Disclaimer: Do not own Supernatural.AU after NRFTW. Established Wincest.
Castiel watched as the newest member of the Garrison was welcomed warmly by their brothers and sisters. So far no one was questioning where he'd come from or the fact that he was a human soul transformed. The plan was working but there was so much that could go wrong.
"Congratulations Castiel." A voice called and he turned to nod at Uriel.
"It's about time you were given someone to be solely your student. Even if he was once a mud monkey." The last was a grumble and Castiel shot him a warning look.
"Samuel is one of us Uriel, I expect you to treat him as you would any other member of this Garrison." He warned and Uriel nodded before moving away. Castiel smiled as his student joined him.
"Is everything alright Castiel?" Samuel asked and Castiel nodded, laying a hand on the new angels shoulder. Samuel relaxed and Castiel smiled at him before they all tensed slightly, receiving their orders.
"It's time, stay close to me." Castiel ordered and Samuel nodded. He stayed close as they left Heaven and descended quickly to lay siege to Hell. They fought side by side as they slowly made their way deeper into the pit, searching for a single soul. Samuel was almost vicious in his fighting and Castiel knew he was drawing not only on what he'd been taught in his short time amongst their garrison but also his human memories and skills...memories very few knew he had. Castiel contented himself with watching his students back as they made their way to where the soul they searched for was. Then they both froze in horror as they came upon a rack...but it wasn't what they'd expected. There was no demon torturing the poor soul chained to it...there was a broken human soul.
Samuel looked at his teacher who nodded and moved to guard them, giving him space. He didn't know if he could do it, if he was still that person enough to get through to the broken soul before him but he had to try. He closed his eyes and drew his Grace inward, dimming it so that the souls he was approaching wouldn't be overwhelmed by his presence. He also sheathed his sword; he could not use it against this soul, even in self-defence. He took a deep breath, ignoring the stench of sulphur and fear and then took an audible step closer to the figures.
"Dean." He called gently and the soul spun around, snarling defensively, wicked blade held ready.
"Dean, it's alright. We're here to save you." Samuel soothed, taking a slow step forward again, praying that Dean would recognise him in some way and happy that Dean's eyes were still green, still human.
"It's me Dean." He whispered, pleading silently for him to recognise him and the hand holding the blade shook slightly even as Dean backed away slightly, confusion evident in his eyes. Dean stared at him and then slowly the blade fell from his hand even as his legs gave way under him and he collapsed to his hands and knees. Samuel moved closer and knelt nearby, knowing better than to touch him yet.
"Can you understand me Dean?"
"S...Sammy?" Came the hoarse reply and Samuel smiled at him.
"Yes Dean, I'm here." He answered but Dean pulled back, scrambling away.
"No. You're a trick! Sam can't be here." Dean snarled, reaching for his blade again but then Samuel wrapped a hand around his arm and Dean gasped, going limp as Samuel's Grace washed through him.
"Sammy? How?" Dean asked, eyes wide with fear, and Sam gently touched his face.
"I am sorry Dean. Go to Bobby, he'll help you." Samuel told him and then he pulled Dean with him as they left Hell behind. He felt Castiel's power merge with his to bring Dean back to life and then they watched, silent and invisible as Dean dug his way out of his own grave. Samuel looked at the smaller, dislodged cross that Dean didn't see and knew it was the marker for his own grave.
"Return to the garrison Samuel." Castiel ordered and Samuel took one last look at Dean before obeying.
"We're sorry, you have reached a number that has been disconnected-" He hung up and dialled another number from memory, glad that it rang.
"Yeah." A familiar voice answered and Dean slumped against the phone booths wall.
"It's me." Dean answered, swallowing to try and wet his throat; he should have drunk a bit more water.
"Who's 'me'?" Bobby asked and Dean frowned.
"Dean." He answered and then he was met with dial tone. He hung up and redialled the number.
"Who is this?" Bobby demanded and Dean closed his eyes.
"Bobby listen to me-" He pleaded but the hunter cut him off.
"This ain't funny, call again and I'll kill you-" Bobby snapped and then hung up again and Dean stared at the phone before slowly replacing it. He stepped away and looked around, smiling a little when he spotted an older car sitting nearby. He walked over and then went to work hotwiring it.
Bobby opened his door only to stare in shock at what looked like Dean Winchester standing on his porch.
"Surprise." The creature said, smiling weakly at him and Bobby slowly backed away, eyes wide. He should have known something would happen after those calls.
"I- I don't-" he stammered out and the creature shrugged, acting so much like Dean it made his heart hurt.
"Yeah, me neither." It answered, stepping inside and Bobby backed up further, needing to get to a weapon.
