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Feathers & Gunpowder

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Silver glinted in the flames of hellfire as Dean slowly dragged the blade along the soul strapped down on the rack in front of him. The soul sobbed, begged for him to stop, but Dean ruthlessly continued. Layer by layer of skin, he removed it until red muscle was the only thing visible.

41 years had passed since Dean first went to Hell. 12 had passed since Dean got off the rack and started torturing himself. In the beginning, Dean had felt guilty, but after all that time, he didn't feel anything.

Behind Dean, Alastair stood and watched his best apprentice. He was a quick learner, Alastair had only needed to show him once before he could do it himself. 

Alastair smirked as he saw more and more of Dean’s bright soul become darker and demonic. The master of torture had known Dean was the righteous man the moment he appeared in Hell, that Dean was the key to breaking the first seal. And it had been broken. Alastair was proud of himself and Hell when Dean Winchester broke after only 30 years. John Winchester hadn't even been close to breaking at 30 years.

Alastair became aware of blades clashing from somewhere up in the green thundering skies. Bright lights swirled around along with black smoke of demons. Alastair squinted, trying to see what the bright lights were and caught sight of feathery wings. Angels. They were invading Hell, searching for Dean, to try and get him out of there.

Alastair abruptly turned around and went over to Dean. Dean was finished with the soul, the soul was broken, had said yes to getting off the rack. The righteous man looked up at his master with a blood splattered face when he came close, proud at how quickly he had made the soul break. Alastair couldn’t help but smile. His student was very promising.

Alastair sauntered over to his student, tilting the younger’s chin up so he could see the young man in the eyes. The former green eyes were clouded with black, dark but not complete. The white eyed demon leaned down to brush his lips against the younger man’s. “Listen now, little one,” Alastair breathed against Dean’s lips. “Angels are coming. And they’re gonna try and take you away from me.”

Dean pulled away from the demon in shock. “Angels?” He asked. “They’re real? And they’re here to take me away? Why?”

The torturer smirked as he traced Dean’s plump lips with the tips of his finger. “They’re very real. A real pain in the ass. And they want to take you away because they think you can save them, that you’re the special.” Alastair paused, thinking of Dean’s need of praise and his low self-esteem. “And you are special,” He continued, “Just not in the way those feathers believe.” 

Alastair leaned forward to kiss him, but never had the chance when one of the angels descended and landed just a few feet away from the demon and his student. The angel was a huge ball of light, but shrunk down to Alastair and Dean’s height to accommodate the demon and it’s apprentice. Alastair growled at the angel, forcefully taking the knife Dean still held in his hand.

The demon stepped in front of Dean, using his body to block the angel’s way to Dean. “Get the Hell out of Hell! Dean is not yours to take!” Alastair roared, the sound reverberating around in Hell.

The angel spread it’s wings, two big black appendages, and held out a silver knife. “Dean is ours to take, he belongs either on Earth or in Heaven, not in Hell. For he is the righteous man.” The angel said in a strong voice, the ground beneath Alastair and Dean shook with the power of it.

‘The righteous man’ . Dean looked between Alastair and the angel. He wasn’t sure if he wanted to stay down in Hell with Alastair or leave Hell to get back to Earth and be the Righteous Man. It sounded like a lot of work, but also like a huge honor.

The angel turned to look at Dean and the human had to look away from the bright light burning his eyes. “Dean, Sam needs you. Lucifer is going to rise and your brother needs your help to stop the Devil.”

“Sam…” Dean breathed. This was the first time in almost 20 years he heard that name. At first, when Dean was on the rack, Alastair would taunt him and say that Sam had continued Azazel’s plan, but when the demon realized that Dean knew Sam wouldn’t do that, Alastair stopped mentioning the man at all, which was an even crueler torture for Dean, not knowing if his brother is alright or not, of Sam is dead or if he truly did continue Azazel’s plan.

Dean looked at the angel, at where he believed it’s eyes were. “Take me to Sam.” He pleaded. Demon or not, Dean cared about his younger brother, his family.

The angel stepped forward and was about to touch Dean when Alastair snarled. “You’re not taking Dean. He’s mine!” Alastair snarled and attacked the angel, blade clashing against the angel’s silver one. The angel grabbed Dean’s shoulder and shoved him to the ground to get him away from the demon and angel’s fight. 

With just that simple touch, the dark demon essence in Dean’s soul burned away and it was as if Dean’s head exploded. Memories of a life before he was Dean Winchester, a life as God’s fifth creation and as a powerful angel, billions of years worth of memories flooded Dean’s brain.

‘Amara, my aunt and most parental person in my life who’s locked away in a cage since before the Universe's creation
God, my father, who abandoned me and my siblings
Michael, my oldest brother who’s the cause of my fall, who always hated me and cut out my grace in a failed murder attempt
Lucifer, my second oldest brother and my torturer, the reason I no longer have wings...
Gabriel, my older brother, my former lover who died and caused me to fall into depression
Castiel, the love of my life and my fiancé, the reason Michael tried to kill me
Heaven, 1483, when I met Castiel in one of Heaven's gardens
London, September 1887, when Castiel proposed to me’

 Dean fell to the ground while Alastair and the angel fought. “Jensen…” Dean mouthed, his own name, his real name. He breathed heavily, shock seeping through his brain as tremors wracked his body.

The clashing of blades stopped and Dean heard a body falling to the ground. Dean turned his head and saw Alastair’s unconscious body lying just a few feet away from him.

The angel bent down and put a hand on his shoulder, grace burning the skin into the shape of the angel's hand-print. It grabbed his upper arm and pulled Dean back onto his feet and when Dean looked up at the giant angel, it came into more focus, not just a bright light anymore. Instead, Dean saw three faces; one zebra, one bull and one that vaguely looked human. It had a grey-blue thin and skinny body, with patches of glowing blue covering it's chest and arms.

The angel turned it’s human like face to look at Dean, making sure Dean was okay and Dean sucked in a sharp breath. He knew this angel. Intimately.

“Castiel?” Dean’s voice was hoarse as he looked at the angel in front of him. Said angel looked at him, frowning at the use of his name; he hadn’t told Dean his name yet. He didn’t have time to react as Dean leant forward and kissed him deeply. The angel quickly pulled away, was about to yell at him. But Dean’s soft Enochian whisper stopped him. “Ol hoath…” My love. My love? My love!

Castiel quickly looked up into the green eyes of Dean Winchester. “Jensen?!” The angel asked, shocked. Looking closer at the soul in front of him, he realized it was strikingly similar to the true form belonging to the fifth and youngest archangel. How did he not notice it before? 

Dean quickly nodded, in slight shock from the memories still assaulting his senses. “Yeah, it’s me.”

“How are you- What- I thought you were dead!” Castiel stuttered out, shock emanating from each word.

Dean shook his head, as he remembered how he ended up as Dean Winchester. “Michael, he tried to kill me. He slit my throat.” Dean whispered and touched his neck, phantom pain from the slash of a blade making him wince. “But the cut wasn’t deep enough, it didn’t kill me, obviously, but my grace was cut out instead and I fell. And I was reborn as Dean Winchester.”

Castiel frowned as he looked at him. “If you’re Dean Winchester, then that means you have to stop the Apocalypse.” Castiel pointed out.

Dean nodded solemnly. “It also means I will lose everyone I’ve ever loved and cared about if the Apocalypse happens. It’s the curse of the Winchesters.” Dean added, knowing full well about the painful prophecy ahead.

Castiel glared at him, as if he didn’t need the reminder. Then he sighed. “We don’t know what the last seal is yet. Maybe we can stop Lucifer from rising and the curse of the Winchesters won’t take hold.” Castiel thought out loud. “And since you have your memories and knowledge from before you fell, then you know where the archangel blade is. If Lucifer rises, then we can kill him instead.”

“But even if we have the archangel blade, we need an archangel to kill him.” Dean reminded him, being the pessimist in their conversation. Like always.

Castiel gave him a look that said he was stupid. “We have you. You’re an archangel.”

“Without it’s grace.” Dean pointed out.

Castiel shrugged. “Then we find it.” Castiel sounded so sure, like he had back-up plans on top of the back-up plans. But of course he did, he was a soldier of Heaven. And like a boyscout, he was always ready.

Dean opened his mouth to point something else out, but stopped when he heard the fight from up above come closer. He looked up and saw several bright lights fading out, but also black smoke burning away. Dean turned his head back to look at Castiel -- oh my father, he’s handsome -- and gave him a pleading look. “We have to get out of here.” He insisted.

Castiel nodded and pulled him close to his chest, Dean clutching at his shoulders. With a strong beat of his wings, Castiel took flight and soared up. He swung his blade at every demon that came close while Dean clutched onto Castiel’s chest, silently begging the angel to not drop him. 

They reached the surface and burst up through the crack in the ground created by the angels so that Dean’s soul could come out. The angels could come out by themselves with their teleporting.

"Dean Winchester is saved!" Castiel yelled out, letting all angels in Heaven, Earth and Hell hear him. Wherever they were, they heard.

They came up in a huge grassy field, a simple wooden cross marking Dean’s grave. Dean looked around, seeing trees surrounding the field. Dean looked down at his grave, at the newly turned dirt his body rested underneath, that wasn’t burnt based on the tugging motion he felt at being this close to it and the thought of entering his body while his chest was still ripped open and his body decaying made Dean shudder, and as if Castiel had heard his thought he asked, “Shall I heal your body before I place your soul in it?”

Dean nodded and loosened his tight grip on Castiel’s body so the angel could move. The angel leant down and touched the freshly turned dirt of the ground. The ground shook and pieces of dirt floated into the air, lifting away from the hole to Dean’s earthly grave.

Dean stood in his soul form and watched as Castiel used his grace to dig into the ground. In his soul form, he could see the grace carefully lifting the pieces into the air.

“I had forgotten how beautiful it is.” Dean commented, eyes still glued to the levitating dirt. “To be fair, I had forgotten everything about my life as an angel.” Dean added with a shrug.

Castiel smiled down at the ground with a fond smile. The floating pieces of dirt were thrown to the side, out of the way for Castiel’s digging. It looked less glamorous being thrown to the side than it was when the grace was wrapped around it.

Sam and Bobby hadn’t buried Dean’s body very deep, four feet instead of six. The handmade coffin that was supposed to be Dean’s final resting place looked like it was done in a rush, the boards the coffin was made out of were cut in rough edges, too many nails were put in the material and splinters stuck out. A box of tetanus, Dean concluded to himself.

Castiel leant down and pried his long fingers into the space between the lid and box and pried open the box, lifting the lid out of the way and putting it down on the ground with a loud thud.

Dean frowned down at his body once it came out into the light. It was beginning to decay, but he could still see that it had been cleaned, the cuts on his face wiped clean and the dirt he had on his face was wiped away as well. He could clearly remember that his shirt had been ripped open, but now he had on a whole black t-shirt.

Dean's stomach clenched when he thought about how Sam, having seen his brother be ripped apart in front of him, also had to clean his brother up and dress him in new clothes.

“Sam didn't want to give you a hunter's funeral.” Castiel interrupted Dean's thoughts. “He wanted you to have a body once you got back. So, he convinced Bobby Singer to simply bury you and then he set out to search for a way to bring you back.”

“Sam left Bobby?” Dean asked, uncertain if he missed some information.

Castiel nodded sadly. “Yes. After a month of staying at Bobby's house, he left to search for answers.” The angel straightened and looked into Dean's eyes. “You do know that most Angels will be against Sam?”

Dean smiled sadly. “Yeah.” Dean huffed. “Sam Winchester, the boy with the demon blood. Azazel’s favorite child and destined boy king of Hell. Heaven has many reasons to be against him.”

Dean watched as Castiel leaned down and pressed two fingers against Dean's body’s forehead. The decay process reverted, making it look fresh and alive. The small cuts on his face healed and disappeared, as did the huge claw marks on Dean's chest. Dean knew all internal stuff was healed too, like his alcoholized liver and the remains of his heart attack.

Castiel straightened and turned to look at Dean. He stretched out his hand to Dean, wordlessly telling him to come over. Dean took his hand, feeling a shock of electricity shoot out from Castiel’s true form and buzz into Dean’s arm, causing the sense of pins and needles across his arm and chest.

Castiel grasped Dean’s soul firmly, making it go from it’s human appearance to the blue ball of light humans see, and lowered it into the handmade coffin. Dean’s body glowed bright blue as Castiel’s hand entered his chest and released the soul inside. A pulse wave of power was released, angelic grace and soul essence strong enough to knock down the surrounding trees and would have burnt any human close by to ash with the power.

Castiel pulled back his hand and sat back on his heels to watch the human. For a second, nothing happened, then Dean bolted upright as he inhaled as much air as he could hold before letting it out with a heavy cough.

Once he caught his breath and stopped coughing, Dean looked around. There was no sign of Castiel. “Cas?” Dean called out in a hoarse and weak voice.

Light flickered in front of him, and he had to squint at the brightness. His eyes quickly adjusted and he opened them fully to see Castiel sitting on his heels, head tilted to the side like he was studying an interesting painting or text.

“What are you looking at?” Dean asked as he pushed himself out of the coffin and out of the grave. Huffing, Dean looked back down in the hole. He could almost see Sam’s long fingers working the boards together as he carefully built the coffin meant to be Dean’s final resting place.

Castiel smiled, eyes trailing over the human body. “You.” Castiel smirked. Dean turned around when he spoke, eyes fond and loving. “I’m looking at you. Your soul is almost as beautiful as your true form but not quite.” He clarified.

Dean chuckled and looked down at the ground, embarrassed.  He had never believed he was beautiful. Not when Castiel said it, nor Gabriel, not when one of his lovers said it.

Straightening up, Dean felt his senses sharpen. Far sharper than normal, he could feel the wing beats of a bird closeby vibrate through the air. “Woah.” Dean whispered. He turned to look at Castiel with a raised eyebrow.

The angel smiled. “I gave you a piece of my grace so you can heal yourself if you get injured.” Castiel frowned. “Please, try and not get yourself killed.”

Dean rolled his eyes. “I solemnly swear to not hunt like a bumbass and get myself killed.” He replied, though his reference was lost on Castiel.

Dean looked around the large field, trying to find any sign of human life, but finding none. “Uh, where are we?” Dean asked.

“Illinois.” Castiel answered, simply.

Dean licked his lips, to no avail. His tongue was as dry as sandpaper, his mouth completely parched. Come to think of it, his body felt weak from dehydration and starvation. “You don’t have any water and food with ya, by any chance?” Dean asked the angel.

Castiel frowned and shook his head. Dean felt like groaning, but controlled himself. “Okay, where is the nearest place to get supplies? Mainly water and food.” Dean asked.

“There’s a gas station down the road. The humans abandoned it earlier when we evacuated them.” Castiel explained. “We wanted to be sure no humans were harmed when we got you out of Hell.”

“Well, thanks.” Dean smiled slightly. At least no one got hurt. “Can you take me there?” Dean asked. He wasn’t sure he could make it to the gas station without passing out from dehydration.

Castiel smiled warmly. “Of course.” Placing a huge hand on Dean’s shoulder, they flew away in a flutter of black wings.

They landed outside the deserted gas station, looking like so many other Dean had seen on the road. A phone booth stood a couple of feet away, sparking the idea to call his brother and Bobby to let them know he’s alive. A beat-up white pick up stood parked outside and if Dean hadn’t had Castiel there, he would’ve probably hotwired the car and used it to get to Bobby’s.

Dean spared a quick glance at the newspaper stand, checking the date, wondering how long he’s been gone. September 18. Dean had been in Hell for 4 months. Two weeks under 5. Dean swallowed, Sam had been alone for almost 5 months. Hopefully, he hadn’t done anything stupid.

Inside the gas station it was messy, things dropped on the floor as the people there probably just had dropped all their things. Dean stepped over a few bottles of soda and made his way to the fridge the drinks were stored in and pulled out a bottle. He gulped it down quickly, almost choking on it.

Castiel watched him from the doorway as Dean walked around, taking some candy bars and beef jerky, which he ate quickly, as he went behind the cash register. Pushing a few buttons, it opened and Dean pocketed the cash he took.

He turned around, a protein bar in his mouth, and saw Castiel looking at him disapprovingly. “What?” Dean asked around the bar in his mouth.

“You shouldn’t steal the money.” Castiel said with a frown. “You can take the food and drinks, that can be replaced, but the clerk worked hard for the money.”

Dean smiled slightly. “Cas, I gotta eat. There’s no food here so I gotta get money to buy something from a diner or whatever else we may come across. Protein bars, beef jerky and candy bars might be good to get energy, but they’re not very good if you’re hungry.” Dean explained. He shrugged slightly, “Besides, it’s not like they can’t get the money back.”

Castiel sighed but nodded his head in understanding. Dean grinned and leaned against the checkout counter, water bottle held loosely in his hand.

“Well,” Dean started, with a smile. “Cheers! To a new beginning!” He exclaimed and took a gulp of water.

Castiel just smiled softly and shook his head.

Chapter Text

The call to Bobby went pretty much like Dean had expected. Dean himself knew he would've reacted the same way if someone he thought was dead had called him. Disbelief and anger, believing it was a cruel prank. Hopefully, Bobby would be happy to see him and not try to send him back downstairs.

Dean skipped the car outside the gas station and instead he walked down the long stretch of road, all the while feeling grace around him, like a cool yet warm blanket. But Dean knew Castiel could attack if Dean was threatened in the slightest.

The gravel road turned into asphalt and buildings grew tighter and tighter until he was in the center of whatever Illinois town he was in. Pontiac, Castiel supplied.

Dean walked around for half an hour before he found an okay-looking diner. The money Dean took from the gas station cash register would be enough for a burger and a coffee to fill Dean's empty stomach.

As Dean sat down in an unoccupied booth and waited to order while he looked at the menu, Castiel's grace wrapped itself more firmly around him.

*What's wrong?* Dean asked in his mind, not wanting anyone to hear him talking to seemingly no one.

*Sam is here.* Castiel's angelic voice answered in Dean's head.

Dean tried to control his feelings of shock and happiness as he was in public, but knew he wasn't doing a very good job. *Sam's here?* Dean questioned.

He felt Castiel's grace grow warm in affirmative and Dean shuddered at the feeling. *263 Adams Road, Room 207.* Castiel informed.

Dean thought for a second. *Doesn t your true vessel live here? Jimmy Novak?* Dean asked. Once again, Castiel's grace grew warm. *Maybe you could possess him prematurely?* Dean suggested.

Castiel hesitated, but a small spark of warmth in his grace showed his agreement.

*I know Jimmy has a wife and daughter. But this is the Apocalypse, sacrifices has to be made. And when the Apocalypse is over, you can let Jimmy go back to his family.* Dean commented. *Heaven is going to force me into saying 'yes’ to Michael. And Jimmy already has proved his faith, hasn't he?*

Castiel lingered, his grace pleasantly warm, before he left with a whispered 'I love you’ , just as a brunette waitress came up to his table.

“Hiya!” She greeted cheerfully. “What can I get ya, honey?” She asked in a Minnesotan accent. Dean immediately noticed how she eyed him like a piece of sweets.

Dean smiled kindly at her, a normal smile as he didn't have the relationship status nor was he in the mood to flirt. “Hi,” He greeted. “I’ll have a bacon cheeseburger and a coffee, please.” Dean requested.

Danielle, the waitress, smiled and wrote down his order in her notepad. “How would you like your coffee?” She asked, pink lips curled in a smile.

“Uh, black, please.” Dean answered.

She nodded and added it to his order.“Anything else I can get ya?” She asked and looked up at him with big brown eyes.

Dean slowly nodded. “Yeah. Is there a phone I could borrow? I promised my uncle to send him a text to tell him I've arrived and where we should meet up.” Dean lied easily.

Danielle nodded, but looked disappointed. As if she wanted Dean to ask for her phone number. Dean wouldn't lie; if he hadn't been in a relationship already, he probably would have asked for her number. Danielle turned around and walked to the kitchen with her hips swaying.

Dean picked at a napkin, tearing off small pieces and rolling them into small balls as he waited. Danielle came back to his table 20 minutes later with a plate with his burger and his mug of coffee.

She carefully put the plate and mug down in front of him, and Dean smiled gratefully at her. She dug out her phone from her pocket and handed it to him. “I hope it's okay. The food, I mean, but I guess the phone applies too.” Danielle blushed. “I'll be back later for the phone.”

Danielle left, and Dean grabbed the phone and went into the text messages, learning from his mistake at the payphone. He typed in Bobby's number and within a minute, his text was sent.

"Meet me at 263 Adams Road, Pontiac, Illinois. Room 207. Possible hunt, need backup.
//Sam"

3 minutes later, Bobby sent him a reply. "I’ll be there in at least 7 hours."

Dean checked the time; 1:22pm. Bobby wouldn't arrive until 8 in the evening, maybe later. Dean couldn't wait that long to see Sam.

Making up his mind, Dean ate his burger slowly, enjoying the feeling of his stomach being filled. He slowly sipped his coffee and picked at the skin around his left ring finger, trying to twirl the ring that was no longer there. His engagement ring. A band of white gold, covered in sigils to shrink or grow to the perfect size to fit his vessels or his true form. Castiel had proposed to him in 1887, on a warm summer afternoon in London.

With his plate empty and his cup half full, Dean sat back and looked out of the window. It wasn't much to look at, just the diner’s parking lot and the small road beyond it.

Dean only looked away from the window when someone sat down in front of him. It was a man, in his mid thirties, with dark hair and the bluest eyes Dean had ever seen. He had a light scruff and his hair was wild, as if he'd just had some pretty epic sex. Though, dressed in a suit and trench coat, Dean doubted it.

“There,” the man said, his dark voice momentarily catching Dean off guard. “Jimmy Novak, as you requested.” He continued.

It was Castiel. In a vessel.

Sobering up from his shock, he teased. “Hi again, Cas.” Dean smiled. “Good to see that you're not walking around naked anymore.”

Castiel rolled his eyes; even after 30 years of humanity, he still made lame jokes. He sighed and looked at the green-eyed man. He looked past the body and instead at the soul inside. It was bright, brighter than most humans’, bright like the righteous man. Though, Castiel saw how the soul lazily formed itself into a twisted version of the archangel’s true form before resetting itself into its normal shape.

“Here,” Castiel began and reached into his trench coat pocket. He dug around before he took out his hand in a closed fist. Dean held out his hand to accept whatever was in it, but wasn't prepared to see the silvery ring he had just thought of. Dean looked up at the angel, eyes wide with shock.

“I found it in Heaven after you disappeared. I've been holding on to it ever since. Thought you should have it now that you're back.” Castiel said with a tentative smile.

“Thanks.” Dean replied, smiling as he slipped the ring onto his finger. The sigils glowed briefly and the ring shrank into the perfect size for his body.

Dean and Castiel smiled at each other, looking into each other's eyes. Unfortunately, their moment of being engaged -- again -- was interrupted when Danielle came back over.

“How was the meal? Can I get you anything else- hello.” Danielle interrupted her flustered questions when she saw Castiel. Her eyes roamed over his with interest, making Dean uncomfortable and slightly jealous.

Dean thanked her for the meal as well as the phone which he handed it back to her. He paid the bill with the money from the gas station and didn't bother to hide his smile when he saw that he wasn't charged for the coffee. Dean stood up and encouraged Castiel to do so as well. “Thanks you for the food and everything, but if you excuse us, my fiancé and I have to go see my uncle.”

