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Day Star Ascending

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Meg smirks, "What's the matter Dean? Did you think we had something special? Did you think after everything we'd been through together I wouldn't try to kill you?"

Dean struggles against Meg's power, but he stays firmly planted against the wall. "Nah, we knew we couldn't trust you, bitch. Sammy, I told you this was coming, didn't I?"

Sam continues staring intently at Meg, but he doesn't respond.

Meg saunters closer, her heeled boots clicking against the warehouse floor with each step "Aww... I'm sorry about all this Sam, but you understand, right? You two are just too dangerous to keep around. I'm taking over Hell, and I'm not going to make the same mistake every one of my predecessors made and leave you both breathing."

Dean snorts loudly,"Jeez will you just quit yapping! If you're gonna kill us, kill us- but don't stand there monologuing about it for hours!"

"Fine." Meg's mouth curves ever so slightly as she closes her eyes. When she opens them again they're black. "Come on boys, dinner time."

Dean's eyes widen as the warehouse fills with the growling of Hellhounds.

"Say your goodbyes you two. There's over two dozen hungry, hungry pups here..." Meg announces, and turns her back on Sam and Dean.

It's a mistake.

Sam slides down from the wall free of Meg's hold, right arm up, palm facing outward. His eyes are glowing bright, white, miniature suns. Around them black tar-blood spatters as the Hellhounds explode one by one. Meg turns to him in shock.

"Sammy?" Dean strains, trying to move his head so he can see his brother's face. "SAM!"

Sam closes his hand into a fist slowly, and Meg falls to her knees. She screams as light shines from within her host's body. Eyes, mouth and ribcage all the color of flame before she collapses, dead.

Sam sinks to the floor and brings a hand up to his head.

Dean, freed from Meg's hold runs over to Sam. "Sam, what the Hell? You okay?"

The warehouse is making odd groaning noises, the metal railings around them creaking. Sam clutches at his head, "Dean, I can't- you have to get out of here."

"Let's go then." Dean says, grabbing onto Sam's shoulder.

"No, I have to hold it back- just go. Now." Sam says, his voice low.

"Sam- what's going on, is you remember something? Is it the Cage? Whatever it is, we'll handle it ok?"
Behind them, a crack starts to open in the floor. When the crack hits the back wall of the building, the wall starts to shake as part of it collapses. Dean grabs his brother again, "We have to go Sammy, now."

Sam is panting, his eyes pressed shut, still holding his head. "Dean, go- now. RUN!"

"That's not gonna happen Sammy, I'm not gonna just leave you here." Dean protests.

Sam opens his eyes again, still gleaming, and Dean is thrown out the split in the wall. As Dean watches, Sam folds in on himself, and the walls come tumbling down.

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Castiel was surprised. He hadn't thought the spell would work. He had hoped it would, because he was desperate for help. Raphael's latest attack had crippled Castiel's forces and he could tell he was about to lose much, if not all of his support.

Castiel spoke through the channel he'd opened "Michael, are you there? Can you hear me?"

Michael's voice came, much smaller than Castiel remembered:"I hear you, brother."

"Michael, it is good to hear your voice. I am sorry the Host has been unable to find a way to free you. We are in the midst of war." Castiel was ashamed to admit this, despite not even being sure what side Michael would be on were he free.

"So he tells me." Michael answered.

"He? Has...have others contacted you?" Castiel was shocked- what if Raphael had-

Michael laughed bitterly: "The only one I have to talk to down here is Lucifer. And now that Sam's topside, Lucifer can't ignore me anymore."

"But how would Lucifer know about the war?"

"A vessel and their angel are always connected, you know this Castiel. Even more so in this case." Michael sounded tired and angry.

"Sam has been contacting Lucifer? He doesn't even remember Hell. Death made sure of that when he-"

Michael laughed again: "Please. Death's little dam of amnesia has already broken. And no, Sam hasn't been contacting Lucifer, not exactly."

"I don't understand. Sam's body returned, free of Lucifer and empty of Sam's soul. There was no connection- I sensed nothing of Lucifer in him." Castiel had searched Sam thoroughly when he was looking for his soul. He would not have overlooked even the tiniest spark of Lucifer's presence.

