Castiel was left to handle his turmoil alone. But he was not some meek human, he was still a warrior of God. Instead of crawling under a rock he went back to the warehouse. There he discovered how Alastair had escaped, the dripping water from the pipe. He stopped the water and thought about how Alastair had managed that. And he found no possible way. The devil's trap would not have allowed Alastair to use any demonic magic, he had made sure of it to ensure Dean was as safe as possible when in the same room. Nothing else could have gotten in there, only other angels.
And the realization hit Castiel like a ton of bricks. Another angel. His first thought was Anna, the rogue angel he was supposed to kill. But quickly he remembered the special compassion she had for humans, much greater now that she had been one herself. Anna was disobedient, but she did not want Alastair free or Dean dead or the apocalypse to happen. Castiel had faith in that.
But then the only other angel that had been there was Uriel. Uriel had always been a good soldier, had helped Castiel many times…but he didn't care for humans. Could it be?
"Uriel," Castiel said out loud, putting a little power behind his voice to ensure it carried over the celestial waves to reach Uriel.
Only seconds later he appeared in the same room. "You called?"
Castiel slowly turned to face his brother and only looked at him, wondering if Uriel could truly be responsible. "Strange how a leaky pipe can undo the work of angels when we ourselves are supposed to be the agents of fate," Castiel watched his brother closely.
"Alastair was much more powerful than we had imagined," Uriel attempted to dodge the topic and sweep it under the rug.
"No. No demon can overpower that trap. I made it myself," Castiel said with certaintly. He looked Uriel in the eyes and made a strong stance. "We've been friends for a long time, Uriel. Fought by each other's sides, served together away from home, for what seems like forever. We're brothers, Uriel. Pay me that respect. Tell me the truth."
Uriel nodded in acceptance, realizing he was done fooling Castiel. "The truth is, the only thing that can kill an angel, is another angel." From his sleeve an angel sword fell into his hand, ready for use.
"You?" Castiel looked at the gleaming sword that had been responsible for the deaths of his kin, and back to his brother.
"I'm afraid so," Uriel confessed.
"And you broke the devil's trap, set Alastair on Dean," Castiel asked for confirmation.
"Alastair should never have been taken alive. Really inconvenient, Castiel. Yes, I did turn the screw a little. Alastair should have killed Dean and escaped, and you should have gone on happily scapegoating the demons," Uriel explained.
"For the murders of our kin?" Castiel asked angrily.
"Not murders, Castiel. No. My work is conversion. How long have we waited here? How long have we played this game by rules that make no sense?"
"It is our father's world, Uriel."
"Our father? He stopped being that, if he ever was, the moment he created them. Humanity, his favorites. This whining, puking larva," Uriel spat.
"Are you trying to convert me?"
"I wanted you to join me. And I still do. With you, we can be powerful enough to raise our brother," Uriel said, pleading with Castiel.
"Lucifer," Castiel realized.
"You do remember him? How strong he was? How beautiful? And he didn't bow to humanity. He was punished for defending us. Now, if you want to believe in something, Castiel, believe in him," Uriel persuaded.
"Lucifer is not God."
"God isn't God anymore. He doesn't care what we do. I am proof of that."
"But this? What were you gonna do, Uriel? Were you gonna kill the whole garrison?"
"I only killed the ones who said no. Others have joined me, Cas. Now, please, brother, don't fight me. Help me. Help me spread the word. Help me bring on the apocalypse. All you have to do is be unafraid."
"For the first time in a long time, I am," Castiel said. And threw the first punch at Uriel.
In the wings Anna watched a deadly fight between her brothers. Castiel, still weak from fighting Alastair, quickly began to lose. The walls around them became demolished, their human vessels battered. Castiel went down to his knees, nearly spent. "You can't win, Uriel. I still serve God."
"You haven't even met the man. There is no will. No wrath. No God!" Uriel cried out.
Uriel pummeled Castiel a few last times. Anna arrived into the room unnoticed, taking her angel-sword and spearing Uriel through the neck in order to save Castiel. Uriel's vessel stiffened as he was mortally wounded. "Maybe there is no god, but there's still me," Anna hissed in his ear before letting his body fall.
Castiel watched Uriel's grace explode from his vessel, and felt the passing of his brother. Anna helped him to his feet and gently she straightened his coat. "Are you okay?" she asked.
"No, not really," Castiel answered. "There are others like him, he convinced others. We have our own angels fighting us to start the apocalypse. How can we win?"
"The odds are stacked against us, aren't they?" Anna agreed glumly. "But we still have a chance, Castiel."
Anna took Castiel's hand, and transported them. When they arrived in a new area Castiel had taken the time to clean himself up and fix his appearance. In the new room, it appeared to be a nicely kept hotel, Lady was still unconscious and protected from being found by angel warding sigils drawn on the walls.
