The first clue he had that something unbelievably wrong was going to happen that night was a young woman entering the building as he made his rounds. Not a new occurrence, by any means, but one that always caused him to frown. In fact, many young women had walked the same path in the dead of night.

The second clue was the almost terrified look in her eyes and her skittish behavior as she breezed past him on the stairs. She wouldn't look at him after the first accidental meeting of their eyes. She adjusted her small purse, tucking it tighter into her armpit as if it could somehow save her. He thought he could maybe understand that. All things considered.

The third, and final, clue was the outfit she was wearing. A dress cut off at the knee was an odd choice of attire for February. His gaze followed her before she rounded the bend and continued her journey up. How he wished he could say something, anything, just to keep her from going to that office. But it wasn't his place. Not his business, even if he knew the business. That didn't mean it didn't tear him up inside.

Trying to put the girl out of his mind, he went back to doing his job. He still had to make sure all his equipment was in order before he could return to his apartment. Morning would come early, after all, and with it another boring day. The things he did these days. Unbelievable.

Once finished, he shut his locker, a forced sense of gaiety coming from him as he hummed. His humming stopped at the sound of running feet. A sound quickly followed by a short scream and the dull thumps of a body falling down a flight of stairs. Shit.

He ran out of the locker room, the caged door slamming against the wall with a loud clang. At the bottom of the last flight of stairs lay the young woman, her body in disarray with blood pooling under her curly hair. Upon the sight, he froze. He had two options: Leave it alone or take action. The first option was a philosophy he'd been using for the past few years and it had worked well for him. But, the second option… The second option was who he was, deep down in his core. A core he wished he could forget.

He jogged over to the girl and gingerly pulled her off the floor. He sat her up against the wall and placed his hand against the gash in the back of her skull. With a thought, the broken skin and bone knitted together perfectly. With yet another thought, the bright red splotches disappeared from the floor and her canary-yellow dress. Then, he sat back, waiting for the sudden intake of breath he knew was coming.

The young woman jerked awake, eyes and head moving around frantically. Obviously, she was wondering what had just happened. Why she wasn't dead or something. When her eyes finally lighted on him, he tried to smile.

"You okay?" He asked with a nod.

He wasn't expecting the answer to be tears and a broken sob. She tried to hide her face in her hands as she explained:

"No! Nothing's ever going to be okay again! My life is over and it's all because of that arrogant, conceited dick!"

He desperately wanted to inform her that, technically, her life had been over a few seconds ago and he had remedied that. Or that she had made a pun without knowing it. But, that might not go over too well.

"What?" He asked, trying to lighten the mood. "Date didn't go so well?"

A scoff was his answer, accompanied by a red-rimmed glare and a look that clearly meant, 'What the hell is wrong with you?' Right. Foot meet mouth.

"What do you know?" She snapped. Her venom was weakened by her sniffles and failing attempts to clean her face with the heels of her palms.

He shrugged and motioned to his uniform, "I am the janitor. I know everything."

"Yeah, right, well," she mumbled. "Maybe you can tell me how many other women he's knocked up! God, I'm such an idiot."

"What?" He asked, genuinely stunned.

The gears clicked into place. Her flighty nature from before and the fear in her eyes. She had told the professor. Worn a pretty dress to perhaps entice him and make him more willing to listen to her. That took a lot of courage, he had to admit. But whatever respect he had for the young woman in front of him was greatly quashed by the burning rage building up against the other man. He knew what the girl was going to say next.

"Yeah," she breathed, playing with her dress. "Said he didn't have any condoms on him, but the deal was a onetime only thing. I figured, what would it hurt? I'm on the pill! But, nooo. Apparently, I'm the lucky one-in-a-hundred that gets knocked up anyway! Now what am I going to do, y'know? I can't afford college and a baby. And that asshat refuses to have anything to do with it. 'You should've thought of that beforehand. You should've taken the morning-after pill.' You should have done this; you should have done that. Like it's all my fucking fault and he's not the one screwing his students for grades!"

He'd had enough. Standing up from his crouched position, he turned to storm up the stairs to the professor's office. Confront the man himself. Not how he usually did things, but he was too pissed to care. He didn't make it up a step, however, before his wrist was grabbed. Shocked, he snapped his head around to look back at the woman.

