A/N: I swear all my college teachers get together and plan the exact week that they all will assign papers and have exams because that's what happened for the past week or so. I'm done now, though. I don't have another exam until the 5th and 10th of March, so that's nice.
Also happy Ragnarok! Where I live, the end of the world is currently a nice 60 degrees Fahrenheit and sunny.
Thank you for all your reviews, favorites and follows, Here's another chapter!
On the ground, with one arm outstretched and the other crumpled underneath himself, lay Gabriel. Dean was the first to shout his name in surprise and worry, followed closely by Castiel. John spared a glance at Castiel and it was only then that he realized that there was something slightly off about John. His eyes were almost too bright and held an expression that Castiel was all too familiar with, just not on John.
It was Michael. Upon this realization, Castiel snatched Dean away from the other angel, using his wings to fly them the short distance to Gabriel. He prayed to his Father that Gabriel wasn't dead as they landed, sparing a few moments to check him for blood. He found a small amount, staining the area just under Gabriel's sternum crimson with blood, but no grace. He could only pray that was a good sign, as Castiel had never seen one of his brothers die. He didn't know what to look for. Surely there was a way to tell. He didn't have much time to ponder this as Michael was upon them in a moment, Dean letting out a cry of surprise. Castiel looked around desperately for a way to protect Dean before his eyes landed on an angel blade, Gabriel's angel blade. He shot forward and grabbed it before summoning his own, then quickly thrust himself in front of Dean to protect him, flaring his wings.
"Stay back!" Castiel warned, brandishing his and Gabriel's angel blades. "You will not hinder the work of God!" He declared.
"It is you who is hindering." Michael replied hotly, but he did not come any closer. "Drop the blades, Castiel. And come with me. I promise you won't be punished for your rebellion if you do." He quirked John's face into a kind smile "Come, Castiel," he said, reaching out. "Come home."
Castiel hesitated for a moment. "No!" He said finally, deciding on his answer. He lashed out with his blade, cutting John's hand. Michael did not flinch, but Dean grabbed onto the back of Castiel's shirt and whimpered.
"Don't hurt him, Cas." Dean whispered, his grip tightening in the fabric.
Michael smirked, twisting John's face into yet another unfamiliar expression. "Yes. You don't want to hurt John, do you Castiel?" He said, his voice calm and mocking.
Castiel's brows pinched together with his frown. He ground his teeth in thought. Gabriel was indisposed, Bobby and Sammy were nowhere to be found and Michael currently had the upper hand in John's body. He could not harm Michael or he would harm John. Castiel's only option was to run, but that meant leaving everyone behind except Dean. His mission was all the Winchesters, not just one.
Castiel made his decision then. He gathered his energy and flew himself and Dean into the room that they had shared. He was relieved to find Sammy still in the crib, either unconscious or sleeping. He was less relieved to see Bobby collapsed just outside the door. He shook off his concern, focusing on his mission of getting the Winchester children out and away. He carefully lifted Sammy out of the crib and grabbed Dean's hand.
"What about Bobby?" Dean asked. Castiel hesitated. If he left him here, could he be sure that Bobby would remain unharmed? He could carry him… He had not expended that much energy. Castiel led Dean over to Bobby, and grabbed a handful of the fabric of his shirt. He steeled himself, ready to lift off and flew. He didn't make it very far, however and he and his load were sent sprawling into the trees of the forest surrounding Pastor Jim's church. They were at least a mile from Michael, but that was hardly an adequate distance to provide enough time to hide. Castiel was the first to sit up after their flight, Sammy still clutched to his chest. Dean followed.
"Are you hurt?" Castiel asked. "I'm sorry for the landing. Mr. Singer was a bit heavier than I expected." He said sheepishly.
"I heard that." Bobby grumbled from his spot a few feet away from them. "Where are John and Gabriel?" He asked upon noticing their absences.
