It didn't end as anyone had expected, Bobby Singer reflected.
Not Heaven's army, which had been waiting for their general's vessel to say yes (and trying to coerce that yes out of him).
Not Hell's army, which was continually fighting to get their lord's vessel to say yes (and trying to coerce that yes out of him as well).
Not Earth's army, all of four beings strong, which was working to deny both Heaven and Hell the vessels (and trying to save the rest of the world in the process).
Perhaps only God had expected it, or perhaps Michael and his brother had known what would happen as well.
Bobby sat at his kitchen table, staring at the two men across from him as he tried to understand what had just happened.
Earth's "army"- Sam and Dean Winchester, Bobby Singer, and Castiel the angel- was dealing with an extensive demonic possession case in Indiana when Castiel realized that Zachariah was around.
It was already a dangerous case- with so many demons around, it was only a matter of time before word got to Lucifer that Sam was here. Now they had to worry about angels too.
Sam and Dean argued that they couldn't abandon the town, not now. They could only hope that the angel wouldn't find them.
They were in the town's small library when Zachariah stormed in.
Sam dodged Zachariah's grab as Dean tried to move behind the angel. Zachariah turned smoothly to catch Dean and pull him up by the collar of his shirt. A negligent gesture sent Sam into the wall.
Bobby didn't dare shoot the angel, not with Dean in the way, but he had to keep Zachariah's attention off Castiel.
Bobby fired into the wall, just to the right of Zachariah's head.
The angel turned to face him. "Oh yes, the cripple," he said smoothly. "I don't know what you thought you could do to stop me."
"He distracted you," Castiel said, just as he slammed his hand down on the sigil he had drawn.
"We've got to get out of here," Sam said as he pulled himself upright again.
Dean coughed and nodded.
Castiel frowned. "Something else is wrong," he said. He headed for the doors, head tilted as if he were listening to something only he could hear.
"What is it?" Bobby asked. He'd learned to trust Castiel's feelings.
"We can't leave," Castiel finally said. "The demons know we're here, we're trapped already."
"Damnit," Bobby said.
"Can't you get us out of here?" Dean asked.
Castiel nodded. "You and Sam first," he said.
Bobby nodded. "Get them to my house," he ordered.
Castiel nodded and placed his hands on Sam and Dean's forehead. Nothing happened. "Uh… Cas?" Sam asked.
The angel frowned and flexed his wrists. "You should already be gone," he said. He closed his eyes and pushed his hands out.
Castiel opened his eyes. "Something is keeping me from teleporting." He bit his lip. "I can't get you out of here."
"Sonuvabitch!" Dean spat out. "And the demons are going to tell Lucifer!"
"Guys, where's the librarian?" Sam asked.
Bobby turned his wheelchair around. From where they stood, they could see the entire library, and there was no sign of the pretty young woman who'd showed them where the newspapers were.
"Goddamn," he said. "Was she possessed?"
"Not when we got here," Castiel said. The angel was glancing around. "But I think… They're coming for Sam!"
"I'll grab our gear," Dean snapped, jumping up and running out the door before any of them could say anything.
"Dean, wait!" Sam yelled, but his brother ignored him. Sam took two steps after him.
"No, Sam," Castiel said.
Sam closed his eyes. He took a deep breath and opened them again. He looked around the room. "Good think this place doesn't have many windows," he said. "Cas, we're going to need sigils all over the place, if Zachariah manages to come back."
Castiel nodded and rolled up his sleeves.
Dean slammed back into the library just as Castiel started drawing a sigil on the wall.
Dean ran back in with two duffels swung over his shoulders. "I got the salt, and some of the weapons."
He dumped one of the duffels on Bobby's lap and the other on a nearby table. "Come on, Sam," Dean said. "You're on salt duty; I'll do the devil's traps."
"Hand me a knife," Bobby said. "I'll make a few sigils. I can do that, you know."
They worked quickly, just barely quickly enough. Two angels appeared just as Bobby finished a sigil. Castiel dodged away as Bobby slammed his hand down on it.
The two angels vanished in a flash of light.
"Shit," Bobby said.
"Yes," Castiel agreed.
They worked faster.
Lucifer arrived outside the library first, still in Nick's failing body. He brought several dozen demons with him.
"Lucifer's here," Castiel reported quickly, just before Bobby saw the fallen angel appear in front of the building.
"He's right," Bobby said. "Lucifer's right in front of the building."
