Sam’s head was spinning. Every piece of his life he’d been struggling to build these past months were breaking apart. Actually, everything he’d ever believed was being challenged. Angels were real, but they were dicks. And Heaven existed, but it was in a state of turmoil. And his brother was alive, sort of.
Bobby watched Sam tentatively as he tried to comprehend everything he’d just heard. Sam held the cold beer to his head, trying to lessen the burning fever he felt coming on. Thinking better of it, he then opened the beer and took a long drink.
“Did he seem…” Sam began, struggling to put this thoughts into words. “Was he happy?”
Bobby looked past Sam, and shook his head.
“Lord knows what goes on in that boy’s head,” he said. “He seemed well, all things considered. He was well enough to have his usual loud-mouth.”
Sam nodded and smiled sentimentally. He could only imagine what Dean might’ve said after everything he’d been through. It would probably include more than a few choice words.
“Bobby,” Sam said. “The reason I called you in the first place...I, uh, I had a vision about Dean. Hopefully, it was just a dream, but… I couldn’t shake it. So I thought I’d give you a call, but now…”
“What happened in the dream?” Bobby asked. Sam frowned and looked at the ground.
“Dean was there, but something felt off,” Sam explained. “There was nothing but coldness behind his eyes.”
“That doesn’t sound like the Dean I was just with.” Bobby said. They were both silent, contemplating the possible meaning of the dream.
“Sam, you said that you’ve been having nightmares for a while now?” Bobby asked. Sam nodded.
“None of those came true, so this one’s probably nothing more than a dream,” Bobby said. “But let me know if it develops further, and I’ll let you know if any of the angels contacts me.”
Sam nodded, and stared down his beer glass.
“I better be heading out,” he said, getting up. Bobby touched his arm.
“Sam, you could stay for the night if you want,” he offered. Sam shook his head.
“I can’t,” Sam said. “I’m really sorry. It’s been great to see you...And I promise I’ll call you.”
“You better mean it this time,” Bobby joked. Sam laughed and waved goodbye. Bobby waved back as Sam walked out the door towards the car.
Sam started the engine, but he wasn’t going back to college yet. This dark feeling just kept growing, and so there was only one place to go now. He’d already paid one old friend a visit, and now it was time for another.
He wasn’t sure if it was the heavy humid weather or just the emotional forbidding hanging over him, but Sam’s chest felt weighed down. He found himself breathing shallowly as he walked towards his brother’s grave. He didn’t expect to find anything, but then why was he so worried?
Sam paused as he overlooked the grave. He doubled checked that he was at the correct sight. There were his father’s and mother’s graves, still fully intact. And there was Dean’s headstone, but then this couldn’t possibly be correct.
The ground had been completely unearthed. At first he thought something had dug up the grave, but then he realized with a heart-wrenching shock that something had dug itself out. He desperately tried to make sense of what he was seeing, but nothing made sense. Dean’s body had been burned, and Bobby had recently seen him…sort of.
Sam pulled out his phone. As it rang, he looked to the sky as if waiting for some explanation to fall at his feet like rain. But nothing came. Bobby picked up the phone.
“Bobby,” Sam said, his words heavy with a sense of urgency. “I’m coming back.”
If it was possible, Michael’s armor shone even brighter than usual. While Castiel had been locked away, Michael had been parading around in Dean’s body and preparing for Purgatory. After having his own armor polished, he’d sent an order to find armor and a sword for Castiel.
Now Castiel was wearing that armor and standing behind Michael, facing the iron gates of Purgatory.
“All this time, Sector 13 was really a gateway to Purgatory.” Castiel commented.
“Yes,” Michael said. “but Sector 6 is the real wonder.”
Castiel noticed the gates were radiating heat. No one else seemed bothered by it, but Cas felt his armor slowly heating up. The glares of anger and jealously from the angels behind him may have added to the heat in the room.
“Michael,” Gadreel spoke up from the group. “I implore you, take me instead of Castiel. He cannot be trusted.”
Michael glanced his eyes in Gadreel’s general direction then returned his focus to the gates.
