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Sam Winchester

"Life doesn't turn out the way you thought it would when you were 14 years old."

2899 views · last seen in Supernatural America
a character in “Team Free Will”, originally authored by Ivisbo, as played by RolePlayGateway

Description

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"Listen to me, you've got this dark pit inside you. I know. Believe me, I know. But that doesn't mean you have to fall into it. You don't have to be a monster... It doesn't matter what you are. It only matters what you do. It's your choice."








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Nicknames

Sammy, Moose, Bitch, RoboSam, Sasquatch, Lucifer's Vessel, Anti-Christ


Species

Human, mostly


Sexuality

Heterosexual

Age

30

Birthday

May 2, 1983

Height

6'6"

Weight

225 lbs.

Hair Color

Brown

Eye Color

Hazel (ranges between green to caramel)

Occupation

Hunter





"You don't know me. You never did and you never will"

Personality

ImageSam is the Winchester brother that never experienced childhood. He grew up under Deans protection, as their father was off hunting most of the time and had no time to form a stable bond with his youngest son. Instead, Dean's willingness to sacrifice everything for his little brother became the only thing in Sam's life that allowed him to grow up in some semblance of a home. Because of this, Sam holds Dean on a pedestal in which he can do no wrong. Dean is his Hero, though he does not openly admit it, and always looks to his older brother for answers. That doesn't mean Sam has not witnessed Dean doing wrong....which is why when Dean goes against Sam's image of him, Sam reacts violently and usually leaves. Even through everything they have been through, Sam would always selflessly give up his life for his brother, as Dean would do for him.
Sam always searched for a way out of the family business. He strived for a more 'apple-pie' sort of life, a life that he never had growing up. His one chance out ended in tragedy and only served to force him deeper into hunting demons. As the years passed, he gave up fighting against it and accepted the fact that he was a 'freak'. Sam hates hunting, but he was raised on it and is exceptionally good at it. He is smart, almost nerdy smart, as he almost graduated from college, and uses his intellect to research information on the demons they hunt and the world they live in. Unlike his brother, who never stepped into the world of technology, Sam is exceptionally good at working with computers..
After his time in the pit with Lucifer and Michael, Sam looses the childish reverence that he had growing up. He becomes colder and more calculating....even after his soul is returned to him. Going through the mental torture has left him damaged, more damaged then any time can heal.
Although he is wounded mentally, Sam still holds his sympathetic and emotional heart that he was born with. Even when his job is to kill the supernatural beings he has been trained to kill, he has a hard time destroying something when they show evidence of a soul. He also is extremely sympathetic when talking to those who have lost their loved ones and is great at speaking to them in a calming manner. He has a high regard for human life and while Deans motto is to 'shoot first, ask questions later', Sam is a bit more trusting and likes to learn the facts before killing another creature. He is always hopeful for a positive result, however slim the chance.
After almost giving himself so they could seal the gates of hell, Sam feels lost. He was ready to die, ready to escape this hell of a life and finally be at peace (whatever that meant for him). But now with the fall of the angels, he knows that is not an option. Faced with yet another challenge, Sam batters on, the idealistic light he once had diminishing. He now feels like he is on a never ending roller coaster and would sooner jump off if he could. But with Dean in the seat next to him, he knows he can not leave until he can be sure his brother can live the life that he should have been given.

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Likes

•Health Food.
•Salads.
•Vegetables.
•Reading.
•Researching.
•Mythology.
•Magic.


Dislikes


Unhealthy Food.
•Demons.
•Fire.
•Loosing control.
•Unneeded death.


Fears and Weaknesses


•Sam is terrified of clowns.
•Most girls Sam hooks-up with end up dead.
•Has a hard time killing other humans.
•Fear Death, though he accepts it easily.
•Losing Dean.
•Feels immense guilt for all of his actions.
•Suffers from migraines.



Skills


•Clairvoyance.
•Telekinesis.
•Cooking.
•Researching.
•Puppy-dog eyes.
•Demon killing.
•Speaking latin.






"Our lives are weird Dean, and they sure as hell aren't getting anymore normal"


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History

When Sam was only 6 months old, Azazel the yellow eyed demon visited him in his nursery. He drips his demonic blood into the mouth of baby Sam, giving him the power the will later be used to become one of his Special Children. While he is their, Azazel is interrupted by the appearance of Sam and Deans mother, Mary. The demon kills her by pinning her to the ceiling of Sams room and burning her alive. John (his father) rescues Sam from the burning room and him and Dean escape unharmed.
The boys grew up under the care of an absent father who spends his days hunting down demons and tracking the one that killed his wife. Dean is left in charge of Sam and has to raise his little brother from a young age. Dean shields Sam from the supernatural until he is 8, when Sam finally discovers that his mother was not kill in a car accident. Dean explains to Sam how the world they live in actually works, though Sam still remains out of the hunters circle. Sam does not go on a real hunt until he turns 14, when John and Dean take him on a werwolf hunt. He hates it and is terrified the whole way through, though John pushes him to finish the job.
In Highschool, Sam was a Mathlete and head of his class. He did not focus much on the social aspect, instead he buried himself in his books and learned as much as possible. He was bullied, but usually Dean would stand up for him if he saw anything. Sam spent his time researching the supernatural and learning as much as he can in ever school he enters. After graduating from high school top of his class, Sam received a full ride scholarship to study at Stanford. Johns tell him as he is leaving that he can't return to the family business if he leaves, but he has no plane to. Sam wants a normal life, one with a house and a picket fence and a dog, something he never had when he was younger. So he studies and meets the love of his life a year later, Jessica Moore. Jessica and Sa, dated for a year and half, moved in together and happy. At 22, Sam is about to enter law school and continue his education when Dean shows up at his and Jessica's apartment in Palo Alto.
Dean explains that their Dad has gone missing and that he needs Sam's help finding him. After come convincing, Sam leaves with his brother on the search. A week later they turn up with nothing and Sam heads back to college for his finals. That night, he wakes up to see the burning body of his girlfriend on his ceiling in exactly the same way his mother died.
Sam leaves college after the tragedy and banishes his thoughts of a normal life. He joins Dean on their search for John Winchester and to exact vengeance on the yellow eyed demon. As they travel, following their dads misty clues and information on his whereabouts, Sam begins to show signs of precognition and telekinesis. He does not share this information, rather keeps it a secret as he is both equally perplexed and terrified as to what they mean.
They finally run back into John in Iowa and stop him from attacking the yellow eyed demon. As they are driving to the hospital, a truck crashes into the side of the Impala with all of the Winchesters inside. John dies in the hospital from the crash and leave the boys in turmoil. Sam throws himself into killing demons and hunting down the yellow eyes demon as a way of coping with the lose of the father he never really knew. He soon learns that the Demon plans to cause Sam to become evil and use him and "children like him" as soldiers in an upcoming war. Dean was told that if he could not save Sam, he would have to kill him.
Months later, it is revealed that there is demon's blood in Sam. He is stabbed by a soldier named Jake and dies in his older brother's arms just as he and fellow hunter Bobby arrive to the rescue. Dean makes a deal to deliver himself to Hell in one year, in exchange for Sam's life. Sam doesn't know of what happened while he was dead, and is in fact unaware he was ever dead in the first place. In the following battle to prevent Jake and the Yellow-Eyed Demon from unleashing a demonic army, Sam shoots and kills Jake. This is the first time Sam kills a man, or someone that isn't a demon, and he seems to show no remorse.
Sam becomes consumed with the task of finding a loophole in Dean's contract with the Crossroads Demon in order to save Dean from going to Hell. He receives unlikely help from Ruby, a demon. She claims to know a way to help Sam save Dean and slowly gets Sam to embrace his demonic powers by drinking demon blood. A year comes, Sam still hasn't found a way to save Dean, and has to watch, helplessly and powerless, as Lilith sic her hellhounds on Dean and tear him to pieces.
Sam can not cope with the lose of Dean. He drinks and lets himself go, wishing for death without his last family member. Ruby shows back up and helps same to cope with his depression. He learns to use his demon powers, even exorcising them and sending them back to hell.
Is is then that Castiel saves Dean from Hell and returns him to Earth. Dean learns of Sams powers and this leads to a fallout between the brothers.Sam lies to Dean to fix their relationship and pretends to stop using demon blood when in fact he is growing stronger. t is easy to see that Sam has become very addicted to demon blood, showing all of the signs of a drug abuser. Dean witnesses Sam loose control in front of him and together with Bobby, they lock him in a panic room to detox.
Castiel releases Sam under the orders of heaven and Sam runs to Ruby. Together they battle to save the final seal from being broken. When Sam and Ruby finally reach Lilith, he kills her, with his eyes turning black because of the amount of demon blood he had to ingest. Once Lilith is dead, he learns that Ruby had been working to raise Lucifer all along. When Dean bursts into the room, Sam holds Ruby while Dean kills her with her own knife. Sam and Dean then watch in horror as Lucifer's door is finally opened.
Sam tries desperately to redeem himself by trying to stop the devil’s plans. Lucifer approaches Sam and tells him that he is his true vessel, in conjunction with Dean being the archangel Michael's true vessel. Sam feels immense guilt for most of his actions, so when it is discovered that Lucifer can he locked back into Hell using the rings of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, Sam considers the enormous task of allowing the devil to possess him in order for Sam to push him back into Hell. Sam says "Yes" to Lucifer, prior to which he consumes an incredible amount of demon blood to strengthen his body. Lucifer appears to take full control of Sam and starts a number of natural disasters around the globe.
Lucifer meets Michael in the chosen area for the final battle, during which he kills both Castiel and Bobby and severely injures Dean. Sam is ably to grab control long enough to throw his body and Michael into the gates of hell.
A year passes in which Sam pretends that he is still in the pitt. He reveals himself to Dean in order to save him from a Djinn, but it is obvious Sam has changed. He is shown to be a more cold and calculating person than before and also a more efficient and ruthless hunter. Castiel is able to discover that Sam's soul is missing and still in the pitt with lucifer and Michael. Dean makes a deal with Death to bring Sam's soul back and create a mental block to keep back the horrors done to him in Hell.
The boys later discover that Castiel has been spying on them for Crowley, the King of Hell. They trap him in a flaming ring of holy oil to interrogate him. Castiel tries to defend himself, revealing that he resurrected Sam. Sam is shocked, and suspects Castiel of having deliberately left his soul behind.
Sam finds himself fleeing from the police near John's lock-up. Sam realizes that he is trapped in his own mind. He manages to kill his soulless counterpart, and absorbs him. He then remembers the last year when he was soul-less. He makes his way on his own to his mental version of Bobby's place, and finds the version of himself that remembers Hell. They talk, and though it may kill him, Sam decides to face the memories so that he can wake up and help Dean against Cass.
Castiel opens purgatory and welcomes the things inside into his body. Sam's unsuccessful attempt to kill Castiel, Sam's condition begins to deteriorate. Because the brothers continue to oppose him, Castiel chooses not to repair Sam's wall. Sam begins to experience hallucinations, seeing Hell, but does not reveal his problems.
The souls in Castiel are returned, but he is taken over by Leviathans, who use him to disappear into a reservoir. The Winchesters and Bobby regroup in the aftermath during and Dean and Bobby confront Sam about his obvious troubles. Sam admits that he is seeing the devil, who tells him that he is still in Hell, being tormented. His hallucination tries to convince him that killing himself is the only solution. Sam is tricked into going alone to an empty warehouse. Dean finds him, and convinces him that he is back on Earth by helping him see the difference between real physical pain and pain in Hell.
Dean is captured, and although Sam has been ignoring Lucifer diligently for months, but when the vision starts taunting him about Dean, then offering useful advice, Sam acknowledges him. Dean is rescued, but now that Sam has given in to the taunting, he can no longer escape it. Sam is unable to sleep, and in he buys sleeping pills off of a drug dealer in an attempt to help himself, but is institutionalized after being hit by a car. Lucifer continues to torment him in the hospital, and he is eventually reduced to a catatonic state. He is saved when a revived Castiel takes on his suffering, enabling Sam to continue his life.
To bring down the leviathans, and they do manage to steal a tablet called The Word of God, and prophet Kevin Tran translates it for them. Uncovering the tablet wakes Castiel from his memory loss. Then Sam, Cas, and Dean enter the leviathan headquarters, and Cas and Dean manage to find and stab Dick. There is a strange explosion of black ooze, and Sam is left alone in the laboratory, with no sign of his brother or the angel.
Sam finally is able to live the perfect life he always wanted. He gets a dog, a girl, even offers to marry her...then Dean returns. Having thought his brother dead, Sam had continued living as though he could do nothing to change that. But with Dean back, he couldn't remain still any longer. He soon joins his brother and together they start to hunt down the tablets and discover a way to seal the doors of Hell, forever. Sam takes on the task of completely the seal, hoping to repent for his sins in the past. They almost complete all of the tasks, which would lead to Sam's death, when the gates of Heaven instead are broken and angels are let loose to rain down upon Earth.


