“Don’t ever change.” Dean says with a hand on Castiel’s shoulder.
It surprises the angel but he doesn’t comment. There is emotion in the human’s eyes and Castiel doesn’t quite understand why but it doesn’t matter. Somewhere in him, it feels warm and peaceful so he locks his eyes with Dean and it feels like home.
When Dean went back from the year 2014, he didn’t talk about it. He didn’t say a thing about what happened or what he saw, but he called Sam and they met behind a bridge. Castiel knows this because afterwards, Sam asked him if he knew what made Dean change his mind. But Castiel did not.
At first, Castiel can see it’s not easy for the brothers to manage. Sam keeps blaming himself for setting Lucifer free and for anything that is related one way or another, to demons. And whatever Dean said, he still has a hard time forgetting and forgiving. Castiel feels they lack confidence, Dean in Sam and Sam in himself.
Castiel thinks he understands. They really don’t have time for this, however. It’s already been a month since Lucifer found another vessel and even if they haven’t heard of him since the First Horseman showed up, it surely doesn’t mean he has stayed idle. The boys don’t seem to comprehend they have to act now, before Lucifer releases whatever he has in mind. But Castiel doesn’t say a thing. He gets mad sometimes, like when Dean refused to give him the amulet, but he doesn’t say a thing to them. It’s not his place. He knows the boys, knows their bond.
Sometimes, Castiel wishes he were part of it, even if he doesn’t really understand why, or what’s behind “it”.
Castiel also wishes they would explain him what’s in their mind. Like when they let the little Antichrist called Jesse escaped. He got mad that day too. Afterward, Castiel reckons it was a parallel with the boys themselves. Sam was making a point that the kid could be trusted, could make the good choices — but Castiel pointed out that he didn’t. He hurt Sam, he knows, but at the time he didn’t care. Dean didn’t want to kill the kid and had to — wanted to — believe Sam was right.
Castiel tries to find God with the amulet. He goes around the world, asks Chuck, and would have asked Anna if he had found her. Castiel doesn’t know where Anna is and he is worried. These days, Castiel is easily worried and sometimes, he wishes he were back to the times when he didn’t felt a thing. It was easier. Now, Castiel is torn by emotions he cannot even put a name on and concern is constantly on his shoulders, heavier than his wings.
When Sam and Dean disappear for a week, Castiel is more worried than ever. He searches thirty-five states but it proves to be useless. He is desperate enough to consider asking Heaven for help when Bobby spots Dean’s car in Ohio. Which is strange, because Dean would never leave the Impala by herself for too long. So Castiel looks for the boys and finds them trapped in TV land by the Trickster. Which again, is stranger, because even if tricksters are powerful, they don’t have such powers. Castiel is worried. He enters the world and finally gets to talk to the brothers.
“Cas, you okay?” Dean asks, and Castiel notices the hand that comes for him before he gets thrown onto the wall.
Castiel’s head echoes with a distant pain and when he stands up he can’t talk.
“Hi Castiel!” Gabriel exclaims and if Castiel were used to swearing, he would have, there and then. He meets Sam’s eyes and all goes black.
When he opens his eyes again, Castiel doesn’t know where he is. It looks like a shed. He is sitting on the floor and cannot move his limbs.
“Hello Brother!”, the archangel smirks.
“Where are they, Gabriel?” Castiel asks.
“Don’t worry. Someplace safe, I swear.” But Castiel narrows his eyes in suspicion. “Come on Cassie, you know you can trust me, right?” Gabriel sits next to Castiel, leans his head against the wall and sighs. “I’ve heard you rebelled.” It’s not a question but Gabriel seems to wait for an answer anyway. “Talk to me lil’ bro’! You know I won’t bite. I’m not Michael.” Castiel doesn’t say a thing though. He remembers well how Gabriel is difficult to understand half of the time. He implies things when he talks, he makes jokes and often, he says something but means the opposite, like Dean does. “Do you want to fall?” Gabriel asks.
Castiel looks outraged. “Lucifer fell!”, he says.
“Calm down buddy, I didn’t mean to offend you here. Just sayin’, you seem really close to those boys you know. Going against orders for them and all.”
