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“Finally, finally I can cast my eyes on Michael’s Sword. Remarkable craftsmanship, a work of art indeed” The young man quirk his lips into a smile as his eyes study Dean meticulously.

 

“What? Dude, Are you flirting with me” Sam looks pissed at his brother, sometimes he wonders how Dean can face danger so carefreely. On the other hand, the Archangels actually can’t kill them, Right?

 

“As much as I appreciate beauty, I don’t fuck animals” The hunter almost feels the dark eyes of the Archangel diving in his mind “Sadly, you can’t say the same. How does it feel to lie with someone that is not your kind?” His eyes narrowing with disgust now rest on Castiel’s “Low have you fallen, brother”. Cas’ fists become shivering balls at his sides, but his eyes remain fixed on the Archangel.

 

“Shut up” The older Winchester looks away, is eyes meeting with his brother. Panic flashes Dean’s eyes, but Sam just smiles shyly, like saying It’s okay. That’s why Dean loves his brother.

 

“So... which one are you?” Sam buys a time that does not have use.

 

“You might know me as Azrael, the one that brings death by God’s command” the man bows slightly, smiling amused. Gabriel tries to speak but Azrael’s foot pushes deeper his throat. Dean can see Castiel in front of him, breathing heavily, almost shivering. He can feel his fear like a scent. Okay then, Azrael is no pushover.

 

 “You are grounded, you can’t talk”. Azrael says softly to a pain ridden Gabriel.

 

“Well, since I have to put out voluntarily” Dean walks slowly at Castiel’s side and points back to Sam “And if you do something to Sam, Lucy will come to smite your ass” Now he looks at Gabriel “We are going to go now. Sorry this didn’t work out Gabe, maybe next time” Azrael frowns slightly, but Dean has seen Gabriel’s signal. The muted archangel holds a lighter in his hand, and his eyes look desperately to the battered blanket a few feet away.

 

“Then Gabriel, time to get your punishment. Oblivion will be swift” The older Winchester signals the lighter to Castiel with his eyes, For a moment, his eyes say Be careful, or was that just a figment of his imagination? Regardless, Castiel gathers all of his power in just one tackle, hoping that is just enough to push Azrael on the blanket.

 

            It works, the archangel, busy on Gabriel, is taken by surprise. A tackle powerful enough to break a wall, just moves Azrael a few feet. But it is all that it takes. Gabriel lits on the lighter and throws it at the blanket, that burns off, revealing only the circle of holy fire.

 

            Azrael looks down and sighs, scratching his forehead, but just smiles, like accepting a challenge. Both him and Castiel are trapped by the fiery ring.

 

“Sneaky” Azrael faces Castiel “And you, wayward brother, you are going back home for this” The archangel grabs Castiel by the neck in a swift and ruthless motion. “And I have to say, this works perfectly for me” Castiel’s eyes widen in fear as the Archangel of death smiles darkly.

 

“Stop!” Dean yells as Azrael puts his hand on Cas’ forehead, but nothing happens.

 

“Odd, this vessel is not a vessel, it’s you” Says Azrael with faked deception. Dean looks surprised, Castiel never told him exactly how his resurrection worked. For a moment he feels relive that he has not been sleeping with a dead man. Not the time, Dean.

 

            Sam gets a strange feeling, Azrael is not as pissed as he should be, is almost as things are working as planned.

 

“Leave” Castiel says hard and deep as usual, but then his voice rises unable to get a hold on himself. The hunter does not move, nor does Sam. “Damn it Dean!! Take Gabriel and leave!” Castiel perennial calms seems to burn off as fear invades him. He knows he is going to die. But Dean does not have to.

 

“Gabriel!” Sam yells without removing his eyes from Azrael. Sam is almost sure that he is planning something.

 

“Dean, take Samuel a...” But the savage Archangel closes his grip on Castiel’s throat, holding him above the ground, as he negates with his head in an mocking way.

