AN: So, I almost didn't post this, because I wanted my next post to be the newest chapter of Surviving February and this is very different from my usual pieces. Not so funny. AND this is the first fanfiction I have posted to my livejournal account, and I didn't want people to see it there and then here and think I was copying ... myself. This little one-shot was me trying to understand what the HECK Castiel is doing. So, I did what I always do when I am confused ... I write it out. I hope you enjoy! ~ Ella
Warning: Spoilers for up to 6x19 and semi-spoiler for the 6x20 promo. I would also like to just point out that this is based on my theory of what Castiel is up to, please do not take it to heart.
Summary: Castiel reminisces the past year as he washes the blood from his hands...
Castiel felt sick. His vessels body seemed to itch uncomfortably around him. The physical response seemed to be as keen as ever. A detached part of his mind was mildly surprised that working with demons seemed to still affect him even after all this time. Standing beside another random stream somewhere in the United States, Castiel closed his eyes and willed the uneasiness away.
Walking briskly to the water's edge, he rolled up his sleeves and started to wash the blood of the Jefferson Starship's off of him. For a brief second he feels a small smile creep onto his face. It was predictable of Dean to name the new monsters after some human reference he did not understand. He feels the familiar fondness that he has developed for his friends, what he had considered to be his friends ... before the war. He had tried so desperately to shield them. Hadn't he avoided answering Sam's prayers after the incident? Hadn't he gone against his selfish desire to see them, talk to them, or help them? Hadn't he kept his distance?
So why did it feel as if his world was collapsing. All his plans falling effortlessly around him, and the Winchester's seemed to be heedless of his attempt to keep them safe. He had known for a long time, even before the end of the Apocalypse that looking after the Winchester's was a thankless job, but he had believed he could do it.
He feels a scornful hate arise in him at the thought of how naive he had been. Leaving Dean in his car and making his way back to Heaven ... he had thought he could fix heaven and keep the Winchester's safe. With angels happy to hear his message of free will and choice, at the beginning it had seemed so promising. Where had it gone wrong? How had he gotten to this point? Washing blood from his hands in an ice cold stream...
It had started when he realised the angels surrounding were growing weak. Rebellion from heaven meant being cut off from the supply. The souls that lived in heaven gave power to the angels, and rebelling was causing his followers to slowly fall. His observation was too late though ... Raphael made his first attack before Castiel could think of a solution. In a blink of a human eye, half of his followers were killed ... his brothers and sisters murdered when they were powerless. Powerless because they had chosen to support him...
He had taken a trip down to earth then. He had needed to smell that sweet air, feel the wind and feel the solid earth beneath his shoes. Castiel remembered wondering if he should contact Dean. But Dean was hidden from him and Castiel had long since lost his cell phone. He had sat in an empty field, trying to think of how to save his brothers and sisters, how to end the fighting, when Crowley appeared.
Crowley had been hearing things. The smug, abomination was as sleek and sly as Castiel remembered. He made his skin itch and feel uncomfortable. Sick ... he felt sick in his presence ... dirty, wrong ... but the demon had promised he was just there to make a deal. He knew a way to reboot his followers, to give them power enough to defend themselves – if not defeat Raphael's force. All it would cost was Castiel's help, in making him King of Hell.
"How do you propose I make you King of Hell?" Castiel had asked, his eyes narrowing dangerously.
"No demon would mess with me if they knew I had an angel backing me," Crowley had explained glibly, fiddling with the cuffs of his suit. "Nothing more than a little meet and greet downstairs to show them whose boss. After ... well, I know a whole supply of souls that you could tape your little army into. Isn't that what you pretty-angels need?"
Castiel had stood there, the sun beating down on him and hadn't said anything. The images of the massacre played through his mind, could he afford to turn his back on this offer? Could he not just show the demons he supported Crowley, get these souls and be done with it? He had to think of something before the other angel's noticed their dilemma ... the massacre was already starting to make people question if it was worth standing against Raphael and the restarting the apocalypse. Crowley had helped during the apocalypse, not that Castiel would trust a demon, but this one had proved useful. Still, he couldn't work for a demon.
"Tell you what," Crowley chirped, his accented voice causing Castiel's head to snap back up toward the demon. "I'll even sweeten the pot. You help, and we'll let Sammy-boy out of his little cage."