"But here I am."
Bobby finally backed into the hall table and grabbed the silver knife he'd left on it; swinging it at the monster that dared assume the appearance of a boy he'd considered a son. It deflected the attack and grabbed his hand but Bobby managed to throw it off him and towards the kitchen.
"Bobby! Bobby, it's me!" It pleaded and Bobby sneered at it.
"My ass!" He started towards it but it grabbed a nearby chair and used it as a shield, raising a hand towards him so Bobby paused.
"Whoa, whoa, whoa, wait! Your name is Robert Steven Singer, you became a hunter after your wife got possessed, and you're about the closest thing I have to a father...Bobby it's me." It pleaded desperately.
Bobby stared at with wide eyes and then lowered the knife, moving the chair aside as he approached before reaching out to see if it was solid. Once sure he lunged again but he ended up with hand pinned behind his back.
"Whoa! I am not a shape shifter!" it argued and Bobby felt a flicker of doubt, pined the way he was the creature could have taken the knife and killed him by now so why wait?
"Then you're a revenant." He forced himself to argue only to stumble as he was pushed away. He turned around to see the creature holding his knife but not aiming it at him.
"All right, if I was either, would I do this with a silver knife?" It asked, rolling up its sleeve and then slowly drawing the blade across its bicep. Bobby watched in amazement as warm, red human blood oozed out of the shallow wound.
"Dean?" He asked shakily, unable to believe his eyes and Dean grinned at him.
"That's what I've been trying to tell you." He answered, walking over and wrapping his arms around Bobby who hugged him back.
"It's- it's good to see you boy." Bobby said, moving back so he could get a good look at Dean.
"Yeah, you too."
"But how did you bust out?" Bobby suddenly realised that for Dean to be out and in one piece...he slowly began to reach for a nearby flask.
"I don't know, I just uh just woke up in a pine box-" Dean said as he put the knife down and then spluttered as he was hit by a face full of holy water. He turned his head and spat it out before looking at Bobby again.
"I'm not a demon either, you know." He said and Bobby shrugged, finally relaxing and truly believing it was Dean in front of him.
"Sorry, can't be too careful." Bobby said, still staring at Dean even as the younger man went to get a towel and dry off. How could he ever tell Dean what had happened since he'd died? Why bring him back and not...
"This don't make a lick of sense." He mumbled but was obviously loud enough for Dean to hear.
"Yeah, you're preaching to the choir." The last Winchester grumbled
"Dean, your chest was ribbons, your insides were slop, and you've been buried four months, even if you could slip out of hell and back into your meat suit-" Better to focus on that and ignore what he would eventually have to tell him.
"I know, I should look like a Thriller video reject."
"What do you remember?"
"Not much, I remember I was a Hellhound's chew toy, and then lights out, then I come to six feet under, that's was it." Dean explained and Bobby sat down behind his desk, confused and more than a little scared Dean would soon ask...
"Sam's number's not working, he's uh...he's not-?" Dean asked the one question Bobby never wanted to answer and he closed his eyes.
"Bobby?" Dean snapped and he opened his eyes to stare at Dean.
"I'm so sorry." He whispered and Dean went white.
"No...no." He whispered, legs buckling.
"Where is he? Where's Sammy?" He pleaded even as Bobby got up and moved to his side.
"I...he was next to you, you didn't see the second cross? I knew it was what he wanted." Bobby told him and Dean closed his eyes, tears leaking past the lids anyway.
"H...how? When?" He asked brokenly and Bobby sighed.
"We buried you, Sam insisted, and then he took off. Three days later I got a call, he still had me listed as an emergency contact. By the time I got there it was too late, he'd died a few hours earlier. He was torn up pretty badly but it wasn't hellhounds." Bobby added, knowing Dean needed to know Sam hadn't made a deal. He reached out and placed a hand on Dean's shoulder, surprised when he wasn't shrugged off and instead Dean actually seemed to lean into his hand slightly.
"I'm sorry Dean...I thought I'd lost you both. All I could do was bury him next to you." Bobby whispered and then tear filled green eyes looked at him.
"Why bring me back and not Sammy? I'd remember if he was in hell with me, wouldn't I?"
"I don't know kid. We need to find out what's going on Dean. I know a psychic, few hours from here. Something this big? Maybe she's heard the other side talking." Bobby said and Dean nodded.
"I'll call her; you should go grab a shower." Bobby got up and offered Dean a hand up, watching as the kid walked slowly towards the stairs.
"And Dean?" He called and Dean turned to look at him.
"Don't do anything dumb."
"Ha ha ha, Bobby! Ugh!" Dean watched as the woman grabbed Bobby in a bear hug, actually lifting him off the ground.