With those words, Dean and Castiel left the diner with a shocked Danielle behind them. On the street, Dean made sure to kiss the angel passionately in clear view of the window.

“She was undressing you with her eyes.” Dean whispered against Castiel's lips once they parted so Dean could breathe.

Castiel pulled away, a heavy cloud of lust in his eyes. Dean smirked and started walking down the street, in the direction he knew Sam’s motel was in. He heard Castiel groan behind him and then quick footsteps as Castiel caught up to him.

They walked in silence for a minute, before Castiel broke the silence. “Do you know who that lady was?” He asked with a smug glance at Dean.

Dean scoffed. “Danielle, the waitress, who flirted with me and was eyeing you as if she wanted to bang you?” Dean answered.

Castiel rolled his eyes. “It was Danielle Imagé, Ariel’s true vessel.” He explained in a light voice.

Dean stopped in his tracks as he remembered his old friend. “Ariel…” He whispered. Ariel was an angel, one of his best friends, and a excellent warrior. And she was married to his and Castiel’s friend Balthazar. Or she was before Dean fell. “Is she still-” Dean started, but was interrupted by Castiel.

“Married to Balthazar? Yes.” Castiel smiled. “She and Balthazar were the only ones who thought I wasn't insane as I kept searching for you.” Castiel’s smile dropped and Dean felt guilt swell in his chest.

“I’m sorry, Cas. If I had remembered I would’ve told you immediately. I wish things would’ve been different.” Dean apologized.

Castiel looked back up at him and put a hand on his shoulder. “It’s not your fault. We aren’t blaming you. Besides, we never gave up hope nor did we stop searching. Me, Balthazar and Ariel never gave up on you, we always kept the hope that we would’ve found you.” He admitted, his eyes shining with happiness. “And I did. I found you.”

Dean smiled, half sad-half happy, and softly kissed the angel’s cheek. When he pulled back, he saw the unfocused look in Castiel’s eyes which Dean had come to associate with the angel radio. He waited patiently while he studied Jimmy Novak’s face. Pink lips, the bluest eyes Dean had ever seen, dark hair; not quite black and not quite brown, short stubble; as if he had forgotten to shave the last few days.

Castiel soon shook his head back into reality, his eyes focusing up on Dean’s green orbs. “I must go.” The angel declared. “Heaven has given me orders to return back until further notice.” A stranger might not have seen it, but Dean caught the sad and worried look that flashed over his face. “Will you be alright?” He asked, concerned.

Dean looked around the semi-busy street and nodded. “I’ll be alright.” He answered and returned his gaze to Castiel. “Sam’s motel is just around the corner. I’ll make it there without any fuss. But I expect you to contact me every evening until we see each other again.” Dean demanded.

Castiel smiled. “Of course.” He replied, a promise that warmed Dean’s heart. The two shared a quick kiss before saying goodbye. “See you later, Nerd.” Castiel said, Dean’s old slipping off his tongue like it hadn’t been 30 years since he last called him that.

“Later, idiot.” Dean answered and watched as Castiel disappeared with the flutter of his big wings.

Looking around, Dean made sure nobody saw Castiel's disappearance before he continued his walk to Sam's motel.

While he walked, he thought of Ariel and Balthazar, his two best friends. He had worked alongside Ariel on a few occasions and he had known Balthazar through her, though he first developed a friendship with Balthazar after he had met Castiel in 1483. He couldn't wait to see her again, along with Balthazar. They would be in for a surprise.

Dean rounded the corner and immediately saw the motel Sam was living in. It was a little fancier than their normal rooms, but still nowhere near 5 stars. The second thing Dean saw, was the Impala. He felt giddy at the sight of the chrome and black paint. 40 years had passed since he saw the car, along with a couple of billions years worth of memories.

On his way to the motel entrance, Dean passed the Impala and ran his fingers over the polished black metal, only to stop when he saw an iPod jack in Baby’s dashboard.

“Oh, Baby. Sammy hasn't treated you alright at all, has he?” Dean murmured to the car. Then, he noticed the car wasn't polished at all, it was dirty, as if Sam hadn't washed the car since Dean died. Oh, Sam had Hell to pay for mistreating Dean's Baby.

Pulling himself together, Dean entered the motel. It seemed fairly clean and cozy. But Dean knew looks could betray. A teenage girl stood behind the check-in counter, heavily tattooed and pierced, looking like she'd rather be anywhere but there.

Dean smiled; at least this was familiar. Shaking off the nostalgia, Dean went down the hallways, searching for room 207. 205, 206 and at the end of the third hallway, room 207.

Dean frowned as he looked at the door, the honeymoon suite. 207 stood inside a red heart. Pulling himself together, he firmly knocked on the door. He heard Sam moving around inside as Dean waited, looking around the decorated hallway.

The door swung open and Dean turned to see a freshly showered and shirtless Sam standing in the doorway, jeans hung low on his hips. His hair was still dripping water.

Sam froze immediately when the door opened. His dead brother stood there, not a single sign of the Hellhounds’ mouling, not a sign of his scars from former injuries either.

A charming, boyish smile spread across Dean's face as he looked at the long-haired hunter. “Heya, Sammy.” Dean greeted.

Sam stepped back from the doorway, allowing Dean to step inside. Dean saw the glint of silver as Sam lunged at him and slashed him, catching him on the cheek and leaving a thin red cut. He managed to duck Sam’s next swing before he caught Sam’s arm and and twisted it behind his back, making him drop the blade.

Sam shoved him off as Dean picked up the blade. “Sam,” Dean warned. “It’s me, I’m alive!” Dean protested.

“Bullshit!” Sam called, and threw a punch. It grazed Dean’s cheek, but never hit him as he ducked to the side.

“I’m not a shifter!” Dean yelled, knowing Sam would have noise complaints the next day.

Sam ignored the volume of his voice as he protested, “Then you’re a revenant!”

Dean scowled. “You just cut me with a silver blade! If I were either, you would’ve known!”

Dean saw the moment his words registered to his brother (or brother-by-body, he supposed). Sam’s eyes widened and his mouth dropped open. “Dean?” He asked, voice on the edge between hope and disbelief.

Dean smiled. “Yeah, it’s me.” He opened his arms. “I’m back…” He stopped speaking when a splash of holy water covered his face. Spitting out the water in his mouth, he prepared to berate Sam, but was stopped when Sam threw himself into Dean’s arms. Sam clutched the back of Dean’s t-shirt tightly in his hands, a wave of relief coursing through Sam’s tall body.

Dean felt tears burn in his eyes, Sam’s gentle touch a huge contrast to what he went through in Hell. Dean wrapped his own arms around Sam, but recoiled when he touched Sam’s bare upper body.

The two pulled away from each other and Dean turned his head away so Sam couldn’t see the tears threatening to escape. “Dude, put on a shirt, will you.” Dean requested, voice heavy with unspilled emotions.

Sam chuckled, but looked concerned at Dean’s refusal to look at him. He carefully reached out to grab Dean’s chin and used it to turn his face towards him. Sam’s heart nearly broke at the sight of Dean’s tear-filled eyes.

Dean slapped Sam’s hand away and rubbed his eyes, but Sam wasn’t letting it go. “Dean, what’s wrong?” Sam asked carefully as he put on a black t-shirt and closed the open door to the room.

Dean avoided looking at Sam and instead looked around the room. Just like the exterior, it looked fancier than their usual places. A king sized bed covered in black silk sheets. A red loveseat-like couch stood a few feet from the bed, facing towards it. A table and a few chairs of dark wood stood in one corner of the room and a dresser stood by the foot of the bed, a big TV on top. There was a door leading out to a balcony facing the street below.

Dean brushed his fingers over the dark wood of the table and found Sam’s duffel on one of the chairs. “Why are you in the honeymoon suite?” Dean asked softly, ignoring the question Sam had asked.

Sam sighed. “Dean…” There was a tone in Sam’s voice that sounded… disappointed, as if he had hoped Dean’s time in Hell had changed him.

“Sam, I’ve been to Hell. What do you want me to say?”Dean asked, softly stopping Sam from saying anything else.

Sam understood then; after a long time of nothing but violence, the touch of gentleness can be overwhelming. Sam walked over to Dean and put a hand on his shoulder. Dean forced himself to not flinch at the contact, and instead he smiled gratefully.

Sam took a deep breath through his nose and felt a strong smell of sweat and dirt -- as well as the faintest smell of rotting flesh that Sam didn’t want to think about -- coming from Dean’s body and clothes. “Dude, you reek.” Sam exclaimed, his nose wrinkled in disgust.

Dean smiled and raised his arm to smell his armpit. “You’re right.” Dean agreed and put down his arm. “Do you have any of my clothes?”

Sam nodded. “Yeah, I have your duffel in the Impala.”

“Speaking of the Impala,” Dean started. “Did you really have to douche her up with an iPod jack? And couldn’t you have washed her?” Dean complained.

Sam smiled sadly. “I thought it was my car. Besides, you once said you’d come back to haunt me if I did anything to the Impala.”

Dean nodded, silently saying he understood. He gave Sam a small smile before he turned around and went into the bathroom.

Sam remained outside the bathroom until he heard the shower turn on and Dean getting in. Hearing the shower turn on, Sam let out a breath he didn’t know he was holding. His body shook with the shock of what had just went down. Shaking his head, Sam went out to the Impala. He didn’t share Dean’s obsession with the car, but he couldn’t help but smile and pat the roof.

He opened the trunk and pulled out Dean’s duffel, brushing off the dust that had collected over the 4 months Dean was gone. Or technically 3 months as Sam had taken out Dean’s duffel out of habit for the first month after the hellhounds.

As Sam stood bent over the trunk, he heard a familiar clicking of heels behind him. “Hello, Sammy.” The female voice greeted.

Sam slung the duffel over his shoulder and closed the trunk before turning around. Ruby stood there, brunette meatsuit and her black leather jacket, crossed arms and a smirk on her lips. Sam had forgotten that he had texted her the address of the motel he was staying at.

Sam sighed. “I can’t do this right now. Something else came up.” Sam apologized, trying to keep the information as vague as possible. Ruby was still a demon, connected to Hell.

Ruby pouted playfully and held up a flask. “So you don’t want this then?”

The smell of copper tinged with sulphur made Sam realize how long it had been since his last hit. The need overwhelmed him and Sam let out a low growl. He yanked her body against him and smashed their lips together in a rough kiss, full of teeth and tongue. Sam felt a rush of air as Ruby took them to the motel room they always stayed in when they… did their thing.

Sam roughly pushed Ruby onto the bed as he quickly undressed. Once the last piece of Sam’s clothing was off and on the floor, he leaped onto the bed where a naked Ruby laid.

_______________________

 

Dean stood in the shower, leaning against the tiled wall as the warm water cascaded down his body. He didn’t do anything to wash himself with the toiletries and instead he thought of the memories he had regained only a few hours earlier.

He thought of his most painful memories; when he lost his wings. Not when Michael cut out his grace, he had lost his wings long before that. Lucifer had cut them off before God locked him in the cage; Lucifer had experimented on how to break an angel the easiest, using the angels’ most sensitive parts to do so.

Dean remembered the feel of Lucifer’s blunt blade as it cut through feathers, skin, muscle and bone. In his mind, Alastair and Lucifer fused together into one horrible being of pain and blood.

His world was so focused on his memories he didn’t know how much time passed. He could just vaguely feel the water turn cold over time.

Sam returned to the motel room an hour and a half later, ready to apologize for how long he had been gone after having lost his track of time. When he returned to the room, however, there was no angry older brother glaring at him, instead the shower was still on. He placed Dean’s duffel on the bed before he went to the bathroom door.

Sam frowned and knocked softly on the door. “Dean? Are you okay?” He softly asked. There was no answer on the other side. “Dean?!” Sam asked. No answer.

Panic crept up on Sam. “Dean!” Sam yelled. Using his shoulder, he started to break the door down. The door swung open and Sam stumbled inside.

Dean sat curled up in the shower, water still pouring down his body as he stared blankly at the tiled wall. Sam rushed over and shut off the freezing water.

Crouching down in front of his brother,  Dean showed no sign of realizing Sam was there. Sam carefully laid a hand on Dean’s shoulder, stopping for a second when he saw the hand-shaped brand burnt into the skin below his shoulder. The contact on Dean’s skin did nothing to bring him back to reality. “Dean.” Sam said and shook Dean’s shoulder lightly. There was no reaction.

Sam huffed and moved his hand away. His fingers barely grazed the brand on Dean’s shoulder, and caused Dean to inhale a sharp and rough intake of air, before Dean started coughing. Dean caught his breath and looked up at Sam, then back down at himself.

“Dude,” Dean said hoarsely. “Do you have to loom over me while I’m naked?” Dean questioned as he pushed Sam away. Sam turned his head when Dean stood, silently offering the older a towel to cover up his privates.

Dean brushed past Sam as he exited the bathroom. He shivered at the air coming from outside the balcony, the cold water from the shower and the semi-warm evening air was a weird contrast. Rummaging through his duffle, Dean pulled out a grey henley shirt, dark blue jeans, some socks and his hunting boots, along with a pair of soft boxers.

Dean dropped the towel and quickly dressed in his clothes as Sam came out of the bathroom with Dean’s dirty clothes which he put in the laundry bag.

When Sam turned around, Dean was dressed and presentable. Sam took a moment to take in the look of his older brother; the spiked and wet dark blonde hair and fierce green eyes, the fair skin and sharp edges of his face. The full lips, the long eyelashes, the pierced right ear (a bad decision from his teens), the short shadow of a stubble on his chin.

Sam’s eyes traveled over Dean’s body, landing on his left hand. More specifically, his ring finger which had a silver band around it. Sam had never seen it before. He frowned in thought, moving on, deciding to ask.

Sam’s eyes traveled back up to his brother’s face when he remembered the hand-shaped brand on his left arm. “Hey, Dean.” Sam called as he sat down on the couch and Dean took a seat on the bed.

“What?” Dean asked, voice tired and rough. His elbow was resting on his knee, his hand holding his head up. His eyes had slipped shut as he sat down but he was still conscious.

“I just want to know: That brand on your shoulder, where does it come from?” The younger asked.

Dean blearily opened his eyes and looked back up. He knew what Sam was talking about: the angelic handprint on his left arm. Brands left by angels after they’ve grasped a soul and used grace on it. The brands are sensitive and can be felt in the soul if touched.

Feigning innocence, Dean shrugged and rubbed the brand, shuddering at the tingling it left behind. “Dunno. Maybe it’s from whatever pulled my ass out of Hell?” Dean suggested. ‘ Lying by telling the truth. Perfect.’

Sam seemed to consider Dean’s suggestion. A realization struck him. “You never asked if it was me.” Sam stated.

“What?” Dean asked tiredly.

Sam frowned. “You never asked if I brought you back.” Sam stated before he paused. “You know what brought you back.” Sam breathed. It wasn’t a question, it was a statement.

Dean sighed and shivered as he continued to trace the brand. ‘Not so perfect after all’. “Yes,” Dean confessed. ‘So much for keeping it a secret’ . “I know what brought me back. And I know how it did it.” ‘It’s Cas, not an it’.

Sam sat on the edge of the couch, curious about what creature brought his his brother back, but he was also ready to figure out how to kill it.

Dean took a deep breath and closed his eyes. “It was an angel.”

Silence spread across the room after Dean’s confession. Dean opened his eyes to look at the younger of the two. Sam sat frozen, shock covering his face. “Sam?” Dean questioned.

Sam blinked back from the shock and took a sharp intake of air. “Angels?” He questioned, eyes wide and eyebrows raised in question.

Dean slowly nodded. “Yeah, I can’t believe it either.” ‘Can’t believe I remember everything after 30 years.’

Dean sighed. “I saw it, the angel, with it’s huge wings and the three heads. It was frightening, but also captivating.” Dean explained, thinking back to how he felt when he saw Castiel before he regained his memories.

Sam took a shaky breath. “Angels are real?”

Dean smiled slightly. “Yes.” He paused before he continued. “You were right. There are divine things in the world.” Dean admitted.

Both Sam and Dean thought back to the case a few years ago, the one with the ghost of a priest people believed was an angel, the case where Sam admitted to praying and believing in angels.

Sam smiled. “I always was the smart one.” He joked, still awed at the fact angels existed.

‘You wish, baby brother. ’ Dean thought as he smiled fondly. ‘I was the master of Enochian spells, sigils and artifacts back when I was an angel. And I know everything about angel biology .’

As Sam and Dean’s conversations steered away from angels and Hell, one thought kept repeating in Dean’s head:


You wish.

Chapter Text

Twenty minutes after Dean revealed angels were real, Sam and Dean still sat on their respective places on the couch and bed. The conversation about angels and the fact that they were real had gone over to talking about a little of everything, mostly about old hunts.

Dean had asked about what Sam had been up to since he went to Hell, but Sam skillfully deflected the question by talking about a memory from before he left for Stanford.

Dean studied his brother, trying to figure out why Sam didn’t want to answer his question. ‘Surely he haven’t been drinking demon blood… no he wouldn’t. He’s better than that. He wouldn’t let him succumb to Azazel’s plans.’

Sam’s stomach growled growl as he and Sam talked about that hunt with the Trickster, the first time around, about how ridiculous they both had been with their fight. Dean, however, chuckled at the mention of ‘purple nurples’.

Dean looked at Sam with a raised eyebrow as Sam’s stomach growled again. “When was the last time you ate?” He asked, big brother instincts blaring back into life.

“This morning.” Sam answered. “But I could go for a burger.”

Dean chuckled. “If I know you correctly, you’re gonna order a salad.”

Sam shrugged with a smile. “I only said burger to get you interested.”

“Well, hate to burst your bubble, but I already ate. Did it before I came here. So why don’t you go ahead? I’ll stay here and catch up on some sleep.” Dean suggested with a small smirk.

Sam quickly thought it over before he nodded. “Sure.” He agreed and stood. “You gonna be alright?” He asked softly.

Dean scoffed with a smile. “If I can last 4 years on the road by myself while you went to nerd school, then I can last until you come back from a diner down the road.”

Sam shook his head. “Alright. But be careful. I just got you back, it would be a shame if you died again.” Sam said in a soft voice. With a final glance at his brother, Sam pulled on his jacket and exited the motel room. Sam would never know of the nightmares of Hellfire that plagued his brother while he was gone.

Sam took the Impala to the diner down the street instead of walking. The purr of the Impala’s engine did nothing to drown out his thoughts. Dean had been saved by angels. Angels were real.

When Sam parked outside the diner, he sat in the car for a few seconds as he watched the september sun dip closer and closer to the horizon. With a sigh, Sam got out of the Impala and got inside the diner.

There weren’t many people in the diner, at 7 in the evening most people had already eaten. A few people sat spread out in the booths and a few waitresses walked around, some taking plates of food to the customers, some taking the dishes.

Sam sat down in the booth closest to the entrance/exit, and looked through the menu. He sat there for a minute before becoming aware of presence behind him.

Sam quickly turned around, one hand on the gun in the back of his jeans. Behind him stood Bobby, who had a small smirk on his eyes as his eyes were fond. Sam relaxed and dropped his hand from the gun.

“What are you doing here?” Sam questioned Bobby as the older hunter sat down across from him.

Bobby scoffed. “You sent me a text about there being a hunt you needed my help on.” Bobby paused and frowned. “Please don’t tell me I’ve been on the road for 8 hours, just to find out you didn’t really need any help.”

Sam didn’t understand at first before he realized. Dean must have sent a text pretending to be  

him. Sam cleared his voice with a cough before he answered his surrogate father. “Yeah, it was meant for you. Sorry, I haven’t slept much.” Sam apologized with an easy half lie. He actually hadn’t slept much.

Bobby clapped him on the shoulder with a warm smile. “I’m glad you’re okay, boy.” Bobby leaned back in his seat just as one of the waitresses came up to their table.

“What can I get you?” She asked in a soft and slightly tired voice. It was a woman with silky black hair tied into a ponytail, and kind brown eyes. She looked like the type of woman Dean would hit on.

Sam smiled as he ordered a caesar salad and Bobby ordered a cheeseburger. The two decided to bring their food to the motel room, Sam thinking it was better that Bobby found out sooner rather than later about Dean being back from the dead.

After they got their food, they climbed into their respective cars to get back to the motel, Sam stopped by the small store to pick up some of Dean’s favorite brand of beer before he was back on the road to the motel.

_______________________

It felt like Dean had just closed his eyes after being awoken by the latest nightmare when he opened them again, the door creaking open having awoken him. He closed his eyes again and buried himself deeper under the covers with a groan, thinking it was only Sam. Though he quickly looked up when he heard a gun being cocked.

Bobby and Sam stood in the doorway, Bobby aiming a handgun right at Dean’s head and Sam trying to make him put the gun down with bags of food and beer in his hands. “Bobby! It’s him! It’s Dean!” Sam stopped Bobby by grabbing the gun from the old hunter’s hold. “I’ve already done the tests, it’s really him.” Sam continued in a softer voice, though panic was clear in his eyes.

The gruff hunter looked over at Dean who was laid back down in the bed with a big yawn and a heavy sigh. “Dean?” Bobby’s gruff voice questioned.

“Told ya on the the phone it was me.” Dean mumbled and sat up in the bed. He sleepily rubbed his eyes and hunched his back as he looked up at Sam and Bobby. “Hey, Bobby.” Dean greeted with a small smile and stood. He slowly went over to his surrogate father -- the only father he’s ever had who’s acted like a father -- and stood in front of him, unsure if he should hug him or not.

“Dean.” Bobby breathed and looked the young man up and down. One moment Dean simply stood in front of Bobby, the next he was in a tight hug of Bobby’s, almost crushing him. Dean gladly hugged him back, and held back his tears with more force than before. Damnit, how long was he going to tear up as soon as someone gently touched him?

Dean and Bobby broke away from each other a minute later. The older hunter held Dean by the shoulders at arm’s length away from him and stared the boy up and down again. “What- H- How?” He asked in shock. There was no sign of the hellhounds nor of any previous injuries.

Dean chuckled lightly and looked down at the floor. “That… is a long-ass story.”

Bobby didn’t seem to accept that as an answer and was about to ask again -- full sentence this time -- but Sam cut him off with an answer. “Dean was saved by an angel.”

Dean groaned loudly as Bobby sputtered out a shocked ‘angel?!’. Bobby looked at Dean with wide eyes. Dean sighed, and rubbed his eyes. “I’ll tell you everything. But right now, I need a drink.” Dean replied, starting to move towards the fridge, but was stopped when Sam held out a beer bottle for him.

Dean smiled gratefully and took the bottle and opened the beer bottle with the silver ring he wore on his right hand, Mary’s old one, which was almost a mirror of his left. As he worked the ring back onto his finger, Dean felt Bobby’s gaze on him, taking in every small moment. He made conscious effort to move like the hunter Dean Winchester and not the archangel Jensen. Less gracious, more harsh, and careful.

Dean sat down one of the chairs by the table where the food laid and took a deep swig of beer, before placing it on his knee, contemplating on how to explain everything. “Angels are real.” Dean decided was the most obvious start. “And they rescued me from Hell as they have ‘work’ for me.” Dean explained with air quotes.

Bobby frowned and sat down next to Dean with Sam doing the same. “What kind of ‘work’?” Bobby questioned.

Dean shrugged. “Dunno. He didn’t tell me. Just said it had something to do with Lilith and the Apocalypse.” Dean explained and took another drink of his beer. He looked at Sam and Bobby’s blank faces and smiled. “Apparently I’m the only one that can stop the Apocalypse from happening.”

