This is dedicated to a very good friend of mine. 3
The story's a bit AU. It's after they find out that God doesn't really care but Cas still has most of his powers. And prior to this, I didn't realize how hard it is for me to write as Dean and his parts are short. ...
The building was crawling with demons. This was no doubt this was where they had taken the young man destined to be Lucifer's vessel. With the limited resources at his disposal the infiltration of the facility would not be easy. He had little hope that the youngest Winchester would be in well enough a condition to walk out on his own once they managed to free him. He had an even smaller hope that they would get out alive. Still, he had to try something, and Dean was counting on him to do it. The older Winchester brother was currently stationed on the other side of the building with Bobby Singer planning some sort of diversion while he went in to save Sam.
Castiel had voiced his opinion about the plan.
It was foolish and suicidal. It had taken them months to track down the demons and another few weeks to actually formulate some sort of plan that might work. The outcast Angel still held a poor outlook on the whole affair. It had been a miracle that Sam had lasted this long. Castiel had hoped and prayed that he would, but he had never actually believed that the young man could resist. He was glad he had. Lucifer was still walking around in his slowly decaying body as he called upon each of his Horsemen. The demons had not been effective in their attempts to persuade Sam to say "yes". Exactly what they gained by this, Castiel could not comprehend. He understood that they were under some kind of delusion that they would share in whatever Lucifer had planned. They were sorely mistaken.
The snap of gunfire pulled the angel from his thoughts and into action. He teleported into the building, finding himself on the third floor. It was empty; he could feel no demons in the immediate area. He was searching; trying to locate Sam. He came up empty. He could hear shouting and more gunfire as the two men battled the demons below.
And for nothing. Sam Winchester was not here. They had been wrong.
Castiel felt an intense mixture of guilt and anger surge in him momentarily before dissipating. The demons must have known they would come and had taken Sam elsewhere. But where? He would have to locate him again. He wouldn't allow them to slip through his fingers a second time. He couldn't. He could already feel the disappointment and anger that Dean would greet him with when he told him of his failure. Castiel swallowed thickly, the vessel was becoming less Jimmy's and more of himself. It wasn't a good thought.
As the gunfire ceased and the sound of screaming became a haunting echo, Castiel appeared before the two men whom he could only call his friends.
"Cas" Dean looked slightly startled, "Where's Sam?"
"I'm afraid we were too late. The demons must have known we were coming and took Sam elsewhere."
Dean's eyes alone could have melted the skin off of his face. If he feared anyone at that moment, it was the enraged Winchester standing before him, "Well, do you have any idea where they might have taken him so we can be heading in that direction?" The blonde canted his head slightly to the side, a repeated gesture that Castiel took to understand as annoyance.
"We will need to make a stop so that I may re-locate him as soon as possible."
It was dark. That was no different from before when he was in cellar of the building. He groaned softly as his body protested any movement that he made. The concrete floor was nowhere to be resting after the constant abuse his body had been put through. He was almost a hundred percent sure that his arm wasn't healing correctly. The constant hunger pains were never really satisfied with the meager amounts of food they gave him. It didn't matter that he was Lucifer's vessel. They were trying to torture him into submission. But he had held on for this long. They would kill him before he ever said 'yes'. With his left arm he felt around for a wall, keeping his right one close to his body. His hand brushed against a wall and without getting off the floor, he pushed himself towards it with legs screaming in protest. Sighing, Sam Winchester leaned back and closed his eyes. He was so tired of everything and they knew it. He had lost count of how long he'd been kept captive. He knew that Dean would eventually find him and would never give up looking for him even if the world collapsed around him. Sam didn't lose hope in his brother. He was the only one he could count on.
He took in slow breaths, trying not to disturb his injured ribs anymore than they already were. Despite being unable to accurately assess how long he had been captive, he could estimate. When they had first taken him, it had still been cold out. It had been the middle of February. Gradually, the temperature had increased if it was any indication by the warmth that hit him upon being transferred from one place to the other. When he had been moved several days ago, the blast of heat that kissed his skin told him it was nearly summer. With this knowledge, he could estimate that his captivity was going on four months. But it was rough estimate. There was plenty of variables that he had not calculated into his estimation. Air masses from other parts of the country could possibly make it warmer than usual according to their exact location. But he didn't know where they were. For that matter they could have been in Florida where it was at a moderately warm temperature all year. However, it wasn't likely.
