A/N: Hah. I suppose this could be an alternate continuation to "In the Beginning." It's also sort of a continuation to "Half Lies", as well as kinda riffed off of one of my sister's stories, "Secret Keeper." Which would make it AU, I guess. VesperRegina made me post this. Isn't she so mean? ;b Also pretty much beta-ed by her, so thank you, as always!

Spoilers: "Pilot", "In the Beginning" ... can't think of anymore right now.

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"The Fire and the Blood"

Fire roared.

Above, a woman was pinned to the ceiling, pale and lifeless. There was no clue, nothing to tell him how he might have done things differently--what he could've done to save her.

A drop of blood fell. Dean sat up.

The room was dark, and Sam was gone. He rubbed his face with one hand, then moved to switch on the lamp.

He flinched, and asked, "You gonna keep doing that?"

Castiel answered, "Doing what?"

"Never mind...."

"You've been having the same dream since you were four, haven't you?"

Dean didn't move for a second, then he muttered a dark, "Whatever," and got to his feet. When he got out of the bathroom, Castiel was standing with his back against the door, still.

"Look, I don't appreciate you digging into my brain when I'm asleep," Dean began.

Cas silenced him with a look. "Have you ever wondered why your brother didn't dream about Azazel?"

He was already on edge, but that set his teeth to grinding. "All that's over now--"

"Is it?" The angel advanced, all the way up into Dean's space. Dean felt an inexorably rebellious urge not to back down. Despite that, he found it hard to look directly into Castiel's blue eyes. "Ruby is leading him along a fine line. If he crosses over, there's no return."

"You're not touching Sammy. I don't give a crap whose side you're on, or whatever Lord you have at your back. You are not laying a heavenly freakin' hand on my brother."

"Yet, I sense doubt," Cas replied, and stepped away, turned, and then turned again so that he was facing Dean once more. "So tell me this--how did you know that your father needed you to stay calm, that night, to be awake and waiting outside of Samuel's nursery?"

Dean remembered about two and a half years ago, a certain woman psychic asking him almost the exact same thing. "What are you talking about? I musta heard the screams. What else could it have been?"

Castiel's eyes were intense. "Do you think that Sam's gift comes from a dark source? I assure you, Dean Winchester, 'every good and perfect gift comes from the father of lights, in whom is no shadow of turning'." Dean's breath caught in his throat. A little girl's voice came to mind, 'Stand still and see the salvation of the Lord.'

"The evil one takes the good that God has given humanity, and perverts it, each and every time. You think you just inherited your father's good instincts, but the truth is--"

Dean interrupted, "I don't wanna hear it."

There was a sudden blaze in the angel's eyes, which caused him to take a step back and land on the edge of the bed. He swallowed, suddenly trembling and afraid.

"Listen," Cas said, "Hear what I say. You have a gift. It is not strong, not anywhere near Sam's ability. But the closer you come to understanding the will of God, the stronger it becomes. This is why I am telling you now, because, soon, you will have to learn to control it, use it."

"I don't want any freakin'--!"

"I said listen!" The TV shattered outward, and Dean flinched and ducked away. He sat gaping and angry, but he wasn't about to interrupt again, anytime soon.

"The reason Sam's ability has increased so quickly and was so strong in the first place, is because of the blood that Azazel gave him when he was an infant. But you've also been baptized and anointed, Dean."

Dean's arm burned in the spot that Castiel had left on his arm. He rubbed it, almost unconsciously, as the angel continued his lecture, or sermon, or whatever it was. "Do you remember waking up, that night, twenty-five years ago?"

He knew exactly what Cas was talking about, understood suddenly what he meant. "I had a dream... I think. I can't remember now."

"You dreamed that your mother died. You saw her on the ceiling of Sam's nursery." Castiel was in his space again, leaning down over him, placing a hand on his shoulder for a moment, then crouching lower, beneath him, arms on his own thighs to lend him balance. "So when you woke up, you went to look for her there. But instead, your father came, and gave you Samuel and told you to run. And that's when you knew that it was true. That your mother was dead."

"No...." Dean shook his head, lower lip trembling.

"And all this time, you've thought it was your fault. That seeing it beforehand made you somehow responsible. But it was the Lord, trying to prepare your tender mind for what would take place."

"You--" he tried again to deny it, and instead choked up for a moment, then the anger forced back the tears. "Get out. I'm not in the mood for a heart-to-heart."

Castiel moved, his coat rustling as he got to his feet without another word. Dean realized the door wasn't closed all the way after he'd gone.

Glaring, he stood and went to it, opening it wide, and saw Sam getting out of the Impala. He froze when he saw Dean standing in the doorway.

Dean swallowed, and rubbed at each eye one more time, making sure nothing incriminating was still hanging bright from his lashes.

"We need to talk."

Sam shuffled his feet and readjusted the backpack slung over one shoulder. He realized it wasn't going to work. Sam wasn't ready to hear him out, or ready to change his point of view.

So instead of pushing it, he grinned and said, "You've really gotta start waking me up when you go out to party, Sammy."

Sam chuckled and let the strained moment roll off him like a physical burden.

"Sure, Dean, will do." He walked past him and into the lamp-lit motel room, and Dean closed the door.

- end -

Bible quotes: James 1:17, 2 Chron. 20:17,