Author's Notes: Castiel's POV as the Winchesters outrun their destiny and Demon!Dean just wants his little brother. AU from 3x16. Powers!Sam. Demon!Dean CasPOV.

More exposition than I usually do, and Cas's POV is a bit difficult to latch onto. Still, I like the idea of the three of them still being together, deciding to ban together against heaven and hell and succeeding more than they did before.

Summary: The angels failed to save Dean, so he saved himself and went to Sam. Castiel wonders what would have been if they hadn't failed. Demon!Dean, CasPOV, Powers!Sam, some unstable!Sam.

Other Roads

It wasn't supposed to go like this.

Dean Winchester was supposed to be saved. Garrisons of angels descending into Hell to pull one soul out of it's depths. Something holy and prophetic and part of a plan set into motion before I was created. A plan I was not privileged enough to know the details of.

But it didn't go like that.

Something went wrong. The window of time passed, angels fell, and Dean was left. I knew there would be repercussions, but I had never seen the full-scale panic of my brethren before. It was the first time I wondered what I was not being told about the importance of one human soul. Well, two human souls.

Because it was known they came as a pair.

I had thought the crisis over when Dean Winchester fought his own way out of hell, pushing against the gates while his sibling, unknowing, pulled at them. I was there when the four-month-old turned earth gave way and Dean looked around, confused only for a moment, before he seemed to hone in on something.

I was not permitted to interfere, so I only watched as he made his way to a phone booth, called the numbers with an increasingly dark look on his face before finally reaching his second choice. Events flew after that.

To my amazement, Dean managed to pass every test the hunter he'd called and gone to, performed. A human soul twisted in hell should have flinched, should have sizzled and hissed, but Dean didn't. He was something new that had no name yet.

They made short work of finding the other, the youngest. They turned up at his motel room. Anger and shouting and waves of homicidal intent dissolved into crying and shuddering in each others embrace. The woman (demon, I knew) was quick to leave. As she did and Sam wasn't looking, Dean shot her a cruel smirk and allowed his eyes to flash black. She started in surprise, but said nothing and left.

It wasn't until that night that things began going…too wrong. The older man, Bobby Singer, had left. Dean had urged his younger brother to sleep, as Sam kept nodding off but was too scared of Dean's absence to allow himself to rest.

Urgings and reassurances that harkened back to the days when these two forces had only been two little boys echoed in the room. Dean's gentle tone and soft gaze as he looked at Sam surprised me. There was no taste of a lie or insincere affection. Sam Winchester was completely safe with whatever was left of his brother that had risen from the Pit.

It wasn't till two hours after Sam finally succumbed that Dean went out. Still ordered not to initiate contact, I remained the only observer as Dean singled out a woman in a bar, one with a dark soul of her own, and carved her up in an alley.

I believe he may have killed more if not for the pull to return to his brother's side. The days continued like that and I itched to intervene. The more I learned of the Winchesters and their past, what they had been through, the closer I felt to them. And I was beginning to think that the younger one could sense me in some way. He would pause when I was close, look around as though trying to focus on something just outside the human wavelength. He was special, like Dean, but different. And I wanted to know why.

Though it went against good sense and orders, I began trying to find out their part in events that Heaven deemed important enough to interfere in mortal lives.

I wish now that I had known sooner. Maybe I could have…

They hunted, they ate, they bickered, and they saved people. But Sam saw that something was tilted. He stopped asking where Dean was going when he left and pointedly ignored the blood stains that Dean missed. One night, denial was not enough for him.

I followed him closely as he followed Dean, barely restraining myself from calling out to him not to go. I wanted to spare him the sight of what he would surely find. I felt…protective of Sam Winchester, of them both really. I had been meant to save Dean. I failed and now feared what that failure would mean for them both.

Sam arrived just as Dean had stabbed the woman. His eyes wide in horror and a terrified 'Dean!' that made black eyes turn to him in shock and…was he scared?

"Sammy…" Dean approached his brother with not a thought left for the woman on the ground, gurgling her last breath. Sam had not pulled a gun, was standing still, and I was right at his back. He flinched violently when bloody hands reached out for him and Dean pulled back as if he'd been burned. He was hurt.

"Sam…it's me. It really is."

Sam's body rocked with silent sobs, but he kept tear-filled eyes on Dean.

"I know." He proclaimed, but shook his head all through it.

Smiling in relief, Dean wrapped Sam in his arms murmuring apologies that were the first insincere words he'd said to his sibling. He wasn't sorry. He couldn't be.

"Sorry, Sammy. So sorry, but this isn't bad, okay? We'll still hunt. I'm even better at it now. And with your powers…Sam, we can have anything!" He had pulled back and now left bloody prints on both sides of Sam's face. "Kill everything in our way. No more limits. Humans are just as evil, Sam, you know that. You'll see…this is gonna be better, Sammy. You'll see."

Sam only repeated soft, broken words.

