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Chapter Ten: Advanced Wind ((Wild Arms 3 OST))

Castiel dreamed for the first time that night.

He didn't know what he expected dreams to be like, having never experienced the sensation. But he didn't know they'd be so vivid. Or that he wouldn't be able to know he was dreaming.

It started out normal enough. Chuck was going to send them home. He'd never seen Chuck, so in his dream, he was represented by a floppy rag doll, which Becky held up on a silver platter. The doll didn't have a mouth, but Chuck was speaking anyway, a dark voice that sounded throughout the room all at once, ducking even into the corners of the ceiling. Castiel wasn't too nervous about that, he'd seen more intimidating things in Heaven. But it was still fairly impressive by human standards.

Sam went first. He stepped up; waiting in front of the doll for whatever Chuck needed to do to send them back. Castiel assumed it would involve another spell. Instead the doll flopped to the side, sprawled over the tray. Then Sam let out a horrifying yell, clutching his head and doubling over. He coughed, and blood splattered on the floor in front of him.

Dean and Gabriel were at his side in a moment. Castiel tried to follow but found himself rooted to the marble floor. All he could do was look on, eyes wide in terror as the younger hunter collapsed on the ground. His brother shook him by the shoulders, not getting any response. He grabbed Sam by the jacket, trying to pull him up. Sam was lifeless and limp.

Gabriel let out a growl of rage, up in an instant to grab the doll. He was quickly knocked back, slamming into the wall across the room. His eyes snapped open wide, mouth opening with no sound. Then Castiel noticed he'd been thrown back into the decorative swords along the wall. One had stabbed him straight through. After a moment he slumped forward, suspended in the air by the sword and just as lifeless as Sam. Blood dripped slowly from his chest, pooling on the floor.

Castiel still couldn't move. He was screaming, even if he couldn't make out what he was saying. But no one was paying him any mind, as if he weren't there at all. Dean had the knife in his hand, the same one he'd had under his pillow. He ran forward, panicked and furious, wanting nothing more to slice the doll to pieces, and probably Becky too. She hadn't moved an inch, staring ahead impassively.

But Dean didn't get the chance to attack. And it wasn't the doll that stopped him.

It was Sam.

Technically, it was Sam. He was behind Dean, even though Castiel never saw him get up. His eyes were completely black, and he grinned maliciously as he grabbed his brother by the back of the neck. Dean let out a surprised yelp as he was yanked back. He had a moment to register that it was his brother, and yet not, before Sam's hands were on his chin, twisting.

A sickening snap echoed through the room. Dean dropped like a broken toy, dead before he hit the floor. Sam followed quickly, whatever possessed him leaving the corpse behind. The room was quiet, not a sound remained. Castiel couldn't even make a noise. His mouth was open, but nothing came out. He was crying, tears streaming down his face, but he still couldn't move.

Something grabbed him by the arm. Blue eyes turned wildly to see Dean at his side, grip tightening over the angel's coat. Black eyes, just like Sam. Finally Castiel let out a noise, a sharp gasp. Not- Dean leaned in closer, breath ghosting over Castiel's ear as he whispered.

"Did you really think tainted things like you could go home? You're all right where you belong."

The demon inside Dean then twisted his grip on the angel's arm, snapping it clean in two. Castiel screamed.

Dean was deep asleep before he registered the first flare of pain in his side. He was a hunter, being a light sleeper was an understatement. But it was a very comfortable bed, so it dulled the senses a bit.

But the second time, he sat up, looking for the cause. Castiel had squirmed closer at some point in the night, and was thrashing in his sleep. Dean had enough nightmares to know the angel was deep in one, and the terrified noise the other let out nearly broke his heart.

He reached over to wake the other, but was quickly kicked in the side once again as Castiel squirmed. He winced, a grunt of pain catching in his throat as he grabbed the angel by the arm, shaking him a bit.

"Cas, wake up, it's just a dream…"

Castiel whimpered, trying to pull away. Dean tightened his grip a bit, careful not to hurt the other.

