Dean and Sam were searching for Pestilence. If they could kill him and get his ring they would be three quarters of the way there. It was not going well. There were hints and rumors but they just couldn't nail the son of a bitch down. They checked into another roadside motel and were still working on their first beers when there was a knock on the door.
They immediately went into protective mode. From opposite sides of the room they pointed shotguns at the door. "Who is it?" asked Dean.
"My name is Eros," came the reply.
"Never heard of you. What do you want?"
"I want to see Sam and Dean Winchester."
Since they had not used those names to check in, they were not happy. "Never heard of them," Dean yelled as he straightened his aim.
"Dean, all I want to do is talk. You can keep the shotguns on me if it makes you feel better."
"What do you want?" Sam asked.
"Not to be yelling through the door. Come on guys, open up. I just want to talk. Douse me with holy water. Say Christo. Do whatever makes you comfortable."
Dean looked at Sam who shrugged. The fact he could say "Christo" was a pretty good indication that whoever it was, it wasn't a demon. Dean moved forward with the shotgun, unlocked the door, made sure the salt line was solid, backed up and said "Come in."
The guy stepped over the salt line leaving it intact and walked into the room. He was tall, not as tall as Sam but topped Dean by a couple of inches. He was beefy but in a soft sort of way with pretty features, also prettier than Dean. "As I said, my name is Eros; and I am a cherub. And before you start with the stereotypes, we are not really fat, it's a comfort thing for humans and though we are often naked as a non-threatening gesture, I prefer to wear clothes when conversing."
Dean snorted, "We met one of you already. Can't say I was impressed."
Sam piped in, "Eros was a pagan god of love, what is an angel doing with a pagan god's name?"
"I took it. The Greeks personified love and that is what Cherubim are. We are the incarnation of god's love."
"So how did you find us? We are hidden from angels, you shouldn't have been able to track us down," said Sam.
"You are hidden from angels and even archangels, but I am a cherub. In fact I'm kind of the chief cherub. We are not the same as angels." Eros paused, "You did know that, right?" Slightly exasperated, "What do you guys know about the heavenly cohorts?"
"We know the angels kick ass and you don't," said Dean.
Eros smiled, "You probably know everything there is to know about demons, but you don't know jack about angels," not exactly the kind of language Dean and Sam were expecting from a heavenly presence. Eros caught the looks from the guys and somewhat sheepishly said, "I spend a lot of time on Earth around humans. Some of it's bound to rub off."
Getting back to his point, "With all that you have been through, did it not occur to you to research angels?" Looking at their blank stares, Eros continued, "Though people tend to call all of the heavenly host angels, angels are the lowest order. They are only one level, two if you count archangels. There are nine separate orders of heavenly beings."
Seeing more blank stares Eros continued, "Angels and archangels you know. They are the messengers of god, but also serve as his shock troops when the need arises. For the most part, humans only deal with the two groups of angels and us, the cherubim. Then there are Virtues, Powers, Principalities and Dominations. Their only interest in biology is strictly clinical: evolution; ecology; and the like. They pretty much manage the physical universe from the sub atomic to the galaxies. Thrones are the servants of god. Of course the top of the food chain are the Seraphim, they are tuned into the mind of god. Those guys you don't want to piss off. It's said that when they decide to retire the universe will end."
Sam who was paying pretty close attention to the lesson in angelology asked, "So where does that put Cherubim in the food chain?"
"There's us, then the Seraphim, then God."
Dean actually heard Sam gulp halfway across the room. "So what are you doing here?"
The Cherub replied, "I'm here to help."
"Waited kind of a while, didn't you?" Dean asked with more than a slight bit of sarcasm while Sam gave him that don't piss off the Cherub look.
"Actually, no," Eros replied. "We have been watching over the Winchesters since before your parents met. We arranged that. We bound their hearts together."
This was too much for Dean, "You son of a bitch, that's what the other one said. You are responsible for all of this. If you hadn't 'arranged' our parents we wouldn't be in the mess we're in." He was across the room and throwing a punch before Sam could move. Though not stupid, Dean had not learned his lesson from the last time he hit a Cherub. Luckily, he didn't break any bones in his hand. He did however yelp in pain.
"Dean," Eros said, "what did you not learn the last time you hit a cherub? We don't have human bodies, we don't take vessels. We create our own shells and not even a nuclear blast would affect us. When you hit my brother the last time he was devastated. He couldn't figure out why you of all people would want to hurt an embodiment of love."
Dean was shaking his hand, "Me of all people, what's so special about me."
"Not just you. You and Sam. All of the Cherubim are interested in you. You two are integral to God's plan. You've been told that your parents were brought together by us. That was so that you and Sam would be born."
Sam was looking downcast, "Good and evil, is that it? Dean is the good one and I am the bad one."
"No, Sam," Eros replied. "You both have your parts to play in saving mankind and the angels. Sometimes you are stubborn and confrontational, and you have made mistakes, some bad ones, but you are human. You learn from your mistakes and do better the next time.
