Not my characters. A sequel to my fic "Falling Angels and Rising Apes", though this can be read as a standalone. Spoilers for everything Supernatural.
House liked the bizarre cases, especially when Cuddy was willing to let him slide on the boring ones for their sake. He was within inches of whistling as he limped to inspect his new patients.
Identical twins. One had been ID'ed as James Novak, who had been listed as a missing person from Pontiac, Illinois nearly four years ago. The other had no records that anyone had managed to find. They'd been brought in by someone identifying himself as Chuck Shurley, who was also footing the bill for their care, and were both initially comatose and hypothermic.
A few things made them special, though, and worth House's attention. James was severely malnourished, with incipient scurvy and all kinds of deficiencies, yet had not aged at all in the time he had been missing. His brother had strange burns on his forearms that looked intentional, his brainwave activity was typical of a grand mal seizure even though he was unconscious, and in forty-two hours on IV and saline drips he had not produced sweat or urine, despite showing no other signs of dehydration.
Also, as he neared the private room - this "Chuck" must really like them - he noticed that they were not only awake, but James was cowering under the blankets and shrieking.
"I assure you, Jimmy, you have nothing further to..." the brother was saying, in a voice like Christian Bale's Batman. House thought he should probably ask about a smoking history.
"Shut up, Castiel!" Jimmy replied, clear anguish in his much-higher voice. "You can't hide anything from me. Least of all me. Do you have any idea what it was like, once you absorbed all those souls and I was getting drowned in them? No, because you were busy committing mass murder!"
Psychosis? Paranoia? House thought.
The one who had been addressed as Castiel did a fantastic impression of a kicked puppy. "It was the Leviathans taking over. For what it's worth, I'm very sorry."
"You two must be a barrel of laughs at Thanksgiving," House said.
Jimmy peeked out of the covers he had wrapped around himself as best he could, given everything he was hooked up to. "Who are you?"
"I'm Doctor House. Are you going to stop screaming at your brother, or shall I have you sedated?"
"He is not my brother," Jimmy said, though he got into a wary sitting position.
House clicked his tongue as he pulled up a chair and sat between them. "Drama, drama. I need you both to calm down and answer some questions."
Jimmy wasn't great at lying, but he knew he was better at it than Castiel. He shot his neighbor a look before beginning with the most plausible explanation he could think of. "We...um...Castiel was separated from me when I was young. Very young. I didn't even know he existed. He's, uh, uh, well, a special ops assassin. Kind of. I'm not allowed to tell you more. His enemies kidnapped me, hoping to get to him through me. We were reunited. Then he...tried to take over his organization, and both of us suffered severe consequences."
Castiel tilted his head in confusion but said nothing.
"Uh huh," the grizzled doctor said, sounding skeptical. "What's with the burns? A gang sign? Like Yakuza tattoos?"
Jimmy threw up his hands, so after a pause Castiel cleared his throat. "It's Enochian. A message from my superiors."
"A - a code. A special code," Jimmy said.
House looked at each of the men, sizing them up, and then got to his feet with the assistance of his cane. Which Jimmy noticed had flames painted on it. "In about half an hour I'll have my people bring a wheelchair so we can do some tests, Castiel. I want to talk to Jimmy in private."
"I don't need testing," Castiel muttered.
House snorted. "I'll be the judge of that, thank you."
Jimmy rubbed his temples, feeling a migraine coming. "Could I maybe have something to eat, please?"
"It would be a bad idea for the first few days, given how much your stomach has shrunk. Has Cas been stealing all your lunches or something?"
To Jimmy's surprise, a rueful smile ghosted across Castiel's face. "That would be one way to state it."
"Please. I'm so hungry. I haven't - I feel like I haven't - eaten for months."
"Maybe if you're a very, very good boy."
"What kind of doctor are you?"
House smirked. "The best."
"He likes burgers," Castiel said quietly. Jimmy wondered if that was humanized-angel for "I'm sorry."
"We don't have much time before we are separated and questioned."
Jimmy lay back and shut his eyes. "I was aware, thanks."
"You do know that the Apocalypse would have gone forth had I no suitable vessel."
"That's the only reason I'm not trying to strangle you right now. I'm assuming you've lost your powers, or else you would be out of here."
Experimenting with the button that raised and lowered his bed, Castiel replied, "Most of them have been drained for the moment. Though vulnerable to injury, and unable to fly, I still require no food or rest."
"Lucky you." Jimmy noticed a glass of water by his bedside and drank it. "I suppose we should call the Winchesters."
"That seems logical."
"I'll make the call. So I can reassure them that you have stopped your delusions of grandeur." He paused. "You have, right?"
Castiel nodded. "Pride goes before a fall. The burns on my arms attest to them."
"What do they say?"
"'You overstepped, yet I forgive. Your power will grow as you redeem yourself. Signed, Father.'"
"Fine time He showed up."
"I wasn't going to say it."
They looked at each other for a moment, ice breaking, and Jimmy found himself giggling only a little hysterically. "At least you got His attention with your stunt."
Something occurred to Castiel. "I would not have left you, had I been capable of leaving. I would have taken you with me."
"I mean it."
Jimmy rubbed his face. He hoped he could take a shower soon; it'd been ages. "Thanks, I guess. I'm not sure what I'll do after this, assuming we don't get locked up in a mental hospital. When you were briefly omniscient, I found out Amelia's remarried; not that I blame her. And I wouldn't want to put her or Claire into danger anyway."
"Perhaps you should give Claire a phone call anyway. She loves you very much."
"For all the good that does us."
"Jimmy." Castiel reached to touch his former vessel lightly on the shoulder. "She is guaranteed a place in Heaven, and it is impossible for a demon ever to possess her without being incinerated by residual holiness. I have felt both of you. I have used both your brains and hearts as well as bodies. I know her phone number. Call her when you can."
Vision blurring, Jimmy nodded. "But I'll call Sam and Dean first." He pressed a button to request assistance.
"Hi, Sam? Sam, it's Jimmy. I remember your voice. We just woke up in a hospital in New Jersey...My, um, my twin brother Castiel is better now...apparently his - our - dad stepped in. Yep. Yeah, that's what I said. Talk about deadbeats, right? Castiel's friend Chuck brought us in but he hasn't visited us. We're both kind of weak. Nothing really seriously wrong. At least it doesn't look like it. Cas can't do everything he's used to, but he's still him. It's nice not being so...codependent, as we were. Dean wants to what? Oh. Not surprised. I'll put Cas on."
"Dean? I do not understand the phrase 'freaky as shit'. Oh. Okay then. I'm sorry. What else can I say? Jimmy thinks I should lie to them. I'm not good at lying. Yes. Yes. No. My apologies to Death as well. From what I can sense, the civil war seems to be over. Apparently Father finally took notice and tidied things. I do not see the humor - all right, maybe I do. Dean, why are you crying? Isn't crying an expression of sorrow? I'm still an angel, I am just low on power, but I have been left a message saying I can still regain it. I did what? That wasn't me, that was the Leviathans. Neither was that. I wouldn't have done that. No. All right, destroying the KKK was me. I said I was sorry. Shut up."
After Castiel hung up, he turned to Jimmy in wonder. "Dean still has my coat."
It's really my coat, Jimmy thought, but he didn't want it back that much, and there was something raw in Castiel's tone that made him reply gently, "Of course he does."