"Sam!" Dean shouted as his brother flickered and then disappeared in front of him. He struggled against the demon's hold but it was useless. Even if he could break free, what could he do? Sam was gone.
It was so stupid. They had been given a second chance. Okay, it wasn't like being alive, not by a long shot, but they were together and they were safe and Sam... Sam was in Hell now because Dean couldn't keep his stupid nose out of trouble. They just had to try and get back into hunting. They had to get Acham. They couldn't just take the gift Cas had given them and be happy with it. Dean blinked back a sudden onset of tears and swallowed the lump in his throat.
"You son-of-a-bitch." He growled. "I'll kill you.
"That's where you're wrong, Dean." Acham said dismissively, turning back toward the frozen flames. "You won't do anything. You've always be a step behind me, and now that your brother is back where he belongs, I doubt you'll be able to keep up at all."
Acham began walking toward the building, ignoring Dean's threats. Dean slumped, defeated. The demon holding him laughed.
There was a fluttering sound and Raphael was suddenly standing in front of Acham. Acham froze, and the demon holding Dean stopped laughing.
"Raphael." Acham said. "To what do I owe the pleasure?"
"This has gone too far." Raphael said.
"Too far?" Acham repeated. "I thought we had an understanding."
"The other angels have begun to take notice." Raphael said seriously, turning his head toward the sky. "You need to be made an example of."
Acham put his hands up in a defensive gesture and took a step back. "Now, now, Raphael." He said cautiously. "Let's talk about this. We had a deal."
"The deal is off." Raphael said with a smug smile as he followed Acham's retreat, hand raised and ready to smite.
Acham took one more step backward and then stopped, lowering his arms to his sides. "Very well." He said. "It's unfortunate that it had to come to this." And with one, swift motion, Acham pulled an angel sword seemingly out of nowhere.
Dean blinked and his eyes widened in shock. The demon next to him was laughing again. Before Raphael even realized what had happened, Acham stepped forward, sword outstretched in front of him. Raphael was quick, though, and he sidestepped. He managed to avoid a fatal blow, but Acham's sword pierced through Raphael's arm, and the archangel brought a hand up to the wound in disbelief.
"You will suffer for this, demon." Raphael growled, and reached out for Acham once again.
This time, Raphael's hand found it's mark, and Acham threw his head back and screamed at the sky. Acham should have died instantly. It was the way Dean had seen it work before, angels smiting demons, but seconds passed and Acham continued to scream. Raphael smiled. True to his word, he wasn't letting Acham go easily. He was making him suffer.
Dean's jaw dropped in disbelief as he watched Acham lift the angel sword behind his back. Raphael was distracted, too confident, believing that he had already won. Acham plunged the blade forward and Raphael stumbled backwards, taking his hand of Acham's forehead in favor of clutching his stomach where he had been stabbed. He looked up at Acham, an expression of pure disbelief on his face, then fell backwards onto the ground. A second later, a bright light erupted from the angel.
Dean turned his head to shield his eyes from the blinding light. When everything was quiet again, he looked back to the scene in front of him. Raphael was on the ground, unmoving, a dark pair of wings burned into the sidewalk on either side of him. Acham was on his knees, panting and clutching his head. The demon to Dean's left still had an iron hold on him.
"Holy shit." Dean muttered. It figured. The one time he was actually glad to see Raphael show up, the damn angel went and got himself killed. He swallowed hard and waited for whatever was going to happen next.
Acham began staggering to his feet, the angel sword forgotten on the ground next to him. He took an unsteady step forward and then there was another fluttering sound and Castiel stood in front of Acham.
"Cas!" Dean shouted, surprised and relieved.
Acham looked at the angel sword on the ground, but Castiel was faster than the injured demon and he picked it up before Acham had a chance.
"You must be Castiel." Acham panted. "I've heard much about you. Mostly that you are too attached to these pathetic humans." He paused to catch his breath. "Think about it, Castiel. Together we could rule Heaven, Hell, and everywhere in between."
Cas frowned and narrowed his eyes. "The Winchesters are my friends." He said simply. "And you killed them."
Acham was quiet for a long moment, only the sound of his heavy breathing filling the silence. "Nothing personal?" He said finally, gritting his teeth against his pain.
Cas tilted his head to one side as though he didn't understand what Acham meant. Then, without another word, reached out and placed a hand on Acham's forehead. It was quick this time, and Acham dropped to the ground. The demon holding Dean erupted out of his host, and the human left over fell to the ground, too. The chaos that had been frozen in time leapt back to life behind Castiel.
"The demon Acham has been killed." Castiel announced.
"Yeah." Dean said, glancing at the ground again in disbelief. "He got Sam, though, Cas, he sent him back to Hell."
Castiel turned to face Dean. Their eyes met for a moment, Dean's pleading, and then Cas was gone.
"Damn it." Dean cursed, running a shaky hand through his hair. He surveyed the damage around him and had to fight back tears as he thought about Sam. They had been so close. In the end, Acham was dead, but Dean didn't care anymore. He was alone again. A single tear escaped and rolled quietly down his cheek. He wiped it away with the back of his hand, and then he was back at the cabin.
