Title: Seeking Revelation
Universe: Supernatural
Theme/Topic: N/A
Rating: G
Character/Pairing/s: Castiel, Raphael (mentions of Sam and Dean)
Warnings/Spoilers: Spoilers through 5x22. Probably Raph OOC or something.
Word Count: 1,280
Summary: The Archangel Castiel feels.
Dedication: myxstorie's thank you fic for donating to my cause. LOL You never left a formal request but I felt that after last night you'd want something about the finale as much as I do. ^_^;; Though if you do have an actual request though, let me know? XD
A/N: Kind of a speedy fic done over breakfast and basketball highlights. I may have gotten distracted halfway through.
Disclaimer: No harm or infringement intended.

The Archangel Castiel feels.

There is no such thing as Revelation in Heaven anymore, no more orders from on high or even quiet murmurings from a God that has left all of Creation in the hands of His children now that they have grown.

The closest thing Heaven has is this. The Archangel Castiel.

"The Archangel is feeling," they say, with wonder and awe and just a little bit of fear; Castiel is their leader now, in both God and Michael's absence, he is their glory and hope and peace. He is the strongest of them all.

And in those moments when he doesn't want to be—because he does, he still wants and it is so very human of him—he shuts himself off from the Host, and they sense his absence as one senses a hole in the very center of their being. It had been jarring at first, but they have learned not to panic anymore when it happens; he has done it so many times. "The Archangel is feeling," is all they say now, and they bow their heads to contemplate this, wondering what it is like to feel.

Castiel has always been the only one of them brave enough to try.

Raphael has seen Castiel do it; it is a strange and confusing ritual skirting the very edges of blasphemy, and if Raphael had not witnessed Castiel destroyed by his own hand once and then by Lucifer's hand again, only to rise up from the ashes in all of God's glory, Raphael would call Castiel an abomination for engaging in such an act, would call him tainted by the humans and his earthly experiences with them.

But Raphael knows his brother has not been corrupted simply because it is impossible; God would not have given Castiel the gift of resurrection if he had truly fallen, would not have reinstated him into the Host with all the power and the fury of the highest order of angels. No, rather than being an abomination, Raphael thinks that perhaps Castiel has simply grown beyond all expectation, perhaps even their Father's.

And because of that growth, because he has stretched himself beyond the boundaries of what it is to be an angel, it seems that Castiel's edges are forever raw somehow, as if they are reaching out to something beyond the lines of his being, something far away that can no longer be touched by the grace of Heaven.

Raphael wonders if it is his humanity that the Archangel is seeking out to in those moments alone, when he simply needs to feel. When he needs to remember.

It must be, Raphael thinks. It is the only thing that can explain why Castiel needs to ignore the will of Heaven to feel; humans have always been good at that if nothing else.

Castiel goes to the garden and sits whenever he does it, muting his grace, cutting himself off from it as Heaven had once cut him off, and for a moment in time, he exists solely within the realm of physical senses; the five imperfect ones God gave man.

Castiel feels the grass beneath him, smells the flowers in bloom, hears the chirping of the birds. He tastes the fruit forever ripe on the trees and sees the beauty of God's creation not in particles of light or waves of dancing energy, but in the pictures they present, in the verdant greens of the leaves and the firm roundness of the apple in his hand.

He sits quietly by himself and he remembers what it is like to feel.

He remembers his humanity and all the joy and the suffering, the hate, anger, pain, love, and laughter that went with it. He remembers the taste of hamburgers and whiskey and the musty smell of dingy motel rooms. He remembers the soft, worn feeling of the Impala's interior against his fingertips, the preciously comical sight of Dean's disbelief and indignation, and the equally precious sound of Sam's quiet laughter beside him.

He remembers miles blurring past his eyes on the road, the beat of the music in the car, the heat of Bobby's glares, the bug bite that wouldn't stop itching, the headaches that wouldn't stop pounding, the furious, unconquerable love that two brothers changed the fate of the world with.

Castiel allows himself to remember what it was he sacrificed his place in Heaven for.

And then he forces himself to remember why he left it all behind on Earth.

He feels a thousand different things at once in those moments without grace, enough for all the angels in Heaven because he is the only one who knows how.

And then, when he is done— feeling, contemplating remembering— he will stand again, and open himself up again, to his grace, to Heaven, to his brothers and sisters.

And there will be a rush of warmth across the Host when he does, and a faint, residual image of feeling that touches each of them as well, because Castiel's grace and presence is brighter and stronger than any Archangel's could ever be in those moments, burning hot and strong and from both ends, a lot like those brief, blinding sparks of creation that their Father had called man.

The sensation burns them all.

"The Archangel has returned," the Host of Heaven says when it happens, full to bursting in the echoes of their connection to him. "He is done feeling."

Today, Raphael stands in the entrance to the garden and watches Castiel smile and stretch as he returns to them, waves of satisfaction and longing knitted to him like a balm over the raw edges of his being as he returns from his personal Revelation.

He seems at peace.

Raphael thinks that it is because Castiel has been reminded in those brief, bright wing beats after, of why it is that he has returned here and what it is he means to do here, even if he has come to love Earth more than Heaven.

"Raphael," Castiel begins, without turning to look at his brother, "I feel refreshed."

Raphael continues to watch him curiously. "I do not know what that means," he says automatically, even as the tickling, ghostly edges of Castiel's lingering emotions lap at the fringes of his own grace like an invading enemy. The waves they make inside of him are strange and unfamiliar. He stands straighter forces himself to ignore them. Says, "There is much to do," instead.

Castiel's smile turns wry then; it is infuriating and fascinating all at once. "Yes," he says, and his voice rumbles with knowing laughter at Raphael.

Raphael scowls.

Castiel's eyebrow arches. "You are embarrassed," he assesses, head tilted to the side curiously, but not unkindly.

Raphael's words are tight when he responds. "I do not know what that means." He flies off before Castiel can speak again.

But maybe it is a lie.

When Castiel is with them, open to them, Raphael knows that the strange, swirling warmth in Castiel's grace— where there should be nothing but light and fury— mingles with those of his brothers and sisters. When he is with them, they are as one. They share all and everything of each other with each other as God had intended of them.

When Castiel feels, he cuts himself off, but when he returns to the Host each time, there is always a hint of some left over emotion that echoes in them from him, something that sings of the fiercest, brightest love imaginable.

And that is when Raphael thinks that maybe angels have been able to feel all along.

The Archangel Castiel is slowly teaching them how.