A/N This chapter has sat half-finished for a long time. I decided to finish it up, and hopefully it won't take me too long to continue it. I just re-read the whole story and I forgot how much I liked it. So sorry for the long and unacceptable wait.
This is a call to arms,
It's time to go to war.
- Thirty Seconds to Mars
The night passes quickly. Dean spends the hours drowning in heavy anticipation and dread, much like he did the night before Sam went to face Lucifer. Instead of facing his own thoughts in the dark, Dean decides to sit out on Bobby's porch and watch the sun come up.
He knows he should've been sleeping – marching on hell sleepless has to be at the top of the list of "reckless and stupid" – but he was too restless, too damned scared to sleep. He could put on a brave face and flesh out this suicide mission with a sarcastic smirk, but truth is he's bone deep terrified of going back to hell. He's not entirely sure but he thinks if you happen to die in hell, chances are that's where you're going to stay. He doesn't want to stay. That fear on top of the fear of being there again for any reason has Dean wired like an electric chair. Despite all of this, he's still going to go through with it. Maybe that scares him a little too, the idea that he's still willing to do anything, including facing hell with nothing but a damn sword, if it means saving his little brother. Some things never change.
The porch door smacks shut and Bobby hands Dean a cup of coffee as he stands next to him.
"You sleep at all?"
Dean smiles mirthlessly, "Did you?"
Bobby doesn't respond and Dean can't help but think they make quite the pair.
"You sure about this?" Bobby asks.
The pinkish orange sun reflects off the tops of the broken down cars, glaring brilliantly as it catches dew drops and mirrors. The air's bitter with the beginnings of November and sky's cloudless. Dean can't help but think that it's a beautiful day to die.
Castiel hands Dean the sword. When the weight of the blade is in his hands, Dean stares in awe. The handle is white marble inlaid with pearls and a single diamond that glitters at the top. The actual blade is thirty-two inches of blessed silver, sharp enough to cut through bone like butter. Even if Dean didn't know this was Michael's sword, he still would've believed it if he was told it was forged in heaven.
"You done gapping?" Bobby says with barely veiled amusement.
Dean's mouth shuts with an audible click and he clears his throat, "Thanks, Cas."
"It should kill anything you come across. I'd advise you not to drop it," Castiel replies.
"Thanks for the tip."
Dean deadpans, "Sarcasm is still lost on you, huh?"
Castiel shifts his eyes in confusion but Dean's attention is already elsewhere.
"So, we ready to do this?"
"Are you ready?" Bobby replies.
Dean grasps the handle of the sword, taking comfort from its weight and gathers every inch of Winchester courage that he has.
"All hands on deck. Let's go."
Cas teleports them right outside the boundaries of the iron Devil's Trap.
"Once Cas fixes the lines make sure you stay out of the trap. Can't have you gettin' stuck in there with all those demonic bastards," Dean says as he eyes the cemetery, trying to ignore the shiver running down his spine as he recalls the last time he was here.
"Worry about your own ass, you idjit. Go get your brother."
Dean half smiles, hearing what Bobby really means underneath all the sarcastic gruffness: I got your back and you both better come back alive, care about you too damned much.
"Go for it, Magneto," Dean says and nods at Castiel.
Cas frowns in obvious confusion but holds out his hand towards the broken railways. The iron beams bend and creak until they're whole again, seamless and solid. Colt's demon trap is live again.
With one last nod to Bobby, Dean and Castiel cross the track and make their way to the Devil's Gate.
"I don't like this plan," Castiel states as they weave through the tombstones.
"I'm not too crazy about it either," Dean replies honestly. In one hand is the Colt, the key to the Devil's gate. In the other hand, Dean's clenching Michael's sword tight enough to imprint the gems in his palm.
"I do not expect you or Sam to survive."
"You give the best pep talks, Cas."
They stop in front of the Devil's Gate.
"Look, maybe we make it out. Maybe we don't," Dean shrugs, "Maybe I won't even get close to Lucifer's cage. But what else am I gonna do? Go back to Lisa's? Hunt until some fugly gets me? At least this way I'll know I did something. I can't just keep going like nothing's wrong, like Sam's not being tortured every minute of every day. When I'm dead and gone, Sam will still be being tortured. I can't do that, Cas. I just can't."
Castiel stares with watery blue eyes that seem to be piercing right through to Dean's soul. For a moment it looks like he really understands, like he can feel Dean's pain and desperation as if it were his own.
"If this doesn't go down the way we want it to, check in on Bobby every once in awhile, ok? He's gonna need someone to grump at," Dean says.
"I hope it doesn't come to that."
"Yeah," Dean says and huffs out a small laugh, "You n' me both."
With one last look, Cas disappears.
The Colt slides into the Devil's Trap door the same way it did all those years ago. Immediately the gold Devil's Trap turns and spins like a key in a lock. Dean yanks out the Colt and takes cover behind a headstone, preparing for the doors to burst open.
Like re-living a dream, the heavy iron doors explode with demon smoke, which angrily starts to bounce around the confines of the railroad Devil's Trap. With his hand glued to the sword, Dean charges the door and takes the plunge.