Challenge Words: Midnight, friend, grim, check in, growl, dip

Warnings/Spoilers: MAJOR spoilers for season 8 finale and baseless speculation beyond

600 words per MS Word Count – a sexta-drabble(!)

Hard Landing

By Swellison

They pushed out of the old church's double doors, Dean guiding and half-supporting Sam as they lurched down the stairs and towards the safety of the Impala. Sam collapsed onto the ground, leaning against her rear tire.

"I got ya, little brother. You're going to be just fine," Dean promised recklessly while Sam gasped for breath. "Sam! Sam?" Not waiting for a response, Dean yelled for help. "Cas! Castiel! Wh'the hell are you?"

"Sammy!" Dean didn't think anything could make him take his eyes off his brother, but Sam's look of stunned amazement had Dean jerking around to gaze upwards, too. The sudden cones of light that illuminated the previously midnight dark skies filled him with dread. "No, Cas," he half-whispered. Naomi wasn't lying this time, he thought grimly.

"What is happening?" Sam asked weakly as Dean thought he heard a distant splash.

They watched as the cones of light became streaks of illumination, plummeting Earthwards. "The angels," Dean husked. "They're falling." Then he turned away from the strangely-lit night sky, stepping quickly towards the trunk and flipping it open. He grabbed a water bottle for Sam and hastily returned to his brother.

"Drink thi—" Dean halted mid-order, wordlessly gazing at Sam. His reaper-pale one-step-from-dying little brother now stood in front of him, looking healthier than he had in years. "Sam! It didn't last!" Dean burst out, joyfully stepping forward, hell-bent on hugging his amazingly cured little brother. Sam's stillness stopped him.

"Sammy?"

"I am Alcibar," the taller man spoke with deadpan delivery.

Sammy's possessed? Dean saw red. "Get your demonic ass out of my brother, or I'll—"

"I am no demon. I am Alcibar, Angel of the Lord."

"Listen, you feathery asshat, if you think I'm gonna stand around and let you hijack Sam—"

"I did NOT hijack this vessel," Alcibar said stridently. "It was freely offered."

"No way," Dean growled. "Sam would never—"

"Earlier today, your brother prayed for redemption and guidance, promising to do whatever is necessary to complete his trials."

"That wasn't an invitation for you to take over!" Dean glared at Alcibar.

"I disagree. Your brother is from a lineage destined to host Archangels, his blood 99.9% purified by ritual. This is the ideal vessel for me."

"Let me talk to Sam, NOW."

"Not possible. He is in suspended animation, recuperating from his ordeals."

Dean remembered vividly Sam's haggard appearance just minutes before the angel announced his presence. Sammy's benefitting physically from this dickwad, at least. "So, what's your game plan?"

"I wish to return to Heaven." Alcibar met Dean's eyes. "I believe you can aid me in that endeavor."

The Angel Tablet. Maybe we can reverse whatever Metatron did. I'll have to check in with Kevin, give him a friendly nudge. "If you swear to leave Sam 100% healthy, I'll help you get back to Heaven."

"Angels do not swear. But I have no desire to remain here; none of us do."

"You've been in touch with the other angels?"

"Yes."

Duh, Angel radio. "Then contact Castiel."

"Castiel? But he is respons—"

"Look, you want my help? I need Castiel. Non-negotiable. Besides," Dean added, "Cas knows Metatron. Do you?"

"Very well." Alcibar's face dipped down, then he raised it, eyes blank.

I can't take him to the batcave, Dean realized. Can't reveal its location to the angels. Kevin and Charlie will help with the research; but they're not Sam. He glanced wearily at Alcibar. No one is.

"Communication is chaotic, due to the upheaval," Alcibar reported. "I could not contact Castiel."

"Try again later. We've gotta hit the road."

A/N: So here I am, playing catch up once again. I decided to submit this as a stand-alone, since I'm using so many words at one go. Again, just want to emphasize that this is entirely speculation. I'm trying to remain spoiler-free for as long as possible, although I don't know if I can stay completely out of the loop until mid-October. Thank you for reading, and my next drabbles will be posted under the usual suspects: Drabbles 101 or A Door Opens.