Dean was enjoying this dream. Strippers were always one of his favourites, and right now, leaning back on the wide sofa, he was thoroughly enjoying the view presented to him by the two scantily clad women in front of him; one dressed as an angel and one dressed as a devil. Warrant's "Cherry Pie" blasted through the stereo as the two women gyrated on the stage, and he raised his eyebrows as they got closer together. Please don't let me wake up. The strippers came closer, and he grinned widely as they bent down to him.

Then the music stopped, the girls were gone, and Anna stood on the stage in front of him, looking bemused at the situation she found him in.

He shifted uncomfortably. 'Anna?' He looked around; yep, the girls were definitely gone. 'I was just, uh, working on a case.'

'This is what you dream about.' She stated wryly, the hint of a smile at the corner of her mouth. He looked away, ducking his head to avoid her eyes.

'This is awkward.' He muttered, then looked back up at her. 'Why are you gate-crashing my head? Why don't you just swing by the motel?'

'I can't find you.' Anna replied, annoyance in her tone.

'Oh.' He gestured to his ribs. 'Cas did this thing...'

Her face grew dark. 'Cas. Right. Now, there's a friend you can count on.'

Dean frowned. 'What?'

'He didn't tell you?' She said, looking slightly shocked.

'Tell me what?'

'Where I've been. Of course not. Why would he?'

'Where have you been?'

She sighed. 'Prison. Upstairs. All the torture, twice the self-righteousness.' Dean cocked his head to the side.

'Why wouldn't he have told us where you were?'

'Because he's the one who turned me in.' The shock on Dean's face was evident, and she huffed. 'Don't look so shocked. He was always a good little soldier. Did anything under orders. Like letting Sam out of the panic room.'

Shock turned to anger in a second, and Dean clenched his fists against his trousers. 'I didn't know.' He looked her over. 'Are you okay?'

'No.' She shrugged, folding her arms. 'And I don't have long. I broke out. Barely. They're looking for me. If they find me...'

He nodded. 'Okay. What do you need?'

'Meet me. Two two five, Industrial. And, please, just -'

Dean's eyes snapped open and he sat up in bed, the echo of Anna's last word running through his head. Hurry. He wiped at his face, processing what she'd just told him, trying not to let anger get the best of him. But naturally, it failed. He kicked his legs over the side of the bed, grabbing his boots. Sam woke up with a start, looking over at his brother with concern. 'Dean?' His voice was croaky from sleep, and he pushed himself up. Dean ignored him, finishing lacing his boots and stomping over to the door. 'Dean, dude, what's going on?'

'I need a word with Cas.' His brother replied, opening the motel room door and stomping out onto the concrete. He walked over to his sister's door, preparing to pound the living shit out of the wooden frame until someone answered, then he scowled. If he woke James, Alex would kill him, and it was near to one in the morning. He took a breath, clenching and unclenching his fists. 'Cas.' He breathed, trying to keep the anger out of his voice. 'Cas, get your feathered ass out here now.'

A beat passed, and the ruffling of feathers behind him made him jump a little. Cas stood, dressed somewhat haphazardly in his suit and trench coat, his hair a little messed up. Dean didn't even wanna know what he was doing. A few seconds later, a thud sounded from Alex's room, and he heard her stomping over to the door. She opened it, scowling outside.

'What the hell, Dean?'

'Not now, Alex. I gotta have some words.'

'We were asleep, you jackass!' She reached out, pushing him forward, and he turned blazing green eyes on her.

'Get back in your damn room!' He hissed and she clenched her jaw in anger.

'What is your goddamn problem?' Alex demanded, making a fist. Sam poked his head out from his and Dean's room, confusion on his face.

'My problem, little sister, is your boyfriend is the one who let Sam out the panic room!'

'What?' Sam asked, as Alex stared. Cas' stood in the parking lot, his face steady and impassive.

'You heard me.' Dean spat, turning to Cas. 'You realise you doing that nearly cost us everything, right?' He got closer to the angel, his entire being vibrating with anger.

'I was following orders.' Cas pointed out.

'Bullshit!' Dean said. 'You came and got me after! Don't give me that orders crap.'

Cas looked him dead in the eye. 'I was doing what I was told, Dean. I hadn't quite fully realised the implications of blindly following the heavenly host. It has been months. Don't you think I know what I did was wrong?'