“I do what I think is right”, Castiel explains. He hesitates a moment. Gabriel seems encouraging. He also left after all, so maybe, he could understand. “I don’t think Heaven’s plans are right. I still love our family, but the cause they defend is wrong. Dean proved to me that even if they are flawed, humans can be good, generous, and their love is very pure.”
“Did he now?” Gabriel asks, a gentle smile on his lips. “You would follow him to Hell and back, right?”
“I already did, actually”. Gabriel laughs but Castiel frowns because he doesn’t understand what the archangel is getting at.
“You’re a strange angel, lil’ brother. And you are lucky to have him”.
And just like that, Castiel is back with the boys. Gabriel is trapped in a holy fire and winks at the angel. Dean sees that and looks at Castiel, startled.
The boys call Castiel as he is wandering between India and Pakistan for he has heard someone there knew something about God’s whereabouts — which ended up being one more line to the disappointment list.
Dean says they need his help and Castiel is glad to comply. It’s about a demon called Crowley, who’s supposed to have the Colt. Castiel goes here and there, collects information and soon enough with the help of Ellen and Jo, they have a plan.
The boys come back in one piece, with the Colt and the Devil’s location. Castiel is suspicious but forgets all about it once Sam tells him they will go there, to Carthage, the next Thursday.
“Thursday? That’s in three days.” He says.
“Thank you, Captain Obvious.”
“I’m serious Dean, you can’t go there unprepared, that’s reckless.”
“If we got a chance to ice the Devil Cas, we’re gonna take it without second thoughts.” Pause. “You coming or not?” Their eyes meet but Castiel can’t stand the gaze. He looks at the floor. The mission is unwise, but Castiel is used to that attitude from the Winchesters. However, the circumstances are not the usual ones and they are talking about Lucifer. It’s suicidal.
Castiel looks up and open his mouth to say something but instead come the words “Of course”, and he doesn’t regret them for one second.
The day after, it is decided they would go by car. When Castiel offers to go first and see by himself, Dean refuses. Sam and Jo try to argue, saying it would be a good thing to have some information, to know where they were going. Bobby and Ellen agree but the older brother stays adamant; “It’s too dangerous. I have faith in you, man, I have. But, what if you get caught. It’s a one shot, we don’t have time for that.” At the words, Castiel feels a little something in his chest, an ache for not being trusted, but he remains silent.
The evening before Carthage, the atmosphere is very light. They don’t talk about it much. Castiel hears Sam and Dean arguing in the back but is distracted by the blond girl. “You want a beer?” she asks.
“No, thank you.” Castiel answers. “I- I don’t drink beverages made of alcohol”. And on reflection, he doesn’t drink at all. Jo and Ellen look at him and he wiggles on his chair, ill-at-ease.
“You’re kidding me right?” Jo seems amused.
“I am not. Kidding you.”
”Like never.” He repeats.
“Bring the vodka, Sweetie” Ellen says, “We’ve got an angel to get drunk.”
“I’m not sure that’s a good idea”, Castiel protests. But already, Jo has put shot glasses in front of him and her mother, and pours some translucent liquid.
Ellen drinks two glasses and winces. “Alright big boy” she says, “Go”. So Castiel brings one shot to his mouth. The scent is strong. He drinks another one. So is the taste. And another. There is a burning sensation in his throat when he swallows, but it’s actually not bad. Castiel finishes the line of shots in front of him and when he looks up, Jo and Ellen are open mouthed.
“I think I’m starting to feel something”, he says calmly.
The women look at him another minute or so before Jo stands up and pats her mother’s back. “He totally Legolas’d you on that one”. Castiel doesn’t pay attention as she goes to the fridge, until he sees Dean join her. They are close, and Dean put his arm near her. He leans when he talks and has this spark in the eyes. Castiel feels something in his gut and a growl gets stuck in his throat. He looks away.
When they arrive in the city, Reapers are everywhere. “Something is wrong”, he whispers. The brothers went to check the gas station so he tells Jo and Ellen that he has to see what’s going on and will be back soon. The Reapers are standing still, all looking in the same direction so Castiel goes that way and follows their stares until he faces a three floor building with a neon sign. He flies to the second floor. It is dark inside but he can see someone at the end of the corridor. He approaches the shape without a sound but as he reaches the room, he is surrounded by holy fire.
