Took forever, my apologies. Enjoy. I did a bit of editing, so tell me what you guys think. It was a bit easier to write, now that I knew what Cas knew. =D I'm just happy to have old Cas back.

R&R Please.


LIFE'S A MESS

He kept it close, held his tongue. He listened when his brothers spoke, head bowed, but he couldn't make himself go back to the way he had been. There was no forgetting Dean Winchester. And everything Castiel had experienced and learned since taking human form, he bundled together and held in the core of his being. He could keep it safe there.

He hid it from his brothers and sisters. He had no illusion that he might hide it from God, but even that knowledge couldn't make him release this new part of himself. Castiel was scared. He didn't want to Fall, and he didn't want to disappoint, but he didn't want to do wrong either. And he worried, because there was so much going on, and Jimmy would be defenseless until Dean found him. If Dean found him.

Castiel was hurting. Because he knew, when he made it back, he would have to treat Dean differently. Even if his… feelings… hadn't changed, the others would be watching much closer now. There was too much at risk, and it pained him to know that Dean would not understand his change in behavior, and that he could not explain it.

Castiel felt a seed of anger at the situation growing in him, and that, more than almost anything, scared him.

~*~*~*~

"Cas wait," He turned at his name. "What did you want to tell me?" Dean asked with wide eyes.

The information is important. Life altering. World altering. And he wants more than anything to aide his charge in his mission. To tell him that Lilith… But he's been forbade, and he knows better than to cross that line again.

"… dire consequences, Castiel." they whispered. "Things we don't wish to visit upon you."

So when he spoke, he did it with deliberate coldness. He forced a look of disparity into his eyes and said, "I learned my lesson while I was away, Dean." Away, like it had just been a trip home and back. He'd have laughed if he'd known how. "I serve Heaven. I don't man, and I certainly don't serve you."

And then he turned his back on his charge, not quickly enough to avoid the look on Dean's face. Walking away, it was all Castiel could think of: the way Dean's eyes had narrowed and widened almost imperceptibly. They way his shoulders had dropped and his head slid back. Dean had been confused at his words. Taken by surprise. And the angel could do nothing for his charge.

He couldn't even offer a hand of comfort that he knew the boy would need after seeing his brother feed on demonic blood. Even Castiel had not been prepared to see Sam doing that. Sam would never know, nor Dean, but seeing the younger Winchester smeared with tainted blood had… hurt. It reeked of Castiel's failure to guide one man to save another.

His orders had been in regard to Dean, and Dean alone. But he'd come to learn that Dean did not come without Sam. And somehow Castiel had gotten it into his mind, that while not strictly his orders, he could save Sam, too. Clearly, he'd been wrong. Sam was lost and Dean would most certainly be harder to work with if Castiel was to act as he been told.

"Distance, Castiel," they said, "is necessary."

To Castiel, distance translated to coldness. And in his eyes he felt that made him look as Uriel must have to the humans. Untrustworthy. A liar, someone working against them. But he would do it. They were his orders, and God's Will was not something he had the right to question.

It bothered Castiel to treat him in such a manner, because Dean didn't deserve it. But he could not make the same mistakes, and if that meant that Dean had to be kept in the dark about some things… Castiel would have to work around it.

He had learned a hard lesson. He would keep to himself, share his thoughts with none. He would do as he'd been told, and try to see that events unfolded as they should. In the favor of God and good and righteousness.

He knew he still had Father's love. And though Castiel had never seen Him, his faith would sustain him, but there was still the nagging of what Castiel assumed to be aloneness. He had learned that not all his brothers and sisters could be trusted. Truly, he had known this since Uriel had tried to kill him, but he felt more betrayed now then ever.

And he would work in quiet dedication to save his home, those siblings who still deserved to be there, and the Winchesters. Even if they hated him as he did so.

Castiel had been taught he needed to learn to lie, and hide to do what was right. That was weight he found to be nearly crushing.

Heaven hadn't realized it's mistake yet, and when they did, Castiel feared it would be too late.

Dean had relied on him. Dean had put trust in him. Dean had put Faith in him.

And he'd certainly just been made to ruin it all.

~*~*~*~

He left Dean with no where to go, and no choices. So when Dean headed for Bobby Singer's, he followed.

Castiel had given no advice on the issue of Sam, hadn't told Dean he had to try and save him, because he didn't really think there was a way now. Sam would begin to go through withdrawal, it would be brutal and taxing and most likely deadly.

He hung back in the shadows, watching.

They locked him in Bobby Singer's basement. He picked the words from Dean's mind - panic room. Castiel was grateful that at least Dean had Bobby. The older hunter knew his business, and Castiel trusted the man to be there for his charge in the ways he wanted to be, but couldn't anymore.

Any emotion he allowed to slip onto his vessel's face now, could spell disaster.

