Castiel watched Crowley paint the sigils on the wall with dismay. This was not going according to plan.
"I'll read the spell." Raphael said and held her hand out to Crowley.
The demon handed her the piece of parchment and curtsied.
"Ianua magna Purgatori clausa est ob nos, lumine euius ab oculis nostris retento..." Raphael began.
Castiel let out a small sigh of relief when he spotted one of his soldiers peering in through the window. They were in position. They'd wait for his command and then come to his aid. They would distract Raphael and Crowley, and Castiel would make sure to take in the souls of Purgatory himself. Then he'd have enough power to take down Raphael and Crowley and the war would finally be over.
"Creature terrificae quarum ungulae et dentes nunquam tetigerunt carnem humanum aperit fauces eius ad mundum nostrum nunc..."
Crowley turned towards Castiel and waggled his eyebrows.
"Ianua magna aperta tandem!" Raphael finished and the sigils on the wall began to glow.
The windows shattered and Castiel spun towards his soldiers, but Castiel's angels weren't the only newcomers. A massive cloud of demon smoke streamed in through the windows and surrounded Raphael.
The souls of Purgatory were everywhere, they were in everything - in the ground beneath Sam's feet, and in the lava running in angry red streaks through the stone. There were souls flitting through the air, trying to escape Sam's pull, but he was a maelstrom, and his power grew and grew until the cavernous world itself could barely hold him.
The souls looked smaller with every passing second. There were millions upon millions of them - every kind of monster that had ever walked, slithered or crawled across the Earth. Some of the souls were familiar, and Sam felt a satisfying spark of recognition as he consumed them - Madison, Gordon, Lenore, Jack...and Father. When he consumed the alpha vampire, Sam laughed at the inevitability of it all. His laughter shook the walls and drove the several thousand souls that had been clinging desperately to the rock out into the open. Sam swallowed them down and grinned. 'More.' he thought, and plunged his hands (whose shadows were a mile wide) into the molten river.
He swallowed down every last soul, looked towards Eve, and asked. "Is that all?"
Eve was holding the fabric of Purgatory together by sheer force of will. Something was trying to tear it open, but Eve was stronger.
"I'm still hungry." Sam said, searching the walls for any last soul he might have overlooked.
"There are more souls." said a voice.
"Millions more." said another.
Sam turned towards the voices and saw serpents - dozens of them. They were wrapped around each other, undulating in the lava by Sam's feet. He remembered Eve saying, The leviathans are no children of mine. If you consume them, they will destroy you. Sam looked at the leviathans curiously and asked, "Where?"
The writhing mass rose out of the water and slithered towards his feet. "Out there. Millions of souls, all for you. Set us free and they will be yours."
Sam looked up at Eve again and back down to the leviathans.
"You're stronger than her." they said and started to wind their way around Sam's legs. "Help us open the door, and all the souls on Earth will be your feast."
The largest of the leviathans wrapped itself around Sam's neck and hissed into his ear, "Nothing else is as powerful as you. If you set us free, the whole world will bow to your will."
Sam chuckled idly, wondering why the serpents thought he'd care about that. Worship didn't interest him, but the souls did. He was still so hungry. He moved towards Eve and reached for her.
The leviathans reached towards her too - eager for escape. "Let us out." they hissed.
Sam felt a hand on his shoulder, turned around and saw what looked like an old man. His nose was curved, his eyes were dark and they held unquestionable authority. "Who are you?" Sam asked.
"I have something of yours." said he man. He reached into his pocket and pulled out a ball of painfully bright light.
Raphael was an angel of judgement. Raphael taught mankind its first excorcism. Raphael would not be made a fool of. Especially not by an overzealous brat of a younger brother and an oil-slick that fancied itself king. No doubt Castiel and Crowley had planned this whole charade to bring her down. She laughed and swung her grace around her in an arc, culling the demon horde. Angels - traitors who thought Castiel had been chosen by God, ran at her - swords raised and eyes wide with fear. She showed them no mercy.
Castiel dropped to the ground and crawled towards the sigils on the glowing wall. If he could reach the gate when it opened, everything they'd suffered through would be worth it. It would finally be over.
