He was in darkness. There was so much pain and he knew it was all his fault. He never should have trusted Ruby. However, Sam Winchester was not someone who just gave up. He would find a way to make this right even if it killed him.
So he took his time. He let Lucifer believe that he had won. All the while he looked for a weakness in the former angel.
Finally, after two long agonizing years, Sam had what he needed. While Lucifer used his body to bring Hell to Earth, Sam had been gathering the angel's power piece by tiny piece.
Finally, seeing his brother's past self, Sam acted.
When that other angel appeared, Sam yanked on what was left of Lucifer's power as an angel and threw himself into the past.
Sam woke up in a bed. But it was where the bed was that told him he had been successful.
He was back in Stanford, in that tiny little apartment before he had met Jessica. Looking at the date, he realized it was about a year and a half before Dean found him again to get help on that hunt. Which meant it was two weeks before he met Jess for the first time.
Only Sam didn't want to deal with that mess twice.
So instead of going to the bar where his friend introduced him to Jessica, Sam went to a small local dojo. Sure he had to pay fifty bucks for the lessons, but he considered it a worthwhile investment to get back into shape.
Especially when he ended up getting a blackbelt three months later. He wasn't in as bad a shape as he had feared.
Sam spent his free time looking up things he felt would help in hunts later. If, as a consequence he never met Jessica, well that only meant she would live when Dean came to get his help.
In heaven there was some confusion. Zachariah had noticed a disturbing change in the youngest Winchester, and he wanted to know what was going on.
So he went amongst the younger angels until he found out gullible and naïve enough to follow his orders without question. The only one that fit that particular bill was one of Micheal's garrison.
"We need you to keep an eye on the youngest Winchester. See if you can find anything suspicious about him," said Zachariah flatly.
"Yes sir," said Castiel tiredly. He did not like Zachariah. The seraph was grating on a good day.
Castiel dropped down to Earth, but could not find any vessels to take on.
So he chose an alternate method. It took little time to find an animal that had the right bloodline to host an angel without harm. The only real problem was that the body was too young to do anything.
"No way. Your dog actually gave birth to a puppy with blue eyes? Isn't that like really rare for rottweilers?" said Sam.
"Yeah, but that's also a problem. These are supposed to be show dogs...what am I supposed to do with a blue-eyed one?" said Jacob.
"I'll take it. I like dogs, no matter what weird colors they have," said Sam picking up his coffee cup.
"Sure your apartment manager will let a dog that big in? His paws are pretty big," said Jacob dubiously.
Sam rolled his eyes.
"We have to pay a hundred extra, plus damages. They also have to be house trained within the first three weeks of getting them and have their shots up to date. And they absolutely cannot start fights, especially for the larger breeds," Sam listed. He had checked shortly after coming back from that awful future.
There was no way he wasn't getting a dog to help with the trauma of that future. As long as he avoided dating Jess, he would need something to keep him occupied on lonely nights that wouldn't ask weird questions.
A dog was perfect.
"Alright. Want me to bring it over when it's weaned?"
"Sure. Is it a boy or girl by the way?"
Sam was relieved. If it had been a girl he would have had to get it fixed. He could deal with a boy dog much easier.
Sam took one look at his future puppy and fell immediately in love.
"So what are you gonna name the little guy?"
"Castiel," said Sam without hesitation.
The little puppy yawned with the same intense blue eyes that Cas had.
Eight weeks later...
"Say hi to your new bed buddy Sammy!" joked Jacob.
In his hands was the same puppy Sam had picked out months ago. Castiel the pup barked and started to squirm in Jake's hands. Sam picked up his new puppy and scratched his ears. The pup settled down. His tail had been clipped a few days after he was born, with the rest of his litter.
"So your Manager's okay with Cassy here being in the place right?"
"So long as he behaves and I house train him before the deadline we're good. There's another resident two doors on the left who brought his dog with him, and he's a mixed Rottweiler," said Sam.
"Well lucky for you Cassy is pretty quiet compared to his brothers and sisters. Little guy didn't even make a peep when he saw the other dogs at the vet, while the rest of them wouldn't shut up."
"That is a good thing," said Sam.
Cas yawned in Sam's large hands and curled up against him.
"I can see the two of you are going to be fast friends," said Jake grinning.
Sam was having an intense staring contest. With his dog. It was considered a source of entertainment for his few friends that visited that didn't mind Cas.
Jake found it both creepy (Cas had this weird thing about his eyes) and hilarious at the same time.
Finally one of them admitted defeat. To the amusement of his friends, that one was Sam.
"That is still hilarious," said Jake.
"At least Cas is good about going outside. You sure you didn't crate train him?" asked Sam.
Cas, as if hearing his name, barked. His tiny little tail wagged and he immediately went to get one of his toys.
Sam got into a tug-of-war game that he let the pup win. It wasn't often that the puppy wanted to play like that. Usually he acted like, well, Castiel. He was also a total bedhog.
