|Anno Domini Nostri Dean Winchester
Author: Catslynw PM
Pre-Series through Season 6: Collection of related one-shots spanning the life of Dean Winchester, the righteous toddler and the angel who watches over him as he grows year by year. Dean/Castiel friendship fic – will be both serious and funny.Rated: Fiction K - English - Drama/Humor - Castiel & Dean W. - Chapters: 2 - Words: 5,721 - Reviews: 14 - Favs: 27 - Follows: 40 - Updated: 04-30-10 - Published: 04-06-10 - id: 5876492
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Anno Domini Nostri Dean Winchester
When the summons came, Castiel was in midst of observing a human conflict in a place called Iraq. When last he was there, it had been known as Ur. The land had been richer then, more fertile and the people more colorfully dressed. Now, the humans were firing projectile weapons at one another, some from armored vehicles, others from fortified positions behind crumbling mud-brick walls. One human lay dead beside a vehicle. Another two were dead inside one of the buildings. The air was heavy with the mixed odor of blood, fecal matter, cooking oil, nitrates and sulfates. Castiel did not understand this conflict. None of the humans trying to kill each other actually knew one another. Their surface thoughts were a jumble of irrelevancies and anxiety. One man continually cursed demons in his mind, which Castiel found particularly confusing as there were no demons within a thousand cubits of this place.
"Why do they fight?" he asked his comrades. Uriel, lower ranked than himself, was unlikely to know much more than he did, but Anael was both wise and experienced. More, she seemed to have a special understanding of human emotions and motivations.
"They fight because they are brutish savages. No other reason is required," Uriel intoned sententiously.
"As always when discussing the humans, Uriel, you tread a line perilously close to blasphemy," Anael chastised him. Her words were calm, her inflections betraying only a hint of impatience. Uriel said nothing more, and after a moment, Anael went on. "They fight because they are afraid. They fear everything they do not understand, everything that is different, everything that is uncertain. They fear death, and so they seek comfort in our Father. He is their bedrock in a world of shifting sand, but when another of their kind questions the nature of our Father, disagrees with their conception of Him, that bedrock quakes. Too often they turn to violence to settle their disagreements about Him and about other matters they consider to be of importance: food, shelter, power, breeding, money. It is fear that makes them lash out at one another."
"You say that I blaspheme, yet your considered judgment is not incompatible with my own opinion and far more critical."
"You misconstrue my meaning. It is their very fear which lends them nobility, for when they overcome that fear, they are capable of… miraculous things. Be not so quick to judge, Uriel." Anael spoke placidly enough, but – as so often in the recent past – Castiel sensed a strange fire lurking beneath the surface of her words. Another such fire burned just below the surface of her mind, cloaking her thoughts in secrecy, making them inaccessible to lesser angels, and casting an uneasy light on all her actions. At times he felt that something was wrong with Anael. She had been his commander and comrade for many hundreds of years, and Castiel knew her as he knew few other beings. Now, something was changing inside her. He would have sworn it, and yet, that could not be. Heaven had sent their battalion here, to this place and time with Anael to command and guide them. Heaven did not make mistakes, could not err and so… the trouble must be in Castiel's perception rather than in Anael. He was young, inexperienced beside many of his brethren, though he had risen quickly enough through the ranks. The fault had to be in him. It was not a comfortable thought, and Castiel buried his uncertainty deep within himself lest others, like Uriel, suspect the truth. If there was something wrong with him, then he would correct it. If necessary, he would seek Anael's help. She was driven and demanding, but she was not unkind. She would help him if it were possible. And, in the meantime, he would watch Anael and seek to understand what it was in her actions and within himself that left him with such troubled thoughts.
Anael turned away from the conflict and, with a brush of her wings, folded space about her and stepped through to their next destination. Uriel trailed after her, a sardonic look on his too beautiful features. Castiel had once heard Uriel's beauty compared to that of the Dawn Star himself. It was another uncomfortable thought. Gathering himself, Castiel was just about to follow after them, when he felt the summons. It was more than the simple call-to-arms to which he was accustomed, more than an order to present himself. This summons had physical power behind it, had hooks which seemed to catch themselves in his grace and pull him bodily away. He was not alarmed. If Heaven beckoned, he went. Duty and obedience were not a matter of choice. They simply were. But the manner of the call itself was surprisingly urgent, and he found himself unexpectedly apprehensive. When the summons released him, Castiel found himself within the Garden, a place he had never before seen, and his apprehension grew exponentially. Could it be that Heaven had sensed his – no, not doubts, doubts was too strong a word. But if Heaven had sensed his concerns and decided that he was truly defective in some way...
Castiel stood perfectly still and at attention as three of the greater angels approached him, but he could not stop a tell-tale tremble in his wings when he realized whom he gazed upon. The three stopped in a semi-circle before him, and Castiel immediately abased himself before them. A Chesed, a Gevurah and a Tipheret. Never before in his short life had Castiel seen even one of these divine beings, let alone three from three separate orders whose nature he could only speculate upon… until now. Always before, his commands and instructions had come through others of his kind, like Anael. Though higher ranked and more experienced, she was still, in essence, like himself. Once, before a particularly perilous engagement with the fallen ones, the reviled Grigori, Castiel had gone with Anael to seek revelation. They had been visited and instructed in their duties by the archangel Rafael. Since then, Castiel had seen archangels but infrequently, had spoken to them less, but they were not unknown to him. And once, just once, from a great distance, he had seen one of the Netzach, the Heavenly princes from whom even the archangels received their orders. He had never thought to see more. Soldiers such as he did not consort with the divine hosts of Heaven. It simply did not happen. Had they commands for him or his kind, those commands would come through revelation, through superiors in their own order. To be called before such a triumvirate in his own person… Castiel's knew his offense must be more grave than ever he had suspected, the mistake within him more dire. But surely, surely an archangel would simply have been sent to end him. Castiel would end his own existence if the order was given, or Anael or Uriel would have done it for him in kindness and kinship. What could these beings possibly want with his actual presence?
