12 years later – Santa Cruz, California

Dean Winchester might only have a GED and $6 to his name, but he's an expert on creatures that go bump in the night. What he's looking at right now isn't something that goes bump in the night. This case, handed to him and his brother by a disgruntled and currently injured friend of Bobby's, does not actually appear to be a case. This annoys Dean, because, you know, he's in the middle of trying to stop the apocalypse from happening right now and doesn't really have the time to spare.

The "creature" he's supposed to be hunting, what Rufus suspects is some kind of Jinn, is actually just some guy. Granted, he's an extremely beautiful guy, but he's just a guy nonetheless. Dean and Sam have been watching him for nearly two days and so far, the most exciting thing he'd done is go to a peep show. Dean followed him into the peep show, thinking the guy might be looking for an unsuspecting performer to drug and kill, but the guy just sat there, looking bored and not even slightly turned on. The guy didn't even seem to suspect he and Sam were following him either. If he really were a Jinn, then he'd be on high alert for hunters.

Dean and Sam are sitting outside the guy's apartment in the Impala, watching the guy load dishes into a dishwasher. Even from 50 feet away, the guy still looks bored. Dean understands the feeling.

"How do normal people live?" Dean groaned. "This guy is so painfully normal that I'm bored stiff even THINKING about his life."

"We don't know yet, Dean. He's new to town. Rufus might have been right about him." Sam said, even though he wasn't sounding convinced.

"Rufus has a half-assed report from some drunken witness about how the guy's eyes glowed and two towns over there was a possible Jinn attack." Dean said. "That hardly means that this is our killer."

"We've taken on cases for less." Sam said.

"Yeah, but Sam, we're in the freaking fight of our lives. Demons are everywhere, the Devil's Gate is accessible, and Lilith is nowhere to be found. We still don't know what they want with you. We should be out there, kicking demon ass, yet we're here instead, watching this guy do his dishes." Dean said.

Sam shrugged. "At least he's pretty." He joked, imitating what Dean had said when they'd first laid eyes on the possible Jinn.

"Shut up."

Inside the house, the guy stops what he's doing and looks around, as if he feels someone watching him.

"Now you're suspicious?" Dean muttered. "Two days, dude. We've been watching you for two days."

Dean picked up his binoculars to take a closer look at the guy. It's almost suspicious that the guy is suddenly apprehensive after all of this time.

"What, hoping he'll undress?" Sam cracked.

Dean swatted Sam on the side of the head, but doesn't remove the binoculars from his eyes. He doesn't say it out loud, but he kind of is hoping for that.

The guy stops looking around and smiles, now that he's seemingly convinced that no one is watching him. He moves to the window and closes the blinds and turns out most of the lights.

"Damn." Dean swore. Just when Joe Normal was starting to get interesting.

"You're a creep." Sam observed, raising an eyebrow.

"What the hell kind of a name is Castiel, anyway?" Dean said, lowering the binoculars. "I mean, seriously, who names their kid that?"

"A weirdo? A hippie? I don't know, Dean. I think you're right though. Despite the guy's name, I think he's just your average Joe. Maybe we should take off. There are some possible omens in Oklahoma City."

Dean's about to respond, when he sees something that makes him drop the binoculars. From outside, even though most of the lights in the guy's house are off and his blinds are closed, Dean is sure he sees the shadow of a pair of huge fucking wings unfurl from the guy's back.

"What the fuck?" Dean whispered. He lifts the binoculars again and stares through them. Sure enough, he sees the shadows of the wings move. They're flapping as if the guy is trying to work a kink out or something. The guy's human body is totally obscured, hidden by what appears to be 8 or 9 foot wingspan.

Sam grabs the binoculars from him and stares inside. "Jesus." Sam muttered "Is that… are those… does that guy have wings?"

Dean just nodded. Somehow he feels like watching this is more intimate than watching the guy undress.

"I don't think he's a Jinn." Dean responded. He can't stop seeing the way the guys' wings unfolded from his narrow back, seemingly appearing out of nowhere. He wasn't going to say this out loud either, but it had been kind of awe-inspiring, even though he'd just seen it in shadow.