Theme Song

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Image Animal I Have Become - Three Days Grace

I can't escape this hell
So many times I've tried
But I'm still caged inside
Somebody get me through this nightmare
I can't control myself
So what if you can see the darkest side of me
No one will ever change this animal I have become
Help me believe it's not the real me
Somebody help me tame this animal!
This animal, this animal

I can't escape myself
So many times I've lied
But there's still rage inside
Somebody get me through this nightmare
I can't control myself

So what if you can see the darkest side of me
No one will ever change this animal I have become
Help me believe it's not the real me
Somebody help me tame this animal I have become

Help me believe it's not the real me
Somebody help me tame this animal

Somebody help me through this nightmare
I can't control myself
Somebody wake me from this nightmare
I can't escape this hell

This animal, this animal
This animal, this animal
This animal, this animal
This animal

So what if you can see the darkest side of me
No one will ever change this animal I have become
Help me believe it's not the real me
Somebody help me tame this animal I have become

Help me believe it's not the real me
Somebody help me tame this animal!
This animal I have become





FaceClaim || Jared Padalecki

So begins...

Sam Winchester's Story

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Dean Winchester Character Portrait: Castiel Character Portrait: Sam Winchester
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Footnotes

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This was the moment that defined their life's story. Because this was just supposed to be a narritive about two boys killing monsters and demons and day by day working to avenge their mother. It was supposed to be about the tough, brawny big brother and the smart, more introverted little brother who had run away while there were monsters still out there to hunt. It was supposed to be a superhero story about winning and beating what was in the dark. What Sam and Dean Winchester knew was that everything it was supposed to be remained only as “supposed to be”.

It became story about love, loss, and desperation. It was about how the light in Dean’s eyes died as he grew older. It was about every time Sam had suffered needlessly, every time he had failed and every time he had gotten back up. It was about how two brothers turned the world, heaven and hell, against them and about how they loved each other enough to sacrifice humanity five times over and still managed to save it's sorry ass. It was about the way they sang in their ‘67 impala at the top of their lungs. It was about the times they cried and opened up to one another. It was about driving down that tired road and classic rock and the feel of one another’s shoulderblades against their own, pistols out, surrounded by monsters. It was hope and family and how that could include a winged tax collector in a trenchcoat, and a bearded old drunk who had put his own spin on “idiots”.

In that moment it was family that had left and family that had been brought together again. Two brothers crashing to the ground, one defiant against the darkness in and around him and one loyal to a fault with the faith of two.

"Dad’s on a hunting trip, and he hasn’t been home in a few days."

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Dean's glass of whiskey made a hollow clunking sound as it was placed onto the table and his verdant eyes went flat. He could not make himself stop watching his own fingers clench around the near empty glass. He pictured small creatures in the cells of whatever was trapped in the dregs of the drink, tiny crying organisms imprisoned under the half-melted ice.

Suddenly the glass shattered in his grip, shards splintering on the table top like tiny snowflakes. Blood droplets welled up in his palm like red pearls, fragments of that glass sticking out of the superficial wounds. He quickly picked his head up and locked his eyes on Sam's closed bedroom door, not a sound could be heard from the other side. Sam was probably sleeping, getting is rest like Dean instructed him he should. "You'll get better." he had said. "Trust me." He pleaded. "A little R and R and you'll be good as new." He promised.

He had explained that since he and his brother's talk that one faithless night, Sam had accepted he was worth saving; that Sammy could heal now since he had removed his own mental block, believed that he was worthy of living. Too bad that had been a load of bull. Dean knew his little brother, his one true responsibility in life, was only getting sicker by the minute and it'd be up to him to save him; and if Sam had known what Dean had done in order to do just that....He shuddered. But he had chosen this fate for himself, he thought he understood enough from his time in Hell and Purgatiry to grasp the depth of this sacrifice.
He hadn't. He still didn't.
Sam being sick in the first place was his fault after all....and there he was supposed to be The Righteous Man, a paragon among men, his brother's keeper. More often than not, he just felt like a loser without a clue, someone who people wanted to have all the answers but he was just too stupid, just grasping at the proverbial straws. Where was he when Sam was bathing in Hellhound blood, when he was supposed to be taking the trials? Dean's ever self deprecating thoughts continued on as he traversed to the kitchen to collect a hand towel and a trash can. It wouldn't do for an awake and refreshed Sammy to see blood, glass, and watered down liquor all over the central table of The Bat-Cave.

Sometimes it felt like all Dean had to do was look over his shoulder for the past to catch up, to pounce and devour him. The scent of guilt was on him and the dark beast was on the hunt. He'd never discuss it, not outright, not without allusion and evasion, the ever ongoing dance of avoidance around the site of hurt. Just another unspoken rule that kept him together, the long list of taboos: Don't dwell on the past. Don't give up. Do not fail them. Regret roiled within him, phantom sensations from a long-severed limb that refused to get the message. Dean would just have to plaster on his usual cocky smile, the most important part of his bravado, with this sliver of guilt burrowed inside him, this sadness that clung like poisonous ivy to the walls of his mind. Sammy couldn't know.

Dean wiped up the last of his mess and shook the towel out over his little trash can, his thoughts venturing from Sam to Cas. Once upon a time he would've been ashamed of himself for even considering the idea that Cas didn't want to return to him. The idea that Cas, the guy who'd died twice for him, been to Hell and back for him, fell from Heaven for him, all those things just for him, would just ditch them when Sammy needed help appalled him. But part of him still feebly insisted that he should consider, no--be convinced that that stupid, broken bastard had just up and run with his tail between his legs after the angels fell—but that part was easy to ignore. Because Cas was stupid, and he was broken, and he was a bastard, but he was a friend, he was family. There had to be an excuse for why he had yet to return home...to Dean. He took one look at the blood spotted towel and decided to throw it away too, then closed his eyes, bowed his head, and in spite of everything, prayed out loud to his angel.

"Dear Cas, who art in hiding, hallowed be thy...trenchcoat.....Ugh, that's lame. Let me start over. Ground control to Major Assbutt. Starting to think I'm talking to myself. Can you even hear me? Dunno if I'm just shouting into the void. Sure feels that way some days...Okay, most days. Dude where the hell are you? We miss you, I miss you..... Amen or whatever."

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Dean Winchester Character Portrait: Castiel Character Portrait: Sam Winchester
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Footnotes

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"I don't want to be a freak for once, Dean..."

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Sam threw his life away pinning for that dream he had once muttered to his big brother after a horrible day at school. He ran from his family, ran from everything he had been taught from birth, and tried to grow apart from it...only to have everything come slamming back to him the day his brother sought him out at Stanford.

"Dad’s on a hunting trip, and he hasn’t been home in a few days."

Those god damn words. The sentence that started everything...Jess's murder, his own death, apocalypse after apocalypse. Everything was ripped apart after that fateful night and no matter how many times the Winchesters pieced their misshapen life back together something was always lost in the process. Sam scrambled to keep his humanity in check, holding onto the crucial pieces of himself with allowed him to still be Deans brother...

But when he finally experienced normal in Dean's absence and had it ripped away again, his scramble to hold onto himself became harder then ever before. Harder then losing his soul, harder then losing Dean...it was as if the essence of himself was gone, his dream of a normal life taken away after all these years. Sam finally came to conclusion that he would not get that life, no matter how hard they battled the forces against them.

He gave up, simple as that, and was ready to accept his fate if it meant helping Dean finally have the life they all deserved but would never have. Sam was too broken to continue anymore and he simply wanted out...if his last move could help his brother have a chance at normal, then he was ready to move on. He came to the conclusion he did not deserve normal, especially after all the mistake he had made and lives he had taken. So, sacrificing himself for the world was the best option he could think of.

Of course, the Winchester's plans never worked out how they are supposed to...



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ImageSam had been staring at he ceiling for a long time before he blinked and released a puff of air that also seemed to release the weight of the world. His body ached, his head ached, his mind ached....but he was alive. The screaming feeling of death that had been gnawing on his bones since the first trial was no longer present, vanished like a demon. While the thought was somewhat comforting, it still had Sam slightly on edge. When it came to the Winchester's, nothing was simple, and when things were going your way, it just meant everything was going down hill soon.

With the angels fallen to Earth, Sam figured it couldn't get much worse (though he knew that he shouldn't even think that without knocking on wood). But before all this, he had been in the process of sacrificing himself so that the world could be in peace...and though he would still jump at the opportunity, somehow his brother had convinced him that his life was worth living. And though he had his mind set on completing the trials and sacrificing himself....Winchesters never really got what they wanted.

So here he was, back in the Bat-Cave, some how still alive even after being at the brink of death. Sam sent a tired glance to his clock next to his bed, realizing that he had slept long then he had in a long, long time. He was rarely allowed this luxury, so his brain was still sluggishly awakening itself. He felt good, rested and well, by whatever miracle. But, though his mind was lethargic, still coaxing itself back to working order, his stomach was in dire need of filling.

Sam pulled his massive body from the comfortable mattress and slowly worked on pulling a shirt over his bare chest. His room was still sparse, not as personalized as Deans, but then he had never expected to make it through the trials. Since he was alive now and planned on staying so...he might as well decorate. The thought sent a small smile across his face as he stood and opened to door to the hall.

Deans voice filtered down the corridor from the kitchen, "...Dunno if I'm just shouting into the void. Sure feels that way some days...Okay, most days. Dude where the hell are you? We miss you, I miss you..... Amen or whatever."

His older brother always had a closer relationship to the angel then him, so Sam was only mildly surprised to find Dean praying to the missing angel. He cares for the socially inept man, considers him an unofficial Winchester, but Cas has also been the root cause of most of their problems. Sam knows how it feel to make a few massive mistake, he may know better then most what the angel is going through right now. And with the more then likely loss of his powers...well, Castiel has moved to top priority in his book. Sam stayed in the hallway for a moment to make sure his brother had finished, then he shuffled tiredly into the room.

"Hey" He mumbled as he moved towards the cupboards to pull out the ingredients for a bowl of cereal, "Any news?" His voice was scratchy with sleep as he plopped down at the table, almost spilling his bowl in the process. He poured too much milk in his awakening state, but it would do. Sam shoved a massive spoonful of granola into his mouth and looked up at Dean, raising a brow to accentuate his question.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Dean Winchester Character Portrait: Castiel Character Portrait: Sam Winchester
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Footnotes

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Castiel remembers Hell.

The scent of sulfur having hit him like he'd just flown into a brick wall as he made his descent into the pit. Screams and wails of agony assailed him from every direction. The scent of soldered flesh and blood was acrid, a burning scent in his nostrils. Helpless terror and pain pressed against his grace, darkness threatening to overwhelm him. He couldn't help any of these souls, he could only save the righteous man. He saw the vibrant flickering light that was a beautiful emerald green, streaked with a darkness that had begun to dull the rest of the soul. He'd taken too long already, Castiel realized as he burst into the rack. The soul was stretched out, screaming, still crying out for his brother. Castiel's bright light caused the surrounding demons to cringe away, and he gathered the soul into his grace, his angel blade in his hands as he fought his way out of the rack. Then a smirking demon, more powerful than the rest, stepped into the way. He felt the instinctive fear of the soul in his grace at the presence of the head torturer, and he shot away, wings beating against the flames of Hell, the feathers strong enough to withstand the heat. He followed the faint threads this soul had to the surface, and burst out of Hell, on to Earth. It was there he pieced together the shattered soul, mending it with his own grace.

Castiel remembers his rebellion.

He’d felt his connections to Heaven wane, stretched out by a thread with every step he took into that barn. The more time he spent in Dean’s company, the more he began to question his own brothers. When Dean came to him and pled for his help against that of Zachariah, he was almost ashamed at how little time it took for him to assist the mortal man. Over time he became reassured that he was doing the right thing, and in the end it was all he’d ever wanted to do.

Castiel never meant to hurt the boys.

