AN: So it's been about ten years since I last wrote anything that wasn't an essay. When you get to the dialogue, it's mostly taken straight from the episode (4x01) with the odd tweak here and there. This is mostly background and prologue. Links for the images that go with this are posted in my profile.

Waiting for Salvation

His brother was so wonderful, so beautiful! He loved him with all his being and hung on to his every word. Wherever Lucifer went, Seraphiel followed without question. When Lucifer was cast from Heaven, Seraphiel followed, lost and uncertain.

Seraphiel had tried to follow Lucifer to Hell, but his brother pushed him out, kept him away with a legion of demons. When he tried to return to Heaven, the other angels punished him, marked him as a traitor by destroying his beautiful wings. Once white and shining with the light of the Morning Star, now they were stained red by his own blood. He could not understand. Why did his Father make him this way? He was so completely devoted to his brother. Of course he would support him. Were his fellow angels that blind? Was he the one at fault for being made like this? No matter how much he screamed and begged, his Father would not answer.

At first, he was angry and spiteful. He led the virtuous astray, trying to get a reaction from his Father. He started wars between peaceful peoples. He showed so many humans how to summon a crossroads demon, that the demons were overwhelmed and had to reorganize. But it was all for naught. His Father remained silent.

Seraphiel sulked for hundreds of years. Then he heard the whispers. Whispers of the apocalypse. Events were lining up. The right bloodlines were being brought together. Any generation now, two brothers would be born.

Mary Winchester's first born would have been Michael's true vessel, had there been no complications during childbirth. Seraphiel had been watching and seized his chance, taking the now empty vessel. He was demon enough to not need permission and close enough to Lucifer to hitch a ride on the bloodline with no ill-effect. In silence, Seraphiel slipped in and became Dean Winchester. John and Mary Winchester's miracle baby.

Only in Heaven had he felt so much love. This human that became his mother gave him a new purpose. He was going to end the bloodline, ruin Michael and Lucifer's showdown. But now, he wanted nothing more than to make Mary happy. He became her perfect little boy. When Samuel was born, he promised to protect his little brother and keep him safe. Mary was taken aback by the ancient and solemn look in his eyes.

Then Azazel took Mary from him. And it was on that day that Dean Winchester knew he had to keep Sam on the right track.

As John Winchester learned more of the supernatural, Dean had to become more careful. He had to control the rate in which he healed. He had to sleep now. He used to get away with staying up all night reading, but now John would awaken at the slightest hint of a noise. But it didn't matter. He could adjust. He had a family. He had people to protect. He was happy.

John would go hunting on his own. Dean knew what he was hunting for. Information, leads, anything on the Yellow-Eyed Demon. How easy would it be for him to tell John everything he knew? But he couldn't. He was in it for the long haul. He had to be a good son, unlike before. Then Sam left.

He heard the rumors from some of his demon contacts. His Grace was far too contaminated for them to recognize him for what he truly was, and a few well-learned tricks over the years had ensured any new encounters saw him as human.

Azazel was going to make a move on Sam, damage and corrupt him, manipulate him into Lucifer's perfect vessel. It all centered on Sam's girlfriend. The date was coming up. How could he protect Sam? It would be suspicious if he suddenly popped up and killed off every demon on campus.

And then John found a lead. Dean called in a couple favors to get the lead to go further and keep John occupied but safe enough that he wouldn't have to worry too much. It was then that he went to his brother. If he could get Sam away long enough, if he could time it just right, then Sam would think the love of his life had died in a simple, accidental fire. No demons, just human error.

But he was too late. Or rather, too early. Maybe he should have tried saving Jess, instead of focusing on Sam. But Sam was with him now. He could keep an eye on Sam. Keep him on the right path. Make certain that he made the right choice in the end. It did not help that Sam was a constant reminder of the brother he once knew. Lucifer, brave and beautiful, so loving, and always questioning Father.

Things happened. Mistakes were made. Then Dean made a Deal. And he paid dearly. Alastair was so eager to get his hands on Seraphiel, the broken angel stuck in a human vessel. He had been forced to retain his human form in Hell, only his wings showing as a reminder of what he truly was. Not once did Alastair cut into Seraphiel's wings. Seraphiel wished he would. He wished his torturer would rip them clean out, remove the reminder of how far he'd fallen and how he could never make up for it. And then he broke. He'd already fallen so far. What was wrong with going a little further? He gave in and took up the knife. Torturing souls came easily. He had a natural talent, as Alastair was quick to point out. After the first few souls that looked at him in hope of being rescued by an angel, then in such anguish and betrayal when he started on their flesh, he couldn't take it. So, he took to hiding his wings.