"Well, no shit, Dean. I think this case just got important again." Sam said, his mouth falling open as he watches the guy through the binoculars.

"Dude, what should we do? Should we kill him?"

"No! Why would we kill him?" Sam responded. "He's minding his own business. We haven't seen him do anything to indicate that he needs to be killed."

"He has wings. Sam, he's not human."

"We should talk to him. We don't even know what we're seeing, Dean. He's definitely not a Jinn."

"Well, then what the hell is he? He's definitely not human. In my experience, we kill something if it isn't human."

"Maybe he's an angel." Sam said, a little wistfully. He was still hurting from a not-so-recent case where "angel sightings" had just ended up being a vengeful spirit that was convinced it'd been reborn as messenger of God. They'd ended up burning the bones, just like almost every other case.

Dean burst out laughing. "Oh yeah, an angel. Tell me, do angels live in the suburbs? Do angels go to peep shows? Do angels wash their own dishes? Come on! You know there's no such thing."

"If there are demons, why can't there be angels?" Sam accused.

"Sammy, God love you, but you're an idiot. This guy has to be some kind of monster. A shapeshifter, maybe, or possibly some kind of witch. Who knows, but I can tell you, this case is going to end bloody."

"Whatever he is, I'd say it warrants some research. We should at least look into his background before we kill him." Sam said, nodding, as if he were excited by the prospect of research.

Two hours passed and Dean hadn't found any creature that lived like a human, yet also had giant fucking wings and eyes that glowed. There were, of course, creatures that had wings, but they couldn't pass as human. Nothing in John Winchester's notebook or Bobby's brain matched what they'd seen and heard about their mysterious winged man.

"This guy is just as boring as we thought." Sam announced from behind his laptop. "Castiel James Smith, aged 23. Born and raised in Chicago, went to University of Chicago, where he majored in computer science. He moved to Santa Cruz two months ago and he works as a data analyst at the local university. A couple of speeding tickets, but no criminal record. This guy is as vanilla as they come."

"Anything about his parents? His family?" Dean asked. "There has to be something."

"Nothing I could find. Raised by a single father who died a few years ago in a car accident. Mom died when he was a kid from cancer or something. No siblings. Like I said, nothing."

"Maybe we were seeing things. Maybe he just has a weird angel fetish or something and they weren't even real wings. We did see them through the blinds."

"They looked pretty real to me. The way they were moving…" Sam said, shaking his head.

"They were twitching. He looked pretty happy when he realized he was alone, like he could finally let them out or something." Dean said.

During the two days they'd been watching the guy, they hadn't seen him smile once. Right before he'd let the wings loose, he'd been grinning a lot.

Sam raised an eyebrow, but didn't say anything. Obviously Dean had been watching their mystery man a lot more closely than he had been. Sam surfed through the search results for the name "Castiel." So far, that was the only strange thing on record about this potential case. People gave their kids peculiar names a lot these days, but he'd never even heard the name Castiel. Sam typed in "Castiel + Illinois," curious about what else would come up since their winged man had grown up in Chicago. Shockingly, he found something fairly recent in the first page of results.

"Hey Dean, I found something. Maybe." He called.

Dean sauntered over and looked over his shoulder. "Pontiac, Illinois—Local Teens, Castiel and Anna Milton, ages 14 and 16, killed in home invasion." He read. "Sam, when was this?"

"Around 12 years ago." Sam scrolled down the page. "Oh god, this is horrible. The mom came home from work and found their bodies. They were both home sick with a cold. Jesus, they were just kids."

Dean read over his brother's shoulder "Anna Milton, 16, described as one of the most popular girls in her class and Castiel Milton, 14, a bright honors student, were found dead in their home on February 1, 2001, the alleged victims of a home invasion gone wrong. The teenagers were found in their home with multiple stab wounds. The community knows them as the siblings of hometown hero, Benny Milton, who was recently drafted by the San Diego Chargers. Tina Milton, the mother of young Castiel and stepmother of Anna, described her children as being 'inseparable.' The scene indicates that Castiel died defending his older sister, proving the Miltons are a family of heroes. Police have a suspect in custody and details are forthcoming."