Dean was a man of action over words and at first, Cas couldn’t translate. When he first raised Dean from Perdition, he didn’t understand why the hunter ran so far and so fast to help those close to him no matter the cost to himself. Cas found an opportunity to thank Dean for all he did for the world—and for Cas. He thought by now he understood Dean’s actions and he tried to communicate his appreciation in the same language. As he so often observed Dead do, he opted to put the boys before himself and to take the weight of the world and Heaven’s troubles on his own shoulders, allowing Dean to live his own life, separate and peaceful. But there were drastic errors in his translation, and it nearly led to the destruction of all Cas held dear. His translation had landed Dean in Purgatory. There, Dean started to speak with words. “I need you.” Cas understood those words. He needed Dean too. He needed Dean for his own sense of balance between sanity and the recognition of his past deeds. He needed his brothers in his garrison, depended on them in battle. They were warriors and survivors together, brothers in arms willing to sacrifice for each other. But this needs was still tied up in words, separated from action. Cas couldn’t draw a link between the two. When Cas left Dean in the Crypt—as he had in Purgatory before that—Dean told him he needed him once again. But Cas knew ‘need’ was relative. His presence would only complicate Dean’s life was he worried about Sam and his self-appointed task to save the world again. Dean could and would survive better without him.

Castiel remembers falling.

The pain of getting his throat slit was the first real pain he’d ever experienced; the panic as his grace seeped outside of that wound the first real emotion. Neither of these measured up to what followed. His wings were torn from him and he watched as they turned to ash. He was cast out of Heaven and sent hurling onto Earth. He watched as his brothers and sisters plummeted to the Earth, felt the brutality of their hatred as guilt shook him to the core. They’d be after him.






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Metatron left Castiel with a parting gift that he kept hidden under more and more layers of clothes. At first, the former angel didn’t even think about something as minor as attire when thousands of other angels marooned on Earth wanted him dead.

But soon his trench coat fell apart.

He lost his tie in fight that he barely escaped alive.

Slacks got ripped by another angel trying to slash him with the blade.

Piece by piece, Castiel lost touch with life in a vessel and had to get used to the sensation of it being his own skin. Jimmy hadn’t shared the space with him in quite some time and he felt guilty about destroying the suit so quickly. He considered himself a failure as both an angel and now a man. But home tugged at him. It kept him moving across the country day by day. Home was a place in Kansas, but more than that, home was a man named Dean and a man named Sam. Occasionally, the former angel stole pieces of clothing out of laundromats along his journey. A green t-shirt. A white button-down shirt. A red hoodie. A dark grey jacket. Baggy cargo pants.

Castiel never liked to look at his naked body as he changed his clothes. It only reminded him of the harsh reality that Metatron had left him. The evidence of what he had been burned and stabbed at him in gaping wounds through each shoulder blade. He couldn’t bear to look at it even though he knew it needed attention. He was mortal now, after all. Such things mattered.

The morning he showed up at the bunker in Lebanon, Kanas, the downpour had soaked through his stolen clothes from the night before. Dirty, unwashed hair matted to his forehead in the rain, and a beard like the one he had in Purgatory grew around his jaw. Exhaustion stalked him in the night no matter how he needed to push ahead, and hunger steadily grew into awful pain ravaging his gut. Nothing hurt more than the wounds seeping blood through the many layers of clothes, however. He considered stopping to add a fifth layer in hopes of hiding it, but even he knew five layers looked ridiculous on a human.

Castiel stumbled and fell before he got to the front door, collapsing at the mouth of the descending stair well. His eyes fell shut as exhaustion over took him.

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Dean took Sam from the church, pulling him, carrying him. He could tell Sam's head was thick with exhaustion, his thoughts cloudy and reeling; still, in typical Sam fashion he'd probably be thinking he should be supporting himself. Wishing he could. He couldn’t. He'd get his feet under himself only enough to stumble and fall and drag Dean down with him.

"I got you, little brother," Dean said, sliding with Sam into the mud, grit, and gravel. He was wrong about that—His brother was ready to die a few minutes ago, and he’d been ready to die for years; he's got nothing, and wanted even less. "C’mon, Sammy, I got you."

Sammy was a chubby twelve-year-old, he recalled Sam reminding him once, that he wanted Dean to see him as an adult, long before Sam knew just how much he’d never be able to count him as one.

Dean had his hands fisted in Sam's shirt, bracing him against the side of the car. Holding him up, again. With cold wind sluicing over him and the overhead flares of falling angels making Dean flinch, it was hard to tell, but he thought he could feel himself shaking.

Why couldn't it have been him in Sam's place?





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Image "Hey." He abruptly whirled around to see Sam's tired face, taking notice of the bones behind his fragile cheeks, still unhealthily protruding from sallow skin. He had to mentally remind himself, Sam couldn't recover overnight. "Hey you, up already? Did I wake ya?" he asked, rubbing his hands in one another anxiously. Sam simply fixated Dean with a flat stare that said Jesus, I'm fine already, quit treating me like a china doll before he laggily bustled about the kitchen, pouring himself a bowl of cereal, having finally found his appetite. "Any news?" Sam's voice was raspy, like he had suddenly taken to gargling nails instead of mouthwash. "Nope, nothing. Haven't heard a word from Cas and Crowley seems to think we are playing a game of chicken. Well, I've got news for that dumb bastard, I ain't turning. He is going to have to sit tight until he feels like talking." He took the seat opposite to his brother, always watching him, fixated on his every breath, trained on his every movement. "I'm not sure why you'd want to eat that bird food Sammy, I could of made you a real breakfast you know." he said, nervously eyeing Sam's near empty bowl before his gaze flicked upward to the milk dripping off of his chin. "How are you holding up?"

Before Sam had a chance to respond, a soft thud sounded from the bunker door. "What the f-..." Dean's voice trailed off as he slowly rose from his seat, the metal legs of the chair scrapping across the floor. "...You stay here." He commanded, eyes locked on something unseen through the open kitchen doorway, not bothering to look back at Sam as he said it. "I'mma go see what that was about...probably nothing, maybe Kevin is back from Garth's." He reassured his brother nonchalantly as he pulled his nickel plated 45 with ivory grips from the back of his jean's waistband and checked the chamber. He didn't wait for a reply or to see if Sam would obey him before leaving the room.

The hunter crept into main hall with his gun aimed out in front of him, overly cautious ever since Sam fell ill. He moved with a panther like gait, jaw set resolutely as he approched the huge wooden door, eyeing the bronze devils trap hanging just over the door's frame. With a huff of air as he steeled himself, Dean kept one hand on his gun pointed forward and used the other to wrench the door open, not accounting for the light difference outside that made black spots dance around his vision and the corners of his periphery. When he managed to blink enough times for his pupils to properly adjust, what he saw before him was a haggard man, or at least what looked sort of like a man, folded over in an undignified heap at the base of the steps. He was all matted dark hair, and layers upon layers of torn and tattered clothing the reaked so strongly, the stench of it cloyed in Dean's nostrils. He took a tentative step forward, gun still aimed at the seemingly unconscious man when a sudden realization began creeping over him like the plague, stealing the breath from his lips. "Cas." He intoned. It was Cas.

Dean had abandonment issues. He’d been taught all his life that if you got close to someone, you were certainly going to get burnt. That you’d better never get too attached. (Better: he’s been taught this by the hunter life, and ultimately by his father.) And there was no use pretending that it was not true. It didn’t have to be like that, but there was always a chance of being left or betrayed or both, people made mistakes and the more you loved someone, the less chances you had of not getting broken at least once. One of Dean’s biggest fears was being abandoned, but one step at a time he had let Cas in anyway. Cas was the only person that ever cared about him for the man he was and Dean let him in.

And then Cas had betrayed him, his worst nightmare fully realized, and it almost destroyed him. But Cas showed up again… and Dean chose to fix it. For him, what had happened with Cas could have been proof that indeed you will always suffer if you get close to someone, but the point was that he had stopped focusing on that. He didn’t wonder whether it meant proof or not, he said “Fuck everything, I don’t even care, I only care about making this right” because it didn’t matter if it was true or not, and it didn’t matter to him if he got burnt, the point was that for him, it was worth it.

So Dean trusted Cas again despite knowing the risks and having lived the pain of betrayal and abandoment, because it was still worth it. He’d spent a year in Purgatory and he would have stayed there ad libitum, unless he could leave with Cas, because it would have been worth it. And he was ready now to be chased and have to fight off all of Heaven's expelled angels, because what he and Cas had was worth all of that.

It made sense to him: Peace, safety, and lack of pain did not mean much if the person he cared about was not there to live it with him. Dean would have chosen all the danger and sorrow over that tranquility anyday, if it meant having Cas there with him.

Dean immediately crouched down to the ground, stuffing his gun hastily back in his waistband, before gently laying a hand on Castiel's shoulder and placing the other on his bearded cheek. He looked so pale under all of that dark facial hair. "Cas, buddy? It's me, wake up Cas." He desperately whispered, concern so lined in his face he looked ten years older than he was. He threw his head back toward the door that was still hanging open and called out. "SAM!"

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Its been almost two years since Sam's ordeal with Lucifer. Unlike most of the scars littering his body, the one of his hand is still a present burn in his mind. Even though the presence of Lucifer's nagging voice is no longer a constant torment, the mark on his hand is still seared into thoughts.

In a way, falling on the glass that day had been a blessing. The mark still hurt slightly, like a ghost wound that would never fully heal. Sam used it still to keep his mind in the present, to make sure he reminded himself that he was in fact alive. All the shit they went through was not some cruel mind trick by Lucifer and Michael....Sam had escaped the Pit and made it back to his brother on Earth.

Pressing the scar on his palm instilled in him a resolution to survive once more. It reminded him that Dean needed him, Cas needed him, and sometimes the whole damn world needed him. It pulled him back to Earth, grounded him, forced him to remember the struggles they have gone through and overcome. Dean made it to Hell and back, Sam had died more times then he could count...they have saved the Earth from multiple apocalypses. His scar reminded him that if they could do all that, he could live a little longer.

He was still so tired though, tired of it all. He knew he couldn't give up yet, that he had to stay strong and keep going for Dean...but God was he ready to sleep. Somehow his half resolution in the church to keep going had pulled him through to the other end and saved him....and like a man surviving suicide, he found that life just might be livable a little longer.


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"How are you holding up?"

Those damn words laced with the worry in Deans voice made Sam glare down at the bowl of granola before him, practically stabbing his spoon into the soupy meal as he took another bite. He hated being doted upon, especially when in the back of his head he knew he needed it. Sam knew he wasn't holding up well, he must look like shit based on how he felt, but hearing it voiced out loud (especially by his brother) made him wish he hadn't left his bed. It was a Winchester trait to hold things inside, especially pain and sickness, so he naturally didn't want to talk about it.

Thankfully, a loud thud saved him from an awkwardly worded blow-off of his condition as Dean rushed off to figure out what the noise was. For once, Sam listened to his hurried order, not really caring much for whatever it was outside. He could blame it on his tired state, but in honesty....Sam felt numb. He figured it was apart of his healing process, that eventually he would feel the energy to leap up at the sound of danger and pull out his .45, but at the moment he was content to sit and stare down at his now empty bowl. His mind was moving slower then normal, much slower....normally Sam would think a million things a second and still have room to deal with the world outside. But now he felt listless, exhausted, almost like a ghost. But he was alive and on the mend, so he could only guess he would get better...

Sam grabbed his hand on top of the table, pressing his thumb into the center of the triangular scar and inhaling deeply through his nose. He needed grounding when his thoughts drifted like that and there was nothing that did it better then the scar on his hand. Even if he still felt useless and lost, the damn scar brought him back-

"SAM!"

Caramel eyes flew open and he leapt from his chair, staggering a few feet as they blood rushed to his head from the sudden fast movement. The urgency in his brothers voice always got him moving, no matter what state he was in, and in seconds he was standing in the doorway to the compound looking down at Deans crouching form.

"Dean, what-" His voiced trailed off as he caught sight of the body laying underneath his brother, the crumpled form of Castiel looking worse then he had ever seen him. Even filled with Leviathan and skin cracking away, he never looked like this. Sam rushed forward and crouched down next to his brother, his hands immediately flying to Cas's throat to check his pulse. He wasn't even sure if thats how angels worked (if Cas was still an angel) but he had to know if the honorary Winchester was still alive.

A pulse beat under his shaking fingertips, though light and erratic, but it was enough to allow Sam to release the breath he had been holding.

"We need to get him inside...is that blood?" He slid a hand lightly along the angels shoulder where a dark red stain had seeped through the layers of fabric he wore, then pulled it back to see that it was indeed blood and a lot of it, "We need to get him inside" he mumbled again, then looked up sharply at his brother for confirmation.

The lines of Deans face stood out more then ever as horror and fear flickered through his green eyes. Cas was his best friend, had saved both their lives more times then he wanted to admit....and with Bobby gone, he was really the last of their family. Sam knew how much the man meant to his brother, hell, he knew how much he meant to himself.

"Dean?", He spoke loudly (in a tone that sounded more like their dad then he wanted to admit), hoping to draw his brother back to the present while he moved around the fallen man to help pick him up as delicately as possible. Still in the healing process, Sam's body felt weak and listless, but they had to get Castiel inside. The wounds on his back looked life threatening, he honestly didn't know how he was still alive with the amount of blood that was visible. Sam wouldn't let another member of their family die, he couldn't.

