Summary: Dean, Sam and Bobby get a strange phone call from an unlikely friend. She has a message from Castiel. Hurt / comfort, drama, family.

Author's Note: This was written after episode 2 of season 7, but before episode 3. I think I'm just going to live in this canon the rest of my life!

Where the Heart Is

PenPatronus

At the sound of a fist pounding on the door, Dean woke up and immediately reached under his pillow (then under a trench coat) for his weapon.

"Dean? Dean, wake up!" It was Bobby.

Dean stumbled to the bedroom door. "Is Sam ok?" he asked before he even touched the doorknob. He found Bobby standing in the dark hallway with his hat missing and his face white.

"Sam's fine," he said through a tight throat. Bobby's voice was oddly even, robotic. Dean observed the shock in his expression.

"Bobby, what's going on?"

The elder hunter pointed at the stairs with his chin. "There's a phone call for you. It's…" Bobby swallowed and shook his head.

Dean rushed past him and took the stairs two at a time. He found Sam sitting on Bobby's desk with the landline against his ear. He looked as pale as Bobby.

"Sammy?"

Sam turned stiffly and looked at his brother. Without a word he handed the phone over to Dean, and then moved to stand in the kitchen doorway with Bobby. They spoke to each other in hushed tones that Dean couldn't understand. After a moment, Bobby jogged outside to the driveway.

Dean swallowed the air in his throat, raised the phone to his cheek and said, "Who's this?"

"Hello? Dean? Dean Winchester?" said a female voice. "This is Amelia Novak. You know, Claire's mother, Jimmy's… Jimmy's wife."

Dean's jaw dropped. He looked back at Sam but his brother's eyes were glued to the hardwood floor. "Amelia. Hi. Um…" Dean didn't know what to say. "How – how are you? How's Claire?"

In the background, the Impala's engine growled awake.

Amelia ignored him and got straight to the point. "Dean, a half hour ago Claire was… well… possessed again, I guess. That angel – that Castiel who is in Jimmy's body – he was in her for a few moments. He spoke to me."

Dean's skin goose bumped. His hand went numb and the phone almost rolled out of it. He looked up at Sam and saw his brother leave and climb the stairs back to the guest rooms. "Cass is alive? He… Amelia, are you sure?"

She spoke in a hasty we-don't-have-time-for-this voice. "He was so tired, he could barely talk. He gave me this number. He said first of all to tell you… to tell you that he's sorry for everything that happened. He said you'd know what he was talking about."

Dean's stomach clenched. Sam reappeared in the kitchen with his rucksack and Dean's boots.

"And he said that he needs help and that you'll know where to find him. And then, right before he left Claire, he said that he would understand if you – and I quote – if you left him to die."

The knuckles of Dean's left hand wrapped around the chair and turned white. "Did he say anything else?" Dean was shocked to hear his words come out as a whisper.

"Yes." Dean heard her sigh. "He said to hurry."

Dean nodded at her even though they weren't in the same room. "Amelia, I'll call back when I can explain."

"I understand," she said in a hushed voice. "Just… yeah, call me back. Good luck."

Dean dropped the phone and turned to Sam who stared expectantly at him. Dean took a deep breath, straightened his body and raised his chin and said, "We're going to need some flashlights."

Thirty minutes later the Impala pulled up to the Municipal Water Works. The only light was from a dim streetlight. The water was black and completely still. Dean hadn't bothered to put on his boots. He stripped off his navy button-down shirt as he ran forward with Sam on his heels. The Winchesters waded into the shallow water and then dove once it reached their thighs. Bobby stood on the shore with a flashlight in each hand, trying to keep both boys in sight.

"Dean!"

Dean treaded water and looked to his left at Sam's voice. Though it was dark, Dean could see Sam's wide bright eyes through his wet bangs. The younger hunter lifted something out of the water and held it high.

It was a blue tie.

Dean took a deep breath and dove again. He swam slowly with his arms and legs stretched out so that he could cover as much "ground" as possible. He only reemerged long enough to glance at Sam and take another breath.

His elbow bumped into something. Dean grabbed at it but could tell by the texture that it was a shoe. He dropped it and kept swimming.

Right when Dean surfaced he heard Bobby yell, "Anything yet?"

"No!" Sam answered. He spit water out of his mouth and gasped in deep breaths. "Bobby, maybe we should get some ropes or chains and drag the bottom?"

"No, what we need is more light!" Dean said. "Go find a – "

Something soft brushed against Dean's ankle. He froze with his eyes meeting Sam's. He communicated everything with a look, then dove straight down. He opened his eyes under the water but there was nothing to see. He reached around with both hands until his fingers suddenly wrapped around a wrist. Dean grasped the hand and his adrenaline skyrocketed when it grasped back. He kicked to the surface at full speed with a relieved smile already on his lips.

"Cass!" two voices shouted.

Dean and Sam both emerged at the same time, face to face, holding onto each other's wrists. For a second they blinked stupidly, then Dean shouted "Son of a bitch!" and descended again.