Castiel felt his heart leap into his throat. Sam ... he could save Sam. Keeping the Winchester's safe ... for the past year it had been one of his primary duties. He thought of Dean, kneeling broken over the ground which had swallowed his younger brother. He thought of the pain in Bobby's eyes as he had silently observed the scene around him. He remembered the bitter sadness that he had felt. He could make it better. Castiel could get Sam out of the cage.
"If you are lying, or misleading me, I'll kill you," Castiel stated, his hard eyes finally locking with Crowley's victorious ones.
"You're the boss." Crowley smirked. "We have a deal?"
Castiel figured that was when his descent had started. He helped establish Crowley's reign in hell. It was agreed that since Hell was given up one of its souls, that Heaven would do the same. If Castiel had known where John or Mary Winchester was located, he would have happily let one of them receive this gift. However, Raphael was gaining power in the leaps and bounds and Heaven was quickly becoming impassable. He had to take the soul of someone he already knew the location of, and so Samuel Campbell was brought back. It was hard to believe it was only two; almost three years ago that Castiel had been curious of the human he had saved from perdition and had looked up his ancestors in Heaven.
Sam though ... the retrieval of Sam was nothing as Castiel had suspected. Castiel was actually happy that he had not known how to contact Dean because this would have broken him. Sam Winchester was a shell of a man, in so much agony he was little more than a writhing mess at Castiel and Crowley's feet. Castiel had tried to find some way to comfort him, but nothing worked. The psychic backlash almost killed Crowley and Castiel, as they tried to think of some way to save the mutilated human soul in front of them. Crowley was the one to drag the soul back to Hell. Where it was hidden Castiel did not know. However, it was him who was there when the soulless body of Samuel Winchester had opened its eyes and stared impassively at Castiel and then around the room. In that second, Castiel knew, understood that this was an empty shell. No emotion, no empathy, no Sam ... Castiel had failed.
In anger he had stalked out of the room. Then he paused, he could not find it in himself to send the little bit of Sam back into the cage, but he knew how much this mockery of his brother would harm Dean. He had to protect Dean from this. Turning back he had stared at the empty eyes, trying not to see the ghost of Sam which flittered behind those cold brown eyes.
"You never saw me, and you will not disturb Dean," Castiel commanded. "You don't know how you got here and this conversation never happened."
He had left then, and had focused on the heavenly battles and let Crowley work at opening purgatory and harnessing those souls to power Castiel and his army. In the meantime Castiel struggled to protect his followers. So focused, he did not notice how much time had passed in Earth terms. Run and hide, was all he knew. Keep those around him safe, never show fear, and don't let them know that they were all slowly falling. They needed souls and they needed souls now. Sometimes, when he could, he would pop in on Crowley just to remind him that there was a short timeline here. Every day that passed Castiel saw his brethren weaken. He needed those souls and he needed them now.
Things were tense but things seemed to be manageable. Everything just started to fall faster after Dean called for him. He had been surprised when Dean prayed for him. He felt a shiver of panic, was something wrong? Was Dean in trouble? He held back on his instinct to go help his friends right away. Dean was safe as far away from him as possible. He deserved peace, and Castiel was not about to ruin that with his presence. Plague-like situation ... Castiel paused. Could it be from one of the missing weapons of heaven ... and Dean had just prayed about them. That was akin to announcing to all of heaven that not only did Dean have information on the heavenly weapons, but his location as well. Cursing the stupidity of the Winchesters, Castiel had left his top lieutenant Rachel in charge as he hurried to Earth, hoping he was beating the men Raphael was sure to send.
He had not been expecting to see Sam there. The face in front of him held a look of shock that Castiel had appeared and for one split second Castiel thought Sam's soul had been fixed or restored, but then he noticed it. That power, the spark, Sam's essence was still missing. The eyes still cold and not filled with warmth he remembered Sam's eyes having. This soulless mimicry had disobeyed him, it had dragged Dean back into the fight and Castiel felt a great dislike start to form for this copy of Sam.
He remembered being unsure what to do, and therefore did the one thing he could think of. He remembered human custom dictated saying hello at the beginning of the conversation, and because he could think of nothing else to say, he decided to play it safe. There was no knowing how much Dean knew. He could not risk Dean becoming involved.
