The last angel.
Something he'd never wanted to be, never thought he could be. But his brethren had left, leaving him to the tender mercies of mankind when his grace began to weaken. When the veil that hid part of his true shape finally dissolved, leaving him trapped in his vessel, sporting a pair of glossy black wings.
He was a curiosity, sat on a stool with a thin gold chain around his ankle, giving the illusion that he was contained, fettered. Of course he couldn't leave, but that was thanks to the Enochian scrawl on the walls of his cage. The humans that had captured him knew that much, how to stop him from flying away.
The other angels wouldn't be back either. Maybe Anael would have come for him, or perhaps Balthazar. Maybe before the war. But now he was an outcast, one who had refused to kill his own brothers in the name of an absent God.
His father had betrayed him. Angels had died, many humans had died also. Now Castiel was the last angel left on earth, the last anyone would see for a good long time. Perhaps forever.
And he was a freak show attraction.
His life was sedentary, dull. Sitting in his cage whilst paying humans filed into the tent and gawped at him. Mostly their silence was reverent, and Castiel could barely stand their wonder, their awe, because he knows he is undeserving.
Some threw things, shouted, screamed horrible things at him because his kind had abandoned them. People had lost mothers, children, fathers, wives, friends. Their homes and lives destroyed by the last battle, as Lucifer was defeated by Michael, sent back into the pit.
Far too late.
Castiel could take the blame for his race's abandonment of humanity. His only breaking point was when they reached past the bars, trying to touch him, to lay their hands on his wings. The violation, the feeling that wrenched at what passed for an angel's soul – his grace, was too much.
Sometimes he hated them.
He hated himself for that, for the fact that he could no longer feel his father's presence. Hadn't for a long time.
The day the demon arrives Castiel is sitting, wing's tucked away, because it's evening but the first night revellers have yet to arrive. Two of the staff shove the man shaped thing into the tent, a sack over its head. Castiel can feel the demon, the dark energy that sings along his nerves, making him wish for his angel sword, to smite and blot out the abomination. The feeling mends something inside of his briefly, in that instant he is an angel – fully and wholly.
They kick the demon into a cage already prepared with a devils trap symbol. A foot of space separates it from Castiel's own enclosure. The demon swipes off the hood as soon as they release his hands from the wire noose that bound them, retracting it through the bars. The demon is possessing a man, well muscled and strong. His eyes blaze black with fury, a long whip-like tail snaps at the air, black and gleaming like a snake. His clothes, the clothes of his vessel, are filthy, a hole cut in his ragged jeans to allow the tail through.
So the veil has withdrawn from Lucifer's children. The thought interests Castiel.
"The fuck are you looking at? You never seen a demon before?" The demon glares across at him with his bottomless eyes. Castiel remains where he is, legs folded Indian style in their dusty dress pants. He unfolds his wings, spreading them wide.
"I have seen a great many" he says, evenly. "you are not unique"
"Owch, Feathers." The demon snarls around a mouthful of needle-like teeth. He abruptly shifts into a smirk. "Trash talk needs work, angel."
"Don't test me, demon" Castiel wraps his wings around himself, disliking this new addition to his purgatory. The demon watches his wings move, he notices, eyes following them with curiosity.
"I've never met an angel" he says, conversationally. "thought you were just a story, something humans made up." He cocks his head to one side. "what's heaven like?"
Castiel is mildly surprised by the question, and the genuine tone in which it's asked.
"C'mon...I'm bored" The demon sounds almost petulant. Lethal and childish all at once.
"I can't describe it" he says eventually.
"Well, fine, if you don't want to tell me...just not like I'm gonna get to see it, is all."
"No, I..." Castiel falters for the first time in his entire existence. "I can't really remember it" he mutters. His eyes fall to the packed earth floor, shamed and sorrowful.
Minutes pass and the demon says nothing, presumably having tormented him enough. Then Castiel hears him take a breath, of course, demons can never have 'enough'.
"What's your name?" the question is gruff, awkward. But Castiel hears the apology in it and it unnerves him.
"Uriel" he says, because that's the name he gave the people who caught him. His name is god given, they have no right to it, and Uriel is already dead.
"Ok...what's your real name" The demon looks at him shrewdly. "I'm Castor" he blinks inkily through the gloom. "When I was human my name was Dean." He says it like it's the name of a half remembered lover, adoring and wistful.
"Castiel" and it feels so good to say his name again, to feel it tease a flicker of recognition from his grace.
"Hello Castiel" The demon smiles slightly. "I take it they caught you too?"
"Yes, three years ago." Dean whistles low and frowns.
"Shit, they got me last week, killed two of them but..." he indicates the cage "guess they got me now, huh?"
Castiel doesn't know how to respond to that, so he stays silent, still like a statue. Dean watches him.
"Anyway..." the demon drops to the floor, stretching out and letting his tail wrap around his wrist. "They won't keep me long."