"What are you doing?" She asked from her seat on the floor.

He took a deep breath before replying, "He almost killed you. You know that, right? It's a miracle you're alive right now, after a fall like that. He used you, tossed you aside, and upset you. Insulted you. And I'm going to give him a piece of my mind."

The young woman was surprised, her tears almost stopped. But, she didn't let go of him. In fact, she tugged him back in resignation.

"No, leave it," she said. "You won't change his mind if I couldn't. And I don't want you getting in trouble for expressing my anger on his face."

He hadn't planned on targeting the man's face, but…he got the point. With much reluctance and a sigh, he slid down the wall to sit beside her.

"Y'know," he began softly, "there is another way for…" He nodded towards her stomach.

"Yeah, I know. I thought about abortion. But…I can't do it. No matter how many times I tell myself I'm not really killing anybody… I don't know. I know I'll still feel guilty. I mean, I can raise a child. My parents would help, thank God." She shrugged and looked at the wall across from them, "I guess I just thought things would go differently. I had plans. Guess I should learn that, sometimes, plans fall apart."

Well, seeing the girl's choice, he slowly reached his hand out towards her stomach.

"Does your stomach hurt anywhere?" He asked, more to alert her of what he was doing than anything.

Though, he was checking on the health of the fetus. Humans were tricky things and he'd only been focused on her when he'd healed her before. All she would feel from his scan would be a slightly warmer than usual palm.

He had expected the mother-to-be to react, not the child. However, surprise-surprise, the developing soul latched onto him. To his horror, he actually squawked in panic before jerking his hand away. If the tiny bugger was willing to bite, it was fine.

"Haha, sorry!" He tried waving away his reaction as a social slip up, while he literally waved his hand around because that had stung. "My bad! I just—"

The young woman laughed, however. She seemed as startled as he did, but she wasn't upset.

"No, no. I get it. You did see my tumble, after all. Plus, I needed the laugh. Your reaction was priceless." Her smile dimmed a little. "You know, it's funny. I don't feel hurt at all."


"I'm Bethany, by the way," she said, holding out her hand to shake.

He smiled back and shook, "Gabe."

"Well, Gabe. Mr. Janitor, sir. I would continue to sit on the floor with you and keep chatting but, I've got my future to plan and you probably need to clean up."

Bethany picked up her small purse from where it'd lain forgotten on the floor and tucked it under her arm. Gabriel said his good-byes as he watched her leave Crawford Hall and step into the frigid night air.

And if, a few days later, one Arthur Cox—also known as Mr. Morality—took a header from his window, cracking his skull wide open on some concrete steps, because he was trying to escape the ghost of a young woman with curly hair and cute dress as she asked, "What? Don't you like me anymore? Don't you want me?" Well… Gabriel was just cleaning up.


Kevin really hated his life. He hated it the same way a student hates school. What with all the reading, the work, and the bogus material that pounded a mind into mush. As an Advanced Placement student, he'd prided himself in avoiding that frustration. Sure, his work had been hard, but nothing he couldn't handle. It occupied his mind and life but it didn't consume him. It didn't beat him. Pouring over the Word of God for days on end looking for one subject out of God knows how many? Yeah, Kevin begrudgingly had to admit he was getting his ass kicked.

His headache was back, but that was no surprise. Looking at a Tablet was like looking at a 3D model of a computer's files being projected by a Virtual Boy. Ancient writing was overlapped by ancient writing; and, the longer and harder Kevin looked, more writing seemed to appear from a lower layer. It was a genius move by Metatron to write the Word in such a way. The archangel could fit literally everything on one piece of rock. But, for Kevin's untrained mind, it was horrible. Maybe if the leviathan hadn't killed the angels who'd been sent to help him so long ago he'd be able to read the Tablets with no problem at all. But, no use in crying about spilt milk now. At least, that's what Dean would tell him. Get over it. Move on. Nothing you can do now. Hakuna Matata. …Kevin liked Sam more.

