To those waiting for a new chapter for my NCIS story, The Cavalry Rides Again, I hope you will forgive my brief trip into Supernatural land. These past few months have been crazy with work and I'm finally getting some time off here and there, which has allowed the Muse to visit once again. The good news is that when She delivers a new story, it always helps with unfinished ones as well. Any writing being a good thing, I decided to roll with this one and have even started working on the next chapter of Cavalry. I will post it as soon as I can, promise!
As for this story, if anyone has been reading my reviews of Supernatural or my articles in my Supernatural column on the Daemon's TV website (link is on my profile page), then you know I've become more than a little enamored by Cass this season. This story is meant to take place after Frontierland and before Mommy Dearest, taking liberties with stretching time a bit, of course. Therefore it will have spoilers through the end of season 6. One of my recent articles was titled "4 Reasons Why Castiel is an Honorary Winchester" and I guess that's kinda where the idea for this story began. Hope y'all like it. More to come as soon as the Muse allows.
With the sound of flapping, yet invisible, wings, a figure appeared in a field surrounded by large trees. Looking around briefly, Castiel got his bearings, pinpointing the area where he'd been summoned to be somewhere near the coast of northern Oregon. It was early morning, the sun having only made its appearance a few minutes before. Not that he could actually see the sun though. Thick fog from the ocean made the sky a colorless gray, the dampness causing his breath to form puffy clouds in front of his nose and lips.
"I have a message from Raphael."
Cass turned in a flash, his blade appearing in his hand seemingly without thought and he looked to see who Raphael had sent to try and take him out. The angel's eyebrows went up slightly in surprise, a facial expression he had picked up from the Winchesters, though he never knew he did it. The one sent to dispatch him was barely an angel at all. Hardly more than a cherub class, Cass almost felt sorry for the creature. It wasn't going to take much to destroy it and he wondered briefly why Raphael had bothered to send it at all. Perhaps to annoy him, to show his baby brother how worthless he found him, by sending such an unworthy being to do his dirty work. Or perhaps it was just to annoy him in an attempt to distract him from his current plans. It wasn't an entirely ineffective idea, after all even an elephant could be distracted by enough flies.
Flipping his long blade expertly in his hand, Cass casually gathered himself into a defensive position. This "fly" wouldn't live much longer. The other angel sneered and gave a half-hearted lunge, almost as if he too, knew there wasn't much point to battling someone of Castiel's caliber. Cass paused a moment, dipping his head sideways in a way that Dean had once said reminded him of a dog listening to a strange sound.
"You can leave now, if you wish," he offered kindly. Cass saw no reason to kill a kindred creature, no matter how much lower in class it was to him.
The being seemed to strengthen its resolve at his words, probably ashamed that its hesitation had been so easily observed. It gave another lunge, this one with a purpose, and managed to pierce the flesh of Cass' left arm. The wound was nothing and Cass didn't even bother to look down at it. Blood dripped onto his hand and he ignored it. Smiling viciously, Cass' opponent felt a moment of triumph and let his confidence carry him forward into another attack.
That had been Cass' plan all along, letting the creature feel as if it had got the better of him, using its over-confidence to lure it in closer. Its third lunge would also be its final one, Cass' blade found its heart with a movement so fast that the poor thing never even saw it.
With a brief scream and a slight glow (not nearly as much as would have been from a full angel), the opponent fell to the ground. A small set of shadowy wings burned into the earth behind it. Cass sighed as he wiped his weapon on the damp grass, drying it with the tails of his ever-present coat. If annoyance was indeed his big brother's idea for this brief battle, it had worked. Cass had much more pressing issues to attend to, with no time for such nonsense.
With thoughts to head back to his followers, Cass paused briefly, hearing another summoning call in his head. Furrowing his brow, his first assumption that this was another of Raphael's people vanished when he recognized the voice.
"I still don't know why you guys always make me call him, it's not like I'm the only one who…."
"Hello Dean." Cass said quietly from behind the other man's shoulder, sending Dean into a stumbling spin that the angel might have found funny, if he'd had much of a sense of humor.
"Hey Cass," Dean said casually, trying his best to cover up the fact that he'd just jumped out of his skin like a frightened little girl. Ignoring the smirks on Sam and Bobby's faces, he sauntered over to the elder hunter's desk and picked up a sheet of paper.
"We've been seeing signs that might be pointing to Eve, care to give us the angel-eyed view?"
"Of course," Cass said, taking the sheet from Dean's hand and examining it. There was much to be done, but the angel knew it was important to be there for the Winchesters when they asked. They needed to have no reason to suspect that anything was going on with him; that he wasn't in fact doing what he was doing and planning what he was planning. If that meant jumping at their every beck and call, well there were worse things. Besides, it also let him know exactly what they were up to as well.
