I can't write finale chapters. It's a curse.

Yeah, that's right guys, this is the last chapter. I wanted to work Bobby in here somehow but it never worked out that way. So anyway, thanks for sticking around with this and reading it and reviewing it and all your lovely, lovely words!

See you around! Good hunting! (PS. Thinking of doing a full length Destiel fic but it's still up in the air. Dunno if there's any Destiel readers here but opinions?)

One Wing in the Fire (17)

Finding the Winchesters, Castiel decided after a month, was like finding a needle in a stack of needles in a field of needles when it was pitch black out and he had no idea where to start.

They were experts at hiding their trail from humans, angels, and demons and Castiel had to use all his resources to try and track them down. He could not utilize Gabriel's Grace the way he would have with his own—it was like a patch job that, if plucked at, would wear away—so he was left with what few powers he had. The shreds of his Grace still clung to the edges of the hole that had been inside him, that last trace of demon taint on his soul, his wits, and his mind. And as a strategist, Castiel had a very sharp mind.

He picked up their trail based on their hunts. Castiel knew that the brothers would have fallen back into their old ways, no doubt trying to make up for their mistakes in Hell. It was easy enough to follow them cross-country, tracking the trail of mystery circumstances that had been mysteriously fixed, and Castiel took the time to learn how to act around humans. He did not fully understand why they did some things the way they did or what certain turns of phrase meant but he adapted as quickly as he could. It helped that the mortals around him seemed to be unable to see his pitch black wings.

Castiel quickly caught up with Sam and Dean but the problem was that he never knew where they were going to go next.

Which meant he was always one step behind them.

Castiel crept into the warehouse and immediately smelled gunpowder, salt, and recently burned things.

The Winchesters had been here. Been and gone by the look of things. The ex-angel backed out of the warehouse and made his way back to the sidewalk. A frown was creasing his forehead and his blue eyes were trained on the ground. If he had been only a few minutes earlier, he might have managed to catch them.

Something behind him screamed.

Castiel spun around, trench coat flaring out behind him, and ran back towards the warehouse. He burst through the doors but was again met with the empty room. His blue eyes darted around, up, down, side-to-side, searching for the source of the cry but there was nothing. Scuff marks in the dirt and dust, bullet holes riddling the walls, burn marks in the far corner, but no one else.

The scream came again.

It came from behind the warehouse.

With a snort of disgust at his mistake, Castiel threw himself back out the door and ran right into a large man standing in his path. A large man with red eyes and claws and tiny horns. A demon. Castiel reached for the knife at his back but he was too slow. The large demon's hand shot out and thick fingers curled around his neck, hauling him off the ground so that his feet kicked in the air. Castiel wheezed and pawed at his attacker's wrist but the demon simply hissed and threw him through the air.

Cas tumbled head over heels, his wings flapping and feathers crunching as he tried to straighten himself. All he managed to do was hurt his wings and ended up slamming into the side of another warehouse. He shook his head, trying to shake off the dizziness, and pushed himself to his feet in time to receive a kick.

It had probably been aimed for his head but when he'd stood up, he'd gotten it in the knee. It still hurt. Castiel fell sideways with a shout and crawled away from yet another demon who was attempting to rake him with her claws.

There was shouting coming from behind the warehouse and Castiel scrambled towards it, tugging his knife out as he went. He could sense the other two demons behind him and…something else. A soft burning in the center of Gabriel's Grace, a pulse, a tug.

The Winchesters.

Castiel whipped around the side of the warehouse and ducked a punch that was meant for his face. On instinct, his knife came up and stabbed through the wrist of the demon who'd attacked him. The demon yanked back with a scream and Castiel spun around to lash out at the other two demons from before. He could hear more fighting from behind him, a bang, the crack of a gunshot, words shouted in Latin and the furious screams of banished demons. Cas kept trying to turn in such a way that would give him a view of the fighting but the demons weren't relenting and he couldn't see. But he knew, from the pulse inside him and the sound of the voices, he knew that it was Sam and Dean.

Fire exploded across the dark concrete and Castiel danced out of range, boots skipping across the ground as he tried not to get hit with the rolling wave of heat. A demon, heedless of the flames, took a chance and jumped him. Claws bit into his shoulders and Cas threw himself backwards, slamming them both into the ground and pinning the demon to the cement. It snarled at him, sharp teeth snapping just shy of his ear, and Castiel rolled, flaring his wings wide so that the black feathers caught a hot updraft from the flames and pulled him into the air. The demon leapt to its feet and jumped at him, claws swinging, and Castiel swooped to the side, out of its range. He flipped the knife in his hand and was about to throw it when there was a bang and the side of the demon's head exploded with a shotgun blast. It fell to the ground, dead.