It was Dean who had commanded him to look up how to reverse Metatron's spell. It was Dean who had commanded him to look up how to defeat a Knight of Hell. So, he did. Because there was no arguing with Dean. Not if you didn't want an angry angel in your face telling you your only purpose was to be a Prophet until you died, or to hear some speech about being family, yada yada. Kevin didn't like those speeches. He didn't like being reminded of his mother or how his life was in the shitter. It was better to throw himself into translating and give the Winchesters what they wanted. Plus, hey! He was helping save the world, right? At least that's something.

So far, his search had been fruitless. He'd found out a lot of information about the inner workings of angels, jotted a few things down. But, as that wasn't what Sam and Dean needed, he kind of pushed most of what he was seeing into the back of his mind and forgot about it. As well as someone like him could forget, anyhow.

When he moved his eyes over a new section he triggered something. An inkling in the back of his mind. That little voice that says, 'Whoa, wait a minute. That was probably important.' Skimming back up the Tablet, Kevin recognized the subject to be about archangels. Words jumped out at him about their strength, their uniqueness. In fact, they seemed overpowered. But, Kevin mused, as they were the first angels, maybe God figured, "Go big or go home." Kevin further mused that God had realized perhaps he'd gone too big, and, therefore, the rest of the Host had been created to be considerably weaker. After all, why create a creature that could only be killed by its own blade?

Wait a minute.

Kevin leapt up from his chair, accidentally knocking it to the floor with the backs of his legs. That's it! So, he hadn't found how to reverse Metatron's spell, yet, but at least they now knew how to kill him! With a giant grin on his face and Tablet in hand, Kevin burst out of his room towards the vestibule. He clomped to a stop in the library when he saw Dean sitting on a table talking to Castiel. The eldest Winchester looked over at him with a confused frown on his face. Castiel didn't seem to notice him.

"Dean!" Kevin breathed in excitement. "I think I found something!"

Dean forced a smile, "That's great Kev, but I'm kinda in the middle of something. So, it's gonna have to wait."

Kevin looked between Dean and a seemingly shell-shocked Castiel before he shook his head and stomped forward.

"No. No, it's not going to wait!" He yelled angrily. "I've been holed up, in my room, the entire time you've been gone. And do you know what I've been doing, Dean? Looking up stuff you told me to look up. And now that I've found something, you're going to hear it!"

"Kevin—" The older man tried to warn.

"Now, Dean!"

The Winchester's jaw clenched in restrained anger before he sighed in defeat. He threw his hands up in the air. Castiel seemed to be having a forlorn staring contest with his half-eaten burrito.

"Fine," Dean grouched. "Lay it on me."

Kevin nodded, "Right, so, I was looking for how to reverse Metatron's spell. I didn't find anything about that. Yet. If it's even on the Tablet." Catching Dean's glare, he hurried to the point. "Right, anyway. I did find out that the only way to kill an archangel is with an Archangel Blade."

Dean stared at him like he was the dumbest thing in all of Creation.

"That's—that's important, right? I mean, it has to be. You can kill Metatron with an Archangel Blade."

The other man sighed, "Look, Kevin. I'm glad that you're helping us out. I'm glad you told me what you found. Thing is? We already knew about the Archangel Blade thing."

"Wait, what? How?"

"When we were fighting against the Apocalypse," Castiel explained, placing his burrito down on the table, "Gabriel, I was informed, attempted to slay Lucifer with his. …He wasn't successful."

"Wasn't successful?"

"As in he died," Dean said.

"Oh," Kevin mouthed. It was hard trying to fathom that the Messenger of God was dead. "Well, what about the other archangels? Um, Michael? Raphael?"

"Dead," Dean announced. "Not that they would've helped, anyway. Colossal dicks with wings."

"Michael is still alive," Castiel corrected.

"Well, what—?"

"He's in Hell, with Lucifer," Castiel answered.

Kevin nodded his head slowly as Sam finally walked into the library. "So, let me get this straight. You guys have been the reason for, like, all of the archangels' demise. And you probably didn't nab any of their Blades during the process. Which means that we stand absolutely no chance against Metatron should he decide to strike against us first? …Why am I not surprised?"

"What's that supposed to mean?" Dean asked angrily.

"That we tend to screw everything up?" Sam replied.