 

            Castiel does not need to gasp for air, but his face shows a pain that Dean has never seen, he can hear the bones of Cas’ neck cracking, much to Azraels’ amusement. Forcing air through his blocked throat, Castiel manages to say a painful Leave.

 

“I won’t leave you here Cas” Dean’s mind yells in panic, and the reason of the things he said to Castiel that day, the reason that he had been treating him like shit the past week, don’t seem to matter anymore. The broken voice hurts Castiel’s ears, but at the same time he feels joy in being Cas again. Is it right that at the time it feels enough? It is right that it's the only thing that matters here and now?.

 

“Gabriel, do something!!” Sam yells, but the former trickster is just standing there, looking lost.

 

“It’s too late”

 

The warehouse roof collapses, chains and support girders crashing the floor with atrocious metallic screams, hail, rain and thunders invading the building. The Winchesters are knocked back by the storm’s scale, white and merciless, that ravages with terrible hunger. Three more Archangels materialize in the building, surrounded by the storm, two females and Raphael.

 

            It gets surreal then, as if sound and shape and time don’t belong together. Dean’s mind goes blank as he starts to run towards Castiel. Azrael smiles amused as everything seems to go in slow motion. Sam tries to stop Dean, but the blond female archangel sends him trough the air with disgust. She can’t kill him, but at least can make him suffer a little. The younger Winchester hits the floor with a hollow sound, unconscious.

 

“NO!” Gabriel screams, trying desperately to move, to flee, but they have locked him to the mortal plane. Raphael and the short dark-haired women leap and pin Gabriel to the floor by the arms, as the blond one walks slowly towards him unsheathing a silvery blade.

 

            Dean keeps running as he sees in terror the fiery ring banishing. The air surrounding him goes cold in a second, and every breath feels like needles on his lungs. Azrael whispers to Castiel’s ear, who looks at him with hatred and anger. The Archangel of death points at Dean with his free hand, and his lips keep moving, filling Castiel’s head with words that make him horrified, words that the hunter can’t hear in the scale of the storm. The angel tries to fight back, but Azrael is too powerful, too ruthless, as Michael fought Lucifer in those dark days, it was Azrael the one that hunted and killed the other treacherous Angels, and he did it with a cruel smile on his face. There is no way for Castiel to fight him.

 

“We ask our glorious father, in his infinite mercy, to forgive your wicked ways. I Barachiel, ask for forgiveness in your name” The storm finishes to ravage the roof, deathly shards hitting the ground dangerously close to Sam’s unconscious body. The blond Archangel holds the blade horizontally on her extended arms, hail surrounding her like an halo as she gets closer and closer to Gabriel.

 

“I Raphael, ask for forgiveness in your name” The Archangel say with his deep voice. Sam regains consciousness the moment it starts raining. His eyes flicker open at the sound and strenght of the ravaging elements. Shielding his face he tries to find Dean, but the storm covers everything in white sound. He feels his ears about to explode, crawling he manages to anchor himself to a wall. He yells his brother’s name, but no answer comes. Barachiel is almost on top of Gabriel who looks at her with panicked eyes.

 

“NO! Please, I’ll return, I’ll go back home, PLEASE” Gabriel cries like a child about to be grounded.

 

“And I Selaphiel, ask for forgiveness in your name” The last archangel gives Gabriel a soothing stare with her green eyes, ridden by regret, but orders are orders. Castiel's eyes start to become soulless as Azrael's words keep reaching his ears. The hunter can’t hear them, but they are killing Cas, and he just can not reach him in that colorless storm. The ring of fire vanishes flooded by the Archangel’s wrath.

 

“May our Father accept our plea, and let you be born anew, free of sin” With a swift motion, Barachiel pierces through Gabriel’s neck, flooding the building with a white light strong enough to make the elements retreat.

 

“You never said that you loved him” Azrael tells Dean as Castiel goes unconscious. Azrael vanishes, and Castiel starts to fall almost weightless. The hunter howls in despair as he catches the angel in his arms. Then they are engulfed by the white light and all goes dark.