He watched Dean, dejected and heartbroken, wonder from the house in the dead of night. Castiel breezed past piles of refuse as he followed the human's path. He watched as Dean drank, and lashed out at things in his way.

Watched as every emotion he knew the name of broke through what was left of Dean's defenses. As pain and anguish streaked through Dean's eyes, and stayed there. Even in Hell Dean had not looked so distraught. Castiel wanted nothing more than to go to Dean and offer words of comfort. To tell him what was coming and that he would do what he could to help the brothers. But he couldn't.

He doubted the words would leave his mouth before one of his superiors came for him.

But something had to be done. Dean couldn't wallow, time was wasting, and perhaps Castiel could find a way to inform Dean without stepping beyond the boundaries others had drawn for him.

He stepped forward as Dean took another drink. "You're wasting time."

Castiel winced at the noise that Dean made as he struggled to catch his breath. He hadn't meant to startle him. He opened his mouth to apologize but thought better of it. He couldn't afford emotion. Dean couldn't afford it.

Dean looked up at him. "Get lost." was all he said.

He deserved it, he'd dismissed Dean just as easily earlier, but it didn't change anything. Castiel had hoped that Dean's anger would temper his own feelings, possibly make him care less what the human thought of him. Instead it just hurt. He'd grown accustomed, if not fond, of the almost backhanded trust and friendship.

"Confining Sam-" Even as he said the words, Castiel could see in his mind the end coming, the world razed at the hand of a Winchester.

Dean cut him off. "No. Not-uh." His charge ambled to his feet, brown liquid swishing dangerously close to the lip of the bottle holding it. "You don't want to help me; you won't tell me what you know? Then you don't get to say two damn words about Sam. I'm taking care of it."

Only he wasn't, but Dean didn't know that. He didn't know Castiel's orders. Sam would be allowed to reach a state of derangement, of such need that he would abandon even Dean for demon blood. And Castiel would be the hand to allow his escape.

"What the hell happened to you, Cas?" Dean looked at him with such pleading hazel eyes.

"You appear to be easily influenced by this human," they said. "We don't have to allow your return."

Castiel narrowed his eyes, this too, was something he would have to discourage. While he'd taken to the nickname, it was not proper. It was a sign of affection, not respect, and Castiel could not allow his brothers and sisters to see him answer to it. "Do not call me that."

He had to say it, had to take even that away from Dean. He was going to take everything from his charge - every sense of security and perceived friendship that they had, Castiel had to destroy. It was safer for them both that way. Castiel could maintain his station and Dean would not have a dozen other angels looking into his life from time to time to make sure the human wasn't… compelling Castiel to disobey.

The human looked confused. "What? Cas?"

"It's not my name." He hated the look that Dean gave him, but kept his own eyes hard and cold.

"Well, maybe I should call you Jimmy, since that's the name of the guy you're wearing." Dean said. Castiel knows that it was Jimmy's choice, always Jimmy's choice, but he can't make Dean understand that. And he doesn't want to try. Dean continued, "Do you even care about those people back there? Jimmy's family? I mean, what? You're just gonna use him up? Someone's going to win this War, and he can't go back, even if it's us?"

In all honesty, Castiel hadn't given much thought to the fate of the vessel's body. The man, Jimmy, would of course be rewarded with Paradise. When that may be, only time would tell. There was much work to be done on Earth, and his vessel was well cared for, his family however, was of little consequence. Though, Jimmy's daughter may be called on in the future.

Dean sneered at him. "What the hell'd you come here for? You don't have anything to say to me, right? Go away."

Castiel didn't have time to play these games. He couldn't tell Dean, and that was something both of them would have to get over. "There are things that need to be done." He put a sense command into the words.

Dean's response was immediate. "So go do 'em." Then took another drink of the alcohol he'd taken from the house.

Castiel watched Dean's face, noting the pain it caused him. It wasn't something the angel understood-people doing thing to themselves that they know to be damaging. "Things that you need to do."

"Nah. No thanks." Dean shook his head, and looked away from the angel.

Dean knew what was at stake, he didn't know how much of what would be lost belonged to him. Castiel knew. "You don't wish to listen."

"I wish for a lot of things, Cas." He emphasizes the nickname, throws a little anger behind the word, and Castiel presses his lips together in irritation. He wished again that Dean could know. That he would make it easier for them both by going with the new rule Castiel had laid before them. "Like, for you to tell me what I asked to hear." Dean shrugged. "You know, for instance."

"You can't just walk away from this, Dean." He can feel annoyance pressing in on him. He wants to leave, get away from Dean, away from all the things his charge represents. Away from all the things he'd become since pulling Dean Winchester from Perdition.

Without so much as a word, Dean started walking towards him, and once past he shouted over his shoulder, "Watch me."