Dean jumped, apparently not having heard his brother walk in. He eyed him suspiciously. Which was odd enough behavior, Kevin thought. But, compared with Castiel's dejected look and refusal to look at Dean, or anyone not a cooling piece of Mexican food, it was giving Kevin warning signs. What in the world had happened when they'd gone to fetch the fallen angel?

Sam ignored his brother's angry pout and addressed Kevin.

"Did the Tablet mention anything about the archangels fighting the Knights of Hell?" He asked. "That old Man of Letters I got the Bunker's key from? Larry Ganem, I think his name was? He said they'd thought all of the Knights had been wiped out by 'em."

Kevin frowned. "Not that I found, but I didn't delve that far into the section. But, I wouldn't doubt it if they'd been tasked with something like that. I mean, assuming Knights are as powerful as they sound. The way Metatron describes archangels they were kinda like God's Special Forces."

"That's not a bad comparison," Castiel spoke. "The archangels were the strongest angels of the Host and had very few weaknesses. Naturally, they were tasked with very special missions that were either too delicate or too intense for an ordinary angel to handle."

"Well, that's all nice and stuff, but, the archangels are gone, 'cept for the one we're not going to be fooling around with because he's as big of a dick as his brothers were. So, what's the point of this whole conversation?" Dean asked as he motioned to everyone with his hand.

Sam ignored him. "Kevin, what did Crowley say to you when you…talked to him before?"

"You mean before he taunted me about my mother and suggested things were done to her that I still can't think about?" He grouched.

"Uh," Sam stuttered. "Yes."

Kevin shrugged. "Nothing much. Some bullshit about us being friends and that, if I let him go, he'd kill Abaddon himself."

Sam was silent for a moment, his eyes darting around the floor as he thought.

"We should ask Crowley again."

"What?" Dean asked. "Why? He's not going to tell us anything more than he already has. Just the names of two no-name demons he doesn't give a shit about."

"He gave us those names as thanks for Kevin beating the shit out of him," Sam explained. "He was damn near human in that church, and I know the effects of the Trial are still bothering him. Our plan to have him stew in his own juices did work, Dean. He used Kevin as a way to distract himself. How long's he been cooped up in our dungeon with no outside contact? Two weeks? He's itching for anything to happen. If anyone knows about the Knights of Hell and how the archangels beat them it's him, and now's a good time to pry it out of him."

Dean smiled sardonically, "Actually, now's a bad time. I was trying to talk to Cas about something."

"What could be more important than killing a Knight of Hell?" Kevin snapped.

"He said I can't stay here," Castiel answered quietly.

Three heads snapped to look at the fallen angel before two snapped to look at Dean. He looked like he couldn't decide whether to be angry or shamed. He was obviously not happy at having been ratted out. Kevin didn't have time to ask Dean just what the hell he thought he was doing, kicking out the guy they'd just chased for days, because Sam beat him to the punch.

"What the hell, Dean?!"

"Look, it's complicated, okay!"

Castiel looked like he wanted to run away and hide under a rock.

"No, not okay!" Sam shouted. "Maybe you forgot the part where Cas fucking died and how there are now reapers after him, too? And you just wanna throw him back out there?!"

"No!" Dean hissed. "It's. Complicated. Look, Cas," Dean turned to face the angel, "I don't want you to leave. I don't. But, something's come up and—"

Castiel finally stood up from his chair. He still refused to meet Dean's gaze, though. Kevin knew something was wrong with the fallen angel. Dean's dismissal was hurting him more than Dean probably realized. Or cared about. Something's come up? What could possibly be more important than his friend's life? Not much, Kevin mused. He narrowed his eyes at Dean. He didn't like this. Whatever this was.

"No. It's—it's fine," Castiel said. "I'll…find another shelter nearby and—"

"Cas," Sam growled.

Castiel flinched a little at Sam's tone. When he finally looked at the taller man, he froze in much the same way Kevin had. Nobody could ever convince Kevin that Sam Winchester couldn't be vicious when he wanted to be. Sure, he seemed all overgrown puppy most of the time, but when he stood with his back straight and his shoulders pulled back he meant business.

"Sit," Sam commanded, pointing forcefully at Castiel's chair. He then turned his fury towards his brother, "And you. You're coming with me and we're going to talk to Crowley and I'm going to refrain from beating some sense into you."