"Are you certain he is the one?" the Tipheret demanded of the others and Castiel could feel it considering him in evident dissatisfaction. "His thoughts are chaotic and disordered, filled with misconceptions and doubts." The Tipheret, which Castiel's studies told him that humans would call a Power, was a creature of balance and order, an instrument of harmony in the universe, and clearly it did not approve of him.
"His doubts are only of himself. He has perfect faith in our Father and in Heaven. His devotion is pure, his trust absolute," replied the Chesed, whom humans would call a Dominion. "He is merely young. He is the one we seek." The ancient angel spoke with absolute certainty, as if daring Castiel to behave in any manner that could call its judgment of him into question. Even as the trembling of his wings increased, Castiel sought to ease the turbulence within his spirit, to calm the whirling thoughts within his mind. These were not the beings charged with punishment or destruction. Whyever he was here, it was not for some unknown offense. Peace, Castiel, he told himself. Peace. His wings ceased to shake, his thoughts ceased to race, and he awaited revelation in stillness.
"Better," the Tipheret noted calmly. "You may gaze upon on us child. Lift your eyes."
Castiel did as he was bid and regarded the three solemnly and with no small curiosity. The angels of his own daily existence looked much as humans did, but these three great ones did not. The Tipheret looked to his eyes as a starry night sky given form. Its outline was human in shape, with no visible suggestion of wings, but where features should have been there was only a deep black void reflecting distant points of ancient light. Beautiful, but cold to look upon. Castiel turned his gaze the being at the other end of the semicircle. The Chesed, by contrast, looked entirely human, more so even than Castiel. The being reminded him a vague way of a Scandinavian soldier he had observed for some weeks with his battalion many decades before. Tall and broad, with a gleaming sword upon each hip, and a burnished helmet upon his brow, the Chesed looked more ready to do battle than any angel Castiel had ever seen. Yet he had never heard tell of one of the great ones actually going into battle. It was… curious.
There was a soft laugh from the being at the center of the group. Castiel turned his gaze to the Gevurah, but dropped his eyes again almost instantly, for the Gevurah was too bright to look upon. The Shining Ones, they were called. The Virtues. It was the Gevurah who had performed the miracles of old, who had taught mankind to gaze toward the skies in awe and wonder. Castiel had only a fleeting impression of four blue-feathered wings, a glimpse of sure hands clasping what looked in one moment like a sword and cup and in the next like a shield and cross, before his eyes were dazzled beyond comprehension. The Gevurah was the most radiant being he had ever seen, and Castiel knew how truly small and insignificant he was by comparison. The ancient one laughed again.
"We all have our place and our purpose, child. Rise," she instructed him. Castiel rose, but he kept his gaze upon his feet less he be blinded by their combined glory. "We come in the name of the Binah," the Gevurah intoned. "The Great Thrones have foreseen. A child will soon be conceived on Earth, a sacred child. You will watch over this child."
Castiel's thoughts began to whirl once more, his confusion growing anew.
"Speak your questions, Castiel."
"Are not all our Father's children sacred to him?" Castiel could sense the Chesed and the Tipheret regarding him with disfavor, but the Gevurah seemed untroubled.
"Peace, my brothers. His question is valid, his motives true. He is our Father's most devout son. Be patient with his ignorance." Castiel felt his own hackles rise slightly at mention of his ignorance, but he quickly tamped down such an unworthy feeling. Pride had no place in his spirit. He was but his Father's tool, humility his only true birthright. The Gevurah continued on, and if she heard his thoughts, she did not remark upon them. "All of humanity is precious to our Father, it is true," she explained, "but the child to be born is both sacred and holy. His life will have great meaning. His very existence shall forever change the future of humanity and of Heaven itself. A righteous soul shall soon be born."
Once more Castiel began to shake, but not this time in fear. After centuries of observing humanity, he sometimes felt he was no closer to understanding its great purpose, but what angel could comprehend the God's plan? That humanity had some special destiny, Castiel did not doubt. God had said it was so, and so it was. But this… a human child whose coming would change Heaven itself? Only once before had Castiel heard tell of such a thing, and that child had been the Christ. Still, what the Thrones saw did not always come to pass, or sometimes did not come to pass in precisely the way in which they had foreseen. It had been explained to Castiel once, when he was very much younger than he was now, that this was due to the unique nature of the human soul. Free will was woven into the very fabric of their beings, and no future, with them, was ever immutable.
"This foretelling, it is certain?" he asked humbly.
"Yes," The Chesed replied. "The Cherubim see to the child's conception even now."
"And I am to watch over this child?"
"Yes," they answered in unison.
"Your battalion will be informed of your reassignment. If they have need of you, arrangements may be made. All is in hand. Do not fear, Castiel, and do not doubt the will of Heaven. Everything will happen precisely as it must," the Tipheret assured him.
"I do not doubt," he replied hesitantly. "It is only that I feel unworthy of such a task."
"You are worthy," they replied, once more in perfect unison.
"Go now, Castiel," the Gevurah instructed him. "Go to a place called Lawrence. You will know the child you seek when you see him. His name is Dean Michael Winchester."
*Authors note: The next chapter won't be nearly so serious, so stay tuned for the comedy hour. Thanks to my beta, Eideann. And for those who are interested, Brotherly Love is now completed, though I may add a fifth chapter (in flashback) later if people are interested in reading more about the Winchester cousin, Father Sean Rourke. Take care and happy reading!