Sam woke up that day in the same old moldy motel room he and Dean had been staying in the last couple of days. The sun was shining through the bay window next to the door and Sam peered at it in order to get used to the bright golden light. As usual it didn't do much except blind him for a moment. So Sam yawned and sat up in bed, swung his bare feet over the side, and rubbed his sleepy eyes.
"Get up Dean," Sam mumbled as he stood up woozily.
"Dean's not here Sam."
Sam flinched and whipped his body around to confront the intruder whom had spoken the words but he relaxed immediately when he spotted Castiel standing in front of the motel room's bathroom entrance. Unfortunately, Castiel's face was grim and his blue eyes concerned. Not a good sign.
"Where's Dean?" Sam asked.
Castiel tilted his head, confused as to why Sam would not know the answer. "He said yes; don't you remember?"
And just like that, Sam did. He remembered it all too clearly. He could see it and hear it as if he was still there. He saw Lucifer cornering him in a Detroit alley just thirty minutes away from the motel he was staying in at the moment. He could hear Lucifer snarl angrily in his memory like a wild animal when he once more refused to say yes to him. Lucifer wasn't messing around. Michael was also nearby and he needed Sam to agree to be his vessel before Dean agreed to be Michael's.
Desperate for Sam to be his vessel Lucifer had resorted to torturing Sam while Dean and Castiel were busy searching for him. He tried to mess with Sam's mind and when that didn't work he started to break his bones. Lucifer wasn't worried. As long as Sam was still breathing after he said yes he could heal him then attack Michael while he was still without his true vessel.
Sam wouldn't have it. Lucifer had broken nearly every bone in his body when Dean and Castiel had arrived to try to save him. Without any weapon to kill Lucifer though, they were little help.
Castiel was knocked unconscious after Lucifer threw him into a brick wall and Dean was nearly killed from receiving the beating Lucifer gave him. Dean had barely been able to whisper yes to Michael the moment he realized there was no other option. He had agreed to give up control over his body in order to save Sam.
At least it had worked. When Michael's bright light had entered Dean Lucifer had teleported away, afraid to face Michael when he didn't have his true vessel.
After that, Michael didn't stick around for long. He had healed Sam and promised to talk to him in the morning but that was all he had said before he left.
Sam shivered at the memory of how his brother had instantly changed. One moment he was Dean, the next a powerful archangel. He appeared the same with his spiky brown hair and wide green eyes, but the air to him was different and he walked and talked like he was from a different era. It was something Sam was sure he would never forget.
After Michael disappeared Sam had helped Castiel to his feet as he awoke and told him what had happened. Castiel hadn't said a word since then, until now.
"I remember," Sam sighed. "Did you stay the whole night?"
"I'm afraid so," Castiel admitted sheepishly. "I didn't know what else to do and I figured I should stay just in case Lucifer would show up."
"It's okay," Sam reassured the angel. "I'm glad you're here. I guess everything that happened made me kind of fuzzy for a moment."
Castiel nodded and looked down at his shoes, apparently thinking. He was probably unsure if he should say anything else or what he could say.
Sam felt bad for the angel. He'd never really thought about it much, but besides him and Dean being Castiel's friends the angel didn't really have anyone else and he had no home. He couldn't go back to Heaven, he didn't belong on Earth, and he certainly wouldn't go work for Lucifer in Hell. Castiel used to have all his powers; he used to be strong and seemingly unstoppable. He used to have the company of thousands of other angels and he used to be one of the leaders in his garrison. Now all he did was help Sam and Dean. Sam was sure Castiel probably didn't even know what he was now that he seemed to be losing his powers and becoming more human every day.
Today was probably his worst day ever as much as it was Sam's. Dean was gone, maybe not for good, but he wouldn't be there to lead the way to battle for a time. To top that, Bobby was stuck at home in a wheelchair, so it was up to Sam and Castiel to make sure that the Apocalypse ended right and as soon as possible. It was time for them to try to work together without their glue.