Sam joined Bobby. The younger hunter looked out the window and winced. "Wow, he's worse than last time," he muttered. "God, I hope he doesn't…" Sam shook his head.
Bobby turned back to look inside the library. Sam stayed at the window.
Sam inhaled sharply and stepped away from the window he was looking out of. "Dad's here," he said. He blinked. "Oh no," he breathed.
"What?" Dean asked as he came around from the back.
"Michael is wearing Dad," Sam said.
Dean slammed his fist against the wall. "Dad from 1978?"
Sam shook his head. "No, Dad from 2006 or so. He looks…" Sam swallowed. "Just like he did before he…"
Dean jolted forward, and nearly pushed Sam away from the window. "No…" he whispered.
"Shit," Bobby echoed Dean.
"This is it, isn't it, Cas?" Dean asked after a long moment.
Castiel nodded. "I believe so," he said. "This is going to be the final battle."
"Any bets on who attacks first?"
Castiel shook his head. "They will try to force us out of here and onto the streets, or get rid of the protections we've placed."
"Still can't get us out?" Sam asked. "I don't want to… God, Dad."
Castiel shook his head. "No, someone- one of the archangels- is preventing me from doing so."
"Lucifer," Dean growled.
"Or Michael," Castiel allowed.
The building around them rocked, and plaster fell down from the ceiling. The four of them looked at each other slowly. "Let's go down fighting," Dean said.
A low whine began to build up just as Dean finished.
The whine quickly grew in volume, forcing the humans to clamp their hands over their ears.
Castiel moved over to where one of the banishing sigils was placed and cut his hand again. As soon as the whine cut out, three angels appeared in front of Dean. Castiel slammed his hand down on the sigil.
Bobby looked up, blinking the spots from his eyes. "They won't give up," Castiel said. "What weapons do we have?"
"We have the Colt and the knife," Dean said after a moment. "Plus your sword."
"Various blessed blades and ammo. Our guns," Sam said.
"Holy water," Bobby said. "If this was just demons, we'd be good to go."
"We can keep the other angels out for now," Castiel said. "But I don't know how long."
The building rocked again. Just outside, they could hear the sounds of a fight starting, including what Bobby guessed were angelic voices.
Dean glanced at Bobby for a second. "Cas, if you can get out, take Bobby first. Sam and I are wanted alive."
"Don't you dare!" Bobby started.
"Dean's right," Sam said tiredly. "Lucifer and his demons want me alive, the angels want Dean. We won't stay dead no matter who breaks in. You're expendable, Bobby, or worse, leverage. Castiel too."
Castiel nodded. "I'll return right away for you," he said. His expression dared them to argue, but neither Winchester did.
The building rocked on the foundations, harder this time. "They're going to just bring the building down around us," Bobby worried.
"That's likely," Castiel said as he finished recreating the sigil.
Bobby snorted. There were times that Castiel reminded him that he wasn't human. The way he talked so calmly about having a building come down on top of him was one of them.
Angels appeared in the room again. Again, Castiel slammed his hand down on the sigil.
At the same time, the door to the library slammed open. Sam ran to wrestle with it, but he couldn't get it closed. A wind began to blow through the room, picking up the salt. "Son of a bitch!" he shouted. "Someone's getting rid of the salt and the devil's traps!"
Bobby ducked his head to avoid the stinging salt as it began whirling around the room.
"It's Lucifer!" Castiel yelled. "We need to get farther back!"
Dean moved behind Bobby and grabbed the handles of the wheelchair. "We'll find a corner, defend it as best we can," he said. "Sam, Cas, you lead the way!"
"Near the office!" Sam shouted over the rising sound of the wind.
"Go!" Dean barked, and Sam bolted, hand up to protect his eyes from the whirling salt.
Castiel was less then a step behind Sam. Dean pushed Bobby as fast as he could.
The wind died down just as they reached the corner. The salt was gone, and the devils traps and the sigils were smudging to nothing as they watched. Sam was trying frantically to draw a new devils trap around them when all the doors in the building slammed open.
Bobby brought his shotgun up and shot the first demon through the front door. The rock salt would slow it down, at the least.
Things devolved from there, and Bobby could only catch brief glimpses of what was going one beyond his own fights. He was pretty much stuck in the one corner, but he kept chanting the most powerful exorcism he knew and throwing holy water on any demon that got close.
