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This story is No. 2 in the series "Learning To Live". You may wish to read the series introduction and the preceeding stories first.

Summary: The world is going to hell but Xander doesn’t know. All he’s aware of is pain and sorrow and…comfort or is it manipulation? Is he strong enough to notice the difference? Sequel to 'Invite me in.'

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Supernatural > Xander-CenteredxanderfanFR1358,7090148,0581 Oct 096 Jun 10No

Chapter One

Title: Indecision

Pairings: none

Warnings: Very sad and may challenge some religious beliefs. Graphic description of death and just general Xander angst. General spoilers for Season 5 ep 1 & 2 (those are the ones I've watched so far and won't watch the new ones until the story is done - less temptation to make changes).

Disclaimer: Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Supernatural are not my property. They belong to Joss Whedon and Eric Kripke.

Summary: The world is going to hell but Xander doesn’t know. All he’s aware of is pain and sorrow and…comfort or is it manipulation? Is he strong enough to notice the difference?

A/N: This story touches some sensitive religious issues but is not meant to offend, so don't take it too seriously. I'm following the Supernatural guideline of the God/Angels/Demons concept and may add some details to make the Buffy side of things fit a bit more. This is not expected to be a long story, 10 short chapters estimate.

I'm currently stuck on Chapter 5 so anyone willing to beta or bounce ideas with me is welcome but I do have a general outline that I don't want to deviate from. Let me know if you find any errors and I'll correct them. Enjoy.

Chapter 1

Castiel stopped in the middle of his argument with the boys, body frozen. Eyes wide as saucers, he gaped in shock at the knowledge spreading through him. What was that God forsaken angel thinking? This was not the vessel that they thought he’d take.

The Winchester boys watched the shock registering on the angel’s face and each wondered what could possibly be horrible enough to make this unflappable angel lose his composure?

Dean had seen Castiel calm and collected even in the face of complete destruction. When he’d gotten ready to face the archangel, there was no sign of panic in the face of what the angel must have known was annihilation. Therefore, this situation must be beyond horrible.

“What going on, Cas?” Dean asked voice slightly strained. There was such a thing as enough and he didn’t think he would be able to take more chaos on top of all of this. It was the end of the world and he was nearing his breaking point.

At the question, Castiel refocused on the present. “Lucifer has found a vessel.”

“What?” Sam asked. “I thought it would take a while. Doesn’t he have to get an invitation into the body?”

“Yes,” Castiel answered patting his body. “In order to take control, the human must know his name and voluntarily hand over control.”

Sam nodded, “I mean who would give their body to Lucifer, I mean seriously?”

“Shit, Sammy. I can think of a dozen just at the top of my head, thousands of people in those cults would jump at the chance.”

Castiel nodded, “He does have a lot of options which makes his choice quite peculiar. The one he’s chosen is a warrior for the light, one whose life was dedicated to hunting down demons and protected the general populace of his town.”

Sam smiled, letting out a breathless chuckle. “That means we’re okay. He’s going to say no, I mean the guy’s a hunter, there’s no way he’s going to give in like that.”

“Yeah, like it was so hard for you,” Dean snapped. “It sure didn’t take that long for you to start sucking on demon blood like it was water.”

The smile disappeared from Sam’s face and was replaced with a desolate look. Dean regretted bringing up the whole sore subject but didn’t apologize. There’s nothing that could forgive the way his brother, his own blood had treated him. The instinct to lash out was brutally crushed down and he restrained himself but one thing he wouldn’t do was apologize. Sam didn’t deserve it.

Castiel frowned. “The hunter will say no. There is no demon blood flowing through his veins nothing to influence him, nothing other than the sorrow but that too shall pass.”

Sam winced at the mention of his tainted blood but asked. “What kind of sorrow?”

“He lost most of his companions,” Castiel answered. “It was a terrible car crash, a severe twist of fate. They were his chosen family, the group with which he hunted and he witnessed the aftermath which added upon the pain. He is currently grieving but that shouldn’t influence him at all.”

Both Sam and Dean frowned having enough experience with loss to know different. They both knew that pain skewed things. While still raw, not having numbed, wounds of this sort can be very influential. One thing is sure; anyone and everyone changed when in pain. Things get clouded, all you feel is the consuming agony, you want to relieve it and eventually the need to make it all go away takes over.

“It’s not a sure thing,” Sam said quietly. “When you lose someone like that, it’s going to have an effect and he’s susceptible. If the offer is good enough, he might just take it.”