'Oh yeah? How about getting Anna dragged up to Heaven's precinct? You missed that part out too.' Dean was furious, one second away from punching the angel, who stood staring at him with no emotion on his face. 'And if you're wondering how I know, she's the one who told me! She's in trouble, and it's your fault!'

Castiel tilted his head to the side, concern crossing his face. 'You saw her?'

'She came to me in a dream.' Dean said, some of the tension dropping away from him. 'She said she was in trouble, that she escaped but they're after her.'

The angel stepped closer. 'She was lying.' Dean raised an eyebrow. 'You don't escape from Heaven. She was let out. Most likely for a purpose.' He looked to Alex, who glanced back into the room to check on James. 'What did she say?'

The anger had all but melted from Dean now, and he sighed. 'To meet her at two two five, Industrial. That she needed help. You sure she couldn't have escaped?'

'I didn't.' Cas replied simply. 'They only let you out once you are fully...reconditioned. Some angels have been in that prison for thousands of years. I will go. I will find out what she wants.'

'She won't be happy to see you.' Dean said, his brow dipping a little. 'I think we can safely say you are not her favourite person.'

'I won't allow her to put you in danger. Any of you.' The angel replied, and then disappeared. Dean turned away, shaking his head.

'You about done?' Alex asked, angrily.

'Are you?' Her brother spat back. 'I mean, we find out that he lied to us, Alex and you rush to his defence.'

'To be fair, Dean, Cas hasn't done anything wrong in months. He's stuck by us, all this time, when he didn't have to.' Sam pointed out from where he leant against the door jamb. 'He's only been gone recently because he's trying to find a way to help us.' Alex nodded, folding her arms over her chest.

'Sometimes I think you're just looking for a reason to hate him.' She chimed in. 'Or is it just because we're -' She paused, not entirely sure how to describe what was going on between her and the angel. Dean latched onto it like a pitbull.

'You don't even know what's going on, Alex. He's with you almost every night, disappears when he feels like it.'

'I don't really think now's the time...' Sam started, but Dean held a hand up to silence him, and Sam blinked at the dismissal. Alex scowled deeply at her big brother.

'It's none of your business, Dean. I'm not having this argument again.' She turned, but Dean grabbed her shoulder, pulling her backwards. 'Get off!' She growled out at him, holding a finger in his face. 'If you wake James, I am going to kick your ass.'

'Alex, you need to wake up. This isn't gonna end happy for you.' He replied. 'You think you can do this fucked up family thing, but you're just gonna get hurt. James is gonna get hurt. He's better off with just the three of us.'

Alex shook her head. 'You think I don't know that? You think I don't know that any day, Cas could disappear and not come back? He could get ganked any minute. But guess what?' She took a breath. 'So could we, Dean. I'm just grabbing a bit of happiness where I find it, okay? Maybe you should try doing the same.'

Dean froze, then shook his head. 'I do, Alex. Did it never occur to you that I'm happiest when I'm with you guys?' Her eyes slid to Sam, who ran a hand down his face and stepped out into the night air.

'Look, guys, it's late. We can't stand out here arguing all night.' He placed a hand on Dean's shoulder, and his brother stepped back, looking between them.

'Fine. But we're not done here.'

'Hello? Who's there?' Anna's voice rang through the warehouse lot, echoing against the wind. She turned as the light bulbs above her head sparked and exploded, and Castiel appeared in front of her. He tilted his head, regarding her coolly.

'Hello, Anna.'

She folded her arms, smiling gently. 'Well, if I didn't know any better, I'd say the Winchesters don't trust me.'

'They do.' Castiel said slowly. 'I don't. I wouldn't let them come.' He moved slowly, circling her, assessing her. She stayed in the same spot, turning her body to face him as he walked around her.

'And why is that?'

'If you're out of prison, it's because they let you out. And they sent you here to do their dirty work.'

'And what makes you so sure?' She asked, her eyes narrowing.

Cas smiled. 'Because I've experienced...heaven's persuasion.'

She glared. 'You mean when you gave me to them.'

'That was a mistake.' He paused briefly. 'Anna, whatever they sent you here to do -'

'They didn't send me.' She tossed her hair over her shoulder. 'I escaped.'

He shook his head. 'No one escapes.'

'All these centuries, and you're underestimating me now?'

He took a moment to absorb her words, stopping his circling. 'If you're not one of them, then what do you want.'