"Dean. Dean. Dean…"

It was two nights later when I watched Sam Winchester sneak out of their motel room and try to disappear. It was the same night that I was called home by a trusted brother who had discovered the true plan for the Winchesters.

It took weeks to sort out the information about Michael and Lucifer and every carefully calculated move over millennia that was being shot down and rerouted again and again by two mortals. I had my truth and now had to decide what to do with it; to choose a side as my brethren wanted the Winchesters to do.

I did not choose my brothers and sisters, but I did not choose humanity either, not truly. I let my curiosity pull me back to Earth, back to two souls in particular.

It didn't take long to catch up on what had happened in my absence. Zachariah had already made his first few plays. Dean only laughed at him and demanded to know where Sam was. My former superior barely made it out alive after Dean got hold of an angel sword.

Sam was informed of the role he was expected to play as well, though with much more disdain directed at him. It tore him down even further than being separated from Dean had.

Sam was still running. In the weeks I had been gone, Sam had fled and Dean had been on his tail the entire time. No matter where he hid, Dean always found him, but he was never quite quick enough to trap Sam.

Every place Sam Winchester stopped in for more than a few hours was littered with bodies and covered in fire within a day of his departure. Everyone Sam spoke with or who spoke to Sam forfeit their lives. Dean had even managed to catch the demon that had been trying to string Sam along to the Apocalypse, the one he'd met that first night back with his brother. He drew her death out a little.

Dean wasn't letting him go. It was wearing on Sam horribly. He was extremely paranoid and eaten up with guilt.

It was Sam I went to first. I found him hunched over with a gun in his hands and knew that it was not Dean he was thinking of killing. No, that thought had never crossed his mind.


He didn't even point the gun at me when he spun around, all self-preservation instincts gone.

"Wh-what are you?" The sight of Sam, the skin and bones and shadow of him made my stomach clench. I tried to appear as nonthreatening as possible.

"My name is Castiel. I am an angel of the Lord."

I expected contempt or fear, not the harsh sounding laugh I received.

"You've come to get me to release the Seals." Sam shook his head, smiling bitterly. "I won't do it. Kill me, but I won't do it."

"No, I…" Why was I here? I had thought it to be curiosity, but it had become more than that. Maybe fascination? Wonder? Guilt? "I'm here to help you."

The wide eyes and grateful expression on his face, that spark of hope, was the last thing I saw before a blinding, brilliant light.

A banishing sigil. And I knew who it had to be that had used it.

Dean had found Sam.

I attempted to locate them again, but it was as if they had dropped out of the very universe. Very few things can cloak a human from angels, but Dean had apparently managed to find one. Eventually, I turned to their hunter friend, the one who loved them both and whose heart had broken like Sam's at the way things had turned out.

He accepted me quicker than I would have expected. Perhaps he was just that desperate to save what he could of the boys he thought of as his own. We shared what information we came across. He with his network of hunters, and I with my contacts to sympathetic angels. Weeks passed with no word.

And then it came.

He summoned me and spouted off an address.

"North Carolina. Can you get there?" he was edgy with frenetic energy. I nodded to him in what I hoped was a comforting way, then left before he could ask to come along. I did not know what would await me.

I still believe I was right to leave him, but when I saw the horror and learned the truth of what had been happening while the Winchesters were missing, I wished someone had been there to bear witness with me.

Dean had taken Sam far out to an abandoned warehouse and chained him there on the cold stone floor.

"I'm afraid you'll run again, Sammy." And he was genuinely afraid. Because Dean may be a monster and a killer, but he loved his baby brother. He spoke softly to Sam when he first awoke, kneeling down and brushing the backs of his fingers over Sam's cheeks as a parent would do to a child. "Don't be scared. I've just got to show you that it's not bad, Sam. It's really not."

Sam's voice was weary, too young to have eyes like that.

"You're killing innocent people."

"No one's innocent, Sammy. I'll make you understand. And no one who's not us matters anyway. It's just the truth. I told Bobby as much last time he kept phoning-"

Sam's head had snapped up. His hands, bound in manacles at the wrist, lashed out to latch onto Dean's shirt.

"No!" Sam screamed, teary-eyed. "No, tell me you didn't…Not Bobby! Dean, please…"

Dean regarded Sam a moment, took in how distraught he was, and his expression softened.

"Shhh, shh, shh…" He cooed, carding fingers through Sam's hair. "I didn't kill him. Didn't even hurt him."

Sam sagged in such relief that Dean had to hold him up.

"You don't want me to kill him?"

Sam shook his head against Dean's chest.

"No. No, Dean, please. Just don't-"

"Would it make you happy if I didn't hurt him?"


"Then I won't." Sam looked dubious. "If it means so much to you. I want everything for you, Sammy. If you love him, I won't hurt him. He's never really been anything but good to us anyway. I'll protect him, little brother."

Sam sobbed in relief, crumbling completely against Dean who just smiled and hushed him.