Castiel doesn't know what to say to that either.
They stay like that for a few days, not speaking again. Though Castiel notices Dean watching him now and again. Following the arch of his wings through the crowds of onlookers.
Then, during the night, they take Dean from his cage.
Castiel wakes alone and realises he's become used to the presence of a demon. Of Dean.
That night he discovers why Dean is missing.
The same men who brought Dean almost a week ago, come to collect Castiel with Enochian marked bonds. They lead him through the maze of tents towards a fenced in area surrounded by rickety bleachers full of waiting people. The area within the fence is of packed earth, rimed with frost. A devils trap has been sprayed onto it in red, along with white Enochian symbols for binding and imprisonment. Castiel feels a shiver of genuine fear.
As he is pushed through a gate into the enclosure, Dean is introduced from the other side. The men behind Castiel tug his bonds loose, shoving him forwards and snarling. "Go for him you sonofabitch, I've got fifty bucks on you."
It's a prize fight. One of the last demons against the last angel.
Dean watches him, eyes black and tail lashing slowly, deadly at his side. He launches himself at the angel with barely a thought, needle claws scratching, teeth snatching for his shoulder. Castiel punches like a stone statue come to life, hard and immovable. He throws Dean off him, staggering back and preparing for the next assault.
Dean's drawn blood, can taste it in the air, and it pleases him. Castiel is flesh – and flesh can be broken.
The crowds muttering and catcalls form a steady thrum of expectant sound.
They fight, slowly becoming slick with sweat and blood. Castiel is at a disadvantage without his sword, as Dean has claws and fangs to rip at him. But Castiel is also strong and infuriatingly quick. They dodge around each other, the bandages that modestly cover Castiel's chest where his wings would interfere with clothing, grow damp with exertion. Blood drips from his lip and a bite mark in his shoulder. Dean is battered, bruised and dragging his left leg, but grinning with his bloodied mouth.
The demon tackles Castiel to the floor, catching one of his wings beneath him. He cries out in pain, a harsh animal sound that makes the crowd around the enclosure howl with frenzy. He feels tears in his eyes, pain blossoming along every nerve.
Dean's face is against his throat, he expects a bite, but it doesn't come. Instead the demon inhales curiously.
"You smell...like Lucifer..." he murmurs. His voice is heavy and soft. Pleasure and recognition in every syllable. Castiel throws him off wildly, just as the men approach from all sides, preparing to capture them both and take them back to their cages.
The fight it over.
Dean has won.
Once back in their cages the man who bet on Castiel kicks him, hard, stamping on his injured wing where it trails on the floor. Castiel doubles over, wings wrapping around himself as the men leave. His arms clasped hard to his injured chest.
Dean said he smelt like Lucifer. Of course it's just how all angels must smell to demons, but he feels it like an accusation. Corruption in him, like the morning star. He shivers, tears beading his lashes.
Hours, or maybe minutes after the men depart, something brushes his clenched hand. He flinches but it strokes his fist open, easing his fingers back one by one with coiled dexterity. Dean's tail. It wraps around his wrist. Castiel looks up to see the demon leaning against the near bars of his own cage, hands wrapped around the bars themselves.
"That bastard hurt your wing?" Castiel nods.
"Sorry, 'bout throwing you on it. I was just trying to..."
"Win, I know." Castiel looks down at the tail, coiled around his slim wrist like a restraint, but a gentle one. "You're a demon."
"Doesn't mean I have no self control" Dean's voice is rough, he seems genuinely offended. "I didn't want to hurt your wing..." he stops, biting his lip like he's thinking hard. He shrugs. "I like them...never seen anything like you before." His eyes are green when they meet Castiel's, something not unlike pleasure rises in the angel's chest.
It's been a long time since anyone 'liked' his wings. Gawped at, sneered at, shrank from or tried to ruin...but no human had admired them as Dean had.
"Thank you" he says quietly. Dean looks away, but his tail stays wrapped around Castiel's wrist. After a while he lifts his wing, the injured one, slowly though the bars of the cage and then towards Dean.
The demon touches the wing without reverence, but with a kind of sensual fixation. He soothes the feathers that have been bent out of place, rubbing the aching bones of it. Castiel's eyes flicker closed. A demon is touching his wing, and instead of violation he feels only comfort, pleasure. When Dean's mouth joins his hands, touching the feathers with his damp lips and delicate tongue...Castiel starts to shake, fingers worrying at the tail wrapped around his wrist. Dean presses his face into the feathers, they smell like Lucifer, like his father's presence in hell. But also nothing like it, he can feel Castiel through them, the real him, bright and good and strong.
They stay like that for a long time, touching what was usually hidden, but was now left open to the world. That night they slept on the near side of their cages, only a foot of space between them. Seeking comfort in the nightmare world of men.