Sam had taken it from there. Expertly hounding him with questions which illuminated the lie he must have told Dean. Castiel felt a tiny bit of gratitude that though Fake Sam had disobeyed and disrupted Dean's life, he at least had not explained the extent of the situation. Dean was still somewhat safe.
Then that afternoon, Balthazar ... that is when things got out of control. The idea that you could make deals with humans, claim their souls and use that energy to make up from being cut off from Heaven. Balthazar explained that was how angels did it. The ones who fell, the ones who ran away ... you claim the souls of humans and suddenly you have free choice and the power of heaven – the best of both worlds. The humans would live long and happy lives; it was a win-win situation Balthazar had assured him.
Things started to take a turn for the better. Just a soul or two, and it would keep the angels in his company stable. Just enough to keep them safe, to save them from dying – how could he stand by and let his brothers and sisters die for believing in him and not try to claim a soul or two to safe them?
And then Dean prayed to him again. More and more often, demanding that he help find out what was wrong with Sam. Fake Sam was not fooling Dean Winchester. Castiel felt himself caught in-between several lies he hadn't even realised he had made to Dean. Finally, when Sam was tied to a chair and beaten bloody, Castiel understood that if he didn't stop Dean then he would eventually kill Fake Sam. There was no backing out now. He pretended to ask some fake questions he already knew the answers to. Fortunately Dean was so worried about Sam's health and what he was, that he never questioned what Castiel thought were ludicrous questions. Then he inserted his hand and searched for his soul, knowing there would be none. In some, dark corner of his mind, Castiel was pleased to finally punish Fake Sam for disobeying his orders, for dragging Dean back into this mess. But it was quickly shoved aside.
After Dean found out, he tried to avoid them as best as possible. It was more important to focus on finding purgatory. Finding that source of souls, the few he had claimed were not enough, he had underestimated how much power angels consumed. Raphael was attacking, his angels hitting hard and fast. Run and hide, get out the message, run and hide, witness his siblings kill one another, run and hide, claim a few souls and try to survive, one day at a time, it became a struggle each day to make it through to keep his followers content. He started to claim more and more souls, they just needed to be able to hold their own, and that was all. Balthazar was the only angel who knew about the souls ... or Crowley ... and he kept it closely guarded. He knew that he would be condemned. No one would understand that he was trying to save people.
Dean was driven though, and now he had a mission – get Sam's soul back. Castiel wished he could tell Dean, tell him he had tried and the agony, the pain ... it had almost destroyed not only Sam but the entire building they had been in. Crowley had promised that Sam's soul was relatively safe ... though how safe any soul could be in Hell Castiel was doubtful. Still, when Sam prayed and mentioned another weapon of heaven that Castiel had not even known was stolen, he was frustrated to learn that Dean was going after Crowley with the help of Meg. There had not been much time to prepare a plan, but Castiel went to 'patrol' the area before the others, and he used the time to quickly develop a plan. If he had any guilt about lying to Dean and Sam about Crowley's death and Sam's soul, he shoved it aside ruthlessly. He was protecting them, both of them, and he was fighting a war – this is what he needed to do.
It seemed like no time when Dean prayed for him again. Sam was comatose. Dean had made a deal with Death and now the very thing Castiel had tried to warn Dean about had happened. He stormed out before he lost his composure. All that work, all that worry about Fake Sam and trying to keep his soul safe and Dean had messed up everything. The nightmare image of the last time ... of the destruction and the agony ...
But then he received a different prayer. Sam ... Sam was praying. Leaving everything, Castiel flew faster than he had in his life and appeared in Sam's room. There he was, Sam with warm eyes, and standing slightly hunched and full of emotion and empathy.
"Sam, it's so good to see you alive," he said, thinking of the broken, mangled thing he had witnessed before. He barely heard what Sam said, as he walked forward to hug him as he knew humans did when they were happy to see someone. This, Castiel knew, was a small miracle. He did not know how Dean and Death had managed this, but he was thankful. A bitter part of him wished he had been the one to save Sam, that the first time they had dragged Sam out of the cage, he had been like this. He silenced that small voice though, because Sam had watery eyes and was looking at him for answers, the least he could do was give him a general outline of everything that had happened ... as Dean knew it. He could tell that he did not remember the soulless time, and Castiel could not risk him remembering his part in his return.
