A/N: This is what popped into my head instead of the paper on social philosophy I should be writing… guess I'll just take the failing grade because I had to get this out of my brain before it sat there and stewed forever.

Disclaimer: Supernatural and all its affiliates belong to Eric Kripke.

Castiel had adequate understanding of the human anatomy; of the structure of man, the most fascinating of all the Father's creations. Of course it was impossible to truly ever understand something that was made in the Lord's image, and not even angels could boast of such knowledge. It would be blasphemous and pride in the highest degree.

Still, he had spent the last two millennia studying men whom he had quickly discovered to be creative, sympathetic, as well as stubborn and cruel. He could never understand how it was the men had the abilities to feel so deeply, so quickly and so earnestly. Castiel knew love for his Father; he knew the slight twinge of something bitter deep within his chest when arguing with the hard-headed and foul-mouthed Dean Winchester; he knew the irritations of doubts and confusion when confronted with his charge's decisions.

And as a warrior of God, Castiel knew pain. He knew the agonies of being removed from the Father as he dove into the deepest circles of hell, the near unbearable heat scorching his being, the evil that pervaded the desolate landscape curling its fingers around him and threatening to close into a fist, trapping him in the pit for all time, the wails of the damned assailing his ears. Mortal inflictions had no effect upon him whatsoever, not even as he resided within this perishable vessel.

But Castiel, angel of the Lord did not, could not have know this.

The blow that knocked him back had been delivered with enough force to drive him down to the ground and he lay there for a moment, stunned- more so at the fact that he had been unable to extract the demon he knew all too well from the face of the earth than from the strike itself.

"Why don't you run to Daddy?"

For just a moment Alastair's taunting words and derisive tone rung in his ears as Castiel tried to rise again for angels of the Lord did not engage in battle lying flat on their backs-

Then there were fingers around his neck, pressing against the trachea of his vessel, the skeletal digits so cold, so cold that they burned and Castiel felt the dark arrow that pierced deep into his core. The older and more experienced demon was hauling him up by the front of his vestiments now and the evil that exuded from the creature attacked his senses, blinding him from the light and whispering forbidden, unclean words in his ears and he shuddered at the recognition of the son of perdition himself through the minion's voice.

Vaguely, through the struggle to break free from both the physical hold and the fingers of wickedness that pulled at his mental defenses, Castiel heard the agonized protests of the other followers of Lucifer as they were purged from their mortal vessels but there was no time to focus on Uriel's battles when he was in a perilous one of his own.

The corners of Alastair's mouth were drawn back in an animalistic snarl; his teeth were bared as he struggled for dominance over the angel beneath him. It was no easy task. The blows the young one had delivered were impressive for the demon's vision had gone white for one, blinding instant. Even now, flat on his back, his meat puppet's face slowly going grey- this angel was putting up one hell of a fight.

"Potestas Inferna," he snarled, calling upon the powers of Hell and glaring down into the eyes of the angel as he tightened his fingers another vicious notch. "Me Confirma!" A sneer twisted his features in triumph as the angel was pushed back even further, his strength clearly waning.

Castiel struggled, his vessel's lungs demanding air. His body stiffened as Alastair called upon the dark forces of the lair below, as the demon's strength suddenly augmented tenfold and he fought against the pull of evil, staring up into the dark eyes that reflected all the sadism that no man made by the Father's hands could ever express.

Father…give me strength…

"Potestas Inferna, Me Confirma!"

It was the hiss of a snake grating on his ears, the voice of Lucifer himself in the original form that caused the original sin and Castiel winced. The grip around his throat was clenching even further inwards, breaking blood vessels beneath the skin and dangerously close to crushing the airway and Castiel grimaced, desperately trying to draw in breath; his teeth were clenched under the double assault and his eyes were rolling skyward up toward the ceiling of the barn, his brow tightened and a hiss of air escaped past gritted teeth as he strained in effort even as he knew he was losing the battle.

My doubts have made me weak…

Alastair was shaking him now as if he weighed less than nothing, his power was unbreakable and Castiel found himself unable to break the gaze the demon captured him with, the bottomless black orbs that held no pity at all were trying to shred his consciousness. The demon was attempting to corrupt his grace and a spasm rippled through Castiel's entire being as the words were uttered a third time, summoning all the sins of Lucifer and the original Fallen to the forefront of the battlefield and into the skin making contact with his own, an uncontrollable deluge into his soul and his mind choked out a single, strangled cry-


"Potestas Inferna, Me Confir-"

Suddenly there was a jerking in the demon's grasp and then the torturous clutch fell away. Castiel was released and he landed on his back in on the ground, head thumping hard against the floor as the world spun around and the grace of the Father enveloped him once again. The angel drew in the light manifested in all the Lord's creations, trying to drive out the evil that had been threatening to enter and warp his essence into that of a Fallen one.

Unable to rise yet the angel turned his head and saw the piece of metal falling limply from the hand of the one who had assisted him, from the hand of… Dean Winchester.

The light that flooded the entire structure startled him and he sat up, dazed as Anna smashed the vile on the floor containing her essence, watching as she regained what she once so readily abandoned. Castiel felt peace knowing that one of his sisters had once again been rejoined with the Father. She had been right, he thought as he climbed to his feet a bit unsteadily. He didn't know what being sorry felt like, at least not in the human sense. But he bore nothing but compassion toward the girl who had been led astray and was sure that the ever-merciful Father would accept back as the prodigal child.

Castiel saw the pain and loss in Dean's eyes as the red-haired girl disappeared and the angel knew that nothing could have eased the man's raw hurt in that moment so he held out a hand, restricting Uriel's incensed move forward, authority in the gesture without even having to utter a word. The hoarse quality of Dean's voice reminded the angel that behind those uncouth words and steely green eyes was a man whom the Lord himself deemed worthy of being raised from perdition.

No, Castiel didn't understand the fascinating creatures that were made by God's own hands and in his Father's holy image. But he now knew and understood that the Lord worked in mysterious ways. And this man, this man who would have held out for so long before Hell broke him, who retained his light even after spending eons in the halls of the devil himself, this man who confronted a demon to save the soul of an angel-

"I'm the one who gripped you tight and raised you from perdition."

Yes. There was a mark on Dean Winchester that was proof of Castiel following orders. But Dean had no such order. It was now that Castiel realized that as he lay there, struggling under the power of evil, pleading for help, his Father had not abandoned him. His Father had never abandoned him. The answer to his cry had been there to help deliver strength unto him… this branded hunter with a tire iron and the heart of a warrior.

A/N: My first Supernatural fic! I don't think I did Castiel justice because his character is absolutely beyond intriguing, but I tried! Reviews would be very much appreciated. Thanks for reading!