Dean was fighting a pair of demons using blessed knives and the Colt when he could get a shot, Castiel at his back protecting him from angels. Sam had Ruby's knife and was staying as close to Bobby as he could.
Angels and demons were fighting all around them, all of them trying to reach Sam and Dean.
"Sammy!" Dean shouted at one point, just as Bobby lost track of the younger Winchester.
By the time he saw Sam again, Dean was fighting his way to where Sam was trapped by a couple of demons, with Lucifer approaching him.
Bobby could see Michael coming behind Dean. Sam could too. "Dean, look out!" Sam shouted.
Dean ignored him, reaching Sam's side and shooting one of the demons. Sam twisted in the other demon's grasp and stabbed her.
Dean grabbed his brother's arm just as Lucifer reached them. The fallen Archangel's hand landed on top of Dean's.
"NO!" Bobby heard Castiel shout.
Michael reached the small grouping and grabbed Lucifer's hand.
All four of them froze. Dean and Sam were staring at each other, as were Lucifer and Michael. Bobby grasped the wheels of his chair. He had to get over there.
Then Castiel was right in front of Bobby. The angel pulled off his coat rapidly and threw it over Bobby. "What the hell!"
"Don't Bobby," Castiel yelled. "Sam and Dean will survive what ever is going to happen next. They were born to handle the power of archangels. You were not. Close your eyes."
His hands covered Bobby's ears. Bobby could feel the angel throwing himself on top of the coat just as things seemed to explode. Even with his eyes closed, even with Castiel covering him, Bobby could hear, feel, and see the pure power that rushed through the room.
The power flooded the room for nearly a minute before it died down.
Slowly, Castiel got off the wheelchair and pulled his trench coat off Bobby.
Everyone, angels and demons, had frozen as the light had flooded the room, and they were just starting to turn to where the archangels and their vessels had been standing.
Sam and Dean were still standing, Dean's hand wrapped around Sam's arm.
Lucifer and Michael- or the vessels they had been using- were lying on the ground.
Sam knelt down next to John and checked his pulse. He nodded and stood back up. He was smiling slightly.
"Sammy," Dean said, and hugged him hard.
Sam returned the hug just as hard. "Big brother," he whispered. "It's so…"
"Yes," Dean said as they let each other go.
Everything was silent for a long moment as they stared at each other.
Sam's smile widened. "Michael's vessel my ass," he snorted.
Dean grinned back. "Right back atcha," he replied.
He glanced around the room, his smile fading. "This isn't over," he said.
The angels and demons were recovering from the… whatever it was that had happened. Most of them were staring at Sam and Dean in shock.
Bobby frowned. They were acting odd, but definitely not like he'd expected Michael and Lucifer to act. He'd have been expecting more fighting, less smiling, if this was Michael and Lucifer. Castiel made a strange noise at the back of his throat.
"Boys?" Bobby asked, breaking the silence once again.
Sam glanced at Bobby and Castiel, who was standing right next to the wheelchair bound hunter.
"We're fine, Bobby," he said, giving the other hunter that same small smile. "We'll explain when we get a chance."
Castiel stared at Sam. "Sammael?" he whispered.
Sam nodded slowly. "Well done, Castiel," he said easily. "Well done, brother."
"What the… who's Sammael?" Bobby said. He knew, though. According to lore, Sammael was an archangel, the angel of death, or a fallen angel. Sam and Dean had spent some time speculating on Sammael, before Castiel had told them it had been Lucifer's name before he fell.
Sam looked down.
Dean glanced around. "We'll explain later, Bobby," he said.
"Michael," Castiel said.
Dean grinned. "Got it in one, Cas," he said. "But Sammael's right. You did good."
He glanced at the other angels around them. "The rest of our brothers, on the other hand…" he growled.
"And our fallen cousins," Sam said, looking at the demons.
"My lord?" one of the demons said as she stared at Sam. Bobby recognized Meg. "Lucifer?"
Sam straightened. "No. Not Lucifer," he said harshly.
His hand shot out and he pressed down on Meg's forehead. She lit up from within and the host body slumped down.
The demons cried out in shock, and some of them twitched, as if they were trying to escape, but none of them moved beyond that.
"Leave your hosts," Sam ordered them. "All of you, now!"
The black smoke billowed out of them and collected around Sam. The hosts collapsed.
"Fuck," Bobby said.
Sam stared up at the smoke, quiet pain in his gaze.
