This takes place very shortly after 4.22, Lucifer Rising. Someone who owes Sam a favor wants to talk to him. Sam POV.

Supernatural is the property of E. Kripke and the CW.

Just a Little Talk

I first thing that I realized was that it was dark. The second was that the darkness was actually night, with a waxing moon and stars twinkling with unusual brightness. There were crickets chirping, little frogs were croaking and lightening bugs were flashing messages of love to one another; a perfect, normal night. I was sitting on a park bench and had no idea how I had gotten there.

Quickly on the tail of that thought, I realized that I didn't care how I had gotten to this haven of peace. It was much better here than where I had come from. I sat for a few minutes, just soaking in the calm. I am a hunter, however, and it didn't take me long to realize that I wasn't alone. Looking around, I noticed a man a few yards away. The moonlight was bright enough that I could make out some features. Male, slightly above average height, short hair, a trench coat…recognition came swiftly. "Castiel."

The man walked closer and then sat down on the other side of the bench. I could only think of one reason that he would be here, with me, now. "Have you come to punish me?" I asked meekly. If he had, I wouldn't fight him.

He shook his head. "I am not here to punish you, Samuel."

If he wasn't here to punish me then maybe he could absolve me of all that I had done. I was briefly hopeful. Castiel was an angel. They were supposed to be merciful.

I bagan to babble, "I'm sorry, so sorry. It wasn't supposed to be like this. I know that my intentions aren't a good enough reason to forgive me for what I've done but I'm sorry."

"I am an angel of the Lord, a messenger and a warrior. I can not give forgiveness. It is not from me that you must ask it."

I nodded and hung my head in dejection, my hope fizzling as quickly as it had flared.

"Anything can be forgiven, Sam, if the repentance is sincere." Castiel said gently. He paused before continuing, "I am here to warn you. Your temptations are not yet over. If you would repent, you will need to keep your resolve strong and you must make atonement. Remember, always, why he is called the Father of Lies."

My head came up and I looked at him. What did he mean?

Castiel looked around. If he hadn't been an angel, I would have said he looked nervous. "Before you put your faith in darkness, you used to have faith in the Light. Find that faith again." Then he was gone.

I didn't see him leave. However, I wasn't concerned about that since another man was standing at the end of the bench. One that I hadn't seen arrive.

"I hope you don't mind if I have a seat," the man said as he prepared to sit down on the bench beside me, a lot closer than I would have preferred. "I know that we've never formally met but I feel like I know you and I really hope that we can get to be friends."

I knew who he was instantly and just saying that I was afraid would not do justice to describing the panic that rush through me. The vessel he was wearing was a man of medium height with longish dirty blonde hair. He looked altogether unremarkable except for the intensity of his eyes and the power that pulsed just under his skin, as if his body was too finite to contain him. When he sat next to me, the hair on the back of my neck rose up. There was a cloak of dark power that surrounded him like a dense miasma. I simultaneously wanted to bow down and worship him and run off in stark terror. I could hardly breathe from the pressure that power was exerting on me. I was so acutely afraid that I grabbed my knees to keep my hands from shaking. I could hardly gasp out a weak and hopelessly inadequate, "Christo."

From the smirk and slight chuckle, that really amused him.

"Not quite," he replied. "Come on Sam, you can say it."

"Lucifer, you're Lucifer."

The man nodded in satisfaction and crossed his arms with a contented sigh. "Relax, Sam, I'm not here to hurt you. I owe you for your help in releasing me from my prison. I, unlike some others, repay my debts."

I noticed that he shifted his eyes up as he said this. He then turned and fully faced me. I foolishly tried to pretend to be brave and meet his gaze, but had to look away from the blizzard filled abyss that was his eyes after only a second.

"I'll be coming into my kingdom soon and I would offer you a place at my right hand in payment for your help. You're a smart man, strong, someone who knows how to go after what he wants. I could use a man like you. We could help each other."

I could only sit there stunned. Dean was right, I had become a monster and now the Father of all the monsters that I used to hunt wanted me to be part of his army. No, not a part of his army, his right hand man.

"No," I barely managed to whisper, all other words catching in my throat.

"Don't answer so quickly, think about it. The angels won't have you now; as if those sanctimonious hypocrites ever would, you being stained with Azazel's blood. I wouldn't be too surprised if they actively try to kill you, since you did ultimately release me and, well, let's face it, allowed me to start the Apocalypse. They've got your brother under their thumb. I wouldn't be shocked if they tried to use him to actually pull the trigger. And speaking of your brother, do you really believe that he will ever forgive you, ever trust you again. You chose a demon over him and, well, you did try to kill him. No excuses this time either. You weren't possessed or influenced by a spirit, no Sammy, you were just pissed.

"Really, I think throwing in your lot with me is the only pragmatic choice."

I forced a swallow and tried to hold myself totally still, like a rabbit might freeze to avoid the attention of a hawk. I imagined that I could see evil and darkness rolling off of the rather ordinary looking man sitting beside me. A shadowy blight that I had released.

"Oh, I know what it is," he continued jovially, "you think I'm evil and that if you come over to the dark side, so to speak, that will make you evil too." He lower his voice conspiratorially, "Let me tell you a secret, Sam, there is no such thing as evil. There is no moral imperative. Things aren't just black or white, right or wrong. You know this, you've been living it for the last year and more, doing what was necessary, using any means to justify the desirable end. One man's good is another's bad. Ultimately what matters is not good or evil, those trite too small concepts, but doing what you want to get what you want."

