Disclaimer: Supernatural and all its affiliates belong to Eric Kripke.
He'd endured beatings far worse than this before.
Fists more durable than steel slammed into his jaw, his eye, his mouth; a knuckle split his lip and sent a trickle of blood tracking its way down his chin. The force of the blow was enough to make him stagger back though. Gathering himself and planting his feet, Castiel clenched his own hands and swung them forward, watching his own hand strike the other across he face.
He never knew that fighting for the Father meant having to destroy his own kin.
"Join me. Oh please brother, don't fight me. Help me. All you have to do… is be unafraid." His brother's words had been entreating, persuading, appealing- but not pleading. No, Uriel was too prideful to plead.
It was the greatest sin, the one transgression God hated, hated above all others and Castiel remembered yet another brother whose pride had led to his downfall. Of course he remembered Lucifier, his confident and powerful brother who had always seemed to serve the Lord more earnestly than all else… but what Castiel recalled most vividly and with striking clarity was when dignity and honor spilled over into arrogance and the battle in which a third of the Lord's warriors rebelled and fell along with their leader, he who once was the highest of the Seraphim ultimately became the Prince of Darkness.
"Join me, brother. It is the only way to ensure justice and true righteousness." Lucifer's eyes, which once used to be so full of majesty and utterly entrancing were now cold and empty as he placed the tip of his silver sword against the lesser angel's neck, sliding the blade up and down threateningly as he pressed his knee harder down upon the other's chest, trapping his opponent. "What say you?"
Castiel glared up at the Chief of Angels, feeling the sharpness of the blade nearly breaking through the skin of his neck. His brothers and sisters were fighting their kin, those who had chosen disobedience and as the Great War in Heaven raged on, here he was, lying flat on his back in the mist of the battlefield with Lucifer himself pinning him down. "This is not righteousness," he protested, struggling against the archangel's hypnotic words. "This is insubordination toward our Father-"
Lucifer sighed and shook his head piteously but the gesture was full of mockery. "Brother, you are young and foolish," he remarked as he seized Castiel by the throat and stood, holding his captive up off of the ground and bringing the very tip of his blade up against the other angel's sapphire orbs. "Allow me to open your eyes!"
Uriel's dark gaze bored into him, soul filled with the same lust for power that Castiel had seen in the eyes of his fallen brothers, with all the darkness and impurity of the Pit itself and Castiel's heart ached. Brother, what have you done to yourself? How could you fall so far from the grace of the Father? A fist connected solidly with his cheek but he did not feel pain. No, in its place rather, he was flooded with guilt. He should have been able to see the warning signs; he should've realized that ordering Dean to torture Alastair did not come from Heaven above. If only he had been able to see through Uriel's lies, his charge wouldn't be lying in a hospital bed right now with a tube shoved down his throat to ensure that he kept breathing.
It wasn't only the entirety of the garrison that was failing to stop the apocalypse, like he feared, for nearly all of them had chosen the path of rebellion and those who hadn't succumbed to disobedience were murdered. He was failing. He had already failed. My sympathies, these feelings are indeed impairing my judgment. Now, even as Uriel advanced upon him with murderous intent, Castiel could not find it within himself to put an end to his brother. His blows were half-hearted, his aim sloppy and by the look on his current opponent's face, Uriel knew he was holding back.
His superiors were correct in their suspicions. He was indeed expressing emotion. He could feel. And as of right this moment, he felt weak.
"You are already the highest of the Seraphim. Why do you lust for more?"
"Would you bow to humanity?" Lucifer sneered, once-beautiful features distorted by hate. "Tell me something Castiel, why should sons of fire be forced to bow before sons of clay? They were made from the dirt, brother, the dirt! We ought to spit upon their kind."
"We are all the Father's children," Castiel rasped, feeling his strength leaving him as Lucifer twisted his blade, the sword that the other had used to pierce, but not kill him. He didn't know the reason for the more powerful angel's decision to torment him thus; many of his faithful kin had been struck down immediately upon confronting the archangel.
Lucifer smiled, as if sensing his thoughts. "And what has your Father ever done for you, Castiel? You've never even seen his face!" The archangel threw his brother to the ground and moved to step upon his throat, restricting speech. "I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the utmost heights of the sacred mountain. Join me, brother," He stooped, twisting his sword for extra measure, "or face your end."
Castiel tensed as the blade tore through him. "You did not tempt the others," he wheezed. "Why me?"
"It is true that you are not one of the strongest of the Host," Lucifer conceded. "But your loyalty to the Father is unwavering and I require such faithful soldiers at my side. If I cannot sway you now, I shall never be able to so."
"Are you trying to convert me?"
Lucifer smirked. "Join me, brother. Help me overthrow this cretin of a God and aid me in establishing my throne, where we shall rule over humanity and all of creation."
"You are no brother of mine," Castiel hissed, filled with righteous anger. "You are not God, and you shall never be."
"Then you die," the Adversary said with finality, pulling his sword out of Castiel's form and holding it high above his head for the killing stroke. "And you, my brother, die alone."
He was alone.
