- Chapter 1: Calling All Angels -
Central park was bustling as usual. So many faces, each showing a different facet of human emotion; there was so much life in them. None of these people knew the calamity which was about to befall the universe thanks to the decisions of two brothers just a few states away. They lived in blissful ignorance of the true horrors of the world. Instead, their daily worries usually amounted to things such as money, relationships, government…very human things. Very natural things.
Of those in the park, two young women waited. They waited and watched. One sat patiently on a bench, whereas the other was pacing restlessly in front of it. Unlike everyone else, these two women knew what was approaching. Their Father told them. He also told them to wait. They had an important task, and they had to wait until that ancient enemy was rereleased before completing it. Perhaps their Father still had faith that the brothers would do the right thing. That they would not damn the world for the sake of each other.
Free will definitely put a pin in his whole omniscience shtick. He would say that free will truly wouldn't be so if He knew all the choices ahead of time. But they knew He was being uncharacteristically modest when He would say that. Really, they both had a feeling that He just wanted to hope for a different future than the one that was about to happen.
"I don't understand why we have to wait. We know it is coming. We should get a jump on it now!" The pacing woman finally stopped and spoke to her companion, who was smiling warmly while her eyes remained fixated on a young happy couple with their infant child. When she replied, she still did not alter her gaze.
"Patience, Raguel. Father specifically told us to wait." She spoke with no irritation; she knew that her sister's anxiety came not from a desire to disobey, but more from the anticipation of what was coming. And of course, the desire to get their unpleasant task over and done with. The sitting woman took a deep breath as she thought about the spell her Father had told her and the small vial of blood that Raguel was carrying in her pocket.
"Ramiel, you know it is coming, as does Father. Why should we wait when we could-"
"Patience, I said."
Ramiel's tone was firmer that time, but still not harsh. She did not claim to know the all the answers as to why their Father asked the things that He asked of them. Perhaps He didn't want them to go through with this mission if by some miracle their enemy did not resurface. Or perhaps moving too early would accidentally reveal them to their other brothers and sisters in heaven, who had long believed both of them to be dead.
It will be a newsflash to all of them to learn that the three remaining archangels were all actually alive. Then again, most of the angels seemed to believe that their Father was dead as well, so that will probably be the bigger surprise when they realize that truth.
Raguel sighed, and finally sat next to her sister, slouching a little into the bench. But they did not remain there for much longer. While the humans who surrounded the two of them would not know it, the two angels realized the moment they had been waiting to pass finally happened: the lock had just disappeared from this earth, opening the gate to the new apocalypse. Only this one would be worse than the averted one from five years earlier, because it would consume not only this world, but all others. It would mercilessly and indiscriminately devour everything on all planes of existence, Heaven and Hell included. Perhaps that was why their Father finally decided to take a break from his "free will wouldn't be free if I fixed every problem that humans made" philosophy and began to devise a plan to counterattack.
But again, Ramiel would never say she knew always how her Father's mind worked. She just did as she was told, always having faith in Him. Even now, she wished she did not have to travel to Kansas to do what He said needs to be done.
Unlike their brothers and sisters, Ramiel and Raguel did not experience the fall, and so, their intact and powerful wings carried them instantly to their destination. They stood outside the seemingly abandoned warehouse, though did not go in immediately.
They both felt it, but Raguel was the one to voice it. Something did not feel right; they could feel the presence of their brother inside, but it was twisted and warped and rabid. The King of Hell was in there too, but his being there was not of their main concern.
After their brief hesitation and a shared glance, they ran inside.
Saving the King of Hell from one of their brothers was something that neither Ramiel nor Raguel ever thought they would experience, but here they were, force-pushing a rabid Castiel back and away from Crowley. The demon looked behind with a shocked look on his face, but upon seeing two angels – archangels no less – he wasted no time in teleporting out of there, finding himself able to once Castiel was away from him. Raguel cursed him after he disappeared, staring at the spot where he was last seen. Admittedly, she was tempted to follow him and correct this mistake (what kind of angel saves a demon rather than smites it, she scolded herself) but she knew that she had to keep her mind focused on the real task at hand.
