Dean has a plan and it had better work, since there is no Plan B. Possible spoilers for all episodes up to 7.05.
Special thanks to my husband for a quick edit. This will likely be 3-4 chapters.
Supernatural is the property of E. Kripke and the CW and likely some other people/entities that are not me.
With ignorance and confidence, success is certain.—Mark Twain
Dean shut his eyes and tilted his head to the side. It was quiet; quiet as the grave. He grimaced at the appropriateness of the analogy. Certain that he was alone and that his brother had accepted his excuse to go out by himself for a while and had not followed him, Dean finished drawing the last sigil on the scuffed wooden floor of the abandoned house where he was carrying out his nights activities.
He had told Sam that he needed some female company. If this spell worked, he would be getting some, though she wasn't actually a woman; or even a human for that matter.
It wasn't like he was lying to his brother, he told himself, as he knelt on the floor, holding the chalk tightly as he consulted his paper and then carefully copied the shapes. He just didn't want to upset him uselessly.
Sam seemed to be doing good, better than good really. He hadn't been zoning out. He wasn't complaining that Lucifer was still his bunk buddy. He was on a health kick: jogging, eating healthy shit and giving him the stink eye whenever he thought Dean was drinking too much (which was pretty much daily). Sam had apparently been purged of his guilt for his part in the apocalypse, too. Spending a century plus in a Cage with a couple of pissed off archangels seems to have bought his brother some personal redemption. Sam had paid for all his sins and then some. Dean was happy for him. He thought his little brother deserved some peace of mind.
Dean only wished that he could get rid of his own guilt. If his plan worked, maybe it would be a start. He shook his head, wondering who was he kidding. He was a good liar; he certainly got enough practice. He regularly lied to everyone he talked with, including Bobby and Sam, but he tried not to lie to himself. No matter what he did or sacrificed, it would never be enough; he could never be enough. There was no atoning for all the hurt he had caused. Sam may have let Luci out of the box but he could never have done that if Dean hadn't broken the first seal, if he hadn't made the deal, if he had been strong enough to let Sam go. Adam, Ellen, Jo, Rufus, one way or another their deaths were on him. Castiel sucking in all those Purgatory souls and coming down with a terminal case of evil; that was on him too. Dean knew if he had just listened harder, tried harder…but he hadn't and because he failed his friend, the Leviathans had been released; so all the people eaten by the Leviathans were dead because of him too.
He distracted himself from his dismal thoughts by mixing the herbs and oils. He used a consecrated blade to cut the back of his arm, holding it over the bowl to baptize the concoction with a sacrifice of his "life" and dying the mixture red. He used an old rag he had brought for the purpose to bind his arm. He lit the mixture and began reciting the spell. He said the words slowly, being extra careful of his pronunciation.
Then he waited.
"You summoned me Dean? I am not amused and I don't have time for this."
"Yeah, well, Tessa having to die to talk to you last time sucked. I thought this might be a little easier," Dean explained with a cocky smile that barely covered what he was really feeling: tired and desperate. "So, I'm sorry about the summoning and just…sorry, but I got no one else I can ask."
The reaper that Dean knew as Tessa crossed her arms and shook her head in weary resignation. "All right, what do you want?"
Dean rubbed his face and sighed, exhaustion laying on him like a heavy blanket. "Bobby came across some lore. It said that God tasked Michael with walling the Leviathans up in purgatory the first time around. Apparently they didn't play well with the new baby."
"And you want to know if this is true?"
"No," Dean shook his head, "Tessa, I want to know if the Cage was built only to hold Lucifer. Sam wasn't meant to be there and was pulled out. Can Michael be pulled out without Lucifer hitching a ride with him?"
The reaper huffed, "That's not something I know anything…"
Dean interrupted her, "Yeah, yeah, you're just a working stiff and don't know anything but would your boss know? I figure he's been around since before dirt, knows God and everything, but he's not real happy with me right now. I can't ask him, not directly, but would you…"
"You may leave now Tessa, I'll deal with Dean." Dean startled at the unexpected voice, his hand automatically going behind his back to grab the gun he always carried. He slowly brought it back to his side and straightened his back. Death had come unexpectedly and without an invitation. Damn.
Dean glanced back at the reaper he had summoned and but she was gone; and he figured he was soon to be a goner.
"So it wasn't enough to summon and bind me, now you summon my reapers? Dean, Dean, do you never learn."
Dean tried to smirk but the expression fell flat when the whites of his eyes and the rapid beat of his heart told the truth about just how afraid the Grim Reaper's presence made him. "Everyone always said that Sam was the smart one. Me, I just keep making one dumb mistake after another, so what can you expect?"
"I expect respect." Death's sharp face tightened making his angular features even more severe as he pounded his walking stick on the ground, the sound reverberating like a death knell. "And I will have it!" He paused, standing regally before relaxing. "Alright now that you know what I want. I believe that you wanted to know about the Cage and Michael? Tell me Dean, what are you planning?"
