Disclaimer: I do not own Supernatural.
Castiel is a soldier.
And like any good soldier, he takes pride in carrying out his orders successfully. He is concrete and swift in his judgment, as all angels should be. The orders come from God, therefore they are just. This is how he carries out his existence, under the orders decreed by his Father. It is his purpose and his only directive.
Then…then he met Dean Winchester.
Dean Winchester is a soldier also. Although their wars were different in the beginning, they have a lot in common. Their blind loyalty and love for their fathers is strong. They are very determined and hard working, both trying to make something of themselves. Castiel sees that, and he respects Dean. But there is something about the human that draws Castiel to him, no matter how hard he tries to stay away.
And he realizes that he must stay away.
Because when he was around Dean, he started to…
Angels are not supposed to feel. They are calm and composed at all times. It is a must in order to successfully carry out their missions. Feeling…gets in the way. It clouds the mind and causes rash and hasty decisions, wrong decisions. Castiel has observed humans succumb to the strange sensations time and time again and he has no desire to follow suit. He is an angel of the Lord, a powerful being, and he will not fall victim to feelings.
But it seems Dean Winchester has other ideas.
The way he looks at Castiel sometimes…like he's better. Like Dean knows some secret that Castiel will never figure out because of what he is. It irks Castiel to no end because he is an angel, and a human should not feel as though they are better. Dean is flawed, and Castiel is not. All humans are flawed.
Because they feel.
That is what is understood in The Host. Feeling is not allowed. It is condemned, and for good reason. Castiel has heard of angels who began to feel and what has become of them.
For some it is quick and very painful. They rip out their grace and plummet to Earth like a comet. For others, it is a slow and depressing process. Their grace begins to drain day by day. Their essence dims, their wings weaken, and their power slips away. Then their grace leaves them completely and Castiel cannot feel them any longer. They are gone. Fallen. Castiel is appalled by the very idea of giving up what his Father gave to all of the angels. His grace is everything to him. It keeps him strong, it brings him comfort, it links him with his brothers and sisters, but most importantly…
It gives him the gift of flight.
Castiel loves to fly. The feeling of the wind flowing through his wings, the freedom; it means more to Castiel than words can express. His wings are what he cherishes. They are not the largest or the most beautiful like the archangel's, whose wings shine with the combined power of Heaven, but Castiel takes pride in the fact that his speed is almost unparalleled. The angels often race each other when they have time and even though Castiel never challenges anyone, he does participate if he is asked, and that is often. He's beaten any sibling who has ever challenged him to a race, save for one. It was Raphael. It was one of the rare times when the archangel was not busy and he wanted to stretch his wings. He heard of Castiel's supposed quickness and challenged him to a race. Of course he won, but Castiel was right on his heels, only a breath of a second behind him. Castiel is agile in the air, it is what he is good at, and he will never give that up.
He does not want to fall.
Falling is ungraceful. Castiel does not fall, he soars. Soars higher and higher until it's just him and the air, only him and the beating of his wings. Then he rockets down, hurtling though Heaven past the other angels, a streak of blue light amongst his siblings. If there is ever a mission that requires speed, Castiel is almost always put on it. He has not failed once and he doesn't plan on it.
One day The Host was buzzing with news of the latest mission. There were rumors of a Righteous Man in Hell. An angel was needed to raise him.
Castiel is assigned to it.
He has never been to Hell before. He's heard stories of it, about Lucifer and his cage, of the blood and broken bones, but it doesn't deter him. He has his mission and he will carry it out. He spreads his wings, aware of the eyes of his brothers and sisters on him, and he throws himself down, down, down, deep into the pits of Hell.
And everything is red.
Red and black and so dark. There is no light, no singing, no joy or peace or love. There is just pain and hate and despair. Castiel feels his brethren behind him, far, far behind because he's moving just under the speed of light to his objective. They are meant to distract the demon who holds the Righteous Man while Castiel takes him. As Castiel travels deeper into Hell he's exposed to things he'd never imagine. Grotesque faces leering at him, pointed claws dripping with blood, sharp yellowed teeth and the screams. The screams are what will be embedded in his mind until the end of time. They don't stop, they never stop, and they're filled with all of the pain and torture, voices that rise in a chorus of agony that carry throughout Hell's bowels.
It is nothing like the heavenly chorus that his brother Seraphiel leads at home.
Castiel dives deeper and finally he sees the Righteous Man, only to discover that he is too late.
They are all too late.
The Righteous Man has broken. He wields the blade that was once used on him, wearing a feral grin as he carves into every damned soul that is presented to him. His eyes are the deepest of black as he bathes in the blood and the terrible screams around him, reveling in the carnage that he wraps around himself like a blanket. Castiel almost doubts that this is the Righteous Man, but then the man turns to him and Castiel can still see a small amount of light in the black pits of his gaze. All is not lost. The Righteous Man turns and bares his teeth at the angel, obsidian eyes narrowed and angry, angry at everything. Castiel finds that he can read the Righteous Man's thoughts without even trying to; they're projected like bullets at him, loud and overbearing and so broken.