Sam took a deep but sharp breath. “So the Apocalypse is going to happen?” He asked, voice shaking slightly.

Dean firmly shook his head in response. “Not if I can stop it. And I will gladly give my life if it means the Apocalypse is stopped.” Dean announced, honestly.

Sam frowned at him, while Bobby scowled angrily. “You’re gonna risk your life for something you don’t even know anything about?” He asked angrily. He had just come back, was he going to die again due to his selflessness?

Dean shook his head. “I know enough.” For a second Dean contemplated if he should tell them or not, but decided in the end that it was best if he did. He had been honest this far, why not continue. “Lucifer is going to rise from Hell, from the cage he’s trapped in. There are thousands of seals which works like locks, but only 66 has to be broken. It doesn’t matter which are broken, nor in which order.” Dean paused for a second.

“Well, except the first and last. The first seal shall be broken ‘when a righteous man sheds blood in Hell’. The last one is still unknown except for a few of the highest ranking demons. I heard some chatter about it while in Hell, but not enough to know what it is. But most seals depend on the breaking of the natural order, so I assume it’s something along those lines.” Dean told them, but avoided to mention that the first seal was already broken.

Dean continued to explain the 66 seals as vaguely as he could, as to not get Bobby and Sam suspicious. It was hard, one word too much here, a wrong movement there and the secret would have been out.

The subject changed from the Apocalypse to other stuff soon, once Dean had explained everything. Soon the clock was over 2 in the morning and Bobby left to get a room. After a quick game of rock, paper, scissors, Sam took the bed while Dean laid down on the couch. Though he didn’t lay there for long. As soon as he heard Sam’s breathing even out, he got up and went out on the balcony.

_______________________

Sam woke up in the middle of the night. He laid tense in the big bed, trying to figure out what woke him up. It took him a few seconds, but then he remembered what had happened the day before. Dean was back.

Sam bolted upright in the bed, his eyes falling on the couch in the darkness as his hand blindly searched for the light switch on the bedside lamp. With a click, the room was flooded with warm yellow light and Sam saw the couch was empty and had probably been for several hours.

Sam's breath stuttered at the sight; was it all a dream? Was Dean still dead? The thought that it was all a dream made Sam start crying silently. He had been filled with so much hope and joy, but with a click, the hope and joy disappeared.

A gust of wind hit Sam's shaking body and he shivered from the cold yet warm September air leaking inside. He looked up, searching for the source of the wind and saw that the balcony doors were open. He could’ve sworn he closed them before he went to bed. Frowning, Sam wiped his tears and stood from the bed, slowly walking to the balcony with the gun from underneath his pillow held firmly in his hand.

Out on the balcony, Dean stood, leaning against the railing. The city view wasn't much to look at, instead Dean just enjoyed the sound of the wind, cars and people; the sounds of being alive on Earth. He had his eyes closed and took deep breaths, meditating, as he mindlessly twirled the ring around his left ring finger.

With the tiny amount of grace Castiel gave him, Dean had some of his angel senses and he could feel the Earth moving, both around the sun and around it’s own axis. He could feel a flower bloom in Japan and an avalanche in the Alps. Creation and destruction. God, how I’ve missed this. Being an angel really puts the world into perspective, the beauty and innocence of it. How could Lucifer have hated this?

“You scared me.” Sam's voice broke the silence and Dean's concentration. Dean opened his eyes and turned around to look at the younger. He felt his heart ache when he saw Sam's red rimmed eyes and puffy cheeks. “I thought it was a dream, that you came back.”

Dean smiled sadly. “Sorry. I just needed to get some air.” Dean apologized. He understood Sam; he had been jumpy as well after he sold his soul for Sam, always afraid it was a dream and Sam was still dead.

Sam paused in the doorway before joining his brother by the railing. He spared a quick glance at the older of the two before he looked back out at the street. “Are the angels speaking to you?” He asked, his voice still awed yet hesitant as he spoke of the angels.

Dean shrugged. “Not really. I mean, I can feel their power around me, as if they're here. But I know they aren't.”

“How?” Sam asked. “How do you know they aren't here?”

Dean smiled. “Cause I would've felt at peace. Calm. Relaxed. Safe. I wouldn't be haunted by memories of what happened to me in Hell.” Dean confessed before he paused. “The feeling of an angel’s powers are hard to explain. It's constantly contrasting on itself. Warm yet cold, wet yet dry, benevolent yet evil. Young, but old. Ethereal but also human.”

The power which made entire species bow down to you. Feared and respected by everyone weaker than you. Power that could deep fry the planet if used incorrectly.

“Sounds… peaceful, I guess.” Sam commented after a minute of Dean's silence.

Dean silently nodded. “It is.” Dean smiled and chuckled. “But it’s weird. Underneath the contrasting feelings, it constantly feels like pins and needles, like electricity.” At least, it did as a human. As an angel it felt like you were drunk or high on the power of God. Like an acid trip.

“Must be nice to be an angel.” Sam mused.

‘Depends if you’re hated or not’ Dean thought, but answered out loud, “Yeah. Probably.”

Sam yawned loudly, momentarily startling Dean. “Go back to sleep, Sammy.” Dean whispered to his tired younger brother.

Dean couldn’t see it as he looked at the road below, but Sam looked at him with warm and caring eyes at the old nickname. “What about you?” He asked softly.

Dean shook his head and turned to smile at him tiredly. “Can’t sleep. My brain won’t shut up and Hell keeps haunting me.”

The younger of the two looked at the older with careful eyes. “You really remember Hell?” He asked, softly.

Dean shrugged and crossed his arms protectively over his chest. “Yeah. I remember most of what they did to me. But after so long, the pain starts to blend together.” He paused for a second before he continued. “I remember what I did to others.”

“‘Did to others’?” Sam questioned.

Dean pulled his arms tighter around himself, trying to make himself smaller. “I… broke in Hell, Sam.” He took a deep breath. “At the end of every day, Alastair, my torturer, he would offer me the chance to get off of the rack if I picked up the blade myself.” Dean swallowed thickly and closed his eyes against the burning tears. “I tried to hold on, but after 30 years I couldn’t take it anymore.”

“30 years?!” Sam asked, shocked as he took a step back. “You were in Hell for 30 years?! Oh God… ” With grace enhanced senses, Dean could hear Sam’s heart beating quickly as shock spread through his body. His face went pale as all blood drained from it.

Dean smiled sadly. “It was actually 40 years. One month up here equals ten years in Hell. I spent my last ten years downstairs torturing other souls.” Dean sighed shakely and squeezed his eyes tightly shut. “I just wanted the pain to stop. I couldn’t bear it. So I accepted the knife and got off the rack. And after so long of having the pain targeted on myself, it was almost euphoric to have someone else be the victim. But now, coming back to myself, all I feel is guilt.”

Dean didn’t realise he was crying until Sam pulled him into a hug and his tears soaked Sam’s t-shirt. “Anyone in your position would have done the same thing. Anything to stop the pain.” Sam whispered, still in a bit of shock from Dean’s revelation.

Dean shook his head against Sam’s chest. “Sam, you don’t understand. I tortured so many people I lost count. I- I broke the first seal.” Dean confessed as his breathing hitched with tears.

Sam went stiff as he held his shorter older brother to his chest. “You broke the first seal? You’re the righteous man?” He asked softly.

With a shaky breath, Dean nodded. “Now, I just have to do the impossible task of stopping the Apocalypse. Both Michael and Lucifer.”

Sam frowned at him. “Why Michael? Isn’t he supposed to be the good guy?”

Dean chuckled manically. “Michael is just as bad as Lucifer! In fact, he’s worse! If Michael wins, he’s going to kill half of humanity and use the rest as his slaves and pets. Lucifer is merciful and will at least kill everyone and spare them from torment.” Dean sighed heavily, the anger at his two oldest brothers fading.

Dean had expected Sam to ask a billion questions about how Dean knew about that, but was surprised when Sam didn’t. He looked up at Sam in a questioning manner, and saw Sam staring behind him with mouth open in shock and eyes wide.

Dean turned around to see what had shocked Sam, and saw the blue eyes and black hair of Castiel in Jimmy Novak’s body. He hadn’t even heard the flutter of wings as Castiel arrived.

Castiel’s intense eyes stared into the green of Dean’s. “You are upset. I heard your soul screaming out for me.” Castiel explained. His eyes softened when he found that Dean was unharmed, but frowned when he saw the tear tracks on Dean’s cheeks. “Are you alright?”

Dean smiled slightly and looked to Sam with reassuring eyes. “Yeah, I’m fine. Hell and Heaven just overwhelmed me.” Dean said as he looked back to the angel.

Castiel’s lips twitched into a smile before his eyes flicked to Sam. “Sam Winchester, the boy with the demon blood.” Castiel said. But before the hurt could seep too far into Sam’s bones, Castiel smiled. “It’s a pleasure to meet you. Dean has told me a lot about you.”

Castiel held out his hand for Sam to shake. Sam looked at him before glancing up at Dean who nodded. Sam and Castiel shook hands. “Who are you?” Sam asked as he let go of Castiel’s  hand.

Castiel smiled a bright smile. “My name is Castiel. I’m an angel of the Lord, the one who gripped Dean tight and raised him from perdition.”

“Cas!” Dean scolded as a blush covered his freckled cheeks. Of all the ways Castiel could have said it, he had to use the innuendo.

“What? It’s true. I gripped your soul and dragged your ass out of Hell.” Castiel said innocently, though a mischievous glint in his eyes told Dean he was doing it on purpose.

Dean sighed.  Castiel was impossible. Turning away from his fiancé of 120 years, Dean looked to Sam. “This is the angel who got me out of Hell and told me about Heaven’s plans for me.”

Castiel smiled at Sam after Dean’s introduction of them both. Seeing the smile that was so very familiar to Balthazar, Dean mentally sighed. *You’ve really spent too much time with Balthazar. You’re starting to smile like him.* Dean told him through their connection.

Castiel’s smile dropped as he turned his head and glared at Dean. *I’ve spent the last 30 years in the company of both Balthazar and Ariel. So believe me, I’ve picked up a few more things than just his smile.*

Dean shivered and tensed at what Castiel vaguely had referenced. Ariel and Balthazar was known amongst the angels for their wild sex life. Several orgies, weird kinks and fetishes, exotic positions; just the wildest sex in general. To think that Castiel had picked up on some of that made a thrill shoot through Dean’s body as well as a hint of dread. He loved the innocent Castiel, the one who was so shy during sex, always afraid to hurt.

*Don’t worry. * Castiel said. *They only helped me find a few of my own kinks. Not any ‘hard-core’ stuff.* Castiel sent Dean’s way.

Sam shifted uncomfortably as Dean and the angel stared at each other. If Sam didn’t know any better, he would’ve thought they were trying to undress each other with their eyes. He saw as Dean’s tense body relaxed slightly and a hint of a smile played at his lips.

As if breaking out of a transe, Dean glanced at Sam and slipped on his business face and crossed his arms over his chest. “What’s the status on the seals?” Dean asked in a rumbling voice.

The angel straightened it’s back and turned to look naturally between Sam and Dean. “Well, now that the first seal is broken, demons are rushing to break the rest.” A heavy sigh left him. “9 seals have been broken so far. 57 remains. And it’s impossible to know which of the thousands seals the demons will try to break next.”

“I have part of a plan.” Dean said slowly. It was an idiotic plan, but it would work. “We let the seals break.”

Silence. Both Castiel and Sam stared at him like he had grown three heads. Dean rolled his eyes. “I mean, there are thousands of seals, it’s impossible to know which ones the demons are gonna break. So we let them break. Until we reach the last seal. We put all of our time down to finding the last seal and then we protect the Hell out of it and try to find a way to undo all the seals from breaking.”

Castiel shook his head. “It’s too dangerous. You said it yourself, the highest ranking demons know what the seal is. That means they can break it the moment the rest are broken.”

Sam took a small step forward. “No, Dean’s right.” He declared. Both Castiel and Dean looked at him. “If we find out what the seal is before all others are broken, then we can protect it while we find a way to reverse the seals. If we protect the last seal or make it unusable, then we have a chance of stopping it.” Sam started to smile, the type of smile he got when he was excited about a case or he realized something smart.

Dean smiled and clapped Sam on the shoulder before looking back to Castiel. The angel looked between them with an emotionless face before he sighed heavily. “It’s a stupid plan. With too many risks. But I’ll accept it. I’ll inform the others.”

Castiel’s feathers fluttered as he teleported away.

Chapter Text

By ‘informing the others’, Castiel had meant informing Balthazar, Ariel, Tessa and Samandriel. Castiel didn’t fully trust his garrison, especially after Hell. It was supposed to be a surprise attack, but someone must have told the demons they were coming.

He landed on the steps outside Balthazar and Ariel’s big, fancy house in Austin, Texas just as the sun had come over the horizon and firmly knocked on the mahogany door.

Normally, Castiel would have ignored the politeness of knocking and teleported into the house, but from experience Castiel knew he should knock when it came to Balthazar and Ariel. He had walked in on them in… compromising positions more than a few times.

The door cracked open and Balthazar stuck his head out. His blonde hair was disheveled and from where Castiel stood he could see that the blonde angel was shirtless.

“Ah, Cassie! Haven’t heard from you since we pulled Winchester out of Hell. What’s up?” The angel asked. He opened the door and Castiel was grateful to see he was wearing a pair of sweatpants.

“Not much. Got a few burnt feathers, but other than that I’m fine.” Castiel entered the house and looked around. Other than two whiskey glasses and a bottle of Johnnie Walker with three-quarters left on the coffee table, it looked the same as it did the last time he was there.

“Ariel’s upstairs, and despite what you might believe, we weren’t doing anything. In fact, we both just woke up.”

That’s surprising.’ Castiel thought and chuckled lightly.

Balthazar walked over to the living room table and poured the whiskey into the glasses, holding out one of them for Castiel to take.

Castiel took the glass from Balthazar’s hand, “Thank you,” and sipped the amber liquid. Lowering the glass, Castiel watched his brother and fellow soldier take a sip from his own glass. “I found Jensen.” The younger angel said softly.

The blonde angel choked on the liquid he was drinking and coughed. He looked up with wide, watering eyes. “What?” He asked.

“I found Jensen. He’s alive and well. Or as well as a person trapped in Hell for 40 years could be.” Castiel stated and watched as horrified understanding filled Balthazar’s eyes.

Balthazar took a shaky breath. “Dean Winchester? Jensen is possessing Dean Winchester?” He asked.

Castiel shook his head. “No, Jensen is Dean Winchester.” Castiel sighed heavily. “Apparently, Michael cut out his grace, which caused Jay to fall from Heaven. With no vessel, he was reborn as human. And on the 22nd of May, Dean Winchester was conceived, the same date Jay fell. He had no memories of us, only regained them when I touched his soul in Hell.” Castiel explained.

For a second, Balthazar didn’t say anything. But with a snivel, the dam broke. Tears, a mix of happiness, exhaustion and relief, seeped from Balthazar’s grey-blue eyes. “How did we not realize- we could have realized. There shouldn't have been any coincidences while we searched. But now, after so long, he’s back.” Balthazar wrapped Castiel in a tight hug. “I can’t imagine how happy you must be, to have the love of your life back.”

Castiel smiled against the older angel’s shoulder. “I am happy. I’m overjoyed. But I’m scared. What if things are different? What if he’s different?” He asked, hoping to being able to confide with his brother with his inner thoughts.

Balthazar pulled Castiel back and held him at arm's length. “Cas, things are obviously going to be different, but if you try hard enough and spend enough time on it, you will grow back together. You still love him, dontcha?” With Castiel’s small but firm nod, he continued. “And Jay is obviously going to be different. He’s spent 30 years as a human, as Dean Winchester. And Dean Winchester is very different from the Jensen we both know and love. But with his memories back, maybe he will become more like Jensen again. A mix of the Righteous Man and the angel of family.”

Castiel smiled and looked down at the floor. He studied the wooden floorboards as he let his brother’s reassurances wash over him.

Soft footsteps padded on the floorboards above them, causing Castiel to look up. They were soft, barely audible. A hunter and soldier’s footsteps. But Castiel could still pick them out easily, having spent most of his existence as a soldier himself.

The steps traveled over to the stairs and Ariel appeared at the top, wearing an expensive sheer black robe, trimmed with pink fur and simple cotton underwear underneath. Over the course of 1 day, she had managed to get hold of Danielle Imagé and also get her to say ‘yes’. Ariel had probably been preparing her for some time before Castiel and Dean met her in the restaurant.

Ariel brushed her brown hair out of her eyes as her deep brown eyes caught Castiel’s blue ones. “Castiel! What a pleasant surprise.” She smiled and went down the steps to kiss his cheek. “What are you boys talkin’ bout?” She asked and put her hands on her hips with a grin.

Balthazar looked at Castiel in question and received a nod in return. Balthazar smiled and looked at his wife. “Jay’s back. He’s alive.” He smiled and released a laugh of disbelief.

Ariel stood still and stared into Castiel’s eyes for a second before she smiled. “That handsome young man you were with in the diner, that’s Jay?” She asked.

Castiel nodded and smiled brightly. “Yeah. Jay had to eat something before he passed out.” Castiel paused for a second before continuing. “But Jay’s human now. Michael cut out his grace, he fell and was reborn as human.”

“As Dean Winchester.” Balthazar supplied.

Castiel nodded. “For the 30 years Dean has been alive, he’s had no memories of his previous life as an archangel, nor did he know his own name. It wasn’t until I touched his soul in Hell that he remembered.”

Ariel looked between Balthazar and Castiel, trying to gauge if either of them were lying or trying to trick her. Seeing nothing but honesty, she took a deep breath she didn’t need. “Wow.” Was all she managed. “Is he okay? With everything?” She asked.

Castiel nodded his head in a so-so way. “He’s happy that he has his memories back, but Hell is still Hell. And it must be very strange for him; living as a human for a few decades and then find out you weren’t who you thought you were and not a human either. So I wouldn’t say he’s good, but I wouldn’t say he’s bad either.”

Castiel gave a them both a second to let the information sink in before he added, “One good thing is that he actually has a plan on how to stop the Apocalypse. A classic, dumbass, Jensen plan.”

“Oh really?” Balthazar questioned, well aware of the archangel’s former plans that quickly got screwed up. His idiotic strategies is why he didn’t become a soldier and instead became Heaven’s master of Enochian spells, sigils and artifacts.

“Yes. His plan is to let all the seals break except the last. We put our time into finding the last seal and then we protect it from any creature who wants to break it.” Castiel recounted the plan.

Ariel shook her head. “As much as I hate the plan, it could work. And I’m happy for any plan as long as it works. And Jensen is an archangel, they do have the right to command us to do anything. So, I’m in.”

“If Ariel’s in, then so am I.” Balthazar beamed.

Castiel smiled at the responses of his friends. His smile dropped when he heard Zachariah call to him over the angel radio, commanding him back to Heaven. “Can you tell Samandriel the news? And Tessa? Zachariah asked me to return to Heaven, so I gotta go.”

“Of course.” Ariel said in a soft tone, taming his hair in a way Zachariah would approve of and watched as the young angel flew off.

When the sound of Castiel’s fluttering wings faded, Balthazar and Ariel looked at each other, a light behind their eyes, hope and happiness, as they hugged each other tight.

Jensen was back.

_______________________

Dean was dying. He was 100% sure he was dying. If he had to read one more Goddamn book, he was going to die. If not from boredom or sleep deprivation, then from the fact that the Apocalypse was going to start while he had his head buried in a book.

Sam, Dean and Bobby had been back from Illinois for 2 days and all they had been doing was reading. With short breaks to the bathroom, to eat and to fill up on coffee and/or booze. Or take a nap. A sweet, relaxing and precious nap.

Usually, Dean didn’t mind reading. Sure, before his memories were back he’d rather be out interrogating witnesses and going to bars than go to the library. But the fact that he’s been reading non-stop for 2 days was driving him insane. And they hadn’t found anything about the seals. Nothing. Nil. Nada.

And Dean’s brain was jumbled, new and old memories mixed together, causing his head to hurt as he read the words in English, the older memories being used to Enochian.

So Dean wasn’t surprised when he quickly stood up from his chair, letting it fall to the floor with a thud as he slammed the book closed.

Bobby and Sam looked up at him, tired but hopeful eyes questioning him.

“I gotta go out. Get some food, go to a bar, pick up someone. Anything! As long as I can get out and escape reading!” Dean exclaimed, eyes probably a little crazy by that point.

Sam rubbed his eyes and frowned up at him. “We have an apocalypse to stop, dude. You don’t have time to go out.” Sam objected.

Ever since Sam found out the Apocalypse was on the line, he had laid all his time into trying to find the seals. Dean and Bobby had to force him to take short breaks to use the bathroom, nap, eat and drink.

“Dean’s actually right. We need a break, Sam.” Bobby said and looked at the hunched over figure of the youngest Winchester. “We could all use some sleep and we also need to stretch our legs.”

Sam groaned. “Fine.” He agreed and got up from his chair and went up the stairs to his bedroom.

Dean glanced after him. “That was easy.” Dean commented to no one in particular. Looking back to Bobby, he grinned and picked up his jacket from the back of the chair and went over to the front door. “Don’t wait up!” He called over his shoulder as he left.

Upstairs in Sam and Dean’s shared room, Sam was frantically texting Ruby for a place to meet. Away from the books and distraction of reading, Sam felt the early symptoms of withdrawal. His hands were trembling sightly, not really noticeable, but still there. Ruby responded with an address and Sam took a quick shower before he sneaked out through the back door.

Outside, Dean pulled on his jacket and started walking towards the city part of Sioux Falls, running his fingers over the Impala’s hood as he passed her. He set his course towards one of the bars in town, Queen’s Tavern, and smiled at the people he passed. Some of the older men and women knew him from the times he stayed in Sioux Falls as a child and he used to run around, eager to please.

After walking for half an hour, Dean arrived at the bar and entered. At 3 in the afternoon, not many people were at the bar, but Dean wasn’t completely alone either. Dean smiled at the familiarity and sat down by the bar. The bartender, a young boy that probably just got old enough to drink, looked up from the magazine he was reading.

“Hi, what can I get ya?” The young bartender asked, eyes sizing him up. In case of a bar fight most people didn’t want to mess with the uncontrolled force that is Dean Winchester.

“A rum and coke, please.” Dean requested with a smile. The young man quickly threw together the cola, rum and ice with a lime and handed the drink to Dean.

Dean took a sip and smiled at the sweet taste mixed in with the bitterness of the rum. He nursed the drink for a minute in silence before he heard someone come up behind him.

“Could’ve sworn you were more of a whiskey kind of guy.” A british voice commented behind him.

Dean turned around in his seat and saw a blonde man with grey-blue eyes, dressed in a grey v-neck shirt, a black blazer and a pair of tight black jeans.

Dean gave the man a half smile, as he looked the man up and down. “I’m sorry, but do I know you?” He asked tentatively.

The man chuckled. “Well, I woulda thought you recognized your favorite brother.” He said with a playful frown.

Dean frowned and looked into the man’s eyes which flashed blue for a second and Dean’s brain came to the realization. “Balthy?!” Dean squeaked.

Balthazar grinned and Dean felt his breath momentarily leave his lungs. Dean wasn’t sure if he should hug him or nor not, and instead sat on the chair and stared at Balthazar dumbly. Instead Balthazar made the first move. He lunged himself into Dean’s arms and squeezed the ex-archangel tightly. Dean’s arms tentatively came up and hugged the blond angel back.