'I want to help.' She said, and if he hadn't known any better, the earnest tone she used would have hooked him. Dean and Sam would have believed her. But Castiel couldn't. There was too much at stake. A glint of silver caught his eyes, and he realised she was armed. He let his own angel blade slip discreetly into his hand.

'You want to help?' He clarified and she nodded.


'Then what are you doing with that knife?' He asked, and she drew it out, looking appalled at the accusation.

'I'm not allowed to defend myself?' His eyes covered the weapon, and he realised it was a regular knife, not an angel blade.

'Against whom?' He pointed at the knife. 'That blade doesn't work against angels. It's not like this one.' He held out his own blade, keeping his eyes on the red headed angel. 'Maybe you're not working for Heaven. But there's something you're not telling me.'

Anna took a breath, visibly steeling herself to tell him the truth. Cas waited patiently, knowing this could never end well. 'Sam Winchester has to die.' She said, her voice shaking a minute amount. He didn't betray the anger inside him. 'I'm sorry, but we have no choice. He's Lucifer's vessel.'

'He's not the only one.' He replied, thinking of Alex. Anna picked up on his thoughts, laughing a little.

'Lucifer doesn't want Alex for a vessel. He wants her for other reasons. And that guy, Nick?' She shook her head. 'He's burning away as we speak. No.' Her eyes glittered as she raised her chin. 'Sam is the only vessel that matters. You know what that means?' If Lucifer can't take Sam, his whole plan short-circuits. No fight with Michael. No Croatoan virus.' She paused, looking him dead in the eye. 'The Horsemen go back to their day jobs. Your family won't be taken, Castiel.'

Cas returned her gaze, steady as steel. 'Even if you could...kill Sam, Satan would just bring him back to life.'

'Not after I scatter his cells across the universe.' Anna smiled as the other angel turned away, bracing his shoulders. 'They'll never find him. Not all of him.'

He shook his head, keeping his back to her. 'We'll find another way.'

'How's that going?' She asked perkily. 'How's the Colt working out? Or the search for God? Is anything working? If you want to stop the devil, this is how.'

'The answer is still no.'

'You've changed.' She said in wonder, staring at his back.

He clenched his jaw, turning back to her slowly. 'Maybe too late, but I have.' He looked at her, hoping to reach her some other way but knowing it wouldn't work. 'Anna, we've been through much together. But you come near Sam Winchester and I'll kill you.'

For a few more seconds, she held his gaze, considering what he'd said. Then she disappeared. Castiel sighed heavily, looking up and shutting his eyes. He needed to find her before she caused any damage.

Alex awoke slowly, noticing that she was alone straight away. Obviously Cas hadn't come back after the argument with Dean, and that worried her. She knew he'd gone to see Anna, and the fact that he hadn't returned was not a good sign. She sat up, reaching for her pants, glancing over to see James was still asleep. She'd been out for a few hours, and it was beginning to get light outside. She moved towards the door, grabbing her shirt on the way, slipping it over her arms. She took one step out the door and realised how cold it was, then turned to grab her boots. After slipping them on, she walked to her brothers' room, knocking lightly on the door. When she got no answer, she frowned, trying to see in the window. The room appeared empty, and a cold fist of panic gripped her insides. She made her way back to her room, finding her lock pick, and making sure she locked her own door on the way out. James would be safe for five minutes.

After picking the lock and slipping into the boys room, she found it unoccupied. She stuck her head back out the door, and the Impala was still parked outside. A frown made its way across her face as she considered where her brothers had gone.

Five seconds later, Sam landed, unconscious, on the motel bed. He bounced, rolled and hit the floor with a thud, and Alex shrieked at the surprise, before running to his side. 'Sam? Sammy?' Her hands checked him for injuries, but he didn't appear to have any. He stirred, coming round. 'A-Alex?' He stuttered, opening his eyes. 'Where's Dean?'

'Where the hell were you?' She asked, her voice high with panic. 'I came in here, you guys were gone and then you appear out of thin air?'

Sam sat up, holding his head, then seemed to remember something and his hands went to his stomach. 'No...Anna...she killed me...I remember...'

'What do you mean she killed you?' His sister's eyes were wide and full of terror. He put a hand on her shoulder.

'It's fine, obviously I'm not dead.' He looked around. 'We went back...Anna went back to kill Mom and Dad.'

'What?' Alex shouted, then remembered the thin walls and the sleeping child next door. 'What the hell do you mean? Why didn't you tell me?'

