Summary: What if Castiel had one more charge, other than Dean. All those times Dean needed the angel, but he wasn't there, what if Cas were aiding someone else in their great times of need.
Warnings: Slash (pairing undetermined, no wincest), Spoilers for season 4 and minor spoilers for season 5, Foul Language, Violence, Alternate Universe
Castiel watched on helplessly as the child dodged the frying pan thrown at him by his aunt. The boy, his charge, was thin and small for his age. Too small. The six year old looked like he was only four. There was nothing the angel could do. It was the child's destined path. All he could do was watch as the boiling grease from the bacon spattered, burning the boy while his relatives yelled and cursed at him. It may have been two thousand years since he walked among mortals, but he knew that their behavior was wrong.
That night Harry Potter was locked in his tiny cupboard under the stairs without supper for the third day in a row. The boy never cried or argued, simply accepted the harsh punishments with stoic indifference. It made Castiel's heart ache. In all his long years in the service of his lord, this task was the only one he had ever loathed. To have to watch from the shadows without interference as a true innocent was needlessly harmed went against every human instinct possessed of the being's host, in turn affecting the out-of-practice angel.
Even his other charge, Dean, was not treated in such a manner. Dean's father loved him and did the best he could with raising his two sons. But Harry... all Harry knew from his own kin was pain and suffering. And his path would get even darker in a few years. His would be a life of true misery. Eventually Harry would gain friendship, however in the end he would always be alone. Unless Castiel could find a clause in his orders.
The mission was quite clear. The angel was to watch over Harry Potter, but never show himself unless his task changed or Harry was in mortal danger. He did his fair share of keeping the boy alive under such hostile conditions, but never did the opportunity to show himself arise. Over the next four years he divided his time between America and England, watching with pride and sadness as his fellow warriors were trained to face their future battles.
On occasion he extended his grace to comfort the boys, subtly letting them know that they were not alone. It was not enough. Dean lost his faith, and Harry never had any to begin with. Such technicalities meant nothing to Castiel. Eventually he would reveal himself to them and aid them more actively in their duties. For now, the minuscule feelings of peace that eased their hurts and set their minds at ease was enough. It would have to be.
Watching over Harry had gotten progressively more interesting after he received his letter to the wizards school. Castiel had known what would happen once the boy arrived there, but nothing had prepared him for the sheer exhaustion of it. No mortal could hide from an angel, but that did not stop the natural magic of the place to confuse him on occasion. There were simply too many opportunities for Harry to slip away unnoticed if the angel weren't watching him every second of the day. Castiel had cursed Fate the day Harry received the Hallow of Invisibility. Add having to check on Dean to the mix and he was on the verge of going 'insane' by human terms.
The day that Harry went after Voldemort, Castiel had been checking up on Dean. The angel was ashamed at his inattention as well as alarmed. Events were unfolding faster than he had anticipated. There had been a shift in fate that day; a change of objective up the chain of command. Harry would have died had Castiel arrived a second later than he did. The boy had been doing well enough on his own, but his powers would have burned him to death as well as Quirrel had Castiel not stepped in and pulled the possessed human off of his charge.
He should have been forewarned. The duty of Uriel was to inform him of any and all changes having to do with his charges, yet the other angel had not said anything. Deep suspicion pulled at his thoughts. Either the Lord knew something Castiel did not, or someone was circumventing his authority. In any case, he was not pleased that his charge had nearly joined their ranks before his time. Admittedly, he had also grown somewhat fond of observing the odd habits of the humans surrounding his ward. He had never had the chance to watch wizards too closely before.
It was with mixed feelings that Castiel watched Harry board the train back to London. While things had improved at the Dursley residence since Harry received his Hogwarts letter, they were by no means ideal for any child. In the few years he had been walking earth once more, Castiel had finally mastered his host, and no longer felt the remnants of thought and emotion. While he was no longer influenced by such things, he could not stop the memories of it from lingering in his own mind.
Against all better judgment, Castiel knew he had become attached to both of the children under his watch.
The beginning of Harry's second year at Hogwarts had been interesting to say the least. The antics of the wizarding children amused the ethereal being as he flew above them through the clouds. Flying while invisible was not that exciting. Granted, Castiel could see himself well enough, unlike his charge, who was completely transparent inside of the invisible flying car.
The angel had to shake his head and marvel at human stupidity. Had they never heard tell, the legend of Icarus? The fool wizard who built wings of wax and flew so close to the sun that the wax melted and he plummeted to his death. Wizards, he thought, were far too arrogant for their own good. While non-magical humans had also advanced in flying, they had not done so with such audacity. That car could easily fly far too high and get caught in the atmosphere of this planet.
