Title: Throw Your Rock, Hide Your Hand
Summary: The called his name, and his heart stood still. Castiel knew it was bad, but he had no idea that the tide had turned, that Dean was being slowly broken in his hands.
Warnings: Spoilers for 4.20. Speculation on Ruby's part in it. Angel torture. Angst.
A/N: This idea came to me immediately after the episode aired. So it was written immediately after the episode aired. Title comes from God's Gonna Cut You Down by Johnny Cash.
Disclaimer: The song, the show, the characters… none of them are mine. Sad day.
When the forces of Heaven descend, grab you, and then don't proceed to kill you, you don't ask questions. At least, Ruby didn't. Which led to being bound, gagged, and sat in an abandoned warehouse surrounded by angels.
She waited. She waited until a sliver of light shone through the closed doorway. It dimmed, and a group of suits walked out, glaring at her. The one up front, a rather rolly-polly man with thinning gray hair, pulled a knife. So that was it. The end of Ruby the Great, slain by angels that had kidnapped her during the night.
He slit her wrist. Her wrist. Almost like Sam, only this guy cut deeper, cut harder, and didn't lower his lips to her skin. Instead, he pressed a large glass to the wound, watching as the blood ran smoothly into the container.
She stared up at him, her eyes sliding black, and he smiled at her. In her pocket, her cell began to ring. The angel took the cup from her wrist, and waved a hand, simultaneously silencing her phone and fixing the cut.
"We'll be back," he said, that creepy smile still on his face. "Some corruptions run deep." He winked at her, turned, and disappeared through the door.
Cas was surprised at how much he had dimmed, how tarnished his wings appeared. How far he seemed to have fallen.
Zachariah appeared in the doorway, a glass cup held in his hand, his eyes glittering with malice. "Castiel," he crooned, setting the container on a nearby table and picked up a syringe. "I'd like to tell you how glad I am to see you, but, unfortunately, the circumstances won't allow."
The needle went into the cup, the thick, red liquid drawn into the tube. "He's safe. Your boy found him."
"My boy?" His voice sounded harsh to his ears, different, higher in pitch and grating. He could barely stand it. He wished for Jimmy, wished for the voice he'd come to think of as his own, the one he could stand. The one Dean could stand.
"Yes," Zachariah said, tapping the syringe, still smiling. "Dean."
"He is not mine-"
"Of course he his. He's your responsibility. He's your charge. You like him."
Zachariah was beside him, staring down at him, and suddenly Cas felt vulnerable. He had been strapped to a table, spread eagle, his wings pulled violently from his body. "Don't speak," the higher angel said. "it's my turn to talk."
"Because you disobeyed."
His mind immediately went to the night outside the motel room, glancing up at the Heavens and searching for a loophole. "I-"
"You told him of Michael's placement." The syringe went into him, impossibly sinking into pure light that had faded.
"I did no such thing."
"You're sneaky, Castiel," Zachariah said, leaning close, his eyes squinting from the force of the other angel's light. "Intelligence is highly valued among the Host. Ingenuity, as well. The will to bend the rules to your pet's liking, not so much."
He pushed the plunger, injecting the liquid into the prone angel. Cas' light flared briefly before dimming again as a burning sensation overtook him. His whole form was alight with pain, his very essence recoiling from whatever Zachariah had pushed into him.
"Demon blood," the higher angel reported. "Makes Sammy strong, poison to angels."
"Why… are you doing this?" Cas asked.
"Because you disobeyed," Zachariah explained. He pulled the needle from its place in Cas' body and smiled down at him. "Because you favor a lowly human over the Glory of God."
"I don't-" he gritted out.
"You do," the other angel said, dipping the needle back into the cup of blood and pulling more into the tube. "You bend the rules for a mud monkey, and you question the Will. This must be corrected. If you were still thinking clearly, Castiel, you would understand this."
"Everyone," he panted, the blood thinning within him, being slowly burnt by his Grace, "everyone calls me Cas."
"That is not your given name, Castiel."
"Dean Winchester is not God." The syringe plunged back into his form, the blood spreading, corrupting, burning like the hellfire he'd faced to free his charge.
It was odd, he thought, that the man he'd been commanded to save was still thought of as unworthy. If angels didn't believe in his worth, if Sam doubted his abilities, how was Dean ever to gain the confidence to save them all?
Zachariah backed away, pulling more blood into the syringe. "Don't worry, brother," he whispered. "We'll break you of this horrid addiction. You will do God's work again."
Cas screamed as more blood was pumped into him.
Zachariah was proud. He may not have been as skilled as Alistair, but he was the closest thing Heaven had to a High Inquisitor. His skills were never used for torture, though. Only retraining. Reprogramming.
And he worked fast.
"What is your name?" he asked the being of pure light that now stood before him, its corruption burnt away by corrosive blood and a grueling session.
"And what is your charge?"
"Human. Lowly. A monkey with speech."
"And what do you need to tell him?"
Castiel's head turned, bright eyes gazing straight through him. "Nothing but what God commands. Nothing but what is necessary."
"The prophet's vision…"
"Will be guarded. Kept from him. Winchester need not know the future."
"And his brother?"
"A stain," Castiel responded. "Filth upon the Earth. He must be eliminated."
"And the girl?"
"The demon? Her death will be swift."
Zachariah nodded. "Very good."
Castiel cocked his head, listening. "Jimmy."
"He is going home, Castiel. It is his reward. The daughter, however…"
The angel was gone in a blink.
Zachariah turned and gazed at the others. He had done his job, had stripped his brother of those unnecessary emotions, and now only had the demon to tend to. She would be set free, a test for both Castiel and Dean Winchester. If they could kill her after her help, then the war could truly be won.
Wide blue eyes pleaded with him, begging him, and Castiel obliged. It was Jimmy's choice, free human will.
Besides, he knew for a fact that Dean liked the vessel. He would use that to his advantage.
Jimmy settled back in his mind, mourning the loss of his family and celebrating his daughter's salvation.
Castiel turned to leave. Dean stopped him.
He tried to make him understand, with human expression and human words, but those things often failed him. They would torture him more, would threaten Dean as Zachariah had, if they even suspected him of retaining a hint of emotion.
In their mind, Jimmy quieted, gasped. He saw the memories, heard the threats. If Castiel Fell, even if the war was won, Dean Winchester would be returned to Hell.
So Cas - Castiel - admonished the human and kept his distance. He watched from afar as Dean's soul flickered, changed, mourned.
The man truly believed that he destroyed everything he touched, and Castiel… Cas had once believed that Heaven wished to change his mind.
He'd been wrong.