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the angels never arrived (but i can hear the choir)

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"I'm your new God. A better one. So you will bow down and profess your love unto me, your Lord. Or I shall destroy you," Castiel intones gravely.

Because their lives weren't terrible enough already, or something, Dean thinks, only slightly hysterically. Sam has a demonic conga line in his head, and now Cas is power tripping on the supernatural equivalent of a nuclear bomb, because apparently stopping the fucking Apocalypse wasn't enough. Part of him wants to tell Cas where he can stick his new God, but he's also fond of keeping his entrails on the inside of his body, thank you very much.

Dean looks at Sam, who at least still has the presence of mind to look extremely fucking concerned at this development, and then at Bobby, who is grim-faced and wide-eyed.

Then, behind them, a new voice snaps, "Castiel!"

Everyone turns to look. Two people stand at the top of the stairs; one is a middle-aged guy dressed like a college professor, with flyaway blond hair and blue eyes so bright he can only be an angel. The other one, who looks to be about Sam's age (angels, Dean thinks; that doesn't mean jack shit), is short and dark-haired, dressed all in black and wearing sunglasses that are unnecessarily large. Dean really, really hopes they're friendly. Though judging by the murderous look on the blond guy's face as he descends the stairs, he isn't dropping in for a catch-up and a cup of coffee.

But Castiel's smile is beatific. "Aziraphale, my brother. It fills my heart with joy that you are here to glory in my triumph—"

Aziraphale sticks a finger in Castiel's face, and Castiel's face falls. Dean would laugh if the situation weren't completely fucked. "Castiel," he says (and he's British, of course he is), looming over Cas like an improbably menacing, sweater-vested tower of rage, "put those souls back where they came from right now or so help me."

Silence follows, save for the dark-haired guy muttering, "Woof, Cassy, you've really stepped in it this time."

"Brother—" Castiel begins, and Dean realises the look on his face is panic. "I—"

"Now," Aziraphale repeats, in a tone that promises swift and painful death on anyone stupid enough to piss him off right now.

Castiel hesitates, then ducks his head, says, sounding for all the world like a kid who's just been yelled at his parents, "Yes, brother," and turns towards the sigil on the wall. (What happened to the dog blood? Dean wants to ask, but he's too busy trying not to choke on his spit.) Castiel spreads his arms wide, there's a flash of blinding light, and when it fades, Dean can tell at once that it's just him again, standing with his shoulders slumped, looking small and far more pitiful than he deserves. 

"Brother—" he tries again, turning back to Aziraphale, but Aziraphale just snaps his fingers, and then they're in Bobby's kitchen.

"Sit," he says to Castiel, and a chair pulls itself out from under the table, screeching as it drags along the floor. Castiel opens his mouth, then seems to think better of it and sits, hands folded in his lap. Aziraphale pulls a mug of tea from seemingly nowhere, and slams it down in front of Castiel. "Drink."

Castiel hurriedly obliges, both hands wrapped around the mug. "It's delicious," he mumbles, keeping his gaze fixed firmly in his mug, like it holds all the secrets of the universe.

"Castiel," Aziraphale says, placing both palms flat on the worn table-top, "I am very disappointed in you."

"Yikes," the dark-haired guy says quietly, in a tone that implies he's enjoying himself way more than the situation calls for. "Okay, come on." He grabs Dean's sleeve in one hand and Sam's in the other, and drags them into the study.

Bobby, clearly not wanting to stand witness to Castiel's impending dressing-down, hurries after them, shutting the doors carefully behind him. "Someone want to tell me what the hell just happened?" he demands, then hesitates before adding, "I mean, that did happen, right?"

"Castiel getting yelled at like a naughty schoolboy?" the dark-haired guy asks. He's standing at Bobby's desk, pouring whiskey into glasses. "Yeah, that happened."

Dean, who has spent the past five minutes gawping pretty much nonstop, manages, "Who the hell are you guys, anyway?"

DHG ("dark-haired guy" is a lot for Dean's exhausted, confused brain to wrap itself around right now) pulls off his sunglasses to reveal luminous golden eyes with slitted pupils. "Crowley," he says, before any of them can explode. "The other, more handsome, smarter Crowley. Fallen angel." He hands Dean a fifth of whiskey, and Dean knocks it back with one swallow, because holy shit, it has been a long fucking day (year). Crowley points at the door. "Currently tearing Castiel a new one is Aziraphale. Actual angel, and thoroughly insufferable about it."

Dean crosses to the desk, fills his glass all the way to the top, and takes a swig. "So, what's with the eyes?" he asks Crowley, who shrugs.

"I was the snake. In Eden, you child," he adds exasperatedly, when Dean snickers into his glass.

"The snake who tempted Eve with the forbidden fruit?" Sam asks hoarsely. He's folded up on the sofa, pale and shaking, and Dean wants to cry, because only Sam would be nerding out even while Lucifer is lighting fires in his brain.

Crowley raises his glass to Sam. "The one and only. So that whole free will thing? Yeah, you're welcome."

"Why did you stop Castiel?" Dean asks. "You working for Raphael?"

"I think not," Crowley scoffs. "We support Cassy's goals, one hundred percent. His methods, not so much. Hence—" He gestures towards the kitchen. "Aziraphale and Castiel go way back. Let's just say it's a long story. Very long."

Dean sinks down on the sofa next to Sam, and after a moment Bobby walks around his desk to sit in the chair behind it. "We've got time," Dean says pointedly.

Crowley rolls his eyes, but nods. "Right. First things first, though." He comes to stand in front of Sam and reaches for his head.

Sam flinches back, and Dean blurts, "Hey, what the hell—"

"Relax," Crowley says impatiently, and presses the palm of his hand to Sam's forehead, like he's checking for a fever. Sam gasps but leans into the touch, eyes sliding closed. After a few seconds, Crowley takes his hand away, and Dean looks at Sam and sees that his colour is flooding back, and his hands have stopped trembling.

"What did you do?" Dean asks, voice hushed.

"Patched up the wall," Crowley says, like it's no big deal. "Well, more like rebuilt it from scratch after Castiel blasted it to rubble, but, you know. You can thank me later." He tops off his glass, then perches gracefully on the arm of the sofa next to Sam. "Right," he says. "Where should I start?"