"You're a sight for sore eyes." Bobby told her and she turned to look at Dean who fidgeted slightly.
"So, is this him?" She asked and Bobby nodded.
"Dean, Pamela Barnes, best damn psychic in the state." Bobby introduced and Dean nodded.
"Hey." He said quietly.
"Mm-mm-mmm." She answered, eyeing him and making it pretty obvious she was checking him out. What worried Bobby was that Dean didn't seem to care.
"Dean Winchester, out of the fire and back in the frying pan huh? That makes you a rare individual."
"If you say so." He answered flatly.
"Come on in." She headed inside and they followed.
"So, you hear anything?" Bobby asked as Pamela closed the door.
"Well, I Ouija-ed my way through a dozen spirits. No one seems to know who broke your boy out or why." She answered, heading deeper into the house.
"So what's next?"
"A séance I think. See if we can see who did the deed." Pamela grinned at them and Bobby stared at her.
"You're not gonna summon the damn thing here?" He demanded and she rolled her eyes.
"No, I just wanna get a sneak peek at it, like a crystal ball without the crystal." She answered and then she got to work setting everything up. By the time it was done the sun was beginning to set. They sat at the table and waited for instructions.
"Right, take each other's hands. And I need to touch something our mystery monster touched."
She said and then Dean jumped, kicking the table.
"Whoa! Well, he didn't touch me there!" He yelped and Pamela laughed.
"My mistake." She said and Bobby actually snickered. Dean slipped his arm out of his long sleeved shirt and pulled up the t-shirt sleeve to reveal the perfect hand shaped burn.
"Okay." Pamela put her hand over the print and began to chant.
"I invoke, conjure and command you, appear unto me before this circle. I invoke, conjure and command you, appear unto me before this circle." Dean opened an eye and looked at her as she continued.
"I invoke, conjure and command you, appear unto me before this circle." The TV clicked on to show static and Dean stared at it.
"I invoke, conjure and command you- Castiel? No, sorry Castiel I don't scare easy." A breeze moved the candle flames and the table began to shake slightly.
"Castiel?" Dean asked.
"Its name, it's whispering to me, warning me to turn back. I conjure and command you, show me your face." The table began to shake more and Dean squeezed his eyes shut.
"I conjure and command you, show me your face." Bobby opened his eyes and looked around briefly, getting worried.
"I conjure and command you, show me your face."
"Maybe we should stop." Bobby suggested but Pamela shook her head.
"I almost got it, I command you, show me your face, show me your face now!" and then she was screaming as the candle flames leapt up almost to the ceiling and her eyes filled with a bright white light. Blood began to run from her eyes even as she fell backwards out fo her chair.
"Call 911!" Bobby demanded and Dean scrambled for the phone.
"I can't see, I can't see-" She moaned as Dean finally got onto the emergency operator.
"Yes, we have an emergency- Water Street, we need an ambulance, please hurry-"
Dean watched as Bobby spray painted a symbol on the floor in white paint finished the nice collection of traps, protective and binding symbols around the barns interior.
"That's a hell of an art project you got going there." Dean commented as he went back to sorting the weapons.
"Traps and talismans from every faith on the globe. How you doing?"
"Stakes, iron, silver, salt, knife, I mean, we're pretty much set to catch and kill anything I've ever heard of." Dean answered with a small grin.
"This is still a bad idea."
"Yeah, Bobby, I heard you the first ten times, what do you say we ring the dinner bell?" Bobby just stared at him but then went over to the other table and began the ritual.
"It's not your fault." Samuel said and Castiel nodded, watching as the doctors continued to tend to the psychic. They both tensed as they felt the summoning and Samuel sighed.
"I actually though it would happen sooner."
"Meet me there."
"Yes sir." With that Samuel left. Castiel had already gained a permanent vessel but Samuel was going to get a temporary one. The only reason it would work was even though he had been changed at the core he was still the same being.
Bobby sat on the table swinging his foot, whistling softly and waiting for whatever pulled Dean out of hell to show up, with a shotgun in his lap. Dean was sitting across from him on the other table, holding Ruby's knife.
"You sure you did the ritual right?" Dean eventually asked and Bobby just looked at him.
"Sorry, touchy, touchy huh?" He put the knife down and rubbed at his eyes only to freeze as the wind picked up and the barn began to rattle, the metal sheeting on the roof banging up and down against the wooden beams. They both stood and stared at the doors.
"Wishful thinking, but maybe it's just the wind." Dean said and then instinctively ducked as all of the light bulbs exploded overhead. The doors slammed open, breaking the wooden 2x4 that had been used to keep them shut. They backed up and aimed their guns as two figures walked into the barn, as they got closer the hunters opened fire but nothing stopped them.