"Sam's soul and Lucifer are intertwined. When Sam said 'Yes' that was forever, you understand that right?" Michael sighed, and continued wearily:" When we got here, our precious vessels were pointless. Lucifer and I together forced them back out. I sent Adam's soul on it's way to Heaven, but Lucifer," Michael snorted, "Lucifer clung to Sam's soul until it tore free from his body. He spent the next hundred years doing nothing but working on Sam."

Castiel swallowed," The torture must have been indescribable. I am sorry for Sam, but Michael, please...I need your help. Raphael-"

"Raphael and you are fighting a pointless battle. Heaven is busy tearing itself apart, and no one has been paying attention to what's happening on Earth."

Castiel thought he could feel Michael glaring at him. "What is happening?"

"Go ask Sam Winchester. Or go ask Meg, the acting Queen of Hell. Have you heard from her lately? Tell me Castiel, can you sense her anywhere?"

"Michael I..." Castiel tried again, "I need guidance! You know more than you are telling me, and our brothers are dying fighting what you call a 'pointless battle'!"

"Did you ever wonder, Castiel, why Sam never suffered withdrawal symptoms from all that demon blood he drank before saying yes to Lucifer?" Michael asked.

" I didn't think of it, but I assume it had to do with his missing soul."

"That's right. Sam's soul was in agony down here. Ironic really. He was deep in the Pit surrounded by exactly what he needed, but with no way to get to it. His hunger was driving him mad..." Michael went quiet.

"Michael, where is Lucifer?" asked Castiel carefully.

"Lucifer took pity on Sam. He didn't have any demon blood to give him, but he did have something even better. Something far more potent, and far more permanent." Michael started snickering,"He fed Sam his grace Castiel. Lucifer, who wouldn't bend a knee to mankind, gave everything of himself to Sam. Death may be older than us all, but he's a fool. He saw all of us, he saw Lucifer- saw what a husk he's become, but he freed Sam anyway."

"Then what...what do I do now?"Castiel pleaded, "Michael!"

But there was no answer.

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"Sam." Lucifer whispers gently.

...and how can light whisper anyway Sam wonders for the millionth time.

"Sam, let me help you. I can make the pain stop, I promise."

Sam holds back another scream as his body what body- soul, he's just a soul now feels like it's being torn apart molecule by molecule. He's known the withdrawal would be worse than it had ever been if he survived Lucifer, but he hadn't expected to actually survive.

"This must be unbearable for you. Surrounded by demons, by the very thing that could make the hunger stop, but with no way to reach them. I really can help you Sam. I've never lied to you, and I'm not lying now."

Sam can feel Lucifer lift him up gently from where he's curled into a fetal position on the ground what ground... He's propped up in a mostly seated position surrounded by Light the morningstar. An arm, a solar flare, as all of Lucifer is now, wraps around him and his head is pushed gently forwards.

"Drink, Sam. Drink and be whole."

Sam doesn't understand, not really, but it doesn't matter because his mouth is touching the Light and it's fire and it's heat and it's everything. A maelstrom of power and it doesn't stop it doesn't stop

"My father, he has no idea what I've learned, what I'm capable of now. I've had so much time in here Sam. The demons served their purpose. They're more than cannon fodder. They made you possible. And you, you're more than my vessel Sam, you're the other part of me. You're going to do what I never could. You're going to get out of here and you're going to win, Sam."

Sam is in the Cage, he's in Hell, he's in Heaven, he's in ecstasy and the Light is everywhere it's everywhere and so is he. Nothing is hidden, nothing's impossible, and everything around him is just so damn small now.

Lucifer laughs, but he

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Dean doesn't know how long he's been out here waiting. He thinks it was around noon when they got to the warehouse -now a giant pile of rubble- where Meg had been waiting for them. The sun is making its way to the horizon, tinging the sky blood red and dark orange. He hasn't seen Sam, hasn't seen anyone, for hours. His mind has been replaying what happened inside over and over on a masochistic loop. He desperately wants to make sure Sam is ok - aside from the whole glowing eyes bit-and seriously, what the hell, but he hasn't been able to make himself move. Either that or he can't move and he really doesn't want to think about the implications of that.