“Lucifer.” Fear suddenly rises in Castiel.
Neither of them speaks for a little while. Enough time for Castiel to regain composure.
“So I take it you're here with the Winchesters?” Lucifer asks.
“I came alone.” he lies.
“Loyalty.” Lucifer says quietly. “Such a nice quality to see in this day and age. Castiel, right? What a peculiar thing you are.”
Castiel is puzzled. If he had known he would be talking to the Devil, he would have expected more blood, less common talk. That’s when he notices the lesions on his brother’s face. “What's wrong with your vessel?”
“Yes, um. Nick is wearing a bit thin, I'm afraid. He can't contain me forever, so...”
Castiel understand what the archangel implies and steps forward, forgetting the holy fire. “You are not taking Sam Winchester. I won't let you.”
“I don't understand why you're fighting. Me, of all the angels.”
“You really have to ask?” Castiel answers.
“Come on Castiel. I rebelled, I was cast out, you rebelled, you were cast out. Almost all of Heaven wants to see me dead and if they succeed guess what? You're their new public enemy number one. We're on the same side, like it or not, so, why not just serve your own best interests, which in this case just happen to be mine.”
For less than a second, Castiel hesitates. Lucifer seems to detect the doubt in him and smiles faintly. But then, Castiel remembers the Devil‘s plan is to exterminate human kind and that’s it. “I'll die first.”
Lucifer sighs, obviously disappointed. “I suppose you will.” he says, and leaves.
Castiel is left in that fire circle for something like two hours before someone appears. Outside, it’s getting dark and he doesn’t hear anything anymore. Meg is chanting her victory and Castiel answers, playing for time. An hour ago, there was shooting and hellhounds barking.
But since he heard the explosion five buildings away, nothing. The pipes over the head of the demon are loosening, bit by bit. He still doesn’t know if it will work but he has no other choice. Nothing since the explosion, not a voice, and he doesn’t like that at all. What if something happened? What if the boys... Finally, the pipes break. Castiel throws Meg in the fire and flies out.
He hears Sam’s prayers not far away, appears next to the brothers and brings them back to Bobby’s in no time.
“Where the fuck have you been Cas?” Dean tackles him to the nearest wall. “Where the hell were you all that time, you son of a bitch?”
Sam grabs Dean by the shoulder. “Let him go Dean, it’s not his fault. Come on, let him go.” Castiel doesn’t understand and frowns. There is anger in Dean’s eyes. A lot of anger. And grief. Castiel looks at Sam. “Ellen and Jo,” he whispers, and Castiel understands. The explosion. Surely it was the explosion. And Dean blames him because he wasn’t there to help and surely Dean is thinking that if he had let Castiel go first, they would have known, they could have prevent that. So, of course, Dean blames himself.
“Dean, I’m sorry,” Castiel says, because, even if he was trapped, even if he could not have done a thing, he is. He leaves without giving time for Sam to say anything and for Dean to look at him.
For two weeks, Castiel watches the boys from afar, still unsure of the welcome he would receive. But one day, his cellphone rings and it’s Dean at the other end.
They have to deal with Famine, the Horseman, and it gets pretty bad. Castiel feels useless in front of Sam’s hunger and well, his own is also pretty difficult to manage. At one point, Castiel is fine and peaceful, but the next moment, he craves for food, drinks and love. Castiel doesn’t quite understand how because his mind is still blurred, but the point is, they end up locking Sam in the panic room.
When Castiel joins Dean outside the house, he fears to be rejected. As the Winchester boy doesn’t object, Castiel leans on the impala, next to him. He makes sure not to come in his personal space but not to be too far either. Castiel has observed how Sam handles the whole personal space thing and this time, the angel is pretty sure he does it right. Dean drinks his bear and stays silent. Awkwardly, Castiel says “You got the car back”. He avoids to specify “from Carthage”.
“Yeah”, Dean chuckles. “A real pain in the ass, no thank you for that”.
After another silence, Castiel begins : “Dean, I’m so—“
“Stop, Cas. You’ve nothing to apologize for, it was my fault. And I shouldn’t have talked to you like that.”