Things started to get more desperate in Heaven. His claimed souls were nothing compared to the billions that heaven had at its disposal. His angels were tiring easily, once he even witnessed one sleeping. He needed more power; the angels were starting to notice something was wrong with them. Then the attacks started again. Raphael started to go smaller, more intimate, sending assassins that would target one or two key supporters at a time. He approached Balthazar again. Claiming souls were not enough, he knew Balthazar had always had a soft spot for Castiel, who he had viewed as his favourite younger brother in the millennia they had known each other. He played on that, finally convincing him to hand over his weapons. There wasn't much time; Castiel could feel Raphael coming after him, close on his trail, finally confident enough to attack the leader of the resistance ... Castiel himself. Balthazar came up with the plan. To send Sam and Dean as bait into an alternate reality to give them time to locate all the weapons Balthazar had hidden around the planet. Castiel hesitated, it went against his principles, to keep the Winchester's safe ... but he thought about the youngest of his followers who he had held just yesterday as she passed away and felt a cold hard resolution overcome him. The weapons were needed, the assassin would be powerless in the other realm and Castiel knew that the Winchester's were more than capable to deal with a human threat. He approved the plan and helped set it in motion.
The weapons were able to give the holder its power, but it did not solve the problem of the army of falling angels. He did not have enough weapons to give to each and every one of his siblings whom followed him. It was late one night in early-April that he met with Crowley to see how close they were to siphoning the souls of purgatory into the power needed to sustain his falling siblings. Crowley was pleased to announce progress, seems he had been able to make one of the dragons talk. There was a book that could help, though the book had been stolen. Still, it was the most progress they had made yet, and the most promising lead. Still, time was of the essence, and Crowley was not without his share of bad news. Seems the mother-of-all had started turning as many as she could lay her hands on, in an attempt to claim her own souls. Crowley had intel suggesting she might be coming after himself and, unknowingly, Castiel, for their methods of questioning her 'children'. They needed to hurry their plans along.
Castiel thought about it, he needed time to deal with this monster-mother, but Heaven was demanding all of his attention. If only his troops were strong enough to push back, to force Raphael to be the one that needed to hide. If only they could push hard enough to give Castiel a bit of time that he could dispatch this mother-creature from his ever growing list of problems.
So Castiel chose a random city to walk the empty streets of. It was dark, sometime in the night and he gave himself a moment to appreciate the calmness, even as he heard sirens in the distant and he could feel the glow of souls around him, taunting him, so close but out of reach. He walked for a little while, trying to think of how to deal with everything crowding around him. Every problem he seemed to be stuck in the middle of all of it, and Castiel did not even understand how he had come to be here. Part of him wanted to blame Crowley, he was the demon after all ... but Castiel wasn't so sure now. Perhaps he had doomed himself the moment he had left Dean driving alone after Sam's sacrifice. Or was it when Balthazar showed him how claiming souls could power an angel? It did not matter, because an old poster on an abandoned movie rental place had caught his eye. 'The Titanic' it read, and Castiel briefly remembered the time not so long ago when the apocalypse had been raging on around them and Dean had been flipping through channels as he let Sam research. Castiel had arrived as Sam complained that if Dean did not turn off the television or watch something else, Sam was going to hit him. Perplexed he had asked what Dean was watching.
"The Titanic," Sam had answered, shifting around in his chair to glare at Dean in annoyance. "The ultimate chick-flick."
"Dude," Dean snapped. "Come on, every time Leo takes out his pencil I know your eyes are glued to the screen. And it isn't because you took some stupid arts history course."
The Titanic, the unsinkable ship that sank ... Castiel wondered what would have happened if it had arrived as it should have. All those people safe and none of the sorrow ... all those people ... there were a lot who had died then ... and if they had survived there would be a lot of souls, new souls, souls Castiel could use. He quickly went to find Balthazar, explaining the plan, making sure Balthazar understood that no one, no human, monster, demon or angel could know what they were doing. The only other soul Castiel told was Crowley, he needed him still working on purgatory. But then Fate threatened Sam and Dean ... Castiel made a quick tactical decision. Balthazar and he had been able to harness a number of the souls, not as many as he had hoped, but enough that they would stand a fighting chance against Raphael, and Castiel couldn't let anything happen to the Winchesters. He still felt it was his duty to protect them; above all else, they were his only true friends. So he let the Titanic sink, but he had already siphoned some of that power into his followers and that, even when history was rewritten, couldn't be undone.
