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Fic: Hope's Last Breath Chapter 2/10

Title: Hope's Last Breath
Fandoms: Supernatural/Torchwood/The Avengers/Doctor Who
Pairings/Characters: Dean/Sam/Castiel, Jack/Ianto, Coulson/Clint, Tony/Bruce, Natasha/Pepper, Thor/Loki, Steve/Darcy, Balthazar/Gareth Jones, Bobby, Marion Jones (OFC), Andy/Tosh, Owen/Maria Hill, Nick Fury/Donna Noble, Rhys Williams/Kathy Swanson, Martha Jones, the Doctor
Summary: Greek Mythology says that when Pandora disobeyed the Gods and opened the box, all the world's evil was unleashed but hoped remained inside. Unfortunately, hate found Pandora's Box and destroyed it. Out of his depth, Nick Fury has no choice but to seek help from others who have knowledge of and experience with this kind of stuff. But without hope in the world, it's only a matter of time before humanity falls into chaos.
Rating: R
Disclaimer: I do not own Supernatural, the Avengers or Torchwood but I do own Gareth and Marion Jones
Beta: RoyalLadyEmma

Chapter 2

Dean and Sam shared a look as Bobby worked feverishly to get in touch with all the hunters in his network; from the tense look on his face they were fairly certain that he wasn't hearing good news. "Damn it!" Bobby threw his pen across the room in a fit of anger.

"I wish Cas was here," Dean mumbled under his breath, "he can always keep Bobby under control." His unspoken thought was that the angel might be able to shed some light on what the hell was happening in the world.

"You called, Dean?"

Dean jumped slightly as their angel's voice suddenly came from behind him. "Damn it, Cas, we are so getting you a bell!" Dean growled. As happened every time Castiel popped in without warning, Dean was a little tired of always being startled by the angel's unpredictable behaviour.

Sam, on the other hand, immediately noticed how pale and haggard Castiel looked and hw rushed to his side. "Castiel, what's wrong?" He was quite alarmed when the angel sagged into his arms. "Dean, help me! Bobby, get over here!"

Once he got a good look at Castiel, Dean was right beside Sam helping the angel over to Bobby's couch. "Damn it, man, you look like you've been to hell and back," Dean muttered under his breath as he watched the angel collapse against the back cushion. 'What the hell could have caused Castiel to look so damn awful?'

Castiel shook his head although it was clear that it caused him pain and his eyes looking haunted. "I cannot explain now but I can say that it is vitally important that we get to Cardiff as soon as possible. We can only hope that Marion will find her way there, if we're lucky, she'll be able to shed more light on what has happened."

Dean and Sam exchanged puzzled looks while Bobby raised an eyebrow, "Marion, as in Marion Jones, one of Hope's angels? What the blue blazes does she know about what's going on?" Bobby demanded to know.

Castiel knew from previous experience that neither his lovers nor Bobby would go willing with him until he gave them something to satisfy their need for answers. Choosing his words carefully, Castiel told them, "Pandora's Box has been destroyed and the first Spirit of Hope is dying."

"Huh? That's redicu..." Sam blinked rapidly as his mind raced to make sense of what he'd just heard. "Pandora's Box is real? As in the Greek myths of how evil came to man and how hope reminded behind?" Sam asked just wanting to make sure he heard right. "That Pandora's Box?"

Smiling softly at his charge, Castiel nodded his head. "Yes, that Pandora's Box. The legends of it are all true, it did contain the very first bit of hope for humans. A short time ago, every demon, angel, God, Goddess and all those in between felt hate destroy it."

"We felt it too!" Bobby exclaimed gruffly. "Everyone I've talked to on the hunter's network felt it. I've talked to people all over the world and everyone felt it but nobody can explain it!"

"Humanity is now without hope," Castiel explained softly.

Dean, Sam and Bobby just stared at the angel with horror written clearly on their faces, and then Bobby managed to sum everything up in one word, "Balls!"

"But if the Spirit of Hope has been destroyed then wouldn't Marion be in great danger?" Sam asked; he was terribly worried about his old friend. 'I wonder how Ianto's holding up?'

"Dude, is she all right?" Dean hated to see anything happen to the woman; Marion been like a second mom to him and Sammy when they were growing up. "What about Mica? Isn't she a future angel of hope? Is she all right?"