“Dean”, Castiel says, and he waits for the man to look at him. “Are you okay?”
Dean lifts his beer to his mouth but finishes by putting it aside. “I’m tired man.” Castiel first wants to tell him he needs to go to sleep but then he understands it’s figurative. Castiel still is uncomfortable with these kind of discussions even if he tends to be better at it. “I’m tired of this damn Apocalypse, of Lucifer and Michael. I’m tired of this life.” Dean says without looking at him. Castiel doesn’t know if it is the moment for a comforting touch so he doesn’t try.
“Do you want me to fetch you some pie?” He asks, because he knows pies make Dean happy. Dean grins at him, gratitude in the eyes and Castiel feels warm.
Soon enough however, emptiness and despair replace the warmth and hope in Castiel’s chest. Dean and Sam come back from Heaven. They met Joshua who told them God was not going to interfere. That is how Castiel becomes familiar with the feeling of abandonment. First came the rage and then the pain. But in the end, there is just a hollow where before there was faith. When the boys are faced with the Whore of Babylon, Castiel just doesn’t care.
“I got your message. It was long, your message.” Castiel tells Sam one night. He hasn’t seen the boys in two days and the youngest Winchester called for help. Castiel still helps, of course, because he would always be here for them, but honestly, what would he fight for by himself? “I find the sound of your voice grating.”
Sam doesn’t know if he should smile or be worried, so his figures twist into an odd face. “What's wrong with you?” he asks. “Are you... drunk?”
“No!” Castiel says. But he knows what he looks like, and his walk is really messy. So, who is he kidding? “Yes.”
“What the hell happened to you?”
“I found a liquor store.”
“And?” Sam goes to support him as he staggers towards the bed.
“And I drank it!”
There is surprise in the boy’s eyes but Castiel doesn’t pay attention. He sits on the bed, Sam beside him. “Are you okay, Cas?” And Castiel laughs bitterly, because it curiously sounds exactly like what he asked Dean a few days ago.
“Don’t ask stupid questions.” He answers, turning his head toward Sam and finding his face closer than he expected. Suddenly, Castiel is back to that night Famine was in town. Suddenly, Castiel has urges he is not used to. He looks at Sam’s eyes, at his cheekbones, at the line of his jaw and at his lips. If he leans up a few inches, those lips would be on his and Castiel really wants to know how it ‘d feel like. Sam’s breath is hot on his cheek and Castiel notes his pupils are wide. He gently strokes Sam’s fingers next to his hand but when the angel moves a little, Sam puts a hand on his shoulder to stop him.
“Cas”, he whispers, “Come on Cas, you would regret that”. Sam stands up. “You better sleep and… and wait for Dean to come back.”
Castiel lies down the bed and closes his eyes without saying anything else. He doesn’t sleep because he never did and Sam knows that but maybe, Castiel thinks, it’s an easier way out for both of them.
In the following weeks, Dean‘s spirit gets worse. He drinks a lot, Castiel has noticed, and not only beer, but scotch and whiskey. Each time Sam tells him to go easy on it, they end up fighting. Bobby doesn’t say a thing, but that’s pretty much how he rolls since Ellen and Jo died. They don’t need Castiel’s help but he stays around anyway. Castiel doesn’t like the look on Dean’s face nor how he constantly rolls his eyes and sighs excessively but all in all, the angel is far from understanding what’s on his mind. He fears Dean might do something stupid and Dean does sooner than the angel expected. When Dean disappears, Sam looks for him and finds him in a motel, two states away. Castiel follows but decides to stay by the door.
“Sending someone a candy-gram?” Sam says.
“How do you find me?”
“Gonna kill yourself, right? It’s not too hard to figure out the stops on the Farewell Tour. How’s Lisa doing, anyways?”
“I'm not going to kill myself.” He hears Dean say in the other room.
“No? So Michael's not about to make you his Muppet?” Sam snaps. “What the hell, man? This is how it ends? You just…walk out?”
“Yeah, I guess.”
“Just…please. Not now. Bobby is working on something.”
Oh, really? What?” But Sam doesn’t answer. “You got nothing and you know it.”
“You know I have to stop you.”
“Yeah, well, you can try. Just remember: You’re not all hopped up on demon blood this time.”
