AN: Part of me wanted to change elements of the plot that I had planned because of season 8…and part of me is too lazy to bother.

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Cufflinks
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Over the next two weeks, Castiel was pitted against vampires, werewolves, and a few shifters. His days were filled with training, and his nights were filled with fighting sleep. When he passed out from exhaustion, Lucifer would be right there, waiting. He fought Lucifer's questions, but it was all for naught. Lucifer already knew the answers.

Lucifer knew the layout of Bobby's property. He knew exactly who was staying at the house. What monsters Castiel was fighting.

'How do you know this?!' Castiel screamed after Lucifer commented on his small battle with a vampire. He hugged himself as he backed away from Lucifer.

'Stay put,' Lucifer said lightly as he walked around Castiel. 'Let me see those wings of yours…in their proper color.'

Castiel groaned and sank to the ground. He tried to fight the order, panting as his wings slowly spread out. He let out a choked sob as the pain stopped, his wings fully extended. He curled in on himself, feeling exposed.

Lucifer frowned as he traced Castiel's wings with his fingers. 'Castiel…show me their true color.'

Castiel shook his head. 'I don't know what you're talking about,' he wailed.

'They're still white.'

Castiel shook as he raised his head and glanced back at his wings. They were still the pristine white of his dreams. 'I-I don't…I can't control it,' he stuttered.

'This is a dream, Castiel,' Lucifer said evenly. 'You can control it.'

'No, I can't,' Castiel said helplessly. 'You control it.' He gasped and flinched away as Lucifer gently stroked his hair.

'True… Castiel, I need you to do something for me,' Lucifer said as he crouched next to Castiel. 'Remove the devil's trap from the northwest corner of the property.'

'There's no point…'

'Now, wake up.'

'No!' Castiel shot upright. He gasped for breath as he looked wildly around the kitchen. He had fallen asleep at the kitchen table listening to Karen's humming. He flinched when Karen set a slice of cherry pie in front of him.

'Sweetie… Are you okay?' Karen asked, rubbing his shoulder.

Castiel nodded stiffly as he rubbed his left wrist. 'Y-Yeah… I have to…g-go now…'

Karen watched as Castiel stumbled out the kitchen door into the backyard, whimpering. As soon as the door shut she turned and made her way to the study. 'Something's wrong with Castiel,' she said to the small group that was gathered.

Sam, Dean, Gabriel, and Crowley looked over at Karen, none of them surprised.

'Was he rubbin' his wrist?' Dean asked.

Karen nodded. 'Yeah…'

Dean looked away, grimacing. 'He's rubbed it raw, and he hasn't even noticed,' he muttered.

'What's going on?' Karen asked.

'Lucifer,' Crowley replied. 'He found a way to make Castiel bend to his will.'

'Like the cuff? But that's… How?!' Karen's wings flared out as she placed her hands on her hips. 'An angel can't bind another angel!'

'If the spell's broken down enough, then…yes,' Crowley explained. 'We need to go on the offensive.'

'Before he shares the new spell,' Karen agreed.

Sam shook his head. 'I don't think he'd do that. He hates humans. He wouldn't give us something even more powerful to bind angels with.'

'He just wants Castiel,' Crowley said. 'He wants his power. We cannot let that happen.'

Gabriel had been picking at a loose thread on his sleeve the whole time. He stopped and looked up. 'He's blocked me,' he said quietly. 'These past couple weeks… I thought it was just him being stressed, but… I can see it in his eyes. He's begging me to save him, and I can't do anything! If I say anything, then Lucifer'll know! I can't…I can't let him know it'll be okay…'

Sam took Gabriel into arms as the angel broke down into quiet sobs. 'We'll figure it out,' he said, stroking Gabriel's hair.

'But until then, what do we do about Cas?' Dean asked. 'I mean, I trust him, but…we can't trust him right now. Not if Lucifer's in control.'

Crowley sighed. 'I already have Anna and Meg fixing all the wards he's taken down,' he said, shaking his head. 'It's random, too. I think Lucifer's testing the extent of his power over him. If he really wanted Castiel right now, he'd have him leave the property. Hasn't happened yet.'

