Disclaimer: Supernatural belongs to Erik Kripke, Warner Brothers and quite possibly others who are not mentioned here. No money will be made from this fan fiction.
Summary: When Dean goes to sell his soul at the crossroads to bring Sam back, someone else steps in to negotiate the deal. Cas did get a sign and it sent him off into the past to change things. AU from The Man Who Would be King and All Hell Breaks Loose.
It's All in the Details
Rachel stood at attention in front of Zachariah's desk. To be honest, neither of them actually had bodies and there was no furniture, but the best human analogue for the meeting was a plush corner office, where Zachariah lounged behind a power desk.
"He protected the abomination and said he'd kill you if you followed?"
The angel opened her mouth to correct her superior, then snapped it shut and nodded. She didn't know why she was… not lying exactly, but leaving out some information. Perhaps, because she didn't understand what had happened herself. Why would he say 'again?'
She set the thought aside. It would only confuse her and Zachariah would be quick to notice. "I will start searching for him immediately."
"No." Zachariah attempted a kindly, fatherly expression. Instead, it just came off smarmy and superior. "Return to your normal duties. Castiel and the abomination will be dealt with by… others."
Rachel bowed her head and took her leave. A rustle of movement behind Zachariah had him turning to look at his… well, she wasn't exactly a superior, but as she answered only to the archangels, she wasn't exactly a contemporary.
Whatever she was, she always felt like a threat. He was just never sure if the danger was to his position or his very existence.
"My people will deal with this problem." He told her. "Castiel will be found, questioned and re-educated." Who knew what the angel had spilled to the humans, if he was going around saving fallen angels.
"No," the woman told him. "He's our problem. Personally, I thought the last time we had him wiped we should have terminated him. There's always been something wrong with him. Perhaps this time, Michael will agree."
Zachariah fought off a shudder. Naomi always had been a cold bitch. While he took great pride and even enjoyment in re-educating straying angels back to the straight and narrow, Naomi's methods… This time he did shudder. Thankfully, he'd never had a session with her. Still, from what he heard, he thought he'd one day find that Alistair was getting torture tips from her. The angels she brought back in line tended to creep him out, as if something more than just emotions were missing from them.
Come to think of it, Castiel was much like that the last century or two. He should have known he'd been through Naomi's grind wheel. It wasn't until the Winchesters came along that he'd loosened up.
"Have your people focus on finding the abomination. I'll deal with Castiel." She smiled a very small smile. "And perhaps the Winchesters as well."
Anna paced back and forth in the New York loft (Dean suggested it, as the California home once played temporary prison to a still active Cross Roads Demon). Castiel delivered her there, informing her before he left that her that her parents were asleep in the master bedroom and would awaken in an hour.
She glanced down at the vial of grace in her hand. She had until then to decide to become an angel once more and erase their memories of her, or stay human and…
"You would think that with all that millennia of knowledge, angels could learn to stop thinking in absolutes."
She spun around, to find a man with a joker's grin on his face, smiling at her.
"Think about it toots. It doesn't always have to be all or nothing."
"Who are you?" Even as she asked it, she thought she ought to know.
She frowned, something telling her that that wasn't… well it wasn't wrong, but it wasn't right either.
"Looking for Cas, you seen him?"
The man sighed. "Nobody trusts anybody anymore." He gave her a smirk. "Probably a good thing, for now anyway." His smile widened at her annoyed look and he chuckled.
"Cas is a friend. One I pass on interesting bits of information to. Heard something recently that he needs to know."
Normally, finding the little angle was a snap, for him anyway. However, since pulling Anna's butt out of the fire, Castiel was pumping extra power into his wards, thereby obscuring his trail. Gabriel was forced to go bouncing from safe house to safe house and any other place Cas tended to hang out, because he really needed to talk to his younger brother.
