Beta'd by: Bleach-ed-Na-tsu
Castiel watched from his perch in the clouds as his charge hurried from the burning home. It was a male child of a mere five years old by the name of Dean Winchester. In his arms, he clutched a babe bundled in soft blankets. Castiel glared in disdain at the babe knowing what he would one day become, and the destruction he would bring this world. He'd never go against his father's wishes of course, but he couldn't help but loath the babe and wish its earthly father had left him in his crib to burn. Castiel immediately chastised himself though. He was an angel of the Lord and he was wishing death upon a helpless infant. He himself should be dropped at Lucifer's gate for even thinking such a thing.
"Now don't be too hard on yourself Cassie." An unwelcome voice jested from behind.
Castiel glanced over his shoulder, back at his dear brother Gabriel. He'd long since abandoned his heavenly duties, yet still, he'd made the decision to guard that infant like a lioness guarded its cub.
"I hardly think I resemble a lioness. Maybe a lion instead, like Mufasa? No, he was always such a spoil sport. I feel I'm more of a Simba." Gabriel chatted in a conversational tone, despite the tragedy going on below their feet.
Castiel skillfully ignored his brother. He often did so whenever the archangel spoke. The only things that usually came from his mouth were references to earthly things that Castiel didn't understand. Instead he focused on his young charge, who by now was sobbing for his father. The babe in his arms too began to screech.
Castiel felt his heart clench. His charge was sobbing pitifully and there was no one to comfort him. Castiel wanted awfully to go down to the child, but his orders were strict. Do not interfere in any way. But would he really be interfering that much if he just offered a little solace?
"Daddy wouldn't even know. He stopped caring a long time ago." Just as soon as he'd said it, Gabriel was gone and standing beside the Winchester brother. Gently Gabriel laid his hand atop the red faced screaming babe's head.
"Shh. It's alright Sammy. You're fine. I'm here." Gabriel whispered softly. Immediately the infant stopped its insistent cries and stared up at Gabriel with watery eyes.
Castiel watched as Gabriel continued to stroke the babe's soft feathery hair and began singing a gentle tune. He watched in amazement as Gabriel's charm reached Dean Winchester. Dean stopped screaming and turned to stare at Gabriel. Castiel knew Dean Winchester couldn't actually see his brother, but he could hear the tune, and that it had caught his attention.
Castiel popped in beside his charge. "What are you doing Gabriel?"
Gabriel smiled down at his sleeping charge. "Doing what angels should…comforting."
Castiel hesitantly reached down and brushed his fingers through his charge's fine hair. Castiel had had children before as his charges, but he'd never viewed them as more than that. A charge, another job- a duty. He didn't interfere unless ordered to. But there was something about Dean Winchester. His soul was beautifully pure. The purity that came with being a child. But slowly it was being tainted. This incident had already damaged a part of his innocence that could not be repaired.
"Comfort him Cassie. He's your charge after all." Gabriel said as he continued sifting his finger tips through the downy hair of Samuel Winchester.
Castiel didn't need to be told twice. He ran his fingers through Dean Winchester's fluffed hair, surrounding him with the warmth of his Grace. Just as Gabriel had done for the younger brother, Castiel began singing a song of the angels. A song sung to all newly born angels to welcome them to Heaven. Castiel remembered quite clearly having it sung to him by Michael and Gabriel as they cleaned his newly sprouted wings. It was the greatest comfort Castiel could remember.
Sam's eyes drooped and his breathing steadied. Dean stared up at Castiel, and for a moment he wondered if Dean really could see him, even though Michael had already confirmed that Dean didn't have the ability to see angels in their true forms.
Castiel continued his singing and rejoiced when Gabriel joined him. Together they sang the song of welcoming until the human paramedics arrived and led Dean, in his dazed state, to the ambulance to check them over for injuries. Castiel had already healed Dean of the few cuts and burns he'd sustained, and Gabriel had done the same for Sam.
"Well brother." Gabriel spoke. "We did well didn't we?"
"I believe so. But Michael won't be pleased that we stepped in when he ordered us not to."
"Ol' Mikey? Just tell him you were protecting his precious vessel. I'm sure he'll understand."
Castiel sighed and watched in mild interest as John Winchester was pulled forth from the blazing flames. His face was nearly black with soot and grime, and his dark hair was matted with sweat and blood. Pitifully he cried for his deceased wife, Mary.