He wasn't expecting it when it happened. A no account angel swooped in and grabbed him. Why was he being dragged from Hell? Would he face an even worse punishment? Had his Father finally had enough of him interfering with 'The Plan?' He struggled hard, but the lowly angel held tight.

And then he was back. In the body he had claimed. He was once again Dean Winchester. He was in a coffin. He was in a coffin, buried under six feet of dirt that made him wish he was back in Hell. He had to dig his way out. He was so exhausted from fighting against that stupid angel that he could not fly out. Then that pesky angel tried to speak to him, but with his Grace so corrupted from his recent stint in Hell, he could only hear through human ears.

He felt the angel leave. If he was back, and apparently not on God's immediate shit list, he should check on Sam. And he found him. With a demon. Sam was smart, but Sam was an idiot. Dean could see manipulation like that a mile away. He should know, he'd done it plenty in the beginning. He declared it as his teenaged rebellious years. According to humans, it was normal. His Father would surely forgive him for it.

He wanted things to go back to the way they were. Just hunt and kill and keep Sam out of trouble. But everyone else seemed so interested in knowing how and why Dean was suddenly back. He knew how he was back, but he couldn't say a single word of it. He had to act like he was interested, too. Stupid whiny angels and stupid stubborn psychics. Why couldn't anyone just leave well enough alone?

So why shouldn't he summon stupid Castiel? Sure, he had no way of killing him at that moment, but he could certainly hurt him. A little. Not very much. He just really needed to take his aggression out on someone, and the low ranking angel that marked him would do nicely.

And, like clockwork, Castiel showed with flashing lights and fully extended wings. Dean's breath caught at the sight. Castiel's wings had been singed and damaged from the journey to and from Hell. They were the color of the night sky and shimmered with hints of deep violet and green. They certainly seemed to be healing quite nicely.

Dean suddenly felt very self-conscious of his own tattered wings, so he kept them well hidden. How did a lowly soldier end up with such beautiful wings? It made him so angry and jealous. He lashed out the only way he could. He lashed out like a human. Bullets did nothing, but he didn't care. He wasn't thinking straight.

He said the first thing that came to mind. 'Who are you?'

'I'm the one who gripped you tight and raised you from Perdition,' was Castiel's almost smug answer.

It only made Dean angrier. 'Yeah? Thanks for that,' he replied as his hand tightened around the knife he had hidden behind his back. He stabbed Castiel, hoping at least a little pain would get through. Castiel didn't even blink, and Dean's heart sank. He was Seraphiel. He used to be the highest ranking of the Seraphim. He used to be beautiful and loved. He was no match for the low ranking soldier that stood before him.

He looked to Bobby, stricken and hoping Bobby wouldn't make any stupid moves. He was grateful that Castiel had a cooler head than he did. Bobby fell to the ground, unconscious.

'We need to talk, Dean,' said Castiel. 'Alone.'

Dean stared at him a good while before choosing to ignore him in favor of Bobby. Once he was certain of Bobby's wellbeing, he turned his attention on Castiel.

'Your friend's alive,' Castiel said.

It was as if he had no idea who Dean was. 'Who are you?' he asked.


Dean's irritation flared. 'I know who you are. I mean, why you? Why were you sent to drag my sorry ass outta Hell?'

Castiel tilted his head in confusion. 'I'm an angel of the Lord,' he replied.

Dean glared at him. 'Some angel you are. You burned out that poor woman's eyes.' He really had no place to be criticizing Castiel, and he knew it. He had done far worse.

'I warned her not to spy on my true form,' Castiel said, almost defensively. 'I can be...overwhelming to humans. And so can my real voice, but you already knew that.'

Dean licked his lips. It appeared that Castiel really didn't know. How should he go about this? Play the dumb human? Boast of what he used to be? No, he had one question that needed answering, and he needed it now. 'Why? Why did you rescue me from Hell?'

'Good things do happen, Dean.'

Dean recalled all the events leading up to his present situation. 'Not in my experience,' he said bitterly.

'What's the matter?' asked Castiel, truly confused. He looked into Dean and saw the barest of thoughts below the surface. 'You don't think you deserve to be saved.'

Dean hated that he couldn't keep this lowly angel out of his head. Had he really become this powerless? 'Why'd you do it?'

'Because God commanded it,' replied Castiel. 'Because we have work for you.'

And then, Dean snapped.