Author's note: Slight spoiler for episode 4.03 "In the Beginning" – spoiler is in the Author's note (here!) and not in the story. Here comes the spoiler: Do you remember at the start of this episode, where Dean woke up to find Castiel sitting on the edge of his bed, and Castiel asked him what he had been dreaming about? Am I the only person who thinks that Castiel knew the answer to his own question?
Second Author's note: I've upped the rating back to an M as this chapter gives a little more detail as to what happened to the girl when Castiel was rushing to save his fellow angel. Nothing really graphic, but it does bring up issues of rape. Consider yourself warned!
She wasn't okay. Best singer in the bar notwithstanding, Castiel knew about the dreams. They didn't come every night anymore like they had in the beginning, but still. Every couple of weeks or so, she would wake up screaming in the middle of the night. He hadn't yet looked in on her dreams to see what was happening for himself, but that was because he was not meant to interfere. It certainly was not because of the guilt; at least, that was what he was telling himself.
Castiel had expected that the dreams would go away on their own, but so far they had not, and he couldn't stand it any longer. He was sitting on the edge of the woman's bed, studying her sleeping face when she made a whimper that he had come to recognise all too well. Leaning forward, he eased his palm onto the woman's cheek, and allowed himself to sink into her dream.
There was a reason why angels were not meant to spy on the humans as they sleep. The dream came in pieces of fragmented memory interspersed with shards of painfully clear emotion. She was woken in the dark to find an unfamiliar body weighing her down, with cruel hands covering her mouth and pinning her wrists above her head. Then suddenly there was the sharp point of a knife; tearing clothing and threatening to tear flesh. Then rough hands, squeezing, pawing and scratching at her body.
Castiel had felt the woman's fear before, but not like this. Not with the scene playing out in front of him, close enough to touch. This time he was close enough to hear the words that the man used to taunt her as he forced his way into her body, and to see the look of pleasure in his eyes as he fed on her pain.
It was a memory, and it could not be changed, no matter how much Castiel wished for it or how much pain it caused. So he did the only thing that he could do to temporarily end the woman's suffering. She woke with a start to a noise which sounded rather like a huge bird taking flight next to her ear, but when she looked around the room, she found that she was alone.
She had noticed him staring at her before. Or at least, her friends had noticed, and relayed the information to her in the gossiping fashion which was the humans' way. He could hear them discussing him in tones which he suspected would not be hushed, even to human ears. They had come to the conclusion that he looked 'cute', even though he apparently also looked like an accountant, and they were trying to coax the woman into speaking to him. Apparently she had not told her friends about what had happened to her in the past, and she looked increasingly uneasy as they tried to urge her towards him.
Castiel knew that he had not been entirely obedient in his activities up until this point. But if he carried out the action that he was currently contemplating, he would no longer be able to even pretend that he was still following his orders. Not that he had any orders to complete anyway, since heaven was still strangely silent. But in doing what he was planning, he risked Falling. Regardless of this, he could not continue ignoring this guilt any longer.
To escape the nagging of her friends, the woman had gone to the bar to order a drink. As she rummaged through her purse for change, she spotted Castiel walking towards her out of the corner of her eye. Panicked, she thrust her payment into the hands of the waiting barman and launched herself away from the bar with such haste that she stumbled over her own feet and started falling towards the floor.
Moving a little more swiftly than a human really should, Castiel reached the woman and steadied her on her feet. His hands gripped her waist from behind with enough strength to take her weight, then gentled as soon as she was certain of her footing once more. She stiffened in fright at his touch, turned her body so that she was almost facing him, and then shifted her weight on her feet, preparing to step backwards away from the stranger. However, taken aback, she stared at Castiel's hands as if she were trying to remember something long forgotten.
Castiel did not speak whilst the woman continued to stare at his hands. Eventually, she frowned, as if she had given up trying to place the forgotten moment. As her eyes travelled upwards to meet his own, Castiel noticed that her body was trembling. Suddenly, he realised that he had walked into this situation with no idea what he would actually say to this woman. Hoping that his words would help to calm her down, he said the first thing that came to mind.