One for sorrow
He lit the row of white candles. Each flame a little flickering tongue of light that warmed the grey stones with hues of soft reds and yellows.
Blowing out the match the priest turned to face his altar. Lovingly he trailed his fingers over it before falling to his knees. He lowered his head, hands clasped in prayer and lips silently moving.
He prayed for many things. He prayed for Holly Lynch to beat cancer, he prayed that Jim Watkins didn't drink before driving tonight and at the end of his prayers he made one for himself. Sucking in a breath of the cool Autumn air; laden with the smell of wood he prayed that he would find someone, or alternatively they would find him. More than anything he wanted a friend, nothing more. Just someone who would see past the tab of white guarding his neck and the neat black garments he wore on a daily basis.
Looking up at the stained glass window behind the altar the priest sighed. The prayer for himself wasn't all that important but it never hurt to try. Or so he tried to tell himself.
Standing, he walked away from the altar, heading to the back of the church where his neat bedroom and cold bed awaited him.
As he undressed and climbed into his bed he reminded himself that his Faith would not go unrewarded. Good things do happen, God was just busy and didn't have time for such a menial prayer.
As he slept that night the priest didn't realise it but his prayer was heard loud and clear. The undercurrents of desperation and the festering pit of loneliness in the priest rang out like a gong.
Hell had listened and it intended to answer the prayers of a devout man.
Below, way down below, a demon rose to the challenge. He put down his scalpel on the bloody wooden workbench and smiled. It had been a long time since he had felt the gentle heat of the sun on his face. Hell burned cold like frostbite after all.
The demon's bare feet padded through crimson pools of blood. He committed to memory the jealous screams that batted on his back as he walked up the black and crumbled steps that led up to the iron door. The guardsman nodded and wished him luck before he swung the door open and let the demon step onto Earth.
A little church stood before the demon. It was old and quaint, picturesque even. It was made of granite slabs and a pointed oak roof. Bordering the edges were green copper drains and pipes that dripped with the rain that had just passed over.
The demon looked down at his feet, watching as the blood began to flake and wash away in the rain puddle he stood in. He was barely dressed, with no shoes and only a ragged cloth around his waist.
A smirk tugged at his lips. It would be indecent of him to visit a house of God dressed as he was; stained by the blood of sinners and practically naked.
Stalking off into the night he scoured the small town of a bar, looking for easy drunken victims. He would snap his victim's neck in one fluid motion; would feel the bones and nerves tear and splinter. After all he couldn't get bloody this early in the game.
He had no illusions. This was all just a game. A game he always won.
Dean Winchester was a demon that didn't like losing.
The parishioners filed in, all of them in their neat Sunday suits and dresses.
Castiel stood at the arched entrance to his little church, smiling benignly and shaking hands with the few who reached out for him. The sun shone overhead, hazy rays breaking through the dissipating rain clouds from last night.
He had a feeling that today was going to be a good day.
Everyone had milled in and easy conversation and soft laughter filtered outside, which added to Castiel's smile.
As he turned to walk back into the church he paused, the corner of his eye catching a figure watching him.
The tall man stood on the opposite side of the road in front of Missouri's diner, the wind chimes by the door trilled as a breeze rose up. The man stared at him, with his hands tucked away in worn denim jeans whilst wearing a russet leather coat.
Castiel found himself walking over to the man before he realised it. Castiel crossed over the road and stood in front of the man, the pleasant smile still firmly in place. "Are you alright? Are you lost?"
It was a small town and as the town's priest you got to know everyone. Weddings, funerals, baptisms, and confessions you name it. This green-eyed man was most assuredly a stranger.
The man clicked his tongue against the roof of his mouth and shrugged nonchalantly. "I ain't lost" he replied, the irony of which wasn't lost on Dean.
Nodding, Castiel began to turn away but stopped himself, turning around to talk to the stranger again.
"My name's Castiel, I'm the priest here and Sunday mass is about to start, would you like to come in….Despite the sun it's a little bit chilly out here…don't you think?" The words came out in an awkward tumble and Castiel berated himself internally.
Dean let out a short and sharp bark of laugher. "It's been a long time since I've been to church preacher, maybe another time."
After all he wasn't about to sit through a service and endure agony each time Jesus and his mystery gang were mentioned. Hell's orders were important but he'd lay off the masochism for a while.
Admitting defeat Castiel stepped off the curb and into a shallow puddle, "well I'd love to see you at a service if you plan on staying in Wayfare long…I didn't catch your name?"
Gesturing to the diner behind Dean, Castiel continued, "Missouri does a great apricot pie Dean, you should try some."
With that Castiel walked away and disappeared into his warmly lit church.
Pivoting on his heel, Dean pushed open the glass door of the diner and headed towards the counter, salivating with the thought of some decent food.
Fishing the wallet out of his stolen jeans Dean flicked it open, thumbing his way past Jim Watkins' driving license and a few receipts until he found a creased $20 bill.
"Slice of pie and a cup of coffee."
Dean sat in the diner, empty plate in front of him. Just a few soft crumbs of pastry were all that remained of his pie. Castiel was right, Missouri did do a good slice of pie.
He sat by himself, watching people mill by all day, the sun sinking below the church as the clock in the diner ticked a tattoo to evening.
Missouri came by, dressed in a floral top and loose black pants, daffodil yellow apron wrapped around her waist. She looked down at him, coffee pot steaming in her hands.
"What're you still doing here all by yourself boy?"
Dean looked up, a grin on his face. "Just waiting darling, but I'll be gone soon."
Missouri shrugged and topped up Dean's cup, putting her hand on the table as she did. "You just be careful, y'hear me boy. Don't go causin' any trouble. I can see trouble written all over your face."