"Will one of our brothers be here soon for the female?" Castiel questioned as he noticed Mary Winchester's soul still remained in the blaze of her former home. She was staring out at her husband, reaching for him. If someone didn't come soon, she would become an earthbound spirit, a ghost.
Gabriel shrugged. "Don't know."
Castiel was slightly irritated by his brother's lack of concern but then noticed that his attention was fully on Samuel Winchester. The paramedics were holding the babe and feeding him oxygen through a clear mask. They were doing the same for Dean.
"I think it's time we take our leave brother." Castiel concluded.
Gabriel reluctantly nodded. "Yes, but we'll be back. Soon."
Castiel shuddered at the thought. Michael hadn't gone into great detail, but he was assigned Dean Winchester and he was to watch over him. He did mention that Castiel would be needed to aid Dean at a later time though. When or why was not revealed to Castiel.
Castiel noticed that Gabriel had already disappeared to wherever it was that he currently resided and Castiel heard Michael's insistent calls to return.
Castiel cast one last look at Dean Winchester before returning home to his brothers.
Castiel continuously popped in throughout Dean's life. Usually he took to watching from a distance, but sometimes he intervened and Gabriel did the same with Sam.
It didn't take long at all for Castiel to see Dean's "scrapper" personality, as Gabriel described, to rear its ugly head. Dean often got into physical altercations with other students and gave snappy attitude to any and all authority figures, with the exception of John Winchester who made even Castiel cringe when he became irate.
Castiel watched sadly as Dean punched an older boy on the playground for making fun of Sam. Sam was a quiet boy, and often misunderstood by his peers and other children. When a boy had made a witty comment about Sam being "a psycho" Dean had turned around, fist already clenched in the air, and socked him right in the face.
The boy gave a loud wail as he sailed down and smacked onto the pavement below. Blood was clearly flowing freely from his crooked nose and a supervisor was already barreling towards Dean at full speed, the clip board in her hand being waved through the air.
"Dean Winchester!" She shrieked. Castiel felt his delicate ears ring at the pitch. "What have you done? What were you thinking?" The woman bent down beside the moaning boy and cringed when she took notice in the blood spewing out. "Good lord! Irene! Get the nurse!" another supervisor took off back into the school building.
Castiel glanced over at Dean who stood protectively over Sam. Sam was crying behind him. Suddenly Gabriel popped in. Castiel didn't say anything to his brother since it wasn't an uncommon occurrence for the archangel to show up when Sam was crying. The boy did cry so easily though and Castiel wondered sometimes if it was due to the fact that not only Gabriel but Dean also, babied him so much.
Castiel's attention reverted back to the flushed face of the female supervisor. She was on her feet, towering over Dean, practically snarling at him.
"This is the second time in a month that you've physically harmed another student! Come with me!" the woman grabbed Dean's arm, a bit too roughly for Castiel's liking, and marched him in the direction of the entrance to the school.
Castiel was about to follow his young charge when the cries of the other little boy reached his ears.
"Dean! Dean! No!" It was little Sam's cries. The boy was only five, only in kindergarten, but he was nearly attached to his brother's hip.
Gabriel worked his magic just like he always did when he became this way. Gabriel wrapped his wings and Grace around the boy, he soothed him until his tears stopped and he was calm again.
"That's a good boy Sammy." Gabriel whispered.
Castiel didn't stick around much longer. He followed his charge into the principle's office. The boy sat, slouched with his arms crossed, in one of the many cushioned chairs in the waiting room. The secretary was busily typing away on her computer, but Castiel could see how every few seconds she would sharply glance over at Dean and purse her lips before turning back to the screen. Dean was not a new visitor when it came to the principle's office.
Suddenly out came the angered playground supervisor along with the principle. The principle was a kind man as far as Castiel could tell. He had a genuinely caring heart, and his soul was practically pure. Perfect for handling children, especially misguided ones like he assumed Dean to be.
Needless to say later that evening after John Winchester had a very heated argument with school on his son being too "aggressive" for his age, the Winchesters up and left. Something Castiel noticed they did quite often. But given John's line of work, it was no surprise.
Years passed by like seconds for Castiel, and soon enough he found himself watching in absolute horror as Dean was dragged down viciously to Hell by a Hound. Dean screamed and cried the whole way but Castiel could do nothing to help him. He followed as far as he could before he was repelled. Dean was gone.
