Things Not Seen
Claire dreams of fields of glory, but she spends her nights in a weathered cottage on the coast of Maine. It's beautiful here, even though she had no part in choosing it. She's just a child, no captain of her fate, and her mother sits by her bed at night, holding her hand while she weeps and prays. Claire only pretends to sleep, trying to hear the sound of the waves through her bolted window. Her mother, Amelia, lines the sills and thresholds with salt so nothing bad can find its way inside. For her, Claire must act like nothing has changed. Her mother would break into a thousand tiny pieces if she knew.
But like the martyrs and saints in her lineage, Claire sees.
Claire is a child of time now, and it sifts through her fingers like sand. She sits on the beach for hours every day, watching the ebbing tide. It fills her with longing. She's a stranger here. She cannot belong. Her mother mourns her father and assumes that her daughter does the same. Claire misses her father, but she grieves eternity.
The armies of heaven and hell are preparing for war, but her days pass by so quietly off the battlefield. The future is like a distant mountain range. From here, Claire can see the heights and peaks but not the valleys that lie in between.
She knows what's to come. She just doesn't know how it will come to pass.
So while she waits for Armageddon, Claire tries to be a girl again. She eats peanut butter and jelly on wheat bread, gritty with sand, and remembers the honeyed taste of manna. She reads books chosen by the local librarian, but her heart remembers the ancient text, its chorus without beginning or end. She finishes her lessons in the morning before walking out on the beach in the afternoon. Apparently, Claire is now being homeschooled. Her mother frets that she's falling behind and reminds her to finish her algebra. Claire obeys, but she was intended for more than this.
Claire Novak was a warrior of the Lord. She was the ideal vessel, willing to forsake her father and mother and leave her childhood behind. Claire knows there are reasons why children are so often the ones chosen. It's easier for them to forsake what they don't really need. Now she's just a girl with her whole life ahead of her. Before he left, Castiel reminded her that this life wasn't meant to be easy.
Unlike her father, Claire understands the sacrifice of a normal life.
Jimmy wasn't prepared for what he had to give up. Claire still wonders at the fact that he couldn't remember his time with the angels. Castiel said it was because Jimmy was weak. He couldn't stand bear the angelic weight on his shoulders, so he shrugged it off as soon as Castiel returned to heaven. He wanted to spare his only daughter a destiny that he had learned to hate, but he didn't ask her what she wanted, never took the time to understand the longings of her heart.
Out of love, her father stole her birthright, and Claire may someday forgive him for it, but it won't be today. He had no right to reject her offering. Fathers are always underestimating their children.
Claire is far from perfect. The child inside cries, not fair, not fair, even as the angel reminds her that this is the nature of sacrifice. All her life, Claire has prayed to be of use, and she has no doubt that she was intended for the heft of the sword in her hand.
The sun is lower in the sky, and Claire hears footsteps behind her. Her mother has come with dinner.
"Claire, honey. You need to eat."
Hunger is a cost of her mortality, so Claire accepts the plate from her mother's hand. She has to remind herself to be gracious, to be kind. Her mother's grief is a ravenous thing, and Claire wishes she could convince Amelia that the real world is so much more than what she's lost.
"Thanks, Mom," she says, remembering to smile. A smile is so little to offer, a jewel in her crown.
Out of polite habit, her mother nods and makes her way back to the cottage. She doesn't like to be out in the open… she sees demons everywhere. Poor Amelia. Her mother has always been a woman of faith, but she never understood before that evil is just as real as good.
Claire wishes there was some way she could make her understand. She doesn't remember everything, and the details are beginning to fade, but she thinks that maybe she knows how the story ends.
This is the mystery that Claire sees, and it begins and ends with the Winchesters. They are no angels, but they are chosen. It is unfathomable, why God chooses to work through flawed and ridiculous human beings while his glorious creatures stand on the sidelines and demons place bets on who will win.
Poor silly boys. They are lost and brave and terrified. They brawl for position and think they're going to save the world with blood and oaths, but the battle isn't theirs to claim. The cords of this fallen world are gossamer thin. Clare can see through them like glass.
Claire doesn't believe everything she has been told. Sometimes, demons lie. And sometimes angels tell the truth.
Yet Claire knows things that angels don't understand. The end is near, the seals will break, but love covers a multitude of sins. There is no pit so deep that forgiveness can't reach. And grace isn't something that hangs from a chain.
This is what Claire prays.
Oh Sam and Dean Winchester, you were chosen for such a time as this. Be strong and brave. Be true. Have faith.