Questionable Faith

"You have doubted me, Castiel."

Castiel's head was hung in shame. There was no argument he could make to his Father. There was nothing he could hide. His Father could look straight into his heart and see what was there.

"I am sorry, Father. Please forgive me."

"You do not desire to be what you are. To be what I have created you to be."

"Please, Father. I was wrong-"

'You desire to be one of them. To be a human."

Castiel was silent. His Father knew the truth now and there were no words that could erase that.

"If that is what you desire, Castiel, then that is what you shall be. You shall go to Earth and be amongst the humans as one of their own."

Castiel never received a chance to protest. No sooner had the words been spoken then he felt himself falling. Falling into darkness. Alone.

***

Castiel woke up. He didn't know where he was, but he was feeling sensations he had never before experienced. When he opened his eyes he could see he was lying sprawled out on the ground, surrounded by trees. It was raining and he realized one sensation he was feeling was that of being wet. His powers had always kept him dry, or least made it so he never noticed being wet. But now he was fully aware of being soaked through, his clothes clinging to his body. He also realized he was lying in mud. His was turned to the side; otherwise he would not be able to breathe.

Breathing.

His vessal had always breathed automatically, without him giving it any thought. He had never paid much attention to how it felt.

Now, he was acutely aware of every breath he took, specifically because each breath was a struggle. He was finally able to identify the third sensation after he looked around and saw small mounds of snow in various spots around him. The cold, damp air seemed to steal away his breath.

He was cold and wet.

And very alone.

He had only experienced a sensation that he had considered fear once in his recollection. When he had realized that his powers were weakened and he could not fight Alastair and that Alastair knew it.

That sensation had returned magnified more than Castiel could ever imagine.

He struggled to sit up and suddenly felt a stinging in his right hand. He looked at it and saw a slice across his hand. Blood oozed out of the wound and was rinsed away by the falling rain.

He was bleeding. Breathing and bleeding.

He had been made human.

As the realization crept in he felt a beating in his chest that he had never felt before.

A heartbeat.

He was alive. And human.

And all alone.

He staggered to his feet and looked around desperately. He saw he was on a muddy path the lead to area that was lit up. The only sound he could hear was the raining falling around him. He had never experienced such silence. He had always been able to hear the other angels converse with each other and himself.

No angelic voices now. Just rain.

He began stumbling down the path towards the light. His body had begun to tremble and his teeth were chattering in his mouth. He didn't know where he was or where he was going, but he prayed that there would be someone to help him once he reached the light's source.

Praying. His Father had casted him out. Was there any point in him praying now?

When Castiel reached the end of the path he realized he recognized the building in front of him. It was a small motel. There were several cars parked in front of the doors lining the front of the building. One car was black. Familiar.

He had been to this place earlier. He had been watching Dean and Sam, assuring himself they were safe after what had occurred with Anna and Alistair. He hadn't let them know he was watching over them. He had doubted his presence would have been welcomed after what had occurred.

But what was he going to do now? He had nowhere else to go. He knew no one else. He also knew that his body could not last without his powers protecting it. He had to get into somewhere safe and warm.

Castiel began walking across the driveway to their door.

* * *

Dean was lying sprawled out across the motel's bed, flipping through the TV's channels. What a surprised, he thought. Nothing on.

Sam was sitting at the table and working on his laptop. He and Dean hadn't really spoken much after Dean's admission of what had gone on while he had been in Hell. Sam couldn't help but feel guilty over his actions during those four months. He had let himself completely fall apart while Dean had managed to hold out for thirty years before succumbing to the torture. Not that Dean had been upset with him. In fact, he had taken the news surprisingly well all things considering.

They were both interrupted from their thoughts by a knock on the door. They looked at each other.

"Who could that be?" Sam asked.

Dean shook his head. "I don't know. Have you talked to Bobby?"

"No. Not since we left his house."

Sam got up and Dean put his hand under the pillow and grasped the hilt of the knife that was hidden there. He nodded to Sam to open the door.

Sam opened the door to reveal a cold, soaked Castiel standing in the doorway. He was shivering uncontrollably and his lips had begun to appear blue-tinged. He would have collapsed to the floor if Sam had not reached out and caught him. Dean's jaw had dropped open and was almost too stunned to move.

"What the- Castiel?"

"I… He… so cold… I didn't…" Castiel could barely speak through his chattering teeth. Sam practically carried him inside and sat him in the worn armchair in the corner of the room. He then went to the bathroom and grabbed all of the towels in there. Dean came over and knelt down beside the chair.

"What hell happened to you?" Dean asked in shock. He began removing the saturated trench coat from Castiel's shoulders.

"Father… he… he…. He knew…. He knew… my doubts… He… He was… ashamed," Castiel's voice caught on the word. "I… He… I was… cast out…"

"What!?!" Dean and Sam yelled in unison.

"That's crap, Castiel. You didn't do anything wrong! He had no right to do that!" Dean exclaimed, tossing the trench to the side.

"I doubted… I was wrong… Should have never doubted…"

Sam shook his head in disbelief and knelt beside Dean to help remove Castiel's socks and shoes. "Still, that's no reason to cast you out! You may have had doubts, but you still carried out his orders!"

Castiel shook his head and buried his face in his hands. "No. No, I failed. I failed my Father. I was wrong to have doubts. He was right to cast me out-"

Dean suddenly shoved him and forced him to look into Dean's face.

"That's a load of crap and I don't care if you don't think so!" Dean stood up. "Now, you need to get out of these clothes because they're soaked. And I'm guessing you don't have your magic angel powers anymore to keep you from getting pneumonia. So give us a hand cuz I don't really want us to have strip you ourselves!"

Castiel glanced down and suddenly was aware that they had managed to remove his coat, tie, shoes and socks. He began fumbling with the buttons on the shirt.

Sam cleared his throat. "Uh… Castiel?"

Castiel looked up.

"Have you ever taken these clothes off before?"

Castiel shook his head. Dean groaned.

"Great. This isn't going to be weird or anything."

Castiel cocked his head in confusion. "Why would it be weird?"

Sam stopped Dean before he could respond. "Nothing, Cas. Don't worry about it. We'll help you undress so you can get into the shower."

"Shower? Won't that make me more wet?"

Sam and Dean looked at each other and there was a pause.

"Yeah, you'll get wet, but the water is hot and you can wash up. You're kind of muddy right now," Sam said.

That was when it occurred to Castiel how he must look to the brothers. He was dirty, wet, and completely disheveled. He had never felt so weak in his whole existence. He closed his eyes and nodded.

"Very well. Whatever you believe I should do."

The brothers helped him to the bathroom. Sam showed Castiel how to unbutton his shirt and pants and how to work the belt buckle. Dean was very focused on starting the shower and, once that was running, quickly stated that he was going to get more towels and bolted out the door.

Castiel felt more anguish as he watched Dean make his exit.

"I am sorry, Sam."

Sam looked up from the cuff he was unbuttoning with a startled look on his face. "For what?"

"For doubting you. For allowing you and Dean to be put in harm's way. I should have protected you more. I have done nothing to deserve you help or kindness."

Sam stared at him for a moment and then swallowed hard.

"You pulled Dean from Hell. You saved him. You saved him from…" Sam's voice caught and he quickly looked away as he wiped away a tear that had fallen down his cheek. "… that place. The torture he went through. I should be the one thanking you. Helping you now is the least I can do."

Castiel felt a small warmth with Sam's words. "Thank you, Sam," He said softly.

There was an awkward pause and then Sam busied himself with hanging up Castiel's clothes.

"Is… is Dean angry?" Castiel finally forced himself to ask.

Sam looked at him confused. "Angry?"

"He left rather abruptly. Is he still angry with me about what happened? With Anna?"

"Oh!" Sam laughed. "You mean just now?" He shook his head. "No no! It's just, Dean's not really comfortable with… you know." Sam gestured at Castiel.

Castiel cocked his head in confusion. "Not comfortable with what? Myself?"

"Well, mostly just undressing a guy. Cuz, well, you know. It's kind of weird."

Castiel stood there, now down to his boxers, and tried to understand what he was saying. Sam sighed and shook his head.

"Never mind. Just, don't worry about it. He's definitely not mad at you, OK?" He gestured towards the shower. "Shower's ready for you."

"Very well." He looked down at the boxers. "Do I leave these on?"

"Oh, uh no. Just take those off like the pants- oh jeez!"

Castiel had taken off the boxers and looked questioningly at Sam. "Like this?"

Sam turned his head away and gave him a thumbs up. "Yeah, Cas. You got it! Just, could you wait next time until after I leave to take those off?"

Castiel suddenly remembered that humans weren't always comfortable with other human's nudity.

"Oh. My apologies, Sam."

"No problem." And Sam shut the door.

Castiel turned and pulled back the shower curtain. He had see humans shower before, but he had never done it himself. He gingerly stepped in and closed the curtain. He was instantly hit with a blast of hot water. While he was startled by it at first, he soon found that it did indeed feel much better than the cold rain that had soaked him earlier. He stood still under the water for a few minutes and allowed the water to beat down on his aching body. He then began washing up, attempting to mimic what he had watched other humans perform. He was looking at a bottle of shampoo when he heard the bathroom door open.

"Hey, Cas!" Called Dean's voice. "You haven't drowned in there have you?"

Castiel frowned and stuck his head out from behind the curtain to look at Dean. "No, Dean. I do not believe I could drown in this water because it keeps going down the hole in the tub and is not collecting. So you do not have to be concerned."

Dean stared at him for a moment and then shook his head. "Dude, it was a joke. Man, we need to work on your sense of humor if you're going to be human for awhile."

Dean set the pile of towels he was carrying on the sink. He then set a t-shirt and pair of pajama pants on top of the pile.

"Hey, I got you some clothes you can wear tonight. Tomorrow we'll try to get you some stuff of your own."

"Thank you. Oh, and can you help me for a moment, Dean?"

Dean arched an eyebrow at him. "Dude, I don't care if you did raise me from Hell. I'm not getting in the shower with you. This has already gotten really weird."

Castiel frowned. "I just wanted to know what this bottle was."

Dean immediately felt foolish. "Oh. Sorry." He took the bottle, and read the label. "That's shampoo. It's for your hair. Just squirt some in your hand and then rub it in your hair. Then rinse it all out."

"Oh. I see. Thank you, Dean." And Castiel ducked his head back behind the curtain.

Dean sighed, shook his head, and left.

Castiel tipped the bottle upside down and squeezed. Nothing came out. He squeezed harder. Suddenly the weight in the bottle shifted and a large amount of shampoo squirted out of the bottle and all over his hand and the bottom of the tub. He hesitated, but finally began rubbing it in his hair. Soon there were suds all over him and the tub. It took another ten minutes before it was all rinsed out.

Finally done, it took him a minute to figure out how to turn off the water. He dried off and got dressed in the clothes Dean had left him. Feeling slightly better he left the bathroom. He could tell they had been discussing him because their conversation stopped when he came out.

"Feel better?" Sam asked.

"Yes, a little." He sat down nervously on the edge of the bed. "What am I suppose to do now?"

"Well," Sam took a deep breath, "For now we're kind of stuck. We think the best plan is to head over to Bobby's. Maybe he has something in one of his books that can help fix-"He gestured towards him, "-this."

Castiel looked down and shook his head. "There is now way to change this. My Father will never accept me back."

"Come on! There has to be a way to fix it!" Dean exclaimed. "What about that "grace" stuff? Like what Anna had? Yours probably fell like hers did."

Castiel shook his head. "She removed her grace herself and took it with her when she fell. My Father took my grace. He is the one who holds it and only He can return it."

Silence fell over the room. Castiel felt heaviness at the thought of never being an angel again. Being separated from his brothers. The silence that the separation brought.

Dean finally broke the silence.

"Well, if you're going to be human then we'll just have to deal with it. You should probably get some sleep." He got up and plopped down in the easy chair. "We have a busy day tomorrow if we're going to help you be human!"

Castiel felt as though he should protest, but he was finding it difficult to keep his eyes open. He lay down like he had seen Dean do in the past and closed his eyes.

So this is what sleep feels like, He thought before he drifted off.

***

Alone. And quiet. He had been left by everyone. His brothers had left him. Sam and Dean were gone. His Father wanted nothing to do with him.

Alone.

In front of him was Alistair. Looking at him with an evil grin on his face. He knew. He knew that he was alone. Vulnerable. He knew he would be able to take him. Drag him down to Hell. To punish him for doubting his Father. For dragging Dean out of Hell. For smiting the demons he had come in contact with.

Castiel was powerless to stop him.

Alistair began walking towards him. He was frozen. He wanted to cry out but all he could manage was a pitiful squeak. And he kept coming closer. And closer. And closer. And-

"Hey, Cas!"