Crowley put his fingers in his mouth and whistled sharply. "Sic 'em boy!" he yelled, and sent his hellhound running towards Castiel. The hound was intercepted by some of Castiel's' soldiers, but Crowley had no doubt that would only slow him down for a few minutes.
On the other side of the large room, Dean, Bobby and Eleanor entered and stared at the skirmish.
"Balls." Bobby said, looking at the chaos.
Sam flinched when he recognized what the man was holding. "No. Get that away from me." He tried to move away, but found he was frozen. The leviathans hissed in fear, as paralyzed as Sam. The horrible light, the one soul Sam never wanted to see again, came closer and closer as the man pushed it towards Sam's chest and deep down inside of him.
"It belongs to you, Sam." said Death.
Sam screamed and struggled to no effect. The light took hold of him and he felt himself, his consciousness, being swept aside as his soul useless, broken burden made itself at home again.
Sam blinked and felt the weight of his body for the first time in centuries. He looked around slowly, confused by his surroundings. Then his eyes landed on the snakes wrapped all around him.
Death smiled mercilessly at the leviathans, clucked his tongue and said, "Sam spent over two hundred years with the Devil. I'm afraid he isn't too fond of serpents."
Sam clenched his eyes shut. Death had freed him from the Cage, so what he was seeing couldn't be real, it couldn't be. "You're not real." he said. "You're not real." Sam's words held the power of millions of souls, his word was law, and so the leviathans simply ceased to be.
"Good riddance." Death said.
"Where am I?" Sam asked, "Where's Dean?"
"Your brother is just up there." Death said, pointing past Eve. "You're going to have to be patient just a few moments longer."
Sam shook his head, "I want to see Dean. Now."
Eve screamed as Purgatory tore open, and fell backwards, landing by Death's feet.
Castiel saw the first tear in the wall and stood, opening himself up - ready to take in the souls the second he sensed them. The opening to Purgatory grew wider and wider. He closed his eyes and reached out with his mind.
"Castiel?" Sam asked.
Castiel opened his eyes and stared at Sam - his voice sounded different, and when he looked at the younger Winchester, he could see all of Purgatory shining out through Sam's eyes.
Sam grimaced as something in his mind rushed forward and filled him with rage. He grabbed the angel by the throat and growled.
Dean looked up from the fray, and rolled out from under two of the demons he'd been fighting. He stabbed the one that was still alive in the back of the throat and pulled the sparking blade back out quickly. He surveyed the room, sure that he'd heard Sam's voice. Bobby and Eleanor were keeping Crowley busy, and Raphael still had several angels to contend with. Then he saw Sam pushing Castiel through a wall, and ran towards them.
"Sam!" Dean yelled as he ran. He could barely hear himself over the shouting, the ringing of metal on metal from the angelic blades, and the noisy roar of demon smoke. "SAM!" Dean yelled again.
The rage in Sam vanished instantly when he heard Dean's voice. He let Castiel fall to the ground and turned to face his brother. "Dean?" he asked, wondering if he was still in the Cage - if this was just Lucifer's latest form of torture.
Dean swallowed when he heard Sam's voice - his brother's voice. "Sammy?"
"Dean." Sam said, looking from Crowley, Bobby and Eleanor to Raphael and the other angels. "What's going on?"
Dean shook his head, "I'm not even sure I know." He looked towards Castiel, who was still slumped on the floor and said, "Last I heard...Cas was going to take in Purgatory's souls - all of them. He was working with Crowley, they were gonna go fifty-fifty, but then I guess Cas thought better of it."
"I see." Sam said. He looked out at the angels battling Raphael - at Bobby, Eleanor and Crowley and said, "They should stop fighting."
The near-deafening noise in the room fell silent instantly as everyone other than Sam and Dean fell to the ground, asleep.
"Sam?" Dean asked when his voice started working again, "Did you just -"
"I'm not in the Cage anymore."
"No, you're not. Do you know how you got out?"
Sam nodded, "Death took my soul out of the Cage and brought it to Purgatory."
"You were in Purgatory?" Dean asked.
"Yes. That's where my body was."
"Was there anything else in Purgatory?"
"Just Death, and Eve."