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Seeing your life flash before your eyes was something foreign, a horrifyingly mundane occurrence. It was a spit in the face for Castiel, a former angel; a cruel reminder that he'd become something he'd never would've imagined before he met the Winchesters. Castiel was fallen, a mortal man, and as he watch the milleniums of humanity pass through his mind's eye one last time he realized that his life was practically meaningless before he met the boys. He was just a soldier following orders from a father he'd never seen, fighting alongside those who would come to betray him. And Castiel responded in kind. He was now at fault for all of his brothers and sisters falling. The guilt of that knowledge was killing him more than the malnutrition and infected wounds ever could. It was the moment he pulled Dean out of Hell that he was brought of his remorse and he let himself indulge. He saw the boys along with himself, watching as his relationship progressed and retrogress over the years they'd known each other. All of the bonding, the betrayal, the anger, the attempts to redeem himself, and the hurt. It was all laid out before him in one cinematic like sequence. He began to question whether or not it was wise to return to them. And yet, throughout all of these memories, his attention was drawn to those of him and Dean. He quickly shut them out, ceasing with the memories of them in Purgatory.

He felt crippled with regret knowing how much he had hurt him, wanting nothing more than to make it alright again. He should've stayed away from Dean, shouldn't have become so close to the human in his charge. And Sam, as well. The younger Winchester might not see it, but Castiel felt something for him as well. They had a bond—perhaps not the kind of bond he shared with Dean—but a bond nonetheless. He wouldn't let anyone hurt the boys, either of them, and he'd go to great lengths to prevent that. And yet, Cas digressed, I've been the one dealing the most damage. No matter how unintentional it may have been, the former angel is aware of the hand he dealt them and how he, as Dean would say, 'fucked up'. He would do anything to repent for his transgressions, suffer any fate necessary to make up for all of the pain the boys had to go through because of the mistakes he made. Uriel was right, he had gotten too attached to them. Zachariah had assumed that Castiel's allegiance was always more towards the humans rather than his brethren as well. They were both no farther from the truth then than they are today.

I have to make this right, Castiel decided, The only way I can help the boys is if I stay away...let them forget about me.

"Cas!" That all too familiar voice tore through his consciousness, making the comatosed former angel all too aware of anything he could hear or feel. A hand on his shoulder and another on his cheek kept Castiel clawing desperately at his state of semi-consciousness, wanting nothing more in that moment to wake up and let him know that he was alright, that he was alive, just so Dean would stop sounding so broken. "Cas, buddy? It's me, wake up Cas."

Dean-...

"SAM!"

Not too long after, the younger Winchester was knelt around him, pressing his fingers to Castiel's pulse. He felt himself being hoisted up, the agonizing pain in his back nary nullified but his discomfort was unreadable. Sam kept saying that he needed to be brought inside and Castiel felt that familiar pain of guilt again. Sam was still recovering from the trials and here he was carrying him into the bunker. The utter desperation he felt as he struggled against months of exhaustion and pained was clawing away at him, his eyes laden with tears behind his heavy lids. He wanted to wake up. He needed to wake up...

"Dean-...."

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"The truth will set you free—but not until it’s done with you.” — David Foster Wallace

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Dean's insides felt like they'd been hollowed out with a plastic spoon, like he had been left marooned in his body as his organs moved on without him.

He swallowed hard and it tasted like guilt.

Cas kept saying his name, but his voice was so soft, almost inaudible, and the quiet began to grow crushing and accusing in Dean's mind. He wondered if Cas blamed him for not staying with him when he was trying to complete the angel trials, for running back to Sam like he always had. The thought wrecked something in his chest, tightening his gut, and he wanted to be angry with himself, needed it somehow, but he couldn't muster up the energy to inject rage into his body. There was just a deep sadness, a pain visable in his eyes, a longing for Castiel to just open his own....those blue eyes where time appeared to dilate, four thousand years in the span of a second.

ImageAs Sam spoke, the words were nonsensical to him, turning into a tonal drone in his ears. It wasn't until Sam checked the ex angel's pulse and made a move to pick Castiel up off of the ground that he registered he was supposed to be reacting. "No, no. You're sick. I got him. Quickly. Go turn down the bed in my room." He commanded, his voice quavering with barely suppressed grief as he pulled the newly mortal man from his brothers arms into his own, not so much as staggering under the weight. "Go." He repeated in an exhalation of breath, almost a whisper.

Sam anxiously lopped ahead and Dean trailed after him, mummering words of assurance to his unconscious friend. "It's going to be okay, you're going to be okay. You can kick my ass when you wake up. You will wake up...." By the time he had made it to his bedroom, a room that looked surprizingly bare though the walls were lined in guns and other various weaponry and his bookshelf was stocked with his vinyl record collection, Sam had the grey comforter and white sheets pulled back. Dean lowered Cas down onto the bed on his stomach feather-light, the sack of bones masquerading as a man forming an indention in the memory foam of the matress, before gently tugging the collar of one of his shirts down to peer at the prominent shoulder wound he bore. He couldn't get a good look at it, however, because the fabric was so clotted with dried blood, it clung to his skin. This is bad. He thought as he opened his mouth to say so, but not a sound came forth, and he couldn't drag his eyes away from the man he had come to call family. It was only a few seconds that Dean found himself like this, unable to say anything, but each second seemed to take years. His lungs had petrified in his chest and he could not breathe....And then, all at once, the spell was broken. One of Cas' gasps were more audible than the rest and the rictus that had seized Dean's muscles released. "First aid kit. I need the kit." He told Sam, words coming out like a curse, clipped and bitter, his voice graveling so roughly it was slightly inhuman sounding. He ground his lip between his teeth, biting back all the guttersnipe slang, all the nasty slurs, all the horrible things he wanted to say to make himself feel better. Now was the time to be over-solicitous, not self depreciating.

Dean, once again, didn't wait around to see if Sam would do as he was asked, he knew he would. Instead, he marched with a pure intent into the small bathroom off to the right of his bedroom and ran warm water over a wash cloth. He was moving so quickly, he couldn't tell if he was ringing out the rag, or his hands were simply shaking. Then in only the passing of a moment, Dean was back into the bedroom, pressing the damp cloth to Castiel's cheek, wiping away the dirt and grime streaks. His fingers pricked at the back of the collar of Cas' shirt again, prying the cotton free from the skin, so he could wipe away the blood spackle from his shoulder blade.

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Sam once told Dean that he saw a way out of the ugly ass tunnel they called a life. He once told him that the world they lived in, the special placed filled with monsters and demons they woke up to everyday, was not permanent for him. He escaped once, back in college, and could escape again.

But that was before Dad died, before he watched his brother get ripped apart and before he was sent into the pit to live as a scrap of meat for Lucifer and Michael to rip apart. Now, coming out the other side, he was a torn and battered shell of a soul, only partially held together by the sheer will of his brother. If Dean didn't have the determination that he did, Sam would have fallen a long time ago.

Dean was strong, strong enough to hold both of them up when Sam was struggling to stay a float. There were few things his older brother needed to be happy and survive....one of those few things happened to be family. He ran on it, almost like a drug, and it seemed like every time the Winchesters lost another one of their ranks a piece of Dean was chipped away. Bobby, Dad, Henry, Jo, Ellen....and now maybe Cas....

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ImageWhen you spend your whole entire life sitting next to the same person in a car you begin to understand simple sentences as more then what they really are. Tone of voice, facial expressions, tiny minuet movements suddenly become massive clues to exactly what the other is thinking or feeling. At Deans command, Sam instantly handed over the limp form of the injured man and hurried off into the building, not wishing to be in the way of his brother when he spoke like that. Deans voice was usually strong and confident, but as he handed over the dead weight body, Sam could feel his suppressed trembles and he could just make out his terrified, wavering stare as he turned to rush back into the Hideout.

The hallways suddenly felt much longer and louder as Sam's movements echoed across the tile, giving away his frenzied footsteps as he ran to Deans room. A light sweat had broken out across his brow, the excessive use of energy making him feel depleted and in need of several mouth fulls of air. Castiel could not die, the result would surely mean the demise of his brother and himself. Neither Winchester could deal with the loss of another, not after the year they had. Too many had been lost....and with the bond Dean and Castiel shared, Sam knew that the hole the angel left would never be filled again.

Sam could barely make out a hurried whisper from Dean, a tiny prayer he spoke down to the man in his arms as he rushed behind his brother. Sam opened the door and blew into the room, turning down the blankets just in time to allow Dean to place Castiel onto the bed. He stepped back then, his chest heaving and a line of sweat trickling down his brow. He swayed slightly, a head rush forcing him to catch himself on Deans dresser before he turned his eyes back onto the scene before him.

Castiel looked like Death. His bloody clothing cupeled with the grime and soot swiped across his face made Sam shiver and wish that there had been some way they could have found the man sooner. He still was not sure how Castiel even made it to them alive, but by the looks of him he wouldn't last much longer.

"First aid kit. I need the kit." Dean's voice was gruffer then usual, his way of trying to hide the anguish he felt at seeing his friend in this state. Sam didn't bother nodding, both brothers knowing each other well enough to trust that the other would follow through. Sam turned and flew from room, rushing back towards the kitchen where the main first aide kit was kept. It was a large white metal box, probably from the 60's by the looks of the rust and stylized writing. But they had checked and made sure it was stocked in preparation for an incident like this, so Sam lifted the first aide kit from the cupboard and carried it back to Deans room.

Sam entered the room just as Dean was pulling back Castiels shirt to clean his wounds. He set the kit down on the floor and opened it, pulling out the large bandages and peroxide. He crouched next to the bed, ignoring his pounding headache in favor of insuring that Castiel survived.

"Cut the shirts off, it'll be easier" He mumbled as he pulled out some medical scissors and handed them to Dean then hastily glanced up to see if his brother was paying attention, "Those wounds will probably need stitching....can you handle that right now?" Sam knew Dean would say yes, but he needed his brother to say it out loud. They had stitched thousands of wounds over the years, but Castiels were much larger then anything they had ever witnessed. This was something for the hospitals, but with the world in a chaotic mess at the moment, Sam wasn't sure if the hospital was the safest place.

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That. That was the face of a man who had just had all of his fears confirmed. The way he licked his lip, the way his breath quickened, the way his eyes darted around...you could see it...he was completely vulnerable. Naomi was delivering a sucker-punch to him in exactly the words he couldn't bear to hear: Cas doesn’t need you too. Those were the words he’d been scrambling to affirm otherwise since he told cas he needed him in Purgatory. And there Naomi was telling him to his face that Castiel didn't care about him, and why would he Dean thought. No one ever needs Dean Winchester as much as he needed them...




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Up until this point, Sam and Dean Winchester had been on very different pages in their lives. The two brothers could almost never see eye to eye when it came to the particulars of their 'job'. Sam wanted to get rid of evil. He wanted to redeem himself for the evil he had brought upon the world, and ultimately wanted to save lives. But if lives were risked in the process, and it ultimately just creating more evils; it was no longer worth closing the gates of Hell. Dean on the other hand desired to get rid of pain. He didn’t want people to have to live through the devastation, ripping their family apart while they were stuck in the middle, clutching to whatever remains they could. Casualties were risks he was willing to take if the outcome ultimately saved lives or served a purpose. Sam was quantity of life and Dean was quality of life. Sam wanted to save lives, Dean wanted to save livelihoods.

It wasn't until Dean had found Sam in the Church, ready to give everything, his very life, up for the world that the boys finally were able to find a common ground. No matter what, no matter the stakes, they'd always choose one another and together they'd take on the world if they had to. No more sacrifices.

ImageAs Dean took the medical scissors from Sam, they seemed to move with a nearly practiced sychronized movement. They knew each other all too well, spent too much time together for anything less. He began snipping a line from the shirts collar down Castiel's backbone, grinding his jaw and trying to remain calm. Cas grunted in discomfort as Dean pulled the shirt away to the sides, the torn fabric taking pieces of skin and scabs with it. The eldest Winchester looked to his brother for reassurance, he trusted Sam's judgement, he trusted him to help if he were doing anything wrong. Sam's expression relayed to Dean what he already knew. "You've been doing this all your life, it's just another injury, just another person. Treat it as such. You can do it." Dean steeled himself once more and turned back to his menstrations.

