Here is the next chapter, finally. It includes a spoiler for 'Dark Side of the Moon'. Some of my friends, you know who you are, where talking about how out of character it was that Walt and Roy caught our boys so completely off guard. So I couldn't resist throwing this in. Hope you'll like it! Hugs, Vonnie


Chapter 13

Castiel took in the sight of the elder Winchester holding his baby brother gently but nonetheless protectively and of Bobby, who moved closer, radiating an air of love and determination. The angel's mind wandered back to his involvement in the transformation of Sam Winchester into Baby Sammy.

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The moment he heard Death calling out for help, Castiel zapped himself to the exact location from which the call came. He didn't stop for even a second to check the location he was going to or what exactly was going on, because if Death needed help then he needed it right now and couldn't wait for even the tiniest moment. When he materialized in front of the horseman, he realized several things. First, that he was in Bobby Singer's panic room and second, that Sam Winchester was chained to the cot in the middle of the room, his body jerking in convulsions while Death was trying to hold him down.

Although there was little doubt in the angel's mind about what had happened here, he still asked, "What have you done?"

The usually emotionless creature actually looked distressed when he answered, "The wall…no matter what I do, it won't hold…" With that, he stood and disappeared from sight.

Castiel sighed. He knew this would happen. He had even tried to warn Dean Winchester, despite having known that nothing would be able to keep his friend from trying to bring his baby brother back.

It didn't give him any satisfaction to realize that he'd been right; instead it filled him with a deep, almost overwhelming sadness. Somewhere deep inside, he had still held out hope for Sam, but now, looking at the younger Winchester seizing violently and listening to Death's confession that he failed…

No, there had to be something he could do. Taking a few resolute steps toward the cot, he leaned down and pushed his hand into Sam's chest. Almost instantaneously, images so horrific filled his mind that he instinctively pulled away. Stumbling backwards until he was leaning against the wall, he stood motionless, his mind reeling from the unimaginable he had just glimpsed at. If he was unable to take even only a moment of it, then how could Sam?

Still unsure of what to do, he knew he couldn't allow his friend to suffer any longer. Once more stepping forward, he reached out again, this time touching his hand to Sam's forehead. Instantly, the jerking stopped and eyes, which only moments ago had stared sightlessly into space, glassed over and closed. For the smallest part of a second, Castiel allowed himself to watch the tortured grimace on Sam's face change into an expression of complete peace, before he pushed his arms underneath his upper back and knees. His angelic strength allowed him to pick up the much taller man with as much ease as he would have picked up an infant, making his shackles fall off as if they never had been locked. Without delay, he disappeared from the panic room.

Reappearing only moments later in a realm that was beyond earth, yet not quite heaven, he gently put his precious burden down in the luscious green grass. As he kneeled down beside Sam, it occurred to him for the first time that putting his friend into a deathlike state might have been the right thing to do, but that it still didn't bring him any closer to a solution. In reality, he knew that this state would give him only a very short time, namely two hours in human time, to find a way to save the youngest Winchesters sanity and prevent him from dying permanently. And like so many times in the recent past, Castiel realized that his powers, although given by God, were very inferior to the ones of his creator.

In his desperation, he cried out to his father, his voice almost breaking from the pain he felt over failing the two humans that not just stood up for him, but also saved his life more than once.

"Father…" He paused to steady his voice, "I...I don't know if you are listening or if you even want to hear me, but if you do, please save this human. Please save Sam Winchester. Sure he messed up and went down a dark road, but he didn't just die, he willingly jumped into the cage to make up for it."

Again he stopped, this time to wipe the tears off his face, before he continued, "Please, I can't save him, I need your help…"

Letting his head hang and his eyes close, he sat and waited. God hadn't shown himself for so long, he wasn't sure the Creator was going to do it now. The changes seemed stacked impossibly high against him, yet somehow the angel hung on to the thinnest thread of hope.

The minutes ticked by without anything happening. After most of the time the youngest Winchester had left had run out, it seemed pretty obvious that no miracle was forthcoming, and yet Castiel didn't move. If asked, he couldn't have said for sure if he really still held out hope or if he just stayed that way because he resigned himself to the fact that nothing was going to save his friend.

Lost in the pain and grief for not just Sam, but Dean also, it took him a moment to realize he saw a light even through his closed lids. Overcome by the radiance of the light, he kept his eyes closed, the warmth and brilliance of it leaving him without doubt about what its source was. It almost seemed like time stood still, yet it didn't matter, as the peace and contentment he experienced superseded any other need he had felt before. When the light finally dissipated, he felt a loss that was almost painful, yet he also felt better than he had in a long time. Even before he opened his eyes, the angel knew what he was going to find. It was like he had always known, because it was the only solution that would not completely devastate Dean Winchester.

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A smile appeared at Castiel's face, when he finally started to speak, "When Death returned Sam's soul into his body he tried to put up a wall to protect him from the memories of hell and being soulless, yet it wouldn't hold. Without intervention, he would have become a mere shadow of who he used to be, his life being reduced to vegetating because of his mind being unable to cope with the horror of what he experienced. The only way for him to be complete again was to die."

The angel paused and looked at the two men in front of him, well seeing the impact his words had on them.

"I was praying for another option, but I really didn't hold out too much hope. It was at that moment when God himself intervened."

"God…?" Dean spoke up, the expressions on his face showing disbelief and astonishment.