"Cas, c'mon, wake up!"

Blue eyes shot open with a gasp, bolting upright in the bed. He was shaking, struggling to breathe correctly, and staring wide- eyed in front of him in a cold sweat.

"Jesus, Cas…" Dean breathed out, watching the other in worry.

Castiel flinched away from him for a moment, curling in on himself. Dean let him go.

"It was just a dream… It's okay now, you're okay."

The angel blinked a few times, looking around the room. Finally his gaze settled on the other, slowly picking apart dream from reality. There were no demons. No one was dead. They were all safe. Sam and Gabriel were asleep in their rooms. Dean wasn't dead. He wasn't a demon.

He wasn't going to kill him.

Relief poured through him at once. The panic faded, and it left him exhausted. He curled closer to Dean before he knew what he was doing, burying his face against the other's shoulder. It was probably awkward, if the way the hunter tensed meant anything, but he was tired, and it made him feel better. Comforted. He slowly relaxed.

It WAS awkward. Dean wasn't one for hugging. It usually involved life- or- death situations or months of not seeing someone. And that only counted for family members. But Castiel's first dream had been what he supposed was a pretty awful nightmare. He figured the least he could do was give the angel a damned hug. Hesitantly, he wrapped his arms around the other's shoulders.

"I got you, Cas, don't worry."

Sam was naturally an early riser. He had a sort of natural alarm that woke him just after sunrise each morning. So it wasn't any surprise to him that everything was quiet when he woke. He was probably the only one awake at this hour. He knew Dean would sleep for at least another hour or two if left to his own devices.

He cleaned up and dressed, noting that the clothes he'd come to the castle with had been cleaned and folded neatly atop the dresser while they were at dinner last night. He changed into them, wondering if maybe one of the angels would be awake. He didn't know when Chuck would want to see them, but he figured they at least had to wait until everyone was awake.

The younger Winchester found Gabriel in the hall when he stepped out of his room. The archangel was on the floor, back propped up against the wall. He was back in his own clothes as well, flipping idly through a magazine. He looked up at Sam with a grin as he shut the door behind him.

"Hey, you're awake!"

"Yeah… Have you been out here long?"

"Nah, just like, an hour." He shrugged. "I don't need to sleep much, and I got bored."

"Oh." Sam looked down the hall, toward Dean and Castiel's rooms. "It's just us so far, I guess?"

Gabriel nodded. "I really hope they're not gonna sleep all day. I kinda wanna get Cassy home soon, before he gets into trouble."

"You're still not going with him?"

The archangel shook his head. Sam shrugged; he wasn't going to fight the other on this. That was Castiel's job.

"Well, we can either wait here until they decide to get up on their own, or we can go wake them and get started."

Gabriel grinned. Sam suddenly regretted his suggestion. But it was too late; the shorter man was already on his feet and heading toward the last room on the hall. Gabriel went inside without as much as a knock to announce his presence. Sam hoped Castiel wouldn't get too rude of an awakening as he knocked on his brother's door.

There was no answer, so he opened the door. Dean was probably in the shower; Sam hadn't had to come wake him after all.

He stopped in the doorway when he saw what actually was the case, mouth hanging open in shock. It was all he had time to do before Gabriel pushed past him.

"So, I guess Cassy's already wandering around somewhere, cuz his room's empty—"

Sam grabbed the smaller man by his jacket, halting his entry into the room. "Found him."

They both stared. Dean was still dead to the world, curled up in the middle of the bed with an armful of angel. Castiel was sleeping peacefully as well, face pressed against the hunter's neck.

"Holy shit," Gabriel took a step back, bumping into Sam.

He groaned. He really didn't need to see his brother cuddling an angel, he REALLY didn't. Especially not this early in the morning. He still had a grip on Gabriel's jacket, and he wasted no more time in yanking the archangel out of the room, shutting the door behind them.

"Was that just—" Gabriel started, but Sam cut him off with a stern look and a shake of his head.

"Not talking about it. Ever."