Dean sputtered as Sam stormed away, heading towards the dungeon. Castiel slowly dropped back into his seat, obviously confused and conflicted by the whole mess. Dean took one look at him before he pushed himself off the table.

"Dammit, Sammy!" he cried out, following after his brother.

Kevin couldn't make out Sam's reply, but whatever it was, he sounded livid. Kevin took one look at the dejected face of Castiel and sighed. He walked around the table and sat down beside him. Placing the Tablet in front of him, Kevin awkwardly began to try and comfort the fallen angel.

"Your…burrito's getting cold," he said.

Yes, Kevin was Advanced Placement. Castiel looked at him and then at his probably-frigid, forgotten food. He fiddled with zipper on his hoodie. It was strange to see him not wearing that oversized trench coat Kevin was so used to. However, the change in wardrobe really hit home that this angel wasn't an angel anymore.

"Yes," Castiel replied. "I. I don't seem to be hungry anymore. I mean, I am hungry. I recognize the hunger pains, but—"

"You don't want to eat anything," Kevin finished.


"That happens sometimes when your nerves are up. Like if you're anxious or upset."

Castiel frowned, "The human body is much more complicated and annoying than I thought it was."

Kevin laughed, "Yeah. I've been human all my life and my body still does things that confuse me. Like how sometimes it refuses to go to the bathroom."

Castiel's frown deepened, "You should have that checked out. I don't think that's healthy."

"Uh. Uh, yeah. Um, Dean… You know what? Never mind that. I just wanted to say that, if you need anybody to talk to, about anything, that I'm willing to listen. I know it helps to get things off your chest."

Castiel was silent for a short moment. Then his frown became one of determination and Kevin was pretty sure he'd bitten off more than he could chew.

Dean's mind was running a million miles a minute as he took after Sam. To say he was fucked was an understatement. A gross understatement. Zeke had given him an ultimatum: Cas goes or he goes. And, if Zeke left, Sam would most likely die. He couldn't have that.

Dean didn't want Cas to leave, though. Not after he'd just gotten him back. And he certainly didn't want to kick the poor angel back out there, with Bartholomew and God knew who else gunning for his ass. But Cas, at least, could stand a chance against them. He had angel warding tattooed on his skin. He had his Angel Blade. He had all the information on how to avoid and get rid of the persistent bastards. Cas could hunker down somewhere, make a little a fort, just long enough for Zeke to heal Sam completely. Then, Cas could come back and Dean could forget all about the biggest mistake he'd ever made.

Or, that had been the plan until Kevin had shown up and ruined everything. Now, Sam was furious with him for trying to kick out their best bud for, in that gigantor mind of his, no damn good reason. If Dean tried to force Cas out now, Sam would probably beat his ass to kingdom come and want an explanation for why he insisted on being such a major dick. What was Dean supposed to say? 'It wasn't my fault, Sammy! The angel riding your bones that you don't know about held you hostage and made me do it!'? Yeah, that'd fly over real well.

"Sam, wait!" Dean shouted at his brother's back.

"What, Dean?" Sam asked sternly as he kept walking.

"Look, can we not do this now?"

"Do what, Dean?" Sam inquired, turning to finally face him as they reached the storage room door. "Drill Crowley about a breakthrough regarding the whole Abaddon thing or express my intense dislike for your idiotic decisions?"

Dean frowned and chose to ignore that attack.

"Crowley. You're pissed and Crowley's going to pick up on that, and he's going to use it against you."

"That's cute, Dean," Sam replied. "But I know how to interrogate people calmly while containing my rage."

Dean rolled his eyes as his brother stepped into the storage room.

"Whatever you say, Banner," he quipped as he followed. "Also, stop saying my name at the end of every sentence. It's a tell."

Sam ignored him. They walked the short distance to the hidden wall, passed shelves of boxes containing folders and various artifacts. Dean would always wonder why the Men of Letters chose such a location to stick their demonic dungeon. But, well, he had to hand it to them. It was the last place he'd look.

