Disclaimer: No copyright infringement is intended; Supernatural and all recognized characters belong to Kripke and the CW.

This is a tag to MBV. It is rated for language. All mistakes are of course my own.

Freewill

Dean walked out of the room and shut the door quietly behind him. "He's finally sleeping." Just sleeping, not unconscious or drugged but just resting he thought.

"The worst is over then," Castiel stated.

"No it's not." Dean shook his head and stared at the worn carpet in Bobby's hall.

"Yes it is, Dean, the demon blood has almost totally left your brother's system."

"That's not what I…never mind." Dean took a deep breath and let it out slowly. He was so damned tired. "Cas, tell me the truth. Am I just being a selfish bitch who's refusing to say yes only because those heavenly dicks want me to. I mean it's obvious we don't stand a chance. We're screwed six ways to Sunday and everything is gonna literally go straight to Hell."

Castiel shook his head, his eyes solemn. "I believe that there is hope, Dean. Once I find my Father…"

"Stop, just stop, Cas. I know you have to keep looking, He's your Father and all but if He is still around then it's pretty obvious he doesn't give a rat's ass about m…any of this." Dean looked up but wasn't seeing anything that was in the hallway. "A dad that really cares doesn't just dump his kids when they need him the most. I don't care how good they think their reasons are…you just…you just don't do that to someone you…you don't do that to family."

"I do not pretend to know my Father's mind but I believe that He cares. I believe He loves us all."

"How can you still believe that Cas?"

"I have to," the fallen angel replied with a quiet desperation. "Besides, I believe it was He who brought me back when Raphael killed me and He who lifted you from Lucifer's presence at a point when Sam would have almost certainly said yes. Nothing else makes sense."

"You could have started and stopped with nothing makes sense," Dean said his voice as dead as he felt inside. "The way I see it, I either say yes to Michael or I'm letting Lucifer take everything and that may include Sam."

"Sam will not say yes."

"I'm not kidding myself anymore, Cas. Sam may not intend to say yes but that doesn't mean that's not what will happen. Lucifer could work an angle, threaten someone, hold out something Sam wants, who knows. I do know that I can't count on Sam holding out, no matter how much he wants to or what his intentions are. He couldn't say no to Famine, you truly believe that he can hold out against that Fallen-son-of-a-bitch."

"But Sam did say no to Famine. He refused him and killed him."

"Sammy drank the Kool-Aid, Cas. He may have refused Famine but he didn't refuse the power. He couldn't."

"Your brother saved us both."

"I know." Dean's voice was barely loud enough to be heard though the pain in it was clear to Castiel.

"If you say yes to Michael, half the world may be destroyed in the power struggle."

"Which is a damn sight better than me sitting on my ass and letting Lucifer destroy it all; than letting Lucifer destroy Sam!" Dean rubbed his face and calmed himself. "I don't know what else to do, Cas. I am…I can't do it by myself, even though I want to."

"You are not by yourself and there is still hope. Do not give in to despair." Castiel did not know how to reassure his friend.

"Do we have a way to stop Lucifer? The colt doesn't work. God is AWOL. Hope is not a plan, Cas. Hope won't stop the devil." Dean looked at Castiel and waited for a reply. "Well, if you've got something tell me now."

Castiel dropped his eyes.

"I didn't think so."

Dean tentatively patted his friend's shoulder. "It's not like I'm just rolling over for him. I'm gonna try to bargain a bit before I bend over for that self-righteous douche."

"I have a couple of deal breakers. The first is that he makes sure that Sam stays out of it and stays safe. If he wants me then he has to assure me that Lucifer can't have Sam. He puts me on like a glove then immediately takes on Ol' Nick while he's still wearing ol' Nick. He wants to do a Cain and Abel fine. He can kill his brother if he wants but I'm not killing mine.

"And Cas, I'm gonna count on you to keep Sam from doing something stupid and good luck with that 'cause Lord knows that I never could. Maybe you could make sure he just sleeps this one out." He stared at the angel until he saw a reluctant nod.

Reassured, Dean continued, "I want Bobby healed. He got hurt because of me. I can never repay him for all that he's done for Sammy and me, but him walking again would be a start.

"I want you given a free pass. I want you to be able to go home, to see your brothers and sisters and not worry about getting your featured ass smited because you decided to be my friend and help me. I want you to have your angel mojo back."

"And last but not least, I want to save people. It's war, I know people are gonna be collateral damage but I want as many saved as possible. No mutually assured destruction. No destroying the whole town to get one demon. What's the point of giving in to save the planet from brimstone and hellfire if, when it's over, there's no one left alive. Michael can't promise me that, then I'll become a supporter of abstinence and just say no."

"You would bargain with the most powerful archangel God created for the earth, your brother, your friend and me. What will you ask for yourself?"

Dean shook his head in confusion. "What do you mean? All that stuff I want, it's all for me."

"Is there nothing you want just for you?"

Dean looked away. "I don't want to go back to hell." He blinked rapidly, a certain glassiness making his eyes bright. His voice rough with emotion, he finally continued. "I want it to be over. I am so damn tired of this life, of losing people, of this burden on my shoulders. I just…I want it all to be over."

Castiel laid his hand on Dean's arm, covering the palm print burned into Dean's skin when he was raised from perdition. He meant it as a comfort and a benediction. "You are a good and righteous man, Dean Winchester. You convinced me to disobey with your desire to save your brother and stop the apocalypse. Even knowing the cost, I would do the same again."

"Knowing what it cost, I would never ask you to."

"That, my friend, is why I would. May my Father bless you and give you strength."

Dean smiled tentatively, "Strength to say yes or to say no."

"Both."

Dean nodded and walked down the steps and out into Bobby's yard. He traveled the few yards to his car and ran his hand along the hood, just in case this was goodbye. Then bracing both hands, he leaned over, bowed his head and gathered what was left of his spirit. He whispered a silent prayer though he wasn't certain to whom he was praying since he didn't think there was really anyone up there that was listening. He took a deep breath and straightened to his full height. He was reluctantly surrendering but he still shouted his defiance at the sky. "Michael, get your winged ass down here! You and me, we need to talk."

(The beginning of) The end.