After a moment, a grin split the archangel's features. "Still think they haven't done it yet?"

"GABRIEL!"

Their brothers were at breakfast by the time Dean and Castiel came down. This was all for the better, Dean thought with a sigh. The last thing they needed was Sam and Gabriel seeing the two of them come out of the same room that morning. It was awkward enough waking up for the second time with an angel hugging up to him. He didn't need the other two teasing him about it, or worse yet, wanting to talk seriously about it.

Castiel had been quiet. He refused to speak about the dream, even when Dean suggested that it might make him feel better. Really, Dean just wanted to know what would freak an angel out so bad.

Sam was quieter than usual as well. He also refused to look at either of them, which was weird. And Gabriel kept grinning at them. He would have thought that was weird as well, if it weren't Gabriel.

Becky just kept staring at them all. She was smiling, almost giddily. It was kind of creeping Dean out. Bobby ignored them all, as if his oatmeal was suddenly fascinating. Occasionally, Becky would let a happy noise slip out, and he'd just roll his eyes, as if personally embarrassed by whatever she could be thinking.

But once breakfast was done, the four were led up the grand stairs, and Dean didn't really care about how weird everyone was acting. They were going to see Chuck, true to Becky's word. Soon they would be back home, and things would be normal again. Well, as normal as things got for hunters anyway. It'd be a shame, though, not being able to see Castiel and Gabriel anymore. Well, mostly Castiel. But the angel wanted to get back to Heaven, and Dean couldn't deny him that just because they were starting to get comfortable with each other.

Becky and Bobby took them up the huge staircase, to another set of double doors. They were pushed open to reveal a room the size of a ballroom, decorated in various shades of green, highlighted by complimentary colors. The entire room looked like a lesson in class, and Dean felt vaguely under dressed.

The room was empty. This didn't seem to bother the two residents. Once they were all inside, they shut the doors again. The small party stood in the room's center, waiting for something to happen.

There was a bright flash of light, and smoke curled out from the wall farthest from the doors. The four stared curiously, while Becky and Bobby just kept their places by the doors. The smoke filled the room, cascading to the floor and curling wispily around their legs. Another flash of light blinded them for a moment, and when they could open their eyes, there was a large green dragon taking up the space of the wall.

It stared down at them, its tail curling idly at its side, much like a cat's would. Its sharp claws tapped on the marble floor as it studied each of them in turn, head tilting.

"Welcome."

The dragon's mouth didn't move when it spoke. Instead its voice seemed to be all around the room at once. Castiel tensed at this, thinking back to his dream. At least it wasn't a doll on a tray.

Gabriel looked the dragon over, taking a step forward. "So, you're Chuck then? That's not a normal name for a dragon…"

"Silence," the dragon hissed, showing off a glint of sharp teeth. "I didn't send for you."

"He's with us," Sam spoke up. He kept his eyes on the dragon, tense, but determined not to show it. "They both are."

The dragon, Chuck, curled its lips up in what might have been a smile. "I know."

"Look, we know why you brought us here." Dean stepped in front of his brother. "We already took care of Lucifer, so your problem's solved. So if you'd just go ahead and send us back, we'd appreciate it."

Chuck arched a scaly brow. "You're so sure?"

Dean nodded, holding up his arm to show off the charm. "He got caught in some magic when we were sent here. He's dead."

"That doesn't mean the problem is solved."

The older Hunter frowned, not getting it. "Uh, why not?"

"You might have dealt with one of them, but there's still Crowley. They were fighting each other before. But without Lucifer to distract him, he'll be unchallenged in his plan to take over all of Purgatory."

Gabriel frowned. He didn't like where this was going one bit.

"I'll make you a deal," Chuck continued, tail swirling. "Take care of Crowley for us, and I'll reward each of you. Not only will I send you wherever you want to go, but you can each have a wish from me."

Dean stared at the dragon skeptically. "You can do that?"

"Of course."

"And all we gotta do is take care of one demon?"

The dragon nodded. "You killed Lucifer already, how hard can one more be?"