"…Raguel…" After hearing her sister's voice softly calling to her, Raguel spun around again, to get a good look at their brother. Her eyes widened and she took a sharp breath before clenching her jaw, anger and sadness simultaneously flaring up inside of her. It hurt to see him, to see his torn and tattered wings, feathers falling and shriveling up, leaving the brittle bones exposed. His very essence was broken and battered, with only a fraction of grace to be found within.
"How is this possible? There's no human spell that could do this!" Raguel was, of course, commenting on the taint that flowed through Castiel, who was still against the wall. He was growling and grunting and spitting as he tried to fight against Ramiel's hold, his red eyes large and wild while blood streaked from them down his cheeks.
"It's probably because he has so little grace…he seems more human right now than angel," Ramiel replied, trying to think of any way this spell could have possibly worked on an agent of heaven. While the grace wasn't enough to block the spell, it was what was keeping Castiel's vessel in tact; Ramiel could feel the taint trying to rip his insides apart and the grace stitching everything neatly back together over and over again. It must have been agonizing. "We can't do the spell with him like this."
Raguel sighed, looking around the room as if doing so would provide an instant cure to the curse. "Let me guess…we're going to have to do it? I doubt the human witch who did this to him left any sort of other way to fix it."
As she was speaking, Ramiel moved closer to Castiel, whose situation had yet to improve. He was straining against her hold, and she found that she had to use more power than she thought would be needed in order to keep him there. This was quite powerful magic…for a human spell, that is. Regardless, she couldn't do this for much longer…she needed enough power to complete her Father's spell, which she had to be careful with. It was, after all, God-level magic, and whenever someone other than God dealt with something like that, it was incredibly risky.
"Yes, he's going to have to be purified before we can do anything." The only way Ramiel would start the spell would be if Castiel was cured of this taint.
"Let me do it. It'll be too much for you to do both things," Raguel insisted. Ramiel nodded, still holding Castiel in place.
"We don't have a lot of time until the Winchesters show up here, you know," Ramiel observed, as Raguel slowly approached Castiel, rolling her sleeves up to her elbows. She laughed bitterly before looking back at her sister.
"You really think they care enough to come back here? Look at him! They are the reason he is like this! They are the reason we are here to begin with!" Raguel didn't mean to shout, but she couldn't help but raise her voice. She blamed not only the release of the Darkness on those two boys, but she also blamed them for Castiel's current condition.
"They will," Ramiel responded, narrowing her eyes. While she didn't have the highest opinion of the Winchesters either, she didn't think they were so heartless as to leave their friend stranded here.
"If you say so. Let's get to it then." Raguel's hand began to glow, and she closed her eyes, reaching into Castiel's stomach, the way she would a human if she would be looking for their soul. Immediately, her brother began to cry out; it was almost a gurgling sound due to the mixture of his rabid growls and painful screams.
Outside, fires began to start around the warehouse.
Of course Dean would back up the Impala into a pothole right as the Darkness was swarming towards it. That's just their luck, isn't it? Stuck in a hole as a powerful supernatural enemy came at them, threatening to destroy everything…this whole situation was just one big metaphor for the Winchester way of life.
"Dean!" As the cloud of smoke washed over the car, and darkness obscured his vision, Dean heard his brother call out to him. Despite sitting right next to Sam, Dean could no longer see him; he reached over to grasp at Sam's arm as a panic began to course through him. It was just like when they were kids, all those times when Dean thought that he had lost Sam in the dark. But back then, most of those situations ended up being nightmares, and Dean was able to climb into bed next to Sam after waking up and feel like – at least at that moment – that everything was going to be okay.
Unfortunately, even as he held on to Sam's arm, Dean did not feel that same relief.
What had they done?
The cloud seemed to circle the Impala, before dispersing into the sky. Despite it being the middle of the morning, the Darkness obscured the sun and the stars, leaving only blackness above them.