Slender arms wrapped around both Dean and Balthazar, causing Dean to flinch at the unexpected contact. Looking up from the embrace, he saw the waitress, Danielle, from the diner in Illinois, but Dean had a very strong suspicion that it wasn’t just her anymore.

Balthazar broke the hug and took a step back, the woman doing the same. Looking at the two, Dean’s suspicion was confirmed at the sight of the ring of rose gold and diamonds which was covered in sigils wrapped around the woman’s finger.

“Ariel.” Dean smiled and looked her up and down. She dressed simply, in a grey long-sleeved shirt and a pair of tight black jeans, and her shoulder brown hair laid wavy and touched just her shoulders with the tips of it. Her golden brown skin seemed to glow in the tavern’s weak lightning.

“Hey there big brother.” Ariel greeted with a smirk. “It’s been a while.”

Dean gave her a breathy laugh. “Yeah.” He chuckled humorlessly. “Sorry ‘bout that.” He murmured.

“It’s not your fault.” A gravelly voice joined in. Dean smiled before he looked up and saw his fiancé standing behind Ariel and Balthazar, his trench coat folded over his arm. “You really need to stop blaming yourself for something that isn’t your fault.”

‘I’ve been doing it my whole life, Cas, it’s a little bit hard to stop now’ Dean thought to himself. But instead of saying it out loud, Dean just smiled at the dark-haired angel.

The following 8 hours were spent at the bar, catching up on the last 30 years. Balthazar had been stationed in Hell for 5 years to scope out the demons and try to get any intel on any plans they might have, Ariel had taken over the job of fixing and guarding Heaven’s weapons. Castiel had been taking care of his garrison after Anna was sentenced to Heaven’s prison.

“Zachariah has been a pain in the ass.” Ariel commented with a huff, causing Dean to chuckle.

“Samandriel is just as sweet and adorable as he was before you left.” Balthazar beamed, making Dean smile back.

“Anna escaped from prison. No one knows where she is.” Castiel informed him. Dean wasn’t worried. What’s the worst she could do?

A part of Dean felt sad for missing so much and causing them so much pain, another just felt happy that he was back and that he could spend time with them again.

The time passed quickly as the 4 friends drank hard booze and chatted about everything and nothing, tried different drinking games until all of them were more than slightly drunk.

At 11 PM, when Castiel barely could stand straight anymore, Dean decided to get the angel to bed and said goodbye to his two younger siblings.

Taking Castiel, drunk as a skunk, to Bobby’s would probably not have been the best thing. There was a chance Castiel would blurt out the fact of their relationship and of Dean’s true biology. And Dean wasn’t ready to tell them about either. Not because he was ashamed of having a male fiancé, but because he would have to tell them he was an angel and not really their family, which would probably hurt them as much as the betrayal would.

In the end, Dean decided to take the inebriated angel to the closest hotel, a lot more upscale than Sam and Dean’s usual places. With Castiel’s arm around his neck and the angel pressed up tightly next to him, he booked a room with a king sized bed for 2 nights, as Castiel would probably have an epic hangover the next day. Paying would have been tricky if it wasn’t for the fact that Dean had swiped a credit card from some rich college kid, who probably wouldn't tell his parents he lost his credit card.

The room was modern, lots of glass and sharp edges, black and white and grey and silver colors. It was comfortable, and the sheets of the bed were soft and Castiel groaned as he was lowered onto the mattress.

As Dean moved to stand, he was pulled down onto the bed with a yelp as Castiel dragged him down. The angel wrapped his arms around him and pressed kisses into his neck.

“Cas!” Dean laughed and tried to push away from the angel. “Stop it! I need to get back to Bobby’s house!”

Castiel released him enough so that Dean could pulled back and when he did, Castiel glared at him without any real heat behind it. “Don’t you dare mention your surrogate father while we are in bed together.” Castiel scolded.

Dean chuckled and pressed a kiss to Castiel’s lips. “Sorry, little angel.” He murmured against the blue-eyed man’s lips.

Little angel , the nickname Dean had given Castiel shortly after they met in 1483, coming from the fact that Castiel was younger, shorter and had smaller wings than Dean. If Dean still had his wings, that is. He had them cut off by Lucifer a few years before the older archangel was banished to the cage.

When Dean moved to pull away, Castiel chased after him and put their lips back together. “Please stay. It’s been so long, please just… stay with me.” Castiel begged.

Dean smiled sadly and traced Castiel’s face with his fingertips. He leaned down at fitted his lips together with Castiel’s again and let himself relaxed against Castiel’s firm body. *Okay. I’ll stay.* Dean whispered through their bonds in agreement.

Castiel smiled against Dean’s lips as he deepened the kiss. The kiss heated quickly and soon the two were pulling their clothes off.

They quickly became a tangle of limbs and sweat and panting breath as they tangled together and twisted in the sheets. The room filled with moans, gasps and pants of pleasure, all the while their lips were still connected.

They reached their orgasm together with soundless screams, having trained to keep quiet as to not attract unwanted attention. Castiel collapsed on top of Dean, his orgasm and the alcohol creating a comfortable buzz in his body that made him lax and pliable.

Dean smiled up at the angel through the haze of his orgasm, combing his fingers through the sweaty black hair. “I love you.” He whispered and watched as Castiel’s eyes opened. The blue color was truly magical. Like the sky was trapped in his eyes.

Castiel wrapped his arms around the green-eyed man and rolled them over so Dean was straddling his hips and Castiel was laying back on the mattress with his head cushioned on the fluffy pillows.

Castiel placed his forehead on Dean’s, rubbing their noses together in an eskimo kiss. “I love you too, my light.” Castiel murmured sleepily.

My light , referencing Dean’s title as an archangel, who had the brightest grace.

With a heavy sigh, Dean rested his head on Castiel’s chest and closed his eyes. “Night, Cas.” Dean whispered but received no response. Opening his eyes, Dean saw that Castiel was already asleep. With a quiet chuckle, Dean closed his eyes again and felt himself slip into the heavenly cloud of sleep.

Dean and Castiel stayed at the hotel room the entire night and Dean got his first night of sleep without any nightmares since before he got out of Hell. The entire night, Dean laid in the angel’s arms and used his chest as a pillow, while Castiel slept for the third time in his existence.

The next morning, Dean awoke slowly and opened his eyes to see Castiel’s blue ones looking at him with a fond look.

“Morning.” Dean grunted and yawned loudly, feeling his jaw crack as he did.

Castiel places a soft kiss on his forehead as he murmured a ‘morning’ back to the ex-archangel.

Dean groaned and rolled off of Castiel’s body, and by doing so, the bed as well. A louder groan escaped Dean as he laid on the carpet covered floor. “What times s’it?” Dean grumbled as he heaved himself up from the floor with the help of the bed.

Castiel chuckled and received a glare from the hunter. “A little over 2 in the afternoon.” Castiel stated calmly.

“What?!” Dean almost yelled as he fully woke up. He scrambled up onto his feet and started frantically collecting his clothes. He had been gone for over 24 hours and Sam and Bobby was probably worried.

Castiel sat up fully in the bed and looked at Dean with loving eyes. “Shouldn’t you take a shower before you leave? You’re kind of covered in - everything.”

Castiel said and gestured to Dean’s body which was covered in sweat and saliva, and his own release from the night before.

“Can’t you use your mojo and clean me up?” Dean asked as he put on his underwear and jeans. He put on his boots and laced them up efficiently and quickly, and stood to look at Castiel.

The angel rolled his eyes and waved his hand, cleaning Dean’s body with a swipe of grace. “The hickeys, however, are staying.” He smirked and leaned back on his elbows in the bed.

Dean hummed and pulled his t-shirt over his head. “I’m okay with that.” Grabbing his jacket from where it was at the edge of the bed, Dean turned to look at the angel. “I’ll talk to you later. But right now, I’ve gotta find a way to stop the Apocalypse. And don’t forget to check out of the room before you leave.”

With a peck on the lips and a whispered ‘I love you’ , Dean was out of the door. With quick steps, Dean made his way through the streets of Sioux Falls, wishing he had taken Baby the day before so he didn’t have to walk while hungover and freshly awakened.

It took 15 minutes to get from the hotel and back to Bobby’s house, during the time which Dean had at least woken up some and was trying to figure out an excuse as to where he had been for the last 24 hours. The best he could come up with was an one night stand and a breakfast somewhere in town.

The moment Dean entered Bobby’s house, he was not surprised to see Bobby in the study with an untouched book, and Sam pacing the floor in front of him. Both of them looked up when he entered and stared at him. Dean couldn’t help but shift uncomfortably under their stares.

“Uh, hey?” Dean said as he entered.

“Where the Hell have you been?” Bobby growled. “It’s been 24 hours! You didn’t call, you didn’t text, we thought something happened to you.”

Dean put on a reassuring smile. “Relax. I was just at a girl’s house and stopped for some dinner in town. Must have left my phone here. I really didn’t mean to get you worried.” Dean apologized and took off his jacket and immediately felt eyes on his hickey covered neck. As long as they weren't asking, he wouldn't explain.

Sam looked at him with eyes showing an emotion almost like worry. Or was that pity? Dean couldn’t really tell as he shouldered past Sam and collapsed into the chair he had occupied during the last days and picked up one of the books from the pile on the desk.

Sam sat down on the couch and took a couple of books with him while Bobby opened his book and started reading. Three of the best hunters in the world, stuck reading lore books for hours on end.

Dean chuckled quietly to himself at the thought and couldn’t help it when he added; ‘Yo ho! A hunter’s life for me.’

 


I imagine that Ariel and Balthazar's house looks something like this:

(It's actually Jensen's home. I tried to find something original but couldn't find anything so I chose Jensen's house since he has a beautiful, big and expensive house, which is what I imagine Balthazar and Ariel would live in)

 

Chapter Text

Dean failed to stop the seal from breaking. Lilith broke the ‘Rising of the Witnesses’ as she pulled back people Sam, Dean and Bobby couldn’t save. Meg Masters, Ronald Reznick, Victor Henriksen, the twin sisters. The guilt of not being able to save them came back, almost worse than before as they were used as pawns in the chess game that was the Apocalypse.

Then, Dean took a trip to 1973 and after seeing Mary make the deal with Azazel, Dean hadn’t been in the mood for any research on the Apocalypse, even though Castiel had given them Dean’s old Enochian books. Instead, Dean pulled Sam along on hunts.

But before he could, he watched Sam use his psychic powers to exorcise a demon, having been lead to the warehouse by Castiel who had been keeping an eye on where Sam goes everytime he leaves. Dean’s blood had frozen and his breath had gotten stuck in his throat. ‘The powers were supposed to disappear after Azazel’s death’ Dean thought in horror.

When Sam was about to open the door to the warehouse with the formerly possessed man leaning against him, when Dean yanked it open. He glared at Sam, a furious glimt in his eyes. “Anything you wanna tell me, Sam?” Dean asked in a growling voice.

Sam had the nerve to look innocent as Dean took strong steps towards him, aware of the presence of the demon, Ruby, who glared at him. If her eyes were lasers, Dean would have a hole straight through his head.

“Dean, hold on okay? Just let me-” Sam started, almost frantically, but Dean cut him off.

Dean huffed loudly. “You gonna say, ‘let me explain’? You're gonna explain this ? How about this? Why don't you start with why you’re hanging out with a demon, with Ruby , of all demons?” Dean asked with his arms firmly crossed over his chest.

Sam’s nervous and innocent look changed into something more questioning. “I never said it was Ruby…” Sam trailed off, becoming suspicious of how Dean could know without Sam telling him.

Dean smirked, but it never quite reached his eyes. “One of the benefits of being best friends with an angel who pulled you out of Hell; is that the angel can borrow out some powers to you and the angelic vision allowing them to see the true forms of demons and angels.” Dean shrugged nonchalantly, as if he hadn’t almost revealed the very fact he was trying to hide. Anger can be a vicious motivator, possible even reveal a hidden relationship.

Sam’s eyes widened and Ruby looked slightly scared. It was almost humorous seeing Sam’s face so shocked, but all Dean could feel was betrayal. “Angel whore…” Ruby said under her breath, but Dean still heard it. He glared at her before looking back to Sam.

“Were you even going to tell me about your powers? About how you can exorcise demons with your mind? Or were you planning on keeping me in the dark, going behind my back and replacing me with that black-eyed, hellhound bitch?” Dean asked and gestured to Ruby.

All through the argument, Ruby had stood quietly and watched the brothers talking back and forth, but when Dean called her ‘hellhound bitch’, her eyes flicked to black and threw out her arm to pin Dean to the wall with her demonic powers. She growled loudly in response to Dean’s successful attempt at egging her on.

As Ruby moved to stand in front of Dean, powers pressing him into the wall hard enough for the wall to groan at the weight, Dean grinned at Ruby. “Come on, do it.” Dean taunted as Ruby took her place in front of him. “Do it, kill me. Send me back downstairs and let Alastair finish what he started.” Ruby pressed him harder against the wall, but Dean laughed instead of screaming. “ COME ON! ” Dean yelled at Ruby.

Sam, who had been staring at them with a look of horror, immediately surged forward at Dean’s call, laying the formerly possessed man on the floor before he rushed to Ruby and pulled her back by the shoulder. Ruby’s concentration broke and Dean dropped to the floor on his knees where he chuckled madly.

“Go.” Sam whispered to Ruby with a nod to the unconscious man on the floor, knowing her presence would make the situation worse.

When Ruby disappeared after one final glare at Dean, Sam looked at Dean with wide and worried eyes. Dean looked back up at him and Sam watched as the madness in them faded into exhaustion and sorrow. “At least tell me you aren’t drinking demon blood.” Dean begged and Sam was caught off guard by the cheer look of being done in Dean’s eyes, almost begging for being done with everything, life as well.

Sam shook his head in response to Dean’s begging. “No, why would I do that?” Sam lied. It was a lie that tasted like acid when it slipped off his tongue. When Dean looked at him, he tried to look innocent, which he seemed to manage, judging by the fact that Dean let his head drop and his tense shoulders relaxed.

Sam released a silent breath of relief and picked Dean up by his armpits. He slung Dean’s arm around his shoulder and curled his own around Dean’s waist, before hoisting both himself and Dean up.

_______________________

“What the Hell was that Dean?!” Sam asked angrily once they had gotten back to the motel room and Dean had laid down on his bed. “What were you trying to get her to do? Kill you?”

Dean remained silent, staring at the ceiling and avoided looking at Sam. It was a wordless confirmation.

Sam released the breath he was holding, bringing his hands up to run through his hair. “Why?” Sam whispered as he looked at his older brother with sad eyes.

“Why not?” Dean responded emotionlessly. “I’ve wanted to die for a long time. On and off for years, decades. But I always stayed because there was always something keeping me here.”

Sam carefully sat down on the bed next to Dean’s, leaning forward to touch Dean’s arm in an attempt to comfort him, but Dean flinched away from his touch. Sam recoiled and instead adapted a soft voice. “What made you stay before?” ‘Maybe you could find it again’.

“You.” Dean whispered. “Dad. Bobby. Ellen and Jo. Now, I guess it’s Cas…” Dean continued, but dropped off at his fiancé’s name. With a sigh, he sent a prayer of longing to Castiel, hoping he would understand that Dean wanted him there at that moment.

Sam hunched over, resting his arms on his knees. “Cas, as in Castiel? The angel?” Sam questioned. Dean hummed in confirmation. “Earlier… you said you were borrowing his powers. Is that true?” Sam questioned tentatively.

Dean was quiet for a second before he nodded. “Yeah. But not all of it, enough to allow me angelic vision so I can see angels and demons and their true form.” A small smile tugged at Dean’s face. “It’s weird, feeling and being aware of how the nature acts. I can feel an oak tree in Europe losing it’s leaves, a snowstorm winding up in Antarktis. It feels like some weird drug trip.”

Sam couldn’t help the small smile at the description, he was almost glad he didn’t have angelic powers and instead was cursed with demon blood in his veins. He looked down at his hands which were shaking from the loss of the adrenaline he had gained from the confrontation with Dean, he had been so scared of Dean finding out about the demon blood, afraid of Dean’s judgement, of Dean calling him a monster, a freak.

“I know you’re drinking demon blood, Sam.” Dean whispered. Sam’s head shot up to look at his brother. Dean’s eyes had turned from playful to almost empty. “I know that’s how you managed to exorcise the demon.”

The drop of the mood in the room was nearly visible as it went from light-hearted to nervous and strained.

Sam’s breathing hitched; just as he thought he was able to get away, Dean caught him. “How?” Sam asked, feeling the fear come back.

“Your eyes are dilated as if you’re high, your breath stinks of sulphur and copper, the powers Azazel gave you are back with the improvement of exorcising, and you’re hanging with the manipulative bitch Ruby.” Dean said emotionlessly.

Sam felt a flash of anger in his chest. “Don’t call her that.” He warned. The anger should have terrified him, just as the fact he was protecting a demon. But for some reason he didn’t feel anything but anger.

Dean sat up on the bed and leaned back on his elbows, and glared at Sam. “ Not call her that? When it’s the truth?” Dean huffed an angry breath. “Sam, she’s not working against Lilith, she’s working for Lilith! She’s manipulating you!”

Silence spread in the motel room, Dean waiting for Sam’s reaction and Sam having been stopped short by Dean’s outrage.

“She-she wouldn't… she’s been helping me all this time…” Sam stuttered, the anger fading as he recounted all the times Ruby helped them. Or did she really help them?

Dean firmly shook his head. “She’s been corrupting you. That’s what demon blood does to you. It will change everything about you. You will go from Sam Winchester, the hunter, to… Sam Winchester, the damaged. The monster. The boy king of Hell.” Dean choked out.

“How do you know all of that?” Sam whispered in question.

Dean’s body tensed as thoughts of confession whirled around in his head. He opened his mouth and shut it a few times before he sighed. He couldn’t explain it in a good way without giving away the truth of his biology.

But of course, before he could answer with some bullshit lie, fluttering wings echoed in the room as Castiel appeared. He must have felt the tension between the two brothers because he paused the second he entered.

“Pardon me.” Castiel apologized. “Dean prayed to me and I believed my presence was wanted. I didn’t mean to interrupt.”

“It’s fine.” Sam quickly answered and sat up straighter in the bed. “It’s nothing we can’t talk about later.”

Dean glared angrily at Sam and sat up completely in the motel bed. “Actually, Castiel. Why don’t you explain the effects of drinking demon blood.” Dean suggested, never taking his eyes off Sam.

Castiel nervously looked between them, eyebrows furrowed. “The effects demon blood can have on a person will alter every part of their being. The body, soul, everything . If used long enough, the soul itself will be burnt away, leaving a human with no moral compass to tell them what’s right and wrong. Ultimately, it could lead to a type of mix between a human and a demon, but not a cambion. Instead, an unstable, dark force that should be killed long before it’s created.”

Dean remained silent, but threw a glance at Sam, looking away as he saw the horrified look on his face. “Can you promise me you’ll stop? If not for yourself, then for me?” Dean asked softly as he looked down at his hands as he wrung them together.

Sam nodded numbly, partly in shock from the revelation. “I promise.” He whispered.

Dean smiled weakly and clapped Sam on the shoulder. “Thank you.” He said with a smile before looking to Castiel. “And thanks to you too, you idiot.” Dean slapped his hands down on his thighs and stood, smiling between Sam and Castiel, though it was strained, forced. “Now, how about we hunt down some evil sons of bitches?”

_______________________

Sam wanted to stop. He really did. After finding out what the demon blood did to you, he tried to quit, but as soon as the effects of withdrawal set in, he gave in. He called Ruby on a burner phone, away from the motel they were staying at in the pretence of interviewing a witness.

What was worse than the fact he was destroying his soul with the demon blood, was the fact that he was lying to Dean. Dean, selfless, kind and brave Dean, who had just gone through 40 years of Hell. Lying and hiding from Dean was almost as bad as finding out he had demon blood coursing through his veins. But he tried not to think about it, and instead focused on hunts, on saving as many people as he could.

Which brought Sam and Dean to Halloween. A man choked to death on razor blades, turned out to be two witches trying to make the demon Samhain rise for the first time in 600 years. 3 sacrifices over 3 nights, the fourth being the rising itself. Then Castiel and Uriel appeared in Sam and Dean’s motel room, telling them the rising of Samhain is one of the 66 seals.

“This is Uriel, he’s what you might call a… specialist.” Castiel introduced the other angel to Sam and Dean. Or mostly Sam.

Dean felt the breath leave him as he realized why they were there. He knew exactly what Uriel specialized in.

Sam, on the other hand, became more curious. “What kind of specialist? What are you gonna do?” He asked, verging on worried and panicked.

Castiel looked between Sam and Dean to Uriel, sending a quick apologetic look to Dean. “You, uh, both of you, you need to leave this town immediately.” He commanded nervously.

“Why?” Sam asked, blissfully unaware of the situation at hand.

Castiel looked gultily at Dean and then Sam. “Because we’re about to destroy it.” Castiel finished and released a heavy breath.

Dean felt Sam look at him with a worried glance, but Dean couldn’t tear his eyes away from the two angels.

“So you’re gonna smite the whole friggin’ town?” Sam asked once he saw that Dean wasn’t going to answer.

Castiel sadly shook his head. “We’re out of time. This witch has to die, the seal must be saved.”

Sam felt rage in his chest at the confession. “There are a thousand people here. You’re gonna kill them all just to get the witch?” He questioned.

Uriel butted into the conversation. “One thousand, two hundred and fourteen.” He added.

“And you’re willing to kill them all?” Dean asked quietly, glaring at Uriel who stared back at him with a mix of boredom and hate.

Uriel took a step forward. “This isn’t the first time I’ve…” Uriel paused to find an appropriate wording. “… Purified a city.” He settled on.

Castiel lightly pushed Uriel out of the way. “Look, I understand that this is regrettable.” The blue-eyed angel said.

“Regrettable?” Dean questioned his fiancé with a raised eyebrow

Castiel threw Dean a quick glare before his face went back to his neutral squinting face. “We have to hold the line. Too many seals have been broken already.”

“What about our plan, then? ‘Find the last seal and protect it’?” He questioned.

Uriel stepped forward angrily and Dean took a step backwards in response as the angel got too close for his comfort. “It’s the worst plan I’ve ever heard. If you’re plan fails and the last seal breaks before we can stop it, then Lucifer will rise and Hell along with him. Do you really want Hell to be unleashed?” Uriel angrily questioned.

Dean clenched his jaw, refusing to let anyone else on Earth to be tortured like he had been. He swallowed past the lump and his throat and straightened his back. “But it’s only one seal, there’s still a lot more out there to break.” He spoke, trying to stop himself from growling.

Castiel look at him with understanding eyes, while Uriel glared. “It’s the life of one thousand against the lives of six billion. There’s a bigger picture here.

Dean let out a snort of laughter at Uriel’s response. “Right. Cause you’re bigger picture kind of guys.” Dean muttered. He firmly shook his head and stepped closer to Uriel and Castiel, Sam reaching out a hand to stop him. “We’ll stop this witch before she summons anyone. Your seal won’t be broken and no one has to die.”

Uriel looked to Castiel with a bored expression. “We’re wasting time with these mud monkeys.” He muttered to the other angel.

Castiel glared at him before looked to the two hunters. “Look, we have our orders-” Castiel started, but Sam cut him off.