Sam didn't even pause as he reached the doors. He pulled them open fluidly and strolled in without waiting for Dean. Sam wasn't just angry, Dean realized. He was on a mission. Dean suspected Sam was throwing himself into the job just to avoid him and, also, to piss him off.

Crowley was sitting peacefully in his chair when they entered. The chains containing him rattled as he looked up to smile at them.

"Moose," the demon purred at Sam. He then looked at Dean, "Squirrel. So, what brings you two to my humble abode? I have to admit, I'd've preferred little Kevin to come visit me, but, well. I guess you two will have to do. Tell me. What can I do for you?"

"Abaddon," Sam replied, jumping straight to the point.

"Ah," Crowley breathed. "Yes. This does seem familiar. Next, I taunt you, you beat my face in, and I give you some bogus information as payment for your services. I do love this game."

"What killed the other Knights of Hell?" Dean asked. "Was it the archangels?"

The King of Hell looked at him, his tongue playing with the inside of his cheek as he studied Dean. That pause was enough to give Crowley away. They were close to the mark on that one. Dean knew, now, the demon was wondering how many cards he wanted to play. Crowley shifted as he tried to get comfortable.

"Well, this is new," he said. "The Winchesters have actually done their homework for a change. Refreshing."

"So, they did?" Dean asked.

Crowley stared at him, "And you're back to being dumb. I just said that."

"How did they do it? When?" Sam questioned.

"Now, why would I tell you everything? You'll never learn if I give you all the answers." Crowley shrugged, "Unless, of course, you pay me. Shower me with gifts. A regular teacher's pet. I might bend my moral standards, then."

"What moral standards?" Dean grumbled. They were getting nowhere.

"Ha. Ha."

"Look, Crowley," Sam started as he crouched down in front of the demon. Crowley frowned at him in obvious suspicion, but Sam trucked on. "I'm going to jump straight to the point because, frankly, I'm done. I am so very done. And you can give me what I want to know, or you can rot in here for all eternity. We have the Angel Tablet, we have the Demon Tablet, and we don't need you. Dean was the one who thought you giving us demon names was a good idea, not me. As you know, I wanted to blow your brains out the moment you turned human. I would have stabbed you in the head had Dean not pulled me from the church.

"So, all I want to know is if you know how the archangels killed the Knights of Hell. Was it with an Archangel Blade? Did they smite them? Was it a spell? We need to know how powerful an opponent Abaddon really is before we chase after her, guns blazing. And, before you think of giving us false information to get us killed, just remember that Abaddon dead benefits you and us dead means you're trapped here. Forever."

"Wow, Sam. Laying it on a bit thick, are we?" He looked at Dean, "Though, I have to admit he's better at proving his argument. Must be all those years at Stanford. Proof that a higher education gets you somewhere."

Never before had he wanted to strangle Crowley more than right then. Or maybe he had and the urge just felt stronger now. Like all the moments of homicidal rage compacted over time. Dean vowed to get his obligatory punch in before they left.

"Crowley," Sam warned as he stood.

"You want a weapon, yes?" The King of Hell asked. "You may say you want information, but what you're really after is another special gun, another magical bone of a dead saint, to make your battles against Abaddon easier. Well, you're in luck. Just so happens I have a special something tucked away. I was saving it for a rainy day, but…things came up, as you can see."

"And…" Dean drawled, "you're just going to give it to us? This special something? Out of the goodness of your heart?"

"Oh, no," Crowley replied. "You see, my special something has an expiration date, and I'm afraid my lackeys—loyal or not—will forget to take care of it. With me gone, who's left to instruct them with its care? And, if I know Knights, Abaddon's going to sway a lot of demons to her side. The last thing I want is her bloody hands all over my things. As Moose said, it serves me to serve you in this endeavor."

Sam nodded as he towered over the demon. "Where's it at?"

"More importantly, what is it?" Dean asked.

The demon looked between the two of them. "Where it's at is the usual abandoned warehouse. What it is is a surprise. Like I said, I'm not giving you all the answers. You'll know it when you see it."

"Abandoned warehouse is very specific, Crowley," Sam snarked.

"As soon as you bring me a table, some paper, and a writing utensil, I'll give you the coordinates." Crowley smiled, "I don't trust your memory enough to simply tell you them. And, who knows, maybe I'll include some more demon names? You never know."