Castiel didn't want to lie to them or give them false hope. "I do not know. Mica may be fine due to the fact she is only marked to become one, she isn't actually a angel of hope, not yet. It is Marion we should be worried about although I believe that the Time Lord is rather fond of her and I can only hope she has been able to find her way to him; he will keep her safe."

"Why?" Dean asked raising an eyebrow.

It was Sam who answered; "Because he's outside of time, so once she's onboard his TARDIS she'll be out of sync with the rest of the world. Hopefully, that'll be enough to keep her safe from what's going on."

"Yes, but if only she survived the initial destruction of hope." Castiel shook his head slowly, "Very few did."

*****

Appearing without warning in the ancient temple Marion stumbled as she tried to stay on her feet before exhaustion and weakness made her collapse in a heap on the floor. Wracked by a coughing fit as the dirt and fine dust got into her mouth, she stayed where she was for several minutes, trying desperately to catch her breath. Trembling uncontrollably Marion was finally able to get to her knees; reaching out, she grasped the nearby broken pillar and used it as a crutch to pull herself up.

"Marion," a very weak voice called out and Marion squinted her eyes trying to locate the source. Finally, deep in the shadows, her gaze landed on the nearly transparent form of a beautiful young woman lying in the dirt.

"My lady!" Marion gasped in horror as she crawled her way towards the fallen spirit. After what felt like an eternity, she reached the crumpled form, tears began falling as Marion felt pure dread fill her heart. Being as gentle as she could, she gathered the dying spirit into her arms. “My lady, what happened?" she whispered. "There must be something we can do?”

Weak as a newborn kitten, Hope slowly shook her head. "Pandora's Box has been destroyed by hate. There is no hope left in humanity any longer, my child; Earth is about to become a bloodbath.” She knew her time was nearing the end, she could feel her life slipping away with every second that past. She knew she wouldn't be able to hold on much longer and from the way Marion was shaking and pale Hope knew that she too was just barely hanging on.

"No!" Marion gasped helplessly. "What can I do to stop this?"

"You can't, child. Please, I'm begging you," Hope gasped for breath and her fingers clutched frantically at Marion's arm.“Go to the Doctor, his ship can protect you. You must find a way to inspire hope in mankind's heart again. It will not be an easy task but you, your brothers and the Winchester's always seem to be able to get out of the tightest of situations." Hope's last breath rattled in her chest and the last thing Marion head was, "I have faith in you."

Tears ran unchecked down Marion's cheeks and a heart-broken sob tore from her throat as the spirit of hope became nothing but dust in her hands. She bowed her head and sobbed from the very bottom of her heart, mourning her fallen brothers and sisters. She raised her eyes to the heavens and prayed that her niece was safe before she gathered the rest of her rapidly fading strength and reached out with everything she had to find the TARDIS. 'I just hope I have enough strength to reach him. Stay safe, my family.'

*****
The instant Balthazar arrived with Gareth, the Hub became a hot spot of activity as at the exact same time, Castiel popped in with Dean, Sam and Bobby. Before the first 'hello' could be spoken, Rhys came through the Hub doors with Rhiannon, Johnny and David in tow. Despite all the noise and chaos of the moment, the only thing Ianto saw was his niece's pale and unresponsive form in Johnny's arms. That's when he accepted that there was something very, very wrong with the world. 'If things were okay, then Marion would be here and Mica would be okay.'

Owen had seen the same thing as he rushed toward Johnny, and he was already in doctor mode as he began barking out orders to Johnny, "Follow me! I need to know everything you can tell me about how she ended up like this."

Rhiannon nodded her head before shooting a look at her son's frightened face, and then at her two brothers, who wore almost identical expressions of concern and confusion. Turning back to her son, Rhi hugged him tightly for a moment. "Stay here, David; tell your Uncles what happened." She then pinned both Ianto and Gareth with one of her infamous, I'm-the-older-sister-and-you-have-to-do-as-I-say-or-else! looks. "I want answers!" she growled out and then smiled thinly as she saw them shiver in unison. 'Nice to know that still works,' she thought gratefully.