Hurts, hurts so bad, have to make them hurt, make them hurt for hurting me, I'm a monster and I can't stop I won't stop I'll make them suffer because I know I'm supposed to, I'm supposed to suffer and rot and where's Sam, Sammy I miss you so bad it's so lonely down here -
Castiel darts forward amidst the chaos caused by his brothers, aimed at his target.
He grips the Righteous Man tight and raises him from perdition.
He breaks out of Hell, the wail of screams behind him, and he doesn't stop until he's returned to Heaven again, all the while keeping the Righteous Man's soul cradled close to his chest. When he returns he is surround by his brothers and sisters once again, and he is happy to see white and not red and feel the essence of his siblings mingle with his own. But then he grows tired, very tired, and he leaves his brethren to tend to the broken soul in his arms. He works for a very long time, mending what was torn and shattered in Hell. And as he works, he notices a light that begins to grow from within the soul. It is pure and untainted, and Castiel is in awe of it. How can such a light survive for so long in Hell? Castiel realizes that this soul is different. So he works even slower, taking his time because he is sure the world needs this brilliance. He puts some of his own essence in the soul, along with a large amount of his grace that leaves him very weak and so, so very tired. When he is finished he smiles down at his work, exhausted but proud and pleased at the soul he pieced back together with his own hands and grace.
Dean Winchester, the Righteous Man, has been saved.
When Castiel meets Dean Winchester in person for the first time, he is surprised by how…unfamiliar Dean is with him. Castiel is the one who mended Dean's soul, the one who poured himself into Dean, so why doesn't Dean recognize him? What has happened to the Righteous Man? Dean doesn't trust him, doesn't even want to come near him. Castiel can feel his grace inside the man before him, but there is something wrong with it. It should be strong and pulsing, but Castiel can hardly feel it behind…Dean. It's all Dean inside of him, none of Castiel, only Dean and his hurt and anger and self loathing. That pure light Castiel once saw has been covered by a black fog that has Castiel stepping closer to Dean because it shouldn't be there. It should only be light inside Dean, because he has been saved. Castiel steps closer to Dean still, peering at him curiously.
That's when Dean stabs Castiel and the angel realizes that something is very wrong. He tells Dean who he is and is met with doubt. He shows him his wings and yet there is still doubt. Finally he steps up to Dean and tilts his head, staring into the green eyes and into Dean's soul, and there he finds the truth.
"You don't think you deserved to be saved."
Castiel stares at the faithless hunter before him and still sees that small light inside the Righteous Man's soul.
All is not lost.
The Winchesters are spending another night in a nameless motel just outside of Colorado. The night air is chilled and crisp, though Castiel does not notice. He's leaning with his back against the wall of Sam and Dean's room, next to the door, staring out into the almost empty parking lot. It's at times like these where Castiel allows his thoughts to wander, though they always end up finding their way to Dean.
The Righteous Man.
Castiel must admit; there is nothing righteous about Dean these days. Dean is growing weary. He's tired of the fighting, the pain, the loss, and the betrayal. Castiel can see it in his dulled green gaze, the slump in his shoulders. He's loosing what drew Castiel to him in the first place.
Once Dean had stood before Castiel, eyes ablaze with fierce determination, body thrumming with adrenaline and a will stronger than Castiel could have ever imagined. His breaths were harsh, his muscles were taut, and he was alive. Alive and human and willing to die for what he believed in. That was the first time Castiel felt jealousy.
He wants to feel alive.
All through his life, orders were his purpose. He didn't exist for himself, only for God, and he was content with that.
Until he met Dean Winchester.
Now, after Castiel has rebelled and killed for Dean, he's starting to realize that he is changing.
That scares him, a lot, because he wants to fly, he wants to keep soaring. But he realizes that he hasn't been able to soar in a long time. He probably never will again, not with his grace depleting so quickly. Despite this, he's willing to stay by Dean's side because he is still the Righteous Man, even if no one believes it but Castiel.
The door opens suddenly, and Castiel is actually startled a little. Dean steps outside and shuts the door behind him, leaning back against it and crossing his arms over his chest. Castiel looks at him for a moment and then returns his gaze to the parking lot.
"I was waiting for you to come inside."
"I thought you were asleep."
They're both quiet again, each staring at the parking lot but not really seeing anything.
"I'm falling, Dean." Castiel's voice is flat and quiet, but both he and the man beside him feel the weight behind them. Dean's jaw tightens and he nods once, a jerky and stiff motion. Castiel clenches and unclenches his hands, realizing the alarming sensation creeping up from his stomach to his chest, constricting everything it reaches. He refuses to acknowledge it, falling on the rules that were ingrained him since his creation.
Soldiers are not supposed to feel. Soldiers are not supposed to fear.
"It's gonna be okay, Cas. You'll be okay."
