First things first, once they got back home, Sam searched for where they’d ended up storing Kevin’s tablet translation notes. They turned out to be on the bookshelf in the room Kevin had lived in back then. Was it really five years ago already? He found the binder they’d filled with all the other angel and demon tablet related translation material and checked the specific passage that Rowena had mentioned in her email. At some point, she must have copied Kevin’s notes to have given him such an exact reference point, because there it was in black and white on the page right where she’d said it would be found.
Easy peasy as pumpkin pie, all he had to do was to cut through his own possession tattoo, and then say the words: I Am The King of Hell! The only hard part was that he had to be in Hell when he said it. Luckily there was a list of ways into Hell a few pages later into Kevin’s notes. The few that they already knew about were listed, along with several new ones. He chose the one that seemed easiest to pull off without Dean noticing.
He stared around the empty room, the one that Kevin had used to live in, and wished their prophet friend was still here. Would he interfere with this crazy plan, or would he be helping?
He texted Rowena before taking the biggest gamble of his life.
Sam: I’m going downstairs, be back with a crown I hope
Rowena: Good luck, Samuel, not that you’ll need it. You were born to be a king. I’ll see you in a few hours.
Sam: If you beat me back here first, act casual with Dean, I haven’t told him anything
Rowena: So it’s the secretive route this time, now is it? That’s fine, you know him best.
Sam: Don’t tell him, I want it to come from me
Rowena: I’ll see you soon.
Sam tucked his phone away and pulled out his pocket knife, he flicked it open, unbuttoned his shirt and cut through his tattoo. He gasped at the pain, and then read the travel to Hell spell out of Kevin’s notes before he could talk himself out of doing what needed to be done. There was a tug and pull as if he were being turned inside out and pushed out through the holes in a salt shaker. He didn’t have time to scream or react. In the next instant, there were several demons in his face demanding to know who the fuck he was.
Sam pulled himself together, all the pieces were still there thankfully, and stood up to his full height, squaring his shoulders.
“I am Sam Fucking Winchester, and I Am The King of Hell!”
The words echoed in the room, ringing and repeating in Sam’s ears. An enormous cloud of red smoke enveloped him out of nowhere, buffering him from anything that was happening, the redness of the smoke seemed to attach itself to him, at the level of his each and every cell. The red was taking him over, intertwining itself with him. He could barely breathe or think or be—and then he was more, he was The King.
Yes, there were horns (Hellboy would be jealous).
Yes, there were wings and claws and even a tail with a barbed pointy end.
He was enormous and he was just what he’d never wanted to be, a demon. All the way down to his last cell, his last neuron, all firing with the powers of Hell. He could feel all the souls of the damned screaming out in terrified joy, welcoming him as their new King.
The demons that had been mobbing him all gasped in shock and recognition, a few of them dropped to their knees, a few scrambled out of the room, the rest milled around and looked confused. Crowley hadn’t been kidding about the relative dumbness of demons.
“I’ll be back in a few minutes, until then, the demon Meg is in charge, and if you can’t find her, then just talk amongst yourselves.”
Sam said the words of the travel spell backward and felt himself explode outwards like a breaking light bulb, coming to in a sprawl on the floor next to Kevin’s old bed. The binder was still there, open on the bed, the clock read about two hours after he’d left. He heard Dean calling his name.
“Sammy? Where the hell are you?” Dean’s voice faded down the hall.
Sam tucked the binder of Kevin’s notes back on the shelf, turned off the light and closed the door behind him. He folded up his handkerchief and pressed it against the fresh blood on his chest, buttoning up his shirt to hold it in place. He didn’t feel any different on the outside, (no horns, no wings, no claws) but inside was a roiling mess of conflict, a literal battle between good and evil going on in his guts. He leaned against the tile wall and shut his eyes, going deep inside himself where he usually didn’t let himself wander, he found the parts of himself that would be on the side of taking over the reins of Hell. He’d hidden them well from himself, but they were still there and ready for action.
“It’s only temporary, I swore I’d go just as far as I had to, this is only until we get Michael secured, so don’t get used to it,” Sam told himself in an urgent whisper.
He went to find Dean and hoped he would be able to keep his new royal title and demon status hidden from his brother. “Dean?” Sam called down the hall, he could sense right where his brother was, could feel his warmth, could hear the rhythm of his beating heart, but he had to put on the show of still being just a human.
“There you are, I was looking all over for you. Ready for dinner?” Dean asked.
“Is that what smells so good? What’d you make?” Sam asked, wondering if he’d even be able to eat. Had Ruby ever eaten anything besides french fries in front of him or more importantly, Crowley? He’d seen Crowley drink whisky, and take human blood, but did he eat?
“Kitchen-sink casserole, we were down to leftovers,” Dean said sounding like he was apologizing.
“Hey, thanks for cooking, I should be pitching in more while you’re—you know dealing with that,” Sam said, pointing at Dean’s head.
“Nah, cooking keeps my mind occupied, just like driving, so it’s all good. Eat up, huh,” Dean said gesturing at the food on the table in front of them.