The sight really was grotesque. It turned out Cas had not one, but two matching wounds on his back and they had already been stitched up. What was unfortuante was that the stitching was broken and the wounds festering. "Who the fuck did this frankenstein hack job? Dean growled in frustration. "I was sewing better stitches when I was four." He drew in a deep breath and rolled his shoulders to relieve some of the tension. It wouldn't help his angel to get worked up now, he had a job to do. "What do you think caused this Sammy?" He asked as they both worked to clean the wounds, disinfect them, and cut out the bad stiching in favor of some new threds. "They match...it's like-" His words dropped off, hands freezing mid wipe. The look of utter disbelief written accross his face was staggering. "Wings." he finally croaked. "His wings got ripped out. Dude's human." Dean swallowed the block in his throat that had formed over the realization and anxiously returned to his task, refusing to make eye contact with his brother. He trembled almost imperceptively as he worked to mend cas' limp, all but lifeless, body. It was all he could do to remain calm, his usal macho bravado lost, when the body held the angel that had rebuilt Dean himself from little more than butcher’s scraps. He owed his life a thousand times over to him. He'd of forgotten that as soon as he forgot about his little stint in Hell, never.

Ultimately, both brothers shirts were stained rust from the old and new blood, the bloom spread up their hands all the way to their elbows. Dean even had a streak of red across his forehead where he had moved to wipe his brow mid stitch. All and all, Castiel's body had been littered with bruises and miniscule scars recently healed. He bore the two prominent and life-threatening tears on his shoulder blades and one on his stomach where he had been seemingly stabbed, most likely with angel blade. Dean had not a clue who had stitched up his back wounds, but the slash on his abdomen appeared as if Cas had given it his best attempt at stitching it up himself. The man looked like Death warmed over, all sallow sunken skin and dark bags around his normally bright eyes.

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Most people would say that Castiel and Sam do not share much compared to the other Winchester and the angel. But in truth, they are almost identical in many ways. Though a 'profound bond' may not exist between the two, Castiel and Sam share this sort of link that is carried through by Dean. They both have struggled....struggled to make the right choice and struggled to stay true to who they really are. They have fought the powers against them and pulled through strong....and alive. They have both made choices that have affected the world negatively and always pushed to fix their mistakes, no matter what that meant for themselves. They are self-sacrificing, just, and though the outcome may not always be the best, they always have the best of intentions. Neither of them are perfect....they simply fight to fix what has been broken.


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Sam sat back as his brother worked with the broken man strewn out on the bed, lending his help when he was needed but otherwise allowing Dean to handle the medical equipment. He held back the bandages when asked, cut apart the stitches, and cleaned the bloody rags....but Sam remained silent all the while. He had already suspected that Castiel had lost his angelic appendages before Dean had spoken....there was nothing else on this Earth that could have caused such horrible and gruesomely sickening wounds. It wasn't the wounds so much that bothered him, it was the horribly stitched up cuts that bruises littering his body.

Watching Dean work with the the limp form of Castiel felt like a stab to the gut. Here he was, their savior when they had no one else, the first person Sam had ever heard his brother actually ask for help from. Castiel was a shell of his former self, no longer the immensely powerful angel they once knew. The loss of his wings could only mean one thing- he had truly fallen to Earth, just as the rest of the angels had. Sam swallowed and rocked back on his heels, using his arms to balance his shaky form. The tiredness he felt before they had begun to fix Castiel up was gone, now just replaced by a sickly feeling in the pit of his stomach. He felt like he had drank too much milk and it had settled strangely in his stomach. Nausea perhaps, but Sam knew it was something more. Not only had he seemingly recovered perfectly from his near death experience, but now he was here with his brother fixing up the one man that should never need stitches.

If there was one thing Sam was good at, it was knowing when something didn't fit together. He should not be here, alive, and Castiel should not be there, basically dying. The situation was such a mirror image of how things normally are, it was sending his mind and stomach for a trip.

A moment of tense silence past through the room before Sam suddenly stood from his crouched position next to the medical kit, "I'll go grab some water for him for when he wakes up..." He mumbled quickly before departing the room. As he strode down the hallway, Sam inhaled deeply through his nose, calming himself and allowing his nostrils to breath in the non-iron filled air. As he entered the kitchen, he made a bee-line for the glass cabinet near the sink and quickly filled up two, one for Cas and one for himself. Sam downed the liquid in three gulps, then refilled it twice more. He would take the glass back to Deans room, but right now he needed to be alone...and maybe allow his brother a moment alone with Castiel.

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On Castiel's first night as a human he walked. He wandered through the underbrush until he found the nearest road and followed it, under the assumption that all roads led to some kind of civilization. And he kept walking, from dusk until dawn and well into noon. It was then that he began to feel the burden of fatigue, having had to sit down on the side of the road ever so often to catch his breath. His feet and ankles ached with the labor of trudging through gravel and asphalt, rising and falling and weaving with the road. He felt tired, a weariness weighing him down like nothing he'd ever experienced. Was this what Dean had referred to as 'the need to sleep'? The whole concept confused him, in truth. It seemed tedious for a human to just lay still for hours on end and just rest when they could be doing something more.

It was for that reason alone he refrained from falling asleep, he kept on his feet for as long as he could without his legs giving out from under him. The heat was oppressing, which was in itself a new sensation. Before now he had never realized how many layers he had because he couldn't feel their weight. Now under the ray of the burning sun, Castiel had felt the heaviness of his trench coat and the torment of a summer's day. It was well into the afternoon of his second day where he had his first brush with death. The vehicle's horn blared behind him and he had just enough time to turn around before he dove out of the way, mere inches from getting clipped by the truck. He scraped his hand as he tumbled, rolling on the ground. This was his first encounter with pain as a mortal being. It was nothing in comparison to pain as an angel, it was more intense. The raw grit of the gravel that had harmed him was now stuck in the wounds of his skin, every nerve ending pulsating with pain transmissions which the former angel very much wished to block out. Luckily, the driver hadn't been one of those who would (almost) hit-and-run. It was indeed fortunate, especially for Castiel.

The man had gotten out of his car and helped him to his feet, offering to take Castiel to his home so he could get patched up. It was the struggle of getting up that first stained the trench coat with the evidence of the former angel's shame. The middle-aged man assisting him immediately rushed him to the truck, concern evident in his eyes when he saw that he could've injured the stranger more than just a scrape on the hand. Foolish assumption, in Cas's opinion, for him to have been the cause the coat would've been ripped. At the man's cottage home, he introduced himself as Philip. For reasons unbeknownst to him he used the alias Dean had given him on their first 'covert mission' together. He was surprised he'd even remembered something so trivial whilst Philip simply accepted it to be true. The man had treated Castiel's wounds after he let the former angel shower, which took an hour to figure out. The wounds on his back, according to Philip, were severe. He'd cleaned them, sewed them up, and taped two thin strips of gauze over the long gashes. Castiel thanked him, dressing himself in his freshly washed 'holy tax accountant' garb before heading out the door. But Philip stopped him, insisting he eat and rest there for the night. Castiel was moved, extremely grateful towards this man whom knew nothing about him and still insisted to help. The next morning Castiel left the man's home, asking directions to the next town, insisting that Philip had done enough when the man asked if he needed a ride there.

The next few weeks were spent figuring out where he was in retrospect to where he knew the boys would be. Home was wherever they were and yet...every day was an inner battle as to whether or not he should actually find them. He'd been nothing but a burden to them thus far. He'd lost all of their trust, all of their respect. He couldn't blame them if he arrived at the bunker just to have the door slammed in his face. But for some reason...he just had to let them know he was okay. They'd cared for him in the past, hadn't they? Would it be too far fetched to assume that they still did? For the next month or so Castiel became accustomed to the hardships of being human. He knew the pains of hunger and utter exhaustion. He felt the agony of of grief as his brothers and sisters cursed his name, coming for his blood for his transgressions. The first time he cried as a human was the moment he accidentally ended the life of one of his brothers as he fought for his life. He carried the burdens of his remorse for miles, stealing clothing from laundromats after his clothing fell apart, asking for money in order to get his next meal.

And the whole time he always thought back on the boys because, a lot of the time, he'd rather be with them.






Everything hurt. All of the muscles in his body screamed for relief, more so the wounds on his back. As Castiel slowly regained consciousness he realized why. He was on his back. Some of the dirt and grime that had been caked on his skin didn't seem to be there anymore. He felt less encumbered, lighter, as if he'd been stripped down. That thought alone relieved him and terrified him all at once. He'd found them. He was finally home. But what if they were still upset? Hurt by his unintentional betrayal. The weight on his heavy eyelids lessened enough for him to pry them open, his heart racing in anxiety. Castiel expected the worse, prepared for it as he opened his eyes to a room he'd never seen before. He looked around, his neck too stiff to move it from side to side. Eventually his oceanic hues fell on the man sitting on a chair in the corner, the very man that he raised from perdition and reassembled by hand. The sight of him sitting there brought an unfamiliar feeling coupled by dread. The older Winchester held his head in the palms of his hand, propping it up on trembling knees. Castiel's heart ached for him, knowing he was the cause of his charge's distress. My charge, Castiel mused, I can't even refer to him as such anymore. Nevertheless, whether if Dean was angry with him or not, he couldn't stand to see his friend this way.

His voice came out sounding as hoarse as before, "Dean-..."

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Sam Winchester cared about his brother. Even though Dean was the oldest of the two, Sam still wanted him to have everything that was in his power to give him. It was apart of his being to care for Dean...just as it was apart of Deans being to care for Sam. He knew it wasn't easy for the elder Winchester....Dean had given up those sacred years as a kid to raise his little brother when he still needed to be raised himself. It was that self sacrificing attitude that made Sam want to give everything he could to Dean. He wanted his brother to have all those experiences he missed out on because he had to take care of his little brother- things like romance and actual relationships. Dean never really had friends- whether that was because of Sam or because they were constantly on the move is still up for debate.
But whatever to reason, Sam has always wanted to be the one person that could offer Dean whatever he needed, or wanted, at any time.


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Sam placed both hands on the lip of the sink, supporting his massive weight on the tiled countertop as he bowed his head and let his long hair fall over his face. He inhaled deeply, sucking in through his teeth as his chest heaved outwards. He had only just awoken and today had already been a long day....a day he had wished he had stayed asleep through. He was happy Cas was back though, for many reasons. He was happy that the angel (or whatever he was now) had returned, more or less alive, and they could finally move on and start figuring out the whole Closed Gate of Heaven situation. Not to mention the massive elephant in the room known as Crowley, who was tied up deep in the bat-cave and had mostly been forgotten.

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ImageCastiel being back meant that Dean could finally relax, which in turn meant Sam could relax. He was still recuperating, still recharging his horribly depleted batteries. By the looks of Castiel, they would both be in the healing process together- though Sam was already on his feet and ready to finally taste the light of day. Another bonus of Castiel returning was that Dean would more then likely be busy tending to the mans wounds and might not take notice to Sams whereabouts- at least long enough for him to escape for a few hours and breath a little fresh air with out Dean breathing down his neck. But more then anything, Castiel returning meant that Dean could finally have everything he wanted in one spot. The angelic man had woven himself into the fibers of the Winchester family unit and some how received a rank none have ever received before- honorary Winchester brother. Without Castiel, Dean had been worried and listless, just as he acts when Sam is not around. But with him back and on the mend, Sam no longer has to worry about making sure his brother has what he wants- because everyone knows that the most important thing to Dean Winchester is family.

The breath escaped him in a whoosh of air that sent his dark brown hair flinging upwards. Sam lifted a hand and ran it through his locks, shoving them back off his face and grinding his fingers through them to make sure they stayed in place. He needed a shower, his hair was greasy and stale smelling and now filled with dried blood from his patch up job on Cas.

At the thought of the angel he pushed himself from the counter and grabbed the cups of water- one for Dean and one for the wounded man laying in his brothers bed. Sam took his time exiting the kitchen and winding his way down the hallway to the bedroom, mostly so that he could move slowly in his lethargic state, but also to allow Castiel and his brother some more time. He knew that Dean was horrible with words and Castiel had the vocabulary range of a parrot. The two of them combined left for a lot of heated, awkward silences and Sam wanted to distance himself from that as much as possible. A lot had gone down between them before the fall of the angels...though he knew his brother had forgiven Castiel entirely, Cas was probably still un sure of himself- especially now that he was powerless.

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Castiel watched as the hunter frantically spoke, swallowing down his immense relief for the sake of saving face, his sad smile an attempt to comfort the former angel as he gazed into those bright hazel eyes. His throat was constricted by thirst as he tried to apologize for almost giving Dean a 'heart attack', intensifying from some other reason entirely when he was under the solemn, analytical gaze of his former charge. No, Cas corrected himself, not former. No matter what the circumstance, Dean will always be his charge, his friend. Years had long since faded the physical mark that the eldest Winchester once bore but the spiritual scar still remained. Dean's soul was laden with some of Castiel's grace, held together by the very essence that had once made him an angel of the Lord. He belonged to him in the eyes of all the angels, and those who acted against the Winchester's despite this fact eventually suffered his wrath. Although, now there wasn't much wrath he could dole out. Still, Castiel mused as his cerulean gaze bore into the sparkling emerald one of the hunter, I'll do anything I can to protect them.

