Fandom: Supernatural
Title: Bending Near the Earth
Author: Maychorian
Characters: Castiel, Uriel
Category: Angelic angst? Hurt/comfort?
Rating: G/K
Spoilers: "Entertaining Angels," Season 4 in general
Summary: Castiel closes his eyes, and when he opens them, all is changed.
Word Count: 771
Disclaimer: Pretty sure they're not mine.
Author's Note: Ficlet for authoressnebula. Missing scene from the end of "Entertaining Angels" (canon-compliant version). Merry Christmas, dear!

Bending Near the Earth

Castiel closed his eyes as a human child, looking into the pale anxious face of Dean Winchester, bent over him in fear and love. He opened his eyes as an angel, wrapped in the arms and wings of his brother, surrounding him, steady and dependable as the revolution of the galaxies.

What…? Castiel trembled. He remembered pain, the desperate struggle to breathe. There was no need for breath here, which was well, since there was no air. He was surrounded by stars, a familiar sight, yet it felt strange, now.

My brother. Uriel's voice was relieved and exasperated, near trembling, but not. Uriel was stronger than Castiel, had always been.

I was a child.

It was a foolish thing to say, since Uriel must already know. He must have come to fetch Castiel, chased him down like a wandering lamb. Odd that the mighty warrior had done it himself instead of relegating the task to a lower angel.

But Uriel responded almost with a sort of fond indulgence, allowing Castiel his foolishness. Yes, you were a child. A strange choice of sanctuary, that, when you could have gone home to rest.

I thought. Dean. Dean needed me. The mission, the Seals. Dean Winchester shouldn't be alone. I went to him.

The words tumbled out, so easy, straight from thought to speech with no struggle for connection in between. Another difference. Castiel stilled himself, his head bowed back, and closed his eyes as he fought for equilibrium.

Dean Winchester needs many things. Uriel was hostile again, near growling, but his grip on Castiel remained kind and supportive. Respect, most of all. I think perhaps going to him in the form of a mud-made child is not the best way to teach that.

Castiel blinked, unable to refute this statement, though he felt that something was missing. No. Perhaps not.

He rested, his head leaning back against Uriel's shoulder as he gazed out on the spinning universe constantly exploding, going, widening, separating, all the stars and planets so lonely in the dark despite the sharing of their light so bright and pure, and felt his grace begin to settle back where it belonged. Becoming divine again, holy fire in his veins instead of human blood, wings instead of feet to carry him on the solar wind, not a blacktop road. The disorientation was terrifying, overwhelming, but it passed quickly, and Uriel kept him from falling apart while it swept over him.

Anna must have done this alone. For the first time, Castiel felt pity for her instead of something more complicated.

In time he steadied, and Uriel released him and moved slightly back, though their wings touched at the tips. There and ready if the need came again. Castiel was distantly grateful, though his mind and heart were full of other things.

I liked being a child.

He hadn't meant to say it aloud, but again, the ease of speech had startled him. He would have to get used to this again.

Uriel snorted gently. And that is your folly, my brother. Even the children of dust carry their own darkness in them. In all your observation, have you not seen this yet? Better to be a being of light only, none of that frailty, that conflict.

Castiel stretched his wings and limbs, feeling his new limits. Yes, humans carry darkness, but they also carry light. I choose to honor that in them, though I do acknowledge that the darkness exists. It is no sin for me to remember that time with fondness. There was Another Who went to earth in such a form.

Yes. Uriel's attention moved away, aimed back toward the planet they had orders to protect. You committed no sin. Your grace was torn from you, not surrendered. Still, you tread a dangerous line.

As do you. Castiel's voice was mild, no rebuke for his brother there. They both had their own way of reconciling the strangeness of being angels wearing human vessels to do their Father's work.

Are you well now? May we return to our duties?

A bit of impatience from the other angel, now, and Castiel smiled away into the sun. Uriel had never been one for self-analysis. He preferred a clean job and the permission to do it, none of this waiting and talking and looking to a human to lead the way. And yet he had been sent to deal with Dean Winchester as well as Castiel. The Lord worked in very mysterious ways, indeed.

But Castiel only murmured, Yes. I am ready.

It was not a sin. But it might have been a mistake.