“Yeah, I know. But I brought help.
When Dean turns around, Castiel is standing behind him. He puts his fingers on his forehead, knocking him out, and flies to Bobby’s.
Sam doesn’t seem too happy to put his brother in the panic room. But Bobby’s right, if Dean doesn’t give up his stupid idea, they don’t have a choice. Castiel is angry. Angry because after everything he said, Dean wants to give up. After everything, his words are just wind. But most of all, Castiel is angry because he understands. Dean lost faith, Castiel lost faith. He doesn’t know what or who they are supposed to fight anymore. How is he supposed to convince Dean if he doesn’t believe anymore? So Castiel waits for Sam outside.
“I’m serious. I mean, think about how many people we've gotten killed, Sam. Mom, Dad, Jess, Jo, Ellen. Should I keep going?” Dean says, and Castiel smiles slightly because it’s true.
“It’s not like we pulled the trigger.” Sam answers.
“We might as well have. I’m tired, man. I’m tired of fighting who I'm supposed to be.”
“Well, do you think maybe you could take a half a second and stop trying to sacrifice yourself for a change? Maybe we could actually stick together?”
“I don’t think so.”
“Why not? Dean, seriously. Tell me. I—I want to know.”
“I just…I—I don’t believe.”
“In you. I mean, I don’t. I don’t know whether it’s gonna be demon blood or some other demon chick or what, but…I do know they're gonna find a way to turn you.”
Castiel flies out. He doesn’t want to hear more of it.
Castiel goes to Lisbon, Rome and the Vatican, Jerusalem and Bethlehem. He hopes it will help him to regain faith but it only manages to tire him. People believe in God, they pray and hope. They trust his Father and Castiel feels like He abandoned them as much as him, but at least, Castiel is aware of it.
When he comes back, Dean is gone.
“He could not have gone too far,” Bobby says, but the angel notices doubt in his voice. “Sam went to get him.”
Castiel goes anyway, searches the nearest city while he feels fury growing in him and it’s new. When Castiel finds Dean, he slams him into the wall and breathes heavily. He just wants to hit and hurt Dean, because if he gives up, what about the angel? What will he become?
“I rebelled for this?! So that you could surrender to them?” Castiel yells and he beats him. Blow after blow, until Dean begs him to stop. “I gave everything for you. And this is what you give to me.” Castiel feels angry, sad, and powerless. Castiel feels betrayed. Dean is on his knees, bruises blossoming on his face and blood streaming down his neck.
“Do it.” Dean says. For a minute, Castiel stands still, hands closed in fists. Dean wants Castiel to kill him. “Just do it!” And Castiel should do it. Because if Dean says yes, if Michael takes his vessel, it would be the end of the world. Castiel steps closer. But Dean is looking at him in the eyes as if the angel is an open book and it feels like home and Castiel can’t.
He squats in front of Dean and cups his jaw with his hand. “You would let the end of the world happen?” The touch is gentle and all marks of wounds vanish. “You would leave Bobby?” He brushes his finger on the freckles under Dean’s eye. “You would let your brother down? That’s not like you Dean Winchester.” Castiel says before making Dean sleep.
Dean sleeps for a week after that. Sam and Bobby are worried but Castiel knows it’s okay. Dean recovers from his physical and mental tiredness and that takes time. Most of the time, he is quiet, but sometimes, Dean is shaking from his nightmares and Castiel is always there to hold his hand. Sam notices it calms his brother so he encourages the angel to keep doing it. Sam smiles often but Castiel doesn’t really understand why.
The day before Dean wakes up, Sam sits in front of Castiel. “Can I talk to you man?” There is concern on his face, and another thing that Castiel fails to identify. The angel nods. “When…when we saw the trickster. I mean… when we saw Gabriel, he told me if we couldn’t kill the Devil, he knew a way to put him back in his cage.” And so Sam tells him how the four rings of the four horsemen could open the cage and how he, Sam, had a part to play.
"Yes to Lucifer. Then jump in the hole. It's an interesting plan.”
“So? Go ahead and tell me it's the worst plan you ever heard.”
“Of course. I am happy to say that if that's what you want to hear. But it's not what I think.”