"Uriel found her and put her here, I suspect to keep her alive until he could find a way to dump her in the laps of demons," Anna said.
"The Seer," Castiel said, looking down. "Anna, we can't keep her alive."
"She is important. I know you feel it, too. She was able to see the grace of Lucifer without having her head explode, she's special."
"And mystical, and dangerous," Castiel reminded her.
"Cas, trust me," Anna said, now that she had saved his life she had no fear of asking that of her. "To stop the apocalypse, to stop Lucifer, we need her. Please?"
Castiel nodded, and gently touched Lady's shoulder.
With a jerk Lady woke up, and looked at the two angels with wide eyes. "It's okay, you are safe," Anna assured her.
Lady then looked around, "Safe and looks like I'm moving on up. Where am I?"
"I'll explain everything, but we should leave here first," Anna said, offering Lady her hand.
Lady sat on top of a roof, somewhere in New Mexico, as Anna told her the events that happened. Anna finished with, "Castiel will heal Dean once he is strong enough, which should be soon."
"Sorry I…I fucked up," Lady said. How close she had been to failing, to helping tip the odds even more in the demon's favor, had been far too close for comfort. She had been aware of the risk, and had only the weakest plan in place to protect herself. It obviously hadn't been enough.
"You are human, you are driven by more than logic. I understand your desire to be with the man you love," Anna said. "I won't try to stop you, not anymore. In a way your recklessness helped uncover Uriel's treachery."
Lady smiled slightly, "I have crazy luck like that sometimes." More seriously she asked, "So, can I go back to see Dean and Sam now?"
Anna looked hesitant before answering, "Sure."
With a touch of Anna's hand Lady was back in the hospital. Sam was still in the waiting room, sleeping on a couch with his feet hanging off the edge. Lady left him, and went down the hall to Dean's room. The breathing tube had been removed and he seemed to be connected to fewer machines.
Drunkenly Dean began to open his eyes and look around. Lady moved close to the edge of the bed, being every so careful not to touch any of the tubes or wires or IVs that were attached to him. "Hey, you with me?" she asked shakily.
For several moments he didn't say anything, but finally managed to rasp, "Are you really here?"
"Yeah, yeah, I really am," she said. Feeling a bit more brave in the hospital room she slid her hand into his and leaned against the bed. "I came to say thanks for working on my car."
Dean's eyes lost focus and wandered for a while, and maybe he even forgot she was there when his face pulled into a grimace of pain. But when the grimace faded his eyes found her again, more alert as the fog of a coma, brain damage, and drugs began to lift. "Lady, what are you doing here?"
She smiled as much as she could, "Someone has to give you a sponge bath, right?" Dean didn't take the joke, so she told him seriously, "It's okay, really. I can't stay much longer, but I needed to see you. I can't tell you how much I've missed you."
"I was so scared you were dead," he said roughly, his fingers holding onto her hand more tightly. "We were there, when Alastair caught you, and…"
"I know, I know," Lady kept him from telling the story she had already heard from Sam. She held his hand with both of hers. "Sam told me what happened in Greybull. It's okay, I'm okay. I got out by the skin of my teeth and Anna's wing, but I got out just fine."
"Sam…where is Sam?" Dean asked.
"He's here, he's out in the waiting room. You've been here about two days now, maybe longer I'm not quite sure," Lady said. "He's fine, not a scratch on him."
"Not even from you?" Dean asked.
Lady bit back a smile, "I restrained myself."
Dean went to move, but Lady's future sight warned her of the imminent shout of pain that would be coming. She put her hands on his shoulders, "Don't," she said. "You really don't want to move around."
But it was too late; Dean laid back and grimaced in extreme pain. Lady hit the nurse button repeatedly. A nurse came in and examined a few IV bags still connected to Dean. Then brought out a long needle of morphine to inject. Lady stared, wide-eyed, at the little drip of liquid that squeezed out of the end. A sweat prickled over her skin, her heart thumped in her chest, her head felt airy and light.
With effort she looked away before she could see the needle pierce skin, she may have thrown up or fainted if she saw that. Instead she redirected her attention to Dean, she only got this short time with him. "Is that better?" she asked him.
"Not really," he grimaced.
"Give it a minute or two," the nurse said as she walked out.
"You look worse than me," Dean commented on her sweaty face and pale lips, an after-effect of her phobia of needles.
Lady's face broke out in a smile, "Did I mention I missed you so much?"
For a minute she forgot where she was, and why she was there, and leaned forward to kiss him. Her arm curled around his head and her fingers worked into his short hair while her lips moved against his. Her nose touched the oxygen tube that went into his nostrils, making her pull back in fear that she'd do something to make him worse.