Castiel had to make Dean stay, had to get him to do his duty, achieve his true potential. And if he had learned one thing about the oldest Winchester, it was which string to pluck to get his attention. He would respond in anger, but he would stay, and he would talk.

So Castiel told him, "We're not here to clean up your mess, Dean."

He froze in mid-step, as Castiel knew he would. Dean's shoulders tensed, and Castiel could hear the change in his breathing. He'd struck a low, painful blow, he'd been remiss to use that particular piece of knowledge against the man. He knew how guilt had hammered Dean to a crumpled shell when he learned of the first seal, and a broken Dean was not what they needed. But he was turning back to Castiel even now.

Castiel remembered the look in Dean's eyes when he'd told him he could throw him back in Hell, it hadn't bothered him at the time, and he didn't mean to frighten Dean, but the point needed to be made. They weren't friends. They were… co-workers. Dean didn't have to like Castiel, he would learn to deal with that fact, but Dean did have to do what he was destined to. And getting Dean to tread the correct path was Castiel's job.

He titled his head to the side and waited for Dean's response. "I thought it wasn't blame that fell on me." It was fitting that the hazel eyed man would throw Castiel's own words back him. "Anna said they dragged you back. So, tell me again, who's the fuck-up here?"

Castiel felt fingers curl into his palms. He'd been taken Home because he'd dared to help Dean, because he'd learned a truth, and wanted to tell all those concerned. He was dragged Home because he'd wanted to help humanity. Some times he wondered why.

"Any number of brothers and sisters," they smirked, "would apply to replace you, Castiel."

It didn't matter at this point. He lowered his voice, stripping it of any lingering emotion. "Confining your brother won't stop anything. It's too late. And you have not nearly finished your work."

"What happened!?" Dean demanded. His demeanor changed, and a bit of pleading came back into his hazel eyes. "You didn't go without a fight, Cas. I saw that place, it was demolished. So whatever you had to say to me, I'm betting it was big. The Cas I knew wouldn't hide something like that from me, he'd tell me. He'd help me."

Castiel didn't bat an eye, didn't let Dean in on anything. "I'm here to make sure you do what you're destined to do. Noting else." he replied.

Brown liquid sloshed against glass as Dean pointed a hand at him. "I don't buy that." he said, taking a few steps forwards. "Who did it? Why? I mean… look, I know you don't answer to me, but you wanted to tell me. You were freaking out when you came to me, Cas. I've never seen you like that. You wanted to tell me."

He knew that was true. He'd been haggard in Dean's dream. Sorely out of place on the dock in the heavy glow of a setting sun. He'd been frightened, and rushed, and had needed Dean to know. But things were different now.

"Do not call me that." was all he said, softer than the first time. Dean was looking at him in such a way, that Castiel knew the human would simply not let this go until he got the answers he was searching for. "Don't make yourself suffer more than is necessary, Dean." Because he wasn't going to learn anything for Castiel.

Dean's head dropped back on his shoulders. "Oh, God. Bite me."

"Enough of this." Time was important, so very important, and it was wasting.

He watched as Dean took another drink and with a shake of his head, said, "I just don't get it. Why… It just doesn't make sense to me."

That was not Castiel's concern. Dean wouldn't have to understand, not until later, until it was to late for him to do anything that mattered. "I'm not asking you to understand, Dean. I'm telling you to accept it."

"You're telling me?" he looked at Castiel, and he wanted to look away. Dean's eyes would haunt him, he knew, but he had to hold his ground. He couldn't be the angel who had sense enough to look away when being confronted with… a human's disappointment. "Maybe you should have tried asking, probably would have gotten you farther. I don't do tell well. Cas knew that." Dean turned on his heel and walked away.

Castiel waited around a corner for Dean to approach. When his charge rounded the corner of a pile of old automobiles, his face twisted in a grimace as he lowered the bottle from his face. "Whatever it is, I'm sure it can wait. Mostly because it's going to have to."

He knew that Dean was having a rough time. That things with Sam had taken a terrible turn, that no one had really seen coming, but that could not be allowed to lead them astray. The fight must continue. "Difficulties are a part of life, Dean. You have to deal with them."

"Yeah, you know all about life, huh?" His voice is thick with anger and Castiel knows he's trying to taunt him into giving something away.

It won't work, so he said instead, "Have fa-"

Dean held up a hand. "If you say have faith, so help me God, I will deck you."

"No. You won't." Castiel said.

Dean dropped his gaze, and stared at the dirt and gravel ground. "Right, well, anything else you'd like to say before I tell you I don't care?" He looked back up, but Castiel said nothing. "Then you can just be quiet now and leave me alone." He started walking again, and this time Castiel let him go.

There was no talking to Dean right now. He'd come back later, when Dean needed him and was willing to finally listen. Because that time was coming.

"So do as we say, not as Winchester asks."


Thanks for reading!!! I hope you liked it! =D