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Remember the Amalek

by Fraidy Cat

Dean balanced on the edge of the hospital bed and stared at the highly polished linoleum at his feet morosely until he heard a noise at the door. He looked up almost listlessly. "Sam?"

"I have not seen him," Castiel answered. He surveyed the fully-clothed Winchester with interest as he took a few steps into the small room. "You are leaving." The words were uttered more as a statement than a question.

"Yeah," Dean confirmed. "The nurse who helped me get ready said she told Sam I'd be set to go around 11." His eyes wandered to the clock on the wall above Castiel's head. "Still half an hour…Sam's more apt to be early than late, though."

Castiel nodded, then looked at the empty chair near the bed. "May I sit down?"

A shadow passed over Dean's face, leaving a scowl when it left. He turned his head away from the angel, and looked at the opposite wall. "I told you already, Cas, I can't do what you want. You'll have to find another way."

Castiel entered the room further, stopping to pull the chair around so that it more fully faced Dean. He took his time, and eventually sat down. "I have come to speak of other things," he said at length. "I believe the popular phraseology is, to 'fill in the blanks'?"

Dean turned back to him, eyebrows raised. "Beg pardon?"

Castiel sighed. "When last I was here, I told you that Uriel was the one who disturbed the devil's trap; he was working against the garrison." He touched a hand to his forehead, frowned, then let it drop to his lap. "Before his death, he claimed that he did not work alone. Others have turned with him."

Dean had just about been ready to ask if angels got headaches when Castiel's last sentence truly sunk into his brain. Cautious sympathy entered his expression. "Death? Did you have to kill him, Cas?"

Castiel looked at him with sad eyes. "On the contrary. He was about to kill me, when…another angel…intervened. Yet I did not come to speak of this death."

Castiel seemed to be unsure of himself, thinking about what to say next. His hesitation was decidedly unangel-like, and Dean finally prompted him. "What?" he asked softly.

Castiel shifted in the chair a little. "Dean Winchester," he finally began, "there are many forms of angel. Uriel was a Cherub. Cherubim receive and hold the knowledge of God, and come to Earth with great tasks. It was Cherubim, for example, who expelled Adam and Eve from the Garden." His eyes grew hooded. "Lucifer is a fallen Cherub."

Dean swallowed. "What…what are you?"

A half-smile played over Castiel's mouth and he looked down at his clothing. "I did not choose an accountant for a host accidentally," he admitted, and Dean looked confused. Castiel stopped smiling. "I am an angel of Domination. Unlike your human connotation of the word, in my world, it is indicative of…middle management. I receive orders from Cherubim – and also our highest-ranking angels, the Seraphim. Ordinarily I then pass those orders on to lower angels."

In spite of himself, Dean was intrigued. "Ordinarily?"

Castiel looked away, focusing his eyes on the wall behind Dean. "This is an extraordinary time," he answered softly. He tented his fingers under his chin for a moment, seeming to consider his next words. When he made up his mind, he turned his head back to Dean, dropped his hands to the arms of the chair and pushed himself forward a little. His soft voice became even softer when he began to speak again. "I chose to oversee the operation, when my team was sent to recover you from hell. Many teams had already failed. Our mission did not proceed as planned." His eyes glinted, the hard expression sending an unexpected shiver through Dean. "Angels under my command were lost, but at the last moment, I saw that I could reach you myself. I believe now that I succeeded where no-one else had, because it was unexpected, for an Angel of Domination to take such action." He leaned back in the chair. "After I returned you to Earth, I received a new assignment – to come here myself, to help stop the breaking of the seals." He paused, and glanced at Dean, who had clearly become uncomfortable. Castiel cleared the throat of his host. "Some of my duties are traditional," he continued. "I pass on some orders to other angels. Some orders, I take on myself."

Dean spoke without knowing he was going to. "So sometimes when we don't see you, there might be another angel around."

Castiel smiled briefly at Dean's understanding. "That is correct," he affirmed.

Dean attempted his own grin and failed. "Sounds like another shoe is about to drop."

Castiel frowned. "I am not sure what this means."

This time Dean did grin. "You're about to give me the bad news," he explained.

Castiel's face cleared. "Ah. Yes." He leaned toward Dean again, so close that he could have reached out and placed a hand upon him, but he did not. "Remember, Dean Winchester, who receives the knowledge of God, and passes it to me; the Cherubim. I was assigned a partner to serve as my direct conduit to my Father. Uriel."

Comprehension quickly followed by horror dawned on Dean's face. "He was working against the garrison," he breathed.

"Yes," Castiel confirmed. "I am no longer sure of…anything. My orders. Anything that he told me."

Dean looked stricken. "There must be others," he started. "Can't you find some other Cherub?"

Castiel did not so much as blink. "Others also work against us from within," he reminded Dean. "How am I to know who to trust?"

Dean shivered. "Cas…geez. This sucks."

Castiel nodded. "Indeed. Yet this is not my main message to you today. What I came to tell you, Dean, is this: It was Uriel who told me that Sam must be stopped from using his powers." He sat back and waited.

A range of emotions played over Dean's face. Confusion, disbelief, fear, hope. Dean's own voice dropped to a whisper. "He might have been lying? About Sammy?"