"Yes, my father is the one that changed Sam, because it was the only way to keep not only his body alive."

"I still don't understand…" Bobby started.

"You will." The angel assured him, "When a human goes to heaven, he or she is given a new body. His or her memories of the life before are still there, but the joy of this new life and the perfection of heaven will take away the burden of whatever happened."

"Wait…" This time it was Dean who interrupted, "that's not the heaven we got to see!"

The angel gazed at him with sadness in his eyes, "I know, but what you saw was not the real heaven; it was the version Zachariah and his followers wanted you to see. Did you ever wonder about why it was so easy for Walt and Roy to get into your room without either you or Sam knowing it and not just catch you off guard but shoot you? It took quite a bit of angelic intervention to get that one done. Getting you into this douche bag version of heaven took very careful planning, as it was another step in leading you down the path to make you cave in and say yes to Michael. Sadly, I didn't find out about it until afterwards."

The older Winchester nodded, not really surprised by the revelation. He had come to the conclusion that he had been had quite some time ago, although he never suspected they had gone this far.

Cas observed his friend for a moment, making sure he was alright, before he continued, "Returning Sam's body to the stage of a newborn was the only way to make the same thing happen without taking him to heaven. The only difference is that his life and his environment are missing the perfection of heaven."

It took a moment for the two men to digest what they had just heard. After a few minutes, Bobby broke the silence.

"So little Sammy remembers?"

"He does and yet he doesn't. His experiences of hell are too far removed to touch or burden him, so is his soulless time. The things that made Sam who he was though, are still there, he just can't consciously recall them and never will, at least not as long as he is alive. As he grows up, you will see in the way how he responds to situations and how he acts in general that he is completely Sam."

"Can't say I don't miss my brother!" Dean wasn't looking at either the angel or his surrogate father, instead his eyes were on the baby in his arms, "We went through so much together and I think just before he jumped into the cage I finally started to see him as not just my little brother and best friend, but also as the man he has become." Pinching the bridge of his nose he finally looked up, a lone tear running down his cheek, "Damn, this is just so hard!"

He paused as his attention got directed to Sammy, who started to squirm and make some whimpering sounds. Rocking him and tenderly stroking the chubby cheeks, he was rewarded when the dark eyes opened and a smile appeared on the infant's face. Reaching up, his little hand touched Dean's tearstained cheek, an expression close to concern crossing his face, which was almost immediately wiped away when the older brother returned the look with one of reassurance.

It was at that very moment that Dean realized that he really didn't need the explanation Castiel just gave him. He had known all along that infant Sammy was still 'his' Sammy. Didn't matter how much he missed having his adult little brother around, how much he wanted to tap into his sometimes scary intelligence or just share a beer with him while sitting on the hood of the Impala, all he had to do was look at the little guy in his arms and he knew that Sammy was right where he belonged – with him.

The next time he looked up, a smile lit up his face, "I suppose this isn't what I wanted, but to be honest, if given the option, I would have picked being with Sammy like this over any of the other choices. Guess I'm getting used to being his father rather than his big brother."

"Yeah well, the way I see it, you've been that boy's daddy more than John anyway." Bobby grumbled, "Don't get me wrong, your father did the best he could, but you were always the one Sammy listened to and who did everything the kid needed."

Dean opened his mouth, but closed it again when he noted the look of concentration and the crinkling lines on Sammy's forehead. Instead, he sniffed and wrinkled his nose before pinching it shut with the thumb and index finger of his right hand.

"Guess nothing has changed then, because I'm still the one who gives the kid what he needs, which right now is a clean diaper!"

Getting up with the baby in his arms, he grinned, "Whoa Sammy, you still now how to make a big stink, don't you?"

"Gaaa daaa brrrp…" The energetic outburst was followed by joyful laughter.

"Yep, just laugh it up; wait until I make you change my diaper!"

This time the laughter came not just from the baby, but also from Bobby, while Castiel wore an expression of utter confusion. It was obvious the angel was taking the playful threat serious and didn't know what to make of it.

"What d'you say the two of us go upstairs and leave grandpa here to explain things to Uncle Cas?" The father/brother smirked over his shoulder, while carrying Sammy upstairs.

Still wearing the same confusion on his face as before, the heavenly warrior looked at the older man for help, "Is he really going to make Sammy change his diaper? And since when is he wearing them anyway? I thought only babies did that."

Bobby bit his lip to hold back from laughing, "No yah idjit, he was joking! You know, making fun, teasing, call it whatever you want, it's all the same."

"Oh…!" Castiel thought for a moment, coming to the conclusion he would never completely understand human behavior, especially not if those humans were Winchesters.

"Doesn't matter," He said almost to himself, "it seems to me the important thing is that Dean appears to be okay with what happened to Sam."

"Like he said, given the options…" Bobby paused, before continuing, "At least we have him around and can look forward to seeing him grow up again. Maybe Sammy isn't the only one who gets a chance to start over again?"

A satisfied smile appeared on the angel's face as he held a silent exchange with his Father. Sometimes being an angel had some special benefits.

TBC


Note from your favoritest editor ever: Well, I remember talking some of this stuff over with my dear mother. Let me tell you, the ideas came out better here than I thought. I was a bit worried when God came up, seeing as he was silent throughout the whole of the show. Either way, I enjoyed it so I hope you all will too. With love and cake, Shelby.