“Gadreel,” Michael said. “your loyalty is praiseworthy but I’ve made a contract with my vessel, and so Castiel must come.”
Zachariah took a step forward.
“I don’t doubt your wisdom,” he began. “But the vessel has already said yes, and he’s powerless now. If you’re bringing Castiel because you need assistance, then perhaps take one of us instead? Not me, but I’m sure Gadreel would be more than glad to go.”
Castiel noticed Gadreel was wearing his armor, while Zachariah had only a suit on. Strangely enough, Castiel also noticed that out of all of the subordinate angels, his armor was easily the best. His silver armor was second only to Michael’s.
“Castiel is coming,” Michael said with a tone of finality. “He will not be an issue. Bringing any of you would only slow us down.”
The angels were silent, but Castiel could still feel their stares on the back of his head. The stares stopped when Michael unsheathed his sword. The angels gaped at him in awe as he gazed at the gates with a look of determination.
“Open it,” he said. Slowly, two angels pulled the gates open.
A blast of warm wind raced through. Castiel grasped the hilt of his sword, but refused to look away or close his eyes. It was impossible to see what lay beyond the bright light emitting from the gate.
Without a word, Michael took a step forward and was engulfed by the light. Castiel had no choice but to follow. Not looking back, he stepped forward and was hit by another wave of heat.
As the light subsided, Castiel examined his surroundings. The first thing he noticed about Purgatory was the tinge of gray that muted all colors. Even Michael’s golden armor wasn’t immune to it. The rest of Purgatory was surprisingly normal looking. He and Michael were in a clearing in what appeared to be just an ordinary forest. Castiel didn’t let that fool him though.
He unsheathed his sword, and scanned the trees for possible enemies. Apparently Michael was ready to move.
“Castiel,” he said and motioned towards the trees. “There are dark creatures in these woods. We must move quickly.”
Castiel glanced around once more suspiciously, and then lowered his sword and followed. Michael was already near the edge of the forest. Just as he reached it, a shadow moved from behind a tree.
Michael reacted immediately. His sword gracefully flew through the air and decapitated the figure. Black ooze gushed from its neck. Michael scowled at the black muck on his sword. He wiped it off on the dead figure, which twitched slightly.
But more figures emerged from hiding. Castiel’s eyes flickered about the clearing and he counted about twelve enemies. He raised his sword.
“You killed one of us,” one of them said, “now we’ll kill you.”
Michael frowned at them as if they were rats on the subway. The creature which spoke leapt forward to attack. Michael calmly moved his sword and cut across the creature’s gut. The creature stumbled back, more black goo bleeding from the wound. Michael turned to the rest.
Meanwhile, Cas was dealing with several of the creatures. They’d circled him, but he was able to keep them at bay. One of them moved too close for Castiel’s liking, so he cut across his torso. The creature fell to the ground, and Cas took the opportunity to jump through the opening.
Then he looked back with horror as he witnessed the creature he’d just wounded stand back up. The black ooze was sucked back into the wound, and then the skin closed. It didn’t even leave a scar. Castiel stepped back defensively.
“Michael?!” He yelled. “What are these monsters?”
Michael was currently having similar issues. Each time he’d take one of them out, it would only return a moment later, good as new. He viciously cut off the arm of another, and watched it regrow. Castiel appeared next to him. He kept his back to him, warding off the creatures behind them.
“We can’t fight them,” Castiel said.
Michael didn’t respond. He cut off the arms of another creature and then placed his hand to its head.When nothing happened, he frowned. Just as the creature’s arms regenerated again, he cut them off.
“They’re immune to our powers,” Castiel said. “Michael, we have to flee.”
“I do not flee from battle,” Michael said resentfully. He decapitated another creature.
“Michael, we will die,” Castiel said firmly, and swung at one of them. Michael’s eyes flared as he watched the creature reattach its head. He growled and stabbed at it, but it was useless.
“Castiel!” Michael finally yelled as he jumped over a fallen monster. He motioned for Castiel to follow him as he disappeared into the woods. Castiel brushed black guck from his face and followed. He hated to be so shallow, especially when both his own life and Dean’s were at risk, but it was rather satisfying to watch Righteous Michael run away.