Author's Note: I got the idea for this while reading Don't Move to the Suburbs by Sameuspegasus. It was an AU taking place awhile after Swan Song and ignoring season 6 but with elements from it and was written four years ago. I found it by accident while surfing and thought the author had a cool way to kill Raphael that I thought might actually work. So the inspiration for that goes to them and I hope you don't think I'm ripping anything off, I'm not, I just was inspired by it. By the way: when the Angel Banishing Sigil is used we're never really given a destination for the angels it banishes. Anna just says "away", Dean indicates it might be Heaven in season 9 but what I'm using is from Reading Is Fundamental in season 7: Cas was apparently just banished elsewhere on Earth as he ended up in Australia so I'm going with elsewhere on Earth for this. Also, since Cas wasn't banished when he used it in Lucifer Rising on Zachariah I'm going with if an angel uses it to banish another angel, it doesn't affect them and that it only did in Point of No Return because Cas had carved the sigil in his chest. The fact about Cas being a Seraphim comes from the Wiki (one of them) which lists both Castiel and Zachariah as Seraphim. Oh and the adding Jody part was a last minute decision but I really like her and I thought her being nearby wouldn't be suspected and they needed someone that was outside suspicion for the plan. By the way: Raphael is in that female vessel but I consider Raphael a "he" like Castiel was still a "he" while in Claire. I find it too confusing to try to figure out what pronoun I should use when he's in a female vessel. Even Crowley couldn't figure that one out.
As Castiel sat on the bench in the autistic man's Heaven, devastated by the fact that God hadn't answered him, he was shocked by Dean praying to him.
Cas, listen to me. I know you think you have no choice but to do this, I do and I'll still stop you if you go through with it, but there must be some other way. You didn't ask me for help before when you needed it and maybe this could've been avoided if you did, but what's done is done. However, maybe we can still come up with a way if we work together. Please, at least try.
Castiel was stunned that after everything that had been said and done between them, Dean would still be willing to try to help him. He wasn't happy about Dean's refusal to back down from stopping the Purgatory plan, but had to admit that he was right that there might be a better way to go about everything and in truth, Castiel didn't want to go through with that plan, he just saw no better way. Steeling himself for possibly another argument, Castiel flew to Bobby's salvage yard to find Dean waiting for him outside.
"Thanks for coming," says Dean.
"You're welcome, though I must warn you that I'm not prepared to stop the Purgatory plan without a viable solution," says Castiel.
"I know," sighs Dean. "And I'm still prepared to do whatever it takes to stop you, but I'm really hoping it doesn't come to that. We've faced terrible odds before and we came out on top by finding another way, there must be something else we can do here."
"I've been looking," says Castiel with a sigh, "but so far I've had no luck. Raphael is too powerful for me to defeat without the power of those extra souls. He has too many followers and there is no other angel left that can match his power. Only an Archangel can match another Archangel and even though Father promoted me, I'm still only a Seraphim now, not an Archangel."
"Why didn't you come to me when this first started before it got so bad? I had a normal life, yes, but I still would've helped you out, especially with something this big."
"I did consider it, but you looked so happy with Lisa and Ben and then Crowley came with the Purgatory offer before I could make up my mind about what to do. If Crowley hadn't come at that moment, I may have spoken to you."
"Well, I'm here now so let's go over this. We found another way to stop Michael and Lucifer without going nuclear like your planning here so there's gotta be another way here."
"Alright," said Castiel, "what do you have in mind?"
"Well first, what can kill an Archangel? I know angel blades can kill angels, but what about Archangels? Could we lure Raphael into a trap somehow and stab him with one? Or what about Heaven's weapons? He fled when you revealed you had those."
"Well yes, an angel can be killed by an angel blade, but an Archangel is different. The only blade that can kill them is another Archangel's blade and the only one I know of right now is Raphael's so that's no help. Even if it wasn't, he wouldn't fall for a trap easily, not after last time. As for Heaven's weapons, they are powerful, but they can't kill an Archangel. Raphael only retreated that time because he knew he couldn't get the weapons right then but he has been trying since. I've considered all of this Dean and it's hopeless."
"I guess I can see where it looks hopeless, but there's always some way," said Dean insistently.
"If there is, I haven't been able to think of it," said a frustrated Castiel.
"Well there was a theory I had that I've wanted to run by you that might work," said Dean. "It's a long shot, but it's better than going nuclear."
"What did you have in mind?" asked the intrigued Castiel.
"Well, first I have a couple of questions. First, when an angel is banished, where do they get sent, Heaven or somewhere else on Earth?"
"They are banished far away on Earth and their power is drained for a short while," said a confused Castiel.
"And this banishment is it like they're teleported there or are they physically flung there?"
"They are flung there but it is done at such a fast pace that it would be invisible to the human eye."
"Would it work on an Archangel too?"
"Yes, banishment affects all angels."
"Then I might have an idea," said Dean. "Like I said, it's a long shot and I doubt it's been done before. Also, it wouldn't be easy, but it might work."
"What have you got in mind?" asked Castiel, hardly daring to hope.
"Well, I was thinking, we know another weakness that is shared by all angels, including Archangels is that they can be trapped by Holy Fire and if they cross it, they will be destroyed, right?" asked Dean.
"Yes," said Castiel, not seeing where this was going. "However, Michael is too powerful to be killed by Holy Fire which is why he was only banished when I used it on him."
"Right," said Dean, getting into his idea. "But when we hunted down Raphael that time you said that crossing Holy Fire would kill him, right?"