His worn body was begging for sleep. He was exhausted beyond limits. He had only been sleeping a few hours per week and even when he was able, nightmares plagued his dreams. Many of them involved Dean dying at the hands of the demons or he himself killing Dean. Some dreams involved Castiel. Sam still didn't know what to think of the angel. He trusted him with his life despite the fact that there were times when he felt that the angel didn't trust him. That fear had manifested in his nightmares.
"I should have killed you from the very beginning. It was a mistake to believe that an abomination like you could ever amount to anything other than what you are."
Sam could almost feel the blade as it pierced him each and every time he had that dream. It never failed to jolt him awake in a cold sweat. Surely Castiel wouldn't kill him in reality. It was just a terrible dream that was taking the shape of one of Sam's greatest fears. Castiel wouldn't do it. If he didn't care at all about Sam, he did care about Dean. To kill Sam would destroy Dean and he knew that Castiel would never intentionally hurt his older brother in such a way. Of that he was convinced. Sam had had a lot of time to think while enduring his captivity. Between torture sessions, all Sam had was his thoughts. His thoughts and the darkness.
His eyes had mostly gotten used to the perpetual darkness he was forced to endure. Hours and hours without light had made it nearly impossible to see while in brighter rooms. The demons had even taken to blindfolding him during their sessions. They found his lack of sight amusing, especially when tension had all his muscles coiled tight in anticipation for the next round of pain. Sometimes they didn't do anything to him for hours. It was maddening being tied to a chair waiting for the next move when he himself could do nothing. In the beginning he had cursed at them and egged them to do something. But after a month or so, Sam had given up on that. He realized this irritated them. He only spoke when he was asked a question directly and even then he usually didn't get them an answer anyway. After that became tiring, he stopped talking all together. In fact, Sam hadn't spoken in so long he wasn't sure he could even formulate words correctly. It made him wonder what he would tell his brother when he was finally rescued.
It was always came back to Dean. Dean would do anything to save him and Sam knew it. It was why he hadn't given in yet. Yet, during his time with the demons, it wasn't Dean he was thinking of. It was Castiel. He would pray with all his might to God, who had all but abandoned him, and ask that Castiel receive his prayers. He prayed that Castiel would help his brother find him. He didn't know if Castiel heard his prayers. He knew that the angel did receive them once, according to a comment he had once made. All the angels received their prayers. It made Sam wonder if he had an Angel assigned to him. Dean had Castiel, who despite first appearances, was surprisingly devoted to serving humans to the point of breaking away from heaven. Dean even had the Archangel Michael, even if he didn't want to. Sam wondered if all he had were demons. He wondered if his "angels" were Ruby and Lucifer. It hurt to think about it, but he had. He didn't have angels on his shoulders, only demons.
The sudden sound of chaos erupted outside of his room. Sam looked up from his place on the floor despite being unable to see anything. He canted his head slightly to the noise but didn't bother rising from his place on the floor. He had hallucinated rescue attempts in the past and didn't put it past his tired mind to do something like this again. Even if it were an actual attempt, he couldn't get up anyway. His legs couldn't support him. His left ankle was broken and he was sure his right leg was broken. The sound of screaming was getting closer as well as rushing footsteps. His eyes darted towards where he believed the door to be, dim hope rising within him. There was a sudden breath of wind in the room and the weight of a rough hand on his shoulder.
"You are safe now, Sam Winchester."
The light of the hospital room was too bright for the younger man according to the words he heard directed towards the attending nurse. Her smile was too wide, showing too many teeth. He didn't understand why she needed to put up such an obviously fake mask in front of them. Still, he said nothing as she passed him on her way to find a solution to the problem that was presented to her. The elder Winchester brother stood just outside of the room currently occupied by the injured Sam. A strained smile cast it's way towards the trench coat wearer.
"How is he?"