Dean's eyes went wide and then gun slipped from suddenly numb hands as he got a good look at the taller figure. It wasn't possible...Bobby had promised him he was dead and yet...
"Sam?" Dean choked out and hazel eyes locked onto him. He almost relaxed but there was something not quite right. Why hadn't Sam said anything? Not to mention he'd shrugged off all their bullets. Dean shook his head and stepped back.
"No. Get out of him!" He screamed, pulling Ruby's knife and lunging forward only to be intercepted by the second male. He rammed the knife into his heart and then froze as nothing happened.
"Dean!" Bobby yelled, reloading as fast as he could as the one that looked like Sam moved closer to him. He raised the gun again but a strong hand grabbed it and pushed it aside, leaving Bobby to stare up at Sam in horror. Sam reached out and placed his fingers against Bobby's head and the hunters eyes began to slip shut. Just before he passed out though he heard the soft whisper of a familiar voice saying sorry.
"Who are you?" Dean snarled in rage as he watched Bobby collapse.
"We're the ones who gripped you tight and raised you from Perdition." The shorter male answered.
"Yeah, thanks for that." Dean snarked and he saw the one that looked like Sam smile slightly. The sight had him fighting the urge to scream or cry, he wasn't sure which.
"We need to talk Dean...alone." The shorter one stated even as the Sam look-alike stepped away from Bobby's prone form. Dean approached cautiously and then knelt beside Bobby, checking him over.
"Your friend's alive."
"Who are you?" Dean demanded angrily, standing to face them and forcing himself not to look at the one that looked like his dead brother.
"Castiel. This is Samuel." Was the answer and Dean fought down an angry response at the use of his brothers full name.
"Yeah, I figured that much, I mean what are you?"
"We are angels of the Lord." Castiel answered and Dean snorted.
"Get the hell outta here, there's no such thing."
"This is your problem Dean, you have no faith." Castiel stated and then lightning cracked and when it lit up the barn it showed the shadows of huge wings extending from both men's backs. Dean watched in shock and then lightning stopped as suddenly as it started.
"Some angel you are, you burned out that poor woman's eyes." Dean snapped, since the look-alike hadn't spoken he would ignore it for as long as possible. Castiel sighed and looked down and then looked at his companion when a gentle hand was laid on his shoulder.
"I warned her not to spy on my true form, it can be...overwhelming to humans, and so can my real voice, but you already knew that."
"You mean the gas station. That was you talking?" Dean demanded and Castiel nodded.
"Buddy, next time lower the volume." That comment got a reaction from Samuel who chuckled softly and it sounded like Sam.
"It was my mistake, certain people, special people can perceive my true visage, I thought you would be one of them, I was wrong."
"And what visage are you in now, huh? What holy tax accountant?" Dean snapped, wishing Bobby had salted and burnt their bodies since obviously Sam's was being possessed by some freaky angel thing.
"This- this is a vessel"
"You're possessing some poor bastard? And you..." He trailed off unable to finish.
"He's a devout man, he actually prayed for this." Castiel answered before looking at his companion who took a step closer to Dean but he stepped back and hazel eyes lowered to gaze at the floor.
"Look, pal, I'm not buying what you're selling, so who are you two, really?" Dean demanded.
"I told you."
"Right, and why would an angel rescue me from hell? If anyone deserved coming back it was Sam, not me."
"Good things do happen, Dean." Castiel pushed.
"Not in my experience. And get out of my brother!" He finally snapped.
"Dean please, hear us out." Samuel finally spoke and Dean snarled at the sound of his brothers' voice...but it wasn't quite right. It was...empty somehow. You could always tell what Sam was feeling just from the tone of his voice but now there was nothing.
"What's the matter? You don't think you deserve to be saved." Castiel frowned and Samuel nodded, knowing Castiel had guessed right.
"Why'd you do it?" Dean demanded to know.
"Because God commanded it." Dean clenched his jaw angrily and just stared at them.
"Because we have work for you." Dean's look morphed to confusion for a second at that before going back to anger.
"Did he command you to dig my brother up and use his body?" He snarled and Castiel stepped back, knowing Samuel had to do it alone.
"Dean I know this I shard but it's me. It's Sam."
"My brother's dead!"
"I know, I died...again and I know I'm different, it is part of being an angel now. But it is me Dean." Samuel moved slowly closer and then reached out to put his hand over the mark on Dean's arm and Dean froze, his brother's hand fit the mark perfectly.
"I was the one holding onto you for the trip out. Don't you remember?"
