"Sam!" Dean looked at the table that was covered by all of the items that made up Castiel's grace. "What is all this?"
"I'm trying to figure out how to get Castiel's grace back together." Sam said as if it were perfectly obvious.
"Okay, so what's with the index cards?" Dean said picking up the one next to what looked like an oddly shaped rock.
"I'm trying to figure out if there's any significance to the different items." Sam said. "And it would go a lot faster if you would help."
"Hey you're the research geek." Dean said. 'Although I don't need to do any research to tell you the significance of that one." Dean pointed at the one that looked like a rock. "That one means Fred had to take Dino for a walk" Dean said with a laugh.
"You're not helping Dean and in case you forgot, I've also got a batch of bullets to make for the Colt. So the sooner we fix Cas' grace, the sooner we can kill Abaddon." Sam said. "So how about you for once sit down and take the research side of things seriously!"
"Sam, Dean; is there a problem?" Michael asked popping into the room.
"Look Dean, Castiel is your guardian angel. He always has been from the moment he burned that handprint on your arm. I know what he thought of me. The Abomination, the boy with the demon blood. He only tolerated me because I was your brother." Sam said. "And after all of that I seem to be taking this a lot more seriously than you are."
"Sam, I do not consider you an abomination." Castiel said quietly from the door. "I consider you a friend. My first impression of you was wrong and while Dean and I do share a more profound bond, I am as much your guardian as Dean's. If I have made you feel as if you are less worthy in my eyes, you have my apologies."
"Cas, Look I'm sorry. We are friends the rest of it is over and done with. Ancient history alright? I'm just, frustrated." Sam ran a hand through his hair. "It's just that I don't have any idea what I'm doing here. You've done a lot for us, for me. I feel like I should be able to do this for you."
"Perhaps you should take some time away from this Sam. You have been working diligently since Gabriel revealed how my grace could be, repaired." Castiel said. "I'm sure that Dean won't mind doing some research, would you Dean?" Castiel looked at the hunter expectantly.
"Uh yeah, I can do research." Dean said.
Castiel took Sam's arm guiding him out of the room "Come Sam, you should rest. I can now appreciate just how vital the need to sleep is for humans."
Gabriel, Lucifer and Michael watched as Castiel led Sam towards his room. Lucifer spoke "Wow! When did our awkward little Cassie stop being awkward?"
"That was smoothly done." Gabriel agreed. "Couldn't have done it better myself."
Michael just grinned. "I always said he was a fast learner."
"You do know that time runs different down there right?" Balthazar asked Metatron. "One month up here is ten years down there."
"I understand that it's cold in the cage too. Your grace is bound so you cannot make yourself warmer." Verchiel added.
"But you know what the worst part of all is?" Virgil asked. "You're cut off from the host. You become invisible. Nothing more than a ghost. You can see the host, you can hear us. You can watch the Earth and heaven, but no matter how long and loud you yell, your screams fall on deaf ears."
"You know Virgil, now that I think about it; Father has decided on the perfect punishment." Balthazar said. "We all want to smite him but the very second that happens, its over. This way he sits in the cage by himself alone and with all the time in the world to think and dwell on his loneliness."
"Father has even given him a chance for redemption." Verchiel said. "After all these eons, The Morningstar has been restored to us. Perhaps you should use your time to reflect and repent."
Dean had no illusions about himself. Sammy was the research geek and the nurturer. Dean was the destructive one. Dean's forte was action even if it meant admitting to an 'Oops my bad' later on. Sam had been researching all night and it had gotten them nowhere. Dean had been trying to research for the last 4 hours and nothing. So now it was time for action.
He left the pieces spread on the table and went in search of Sam. He soon found him downstairs where Benny had set up a workshop to produce bullets for the Colt. As he watched Benny lifted up a small ladle of molten metal and poured it into a mold while Sam chanted something and then doused the mold.
"Was that holy water?" Dean asked as the metal sizzled while it cooled.
"Yeah," Benny said with a chuckle. "Holy water on steroids."
"It was blessed by all four of the Archangels." Sam said. "I'll be back to pack the cartridges later. Thanks Benny."
"Not a problem Sam. I'll take them out of the molds after they cool." Benny said.
Sam joined Dean "Find out anything new about Cas' grace?"
"Naw. But I did just get an idea watching you guys." Dean said. "All of those things are supposed to be Cas grace. Right? But none of the Archangel's can sense the grace."
"Yeah, so there has to be something we need to do." Sam said. "We just have to figure it out."
"Suppose we're making it more complicated than it is?" Dean said.
"What's that supposed to mean?" Sam asked.
"We're driving ourselves crazy trying to find incantations and spells, What if it's as simple as peeling a boiled egg?" Dean said "Think about it, all these different things that have nothing to do with each other and Cas' grace is stuck inside. Get rid of the shell."
"And there's Cas' grace, inside." Sam thought. "I can't think of a better idea."
Sam, Dean, Castiel, and four Archangels made their way down to the deepest levels of the bunker. Who knew what would happen when they tried this, no sense in putting everyone at risk.
Sam stopped and went into a room for a second coming back out with a huge cauldron. "We need to contain the fire Dean. I'd rather not burn down the entire bunker."
"Fire." Gabriel questioned "Why on earth do you need fire?"
"You like Twinkies right?" Dean said. "There's all this crèam inside but you have to go through the cake to get to it. Same principle. We think Cas' grace is in side of all these things but we have to go through them to get to the grace."
They finally reached an empty room and Sam sat the cauldron in the middle of the floor while Dean sat down the box of items. "Would one of you mind giving us a hand?" Dean asked. "We could us a little flame."
Gabriel snapped his fingers and a fire was burning inside the cauldron. "Now what?"
"I think we need to do this in the order they were found." Sam said picking up the wooden box and holding it out to Castiel. "Here Cas, put it on the fire."
Castiel took the box. He held onto it for a moment before carefully placing it in the fire. A curl of smoke rose up out of the fire and wafted around Castiel before dissipating.
"Damn! I thought we were onto something." Dean said as they saw no visible changes to Castiel, no fireworks, no light show like when Anna had gotten her grace back.
Raphael stepped up to Castiel. "No wonder our father left this in your hands. Only you could be appropriately simple minded to find such a simple solution, Dean Winchester. I can sense a change in the center of Castiel's being. Continue with the next item."
Castiel took the jar that Dean handed him and once again a tendril of smoke made it's way to Castiel. They continued on with Raphael announcing progress with each item burned. Soon there was only one item left.
"Well we're down to the Dino crap." Dean announced looking down into the box.
"Dude!" Sam said with an exasperated bitchface. "It's fossilized that means it's a rock now." Sam picked up the fossil and handed it to Castiel.
The moment the fossil touched his hand Castiel felt his grace inside the rock bursting free. "Sam, Dean; you should shut your eyes." Castiel barely had time to warn before grace was pouring into him.
Castiel's warning wasn't really necessary as Gabriel, Lucifer and Michael had all moved the shield the Winchesters. As the light died down The Winchesters opened their eyes to see Castiel standing by the cauldron and the shadows of his wings cast on the wall behind him.
Gabriel grinned "Welcome back Bro!"