Ianto and Gareth nodded their heads quickly; they weren't fools, they weren't going to piss off their sister any more than she already was. Rhiannon was in full momma bear mode and only an idiot would dare to tick her off.

Dean waited until Rhiannon was completely out of sight before letting out the breath he was holding in one loud whoosh. "Is it just me or has she gotten scarier?"

His brother took a moment to think back and he grinned wickedly as he realised that, "Oh yeah, brother mine, the older she gets the scarier she becomes!"

Balthazar and Jack both shivered, having been on the receiving end of Rhiannon's wraith more than once since they dared to start dating her baby brothers. "You should have heard her threaten me the first time she caught me with Gareth!" Balthazar still had nightmares about that. "I was afraid I was gonna lose my very best bits!"

Gareth rolled his eyes in mock exasperation. "Of course she did, you big prat! You had your hands down my pants at the time!" He smiled with fond memory of the fun they'd had once Rhi had left them alone. "Remember afterwards?" he reminded his angel.

"Oh yeahhh..." Balthazar's eyes glazed over for a moment as he mentally relived their first time together.

He was yanked from his reverie when Jack said, "Well, at least she didn't use a very sharp knife to make her point!" Jack shuddered and stepped closer to Ianto as if hoping his lover would protect him from the memory of Rhiannon coming at him with a knife and welding it like an expert. 'Of course, at the time I did deserve every bit of her wrath.' Jack had met Rhiannon during a time when he had thoughtlessly hurt Ianto by making a fool of himself with Gwen. She'd threatened to quit after Rhys had found out about Torchwood and she had refused to Retcon him. It was at the same time that Jack and the others had met Dean and Sam and had learned about Ianto's previous life as a hunter.

Dean cast suspicious eyes onto Jack, "So have you finally stop thinking with your dick all the time?" Dean wasn't a big fan of Jack's and he didn't bother to hide the cynicism and bitterness in his voice. He recalled with vivid detail how the immortal had hurt Ianto with that bloody Gwen Cooper; he was glad to see that she was gone. 'I will never forgive her for getting my Sammy hurt during our last visit to Cardiff!'

Jack scowled at the younger man and crossed his arms over his chest. "What goes on between Ianto and me is none of your business." Jack knew full well that the hunter didn't have a high of opinion of him and Jack returned the feeling tenfold. Dean had been Ianto's first lover and that was something Jack would never forgive or forget.

Long suffering sighs came from both Ianto and Sam as they watched their lovers get into their usual pissing contest. Neither of their men could go a single meeting without falling into an argument.

Knowing what Jack was thinking about, Ianto reached out and linked his fingers with Jack's; he gave his lover the very special smile that was reserved only for him. Jack returned the smile before he kissed Ianto tenderly on the forehead. "I'm always yours, Cariad," Ianto whispered before turning his gaze onto Dean. While he understood his friend's worries and concerns, Jack was right; their problems were nobody's business but their own.

Ianto fixed Dean with a steely look. "Jack and I have worked out our problems of the past and we are now fully committed to one another. So please, for my sake, can the two of you please try and get along for just a little while, at least until we know what's going on." He had more important things to worry about than Dean and Jack butting heads. Mica was still unconscious despite Owen's best efforts, Marion hadn't appeared to help her, and both Castiel and Balthazar looked like they were hanging on to the world by their very fingernails.

A cocky knowing grin appeared on Dean's face and he puffed his chest out proudly. "Yeah, about that, I know what's going on." He left unspoken the words, 'and you don't Jack Harkness, so there!'

Ianto stared at his former lover impatiently. "Well?" he finally snapped sharply.

"It would seem that hate has managed to track down and destroy Pandora's Box. And before you ask, yes it does exist and yes it did indeed hold the Spirit of Hope." Dean explained, feeling just a little bit important. "She has now been destroyed, which basically means we're now living in a world without hope."

Frightened by what he'd just heard, Ianto tightened his grip on Jack's hand and stepped closer to him, drawing comfort from his presence. 'Hope destroyed? But what about her angels?' "What about Marion?" Ianto directed his question at Castiel and Balthazar, noting that Gareth was glaring at his own lover.

"Oww! Why'd you hit me?" Balthazar whined as he rubbed the spot where Gareth had whacked him over the head.