“No. You can’t do this, you’re angels, I mean aren’t you supposed to -- aren’t you supposed to show mercy?” He questioned. This wasn’t how he imagined angels like, they were supposed to be kind, gentle, not believing in the needs of the many outweighs the need of a few.

Uriel looked at him with a raised eyebrow. “Says who?” He questioned.

Castiel stepped in before either Sam or Uriel started swinging. “We have no choice.” He apologized.

Dean shook his head, despite knowing about the orders of angels. “Of course you have a choice. I mean, come on, what? You never questioned a crap order, huh? What are you both, just a couple of hammers?” Dean asked, echoing an argument, the first and only, between Dean and Castiel from several years ago, in the 1660s.

“I don’t understand how you can be a soldier, Castiel! Following orders blindly? Killing everyone your superiors tell you to? The need of the many outweigh the few? It’s brutal! Stupid! Simple-minded!” Dean had yelled at the younger angel after the angels had wiped out a fourth of London’s population with the Plague.

By the look in Castiel’s eyes, he remembered the argument as well. Castiel let out a soft sigh as he shook his head lightly. “Look, even if you can’t understand it, have faith. The plan is just.” He insisted, sending an apologetic look Dean’s way, letting Dean know that he didn’t chose to say any of it.

Sam frowned. “How can you even say that?” He snapped. “How is this a just plan?”

“Because it comes from Heaven, that makes it just.” Uriel replied, voice growing more annoyed for each minute.

Dean chuckled at the answer. “Oh, it must be nice, to be so sure of yourselves.” He smirked. Soldier angels; not a single ounce of free will in them. Or Castiel had some free will, but still not as much as humans.

Uriel glared at him with a dark look. “Tell me something, Dean, when your father gave you an order, did you obey?” Uriel asked, a smile tugging at his lips.

Dean felt anger course through his body at Uriel’s comment, the description ‘Daddy’s good little soldier’ echoing in his head. He clenched his jaw and saw Castiel sending him an apologetic from the corner of his eye. “Well sorry boys, looks like the plans have changed.” He growled.

The african american angel raised his eyebrow at Dean’s growl. “You think you can stop us?” He questioned, something aking smugness in his voice.

Dean shook his head and took another step towards the angels. “No, but if you’re gonna smite this whole town, then you’re gonna have to smite us with it, because we’re not leaving. See, you went to the trouble of busting me out of Hell. I figure I’m worth something to the man upstairs. So you wanna waste me, go ahead, see how he digs that.” ‘Too bad God bailed a long time ago’

“I will drag you outta here myself.” Uriel threatened in a low voice, an angry frown covering his face.

“Yeah, but you’ll have to kill me, then we’re back to the same problem. I mean, come on, you’re gonna wipe out a whole town for one little witch. Sounds to me like you’re compensating for something.” Dean joked and caught Castiel breaking a smile from the corner of his eye while Sam scoffed at Dean’s joke. Dean quickly sobered up and became serious again. “We can do this. We will find that witch and we will stop the summoning.” Dean promised.

Uriel turned to look at the blue-eyed angel with exasperation. “Castiel! I will not let these peop-” He complained, but Castiel silenced him by holding up a hand.

“Enough!” Castiel growled like the commander he was and Uriel obeyed. He looked at the two hunters with a stern look. “I suggest you move quickly.” He ordered.

And with the last command, the two angels disappeared with the sound of fluttering wings.

Dean stared at the spot where the angels had been staring for a second before he turned his face to look at Sam. “Well, you heard him.” He spoke. “Lets hunt ourself a witch.”

_______________________

“Our orders were not to stop the summoning of Samhain, they were to do whatever you told us to do.” Castiel explained as he brushed his fingers through Dean’s hair as they laid in a hotel bed back in Sioux Falls once the hunt was over.

It had turned out there was two witches, Tracy Davis and Don Harding, but Sam and Dean had failed to stop Samhain from rising, thus breaking the seal. But Sam had stopped the demon from causing more harm. Unfortunately, he had used the powers from the demon blood. Fortunately, however, it was the last powers he got from his latest dose. At least that’s what Sam told him.

Dean chuckled against the bare flesh of the angel’s chest. “Your orders were to follow my orders?” He asked with a smile.

Castiel nodded and smiled. “It was a test, to see how you would perform under… battlefield conditions, you might say. You know, so you can be Michael’s vessel.” He shrugged, trying not to jostle Dean’s head on his chest.

“But I failed the test, didn’t I?” Dean questioned. “I get it. But I know that if it weren’t for me and Sam, everyone in that city would be dead. The children, trees, all of it, just gone. If it wasn’t for us.”

The blue-eyed angel stopped his motion of brushing his fingers through his hair, in favor of using his arm to pull Dean’s body tighter against his own. “I was hoping you and Sam were going to save the town. I was praying for it, actually.” Castiel admitted and kissed the top of Dean’s head as the change in positions had placed Dean’s head straight under his chin.

“To who? Dad?” Dean asked with a chuckle. He had a hate for his father that he never talked about, though Castiel seemed to know anyways.

Castiel nodded. “You might not have faith in our father, but I know you have faith in humanity. And everything that would have been destroyed in that city, they were all our father’s creations. Works of art. And yet, even though Sam stopped Samhain, the seal was broken and we are one step closer to Hell on Earth, for all of creation. And you know just as well as me that it’s no expression, it’s literal.” He reported.

Dean winced at the thought of hellfire and torture. “I’d rather let Hell stay right where it belongs; in Hell.” Dean answered, tiredly.

Castiel hummed in agreement before he nuzzled his nose into Dean’s light brown hair. “Can I tell you something if you promise not to tell another soul? Or grace?” He asked and waited until Dean nodded. “I’m not as good of a soldier as I once was. I have questions, I have doubts. I don’t know what is right and what is wrong anymore, whether I’ve passed or failed here.” Castiel admitted.

Dean raised his head and looked into Castiel’s blue eyes. “How long have you felt like this?” He asked, his normally playful tone serious and concerned.

Castiel smiled as he brushed his knuckles along Dean’s cheek. “Ever since I first met you.” He admitted, watching Dean’s eyes widen. “Meeting you, becoming your friend, it was the first time I ever disobeyed an order. ‘Never interact with an archangel without permission’. After that, I broke rules, I had thoughts of my own. I had-”

“-Free will.” Dean finished for him. Castiel nodded in affirmative. Dean cracked a smile at the answer. “Well then, Cas, I think that’s going to be helpful in the long run. Makes you seem more human.” Dean answered with a yawn and tugged the covers higher to cover their chests. “And part of being human, is the need to sleep. And I’m exhausted.”

Dean laid his head back down on Castiel’s chest, feeling the angel resume brushing his fingers though the short light brown strands. “Well, it’s been a long week. Lots of emotions. Lots of action.” Castiel commented as he felt Dean slip closer and closer to the sleep he was fighting. “Go to sleep, my light, I’ll be here when you wake up. I’ll watch over you.” Castiel reassured, smiling when Dean’s eyes finally slipped shut.

Castiel was more than content to stay in the bed the whole night, watching his fiancé sleep and protecting him from whatever dangers could appear. Even if the worst danger is mostly nightmares; not real.

Chapter Text

 

It was late, sometime around 3 in the morning and Dean was still awake. But to be fair, he had been sleeping earlier, he was only awake because of a nightmare.

Dean was sitting on Bobby’s old couch in the living room and nursed a bottle of beer, staring at the piles of books on the tables, floors and chairs through the darkness. On any available surfaces, there was books. Books about angels, demons, Hell, Heaven, archangels, the Apocalypse, anything useful that might give them ideas on seals. Even Dean’s own books were there.

Dean briefly sat his beer down to pick up one of his own books Castiel had dropped off, one about Heaven’s weapons. He opened it to a random page and saw a hand drawn picture of the Michael Sword.

“How ironic.” Dean muttered, before closing the book and placing it on the couch cushion next to him. With a heavy sigh, Dean took a drink from his beer and glared at the book. He already had anxiety and panic over the seals and the Apocalypse, so reading about the ‘sword of Michael’ didn’t help at all. “Stupid older brothers, always fighting over something. Hell, I don’t even know why they’re fighting to begin with.” He angrily grumbled.

“You know, you’re a shitty angel of family.” Castiel’s voice sounded from the doorway, making Dean jump in surprise, causing Dean to spill his drink. The angel chuckled at the reaction. “And one would think you’d notice I was here. After all, we have a ‘connection’.” He teased, doing exaggerated air quotes.

Dean turned around on the couch and glared at Castiel who was leaning against the doorway. “Damn it, Cas.” Dean growled and stood up to avoid wetting himself more with his drink. “Next time, warn a guy.”

“My apologies.” The angel smirked.

As Dean went into the kitchen and got a towel for the spilled beer, he spoke to his fiancé. “And what the Hell are you talking about? I’m an amazing angel of family.” Dean exclaimed as he entered the living room again and threw down the towel at his former seat.

Castiel chuckled lightly. “Well, for starters, you’re complaining about our brothers non-stop, as well as our father. And you’ve expressed several times that you want to kill them. Along with the fact that you never pay them any attention.” Castiel pointed out.

Dean offered a weak smile in response. “Just because we’re family doesn’t mean we don’t fight. Wanting to kill them comes along with the job of being a big brother. And lastly, we have thousands of siblings, I can’t pay attention to them all.” He explained with a raised eyebrow, daring Castiel to disagree.

Castiel shrugged as if to say ‘fair point’ before he took the few steps necessary so he stood chest to chest with Dean and gazed into Dean’s green eyes. The angel wrapped his arms around the hunter’s waist and the hunter returned the favor by folding his arms around Castiel’s neck. Their lips met in a passionate kiss as their bodies started swaying around the crowded living room, dancing along to imaginary music.

When they broke apart from the kiss, they leaned their foreheads together and danced around the room. As Castiel briefly let go of Dean, only to grasp his hand and spin him, Dean hummed on an old tune. He couldn’t remember the lyrics, but he knew the melody by heart. Once Dean was back in Castiel’s arms, they moved to the song Dean hummed.

As Dean hummed the last verse, both he and Castiel stopped moving in favor of just standing with their arms around each other. The angel turned his head up so that he could kiss the hunter, bringing his hand up to cradle Dean’s cheek. The hunter kissed back fiercely, wordlessly showing the angel how much he loved him. Soon, it became a battle of tongues as neither Dean or Castiel could let go of each other.

But Dean was still only a human and had to pull back to catch his breath. Instead, Dean let his forehead rest against Castiel’s and their noses rub together. “I love you.” Dean whispered and paused. “Idiot.” He added affectionately, earning a chuckle from Castiel.

“I love you too, nerd.” Castiel whispered back.

Dean smiled; he had found himself smiling more since he got his memories back, despite the threat of the Apocalypse hanging over his head. Most likely because of Castiel. “Thought I was your light?” Dean questioned in a teasing voice as he moved back from the angel.

“You are my light,” Castiel clarified. “But you’re also a nerd. I mean, I don’t know of anyone between Heaven, Hell and Earth that has the knowledge of angels, demons, spells and sigils quite like you.”

Dean hummed in response as he straightened the blue tie around Castiel's neck. “Wish I had studied the seals more.” Dean mumbled in response. He looked up to Castiel’s eyes through the darkness and frowned slightly. “I was never meant to have a part in the Apocalypse. Only Michael, Lucifer and Gabriel were supposed to. Me and Raphael was just supposed to watch from the sidelines and we had orders to not interfere, and it’s the only order I ever followed. So I never studied about the Apocalypse as I found it unnecessary and no one ever told me anything.” Dean stated quietly in a sad voice.

Castiel cradled Dean’s cheek and stroked his thumbs over Dean’s freckled cheeks. “You need to stop blaming yourself for everything that isn’t your fault! You didn’t know any of this would happen, you didn’t know you would become Dean Winchester.” The angel ranted fiercely.

Dean didn’t respond and instead looked at the angel with soft eyes as he bent his head to kiss the angel, nothing but a quick chaste kiss. He closed his eyes when they pulled away, enjoying the silence and the presence of his fiancé.

The click of the lights, however, made him open his eyes again. He turned his head to look at the doorway and saw Bobby standing there, frozen, with his hand on the light switch, wide eyes staring at Dean and Castiel who were still standing in the middle of the living room.

The old hunter’s eyes shifted back and forth between Dean and the angel, taking in how close they were standing and Dean’s relaxed posture. And in that moment, it occurred to Dean that Bobby hadn’t met the angel yet.

Dean cleared his throat and took a step away from the blue-eyed man and felt his body tense in nervousness. “Bobby, this is Castiel. The angel who got me out of Hell.” Dean introduced his fiancé to his surrogate father.

Bobby remained silent but his wary pose relaxed slightly at the knowledge of the stranger not being a threat. That knowledge, however, didn’t explain Dean and the angel’s closeness. “What’s going on here?” Bobby finally asked after the silence stretched out for an uncomfortable amount of time.

Dean was about to answer, but Castiel cut him off. “I came here to comfort my partner who had been awoken by a nightmare.” He confessed. Dean casted a quick glare at him before he looked back to his surrogate father with nervousness fluttering in his heart.

Bobby’s eyebrows shot up at the confession. “So the two of you are… together? A couple? Boyfriends?” He asked, unsure of what the two labeled themselves as.

Dean looked down at the floor with a nod. “Yeah.” He whispered.

Bobby’s eyes snapped to Castiel, who was watching Dean with fascinated eyes. “And you,” He questioned, causing Castiel to look at him. “You’re okay with Dean being male? Even though you’re an angel?”

Castiel nodded. “Yes. My father would be indifferent if Dean was a male or female. Mistranslations caused the bible to be like it is, several things are wrong, including the fact that God is against same-sex relationships.” The angel responded. “And as I don’t really have a gender because I’m an angel, technically this isn’t a same-sex relationship. Though I have a male vessel and I identify as a ma-”

“Cas, stop talking.” Dean commanded with a weak glare. “You’re rambling.”

The dark haired angel paused and seemed to realise how quickly his sentences followed each other and quietly apologized.

Bobby looked between the two, amused, as he saw the glint in Dean’s eyes. The green seemed to shine brighter as Dean looked at Castiel, like happiness and love mixed together. “Well, I’m happy for ya, idjit.” The gruff hunter smirked.

Dean looked at Bobby, and he smiled brightly. “Thanks.” He answered, a faint blush coloring his cheeks. “That… means a lot.”

It really did, barely anyone had accepted Dean and Castiel’s relationship in Heaven. Not the ones like Michael, Uriel, Naomi and Zachariah who were adamant on following orders. Because, Archangels shouldn’t get their graces mixed with a lesser angel. It had been one of the reasons Michael tried to kill Dean.

Bobby then glared at Castiel and stabbed a finger towards the angel. “And you,” Bobby growled quietly. “If you ever hurt him, if you so much as touch the wrong hair on his head, I’m coming for ya. And I’ll do anything in my power to rip you apart.” He threatened.

The angel just smiled despite the threat. For 525 years he had known Dean, for 522 of those years he’s loved Dean. He couldn’t even imagine a scenario where he’d hurt Dean, nevertheless break the archangel’s heart. “I promise I won’t hurt him. He’s been through too much for me to hurt him.” Castiel said sincerely.

Bobby stared at the angel, calculating, before he nodded in acceptance. “Your brother knows?” Bobby asked Dean with a raised eyebrow.

Dean shook his head shamefully. “No.” He answered. “I don’t really know how to tell him. About the fact that I’m dating an angel and I haven’t even told him I’m bi yet, so I don’t even know if he’ll accept that.”

“He most likely will.” Bobby reassured the young hunter. “Want me to tell him?” He questioned.

Dean immediately shook his head. “No.” He rushed out. “I’ll tell him when I’m ready.” He continued with a small nod.

Bobby raised an eyebrow at the answer, but didn’t say anything. Instead, Castiel took the word. “My apologies,” He spoke. “But my presence is needed in Heaven.” The angel looked to Dean, pressing a quick peck to the hunter’s lips, before whispering so Bobby didn’t hear: “Nanaeel nonci hoath.”

‘I love you’.

Dean smiled despite himself and whispered back his response just as quietly. “Nanaeel nonci t’hoath.”

‘I love you too’.

Castiel smiled brightly before pulling back from Dean and slipping his normal blank face into place. He nodded towards Bobby, as if to say goodbye and show his respect, before wings fluttered and he disappeared.

Bobby gasped when the angel disappeared, staring at the unvacated place the angel had stood in. His eyes quickly shifted to Dean’s and clearly spelled out ‘ What. The. Hell’.

“He does that a lot.” Dean offered. “Flying away and then coming back without warning. He actually scared the crap out of me when he appeared here earlier.” Dean shrugged with a chuckle.

Bobby hummed in response, his face taking on a calculating look. The old hunter moved to his desk where he opened a drawer and pulled out two glasses and a bottle of whiskey. He poured a generous amount in both glasses, handing one to Dean and drinking the other himself. “Does all angels look like that? Bookish, human… nerdy?” He asked after a minute of silence.

Dean sat down on the arm of the couch with a small chuckle, eyeing the towel and wet stain on the cushion, before answering. “No. Cas is in a vessel. Angels have to possess humans so that they can interact with us humans. If a human saw an angel in it’s true form, our eyes would burn out and the true voice of an angel is enough to make you deaf.”

“Are you telling me that your boyfriend is possessing someone?” Bobby questioned, as his face started verging on angry.

“Yes he’s possessing someone.” Dean answered, but was quick to continue. “But for an angel to possess someone, they gotta have consent. The man Cas is possessing, Jimmy Novak, agreed to being a vessel.”

It looked like Bobby wanted to ask more questions, but Dean cut him off before he could. “Bobby, I’d love to answer all your questions, but I’m exhausted and would very much like to go back to sleep.” Dean confessed, stifling a yawn. After his nightmare, he had been too on edge to go to sleep, but Castiel’s visit had managed to put him at ease enough for him to be tired again.

“Alright.” Bobby replied softly. “We’ll talk tomorrow morning.”

Dean nodded and handed Bobby back the full glass of whiskey trudged his way over to the stairs. “Night, Bobby.” The Winchester called over his shoulder, voice still quiet so Sam didn’t hear and didn’t wake up. Dean made his way up the stairs and into the bedroom he had claimed as his own during the times he had been there while Sam was at Stanford.

Downstairs, Bobby plopped down in one of the kitchen chairs, smile still firmly in place. When he said he was happy for Dean, he meant it. He knew Dean hadn’t had any serious relationships before, that Dean was a virgin when it came to relationships -- but definitely not when it came to sex -- and now Dean was in a relationship and was happy about it. Though Bobby wasn’t sure he approved of Castiel being an angel.

“Goodnight, son.” Bobby whispered into the air, hoping it somehow reached Dean in whatever consciousness he was in.

_______________________

Anna Milton sat on her bed in the psychiatric ward of the Connor Beverly Behavioral Medicine Center, hearing the whispering of several voices in her head. Her psychiatrist, Julia Jones, sat a few feet away from the bed, asking her questions she offered as little response as possible to.

“Do you remember what you did?” Julia asked and Anna nodded numbly. “You were hysterical. It took four people to restrain you.”

“I was trying to warn them.” Anna explained, her voice humb, almost dead.

Julia sat up straighter in her chair when Anna responded. “Warn who?” She questioned, studying the young woman in the hospital bed.

“Everyone.” She responded before she paused and shook her head in dismissal. “Forget it. It’s stupid.”

But the psychiatrist wasn’t letting it go. “What were you trying to warn them about?” Julia asked softly, urging Anna to answer.

Anna immediately shook her head. “Look,” She said, “I get it. You think I’m nuts. If I were you, I’d think I was nuts. But it’s all true .” She replied with a spark in her voice.

Julia nodded silently, not agreeing but also not disagreeing. “It’s okay. You can tell me. I’m here to listen.” She responded softly and made a quick note on the clipboard in her hand.

Anna took a shuddering breath. “The end… is coming. The Apocalypse.” She answered, reluctantly.

“The Apocalypse? Like in the Bible?” Julia asked with her eyebrows raised high in a mix of question and shock.

Anna shrugged. “Kind of. I mean, same bottom line. This demon, Lilith, is trying to break the 66 seals to free Lucifer from Hell. Lucifer... Will bring the apocalypse. So... Smoke 'em if you got 'em.” She answered before she turned her head as the whispering in her head got louder.

Julia watched her turn away with a faraway look in her eyes and was immediately concerned. “Anna?” She questioned.

Anna shook her head as she came back to the real world. “Sorry.” She apologized.

“What were you doing?” Julia asked softly.

“Nothing. Just listening.” She responded with a small shrug.

Julia swallowed thickly and made a note on Anna’s clipboard. “So, you were saying that there are, uh, 66 of these seals in the world?” She questioned.

Anna quickly shook her head. “No. No. There are about 600 possible seals, and Lilith only has to break 66 of them, and no one knows which 66 she's gonna break.” She answered.

“I see.” Julia hummed and leaned back on her chair and made another note.

Anna continued, though. “That's why it's nearly impossible to stop her. And that's why the angels are losing. That's why we're all gonna die.” She answered with a small break in her voice.

Julia nodded and concluded her appointment with a few more notes on the clipboard.

Hours later, a hospital attendant entered Anna’s room with a bottle of pills in his hands. “Time for your meds, Anna.” He said in greeting. But Anna didn’t seem to hear him. “Anna?” He tried again.

Anna turned around in the bed and her eyes widened in horror when she saw the attendant’s face.

The attendant noticed and adapted a somewhat caring voice. “What’s the matter, sweetie?”

Anna breathed heavily in fear as she stuttered, “Your face- what happened to your face?”

A wide and wicked grin covered the attendant’s face. “I know.” He answered before his eyes flicked to black. “I’m downright kissable. Shh now.” He hissed as he stepped forward the panicking girl and the frozen doctor.

Out of nowhere, a chest of drawers was thrown at the possessed attendant, knocking him to the floor. And Anna, through her panic, recognized that she was the one who threw it.

_______________________

Dean and Sam were in a bar, hustling some pool. Sam appeared to be drunk, tricking their opponent to place more money in the game.

Sam and Dean’s eyes met across the pool table as Sam was about to take his shot and Sam raised his eyebrow, all traces of fake drunkenness gone. Dean responded by raising his eyebrow back and Sam broke and made his shot, sinking several balls.

Just as Sam straightened, he saw Ruby across the bar. “Keep the money.” He told the man they were playing against, Brian, and walked towards Ruby.

“Keep the money? What-” Dean questioned as he watched his brother walk away and followed Sam with his eyes, finding his path lead him to Ruby. Dean felt his jaw tense as he followed after Sam towards the demon.

“Hey.” Dean heard Sam greet the demon, but Dean couldn’t tell if his voice was happy, angry or sad.

“Well, you got a lot of nerve showing up anywhere near me.” Dean growled as he came up next to them. “Or Sam for that matter.” He added with a fierce glare.

Ruby glared at Dean with all her might before Sam cleared his throat causing the two to stop glaring at each other and look at the younger Winchester. He raised his eyebrows towards Ruby, suggesting she explained her presence.

“I just have some info, then I’m gone.” Ruby answered with a slight growl.

Dean shifted on his feet and crossed his arms over his chest as he glared. “What is it?” Sam quickly asked, trying to move things along as to not let his brother and the demon get into a fight.

“I'm hearing a few whispers.” Ruby responded, but couldn’t continue before Dean interrupted her.

