Disclaimer: Once again, don't own anything.
Author's Note: At long last... the next chapter. Now, I can't promise you regularity or speed at this point (thanks to school and the like), but I am working on this story again. Here we have some twiddling of thumbs, an answer or two, and a boatload of questions. Enjoy.
I opened my eyes again and looked around. Why I picked the Safeway parking lot near the hospital, I don't think I'll ever know for sure, but it was probably the only place I could go that wouldn't force me to see Mulegns again. My first instinct, of course, was to do something productive, but I couldn't decide exactly what that would be. After all, the Winchesters were my only current assignment, and there was nothing to be done for them for some time now. I had to give Dean an opportunity to mull over what I'd told him. He was that sort of man.
Out of sheer boredom, I found myself actually walking through the automatic doors and into the bustling store. It was strange; threading my way through streams of humans piling groceries into shopping carts and hushing screaming children. Though it would have been easy to say that my reaction was simply due to the fact that I hadn't been among humans for millennia, that would not have been the truth. Now that I thought about it, I'd spent my whole time down here averting one crisis after another. I'd been in hospitals, churches, several fights, and anywhere the Winchesters chose to situate themselves. I hadn't spent any time simply mingling with the humans. Standing here, watching the milling crowed with all it's variety, wanting nothing more than to make ends meet, it was easy to think that the war was simply a dream.
Curiously, I walked down an isle, looking at the different products that were being offered. Most of it was tucked away in brightly colored packages displaying images of what was inside. Most of it didn't look the least bit appetizing. I found myself coming to the conclusion that humans were strange creatures.
Suddenly I felt a light tug on my elbow. Spinning around, I found that my coat was in the pudgy grip of a child sitting in one of the rattling carts. The mother quickly apologized to me, peeling her daughters hand away and shoving the cart forward, obviously trying to hide her embarrassment. Still, the child stared at me, finger pointing. Her blue eyes held far more understanding than her eighteen months could ever hope to explain. I frowned and watched her disappear around the corner.
Coming back to the matter at hand, I realized that I'd exhausted the possibilities presented to me by the market and I still had to wait a good while longer before going back to speak with Dean. There is nothing so frustrating as being in a situation where every second matters and having to let so many slip through your fingers. I needed to be using it somehow; coming up with some sort of plan, something that would keep Dean from running when he finally learned the full truth of things.
I stepped back out of the store and moved out of public view before whispering a few words to my Master. Then I waited. After a moment, I began to see a form materializing in front of me. I was surprised to find that it was none other than Michael. Surely he had more important things to be doing. Still, I wouldn't refuse such an opportunity.
"I hear that you are needing some help," Michael began.
"You could say that," I replied.
I sighed. "I don't know what to do from this point."
"How do you mean? You're supposed to guide Dean."
"That's the problem, actually. Our last meeting was... problematic."
"Castiel, just tell me. Please."
"It's not that surprising really. He seems to think he can put us on a leash, or perhaps, that he should. He was asking why our Master hasn't stepped in sooner and why we don't carry harps."
Michael quirked an eyebrow at that. "So, in other words, he's pulling the usual stunts?"
"Exactly. But I'm worried. I think he'll bolt if we tell him."
"I'm afraid we've got bigger problems on our hands."
"Lillith's broken another seal? She can't move that fast."
"No, with Dean."
I felt my brow furrow and found myself studying my commander closely. "What?"
"Dean got off the rack."
"That's not surprising. No one lasts down there."
"It's not just that. Remember your 'friend' from Limon?" He nodded toward my leg, reminding me of the throb that was slowly ebbing.
"How could I forget."
"Apparently he's quite the fan of Dean's."
Suddenly something clicked. "I saw him there," I said, turning searching blue eyes on Michael. "The demon. In Hell." Still, I shook my head, not understanding where this was going.
In return, Michael sighed. "The new intelligence we've been gathering says that Dean was quite popular in certain circles down there... particularly Alistair's."
Now, I understood. "They tried to make him theirs."
"It sounds like they succeeded."
"He's shone no sign so far."
"He may not remember everything yet, but he will. And when he does... We don't know who we have on our hands anymore."
I shook my head. "Our enemy can implant suggestions, thoughts, make humans think they're their own. That might be all this is."
"Perhaps, but we have no way of knowing. Even if that's all it is, we don't know how he'll react. Dean could be a disaster just waiting to happen."
My frown just kept getting deeper as this conversation went on. True, Dean was an idiot, a fool, an angry man, and an arrogant one too, but nothing in his records, or in what I'd seen so far pointed to evil. Then again, there was a reason Michael was an archangel and I was not. "Do you have any test in mind?" I asked.
"No. Not yet. We'll try to come up with something, but in the mean time, we'll have to wait and see."
"Now I have two problems. Thanks."
"Well, maybe if you think about it long enough, you'll come up with some sort of solution."
"Oh, I almost forgot to tell you; Bister is doing well."
"That's good to hear."
"I thought you'd want to know. Also, if you get too terribly bored waiting for Dean to come around, you can always try to track down Romairon again. I'm sure he could find something for you to do."
"He's still in charge?"
"Honestly, that was a doomed mission. If we'd known then what we know now about the enemy's force-"
"You still would have sent us."
"True, but none of you are being blamed for the outcome of that fight." Michael started to turn away then, but he stopped. "One more thing."
"Your 'friend''s hunting you."
"Well, not so much you, I suppose, as Dean. Although I doubt he'd mind killing either of you. Last report I heard, he was only about forty miles away from Bobby Singer's house and closing. With anyone else, I would tell you to keep them on the move, but the Winchesters don't have that problem. Just... be aware and try to cover your tracks."
"I know you're worrying about keeping those boys out of trouble, but try to take care of yourself too, while you're at it."
I gave a nod and watched as he faded from view.
So I was back on my own again. Somehow I had to find the answer to this riddle. There had to be something. Looking around, I found a portion of the curb that was bright with sunlight and sat down on it, chin nestled in my hands. I had to come up with something and it had to be soon. Our enemies were not the sort you wanted to trifle with. I couldn't give them time to catch up.
Author's Second Note: For those of you who may be wondering about the kid in the first portion; there's a bit of a legend that babies can see angels which I decided to play off of.