Sam dished up the portion size he normally would and tried to smell the casserole on his plate. The scent of the potatoes and meat and vegetables were mostly covered up by the scent of the red smoke that still lingered in his nostrils. It was a permeable barrier, but it didn’t let much through. Sam wondered if he’d be able to learn to control that.
“You’re not going to be King for long, remember?” a voice inside his head sharply reminded him.
“Right, right, of course,” Sam silently answered while he forked up some casserole. It didn’t taste awful, it didn’t taste like much of anything. He chewed and swallowed and tried to make the appropriate appreciative yummy noises. Dean didn’t seem to notice, he was probably too focused on keeping you-know-who locked up.
Later that night, Sam was tossing and turning in bed, just on the verge of giving up on getting any sort of decent nap, while waiting for Rowena’s arrival, when he heard a familiar flutter of wings.
“Cas, you’re here?” Sam asked, surprised to see their visitor.
“Yes, I sensed a disturbance in the Force,” Cas said. “Your majesty,” he said with a bow.
“You know?” Sam asked, slipping out of bed and re-making it, putting off having to look his friend in the eyes.
“Yes, Sam, you might as well be wearing a neon sign over your head, it is plainly obvious. I assume there must be a compelling reason for you to assume the destiny you’ve fought against your entire life, which is why I am here.”
“Thanks…uh, I’m glad you are. Yeah, there’s a good reason, it’s part of our plan to save Dean without throwing him in the ocean in the Ma’Lak box for eternity.”
“Our plan? Is Mary involved, or Jack?”
“No, just Rowena, and you…I hope. The plan is to possess Dean, that’s why I had to take over in Hell, the instant demon status. Once I’m in control of Dean, I’m going to let Michael out.”
“Why would you let him out? Why would Dean let you?”
“He’s not going to let me do anything. I’m going to have to fight Dean for it, I know that. But once I win, you and Rowena are going to lock Michael in the box.”
“I don’t see how we can trap his grace in there, Sam. I don’t think it’s possible.”
“Cas, no—that’s why you have to do something for me, for Dean. For any of this to work we need a vessel for Michael’s grace to possess, right?”
“I believe so, yes, the box will not work on the un-contained grace of an angel. There has to be a human soul and body holding it to this plane.”
Sam stepped over to his desk and picked up his stack of research notes. “I need you to go back to Kansas City and get the woman, the vessel that Michael was using. I found her at this hospital, she’s in a coma, barely alive. From what I could find out, she’s a lot worse off than the vessel Raphael had taken, remember that?”
“She’d likely be beyond my ability to heal,” Cas said.
“That’s what I thought. I’d go get her myself, but she wouldn’t survive a four-hour car trip. But if you can bring her here, it might work.”
Sam handed Cas the paper he’d written the hospital information and the poor woman’s name. Darlene Ray, come on down.
“I can, and I will, Sam, for you and for Dean,” Cas said.
“We need her here tonight, she needs to be in the Ma’Lak box by the time Dean’s kicked Michael out.”
“I will not fail you,” Cas said, nodding with that solemn face Sam had always found the most reassuring.
“Can you explain it to Jack? I haven’t had a chance when Dean has been around,” Sam said, knowing that was a terrible excuse, he just hadn’t known where to even start.
“I will explain it to Jack, yes. I think he can likely help us. Good luck, Sam,” Cas said, poofing out into nothing but the sound of rustling feathers.
To Sam’s new demon eyes, it was a lot more complicated than that, he could see Cas change and expand into his true form, tear a rip in the world, just like the ones that Jack had made. His enormous towering several-headed friend stepped through the rift that sealed behind him with a sound of flesh being torn. It wasn’t something he hadn’t ever wanted to see, he clicked his eyes back to human vision and hoped they’d stay there.
His cell rang with a text from Rowena, she was here, it was time.
Now to get Dean.
“What the fuck, what in the fucking fuck-all is this, Sam?” Dean yelled as Sam came towards him with the silver knife in the shower room.
Sam clicked his eyes over to demon black and smiled. “This is the rest of the plan, Dean. This is how I’m saving your ass.”
Sam took a few steps toward Dean and feinted left, then slashed with the knife towards Dean’s bare chest. Dean’s towel fell to the floor, and caught one of his feet, the knife slashed through the skin of Dean’s cheek instead of his chest. Sam grabbed his brother as he fell, barely protecting his head from hitting the tile floor and quickly sliced through the tattoo as he gathered Dean’s naked body to his own.
“This is for you, Dean,” Sam said, staring down into Dean’s shocked eyes. “I swear it is, just like I promised, I’m going only as far as I have to go to save you, and no farther. I’m going inside you now, help me battle him, okay? We’ve got a plan, but you have to let him out. Remember, I’ll always be there.”
Dean struggled against him, blood-slick skin sliding and catching with delicious distracting friction. “No, Sammy, please, I can’t, I won’t!”
“I’ve done it before, had the King of Hell and an angel in my mind, you’ll be fine, you’re just as tough as me, if not tougher, right, big brother? C’mon, just let me in, and help if you can while I’m in there.” Sam turned his soul into the demon smoke, red and bright as Crowley’s had ever been and swarmed through the air flying up into his brother’s nose and open mouth. Had that been Dean screaming? Did it matter?