Dean swallowed and forced himself to relax. It appeared that Death wasn't going to kill him immediately; he took that as a promising sign. He walked to the rickety table that had been left in the abandoned house and poured two fingers of the good stuff into a waiting glass. He took the tumbler and the bottle back to the forth horseman and handed him the glass. Dean took a mouthful directly from the bottle. Death took a small appreciative sip.
"It doesn't matter what I'm planning if Michael can't be sprung from the Cage."
"The Cage was designed only to hold Lucifer. Any others trapped there can be released, called forth if you will, without releasing the Morning Star." Death took another sip. "In theory, in the case of an angel other than Lucifer, if one had the appropriate spell for summoning that specific angel and an appropriate willing vessel for containing their grace, then they could be freed. If that is all you wish to know, I will take my leave. Please do hesitate to call again if you need anything else."
Dean nodded and gulped down another mouthful of the scotch. "So, does that mean you aren't going to kill me right now?"
Death's sardonic smile did not contain any humor and a chill ran down Dean's spine at the sight. The Reaper tilted his glass toward the bottle Dean was clutching. "My boy, you are doing an excellent job of that by yourself."
If Sam's yelling and stomping around the rent-by-the-hour check-yourself-for-fleas-when-you-check-out motel room was any indication, he was royally pissed. "Dean, I can't believe you! What the hell were you thinking? No, wait, I know the answer to that last question. YOU WEREN'T!"
"Sammy, listen…" Dean pleaded calmly. He was sitting on the side of his bed, arms dangling between his knees, while Sam paced back and forth.
"No, Dean, just no, and that's final!"
Dean was getting pretty pissed too. Sam could bitch and complain all he liked but unless he had another solution, he could just shut his pie-hole. He rose abruptly to his feet and took a quick step to put himself in his brother's face. "You got another idea? Hell, you got any other plan, even a bad one?" Dean waited several seconds while Sam fumed but didn't respond.
"Yeah, didn't think so. Sam, when you asked me to let you jump into the cage with Luci riding shot-gun in your head, I told you that you were an adult and didn't need my permission. Took me a while to come to that conclusion, and to be truthful I think your decision sucked, but it was your decision, your way to try to set things right.
"Now, I'm not asking you to approve of me doing this, but the fact is we don't have a lot of options here. Leviathans are on our asses, they are killing people. They could be plotting world domination just to make an all-you-can-eat human buffet for all we know. We don't even know how to kill one. I shot one's head off and then dropped a car on it and it still came back. This is our only shot. I'm not asking you to be happy, I'm just asking you to have my back, that's all."
"Dean," Sam began to protest.
"That's all Sam, just have my back."
Sam dropped his head and asked softly, "And who will have my back if you do this. I won't have anyone but the hallucination grinning at me from the corner." Sam stole a glance at the juncture of the far walls. Lucifer uncrossed his arms and gave him a two-finger salute with a big, knowing smile.
Dean reached out and put his hand on Sam's shoulder, giving it a quick squeeze. "You told me you were doing better."
"I am. I know he's not real now. He's not been able to trick me for weeks and sometimes I go days without even seeing him. I still need you to ground me when it gets bad though. Just because it hasn't been bad in a few weeks doesn't mean that it won't get bad again."
"You'll have Bobby to help if I'm not around. Besides, there's a chance that after Michael puts the fish back in their aquarium, he'll go back to Heaven to clean up the mess up there and let me drive again."
"Sure, Dean, but there is also a chance that if he does that, he'll leave you a drooling shell or even just kill you out right. And what about me? I grabbed him and took him down to the Cage. Trust me when I say that I am not his favorite person."
"That's why I don't want you with me, Sammy. Even though the Leviathans burned down Bobby's house, I figure the panic room survived; it was made of iron. We just need to dig it out and angel proof it. You'll be safe there. And if this doesn't work, it won't matter if Michael's got a grudge against you, 'cause neither you nor anyone else will be safe anywhere. This is our best shot. And right now, it's our only shot."
Sam huffed. "Okay, just for the sake of argument, let's say you spring him. Why do you think he'll even help us?"
Dean gave an easy smile. "Because he's a good son, his Father told him to put the Leviathans in Purgatory. Now they're out. He'll feel it's still his responsibility to put them back."
Sam shook his head. "You don't know that."
"That's about the only thing I do know," Dean stated with confidence.
Dean silently begged his brother to support him. If Sam didn't, he would still go through with it but it would be easier saying good-bye if Sam weren't mad at him. He didn't want to leave his brother, maybe…probably…forever, with that hanging between them.
Sam took several deep breaths as the silence was stretched thin. Finally, he nodded. "Okay, but I won't go to the panic room or anywhere else. I stay with you the whole time."
"No, Sam," Dean protested, "Once I'm stuffed full of angel, I won't be able to protect you."
"I'm not asking you to protect me. I'm just asking you not to leave me behind."
"I can only have your back if I'm with you. You want me to go along with this insane plan. You want me to have your back. Fine, but I'm staying. That's non-negotionable."
Dean dragged a hand down his face. History had proven that they didn't do well on their own. "Alright."
Sam gave his brother a tight smile. "So, you told Bobby yet?"