His mental grumblings abruptly came to a close as they drew closer to the school. The car ceased working mid-flight. Castiel shook his head and rolled his eyes in an uncharacteristic show of exasperation. He had been expecting that to happen the moment they flew through the barrier that cloaked the magic infused country-side. Stopping the living tree from killing his charge was not an easy task when he could not make his efforts too obvious.
The day Castiel discovered that one of his wards could speak the beast-tongue was a rather trying day. He had been flying back and forth frantically between Hogwarts and the Winchesters' location in America trying to keep up with the goings on. Dean was currently being hunted by a Grim, and a basilisk was loose within Hogwarts. He had arrived back in the great hall of the large castle just in time to see the conjured snake attempting to bite one of the students.
While not entire unexpected, the angel was deeply troubled at the strange turn of events. The language of serpents was a closely guarded gift. Only once had a demi-god(, a Trickster of course,) seen fit to grant it to a mortal, and that mortal had gone mad from the whisperings of the snakes. The legends of humans that snakes were messengers and guardians of the underworld were entirely true, to a point. Serpents were more in tune with the goings on of the supernatural world than most other mortal creatures.
Castiel's job had just gotten that much more complicated. He would have to keep a sharper watch on Harry to discern whether or not the boy would be troubled to insanity by what the snakes had to say. The angel frowned to himself as he observed how the other wizards treated Harry after the revelation of his gift. He would never understand humans and their fear of the unknown. Parsletongue was a gift to be used with caution, not a mark of a dark wizard.
Luck was with Castiel the day that Harry and his friend entered the Chamber of Secrets. The Grim hunting Dean had been dealt with easily, and the American was recovering in friendly company with a fellow hunter. That left Castiel free to watch over Harry and be there to stop the child from getting his memory wiped. The angel, upon realizing what the professor was attempting to do, had overloaded the wand with his own power and caused the spell to backfire onto the person casting it.
One thing he had not anticipated was the ceiling collapsing and nearly crushing his charge. He had to act quickly to ensure Harry was thrown clear of the rubble. He trailed the boy further into the tunnels and into the chamber itself. Castiel was slightly startled as he recognized the large statue of Salazar Slytherin. That had been the human the Trickster had gifted with the serpent language. He had never known the mortal's name, only that he had been a wizard.
The confrontation between Harry and Tom Riddle was not of much interest to the angel. He was too busy staring at the girl at the base of the statue. A reaper was already kneeling at the girl's side, waiting for a soul that would never be released. Castiel knew that Tom Riddle was consuming the girl's soul and using it to fuel his own resurrection. No mortal should be able to possess such power. There was more going on with Voldemort than simple mortal magic.
It was a shock to everyone when the phoenix appeared. Castiel knew the bird would be able to see him. For some reason the fire-birds had always been immune to concealment spells, no matter the source. The bird carried with him the ragged sorting hat. The angel had an mild inkling as to why. The founders of the school were all very powerful, as were magical items created by them or possessed by them. Any useful objects left by the founders may have been placed inside the hat for safe keeping.
Both the angel and the reaper were startled when Tom Riddle spoke the beast tongue and set the basilisk on Harry. There was nothing Castiel could do, as it all happened so fast. One moment Harry was there, and the next both he and the basilisk had taken off deeper into the cavern, where Harry was bitten by the poisonous snake during its death throws. Despite the pre-teen disposing of the diary in the process, he was dying. Castiel's heart dropped to the pit of his stomach as he stared down at the dying boy. He had failed in his mission.
Perhaps not. Castiel gazed at the phoenix thoughtfully. A bird was a bird, immortal though this one was. He abandoned his human host for a moment and imposed his full will upon the animal, possessing its body quite easily despite the fierce struggle the bird's soul was putting up. Castiel felt quite at home in its body despite it being his first attempt at animal possession. He spread his wings and alighted down to land near Harry. Then he cried.
Relief washed over him as Harry's skin knitted back together and he appeared healthy. The poison was still in his system, but it was neutralized. Quickly he fled back into his host's body. Luckily the invisibility had not worn off while he was preoccupied, and he remained undetected. The phoenix was quite displeased, and the reaper was puzzled when the girl recovered so suddenly, but neither were Castiel's concern. His ward was safe once more.
An Archangel came for Castiel the day before the leaving feast. Apparently his interference in the events in the Chamber were being viewed as a breach of orders. Apparently those higher up the chain of command viewed it as him revealing himself to the boy. Apparently they thought he was becoming too emotional and attached, and needed more extensive training to become desensitized to humans. That day was the last time he saw either of his wards before they both became men.
Disclaimer: I do not own or claim to own any characters, settings, or histories publicly recognizable as belonging to the TV show Supernatural, or the book series Harry Potter. No copyright infringement is intended and no profit is being made from this story.