Sam pinched his nose between his fingers and leaned over to grab a clean grey t-shirt from his clothes bag and slipped it on. As he tied his shoes while sitting on the bed he spoke up to his quiet partner.
"Do you want anything? I'm going to go to the nearest restaurant that serves breakfast and get something."
Sam could see Castiel shake his head out of the corner of his left eye. "I don't feel like eating. I don't need food right now."
"Okay, then." Sam said. "I'll be back in ten minutes. Call me if Michael comes."
"I will," Castiel promised.
Sam glanced back at the angel once more as he grabbed the motel room's door handle to see him sit down, bow his head, and rest his elbows on his knees. The way his hands were together, Sam wondered if Castiel was going to pray. Sam swallowed hard as his thoughts went to Dean.
If you're going to pray Cas..., Sam thought, ...pray for Dean.
With that, he left.
When Sam entered the motel room again after picking himself up some food he found Castiel in the same position as he was when he left. As soon as Castiel saw Sam though, he stood up.
Sam gave him a smile, trying to be reassuring, but it was an empty one that Sam was sure the angel could see right through.
As Sam threw his breakfast bag on his bed Castiel narrowed his eyes. "Someone's coming."
"Who?" Sam inquired.
"I don't know," Castiel said.
There was a tone of frustration in his voice and from that Sam figured out that Castiel had once had the ability to know.
Suddenly, Dean was standing next to Castiel.
No, Michael, Sam reminded himself.
Dean was in the same body, but he wasn't aware, and he wasn't the one in control anymore.
"Morning Sam," Michael greeted curtly. "Castiel."
Castiel bowed his head in acknowledgement. Sam was surprised by Castiel's lack of response but he wouldn't have a chance to ask him why until he spoke with Michael.
"So what is it?" he asked. "What do you want from me?"
Michael looked up to stare Sam in the eyes. "I want you to help me."
"How?" Sam insisted.
Michael did not answer. Instead his eyes became unfocused and he seemed to be thinking something. Sam watched Michael unsure of what he should do. Castiel too was watching Michael, like he was trying to get a read on him even though he couldn't read someone's mind, angel or not, without staring them in the eye since being cut off from Heaven.
In a matter of seconds someone banged on the motel room door startling Sam and even Castiel, who normally never reacted like that.
The lock on the door broke and two men in black suits charged into the room holding onto two people, a man and a woman, with their hands on their foreheads. The couple were both tied up and breathing heavily.
When they saw Sam the suited men's captives grinned and their eyes flickered black.
"Demons…why'd you bring them here?" Sam asked nervously.
"Kill them," Michael demanded. "I want you to prove that I can trust you."
Worry lines became etched into Sam's forehead. He glanced at Castiel but his face was stone still so Sam could not know how the angel felt about the situation.
Sam looked back at the demons who were smirking. It was like they were okay with dying as long as their blood went to good use. They believed he would be tempted by them. They thought he would drink. They knew who he was.
Sam was enraged. He'd wipe their smiles off their faces and he'd prove he was strong enough to refuse a drink. That must be the point of Michael's test: To see if he could refuse the demon blood that had once helped him use his powers.
Sam sauntered over to his weapons bag that lay on Dean's bed, the empty bed, and pulled out Ruby's knife.
Gripping it with his right hand firmly, Sam turned to face the demons and the angels that held them still.
"You're not going to just let me kill them when they can't defend themselves, are you?" Sam asked, his voice huskier than usual.
"Release them," Michael ordered his followers.
He then held up his right hand to stop Castiel from going to Sam's side. "He has to do this on his own, brother."
Castiel gazed at Sam with worry. He knew the fight would be hard on him. The temptation would be enormous and the consequences greater. He had been there the last time Dean had to lock Sam up in the panic room to "dry him up". It was not something he wanted to happen ever again.
Sam sighed. "It's okay, Cas. I'll be fine."
Castiel's eyes narrowed and Sam knew he didn't believe him for a second.
Sam turned his back to Castiel and Michael and prepared to fight as the two angels holding the demons untied them.