"John has accepted Michael and allowed him to take him as a vessel." Castiel reported. "And Gabriel is… unconscious." He finished. He hoped Gabriel was unconscious. He had no way of knowing, but the alternative was too painful for him to consider. "Do you know what happened to make John accept?"
"That idgit." Bobby spat. "Raphael came in and told John that part of the church had collapsed on the two of you. He said John'd be able to help you if he let Michael possess him for a bit." He added.
"We were in the basement. Nothing collapsed on us." Castiel said.
"Sure, we know that now, but John… John wasn't thinking straight. He just heard the crashing and the shaking and thought the worst." Bobby said, rubbing a hand down his face.
"Will Michael let Daddy go?" Dean piped up. He had tears in his eyes.
"Yes." Castiel said immediately. "I just need to bargain with him."
"You aren't thinkin' of going with them, are you?" Bobby asked incredulously. "Then all of this was for nothing."
"No…" Castiel said. "It will be part of my bargain. I will only go with them if they let John go and leave your memories be." He continued thoughtfully. "You know everything you need to about repelling angels. Take Dean and Sammy and get them somewhere you can ward." He handed Sammy to Bobby then, the baby still very much asleep.
"No!" Dean cried, throwing his arms around Castiel's neck. "If you go with them I won't see you anymore." He said, voice muffled by Castiel's shoulder. "Get Gabriel to wake up and tell them to go away." He begged.
"Cas," Bobby began, looking the fledgling straight in the eye. "If bargaining with demons is bad news, then bargaining with angels is too." He finished.
"I am an angel, Mr. Singer." Castiel replied gravely. "I know they will hold up their end of the bargain. I'll make sure of it." He said.
"And how do you plan on doing that?" Bobby asked. Castiel surreptitiously summoned his blade, trying to be discrete around Dean. "No, Cas! That's not an option."
"No, it's the only solution I have." Castiel said firmly. "They need me alive. If they didn't… They would have…" he trailed off, not liking what he himself was implying. "If they didn't need me alive, they would have killed me already." He finished, looking down at the ground. Dean's hand tightened in the fabric of his shirt at the words.
"So, what? Once they get you to Heaven, there's no stopping them from coming back." Bobby reasoned. "Face it, Cas. You gotta come with us. There's no other way."
"You can ward off angels…" Castiel explained. "You have the wards that hide you." He continued. "Once they go back to Heaven, they may come back to try to find you, but it will be impossible." He finished determinedly.
"They found us here." Bobby spat.
"Because they were looking." Castiel replied. "I would not be surprised if they did not attempt this at many of the other places we stayed. They may have been watching this place even before Gabriel brought us here." He turned and gently untangled Dean's fingers from his shirt. "This is the best chance, Mr. Singer. Take Dean and Sammy and get them some place hidden."
Bobby's gaze hardened, but he nodded. "What about John?" He asked.
"You will most likely have to come find him. I will tell Michael to leave his memories intact." Castiel honestly wasn't sure how they would meet up again after he left. "Once I go with them, Michael will want to plan and regroup. You will have at least a day to get away." Castiel said before readying himself to fly again.
"Wait!" Dean shouted, grabbing Castiel around the waist. "Don't go. Please don't go!" He begged, burying his face into Castiel's shirt and sobbing. "You're 'sposed to protect us, remember? You can't go!" Castiel turned to reply, grabbing Dean's hands and wrapping the boy into a hug. Dean buried his face into Castiel's shoulder. "I don't want you to go…"
"I…" Castiel looked to Bobby for help.
"Isn't that touching?" A deep, sinister voice asked from behind. Bobby's eyes grew impossibly wide. Castiel didn't even need to turn around to know who it was.
"Raphael." Castiel hissed in greeting. He turned, summoning his angel blade again and released Dean. "I have a bargain to make with Michael." He informed. Raphael raised an eyebrow.
"You intend to negotiate with Michael?" Raphael chuckled. "What could you possibly have to offer?" He asked, towering over Castiel.