 

“Cas...Cas!” There is no air, nothing to breathe, his legs fail miserably and he falls to the ground, surrounded by darkness, crying his name. Dean does not know what to think, his head is going to explode. Is he alive? Placing shaky hands on his chest he sighs. He is breathing. That’s a good thing, that’s a good thing he repeats to himself, he shakes him harder and harder, but nothing happens.

 

“Cas, wake up please, wake up” his voice goes utterly broken as he tries to wake him “Cas please, wake up. I’m sorry for the way I treated you, I  know I was a douche, but please wake up, please Cas, wake up” Still the angel just lies there, eyes closed, completely motionless.

 

            Sam opens his eyes to the desolate picture. The only wall standing is the one he is anchored to. He looks at his brother in disbelief. Shit is the only thought his mind can shape. Gabriel’s body lies dead surrounded by the impression of charred wings and Dean keeps rocking Castiel to no avail.

 

“Wake up Cas, please don’t leave me, I love you....”

 

--------

 

            Azrael sighs in pain, wincing. He just wants to get out of the poor bastard that confines his true glory.

 

“You really put a show down there” Barachiel says softly, her blond hair dancing in the wind.

 

“I’m effective. Zachariah’s antics take too long, we have no time” Azrael cracks his knuckles, he kind of likes to sound of it. “Soon Michael’s vessel will serve his true master”

 

“I truly hope so, there is too much at stake” The archangel looks down, the debris of the warehouse seeming a smidge on a sheet of paper from the air. “Why did not just kill Castiel?”

 

“He will try to bring him back, he will grow desperate, hopeless. He will lose his mind trying to. He will see that there’s no other choice. And then he will beg for our help”

 

“And then he will be Michael’s Sword?” The blond Archangel seems unconvinced

 

“Lucifer roams the earth, we can’t use his demon brother to bend him. Thankfully, Castiel made a connection with him. He was of use after all... Love” Azrael snorts like if it is a ludicrous word.

 

“Regardless, I still think that the only punishment for that traitor is death”

 

“We follow a plan Barachiel” Azrael says seriously, floating above the clouds “Besides, there are fates worst than obliteration”

-------

 

Something burns inside Castiel. He opens his mouth but no words come out. His eyes don’t see anything and he is not sure if he is standing or lying. He is trembling. He breathes. Metal?. But at least he feels a bit better. Slowly his eyes start to capture light and shapes.

 

“Dean?” He manages to say. His mind feels scattered and he can not remember were he was or what he was doing. Azrael. The tough paralyzes him, he must go back to save Dean, and Sam. He tries to move but his legs do not respond, he is sitting on a couch, leather couch? His left hand squeezes the material. Slowly he can distinguish the forms around him. A lamp, a bed, a window, a closet. All the light is provided by small candles. He hears a noise, high pitched, a sound that seems to come and go.

 

“I have to help Dean” He tries to move again, and his legs respond, but he falls to the floor spectacularly, his head starts to hurt and his eyes do not seem to focus on anything. Am I drunk? Managing to get in his knees, he sees his hands, covered in something sticky. And he is holding a knife with his left hand.

 

            The light around him starts to change from red to blue, over and over again. As he stands up, a pain shakes him, his stomach feels on fire, and then his throat. Castiel vomits, and the feel of acid going trough him is disgusting. Fuck. Shaking the feeling he looks up, something lies on the bed, someone.

 

            He moves with difficulty, every step makes his brain hurt. He reaches the bed, there is someone there. He reaches the lamp by the nightstand, struggling to find the light switch. Click! The sudden light hurts his eyes and he can finally see colors again, for some reason his hand his red, and sticky. Blood? The incessant pounding of his heart makes his head spin, his eyes following his orders with delay. There is a man on the bed, a dead man covered in blood, with a expression of horror imprinted on wide green eyes.

 

“....Dean?”

 


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November 2011

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