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Title: All the Streets Are Empty (and the Cars on Fire)
Fandom: Supernatural
Beta: jonjokeat
Artist: mamapranayama
Rating: R
Characters: Castiel, Sam, Bobby
Summary: AU after 5.18: When they go to confront Michael, Sam takes Dean along to give him the chance not to say yes - but Dean does. Now Michael is unleashed on the world, leaving a trail of destruction as he waits for his brother to take his destined vessel and face him in their final fight.
Castiel wakes up without his grace in a world waiting for obliteration. Through the collapsing civilization he makes his way to Bobby's salvage yard where Sam still refuses to give in to Lucifer, no matter how much it hurts. Now it's up to them to save Dean and save the world from Dean's mistake - but the road is much, much longer than any of them anticipates, and every little victory comes with a price.
Warnings: temporary character death, death of OCs, demon blood, suicide attempt and references to successful suicides, Sam whump, Dean does not actually appear in this story
Wordcount: 20,695
Note: Written for the spn_gen_bigbang. Prequel to And this Great Blue World of Ours. Both stories can be read independently, but the sequel is needed for those who require closue.

Part 1    Part 2    Part 3    (posted on Dreamwidth due to length)

Download: on AO3

Artpost


Special thanks go to jonjokeat, for her quick and very thourough beta job, and to mamapranayama who jumped in with some truely amazing artwork late in the game after my original artist had to drop out due to technical difficulties.


Comments

( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
keiu_olari
Oct. 31st, 2012 06:22 pm (UTC)
oh. my. GOD *pause for incoherent flailing & bouncing all over the place* It is here! *shuts all the doors and windows, switches off all the phones and generally throws RL the fuck out, scurries off with e-reader*
vail_kagami
Oct. 31st, 2012 07:42 pm (UTC)
Heh. No pressure, then.
No, really, I'm not even sure I like this one. I really hope it doesn't disappoint.
keiu_olari
Nov. 6th, 2012 12:23 pm (UTC)
Late reply is latelatelate - first, RL refused to give up without one hell of a fight, and then my internet died and refused to be resuscitated for ages and ages.

...It most certainly DOES NOT disappoint. You’ve created an amazing prequel to an amazing verse, and I did not want this story to end (so I guess I do have one complaint – why oh why aren’t there, like, 100+K more worth of chapters?). The picture of a slowly crumbling world is absolutely captivating in its inevitable hopelessness, and it just crawls inside your head and doesn’t leave.

Strange maybe, but out of all this, the thing that probably really brought it all home, end-of-the-world-wise, is sheriff Mills. I’m not even sure I can put it to words adequately, but it's about how they spoke with Bobby and she was generally okay-ish, and said she’d come back, and then just didn’t.

And ohgod, Sam. Cas. Bobby. They just each of them break my heart in so many different ways… I’ve probably said it before, but your fics make me feel sorry for Cas (actually, reading your fics reminded me that there has been surprisingly little emphasis in Canon on all that Cas had given up – and he had given up a lot, even if it was a “better late than never” kind of thing). He has just been chucked headfirst into humanity, and into the wrong end of the emotional pool besides – didn’t get a chance to learn (or experience) the better human emotions, and all of his own sacrifices got pretty much kicked to the curb. But even though he’s no longer an angel, he just doesn’t get humans (his approach to the localization of the croatoan virus was teetering between laugh-out-loud-funny and chillingly frightening). It’s really interesting to see him change, and although I didn’t like him very much at the beginning, because he was being terribly unfair and refusing to listen when Bobby pointed it out, I love that in the end he recognized those emotions for what they were, hurt and confused and lashing out at the easiest target, and told Sam it wasn’t his fault. I’m wondering whether Cas’ll ever tell Sam of the role he himself played in starting the Apocalypse; it would be curious to see how that conversation goes down.

And Sam… god, I’m just speechless here. It is all so very very painful, and once again, exactly how I imagine him being if 5.18 went down that road. He’s still fighting, refusing to give up, even though there seems to be no other way out except turning himself into a weapon in the hopes it will save people, and he doesn’t let those around him give up too – he gave Bobby new purpose in passing on his knowledge and showing that even if you aren’t able to do things you’ve done before, you can still help people. And he made Cas realize that names are important, that if there are no individual pieces left, the bigger picture simply will not exist (because yeah, I remember Lorna). He changed lives, and those lives touched others and ended up changing the world in so many ways, not just stopping the Apocalypse.

Loved the ending. Once again – because it cannot be said enough – your endings are made of awesome and totally rock.

I’m really hoping that you’ll return to this verse with fics/timestamps/whatevs of your choosing, there’s just so much more to be seen, like that attempt to summon Michael – though I have a distinct feeling that this will end up being something like a tornado, interesting-to-see-how-it-works but better to be observed from a (really really big) distance.

Thanks so much for this!
vail_kagami
Nov. 15th, 2012 11:36 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much for your long and thoughtful comment! I wish I had an elaborate response right now, but I'm too tired to think of anything beyond thank you.