Angel radio ran far and wide, but there were 'secret' channels, so to speak. Ones used mostly by archangels and the 'security' department. Gabriel still had access to them, though he didn't listen in very often. Wouldn't do to go and get noticed. But since this whole mess started, he did sneak a listen from time to time.
"Cas' little stunt with you has some serious panties in a twist. More than he might suspect. I just want to give him a heads up on that."
"He's been declared fallen." Anna felt sick at the thought. She believed it the right choice for her, but she didn't want to be the cause of another angel's fall, no matter how much she thought they all needed to open their eyes and see what was happening.
Gabriel snorted, but didn't say anything. They could declare it all they wanted, it still wouldn't make it so. Given that Castiel's current assignment came straight from Dad, the only way Cas would truly be fallen was if God himself said it was so.
He just prayed Cas was right about the backdoor power taps into Heaven. He knew it was possible, he'd used them himself a time or two, but there wasn't as much happening back then. With the upcoming apocalypse, they might start guarding the borders better than they use to.
Hopefully the Winchester's friend Ash, knew what he was talking about when he helped Cas set it up.
He gave his head a sharp shake. None of that mattered right now. What mattered was Cas in the path of Heaven's own SS interrogation and brainwashing team. Zachariah's re-education camp was a picnic next to them.
What Raphael and Michael were smoking the day they came up with the idea of Naomi and her band of merry sadists he didn't know. He just knew they were another good reason to have left Heaven when he did.
Uriel, as a new Archangel, had somewhat limited access to the upper information channels, but he heard enough to know Castiel was in some serious trouble.
Odd, at one time he was certain hunting down Castiel and showing him the errors of his ways would have been his first thought. Instead, he found himself wondering how to warn him.
The prophet, who had been quiet most of the day, began humming a tune that could only be called cheerful. Uriel shook his head, the action aimed at himself. He still felt humans were beneath angels. Surely, looking after the prophet should have emphasized that. The man was slovenly, lascivious, and often drunk. Yet, instead of being disgusted, he found himself filled with tolerance and even benign amusement when it came to the prophet.
He knew prophets were to be protected, but this was the first time in centuries he truly felt he was doing God's work. That their Father would want him here, and was happy with him.
Almost forgotten now was the mad plan that had been eating into his mind. He had to wonder at himself for even considering an attempt to recruit other angels to free Lucifer.
If the apocalypse was upon them, then it would happen as Father wished it. He would not take steps to interfere with that. However, if now was not the time, he would not rush to make it happen.
The prophet's humming became even more cheerful. He must be having a good day.
"Dumb ass idjits. You've played enough fake Feds to know to check up on the ones you meet in the field. Especially when you might be dealing with something that can change its shape. Only took me one call to figure out Agent Nick Munroe wasn't real.
Both banged up brothers gave the older hunter a sheepish look. The Siren had gotten into their heads and managed to pull off a knock down, drag out fistfight between the two brothers. They'd said things to each other they weren't happy about. Nothing time wouldn't fix, but they'd be uncomfortable with each other for a while.
At least there weren't any big secrets sitting between them, like there had been in the past.
"Well, at least he… she… whatever, couldn't hook in hard enough to get us to really try and kill each other." Dean did have a knife early on in the fight, but he'd dropped it in favour of his fists. Thankfully, Bobby picked it up. Dean couldn't say he appreciated the older hunter cutting him, but his blood needed to be on the blade to take the Siren out and he'd have liked trading a few more punches with Sam even less.
Bobby shook his head at them one last time. "By the way, as you might remember, me and Rufus have been going over the Prophet's work. Both the should have beens and the nows."
Both brothers shrugged. "Yeah?"
"Yeah, so I was wondering if you wanted to know who Loki really is?"
Castiel thought over where they were in the new timeline as opposed to the previous one. With no seals currently being broken, no one was attempting to kidnap and sacrifice two reapers. Uriel appeared busy with his new duties and if that should change, Castiel had spoken to the first two angels who were originally killed for refusing to join in freeing Lucifer. He did not named Uriel, only told them that if an angel should approach to enlist them in an endeavour they knew to be wrong, to fake their agreement with that angel, then come to him or the Winchesters for help.