The bitchface his brother made was priceless, but with a sharp, "Fine," he turned and stormed out of the dungeon to go find Crowley a table. Dean walked to stand in front of the King of Hell. With a smile and lightning fast movement, he decked him in the nose. The dull ache in his knuckles was worth it.

"Really?!" Crowley shouted, trying to blink his eyes straight.

Dean smiled, "For ol' time's sake."

Sam peered through his binoculars at the demons that were guarding the warehouse. Well, Crowley hadn't lied to them on that part. Something of value had to be in there. The trick was, was it as useful as he tried to sell it as? Probably not. After all: Crowley. But, something was better than nothing.

They'd left Kevin and Cas back at the Bunker to research further into the whole archangels vs. Knights thing. Sam was still angry with Dean for what he had tried to pull. His brother'd tried and tried again to explain that he only wanted to protect the Bunker. That Bartholomew's reapers had found Cas once before and there was no guarantee they wouldn't do it again. Then what? They could give the angel their location and all that supernatural knowledge the Men of Letters tried so hard to keep safe and hidden would be exposed, probably destroyed.

Sam knew that was a load of bullshit. Dean wouldn't risk family for anything. Hell, he had let every demon walk when he forced Sam to stop the third Trial. Risked countless people's lives just to pull his brother back from the brink. No, Dean wouldn't throw Cas to the wolves just to protect some musty books and fancy weapons. Something big was up with him, and Sam was going to get to the bottom of it. It was only a matter of time. For now, though, he had to focus on the task at hand.

"How many?" Dean asked from the driver's seat.

"Four," Sam replied. "On the outside, anyway. Who knows how many are inside?"

"You take the knife, I take the Angel Blade?"

"Sounds like a plan."

They clambered out of the Impala and retrieved their respective weapons from the trunk. Sam made sure to grab a flask of holy water, just in case. He placed the water in the back of his jeans while Dean, as quietly as he could, shut the trunk.

Sneaking around the side of the building was easy enough. For whatever reason, the demonic patrol had decided that actual patrolling wasn't necessary. Perhaps it had something to do with the fact the warehouse was located in Middle-of-Nowhere, Ohio. Coming to the corner of the wall, Dean crouched down. He picked up a small rock at his foot and looked back at Sam. Sam nodded in understanding and got ready, in case more than one demon decided to come running.

Dean threw the rock around the corner and quickly backpedalled, holding his sword at the ready. It only took a few seconds for a lone demon to come into view. Dean didn't give it much time to react. He leapt forward, the demon's eyes widening as it tried to scream, and thrust his Blade up and between its ribs.

Sam didn't wait to see the glowing light he knew would flicker in the demon's eyes. He rushed around the side of the building, spotted the nearest demon running towards him, and attacked. Dodging an enraged punch, Sam slammed the Demon Knife into the creature's spine and held his position until he was sure it was dead. The body fell to the ground with a dull thud as Sam moved on to the next demon.

He'd almost waited too long, barely catching the demon's arm as it aimed for his side with a wicked looking knife. Sam tried to bring his own blade down on the demon's head but quickly felt his own arm caught. The two struggled with one another as Dean ran off after the fourth demon.

Sam grunted as the demon tightened its grip on his forearm and sneered at him. This was going nowhere. Steadying himself on his right leg, he kicked out with his left. His foot collided with the demon's knee with a satisfying crunch. The creature cried out as it doubled over, allowing Sam to free his arm and bring the Knife down into its neck.

Both of his demons taken care of, Sam ran for the open door of the warehouse. He knew Dean had followed his own demon in there. He could only hope the idiot hadn't run into a trap.

The first thing he saw upon crossing the threshold was Dean picking himself off a very dead demon that was lying face down on the floor, the Angel Blade buried in the center of its back. The second thing Sam saw caused him to simultaneously drop his knife and his jaw.

Suspended in the center of the open warehouse and trapped within a ring of holy fire was an angel. With wings. Golden wings that reflected the fire beneath them. Sam would have found the sight beautiful if it weren't for the complete horror of the situation. The angel's arms were shackled to a chain that connected to a simple, homemade fly system on the ceiling that held him a good two feet off the ground. His wings were pierced through with meat hooks at the top joints which kept them raised and spread out. His threadbare pants hardly held onto his hips. He was entirely too thin. And he was young. Couldn't be more than sixteen or seventeen.