Castiel returned to Gabriel who sat with Sam in a shabby motel room. Sam was fast asleep on the bed but he was twisting and turning from nightmares of his brother being dragged away. Gabriel soothed these nightmares as he always did with a gentle hand to his forehead and a sweet song that flew from his lips. Gabriel ignored his brother until Sam was calm and sleeping peacefully. When he was sure his charge was nightmare free, he turned to Castiel.
"Hey Cassie. How you holding up?" Gabriel asked conversationally.
Castiel glared. "How do you think I feel Gabriel? My charge was just dragged away by a Hell Hound and is lost to me forever."
Gabriel sighed and ran his fingers through Sam's soft hair. "Don't be such a downer Cassie. You never know what might happen. Mikey boy did say he'd need you to do something important for Dean-o."
"That was before he was dragged down to Hell Gabriel." Castiel growled irritably. He couldn't explain the fury he felt inside. It'd been so long since he'd last felt it. He'd had previous charges that had been sent to Hell after their deaths, and Castiel hadn't really cared one way or the other. They were jobs and he'd completed them. Where they went to after they left him was none of his concern. But Dean, as Castiel had been telling himself for years, was different.
Castiel paused and listened more closely. It had been a long while since he'd heard Michael call to him. He actually couldn't remember the last time his elder brother had called on him.
"Castiel. Come to me. I have a mission for you. It concerns my vessel."
Castiel hurriedly left Gabriel and Sam; he arrived in front of his brother Michael. They were in the middle of a field in a heaven belonging to an autistic human who'd passed many years ago. It was a heaven Castiel used to find himself wandering often.
"Castiel." Michael greeted straightforwardly. "I have a job for you to complete."
"Yes, I heard. What do you require of me brother?"
"I need you to retrieve Dean Winchester, my vessel, from the pits of Hell."
Castiel almost thought he'd heard wrong. But he hadn't. Angels had perfect hearing.
"From Hell, brother?"
Michael nodded. "Yes."
"I can't remember the last time that has occurred. A human soul being retrieved from purgatory. It's been centuries at least."
"Longer actually. But Father commands it and so it shall be."
Castiel paused. "Father commanded this be done?"
"Of course. I hadn't planned on my vessel being tossed into Hell, but I certainly could have found another one. I wouldn't go in after him, but Father has commanded he be brought back from Hell and placed back on Earth, and so it must be done. I assumed you'd be willing to take on the job Castiel. You have grown quite…close to this human as of late am I not mistaken?" Michael asked.
Castiel ignored Michael's prodding question. "I will of course retrieve the boy but…it will be a perilous journey. Lucifer will be wanting to keep him away from you brother, or anyone else who may seek to bring him back. He'll likely be in the lowest and most secluded crevice of Hell."
Michael nodded. "I suspect as much. Lucifer is crafty that way. I trust you though, Castiel."
And with those as his parting words, Michael was gone and Castiel was transferred to the gate of Hell.
The journey was indeed a perilous one just as Castiel had predicted. Lucifer must have caught wind of the rescue mission, for the moment the gate was thrown open, a horde of demons were waiting there at its entrance.
Castiel wasn't exactly surprised that they were there, but he was surprised by the sheer numbers that the demons came in. He'd managed to beat back the first string of demons -which consisted of at least eight or nine hundred- while the other demons stayed behind, watching.
Castiel didn't know how long he'd fought. It was exhausting, his wings were sore, and his Grace ached. For the most part the demons had given up. They retreated after Castiel had obliterated the twenty-third string with a blinding blast of his Grace. He was so grateful when the demons immediately backed off and hurried away. Castiel had, until that point, kept his Grace usage to a minimum. He knew he was going to need it at a later time.
Castiel was again correct. As he flew lower and lower into Hell he came into contact with far stronger and more ferocious demons. These demons actually had forms though. The demons he'd encountered upon first entering Hell were nothing but shapeless beasts that were no more than just pure evil energy than anything else. Most didn't have minds of their own and were simply following orders from a higher power. But deeper in Hell, that was where the real demons resided. These demons were powerful enough to maintain a form, if for nothing else then to further torment the human souls trapped down there with them.
Castiel watched with mild sympathy as the human souls were tortured on racks, and other such barbaric devices. Most of the souls were unrecognizable as such. They were torn and damaged so far beyond repair that if Castiel hadn't already known better, he would have mistaken them for a new sort of creature. This only added to Castiel's worries. He could only imagine the state Dean would be in. The poor boy. He didn't deserve this, not after all he'd been through already.