The sky's shifted into an even darker red when Sam finally emerges from the ruined building. He's walking slowly, no apparent haste and no apparent injury. Dean startles at the sound of fluttering wings behind him. "Cas?"

"Dean." Castiel isn't looking at Dean though, he's staring at Sam with an odd expression (even for an angel).

Dean finally gets his body to respond and gets up. "Sammy, you ok?"

Sam's eyes are normal, no trace of the white fire from earlier showing in them. "I'm fine, Dean. Castiel, how goes the battle?"

Castiel answers hesitantly, "Not well, Raphael has taken many of my brothers and sisters from me."

"I'm sorry to hear that. So, Michael didn't have anything useful to tell you?" Sam asks in a flat tone.

"Michael?" Dean snaps "Cas? You wanna share with the class?"

Castiel swallows, "I...Sam, how did you know I contacted Michael?"

"You know exactly how. Tell the truth, Castiel. Tell Dean why you're really here."

Sam is eying Castiel with something like humor, but none of this is the least bit amusing, at least not to Dean.

"Abomination. This ends now." Raphael announces as he appears, with four angels behind him, watching.

Sam smirks and Dean would be lying if he said it didn't remind him of Lucifer but he can't think that, that can't be.

"Raphael," says Sam, approaching the archangel "I hear you're causing Castiel a lot of trouble."

"Our matters are none of your concern, vessel of the Traitor."Raphael sneers, "but you and your blasphemous existence are my concern. You are meant to be Lucifer's meat - sacrificed in the great battle, nothing more. Let's see if we can't burn some sense into you."

Raphael lays his hand on Sam's forehead and Dean runs forward, screaming "NO!" Two of the other angels grab Dean and hold him back.

But Sam doesn't flinch, he doesn't light up from the inside out, he doesn't catch fire. What he does do, is clear his throat and ask, "What's wrong? Are you having trouble putting an end to my blasphemous existence?"

Raphael takes a step back, "What are you?"

Sam smiles. "An abomination." He steps closer to Raphael and says ever-so-quietly, "You're done Raphael. You're going to call a cease-fire and agree to Castiel's terms."

Raphael laughs in disbelief. "Oh, am I?" He looks towards his soldiers who all seem equally amused. "and...why would I do that?"

Sam glances over his shoulder at Dean and looks almost regretful. Turning back to Raphael, he says, "Simple math, I guess. I killed Alistair and Lilith by drinking the blood of lower level demons." Sam lays his hand on Raphael's shoulder and continues, "What do you think I could do if I drank down Lucifer?"

There's a flutter of wings as all four of Raphael's soldiers move to stand behind Castiel, kneeling.

Raphael eyes Castiel with disdain and disappears.

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"Lucifer," Michael shakes his brother softly. "Brother, what have you done to yourself?"

Lucifer looks up and smiles weakly, "What had to be done. Michael, you almost sound like you care. Have you...have you forgiven me after all this time?"

"We are supposed to be the agents of Fate. Even in going against Father's wishes, I realize now you were acting out his divine plan, but this...what you've done, it goes against everything..." Michael pulls Lucifer's withered form closer to him.

"The Winchesters are more than our vessels Michael, they are our counterparts. Sam showed me why we were wrong, this whole time. As angels, we're stagnant. We can't evolve beyond what we are. That's why humans are so damn special!" Lucifer spits out the last word and Michael can see a spark of the passion his brother had been consumed by for eons. "But I found a way Michael. I found a way to claim that one advantage they have for myse-"
Lucifer spasms in Michael's arms and his light fades even further.

Michael thinks he's crying. He hasn't ever done that before. "Brother, please- tell me how to help you. Please don't...don't leave me alone in here!"

"It's Sam, Michael. He needs what's left of me. He's calling me home," Lucifer looks up at Michael, unseeing and calm.

"This is madness! What makes you think you'll even exist anymore! Stay here! Fight back, don't can't just give up. Not you." Michael is shaking in anger and helplessness.

Lucifer smiles serenely, "I'm not giving up. I'm not capable of that. I'm just moving on, I'm...ascending. Don't despair Michael, I've been reborn, and I will come back for you."

The Light is gone, and Michael weeps.