"I'm glad you're okay,"

As Dean said these words, Castiel felt his heart clench in his chest, causing him to wince just as Dean reached out to touch his hair. His eyes began to water at the gentle sign of sentiment, his gaze taking in the distant look displayed in the depths of Dean's own. The hairs on the back of his neck stood at attention, his emotions getting all tangled up in ways they never had before this vessel became his own body. He didn't understand why his body's temperature rose with his steadily rising heart rate. Castiel was beginning to feel. The only other emotion that surpassed his grief was self-consciousness. Knowing how defiled he must look and smell, he could only imagine the condition of his hair. Unbeknownst to him as to why, but the former angel would much rather have Dean express this similar gesture when his hair was clean. As the older Winchester pulled away, Castiel lowered his gaze, exhaling a breath he hadn't known he'd been holding. A minute of silence passed between them as the newly human former angel adjusted to the surge of multiple emotions simultaneously. He regained eye contact with Dean and offered a relieved gaze, smiling with his eyes instead of his cracked, dry lips.

"And I you, Dean-..." he stated, managing despite the laborious effort, "I'm relieved to find you, not only alive, but safe." There was another pause as he read into Dean's expression. "I am sorry for scaring you, Dean...I'm sorry for everything-..."

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In Dean Winchester's not so humble opinion, Castiel was simply different--not broken.
He was specially made, not a ruined product taken off the line, something flawed.
Cas had to have been built as a divergent model for a reason in his mind: So the programmning wouldn’t take.
God had made one upgraded angel with unlimited saves and restarts because he needed an angel to look out for humanity.
Cas wasn’t broken. To Dean, he was just right.
The Archangels couldn't be trusted so instead he put all of his faith into a foot soldier.
Too much heart wasn’t Castiel’s problem, it was his purpose.





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ImageDean held up a hand to cut Castiel off, the apologises filling his heart with weight. "Dude, forget it. You're here now and that's all that matters." Dean muttered, voice thick. He felt a slight tugging in his chest when he met Castiel’s regretful eyes.

Dean didn’t exactly know what had happened that night, most was a blur of Sam, getting Sam to safety, but he did remember one thing vividly; the night sky, illuminated with the burning of angels wings, Heavenly sentinels smashing into the earth like meteorites, and his own voice, his own choked off calls of Castiel’s name, never wanting anything more than for him to be safe. The pain in his heart, with Sam gasping for his life, with the trials failing, was only intensified by the thought of Cas being gone, gone forever… He couldn’t handle it, so he focused all of his energy on Sam and Crowley, on their care and capture, until now.

Now Cas was his primary focus--but who was the hunter fooling, as soon as Sam's recovery was ensured, Cas had been his focus. It wasn't a day after Dean had betrayed his morals to heal his brother yet again that his own thoughts began to betray him as well by imagining each scenario Castiel could have died in. Looking upon the angels remorseful countenance now was almost unbareable but he'd bare it because it was a reminder that Cas was alive, that he was safe. That he had returned home and this wasn't all some alcohol induced dream to offer him a reprieve from all the misery.

"Man, your voice really does sound like you've been gargling nails or some shit...just hang on a sec okay? Sam is getting you a glass of water and you'll be good as new...Back to speaking with your usual ridiculously gruff voice." Dean stated, an attempt at dry humor to make the angel smile, nevermind the fact he was completely serious and that Castiel had possibly the only voice lower than Dean's own. He removed his hand from Castiel's brow, his elbows resting on the bedside, and pressed his mouth against the knuckles of both of his hands making him look rather pensive.

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Sam Winchester had dreams sometimes. He never spoke of them, rarely wrote them down, usually he forgot them the next day. But after meeting Castiel and battling against the angels and hell and all that shit, he started to remember his dreams more often. One dream in particular, a dream that he had every few months.

It wasn't anything epic or outstanding, just a simple sunny day on the hood of the Impala. Dean and him had just finished a job; an easy ghost vanquishing that required only a few latin scripts and some salt. They were seated on the hood of the Impala, resting in the sun of whatever state they were in, when Dean says something about beer. Naturally, the idea appeals to Sam as well, but neither brother wish to get up and drive to the store for it. Thats when Castiel pops in, dirty suit and jacket and carrying a six pack probably stolen from the local market.

Its strange- the Castiel in Sams dream is always happier, more carefree and human....he throws back a beer along with the brothers and sits next to Dean- always next to Dean. The three of them laugh and joke around on the hood of the car for entirety, or for however long the dream lasts.

Its one of those rare good dreams Sam has, one that he clings to with everything he has. He hates waking and forgetting the good parts- like Castiel cracking a joke that for once makes sense and actually makes the Winchesters choke out laughter. If Sam could have one wish, just one, it would be to let that sunny moment on the Impalas hood happen. He wanted to live and breath a moment as perfect and simple as that.

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Sam stood in the doorway for a moment, happy to see Castiel awake and glad that he had allowed Dean and him a moment together. He waited until Dean moved his body away from the injured man before he made his presence known, stepping forward with a slight cough to alert the room of his presence. Deans bedroom was thick with tension- mostly between the two seated before him. Sometimes Sam wished he could just lock the two in a closest and allow what should happen to happen, but he knew his brother would kill him (and then probably bring him right back again) for even thinking it.

Image"You doin' okay Cas?" He questioned as he walked forward with the glass and handed it to his wounded friend. It was a weird feeling, handing a glass of water, a very human thing, to a very non-human creature. Or an ex-non-human creature, as it would seem now. Sam shuffled next to his brothers seat and crossed his arms, holding his body together with sheer will so he could figure out the situation, "I'm glad to see you awake and all...and I hate to bombard you with questions right now, but can you give us a small explanation of what happened? We're working int he dark here. Anything is fine, maybe just what happened to you..."

Sam needed to know the facts before he was going to be able to relax at all- given that the world may have fallen apart outside while he had been sleeping the days away. He needed it- of course- but he needed information as well. Living in the Bat-Cave meant never knowing what time it was, never knowing what day it was, and now never knowing what the hell was going on outside its walls.

He glanced down at his brother as he grabbed the back of the chair to steady himself, then turned his attention back to Cas. His mouth was pressed into a thin line and a worried scowl over took his features, but Sam remained up right and attentive. If Castiel could stay awake right now, even with all his cuts and bruises, Sam could stay up and figure out what the hell had happened to the world.

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Dean's touch was like coming home. More often than not, even before all of this, Castiel would much rather be with the boys than with his own garrison. Now it would seem he wanted it more than ever. As Dean said, he's here now and that's all that matters. The former angel sought comfort in the calloused hand of his charge pressed against his brow. He didn't know if it was a sign of sentiment or the like but it soothed him. He was breathing more evenly now, his heart settling to a steady thumping in his chest. He studied Dean as the Winchester commented on his voice, claiming that Sam would be there with a glass of water. He swallowed, the dryness more apparent now that the hunter commented on it. He can't remember the last time he had anything to drink. A tall glass of water would do him good. "...-back to speaking with your usual ridiculously gruff voice." Castiel intensified his attention at the comment, succombing to his trademark, confused head-tilt. The hunter pulled away from him, looking solemn as he held his fists to his mouth. Castiel studied the man in front of him. How could it be that this man confused him so when he'd been there since the beginning of humanity itself. As his lips parted to inquire just what would cause his voice to be classified as 'ridiculous', the younger Winchester walked into the room.

Image"You doin' okay Cas?" Samuel questioned as he entered with the glass of water Dean had promised. Castiel struggled to sit up, hiding his discomfort in front of the only people who saw him as a sentient being worth admiring. In truth, Castiel despised being this weak in the presence of the Winchesters when he was considered so feeble amongst his own. To the boys, he always had his 'angel mojo', without it he felt more than useless. If he could help it, Castiel would hide any sign or pain or discomfort he could, just because they had grown so acquainted to the emotionless facade of Castiel, Angel of he Lord. As the younger hunter stood by his brother, Castiel could see the weakness in his gait and his stance. It caused a grief inside him that he'd barely become accustomed to feeling. Regardless of the profound bond he shared with Dean, Sam had become his friend. In his profound lifetime, Castiel could only honestly say that about a handful of individuals. He stared at the glass of water, a man burdened with intense thirst. He didn't want to be rude and not drink it right away, especially since Sam went through the strenuous effort to bring it to him—plus, Castiel doubted if he could restrain himself from taking a drink much longer anyway. He brought the glass to his lips and downed it, taking great gulps as Sam began to speak. "I'm glad to see you awake and all...and I hate to bombard you with questions right now, but can you give us a small explanation of what happened? We're working in the dark here. Anything is fine, maybe just what happened to you-..."

Castiel finished his consumption with a heavy exhale, making up for lost time as he panted, staring into the empty glass. He mulled over what he should say, what he'd be willing to let them hear. He wouldn't hold anything back, not anymore. He'd harmed them enough by keeping secrets and he'll be damned if he does it again. No matter how painful it was to relive the memory, Castiel would tell them because they deserved to know.

"After I brought Dean to you, Sam, I told him I was going to try to fix it. Fix what had happened to Heaven. She told us that Metatron had intentions of betrayal...and she was right." Castiel glanced at Dean before returning his gaze to Sam, "I returned to find her lying dead with on the floor. Metatron appeared behind me and I was strapped to the chair. He took my essence from me, my grace-..." his voice broke, his gaze distant as he heard the haunting words of the Scribe of God that expelled him. "These were never trials, Castiel. This is a spell. And what I'm taking from you now—your essence, your Grace—is the last piece." The very thought prompted misery and woe unto the former angel, just because it was his grace that brought this upon his brothers and sisters. "It was my fault-..." Castiel stated, his voice laded with unshed tears as his heart quivered with grief. "He used my grace to cast the angels out of Heaven. And to ensure I couldn't return once I fell...that God himself could not bring me back he-..." His gaze fell, his scars stinging with the mention of their origin. His 'ridiculously gruff voice' had returned but now it was cracked and grated with imminent tears and a heavy hinderance of remorse. He cleared his throat, despite his pain, lifting his gaze ever so slightly to let the Winchesters know how useless he was to them now. He doesn't have his grace, his 'angel mojo'. Everything that made him an asset to the hunters was gone; he was nothing but a liability now. "He stripped me of my wings." Silence fell between the three and Castiel found himself elaborating more than was necessary. "Metatron cast me just outside of Heaven's gates."



Castiel looks back at Heaven's gates before casting his eyes on humanity below. "You know what I don't understand about you, Castiel-...?" The angel turned just to be knocked back by Metatron's grace, falling back as his dark cerulean feathers began to molt. "You treat those cretins with such mercy, such love. How could you love them so unconditionally? How could you be willing to sacrifice so much?" Castiel met stood, his feathers falling like snowflakes all around them. "Our brother asked the same of our father." the angel had replied, "Look where he ended up." In a fit of rage Metatron approached Castiel, bring the angel blade down across his chest. As Castiel tumbled, Metatron grasped the back of his neck, forcing him to look down upon humanity below. "This is the last time you'll be able to look down on them, Castiel. From now on you'll be walking among the creations you love so much." Metatron shoved him down, "And just to ensure that you can't come back-..."taking hold of his wing one by one, he sawed them off to the bone with an angel blade. Castiel screamed in agonizing pain, nearly falling unconscious as he was literally kicked out of Heaven. As he made his descent, he watched his wings disintegrate to ash. He awoke face down on Earth, just to watch his brothers and sisters fall because of him.




"He tore my wings from me." Castiel stated, breaking the quiet with an edge to his tone. "I found myself on Earth, without my grace, without my family-..." He couldn't stop himself from glancing up at the boys as he said it. Despite being raised with the angels of his garrison, even though the angels of Heaven were his real kin, the Winchesters were always considered his only family. "I eventually made my way here, doing whatever I could to find this place." He looked to Sam directly, the both of them weak and teetering on the edge of consciousness, "I cannot express my relief to see you alive, Sam Winchester. Thank you for helping me when you're already so weak." The gratitude shining behind the shroud of exhaustion in his bright blue eyes expressed all the words he could not say. He couldn't bring himself to tell the younger Winchester just how much his death would've affected him, how it would've destroyed him inside. He loved Sam like a brother, more so than those of his own kin. "I'm afraid I don't have the energy to explain further, in any case that's all I know." His eyes made one last sweep of Sam's haggard appearance, "You should be getting rest. The trials must've taken a toll on you."