"I'll make you see, Sammy. They're all worthless. I'm all you need and you're the only thing that matters. Everything exists just for us."

He kept Sam there for weeks, gave him everything he needed before he left for the night.

"Just a couple hours." He'd assure over his brother's wailing and pleas for him to stop. "Be right back."

Dean would drag home another victim and set about making Sam 'see'. He used every trick and skill Alistair had taught him before Dean had turned and killed him too. He made them squirm and sob and beg for death, sometimes for days.

All the while, he would coo soft words at Sam, who remained huddled in a dark corner, trying to block out the world. He hardly cried anymore.

And every time when it was over and there was a cooling body to add to the ditch out back, Dean would sit next to Sam and pull him into his arms. He brushed his thumbs over the skin under Sam's blank eyes and smile like he had in 1992 when Sam had brought home straight A's again.

"All for you Sam. See how much I love you?"

There was never anything but Dean's true sincerity and Sam's silence.

Not wanting to begin a confrontation I was not sure I could win (and I had never thought that about a human before), I waited until I thought Dean gone for the night to begin picking and sliding my way through the sigils and charms that decorated the walls and ceiling like Christmas lights.

When I finally made it to Sam, I feared for a moment that I was too late.

Sam lay still as death on the concrete floor, curled up with his head on Dean's balled-up leather jacket, arms unrestrained.

"Sam." I called out as I approached slowly. I was wary of any traps that may have been laid. Making it to Sam, I placed my hand on his shoulder and shook him gently. "Sam Winchester."

He made a small noise I could not discern, his eyelashes fluttering. I heard a loud crash behind me and immediately tried to warp Sam away. But nothing happened. Something was blocking us from leaving, though I had seen no sigils to that effect. A bullet in my back was the next sensation I registered.

"Get away from him!" Dean's eyes were crazed. When I turned around, he emptied a clip in my vessel. He went for the demon killing knife next as I edged backwards. I wanted to stay between him and Sam, but knew I would not be able to help if I was killed. I tried to look unthreatening.

"I only mean to help him."

"He doesn't need help!" Holy water was flung at me to no effect. "What are you?"

Dean continued going through his arsenal one by one and I knew it would soon come to the angel sword in his possession. I was at a loss.


Murder fled green eyes and Dean moved toward Sam who was now sitting up, head tilted so that his bangs obscured his eyes.


"He shines."

Dean's smirk was feral once again and his hand went for the angel sword. I was still too far to make it to the exit before he could get to me, but when Dean approached, Sam spoke again, a hint of urgency in his voice.

"No. No, not like them." Sam brought a hand to his head, shaking it slowly, like he was disagreeing with someone. "…Watching over you. No lullaby. An epitaph."

Dean had stopped moving towards me, but he still remained ready to attack. He looked a bit unsure at Sam's words, but they still held sway over him.

"Yeah, Sam. An angel, right? The ones that wanna use us." He retightened his grip on the blade. "One less problem."

"He doesn't betray us." I looked from Dean to Sam and found myself staring right into deep hazel eyes, watering as one would when seeing an old friend. "Only one that didn't, really…sided with us…won't hurt us now either."

"You sure?"


Dean shrugged, nonchalant, like he hadn't been about to kill me a second ago; like he knew he still could if he wanted, effortlessly. He walked back over to Sam and knelt next to him.

"Your head okay?"

Sam nodded.

"Snapped like snake bites, but now they're just mosquitoes."

Dean reached his hand out to Sam and Sam nuzzled into it like a well-loved pet.

"Wish I could take away those stupid visions." Dean mumbled.

Sam only smiled wistfully, insanity in his eyes, and I knew I was much too late for any type of rescue.

Sam took one of Dean's hands in his own and pulled at his fingers, counting them out.

"Me, you, Bobby, and Cas." He looked up at Dean in amazement. "We saved the world, Dean."

Dean chuckled and tussled Sam's hair.

"Then I guess that means we can do what we want with it, huh?"

I watched them all the while. This was all wrong, but I wouldn't falter. I had chosen my side and could not truly say I regretted it. From all those among the demons and angels, the Winchesters were the only ones trying to avoid the Apocalypse.

They had no agenda but staying with each other, no greater plan. And even with Dean being a murderer and Sam being broken, that made them the side with the purest devotions.

It wasn't supposed to go like this.

I had failed, was too late. Bobby would never forgive himself for not being able to protect them. Dean was a killer, a monster who only cared about Sam. And Sam was too damaged, driven to madness by his brother, to ever be fixed.

It wasn't supposed to go like this.

The world was going to burn under Dean's gun and Sam's powers. Alistair's star pupil and Lucifer's vessel. Heaven and Hell would falter, if not fall completely.

It wasn't supposed to go like this.

The brothers would stand together, side by side in the flames. Sam laughing, weaving his lunacy through the bodies, Dean destroying anything that got too close. They were going to be unstoppable, indestructible…

It wasn't supposed to go like this.


Or maybe it was.