"So how's little Cassy been for you Sam?" asked Terrance.
It had been his dog that Jake had breed his female Pepper with.
"He's awesome. And he's started to be able to keep up with me on my runs," said Sam.
"I still don't get why you're so obsessed with running and martial arts," said Jake shaking his head.
It was something they put up with, next to Sam's weird book collection. As far as they were concerned, Sam was a closet Wiccan.
Sam never bothered to correct them.
"Well at least now he's got someone to do it with. I still don't get why you refuse to meet Jessica. She's a nice girl," said Jake shaking his head.
"I'm not ready for a girlfriend just yet," said Sam, repeating the same thing he told them last time.
Actually it was less to do with being 'ready' for someone in his life and more to do with the knowledge that anyone that came into his life while that demon was out there would likely end up very dead once Dean showed up.
At this point Sam was counting down the days. He still remembered vividly the date of Jessica's death the first time. When his life had come crashing down on him and he was forced to face the hard truth.
At least Cas he could take with him. He didn't care what Dean said, he was not leaving his not-even-a-year-old puppy behind just to take on a damn hunt.
Not if he wanted that deposit back at any rate.
"Whatever dude. If I didn't know for a fact you had the hots for that one chick in Greek Mythology 101, I would swear you were gay," said Terrance.
"That's you," said Sam rolling his eyes.
"Look at the bright side, at least Sammy isn't some boring closet shut in!"
"I have beer and Monopoly. Anyone up for a game?"
"Dibs on the dog!" said Jake immediately.
"I'll order the pizza!" said Terrance.
"If you order extra onions again we will be obligated to smother you with a pillow," warned Sam. Terrance and onions lead to the worst gas outside of the one time Sam had fed Cas tofu. He never ordered that off the menu again.
"Seconded!" shouted Jake.
Sam smirked when, after adding actual cash in the Monopoly game (the five hundreds being replaced by favors on pieces of paper for later) he sounded defeated both his friends. Because he was well aware they had to pay for more than one rather calm pup, he let them keep whatever hundred dollar bills they had. The rest however was fair game.
That still meant he came out several hundred dollars ahead though.
Cas, nine months old...
Sam was half asleep with Cas snoring on his side when he heard something entering his apartment. Cas woke up instantly and started growling. Sam reached for his bat.
This was the day Dean came back into his life, so he had kept it close at hand.
"Cas, guard," said Sam quietly.
The dog was pretty well trained at that point, so he slunk off the bed and went to find the intruder.
Without warning the person who broke in curse as Cas tripped him deliberately, giving Sam all the time he needed to flip the idiot onto the floor and pin him in a way that made it hard to breath.
"Sam! It's...me!" coughed Dean. Cas barked, before he did something that had Sam grinning.
He slobbered all over Dean's face.
"Hey Dean," said Sam, before his grin widened, "I see you met Cas."
"Since when do you own a dog?"
"As of roughly seven months ago. Dean, this is Castiel. Cas, meet my brother Dean."
"No girlfriend?" said Dean. He was almost disappointed.
"Most girls are put off by rottweilers Dean," said Sam rolling his eyes.
"Whatever. So how have you been Sammy?"
"Why are you here Dean?" asked Sam, already knowing why.
"Right to the point? Alright. I need your help."
It was almost nostalgic. Dean showing up needing his help with research. However he put his foot down when it came to his dog.
"We are not taking the dog," said Dean flatly.
"There is no way in hell I am leaving him behind alone. Cas might be pretty quiet but I've never left him for more than a few hours before. And I would really like to keep my deposit," said Sam equally flat.
"Don't you have some friends to leave him with?" whined Dean.
Sam had a fit of inspiration.
"Tell you what. Beat Cas at a staring contest and I'll see if Jake can watch him for a few days," said Sam.
"A staring contest?"
"A staring contest," confirmed Sam. Inwardly he was cracking up. Dean was so impatient it was highly unlikely he would do something even Sam had trouble with on occasion.
"And to make it more interesting I bet you a hundred that Castiel beats you," said Sam grinning. Dean blinked, and realized he had been suckered somehow, but not knowing how.
An hour later, Dean was cursing up a storm as he realized that he had just been beaten by a dog. A dog. Sam was cracking up as he packed up everything he would need for Cas later.
He also forked over a hundred bucks, because he had honestly thought that he could handle a simple staring contest with a dog.
He hadn't counted on his brother cheating. Or that Sam had taught Castiel hand signals in place of vocal commands with some of the police cadets on the weekends. They were happy to teach him how to train Cas like a police dog when Sam expressed an interest...and donated a couple hundred to the local police Christmas fund.
Cas had beaten Dean by repeating his earlier performance. Dean had been so close he hadn't been able to avoid getting another lick to the face.
Sam had taken a quick picture before Dean got the slobber off.