"Why do you think? You didn't tell me that my sister was in danger!" Gareth snarled viciously and his hand fell to the dagger strapped to his thigh.

Recognizing the pissed-off look in Gareth's eyes as one he knew all too well, Balthazar gulped and did the only thing he could think of; he ducked behind Castiel and peered over his fellow angel's shoulder. "I didn't tell you because I knew you would hurt me when I told you that I have no information about Marion," he explained before ducking down behind Castiel again.

A growl escaped Gareth's lips. "You are sleeping on the couch for the entire next month."

Balthazar grinned in triumph as he popped his head over Castiel's shoulder. "You won't last a week, you poor thing; you're addicted to me!" he arched an eyebrow as he reminded Gareth smugly.

Castiel saw the murderous look in Gareth's eyes, and with pure seriousness, he patted his brother on the arm before hugging him. "I will miss you, brother."

Balthazar pouted for a moment before popping over to hide behind Ianto. "I know you won't let anything happen to me," Balthazar pouted prettily at Ianto. "You're one of the good guys."

A low growl escaped Jack's lips as he yanked Ianto flush against his body. "Ianto may not hurt you, but if you keep flirting with him, I will personally hold you down while Gareth guts you!" he threatened.

Ianto rolled his eyes but he revelled in the warm rush that Jack's jealousy and possessiveness stirred in him. He actually loved the way his immortal became a modern-day caveman over him. Ianto turned a stern eye on all of the men."I've said it before gentlemen, no bloodshed in the Hub! Gareth, we both know that you won't harm Balthazar and right now I think we have much more important things to worry about, like the fact the world is without hope and who knows what's happening to Marion at this very moment." Ianto was terrified for his sister.

Jack pressed a kiss to Ianto's forehead. "I'm sure Marion's just fine. She is a Jones after all."

"Yeah, and besides, Marion knows the Doctor and Castiel says if she can get to his TARDIS, she should be safe." Sam repeated what Castiel had told them earlier, hoping he could calm Ianto's worries just a bit.

Ianto smiled softly; he might not like the way the Doctor had treated Jack but it was clear the Time Lord had a soft spot for his sister. "Then I pray that she's with him." Ianto momentarily closed his eyes and bowed his head. 'Please be okay, Marion.'

*****

Somewhere in Space and Time

Floating peacefully deep in the void while the Doctor fiddled with something beneath the console, the TARDIS suddenly shuddered violently as she felt the after-effects of Hate's actions on Hope. She saw the pure chaos about to be unleashed on Earth and then she felt it. It was a weak prayer coming from the one who'd kept her lonely angel sane during his time as the Master's prisoner, the one who had come to see her while she'd been trapped as a paradox machine, the one who had given her the strength she needed to go on was calling to her for help.

The Doctor and Donna held on tightly as the TARDIS' decks rocked beneath their feet, nearly throwing them onto the grating. They stared at the time rotor suddenly began pulsing and pistoning up and down.

"What?" The Time Lord poked a couple of buttons and then pulled on the only lever he could easily reach, but to no avail. The TARDIS had taken on a mind of her own and nothing was going to stop her this time.

"Where's she taking us?" Donna asked as she held on to the console as the Doctor tried to regain control.

"I have no idea. She's not responding to me." The Doctor had only seen this happen a few times and even though he might not be able to figure out why right away, his ship always had a reason and he trusted her. 'Who has you so worried?'

The TARDIS came to a sudden halt and Donna didn't even try to fight back a smirk as she watched the Doctor fell flat onto his arse. "Should held on tighter, dumbo," she laughed.

Fortunately, the Doctor wasn't paying attention to his companion; his eyes were firmly locked on the woman who had just materialised in the TARDIS. He was horrified to see that Marion's beautiful white wings were mangled, dirty and nearly transparent as she stumbled before collapsing into a heap. The Doctor was immediately on his feet and at her side supporting her weight. "Marion! What happened? Are you all right?"

"The Spirit of Hope has been destroyed. Earth is falling into chaos, and it's about to become a bloodbath," Marion whispered as she curled her fingers into the Doctor's arms.

The Doctor froze; he'd heard never about something like that happening before. "Are you sure?" he asked even as his mind raced with possibilities.

Marion nodded her head weakly. "I'm sure; it's going to be engulfed in hate."



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