Castiel continued on his course through the lower levels of Hell. Most of the demons down there were too busy with their tortures to bother with Castiel. They knew he was there of course, but they found more pleasure in tormenting the humans than chasing after the oddly out of place angel. Castiel was incredibly grateful for that.
Finally after what seemed like years, Castiel stumbled across a well hidden alcove in the side of a fiery mountain range that was home to several large volcanoes that spewed, not lava and ash, but human blood and bones. Castiel didn't know why but something in that alcove was calling to him. So he landed on the edge and peered in.
There, covered in blood and soot, was what he'd been looking for. Dean Winchester. But the boy…there was something off about him. He stood stiff as a statue, staring at the rack below him. The rack itself was drenched in blood and what appeared to be the meaty remains of some poor soul. Castiel was disgusted by the sight and the scent that suddenly filled his nostrils. The scent of rotting corpses.
"Dean." Castiel called out softly to the boy. At first the boy didn't respond and instead started shaking. Castiel tried again. "Dean."
Finally the boy started and whirled around to find Castiel standing at the edge of his only shelter from the burning hot blood and bones that were spewed from the volcanoes above. His green eyes were immediately filled with panic and fear, assuming that Castiel was a new demon sent to torment him. "Please, please don't!" he cried pitifully. "Please!"
Castiel reached out to Dean but the boy screamed bloody murder and fell back onto his rear, cowering in the corner. Tears began cascading down his cheeks and his teeth smashed together, clattering. His entire frame shook with terror.
Castiel paused and bent down on his knees in front of the boy, being sure to put on a gentle expression. "Dean." he called gently. "My name is Castiel and I'm here to help you."
Dean vigorously shook his head. "No! Stay away please!"
Castiel slowly and with caution, reached out his right hand and stroked a single finger down Dean's cheek. "You're alright now Dean. I am an angel of the Lord, and he has sent me down here to rescue you. You're alright."
Dean shook his head but this time in slow disbelief. "No! There is no such thing! Get away!"
Castiel reached out and stroked Dean's matted hair and smiled softly. "If there are demons and Hell, then why can't there be angels?"
"It's a fairytale!" Dean screamed in desperation.
"It's not Dean and you know that. After everything you've seen in your line of work, you know it's not."
Dean sobbed openly and buried his face in his hands. Castiel didn't know what else to do to console the boy. So he spread his vast white wings and cradled Dean with them. The wings released a great amount of Grace and he knew that would likely draw the attention of not only demons but most likely Lucifer himself.
"I'm going to return you to Earth Dean. To your brother. Isn't that what you wanted?" Castiel whispered in the boy's ear.
Dean had calmed, his breathing was steady now, but occasionally hitching. "Sammy." He whispered.
Castiel smiled and slowly began feeding Grace to Dean in order to comfort his pains. The boy was incredibly damaged and it angered him. Castiel would hunt down the demons that did this to his Dean, and they would face the wrath of God through him. Wait…his?
"Well, well, well. What do we have here? You must have taken a wrong turn mister angel because I can assure you, this isn't Heaven."
Castiel glanced over his shoulder and found a rather low ranked demon looming at the edge of the alcove. She was a petite humanoid demon with snakes wrapped around her arms, wearing them like accessories. They hissed angrily at Castiel and spit yellow, acidic liquid from their mouths that burned holes in the rock below their feet. The demon herself had scales in a skin tone, and her eyes were sharp and golden.
"Stay down you abomination." Castiel warned. "I don't have the patience to deal with you or your pets."
The demon smirked, showing off a pair of her own shiny, white snake fangs. "Silly angel. I wouldn't dream of taking you on. I know my own strength and trust me; I don't want to die yet. I've simply come to deliver a message from my master."
Castiel eyed the demon distrustfully and tightened his hold on Dean when the boy whimpered at the demon's presence. "And your master would be?"
She chuckled. "Oh, I think you two are quite familiar with each other."
Castiel stiffened. "Lucifer?"
She let out a string of hisses that Castiel assumed was supposed to be laughter. "Right-o my feathered friend."
Castiel glared with the intensity only an angel could manage. "We are not friends you disgusting creature."
The demon rolled her eyes. "Whatever. Anyway, the boss sent me down here to let you in a little secret."
"And what secret would that be?"
She smiled slyly and ran her purple hued tough over her fangs. "You only got this far because he let you. At anytime Lucifer could have come to you himself and obliterated you, but he wanted you to rescue Dean. This only happened because he willed it."