"Oh, my god," Sam breathed.

"What?" He faintly heard Dean ask. "Wha—Holy shit!"

Sam's body reacted before his mind could. He rushed passed Dean, violently ripping off his own jacket as he went. If he'd been thinking, he may have realized using fabric to beat out an oil fire was a dumb idea. But, the only thing running through his mind was the young angel's fate. How the poor thing had obviously been tortured and strung up and probably left to die. How he had to let the angel down and help.

The holy fire was resistant, but he was making progress. Soon, Dean joined him, using his own jacket as a weapon against the flame. It took a minute or two, but they eventually extinguished it. Sam cautiously touched the young angel's leg. It was still warm under the materiel. His chest was still moving.

"He's still alive," Sam said. He looked up, "We have to get him down."

"No shit, Sherlock!" Dean snapped, angrily tossing his now ruined jacket on the floor. "How do you suggest we do that? Grab a ladder and…what?"

"He's suspended using that bar," he pointed at it, "and it's attached to a fly system. Just follow the rope to the weight and let the bar down. Slowly."

Dean nodded grimly and followed the two ropes all the way to the back of the building. Sam watched as he fiddled with the ends. They'd been tied off in some intricate knot that probably had no rhyme or reason.

"Sam," he said loudly. "I have one option and one option only. I'm going to have to cut him down."

"You can't do that!" Sam shrieked, subconsciously grabbing onto the angel's legs in case he fell. "You'll…rip his wings off or something! Bang us in the head with the metal bar."

He heard Dean's sigh clear across the room. "Relax, Sammy. I know to hold on. Just grab onto him and I'll try not to be dragged too much. Or, y'know, get yanked to the ceiling."

Not really approving of Dean's plan but knowing it was the only way they were going to the angel down, Sam gently wrapped his arms around the kid's legs. The bar jerked and dipped on one side after Dean sawed through the left rope with his knife. Sam started to shout at him to scold him, but the bar quickly evened out with another jerk. Then the angel was coming down, slowly, as Dean had promised.

It took an agonizing minute for Sam to get him laid out on the floor, the bar far enough from him so as not to crush his wings or force them closed. Dean walked back over to him as he was inspecting the shackles and hooks.

"Those take a key?" He asked. When Sam nodded, he said, "Be right back. One of these bastards has to have it."

The meat hooks, Sam quickly discovered, were the biggest problem they faced. The demons had made sure they pierced right through the center of the joint. No matter what Sam and Dean did, they were going to wind up injuring the kid to free him. When Dean returned with the key, they released his arms and gently placed them by his side.

"One of us is gonna have to hold his wing while the other rips the hook out," Dean said.

"Hate to bring it up, Dean, but…you probably know more about these things than I do."

"Your hands are steadier."

"Fuck. Okay."

Dean lifted up the angel's right wing gently, but firmly. Taking a steadying breath, Sam grasped the hook. He fought against the strong desire to rip the thing out as fast as possible. This wasn't a Band-Aid he was ripping away. Precision was key.

The sound and feel of metal scraping against bone and cartilage caused Sam's nose to furl up. Blood started to pour from the wound, marring shimmering feathers, as he forced it open again. Eventually, Sam pulled the hook free. He sat it aside, tried his best to ignore the flesh hung on it, and moved onto the next wing. Soon, he pulled the second hook free.

"Dean," he said shakily. "He's not going to fit in the Impala. Not with these wings. And we can't risk bending them too much."

"I know."

"We can't leave him here."

"I know." Dean stood up, "There're vans in the side lot I remember seeing. Wait here, I'll see if I can get one to start. He'll fit in one o' those."

Sam watched his brother leave and then turned his attention back to the young angel laid out beside him. Special something, Crowley had called him. In danger of expiring. He didn't want to think about what would have happened if they hadn't shown up when they did. Didn't want to think about it, but he did. Just like he didn't want to think about archangels or this kid's long, golden, wavy hair. But he did.