ImageAt the mention of the trials, Castiel's thoughts were forced into his previous state of self-hatred. His whole journey to the bunker had been filled with doubt, questioning whether or not the Winchesters would actually want him back. Now, looking at Sam, he was reminded that the trials could've been avoided, that Sam didn't have to hurt himself in such a way. Being Castiel, he immediately put the blame on himself. Why is it that whenever he tried to help them, they always ended up worse? And that was when he was an angel. What would happen now? He's more than useless to them without his power; a thought he couldn't help but to reiterate. There was always a reason he had to return to them. Wanting to know if Sam was alright, to know if more blood was on his hands. Wanting to apologize for everything he had done. There were hundreds of reasons why he could've decided not to come back—the majority of it being in their best interest. The deciding factor?

Dean. He'll always come back for Dean.

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There were very few people whom Dean allowed into his heart, allowed to wriggle their way past his rib cage to nestle deep within his chest. Sam and Cas were it. And from there, what neither of those reckless boys seemed to grasp, was it only took the smallest of gestures, the simplest of looks to break that heart. Dean's total and complete happiness relied on their own. They were home to him.


ImageImageThe way Sam had looked up at him...Sam had begun the conversation in the church that night, gaze cast on the ground, avoiding eye contact, trying to reign himself in...but then Dean had called him ‘Sammy’. It was then Sam actually looked UP at him; even though he was so much taller and had been for many years now, he looked UP at his big brother....like a starving puppy would, not even daring to hope for scraps. The eldest Winchester could almost see the torrent of emotion racing behind those sickly hazel eyes when Sam looked up at him; "Oh God, please dont say I'm right. Please tell me how wrong I am, please tell me you still love me."

How could Sam think that he wasn't Dean's reason for living? That anything was more important, that he had only ever failed Dean? It broke Dean's heart.





ImageImageOringinally, in the beginning, Dean Winchester had only ever cared about his little brother Sammy and and his father, John. When John was gone, it was just Sammy. But then the most remarkable thing had happened to him...An angel literally decended from on high in heaven to rescue him from the Hell he had thought he deserved. For the longest time after that, still Dean refused to believe he was worth saving. He refused to think he could be worthy of such a thing, but slowly and surely Castiel had made him believe in himself, and in doing so, Dean started to believe in Castiel. Almost the same way he had in John. A blind faith and devotion, loyalty.

Dean had once thought John was invincible, and when he was faced with his father’s mortality, it made him afraid he’d one day lose everything he had cared for....But then came this absurd angel who defied that. Who was resurrected time and again, and Dean, foolish as it was, started to believe and hope that maybe Castiel actually was invincible.

So this last time he lost Cas, this time he had thought may be forever, it haunted Dean more than anything ever had. The one person he relied on more than himself, the person who taught him to believe...he was gone, and that was more frightening than any ghoul, ghost, demon, wendigo, or what have you because losing Cas was something he had never believed was possible.

And here Castiel was now, bloody, beaten, and mortal; rattling off apologizes like he had something to atone for that could not be forgiven, like he had no right to be there or that he would be wanted there. It broke Dean's heart.


That was Dean's lesson though, the one he'd never learn. Do not make homes out of people. This will leave you homesick and sad, missing arms that cannot hold roofs, hearts with shaky foundations.





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Image"After I brought Dean to you, Sam, I told him I was going to try to fix it. Fix what had happened to Heaven. She told us that Metatron had intentions of betrayal...and she was right."

"Damn," Dean intoned, rubbing a hand over the course stubble along his jaw. "First time ever I think we should have actually listened to the bad guy and we didn't..." He stated out loud followed by a long drawn sigh. He clapped a hand on Cas' shoulder, careful to avoid any injuries, and let it rest there for a while. Dean was finding he could not help but reassure himself that the angel really was alive and with them, that he couldn't stop himself from touching him...

He listened intently to the rest of the explaination that Sam had asked for in silence, keeping in mind that he'd want to have a little talk with Sammy later about timing and grilling ill and injured people who had just gotten back to their families. Dean had to swallow down a rage that began to burn within his chest, a fire in his heart that's flames rose so high, they licked the line of his throat upon hearing what Cas had had done to him.
Metatron. He would pay, suffer in the worst and most unimaginable way. Dean knew a few tricks from Allistar that he was now suddenly itching to test out.

"Don't worry about it Cas, that's more than enough." He flashed a serious look to his brother, one a bit reprimanding. "You just work on recovering like Sammy is and you'll be good as new in no time...better even...We will get your Grace back and Metatron will pay for this, I swear it." He spoke with so much conviction, it was awe inspiring. When Dean Winchester ment what he said, it left little doubt that he wouldn't find a way to make it happen, because in truth, the man would move the Earth and stars for his loved ones.

"You can rest in my room for now, that's a memory foam mattress--it's really comfy--and if you need anything, you just call for me, 'Kay?" He asked rhetorically, fully expecting compliance. "We've got the hook up here; cable tv, a shower with all kinds of spine tingling settings, a kitchen--I'll have to cook you up something awesome, I remember you like Cheese burgers..." Dean was rambling on yet again, but he wanted so badly to make everything okay in that moment, okay for Cas. And admittedly....despite all the wrath writhing in his belly at the thought of Metatron, he was all too happy to have his baby brother and Cas here in a place they could call home, where Dean could care for them.


ImageHopefully, there in that home, Cas would see all of the things Sam had recently laid witness to; like the fact that Dean still almost always had a drink in hand, but now--barring the stiff one he had had while Sam was asleep earlier--it was coffee. That the hunter didn't sleep fully dressed any more; he wore only boxers, a tee shirt, and a robe. (After hell and especially since purgatory Dean would sleep in his shirts and jeans and jacket, either for security or for convenience, but now he felt safe enough and settled enough not to.) That he had grown to like nice suits, was proud of being a legacy because he was a genius-not a grunt, that he could cook now...He wanted Cas to know how he had grown, to be proud of him too. He suddenly felt like nothing was more important.

Castiel hadn't heard the internal litany Dean offered up to Cas each night as he prayed for him to return to him. "Cas, man, I didn’t touch the brandy at all today." "Cas, I cooked again for Sammy tonight, I think you'd really like my cooking. "Cas, when you get back here you are gonna have to have one of these burgers." "Cas, it’s been days since I had a drink, I don't even have anything stashed in my room."And since it was obvious he hadn't heard any that, Dean would just have to show him.

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Image Sam killed himself looking for a way to refute the contract Dean made to save him all those years ago. He poured over the books, researched all the lore, learned everything he could possibly learn on death- but it all zeroed out to nothing. That contract ended and Dean was dragged into the fiery chasm below and Sam was left with nothing. He didn't move on, couldn't get over his brothers death... but after a year of searching fora way to cheat it he finally realized that it was an inevitable and true fact- Dean had moved on.
Of course, things never work out that way for the Winchesters and against all odds Dean was brought back. The miracle Castiel performed couldn't be honored in any other way but accepting him into their family and though it had taken some years, Sam finally sees him as one of them. But it was still a cheat, bringing Dean back. Dean had traded his life for Sam- and then gone and cheated that life for a new one. The balance of death was off and had been hanging over the brothers ever since.
When Sam dies, Dean goes to the ends of the Earth to bring him back. Sam understands, he would do the same for his brother if it was in his power...but at the same time, he sees Death as final. Cheating it is like cheating nature, a force that should never be trifled with.
Sam is happy he is alive, he's content where he is now. Dean gets his brother and his angel, he has his whole family around him and Sam could ask for nothing more. But somewhere in the back of the young Winchesters mind is a nagging weight, the tipping of the scale is off once more and is going to need to be fixed soon.

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Sam lowered his eyes to the ground as Castiel retold his story, sorry he has asked. But his thoughts had been confirmed; the scars on his back were in fact from the loss of his wings. He could not imagine the pain Castiel was in, not just physically but mentally. It was a godsend- or not- that he had even made it to the bunker to begin with.

"I cannot express my relief to see you alive, Sam Winchester. Thank you for helping me when you're already so weak."Sam looked up at Castiel, a small smile flickering across his worn out expression. It was still amazing that through it all, the loss of his wings and the loss of his heaven, Castiel had the capacity to continue on. It was awe inspiring and a true show of strength. "I'm afraid I don't have the energy to explain further, in any case that's all I know. You should be getting rest. The trials must've taken a toll on you."

Sams small smile spread a bit wider; of course Castiel would worry about his well being. He shook his head, tipping it up towards Castiels own haggard form, "I'll get some rest if you promise too. If what your saying is true you need sleep as well"

"Don't worry about it Cas, that's more than enough. You just work on recovering like Sammy is and you'll be good as new in no time...better even...We will get your Grace back and Metatron will pay for this, I swear it." Dean cut in, his tone turning to more of an authoritative one like it did when he was listing out his 'orders'. Sam suppressed an eye roll; it was Deans way of showing he cared even if it came off cold and militant.

Sam took that as his cue to leave, Dean had startled to prattle on in his usual way. He lifted a tired hand to Castiel in goodbye, made a moment of eyes contact with his brother, and shuffled out of the room, turning down the hallway back towards the living area. The massive main room of the bunker was always Sam's favorite- the polished wood, leather, and books created an environment that reminded Sam of Stanford. Most people would hate the thought of anywhere reminding them of school, but Sam missed it. The lectures, seminars, classrooms, wooden furniture, hours of cramming for the next exam, piles of books and late night coffee runs...it all screamed something of normalcy that he never hoped to have.

His laptop was on the same spot on the table that it always was, an empty cup of coffee filled with pens and notepad waiting patiently beside it. While Sam was still in recovery and tired, he was also restless. If what Castiel said was true, then there had to be hundreds of missing person reports all over the world...if that angels had fallen, they needed vessels. The idea shook him to his bones; saying yes to one was easier then saying no. Sam settled into the form fitting leather chair and opened up the computer, his fingers immediately flying to their comfortable positions as he pulled up the search browser and began what he did best; research.

Not only did he do it best, but he enjoyed it. It sent him back to those says that he drank fine cups of double shot drip coffee and poured over legal papers for hours, writing essays about cases and files for his classes. His days at Stanford had been simple, even though a the time he couldn't imagine a more difficult scenario. He would have never imagined himself sitting in a bunker, years later, looking into a missing persons database in search of angels inhabiting humans.

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(Kevin locks himself outside XD)

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"Don't worry about it Cas, that's more than enough. You just work on recovering like Sammy is and you'll be good as new in no time...better even...We will get your Grace back and Metatron will pay for this, I swear it."

To this Castiel smiled, watching the younger Winchester leave the room with a lingering stare. For the first time in a long time, Castiel finally felt safe. Though he was now marked with an Enochian Angelic ward, there were still Reapers who'd managed to track him down. He still hadn't known how he managed to make it to the bunker alive. The former angel didn't believe in luck by any means, and his faith was considerably lacking since he discovered God had 'taken a vacation', but there had to be some reason he'd managed to make it back to the boys. Call it what you want—a stroke of luck or merely a divine miracle—but he was relieved to be in the company of one of the few people he actually considered family. Even though he was on the run and all of Heaven was looking for him, here in the bunker with the boys...he felt secure. It felt like home. Home was always where the boys were—be it in a musty motel room or inside the impala on a hunt. He didn't want to be a burden on them and yet, even fiber of his being hoped they'd let him stay.

He looked to Dean with gratitude shrouding his oceanic orbs, getting up out of his bed. "Dean, if it's all the same to you, I'd like to excuse myself to the shower." There was a frantic knocking at the door, one that pulled his attention from those striking green eyes that usually had him captivated. "It would appear you have a visitor. I won't keep you away from much longer." As a few seconds of silence slipped between them, Castiel's gaze fell. He felt on edge, by an unfamiliar anxiety. He didn't know what to say, and even if he did he couldn't put it into words. When he met Dean's gaze again, there was a ghost of a smile beneath his stubbled expression. He grasped the shoulder of his charge, partly of out reassurance as well as to help stabilize himself as he stood for the first time since unconsciousness. "Thank you Dean." he paused, "Sincerely." As his hand dropped, the smile finally tugged at the corner of his lips, "You don't need to concern yourself with me at the moment. Worry more about Sam until he's fully healed. I assure you that I'm alright." With a lingering look, Castiel made his was into the bathroom, hoping to wash away the dirt and grime that had been caked on him for weeks.

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Dean remembers back when his biggest dilemma had been that John Winchester hadn't been home in a couple of days and Sam had a law school interview on Monday morning...My, my, where did the time go? Now all of the angels had vacated Heaven and were creating Hell on Earth, his brother was possessed unknowingly by one, and Cas was graceless--human. It was up to Dean to hold all of the broken jagged pieces together, for his family's sake; hold them together with stitched up lies and secrets...even if it killed him...that was the way he saw it anyway.