Castiel shushed Dean when he began to whimper again and brushed him with his feathers to comfort him. Castiel turned back to the demon only to find that she was already gone.
Castiel spent a few days resting in the alcove with Dean. His intention was to recharge his Grace, it was nearly empty from the long journey down, and he knew it was going to take a lot more to resurface considering he'd now be carrying a passenger with him.
Dean didn't speak much, and Castiel expected that. He was perfectly fine just sitting in silence and watching him. Dean was beautiful in every way. Castiel had noticed before but he'd never really sat down and thought about it. Dean was an attractive human in physical terms but his soul was beautiful. It glowed brighter than any soul in Hell, and it gave off a warm vibe and stroked Castiel's Grace like no other had. It made him want to sing with joy.
Dean currently was napping in the corner, concealed by one of Castiel's wings. He'd been doing that a lot, sleeping. But Castiel assumed it was due to the fact that the boy hadn't gotten much sleep, if any, during his time here. Technically sleep wasn't required in Hell but it certainly was a comfort to the souls that faced non-stop torture and horror.
When Dean began to stir from his slumber, Castiel scooted away and retracted his wing. He had learned through experience that the boy wasn't too keen on physical contact, and especially now after spending so long in this place where any form of touch was generally associated with pain.
Dean's eyes fluttered open and for a moment panic filled those watery green orbs. Almost instantly though he relaxed when he saw Castiel, remembering that he was safe.
"Dean." Castiel always spoke softly with a gentle tone so as not to startle him. "Are you alright."
Dean was silent a moment before giving a slow nod. "Yes."
Castiel smiled. "We'll be leaving here in a moment." He stood and stretched his wings as far as they would go. The wings, bright and white, lit up the alcove with warmth and a blinding whiteness that could not be seen anywhere in Hell.
Dean was immediately on his feet and approached Castiel, mesmerized by the beautiful wings. He reached out to stroke them but Castiel caught his hand before he got the chance.
"Sorry." Dean said immediately, fearing Castiel was about to strike him for daring to touch his lovely white wings with his filthy hands.
Castiel smiled. "It's alright. I'd normally let you touch them but they are very hot right now and it would not be a pleasant experience."
Dean nodded and returned his hand to his side, slightly disappointed that he was unable to stroke his fingers through the soft looking feathers.
Castiel scanned the area, but finding no immediate threats nearby he turned to face Dean. "Are you ready?"
Dean didn't hesitate in his answer. "Yes!"
Castiel smiled again and reached for his Dean's arm, gripped him tight, and raised him from perdition.
Castiel was watching from his perch on the bed as Dean scanned the screen of his laptop, his forehead creased in concentration. Sam had left earlier on a small job with Gabriel, so it was just the two of them in the motel for the evening. Castiel didn't mind. He loved his brother, truly he did, but Gabriel was loud and always causing trouble with Dean. It was nice to have a quiet evening to spend with his human.
"What are you researching Dean?" Castiel asked after simply observing him for the past ten minutes.
Dean smirked at the angel on his bed. "Guardian angels."
Castiel raised an eyebrow. "Really? You could have simply asked me if you were curious about them."
"So they actually exist?"
"Of course they do."
Dean seemed thoughtful for a moment. "So…is Gabriel Sam's guardian angel?"
Castiel smiled gently when he saw where this conversation was leading. "In a way. He wasn't assigned Sam as a charge since when he was born Gabriel had already left Heaven. But for some reason, Gabriel decided to take on the task. He hadn't handled any Heavenly duties in some time so all of our siblings, including myself, were quite shocked by his decision."
Dean nodded and leaned back in his chair. "Did you decide to be my guardian angel?"
Castiel chuckled. "No, Michael assigned me to you. It was the greatest blessing my brother could have bestowed upon me."
Dean smirked and proceeded to get up and deposit himself on the bed beside Castiel. He leaned in right next to the angel's ear and whispered. "So you've always been with me?"
Castiel smiled and turned to meet Dean's lips in a passionate kiss. Softly, ever so softly, Castiel traced Dean's chest with his fingers and released a bit of Grace. Dean jumped slightly at the sudden jolt of pleasure that went through him.
"I've always been with you Dean." Castiel whispered. "And I always will be."
AN: Well, I hoped you all liked it! I worked really hard on it. I was actually going to add more but I felt it was growing a bit too long for a one-shot and decided to end it there.
Hope you all enjoyed. Reviews are greatly appreciated! =)