"I don't remember anything between the hounds and waking up in a pine box." Was the shaky answer and both angels frowned.
"I...I can't believe you. I can't." Dean whispered and Samuel just smiled at him sadly.
"Samuel take the hunter back to his home, I'll talk to Dean alone." Castiel said and Samuel looked at him before nodding and releasing Dean's arm.
"I won't hurt Bobby Dean." He promised before walking over to the unconscious hunter and then the two of them vanished.
"He is your brother Dean. He was found in Heaven shortly after your death and was offered something very few human souls are offered, the chance to become an angel. He took it because it meant being able to help you. But the process changes the soul as I know you've noticed. He still has all his memories, despite what many of the others believe. However there are several important differences between angels and humans." Castiel explained softly. Samuel had warned them Dean wouldn't believe it was him before he had been changed and had begged Castiel to be gentle in explaining what had happened. He had agreed.
"Like what?" Dean asked nervously.
"Humans have free will, we do not. We also do not feel things the same way you do. Samuel loves you, such a new angel should never have been near hell and yet he went for you. But it is different to how it was before he was changed."
"I...how can this be true?" Dean choked and Castiel laid a hand on his forehead, showing him his first meeting with Sam in Heaven and Sam's agreement to become one of them. When he stepped back Dean swayed and grabbed onto the table.
"Sammy." He whispered.
"You cannot call him that. There are things in motion...no one can know he was Samuel Winchester. He was allowed to use his body for this meeting, to try and comfort you. But he will have to find a true vessel now. It may not look like him, I do not know but it will still be him. Only behind very powerful protections will he be able to talk to you as your brother. At all other times he must simply be the one who saved you." Castiel warned him and Dean nodded slowly. It was a lot to take in and he still wasn't positive he believed it all but if he really was Sam, an angelic Sam, but still Sam...
"Can I talk to him again?" Dean asked and Castiel nodded.
"I will call him back; the protections on this barn are enough to hide what is happening. I will watch over your friend." With that Castiel vanished and Samuel reappeared.
"Sammy? Is it really you?" Dean asked and Sam nodded. Dean moved closer and Sam let him.
"Can...can I..." He reached out hesitantly and Sam moved closer. Dean's hand landed on Sam's shoulder and it was warm, as if the body was still alive. Dean fought back a sob and wrapped his arms around his brother. He felt Sam stiffen but then slowly return the embrace. Dean pulled back and wiped at his eyes, embarrassed but Sam stayed quiet.
"What happened? How did you...die? Bobby didn't know." Dean said and Sam moved to lean lightly against the table.
"I went after Lilith, looking for revenge. Instead a found a large group of demons. I remember killing a few and then pain. Then I was in Heaven." He explained and Dean closed his eyes.
"Damn it Sammy, you knew better than to go after her." Dean whispered and the angel nodded.
"Why...why don't I remember hell?"
"We don't know. It's very possible that you do but are suppressing the memories for now. Or the human brain simply can't deal with such things." Sam answered and Dean was glad to see there was concern for him in Sam's eyes.
"Castiel said you can't use...you have to get a different vessel...the person..."
"It's not like demonic possession Dean, I promise." Sam told him and Dean nodded, believing him because Sam had promised.
"The person will be asleep, he won't be aware of what is happening and any wounds gained will be healed. When I eventually leave them they will go back to their life." Sam explained and Dean relaxed, happy that angels looked after the bodies they used.
"So what'll happen to your, this?" Dean couldn't make himself say it but Sam understood.
"Placed back in the grave with extra protections to keep anyone else from using it. I know you'd be more comfortable with this but it would let everyone know who I am."
"I understand." Dean whispered and then moved in closer again. He reached up to thread his fingers through Sam's hair and then brushed his lips against Sam's. They were as soft as Dean remembered but there was one big difference...Sam didn't respond and when Dean pulled back there was something in Sam's eyes...not pity but something Dean couldn't name.
"I can't Dean. I don't...I remember but, I am sorry Dean. I love you Dean but it can never be that way." Sam reached out and gently touched Dean's face before moving away. Dean stared at the floor, feeling like his heart had been torn out...again. Why bring him back when there was nothing left for him? Sam, his Sam, was an angel now so they couldn't even be brothers let alone lovers anymore.
"Why? Why bring me back to this?" Dean pleaded and Sam half reached out to him before letting his hand drop.
"Because you're needed. Agreeing to this was the only way to see you again, to be able to help you in any way." Sam told him and Dean turned his back on him.
"Does it even hurt?" He barely whispered and Sam let his hand rest on Dean's shoulder for a second.
"I am sorry." With that Sam was gone.