“That’s crazy, but, you and Dean have a habit of exceeding my expectations. Maybe you could resist Lucifer. There are things that you need to know though.”
“Like what?” Sam asks.
“Dean will never accept it.”
“No, you don’t understand it. Sam....If you say yes to Lucifer, either you achieve to jump and save the planet, or you fail, and the collateral... It'll be immense. But in both cases, Dean loses you.”
“Sam, he will never-”
“I know, Castiel, I KNOW. That’s why I need you Cas.” Sam pauses and locks his eyes with the angel’s. “That’s why I need you to tell Dean that once I’m in the cage, you’ll be able to rescue me, like you did for him.” Castiel has difficulty breathing. In fact, it might be the worst plan he ever heard of.
“Are you serious?” he asks.
“Dead serious.” Sam says, and Castiel sees that he is, and more than that, that he already made up his mind.
“I can’t Sam. I can’t lie to him. Not about that. Not about you.” And for the first time since he was born, for the first time since he saw the Earth be created ex nihilo, since he learnt to follow orders and his Father, since he met two lonely brothers who taught him to love and hope, since he learnt to smile and laugh; for the first time since he became the most human angel of creation, Castiel felt tears in his eyes.
“But you will Cas, you will,” Sam says, and he takes the angel in his arms and Castiel knows he will.
“You can’t be serious.” Dean says when they explain the plan to him. He goes from Sam to Bobby to Castiel and back to Bobby. “You knew about this?” he asks. Castiel and Bobby nod. “That’s insane.”
“Come on Dean, for the record...I agree with you. Believe me, I know exactly how screwed up I am. But I don’t think we have too many choices here.”
“So what,” Dean addresses Castiel without paying attention to his brother. “You knock me down when I want to say yes to Michael but him, he can be ridden to the prom by the Devil and you don’t care?”
“That’s not how it is Dean,” Sam interrupts.
“Shut up, Sammy.”
“The stakes are different” Castiel tells him, glancing at Sam. “If you say yes, there would be only more deaths. If Sam says yes, we have a chance to stop it all.” Castiel is relieved when he sees Dean calm down.
“And… and if he succeeds, you can bring him back from the cage?”
Castiel avoids Sam’s look when he says “Yes.” The angel feels guilty as he sees the process of thoughts on Dean’s face.
“We could do it, Dean. I could do it. Take Lucifer, jump into the pit, end the Apocalypse. It’s all we want, right? All this year, that was our goal. Now we’ve got a chance to achieve it. Let me do this Dean. Let me prove to you I changed.”
Dean passes his hand on his jaw and chin, on the sides of his open mouth. After a few moments, he nods, facing the other side of the room. “Yeah, okay. Okay. But I’m warning you,” he says, turning back to them, pointing at Sam and Castiel, “this better work, all of it, or I’m gonna kill the both of you.”
Yes, this all better work. But then what? Once Sam has jumped, how will Castiel explain to Dean that no, he can’t bring his brother back?
So that Sam can take over Lucifer, demon blood is more than needed and during the two next weeks, they hunt down seven demons, bleeding them dry.
Sam is careful not to succumb to panic. But Castiel can see his anxiety and if Castiel sees it, Dean must have to.
Dean’s face remains cloudy and neither Sam nor Castiel manage to read his mind. However, when Bobby tells them he spotted two places where demonic omens were such that it could mean the Devil‘s presence, Dean picks the second one without a pause.
“Detroit. It’s there.” Sam and Bobby look at each other but nobody dares asking why Detroit. When he leaves the room, Dean whispers “He said it would always happen in Detroit,” and Castiel reads fear in his eyes.
They make preparation for another week. The brothers fight the third day because Dean is not sure anymore but Sam doesn’t bend. Finally, they agree that Castiel has to go first. When he comes back, he tells the brothers that the part where the demonic omens were is empty except for a single block. They decide to go the day after and Dean doesn’t have a choice.
That night, Castiel is unable to do anything. He leans against the Impala, looking at the stars when Dean leans next to him. “How are you feeling?”
“I should ask you that question.” Castiel answers.
The man chuckles, “I can’t eat, I can’t think and I certainly can’t sleep.”
“That must be difficult for you.”
