Author's Note: This first tiny note is to my Dramione readers (which I guess would be most of you). I haven't abandoned that ship, I promise! I'm just out of creative juice for it. I guess Turncoat really took it out of me. If you guys decide to stick with me on this one, I recommend that you watch the show, because Dean and Cas's love is beautiful, but you won't see it unless you see it. Eh, message me if you're curious. Because I would never turn down a chance to talk about this ship.
Okay, to everyone else out there, here are a few things you should know about this story before reading it (or that will help you decide whether you want to read it): it is (mostly) canon-compliant up to and including "Death's Door" (Episode 7x10) of Supernatural. The story is told in first-person from Castiel's perspective. The angel has come back from the dead yet again, this time to help our favorite Winchesters take down the latest big bad monsters from Purgatory—the Leviathans. Oh, and there are flashbacks. And MAJOR SPOILERS could be here for anything that happens in or before 7x10, so if you're looking to avoid those, don't read this.
Hmm. I think that's about it. (Oh, except that I'm insecure on how Cas's narration sounds, so you might have to bear with me while I do my best to figure it out.) So, this kicks off my first attempt at a decent-length Destiel fic. Wish me luck!
Disclaimer: None of these characters are my creations (unless they're not on the show, but those characters won't be showing for a while), and (very unfortunately) I do not have any stake in the show, Supernatural.
Chapter 1 – Castiel Rising
I freeze at the sound of his voice. But then again, had I been in motion before he spoke? Perhaps I had been. Perhaps not. I don't know anymore. But I'll always recognize his Voice.
"Finally, we meet."
My eyes open, though I don't need them to see him.
I've only seen him once, in a human vessel, a face that is now unfamiliar to me. But that vessel had been important. Why had it been so important?
"You are confused. I understand. It is the most reasonable reaction."
His face. It's different from the last time I saw him. He is using a new vessel, then. What is happening?
"Where are we?" I ask aloud.
"Earth," he replies.
Earth. Our Father's perfect creation.
And then I frown.
The words seem almost foreign to me. Our Father left us.
Michael draws my attention back to him, and upon looking at his face for a second time, memories come rushing back.
"Ah, there you go," I faintly hear him say.
I remember searing heat. Millions of souls. Losing my mind. And then—
"Ah, Lucifer was right. You really are a surprise. You remembered much more quickly than I thought you would. I hardly had to prompt you at all."
He's smiling. Why is he smiling? Instead, I ask a more relevant question.
"How am I alive? And you—you should be in the cage. Unless…"
"No, Castiel, you are not in the cage," he says before panic can take hold of me. "I thought you would recognize the cage if you were in it—after all, you were the one who took Sam away."
I only frown at him. He seems to be occupying the body of a young John Winchester. Did he resurrect him as well?
"I rebuilt you, brother," he tells me.
"Because you allowed me to escape. When you raised Sam, I followed."
I watch him warily. "Then Lucifer—"
"I am stronger than him. I was able to ride—"
He looks perplexed by my interruption; even I am almost surprised by my outburst.
"Sam's soul," I say. "That was your fault."
This statement almost makes me cringe. If Michael raised me, he can just as easily strike me down. I should not be so quick to anger the one who raised me.
"It was regrettable, yes," he admits, much to my surprise. "I could not leave with his body while his soul inhabited it."
I level a steady glare in his direction and say, "Tell me why you've brought me back."
"Well, that's simple enough. The Leviathans are here. They should not be. You brought them down upon the Earth—it's only right that you rid the Earth of this plague."
"Why don't you do something about it? You're an archangel."
Michael smiles again, and I frown.
"It is not my problem," he says.
I suppose it's true. Despite my intentions, and the fact that I successfully prevented another apocalypse, my foolishness and arrogance caused this, and it should be my duty to clean up the mess. I look back up at Michael.
"Your fight with Lucifer…"
The archangel's face darkens. "Our Father has left, and we have strayed so far from the path that I… no longer know what he wants of me."
"I will protect his kingdom, of course. And I will allow the humans to live in peace. Our Father treasured these creations most, so they should be protected."
I am again surprised. "You have changed, Michael."
"We are not an unchanging race," he responds. "Goodbye, Castiel."
"Wait," I say. "Dean and Sam—"
"They are still alive. I do not know where they are—you ensured that they could not be found unless they asked to be."
I nod, remembering the sigil I engraved into their ribs.
"Oh, and I just remembered something," Michael says with a small smile. "I have a gift for you."
"Better than rebirth?"
He laughs at this. "I like you." A small frown crosses his face. "Perhaps it is because Dean Winchester has influenced you. You are more human than the rest of us."
I don't respond. From the expression on his face, I cannot tell whether he approves or disapproves. But I quickly find that I don't care.
"I should go," Michael finally says.