I'm pretty sure at some point between this story and the sequel, Cas will reveal his part in staarting the apocalypse. And Sam, being Sam, will forgive him. It's Castiel's own reaction that would be challenging to explore.
vanaynay67
Nov. 2nd, 2012 07:12 pm (UTC)
This has finally given me the push to read the sequel! I love ur writing skills and this sam and cas have a lot to show! Cnt wait to c what happens :-D
vail_kagami
Nov. 5th, 2012 10:33 pm (UTC)
Thanks a lot! This story is really just setting the stage. The sequel shows how it all turns out, a long time in the future. I hope, when you read it, that you'll like it.
vanaynay67
Nov. 6th, 2012 12:25 am (UTC)
I think ill love it :-D ur an amazing writer! I reread ur stories all the time but some reason not tht one!! Its probs bcuz the length doesn't seem appealing at this point in life as I have a crapload of stuff to do! Not tht u care! But...just thought u should know...I appreciate u. (Brave little soldier :-D )
sinka
Nov. 5th, 2012 10:04 pm (UTC)
Okay, can I say that I was truly, deeply scared of reading this? I literally stopped mysef three times from starting it because I was afraid it would hurt too much. But I'm SO glad I finally got to it because THIS? This was so much more that I could hope for. This was plain awesome.

You know, I was kind of expecting a tale of pain and betrayal and hopelessness, probably from Sam's POV (which would have make it nearly unbearable) but instead I read a beautiful tale about an angel losing his grace and purpose, and finding his faith again in the person he least expected.

So yeah, I loved Castiel to pieces. I was quite angry with him at the beginning, because he was terribly unfair (like he himself realized later) and Sam of course agreed with him... but at least I know that Cas will spend his life supporting him, fighting for him, trying to show him how much he's worth and what's even more important, believing in him.

And what can I say about Sam? I can see him starting on the path of sickness and self-destruction that seems to be the only path he has left. And yet, even the act of renouncing to his humanity by drinking demon blood again, is done in order to save one more life. Betrayed, abandoned and broken and yet going forward, turning himself into a weapon and fighting werewolves and learning little girl's names. That's the Sam who will never give in to Lucifer and who knows what will happen when he faces Michael but will keep going after him again and again and again.

Of course, Bobby is always awesome. Picking the pieces and helping Sam as much as possible even when he had also lost a son. But in the end, it was also Sam who saved his life giving him a new sense of worth in the new world.

God, I could talk about this story for hours. It broke my heart because I know the path will be long and rough but at least I know hundreds of years later, Sam will get to see the blue sky again (and his brother will be just a few steps from him).

And now I'm crying again, but it's a good hurt. Thanks again for giving us something so powerful and beautiful.

P.S: By the way, did you think "Keep The Streets Empty For Me" by Fever Ray when you chose the title? I couldn't get it out of my head while I was reading it, and it was the perfect soundtrack.
vail_kagami
Nov. 5th, 2012 10:32 pm (UTC)
I was really anxious what you would think. After you were so enthusiastic about Great Blue World, I thought this one could only be a disappointment, and I am so, so happy after reading your comment.

Finding the right angle for this wasn't easy, since it was clear that things between Sam and Cas couldn't possibly start out on the same level as they would one day end, and there was not enough time to cover all the steps their relationship had to got through. All I could do was push them in the general direction they had to go and set the stage for things to come.

I never heard of the song you mentioned (the title was actually chosen at random), but I checked it out. In fact, I'm listening to it right now, and I love it! Thanks for pointing it out for me.
sinka
Nov. 5th, 2012 11:31 pm (UTC)
An epic song for an epic 'verse I'm obsessed with. It makes sense!

To be honest, when you talked about a prequel I didn't know what you would do, since you had talked already about a big part of Sam & Cas wanderings in the flashbacks and Castiel's tales. But you managed something really amazing, you manged to tell us something new, set the stage for what's to come and even give us a million small clues, details and nods to the main story... Now we have the whole picture!

And seriously, you shouldn't be anxious at this point, because I'm fairly sure your style and plots are direcly linked to the cravings of my brain!
anths_girl
Jan. 17th, 2013 08:46 am (UTC)
Well...as usual, I hardly even know how to BEGIN to say how I feel about your writing. I love, love, LOOOOVVVEEE every word, every SECOND of it!

And as you know...I LOVE the 'Great Blue World' verse (my rec post!)! When I saw there was more...I was ecstatic, to say the least!

Further, I really love (yes, I'm gonna use that word a lot?!) the way you write Cas! It's like you're IN Cas's head! But again, to me, you have more insight into ALL of these characters, than the actual 'writers' of SPN do!

I'll honestly never get enough of this story. I hope you're planning more for this verse? Perhaps more of the 'prequel'? This was already so great, I can't help but want...MORE?! But hey, one writer to another, I SO know it's hard work. I myself can't even get one fic finished?! And after you wrote the EPIC first part, I can hardly believe you had the energy for more?!

I'll say it again...YOU'RE AWESOME! Much love!
( 11 comments — Leave a comment )

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