Throwing the rest of the scalding coffee down his throat Dean wiped his mouth on the back of his wrist, relishing the burn. "See ya later, thanks for the pie and coffee."
Striding out of the shop Dean squinted as he stepped into the dark night, a single streetlight flickered, sending eerie and sporadic shadows over the church.
Slinking across the road Dean reached the wooden doors of the church. The doors were rough and old, the splinters pricked and dug into his sensitive fingertips.
Pushing open the doors Dean walked down the aisle, eyes running over the dark wooden seats and little red prayer books. Flames flickered at his passage, leaning away from the demonic presence.
Castiel was at the altar, cleaning the pewter candelabra with a stained white cloth. The priest glanced up, eyebrows quirking with surprise. "Ah, Dean, there's no more services today I'm afraid, you'll have to come back tomorrow."
Dean shrugged his shoulders and shot a rueful smirk at Castiel. "I was wondering if you had time for one confession padre, before you hit the sack."
Castiel playfully sighed and shook his head, "I've got the time Dean." Castiel motioned to the confessional booth and followed Dean over.
Dean stepped in first, seemingly eager to be rid of the guilt weighing down on his shoulders.
Castiel followed suit, seating himself in the opposite side. A single candelabra outside the confessional shed a scant light into the private area, making the man seated opposite him seem menacing and sinister in the deep gloom.
Shaking away the feeling Castiel bowed his head and licked his dry lips. "What is the nature of your sin?"
He heard Dean shift, brown leather jacket creaking like old wood. "Mortal," he admitted, voice quiet and reserved.
Castiel glanced up, eyes wide with the confession. "God can forgive any sin my child but murder is grave, but if your heart is-"
"I'm not finished" Dean cut in. Castiel waited, his gut twisting anxiously inside of him. Never had he met a murderer in his confessional before, what more could there be for this one man to confess? The sense of dread clawed inside of him as he heard Dean open his mouth across from him. "I've tortured and raped too padre. I can't say I didn't enjoy it. I really, really did."
Castiel's tongue felt swollen in his mouth he couldn't utter a word.
Dean waited for Castiel's response, the first subtle hint of a smile stretching over his lips. "Oh, one more thing, I don't tip my waiters either. Bad I know but I just can't afford to tip every time I eat Father."
Castiel felt anger bubbling inside of him at that, "so this is all a joke then Dean, do you think this is funny? I accept we can't all have faith but there's no need for a prank like this."
Dean slammed a hand against the latticework dividing the confessional, the sharp bang drawing Castiel's attention back to him. "This ain't no joke."
Dean's fingers splayed across the wood, fingertips digging through the intricate pattern. Smoke began to furl from the wood, bright red embers dripping from the screen.
Scrambling out, Castiel clutched at the crucifix hanging from his neck, fingers digging into the cool silver. Heat stamped his flesh and sapped the moisture from his skin, he could feel his skin cracking and blistering, blood oozing from the wounds as heat radiated from the growing fire.
More and more smoke filled the confessional until a white blaze was licking up the stones of the church, spreading greasy black tar wherever the flames touched. Dean stepped out of the confessional, fire clinging to him like a second skin and pumice coloured smoke whirling from his mouth and fingertips.
Castiel stumbled backward, heart hammering in his chest. Ash blinded him and filled his throat, making him gag as he clutched at a pew for support. Swiping a hand across his eyes Castiel blinked away the ash and blood.
As his sight cleared he stopped in surprise.
Everything was as it was. The confessional was in one piece. The church was cool and murky. And Dean stood there with his back supported by the confessional and arms crossed over his chest. He wore a cocky grin at Castiel's bewildered and terrified expression.
"What…what was that?" Castiel murmured, fingers searching his face for ash and wet bloody splits.
Pushing himself off the polished wood Dean uncrossed his arms and took a few deliberate steps forward. Footfall, footfall; they echoed menacingly in the church, war drums leading the soldier.
"That was just a glimpse behind the curtain padre. It was very real but I'm surprised you saw it at all, not many people can perceive my true visage. Only certain people, special people, get that little peep show."
Castiel shook his head, fingers scrabbling at his dog collar to pry it loose as sweat beaded on his forehead, "I d-don't understand…"
"Yes you do father, I thought you were a religious man. The idea of Hell and demons shouldn't be that hard to accept."
Castiel stilled and closed his eyes, one hand still clutching his crucifix.
A sudden change came over the priest. He drew himself up, squared his shoulders and the shaking that had overcame him evaporated like a morning fog. A cold steel possessed his eyes and his lips thinned into a line.
It was Dean's turn to be surprised and the demon wouldn't admit it, but he was impressed. Dean had been hoping for the scent of ammonia and a mental break down. But this was far more intriguing.
"Then I have nothing to fear from you demon. This is a house of God, you can't harm me here."
Dean shrugged nonchalantly, "maybe not today but I'll be back Cas. Can I call you Cas?"
Castiel glared, "christo."
Dean flinched, his eyes flashing black. "Alright, alright, I was going now anyway. See you tomorrow Cas."
Dean headed out of the church, waving a hand over his shoulder. As soon as the church doors slammed closed Castiel's knees finally crumbled, sending him to the pew behind him.
Castiel breathed deeply, the strength that had entered him earlier leaving him as suddenly as it came. His head felt foggy and disconnected, clouds separating his mind from his body. He inhaled deeply through his nose, smelling the must of old books.
A demon. A demon in his church, sitting in his confessional…and it had even claimed it would return.
He could only feel a hollow sort of sorrow as he was faced with an entity he didn't understand.
(A/N: The next chapter, which is already half done is going to be published in ten days. Hope you enjoyed, please leave a review. Obviously this is a slash story and will only get worse (read slashier) with further installments.)