Dean turned the Impala's headlights on, and with that small amount of light, was able to see Sam. He felt like he should have been pleased, but he couldn't help but feel angry. Angry at both Sam and himself. He just killed Death after summoning him to ask for his help. He killed Death – one of the most powerful and important beings in the universe – to save his little brother. And said little brother, in trying so desperately to cure him of the Mark of Cain, just helped release an ancient force that neither one of them knew anything about (not to mention how to fight it). And surely, creating endless nighttime could not be the only power this thing had.
"What the hell, Sam?" Dean stared at Sam as he took his hand back, the anger beginning to overshadow the big brother instinct. "I thought you stopped that whole cure business!"
Sam didn't say anything. The look he gave Dean was somewhat sorrowful, but not necessarily apologetic. And he wouldn't apologize for trying to cure Dean of that horrid thing that was on his arm. But at the same time, he wasn't sure he could definitely stand by his previous statement: 'this is good.'
"Dean, the good thing now is that you're cured," Sam said, wording his sentence carefully. "We can figure this out now-"
"Figure this out? You think we can just figure out how to fix this?" Dean almost shouted, while gesturing to the sky.
"Maybe Cas knows something," Sam replied, trying to think practically. The situation was done; they made their choices and now the younger Winchester wanted to stop fighting and focus on their new enemy and current situation.
"You think if Cas knew anything about this shit he would have helped you?"
"Yes. Dean, he would." Sam's response to Dean's inquiry was instant, and sounded sure even though he wasn't completely convinced of his own answer. After all, Castiel had mentioned the danger of the possible consequences of curing the mark and hinted that maybe those consequences were greater than the reward of saving Dean…did he have a feeling that something bad was going to happen?
"I doubt that." Dean knew that Castiel had a more 'big picture' mindset than either of them, and so, did not believe Sam. Plus, there was also the guilt that sat in the pit of his stomach…no matter how much he tried to picture a different version of his best friend, all he could think of was the bloody and bruised version lying on the floor of the bunker, pleading with Dean. Not even fighting back to defend himself. Just asking him to stop.
Why would Cas want to help him after that? Dean could still feel the breaking of Castiel's bones under the force of his fists. He could picture Castiel's limp form being banged against that table over and over again. An angel of the goddamn Lord, and Castiel couldn't even be half-assed to defend himself against Dean. That fact angered him, even though deep down he knew he had no right to be; how could Cas think so little of himself to just take a beating like that? Why did he refuse to hurt him? Why didn't he just fight back?
It would be easier for Dean to deal with the whole thing if he had.
But Dean knew that Castiel would never intentionally hurt him.
"Where is he," Dean then asked. Sam looked away and answered that Cas was at the warehouse with Rowena. "You left him alone with Rowena?" Dean's voice became louder, and a little more frantic.
"Dean, I'm sure he could handle her."
"Right, just like how Charlie was able to," Dean spat back, spitefully. It was maybe an unfair jab – Charlie was human whereas Cas was an angel, after all – but he still couldn't help but blame Sam for her death. She never should have gotten involved in all of this. Sam said nothing in response, only looking away remorsefully.
"Call him," Dean ordered, before getting out of the car. He didn't want to talk to Castiel himself, but he also wanted to make sure the angel was alright. He made his way to the trunk, and opened it to pull out a flashlight. Although the Impala's lights were providing some source of light, the flashlight would make things easier in the artificial night. He shined the light on the tire caught in the pothole.
"Dean." Sam then got out of the passenger side, staring at his phone. "He's not answering." While both Sam and Dean wanted to believe that Cas not answering was innocuous – maybe he was off watching bees or something dorky like that – they both knew that would be wishful thinking. There's no way that Cas would see this happening and not contact them or answer his phone when they called.
"Help me get her out of this damned hole," Dean said in response, referring to the pothole the Impala's tire was still stuck in. They had to get out of here and back to Cas as soon as possible.
"The Winchesters are coming," Ramiel informed her companion, feeling the presence of the two brothers suddenly becoming stronger and stronger. Raguel was still in the middle of the purification process, and although it was necessary, listening to their brother's screams was by no means pleasant.
