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"Castiel," Michael breathed, though it certainly wasn't Jimmy Novak standing there.

Sam couldn't really tell what he was looking at. Part of him, to be specific; the Lucifer infested part, could form what had just burst through the cage's gate as a tangible shape. Followed by several hundred equally tangible shapes.

The other part of him was worried about going blind. All that part of him could see was a brilliantly bright, blue light. The two conflicting images danced about his skull, and made him wish desperately that he could hold his hand against his forehead.

HELLO BROTHERS, Castiel said in what managed to simultaneously be an ear-splittingly high-pitched buzz and jumble of Enochian Sam somehow understood. What was even more curious was that the Enochian sounded distinctly like a deepened, monotone version of Jimmy's voice. Though Sam was fairly certain that this was merely his mind. Or, the parts of his mind that were still his.

Castiel walked forward. Or, he flew, or glided, or something. Sam wasn't quite sure how, but in an case, the redeemed angel was suddenly standing in front of him. Sam watched as Michael swept Adam's eyes over the armies of Heaven. Over what had been his legion for millennia upon millennia. Sam felt a tiny twinge of pleasure at the growing dismay evident of Michael's new face as it registered that his troops were now fully under the common of his younger, or so Sam presumed, brother.

"What are you doing here?" The words fell from Sam's mouth, though they aren't his.

Lucifer had begun to sound a bit less confident than when he'd caused Castiel to explode earlier on.

I AM TAKING BACK WHAT IS NOT YOURS, Castiel explained, which, despite the fact that he currently had two voices, was said in the same calm and neutral tone he always used. YOU WON'T BE NEEDING IT DOWN HERE.

Sam felt something settle on his shoulder. It may have been a hand, though he wasn't entirely certain, feeling while not feeling was by far the most disconcerting bit of vesselless Cas he'd faced yet.

LOOK DOWN, SAM, Castiel warned, as if there were something Sam could do about the situation. And then he could feel it. A tug, a pull, and then Castiel is literally tearing Lucifer right out of him.

The experience was not at all pleasant. The example that comes to mind first would be vomiting up ones own brain. And then all the other organs in his body. And then his bones, his muscles, his veins, and his nerves. To put it bluntly, Sam did not enjoy it.

His eyelids drooped on their own accord immediately after Lucifer left. Sam fell towards the ground, unable to support himself or remember how to use his own body. Castiel steadied him silently.

It took a few moments before Sam could quite remember how to breathe, much less stand. But he managed it and straightened himself up, though his head remained lowered.

He could not feel Castiel entirely then, and almost wondered if separating him and Lucifer had been the sole purpose for the angel's little trip downstairs. Then Michael demanded, "You're all just going to leave me here!"

Castiel, blessedly, did not respond. At least not verbally. But Sam could hear it, a soft, distinctive rustling that he hadn't heard in a while. And that was when the ground vanished from under him.

He couldn't help it. He peeked. Just the tiniest glimpse.

What he saw was light, and feathers, and, okay it was a bit of a weird thought, but how fucking gorgeous Castiel was. So much more so than Jimmy Novak, who wasn't exactly ugly.

But that look lasted less than half a heartbeat because suddenly Sam Winchester was staring through the window into Lisa Braeden's dinning room.

Sam knew Dean. Sam knew Dean better than he knew anyone else in the entire world. Living, dead, or otherwise. Hell, a few months ago, Ash told them they were soul mates. Which, was admittedly a bit creepy.

He grew up emulating his older brother, so, unsurprisingly, he knew Deans expressions. And, so, he knew at that moment, Dean was struggling. Sam could make out a vague reddish tinge to Dean's eyes. He'd been crying. Recently. It made Sam wonder how long he'd been gone.

Sam watched, not daring to move, as Dean teetered somewhere between grief and joy. He gave a superficial smile to Ben. The one that said, Yeah, I'm fine, kiddo. Don't worry, while he lied through his teeth. Or lips.

Sam tried to deny that he was just a bit jealous. He'd never seen Dean give that to anyone else.

There was a fluttering sound to his left and behind him. In his peripheral vision, he can make out the trademark tan trench coat.

"You got your wings back," Sam said after a pause. He turned his head to glance in Castiel's direction.

"Yes…" The angel agreed. An odd expression crossed his face then, his shoulders tensed slightly, but he still had a ghost of a mildly pleased smile on his face. Which was the Castiel equivalent of maniacally large grin and an increasing giggle. It took Sam a moment to figure out that he was flexing the aforementioned appendages. "I am… thankful."

Sam gave him a soft smile and turned back to the window. "How'd you get Jimmy back?"

"Jimmy is…" Castiel considered for a moment. "Jimmy is not here any more… But I believe God gave me this body," he added helpfully.

"And the shave?" There is silence and Sam could see Castiel finger his jaw from the corner of his eye. Shaving had been a lesson Dean had assured the angel they'd get to, though it appeared unnecessary now.

"I suppose so," Castiel agreed at length and the two fell into a lull.

They watched as the three inside held a normal, family dinner, complete with a conversation that didn't involve Armageddon, demons, or suicide.

They watched as Dean slowly seemed to grow more involved, and as his appetite returned.

They watched as Lisa cleared the table, with Ben's help, after refusing Dean's.

And they are about to watch as the people inside share dessert when a car rolls by. Sam started and turned slightly to watch as it rolled on by, realising how he and Castiel probably looked, standing outside and staring in.

