401. So it came to pass that Dean Winchester was saved from hell's fiery grasp by an angelic hand, for it was God's Will that Dean should live again; though if he was with memory or without of his dirty deeds in the pit, it wasn't clear at first.

402. Thus this angel appeared unto Dean in a barn not a stable, and Dean, unknowing of what it was he faced and remarkably untraumatised by waking up in his grave, sank a charmed knife into the borrowed flesh before him.

403. The angel shrugged off this slight, for he guessed that Dean did not know yet of his nature and the knife did him no more harm than to itch a bit. The thoughts of the man whose body served as the angel's earthly vessel were never documented; through the attack ruined his suit.

404. Dean dutifully fell to his knees; only not in contrition or supplication, for there was none of that awe crap or anything, but he just knelt to check that Bobby was okay, because while Bobby was of the awesome, even he wasn't immune to a zap from an angel's finger.

405. And lo, the angel turned down the volume at last and said: Dean Winchester, I am the Castiel you have summoned. We need to talk alone even though you're going to blab all this to everyone anyway. I am an Angel of the Lord and I have raised you from perdition. How about that?

406. Dean Winchester replied: Great, that's peachy, thanks and everything, it was a getting a bit hot down there, but why on earth would you do that for a guy that steals stuff and ditches chicks? Are you sure you've got the right guy?

407. Indeed I have, the angel said, for this is all God's idea and he's always right. You should know that.

408. Dean stood up and looked the angel in the eye. In return Castiel's eyes disconcertingly tracked Dean's every movement and twitch, obviously no one had briefed him as to how rude it was to stare. Dean tried to ignore it.

409. I don't know who you are, Dean growled, and I ain't buying any of your God crap. So unless you're selling pie, I suggest you get outta here before I kick your ass.

410. So, drenching himself in some divine light of dazzling wattage, the Angel Castiel unfurled his glorious, but non-fluffy wings of shadow. A sight he was to behold, beautiful and terrible the same, a holy tax accountant unlike any other ever seen on the earth or in the tax office.

411. Dean blinked in disbelief, relieved that an income dependant on credit card scams and hustling pool meant he was no taxpayer and had no need of such a man. He said: Very impressive, but that proves nothing. No hunter has ever seen anything like you before. For some reason what I see with my own eyes doesn't count.

412. Castiel sighed, recognising already that this unbeliever was going to be a tough sell. And just for a traitorous moment he lamented his crap orders and yearned for simpler times with shepherds that barely needed more than a prod to persuade them to follow God's bidding.

413. Your problem Dean, Castiel said levelly, maintaining his calm, angelic composure, is that you have no faith; which is by no means an understatement.

414. Tell me something I don't know, Dean scowled. Like where was your boss while I've been busting my ass saving people, hunting things? Or why did my mom have to die?

415. The angel lowered his eyes in sadness, or evasiveness, one or the other, or both perhaps. Your mom is an upcoming episode, he said, and for now is none of your concern.

416. Right, Cas, Dean snapped, still not convinced by any of this. All he knew was a world of evil; relentless and unremitting, where nothing good ever happened to him, and he and his brother had to fight tooth and nail just to keep the little they had. He added: So 'God' is too busy right now. Is that it?

417. He has charged his work unto you, Castiel told him seriously.

418. So God can't do his own dirty work? He needs to pull some poor soul out of hell to get it done? Dean smiled bitterly. His life sucked, though not quite as much as his death.

419. The Lord works in mysterious ways, Dean.

420. Dean was astonished by the obtuse nature of the divine, although he shouldn't have been surprised that Castiel's assurance was all kinds of unhelpful. He said: Now that's just great, so how about some angelic assistance for a damn change? People are being ripped apart down here!

421. The angel replied: That's not the way this works. There is a bigger picture. The Apocalypse is coming. God—

422. If there is a God, Dean muttered.

423. Because he was an angel and was good of heart despite his mean countenance, Castiel suppressed the urge to start smiting. But he couldn't help having questions of his own. Just what had the big boss had been smoking before ordering this jerk to be yanked out of the pit?

424. Dean continued, louder this time: You want me to stop the freaking Apocalypse? Don't you have Buffy for that?

425. Castiel had never seen or heard of Buffy; in fact he was so new to the earth he hadn't even seen a TV set close up, so the pop culture reference was completely lost on him, but he recognised a flippant remark when he heard one. He loomed in on the hunter, invading his personal space in a threatening way: Do you want me to send you back into Hell? Because I can you know and if you don't do as you're told, I just might.

426. Dean paled, for he knew that he had lost the argument, and because Castiel, for all his divinity and rakishly windswept appearance, was one scary dude. No, he gulped, it's quite alright. So what does your God person want me to do first?

427. That I cannot tell you, for it must remain needlessly secret for dramatic effect, but it might have something to do with Lucifer or maybe not. For now we want you to stop Lilith breaking the sixty-six seals, but we're not going to tell you what any of them are or where to find them. While you're at it, you might also want to stop your brother using his demon powers before I have to call in a Specialist. You would like him. He's a bit of a dick.

428. As the full implication of what the angel was saying sank in, Dean realised that his brother Sam might have some explaining to do about what he'd been up to during the summer Dean was dead. The revelation made Dean want to smash something. It might have to be the face of his lying, disobedient brother.

429. Eventually Dean processed the revelation and regained his composure: Is that all? he said, masking all the nasty pain for now. You pulled me from the pit just to keep Sam straight?

430. Haven't you been listening? Castiel sighed, but then he noticed the quiver in Dean's determined lip. What's the matter, Dean? The angel asked in a curious tone, leaning in closer than was polite. He was rather intrigued by this man who wouldn't believe what was plainly right in front of his face. People, his father's creations, were works of art, but they sure were stubborn. He added: Don't you think you deserve to be saved from damnation?

431. Dean did not want to talk about that and so did not reply, but it was clear by the self-loathing in his eyes that he thought he wasn't worth all the trouble. All the torturing he'd done and enjoyed didn't seem like the most obvious path to redemption even to him.

432. Castiel said quietly, patiently: I'm not here to judge you.

433. Then what are you here for? Dean asked.

434. And with that the angel was gone in a flutter of invisible wings, off to wherever an angel goes when they're on a field trip from Heaven, and thus he conveniently avoided answering Dean's question.

435. Later, Dean Winchester was to envy this skill when Sam kept asking about his time down below.