And now, this man who was in fact an angel gripping Castiel's shoulder and cocking his fist back for another blow, face painted with ugly rage, this angel who was his brother, this brother who'd fought and served with him for over two thousand years, had broken faith with his kin. Uriel had killed his brothers and sisters in the dark of the night, under the cover that demons were behind the murders and for what? For conversion? It made Castiel sick.
He'd endured beatings far worse than this before, but hearing Uriel coolly, calmly explaining his intent to raise Lucifer as if it was the most logical and righteous decision ever was… the word itself was almost too terrifying, too shocking, too painful to say, but a voice whispered it in his mind.
There was no cock's crow, no thirty pieces of silver. But it was his brother's betrayal, above all else, that hurt deep. Alastair could shove nails through his back and hang him by his vessel's flesh for all of eternity, he could fight against the legions of Hell tirelessly and endure the agonies of doubt but by Heaven…there on his knees, swaying unsteadily and unable to rise, head ringing from having connected with the pipe Uriel swung at him with vicious brutality-
"You can't win, Uriel," Castiel managed to get out through the blood filling his mouth. His head, which felt heavier than anything lolled back and his eyes met the other angel's disgusted ones but he spoke the truth anyway. "I still serve God."
Uriel's reply was incensed, filled with seething disbelief at what his brother clearly thought to be his idiocy. "You haven't even met the man!"
Castiel blinked blearily, for that was all he could do. Lucifer's voice, the voice of the Son of Perdition rang out in his mind, echoing back from eons ago, full of ridicule and scorn. "And what has your dear Father ever done for you, Castiel? You've never even seen his face!"
But Lucifer was wrong. Uriel was wrong, Anna was wrong. He would never join together with any of them, because they were all slaves to their own desires; they had chosen the path of disobedience. There were still questions clouding his mind, but of one thing he was certain- he was not like them. He would never be like them, because he still had faith. Despite his doubts, Castiel knew he would always place his trust in his Father, even if he didn't understand the bigger picture, even if there were plans he was not meant to understand.
Even if it killed him.
"There-is-no-will!" Castiel's body felt strangely heavy, too heavy for him to support himself and his face moved in the same direction as his brother's downward fist. The only thing keeping him upright at this point was Uriel's fingers closed around his shoulder and though he sagged weakly, his brother jerked him back so that their eyes met again. "No. Wrath!"
Castiel's head snapped to the side at the strength put into the blow. He could barely see straight anymore and now he knew, he knew that the other anger wasn't going to kill him with Lucifer's sword. Uriel was trying to beat him into subservience and Castiel stared defiantly up at him, firm and unwavering resolve in his exhausted gaze.
His brother's eyes burned. You fool, the dark glare accused. You pitiful, young fool. Those were the exact same words Lucifer had used. And Uriel's voice echoed Lucifer's uttering blasphemy to the highest degree: "No. God!"
Uriel's fist swung downwards, only to halt in mid-air as Lucifer's blade pierced through this throat, silencing the angel's voice and his sacrilegious, profane talk forever and as the fallen angel's grace was rent from his soul, as one of Heaven's warriors became no more, Castiel rose unsteadily to his feet. He felt no anger, no amazement… only sorrow. Goodbye, brother.
Castiel's strength was fading. His entire form shook and he turned his head away from the archangel because he did not want the last thing he saw to be Lucifer's malicious face. He held his breath, praying that the Father would forgive him for his failure and waited for the silver blade to descend-
The Evil one was gone, his presence now no longer a weight upon his chest and Castiel opened his eyes to see his brother Michael, the Prince of the Heavenly Host barreling into the other archangel, great wings spread to their fullest extent as they struggled mightily for control, for the future of Heaven- one at God's command and the other both slave and master to himself.
He felt weak at having had such evil nearly corrupt his soul but as he heard the final trumpets sounding as the Fallen One and all his followers were cast out of Heaven, Castiel knew one thing- his Father had saved his soul. He was never alone.
A hand gently touched his shoulder, but he didn't look at its owner. "Go."
Anna drew back, hurt and outrage mingling in her features. "This is your gratitude? I expected more from you, Cas."
"You expect me to join you, Anna." Castiel turned and pierced her with a molten silver-blue gaze. "I will do no such thing. Go."
"You called for me, asking that I to tell you what to do," she hissed. "And now you spurn me again, after I have just saved you from a most certain death. Do you have no shame, brother?"
Something foreign was swelling up within his chest, a dark feeling that both frightened and emboldened Castiel at the same time; his voice dropped an octave lower as he clenched his fists involuntarily. "My name is Castiel and you are no sister of mine," he growled dangerously. "I am an angel of the Lord. I will serve no other; I will join with no one to fight against my Father. Go."
Anna lifted her chin haughtily, glaring at him with something akin to hate and disappeared.
Castiel sat down heavily, breathing deeply as the wounds inflicted upon his vessel began to knit themselves together and he leaned against the wall, wearily closing his eyes. He had survived Lucifer's temptation, Anna's pleading, and Uriel's entreaties. He would never turn his back on the Father. Even if Hell rose, even if Lucifer walked the earth and even if all hope was lost- I still serve God. And I always will.
A/N: Please review; it would be very much appreciated!