Raguel did nothing to acknowledge her sister's warning, though Ramiel knew that she had heard her. While she was not afraid of the Winchesters, she was nervous about them seeing the spell; their father had specifically said not to bring to them any great harm, and there was no telling if it would have any adverse effects on any humans in the vicinity. Truthfully, Ramiel did not completely understand her Father's affections for the brothers, but again, she had faith in Him and so would follow his instructions as closely as possible.
It took a few more minutes for Raguel to finish purifying Castiel of that horrible curse the witch had subjected him to, and he passed out immediately. Good, Ramiel thought. He shouldn't be awake for the spell anyway. Together, they picked him up and placed his unconscious form on the nearby table. Despite the ticking clock, Ramiel took some time to carefully clean those terrible bloodstains that were still under Castiel's eyes. She smiled at him lovingly, yet sorrowfully.
"You get started, I'll take care of the Winchesters when they get here," Raguel said, before handing Ramiel the vial of blood that she was still carrying. She then took out a regular knife and cut a vein in her arm, allowing the blood to spill out from under her skin and onto the floor beneath them. Nodding, Ramiel followed suit, completing the same action and allowing her blood to fall on the same spot. The third ingredient was what was in that vial – their Father's blood.
Ramiel did not need all of the blood yet, and so poured out only half of it onto the floor. The other half was to be saved for later. Once their Father's blood – which was a deep red that looked almost like it was filled with starlight – mixed with their own, the spot began to softly glow blue-white.
"Alright. Let's do this," Ramiel said to herself, as if psyching herself up. In truth she was nervous; she had never had to perform any spell of this magnitude or importance before. Softly, she began to chant the Enochian incantation that her Father had taught her before they left for Earth, and as she continued, that soft glow on the floor became more intense.
Raguel stood by and watched, wanting to keep an eye on her sister in this potentially dangerous situation. But she also made sure she was focused on the Winchesters' presence, which was getting ever closer and closer…
When Dean and Sam rolled up to the warehouse in the Impala, they were surprised to see several bushes either on fire or burnt out. Dean remembered what Castiel said about when angels scream from torture…and what happened to that Alfie angel (Saman…something – Dean remembered the kid as Alfie), and he slammed on the breaks before quickly jumping out of the car.
"Dean…!" Sam exchanged a quick look of panic with his brother, before both of them rushed inside, each pulling out their guns. Normally, both would have been less reckless, since they did not know exactly what they would find in there, but this was Cas, and judging from the outside of the warehouse, something had happened to him. Cas was family, and when it came to family, the Winchesters weren't ones to put logic over emotion.
Not that it would have mattered either way, because their enemy knew they were right outside, and was ready for them before they even entered the abandoned building.
Both Dean and Sam were effortlessly force thrown in opposite directions. They crashed into their respective walls, each falling to the floor and groaning a bit in pain. When they looked up, they saw two women they had never encountered before. The one who had thrown them had an athletic, somewhat buff build, and jet black hair pulled back into a long ponytail. She looked down at them angrily – almost disgusted really – while her companion kept chanting verses in some gibberish. But it was gibberish that both brothers recognized after a few short seconds of listening to it.
"Enochian…so you two are angels?" Sam asked while standing up. He spoke before Dean could, though his tone inflection was more as if he was stating the obvious than actually inquiring. Dean's eyes fixated on the chanter, who was slimmer and had a darker complexion than her sister. Below her, a spot on the floor was glowing that blue-white that he associated with angelic grace, and it made him a bit nervous.
"Well, you certainly pick up on things fast," the attacker said, mockingly. But her face did not show any sort of amused expression to go with that tone. Really, she still just looked angry.
"What'd you do to Cas?" Dean spat out after seeing Castiel unconscious on the table. Fury and guilt rose in him; why was it lately that whenever Dean saw Castiel, the latter was hurt or about to be hurt in some way? Dean remembered Claire asking him to keep an eye on Cas, and saying how he has been through enough. So much for all that; Dean couldn't help but think that Cas probably would've been better off as far away from him as possible.