Castiel was jerked awake by Sam's voice and someone shaking his shoulder. He opened his eyes to see Sam looking down at him with concern.

"Are you OK? You were having some kind of bad dream," Sam said with concern.

Castiel sat up and rubbed his face with his hand.

"Yes. Yes, I am OK. It was just a dream. I… I have never experienced a dream like that before."

"Want to talk about it? Believe me, I'm an expert at bad dreams!" Sam said with a weak grin.

Castiel hesitated before finally shaking his head no. He had already asked the brothers for too much. Expecting them to deal with his new insecurities would not be appropriate.

"I will be fine, Sam. But thank you." He glanced around the room and noticed Dean was gone. "Where is Dean?"

"Oh. He ran out to get you some stuff. After all, you can really only use so much of ours."

Castiel nodded. He then suddenly noticed a discomfort in his lower abdomen. He shifted uncomfortably on the bed. "Sam?"

"Yeah?" Sam said, looking up from the laptop he had sat down in front of.

"I believe there is something wrong with me. I am having strange sensations here." He put his hand on his lower stomach. "There is a pressure there."

Sam frowned. Then the realization dawned on him.

"Uh, dude, have you gone to the bathroom yet?"

"I took a shower last evening."

Sam groaned and shook his head. "No no. I mean, use the bathroom? The toilet?"

Castiel shook his head. Sam got a very uncomfortable look on his face.

"Ah man. Seriously? You do know what it's for, right?"

Castiel thought hard for a moment. "I believe so. I think I may have observed humans using a toilet before."

"OK. Yeah. Remember what they did? Yeah, just go do that."

"I have seen humans use the toilet for several functions. Am I supposed to expel emesis? I am afraid I do not know how to do that."

Sam jumped up. "No! No no! Don't do that! Do the other stuff! Other end!"

Castiel thought about it for a moment and finally realized what he meant.

"Oh. I believe I understand. I will try." He got up and went into the bathroom. Before he shut the door he heard Sam let out a relieved sigh.

Castiel was very pleased with himself when he had success using the toilet as he had seen other do. He was washing his hands when he suddenly heard Dean's loud laughter coming through the bathroom door. When he came out he saw Dean doubled-over and laughing hysterically while Sam was glaring at him with full force.

"Dean, you are such a jerk!" Sam yelled over Dean's laughter.

"I know!" Dean gasped! "But that's still the funniest thing I have heard in a long time! God, I wish I had seen it!"

Castiel was hesitant to interrupt, but he couldn't help but wonder what they were talking about. "Um, hello, Dean."

The brothers both looked over at him. Dean wiped the tears from his eyes and smiled at Castiel.

"Hi! Feeling better?"

"Yes, thank you, Dean." He looked over at Sam. "I was very successful at using the toilet! Thank you for your assistance!"

Dean began snorting with laughter again. Sam shot him another glare before forcing a smile at Castiel.

"Hey, yeah. That's great. Um… good job?" Sam said hesitatingly.

"Want a sticker? That's what Dad and I did when we were teaching Sammy!" Dean chuckled.

"Dude! Shut up!" Sam yelled. He threw a half-eaten Snickers bar at him, which Dean was able to narrowly miss getting hit with.

Castiel was beginning to understand Dean well enough that this was another example of Dean "joking." He had to admit that this was probably a ridiculous situation for them to have to be dealing with. He actually found himself starting to smile at the brothers.

"OK! OK! I'll stop!" Dean finally said. He held up a plastic shopping bag towards Castiel. "I ran down to the store I picked up a few things for you."

Castiel took the bag and began examining its contents. He found in it a toothbrush, deodorant, a package of socks, and a package of underwear.

"Yeah, I figured you should have your own stuff. After breakfast we can get you some of your own clothes," Dean said.

Castiel nodded. "Thank you, Dean. That was kind of you."

Dean shrugged. "Nah. I just didn't want you using my toothbrush!" He began walking to the bathroom. "Come on! I'll show you how to use that stuff. Then afterwards we'll go get you some breakfast."

After getting cleaned up and dressed in a pair of jeans, t-shirt, and jacket Dean loaned him they made their way over to the diner down the street from the motel. Once they arrived they found a booth towards the back to sit in, Sam and Dean across from Castiel. After they had been sitting for a minute a young, blonde waitress came up to the table and handed them their menus.

"Hi, boys!" The girl said with a huge smile on her face. "Mine name is Cindy and I'm going to be your waitress today! What can I get you to drink this morning?"

"Coffee," Sam and Dean said in unison.

"OK. And you, sir?" Cindy turned and gave Castiel a big smile.

Castiel was having a great deal of difficulty concentrating on what she was saying to him. He found himself staring at her. Her long, lean legs that disappeared into the black waitress skirt she was wearing. Her ample bosom that was barely being contained in the red button-up blouse she was wearing. Her beautiful smile…

Suddenly he was jarred from his trance by a swift kick under the table.

"Yeah… our friend here had kind of a bad night last night," Dean said, flashing her a smile. "Maybe some coffee for him too and an orange juice."

"Three coffees and an orange juice coming right up!" She said. "And, just so you know, our special today is two eggs any way you like, hash browns, toast, and your choice of ham, sausage, or bacon on the side!" She turned and walked away to get their drinks.

Castiel looked at Dean "Why did you kick me?"

Dean snorted. "Dude! It'd be fine if you just wanted to check the girl out, but it's not a good idea to do it by just staring at her chest! You need to work on that."

Castiel frowned. "I was staring at her chest?"

"Just a little," Sam said while he looked over the menu.

Dean leaned back in the booth. "Look, I totally agree that the waitress is a babe. And you should be checking her out. You just have to do it a little more subtle. Chest staring is not subtle."

Castiel looked over to where Cindy was pouring his drink. She glanced back at him and gave him a smile when she saw him looking. Suddenly he felt his face grow warm and he quickly looked away.

"I… I don't know what's wrong with me," He said nervously.

Sam looked up from his menu. "What? You mean about checking out the waitress?"

"Uh, dude, it's just because she's hot and nice to look at," Dean said. "There's nothing wrong it."

Before Castiel could reply Cindy was back and she set his glass of orange juice in front of him. She then began filling the mugs that had been sitting on the table with coffee.

"And there we go! Are you boys ready to order?"

"Yeah, can I get the breakfast special with sausage?" Sam said, passing the menu back to the edge of the table.

"Same here," Dean said. He then gave Castiel a nudge with his foot.

Castiel could feel his face grow warmer as she stood there, smiling at him. He had never ordered food before and his mind had gone blank. He was trying desperately to look anywhere other than her chest.

"I… uh… I will have the… uh… the special," He managed to stutter out.

"And would you like ham, sausage, or bacon with that?" She asked.

"Bacon," He quickly replied as it was the only thing he had really heard her say.

"OK. Three specials, two with sausage, one with bacon coming up," Cindy said and sauntered off.

"Wow," Dean said after she left. "I have now seen it all. Castiel made to blush by a hot waitress." He laughed as he took a sip of his coffee.

Castiel frowned and stared at the glass of orange juice in front of him. He couldn't help but feel ridiculous. He had been an angel of the lord. He had pulled Dean from the fires of Hell. He had battled more demons than could be counted in a life time.

Now look at me, He mused. Reduced to muddling my way through being a human.

Noticing Castiel's miserable look Sam cuffed Dean in the shoulder.

"Dean, leave him alone. Come on. This is all new for him," Sam said.

Dean sighed. "Alright! Alright! I'm sorry. I'll quit messing with you."

"Thank you," Castiel said.

He decided to distract himself by trying out the drinks on the table. He picked up the mug of coffee and breathed in the aroma which seemed pleasant enough. He took a small sip and then proceeded to spit out the contents out just as quickly.

"That tastes terrible!" He exclaimed.

Sam and Dean chuckled at the face he was making.

"Yeah, coffee is kind of an acquired taste," Dean said and then took a sip of his own.

Castiel pushed aside the coffee and then picked up the orange juice. He sniffed and then took a small sip. His eyes lit up.

"What did you say this drink was?" He asked in awe.

"Uh, orange juice," Sam replied, confused. "Why?"

Castiel continued to stare at the glass in amazement. "That… o-range juice…" He took another drink. "It is incredible!" With that he proceeded to down the entire glass.

"Oh. Well, that's great, Cas. Glad you like it," Dean said hesitantly.

At that moment Cindy returned carrying their breakfasts. She set each one in front of them, Castiel's being put in front of him last.

"Well! Somebody is thirsty today? You want some more?" She asked.

He looked at her in amazement, a smile coming over his face. "I can have more?"

Cindy laughed. "Well yeah! I mean, you have to pay for it, but we have plenty more! I'll go get it."

After she walked away Dean shook his head.

"Uh, Cas? It's really just a glass of orange juice. It's not a big deal! If you want to get anywhere with that girl you better relax because she's going to think you're nuts!"

Castiel cocked his head. "But its taste is indescribable! I have never tasted anything like it!"

Cindy came back and set the new glass of juice in front of him. "There you go! I hope you enjoy the rest of your meal as mu-"

Before she could finish he had chugged the entire glass of juice and set the glass back down. Sam and Dean stared at him with their mouths opened in shock.

"Oh. Wow! Um, you really are thirsty!" Cindy said with a startled laugh.

Castiel nodded a look of bliss on his face. Dean cleared his throat.

"OK! I think our friend here needs to slow down a little and eat something!" Dean said warningly.

"Should I bring another juice?" Cindy asked.

"Yes, please!" Castiel said with big eyes.

She laughed as she walked away again. Dean gave him another kick under the table.

"Dude! It's just orange juice! Quit drinking so much of it and eat something!"

Castiel's face fell and began poking at the food in front of him. He watched Sam pour ketchup on the eggs and hash browns. When he finished Castiel took the bottle and repeated Sam's actions. He then took a bite of some scrambled egg. He contemplated it for a moment and then nodded.

"This is good," he finally said.

Dean sighed in relief. "Good! Finish eating!"

Cindy came back with another glass of juice. Castiel's face lit up, but Dean grabbed it from her before she could set it down.

"Thanks. I'll just hang on to this until he finishes eating," he said. He looked hard at Castiel. "You just keep eating."

Cindy chuckled. "You boys are just too much!" And she walked away.

Castiel finished his breakfast and decided that he really did enjoy the sensations eating brought about. And the orange juice! He decided that it was truly was the greatest beverage in existence!

***

After breakfast the brothers and Castiel made their way back to the motel.

"OK, gentlemen. Next on the agenda is getting our friend here some new clothes!" Dean said walking over to the Impala.

Castiel followed him. "New clothes? Why can't I wear my other clothes?"

Dean let out an exasperated sigh and Sam shook his head. He put his hand on Castiel's shoulder.

"Trust us, Cas. When you're human you don't want to wear the same outfit every day," Sam said patiently.

They climbed into the car and headed out. They soon arrived at the local mall. After Dean parked they climbed back out and went in through the entrance.

Castiel had never really spent much time at a mall before. This one didn't appear to have too many people in it. Mostly older humans who seemed intent on walking briskly through the mall. Nobody seemed to pay much attention to the three of them.

"OK!" Dean said. "Let's get started!"

They found a layout of the mall and Sam and Dean began looking it over.

"They have an Abercrombie and Finch right here, "Sam said pointing to it on the map.

Dean rolled his eyes. "OK, Mr. Preppy Boy! I don't think so!"

Sam rolled his eyes back.

They studied the map some more when suddenly Dean pointed to a store he spotted.

"That one!"

Castiel found himself being lead down the mall and was brought before one of the store fronts.

"Gordon's Vintage Clothing?" He said.

"Great store! It'll have everything you need," Dean said as he walked in.

Everything from then felt like a whirlwind to Castiel. Both Sam and Dean began pulling clothes off the racks and piling them in Castiel's arms.

"Jeans. Definitely will be needing jeans, "Sam said as he added four pairs to the pile. "Dean's fit you OK? So this size should work."

"Here are some shirts," Dean said as he added six shirts to the pile.

"Wow, Dean. I didn't know you liked shopping so much," Sam said with a smirk.

Dean looked at him from across a rack of clothes. "Yeah, well, I saw how you douched up my car when I was in Hell. I didn't want you doing the same to poor Castiel here!" He flashed Sam a smirk of his own.

Sam glared at him, but kept going through the racks. In ten minutes Castiel was lugging around a pile of clothes that almost reached his eyes!

"Great! You go try those on and Sam and I will wait out here," Dean said pushing Castiel towards the changing rooms.

"But what if I need help?" Castiel asked.

"We'll be right here!" Dean said with a wave. "Go on now!"