"He's doing better" Dean glanced into the window where through the blinds they could see Sam laying propped up on pillows in bed. His eyes were closed and he seemed to be in a relative state of calm. Dean's gaze turned back to the brunet, "Thanks, Cas" the young man paused but started again before Castiel could reply, "Would you mind watching Sammy while I go grab a cup of coffee?"
"Not at all, Dean."
The blonde headed down the hall and for a moment, Castiel was unsure of whether to enter the room or stay in the hallway. After several seconds of hesitation, the angel entered Sam's hospital room. He took a seat in the chair by the bed, the situation familiar but not welcome. He had felt differently when Dean had been in the hospital bed. There had been guilt over allowing him to torture Alistair after Dean's initial refusal. There had been anger, at himself, for being unable to go against orders that he knew were wrong. But now he was at Sam Winchester's bedside and though the guilt and anger were there, it was a different kind. After Castiel had rebelled for Dean, he had already felt bonded with the man. It had taken him more than a few weeks and days alone with the younger Winchester brother to connect with him in the same way he had Dean. Somewhere along the line, Sam had become a friend just as important as Dean. He realized that he would do whatever he could to help him--and not just because he was Dean's younger brother.
Sam made a slight noise of distress and without thinking about it, Castiel pressed two fingers to the man's forehead. The pinched look to Sam's features relaxed once more as he calmed. For several minutes there was nothing but silence. Dean had yet to return and Castiel had nowhere to be in any event. If he wasn't in the Winchester's company, he was either looking for another sign of disturbance or helping Bobby in the same endeavor.
The angel hadn't realized the brunet had awoken. Brown eyes searched for an identically colored pair. Sam's were only slightly open due to his current sensitivity to the bright hospital light. His voice was hoarse from the long disuse.
"I didn't get to thank you." Sam shut his eyes against the light, unable to endure keeping them open any longer.
"You did not need to, Sam. You are my friend."
There was a pause in which Castiel could feel Sam's surprise. Castiel thought that Sam would have known that by now. During brief periods of down time, Castiel would sometimes play a few rounds of chess with the younger Winchester. He had even taken the time to help Sam perfect his already impeccable Latin. He had awoken him when Sam had fallen asleep at his computer while doing research because the position he was in looked uncomfortable.
"I thought…" Sam cleared his voice, "I thought you only cared about Dean."
"When we first met, it is true that I only considered you as Dean Winchester's brother and the destined vessel of Lucifer, but I soon realized that I underestimated your worth, Sam Winchester. In spite of you mistakes, you have never done them with wrong intentions--"
"Isn't it 'the road to hell is always paved with good intentions'?" there was a resigned sound to the hoarse voice that wasn't there before. There was none of the previous hope in it that Castiel was so used to hearing. He wondered if that had been beaten out of him. Sam was too thin; his hulking figure sickly from malnourishment. Bruises covered half of his face painting the skin blacks and purples. Castiel wanted nothing more than to heal his wounds and make him better, but he was cut off from heaven and, like Dean often said, had 'a snowball's chance' of getting his powers returned.
"You realized your mistakes, Sam. You held on when a lesser man would have given in. I doubted you and for that I am sorry. I understand now that you are every bit as good a man as your brother and no less valuable."
Sam didn't respond and for several minutes there was only silence once again. Then, Castiel remembered exactly why he had come to visit him in the first place.
"I heard your prayers, Sam."
"You-You did?" Sam's eyes opened again, trained solely on the angel.
"Yes. It was why I was able to locate you so quickly. Even though you have no reason to believe in Him you still do. Perhaps that is why you maintain your strength. God hasn't given up on you Sam Winchester."
"I don't think He's given up on you either, Castiel."
The angel, whose anger had been entirely focused on his Father for the better part of the last week, couldn't respond. Before Sam's prayers, Castiel had heard none for a very long time. It had been refreshing, despite their content. With that, Castiel stood from his seat, "Tell Dean I will see him tomorrow."
Sam didn't have a chance to respond before the man before him disappeared. In the doorway was his brother, "Hey, Sammy."
"What took you so long?"
"Everything is way too white, all the hallways look exactly the same." a frown, "Where's Cas?"
"He told me to tell you he'll be back tomorrow."