“Oh, great, demon whisperers -- that's reliable.” He sarcastically remarked.

Ruby took a deep breath before she continued, ignoring Dean. “Girl named Anna Milton escaped from a locked ward yesterday. The demons seem pretty keen on finding her. Apparently, some real heavy hitters turned out for the Easter-egg hunt.” She spoke.

“Why?” Sam asked. “Who is she?”

“No idea.” Ruby answered. “But I'm thinking that she's important, 'cause the order is to capture her alive. I just figured that whatever the deal is, you might want to find this girl before the demons do.” She added with a shrug.

Dean glared at her, considering their chances with the equation of Ruby working with Lilith; how probably was it for an ambush and/or was it a trap.

Sam looked at his older brother and saw the calculating green eyes. “Look, maybe we should check it out.” He suggested.

Dean seemed to get to a conclusion as he answered, “Actually, we're working a case, but thanks.”

“What case?” Ruby asked with a raised eyebrow.

“Wendigo.” Dean answered, from the corner of his eyes seeing the shock on Sam’s face when he answered so quickly. “Got a couple of big leads.”

Ruby huffed loudly. “Sounds dangerous.” She replied.

“Yeah, well, it sure ain't goose-chasing after some chick who, for all we know, doesn't even exist, just because you say she's important.” Dean responded, feeling something aking smugness at the angry frown on the demon’s face.

Ruby straightened her back, but still remained over a head shorter than Sam. “I'm just delivering the news. You can do whatever you want with it. Far as I'm concerned, I told you, I'm done.” She declared before she turned on her heel and set route for the exit.

Sam, however, quickly threw his arm out and caught her upper arm in his grip. “Wait, wait, wait. This hospital Anna escaped from -- it got a name?” He asked.

Later, when Sam and Dean sat in the Impala, Sam was on the phone with the police. “Can I get a copy of the missing persons report? Great. Okay. Thanks.” Sam thanked the person before hanging up and turning his head to look at his brother. “Well, Anna Milton's definitely real.”

“Don't mean the case is real.” Dean muttered, but Sam still heard him. “And this hospital's a three-day drive.” Dean complained.

“We've driven further for less, Dean.” Sam said with a shrug. Dean only shook his head in response. “You got something to say, say it.” The younger demanded.

“What happened to staying away from Ruby, huh? I thought you promised me you weren’t going to drink demon blood anymore.” Dean hissed out, letting his younger brother know just how unhappy he was with the case, but the underlying feeling of worry for Sam was what bubbled up the most.

Sam felt himself soften at his brother’s tone. Dean probably wasn’t aware of it, but he sounded like a kid when he was worrying over Sam. “Dean, I promise, I’m not drinking demon blood.” Liar . “And I’ve cut all contact with Ruby. I just use her as an informant and sometimes she gives me cases.” Liar.

“Still don’t like her.” Dean muttered. “How did you and Ruby even wind up together?” Dean asked angrily.

“Sure Dean. Let’s trade stories. You first. How was Hell? Please don’t spare me the details.” Sam snapped, only realizing his mistake when he saw Dean’s jaw snap shut and the muscles tighten. “I’m sorry.” Sam whispered, knowing of the horrible nightmares Dean had every night.

Dean shook his head and the drive continued in silence. And while Dean would like to say that he didn’t think of anything as he hummed along to the music, his brain going haywire as it mixed his memories of Hell and Lucifer into one terrifying mess.

THEN

Lucifer slid his knife just under the skin of Jensen’s wings, plucked from feathers, letting the skin slowly peel back and blood seep through the wound and drip down on the already bloodied marble floor. Lucifer had been at it for days, weeks probably, trying to get him to break, to go insane. “For your research,” Lucifer had hissed, “You can use it as a page about ‘how to make an angel go insane by torture’.”

Jensen’s wings were gone. One of them laid on the ground, severed from Jensen’s body, while the other five were sliced and mutilated, bones broken and skin destroyed. Jensen sobbed in agony, babbling as he tried to get Lucifer to stop.

“Stay still, little brother.” The older archangel growled at the younger. “This is gonna hurt.” Jensen didn’t have any time to prepare before Lucifer grabbed the right side middle wing, right where the wing met shoulder blade, and used a knife to slice at the wing, all the way down to the bone. With a couple flicks with the knife, the bone was exposed, the white stained red from blood and Lucifer grinned at the sight.

Jensen howled in pain of having his flesh removed and knew what was coming, and whimpered at the suspense. But when Lucifer placed the knife with teeth, the one able to saw through bones, Jensen screamed. His true voice echoed in a call for help through the abandoned corner of Heaven, but no one heard him. No one was around to hear.

Lucifer let out a clucking noise from the back of his throat as he shook his head in a mocking way. “Nice try, little brother, but there’s no one around to save you.”

Lucifer started moving the knife back and forth over the exposed bone, sawing the bone apart. Jensen screamed, howled and sobbed in pain, and felt something within him snap when the bone was severed and the wing fell to the floor with a soft thump. The younger archangel grew quiet and remained silent no matter how hard Lucifer worked to get him to scream.

The scene around him shifted and Lucifer became Alastair, pulling his spine out one vertebrae at a time from a two inch hole in the lower part of Dean’s back, dropping them onto the cobblestone floor until the bones made a pile of bloody bones and Dean’s spine was non-existent.

The demon leaned over Dean’s body, licking the shell of Dean’s ear. “You look so wonderful, stretched out like this.” Alastair whispered, pushing his hand through the 2 inch hole, feeling blood and red meat swallow his hand. He pushed it up towards Dean’s ribs and felt around inside, letting his fingers brush over Dean’s breathing heart and the lungs which still drew in air.

Dean laid limply on the rack, unable to move without his spine, and felt blood seep from his empty eye sockets, an imitation of tears. He would’ve screamed if he had a tongue, but it had been cut out and thrown to the floor sometime after Dean’s eyes were removed, but before Alastair had started working in his spine.

“What do you say, Dean? How about you pick up the knife?” Alastair taunted. The question was just that, a question, but also a sort of taunt, to let Dean know another day had passed.

Dean just shook his head. Alastair snapped his fingers and Dean’s body became whole again, he could see, speak and move again. And he could hear the howls of the hellhounds getting closer and closer as Alastair stepped aside.

NOW

Dean jerked the Impala off of the road and onto the shoulder beside the road, throwing the door open and stumbling outside until he collapsed on his knees on the grass beside the road. He drew in a big shuddering breath before his stomach lurched and did it’s best to dispel the burger and pie he had eaten earlier. It didn’t taste as good that time than it did when he first ate it. His body heaved until only bile burned as it crawled up his throat and he spat at the acidic taste.

‘Christ,’ Dean thought, ‘haven’t had that bad of a flashback since before I became Dean.’

Dean raised his shaking hands to his face and felt the tears on his cheeks and angrily wiped them off, leaving his cheeks red and irritated.

A hand fell on Dean’s shoulder and he grabbed the wrist before he whipped around to face the assailant, raising his fist in preparation to strike his attacker but relaxed when he saw the head of shaggy brown hair belonging to his brother.

Sam looked at Dean with concerned eyes as he withdrew his hand. “Jesus, Dean.” Sam muttered, heart swelling with worry at the sight of his brother’s pale and clammy face.

Dean wiped his mouth with the sleeve of his jacket before he stood on shaky legs which quickly gave out under him. Sam caught him before he collapsed to the ground and held him up and slung Dean’s arm over his shoulder.

Dean shoved his brother away from him with a grunt before walking on wobbling legs back to the Impala, tossing the keys to Sam over the roof of the car, hitting the younger Winchester in the chest, before getting in the passenger seat.

Sam remained standing outside, frozen in place before he shook himself and climbed into the driver’s seat, glancing over to the passenger side and saw Dean sitting with crossed arms and glared at the dashboard in front of him.

The engine roared back to life, but Sam leaned back in the seat instead of putting the Impala back on the road. He turned his head to Dean and saw green eyes staring back at him with a raised eyebrow. “Dean, you can’t just bottle up everything. You need to talk about it, before you break completely.” Sam begged.

Dean scoffed and turned his head to stare out of the window. “I already have talked about it, remember? Or have you forgotten the night on the balcony?” Dean responded with a huff.

Sam turned his head away and gripped the steering wheel and continued the journey towards the Connor Beverly Behavioral Medicine Center in a tense silence, during which Sam thought about how many deals he had tried to made with demons, trying to sell his soul and make Dean come back.

_______________________

Julia looked at the two FBI agents in front of her. “Of course I want to help however I can.” She told them.

“Now, the orderly has no recollection of Anna's escape?” Sam questioned.

“Apparently, she knocked him unconscious. The blow caused some amnesia. He doesn't even remember coming into her room.” The psychiatrist explained, still shocked that the quiet and docile girl she’s been looking after had attacked a doctor that tried to help her.

Dean made a comment of how unbelievable it was for Anna to have knocked someone out who was much bigger and heavier than her.

Julia shrugged in response to Dean’s comment. “We think she may have planned this, waited behind the door.” She recounted.

“Right.” Sam huffed. He looked down at the notepad he usually carried before looking back up at the psychiatrist. “Uh, you mentioned Anna's illness was recent.”

Julia nodded in answer. “Two months ago, she was happy, well-adjusted, journalism major, lots of friends. Bright future.”

Dean raised an eyebrow. “So, what happened, she just... flipped?” He questioned, trying to keep the edge of disbelief out of his voice.

The psychiatrist sighed sadly. “Well, that's the tragedy of schizophrenia. Within weeks, Anna was overtaken by delusions.”

“What kind of delusions?” Sam asked, tilting his head in question.

“She believed demons were everywhere.” Julia answered and handed Sam the sketchbook that belonged to Anna.

Dean took the sketchbook from Sam’s hands and flipped through a few pages. “Interesting.” He muttered.

“It's not uncommon for our patients to believe that monsters are real.” Julia commented and Dean hid his smile at the truth of his statement by looking down in the notebook.

“Well, that -- that's just batty.” Dean commented and turned another page in the sketchbook, finding amazing and graphic sketches, writing saying ‘ Rising of the witness ’ and ‘ Samhain is the next seal is broken ’. “These are Revelations.”

The psychiatrist raised an eyebrow. “Since when does the Book of Revelations have jack-o'-lanterns?”

“It's a, uh, it's a little-known translation.” Dean easily lied and continued to flip through the pages of the sketchbook, finding more seals illustrated on the pages.

“Well, Anna's father was a church deacon. When she became ill, her paranoia took on religious overtones. She was convinced the devil was about to rise up and end the world. I hope you find her. It's dangerous for her to be out there alone right now.” Julia urgently said.

Dean hummed in response as Sam said their goodbyes to the doctor and Dean slammed the notebook shut when he saw the gruesome illustration of the seal he broke himself. ‘ The first seal shall be broken when a righteous man sheds blood in Hell ’. Dean followed Sam as the two made their ways out of the hospital and to the Impala where they set course towards the Milton residence.

Sam spoke during the drive, but Dean was distracted by the thoughts of what Anna could be. No normal human should know of the seals. “Two months ago,” Dean started, thinking back to what the psychiatrist had said. “When I came back from Hell?” Dean questioned with a glance at Sam.

Sam shrugged. “It could be a coincidence.”

Dean chuckled and rolled his eyes. “Yeah, since when do we get coincidences.” He remarked as the Impala arrived outside the Milton residence.

Both Winchesters straightened their suits once they got out of the car and walked up to the front door in unison. Dean knocked on the door before he stepped back and waited. When nobody came after a minute, Dean frowned and looked at Sam. “Maybe they’re not home?” Dean suggested, but Sam quickly shook his head.

“Both cars are in the driveway.” Sam responded and nodded to where the two cars stood in front of the garage.

Dean looked back to the door and tried the handle. The door opened and the two Winchesters quietly stepped inside. “Mr. and Mrs. Milton?” Dean called out in question as he and Sam made their way through the house.

“We're from the sheriff's department. We just wanted to ask you a couple of questions.” Sam easily picked up where the older Winchester left off.

The brothers entered the living room and saw Mr. and Mrs. Milton on the floor, both with their throats slit. Sam rushed over and kneeled down next to the bodies and ran his fingers through some powder next to their bodies. “Sulfur. The demons beat us here. Whatever the deal is with this Anna girl-”

“Yeah, they want her. They're not screwing around.” Dean continued after Sam. He looked around the room. “All right, so, I'm ‘Girl, Interrupted,’ I know the score of the apocalypse, just busted out of the nut-box... Possibly using superpowers, by the way. Where do I go?” He questioned.

Sam stood and looked through the photos on display and picked one up. “Do you still have the sketches from Anna’s notebook?” He asked.

Dean nodded and went up next to his brother who took the sketches from Dean’s offered hand. “Check this out.” Sam said and compared one of the sketches to the photograph. “She was drawing the window of the church.” 

“Over and over. If you were religious, scared, and had demons on your ass, where would you go to feel safe?” Dean questioned and looked into Sam’s hazel eyes and saw the same thought being reflected in his own eyes.

Chapter Text

Sam and Dean made their way up the stairs of the church with their guns drawn, heading towards the attic. The attic itself was a mess, full of scattered items used to decorate the church during the different holidays.

“Dean.” Sam whispered and pointed his gun at the figure he saw hiding behind one of the bigger decorations. “Anna?” He questioned softly, and a head of red hair peeked out from behind the big decoration. She nodded silently, showing that the name belonged to her. Both Sam and Dean lowered their guns when they had the young woman’s identity confirmed. “We’re not gonna hurt you. We’re here to help you. My name is Sam. This is my brother, Dean.”

“Sam?” Anna’s quiet voice questioned. “Not Sam Winchester?”

Sam glanced at his brother as he answered tentatively. “Uh, yeah.”

Anna came forward the two men and she stared at Dean with wide hazel eyes. “And you're Dean. The Dean?” She asked quietly.

Dean shrugged in response. “Well, yeah. The Dean, I guess.” He answered with a weak and nervous chuckle.

Anna gasped and stepped towards Dean. “It's really you. Oh, my god. The angels talk about you. You were in Hell, but Castiel pulled you out, and some of them think you can help save us. And some of them don't like you at all.” She explained with awe in her voice. She looked up to Sam. “They talk about you all the time lately. I feel like I know you.”

“So, you talk to angels?” Dean asked with raised eyebrows. His heart started thudding in his chest. Could this be Anna, his own sister?

“Oh, no. No, no way. Um, they probably don't even know I exist. I just kind of... overhear them.” She explained with a small shrug.

“You overhear them?” Sam asked.

Anna gave the brother a small nod in response. “Yeah, they talk, and sometimes I just... hear them in my head.”

‘Angel radio. She’s Anna.’ , Dean thought. “Like... right now?” He asked aloud, hearing only silence from the angel radio in his own head.

Anna shook her head, making some of her red hair fall to har face from where she had tucked it behind her ears. “Not right this second, but a lot. And I can't shut them out, there are so many of them.”

“So, they lock you up with a case of the crazies when really you were just... tuning in to angel radio?” Dean questioned, gazing into Anna’s hazel eyes.

Anna quickly nodded, Dean having found the perfect word to describe what she was experiencing. “Yes. Thank you.”

Sam quietly piped up. “Anna, when did the voices start? Do you remember?” He asked softly.

“I can tell you the exact date. September 18th.” Anna responded in a strong and confident voice.

“The day I got out of Hell.” Dean spoke and gave Sam a glare. So much for coincidences.

“First words I heard, clear as a bell, ‘Dean Winchester is saved’. ” She continued, offering a weak smile to the brothers.

Dean chuckled silently, hearing Castiel’s voice echoing in his ears before he nodded and turned around, Sam doing the same. “What do you think?” Dean questioned in a whisper, waiting for a second opinion on Anna, even though Dean’s 99.8% certain that Anna Milton was the same Anna as the angel Castiel had been under the command of.

Sam shrugged. “It's above my pay grade, man.” Sam answered in a low voice.

Dean turned back around to look at the red-haired girl. “Well, at least now we know why the demons want you so bad. They get a hold of you, they can hear everything the other side's cooking. You're 1-900-angel.”

Anna smiled weakly at Dean’s joke before she tentatively asked, “Hey, um, do you know- are my parents okay? I-I didn't go home. I was too afraid.” She looked up at them with wide hazel eyes, begging them for any news.

Before either Winchester could answer, Ruby ran into the attic. “You got the girl. Good, let's go.” She rushed out and urged them to run back out with her, but Dean stayed just like Anna did.

“Her face!” Anna screamed in horror, and Dean could only sympathise with her. Ruby really did have a ugly mug in her true form. Burnt, decomposed and rotten flesh, the muscle exposed and a greyish green, black smoke filling the holes in the flesh.

“It’s okay. She’s here to help.” Sam reassured the red-head.

Dean glared at the younger Winchester with burning eyes. “Yeah, don't be so sure.” He growled. ‘She’s working with Lilith, Sam. Don’t trust her.’

Ruby ignored the humans in the attic and looked around anxiously. “We have to hurry.”

“Why?” Dean questioned, challenging Ruby to tell them more.

Ruby groaned and glared into Dean’s green eyes. “Because a demon's coming, big-timer. We can fight later, Dean.” Ruby said and for once, her voice seemed almost… soft.

Dean, however, ignored the soft tone and crossed his arms over his chest. “Well, that's pretty convenient. Showing up right when we find the girl with some bigwig on your tail?” He said with a raised eyebrow. Anna watched the interactions from where she was standing next to Sam’s much taller body.

“I didn’t bring him here. You did.” She hissed and glared at Dean.

Dean felt himself paling. “What?” He questioned. ‘Dear God, don’t let it be Alastair.’

“He followed you from the girl's house. We got to go now.” Ruby commanded in a rough voice.

Before Dean could respond with another remark, Sam cut him off. “Dean.” He spoke and pointed to a statue with blood leaking from it’s eyes.

“It’s too late. He’s here.” Ruby stated, a edge of fear in her voice that was so unusual that it made Dean look at her with something else than just hatred in his eyes.

Sam took Anna by the arm and pushed her into a supply closet. “Okay. Stay in there. Don’t move.” Sam commanded in a quiet voice.

“Okay.” Anna quaked quietly in response, standing completely still as Sam closed the door to the closet.

Sam took out a flask of holy water from his pocket, but Ruby put a hand on his arm to stop him.

“No, Sam, you got to pull him right away.” She insisted.

Dean whipped his head to look at his brother and the demon next to him. “What?” He growled. “Sam, you promised-”

“Now's not the time to bellyache about Sam going darkside. He does his thing, he exorcises that demon, or we die.” Ruby interrupted Dean with a small smirk.

Sam avoided looking into Dean’s eyes as he put the flask away again. The demon entered the attic and Sam immediately put his arm up and tried to exorcise him, but it didn’t work, the demon didn't even move.

“That tickles.” The demon said smugly as his eyes flicked to white. “You don't have the juice to take me on, Sam.” The demon continued before it threw Sam away from him with an invisible force.

Dean stood frozen as the demon turned it’s gaze to him. “Alastair.” Dean breathed, seeing the white eyes despite the meat suit not showing them, the white shining in Alastair’s true form.

“Hello again, Dean.” Alastair offered Dean a wicked grin in greeting.

Faintly, Dean heard Anna scream, but his eyes were focused on Alastair. “Ah, so you do recognize me even with the pediatrician?” Alastair tilted his head and seemed to stare at Dean’s soul. The green-eyed hunter self consciously tried to shy away, but it was hard to control one’s own soul. “You seem… different from what you looked like in Hell.”

Dean’s breathing hitched in fear, coldness seeping into his body as he knew Alastair saw the small amounts of grace. Alastair turned around when he heard footsteps behind him, only to have Sam shove the demon knife into his shoulder. But, again, nothing happened. Alastair didn't die.

Alastair released a growl as he took hold of Sam’s jacket. “You're gonna have to try a whole lot harder than that, son.” Alastair sneered and threw Sam away from him.

While the demon tried to pull the knife out of his shoulder, making sparks glow from the wound, Sam got back to his feet and took hold of Dean’s arm, tugging on his brother’s jacket sleeve. Once Dean started moving, mainly because Sam started moving him, the brothers ran towards the stained glass-window, taking off into a run towards the window before throwing themselves through the glass and falling to the ground beneath.

Dean was the first of the brothers up on his feet, scrambling on the ground until he had his feet under him with glass crunching under his boots, feeling his dislocated shoulder pop back into its socket with the help of some grace. He looked up at the window he and Sam had just burst through and saw Alastair staring down at them. The demon held up the knife and looked at the blood-stained blade before looking into Dean’s green eyes with a smirk on his face.

Sam took hold of his brother again and ran. Away from the church, away from Anna. Away from Alastair. He got his older brother to the Impala and shoved Dean into the passenger seat before sitting down in the driver’s seat and rushing out of there, way above the speed limit.

_______________________

Back at the motel room, Dean sat on his motel bed while Sam stood in the bathroom and sew up a cut on his arm. Dean blankly stared at the wall, in shock, and was unaware of Sam calling him from the bathroom. “You alright? Got any injuries?” Sam called, but received no response. He poked his head out of the bathroom as he placed the last stitch on his arm and saw his older brother sitting on the edge of the motel bed.

“Dean? Are you okay?” Sam asked and stepped out of the bedroom. Dean didn’t answer, but blinked drowsily. “Dean?” He questioned and laid his hand on the older Winchester’s shoulder.

Dean startled at the touch and came back to reality. He blinked up at Sam with dazed green eyes, but they quickly cleared as he looked at his younger brother. “You promised me, Sam.” Dean spoke hoarsely as Sam sat down on the bed in front of Dean. “You promised me you wouldn’t drink her blood. Or any demon blood, really.”

Sam sighed and looked down at the floor. “I tried, Dean, I really did. But… I couldn’t stop.” Sam explained, watching how Dean raised his head to study the younger Winchester with firm eyes. “It’s like an addiction, like an itch I have to scratch or else I go crazy with need.”

“So it’s like sex?” Dean responded with a raised eyebrow and unimpressed face. Sam shrugged, but the look in Sam’s eyes had Dean cringing. “Really? You and Ruby? She’s a demon, Sam!”

“And you’re an innocent in this?” Sam questioned loudly, eyes hardening. Dean stopped and looked at Sam in confusion. Sam took a deep breath. “I know you and Castiel are sleeping together.” Sam confessed in a slightly calmer tone.

Dean felt fear seize his body, he had hoped this moment would come sometime later, when everything wasn't so hectic. “How do you know that?” He asked, staring at Sam with wide eyes.

Sam huffed. “I noticed you disappearing some nights and came back the next morning, but you weren’t smelling like alcohol like you used to do when you spent the night getting drunk and laid. So, one night I decided to follow you, to see what you were up to. I saw you meeting Castiel at a bar and then taking him to a motel room and the noises coming out of the room a couple minutes later explained pretty well what was going on.” Sam admitted in a quiet voice.

“So… you know?” Dean questioned, heating his cheeks heating with a blush.

“Yeah.” Sam answered softly before his voice grew hard. “What you and Cas have is no different than what Ruby and I had. You’re also having sex with a non-human being!”

Dean shook his head and stood from the bed, needing to move with the anger building under his skin, stomping over to stand in the small kitchen with Sam following him. “It’s ‘have’, Sam, as you’re apparently still sleeping with her! And what Cas and I have is wildly different!” Dean growled in anger. “I’m not going to become corrupted for being in a relationship with Cas, nor am I drinking his blood like it’s some fancy shot of whiskey!”