He'd named the Winchesters, because even then he knew Heaven would eventually declare him fallen. It was too big of an event in his personal timeline and letting it occur would hopefully give him some wiggle room when it came to other, more important matters.
The only other thing he remembered as pressing, was the Sandover Bridge & Iron Company haunting. He'd passed it on to Bobby, who passed it on to a hunter he trusted in the area, so the boys wouldn't have to become involved with it at all.
Everything else was… tidy. The Winchesters knew about the prophet, even if they hadn't met him face to face. The only other big, personal thing of importance left to deal with was…
Was him being grabbed and re-educated. The way time kept reacting to being reordered, brought him to the decision to let the attempt occur. That was why he'd left his safe houses, thinned his wards and was standing in an abandoned factory, broadcasting his existence to Heaven.
He turned to find an angel he… didn't believe he'd ever met before. With her were two other angels he'd seen around, but didn't know well.
They were not who came for him originally.
He suspected he may have miscalculated just how annoyed time was with him.
Jimmy Novak staggered his way to a phone booth. Searching his pockets, he pulled out a fistful of change and plugged it into the phone. After a moment to rack his memory, he dialled.
He almost sobbed when someone picked up on the second ring.
With a creak, Sam and Dean opened the Impala's doors and looked over the diner.
"Think he's here?" Sam asked.
Dean shrugged. "Should be. I told him to call a cab and meet us here." He shrugged again at Sam's questioning glance. "He was freaking out and it was the only place I could remember from the last time we were through here."
Sam snorted and shook his head. To him, these places blended together until they were almost like one. Dean on the other hand, could probably tell you the idiosyncrasies of every diner they'd ever visited.
They walked in to find 'Cas' sitting at a table, two stacked empty plates beside him and a third with burger and fries in front of him. Off in the back the wait staff and cook were staring at him and shaking their heads.
Novak swallowed and stood, holding out a hand. He shook with each of them.
"Dean, Sam. Nice to meet you. Again." He sat down and indicated the chairs beside him. "The cheese burgers are wonderful." That said, he picked up the one on his plate and bit into it.
They paused while the waitress came over and took their orders. Dean went for the cheeseburger, Sam ordered the chef salad and Jimmy asked for another burger, hold the French fries.
The waitress looked vaguely ill at the last order, but said nothing. She jut nodded, collected the empty plates and took their orders to the kitchen.
"Hungry much?" Dean asked.
Jimmy shrugged. "Cas doesn't generally eat. Doesn't need to, but that doesn't mean I don't miss it. So I don't intend to let the opportunity go to waste."
"So," Sam asked. "You're Cas' vessel. The guy who said yes?"
Jimmy snorted. "Yeah. Not my brightest moment. I'm just glad that this timeline me and my daughter are both out of it now." For a moment, his expression was… depressed, yearning, sad, hopeful… and yet those words couldn't begin to describe sudden crash of emotion. He buried himself back in his food, biting down on the hamburger to try to chase the feelings away.
Dean and Sam nodded in agreement with what he'd said. Seeing the little girl possessed by the other Cas weirded them out big time.
"So, is Cas okay?"
Jimmy held up a hand while he chewed and swallowed. "Sorry. Yeah, more or less. He's still here, still with me. He's just… kinda hurt. Usually he's too strong to let me have control for long. Can't dampen his power down for more than a few minutes. Now though..."
Jimmy shrugged. "It's not good. The last time something like this happened, they yanked him right out of me. This time the attack was worse, but Cas is more powered up than he used to be. Two of the angels that jumped him are dead. The third one may be waking up now from wherever Cas dropkicked her too. Not sure where she landed but I'm betting it was someplace on the other side of the planet."