Castiel felt hesitant, but he managed to find his way into the dressing room. Once the door closed Dean spun around to face Sam.

"Dude, we need to talk."

"You think?" Sam said leaning against the wall and rubbing his face with his hand.

"Sam, I have no idea what to do with him. At least with Anna all we had to do was find her Grace and get it back to her. How the heck are we supposed to convince God to give him his Grace back?"

"I don't know, Dean. This isn't something that there's much information about!"

Dean began pacing. "And we can't leave him alone! You know it's only a matter of time before the demons find out and come after him."

Sam frowned. "And Alistair."

Dean nodded. "We have to figure this out. But we need to find somewhere safe he can stay. Somewhere the demons can't get to him until we can sort this out."

"There's always Bobby's panic room."

Dean nodded. "Is Bobby back yet?"

Sam pulled out his cell phone. "I'll go find out. But after here I say that's where we head to next."

Dean nodded again. "Agreed."

"Uh, guys?"

They turned to see Castiel standing awkwardly in front of the dressing room door. He had been able to manage the jeans, but the long-sleeve shirt he had on under the flannel shirt was obviously backwards and the boots were each on the wrong foot. Still, Dean gave him a big smile.

"Looking sharp there, Cas. Just, uh, turn that shirt around. Remember, tag in the back! And just switch the boots to the other foot. But you did good!"

Sam gave him and encouraging smile and nod and Castiel beamed with the praise. He went back into the dressing room. Once the door shut Dean turned to face Sam.

"The guy can't even dress himself yet, Sam! This is not good! How is he going to protect himself when the demons show up!?!"

"I know, Dean! It's OK. It'll be fine once we get him to Bobby's."

Dean sighed. "Man, I hope so."

Once Castiel finished trying on clothes and had chosen what he wanted they paid for them (courtesy of a Mr. Albert Lafontaine) and headed back to the mall exit.

This isn't so bad, Castiel thought to himself. Sam and Dean are watching out for me. I can experience life as a human. I can do the things that humans do and experience. And maybe in time Father-

Suddenly, in the reflection of a store front's window he saw him.

Alistair.

The reflection looked directly at him and an evil smile crossed his face. Castiel saw him begin to raise his hands.

Castiel staggered back and dropped his bags. He spun around, scanning the mall, trying desperately to see where he was. He could feel his heart thundering in his chest and he could barely catch his breath.

"Cas? What the-?" Dean spun around and ran up to him. "Castiel! What's wrong?"

Sam ran back as well and tried looking around to see what would have upset him.

Castiel continued to look around, trying to figure out where he was or could have gone. But he wasn't there.

"I… I saw him!"

"Who!?"

"Alistair."

Sam and Dean looked at each other. Before Castiel could say another word Dean grabbed his arm and Sam grabbed the shopping bags he had dropped.

"We're leaving, now," Dean growled and he pulled him towards the exit.

Once outside all three ran to the Impala and climbed in. Dean sped out of the parking lot, ignoring the stop sign posted.

***

It was decided that they would leave that day and start the trip to Bobby's, who was a three day's drive away. They were making good time and Castiel was sure that they would make it soon.

Then the loud clunking noise started under the Impala's hood.

Castiel was sure Dean let loose every foul word known in the English language when he pulled over and looked under the hood. When he came back it was apparent the news wasn't good.

"We can get ourselves to a motel, but there's way she'll make it to Bobby's like this."

Sam nodded. "OK. We'll find a place to stay and try to ward it the best we can."

Dean got back in and started the car up. He cringed as the car began clunking again.

"Looks like we don't have much of a choice!"

They arrived outside of a small town and found a motel. It contained two double beds, a couch the pulled out into another small bed, a TV, and kitchenette. They settled in and Dean went to look for parts for the car while Sam laid out salt lines.

Unfortunately, the parts the car needed had to be ordered and they were forced to stay longer then they had planned. They settled into a routine of taking watches, making meals, and watching TV. Despite the initial fear Castiel had felt when he had seen Alistair; he couldn't help but enjoy the new life he was living. He felt safe knowing Sam and Dean were watching out for him. And then there were the simple pleasures of being human.

The first pleasure was eating and drinking. Dean had introduced him to the concept of "snacking." Eating food between meals. Castiel's latest favorite snack was Cheerios. They were small, yet satisfying. He found he could eat them while enjoying his second pleasure, TV.

He was fascinated by the TV. He could sit and watch humans behave in numerous ways. There were also shows that were drawings that moved and spoke. And using the square thing with buttons on it (Sam and Dean called it a remote) he could switch the story he was watching to a different story. He spent the majority of his time watching these stories, eating Cheerios, and drinking orange juice.

One day he was sitting cross-legged on the bed, munching on Cheerios and watching a story called "Family Guy" on the TV. The TV was showing the stories of "Family Guy" all day and Castiel was trying to understand it. The stories were strange and he had figured out by the third episode that they were supposed to be considered humorous. Dean had told him several times he needed to work on his sense of humor so he decided that this show may help. Sam was doing research on the computer, as usual, when the door opened and Dean came in carrying a plastic bag.

"Hey," Dean said, tossing the bag on the counter. "Car's fixed! We'll be able to head out in the morning."

"Great!" Sam said.

Dean looked at Castiel and grinned as he watched him staring intently at the screen. "Still watching the "Family Guy" marathon?"

"This Stewie character is rather concerning," Castiel said seriously. "His intent at world domination is alarming and I do not understand how he is able to obtain all these weapons without his parents being aware."

Both Sam and Dean started laughing.

"Dude, it's a cartoon! It's not real! And that's supposed to be the joke! He's a baby trying to plan world domination, but nobody takes him seriously!"

Castiel cocked his head and frowned. "I don't get it."

Dean sighed and began rummaging around in the plastic bag. "I know." He then pulled out a packaged which he held up. "Hey, Cas! I got you something new to try!"

"What is it?"

Dean grinned and walked over to him. He opened the package and pulled out his contents. "It's candy! They're called Pixie Sticks!"

Sam looked up. "Uh, Dean? Do you think that's a good idea?"

"Sure! Why not?" Dean replied. "Here, you open the end like this and just pour it in your mouth!" He demonstrated how to eat it. "Try it!"

Castiel tried it and was startled at first by the sweetness of it. But he also found the taste appealing. "That is quite good. May I have more?"

Dean grinned and tossed him the package. "Enjoy!"

"Uh, Cas. I wouldn't eat too many…" Sam tried to warn him.

Castiel had already begun opening the ends of the Pixie Sticks and pouring them in his mouth. He was delighted to find that each colored tube had a different flavored content. In ten minutes he had finished off the entire package.

Then he experienced his first "sugar high."

He started bouncing up and down on the couch and found that to be quite enjoyable. And suddenly he felt then need to explain the story "Family Guy" to Sam and Dean. In detail. And he decided that Sam and Dean should be watching the show as well.

"Look at the dog Brian. Dogs do not speak your language though. Why can Brian speak? Wouldn't other humans be alarmed if a dog started speaking to them? And why does Peter make such poor decisions? I cannot imagine a woman such as Lois would want to spend the rest of her life with a man who makes such decisions. And why does everyone hate Meg so much? She seems pleasant enough. It really isn't kind of her family to be so cruel to her. And why does Brian drink so much? It really is not beneficial to his health to drink so much. And why is a dog allowed to drink alcohol? I do not think that is wise."

Sam glared at Dean. "You just had to give him Pixie Sticks, didn't you?"

Dean chuckled as he took a drink of his beer. "Ah, come on. You have to admit, it is pretty darn funny!"

Suddenly Dean's eyes lit up. A devilish grin spread across his face.

"I have an idea."

"You are not giving him more candy!"

Dean chuckled. "Oh no! This is waaay better than candy! I think we should go celebrate the car getting fixed. And take the opportunity to introduce Castiel to some more of the… pleasures of being human!" He grinned and took another drink.

Sam frowned at first, then, knowing Dean, the realization of what Dean had in mind dawned on him.

"Oh no! NO! Dean, we can't! That would be very very very wrong! Dude, we're trying to make him back into an angel! Your idea is not going to do that!"

Dean chuckled and stood up. "Relax, Sammy! We all need to relax and have some fun, you included!" He looked over at Castiel and grinned. "Come on! It'll be fun! He deserves to have some fun before he goes back to being all good and regimented again!"

Sam shook his head in amazement. Finally, he reluctantly sighed.

"I can't believe we're going to do this!"

Dean grinned in triumph. "Oh yeah! This is going to be awesome!" He turned to Castiel. "Hey, Cas! Get ready! We're going out tonight!"

***

The Impala pulled up in front of a large building with a large pink neon sign on front flashing "Diamond Dolls." Dean, Sam, and Castiel climbed out of the car and looked at the sign.

"Here we are guys!" Dean said with a huge grin on his face. "Cas, be prepared to become a man!"

"Dude, I still can't believe you talked me into this! This is insane!" Sam said shaking his head.

Castiel was quiet and he could feel some anxiety creeping into his stomach. Warning bells were going off in his head saying that this was not exactly the way to win favor with his Father. He swallowed hard.

Dean noticed the nervous look. "Relax, Cas! Just remember, it's all for fun! Nothing wrong with having a little fun now and then!"

Castiel wasn't sure if he agreed, but he followed Sam and Dean into the building.

The room they walked into was large and dimly lit except for the stage in the front. The stage extended into a catwalk with and smaller stage in the center of the room with a pole sticking out in the middle of it. A scantily clad girl was swinging herself on the pole while a couple men sat next to the stage, watching. There were tables scattered around the room and there was a bar area on the right side of the room. Dean took Castiel's elbow and started pulling him towards it.

"Breathe, dude!" He said. "Fun, remember? Nothing to get all uptight about!"

Castiel wasn't sure, but he allowed Dean to lead him to the bar. Sam walked beside them and Castiel felt a little better when he noticed Sam looked slightly embarrassed as well about being there.

When they got to the bar Dean got the bartender's attention.

"I'll take a beer," he told him. He looked at Castiel and Sam. "Order up, gentlemen! Drinks are on me tonight!"

Sam sighed. "Alright. I'll have a beer too."

Before Castiel could say anything Dean was ready to order for him.

"Give my friend here a classic Screwdriver," Dean said, patting Castiel on the back. "My friend here is celebrating!"

Castiel cocked his head. "I am?"

Dean grinned. "Hell, yeah! We're celebrating you becoming a man tonight!"

The bartender set the drinks on the counter and Dean paid. He passed Sam and Castiel their drinks.

"It has orange juice in it, Cas," Dean explained. "Plus some other stuff. Try it, you'll like it!" Dean held up his beer. "And I would like to propose a toast to our friend Castiel! You got a shitty deal, my friend, but Sam and I are going to everything we can to fix it! But tonight, we're going to forget all the shit going on out there and have a hell of a night in here! And our friend Cas is going to have the best night of his whole life and become a man! Cheers!" He clinked his beer bottle with Sam's and Castiel's drinks.

Sam couldn't help but grin and clinked his bottle with Castiel's. "Cheers, man."

Castiel grinned and looked at the contents in his glass. He took a sip. It didn't taste like regular orange juice, but it wasn't too bad. He took another drink.

"Alright!" Dean grinned. "And, Sammy, that is the last beer you are having tonight! Nothing but the hard stuff tonight!"

After setting up a tab at the bar Dean led the others to a table next to the center stage. He then began explaining to Castiel how it all worked.

"Now, the girl dancing is the stripper. She takes her clothes off while she dances. Now, if you want her to dance over where you are you do this." Dean pulled out a dollar bill and looked up at the dancer. When she looked at him he smiled and held it up to her. She smiled and came over to where they were. She took it from him and tucked it in the string of her thong. Dean smiled triumphantly at Castiel. "And that's all there is to it!" He took another dollar out and handed it to him. "Wanna give it a try?"

Castiel felt his face grow hot and he quickly shook his head. He was desperately trying not to stare at the stripper's ample bare breasts as she had leaned in to take Dean's money. He knew if he tried giving her the money he wouldn't be able to help himself.

Sam chuckled. "Hey, Cas. It's OK to stare here. That's kind of the point."

Castiel felt hesitant. "It is?"

"Yeah. Look, I'll show you." Sam took the dollar from Dean and held it up. The stripper grinned when she saw him and leaned over to take it.

"Mmmm," she purred. "How'd I get so lucky to be performing for a table of hotties like this one tonight?"

Castiel shifted in his seat, embarrassed at the reaction her body and voice was having on him. Dean grinned broadly at her.

"We're celebrating, actually. It's our friend's first time to one of these places," Dean replied, gesturing towards Castiel.