As the angel picked up the page they'd printed from a news website, Dean spotted the ruby lines glinting on his wrist.
"You okay?" Dean asked, nodding towards the obviously fresh blood.
Cass looked down at his hand, he had completely forgotten about the wound. Shifting his arm slightly, he took a closer look and confirmed his earlier assumption that it was nothing to worry about. Not even deep enough to cause the white glow that signaled an angel's spirit threatening to leave a vessel, it was barely more than a glorified scratch.
"I had a visit from one of Raphael's followers," Cass explained briefly, going back to the paper.
"You sure?" Sam queried with a worried frown. With everything they were going through here on earth, Sam felt guilty about how easily they could forgot Cass was having troubles of his own.
"Yeah, 'cause I think Bobby may have some My Little Pony bandaids in the first aid kit. We could fix you up, good as new."
Dean grinned teasingly at the older hunter, who shook his head, refusing to take the bait.
"I said I am fine," Cass replied a little testily. Now that they had forced him to pay attention to it, the wound had begun to burn slightly, annoyingly. Apparently Raphael's plan was working after all.
"Okay, okay, no need to bite any heads off. Let's just get back to it. What do you think, Cass?" Bobby asked from his position near the entrance to the kitchen, leaning one shoulder against the entryway.
Cass looked down at the paper again, a little confused when he realized that he couldn't read it. Something seemed to be wrong with his eyes and they refused to focus on the words and images in front of him. The letters swam around on the white paper in lazy circles, making him feel strangely dizzy.
"I….uh...," Cass began, lifting his head to look at the men standing around him. Except now they were out of focus and shifting too. What was happening here?
Sam and Dean shared a quick glance, worried by the odd expression on the angel's face.
"Boys!" Bobby's warning was all they got before the angel started going down, his eyes rolling into the back of his head. Used to heeding the elder hunter's orders without hesitation, the two were fast enough to catch Cass before he hit the floor. Dean hooked his arms under Cass' shoulders, while Sam grabbed his legs, and together they put him gently on the couch.
"Bobby, you wanna explain what the hell just happened? How did you know?" Dean asked.
"I didn't know anything, I just recognized that look on his face. It was the same one he had the last time I had to catch him."
"What's wrong with him?" Sam asked, kneeling by the couch and grabbing Cass' non-bleeding arm to take a pulse. Not that taking a pulse on an angel would tell him much, but it made him feel better to be doing something.
"First, I think I better do something. Hang on."
Sam and Dean watched as Bobby walked into the kitchen and pulled out a large knife. Slicing quickly into the meat of his left arm, he put the blade down and dipped the fingers of his right hand into the blood. Going to the refrigerator, he drew a quick rune.
In any other family the sight of the man who was very nearly your father, cutting open his arm and drawing pictures with the blood, would probably warrant a call to the authorities. In the Winchester household it was business as usual and the boys waited without comment until he was finished.
Wrapping a towel around his arm, Bobby joined them near the unconscious angel.
"I told him that might come in handy someday."
Dean and Sam lifted their eyebrows in a matching silent query, their expressions echoing the one Cass wore earlier, though none of them would ever know it.
"Before he passed out last time, he drew that to protect himself. I made him teach it to me just in case we needed it again."
"Good thinking Bobby," Dean said approvingly. "So now what?"
"Let me see him," Bobby said, gently pushing Dean and Sam aside. Kneeling down, Bobby did a quick check but found no other wounds than the one on his arm. Hardly more than a scratch, the elder hunter couldn't imagine that it would be giving the angel this much trouble, but he wanted to get a closer look.
"Sam, get me something to wash this off."
Sam returned a minute later with a large stainless steel bowl filled with warm water and a couple of clean cloths. Dean and Bobby had already gotten Cass out of his coat and rolled up the sleeve of his bloody arm. Washing away the blood gently, Bobby studied the gash carefully, rolling the angel's arm back and forth as he studied the skin around the wound.
"Balls," he whispered sadly.
"What?" Dean asked.
"Take a look, what does that look like to you two?" Bobby asked, holding up Cass' limp appendage for them both to see. The cut from the blade was barely two inches long and not very deep. But running up from the slice, red striations traced ugly lines into the angel's flesh. Even as they watched, the stripes seemed to grow thicker, leading farther up towards his elbow.
"Poison?" Sam asked in shock. "What can poison an angel?"
"Got me," replied Bobby, putting Cass' arm down. "But whatever it is must be pretty powerful. This wound is fresh. I can't imagine he got it more than a few minutes before he got here and it's already brought him down."
With a shuddering sigh, Dean wiped a hand through his hair and said what they were all thinking.
"That can't be a good sign."