'Might not want Michael to know just yet,' Dean suggested. 'Think about it. Lucifer knows just where to find Cas. We're already keeping him safe, so he doesn't have to do anything. Not 'til he needs Cas.'

'Maybe…Michael should know where Castiel is,' Crowley said quietly.

'Are you insane?! You said yourself he wants Cas dead!' Dean shouted.

Crowley nodded. 'That may be, but if Michael knows where to find him, then it will force Lucifer into making a move. If we're lucky, he's not really ready to make that move,' he explained. 'The more unprepared his is, the better it is for us.'

'And how do you suggest we tell Michael about Castiel?' Karen asked.

'We go right up to him and tell him,' Crowley replied. 'I'd prefer to send angels, but he definitely won't trust Anna or Balthazar. And I won't send Gabriel, either. However we do this, we can't let Castiel know.'

'Bobby and I can go,' Karen said. 'We've got a good reputation among Hunters. And I haven't heard anything bad about us from other angels.'

'I wanna go, too,' Dean said. 'He saved our mom…he might be willing to help me and Sam out.'

'He did that under orders,' Crowley pointed out.

'He could have turned right around and given up her location after he was freed,' Sam said. 'But he didn't. We could work with that.'

Gabriel looked up at Sam, wiping his nose on his sleeve. 'I don't want you to go,' he said softly. 'Besides, Cas'll know something's up if you guys leave, too. Bobby and Karen can use a hunt as an excuse, but you guys have to stay here.'

'He's right,' Sam said with a sigh. 'It would be too suspicious.'

Crowley nodded as he stared at Gabriel. When his adoptive son glanced at him, he raised a brow in question.

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Castiel sat on the small cot in the panic room. Bobby and Karen had just left the day before to help a fellow Hunter with a job. He looked up when he heard a soft knock on the open door. Dean stood in the doorway, giving him a soft smile.

'Comin' to bed?' Dean asked.

Castiel shook his head. 'Not tonight,' he replied. 'It's nice and cool down here… I thought I'd get a little sleep down here.'

'You want me to join you?'

'N-not really… I'm sorry, Dean,' Castiel whispered, his voice shaking. 'I just…I need to be alone right now.'

Dean nodded as he trailed his hand over the doorjamb. 'Well, when you feel like it…I'll be in bed, waiting… Sam and Gabe are in the living room watching God knows what.' He sighed and turned toward the stairs, leaving Castiel alone in the basement.

Castiel clutched the side of the cot tightly as he listened to Dean's footsteps ascend the stairs. His wrist was burning, and he couldn't fight off the need to sleep any longer. He fell over on his side and immediately found himself standing in front of Lucifer.

'Apparently, your friends have deemed it necessary to alert Michael to your location,' Lucifer said calmly.

'W-what? Why would they…'

'I know,' Lucifer said with a sigh. 'They probably think they're making the right decision. Choosing the…lesser of two evils. In their eyes, at least.' He stroked Castiel's cheek and gave him a sad look. 'Unfortunately, my brother won't see you as the gift you are.'

Castiel shook as he took a step back. 'At least Michael won't kill Dean.'

'I'm not going to kill your Hunter,' Lucifer said in amusement as his eyes roamed over Castiel. 'No… Not me.'

Castiel breathed in sharply. 'I won't. I can't. The cuff would prevent it. That's the one thing you can't make me do,' he said, gaining a little confidence with his knowledge.

Lucifer smiled widely and nodded. 'Very true. But…I will need you leave your Hunter. I have a car waiting just outside the front gate.'

Castiel shook his head and hugged himself, pulling his wings in tight. 'N-no… No! I won't!'

'You will. I'm sorry it has to be this way,' Lucifer said as he circled Castiel. He paused by Castiel's side and whispered into his ear. 'Castiel, when you wake up, you will leave through the front gate. Tell no one where you are going.'

Castiel scurried away, flapping his wings rapidly. 'No!' he screeched, scratching at his left wrist.

