked inside the storage room for over a day, but the dull glow of the oil lamps made it feel longer. The air was thin, despite the small, warded vent to the outside world, and he wished that was why her voice sounded slightly slurred.
He went back to loading the small armory into its boxes. If they could get a vehicle to the front of the bunker, they could bring it all. It would be more than enough to last them until Kansas, so long as they could stay away from denser populations. And from the desperate survivors who lived in them.
The stockpile would be enough, if they could get out of the bunker.
A scrape sounded from above, another one of the zombies shuffling at their doorway, kicking at the lever as it stumbled past. They hadn't left. They knew their prey was just beneath, and there was nothing in the woods surrounding them to take their attention off the pair.
"I can hold them off, Cas. Long enough for you to get past them. I can…distract…" Her voice broke off, replaced by a ragged breath. She took a moment, collecting herself, before speaking again. "One of us can get out of this."
Castiel closed one of the trunks shut and walked to her side, sitting down on the floor beside the cot. He pressed his hand against her forehead, feeling the heat rising to meet his skin. Meg slapped him off, groaning at him.
"Knock it off." She pushed herself up onto one arm. "I'm serious, Cas. I'm not so far gone that I'm delusional. I'm the one who dropped my bag when we were attacked. Most our food and water was in it. It's my fault it's gone. Even if I wasn't hurt, I should be the one taking the fall for losing it."
"I'm not leaving you," he said.
She frowned down at him, anger and fever putting patches of red at her cheeks. "You know, I can say some things…I can make you hate me. I can make you leave. Do you want me to start listing them, all the people I've killed? All the ones I've cut open and bled just for fun? I can - "
Castiel pressed the water bottle up to her lips, forcing her to take a drink. "I'm not leaving you," he repeated. "We both leave, or neither of us leave."
"You're an idiot." But she dropped it, leaning back onto the flimsy cot. "I hate you, you know that right?"
"Because you feel?" he asked.
"Yeah. I hate that you make me do that."
"I'm not sorry." He put the bottle down and stared at her profile. Studying her, as she'd once studied him. As if it were the last time he would see her. "We're not going to make it to Kansas."
"Told you that before," she reminded him. "But did you listen? Nope. Had me getting all hopeful that we'd see those two pretty lugs before the world burned down around us." She turned her head, grinning. It was a sincere expression instead of the mocking smile she usually gave him when she won a dispute, and Castiel tried to mimic it, despite the stone settling in his throat. "I don't want to sit here and waste away. I want to have a bit of fun before I go." She paused, taking a shaky breath. "I want to go out with a bang, not a whimper."
Castiel held his hand against her cheek. "I would expect nothing less from you," he said.
The weapons were heavy across their backs, replacing their duffel of supplies, and Castiel knew the weight was probably agony on her leg, but Meg stood at his side, folded forward, prepared to pull the lever so he might open the door.
"I'll take the ones on the right," Meg said, then chuckled to herself, near hysterics.
Castiel let out a slow breath, feeling the last of the lukewarm water in his gut sloshing around and leaving him uneasy. It seemed entirely too loud, much like the pulse racing in his ears. Before he could stop her, Meg was leaning into him, pressing a slow kiss against neck.
"Did Sam ever tell you about our conversation? The night I was supposed to die?"
Castiel's brow wrinkled. "No."
She pulled away from him, her eyes wet but dancing. "Good. It was stupid." She licked her bottom lip, her knuckles bone white where they were wrapped around the handle. "If you live…Cas, you should go to Kansas."
Castiel nodded in agreement. "If I live, we will."
Meg rolled her eyes. "I hate you."
His blue eyes glimmered in the faint light, the emotion in them clear. "I hate you as well," he whispered back, barely loud enough for her to hear.
She must have, because she smiled. "With a bang," she reminded, and opened the door.