Castiel has no choice but to hold onto that, because that light inside of Dean is becoming harder and harder to see as the days go by. What will Castiel have then?
What will any of them have?
Dean rests a hand on Castiel's shoulder and a small part of the falling angel weeps at the contact.
He's so cold.
Dean bids him goodnight and disappears inside the room. Castiel waits by the door until morning and climbs into the Impala with the brothers because he has nowhere else to go.
Sam is in the panic room. His howls are almost unearthly, raw with hurt and despair. Castiel is immediately reminded of Hell, and he instinctively seeks out Dean. He finds him sitting at the kitchen table nursing a beer. Castiel sits down across from him and observes the carefully blank expression on the hunter's face.
"What do you want, Cas?"
"Nothing. I just would like to sit here."
Dean doesn't grace him with an answer. He takes a sip of his beer and stares blearily down at the surface of the table. Sam's screams float up from the basement and Dean's hand tightens around the neck of the bottle.
Castiel looks at Dean and can't see the light anymore. Something tightens inside his chest as he settles his wounded gaze on Dean. He feels that something is happening inside of him, like an avalanche and he's powerless to stop it, forced to watch everything fold in on itself and crumble.
"Dean, I –"
"You know what, Cas? Fuck you!" Dean slams his beer down and glares at Castiel. "Fuck you and your brothers and all of this destiny shit! I'm sick of it, you hear me? I can't deal with Sam, I can't deal with you, I can't deal with any of this! I'm done!" He pushes up from his chair and stalks out the door towards the junkyard, leaving Castiel sitting there hurt and as broken as Dean feels. That light was the only thing that tied Castiel to Heaven. It was the only thing that gave Castiel hope. And now it's gone.
Castiel rises and pursues Dean out into the yard of rusting cars. Dean is pacing angrily around, cursing left and right. The moon hangs above in the sky, a solemn witness to the two beings battling their pain below.
"Fucking angels, I don't need this, I never wanted this…" Dean keeps pacing and cursing and Castiel is standing there watching him because it's what he does, he watches and waits and watches some more as everything he knows is shattered and destroyed before his eyes because he's done it for centuries, watching things and not doing anything about them.
Dean stops in his tracks, turning to stare at Castiel, who has the most devastated look on his face, and Dean feels like the world's biggest ass. Castiel thinks about everything up to this point, all he's given and lost for Dean. Suddenly Castiel's expression morphs into one of anger, and he's in front of Dean in a heartbeat, cold blue eyes boring into his.
"Listen to me, you ungrateful son of a bitch. I raised you from Hell, put myself in you, and this is what you do with it? I pieced you back together and believed in you when your own brother wouldn't and you throw it all away because you're tired? I've been tired for centuries, Dean! I didn't even realize it before. Now it's all I can do to just keep from returning to Heaven so my brethren can end me because then I won't have to see you die with only your grief to keep you company. I had faith in you, Dean. And you destroyed it." Castiel backs away from Dean, who's shaking his head because everything is so fucked up now. He's fucked up.
"Cas, wait –"
Castiel is walking towards the house, away from Dean. Away from Dean.
"Cas!" Dean chases after him. "Stop, damn it!" Dean grabs Castiel's shoulder and turns him around, staring into listless blue eyes. "I'm sorry. Okay? And I know that isn't enough, but it's all I've got, Cas, I don't have anything else. And I can't…you can't give up on me. Not now." Dean is desperate and lost, and once Castiel would have guided him, he would have helped him, but now…now things are different.
"I'm not what I used to be, Dean. I can't help you anymore. You…you've lost your light, and I can't fix that." Castiel takes a step back and Dean's hand darts out and closes around his wrist.
"What the hell, Cas? You're just giving up? What about that shit you just told me, huh? So it's okay for you to throw in the towel, but not me? I've seen you handle worse things than this, so what's different now?"
Castiel's gaze turns hard and he wrenches out of Dean's grip. Dean grabs his other wrist and stares at him with determined eyes, breathing harshly…
He's alive. He's alive. What does it take for Castiel to feel that?
"Dean…I'm not…I'm not supposed to –"
"What? Feel?" Dean interrupts, his hold tightening on Castiel's wrist. "That's bullshit. I know you feel, Cas. What do you think you're doing right now? You're feeling something, I can see it."
"And what about when I brought you to that brothel?"
"What about…when you're flying?"
Castiel looks at Dean, and for the first time he's speechless. Flying. He felt that way…around Dean. He doesn't need wings to soar. Just...Dean.
And he will never give that up.
Dean throws a small, knowing smile at him and lets go of his wrist.
"Walk with me, Cas. We're going to sort through your feelings and we're going to keep fighting because that's what we do."
Castiel knows an order when he hears one.
Old habits die hard, he supposes.
Thoughts? Hated it, liked it, didn't care? I was intending for this to be slash...but it took a life of it's own. I'm not really sure about it. Anyway, I hope you liked it.
Now...time for a nap.