AUTHOR'S NOTES: I. Can't Wait! for the next episode of 'Supernatural'! Wow! I'm hoping to wrap this story up shortly as it won't have that many chapters and the next chappie of 'And Fi Makes Three' is in the works.

STORY SUMMARY: Castiel gets the 'Christmas Carol' treatment but he doesn't believe that he deserved the second chance he's been given. But even when he learns the cost of his actions, is it too late to do anything about it?

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It was a myth that angels never sleep.

Not necessarily sleep the way humans think of, but rather a deep meditative state in which angels allow their grace to recharge.

It had been a long time since Castiel had been in this state but not only was that because of the civil war in Heaven, but because he was unable to quiet his mind sufficiently to achieve it.

It was in his desperation to gain some rest that Castiel resorted to imbibing copious quantities of alcohol one night.

Whiskey was first, followed by scotch, and lastly was bourbon—Cas had learned last time that vodka and gin were to be avoided.

But to his surprise, Castiel didn't find himself in his usual meditative state after his over indulgence.

Rather, he was sitting in an old roadhouse at a bar along with three people he knew to be dead.

Mary Winchester looked annoyed and she kept shooting glares at Castiel and her father, Samuel Campbell, who looked a bit like a whipped dog as he sat with his daughter and son-in-law.

Only John Winchester gave the angel something approaching a sympathetic look.

"What am I doing here?" Castiel asked, thoroughly confused.

"You're here because we need to talk," Mary replied, shortly.

"You need to talk to him," Samuel corrected, gruffly. "I've got nothing to say to him."

Mary glared at her father and replied, "You and Castiel are two peas in a pod."

"Neither of us are vegetables," Castiel pointed out, obviously.

Mary frowned at that and she looked stubbornly from her father to the angel who was supposed to be watching over her sons. "No, but you might as well be for all that you listen to others."

"Hey, you made a deal with a demon, too," Samuel snapped, pointing out his daughter's error in judgment.

"And so did I," John threw in, defending his wife. "As did Dean. But we did it to save our family. You just wanted Mary back."

Feeling even more perplexed, Castiel asked, "What does this have to do with me?"

Mary held out her right arm and pushed up the sleeve of the shirt she wore. On her forearm was a dark, red mark, like a brand. It looked like the links of a chain. "You have one, too," she said, nodding at Castiel's arm. "It's the mark of one who's made a deal with demons."

Castiel stood, taking a step back as he saw the identical brands on John and Samuel's arms. Without even looking at his own arm, he could feel the mark burning as if someone was standing right next to him, pressing a red-hot brand to his skin. But slowly, he pushed up his sleeves, and after a long hesitation, he looked down at his own mark, noticing that it wasn't nearly as prominent as the others'.

"It's not as strong because you haven't lost everything yet," John explained. "You can still save yourself."

"Save myself from what?" Castiel snapped, not sure what all this was about.

"John sold his soul and went to Hell," Samuel said, feeling a bit pissed off that this angel still wasn't getting it. "Mary lost her life because of the deal she made. Me? My own grandson killed me because he didn't trust me." Frowning, he added, "I made mistakes with Sam and Dean. I know that. If I'd treated them more like family, maybe…"

"I think it is safe to say that it is too late for that," Castiel pointed out.

"But it's not too late for you," Samuel pressed. "Those boys think of you as a friend. And I know you think of them the same way."

"It's too late," Castiel sighed, his resolve fading.

"No, it's not," John said, encouragingly. "You can stop this and still win your war."

But Castiel didn't believe it. There was a list as long as his true form of the unforgivable things he'd done. He'd betrayed Sam and Dean's trust nearly a dozen times and he'd lied to them about his activities. How? How in this world—in Heaven—could he possible have yet another chance?

"You'll be visited by three spirits," Mary went on. "To show you your past, present, and future. Listen to them. Learn the lessons they teach you."

Castiel said nothing at John and Mary Winchester vanished along with Samuel Campbell.

A/N: Spoiler for the season finale in Entertainment Weekly magazine! If you want to know, ask.