Dean stared at a picture of the siblings together, one that was taken when they were younger. They were posing in front of a football jersey that said "Milton #33." They looked ecstatic and proud, and incredibly young. Anna had bright red hair and braces. Castiel had a mop of brown hair and huge frightened blue eyes. The sister had an arm around the brother, clutching him tightly, as if she were protecting him from the flash of the camera.

"Jesus Christ." Dean breathed. "Those poor kids."

"Don't you think that's strange though? Another Castiel from Illinois, roughly the same age as the one we just saw unfurl his wings?" Sam said, wrinkling his nose.

"That Castiel died when he was 14, Sam. He was stabbed to death in a robbery. They had a body. Tragic, yeah, but I'd write it off as a coincidence. He died a human death."

"The guy who killed them committed suicide in prison a couple of months after being caught." Sam said, reading the next result.

"What a tragedy." Dean said bluntly.

Sam shrugged and closed the laptop. "Maybe there's nothing to this. We'll go check up on him again tomorrow. Maybe we could even talk to him. Maybe he's just a guy with an angel fetish, like you said."

"Maybe." Dean said, his memory flashing back to those wings. He didn't think so.

Castiel was sitting in his tiny kitchen, wings flapping listlessly. He was aching to fly and his fingers were itching for a blade. Instead, he was reading the Sunday Times and dreading going to work tomorrow.

As usual, he was bored.

Since he'd given up hunting demons four months ago, he'd been bored to tears. He'd quit because Gabriel had told him needed to stop, until he figured out what had been the purpose of opening the Devil's Gate. These days, demons were everywhere. Clouds of black smoke had been reported in many major cities across the globe and the word was that the demon queen herself, Lilith the great, had somehow escaped too. In cities across the world, especially in the United States, demons were possessing record numbers of humans and there was little anyone could do to stop it.

You'd think this would have inspired Gabriel to tell him to keep kicking demonic ass, but his father was sure something apocalyptically awful was about to happen. He didn't want Castiel to get caught in the middle. Castiel thought this was stupid, especially since he was more equipped to hunt demons than any of the pathetic humans who tried to do it, but he'd learned from a young age that Gabriel knew what was best. The archangel Gabriel, or "the Trickster" as everyone else knew him, might be a pompous ass, but he hadn't survived three millennia on earth posing as a Pagan God by being stupid. Castiel trusted him with his life.

Still, he was incredibly bored. Human life had lost its shiny sheen years ago and he had no interest in posing as one. He knew he was quite the opposite of that and he hardly empathized with humanity as a 26-year-old child of an Archangel. Five years living under the protective wing of Gabriel and seven more years living mostly on his own as a hunter and a wanderer had that effect on him. Not to mention that he found humans somewhat appalling, with their tiny and limited brains, short life spans, and bodies that were so easily broken. True, he was still somewhat human, but he no longer saw the appeal.

Castiel reached behind his back and absently scratched at a feather. He sighed. He glanced around, hoping Gabriel didn't have his eyes on him. He could usually feel it when the angel was watching him. Gabriel didn't watch him as much as he used to, but he still kept his eyes glued to Castiel more than he liked.

Castiel stood up and stretched, his twitchy wings still flapping. He was thinking about India. It was one of his favorite places in the world. He'd spent some time there once he'd left Gabriel's side and it had been a beautiful place to start his life. During his time there, he'd developed an interesting relationship with a young woman named Nalini, who worshipped Kali. Castiel was good friends with Kali, so of course Nalini had appealed to him. He and Nalini had some good times and he'd actually fancied her quite a bit for a human, but then there had been a mass possession in a small town in Iowa and he'd had to take off.

"Maybe I'll just pop over there and see what Nalini is up to." He said to no one in particular.

Castiel couldn't fly far distances that often, so he knew if he ended up in India, he'd probably be stuck there for at least a week, unless he purchased a plane ticket or Gabriel retrieved him. He did have a job here, not that he cared for it in the slightest. He'd promised he'd keep up appearances though, at least until Gabriel figured out what was up with all of the demons. God though, he was so bored.

Castiel was not cut out for the mundane existence of human life.