"Really?" she arched an eyebrow and studied Castiel up and down as she danced. He could feel his face grower hotter and his jeans were becoming uncomfortably tight. "That is something to celebrate! You enjoying the show, baby?"

Castiel swallowed hard and felt his mouth go dry. "I… I… uh…"

She giggled. "It really is his first time!" She leaned in close to his ear. "It's OK, baby. You just relax and enjoy the show. Maybe later on you can get a special dance in one of the back rooms." She stood back up and went back to dancing on the pole.

Castiel's mouth hung open and he could feel his heart go a mile a minute. Dean gave him a nudge.

"Breathe, Cas! Breathe!" he said with a laugh.

Castiel quickly drank the rest of his drink in an attempt to distract himself. He was feeling lightheaded and had no idea what to do with himself.

"Dude, I think Cas may have a heart attack if she does that again!" Sam said chuckling.

Dean grinned. "Nah, he'll be fine. Here, I'll go get you another drink. What do you want, Sam? Beer time's over!"

Dean went to get their drinks and returned with a round of Electric Screwdrivers. After an hour and multiple drinks later Castiel was feeling very very good. While Sam and Dean had paced themselves, Castiel continued to drink whatever Dean sat in front of him. And then he discovered that the effects of these drinks were causing him to feel very good and relaxed. And he really loved Dean and Sam because they really were the most amazing humans he had ever come in contact with. And they were so kind to bring him to this place and help him feel so good. And, god the dancers on the stage were really so beautiful. He tried to decide if he had ever seen anything so beautiful when he was an angel or if he had ever felt so good when he was an angel.

"How are you holding up, Cas?" Dean asked with a grin.

Castiel looked at him with a look of drunken bliss. "Thish is the best night ever, Dean!" Castiel emphatically said. "I am having sooooo much fun! And the girls are so beautiful! And you guys are so great! You really are! I love you guys!" And he reached over and gave Dean a huge hug.

Sam laughed, slightly drunk himself. "Dude, you are so drunk! This is so fucking awesome!"

Dean laughed too and hugged Castiel back. "You're welcome, man! I'm glad you're having fun!"

Castiel grinned broadly and turned back to the stage. It was hypnotizing to watch the girl dance. He could sit there all day and watch.

Dean watched Castiel for a moment and then leaned over and whispered something to Sam. Sam's eyes grew big and he started to laugh. Dean grinned and got up from the table. Castiel didn't notice. He shyly held up a dollar and grinned like a fool when she took it from him. He looked back at Sam.

"She's so nice, Sam! She's so friendly and she smiles so nice! And she's so beautiful! Isn't she beautiful, Sam?" he said drunkenly happy.

Sam laughed and nodded. "She's very nice, Cas. And very pretty. You like her?"

Castiel nodded smiling. "I think she's the most beautiful and most nicest human ever!"

Dean came back and sat down. He had a grin on his face. Sam began snickering.

"Hi, Dean! Where did you go?" Castiel asked, taking another drink of his Screwdriver.

"Just taking care of some things," Dean replied casually.

Castiel wanted to ask what, but then he didn't want to miss anything with his stripper. He returned to gazing at her. He was unaware of anything happening until he felt a pair of hands on his shoulders and slide down his chest.

"Is this the man of the evening?" A sultry voice purred.

Startled, he turned to see a young woman in her 20's with dark brown hair and green eyes looking at him with a smile. Suddenly his heart began pounding and his breath caught in his throat.

"That's him!" he heard Dean say.

Her smile broadened. She pulled his chair away from the table and straddled his lap. He could now see she was wearing a blouse knotted in the front and a short plaid skirt. She rested her hands on his chest and he noticed she smelled like candy when she leaned in close to his ear.

"Now, let me tell you the rules, baby. No touching. I can touch you, but you're not allowed to touch me. OK?" Castiel nodded dumbly. "Good boy. Now, you just tell me what you want, and I'll see what I can do for you. OK?"

Castiel didn't know if he would be able to breathe. She felt so good in his lap, but he was embarrassed at the hardness in his jeans that he knew she could feel. He wanted to ask for Sam or Dean's help, but his voice wasn't working and he couldn't take his eyes off her. He forced himself to nod again.

She smiled and stood up. "Very good. Now come with me and I'll give you your private showing." She took his hand and waited for him to stand. He tore his eyes off of her to look at Dean to see if it was OK. Dean was grinning and he nodded.

"Dude, go with her! It's OK!" Dean said. He looked at the girl. "Go easy on him, OK? He's had a few drinks and it's his first time!"

The girl laughed and she helped Castiel to his feet. "Oh, don't worry! I'll take good care of him!" She began leading him towards the back rooms.

***

His mind felt fuzzy from the alcohol he had drunk. He knew what was coming. He had watched humans copulate before, but he had never had the experience himself. Despite his best efforts to stay calm, he could feel his heart pound and it almost felt like it had lodged in his throat.

She led him into a small room in the back. It was dimly lit and contained a small red loveseat in the shape of a heart. She led Castiel to it and had him sit down. She smiled at him and straddled his waist.

"So, baby," she purred in his ear. "What's your name?"

His eyes fluttered closed and he licked his lips, trying to moisten then. "Castiel."

"Mmm… foreign… that sounds pretty sexy," she said, untucking his shirt and running her hands up his tight abs. "My name is Natasha."

"It… it's nice to meet you," Castiel panted, trembling under her ministrations.

Natasha chuckled. "Very polite! I like that!" She turned his head with her finger. "Look at me, Castiel."

He forced his eyes open and hesitantly met her gaze. She had a gentle smile on her lips.

"Don't be nervous, baby. This is supposed to be fun and feel good. I'll only do what you want me to, OK?" He swallowed hard and nodded. "Good boy. So what would you like, Castiel? You just tell me and don't be shy."

Castiel's mind raced wildly. He knew what he had seen others do, but he couldn't help but hesitate to ask.

"I… I don't know," he stuttered. He felt his face flush and he dropped his gaze.

Natasha could tell that he would need some assistance and began pressing light kisses up his neck. Her hand slid down his stomach and began unbuckling his belt. His eyes closed and his grip tightened on the cushion under him, desperately trying not to break the "No Touching" rule.

"Does that feel good, Castiel?" she whispered in his ear.

He couldn't even begin to find his voice so he squeezed his eyes shut and nodded. He could feel her smile against his neck. He then felt her finish opening the belt buckle and then move to opening the top button of his jeans. When that was done her hand drifted down to the zipper and began slowly unzipping his jeans. Her hand brushed against the hardness that had developed and he gasped at the bolt of pleasure that coursed through him. She chuckled at his reaction.

"You like that, Castiel? Do you want more?" she asked.

He nodded, desperate for her to not stop, to give him more of the pleasure he had so briefly felt. She pushed open his jeans to reveal his boxers covering his arousal. Slowly and gently she stroked the area.

The pleasure that coursed through him at her touch caused him to gasp and arch off the loveseat. He moaned and almost forgot to keep his hands still.

"Oh yeah. You like that, don't you, baby?" Natasha whispered huskily in his ear. "You want more of that? I need you to tell me, Castiel."

Struggling he managed to nod. "Ye- yes! Please!" he moaned.

She carefully slid his erection out of his boxers and began to stroke it. Castiel panted and moaned, unused to the sensations he was now experiencing. "Like that, baby? Is this what you want?"

"Ye- yeah!" he could barely focus on her words; the coolness of her hand compared to the heat of his arousal was mind blowing.

She watched his reaction with a smile. This was the part of her job she always found enjoyable. She decided to take things further.

"You want more, Castiel? I can make you feel even better," she said breathlessly.

He opened his eyes and looked at her in amazement.

"More than this?" he panted, shocked.

She smiled and nodded. "But only if you want to, baby. We'll only do what you want."

Everything else flew out of mind. There was no more God, fallen angels, apocalypse, Lucifer, nothing. All he could think of was the pleasure he was feeling and how he desperately wanted everything she was willing to give him. He met her gaze and nodded.

"I want it. Please," he whispered.

She smiled and reached into her top and pulled out a small foil square. He wasn't sure what it was at first until she opened it and pulled out its contents. He watched breathlessly as she rolled the condom over his cock. He then felt her shift and she slid her g-string off and then repositioned herself over him. He felt a second of hesitation which quickly passed. Slowly she lowered herself onto him until he was buried inside of her.

The heat and her clenching muscles drove any rational thoughts out of his head, including the rules. He cried out and grasped her waist, desperately wanting her to keep moving, but terrified at what that might cause. Her own hands came to rest on his and her head was tipped back as she moaned in pleasure. She began thrusting against him and his own body instinctively took up the rhythm. The pleasure was beyond anything he could ever have imagined.

"Oh god! Oh yes! Yes!" he heard her cry out and suddenly he could feel the muscles inside clench wildly around him. Screaming in pleasure he came.

They both were quiet for a moment panting in exhaustion. Castiel then felt Natasha lean over and gently wipe away the tears he hadn't realized he was shedding.

"Castiel," she whispered.

He reluctantly opened his eyes and saw her looking back at him with a gentle smile. She kissed him on the forehead.

"Did you like that?" she asked.

He swallowed hard and nodded. He suddenly noticed where his hands were and quickly dropped them.

"I- I'm sorry! I didn't mean to-"

Natasha chuckled and pressed a kiss to his lips to silence him. "Sssh. Don't worry about that, baby! Sometimes it's OK to break the rules!"

With that she stood up and began helping him get cleaned up and dressed.

"Better get you back out there before your friends wonder what I did to you!" she said with a grin.

***

Castiel woke up lying on his stomach in the motel bed. His head felt fuzzy and his head was throbbing with a dull ache. His stomach felt knotted up and he could taste last night's alcohol in the back of his throat. He turned and squinted at the sunlight streaming in through the motel's windows. He saw Dean sitting at the table, tying the laces on his boots. Dean saw Castiel looking at him and grinned.

"Well well well! Looks who's awake! Morning, sunshine!" Dean laughed.

Castiel cringed at how Dean's voice seemed amplified in his head.

"What happened?" He moaned. He tried to sit, but had to stop when he felt his head spin.

Dean chuckled. "What's the last thing you remember?"

Castiel frowned and pressed the palm of his hand against his head. "I remember… Natasha…"

Dean laughed harder. "Dude, if you didn't remember Natasha I was going to have to bring you back there for a reminder!"

At that point the bathroom door swung open and Sam shuffled his way out. He was dressed only in his underwear and jeans. Castiel could see his face appeared somewhat pale and he looked like he hadn't slept well.

"Dean, I swear I will never let you talk me into drinking like that ever again," Sam groaned as he reached for his shirt that was lying on the other bed.

Dean grinned broadly. "Dude, you both loved it! I haven't seen either one of you so chilled out and happy ever!"

Sam looked over at Castiel and realized for the first time he was awake. "Hey, man, how are you feeling?"

Castiel shook his head. "I'm not sure. I can't remember everything from last evening."

Even Sam smirked. "You remember Natasha, right?"

Castiel felt his face flush. "I… I think so. I… I remember leaving the back room…. but nothing really after that."

Both Sam and Dean laughed. "Let me help refresh your memory!" Dean said, straightening up. "You came back and we had a few more drinks-"

"You and I had a few more drinks," Sam corrected, glaring at Dean. "Apparently, Dean decided to stop drinking after he set up your little rende vous."

Dean chuckled. "Hey, one of us had to be sober enough to drive us home! Anyway, you tickled pink with Natasha and I swear you were head over heels for her! All you kept talking about was taking her away from the club and making her your 'life partner' and spending the rest of your human days with her by your side!"

Castiel felt his face redden deeper. "I was talking like that?"

Sam chuckled. "Yeah, you were. But, hey, don't feel bad. It can kinda happen when it's your first time."

Castiel felt embarrassed at losing control like that, but all thoughts of that flew from his mind when he tried to stand up. He felt his stomach lurch. Sam and Dean instantly recognized the look on his face.

"Dude. Bathroom. NOW!" Dean yelled.

Castiel barely made it to the bathroom before using the toilet for what he had originally thought its purpose was. He then decided he never wanted to drink ever again.

***

After an hour in the bathroom recovering and getting cleaned up Castiel was huddled in the back of the Impala wearing Dean's sunglasses and sipping from the bottle of Maalox Sam had given him.

It was late in the evening when they finally pulled up in front of Bobby's house. Castiel was feeling much better after having slept through most of the trip. Climbing out of the car, though, he felt some hesitation about seeing Bobby as he recalled his last encounter with him.

"Bobby… um... appears to be kind," Castiel nervously said as they walked up the front porch.

Dean chuckled. "Don't worry. He's over you knocking him out with your angel powers!"

Castiel sighed with relief.

"At least, I think he is."