"Really that is a question you ought to be asking yourself, Dean Winchester. We wouldn't be here if not for you and your brother rereleasing our ancient foe."
Both Dean and Sam flinched at that, though didn't say anything immediately in their defense.
"And for the record," the angel continued, "none of us wanted it to come to this. But we need him to return to us."
Sam was about to ask what she meant by that, while Dean was still focused on Castiel and what the other angel was doing. However, before the younger Winchester could say anything, the ground began to shake a little, and the spot which had been glowing started to rise from the floor. It didn't take Dean long to realize that what was coming out of the ground was angel grace. The grace was extremely bright, brighter than any either brother had ever seen from any other angel. And there was a lot of it.
The chanting angel lifted her hands and seemed to guide the grace up from the floor and into the air. She looked over at Castiel, and seeing her do so caused Dean to forget about her companion. He sprung towards her, pulling out the angel blade he carried. Whatever she was about to do to Cas, it obviously wasn't good if neither one of them wanted to go through with it.
Before he could get even remotely close to her, however, her sister had Dean once again flying through the air and crashing into a wall, this time a bit more forcefully than the first. Sam tried to rush to help him, but he too ended up flying across the room. This angel was more on point than some of the previous ones they faced…or they were just both exhausted from the rest of the day's events. A part of Dean couldn't help but wish that he still had that damned mark on his arm; if he still had it, these two winged douchebags wouldn't be here, and even if they were, he would be better equipped to handle them.
"You two might want to close your eyes." At the attacker's suggestion, both humans actually did what they were told. While they neither liked nor trusted most angels, they did know that when one of these so called agents of heaven said to shield your eyes, you did it, lest you end up with them burning right out of your skull.
The angel performing the spell guided the grace toward and into Castiel's mouth, which had been slightly open in his unconsciousness. As soon as all of it entered, a blinding light washed over him and enveloped the entire room for a few seconds. The brothers kept their eyes shut until things darkened again.
The angel who had been performing the spell was bent over and clutching the table, breathing heavily. Her nose was bleeding, and she was coughing almost violently. Clearly, whatever she had to do just took a ton out of her. But she still persisted, taking out a half-full vial of blood and pouring some of it on Castiel's face. Her hand was shaking, and she stumbled when she tried to straighten herself.
"Ramiel!" Her sister rushed over to her side, putting her arm around the other for support. After asking if she was alright and receiving a weak nod in response, she then began to use the blood on Castiel to write some sort of sigil on his forehead and cheeks. It was obviously angelic, and she was focused on her task.
Now was their chance.
Both Dean and Sam lunged at them, but even with the one called Ramiel severely hurt and drained, she was able to stop them in their tracks. She didn't have enough juice to push them away, but the brothers found themselves unable to move any closer.
Damn, they hadn't encountered angels this tough since Lucifer and Michael…
After finishing the sigils on his face, the woman ripped open Castiel's shirt and poured the rest of the blood onto his chest. Again, she outlined some angelic writing, and once she was done, said a small incantation. The markings on Cas began to glow a few times before fading away.
"What the fuck did you do to him?" Dean couldn't help shouting – he was obviously frustrated and scared for Cas. Usually when angels got involved like this, things did not end up going great for any of them, but especially so for his best friend.
"Don't worry, Dean Winchester," the injured angel breathed out, her voice only slightly louder than a whisper, "he's just been given better protection than all of us together could possibly provide him. He must lie in stasis and recover now." She looked almost sad when she said that though, which gave Dean no comfort. Despite what she said, it made him feel worse.
"Why would he need-"
But the angels disappeared. What? Didn't the angels lose their wings in the fall? Just who were those two? And what did they just do to Cas?
"Son of a bitch!" Dean exclaimed, before scrambling over to his unconscious friend. He shook him a few times, shouting out his name while doing so, in an attempt to wake him. But his angel's eyes did not open, and he remained limp and motionless. Dean turned a bit to look at Sam. They shared a distressed look with one another before looking back to Castiel.
They had no idea what to expect, and if it was possible, they felt that this whole Darkness thing was way worse than they had already thought.