Chapter 36

They worked on the empty storage barn Bobby found for almost two hours trying to prep the place. The barn was a spits throw from a two lane blacktop not far out of town. If things went bad, the hope was to minimize collateral damage. Aside from a thin crescent moon and stars, there was no one to watch what they were about. With three foot tall stone walls, wood and a partially corrugated metal roof, it should keep the nasties out and if it came to it, in as well. Bobby and Sam spray painted the walls, ceilings, and floor, while Dean prepped their weapons on two tables at the back.

Sam had tried again once or twice to talk them out of this, but there'd not been much force behind the attempts. Dean knew his brother had come to realize they didn't have much choice, no matter how much he didn't like it.

He glanced over at the white symbols scrawled on the floor and the ones in black everywhere else. Something here had to affect the damn thing. Something had to. He'd wedged a long wooden bar to keep the double barn doors closed. No way was he going to make it easy for this thing.

"Hell of an art project you two got going on," Dean said, laying out the last of the weapons. "I don't think I've ever seen half of these."

Bobby shrugged. "Got some talismans from every faith on the globe. How you doing?"

Dean watched Sam finish one last symbol on the floor and cap his spray can as he answered Bobby's question. "Stakes, iron, silver, salt, knife, jugs of holy water. We're pretty much set to catch everything I've ever heard of."

"It's still a bad idea."

"Yeah, Bobby. I heard you and Sam the first ten times." He put the demon killing knife within easy reach. "What say we ring the dinner bell and get this over with?"

He didn't miss the unhappy look Bobby threw him, but whether it was about his attitude or what they were about to do, Dean couldn't tell. Sam didn't look any more pleased. Bunch of sourpusses those two.

Sammy joined them at the back as Bobby moved to stand before a silver bowl filled with a yellowish powder. Taking a small wooden bowl full of crunched up leaves, Bobby took a pinch of the stuff and dribbled it over the bigger bowl. The yellow powder began to smoke. Bobby started the incantation. "Mateus spiritus obscure…"

About five minutes later, the deal was done. Nothing changed however. Dean watched Sam shifting nervously where he leaned against the second table, obviously at odds on whether he thought this was a good sign or not.

Bored, tired, and sore, Dean hitched onto one of the tables as a seat. As the minutes continued to tick by, he finally couldn't stand it anymore. "You sure you did the ritual right, Bobby?"

Dean saw Sam roll his eyes at him even as Bobby gave him a disgusted look.

"Sorry. Touchy touchy, huh?"

The corrugated metal on the top of the roof suddenly started clanging in its moorings. They rattled up and down as if in the midst of an apoplectic fit.

Dean jumped to the floor. "Wishful thinking… But maybe it's just the wind."

The expressions on their faces told him neither Bobby nor his brother thought so either.

The bulbs hanging above them suddenly exploded in a shower of sparks. All three of them backed up, ducking for cover. The front doors opened inwards in one fluid arc, the holding bar splitting in two as if it were a mere twig. With electric sparks falling all around like 4th of July sparklers from Hell, a lone figure strode forward into the barn from outside.

Dean stared at it through the mess coming from above. It was a man in a long tan trench coat, dark blue suit, white shirt, and dark blue tie. He looked like a shorter version of Keanu Reeves as Constantine or something. And he strode into the midst of the falling sparks still coming from the light fixtures as if they weren't even there.

The three of them stood shoulder to shoulder as far back as the room allowed and brought up their shotguns. As the guy advanced, each of them let off a volley. The rounds hit the intruder dead in the chest, but aside from poking holes in the trench coat, seemed to have no effect on the stranger whatsoever. His stride never slowed as he strolled forward, an almost amused expression on his face.

They all shot at him again, but it made no difference. They all traded glances. Time to change to something else. Dean saw Sam grab the demon killing knife and hide it behind him. Bobby was closest to a bar of iron, so Dean smoothly reached for the tar covered wood spike hidden from view by Sam's body on the table to his right.

The stranger stopped before them, slightly turning to face more in Sam's and Dean's direction than Bobby's.

"Odd. You're Dean Winchester…" The tone was mild as if he were talking to someone on the bus, rather than people who'd just shot his coat full of holes.

It gave Dean the willies. "Yeah, and?"

"You were the one who was supposed to be in the pit." The dark brows furrowed, almost looking like it was something he'd never done before. His troubled gaze moved to Sam. "Yet, you're the one I pulled out."

"Who are you?" Sam asked.

Dean almost reached out and smacked him, not wanting his brother to call any more attention to himself than necessary.

A steady blue eyed gaze locked with his brother's. "I'm the one who gripped you tight and raised you from perdition."

"Yeah? Thanks for that," Dean said as he lunged forward and stabbed the guy with a swing upwards with the stake. Sam went for him at the same time and plunged the demon killing knife straight into the man's heart.

Both of them jumped back not knowing what to expect. To Dean's shock, the guy continued to stare at them as if nothing had happened, that tinge of amusement still on his face. Using both hands, he gripped the stake and the knife and pulled them out without a flinch. He opened his hands and let both fall forgotten onto the concrete floor.