When the demons were free they grinned wider and bolted for Sam at the same time. Sam managed to get the male demon with the knife in one swipe for his neck but the she demon knocked him down to the ground before he could kill her too.
Sam tried to raise his hand to stab the demon in the chest but she grabbed it in a steadfast hold. It took all of Sam's strength to prevent her from being able to stab him instead.
Sam's hold wavered for a second as sweat poured down his face and the knife came dangerously close to the skin over his heart.
"Sam!" Castiel shouted.
Sam quickly looked over at him to see Michael holding him back again, then sucked in a deep breath and shoved the demon off of him, into the post of his bed.
Sam stood and almost immediately the she demon was at him again, but Sam was ready for her this time. He had placed the knife in front of him and the demon ran right into it.
She gasped as yellow light emerged from her body and fell to the ground on her knees before falling onto her stomach. Her eyes and mouth were wide open and blood dripped out between her lips.
Sam huffed, trying to get his breath back and lifted the knife in his hands. When he saw the demon's blood on it his heart began pounding so loud he could hear it in his ears. Sam was caught in a trance staring at the dark substance that wet his weapon.
Blood, blood, blood, power, blood, blood, blood.
Sam's sinful desires raced through his mind.
Sam closed his eyes tight. No. I am not going to give in.
He'd learned his lesson when he broke the last seal freeing Lucifer. He had given into the great desire Famine had caused him to have, but he wasn't going to disappoint again. He wasn't going to fall into the darkness in him again. He wasn't evil.
Sam turned to face Michael and slipped the knife into his jacket pocket.
"Impressive," Michael smiled. "What I wanted to ask you is if you would help me fight Lucifer and his demons. You too Castiel, you have been fighting on the right side, you know."
"Don't you have plenty of other angels to help you out?" Sam inquired.
Michael shook his head. "I am not speaking to most of them. Those like Zachariah have displeased me. They started a war without permission from our father and they will pay. I have to finish this with those whom I can trust."
"Then why choose me?" Sam asked. "I broke the final seal."
"I need all the help I can get," Michael explained. "You have the demon knife, and I can see that you want to be forgiven. I am giving you a chance at redemption."
"But what if I give in to Lucifer?"
"He won't have time to work on you long enough to say yes," Michael told him.
Sam stared at Michael. Was this really real? Was Michael actually asking him to join him in the final battle?
Sam looked over at Castiel to see his eyes widen and their eyes met. Sam could tell Castiel was just as shocked as he was. Who knew that there was another warrior angel besides Castiel that wasn't a total jackass or as Dean would say, a dick?
"Speak now," Michael demanded impatiently.
Sam didn't hesitant any longer. "Yes, I'll do it."
"And I will help as well of course," Castiel told Michael.
"Let me just put my stuff in the Impala," Sam said as he grabbed his bags from the beds.
"Make it quick," Michael commanded.
Sam rushed out of the room past Michael's followers.
Sam raced to Dean's car and threw his bags into the trunk before making sure all the doors were locked. When he turned to head back to the motel room he found Michael and Castiel right behind him, waiting. Sam flinched. "Holy…Jeez."
Michael didn't seem to notice Sam's reaction but Castiel was slightly amused. His corners of his mouth twitched enough for Sam to notice.
Ha, ha, Sam thought as he rolled his eyes.
"Ready?" Michael asked impatiently.
"Could I know where we are going before we leave?" Sam inquired.
"St. Joseph's Church," Michael answered. "It's on the edge of Detroit. I've heard whispers that Lucifer is there planning his next attack."
Sam frowned. "He can still go in a church?"
"He is still an angel," Michael pointed out.
"And even some demons can," Castiel added. "Hence why you can help."
"Be ready," Michael warned.
Sam took Ruby's knife out of his pocket and gave Michael a nod. "I'm ready."
Michael craned his neck to look at Castiel. "Go now."
Castiel teleported away to Lucifer's location and then Michael raised his hand to Sam's forehead to send him away before he could even bend his knees.