'Cas was pretty insistent that we get it done. He said you wouldn't notice we were gone.'

'Oh no. I wouldn't notice you being dead.' She spat, standing up. Sam gripped the side of the bed, hauling his six foot plus frame upright.

'Actually, none of us would have been born, so it wouldn't have mattered.' He said, trying to keep his voice level. Alex whirled on him, fury on her face.

'Not being born? We're not the only ones in this. But thanks for making that decision. Thank you for nearly wiping your goddamn nephew from existence.'

Sam blinked, clearly not having considered that at the time. 'Oh. God. No, Alex, we never -' He looked down guiltily. 'I never even thought of that.'

'I did.' Dean said from across the room, and his siblings jumped at his sudden appearance. 'I considered it. And considering the alternative,' he shrugged lightly. 'You can never know you've died if you haven't been born, right?' Alex glared at him, and in two strides she was in front of him, landing a sharp blow to his face. His head snapped to the side from the slap, and when he looked up, Alex was staring at him like she hated him, tears pooling in her eyes. He didn't move, didn't show anything on his face. He'd known it would upset her, but in truth, he sometimes thought that if none of them existed, then this hell of a future they were heading for wouldn't exist either.

Sam came up behind Alex and pulled her backwards, away from Dean. She didn't put up a fight, but her glare remained on her elder brother. 'You'd wish him away? Just like that?' She asked. 'I thought you...'

'Alex, look we didn't think okay. Dean's being an ass. You know we love James, you know we love you. It was a...a heat of the moment thing. They were gonna kill mom.'

'It didn't matter anyway.' Dean said, moving across the room. 'Michael turned up, possessed Dad and ended the whole thing.'

'Michael?' Sam asked. 'Was that who sent me back?'

'Yeah.' His brother replied, not looking up at them as he started to put stuff into his duffel. 'He told me a few things aswell. Like why we're the lucky family. It's all to do with bloodlines or something.' He pulled a bottle of whiskey out from the bag, and threw some plastic cups over to Sam, who caught them deftly. 'I need a drink.' Sam opened the cups, handing one to Alex, who had sunk down onto the bed in a stupor. Dean took his cup, poured out some whiskey and then poured some for his siblings. Sam looked up, glancing to the mirror, and saw Castiel reflected in it.

'Castiel.' The angel wobbled on his feet, as Alex and Dean looked up. Sam jumped forward. 'Hey, hey, hey, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa.' He caught Cas under one arm as he fell backwards, and Dean was at their side in an instance, grabbing him.

'Cas! We got you.' The eldest Winchester said, as Alex stood, putting her drink on the table, her only concern for the obviously injured angel. 'You son of a bitch, you made it.'

'I...I did? I'm very surprised.' He grunted, his eyes rolled back in his head and he passed out. Dean looped one of his arms under the angel's back, motioning to Sam to get him onto the bed. Alex hovered as they put him down, and it became clear that Castiel was out for the count.

'Is he...gonna be okay?' She asked, as her brothers moved away and retrieved their drinks. She sat next to Cas, smoothing his hair back. It was unusual to see him so...fragile. His skin was paler than normal, and his heart was racing. Sam smiled at her.

'I'm sure he'll be fine.' He glanced to Dean who shrugged. Silence permeated the room and as the boys sipped at their drinks and Dean grimaced.

'Well, this is it.'

Sam looked over at him quizzically. 'This is what?'

'Team Free Will.' Dean sipped at the whiskey, making a face as he swallowed it down. 'One ex-blood junkie, a kid, two high school drop outs and Mr-Comatose over there.' He raised his glass in Cas' direction. 'It's awesome.'

'It's not funny.' Sam said quietly.

'I'm not laughing.'

Sam sighed and took a sip of the alcohol, his eyes on his sister. 'They all say we'll say yes.'

'I know. It's getting annoying.' Dean drawled.

'What if they're right?' His brother replied, and Dean finished his glass, draining the amber liquid away. He put the cup down.

'They're not.'

'I mean, why, why would we, either of us?' He thought for a moment. 'But...I've been weak before.'

Dean's voice took on a warning tone. 'Sam.'

'Michael got Dad to say yes.' Sam pointed out and Dean shook his head.

'That was different. Anna was about to kill Mom.'

'And if you could save Mom...what would you say?' Sam asked, his gaze finally shifting from Alex to his brother.