Castiel shot him a look of panic and Sam rolled his eyes. Suddenly the door flew open and Bobby was standing there with a relieved look on his face.

"Well it's about time! Where the heck have you boys been? I thought I was going to have to go out and look for you!" Bobby grumbled as he stood off to the side to let them in.

"Sorry, Bobby. Got a late start this morning," Dean said with a grin.

Sam and Dean entered and Castiel nervously followed them. Bobby gave him a quick look over and nodded his head in a greeting. He then motioned for them to follow him into the study area.

'I don't know how much help I'll be," Bobby said, sitting down at the table that was scattered with books. "I've been researching ever since you called. Other than your encounter with that girl Anna, I can't find anything about restoring fallen angels."

"What about restoring favor with God? There must be something about that?" Sam asked, picking up one of the books.

Bobby sighed and shook his head. "Unless you boys feel like throwing together an alter and praying at it every day for 40 years and throwing in a weekly goat sacrifice I don't think that's going to work either."

Dean glared out the window in frustration. "This is c***," he growled. "I can't believe there's nothing we can do!"

"It's OK, Dean."

Everyone turned to look at Castiel who was leaning against the wall, staring up at the ceiling.

"Bobby is right. There is nothing that can be done. My fate was sealed by my Father when I fell. He is the only one who can restore me."

Dean swallowed hard and shook his head. "But, Cas-"

Castiel held up a hand and shook his head. "What I need to focus on now, Dean, is learning to live as a human. You and Sam cannot protect me forever. I must be able to survive on my own."

There was silence following his words. Sam stared down at the book he was holding. Bobby was looking back at Dean, waiting for his response. Dean swallowed hard and Bobby and Castiel could see for a moment the tears he was trying to fight back. Finally Dean cleared his throat and set a determined look on his face.

"Fine, then," he said. "But Sammy and I aren't just going to leave you. We're going to make sure you're going to be OK."

Sam nodded. "Absolutely."

Castiel felt touched at the gesture. He knew neither of the brothers had to stay with him. They owed him nothing in his mind.

The moment was suddenly interrupted by a knock on the door. Bobby frowned.

"Who the heck?" he muttered as he went to answer it.

The door swung open to reveal Pamela Barnes. Her white eyes stared blankly forward, but she had a huge smile on her face.

"Hey, there, Bobby! Welcome back!" she said, reaching out to embrace him.

"Pam!" He said in surprise as he hugged her. "What brings you by?"

"Oh I heard you were back in town. Had to hear about any girls you were chasing along the beach there!" She turned her head. "Sam and Dean Winchester! Well isn't this a nice surprise! What brings you-"

Her smile instantly fell from her face and was replaced by a look of shock. The three men turned and their eyes fell on Castiel.

Castiel could feel her psychic eye on him without her having to say a word. He felt sick as he looked at her. The glowing white orbs that replaced the eyes that had burnt out, that he had caused to be burnt out, reminded him of things he had done that could never be rectified.

"You," she said hoarsely.

She began walking towards him. Dean moved to intervene, but Castiel held out his hand to stop him. Whatever she had to say to him he knew he would have to take without anyone trying to soften it. She stopped in front of him.

"You… you were the angel…" she whispered.

"Yes," Castiel replied softly.

There was silence. Pamela's face was filled with anguish and Castiel was filled with remorse. He knew the pain he had caused her, both physical and mental. He knew without her speaking the hatred she had for him.

"I'm sorry," he whispered.

At those words the look on her face changed. Rage twisted her features. Before anyone could react she swung her walking stick and hit him with it across the face. Caught off guard he fell back and sliced his temple on a nail sticking out of the wall as he hit the floor.

"You b******!!!!!!!!" she screamed. "I hope you never become an angel again! I hope you rot in Hell!"

With that she spun around and stumbled out of the house, her body shuttering with sobs. Everyone was too stunned to react at first, but Castiel's moan of pain caused Dean to run over and crouch beside.

"Cas? Are you OK?" he asked, looking at Castiel's gash.

Castiel nodded, wincing in pain. "I'm fine. I knew she would be angry. I just wasn't expecting such a… physical reaction."

Sam and Bobby quickly joined Dean and studied Castiel's head.

"Boys, I think you should get our friend here to the doctor's," Bobby said, shaking his head.

Sam frowned. "Why? Dean and I have patched up worse things than this."

Bobby sighed. "OK. Castiel, when was the last time you had a tetanus shot?"

Castiel looked at him, confused. Sam and Dean looked at each.

"Oh," they said in unison.

***

They were able to quickly clean Castiel up enough to drive him over to the local emergency room. Bobby stayed behind, saying he wanted to try to get a hold of Pamela to try to calm her down.

It was a surprisingly calm night in the local emergency department and they were able to get into a room after a short 20 minute wait. Castiel was lying on the stretcher in the hospital gown he was told he had to wear. Dean was sitting in the chair next to him while Sam had gone in search of a vending machine to get them all something to eat and drink.

After a few minutes of silence Dean finally spoke.

"Hey, Cas?"

"Yes, Dean"

Pause. "Can I ask you something? I mean, you don't have to answer it if you don't want to."

"Of course, Dean."

Dean turned to look at Castiel. "Why me?"

Castiel frowned. "What do you mean?"

"Why did you save me?"

"I told you. Because the Lord-"

"Yeah yeah yeah. Because the Lord commanded it. I know that. But why me? Dude, there are hundreds, thousands of other souls in Hell that are probably more deserving than me that you could have saved." Dean moistened his lips and swallowed hard. "But you saved me. Why did God want you to save me?"

Castiel sighed. He knew this question had been plaguing Dean ever since he had revealed to him that he was the one to pull him from Hell. He had been hesitant to reveal all of what had gone on that determined his release.

"Your fate was never for you to go to Hell, Dean," Castiel said softly. "My Father saw you. He saw a man who freely sold his soul for his brother without a moment of hesitation. With no regards for himself or the fate that would befall him. He saw a man willing to sacrifice himself again and again for his family and for strangers he had never met. That is a rare individual, Dean."

Dean shook his head. "But there are other people like that. I know I'm not the only one."

Castiel nodded. "That is true. And there was another… factor that determined your freedom."

"And that was…?"

Castiel paused.

"Your father."

Dean looked at him, shocked. "What-?"

"Your father saw what you were going through. He could not bear for you to have to endure what he did. He spoke on your behalf. He helped make you the Chosen One."

Dean sat there in stunned silence, trying to absorb the news. He stared at the floor and desperately tried to fight the tears he could feel stinging his eyes. Castiel watched him from the stretcher, knowing that it would take Dean time to accept what he had learned.

Suddenly the glass dorm of room slid opened and Sam came in carrying some drinks and snacks.

"Hey, I hope this is OK. They didn't have much-" Sam stopped when he saw Dean. "What's wrong?"

Dean quickly shook his head and cleared his throat. "Nothing, man. I'm fine! The air in here's all dry and stuff. Hurting my eyes. Here, give me that," he said quickly, grabbing a soda from him.

Sam knew instinctively that there was something up, but he knew better than to press Dean for information. He simply passed Castiel his orange juice and sat down in the other chair.

After a few minutes there was a knock on the glass door. It slid open and an older gentleman with graying hair stepped into the room.

"Mister…" he looked at the chart he was holding, "Hendrickson?"

"Yes, sir," Castiel said sitting up.

The man stepped in and closed the door. "Hello, my name is Doctor Collins. I'm going to be examining you this evening." He walked over and studied the blood-soaked bandage on Castiel's head. "Quite a gash you got there."

"Yes, sir. I fell and cut my head," Castiel replied sheepishly.

"I see," Dr Collins replied with an arched eyebrow. He then looked at Sam and Dean. "Would you gentlemen mind waiting outside for a moment? I have some questions I would like to ask Mr. Hendrickson in private."

Dean opened his mouth to protest, but Sam put his hand on his arm.

"Sure, Doc. We'll just wait outside," Sam said with a polite smile.

Dean reluctantly followed. He shot Castiel a reassuring smile before sliding the glass door shut. Dr. Collins drew the privacy curtain closed and began pulling various gauzes and a syringe and setting them on the side table.

"So, Mr. Henrickson-"

"Castiel. You may call me Castiel."

Dr. Collins nodded. "Castiel, have you been drinking this evening? Getting into any fights?" He began removing the bandage from Castiel's head.

"I haven't been drinking, sir," he winced as the bandage was removed. "I was in a little bit of a fight. A woman hit me. That's why I fell and hit my head."

The doctor chuckled as he wiped away the blood. "Well, if you're admitting a woman did this then it must be the truth! Not many men would say that!"

Castiel smiled ruefully as the doctor continued fixing his head. He used a special clear glue to seal the wound shut. Satisfied, the doctor then picked up the syringe.

"Very good. Just a quick injection and you can be on your way."

He quickly swabbed Castiel's arm and jabbed the needle in. Castiel nearly jumped off the table. The doctor chuckled again.

"Easy does it! All done, my friend! Just sign these papers here and you can be on your way!"

Castiel signed the papers the best he could. He had left his jeans on so he only needed to put his shirt back on. The doctor had turned away and begun cleaning up while Castiel changed.

"Castiel," Dr Collins suddenly said. "That is an unusual name."

Castiel paused as he put on his shirt. "Yes, sir. I suppose it is."

"If I recall," the doctor said, slowly walking to the door, "that's the name of an angel, isn't it?"

Castiel froze.

"Well, it was the name of an angel. It was until Daddy wasn't too pleased with his little soldier and kicked him out of the Heavens."

The doctor stood before Castiel and Castiel could now see his eyes become black. An evil smile tugged at the corner of the doctor's lips.

"Hello, Castiel. Good to see you again!"

Castiel's eyes widened in panic. "Alistair-"

Before he could react Alistair had pushed Castiel back against the stretcher, pinning him. Before he yell for Sam and Dean he suddenly saw and felt black smoke pouring into his mouth, eyes, and nose. The sulfur burned as it entered.

NO!

It was too late.

When the last smokey tendrils entered Castiel the doctor's lifeless body collapsed to the floor. Alistair, in his new body, straightened up and smoothed his shirt.

"Nice," he murmured to himself as he studied the body. "Very nice."

He then looked down at the body on the floor.

"Someone should take care of that," he said with a smirk.

He contorted his face into a look of panic and quickly slid the door open.

"Help! We need some help in here!"

***

The Impala spend down the back country road through the night. Dean was driving, still trying to absorb the conversation he had with Castiel. Sam was quiet, stunned at the shocking sudden death of the doctor. He glanced in the review mirror to check on Castiel, who had been surprising quiet since they had left the hospital. He was sitting in the back seat, a small grin on his face.

"You OK, Cas?" Sam asked.

Castiel looked at Sam and nodded, still smiling. "Yes, thank you, Sam."

Dean looked at him in the review mirror and smirked.

"Let me guess. Doc there gave you some happy drugs before he croaked?"

"Dean!" Sam looked at Dean horrified.

"Relax, Sammy. I'm just saying Cas is probably pretty doped up right now."

Sam looked back at Castiel, who grinned broader.

"You are quite correct, Dean. I am feeling surprisingly… happy right now," Castiel said.

Dean shot Sam an "I-told-you-so" look and focused on driving. "Yeah, well, I like you better drunk. You're a lot less weird drunk," he muttered.

Sam looked forward. "Well, I'm still wondering about that doc. Man, I wish we could have gotten to him faster. That was just really weird, you know? He seemed fine to me."

Dean shrugged. "Dude, sometimes people just drop dead. He was old. It happens."

Sam shook his head. "I don't know. It just seems weird. Maybe we should check it out. You know, just in case."

Dean rolled his eyes. "Alright, but I don't know how we can do this undercover. Everybody who works in that ER already saw us with Cas."

"I don't know," Sam replied. "We'll come up with something."

Dean suddenly grinned. "Well, Cas, you want to try your hand at hunting? I bet you're better at it than you think?"

Castiel smiled back at Dean. "You know, I bet I am."

***

Castiel felt trapped. He could see through is eyes. He could hear his voice speak, but he wasn't the one controlling it. He fought desperately for control of his body, but to no avail.

"Tsk tsk, little angel. Settle down! Aren't we having fun yet?"

"Get out of me! Get out!"

The sulfur odor was suffocating. It was as if his whole body was burning in it. He had to get out. He had to warn Dean and Sam. He knew Alastair's plan. He had to stop him…

"Come on, little angel. We're going to just play a game. You know how Lillith likes to play games. When she hears about this one she's going to love it! Nothing like playing a good game with the Winchesters!"

Castiel wanted to weep. He wanted to scream. He could do nothing. He felt frozen. Helpless.