"Be healed," Dean said. "Be forgiven."
The billows of smoke brightened, grew lighter, and then flashed brightly. Bobby threw his hands up. When he lowered them, the smoke was gone.
Bobby couldn't say anything even if he wanted to.
The angels around Sam and Dean hadn't moved yet. But Zachariah stepped forward once everyone got over the shock of whatever Sam and Dean had down.
Sam and Dean- or Michael and Sammael, Bobby wasn't too sure on that- glared at him. "What's going on? Why aren't you fighting Lucifer, Michael?"
Dean growled. "Because Lucifer doesn't exist, Zachariah," he snapped. "Lucifer never existed. Sammael didn't fall. He did exactly as our Father ordered him."
"What?" Bobby barked out. "You two, tell me what's going on, right now, you idjits!" It didn't even register until after the words left his mouth that he had just ordered two archangels around. He was just trying to deal with two foolhardy Winchester boys.
Sam snorted and walked toward him. "I was never a fallen angel," he said. "I always obeyed my Father- even as I appeared rebellious."
Castiel stepped in front of Bobby. "And what of Sam Winchester?" he asked. "What have you done to him?"
Sam sighed. "Castiel, I won't hurt Bobby, I promise. And as for Sam Winchester… he's a part of me. He's always been a part of me. That part of me had no idea what he was. It's… we don't have time to explain. We have an apocalypse to short circuit right now. I promise, Michael and I will explain as soon as we deal with things."
Sammael placed his hand on Castiel's chest. "Be restored, most faithful of us," he said. "You have suffered, and yet you kept your faith no matter what befell you."
Castiel stiffened in shock.
Sammael turned and glanced around. Zachariah wasn't moving from in front of Michael. "As for you, Zachariah," he growled. "You manipulated signs and life itself. You caused the death of innocents, all in the attempt to end humanity. That was not what our Father ordered."
"You have no right to tell me what to do, Lucifer."
Sammael growled and moved so quickly that it looked like he teleported right next to Zachariah. "I am not Lucifer," he said. "I am Sammael, archangel of heaven, and my Father's servant."
"Sammael has only done as our Father asked him," Michael said. "No matter what it looked like."
"Impossible," Zachariah said. "You tossed him into the pit. You said our Father himself gave you that order."
Michael actually laughed. He sounded exactly like Dean at his most amused. "Of course I did. Father did order it, but not because Sammael disobeyed. And do you really think I could have overpowered Sammael if he hadn't been willing? We're nearly matched in power, Zachariah, and neither of us can ever beat the other the way I did."
"Really," Sammael put in. "I let him win."
Bobby stared at the angels. Surely they weren't saying what he thought they were saying.
Sammael turned away from Zachariah. He eyed the surrounding angels. Most of them were simply staring at him.
"Many of you did not know that Zachariah was not following our Father's will," he said calmly. "But some of you have no excuse. You know that what you're doing is wrong."
Michael moved over next to Sammael. "Sammael is right. But for now…" he glared at the still frozen Zachariah. "Sammael, you're making sure no one can leave, right?"
"Of course," Sammael said easily. "We've got a family talk ahead of us. It wouldn't do for someone to run away."
Sammael stepped over two of the formerly demon possessed and stopped.
"This is not a confrontation for human eyes," Michael said.
Sammael nodded. "There's a hospital two miles from here," he said.
There was a flash of light and John, Nick, and Bobby were the only non possessed humans left.
John was slowly stirring.
Michael crouched down next to him. John focused on Michael. "Dean?" he mumbled.
"Hi, Dad," Michael said.
Nick rolled over slowly. He blinked up at Dean, confused. "What…?" He stopped, eyes widening.
"We'll explain later," Sammael interrupted him. "For now, Nick, thank you. You've given much."
Nick and John were still disorientated, and they allowed themselves to be led over to where Bobby was still watching everything. He'd decided not to attract attention to himself as he tried to figure out a way to exorcise archangels.
"Let's get you three somewhere safe."
"No!" Bobby snapped. "I'm not leaving until you get out of Sam and Dean!"
Michael shook his head. This is not going to be safe for humans," he said. His hand came up and pressed against Bobby's forehead.
Bobby jerked back, but it was too late. He was sitting at his kitchen table. Nick and John stood on the other side of the table.
Bobby took a deep breath. "Stiff drink?" he offered after a moment.
"Please," Nick said.
"God, yes," John said.