“Oh really? Didn’t you say a few weeks ago that you had gotten powers thanks to your ‘relationship’ with Castiel? Wouldn’t you call that corruption?” Sam yelled in question.

Dean rolled his eyes. “I don’t have powers! All I can do is see angels and demons’ true faces! And I’m not going to become corrupted because of it!” Dean yelled, frustrated with the whole situation.

“How do you even know that I’ll become corrupted? Just because Castiel said so, doesn’t mean it’s going to happen!” Sam snapped at his older brother.

Dean felt emotion building up behind his sternum, anger and sorrow, growing stronger and stronger as the argument went on. He clenched his fists to his sides as the emotion became pressure and the pressure became power, traveling along his arms and waited to be released. “I’ve watched it happen myself! I’ve seen the effects of demon blood corruption with my own eyes, and believe me, it makes plague victims look like fairytale princesses!” Dean fumed.

“How can you know that?  Better yet, how can you have seen that? I sure as Hell haven't!” Sam yelled and threw his hands into the air in exasperation.

Dean snorted in anger before he responded. “Well, believe it or not, I do have a life outside of you! Despite what you might think, my entire world doesn't revolve around you!” Dean responded loudly, knowing that they would have noise complaints later. The emotions were building up within his chest, feeling like it was going to burst, but Dean kept the emotions on a firm leach.

For a second, Sam was silent, didn’t speak. Then he opened his mouth and spoke. “You should have stayed in Hell.” Sam said in a natural voice, but with anger hidden right beneath the surface. “Everything was so much easier then.” As soon as the words exited Sam’s mouth, he seemed to realize what he had said and his face immediately morphed into a guilty one.

Dean lost control of the emotion and pressure and power that had built up within him. He closed his eyes when tears streamed down his face, as the mirror in the bathroom exploded. The beer bottles in the fridge shattered, cracks appeared in the ceiling and walls, all electronics each blew out and the lightbulbs caught on fire and exploded. Objects flew around the room, hitting the walls and any other surface in their way.

Sam threw himself to the floor to protect himself from the glass and items flying in the room, but his cheek was caught by a piece of the mirror flying across the room before he could dive out of the way.

After just over a minute, everything stopped and silence spread in the aftermath of the attack. Sam looked up at his brother with fear in his eyes and saw Dean standing camly, unscathed -- except for the blood seeping from his nose -- with his hands clenched at his sides. When Dean opened his eyes, Sam gasped; the normal green eyes were glowing in a soft blue light, something unnatural about them. The light faded like dust flying away in the wind and, like a puppet with its strings cut, Dean collapsed onto the floor.

Sam stared at his brother in shock before he scrambled to get onto his feet. He rushed over and kneeled beside the older Winchester, running his fingers over his body in search for injuries, but couldn't find any. “What the fuck?!” Sam muttered and looked around the destroyed room and then back down at Dean. When Dean let out a deep cough, Sam leaned back and helped Dean sit up as he regained consciousness.

The moment Dean returned to consciousness, he knew he had used up all the grace Castiel had given him when his body felt weak and aching. “Fuck.” Dean cursed before he broke out into a harsher cough. When Dean lowered his arm as the coughing ended, specks of blood colored his lips. He brushed his fingers over his lips, pulling them back to look at the blood, rubbing it over his fingers as if he was examining it. “Crap.” Dean cursed again, this time more like a whimper.

Dean pushed Sam away from him and slowly made his way back onto his feet, only for his legs to wobble under his weight when he stood up. Sam was immediately by his side again and slipped an arm around the older Winchester's waist to hold him up. With agonizingly slow steps, Sam and Dean made their way back to the beds.

Sam placed Dean onto the bed and stepped back when Dean sank into the mattress. His hands were shaking with fear, but he ignored it and got a towel from the bathroom, purposely not looking at the shards of mirror glass, and used it to wipe the blood from Dean's nose.

Dean waved Sam's hand away and sat up, groaning at the ache the movement caused his muscles. He placed one of his hands against Sam's cheek next to where the mirror piece had cut him and tried to let his borrowed grace heal the small cut, but no grace would come. He really had used up his grace in a raged-fueled breakdown. Dean let his arm drop back down onto the bed at the realization and huffed loudly instead.

“Dean…” Sam breathed with a small waver of fear. “What the Hell was that?”

Dean sighed and laid back on the bed. “That was the powers Castiel gave me being unleashed after I lost control over them.” He answered mechanically. “Cas gave me a little of his own powers in case I needed to heal any injuries on myself or others, and to help me identify demons and angels’ true forms.” Dean groggily turned his head and looked at Sam. “Cas’ powers won't corrupt me, they're essentially just a booster for the soul.”

Sam ignored the last part for the moment, trying to not start another fight, especially after the destruction of the motel room. “What about the blood?” Sam asked, eyeing the drying twin rivers of blood under Dean's nose and the specks of red which were still covering Dean's lips.

Dean smiled weakly. “Side effects of losing all grace -- that's what the angels’ powers are called, by the way. And believe me, if I were an angel, the side effects would be much more chaotic.” Dean responded, feeling that the loss of grace didn't cause too massive damages, thankfully. Possibly because angel grace and archangel grace reacted differently; an archangel using angel grace would be fine, but a low-tier angel using grace from higher-tier would have bad consequences.

Sam's brows furrowed together in question at Dean's answer. “You know, ever since you got back from Hell, you've seemed… smarter. I mean, you know hell of a lot more about angels than what I do.” Sam commented.

Panic swelled in Dean's chest, but his face remained relaxed and natural, only a little pinched from the pain of aching muscles. In reality, he didn't have a reason to lie, even when he was just Dean he was smart. “I've always been smart, Sam. Just haven't been showing off like you. So while you were charading around about how smart you were, you missed the fact that I was right there beside you, doing my homework and getting high grades as well, but unlike you I didn't talk about it much.” Dean mumbled, letting a hint of hurt seep into his voice.

Sam frowned after being called out by his brother and lowered his head to look at the floor. “Sorry.” He whispered in response.

“For what?” Dean questioned with a huff. “For making assumptions? For lying to me and still drinking demon blood? For telling me that you liked having me be tortured over and over without any pause and you would like me to continue being tortured?” He listed, voice natural with only the barest hint of emotion; hurt and betrayal. “Which one, Sam?”

“Fuck!” Sam cursed, Dean words and accusations hitting him like knives to his heart. “All of them!” He yelled, feeling tears trickle down his cheeks. “I'm sorry for everything! For doubting you, lying and… for what I said. I was angry and I didn't think and- and-” Sam stuttered, looking for words he couldn't find, emotions getting the upper hand again, this time guilt and shame.

Dean sighed heavily and sat up. “I know, Sammy. Anger… it makes people say and do things they don't really mean. But you really gotta stop with the demon blood. I don't want to lose you, not again.” Dean said and looked at Sam with eyes that seemed to hold a soul far older than the body. Sam found himself nodding in response to the look. “But, I forgive you and I don't blame ya for what you said.” Dean softly spoke and slapped his hand down on Sam's shoulder.

Sam looked at the green-eyed hunter with wide eyes. How could Dean not blame him? How could Dean forgive him? But Sam knew the answer; Dean was too kind, had a too big heart. Forgave too easily and loved so fiercely. Dean's heart, even as loving as it was, was wounded and full of scars, from people that had hurt him over the years; some made by Sam's own doing.

“So you lost the magic knife, huh?” Dean questioned and stood up, albeit on shaky legs.

The younger Winchester shook his head, shocked at the change in topic. “Yeah.” Sam smiled weakly. “While saving your ass.” He joked and Dean smiled in response.

Sam had stabbed the demon with the knife, but nothing had happened. He thought for a second, of the white-eyed demon and why both Dean and Ruby had seemed so scared of him. Sam felt his smile drop at the realization. Alastair , Dean had called the demon. Why was that name familiar? A memory of the night when Dean returned resurfaced in his head.

“At the end of every day, Alastair, my torturer, he would offer me the chance to get off of the rack if I picked up the blade myself.”

Sam felt himself paling in realization. “That demon, Alastair, he was your torturer?” Sam asked, though it wasn't really a question.

Dean froze and quickly folded his arms over his chest. “Yeah.” Dean muttered in answer. “He was the master torturer in Hell. Probably why Ruby also knew him.” Dean added, voice shaky with fear. He quickly sobered, though, and stood straighter. “We got to find Anna.”

“Ruby's got her. I'm sure she's okay.” Sam responded and immediately received a cold and hard glare from his brother.

Dean angrily shook his head. “Why do you still trust her? I've told you several times that she can't be trusted!”

Sam smiled calmly, something evil glinting in his eyes. “She doesn't know that we know her secret. She's still helping us. We can use her to our benefits and when she doesn't have a purpose anymore, we'll kill her.” Sam suggested, his eyebrow raised in suggestion.

Cold claws of horror and fear clutched Dean's flesh in a tight grip as he heard the nonchalant tone in Sam's voice and the suggestion. All he could do was nod, agreeing on using Ruby until she became rotten.

Dean cleared his throat and looked at his brother, who looked more like the usual Sam that Dean knew and cared for. “Has she called you? Said where she and Anna is?” Dean asked softly.

The younger of the two shook his head, causing his long hair to flop over his face. “No. She hasn't. Probably thinks Alastair is watching us and doesn't want him to find Anna. So until she thinks we're safe, we should lay low and wait for her to contact us.”

“How's she gonna do that?” Dean asked with a wrinkled nose before pausing. “Different question; why do you trust her so much? I mean, even if you didn't know of her deceit, she's a demon.”

Sam took a deep breath through his nose and started gathering his stuff in his duffle, ready to get out of the destroyed motel room before the owner could complain. “I trust her because… she saved my life.” He confessed and looked up at Dean.

At Dean's questioning look, Sam explained. Of how Ruby killed a demon trying to kill Sam and of the car ride where he and Ruby had talked. Sam paused in his retelling and his eyes widened. “Son of a- she told me she had to convince Lilith she was trusted! And the whole time Ruby was already working for her!”

Dean laid a sympathetic hand on Sam's shoulder. “You couldn't have known, Sammy.”

Sam shook his head in anger and continued. “Anyways, I ask her if she can save you and she says no. So I kick her out of the car and the fact that her meat suit was still alive also spiked some anger. So the next day, she comes back and is possessing a comatose girl whose spirit is gone. And she tells that while she can't bring you back, she can get me Lilith. I figured it was the next best thing. So I was ready to do it. She-”

Sam cut himself off and seems to consider something. “Ruby told me that Lilith was cooking up something big of the Apocalypse sort. Think it's got to do anything with the seals?” He asked Dean.

Dean quickly shrugged. “Dunno. Might've to ask Cas if he knows anything.” Dean commented, but mulled it over in his own head. Lilith was supposed to have a role in the Apocalypse, but what he didn't know.

Sam nodded and continued his story. Ruby taught him stuff, like how bad of a student he was, and of how the first few days with the demon blood-powered abilities were like. Then he began to talk about how Ruby kissed him and how Ruby knew the meat suit was freaking him out and how they fell into bed together and--

“Sam!” Dean's sharp voice cut through the younger’s story, causing Sam to look up in question. “Too much information!”

Sam huffed in humor and rolled his eyes. “The sounds you and Castiel make are too much information.” He joked, managing to make Dean crack a smile.

“Are you okay with that? With… me and Cas?” Dean asked tentatively, unsure if Sam had the same opinion on same-sex relationships and LGBTQ+ in general as John had. Dean could still remember the horrible words John had used to describe every same-sex relationship they saw.

Sam nodded, almost eagerly. “Of course I'm okay with it, why wouldn't I? I don't care if you're gay, bi, pan, demi, a, or gray, you're still my brother.” Sam happily said.

“And what about dad?” Dean couldn't help but ask.

Sam's bright smile dimmed, but a determined edge shone from his eyes. “I don't care about dad. It's not him this is about. You're the one coming out, not him. And he's just one of thousands of asshole too blinded by their fear of differences between people to see what everyone else sees; love. And as for the transsexuals and nonbinary, our bodies are just shells meant to hold us; it's our soul that truly identifies as who we are.”

Sam quickly continued before Dean could respond. “And if you ever announce you were born as a girl and you're a transsexual man, I'd accept you. Even though it would've impossible for you to hide it from me while we were growing up. And the same goes if you ever announce you want to change genders! I mean, it would take some time getting used to it, but I'd be happy either way. As long as you're happy.”

Dean's chest felt tight, like his ribs were squeezing his lungs and heart. Happiness and relief taking up the entire space behind his sternum. “Alright, Sammy. No need to start a Pride parade just because I've come out as bi.”

Sam's smile grew so wide Dean was worried Sam's face was gonna split in two. “Don’t worry Dean, I'll always be right bi your side.”

Chapter Text

“Anyways, you coming out aside, there's more to the story.” Sam announced after a few more jokes.

Dean sighed and rubbed his eyes. “Just… skip the nudity.” He commanded firmly and looked up at Sam with tires eyes.

Sam continued his story, of his argument with Ruby and his attempt at killing Lilith, who was nowhere near where his 'attack’ took place.

“Ruby came back for me… I guess that's why I trusted her. And the fact that she managed to get through to me, just like to.” Sam explained and offered Dean a tired smile.

Dean was about to respond with a comment of how he was compared to Sam's booty call, but was interrupted by a knock on the door.

“Housekeeping!” A female voice called from the other side of the front door.

Dean glared at the closed door before his eyes widened as he remembered the state of the room. “Not now!” He called back, trying to keep the panic out of his voice. 

The maid just responded calmly. “Sir, I've got clean towels.”

Dean looked at Sam with panicked eyes and the younger Winchester caught his drift. As Dean opened the motel door, Sam stood so that most of the room wasn't visible through the small opening. 

But the maid entered the room anyways, pushing Dean out if her way as she did. She looked around the wrecked room with wide eyes before looking at the brothers.

“Couldn’t you just leave 'em at the door?” Dean glared and gestured to the towels.

The maid rolled her eyes and slipped a piece of paper into Sam's hand. “I'm at this address.” She said in a low voice and pressed the paper into Sam's palm.

“I'm sorry, what?” Sam questioned the maid in front of him as she stepped back and gave him space.

“Go now.” She commanded the brothers in a strong voice. “Go through the bathroom window, don't stop, don't take your car, don't pass go. There are demons in the hallway and in the parking lot.”

Sam immediately knew who she was then. “Ruby?” He asked, his voice unnecessarily loud.

“Sshh!” Ruby quickly hissed at the younger brother. “Okay, yes, so I'm possessing this maid for a hot minute. Sue me.” She growled in a low voice.

Dean looked at the demon and his brother, sighing at the fact he couldn't identify Ruby as a demon anymore.

“What about-” Sam started asking, but the demon cut him off.

“Coma girl? Slowly rotting on the floor back at the cabin with Anna, so I've got to hurry back. See you when you get there. Go!” She commanded and watched as Sam and Dean climbed through the bathroom window, just like she told them to. As she left the destroyed room, she couldn't help but smirk. Everything was going according to her plan, Lilith would be dead in no time and Lucifer would rise. She had Sam wrapped around her finger.

_______________________

Sam and Dean followed the directions of the note and found themselves in a small cabin half an hour later. On their walk to the cabin, Dean had let Sam navigate their way forward while he looked around at the scenery. He might not have been able to hear a spider spin it's web from several feet away, but nature was still beautiful. Dean's gaze had mostly been stuck upwards, watching the stars and the moon.

“Glad you could make it.” Ruby greeted them as they came through the door.

“Yeah, thanks.” Sam answered in a low voice.

Anna looked uncomfortable and suspicious in Ruby’s presence. Her hazel eyes stared at the demon, squinting angrily, but looked up when Sam and Dean entered the cabin.

Dean looked at the red-haired woman he was sure was his sister. “Are you okay?” He asked her carefully.

The red-haired woman slowly nodded. “Yeah, I think so.” She started and glanced at Ruby. “Ruby's not like other demons. She saved my life.”

Dean huffed a breath of disbelief. “Yeah, I hear she does that a lot.” He muttered, thinking of how Ruby supposedly had saved Sam.

Ruby smirked in response to Dean's mutter, looking self-satisfied at the half confession of a job well done. Dean couldn't help but roll his eyes in response to Ruby's smirk.

Anna looked to Sam who was staring out of the window to see if they were followed. “Hey, Sam.” She called, causing the tall hunter to look up at her. “Do you think it's safe to make a quick call, just to tell my parents I'm okay? They must be completely freaked.” She said worriedly and fidgeted with her hands.

Sam stood straight and looked at Anna with a guilty and hesitant expression, Dean mirroring his expression. “Uh…” Was all Sam could get out.

Anna glanced between the brothers and the demon, getting worried when the brothers looked guilty and Ruby wouldn't meet her eyes. “What?” She asked worriedly.

“Anna, um… your parents…” Sam started but broke off. He always found it hard to tell people their loved ones were dead.

“What about them?” Anna asked, getting even more worried as no one would tell her what happened.

Sam sighed heavily and mustered up his softest voice to deliver the hard blow. “Look, I'm sorry.” He apologized.

Anna quickly shook her head in disbelief as she realized the meaning behind the words. “No, no, they're not…” She stuttered and denied.

The younger Winchester opened his mouth to reply, but Dean cut him off. “They're dead. Sam and I found their bodies. I'm sorry.” He boldly told the red-head, but still sounded soft and kind.

The young woman grabbed her red hair in her fists and took a shuddering breath. “Why is all of this happening to me?” She asked in a thick voice, sounding almost like she was on the verge of tears.

“I don't know.” Sam answered and placed a gentle hand on her shoulder. While he wasn't good at telling people their loved ones were dead, he was good at sympathising and offer comfort.

Anna's hands shot to her sides as her eyes grew wide in alarm. “They're coming.” She rushed out in a whisper.

Dean met Sam's eyes and nodded his head to the deeper parts of the cabin. “Back room.” He commanded the younger.

Sam nodded and took a hold of Anna's arm and rushed her into one of the back rooms. While Sam was gone, Dean reached into the back of his jeans and let his fingers brush over his gun, which would be useless in case of an angel or demon attacking them. The younger Winchester came back a minute later, without Anna, and gave the older a confirming nod that Anna was safe.

“Where's the knife?” Ruby asked when she saw neither Winchester pull out the knife.

“Sam lost it when he stabbed Alastair.” Dean answered and laughed internally at the bitch-face he received from Sam.

“Thanks a lot.” Sam mumbled, ashamed, and glared  daggers into Dean's skull.

Ruby looked at them in angry disbelief. “You're kidding.” She hissed angrily. “Great. Just peachy. Impeccable timing, guys, really.”

Before the demon could continue, the front door rattled and burst open, revealing Castiel and Uriel.

The blue-eyed angel's face was pinched with worry, which quickly smoothed over into relief when his eyes landed on Dean. Dean guessed it was because of the loss of the borrowed grace, causing their bond to be destroyed thus making Castiel unable to know if Dean was alright or not.

Dean offered his fiancé a reassuring smile before he went back into 'Dean Winchester’ mode. “Please tell me you're here to help. We've been having demon issues all day.” Dean said with a hint of sarcasm. He knew very well why they were there.

Uriel chuckled darkly. “Well, I can see that. You want to explain why you have that stain in the room?” He asked and looked at Ruby, whose eyes had flicked to black when the angels had entered.

Castiel ignored his fellow angel's comments and looked at the group consisting of the two hunters and the demon. “We're here for Anna.” He commanded in a voice full of authority. His lips twitched in a smile when he saw Dean shift on his feet and his pupils dilating.

“Here for her like… 'here for her’ ?” Sam questioned, hoping they meant it in a sympathetic way.

Uriel glared at the younger Winchester with cold eyes, a contrast to his vessel's normal appearance where he always looked at his wife with warm and loving eyes. “Stop talking.” He commanded. “Give her to us.”

“Are you gonna help her?” Sam asked, only to receive another glare from Uriel, but only got soft blue eyes from Castiel, though they were sharp like a soldier's, focused and alert.

“No.” Castiel answered. “She has to die.” He declared and Dean's suspicions were confirmed.

*Is it Anna, your old Commander?* Dean asked as a prayer to Castiel, receiving a small nod in answer.

Sam's eyebrows furrowed in question. “You want to kill her? Why?” He harshly asked.

Uriel ignored Sam's question and took a step forward. “Out of the way.” Hr growled when Sam, Dean and Ruby blocked his way.

“Easy there, asshat.” Dean said and held out his hand to stop the angel. “Okay, I know she's wiretapping your angel chats or whatever, but it's no reason to thank her.”

Uriel smiled, something dark and emotionless. “Don't worry. I'll be gentle as I kill her.” He spoke.

Sam scoffed and looked at the angels in disbelief, especially Castiel. “You are some heartless bastards, you know that?” He growled lowly.

“As a matter of fact, we are heartless. And?” Castiel responded with a confident voice.

Dean suppressed a smile at his fiancé's declaration; angels didn't have what humans typically would call a ‘heart’, but they did have a muscle in their chests which pumped their graves around in their true forms.

Dean snapped back into reality when Sam angrily spoke. “And? Anna's an innocent girl!”

“She is far from innocent.” Castiel retaliated and Dean had to bite his cheek to keep from agreeing.

“What's that supposed to mean?” Sam asked with a raised eyebrow.

“It means she's worse than this abomination you've been screwing.” Uriel hissed and gestured to Ruby, who glared at him in response. “Now give us the girl.” He growled.

Dean chuckled and sarcastically replied, “Sorry. Get yourself another one. Try JDate!” He smiled.

Castiel looked at Dean with a hint of betrayal in his eyes. The archangel-turned-human offered the younger a quick smile. *I'll explain everything later. But for now I gotta keep up appearances.* Dean prayed and saw Castiel sigh, but accept it.

“Who's gonna stop us?” Uriel asked and chuckled darkly, breaking the moment between the green and blue-eyed angels. “You two? Or this demon whore?”

Uriel quickly flicked his hand to the side, making Ruby crash into the wall. Dean charged at the dark-skinned angel. But without the advantage of angel strength, Uriel had the upper hand and grabbed Dean's shirt in his grip. Hr raised his fist and placed a hit to Dean's cheek, splitting the skin.

Meanwhile, Castiel stepped closer to the younger Winchester. He didn't want to hurt his future brother-in-law (kind of), but he knew what Heaven expected of him and knew he had to protect Dean's true identity.

“Cas, stop… please.” Sam begged, using the angel's nickname for the first time as his brother's boyfriend/partner threateningly made his way over to Sam.

In contrast to Uriel who was hitting Dean, the Righteous Man, Castiel placed his fingers on Sam’s forehead, the Boy with the Demon Blood, and made the younger Winchester fall to the floor, unconscious.

Uriel, with a tight hold of Dean's shirt, smiled as he punched Dean's face. “I've been waiting for this.” He said, smirking like a mad man.

As Castiel stepped over Sam's unconscious body and was about to enter one of the back rooms, a bright white light engulfed both angels and grew until the light, along with the angels, disappeared.

Without Uriel holding him up, Dean fell to the floor with a grunt. Though he quickly scrambled to get onto his feet and rushed over to Sam, who was just regaining his consciousness. Dean helped the younger onto his feet while Ruby rose from where she had been knocked out after her hit with the wall.

“I'm fine, thanks.” She sarcastically told the brothers when she noticed Dean helping the younger to his feet while neither of them checked on her.

Dean ignored the demon and made sure Sam was okay before he rushed to the back room to get Anna.