***

Suddenly Metallica's "Enter Sandman" came on over the radio.

"Alright!" Dean grinned. "Metallica!"

"Great," Sam chuckled. "Make poor Cas listen to Mullet rock!" He began flipping through the atlas they kept in the car in search of something to distract himself.

Dean drummed his hands on the steering wheel to the beat. "Whatever, Sammy! This is classic! Right, Cas?" His eyes flicked up to the review mirror again.

Castiel grinned evilly back at him. "I think I like this song." His eyes flickered and turned black.

Dean's eyes widened in shock. "What the-!?!"

Before either brother had a moment to react Castiel swung the large wrench Dean kept in the backseat and knocked Sam out cold. Dean desperately tried hitting the brakes in order to be able to do something, but it was too late.

"Miss me, Dean?" Alastair said, laughing manically. He swung the wrench, knocking out Dean and sending the car into a spin. Ignoring spin, Alastair climbed over the seat and shoved Dean out of the way enough to slam on the brakes and stop the car. He then unbuckled Dean's seat belt and opened the car door. He gave Dean a hard shove and sent him sprawled out into the road.

"Sorry, Dean, but you can't play Hide-and-Seek if no one is seeking!" Alastair chuckled. He shut the car door and looked over at Sam. With a sigh he quickly wrapped Sam's hands together. "There, Sammy. Can't have you misbehaving with those hands now!"

Satisfied with his work he put the car in gear and sped off into the night.

***

DEAN!!!! NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

***

Dean slowly came to as he heard the guitar rift playing on his cell phone. He blinked and realized he was lying in the middle of the road. His head throbbed painfully. Trying to make sense of what happened he answered the phone.

"Hello?"

"Dean! Where the heck are you? I thought you were on your way home! If you stopped by another bar-" Bobby yelled.

Dean suddenly looked around him. "Oh no."

"Dean," concern filled Bobby's voice now. "What is it? What happened?"

Dean staggered to his feet, looking desperately around him.

"Sam!" He yelled. "It- it was him! He got Cas! I don't know how! He must have been in the doc. He took Cas! SAM!" He began searching along the side of the road.

"What!? Dean, what are you talking about? Who took Castiel?"

"Alastair! He possessed Cas! How could I have been so stupid!? We never gave him anything for protection! And Sam!" Dean could feel his throat tighten. "Oh God. Bobby, I can't find Sam! He's not here with me! Bobby, Alistair has Sam! Oh God no!"

"Calm down, Dean! Where are you? I'm on my way! We'll find him!"

Dean sunk to the ground, gasping for air. "No! No! I have to find him now, Bobby! I have to! I can't let Alastair have him! You don't know! You don't know what he's going to do to him!" He began shaking and sobs racked his body.

"Dean! Listen to me! We'll find him! Whatever it takes! But you have to stay with me, boy! Tell me where you are!"

Dean closed his eyes and lowered his head. This couldn't be happening. It just couldn't be real. He couldn't have lost Sam. Not to him. Not to that monster. And Castiel. God, why hadn't he been paying attention!? He let Castiel become possessed by that monster! He was trapped. Who knew what he was going to do with him?

He had failed. He had failed two of the most important people in his life.

"Dexter Ave," Dean croaked over the phone. "Half a mile from intersection to Tetro Rock Road."

"I'm on my way. Stay where you are, Dean."

***

Sam slowly found himself coming to. His head throbbed and he felt completely disoriented. Blinking, he raised his head up to see that he was in a dimly lit room. He realized he was lying stretched out on a table. He tried to move his arms, but found them to be strapped down, his palms flat against the table and stuck there with duct tape. He turned to look to his right and saw Castiel sitting in a chair in the middle of the room. Watching him. An evil smile tugging at the corner of his lips.

"Cas,"Sam croaked. "What's going on?"

Castiel cocked his head. "'Cas?' Sorry. Cas isn't home to play right now." He stood up and walked over to the table and leaned against it with his hands. "Wanna guess again, Sammy?"

Sam suddenly felt a sick feeling in his gut. "Alastair."

Alastair grinned. "At a boy, Sammy! Always the smart one of the pair!" He began walking slowly around the table. "You knew something was up with your little angel here. Too bad you didn't figure it out soon enough!" He sat down in between Sam's legs and smiled broadly. "Well, too bad for you! Perfect for me! After all, who doesn't like to have some fun? And this? This right here is going to be a lot of fun!"

Sam glared at him and forced down the feeling of panic he could feel in his gut. He knew this demon wanted him to be afraid and he refused to give in.

"Fine," he growled. "You got me here. So what?"

"So what?" Alastair chuckled. "Why, this is perfect! I have this handsome meat suit to play in. I mean, the possibilities are endless right there!" He paused and grinned. "Why, I could go pick up the little's angel whore he met the other night. What was her name? That's right; Natasha." He cocked his head as if he were listening to something. He laughed again. "Ooh! Seems I touched a nerve on that one! Angel Boy is freaking out!"

Instinctively Sam tried to test the bonds holding him down. He remembered vividly what it was like being possessed by the demon Meg. Being forced to watch helplessly as your body acts of its own accord, killing and maiming the innocent. He could only imagine the horror it had to be for Castiel. He knew Alastair was beyond his powers and that Castiel would never approve of him using his powers for him, but Sam desperately wanted to free Castiel from his prison.

"Actually…" Alastair grinned with a sudden thought. "It does seem a shame to leave that little temptress out of our little party, don't you think? She would provide some lovely… entertainment."

He pulled a syringe out of his pocket and before Sam could say a word he jabbed it into Sam's thigh. Sam squeezed his eyes shut and grunted in pain.

"Sorry about that, Sammy. But can't have you making any noise while I'm out picking up our special guest."

Sam watched Alastair walk over and pick up a jacket that was slung on the back of the chair. Slowly Sam felt himself become woozy and he drifted into unconsciousness as Alastair shut the door to the room.

***

"Don't hurt her! Please, she has nothing to do with this!"

"Don't tell me what to do, Angel Boy. This is my little party. I'll invite who I want to!"

"Please, this is between you and me. Leave everyone else out of it. I'll do anything you ask. Just leave everyone else alone!"

"Hmmm… tempting offer… but… well... no! Besides, I thought you'd want to see your little sweetheart. I'm sure she'll be thrilled to see you!"

***

Natasha walked over to her car that was parked behind the club. It was 3 am and she was beat. She couldn't wait to be done with this gig and have a more respectable job. It wasn't like she did this because she wanted to.

Suddenly, she heard someone clear their throat behind her. She spun around to see a familiar face sitting on the front of a black Impala.

"Castiel!" Natasha said, a smile spreading across her face. "What are you doing here?"

Castiel smiled shyly and glanced down at the ground before looking back at her.

"I… I wanted to see you again. I got kind of nervous though. By the time I worked up the courage the guy at the door said it was last call and wouldn't let me in."

Natasha chuckled and walked over to him. She wrapped her arms around him in a hug.

"It's OK, Castiel. It's so good to see you!"

She had to admit that she hadn't been able to stop thinking about him since that night. She had never been so intrigued by a patron before. She had never had an experience, though, like the one she had with him that night. Usually it was all an act. Give the customer what he wanted. Show him a good time. Get the cash and a nice tip.

Castiel had been different. That had been no act. At least not on her part. She had never felt anything like then with anyone before.

"So," she said, giving him a flirty smile. "Did you come out here just to see me and go?"

Castiel laughed nervously. "Actually, I know this is probably pretty stupid sounding. And maybe it's too forward. Actually, I shouldn't even ask-"

Natasha laughed and put a hand on his arm. "Castiel! Relax! You can ask me anything!"

Castiel grinned and glanced down at the ground again. He took a deep breath and forced himself to look in her eyes.

"I was just… wondering if maybe… if you were free that is… if you wanted to go grab a coffee or something?"

She smiled at him. "See? Was that so hard? And, yes. I would love to have coffee with you."

He broke into a triumphant grin. "That's great! I can even drive… that is, if you want. I can bring you right back here to get your car after. But, that's up to you."

She chuckled and looked over the Impala. "Well, I certainly wouldn't mind taking a ride in this!" She began walking to the passenger side. "Let's go!"

Castiel quickly jogged over and held the car door open for her as she got in and shut it once she was settled inside. He then made his way back to the driver's side, his eyes momentarily flashing black. He climbed in and smiled at her.

"Let's go!" He said with a grin.

***

Dean sat on Bobby's couch, bouncing his leg in an attempt to use up the anxious energy that was coursing through his body. He hated sitting there, but Bobby had given him no other option. The last time he tried leaving Bobby had practically lifted him off the floor and threw him on the couch with a warning that if he tried to take off again he'd tie him down.

So Dean stayed put.

He buried his face in his hands, tears soaking into the skin of his palms. This was his worst nightmare coming to life. The one small comfort Dean had been able to cling to after returning from Hell was that Sam would never know what had actually happened down there. Sure, Dean had told him some snippets here and there. But he would never really know every gory detail. Dean had always been able to keep the absolute worst of it from Sam, even when he had broken down and confessed what he had done during time there. While it had been painful enough to share that with his brother, it would destroy him if Sam knew the rest. Dean knew that Castiel knew the truth. He even suspected that Bobby knew the truth deep down inside. But they didn't matter. Not like Sam did. Sam had to be protected from the hideous truth. Dean could protect him from few things, but that he was sure he could hide away.

Until now.

Now Alastair, who knew every detail of Dean's time in Hell, had Sam. Dean knew exactly what Alastair would do to Sam if he had him long enough. His stomach tightened with nausea at the thought.

And Castiel.

God, how could he have let this happen to him? He didn't deserve this! And Dean should have known better. Giving him protection from demons should have been the first thing he did when he found out that Castiel had been made human. After what had happened with Anna, it was only a matter of time before the demons, especially Alastair tracked him down.

He had to fix this. He had to find a way to make all of this right.

Dean's thoughts were interrupted when he heard a knock at the door. He saw Bobby get up and run to answer it.

"I got here as fast as I could," he heard Pamela' voice float from the door.

"Thank you for coming, Pam. I know this is hard-"

"I'm doing this for Sam," she interjected. "And Dean. They are the ones who matter to me right now."

Pam was lead into the room by Bobby. Her face was filled with concern.

"Hey, Dean. Bobby's already told me what happened. Don't worry. We're going to find Sam."

Dean nodded, unable to speak. Bobby led Pam to the couch where she sat down beside him.

"We just need to wait for Cas- I mean Alastair to make contact. I can try searching the spirit world for him, but it will go a lot faster if he contacts you."

As if on cue, the guitar rift on Dean's phone sounded. With shaking hands Dean answered.

"Hello?"

"Hello, Dean," the voice on the other end purred into the phone.

Dean's heart sank. He had briefly hoped that there was a small chance Sam would be on the other end. That he had escaped.

"What do you want, Alastair?"

"Ooh! Direct and to the point! That's what I have always liked about you, Dean. You always just dive right in and get the job done! Admirable!"

Dean flinched at his words. "Shut up. What have you done with Sam?"

"Sammy boy? So you want to go straight into the game them? Well, suit yourself!" Dean heard him walk across the floor. "Sammy! You're contestant Number One! Say hello to your family back at home!"

"Dean?" he heard Sam say groggily.

"Sam!" Dean yelled back.

"Oh! Times up, Sammy!" He heard him start walking again. "On to contestant Number Two!"

Dean felt a moment of confusion. Who the heck could he be talking about?

"Our second contestant is a spicy little thing who knows how to shake what her momma gave her! She's the object of Angel Boy's earthly affections! Let's say hello to Contestant Number Two, Natasha! Say hello to the listeners at home, Natasha!"

A blood curdling scream suddenly leaped out of Dean's phone and was quickly muffled.

"Whoa! Easy there, spit fire! I know you're excited to play!"

"You son of a-" Dean growled, his throat tightening.

"We know what I am, Dean," Alastair chuckled. "So now it's your turn! Ready to play?"

"I don't what the heck you're talking about, Alastair." Dean looked desperately at Pam. Her hand was on his leg and he could see she was concentrating, trying to locate Sam and Alastair. "Why did you drag Natasha into this?"

"Everyone loves a pretty face!" Alastair chuckled. "So who goes first, Dean?"

Dean heart was in his throat and he was struggling to breathe. "Goes first for what?"

Alastair chuckled and his voice lowered menacingly. "You know for what, Dean. Should I show Sam what a sick twisted monster you turned into while you were in Hell, or should I show Natasha what a twisted freak her lover boy is?"

Dean was gasping for air now and tears were flowing freely down his cheeks. "Don't you touch them! You hear me? This has nothing to do with them! DON'T TOUCH THEM!!!!"

