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Chapter 11

Okay, they weren't expecting quite so much Beginning, but neither Sam nor Dean needed the searing 'speak and die' glare from Bobby – which they returned with some 'right-back-at-yah' attitude of their own; how many people, ever, were going to have the opportunity to get the real skinny on Life, The Universe and Everything, straight from the angel's mouth, as it were?

"The passing of aeons is incomprehensible – to angels as well as man." Castiel told them. "Until for reasons unknown and unknowable, God removed some of the energy from itself and made…Another."

There was a brief pause, as the three men treated that statement with the reverence it deserved.

"Self-aware, but separate. Two, instead of one…and It became They. Father and Son. In human language the Son is called Michael."

"Who Is Like God?" Automatically translating the name into English, Sam flushed as he inadvertently spoke aloud, then scowled at Castiel's undisguised and unflattering rapid surprised-blinking at this knowledge.

"Michael the Archangel, the Commander of the Army of Heaven Michael, Michael the Patron Saint of Demon Hunters Michael?" Dean rattled off.

"Yes. The Angel of Angels, who yet took a slave's form – "

"Michael was Christ?" Sam immediately caught the reference. "Wait. No, just carry on, we'll get there later." His brain was already hurting.

Flicking him a glance that may actually have been approval, Castiel said, "This Son was Beloved, and with him and for him, God made…wonders in the Void. A universe beyond comprehending; galaxies like clusters of ripe wine grapes, nebulas and stars and suns that were old before this world was even created. Indescribably beautiful…"

Dean cleared his throat as Castiel trailed off and stared into the middle distance with such a look of longing that even Sam had to swallow a sudden hard lump in his throat. "Yeah…diamonds sprinkled across black velvet. We get it."

"You 'get' nothing," Castiel snorted derisively – and with more animation than he'd ever displayed. "There is no such thing as 'space' and it is not black. What you call outer space is a…a…sardine tin of wonders. Tell me what colour your brother's eyes are."

"Uh…b-blue," stumbled Dean, thrown by this left-field demand.

"No, they aren't. His eyes change colour several times a minute throughout every day and night, twenty-four seven, throughout his life. His eyes can range from cerulean to sapphire, silver to charcoal, periwinkle to slate and every shade in between. Everybody's eyes do." Castiel leaned back in his chair. "Even as trichromats most of you can see over ten million colours, and yet your human languages struggle to reach a hundred words for different colours."

"Tri-chro- never mind." Dean dismissed*. "So, space is an explosion in a paint factory."

Castiel actually smiled. "It is a riot of rainbows. There are stars that are cobalt and silver, nebulas that are scarlet and peach and suns of burnt sienna. There are colours beyond description."

"Castiel," Sam's voice had slightly more volume than he intended in his desire to bring the angel's attention to him. "Have you shown any of this…to Jimmy?"

Castiel's eyebrows drew together slightly. "No."

"It might make you and Jimmy to coexist more easily when he understands a little of how you lost your 'family' as well."

Castiel regarded Sam silently with an unnerving intensity that wasn't made any easier by the astonished looks on Dean and Bobby's faces. Come on, how much of a heartless S.O.B. did they think he was?

"I am surprised by your concern for my state of mind." Castiel effectively answered that question.

Sam shrugged, answering his brother's intense regard as much as Castiel. "It's not your state of mind, it's Jimmy's. I don't like you, I've never trusted you since you were willing to slaughter a thousand plus people for no good reason – no, Samhain wasn't good enough reason – " Sam interjected as Castiel opened his mouth automatically, " – and for tricking Dean into becoming effectively your slave I fully intend to find a way to kick your angelic ass, you deceitful bastard. That being said," he ploughed on as Castiel's eyes went from periwinkle to ice at that challenge, "I know what it's like to lose a brother…and to feel like you're losing your brother, no matter what you try. I think you understand that feeling all too well."

Dean's face bore an expression Sam couldn't quite decipher, and Bobby was, for the first time in forever, actually looking at Sam with something akin to respect, not that mingled pity/disappointment/anger usually stamped across his face and swirling in his eyes these past few months.

"You didn't tear Jimmy away from his family with spiteful glee. You had no choice, and if you and he are going to be stuck in the same body for at least the next couple of years, he needs to jettison the pity party and realise it's not all about him. Worse things have happened to equally as nice, decent people – at least his wife and child are alive and reasonably safe – what about Bobby's wife? What about Isaac and Tamara Hayes' little girl? What about our half-brother and his mom?"

For a moment, Castiel looked like he had suddenly been struck by severe indigestion, which Sam guessed was the result of two sentient entities asserting themselves in the same physical brain, but then the angel shifted slightly in the chair and his posture relaxed a little. Castiel always carried himself – sitting, standing, talking - as if Jimmy's body were an ill-fitting cheap suit that would disintegrate if he took a deep breath. It was subtle, but it was there – for the first time ever Castiel actually looked as if he were the man sat before them, not some gun-waving carjacker who'd leapt into the driving seat and shoved Jimmy into the passenger seat of his own body before driving wildly away one-handed, careening Jimmy's body always within a whisker of disaster.

Castiel returned to the explanation at hand. "The Father found joy in the companionship of the Son, and took His energy once more and so made for his Son…brethren. By rank and station, angels and cherubim and seraphim. Every day was joy and delight and love. There was only unity and friendship – playing tag in gas giants, or skating around the rings of planets in a galaxy far, far away."

"Let's not give Lucas any more of a Messiah complex than he already has," Bobby interjected drolly, "so you had joy, you had fun, you had seasons in the sun, and if you pair don't quit eyeballing me like that I will whup both your asses into next week, 'cause I grew up in the era of real music. Get to the good stuff, Castiel."

Continued in Chapter 12…

© The Cat's Whiskers

Author's Notes:

NB 1 - Most humans are trichromats, from "tri" (three) and chromatic (from the Greek chromatikos, 'colour'). That means that within our retinas we have three "cones", each of which distinguishes one colour from red, blue and green. Each cone can distinguish about 100 "shades" of its specific colour. However, the marvellous human brain can combine those three colours in extraordinarily varied permutations, so most people can see over 1 million colours.

But there are some women who, rarely, are either full or partial tetrachromats (tetra meaning four). They see in four-colour vision. A full tetrachromat woman has an extra red cone gene of a different type of the usual red cone, that is situated exactly in the middle between the normal red and green cones, and which detects orange shades of colour rather than red. A partial tetrachromat woman has the extra orange-cone slightly too near the normal red cone to fully differentiate between shades. A full tetrachromat can see over 100 million colours. However, only women can be tetrachromatic. The red cone genes exist only on the X-chromosome, and only women have two X chromosomes, enabling the possibility that both chromosomes will activate, in which case the woman will be a partial or full tetrachromat. It is also why far more men than women suffer from 'colour blindness' - if a woman inherits a normal X chromosome in addition to the other X chromosome carrying a deficient mutation, she will have normal colour vision, not colour blindness, as the healthy gene 'overrides' the defective mutation. Men, having only one X chromosome (the other being Y chromosome) have no 'spare' normal X chromosome to override the mutation should they inherit an X chromosome with defective cone-receptor genes.

NB 2 – Seasons in the Sun was Number 1 in the Hit Parade for a month in 1974; the song has also been "covered" by Nirvana (!) and Westlife.