The red-haired young woman had blood covering her arms and hands; her own blood, judging by the cuts on her palm.

“Anna.” Dean called, but received no response. “Anna!” He called a little louder and Anna looked up at him, looking a little dazed. But Dean wasn't looking at her, he was looking at the mirror behind her where sigils were painted in hr blood. Angel banishing sigils.

“Are they- are they gone?” Anna quietly asked, making Dean's eyes turn to her.

“Yes.” He answered and turned to go back to Sam and Ruby. Anna quickly followed closely behind him on quiet feet.

“I sent them away… far away.” She softly whispered, loud enough for Dean to hear, and sounded shocked and a little scared. Dean hummed in response, already knowing what the sigils did and how they were activated.

“That just popped into my head! I don't know how I did it, but I did.” Anna continued, sounding like she was on the verge of a panic attack or an existential crisis.

At the sound of the panic, Dean stopped and turned around to face her. He took Anna’s hand into his and examined the deep gash in her hand that hadn't stopped bleeding, before grabbing a piece of cloth he had in his back pocket -- in case a bandage was needed and there was no first aid kit around -- and pressed it into Anna's palm, making the young woman hiss at the sting it caused. He took hold of her other hand and pressed it down on the cloth, adding pressure. “Keep your hand there and keep applying pressure on the cut.” He ordered.

“Okay.” Anna whispered and looked up at Dean with wide eyes at their closeness and took a deep breath of Dean's gunpowder and cherry smell. “What about you?” She asked, looking at his split lip and bruised and bloodied cheekbone.

“I’ve had worse.” He responded and turned to get to his brother and Ruby. He had almost forgotten he was injured, so used to worse injuries that a split lip and bruised cheekbone felt like a small bruise.

Anna walked up to him so they were walking shoulder to shoulder and she looked up at him with wide and curious eyes. “In Hell, you mean?” She asked and immediately regretted it when Dean froze and looked at her with a hard glare.

“Yes. Hell is where you live through your worst nightmares becoming reality and pain worse than what anyone could imagine, each and every day until you pick up the knife yourself and your time is split between more torture on the rack and torturing souls yourself, putting them through the pain you just experienced yourself.” He spoke in a quiet and dark voice, almost emotionless, before he walked the last bit of the hall that separates him from Sam.

Anna stood in the hallway for a second, in shock, before she joined the others.

_______________________

“What do you think?” Sam asked while he was checking the cut on Dean's cheek and lip.

“I think Anna's getting more interesting by the second.” Dean commented and hissed when Sam palpitated his bruised cheekbone to check for any breaks.

Sam stopped and looked at his brother in the eyes with stern ones of his own. “I'm not talking about Anna. I'm talking about the fact that your boyfriend tried to attack us and kill the woman we're trying to protect.” Sam explained.

“Cas does what Heaven asks of him, because if an angel disobeys an order, then they're reprogrammed with brutal torture and some truly horrible methods until they're good and pliant. Though Cas has drawn the line where he hurts innocent humans.” Dean explained as he thought of the horrible things Naomi had done to several angels.

“But Anna's innocent! Cas shouldn't kill her then!” Sam exclaimed angrily.

Dean sighed heavily and looked at the younger Winchester with tired eyes. “I know that she isn't innocent. Cas told me that. But I don't know why they want to kill her.” Dean explained. 'They should keep her alive. She's a good Soldier and could help us kill Lucifer.’ Dean thought. “But, I know it's not just because of the angel radio thing. And the blood spell, man, that's some serious crap.” Dean tiredly said. He was so tired of lying, but knew it was safer if less people knew of his true identity.

“Yeah.” Sam quietly agreed and felt sympathy for his older brother. Dean's boyfriend wouldn't hesitate to hurt him if Heaven told him to do so.

“Something is going on with her.” Dean stated and stood from the hard chair he had been sitting on. “See what you can find out.” He continued and made his way over to where Anna was sitting and examining the fresh bandage Sam had wrapped around her hand once he got his hands on a First Aid kit.

“What are you gonna do?” Sam asked and got up with his brother, picking up the First Aid kit.

“Gonna get Anna to Bobby's and get her safe in the panic room.” Dean said and whirled around to glare at his brother. “I trust you to get Baby there without a scratch. ” He ordered and reluctantly handed over the Impala’s keys to the younger Winchester.

Later, Anna was in Bobby’s panic room while Dean made sure she would stay down there where she was the safest. “Iron walls drenched in salt. Demons can’t even touch the joint.” He explained to the young woman sitting on the uncomfortable bed, watching him.

Ruby, who stood outside the open door to the panic room with crossed arms, sneered at them. “Which I find racist, by the way.” She commented.

“Well, write to your congressman.” Dean commented carelessly as Anna watched him and the demon interact with wide eyes.

The demon rolled her eyes at Dean’s comment and held out her hand in offering. “Here.” She said and offered the green-eyed man the objects in her hand.

Dean cautiously accepted the items, small bags of cloth, and looked them over in his hands. “Hex bags?” He questioned the demon with a raised eyebrow.

“Extra crunchy.” Ruby responded. “They’ll hide us from angels, demons. All comers.” She continued in a slightly proud voice.

Dean continued examining the hex bags in his hands before muttering a quiet, “Thanks.” He was a little bummed that he didn’t have his grace so he could make sure the bags were safe. He turned to look at Anna and handed her one of the hex bags. “Don’t lose this.” He commanded before taking on a softer voice. “So, what’s playing on the angel radio? Anything useful?” He asked.

Anna’s eyes lost their focus as she focused on the angel communication in her head. “It’s quiet.” She answered as her eyes came back to reality. “Dead silence.”

Dean slowly nodded. ‘Angel radio being dead silent isn’t a good sign. Means they’re communicating face to face so that Anna can’t hear them. Normal procedure when there’s someone unauthorised listening in.’ He thought, but simply replied, “That’s not troubling at all.”

“We’re in trouble, aren’t we?” She asked softly, looking up at Dean with big hazel eyes. “You guys scared?”

Dean looked up from where he was staring at his engagement ring. He wished things would have been different and he and Castiel could go and live a quiet life without Heaven interfering. He shook his head and looked up at Anna. “Nah.” He answered Anna’s question.

Anna, Ruby and Dean froze up when the front door upstairs opened. “Hey, Dean!” Sam’s voice called down to the others and made them relax at knowing it wasn’t a demon or angel.

“Just stay here, okay?” Dean ordered the red-haired woman before turning to the demon in the room. “Keep an eye on her.” He harshly growled, before leaving the basement and quickly climbed up the stairs to reach Sam in the living room.

“Hey.” Sam greeted when Dean reached the living room, smiling at the older Winchester.

“How’s the car?” Dean asked instead of returning the greeting.

Sam chuckled at his brother’s overprotectiveness of the Impala. “I got her. She’s fine.” He answered, using female pronouns as his brother always insisted the Impala was a lady. Sam looked around the living room and realized he couldn’t see nor hear the old hunter anywhere in the house. “Where’s Bobby?” He asked.

“Uh, the Dominican.” Dean answered. “He said we break anything, we buy it.” He recounted what the gruff hunter had told him over the phone.

Sam’s eyebrows furrowed in question. “He’s working a job?”

Dean sighed heavily. “God, I hope so. Otherwise he’s at Hedonism in a banana hammock and a trucker cap.” He commented with a face of slight disgust.

Sam groaned and pressed his hands into his eyes, rubbing them harshly. “Now that’s seared into my brain.” He complained and Dean nodded in agreement.

“Alright, what did you find out about Anna?” Dean asked, gladly changing the subject.

“Uh, not much.” Sam answered and sat on the couch with Anna’s report in his hands. “Her parents were, uh, Rich and Amy Milton -- a church deacon and a housewife.”

“Riveting.” Dean simply commented.

The younger looked at him with a tired face. “Yeah. But there’s something in the report. Turns out her latest psych episode wasn’t her first.” He spoke and got a hum as a sign to continue. “When she as 2 and a half, she’d get hysterical any time her dad got close. She was convinced it wasn’t her real father.” He continued and looked up at Dean with an expectant face.

“Who was?” The older curiously asked. “The plumber, hmm? A little snaking in the pipes?” He joked and watched as Sam’s expectant face turned into an unimpressed bitchface.

Sam sighed and rolled his eyes. “Dude, you’re confusing reality with porn again.” He light-heartedly scolded Dean before continuing. “Look, Anna didn’t say who her dad was. She just kept repeating that this real father of her’s was mad. Very mad -- like wanted-to-kill-her mad.”

‘Hard to be out killing if God isn’t even home.’ Dean thought. He hummed in understanding and rubbed his chin as he replied. “Kind of heavy for a 2 year old.”

The hazel-eyed Winchester nodded. “Well, she saw a kid’s shrink, got better and grew up normal.” He explained.

“Until now.” Dean continued and crossed his arms. “So, what’s she hiding?” He asked, looking at the younger with a raised eyebrow.

“Why don’t you ask me to my face?” Anna’s voice interrupted any further questions.

A beat of silence passed before Dean looked at Ruby who was standing behind the red-head. “Nice job watching her.” He snarked to the demon.

Ruby smirked in response. I am watching her.” She replied and turned her eyes back to Anna.

“No, you’re right, Anna.” Sam spoke and looked at the young woman with apologetic eyes. “Is there something you want to tell us?” He asked, hoping she could tell them something that cleared the mess up.

“About what?” Anna asked with a confused smile. She looked between the brothers and then over her back to glance at Ruby.

“The angels said you were guilty of something. Why would they say that?” Sam asked in a gentle voice.

The red-haired girl shrugged. “You tell me. You tell me why my life has been leveled… why my parents are dead.” She ranted angrily. “I don’t know! I swear! I would give anything to know.”

Dean stepped up then. “Okay. Then let’s find out.” He said and picked up his jacket from where he had thrown it over a kitchen chair.

“How?” Anna asked. Surely they weren’t going to ask an angel in person?

Dean smirked as he opened the front door and looked over his shoulder to his brother-by-body, sister-turner-human and the demon. “We’re gonna take a trip to Lawrence, Kansas.”

_______________________

6 hours later, Sam, Dean and Anna arrived in Lawrence, Kansas, without Ruby who had stayed behind to throw the demons off of their trail. Dean smiled at the woman standing on the steps leading to her house as he got out of the Impala.

“Missouri.” He greeted her with a hug. First time he had met her, she hadn’t been too keen on him, but she had warmed up to him after a few more cases that they needed her help on.

“Dean Winchester.” The woman drawled in response before they pulled out of the hug. She lowered her voice as she looked at him with warm eyes. “Or should I call you Jensen?” She asked with a raised eyebrow.

Dean smiled softly in response. “Call me Dean. Sam doesn’t know yet.” He answered in a whisper. Of course Missouri would know, she could read his mind and his aura -- both of which had changed when he got his memories back.

Missouri nodded and shifted her gaze to the younger but taller Winchester that was making his way towards his brother and the psychic. “Hey.” Sam greeted the woman.

“Hello, Sam Winchester.” Missouri answered warmly.

Anna followed the brothers and stood shyly behind them, watching their interactions with wide eyes. 

Missouri smiled gently at the red-haired woman. “Hello, Anna. I’m Missouri Moseley. Dean asked me to help out with your blocked memories.” She introduced herself to the young woman. “How about we go inside while Dean makes a phone call.” She suggested after having read Dean’s mind and finding he wished to contact his fiancé.

Sam and Anna followed the psychic inside -- the Winchester looking at his older brother with a questioning look -- while Dean leaned his back against the Impala and closed his eyes as he prayed to Castiel.

*I want Anna to at least know why she is and why she’s being judged and sentenced to death. Some kindness and humanity has never hurt anyone.* Dean prayed to his fiancé, and received no answer. He could only hope that Castiel understood what he meant and that no angel heard the prayer.

Dean stood outside for another moment before nodding to himself and entering Missouri’s house. He looked through the rooms in search for Anna, Missouri and his brother and found them down in the basement, in a room similar to Bobby’s panic room.

Anna was laying on a bed -- more comfortable than the one in Bobby’s panic room -- with Missouri standing by a chair next to her. Sam was leaning against the door opening with his arms crossed over his chest.

“What’s happening?” Dean asked his brother in a whisper. He looked at the psychic standing by Anna’s side and was preparing what Dean guessed was a seance.

Sam jumped in surprise at Dean’s silent appearance. “Uh, Missouri’s preparing a hypnosis. She believes she can reach deep into Anna’s subconsciousness and make her tell us whatever she’s ‘guilty’ of.” Sam answered.

Dean leaned back against the wall, mirroring his brother, and Sam grew silent as Missouri straightened her back as she stood over the red-haired woman.

“Okay, Anna, nice and relaxed. Now, I’m going to count down from five to zero. When we’re at zero, you’ll be in a deep state of hypnosis. As I count, just go deeper and deeper, okay?” Missouri explained. “5… 4… 3… 2… 1… Deep sleep. Deep sleep. Every muscle is calmed and relaxed.”

Dean studied the psychic and red-haired woman, his eyes flicking back and forth between them. Maybe he and Sam could do the same hypnosis sometime, find out each other’s secrets? Though that would mean Dean probably would reveal that he was an angel. Som maybe not such a good idea after all.

“Can you hear me?” Missouri asked the quiet and relaxed woman on the bed.

“I can hear you.” Anna’s voice responded in an emotionless, trance-like voice.

Missouri smiled and nodded to herself. “Now, Anna, tell me… How can you hear the angels? How did you work that spell?” She asked.

“I don’t know. I just did.” Anna answered in a dead voice.

“And your father… what’s his name?” The psychic continued and looked the red-head up and down to see any physical reactions from her.

“Rich Milton.” Anna answered with the smallest twitch of the muscles in her eyebrows. Missouri immediately knew she was suppressing or avoiding the true answer.

The psychic slowly nodded even though Anna couldn’t see her. “Alright. But I want you to look further back… when you were very young… just a couple of years old.” She countered and watched as Anna’s eyes clenched shut.

“I don’t want to.” Anna whimpered in fear, brows furrowing and tears leaking out from her closed eyes.

Missouri placed a soft hand on Anna’s arm and said in a reassuring voice, “It’ll be okay, Anna, just one look -- that’s all we need.”

Anna shook her head firmly. “No.” She responded in a commanding voice.

“What’s your dad’s name? Your real dad. Why is he angry at you?” Missouri pressed on, forcing the red-head to answer.

“No. No!” Anna screamed, her voice rising louder and louder. “NO!”

Missouri softened her voice as much as he could. “Calm down…” She whispered and glanced at the brothers in case she needed help, to make sure they were prepared to rush over to help.

Anna released a loud and shrill scream of fright. “He’s gonna kill me!” She screamed.

“Anna, you’re safe!” Missouri quickly tried to reassure Anna, but failed.

“No!” Anna screamed as lights exploded and glass chattered, raining pieces of glass down on them. Sam and Dean jumped away from the shards of glass, avoiding getting cut by them, while Missouri stayed and continued her hypnosis.

Missouri remained calm even while the glass rained down on her. “Calm down.” She softly urged the red-head.

“He’s gonna kill me!” Anna cried out in fear. She was whimpering and trashing on the bed, with tears streaming down her face.

“It’s alright, Anna.” Missouri continued to reassure the young red-haired woman.

“Anna?” Sam questioned and walked towards Missouri and Anna by the bed on cautious feet.

Missouri tore her eyes away from Anna and instead looked at the young Winchester. “Sam, don’t.” She ordered with a glare.

Anna threw out a hand and an invisible force threw Sam away and then slammed him into the wall.

“Okay, Anna, wake up in 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.” Missouri counted down before pausing. “Anna… Anna? You all right?” She softly asked.

Anna gracefully sat up in the bed and looked between the brothers -- Dean was helping Sam up from where Sam had landed on the floor -- and Missouri who was looking at her cautiously.

“Thank you, Missouri.” Anna politely thanked the psychic. “That helps a lot. I can remember now.”

Sam, back on his feet, looked at Anna with furrowed eyebrows. “Remember what?” He questioned quietly.

“Who I am.” Anna simply answered, almost tearing her hidden secrets.

Dean huffed in frustration and rolled his eyes. “I’ll bite. Who are you?” He asked in a frustrated and tired voice.

Anna smiled at the older Winchester, looking into his eyes as she answered, “I’m an angel.”

Sam and Missouri looked scared at the announcement while Dean sighed heavily -- having already known who he was, he knew Anna had to be handed over to the angels.

Noticing the scared looks, Anna was quick to reassure them. “Don’t be afraid. I’m not like the others.” She told them.

“I find that very reassuring.” Dean sarcastically commented in a gruff voice, crossing his arms over his chest.

Sam mimicked his brother and leaned back against the wall. “Neither do I.” Sam replied, agreeing with his brother.

Anna sighed and ignored the brothers’ disbelief. “So… Castiel, Uriel -- they’re the ones that came for me?” She asked, looking between Sam and Dean in question.

Sam quickly answered while Dean decided to keep silent and protect his fiancé. “You know them?” Sam asked.

“We were kind of from the same foxhole.” Anna answered with a small shrug. ‘Foxhole meaning garrison, yeah’ Dean commented in his head.

“So, what, were they your bosses or something?” Missouri asked in a hesitant voice, hearing all of Dean’s thoughts and seeing his emotions in his aura. If the archangel -- angel of family himself -- didn’t like Anna, then she must have done something truly terrible.

Anna shook her head in answer to Missouri’s question. “Try the other way around. I was their commander until I fell.” She added in explanation.

Dean rolled his eyes with a huff, knowing that Anna really was their commander until she ended up in Heaven’s jail.

“But now they want to kill you?” Sam questioned with furrowed brows, looking back at his brother in question, hoping Dean could provide some answers on why his boyfriend wanted to kill Anna.

Anna released a soft huff. “Orders are orders. If the Host of Heaven orders something you follow them. I’m sure I have a death sentence on my head.” Anna replied, following Sam’s gaze to the tired looking green-eyed Winchester.

“Why?” Sam pressed on.

“Look, I disobeyed… which for us is the worst thing you can do.” Anna spoke and paused before adding, “I fell.”

Sam raised an eyebrow in question of Anna’s last words. “Meaning?” He asked.

Instead of Anna answering, Missouri did, reading off of both Anna and Dean’s experiences. “She fell from Heaven, to Earth. Became human.”

Anna nodded in confirmation while Sam looked confused. “Wait a minute, there’s something I don’t understand… angels can just become humans?” He questioned.

“Well, yeah.” Anna responded. “But it kind of hurts. Try cutting your kidney out with a butter knife.” She added with a grim face. “That hurts. I ripped out my grace with my bare hands.”

Dean snapped out of his anger at Anna’s explanation of removing her grace and looked at her with furrowed eyebrows. It had hurt when Michael cut his grace out, but nothing like what Anna described -- which Dean had experienced while he was in Hell, having his inner organs cut out with a blunt knife. Though ripping one’s own grace out with their bare hands probably would be more painful than a clean cut through the throat.

“Come again?” Sam questioned, bringing Dean back from his thoughts.

“My grace.” Anna replied. “It’s… energy. Ripped it out and fell. My mother, Amy, couldn’t get pregnant. Always called me her little miracle. She had no idea how right she was.” She sadly responded.

Missouri, who had looked concerned when she read Dean’s mind as he compared his and Anna’s experiences, asked her, “So, you forgot you were an angel?”

Anna quickly nodded. “The older I got, the longer I was human, yeah.”

Once again, Anna’s words caught Dean’s attention. When he was reborn, he didn’t remember a single thing about his past life. So why did Anna? Dean also couldn’t hear angel the angel radio, nor could he use telekinesis, or see demons’ true faces -- apart from when he was piercing the veil as he was about to be pulled into Hell by the hellhounds. Why was Anna different? Shouldn’t it have been the other way around? Dean had the stronger grace after all.

Sam sighed heavily and tiredly leaned back against the wall. “We are so screwed. All of Heaven and Hell wants you and it’s the three of us, plus Ruby, against several demons and angels, all of them more powerful than us.” He complained.

Anna opened her mouth to agree, but was cut off by Dean’s angry voice. “It’s not gonna be the four of us against them. No, we leave Anna to the angels.” Dean spoke in a cold voice.

Sam looked at his brother with wide eyes and his mouth open in shock. “What?!” He furiously questioned. “How can you say that? They’ll kill her!”

“So what?” Dean responded. “She forgot to mention a few things, and twisted the truth.” He said and looked at Anna who looked shocked and hurt, and was avoiding Dean’s eyes. “Castiel told me he had a suspicion of who you were and asked me to keep an eye on you. Told me a few things that make you seem far from innocent.” Dean explained to the red-head.

“What’d he tell you?” Sam asked, realizing his brother would only act like that if something wasn’t right.

Dean circled Anna as he recounted her crimes and the things she had skipped over in her story. “Well, for starters, she was their commander until she was locked into Heaven’s prisons, a couple of decades before she mysteriously ‘disappeared’.” Dean said with air quotes. “And she was thrown into prison because she disobeyed orders, like she said, but what she didn’t say was that that one single disobeyment resulted in a mass death of humans. Because she refused to kill one man, thousands, millions even, lost their lives. And when she was demoted because of her disobeyment, she killed several angels.” He explained, watching Anna lower her gaze to the floor in shame. But Dean ruthlessly continued.

“Those angels weren’t of very high tiers, nor did they have any fancy or important jobs. But they were needed for Heaven to stay in order. Do you remember them, Anna? Kim. Alan. Stan. Marilyn. Niki. Freddie. Paul. You killed them, and so many others, in cold blood. And because of that, you were sealed into Heaven’s prison. Right next to Gadreel. And in 1985, you ripped out your grace and disappeared.” Dean’s chilly tone echoed in the basement as silence spread when he finished.

Niki, Paul, Freddie, Stan, Alan, Kim and Marilyn had all been friends of Dean when he was in Heaven, in one way or another. And Dean, who was an introvert and very shy and antisocial before he fell, he had a hard time getting friends. So the few that he had, like Tessa, Samandriel, Ariel and Balthazar, and, of course, Castiel, he held close. So the loss of 7 friends had been pretty hard on him.

Anna looked up from the floor and into Dean’s eyes, her own still filled with shame, but also burning with defiance. “I didn’t kill that man because he was human. And God told us to love humanity as much as we loved him, and I did . And as for the angels, they were cowards. None of them would fight in Heaven’s army and therefore they were weak. And the weak dies so the strong can live.” She growled in Dean’s face.

Dean let out a low growl and looked to his brother who was looking between both of the fallen angels with confused eyes, like he wasn’t sure who to trust. The green-eyed man huffed in anger and looked back at Anna.

“I don’t care what happens to you. I don’t care if it’s Heaven or Hell who captures you. Either way, it won’t end happily for you.” Dean spoke and turned around to go up the stairs and get out of the room Anna was in. Though, Dean stopped with his foot on the first step of the stairs and looked back at his brother. “I won’t judge you if you help her. But know that she is not innocent… if you need me, you have my number.” Dean told Sam and walked up the stairs.

The hunter had reached the front door when Missouri reached him. He whirled around and looked at the woman with a tired expression, but managed a smile. “Take care.” He told her.

Missouri looked at him with a small smile before she pulled him into a hug. “You better call, Dean Winchester. And you better introduce me to this fiancé of yours that your mind keep coming back to. I’d love to meet him sometime.” She said softly before releasing the hunter from her hug.

Dean smiled and nodded before he opened the front door and walked outside.