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ImageDean stood there, looking down on his beaten and battered friend with the utmost sympathy, green eyes alight with too many emotions to register. Today he wouldn't say his usual snarky line about "Don't be such a wuss, you only almost died, no big deal." Or "Come on you big baby, need me to change your diaper too?" Because today, he could barely process having Castiel safe and there, let alone tease him as he normally would. He could barely process that Cas was now very fragile, very human. He was no longer Castiel; who used to be stars all bottled up in skin and bones, grace knitted veins, and a skeleton wired by mountains and meteor dust...He was Cas, a mortal man without a clue how to live as such, and this frightened the Hell out of Dean.

Dean attempted cracking a smile as Cas heaved himself off of the bed silently--the memory foam mattress aiding his quiet ascension but not giving him much support to push off of. His bandages stretched and pulled at bare skin when he moved, drawing Dean's eyes down to his chest for fear of tearing open newly healing wounds, but his gaze lingered for other unknown reasons...Dean's skin burned under Cas' touch as the ex angel braced himself on Dean's shoulder, it always did--even more so if he was touching the handprint scar he had seared into Dean's flesh the day he rose him up and out of Perdition. But it wasn't a painful or unpleasant sort of burn, but more like a prickling anticipatory sensation, hot skin flushing. Dean opened his mouth to say something, what he wasn't sure, but was quickly interrupted by the distressed rapping outside though it was not coming from their own bedroom door."Dean, if it's all the same to you, I'd like to excuse myself to the shower. It would appear you have a visitor. I won't keep you away from much longer." He cleared his throat, Adam's apple bobbing nervously under a layer of fine light stubble. "You going to be okay in there all by yourself?" He asked, genuinely concerned that Cas might slip and fall in the shower or pass out from the heat of the water. "Need me to come help?" He asked before realizing the implication behind his words and nearly choking on them. Luckily, Castiel didn't seem to be aware of his mistake. "Thank you Dean, Sincerely. You don't need to concern yourself with me at the moment. Worry more about Sam until he's fully healed. I assure you that I'm alright." He replied before tearing his gaze away from Dean's and trudging on to the bathroom.

ImageDean watched his retreat longingly, not sure he was ready to be out of Cas' presence so shortly after only having found it again. He wanted to tell his friend about how frantically he had searched for him--all the avenues he had tried, but if he was being completely honest with himself, it was probably for the best that he took a breather. Cas needed a deep clean and at the rate that Dean was rambling, he would probably screw the pooch on the whole secret keeping and confess everything that had transpired with Sam since Cas' fall. He wasn't sure if that was a good idea yet or not. So when Castiel softly closed the bathroom door behind him, Dean found himself marching out of his bedroom and down the hall to the work center.

"Dude, who even know's where we live?" He asked Sam as he passed, doubtful that his brother had even heard the knock with how out of it he had been as of late. "It's not like we gave our address out. 'Hey! Just moved in! If you aren't one of the bastards trying to kill us, drop on by for a house-er bunker warming party! There will be booze, pie, a fallen angel and a prophet!'" He sarcastically griped as he stalked up to the entrance before pulling out his pearl handled nickle-plated Colt 1911 A1 .45 caliber semi-automatic from his waistband yet again and aimed it at the door. How many times am I going to have to do this in a day? He idly wondered as he wrenched the big steel barricade open to reveal one rather confused looking Kevin Tran.

"Speaking of Prophets...." He said; Eyes rolling as he lowered his gun. "Dude. What the Hell? Weren't you supposed to be in your room studying a tablet or something? Go on a beer run without telling us?" He chastised, worry evident in his tone. "What if something would of happened to you, you idiot."

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So in retrospect sneaking out of the bunker for some 'alone time' wasn't really the wisest idea on Kevin's part. But it wasn't like he made a habit of it. He doesn't just go out on a daily basis, most of the time he's cooped up in that damn 'secret lair'. What? Did you think he was stupid? Why would he go outside knowing that the angels have fallen, Heaven's locked its doors, and demons even more on the prowl than ever before? No, this was a one time thing. An exception to his usual intent to stay within the confines of the secure bunker. The only reason he even bothered to leave in the first place was because of Crowley. Ever since that bastard was brought in here the demon's been screwing with his head. He couldn't take it. He had to get out of that damn place and take a breather. What he didn't intend to do, however, was leave his fucking key and lock himself out. He'd hoped to be in and out without the Winchesters knowing but that had all gone to shit in his haste to leave.

He'd realized he didn't have the key about an hour or two after left—he wasn't sure exactly what time it was. Needless to say, he felt obliged to bring tidings for his heedlessness. Maybe bringing Dean a pie would soften the verbal bashing he was sure to receive. Sam wasn't the disciplinarian of the two, though he had other things to worry about at the moment. Kevin pounded at the door, making his presence known. He didn't know what to expect and yet he wasn't surprised when the door opened and he was staring down the barrel of a 45. The young man held his hands up in surrender, plastic bag slung around his wrist, trying to laugh off the tension as Dean's shoulders visibly unwound.

"Speaking of Prophets...." The older Winchester brother said, his eyes rolling melodramatically as he lowered his pistol. "Dude. What the Hell? Weren't you supposed to be in your room studying a tablet or something? Go on a beer run without telling us? What if something would of happened to you, you idiot?" Kevin took the badgering, sensing the concern evident in the hunter's voice.

"Look, I'm sorry, alright?" the younger man offered up, "It was stupid but I needed to get out for a while to-...to clear my head." He lowered his gaze, catching sight of the bag and lifting it up so the older Winchester could see. "But hey, I brought pie and a double bacon cheeseburger." He walked through the threshold after handing Dean his food, looking around for the younger of the two boys. "Where's Sam? I got him one of those salads in a cup things." He found Sam at his computer, offering him a small smile though he was buried in research. Truly he was just thankful that Sam was feeling well enough to do research at all. To Kevin, it was a good sign.

When he returned to the kitchen he found Dean solemnly eating his pie, looking to all the world like something was on his mind. Kevin sat down in front of him, trying to meet his gaze and struggling. "You alright, Dean? Did something happen?"






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Castiel was heedless as to who was at the door but he was sure that whoever it was, the boys would take care of it without difficulty. He stood in the bathroom without any clothing on, the rest of his sodden and dirt-ridden garments resting in a ruddy pile on the pristine laminate flooring. Out of respect for Jimmy, he thought it indecent to look at his naked form. This body was originally his. It had belonged to someone else before all this. Yet, with Jimmy gone, it was more his than the former family man's anyhow. Castiel ran his gaze over the multitude of cuts and bruises littering his skin. His stitches caught his attention more than anything and he felt guilty to get the bandages wet after Dean spent so long redressing his wounds. However, he needed to bathe. He was wearing the dirt and grime built up through months of walking about without a place to settle down for the night to rest. It was why he was so grateful to be here in the bunker, home with the boys. Taking one last look into the mirror in front of him, Castiel carefully pulled off the gauze covering the wounds on his back, agony piercing his heart as he gazed at the place where his wings once were.

ImageIt took him a little while to figure out how to operate the shower, waiting a bit for the temperature to settle. Steam collected within the walls of the bathroom, seeping out from under the door. A hot shower was exactly what he needed. The water pressure itself elicited a moan from his parted lips, his head lolling back as complete relaxation swept over him. He could feel the dirt seeping through his hair, disappearing down the drain before he even applied body wash. It was Heaven on Earth. No pun intended.

His cerulean eyes fell on the product on the edges of the tub, realizing that it was probably Dean's. He bent over to use it, squirting a dollop of body wash onto his palms before running his hands up and down his arms and across his body. Castiel felt proud that he could at least do this on his own, remembering that Dean had offered to help. He didn't want to burden the hunter further. He was already doing enough by treating his wounds and allowing him to stay. As Castiel continued to rid himself of the filth, the former angel busied himself with thoughts on how he could repay the Winchesters instead of the residual memory of falling and losing his grace.

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ImageSometimes John had had to leave abruptly on a hunting trip when Sam and Dean were kids, more than a few times actually, and he'd just drop the boys off at a half-assed motel, leaving Dean with some cash, a bit of food, and a warning to shoot first, ask questions later, and always look out for Sammy, no matter what. And sometimes John would be gone longer than anticipated and the food and money would have slowly run out. Dean had been too young to work for much of that time so he resorted to shoplifting in order to get food, but what little he could scrounge up, he would always give to Sammy, leaving the barest amount for himself. He knew what being hungry was like.

ImageThis was also why Dean later grew up and ate as much as he could manage in one setting because he didn’t know when his next meal might of been, and it was why he got so much pleasure in the food he ate. He was not just gluttonous, but he genuinely thought "This is the best meal ever." And meant it. And he loves pie, not just because his mother Mary would make pie with him, but because it harkened back to a time when he didn’t have to worry about going hungry. When everything was warm and happy and safe, and pie was his most vivid sensory connection to that time.



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Dean accepted the food offering with a grunt as Kevin zipped on by to find Sam, still grumbling about angels finding one asian prophet and ringing his scrawny neck. By the time he had carried his prize back to the kitchen to eat it, Kevin had already made his way back, empty handed, and pulled out the chair in front of him.

"You alright, Dean? Did something happen?"


Dean imagined his face must of looked like an open book with illustrations for the easily confused right then, how else could Kevin have been so intuitive? He dropped his pie fork down to the plate and sucked a piece of apple out from between his teeth before he answered, unsure exactly how to explain this to his friend. He had been so caught up in Cas' return earlier that Kevin not being aware hadn't even crossed his mind.

Dean locked eyes with Kevin and it was one of the first times in his long life that his face wasn't lined with a certain hardness. Of course it was still his face, a face that appeared to be sculpted from stone marble but... For some reason it looked softer? Sorrow and joy co-migling, lining every plane and curve of his features. A look that only having just about everyone you cared for, your family, all safe and together could produce.

Image"Cas is back..." He finally explained, voice low with an undercurrent of something else there. His eyebrows creased his brow, tilting upward. His expression was a full one, one that looked like it had a million things to say. Really, who else in the world could communicate so much with just their eyebrows? It had to be supernatural. Or maybe just an inherently Dean-centric thing. The Vampires from the anne rice novels all had a special skill set, maybe this was just his. Anyone else would probably ask for a return slip if they got that as their super gift, except it worked for Dean. "He is banged up pretty bad, but he is gonna make it." He finished, voice full of concern and relief. "You and me gotta pick up the slack around here, get them on their feet, you understand?" He questioned not really looking for an answer, wrapping his half eaten pie back up and stuffing it in the bag. "Sam can fill you in on the details, and I want you to get a feel for how he's doing. How he's really doing, you got me?" He again rhetorically asked as he rose from his chair, taking the bag with the uneaten burger and half devoured pie inside in hand, expecting Kevin to understand his true intentions there. "I'm gonna take the burger to Cas, he is probably starving." Dean voiced, making his exit. "Oh and Kev? You ever pull that leaving without telling us where you're going shit, I'll kick your ass." He warned playfully with a wry smile but also in complete seriousness.





After seeing human Cas awake for the first time, Dean could tell Castiel had to of felt as if his body shackled his soul-that he was imprisoned inside a cage of bones now. He knew Cas wanted to let the prisoner trapped inside his chest shriek, dig it’s claws down the throat of reason so it may have the words to explain this but he simply couldn't. After all, being human was being helpless most of the time.

He knew Cas probably wished that he could express to Dean, to Kevin and Sam, that he had a great nothingness that flooded his body when he came into humanity; it sending waves crashing through his trembling fingertips, a hurricane in his mind, a tsunami in his chest. That he thought his winged wounds must have been the worlds failed attempt to dig deep enough to replant his grace back within his body before he hit the ground, clench his newfound mortality in it's fists and rip it from his bones, drain his blood of its contamination, free the life inside by filling it back up with God's divine power. But this was more than he would most likely ever say, had the roles been reversed, Dean would have done the same. He couldn't imagine that kind of pain, always believeing and being one thing with purpose, then suddenly losing all of that.

More than anything he just wanted to be there for Cas as best he could and he couldn't do that if he let slip his own problems so upon finding his closed bedroom door, Dean slipped on his mask. He rarely took it off any more anyways. Almost never. Or was it never, now? It was long past the point where it chafed. There was only numbness where it rubbed against his skin. Dean fancied it had grown into his face, that he couldn't remove it even if he wanted to. The mask was always smiling, always smirking. He chose it for that very reason. People believed what their eyes told them, and a smile of serene confidence set his friends at ease.

"Cas?" He called out, gentlely rapping on the wood with his knuckles before turning the knob and sliding in. "You out yet?"