That was when Castiel, patient as he ever was, asked, "Aren't you going in?"

Sam bit his lip and tore his gaze away from the tiny remainder of his family to focus of the angel. "He kept his promise," he said slowly, admitting something he didn't really want to. "I don't want to take away his chance at being happy."

Castiel's head tilted to the side curiously, one eyebrow raised in confusion. "He…" the angel was still staring fixatedly inside at the house's inhabitants. "He does not appear very happy now."

And this was true. Dean was staring, disheartened, down a plate of pie. His lack of enthusiasm made Sam feel a bit guilty. As if it were his fault Dean cared so much about him.

"But he will be," Sam told Cas. "He will be. He'll be happy and safe and normal. Apple pie."

Castiel's brow furrowed as he tried to make sense of that. "But," he tried to protest, even before he could quite begin to grasp at Sam's point of view. "But…" He had to pause and consider his argument. "But you're his brother," he said at length.

Sam swallowed uneasily. "Yeah. Well, I don't see you trailing any of your brothers," he pointed out.

"That's different." This is not an argument, merely a statement of fact. "They tried to kill me." Sam almost wanted to laugh at the utterly deadpan tone Castiel spoke this in. But he worried that if he did begin to laugh, he would be able to stop when it rose to hysteria.

"I've seen him without you," the angel continued. "He behaves differently. I… I find I don't enjoy his company when he is without you as much as his company when he is with you."

Sam shook his head and nodded in at what was beginning to form into a happy couple. "I can't ruin that for him, Cas," he said trying vainly to make the angel understand. "I can't ruin what he's got with Lisa…"

Castiel's head tipped the other way. "How can anything be there?" He asked. "He's been there for only a few hours."

"Hours?" Sam repeated, rather shocked. "You were quick."

"I have never heard anyone describe a prolonged visit in Hell as pleasant," Castiel explained matter-of-factly.

Sam felt a vague grin flicker onto his lips. "Don't ever change, okay, Cas?"

Castiel blinked at him. "I've already assured Dean that I wouldn't." Sam took that as an 'okay'.

He took a deep breath. "Dean doesn't know you went after me, right?"

"No. I thought you breathing again would suffice."

"Right… Well, he doesn't have to know. Ever."

Castiel watched him. "I don't understand," he told Sam.

"Just…" Sam sighed wearily. The whole angels-don't-need-to-sleep thing had worn on him. Lucifer had had little respect for what Sam's body had been telling him. A bad line between Sam's nerves and Lucifer's conscious. "Just, pretend you never got me. If he thinks I'm stuck down in the Pit, he'll move on."

"Did you?" Castiel asked.

Sam cleared his throat. "I had Ruby," he explained, fully aware that the explanation would be lost on his friend. "He has Lisa. There's a difference."

"They are… different species," Castiel tried, clearly not following Sam.

"Well, yeah, but Lisa's not gonna get him addicted to demon blood and trick him into killing her boss so she can bring forth the Apocalypse."

"Of course not," Castiel agreed. "Lisa is not a follower of Lucifer, killing her boss…" he trailed off, seemingly coming to the realisation that this explanation was unnecessary.

Sam stared forlornly at the front door. He didn't pay much attention as Castiel stepped closer to him, staring up with intense blue eyes. His brow furrowed in concentration and Sam began to get the feeling that he was being studied.

"I do not believe that you really wish for me to lie," Castiel said finally. He looked expectant, as if he were waiting for Sam to either confirm this, or tell him to go study human behaviour some more.

Castiel was right. Sam felt like shit. He'd been playing meat suit for the devil, pulled Heaven's top angel down into Hell, given Dean a terrifyingly large beating, and he hadn't slept in months. Months that were technically hours, but who was counting anyways?

What Sam wanted was to curl up in a shitty motel bed, or the back seat of the Impala and sleep for a few years. He wanted Dean to ask if he was okay, and to lie and say he was to avoid any fuss. He wanted Dean to press his hand to Sam's forehead and check for a temperature, and to taunt him for being weak while trying to pretend he wasn't concerned. He want Dean to sing loudly and off-key along with his outdated cassette tapes, and barrel down the highway at ridiculous speeds. He wanted Dean to refuse to drop the affectionate 'my' from the end of his name, and treat him like an adult

In short, he wanted Dean.

But it was too late.

He'd given up Dean when he'd called Bobby and proposed his genius Let-Lucifer-In scheme.

Sam took a shaky breath a prepared to walk away when it registered that he was no longer standing under the burned out streetlamp. He was toe-to-toe with the Braeden family's front door.

He wondered dimly if Cas had bothered to zap him such a short distance, as he couldn't at all remember his long legs moving him there.

Sam threw a glance over his shoulder and found the angel waiting at the edge of the driveway. His hands were tucked inside the pockets of his trench coat. His expression was a mixture of patience and anticipation. Sam really doubted the angels involvement.

Especially when he heard the buzzer go off beneath his fingertip without ever registering that he'd raised his hand.

Too late to go back now.

He just had to hope Dean wasn't armed at the moment.


A/N: I still have an hour before the season six premeire. So this isn't AU for me yet...

Anywho, I'd like to say that Chuck is wrong. This started with an ending and it had no beginning. I just started writing from where I knew, and, well, it never really got any more of a beginning than that.

Anyone who recognises where I borrowed to formatting for un-Jimmyed Cas's speech gets extra love.

But you can review even if you don't know! I'll love you anyways! Promise!