Bobby dove forward to whack him with the iron from his blind side. Without ever turning his head, the stranger caught the incoming bar and stopped it dead. Then he turned his attention to Bobby, and reaching out, touched the shocked hunter on the forehead with two fingers. Bobby eyes rolled up into his head and he dropped like a rock to the floor.

"What did you do?" Dean shifted, keeping himself between the thing and Sam as the latter quickly knelt down to check on their friend.

"Your friend is alive. He'll just sleep for a while. Perhaps you should as well." He started to reach out for him.

Dean backpedaled in a hurry, grabbing Sam by the neck of the shirt and yanking him back with him. He wasn't letting his brother anywhere near that thing and definitely not to be with it alone. Dean narrowed his eyes calling up his demon power to see what he might see of this guy. He could see an essence mixed in with the human's, but it wasn't the oily black he'd seen so many times before. This one was almost the total opposite – brilliant, contained light. Though as far as he could tell, it seemed to blend with the host in almost exactly the same way. "You keep your weird ass mitts off me. And if you have something to say to my brother, you can say it to me!"

The stranger stopped, watching them curiously. The troubled look from before deepened a little. "It took a long time to get to you. Obviously something happened while they kept us at bay." His face cleared. His gaze locked with Sam's. "No matter, you are now the one."

Dean had no idea what he was talking about and didn't much like it. From the confused look on Sam's face, he didn't either. "Who are you?"

"Castiel."

"Yeah, we figured that much." It was hard to keep the sarcasm out of his voice. "I mean what are you?"

The stranger looked over at him. "I'm an angel of the Lord."

Dean heard Sam gasp, but kept his attention on Castiel. "Get the hell out of here. There's no such thing."

"Your brother believes." A soft smile graced the supposed angel's face for a moment as he slipped a glance back toward Sam. "You, however, have no faith. But that will change." Flashes of lightning blasted impossibly inside the barn, accompanied by clashing thunder. Behind the stranger, against the wall, the flashes showed the shadow of what appeared to be a spreading set of wings behind Castiel's back.

Parlor tricks and bullshit. "Some angel you are. You burned out that poor woman's eyes."

"Dean!" Sam grabbed his arm, warning him to still his sharp tongue, but he wasn't having any of it. She shrugged off Sammy's hold. This had to be some sort of trick.

Castiel at least had the grace to look contrite. Not that Dean believed it for a moment. "I warned her not to spy on my true form. It can be overwhelming to humans. So can my real voice. Your brother already knows that."

"You mean the gas station and the motel? That was you talking?"

The stranger nodded.

"Buddy, next time lower the volume." Dean could have belted him right then and there. He'd seen the devastation that could be caused by his so called 'voice'. He'd almost ruptured his brother's ears, the bastard.

"That was my mistake." He looked at Sam. "Certain people, special people, can see my true visage. I thought you were one of them. I was wrong."

Dean felt Sam flinch beside him. He could almost guess at what was running through his brother's mind, devaluing himself at not being this asshole's kind of 'special'. What crap! "And what visage are you in now, huh?"

"This, this is a vessel." Castiel looked down at himself.

"You're, you're possessing someone?" The shocked question came from Sam.

"He's a devout man. He actually prayed for this." He made it sound as if he'd bestowed the poor schmuck some great honor. More crap!

Dean had had more than enough of this shit. "Well, pal, I'm not buying what you're selling, so who are you really?"

"Dean, don't!" Again his brother grabbed him as if to hold him back. Dean shirked him off again. What the hell was the matter with him? Surely he wasn't falling for this bullshit.

Castiel appeared confused by the question. "I told you."

"Right. And why would an angel rescue my brother from Hell?" Nothing without an agenda would have done it. It's not as if Dean had prayed for it to happen. The concept had never even occurred to him.

The possessed man glanced at him looking almost shocked. "Good things do happen, Dean."

"Not in my experience." Not without strings. Not without some gain being involved for them. Sam was the optimist around here. He was a realist. "Why'd you do it? What's in it for you?"

"Because God commanded it." Castiel looked at his brother again. "Because we have work for him."

Dean traded glances with Sam. His brother appeared both terrified and elated at the prospect all at once. As if this meant he'd be given a chance at possible redemption. As if this was somehow a good thing. Only one thought though kept running through Dean's mind over and over and over again…

Shit. Here we go again.

The End

As always many thanks to Kaz for her eagle eyes and angst-o-meter ratings.

Also thanks to Shaken-Silence for pointing out my faulty math. Though I'm in accounting, seems that simple math is beyond me for some reason. Do not know how the heck I botched this up. So, if you started this fic when I first posted chapter 1, the booboo has now been corrected. Faulty chapters now corrected were 1, 4, 5, and 6.

Finally, thanks to you guys for taking the time to read my ravings. Appreciate it!

And if you've not read me before and enjoyed my style, you can find a list of my other SPN fics at .net/u/885436/Maya_Perez

Thanks again! Hope you enjoyed the ride!!!!