Castiel frowned for a moment but eventually nodded. “Yes, you are right. Humans are weak to their emotions and with Lucifer’s manipulations, he might succumb.”

Dean swore. “So what are we going to do, we can’t let some hunter get taken over and not only that, if Lucifer gets a body, our problems double.”

Castiel nodded in agreement, “You’re right. I have to go.”

They scowled and Dean asked, “Where the hell are you going?”

“I must go interfere,” with that solemn answer the angel vanished, leaving two frustrated hunters behind.

“I really fucking hate when he does that,” Dean grumbled darkly.


Not even an hour later, Castiel appeared startling the brothers. Dean, strangled on the sandwich he held, and Sam jumped off the bed taking a defensive stance at his brother’s muffled yell. Castiel didn’t seem to notice the twin hot glares and looked at them seriously.

“The vessel is shielded. Something is muffling his area from me.” Castiel frowned. “I fear the other angels are the cause of the interference.”

Dean swallowed, “So you can’t find him then?”

Sam scowled, “Why are the other angels so set on causing this apocalypse.”

Castiel shrugged. “They’ve gotten restless. Millennia doing nothing of particular interest raised the desire for entertainment, and battles with their demonic brethren are a remembered pleasure.”

Dean rolled his eyes. “I knew the angels had sticks up their butts and were colossal assholes but seriously, starting a war because you’re bored?” He shook his head, “Some of you guys are worse than the demons.”

The insult made Castiel frown but it cleared away and a worried expression replaced it. “We must not allow Lucifer to get a vessel while we can still stop it. Though it is inevitable, we must delay him to the best of our abilities.”

Sam frowned, “Do you have a plan?”

Castiel nodded, “Yes, I am searching for God.”

Dean gaped. “God, seriously. Are you kidding me?”

Castiel nodded earnestly, “He isn’t in heaven so he must be here. You were saved by someone powerful and I believe it was God.”

“Right,” Dean snarled. “God can drag us into a plane and force Sammy here to go cold turkey but he can’t just stop the damn apocalypse?”

Dean shook his head and continued sarcastically, “If you find him tell him he’s doing a fantastic job here. Seriously, things have never been better, in fact I’m thinking of taking a vacation to Tahiti since the weather is going to get hot. You know what with the demon’s taking over and hell on earth thing, I mean the forecast should be set for scorching soon enough.”

Castiel advanced towards Dean threateningly. “It was God that demanded your release from hell. He freed you from Alistair’s grasp. It is through God’s will that your brother still lives, since every angel thirst for his death. The threat he still represents is constantly niggling at them, ever present through all their ventures. And it is also God whose help we sorely need. You should cease to belittle Him in my presence.”

Dean opened his mouth to say some undoubtedly regretful. Something that would probably force Castiel’s temper but Sam intervened.

“Okay, guys,” he said calmly. “We have a plan. All we need is the hunter’s location and we’ll try to convince him to say no.”

Dean was angry but he wisely kept quiet as Castiel nodded. “Though I cannot grasp his location, I can pinpoint a general direction and you can follow your more traditional means to do the rest.”

Sam nodded then asked, extremely concerned with the answer. “So, um, Lucifer can’t hurt us, can he?”

Castiel shook his head. “He cannot cause you physical harm. If he so desires he can manifest but cannot affect his environment. Though he can still influence humans and demons, his minions are far more dangerous. Lucifer will send them after you, doing anything to delay you. You cannot allow them to detract you from your course.”

“So we just have to drive there?” Dean asked. “I mean what if this Xander person makes his choice before we get there?”

Castiel frowned and shrugged. “Then we will be too late. I will know the moment he says yes but when he does Lucifer will have taken over and the apocalypse will have truly begun. I hope to find God before then.”

Dean snorted but quelled at the intent look on Castiel’s face. Sam rolled his eyes at the constant bickering and sighed heading to pack their belongings. There was a lot of guilt boiling in his gut and he intended to do anything to stop this hunter. Sam could understand despair, reaching the end of the road looking down at the cliff and wanting to jump to the abyss. He’d fallen and caused a world of chaos and he wished he could take everything back.

There were times when Dean would look at him and Sam skin would tighten with the desire to escape, to run from the shame. Anyone facing a similar situation as he did need to know that it isn’t the end and ask themselves if their family, their friends were standing next to them would they make the same choices.
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