TITLE: Knowledge Isn't Everything

AUTHOR: Eleri McCleod

CONTACT INFO: elerimc at gmail . com; http : / elerimc . livejournal . com/

SPOILERS: 5.01, "Sympathy for the Devil"


SUMMARY: It shouldn't have worked. But it did. Tag for 5.01.

DISCLAIMER: Supernatural and its characters are the property of Eric Kripke, Kripke Enterprises and Warner Brothers. I'm just borrowing them for a little while and will return them unharmed. No copyright infringement is intended.

ARCHIVE: FF, Supernaturalville, LJ, any others please ask

AUTHOR'S NOTES: I had no intention of tagging the episode. And then I watched it a second time. This little ficlet is what popped into my little head. Unfortunately, once it was finished, I promptly forgot all about it. Going through my files months later, I found it and realized I'd never posted. Thankfully, Kripke didn't completely ruin my thoughts through the rest of the season. So here it is, better late than never, right? Special thanks go to Lynette for betaing a season she hasn't seen yet. As always, any and all feedback is appreciated.

With the suddenness of a lightning strike it all snapped into place.

Sam's eyes drilled into the back of his brother's head, Zachariah's voice nothing more than a meaningless string of syllables bouncing off the walls of the concrete storage locker in the wake of his revelation.

Dean was an archangel's vessel.

And that's why it had worked.

At the time, Sam hadn't said a word, not daring to tread that close to the fragile truce they'd fallen into after the plane had landed. His brother wanted to find Castiel, so finding Castiel was what they set out to do. He didn't think they'd find him, but he went along with it. The backup insurance of the blood mark? Well, that was just another one of those things Sam didn't think would work, but he went along with it as well. He owed his brother more than one unquestioned act of faith.

It wasn't necessary to point out that not just any Average Joe Citizen could use blood magic. Dean knew that. It also wasn't necessary to point out they'd only seen angel banishment performed by other angels. True, Anna had been graceless at the time, but underneath it all she was still an angel. Dean was neither a fallen angel nor a vessel, confirmed not just once, but twice by fact of bleeding ears when Castiel himself attempted to speak with his real voice. All evidence pointed to Dean being nothing more than a full-fledged human with a demon blood infested little brother.

Apparently they'd all been wrong.

In the lightning flash of knowledge, the past two hellish years made perfect sense for the first time. The first seal couldn't be broken by just any righteous man. It could only be broken by the righteous man, the archangel's vessel. The same archangel who'd banished Lucifer and set the seals in the first place.

Zachariah was still speaking, still only meaningless sounds, and bile crawled up Sam's throat, burning at the back of his mouth. They'd been screwed from the very beginning. The demons wanted Lucifer free. The angels wanted Lucifer free. Together, with their differing understandings of the prophecy, all they had to do was get Dean down to the pit and let hell have its way with him. And if killing Sam hadn't been enough, the two sides would have figured out another way.

Oh, God. The deal. One year only suddenly made a frightening amount of sense.

His stomach clenched and he almost stooped then and there to empty what little was sloshing around in his gut. Dean had never even had a chance.

But the worst part? When Zachariah and his backup had disappeared in a flash of power and white, Sam still hadn't clued in. So sunk in his own misery and guilt, he'd never once given thought as to why Dean's blood had worked. He'd merely chalked it up to a lucky break and moved on.

Now, staring at his defiant to the last brother, he asked himself if Dean could have had a suspicion, a silent thought there was something different about him.

Before he could find an answer, a sudden motion caught his attention. Zachariah's hand was pointed at his brother, fingers twisted into the shape of a gun. Tensing, Sam readied himself to shove Dean out of the line of fire. Who the hell knew what kind of crap the angel was about to pull?

And then the gun swiveled in his direction. He looked up to meet blue eyes full of condescension.