So this is the final chapter of this particular fic, but not the final part of the verse, seems that I keep finding bits to add and places to take them, so the next one is called Truth and will be up the beginning of next week. Thanks again to readers and reviewers and those who put it on alert. I make no excuses for this bit, except that I wanted to look at Castiel's thoughts on Sam... ... basically I babbled.
Oh would you be me?
Because I would be you
Oh you'd be happy
Only if you wanted to
And how would you treat me?
Because I would treat you
You'd be happy
Only if you wanted to
Castiel has to wonder at Sam Winchester as he watches him tend to the girl, the girl who was once the host to his sister, whose death he can feel lingering on her, just enough sacrificed to keep the girl alive while avoiding the same fate as he, which explains her fear of him and his instant dislike of her. He has to wonder at how the boy can be so gentle, so caring and so kind when the blood of demons runs through his veins, with the things that he has done, was duped and pushed and bullied into doing. The sense of the demon is not so strong in him anymore, it does not cause Castiel's borrowed skin to creep, skin that is not borrowed anymore but is his own and he feels sorrow for that. Sorrow, such a bittersweet emotion that he had never thought he would experience, something that he sacrificed his place in Heaven to try and save. He does not wish to feel such things, thought once that he did, envied humans their feelings, regrets that now as he watches Sam and his kindness to this stranger.
He is struggling with all of this, afraid to even blink because he is worried that if he does he will open them again and in that split second of black he will be back on the table and back in that room with Jael standing over him and he cannot face that. Wants to heal, wants to be himself once more, wants to use his grace to crush the emotions from him. He cannot, cannot even use it to heal something as simple as a knife wound now, it is cracked within him, leaking and bleeding into the human body that should not be his and he knows that Jael did something, something worse than just binding him, something worse than just the torture, because it should not be like this, it should not be keeping him alive while this body struggles to put itself back together. All of him is fighting and all he is fighting is himself, afraid, alone and confused, trapped in a body that was never his to claim and has now been forced upon him.
"Katie," he hears her speak for the first time, her eyes on Sam and though she lacks the easy confidence of Seraphiel, he can see that she has her own strength. "My name is Katie." Sam smiles, introduces himself and Castiel, gestures to the bathroom and the angel can only assume that he is telling her the name of his brother, reaching for a t-shirt to offer her in place of her ruined clothes. There is something so different about this Sam, Castiel was told that Sam was dangerous, Sam was to bring about the Apocalypse and must be stopped, before he learnt the truth and after that, Sam was still dangerous, a loose canon who would become a monster. There is no monster here, just a kind young man who can see someone hurting and is trying to help them in the only way that he can. Castiel can appreciate how young Sam really is now, and how gentle he can be, Sam is not a bad man, he has simply been misguided and Castiel wishes that he could have such an excuse for his actions.
Dean emerges from the bathroom not ten minutes after he entered it, short hair damp from washing and face resolute. Which is of little comfort to Castiel, because he has come to the conclusion that the brothers really do not have much of a plan beyond 'run and hide' which is not much of a plan at all and he does not believe that they have taken the presence of this woman, this Katie, into account. He meets Castiel's eyes for a moment, until once again the angel turns his gaze away, cannot look at Dean, cannot let him see just how damaged, how broken he is, needs Dean to have faith in him where he cannot have faith in himself. Hears Dean ask Sam to give him a moment, takes him to the other side of the room where they talk in hushed voices and Castiel can sense Sam's irritation, Dean has a new plan and Sam does not like it. Katie is alone in the corner, nervous and fiddling with the hem of the far too large grey t-shirt that Sam has helped her into, her eyes turned away as she listens to them hiss and argue with each other while pretending not to.
They do not keep the angel and former vessel in the dark for long. As suspected, Dean does have a plan and as suspected, Sam does not like it, nor does Katie. For the first time since she was lead from that dirty bathroom, she is arguing and Castiel admires that for a moment, knows that it is futile, and gradually sinks into disinterest and indifference. Katie is arguing with Dean, who is yelling back and Sam is in the corner of the room holding a conversation with someone on the other end of a phone line, relief, gratitude and worry evident on his face and in his eyes. He does not like the plan, but he is going along with it, for the sake of his brother, for the sake of this girl, for the sake of Castiel, because there is self loathing in him, though the only reason that the angel can recognise it now is because he feels that self same thing and he dislikes it.
"Ellen's agreed to help us," he cuts into the argument, voice level and calm, gesturing for Dean to take a step back as he talks to the girl in that same tone, reasonable, explaining why they have to do this, that she knows the truth even if she does not want to believe it and Castiel half listens and half dwells on his own pain and misery as he waits for a resolution or for the armies of Heaven to descend on them and take him once more into his own personal hell. Dean is packing, throwing the remainder of his belongings into a duffle bag, clearing up the first aid kit with practised ease and taking the bags out to the car, the clean up and stowing of his gear taking a matter of minutes, a man accustomed to leaving town in a hurry. Whatever Sam has said to Katie has worked, she makes her way out to the car with a mutter and a toss of her head, feet unsteady beneath her and Sam taking her arm to lead her to the right place, to help her into the backseat whether she wants the assistance or not and Castiel is once again struck by how different the boy is from the way his superiors painted him for the sake of his brethren.
"Cas?" Dean is stood in front of him, face concerned but still there is no pity. "You ready to go?" Castiel nods, tries to stand but cannot quite get his feet under him, falls back on the bed with a grunt of frustration and pain, pressing a hand to his abdomen and disgusted by his weakness. "Here, let me..." Castiel knocks the questing hand away, does not miss the flash of hurt in Dean's eyes, quickly disguised. "I just want to check those stitches." He keeps his tone level, but Castiel knows that there will be frustration there soon enough, Dean is not the most patient of men and while he knows that he should be more accepting, that he should allow Dean to help him and accept that which he needs at this moment, Castiel cannot. He cannot allow this weakness to conquer him.
"They are fine, Dean, I am fine." So if his words are hissed with a little more venom than he intends them to be, he ignores it, ignores the way that Dean recoils from him with the expression of one struck and ignores the way that his gut clenches with guilt, another new and unwelcome emotion that gives him the push he needs to get to his feet and shuffle awkwardly to the car.
"Whatever, Cas," Dean mutters. "Just get in the damn car."
Guilt is new, it is unwelcome and Castiel wishes that he could ask for help dealing with all of this, but he cannot, he cannot be weak, Dean cannot see it. So he shuffles to the car and waits until Dean's back is to him before he lets the remorse show on his face for a brief moment. Just a moment, then he looks cold again, impassive, the creature that Dean has always known.
I'm wishing the bath water clean
She hides in the back and is unseen
I take off the mask that surrounds me
Look me in the face
What do you see?
Reviews are little Castiels that fly above our heads and mini Deans under the bed. A small Sam in hand and a tiny John by the chair, a review that can show how much you care.