"If it's so easy, why don't you do it?" Sam frowned.

"Crowley doesn't leave his home. He has barriers there that keep me from crossing it. But humans are a different story entirely. You can get in and deal with him."

"No deal!" Gabriel snapped, glaring at Chuck. Beside him, the other three stared. "You're gonna get us all killed! Crowley's a lot more powerful than that. Don't lie to them!"

The dragon chuckled. "He's no more powerful than the Devil himself, and he's already been dealt with."

Sam's eyes narrowed. "Are you sure we can do this? You're not just sending us off to our deaths so you don't have to deal with us anymore?"

"I wouldn't give you a task I knew you couldn't complete." Chuck replied.

"You have visions, correct?" Castiel spoke up now.

The dragon regarded him curiously. "That's true."

"Have you seen us accomplishing this task?"

His lips curled up into another possible smile. "Aren't you the clever one? I have seen you accepting this challenge. And I have seen you returning to me after Crowley is no longer a threat."

This answer seemed good enough for Dean. "Alright then, we'll do it."

"The hell we will!" the archangel growled, angrier than he'd ever seen him.

"No one said you had to come with us, Gabriel," Dean crossed his arms.

Gabriel shook his head, furious, before storming away. He shoved the doors open and slid through. Neither Bobby nor Becky made a move to stop him.

"Leave whenever you like," Chuck said, as if he hadn't been interrupted by a raging archangel. "But you're trapped in Purgatory until you finish this task."

Before any more arguments could be made, the light flashed again, and the dragon disappeared in the smoke. Bobby pushed the doors open wide, and Becky led the remaining party out.

Dean decided they would leave the next day. They needed to prepare, like they did for any hunt they undertook. They needed weapons. And some decent food and a well- rested night could only help in the long run. Bobby promised to handle the weapons, and Dean gave him a list of what they'd need. He assured them it would be ready by tomorrow morning. Once that was taken care of, he started planning. He knew he and Sam could handle themselves. He was pretty sure he'd have to teach Castiel how to use a gun.

He was not looking forward to that.

Sam knew Dean would handle the preparation for the job. Instead, he went to go see if Gabriel was alright. They could really use the archangel's help dealing with Crowley. And Sam actually found himself enjoying the other's company. It felt less like being the third wheel with Dean and Castiel.

He raised a hand to knock on the other's door when he heard voices. At first he assumed it was just Gabriel mumbling to himself. But then someone answered. Curious, he pressed an ear to the door.

"…gonna kill you!" Gabriel blurted out, muffled against the wood separating them.

"All part of the plan, angel," the voice was calm, smooth and very British.

"I can't do this, okay?"

"Just go with them. It'll be easier like this."

Gabriel sighed. "I hate you sometimes, you know that?"

A chuckle. "Love you too."

There was a sound of something snapping shut. Probably a phone. It was quiet after that. Sam barely had time to pull away from the door before it was yanked open. He gaped in surprise as the archangel frowned up at him.

"I changed my mind. I'm coming with you."
In which we finally meet Chuck...

Mrr. No art this time. Been working too much. But at least there's an update?

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:iconshortforphill:
ShortForPhill Featured By Owner Sep 14, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
This story is amazing.
I really dig how you managed to keep the characters consistent from start to finish.
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:iconthe-old-bat:
The-Old-Bat Featured By Owner Sep 21, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
Curiouser and curiouser... Yay updates!
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:iconkaruleonnese:
KaruLeonnese Featured By Owner Sep 23, 2011  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
Pfft. Mostly they're waiting on art, which I can't seem to work my way through lately...
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:iconthe-old-bat:
The-Old-Bat Featured By Owner Sep 23, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
Ah. you'll get it eventually. May just need a kickstart... or a break. Either way, hang in there.
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:iconkaruleonnese:
KaruLeonnese Featured By Owner Sep 25, 2011  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
Aww, thanks!
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:iconthe-old-bat:
The-Old-Bat Featured By Owner Sep 25, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
NP. :D
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