Dean smirked, then shook his head. "How did they find him?"
Jimmy sighed out a breath. "It's a bit vague, but I don't think he was hiding. He was expecting something like this. With all the time changes, sometimes it's best to let some of them happen. He didn't intended to let them take him, but he didn't expect the attack to be that powerful. The three that came for him weren't as strong as he is, but it was close."
"So, any idea how long before Cas is back in the driver's seat?"
"No clue." He looked up and smiled at the waitress as she brought him his next hamburger. "Thanks."
Dean and Sam also nodded their thanks to the waitress. Dean picked up his burger, taking a healthy bite and chewing with much gusto.
"Damn, that is good."
Mouth full of burger, Jimmy just nodded.
They were finishing their meals, when Gabriel stalked into the diner. He gave the two brothers a nod before staring hard at Jimmy.
"Too late I see."
Dean frowned. "You knew this was going to happen?"
"Suspected. I've been bouncing from safe house to safe house looking for Cas." He smirked. "Anna is royally pissed at all of you, by the way."
"She talk to her parents, or…"
He shrugged. "Can't say, since I left before they woke up. If you're asking if she went angel, the answer is no. Don't promise it will stay that way." He reached a hand out to Jimmy. "May I."
Gabriel put his hand on Jimmy's head and they were all still and quiet for a few moments. Gabriel let out a sigh of relief and backed away. "He'll be okay, the dumb ass."
The waitress appeared to take their plates and ask them if they wanted anything else. Gabriel, much to Dean's delight, ordered pie alamode all around.
The archangel glared at Jimmy.
"Hey, don't look at me… or Cas."
Gabriel turned his gaze back on Dean. Dean tried to return it with an innocent look, but wasn't really pulling it off. After a minute, Gabriel rolled his eyes.
"Prophets, never can keep them from blabbing."
"I thought that was the point." Sam said.
Gabriel dismissed the subject with a snort and went back to studying his brother's vessel.
"Why the hell did he put himself out in the open like that?"
Jimmy grimaced. "Something similar happened in the original timeline and I think he thought he'd just get it over with. The first time they pulled Cas out and… well, he wasn't the same for a while. He wouldn't have had any trouble with the angels they sent last time, even without the nasty surprise spells he layered into his wards, but…"
Gabriel gave him a chuckle that lacked any humour. "Yeah. They sent out the big guns this time." He gave him another look over. "Knowing Cas, he's probably had run ins with Naomi a time or two. But knowing Naomi, he probably doesn't remember it."
"How so?" Sam asked.
"Let's just say, her methods make Manchurian Candidate brainwashing look like a mild suggestion. If she'd gotten her claws into Cas, she'd have returned him programmed to either kill you or drag you to 'back' to Hell." He gave Dean his widest smirk.
Gabriel pointed at Jimmy. "You're going to a safe house for the next couple of weeks, until Cas is better and can fix his wards, again." They weren't shattered like last time, but they were cracked all to hell, probably the side effects of whatever defenses Cas had worked into them.
Jimmy sighed, but nodded. "Just make sure there's food, and maybe some books and a television."
"And not the one in New York… Or Colorado."
"Damn, spoil all my fun why don't you."
In the end, Naomi called in some of her people to help retrieve her from the bottom of the ocean. It should have been simple matter to rescue herself, but the fight with Castiel depleted her strength. She was using most of her current power supply to keep her vessel from being crushed to death by the water pressure. She could have abandoned the vessel, but it was a comfortable suit and she did not intend to give it up.
It wasn't until she was back in her office that she realized how sapped her energy truly was. She didn't know what Castiel had done, but whatever it was, it wasn't right. An angel of his calibre should simply not have been capable of it.
Someone had to be helping him. Had to have helped him set up that trap. Presumably someone other than the Winchesters.
The abomination was a possibility, but… no, even more power than that of one fallen angel.
Perhaps, perhaps there was another such walking the Earth.