Dean didn't look back.

He didn't say anything.

Alex watched Cas for a while after his reappearance. They hadn't wanted to move him from the bed, not to mention the fact that an unconscious angel was apparently a dead weight, so Sam had taken his stuff next door to sleep in with James. Dean had gotten himself comfy and turned off the lights, leaving his sister to it. In the darkness, she lay down next to the angel, just about able to make out his features in the night. She wondered if this was what he'd done so many times when she'd been asleep; studying her, learning every dip and curve of her face. He looked so relaxed, so peaceful, and she smiled as she traced the outline of his jaw with her finger. Yawning widely, she realised how tired she was, and curled into his side, tucking her head into the crook of his elbow. It didn't take long for her to drift off into slumber herself.

When she woke up, Dean was gone, it was light outside, and Cas had moved. He was facing her now, his armed curled around her shoulders and his forehead leaning against hers. She smiled as she realised the position they were in, her eyes still blurry from sleep. He twitched, and she snuggled closer, pressing her lips to his gently. He woke then, one hand coming up to caress her cheek, pulling her closer to deepen the kiss.

'Alex.' He breathed, opening his eyes. That sparkling blue looked back at her, and she was lost in another kiss. He shifted, pulling one of her legs over his, and his other arm snaked further around to rest just above her ass, pressing her hips into his. He broke the kiss, smiling softly down at her. 'Are we in your brothers' room?' He asked and she nodded.

'You were out cold. We didn't want to move you.'

'Are your brothers here?' He asked, and she shook her head slightly in reply. 'Good.' He whispered, and then rolled, pinning her beneath him, her legs either side of his. She yelped, and let out a giggle, which became a groan as he trailed open mouthed kisses over her collarbone. The hand that had been on her back came up to grip the hem of her shirt, pushing it upwards, his fingers questing underneath her clothes to find her breast. He pinched one hardened nub and she arched up into him, gasping as she wrapped her hand around the back of his head, pulling his mouth down to meet hers.

'Oh, god, Cas.' She whispered into his mouth, and he silenced her, tasting her as his hands roamed over her heated flesh. He pressed in between her legs, and she hooked her ankles around his back, trying to pull him closer. His other hand was fumbling with the button of her jeans, slipping under her waistband. She gasped as he brushed against her sensitive skin, his mouth falling to her neck, kissing her underneath her ear.

The lock of the motel door turned, and Dean opened the door, walking in with a bag of food in his hand. He stopped as he saw his sister and angel on the bed, and his mouth dropped open. 'Seriously? Guys?'

Cas stopped what he was doing, looking up and Alex blushed furiously, pulling her top down. She didn't think Dean had seen anything, but judging by the look on his face, just seeing them dry hump each other into the mattress was bad enough. She dropped her legs, pushing Castiel off as the angel looked a little put out. 'Dean...hey.' She smiled, trying to smooth her hair down. 'Erm, Cas is...feeling better.' She finished lamely. Dean scowled, then wordlessly walked over to the table and dropped the food down.

'Sam and James are just coming in from the car. Can' He asked, not looking at them. Alex sat up, swinging her legs over the edge of the bed as Cas stood, straightening his coat and shirt. Dean was shaking his head, mumbling under his breath. She stood, walking over.

'Sorry.' She said quietly, reaching out for the bag of food. 'What did you get?'

'Probably nothing that would satisfy your appetite.' He replied snarkily, looking over his shoulder at Cas. 'Seriously? In Sam's bed?'

'Well, we're moving on tonight right? I mean, we've been here nearly a week. It's been nice to take a break, seeing as we haven't had once since Christmas. We've spent the last month working non stop.' She shrugged and Dean looked at her with irritation.

He took the bag from her, pulling out various breakfast foods. 'Sam found a case. We're headed back to South Dakota. Town an hour from Bobby's. Couple literally ate each other alive.' He looked over at Cas. 'You with us on this one?' He asked the angel. Castiel nodded. 'I will be.' He looked over to Alex. 'I will return. I must go and see if anything else came of Anna.' And he was gone. Alex's shoulders slumped and she looked up at her brother.

'You have the worst timing.'

'Sue me.' He stuck his tongue out, placing a piece of bacon on it and chewing.

Oh, you guys are gonna love the next chapter. I'm pulling some inspiration from another show for this one. If anyone can guess after the chapter, you get a Dean-shaped cookie.