"You died after winning Azazel's competition; and winning by not killing. Your turning to Ruby was based on trusting her. Looking for good in someone, even a demon, is not a bad thing. There was some selfishness in trying to rescue Dean, but even there, you sought to trade places with him. How much demon blood did you drink? Think about it; still you used your power to help people and you were not corrupted by it until the very end." Sam knew Eros was referring to the possessed nurse he sacrificed before his final confrontation with Lilith and was almost overwhelmed by the grief.
"You do not remember, but you met her during one of your sojourns in heaven. She not only forgave you, but thanked you. In heaven she understood that she was controlled by a demon, and she knew she would have been insane on Earth from her memories while possessed. Be at peace with that action, it has been forgiven by the one injured."
Dean did not know what they were talking about. Sam had never shared this with him. He was glad not to know and would never pursue something so hurtful with his brother. Changing the topic, Dean asked, "Angels? What do you mean, save the angels?"
"Angels are single minded. They don't think. Once they made up their minds not to challenge God, they abdicated all responsibility for their actions to fulfill His will. You saw it with that dick Uriel." Obviously, Eros had been watching Dean for some time. "He was trying to do the right thing, but wasn't bright enough to figure out how to do it without hurting innocents. Michael is fixated on defeating Lucifer; and Lucifer is fixated on destroying humanity."
"So what are we supposed to save them from?" persisted Sam.
"From starting a bloody war in heaven and on Earth. That would pretty much be a bad thing for everyone. It would go against the love of God. They would destroy themselves in their desire to serve God."
"Why us? Why don't you cherubim handle this?" asked Dean.
"If we interfere they will attack us and rip heaven apart. They wouldn't win, but the consequences would devastate the universe not just Earth. This war has to be stopped here and stopped by you."
"You got a lot of nerve calling Uriel a dick, hanging us out to dry while you guys sit safe and sound," snapped Dean.
"We have been helping without anyone knowing."
"Like when?" Dean asked.
"Remember when you two were in heaven and Ash couldn't find Mary or John, or even Ellen and Jo. That is because we have them safe where neither Michael nor Lucifer can get them. They would be used against you if they were found. We missed Adam and for that I'm sorry. We just didn't know he could be leveraged against you. Of course, anybody could be used as leverage with you two because that is kind of people you are. They could have pulled almost anyone off the street and threatened them and you would give in. Luckily, they don't realize that. But we'll keep your friends and family hidden and protected until everything is resolved."
"So what's in it for the Cherubim?" asked Dean.
"We want the human race to survive and grow. We want the angels to quit fighting and we would like to save Lucifer. That last is a long term goal; not something we expect to happen anytime soon."
"So you thought you would use the two guys who started the apocalypse to end it?" Dean asked. "Sam at least killed Lilith, a demon; but I spilled blood and tortured souls in hell."
"Those were not innocent souls. The crime there was the violation of you not them, and you were forced into it and hopefully are healing from it. Sam, Dean, you both had to fail before you could move forward. Without recognizing your weaknesses and overcoming your failures you would not understand what you could lose. You learn as much from failure as you do from success. And you've both learned. Dean, you held out in hell for four months. No one could have done that."
Dean swallowed and with not a little bit of pride said, "My dad did."
Eros looked at Dean and his eyes went soft as he reached for Dean's hand, "I am going to tell you something, but only so you will understand how strong you are, how unique you are. Hell was designed by Lucifer for one reason only, to break humans. Lucifer's entire purpose is to make humans lose their humanity. Your father lasted a year without breaking because he had help."
"Help? Help from whom?" asked Dean. Though he would ordinarily be ranting and raving, the touch of the Cherub calmed him.
"From Lilith. She could have had John spill blood at anytime, but she was playing a deeper game. She wanted the first seal broken and could always use John, but she wanted Azazel dead and the competition out of the way. Azazel didn't want Lucifer free. He wanted to run the show by breaking out all those demons and using Sam to lead his army. Didn't you think it was kind of odd with all those demons trying to escape hell that your father managed to get to the head of the line? Lilith. She knew that if John got out of hell, he would not rest until Azazel was dead. Even as a spirit, he would use you two to make sure. She held your contract, so she knew you were on your way to hell to break the first seal.
"Because John did not break, Alastair took a special interest in you. When John could not be broken after months of torture, Alastair came in to do the job. His frustration grew with each failure. After your father's escape, Alastair's obsession with John festered and grew. When he had a chance to go after his son, he went after you with a vengeance. No other human could have held out as long as you. And even when you did move to the rack to inflict torture, you managed to keep a part of your soul clean. What you suffered was more horrible than anyone has ever experienced in hell. Your courage of heart causes the Cherubim to weep at your suffering. Dean Winchester, the Cherubim will always be in awe of you."
Dean did not know what to feel. He was glad his father had help. He was battered by his memories of hell. He felt shame for the weakness of giving in. He was angry that he was a victim of all this. He was stunned. He felt a presence near him and looked up to see Sam standing next to him. There were tears in Sam's eyes as he bent over and gathered his older brother in his arms, held him, and whispered in his ear, "I am so proud of you and love you so much."