“Yeah, well, we are talking about my brother saying yes to Lucifer, right?”
“Yes, I’m sorry.”
“Stop being sorry Cas, you don’t have to. You’ve helped. A lot.” Castiel understands that in Dean’s world, it’s a thank you. “I mean it man, you’re family, you know that, right?” Dean’s hand goes on the angel’s shoulder and brushes his hair after a few seconds. “I don’t know how you do it, Cas, but you always have this sex hair, it’s kinda… disturbing.” Even into the night, Castiel can see the faint smile on the man’s lips and he feels his cheeks blushing. “Tomorrow, all this will be over.”
“Yes”, Castiel says, “I’m sorry.”
Castiel flies directly to Detroit and waits there for the brothers.
They are in front of the building Castiel has located. Sam walks to the trunk of the impala, where the open jugs of demon blood sit.
“You mind not watching this?” He says to Dean who walks away. Sam picks up a jug. When he finishes, he clears his throat and closes the trunk. He goes to the angel and takes him in his arms. Castiel is surprised, doesn’t know what to do with his own arms and finally leaves them where they are. “Take care of him Cas.” Sam murmurs. “Don’t lose him. He’ll need you.” He pats him in the back before letting go of him. “Okay. Let's do this.”
Sam walks past his brother. “You wait for us here. You hear me Cas? You wait for me!” Dean says before following him. Castiel nods and watches them go.
The waiting is unbearable. Twenty-two times, Castiel almost breaks, but never once does he take a step further. He doesn’t leave the Impala, he stays right where he was told to wait for them. It’s minutes, hours or maybe days before the pure white light blinds him. It’s nighttime already but for a second, the whole city is full of light and Castiel hears the sharp voice of Lucifer, ringing, high and powerful. It happened. Sam said yes. But it wasn’t over yet. From that moment, Castiel stops breathing. He is an angel and doesn’t need to. It’s more like a habit, really. Yet, rather curiously, Castiel’s chest hurts like hell and his heart is heavier than usual. He looks at the window of the second floor and tries not to listen to the little voice in his head that whispers that something is wrong. But the more he tries not to listen, the more he hears it. Soon enough, it becomes a howl and Castiel can’t take it anymore.
He flies to the second floor and finds Sam beating Dean up. Castiel supposes it’s Dean because he has his clothes but he can’t see his face behind the blood. And actually, it takes a moment too long for Castiel to understand that it’s not Sam who is hitting him to the bones.
“Hello Brother.” Lucifer says and the sentence comes out Sam Winchester’s lips. But it’s not Sam. The figures are his but the expressions are not. The voice is his, but the tone is not. When Castiel looks in his eyes, he sees nothing else but the Devil. Not a single unique tiny hint of Sam Winchester.
“What are you waiting for” Castiel says “Kill us.”
Lucifer is startled. “Kill you? What for?” He smiles and goes and looks out the window. “No. You see, I made a promise to that hairless ape you love so much and I have to keep it.” He looks at Castiel, now by Dean’s side. He’s not dead, not even unconscious. He is there, just unable to talk. “You can take him, we’ll meet again anyway, him, you and me—”
Castiel doesn’t wait for the end of this sentence. Dean seems to understand what he plans to do and tries to protest but in vain. Screams are lost in his throat as Castiel bring both of them back to Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
As soon as they’re back, Castiel cleans Dean up and the foggy protestations become audible shouts. “BRING ME BACK. CAS. BRING ME FUCKING BACK YOU BASTARD.”
“Dean, calm down, Dean-“
“SHUT THE FUCK UP AND BRING ME BACK TO SAMMY.” Castiel is knelt before Dean and he didn’t move. “NOW!”
“Dean, he is gone.”
“I SAID NOW YOU FUCKING ASSHOLE.”
And as he swears, Dean’s punch goes into Castiel’s nose. It hurts, but less than he believed it would. Dean keeps on shouting and swearing and hitting him until Castiel can’t distinguish his words from the constant whistle inside his head. Only then he says: “Dean. I’m sorry.” And Dean’s right hand stops in midair while the left one tighten his grip on the angel’s throat.
“No, you’re not, Cas.” Dean says, his mouth only a few inches from Castiel’s. “Not yet.”