So they attacked. This was of course right when Dean and Sam decided they had to go into the past. Still, if they were right, and this got rid of Eve, as the mother-of-all was called, then that would be one less thing for him to worry about. So he acted as their transportation, and went straight into battle. For once, it seemed to work, they were able to push back, just a little. So it surprised him when he was suddenly summoned to a warehouse. Looking around he was even more surprised to see Rachel, one of his top lieutenants waiting for him.
"You summoned me here?" Castiel asked.
"Castiel I've been hearing things," Rachel said, not really answering his question, but setting Castiel on edge. What had she heard? About retrieving Sam and Samuel? About the souls? About working with Crowley? When had there been so many things that Rachel could have heard that would cause her to act in such a way. Rachel just continued talking. "Things I don't want to believe. Just tell me if it's true?"
"If what's true?" Castiel asked, trying to define what it is she could have heard. Which part was it that she was hinting at ... what part was too far.
"You know, your dirty little secret."
Sighing Castiel looked away. In the end, regardless of what she might be talking about, it all came down to one simple, undeniable fact.
"I have to defeat Raphael."
"Not this way Castiel," Rachel shook her head.
"Rachel," Castiel said, not liking the desperate look she sent him.
"We've put our faith in you and ... look what you're turning into," she lamented. Castiel felt the quick sting of guilt. The souls that had been claimed and used, working with demons, fighting his sibling, killing his siblings ... but he had to. Dean and Sam had fought their battles; this one was Castiel's. He couldn't let them down. He couldn't allow Raphael to erase everything they'd fought for. He couldn't sit back and watch as angels fell for believing in the message of Free Will that Castiel had brought with him into heaven.
"I don't have a choice," Castiel tried to explain, he was not expecting her to attack. Wounded, he held Rachel's body as the grace left her, leaving another sibling's death to haunt him. With a heavy heart and his grace leaking out of him, weakening him to the point of near exhaustion Castiel knew he needed to make it to a safe location before Raphael tried to locate him. In this state he was a sitting duck. Thinking of the only people he could trust, the only friends who would help him in such a weakened state, Castiel barely remembers the journey to Bobby's. He does remember being careful not to claim Bobby's soul when he needed the boost to get the boys back to the future. The journey was successful thanks to the Samuel Colt being more adept at cell phones than Castiel had ever managed to be.
Which led to today. Today at the river bank, washing blood from his hands, trying to make sense of what has become of himself. They had killed Eve. Crowley and his demons had taken the bodies back to their camp, in case they would need any of their body parts in the future. Everything would have been fine, or as fine as it could ever be nowadays, when Eve let slip to the boys that Crowley was still alive. He'd lied to Dean again. He had looked right at him and pretended he didn't know how Crowley could still be alive. Had it really been not even two years ago that he had been unable to manage even the most simple of lies of comfort before Sam's sacrifice? Looking down at his now clean hands he realised he hadn't even noticed when it became second nature to lie.
Bobby was suspicious, he knew that. After he had tortured the monster, without his power, as Crowley had taught him, it had been obvious the older hunter did not trust him. Castiel wondered how long it would be until Dean and Sam no longer trusted him.
Standing up he calmed his nerves, the itch finally leaving him and Castiel tried to focus. Eve was taken care of, Crowley was still working on purgatory, and he was needed in heaven where Rachel's sudden death was making everyone nervous. Now that the blood of the day was washed away, Castiel tried to focus. He was only doing this to defeat Raphael. So why did it sound so pathetic, even to him?
He wished he had never left Dean in that car, driving alone after losing Sam.
AN: So what did you think? And I'm not just talking about the one-shot, but what do you think is going on with Castiel? I feel I should also say that I am usually rubbish for guessing what's going on in shows, movies and books so by Friday this might be something to just shake your head at. But until then - I hope you enjoyed it.