Dean swallowed, "What about all those millions of souls everybody was after?"
"Oh." Dean decided to drop the subject until he thought of a better way to phrase his question, and thought of something just as pressing, "Is Adam still in the Cage?"
Sam tilted his head to the side for a moment and said, "Adam's in Heaven."
Dean raised his eyebrows, "That's good."
Sam looked down at the angel lying next to them and said, "Castiel - "
Castiel jerked awake and pushed himself up into a sitting position. He looked up at Sam and turned to Dean, his eyes pleading.
"Lucifer wants a word with you." Sam finished.
Castiel vanished, and Dean couldn't think of a thing to say.
Sam walked towards Raphael and the angels. As he passed by them, they turned to ashes.
Dean walked a little faster, and rushed to Bobby's side, his resolve to stay cool shattering (much like the angels), when he noticed Bobby was bleeding from his side.
Sam stopped a few feet away from Crowley and let out a short whistle.
Dean flinched when he heard the unmistakable noise of a hellhound growling, right next to Sam.
Crowley woke up and stared at Sam in confusion. Then he looked to Sam's left and said quietly, "What did you do to my dog?"
"He's going to take you home to the rest of his pack. Then, they're going to spend the rest of eternity tearing you to shreds - over and over and over."
"No. No, wait - " Crowley said, but his protest was cut short by a loud, sharp bark. Crowley's throat bent back at an awkward angle, his body was torn backwards - across the floor and through the wall, faster than the eye could see.
Sam cocked his head and looked down at Bobby and Eleanor. "They'll be fine." he said and turned away from them, as they too disappeared.
"Dammit, Sam." Dean snapped, "Would you stop - wishing everybody into the cornfield for five friggin' minutes?"
"They're at Bobby's, not in a cornfield." Sam said, walking back towards the open portal.
"You know what I mean!" Dean said and then froze when he saw who was waiting for them.
Death stood in front of the portal, hands resting on his cane.
Sam walked up to the horseman and said, "You could have stopped me."
"Of course." said Death.
"Why didn't you?"
The horseman looked mildly amused, and said, "Because overall, I agree with your actions. Believe it or not, you prevented far more destruction than you caused."
Dean moved a few steps closer to Sam.
"Hello, Dean." said Death.
Dean held up his hand nervously and said, "Hi."
"I did give your brother his soul back, as promised." the horseman said, arching an eyebrow at Dean.
"You did..." Dean tried to bite his tongue, but couldn't help from adding, "along with a billion others, apparently."
Death smirked, and turned to Sam "Oh no, he did that all by himself. The question is - is he going to put them back where they belong?"
Dean looked back at his brother, but Sam was staring at the horseman intently.
After nearly a full minute, Sam nodded once and turned to Dean. "You need to understand something. I spent two-hundred and forty-eight years with Lucifer. I'm not okay - not by a long shot. Death can help me keep it together, but not forever. At some point, I'm going to break."
"Sam - " Dean shook his head, "We'll figure something out. We always do."
Sam smiled sadly. "Not this time."
Dean opened his mouth to argue, but Death held up a long, bony finger and said, "It's time."
The portal flickered rapidly and Sam fell to his knees. Light and sound - the power and voices of millions of souls - poured out of Sam and through the portal.
Sam let out a gasp and collapsed. Dean dropped to his knees next to him in panic.
Death smiled down at Dean and said, "Don't worry. Sam will wake up again soon. Just give him a few hours to rest - he's had quite the exhausting day." Then the horseman rapped his cane against the floor and vanished.
Dean pushed at Sam's shoulder and said, "Hey Sasquatch - you can't nap here, and I'm not carrying your ass to the car."
Sam's eyes stayed closed, but he mumbled, "Jerk."
Eve welcomed all of her children home with open arms. They nestled back into the rock and the molten rivers of their home and Purgatory felt complete again. Her youngest child was resting in her arms.
He looked at her in confusion and said, "What happened? Where am I?"
"You're home, my son."
"I feel...different. What - what happened to my body?"
"You don't need it anymore."
"What am I?" he asked.
Eve looked down at the brand-new soul and smiled, "You're perfect, Sam. You're perfect."