Dean wasn't sure how much time he spent just sitting by the river behind the cabin, watching the water bubble over the rocks and dragonflies dart back and forth just above the surface. By the time Dean headed back to the cabin, the sun was practically gone, just enough left to color everything an eerie shade of blue. He didn't plan on staying at the cabin. Soon he would move on to something else. Maybe he would go back to hanging out on random beaches, maybe he would visit Bobby. He kind of doubted it, though. Hell, maybe he would become an angry spirit after all. He wouldn't kill anyone, but he would cause just enough trouble to get the attention of some hunters. Maybe Purgatory wouldn't be so bad. Or maybe he would go to Hell. It didn't matter either way. Dean sighed heavily as he opened the door to the cabin. His bones were at Bobby's, locked away safe in the panic room. Getting away from this... afterlife, or whatever it was, was going to be a challenge.
Dean stepped through the cabin door and froze. Castiel was standing just inside the kitchen with a concerned look on his face, and there, in the chair next to him, was Sam.
"Sammy?" Dean asked, unsure. "Cas? What..."
"Cas came to the rescue... again." Sam explained.
Dean looked to Castiel. The angel nodded. "With Acham out of the way, it was easy for me to find Sam's soul in Hell and bring him back to Earth."
Dean blinked. "And you let me sit out by the river for hours!" He demanded. "Damn it, you could have come and gotten me."
"Relax, dude, we just got back." Sam said, standing and walking to Dean to clap a hand on his shoulder.
Dean looked to Cas. "Thanks, Cas." He said. Then, to Sam, "If you ever pull a stunt like that again, I swear I'll–"
"What?" Sam laughed. "Kill me?"
"Yeah, yeah." Dean grumbled. "You'll wish you were dead... or whatever." And he turned and pulled his brother into a hug.
They showed up at Bobby's sometime in the late evening. Bobby was sitting at his desk with a bottle of whiskey, frowning at the headlines on his computer. He looked up at Castiel and exhaled sharply, a thin line of worry creasing his forehead.
"Acham is dead." Cas said.
"And the boys?"
"They're here." Cas said, and reached to either side of him. He touched them both on the shoulder and Bobby's eyes widened. He stumbled to his feet and took a step closer, eyes welling with tears.
"Sam. Dean." He choked. "It's good to see you."
"Hey, Bobby." They both replied.
Bobby took another step and reached toward Dean. "Can I..." His voice trailed off as his fingertips brushed Dean's sleeve. In the next instant he was pulling them both into a hug.
"Good to see you, too." Sam said.
Bobby released them and took a step back, studying them. "You did it." He said after a moment. "You killed Acham."
"Not exactly." Dean admitted. "Acham was ready for us. Raphael showed up, but Acham killed him. Cas had to finish the job." Dean tossed his head toward Cas and Bobby looked at the angel.
"Raphael is dead?"
"Yes." Castiel said.
"So now what?" Bobby asked. "Who's in charge? Is it you, Cas?"
"I believe I have enough followers." Castiel said. "And I doubt that any of Raphael's followers will object now that they know what Raphael was up to."
"And you boys?" Bobby asked, nodding to Sam and Dean.
"Cas is bringing us with him to Heaven." Sam said. "Both of us."
"Yes." Castiel confirmed. "I believe they will be useful in helping me maintain control."
"Hear that?" Dean smirked. "We're going to help rule Heaven."
"Technically, no." Castiel interjected. "A human soul cannot rule Heaven. You will simply work with me."
"Yeah, yeah." Dean waved a hand in the air dismissively. "Details."
Castiel frowned but didn't press the issue. Instead he turned again to Bobby. "Sam and Dean wanted to say goodbye, and to assure you of your spot in Heaven when your time comes."
Bobby blinked. "You're saving me a seat?"
"Yep." Dean smacked Bobby on the shoulder affectionately.
"I don't know what to say. Thank you."
Castiel nodded once. "It's time to go." He said.
"Call if you need us." Dean said. "We'll be there."
Castiel frowned. "I'm afraid that's not possible."
Dean shrugged. "We'll work on it."
Bobby took a step back and put a hand up in a silent wave goodbye.
"Take care of yourself, Bobby." Sam said.
"See you around." Bobby answered.
"Not too soon, though." Dean added.
Castiel reached up with both hands and touched Sam and Dean on the shoulder, and then they were in the garden. The same garden Dean had found himself in over a year ago, after Acham had killed him. It looked the same. The weeping willows and the wildflowers. A soft breeze rustled the leaves and Dean could actually feel the coolness of it. He had forgotten what Heaven was like. Here, they could feel things and eat burgers and drink beer and drive the Impala.
"We're here." Castiel announced after a moment of silence.
"Yeah." Dean said. "Thanks, Cas."
"Thank you, Cas." Sam agreed.
Castiel nodded. "I need to go speak with the other angels." He said. "I'll come find you later."
And then Cas was gone. The garden was gone, too, and all that was left was a road. Dean turned and smiled at the Impala's black metal shining in the low light. He pulled the driver's door open and paused to grin at his brother leaning across the roof on the other side.
"C'mon, Sammy." He said. "I'll show you around."
Well, that's it! I hope you liked it! Thanks for reading!