'And, if you happen to encounter Sam Winchester…'

Castiel's stomach dropped, and he felt a numbness settle over him as he stared at Lucifer in horror.

'Kill him.'

Castiel jerked and fell onto the floor of the panic room. He clutched the leg of the cot as Lucifer's command race up his arm, sending sharp jolts of pain. Unsteadily, he got to his feet, and the pain eased slightly. He stumbled to the stairs and paused, staring up at the main hall. If he could just avoid Sam, then it would be okay. Dean had said Gabriel and Sam were in the living room, so he would just leave through the kitchen door. He wouldn't have to go anywhere near Sam.

With shaky legs, Castiel ascended the stairs, wincing as they creaked under his weight. He reached the top and headed for the kitchen. Leaning against the doorframe, he stared into the kitchen. 'N-no…'

Sam turned and gave Castiel a bright smile. 'Hey, Cas! Just making some popcorn,' he said. 'You want any?'

Castiel pressed against the wall as his body moved into the kitchen against his will. 'Please leave,' he begged.

'Cas? You okay? What's wrong?' Sam reached out to Castiel as he moved toward the angel.

'Stay away from me! Please!' Castiel stumbled and fell against the kitchen counter. His eyes fell on the wooden block that held the knives. He held his breath as he watched his own hand reach out and pull the large carving knife free. He shivered and clenched his eyes shut as a hand touched his shoulder.

He dragged the point of the knife across the counter as he tried to fight the command. He felt like he was being torn apart from the inside. 'Please run,' he moaned.

'Cas, what—oh!'

Castiel gasped and slumped back against the counter. He stared ahead, focusing on the knife embedded in Sam's chest. He blinked when Sam crumpled to the floor, revealing Gabriel standing stock still in the doorway.

'C-Cas…?' Gabriel took a step forward, his eyes darted back and forth between Sam and Castiel.

Castiel hugged himself and edged along the counter to the door to outside. 'I-I'm sorry,' he whispered. 'I tried… I-I can't… Please stop me,' he said, no longer able to fight Lucifer's command. He darted out the door, leaving Gabriel alone in the kitchen.

Gabriel watched the door for a moment before walking over to Sam's side. He looked down and swallowed at the sight. With a wave of his hand, Sam disappeared and the knife clattered loudly to the floor.

He sighed heavily as he pulled out his phone and dialed Crowley. 'Hey, Dad… Uh…it worked?' He walked to the open door and stared outside. 'Well, he killed my fake-Sam. Didn't touch fake-Dean… Yeah, I'd say he thought it was real. Oh, uh…is Sam there?'

He waited while Crowley passed the phone to Sam, a few cutting remarks drifting over the connection.

'Gabriel?'

'Sammy!' Relief flooded through Gabriel at the sound of Sam's voice. 'You gotta come home! That was just too…too… I don't wanna see you die again,' he said quietly.

'Hey, it's okay. We'll be there tomorrow,' Sam said soothingly. 'Just hang tight, okay?'

'Yeah… Uh… I'm gonna go lock everything and put up some devil's traps and angel warding… So uh…sorry if no one can get inside…' Gabriel pulled the door shut and locked it. He began looking through the kitchen drawers until he finally found a piece of chalk. 'And tell Karen I'll clean up all the chalk and paint later.'

'No, no! That's good! Keep yourself safe. If you think anything's about to happen, then get out of there.'

'Okay… I guess…I'll see you guys tomorrow? Um… Tell Dean I'm sorry about Cas. I love you. Er…you. Not Dean. Well, Dean's okay, but he's got nothin' on you, and—'

'Gabe! I know. It's okay. I love you, too. Now, hurry up and get everything locked down.'

Gabriel spent the next two hours setting up devil's traps, placing wards on the walls, doors, and windows, and locking every door, going so far as to prop a chair under the handle of a few. When he was finished, he grabbed a cereal box and a couple sodas and headed to the panic room. He struggled to pull the heavy door shut then pushed the old filing cabinet in front of it. He panted as he grinned at his handiwork. Then realized why his makeshift barricade wouldn't work.