He nodded his head and smiled at me. "You, like me, understand this."

I could only gasp in denial, "I'm not like you, I'm nothing like you."

Lucifer tilted his head and smiled like I had just said something cute. "Admit it, Sam, we have a lot in common. Both of us wanted more than our fathers were willing to offer us. Both of us dared to go our own way, to rebel and do what we wanted instead of just mindlessly following orders like your pathetic brother; and what did our independence earn us? Our fathers cast us out of our home, estranged us from our family, and told us to NEVER COME BACK."

His voice rose in anger as he spoke until I had to cover my ears, but still the power felt like it was drilling a hole in my eardrum. Finally, he seemed to shake himself a bit, almost like a bird shaking its features into place, and regained his composure.

"I know what it is like to be punished for wanting more, Sam. I understand you. I know you much better than your brother ever could."

"You don't know me," I retorted. Terrified or not, I was getting angry.

"Oh, Sam, I know you very well. For example, I know that underneath all that self-recrimination, you enjoyed the feeling of power. You liked not being afraid of the dark because you were more dangerous than anything else out there. Oh, I know you and I know what you want." He took a deep breath as if enjoying the crisp night air. "I know that you want to be the hero. I can offer you that. I can see that you wouldn't be some whining sycophant and would stand up to me. If you were with me, you could, perhaps, pull me back when I would be tempted to over indulge in my darker appetites. You could save thousands Sam.

"I'm going to win this war. If you're with me, you could make a difference. If you're against me, well, you die. Think about that before you make your decision."

We sat silently for several seconds. Not even the night insects or small peepers were making any noise. The stars and moon that had been so gloriously bright just minutes before suddenly dimmed as dark clouds tumbled turbulently across the sky.

"Well, Sam, what do you say to my offer?"

I said the only thing I could think of, "Get thee behind me Satan."

The Lord of Lies laughed heartily. "A traditionalist, oh, you are going to be so much fun. Face it, Winchester, you are tainted by your blood and damned by your choices. While that makes you a liability to my enemies, it makes you potentially invaluable to me; that and the fact that you are the brother of the Righteous Man." He looked up and appeared to study the roiling clouds with satisfaction. "He is an obstacle that will soon be removed, permanently, from my path."

Lucifer put his hand on my shoulder and gave it a slight squeeze. It burned like a live ember where he touched me and I struggled not to betray any pain. "If you follow me, perhaps I could be convinced to show him a small amount of mercy. Potentially save thousands, possibly save your brother, what more could you want, Sam? And all you have to do is swear fealty to me."

He stood to leave. "I'll be seeing you again, Sam. Think about my offer. It will only remain open for a limited time. After that, well, I will eliminate you just as I will destroy your brother and any of the angels that have the courage to stand against me."

He didn't walk away. He just suddenly wasn't there. I was alone. I started to tremble.

"Sam! Sam! Wake-up!"

I woke suddenly, rising up out of the car seat and almost hitting my head on the roof. "What?" I said groggily, sleep making my voice hoarse. The disorientation lasted only a moment and then the last day, the last night, it all came crashing back down on me with devastating clarity. It wasn't a dream, not any of it. I closed my eyes tightly and willed myself to hold it together. I didn't deserve the luxury of falling apart. After what I did, I didn't deserve anything except maybe damnation. How could I ever make things right?

"You were starting to shake," Dean replied cautiously, turning his eyes back to the road.

I could see the tension in his jaw and the white-knuckle grip he had on the steering wheel when the headlights of oncoming traffic illuminated the interior of the car. He didn't say anything else. Didn't ask any questions, didn't ask if I was okay. I had a flash of hurt when I wondered if he just couldn't bring himself to care any longer or if he just didn't think he could believe anything I would tell him so didn't even bother asking.

Silence gathered thickly in the car. I started thinking about my dream. I don't know what Dean was thinking about. I don't think I really wanted to know.

Dean's quiet voice caught me by surprise and I startled. "Is it withdrawal?"

I didn't understand what he was asking at first. Then I remembered that he woke me because I was trembling. "No."

No, it wasn't withdrawal; it was just the aftermath of a little talk with Lucifer. Another secret between us. Then I thought, suddenly, it doesn't have to be; if I want Dean to start trusting me again then I need to be trustworthy: no more lies, no more secrets. Besides, it wasn't as if I could possibly disappoint him anymore than I already had. I fought back a sob.

"Dean, I have something that I need to tell you."

My brother glanced over at me and then deliberately turned back to the road. "I don't want to hear it." He gave a shaky sigh and then added softly, "I don't think I can do this right now, Sam."

With real sorrow I said, "It's something…you need to know. I wouldn't…it's just…you need to know."

"I'm not gonna like this am I?"

I shook my head and pointedly kept my eyes lowered.

"Do you really need to tell me now?" he gently asked.

I nodded but didn't look up. My brother was quiet a long time. I had been making a lot of bad decisions lately; I'd leave this one up to him.

"What is it?" he finally, hesitantly, asked.

I took a deep breath and steadied myself. By telling my brother, I was making a choice. I vowed that this would not be a choice I would regret, no matter what came of it. I swallowed and began, "I just had a dream that wasn't a dream…"