Castiel's own confusion and sympathy was apparent in his eyes. "I do not know," he answered helplessly.

Dean's nostrils flared and his voice raised. "If you don't know, Cas, how the…how in the world am I supposed to figure it out?"

Castiel touched his head again, inhaling and exhaling deeply. This time when he moved his hand, he leaned forward and touched Dean lightly on the arm. Dean jerked back; the touch was like fire. Castiel grimaced and pulled back his hand. "Forgive me. I forget myself. You are all right?" Dean rubbed at his arm and nodded silently.

Castiel regarded him for a moment and then closed his eyes. Dean watched in morbid fascination as the blister just appearing on the surface of his arm receded, absorbed back into the skin. "Holy shit," he whispered.

When he looked back at Castiel, the angel was smiling. "Quite," he agreed before he let the smile fade. "Dean Winchester, I will tell you what I do know. I know that Samuel's powers are remarkable. I know that he fights the same enemy I have been sent to fight. I know that he has not abused those powers." His eyes clouded. "It concerns me that he works with one of them."

Dean snorted. "Right."

Castiel cocked his head, as if a thought had just occurred to him. "Yet, Uriel and others within the garrison turned. Is it not then possible that one of them can turn against its own kind as well?"

Dean's expression was full of both wariness and longing. "You think?" he asked almost hopefully. "Sammy always says that he's only using what he has to stop them…" He swallowed thickly, and shook his head sorrowfully. "He's not the same, though. He changed while I was gone." He sniffed sarcastically. "Baby brother got stronger, while I got weaker. He spoke the truth when he said that, even if he only said it because the Siren forced him."

Castiel's eyes widened with sudden revelation and he sank back in the chair. "I truly did not intend to speak of this today," he said, "but it is possible that Samuel is your Aaron."

Dean didn't even try to follow that line of angel logic. "My what?"

Castiel explained, thinking aloud. "Many years ago, my Father sent Moses and the Israelites into battle. While the Israelites fought Amalek, Moses was to oversee the action from a nearby hill. He was given the rod of God, and told to hold it high over the battle. This Moses did. At one point, as the Israelites prevailed, he lowered his hand – and Amalek turned the tide. So Moses raised the staff again, and the Israelites again began to win; Moses saw that he must keep his hand and the rod of God always high in the air, as he had been told. Yet he grew tired. His hand was heavy, and his strength waned."

Dean nodded; tired of the battle – this, he understood.

Castiel looked upon him with compassion. "When Moses could continue no more, his brother Aaron came to help. Moses was lowered to rest on a rock by Aaron and another. Then Aaron moved in to support the arm of Moses. He leant his strength to his brother, and kept the staff in the air until the battle was won."

Dean's own eyes widened. "Sam could be my Aaron," he repeated.

Castiel nodded. "There is more to this tale," he said softly, rising from the chair and moving to stand over Dean. He waited until Dean tilted his head and looked up at him. "Moses had to allow Aaron to help him. He had to recognize his own limitations, and lean on his brother."

Dean nodded, slowly. Castiel cocked his head to one side again. "He approaches," he informed Dean. "I will see you both again."

"Wait," Dean said, not even knowing quite why he wanted Castiel to stay. In the end, it didn't matter. Dean blinked, and when he opened his eyes again, the angel was gone.

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Sam stopped at the nurses' station to sign Dean's release papers and receive medications and instructions for care, so it was almost 20 minutes before he passed through the door of his brother's room, pushing a wheelchair. He saw Dean waiting for him, fully clothed, on the edge of the bed. He frowned when he saw how pale Dean was, and became even more alarmed when he drew closer and saw the telltale tracks of tears. "Dean?" he asked worriedly, leaving the chair in the doorway and hurrying to the bed. "Are you all right? Should I get someone?"

Dean reached out a hand to pull at Sam's arm, dragging him down to sit next to him on the bed. "I'm tired, Sam," he admitted, locking his eyes with his brother's. "I'm broken. I don't have enough in me to make it to the end of this battle."

Sam started shaking his head. "No, Dean, you're just hurting right now, it'll…"

Dean interrupted. "Sammy." His voice cracked and he cleared his throat. "Sammy. I'll fight to the end – if I can lean on you. You're stronger than I am, and I need to borrow some of that strength."

Sam's Adam's apple bobbed up and down as he swallowed. He held Dean's gaze, then shifted closer to him on the bed. "It's yours," he answered simply. "You don't need to borrow what was yours in the first place. My strength comes from you, Dean. Don't you know that?"

Dean smiled briefly, and brushed at an eye with one hand. "Sam," he continued, "it's time to let all this stuff between us go. We need to face this battle…"

"…together," Sam finished for him. "We fight together, Dean. Always."

Dean nodded, and looked away. He grimaced as the wheelchair entered his vision. "Come on, dude. Don't make me use that."

Sam followed his gaze and his lips twitched in a smile. "Hospital policy," he responded. "I got us a room for a few days in the next town over; be good about the chair, and we can stop at the diner first for a burger."

Dean considered the proposition, and finally nodded. "Okay," he acquiesced. "But only because I need to build up my strength."

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END

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A/N: For more about this moment in the lives of Moses and Aaron, see Exodus 17:8-13.