"Well then I was thinking that if we could get Raphael trapped in Holy Fire again, we could then banish him. It would send him flying through the Holy Fire and cause him to cross it, thus killing him."
"That's," Castiel paused to consider it. "That's never been tried before, but you are right that being banished through Holy Fire would make Raphael cross it and kill him. However, it would be extremely difficult to trap him again as he would be anticipating another attempt."
"But it's worth a try, right?" asked Dean desperately. "It's worth at least trying this before going the Purgatory route."
Castiel considered the idea. It had merit, but he was unsure how it could be pulled off. However, it was a feasible idea if it could be pulled off and it was better than continuing his search for Purgatory.
"We can try it, but I'm not sure how to pull it off," admitted Castiel.
"That's fine," said Dean. "I'm not sure either but I think with Sam and Bobby's help, we can come up with something."
While Sam and Bobby were skeptical when Dean explained that he had gotten Castiel to reconsider a plan he had been working on for over a year, when they heard what he had in mind, they decided to give it a chance. Bobby removed the angel warding on his house so that Castiel could enter and Castiel added wards that kept other angels from seeing in and telling what was going on. Putting together all of their experience, smarts and general knowledge, they came up with a basic plan.
Knowing that Raphael wanted Heaven's weapons, Castiel purposefully leaked information to an angel he knew was a spy for Raphael that he was planning to hide them in Bobby's panic room warded against angels so that neither faction could use them. The false information that Castiel fed to the spy stated that this was because he felt that they were too dangerous to risk falling into the wrong hands and when the war was over, he could have Bobby or the Winchesters retrieve them. As Raphael wouldn't want to risk this or another angel messing up the job, he would come himself as he had when he tried to get the weapons the first time.
When Castiel returned to Earth from telling the spy what he was supposedly going to do with the weapons, he made no effort to hide his movements and took his time so that Raphael wouldn't take too long to get there and be suspicious when he arrived of why the weapons weren't locked up already. As he expected, the spy quickly informed Raphael who followed Castiel to the salvage yard, noting only the presence of the Winchesters and Bobby Singer in the house, meaning he could smite the place with limited casualties. He noticed that a human law enforcement vehicle was nearby, but paid no attention to it as it was unimportant to his mission. Smug that he would get Heaven's weapons back and take out his greatest obstacles to restarting the Apocalypse, Raphael appeared in the house as Castiel was about to apparently hand over the weapons to Bobby in the angel-warded panic room.
"Did you really think you could do this and not have me learn of it and stop you?"
"Raphael," said Castiel in apparent fear, drawing his angel blade.
"You know that won't harm me, but this will kill you," said Raphael, drawing his own archangel blade. "And I doubt that our Father will bring you back a third time. If he does, I'll keep killing you until you don't come back anymore or Father does something to stop me. However, as He hasn't done anything in a long time, I wouldn't count on that."
Distracted by Castiel and dismissing everyone else as non-threats, Raphael didn't notice Bobby on the phone in the background.
"Now," Bobby ordered into the phone.
Outside the house, Jody Mills dropped a match on a circle of Holy Oil surrounding the house. A wall of Holy Fire sprang up, trapping the angels inside, but not close enough to the house to cause immediate harm. Jody had been skeptical about helping in this plan, but upon hearing what was at stake and that she wouldn't actually be in the line of fire, she'd agreed. Having finished what she'd come to do, Jody quietly told Bobby and wished him luck before leaving.
"Cas," said Bobby, the signal that the Holy Fire was in place.
"Well, you're not going to get the chance," said Castiel, closing the panic room door and revealing a banishing sigil on it. Raphael was merely amused and didn't see it as a threat.
"You may banish me for now Castiel, but I will be back. That can't keep me gone forever and when I come back I'm going to hunt your friends with a vengeance for their roles in stopping the Apocalypse and keeping the weapons from me."
"You won't be back," said Castiel smugly, "not with the ring of Holy Fire around the house."
Before a horrified Raphael could react, Castiel slammed his bloody palm to the sigil, activating it. Raphael was blasted out of the house and through the Holy Fire. Passing through the Holy Fire stopped the banishment and he reappeared outside and screamed before incinerating, leaving two ashy wing impressions on the ground of Singer Salvage Yard. Cautiously, the Winchesters, Bobby and Castiel emerged from the house. Castiel put out the Holy Fire with a wave of his hand and they quickly spotted the wing impressions.
"Did it work," asked Dean, hardly daring to believe it. "Did we actually kill Raphael?"
"Yes," said Castiel slowly. "I can no longer sense his Grace and I can sense his followers have been thrown into chaos. After all that I tried…" He trailed off unable to believe that if he'd just asked his friends for help, things might not have gotten as bad as they had.
"Well, what now?" asked Sam.
"Now I must return to Heaven and restore order. With Raphael gone, his followers should give up without a leader, particularly an Archangel. They will surrender and I can finally restore peace to Heaven as I have wanted. Hopefully now I can be the leader of Heaven as I believe my Father wanted when he brought me back last."
As Castiel had hoped, the death of Raphael ended the civil war and he became the leader of Heaven. While some of Raphael's followers weren't happy with this, they knew they didn't stand a chance without Raphael and kept their peace. Eventually the tensions that existed between the former factions settled down and Heaven was finally in more peace than it had been in a long time. Castiel still found time to visit his friends on Earth and help them if they needed help, but no serious threats cropped up. Without Castiel's support, Crowley was unable to find a way into Purgatory and was ultimately forced to give up though he continued to remain a thorn in the Winchesters' side.