Castiel immediately turned the blade on himself, holding the tip over his heart. "My life." He said, standing tall, despite his uncertainty. There was no guarantee the angel blade would kill him, or that Raphael would care if it did.
Raphael laughed heartily at that. "Go ahead." He dared.
Castiel tried not to let the uncertainty show in his face. "Okay." He replied pushing the tip of the blade forward and into his chest, just slightly… just enough to draw blood and grace. Dean screamed in alarm and was surprisingly echoed by Raphael, who grabbed for the blade. Castiel stopped and quirked an eyebrow at Raphael, copying Gabriel's smug expression, despite how hard his vessel's heart was beating. Jimmy was thankfully resting now. "It seems that my life is more important than you implied." Castiel taunted. He spared an apologetic glance at Dean, who was sobbing.
Raphael didn't laugh this time. He frowned deeply, anger burning in his eyes at being outsmarted. "What do you want?" He asked, crossing his arms.
"I want to speak to Michael." Castiel said. He kept the blade where it was. "I want his word that he won't go against our agreement." He said this loudly.
"Fine!" Raphael spat. He disappeared then.
"Quick, Cas! Let's run away!" Dean said, tugging on Castiel's sleeve. "We can get away while he's not here." Castiel didn't move.
"I need to free your father from my brother." Castiel said. "I plan to exchange myself for him."
"No!" Dean shouted, trying to pry Castiel's fingers away from the hilt of the blade. "Stop!" He pleaded. "I don't want you to! Get Gabriel! Cas!" He gave up and started pulling at the angel's clothes. Castiel scooped Dean into another hug with an arm that was not holding his blade.
"I'm sorry, Dean." Castiel squeezed Dean tight to himself. "I am sorry." His voice shook. "You…" need a father more than me Castiel thought, but did not say. "You will take care of Sammy? Make sure that your father remembers what Gabriel and I told him?" He asked instead. Dean didn't need logic now, he needed something to do.
Dean opened his mouth to reply, but at that moment, Raphael appeared again with Michael at his side. He looked at Castiel and Dean, a frown pulling at his borrowed face. "Raphael has told me you wish to bargain with me." He stated. Castiel nodded, gently pushing Dean out of his grasp. "What is it that you have to offer me and what is it that you want in return?" He asked.
"My life." Castiel repeated, tightening his grip on his angel blade. "My life for their memories and the promise that you will leave them alone."
Michael looked thoughtful for a second. Raphael looked alarmed.
"Sir, you can't possibly be thinking of agreeing to that?!" Raphael asked angrily. "Kill the insolent whelp and let us be done with it."
Michael glared at Raphael. "I can't kill him, you fool." He said matter-of-factly. "He is an integral part of the plan and regardless of that… we do not kill our own, Raphael." Michael stated.
Raphael silently fumed as Michael kneeled, so that he was face to face with Castiel. "You have no guarantee that we will keep our end of the bargain." Michael commented. "And you still want to deal?"
"I don't have another choice." Castiel replied honestly. "It is either leave the Winchesters with the knowledge to protect themselves, as was my mission," he looked blatantly at Michael when he said this. "…Or kill myself here." He placed his free hand over the wound on his chest, still eking blood. "I will not return to Heaven having failed my first mission, no matter what the cause."
Michael smirked. "Very well." He said. "I agree. I will leave the Winchesters alone and you will come with us." Raphael looked as if he were about to explode.
"You will also leave their memories." Castiel demanded. Michael nodded in agreement.
"However, Castiel. Know that when the time for the End has come, I will have to come and claim Dean." Michael warned, a smirk clear on his borrowed face.
"Dean will have to accept you first." Castiel spat back. "And I highly doubt that he will ever now."
"We will see." Michael replied hotly. "Now come, Castiel. It is time to leave." Michael reached for Castiel and in a flash of bright light and deafening sound, they were gone, save for John, who collapsed into the grass soon after and a lone, silver blade.
(one more chapter and then I'll let you know what I plan to do next. Also I am an awful person and I'm sorry.)