Eros smiled at the brothers knowing these two men could save the world. Once they pulled themselves together, he turned to Sam, "Don't think you are not worthy of praise. You may not have suffered what Dean has, but you have had more than your share. It is John and Dean's love for you that has set in motion the actions that can save this world. I know the depths of your heart and it is equal to that of Dean. You still have your part to play."
"So what are you going to do?" asked Sam.
"Very little. I'm sorry to be so blunt, but this has to be your fight. The consequences are too great if the battle moves to heaven. I am here to offer you help but it will be only for you two, not for this world. If you cannot save it, I am hoping at least, to save your souls. Not from hell but from oblivion."
"What does that mean? From oblivion?" Sam insisted.
The Cherub continued, "If it comes down to it, I don't see how you can avoid agreeing to be vessels. Lucifer and Michael will threaten you with horrors to your friends and the Earth that you will not be able to resist. This is not a flaw in you. This is a strength. But it is a strength they will exploit. Once the battle is engaged, the powers they use will obliterate you. We Cherubim do not intend to lose your souls. We will rescue you and keep you safe, if we can."
"If you can?" snorted Dean.
"Timing is everything. If we are too late, you will be gone; we cannot be too early without tipping our hand to the angels. So you need to do what you can to stop the apocalypse. If you find a way to defeat them, do it. We cannot guarantee success. Ideally, we would be there as you are both taken, but it is doubtful that you will be subsumed at the same time. We need the second to surrender in the presence of the other. We need all four of you together and Lucifer and Michael in your bodies."
"Then what?" asked Dean.
"We will do our best to rescue you from the fight," Eros said simply.
"What about the Earth? How many people will die because we jump ship and let those two dicks fight it out?" spat Dean.
"More than we care to admit. Cherubim value life. We see this as the true purpose of humans. Unfortunately, before I leave, I have some exceedingly bad news for you. Tomorrow you will not remember any of this. If the angels ever find out about this, it would be devastating. I will have to wipe your memories so if you are possessed, you will not betray us. The second of you to surrender will need to be with the other when it happens."
Though the Cherub's presence and touch were calming, Dean exploded, "Then what the fuck are you doing here? What was the point of all this?"
"Though the specific memories will be gone, the comfort and hope I have given you will stay with you. You will also feel the need to be with each other as you become vessels. Though neither of you lacks personal courage, you greatly fear for others. My visit should help keep you focused on preventing the apocalypse. It might even allow you to sacrifice each other if the need arises. These memories will return at the right time. We will be watching and when the time is right, we will be there to rescue you.
"You will have these memories for tonight and the Cherubim will give you one thing. Tonight, nothing will touch you. You will be safe from Lucifer, from Michael, even from annoying phone calls and maid service. We are happy that you two have found a physical outlet for your love. This is your night for joy." With that Eros went to each man and lightly kissed their foreheads. A glow surrounded them and then Eros was gone.
Dean went to Sam and embraced him. Sam's arms enfolded Dean; both closed their eyes as Sam bent down and gently kissed Dean. When they opened their eyes, their typical motel room was transformed into the finest hotel suite they could imagine. Ordinarily, they would be bitching about the cherubs hanging them out to dry and planning strategies, but the cherub's affect warmed them and created a hunger between them for affection mixed with passion.
As he broke from Dean and headed for the bathroom to prepare for the evening, Sam stopped in the doorway, "Dean, you have to see this." The somewhat scummy and distressed bathroom had also been transformed into a plumbing paradise with a shower and whirlpool large enough for four Sam sized bodies and beyond anything Hollywood could imagine. That night Dean and Sam took advantage of every amenity provided by the cherubs including the oversized California king bed with buttery soft sheets.
True to his word, the two men were safer than they had ever been as seven cherubim including Eros watched over the hotel room. The overflow of the heavenly presence changed the lives of everyone in the motel that night for the better. The next morning when Sam and Dean awoke, their memory of the previous night was gone with fake memories of a night of television replacing it. The room did seem nicer than when they checked in, and it was.
From that day on, Room 167 was special. Anyone who stayed there was soothed of their cares. People's lives changed as they found peace after a night's stay. The maids even enjoyed cleaning it and were in better moods afterwards. The manager noticed that guests who usually only complained, went out of their way to comment on how great the room was. He heard it so much he decided to spend the night and realized there was something special going on. He worked hard and eventually bought the motel so that the room would always stay the same. No matter how often the rest of the place was remodeled and new furniture was brought in, Room 167 always remained the same. The carpet never wore out; the mattress was always comfortable; the television always had a perfect picture; and it never ran out of hot water. He never thought about changing a thing in it. He often arranged for certain people to stay there and did his best to make sure that someone had the benefit of the room every night. He was careful not to be greedy and overdo his use, but once a year, on the anniversary that the two handsome young men had used the room, the manager would take the room for himself. Eventually, he found his final peace there on one of the anniversaries, but he made sure that his heirs understood the special qualities of the place and they became its stewards.