With the haze of morphine beginning to hit him he asked, "Are you leaving again?"
"I'm going to stay here as long as I can," Lady said.
"Babe…I'm so sorry," Dean said roughly, looking at her and trying to keep his focus as strong drugs kicked in. "It was all my fault. I started all of this, it was me."
"What was?" Lady asked.
"I started it, and…and…how did Sam kill him?" Dean asked.
"Alastair?" Lady guessed. "With the knife?"
"Knife…knife doesn't work…" Dean's head fell back and he fought to stay conscious, but the morphine finally knocked him out.
Lady sat by his bed. She was unsure how much time went by when Sam walked in. "You came back?" he asked.
"You missed out on quite a bit," she said quietly. "It's okay if I stay…for a little longer at least."
"We woke up for a while earlier," Sam told her. "Not making much sense, though."
"Yeah, he was awake for me a bit, too," Lady said.
"Lady, I am sorry," Sam said, looking her straight on. "Things…they haven't been easy. When we first got here I was all over the place, I didn't know if Dean would live or die…just, now I know he'll be okay and I'm looking back at it, and it was wrong of me. I'm so sorry, and…and I'm glad you came back. I'm glad you are here."
Lady studied his face, and Sam seemed genuine in his apology. "Sam, how did you kill Alastair?" she asked with an even tone, watching Sam's face change. It went to surprise at being called out, and she saw a silent struggle within him on if he should lie or be defensive. It was hard to catch a Winchester in a lie, lying was second nature to them. They lied to everyone, each other, and to themselves. Catching Sam wasn't easy, in some ways he was better at lying than Dean was.
Sam was caught off guard by the question. He had let his guard down for only a few minutes around Lady, someone he used to feel right at home around, and she had used that moment to strike. At first he was angry, ready to throw accusations back at her. Then he thought maybe he should dodge the question altogether. And then he tried to think of some lie to use. And then he realized he was caught. The look on Lady's face said she knew something was up, that she knew, and he doubted he could fool her right then.
But then Sam was saved, at that moment Castiel fluttered in. Lady stood up, ramrod straight, watching the angel with suspicion and fear. "Anna is waiting for you down the hall." Castiel announced. "So far no other angels have been dispatched, but it would be wise if you depart quickly."
Lady looked at Sam, without words she told him that it wasn't over. And then she looked back to Dean. For a moment Sam had a hard time being angry at her. Most of the time Lady guarded her emotions, but for a brief moment he could see everything she was going through. How she loved and missed Dean, the fear of the angel standing behind her, and her fatigue.
"Be safe, Lady," Sam offered to her as she left. Maybe their friendship was strained, but he wanted it to continue. He had to hope that when he killed Lilith and stopped the apocalypse that things could go back to how they were.
"You too, Sam," Lady said. She contemplated taking his hand or giving him a parting hug, but she decided against it. She was fantastic at holding grudges. It wasn't until the past few years that she really learned forgiveness. After a decade of running solo and keeping those closest to her as far away as possible, she finally embraced having a family. Sam and Dean were part of it for her, she'd kill or die for those idiots. Even though she sort of wanted to put him in a headlock herself, she'd still fight to the death for him. One day they could hope to work it out, clear the air, or something.
Lady left the room and walked down the hall to meet Anna. "Are you satisfied?" Anna asked.
Lady gave the angel a glare. Of course she wasn't satisfied. A satisfying meeting would have involved a long private night of nudity. "Can't I stay until after Cas fixes him up?"
Anna shook her head, "I think it is best if we leave for now. Castiel will let us know if it is safe to return."
Lady nodded in acceptance. Tiredly she walked down the stairs and out of the hospital, back to her car. Anna teleported to somewhere in the world, or somewhere in the atmosphere, Lady doubted she'd ever understand angelic abilities. Lady started up her car and just started driving, no particular destination in mind.
Anna had separated herself from the physical world, but still existed enough so she could watch over Castiel and Dean. She listened to Castiel explain how Alastair had escaped and that Uriel was now dead. And that Alastair had spoken the truth, that Dean had indeed broken the first seal.
Anna had heard rumors, however she was a human when Dean was rescued from hell so what she knew had been limited to what she accidentally overheard. She had never known the angel's plans for him, only rumors and educated guesses. And right then Castiel told Dean it was true, and that the angels had tried to stop him but were too late. By the time they reached him in hell Alastair had already broken him. Dean was devastated and disgusted with himself, and feeding on that misery asked Castiel why he wasn't just left in hell. And Castiel told him, "It's not blame that falls on you, Dean, it's fate. The righteous man who begins it is the only one who can finish it. You have to stop it. Our fate rests with you."
