Castiel felt something was wrong the minute he looked at Dean Winchester. He was once more hidden behind the veil that made him invisible to the humans. He'd tried to warn the older Winchester by softly whispering in his ear, letting him know of the danger he was in. Dean would hear the small warning as a thought, thinking it was some sort of inner voice. But obviously the stubborn hunter hadn't listened to his inner voice, and after realising the danger he was in, reached for the taser and fired.

Unfortunately the creature, known as a Rawhead, stood in the same puddle Dean was laying in, and he ended up electrocuted as well in the process.

The creature felt dead behind him, but Castiel paid him no heed, he was already kneeling down next to Dean, who was shaking and twisting, and then eventually fell unconscious. The hunter had stopped breathing and his heart beat was slowing down. The angel knew the hunter was about to enter Heaven, and so he flew up to welcome the hunter, to set him back on his path.

The hunter was already looking around, trying to figure out where he was and how he'd got there.

"Hello Dean," Castiel said carefully.

"Where in hell am I? Who the fuck are you, and how in the world do you know my name?" Dean asked, after spinning around to face the new voice. He could make out the shape of a man, but he had no idea who it was. It wasn't as if he could see the man's face anyway.

"I can assure you, you are not in hell," Castiel replied, decided to led the swearing slide... at least for now. "You don't remember me?" Castiel asked, answering the hunter's second question as he took another step closer to him. He didn't understand it. When Dean was eight, he'd met the angel in the exact same form. How come the hunter didn't recognise him?

"What're you talking about?" The hunter asked, confused.

"I saw you in Heaven when you were here last time," the angel explained.

"What are you talking about? I've never been to Heaven." It suddenly dawned in on Dean what the man had told him. Did this mean he was in Heaven? Did this mean he was dead?!

"We met when you were but a small child, about eight years of age," the angel told him. "Your father had left on a hunt, leaving you to take care of Samuel. You took him to the river because you wanted to go outside. For a second, you looked away, and that is when Samuel fell into the river." Castiel hated himself for causing the guilt that spread through the hunter as he remembered that fateful day, but forced himself to continue, knowing the hunter didn't remember everything yet. "You dove in after him and was able to help him ashore, but you were too tired to lift yourself up and fell back into the water. You drowned." Castiel closed his eyes, regretting he hadn't been there to guide the young hunter. "It was then that we met in Heaven, and I told you it wasn't your time yet. I hadn't expected to see you here so soon." The last part was added thoughtfully.

"So soon? It's been almost 20 years!" Dean said, baffled. He did remember that day, diving in after Sam. Dean had been eight or nine years old, and he hadn't been able to swim well at the time, but he dove in after his younger brother none the less, trying everything he could to save him.

"I'm going to have to send you back," Castiel told him, paying no heed to the last remark.

"Why?" Dean asked, before he could stop himself.

"There are a few people who are misguided."

"No shit," Dean interrupted the man.

"You'll meet them and guide them, onto the right path," Castiel continued as if the hunter hadn't interrupted him.

"Yeah? How am I going to do that?"

"You'll find a way," Castiel replied mysteriously, and sent Dean back, already regretting it as he watched the younger Winchester rush over to his brother, trying to wake him.

He regretted sending Dean on this path, knowing it would add to his guilt, but he couldn't do anything about it. He had his orders, and he must obey by them!

As he watched the younger Winchester take his brother to the hospital, Castiel felt a presence. "I hate sending him on this path, Raniel," Castiel told the angel that had joined him.

"I know, but our Father commanded it, and you must obey," Raniel answered.

Castiel sighed and turned to his brother. "I know," he replied. "Doesn't mean I have to like it..."

"No one asked you," Raniel said sadly. He knew his brother had a soft spot for the humans, especially for this Dean Winchester, but there was nothing he could do about it. It was God's Will, and His Will must be obeyed.

The End
January 2nd 2009