This time when Dean touched skin, it didn't respond. Dean kicked twice as hard until his knees hit the bottom. He felt around until he identified shoulders, then slipped his hands under the armpits and pulled. The body was heavy, too waterlogged for Dean to swim with on his own. He was almost forced to let go so that he could go take a breath when Sam swam over. Together the two brothers ascended with the body.

Bobby's flashlights blinded them the moment they broke the surface. Dean tried to speak and inhale at the same time but all he could do was cough. When the stars disappeared from his vision he saw who was sandwiched between him and Sam. Castiel was unconscious – or dead – Dean wasn't sure. Cass' head flopped against Dean's chest. His lips were blue.

"Got him!" Sam shouted at Bobby. He started to swim, pulling Cass behind him, while Dean pushed. Bobby dropped the lights and waded out to meet them. They carried the angel to shore and laid him down in front of the Impala's headlights.

Cass was still wearing his pants, belt and shirt. The white dress shirt was stained gray, almost black, and it was speckled with blood. As Dean, Sam and Bobby watched, the clothes started to turn an even darker crimson.

"Oh my god," Sam gasped. He started unbuttoning the shirt.

"He didn't explode," Bobby whispered. "He… he bled the Leviathans out. Out of his mouth and eyes, his nose, his ears…"

"And these," Dean said stonily, pointing at the jagged cuts illuminated on Castiel's face, neck and hands. Sam peeled back the shirt and all three of them gasped. "And those…"

Crisscrossing cuts that looked not unlike a thousand fang bites covered Castiel's skin. It appeared that the Leviathans had clawed and bit their way out, leaving behind Swiss cheese. Blood started to pour from the wounds in earnest, staining three pairs of jeans.

With a sick sense of déjà vu, Dean held the back of his hand to Castiel's blue lips. "Bobby, did we ever decide if angels need to breathe?"

Bobby shook his head. He was busy ripping up his jacket and wrapping bandages around Cass' legs. It was all he could think to do.

Sam told them to be quiet and then pressed his ear to Castiel's chest. When he didn't hear a heartbeat he whispered, "Ruby…"

"What?" Dean and Bobby said.

Sam sat up. "Ruby's second vessel. That girl was dead. Maybe… maybe a vessel doesn't necessarily have to be…alive."

"You mean Jimmy drowned but since Cass doesn't literally need a heart beat…" Dean looked down at the angel's white face and the dark circles under his eyes. "Then why didn't he swim up after the Leviathans bled out?"

"He was probably unconscious," Bobby concluded.

"Or so weak from fighting the Leviathans that he couldn't," supplied Sam.

"But not too weak to switch to Claire for a minute before he passed out again." With trembling hands, Dean unhooked his belt and wrapped it around an extra-large cut in Castiel's right arm. "So now what? All we really have here is a waterlogged corpse."

Sam winced at his brother's words.

"Now we wait," said Bobby with a shrug.

"What if there's still a Leviathan in there?" Dean wondered half to himself and half to them. "Or what if it's Sith Lord Cass that wakes up?" Dean wiped his hands through his soaked hair and sighed.

Bobby met Sam's eyes then said, "Let's just get him in the car and go from there."

Dean was looking out the bedroom window at the afternoon sun when he heard the sound of rustling. Bobby was asleep in a chair and Sam was in a sleeping bag on the floor. Jimmy Novak's body was lying on top of the covers in the bed. They had put him face down at first so that the backs of his clothes could dry out, then they got clean sheets and flipped him so that the front could dry, too. The bleeding had finally stopped, probably because there was no blood left in there. The cuts themselves were not healing at all. There was still no pulse.

Dean turned around when the rustling resumed. He approached the bed slowly, frowning, squinting. Castiel was stone still but for some reason the sheets on his right side were twitching. As Dean watched, the faint shadowy outline of an angel's wing began to materialize. It rubbed against the bed like a blind man's fingers on brail.

"Yes!" Dean hollered, punching the air with his fist. He lifted one knee onto the bed and leaned over to look into Castiel's face. "Cass, you son of a bitch, I don't believe it." Behind him, Bobby and Sam got to their feet.

"Cass." Dean gently cupped the angel's cheek, and then tapped it with the pads of his fingers. He buried his other hand in the angel's black hair. "Cass, wake up, you're home."

The room was dead silent and then a ghost of a voice said, "Home?"

Dean bowed his head and squeezed his eyes. A teardrop landed on Castiel's hand. Sam and Bobby were already hugging each other in celebration.

"Yeah, home," Dean repeated when his lower lip stopped trembling. He took Cass' hands in both of his and squeezed. "Home with us, your family."

Millimeter by slow millimeter, Castiel's blue eyes opened and fixed on Dean. "You got my message," he whispered. "You… you came for me. Dean, you did. I thought… I thought you were angry. You looked so angry."

Dean smiled. "Yeah, well, that's how brothers are. I love Sam but he pisses me off all the time. I give him the silent treatment, then punch him in the arm and then we eat pie and make up and everything's ok."

Cass smiled faintly. "Dean… you and I… are we ok?"

Dean squeezed the angel's hands firmly. "I'll get the pie out of the fridge."

The End