Rating: R (language, violence)
Length: under 30K total; this chapter, 989 words
Spoilers: through the end of Season Four
Summary: What if Sam and Dean knew one crucial piece of information about the future before Dean's deal came due? Would it have changed everything, or would the end result have been the same? AU version of Season Four, written for spn_30snapshots .
Master table is here. Prompt for this chapter: past.
7. Double Back
Sam wasn't sure what woke him, but when his eyes flew open in the darkened motel room, he could make out a man in a light-colored trenchcoat moving towards Dean, one hand reaching out with two fingers extended.
"Hey!" Sam barked, fumbling under his pillow.
The man turned toward him, and Sam grabbed a hold of Ruby's knife and just as swiftly released it. It wasn't exactly made to be a throwing knife, but he'd had to practice something during the long summer months, and the weapon flew straight and true, the blade embedding itself solidly in the man's chest.
He stood there calmly, blinking down at the hilt before lifting his head to regard Sam with a curiously indifferent expression.
"What the hell?" Dean had woken up and scrambled backward, reaching for the flask of holy water on the nightstand. When he flung it at the man, he merely shook it off, water dripping from his dark, untidy hair.
Sam mentally ran through a list of what could cross salt lines and devil's traps and be unaffected by holy water and the knife, and came up empty. What in the hell was this thing, and how could they fight it?
"What are you?" Dean demanded in a low voice.
The man answered without hesitation. "I'm the one who gripped you tight and raised you from Perdition."
Sam blinked. "You got him out of Hell?" he asked incredulously.
He got a look that made him feel about as significant as a head louse before the man turned away. "You must come with me, Dean."
"Not till you tell me what you are." Dean's eyes skittered over the gun on the nightstand before moving on, obviously figuring that it wouldn't do any good against something with a demon-killing knife protruding from its chest.
"My name is Castiel," the man replied, head cocked to the side. "I am an angel of the Lord."
Sam did not squeak, "An angel?"
Dean's eyes shot to his, skepticism written all over his face. Angels don't exist.
Sam raised his eyebrows. What else had the power to bring you back?
Dean frowned. Yeah, but come on. An angel?
"This is your problem, Dean. You have no faith."
It had been a clear night outside, but the sudden flash of lightning through the shabby curtains threw the room into stark relief, and the dark shadow of wings rose along the far wall.
Shocked, Sam looked at his brother to see the mixture of disbelief and confusion remaining. "Why would an angel rescue me from Hell?" Dean asked, his words bitten off.
Castiel pulled the knife out and tossed it onto Dean's bed. "Because you have to stop it."
Dean's eyes narrowed. "Stop what?"
The bright blue eyes flickered to Sam and back. "You have to stop him."
Dean's voice took on a dangerous edge as ice rippled down Sam's spine. "Stop who, you cryptic son of a bitch?"
"There are things that you do not know, Dean." Another quick glance at Sam, and then, "It will be easier to show you."
"What do you—"
Before Dean could finish, Castiel lunged over the bed and pressed two fingers to Dean's forehead. Sam let out a shout as they both disappeared, only the faint flutter of wings marking their departure.
He sat there, frozen. Had an angel just kidnapped Dean? And what mysterious "things" was he talking about? Was this the same information that had led their father to make that final, horrible demand of Dean?
Sam suddenly felt terribly alone.
It couldn't have been more than sixty seconds before they were back, Dean looking somewhat worse for the wear, Castiel no more or less rumpled than he had been. Sam shot to his feet. "What's going on here?" he demanded. "Where did you go?"
"Did you know, Sam?" Dean's quiet demand cut through the darkened room.
Sam stared at him. "Did I know what?"
"He knows what Azazel did to him," Castiel's raspy voice broke in. "So did we. But what we don't know is why. That is what we were hoping you could find out."
Sam drew in a sharp breath. So Dean had been told about his demon blood. No wonder he was staring at him with a look of betrayal and revulsion. "He told me in Cold Oak," he said hesitantly. "He showed me what happened the night Mom died. Is that what you—" He jerked his head at Castiel, never taking his eyes off his brother's.
"Something like that," Dean replied before rubbing a hand over his jaw. "What the hell, Sam? You didn't think that little detail was worth mentioning?"
"That I've got demon blood in me? That I'm a whole new level of freak?" He took a step forward. "And when should I have done that, huh? Right after you told me you'd sold your soul for me? Maybe after you got back? 'Thanks for going to Hell for me, Dean, too bad I'm not actually human.'"
"Oh, knock it off. Of course you're human." The sideways glance at Castiel didn't go unnoticed, and Sam let out a disbelieving huff.
"You are human, if tainted," Castiel said in what was apparently meant to be a reassuring tone. "But there is a dark road that lies ahead of you, Samuel Winchester, and you must make sure you do not walk it." He turned to Dean. "You must make sure he does not walk it. Or we will."
And with that, he was gone.
The brothers stared at each other for a moment. "Dude, where did he take you?" Sam finally asked.
Dean let out a gust of breath. "More like 'when'," he said. At Sam's confused look, he shook his head and sat down. "You want me to start with the time travel or the sixty-six seals?"
Sam's eyebrows shot up. Apparently it was going to be a long night.