Alastair laughed long and hard. "Well, I think Contestant Number One is the winner!"

"NO!"

"Hey, Sammy! Wanna see what kind of games your brother and I played while he was in Hell?"

"NO! SAMMY!!!"

Dean heard a sudden scream of pain from Sam before the line went dead. Dean erupted. He screamed at the top of his lungs and hurled the phone at the wall, breaking it to pieces. He tried to jump off the couch and run out of the room, but was stopped by Bobby who had to wrestle him to the floor.

"Stop, Dean! You can't lose it like this!" Bobby grunted trying to hold Dean back with all of his strength.

"I'm going to kill him!" Dean howled. "I'm going to tear him apart! I'm going to drag his demon *** back down to Hell myself! I swear I will!"

Pam dropped to the floor and fumbled to find Dean's face.

"Dean! Listen to me! I know where he is, but you have to keep your cool! We can't help Sam if you don't have it together!"

Dean's body trembled and he gasped with sobs. Slowly he stopped struggling and fell weakly against Bobby.

"You don't know," Dean whimpered. "You have no idea what he's doing to him right now. I know! I saw it! I lived it." His voice caught in his throat.

Bobby swallowed hard, trying to fight his own tears from falling. "I know, Dean. I know you've seen a lot. But he's trying to psych you out and he knows how! He knows the fastest way to get to you is through Sam. But we know where he is and we'll get Sam back. Alright?"

Dean nodded weakly.

Bobby looked at Pam and then Dean. "Well alright then! Let's get a move on!"

***

"GET AWAY FROM THEM!!! DON'T TOUCH HIM!!! DON'T TOUCH HER!!! NOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

***

Sam squeezed his eyes shout and clenched his teeth, desperately trying to stifle the scream Alastair had forced out of him, but only succeeding in turning it into a moan. Alastair had sliced Sam from the inside of the crook of his arm to his wrist. The cut itself was fairly superficial, but he had jabbed the knife forcefully upon reaching his wrist, causing a jolt of pain to rip through his arm.

"Slicing limb from limb," Alastair sneered. "That's what we did. Every day. Your brother, he fought it at first. He only did it to stop his own pain. But you get used to things in time. He learned his job. And, boy, did he do it well! That brother of yours sure knew how to make them scream!"

Sam tried to ignore Alastair's words. His stomach twisted and he could feel the bile rising in his throat. The only thing that kept him from verbally lashing out was Natasha's muffled sobs from across the room.

Suddenly, he felt Alastair jerk away. Startled, Sam momentarily forgot the pain and looked to see why he had stopped.

Alastair had staggered back a few steps and looked confused, as if he didn't know what had just happened. He then noticed Sam looking at him and quickly righted himself.

"I need more tools," Alastair smirked. "I'll be right back."

"Wait!" Sam said.

"What?"

"Ungag her," Sam gestured towards Natasha.

Alastair arched an eyebrow at him, but walked over to her. He leaned over her and smiled. He held the bloody knife above her face.

"Scream, Spit Fire, and I'll slice your tongue out while you're doing it," he hissed.

Natasha's eyes widened in terror and she was silent when he removed the gag. He then turned and left the room, slamming the door behind him.

Sam sighed with relief and began struggling against his bonds.

"Oh God," Natasha sobbed. "What is going on? What happened to him?"

"Natasha, listen to me," Sam said as he struggled. "I know you're scared, but you have to understand that's not Castiel, OK? Castiel would never hurt you!"

"Then who is this guy? His twin?"

Sam sighed. "No… it's… it's kind of complicated."

"What do you mean?"

"Well, he's kind of possessed right now."

"What?"

Sam sighed and wiggled his fingers in an attempt to loosen the tape holding them down. "Possessed. By a demon named Alastair."

Pause. "Like, possessed like mental illness possessed?"

"No, more like "The Exorcist" possessed."

He looked over and saw Natasha staring at him in shock.

"You're all insane!" she whimpered.

Sam sighed in frustration. "We are not insane! Trust me, I would love to explain it all to you in detail, but for right now we really need to get loose and get out of here."

"Is this… Alastair… going to kill us?"

Sam swallowed hard, hesitant to scare her more, but he also knew she would find out the truth soon enough.

"Not yet. Not until he's done with us."

He saw her chin start to quiver again.

"Don't worry though! My brother, the other guy that was with us the other night, he's coming for us. He knows we're here and he's coming for us. He's probably bringing help too. It's going to be OK."

"How does he know where we are?"

Sam shrugged. "It's Dean. He just… trust me, he knows. He's figured it out. Now, see if you can get loose!"

***

What had just happened? There had been a moment, so very brief, almost a second, he could have sworn he had felt the handle of the knife in his hand and he had been able to pull it away. Then it was over as suddenly as it happened.

"I am going to destroy you, Angel," Alastair snarled.

***

Alastair came back into the room, looking angrier than he had when he left. Sam watched him and tried to remain calm. Alastair saw him looking and smirked.

"Missed me, Sammy?"

Sam shook his head. "I was just disappointed. I was enjoying not having to smell the stench of demon."

Alastair laughed and looked over at Natasha. She was staring at him, a mixture of horror of grief on her face.

"You're not Castiel," she whispered in terror.

Alastair threw his hands up in the air. "Well, look who's decided to join the rest of the class! How long did it take for you to explain it to her, Sammy, before she got it? The whole time I was gone?"

"I knew it," she hissed, fury spreading across her face. "Castiel would never hurt me like this. He loves me."

Alastair threw his head back and howled with laughter. He casually strolled over to the table Natasha was on.

"He loves you, huh? Loves!? Ha!" He hopped up on the table and straddled her waist, bringing his face down until they were nose to nose. "Spit Fire, the only thing your little boyfriend loves about you is that tight little body of yours."

He reached up and obscenely grabbed her chest. Natasha glared back at him. He chuckled.

"Guess you're used to that, huh? And what makes you think he's any different from any other guy that you've messed around with in that dive of a club? He knows exactly what you are." He leaned over and whispered in her ear. "You're nothing but a good time. Nothing he'd ever want to spend his life with. Just a cheap little stripper he can come mess around with when he's bored on a Saturday night."

His words hit a chord. Her chin quivered and her eyes filled with tears. Alastair grinned at her reaction and was caught off guard when her knee met his groin and her fist hit him upside the head. She shoved him off the table and quickly jumped off.

"Run! Natasha, run!" Sam yelled, still tied down.

Natasha ran and was able to make it to the door and open it before Alastair was on his feet. She ran through it and could hear Alastair running behind her, trying to catch up. She ran through another door and out into the pre-dawn air. She ran down the steps and down a nearby path. She didn't know where it was going to take her, but she prayed that it would be towards help.

"Please, God," she sobbed. "Please send help! Please help Sam! Please help Castiel! Please, I can't lose him!"

***

The truck rumbled down the dirt path. The sky still had scattered pinpricks of stars while it began to turn pink on its eastern edge. Dean gripped the arm rest of the door, wishing Bobby would drive just a little bit faster. His heart pounded, reminding him of each second that Sam and Natasha was with that monster.

Suddenly, coming around a bend they saw a frightened woman screaming and waving her arms desperately.

"Stop, Bobby!" Dean yelled. "It's Natasha!"

Bobby slammed on the brakes, sending dirt flying. Natasha came running to the truck, sobbing.

"Oh thank God! You have to help us! Please! He kidnapped us and tied us up! And my… my friend… he needs help! He's… possessed... or something! I don't know! But you have to help him! Please!" she cried.

Dean swung open the truck door and hopped out.

"It's OK! It's OK! I'm Dean! I'm Sam's brother!"

Her eyes opened wide. "Dean! He said you'd come! He said you'd find us! Please, you have to help Castiel! Please, I don't know what's happened to him!"

Dean took her hand and helped her into the truck and jumped in beside her.

"This is Bobby. He's here to help too. Just tell him where he was keeping you!"

***

Sam desperately tried to free himself while Alastair went after Natasha. He prayed that she would be fast enough to get away. He wasn't sure where she would go and he felt terrible that she may never understand what really happened to Castiel, but there wasn't really anything he could do about it now.

He had just managed to wiggle his fingers on his right hand free when he heard Alastair come back, cursing under his breath. He glared at Sam.

"You think you're so clever, don't you?" he snarled. "Well," he grabbed the used knife off the table and held it over Sam's head. "All the worse for you, Sammy! You thought things were bad for you before! You want to know what Dean was up to while he was in Hell?"

Sam suddenly felt panic rising in his chest. Alastair, although he had been vicious, at least had been taking things calmly, slowly. Giving Dean time to get here. Now Alastair was enraged, uncontrollable.

"Well, Sammy, how about a little private showing!"

With the hand not holding the knife Alastair placed his palm on Sam's chest.

***

Sulfur. It burned up Sam's nose. His skin itched and burned from it. He was filled with panic. Every muscle burned as if he had been running for days without rest. Every nerve in his body felt like it had been ripped out and laid exposed to the elements. Endless screams echoed all around. Screams of those being tortured mercilessly. The scent of blood mixed with the burning sulfur.

And there was Dean. Standing before a table. Sam almost couldn't recognize him. He had been beat and maimed, his features distorted. Dean was looking at the soul on the table, his bloody knife plunged in the body.

A pleased, twisted smile on his face.

***

Rage filled Castiel.

This was wrong. This was not how things were suppose to happen.

"Let. Him. Go," Castiel growled.

"You have no power here, Angel Boy! I will do as I-"

"Let him GO NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

***

Dean, Bobby, and Natasha burst through the door and into the room. Dean saw Alastair over Sam's body, hand on his chest. Sam's face was filled with pain. Rage filled Dean.

"No! Sam!" Dean roared.

Suddenly Alastair jerked and fell off the table. Sam gasped at the departure, a look of shock on his face. Dean ran over to him and quickly began untying him.

"Sammy! Sam! I'm here! It's OK! I've got ya!" he said.

Sam looked over at Dean, tears filling his eyes. "Dean?"

"Yeah, bro. It's me. It's OK. I've got you now. He can't hurt you now."

With tears rolling down his cheeks Sam managed a weak smile. Bobby had run over as well to help, but was keeping his eyes on Alastair.

"Boys, I think we need to get things moving."

They looked over and saw Alastair lying on the floor, contorting in seizure-like spasms. A faint glow had started to show from his eyes and mouth.

"You shall no longer hurt them," Castiel's voice thundered. "I command you to return to the pit that bore you, never again to walk on this Earth. GO!"

The pitch of his voice grew higher and higher until it was nothing but I high pitched squeal. Bobby, Dean, and Sam, who was now free, covered their ears and squeezed their eyes shut.

The body lifted from the ground. The ground shook and a bright light shot out of his body.

And just as quickly as it all began, it was over.

The three men opened their eyes and saw Natasha standing over the limp body of Castiel. Tears were pouring down her cheeks as she knelt down and stroked his pale cheek.

"Castiel?" she whispered, lifting his head and resting it in her lap.

His eyes weakly fluttered opened and met her's. A faint smile tugged at his lips.

"Natasha," he said weakly. "You... you came back."

She smiled at him and nodded. "Of course I came back! I couldn't leave you! I had to know you were OK!"

Tears welled up in his eyes. "I'm sorry. I am so sorry for bringing you into this."

She shook her head firmly. "No! It wasn't your fault. You couldn't help it." She smiled. "I just wish I had known before. Although it makes sense now."

"Known what?"

"I fell in love with a real-life angel. I don't think I have ever seen something so beautiful as what I saw just now. Or what I heard."

His eyes widened. "You… you saw me?"

She nodded. "It was amazing. So beautiful."

He broke into a full smile. His eyes then became unfocused and slowly fluttered closed.

"Castiel?" Natasha gasped. "Castiel? Castiel!"

***

Castiel didn't know where he was for a moment. The pain was gone. The panic was gone. He felt light and safe.

"Am I dead?"

"I think you know better than that, Castiel."

"Father."

"Of course."

"I'm not dead."

"No."

"But I am an angel again."

"Did anyone say you had stopped?"

Now Castiel was confused. "But, I thought you said-"

"I said you shall go to Earth and be amongst the humans as one of their own. I never said you would be only human. I simply hid your grace inside you so you would be able to experience the human world as a human. It simply revealed itself when the time was necessary."

Castiel thought about this.

"I wish I had known. All the suffering I could have prevented-"

"And why would you wish to prevent the humans from experiencing suffering?"

Castiel was taken aback. "Why would I not want to?"

"My humans are like lumps of clay. They must be manipulated by events, some gentle, some more rough and unpleasant, in order to take shape and be who they were meant to be. By taking away suffering, you are denying humans to develop into all they can be."

Castiel paused. "But Sam and Dean. Surely their suffering has been more than sufficient?"