Cas whipped around in midair to see Sam standing definitely at the edge of dying flames, frowning at the dead demon. Those brown eyes darted up and, for a second, lit upon Castiel. Recognition sparked but before it could go any further, a movement behind the youngest Winchester distracted Cas' attention. Another demon, sneaking up on Sam, attempting to stab him in the back.

Fury boiled over and Castiel folded his wings behind his back with a snap, dropping from the sky with the speed of a bullet. He pointed his knife out in front of him, shot right over Sam's head, and slammed into the demon, his blade sinking into its chest up to the hilt.

His momentum carried up further and he flipped over the lifeless body of the demon, skidded across the pavement, rolled through a delicate line of salt and iron. There was a triumphant scream and a demon, who had obviously been trapped by the circle that Cas had just broken, fell upon him. A boot slammed into his face as he fought to get to his feet, claws tore into his shoulders, and to his utter horror, teeth bit and ripped into his feathers.

A hoarse shout in Latin, a screech from the demon, the loud bang of a gun being fired.

Then everything was still.

Cas lay panting on his side on the ground, trying to see how much damage had been done without moving too much. He flexed his fingers, arms, legs, found them whole though the cuts on his arm stung as he move. His face felt swollen and there was blood in his mouth. His wing ached and there was a painful tingle where some feathers had been ripped out but all that aside, he felt whole and nothing was broken. So he decided to try and stand.

Footsteps and then hands were helping him to his feet, "Cas!" A voice of relief and surprise, gruff and pleased, "God, we thought we'd never see you again once those feathered dicks dragged you away! No offense…"

"None taken, Dean," Castiel grunted, turning to send a small smile at the eldest Winchester, "I am very pleased to see you again. It took me a long time to track you down."

"We thought someone was following us." Sam said, flicking the last traces of fire from his fingertips as he approached, a shotgun occupying his other hand, "But we thought it was those demons. That's what we were doing back here; interrogating, trying to find out whose been sending these bastards after us. But we're thinking it's Crowley."

"It might very well have been." Cas said, pushing Dean away so he could stand on his own. He tested his wing, spreading it and then folding it again. It hurt a little but it would be fine, "I was told that both Heaven and Hell are hunting you."

"Heaven too?" Sam's brow furrowed, "We haven't seen any angels but they're easier to keep at bay than demons are. No offense or anything, Cas, but your brothers aren't very creative."

"Thinking outside the box never taught in angel school, huh?" Dean asked as he yanked Castiel's knife out of the dead demon, inspected it, and then tossed it to the ex-angel.

"It is not encouraged." Castiel answered, cleaning the blood off his blade before stowing it away. His blue eyes darted around and then looked to Sam, "Did…did Veles…?"

Sam bit his lip, "I'm really sorry but…he didn't make it. We buried him in the clearing."

Castiel's shoulders slumped. Another victim of a pointless war. There was an awkward silence where no one knew where to look and then Dean coughed and straightened his leather jacket,

"Welp, as much fun as this reunion is, we should really get out of here. No doubt somebody's called the police and I do not want another mess like St. Louis." He looked hopefully at Castiel, "You're coming with us, right dude?"

Cas smiled, a small thing, barely there at all, "Of course I am. I would not have come all this way if I was not going to go with you. You're my family, Dean, Sam. I do not have anyone else."

Sam smiled and Dean made a show of groaning and rolling his eyes, muttering about chick-flick moments. Sam chuckled and punched him in the shoulder. Dean shrugged him off, turned to the corpses of the demons, and snapped his fingers. Flames leapt from his hands and eagerly ate away at the bodies.

"Nothin' burns faster 'in hellfire," Dean nodded with satisfaction and then looped an arm around Sam and Cas' shoulders, "Come on, ladies, we've got places to be, people to save, and women to bang."

"I do no understand what that means, Dean."

"Well, ya' see Cas, when a man and women get these urges—."

"Dean, don't you dare."

"What? He's not exactly an angel anymore, it's not like it's going to corrupt him or anything. Look, if you're going to get all prissy about it, I'll start him out on something easy. Like soft porn."


"What is soft porn?"

"You don't want to know…"

"Sure he does!"

Dean laughed as Sam started lecturing him and Castiel walked between them, looking slightly lost and confused. The trio stepped out of the darkness between the warehouses and into the yellow-orange burn of the streetlamps. There was some arguing about who got to sit where in Dean's Impala but eventually Castiel simply crawled into the back seat and sat there silently until the other two got in.

Then, as the engine revved and Kansas started spilling from the speakers and the first splinters of pale, pink-yellow dawn light began to creep over the horizon, the sleek, black car backed out onto the street and headed out of town, taking with it two men who used to be Demon Lords with all the powers of Hell at their command, an angel who had become a demon and was now something a little more than human, and three brothers.