"Well, then you guys are screwed. I can't do it, Cas. It's too big. Alastair was right. I'm not all here. I'm not strong enough. Well, I guess I'm not the man either of our dads wanted me to be. Find someone else. It's not me," she heard Dean say.
Months ago when Castiel's garrison laid siege to hell it had been in the hopes to stop Dean from setting the apocalypse in motion, but they were too late. Dean's soul was corrupted and torn, the warmth of humanity was barely there anymore. The angels had failed in their mission, however they were given orders to bring Dean up anyway. Dean had performed great sins, but they were going to be forgiven. The apocalypse had been started by him, but he was going to be given the chance to redeem himself. His destiny was to stop what he put in motion. Dean wouldn't be able to do it alone, but angels surely couldn't do it without him. When Castiel reached him first he held the soul tight for the journey out of hell. And then he painstakingly shoved the soul back into the rotting corpse, and used a great deal of power to breathe life, to reignite the warmth of humanity into his body.
All angels knew of Dean, but not all of them had been told the destiny of the Winchester. But when Castiel told Dean another angel overheard, and the news spread. Angels that had been converted by Uriel and supported Lucifer suddenly saw a way to ensure the apocalypse would come to fruition. Kill Dean Winchester.
Heaven was a hectic place, and messages were being sent back and forth. With Uriel so recently being exposed as a traitor suspicions were high and messages were being intercepted, loyalties being questioned, and higher angels were losing faith in their subordinates. The threat to Dean Winchester did not go unnoticed, and in order to protect him from the risk Castiel's superiors were called into action.
When a more powerful angel leaves heaven it doesn't go unnoticed. Even Anna who was disconnected from heaven felt a shift of power from across the world. "Castiel. Castiel," She sent quietly out.
"I felt it too," he appeared near her. "Zachariah has left heaven, he doesn't trust any other angel to do what needs to be done right now."
"Oh no," Anna uttered, and transported herself back to Nebraska. Immediately she found Lady, she had driven a few hours south but pulled over off onto a gravel road and was sleeping in her car. Anna swooped down to earth, feeling the immense power of Zachariah approaching rapidly. Terrified that both her and Lady would be noticed she grabbed the car door and tore it completely off the car to reach Lady. Lady couldn't move fast enough to even register surprise as Anna grabbed her and transported her away to the other side of the world.
Lady had been torn from an exhausted sleep and had barely recognized that it was by Anna before she realized she was in a desert. The parched was soft and loose, her feet slid into it. "What the fuck are you doing? This shit again?"
"I'm sorry, but you were at risk," Anna said. "A very powerful angel has gone to Dean's aid, I can't be sure you can hide from him if you are that close."
"Why? Why is a big honcho coming down now?" Lady asked suspiciously.
Anna looked down, "I was going to tell you later if Dean did not tell you himself. I already told you that when Dean was in hell he tortured souls himself, he did it to spare himself after what felt like thirty years of torture. When he did that it broke the first Seal on Lucifer's cage. A righteous man draws blood in hell…that was the first Seal. For a long time Lilith had been making deals to get souls, searching for the right candidate to started. Dean was the one who started it all."
Lady shook her head, "Fuck that. Dean did not start this," she argued.
"But he did."
"This is all fucking ridiculous," Lady hissed, kicking sand and pacing shortly. "No. No, it's not right. What sick fuck made up these seals?"
"God," Anna answered. "And He also decreed that the man who broke the first Seal, who started the apocalypse, can stop it. That is why Dean was brought out of hell and resurrected, to help stop it. His well being is very important to humanity and angels. With Uriel's disobedience his safety isn't certain. A powerful angel, Zachariah, has come down to look after him. I promise you, he is safe. But you aren't safe near Zachariah."
"What about Sam?" Lady asked.
Castiel appeared, kicking up loose sand. He looked between Lady and Anna, "Zachariah has taken them to safety. Sam and Dean both, he understands that it is best to keep them together. It is too likely that Sam will be used as leverage if we leave him unprotected at this time."
"What do they have you doing, Castiel?" Anna asked.
Castiel looked down, "Nothing. I am to do nothing. Uriel and I worked together for too long, there is too much mistrust right now." Castiel looked up at Anna, "Perhaps, I can help you?"
"We could certainly use it," Anna accepted.
A/N - Happy Holidays! Next few chapters are in the works but I don't know when I'll have them finished and ready to post. With the holidays, traveling, etc, not having a lot of time to write. But I've been super excited to write the upcoming chapters for a long time so I hope once I get time to sit and focus they'll just come out nicely (but when does that ever happen?). Thank you for reading and reviewing!