Sam

"I couldn't stop any of it. She still made the deal… and she still died in the nursery didn't she?"

"Don't be too hard on yourself. You couldn't have stopped it."

"What?"

"Destiny can't be changed Dean. All roads lead to the same destination."

"Then why'd you send me back?"

"For the truth. Now you know everything we do."

"What the hell are you talking about?"

"Where's Sam?"

"We know what Azazael did to your brother, what we don't know is why. What his endgame is. He went to great lengths to cover that up."

"Where's Sam?"

"425 Waterman."

"Your brother is heading down a dangerous road Dean, and we're not sure where it leads… so stop it. Or we will."

Dean wasn't surprised when Castiel appeared in the rearview mirror of the Impala. The angel was getting more and more ballsy in his appearances and frankly Dean was getting tired of it. Glaring at the angel momentarily, Dean returned to watching the road, turning the volume up out of spite. I'm sorry. I can't hear you, the music's too loud.

Castiel sat there patiently, turning his own gaze to the passing countryside.

When Dean noticed that Castiel wasn't going away, and that he was stuck with the angel, he lowered the volume. "What do you want?" He snarled, a biting edge to his voice. His patience was wearing on Dean, and after what he had said that night? Dean practically growled.

"I'm enjoying the Pink Floyd obviously," Castiel replied flatly.

Dean stopped the tape abruptly. He threw it in the cardboard box where Sam should have been, but wasn't. Sam was… Sam was doing something, and Dean was sure he wouldn't like it, but Sam had insisted that he was fine – that there was nothing going on.

After all, Sam had just been hunting while Dean was away – not using his powers or bargaining with demons. Dean hoped that Sam was just hunting. Saving people, hunting things. Less so much the family business though, because after what Dean just saw, the family business included a lot more deals with demons than he originally thought.

Castiel looked at him blankly, stating dryly, "Was that necessary?"

"I'm not really in a giving mood," Dean quipped.

The angel frowned, "You're thinking about your mother. Aren't you?"

Mary? Mary!

Dean jumped out of the car, Colt aimed at his grandfather. He was too late… Mary looked back at him over her shoulder, and Dean wondered if she grasped the whole scoop of what she had just done. He lowered the gun and Mary stared at him.

"Mom…" he wanted to say, the words on the tip of his tongue but she had looked back at the bodies. One of her father and…

John's body jerked. Dean watched the body shift and could hear the young man whisper "Mary?"

"John…" she said warmly.

Dean felt a hand on his shoulder and he whipped around to see Castiel standing there. He wanted to scream and punch the angel, lay his heavenly ass on the ground and just yell at him – but the words weren't there, overcome by the gravity of what he had seen over the past few days.

"No shit Sherlock," Dean replied tiredly, "You send me thirty-five years in the past even though there was no way I could change it. You say I can't change destiny and well I think that's a load of crap."

"What happened to your mother and father was… unfortunate."

Dean seethed in muted anger.

"If it makes you feel any sort of comfort neither of them are in hell. When your father…"

"Look, my mother sacrificed her spirit to save Sammy and I. Dad sold his soul for me. I didn't deserve it. They didn't deserve that. And most of all? Sam doesn't deserve to be in a freaking tug of war over the universe.

Castiel paused, taking in what Dean had said before choosing to artfully ignore it. "Your mother's spirit may have been destroyed but the soul cannot be. Once your father escaped hell his soul joined her."

"So where are they?" Dean ground out.

"Together, but other than that we don't know. Damned spirits aren't allowed in heaven Dean, you should know that," Castiel paused, before acknowledging, "You're correct in that Sam doesn't necessarily "deserve" his lot but one of the great tragedies of the human race is choice. Your mother chose to bring your father back, just as your father chose to save you."

His blue eyes sparkled in Dean's direction, "Much the same how you brought back Sam. They were all choices. While we condemn the methods in which you all chose to bring the dead back, we admire the depth of your love for your family."

"So what, I get a get out of hell free card?" Dean asked sarcastically.

"Didn't the Lord sacrifice himself for all mankind?"

Dean rolled his eyes.

"To a lesser extent you did the same. You, your father, your mother, all of you took upon yourself the consequences of the lives you brought back. You are responsible for Sam's continued existence; therefore his decisions are your burdens as well. Had I not taken you from purgatory you would have eventually felt the weight of Judgment Day because without you Sam would've inevitably brought about the apocalypse."

He paused, "You have an opportunity here Dean, to make good on the sacrifices of Mary and John and yourself. If Sam is allowed to continue down this path, then he'd be damning all of you, and the rest of the world with you. We can't have that."

"I'm not going to hurt my brother. I wouldn't do it for my father and I certainly won't do it for you," Dean replied adamantly.

Castiel didn't respond.

Dean choked, "Sammy's a good kid. I… I've done some things but he was always the one to keep me and Dad in check. He wouldn't… do those things to people. He's just a kid, we just lead crappy lives and he's just…"

"Four months is a long time."

"He wouldn't. I don't believe you."

"Your infallible faith in your brother is admirable Dean, but misplaced."

Dean turned around to yell at the angel, but Castiel had vanished, leaving Dean alone in the car.

He tightened his grip on the wheel, so much so his knuckles turned white. He looked in the rearview mirror, Castiel's emotionless visage and unchanging blue eyes no longer there. "Freakin…" Dean mumbled, fishing through the box of cassettes for something to listen to. The older Winchester hummed impatiently, studying the passing street signs.

Waterman…

"There you are you son of a bitch," he spat. He was going to go get Sam, and then leave. Dean debated telling Sam what had happened – that everything that had happened to them was the result of a deal? That there was more to his "destiny" than just Azazael's stupid demon army?

Dean felt a headache growing behind his eyes and he massaged his forehead. Sammy didn't need to know, because to Dean Sammy was still that twelve year old that walked home with Dean. He was still that innocent little kid who would ask about his mother and Dean would reply that she was perfect, and beautiful, and an angel.

He sighed, flicking in a random tape, drowning his thoughts with the loud music.

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Author's Note: Wanted to get this up before Thursday, because it so neatly fits between episodes. Hope you all enjoyed it as much as I did writing it. Thanks for the reviews and alerts and favorites and all sort of kicks and giggles like that.

Leave a review if you liked it!