"It is true they have suffered far more than most. These recent events, although painful for both, was necessary. They must decide, though, how they use these events to change. Sam especially. Sam walks a fine line."

"But his heart, both their hearts, are good. Surely they can be rewarded for that."

"Never presume to know the heart of another man, Castiel. I am well acquainted with Sam and Dean's heart and know them intimately. I am the only one who truly knows where their hearts lie. That is something you must never forget, Castiel."

"Yes, Father."

There was silence and Castiel pondered the situation.

"If I may ask, Father, what am I to do now?"

"What do you see as your choices, Castiel?"

"The only choice I see is returning to my duty, serving You and carrying out Your command."

Castiel hesitated. "Natasha…"

"A very lovely young woman. Her heart quite good, although it has been misguided at times."

"I… I care for her greatly."

"And she for you."

"What would happen to her if I did not return?"

"She would be heartbroken. She would grieve your loss. Eventually, she would move forward in her life. She would meet other men. She would love them and they her, but it would never measure up to what she felt for you."

"Why?"

"Soul mates, Castiel. You know what those are."

"They are rare, difficult to find."

"They are rare. Rarer for the individuals to actually come together. But that is what you are and you have met. Now you must decide."

"I get a choice."

"Of course."

"To serve you as an angel and remain in Heaven or to be with Natasha and give it all up?"

"Castiel, do you truly believe those are the only options I would give you? I am your Father. I love you. I desire for you to be who I designed you to be and to be happy. Now, what do you choose?"

***

Castiel opened his eyes and found himself lying in a musty old bed. He was in a room that appeared to not have been used for some time and had only recently been cleaned up so it could be used for him. He sat up and looked down at himself to see he was dressed in a t-shirt and pajama bottoms. He swung his legs over the edge of the bed and stood up. He felt surprisingly good, as if he had slept for days and all exhaustion and been removed. He walked across the floor and opened the door. He then made his way down the hallway and to the top of the stairs. He could hear voices float up from the living room.

"Sounds like a regular werewolf to me," he heard Dean say.

"But it's about a two hour drive from here," Sam replied.

"What? Don't feel up to it?"

"I feel fine!"

"Good, cuz I don't want you going all girly on me."

"Thanks, Dean. I'll remember that next time someone tries carving you up!"

"Hey, no problem, bro!"

"Will you idgits quit arguing! I swear, the freaking Apocalypse could happen and you two would still find something to bicker about!"

Castiel grinned and made his way downstairs. The three men looked up when he came in the room.

"Hey! Look who's finally awake! How are you feeling, Cas?" Dean asked with a grin.

"Much better, thank you for asking, Dean," Castiel said, sitting down at the table. He looked at Sam. "How are your wounds, Sam?"

Sam held up his arm, displaying the stitches holding the wound closed. "Not that bad, actually. I've had a lot worse."

Castiel nodded and turned to Bobby. "I wanted to thank you, Bobby, for all of your help. Especially since our initial meeting was not on the best of terms."

Bobby held up a hand. "Don't mention it, Castiel. It's always my pleasure to help the boys when I can. And, well, I don't believe it's ever a bad thing to help out an angel when I can! I need all the good karma I can get!"

Castiel smiled. He looked around the room, hopeful. His smile faltered slightly when he didn't see what he was searching for.

Dean already knew what it was.

"We sent Natasha home a few hours ago. We practically had to crowbar her away from you! She went to get some sleep, but she should be back soon."

Castiel felt a warm joy settle in his stomach at this news. Bobby interrupted the moment by clearing his throat.

"Now, Castiel, I'm glad to see you're back on your feet, but we're all kind of wondering what in the sam hill happened back there. I thought the boys said you had lost your powers."

Castiel sighed. "I believed I had. Apparently my Father only had them suppressed, waiting for the right time to allow them to reemerge. They were there the whole time. I just had to find it for myself."

"Like Dorothy in the 'Wizard of Oz,'" Sam mussed.

Dean looked at Sam and shook his head. "That's it. We're watching every man-movie there is out there and then we're going back to Natasha's club and hooking you up with one of her friends! I am seriously concerned about your manhood, Sam!"

Sam glared at him.

Castiel chuckled. "Apparently it was seeing what Alastair had done to Sam that forced my powers to the surface. I was able to overpower him and send him back to Hell."

"Permanently?" Dean asked, a grim look on his face.

"Permanently," Castiel replied. "He will never walk on Earth again."

Sam sighed in relief. "Thank goodness for that!"

Suddenly, they heard a knock at the door. It opened and Natasha hesitantly stuck her head in.

"Hello?" she said nervously.

"In here, Natasha!" Bobby called. "There's someone here that's been waiting for you to get back!"

Natasha walked into the room. A shy smile broke over her face when she saw Castiel.

"Hi, Castiel," she said shyly.

Castiel's eyes lit up and he stood and walked over to her.

"Natasha," he said with a huge smile.

"How are you feeling?" she asked.

"Better. Much better now," he replied.

Before she could say another word he reached up and cupped her cheek with his hand. He leaned in and gently kissed her lips.

"I am sorry I frightened you," he murmured against her lips.

She shook her head and wrapped her arms around him. "I know it wasn't you. I know you would never hurt me. I… I love you, Castiel."

"I love you, Natasha."

***

One Week Later…

Sam and Dean were laying low after hunting down the werewolf that had been terrorizing a small town. It had been a good job. Simple. Just like the jobs they had been originally trained to do.

Dean was lying on one of the double beds, drinking a beer and watching one of the late night talk shows. Sam was at the table doing research on his laptop. It was calm. A familiar setting.

And Sam couldn't take it anymore.

He hadn't told Dean what Alastair had showed him and Dean hadn't asked. It had been hurried over due to their concerns about Castiel. And then the hunt. And Sam knew Dean would never bring it up. He would rather push it to the side. Let things be. Don't mess with a good thing.

Sam also knew that if he didn't hear Dean's side of the story he was going to go crazy. He slammed the laptop shut. Dean looked over.

"Busty Asian Beauties website freeze up on you again, Sammy?" Dean said with a chuckle, not taking his eyes off the TV.

Sam got up and walked over to the TV. He flicked it off and stood in front of it.

"What the-? Dude! I was watching that!"

"I can't take it anymore, Dean!"

"Take what?"

"This!"

Dean glanced around him. "What? The motel? Dude, this place is actually an upgrade compared to others-"

"No, Dean! Us! This not talking about stuff! We need to talk!"

Dean swallowed nervously, but tried to keep his tone light. "I don't know-"

"You know exactly what I'm talking about! Don't try to blow me off! I'm talking about Alastair! I'm talking about when you were in Hell! I'm talking about what he did to me! What he did to you!"

Dean felt his heart pound faster in his chest. "What did he say?"

"Oh, he said plenty. And then…" Sam swallowed hard and blinked back the tears he could feel coming. "He showed me. You."

Dean's body went rigid. His eyes lowered and his hand went slack around the beer his was holding.

"Dean, I know what he did to you. And I know why… why you did the things you did. But… I… Dean, I have to know…"

"Sammy…" Dean whispered weakly.

"Dean, did the things you did… did you… did you enjoy it? I… don't know, Dean. It was so quick what I saw. I didn't know what to think."

Dean's eyes closed and a tear rolled down his cheek. His head hung with shame.

"I didn't want you to know about that, Sammy. I never wanted you to see it."

Sam sat down on the bed across from Dean, his gaze never wavering.

"But I saw it, Dean. I saw what Alastair wanted me to see. Now I want to hear your side of it."

Dean took a deep breath and rubbed the tears away with his hand.

"It's… it's not like here, Sam. When you're there you don't feel any hope any more. Any joy. Any goodness. It's all death and despair. Every day. All day. And there's always the constant pain. Alastair was there every day. He never let up. And every day he kept giving me that choice. But you already know all about that."

Sam nodded, not saying a word.

"So one day I made the choice. I figured, why not? What was the point in holding out? What was I trying to prove? There was no one to prove anything to. So I did it. And… for the briefest moments… there was almost a sense of… I dunno… relief. Relief I could just… give up. That I didn't have to be the only suffering. That I was no longer powerless." Dean shook his head. "That was the only 'good' feeling I ever had down there."

"And now?" Sam whispered.

Dean laughed bitterly. "Now? Now I hate myself. I hate that I let myself just give up. I hate that I gave in. I mean, I don't know if Cas did something to me when he brought me back. Now, looking back, it doesn't even seem like me. Like I was watching it all through someone else. But, I know it was me." He buried his face in his hands and his body began shaking. "I'm sorry, Sammy. I'm so sorry. Please… I know it's a lot. That's why I never wanted to tell you. Please forgive me though."

Sam wiped away the tears flowing down his face and shook his head in disbelief.

"Dean, you haven't done anything you need my forgiveness for."

Dean slowly raised his head and looked at Sam.

"You don't hate me?"

The question was asked so meekly, in such a small awed voice that Sam just lost it.

"Dean, I could never ever hate you! Ever! There is nothing you could ever do to change that. And what happened to you in Hell could never change that!" Sam sobbed.

Dean started crying harder too in relief. They sat there together for a minute, trying to collect themselves. Finally Dean broke the tension.

"Well, if that wasn't a chick flick moment!"

Sam laughed and wiped his face on his sleeve. "Yeah, I guess it was."

"I think we need to find a man-movie on Pay-Per-View," Dean said, picking up the remote. "I think I saw the newest 'Terminator' movie somewhere."

Sam got up and settled himself on the other bed. "Dude, the latest 'Terminator' came out, like, 5 or 6 years ago! Are you thinking 'Transformers?'?"

Dean rolled his eyes. "Didn't we have those when we were kids?"

"Yeah, but they made a movie."

"They did?"

"Uh, yeah! And it came out waaay before you went to Hell, so don't even try that!"

"Huh. Well, maybe it's on Pay-Per-View." Dean began scrolling through channels.

Sam settled back against the pillows, a happy grin on his face. Now this was how things should be!

***

Castiel was lying next to Natasha in her bed. He had been staying with her for the last week in her apartment and the experience had truly been more than he could ever have hoped for. He had never had felt such contentment.

He looked over at her sleeping form. The moonlight lit up her features and a small smile was on her face. She looked so incredibly peaceful.

He leaned over and placed a gentle kiss on her forehead.

"I will return shortly, my love," he whispered. "I have some business to attend to first."

***

Pamela stood next to the stove, making herself some tea. She had gone late into the night talking to the spirit world to see if there was any new information she needed to pass along to Bobby. So far there was nothing.

Suddenly she felt a breeze and heard a soft flutter of wings. The surprise made her breath catch, but she refused to let him see it.

"Castiel. You're back," she said flatly.

"Hello, Pamela."

She turned to face his direction. "Still mad about me hitting you? Fine. Come back to burn something else out? Maybe my tongue."

Castiel sighed. "I'm sorry, Pamela. I never meant for you to get hurt."

"Yeah, well I did. And it's done and over with. There's nothing anyone can do about it now." She turned back to the stove.

Castiel walked over to her and turned her back towards him. "That is not necessarily true.

Before she could speak he reached up and removed the two plastic orbs in her eye sockets. He then placed one hand over her eyes and focused. Her body jerked and she cried out. Blood vessels snaked its way into the sockets. New eyes filled the emptiness. When he removed his hand she realized she could see.

"Oh my- Oh my-" she gasped, covering her mouth.

Castiel smiled gently. "I came only to right the wrong I caused you. Please be careful in the future and heed the warning if something tells you not to look at it."

Speechless, she nodded, tears rolling down her cheeks. He gave her one last calm smile and he was gone again in the breeze and flutter of wings.

***

Castiel stood in the motel room and watched Sam and Dean sleeping in their separate beds. He could tell that while there dreams were not full of nightmares of horrors past, they weren't entirely pleasant. He walked up to Sam and gently pressed his two fingers to his forehead. Sam's face relaxed as he fell into a dream about Sarah art dealer. Castiel then went to Dean. He watched him for a moment before repeating the motion. Dean's face relaxed as well as he drifted off into a dream about Lisa and Ben. Satisfied, Castiel turned and was gone.

***

Castiel walked into the bedroom and found Natasha still sleeping. When he sat down on the bed she stirred. She looked up at him and gave him a sleepy grin.

"Where did you go?" she asked snuggling close to him.

He leaned in and gently kissed her. "To take care of some unfinished business. Everything is fine now."

He climbed into bed with her and she cuddled into the crook of his arm and rested her head on his chest. Soon, her steady breathing showed she was sleeping again. Castiel smiled as he looked down at her, stroking back a lock of hair that had fallen in her face. He closed his eyes and sighed, content.

The End