He stretches, and massive, golden wings flap into existence behind him.
"Good luck, Castiel."
He snaps his fingers once, and I hear a loud thud behind me. I watch him shift into the other dimension, out of my sight, before turning around. A huge clump of white—but sullied—feathers is on the ground.
Is this what Michael meant by a gift?
Then a low moan of pain comes from it. Must be an angel—one of my brothers. I take a few cautious steps toward him. And then I realize with a jolt that I've no idea where my blade is. As God, I had considered it obsolete.
But this… this is one of my brothers. If he is antagonistic, how shall I defend myself, unarmed?
I come to a stop a few feet away from the quivering heap of feathers and see that my brother must be curled up, a wing extended over his body in a feeble attempt at self-defense, or perhaps comfort?
And this time, I recognize his voice. Incredulously, I speak.
He stiffens noticeably at the sound, and I know it's him. I rush to his side, pressing his wing out of the way, and see that he's covered in blood. His vessel is in poor condition, and his Grace is shining through in several areas.
"Brother," I breathe. "What's happened to you?"
"It appears Michael is… fond of holding grudges," he murmurs. "I stole the weapons of Heaven. He sought to punish me."
"But he brought you back."
"Yes, yes—" he coughs a few times, and I begin to speak, but he holds a hand up to silence me. "Yes, he brought me back. But that was a favor to you, not to me."
Our eyes meet, and suddenly guilt washes over me, almost as strong as what I felt in the warehouse, before returning the souls to Purgatory.
"I… am sorry, Balthazar."
"For killing me, you mean."
I flinch at his words but nod anyway. It's the truth.
"Forgiven," he says easily, and I blink in surprise. "I'm having a bit of trouble healing so if you wouldn't mind—"
"Yes, of course."
I turn him to lie on his stomach and straighten his wings out. Their sorry state saddens me, but when I am finished, they will be good as new. I press my palm to his body, just between the attachment points for his wings, and call upon my Grace to repair him.
Suddenly a rush of what feels like lightning travels through my being, and Balthazar cries out in pain. I immediately draw my hand back, shocked. He's healed, but he's glowing a bit too, now, as though he's been overcharged with energy.
"What did you—" Balthazar begins as he turns a bit to look at me.
But his words stop abruptly, and his eyes widen.
"Cas… you…" he whispers.
"Michael told me that he would bring you back and make you better, but this… I did not expect…"
"What is it, Balthazar?" I ask impatiently.
"Look… look at your wings."
I bring one into my sight.
A flash of gold.
"You're an archangel."
I am different.
When I was first created, I heard these words distinctly: "Little One, You Are Different. And You Are Called Castiel."
Anna told me to stop being silly when I spoke with her about these words. When she realized that I was serious, she thought it might have been God. But why He would have taken notice of me I do not know.
I still have not found what it is that makes me different. I am no braver, nor am I more of a coward. I do not possess significantly more or less self-restraint, intelligence, or obedience than do my brothers and sisters. And while black wings are uncommon, they are not entirely unheard of. In fact, Zachariah has a strange brownish-red color for his wings that differs from all others.
So why was I told that I was different?
Perhaps it is because I ask too many questions. But I do not ask them aloud. Anna claimed that she was far more inquisitive than I was, but she stopped asking. It is not right to question our Father's intentions. After all, He is our Creator, and He is the one whom we serve. That is the way it has always been, and that is the way it will always be.
Zachariah's voice draws me out of my thoughts, and I join him at a small temple. It seems to have Greek influences, but I do not recognize the architecture.
"Michelangelo always did like sculpting better than painting," Zachariah comments as he looks at the building. "But I think he's running out of new ideas. It's boring now, really."
I stand in silence, awaiting orders.
"Not chatty today, are you, Castiel? But I kid. You are one of the quietest angels I know. I have a job for you."
"Dean Winchester," he says. "Our Father has plans for that man."
"Dean Winchester," I repeat, rolling the words around in my head.
"War is coming," Zachariah says. "The war we all knew would come is nearly upon us."
Still I do not respond, though it seems that Zachariah expected more of a reaction from me.
"The Apocalypse," he finally says. "The first seal has been broken."
I steel myself for the request that is coming—all of us know what the first seal is, and what it must mean for the man who breaks it.
"Raise Dean Winchester, and speak to him. Do not inform him of his destiny yet—he has a long road ahead of him, and no man should know too much of his own destiny."
I nod. "Will there be anything else?" I ask.
Zachariah shakes his head. "Be stealthy, my brother."
There is no direct path between Heaven and Hell. I spend a few days traveling the Earth, deciding on the best place to breach the barrier between Earth and Hell.
In that time, I see that humans have become complacent, lazy, content. There are few warriors left, and men in power sit back, allowing missiles and armies to settle quarrels for them. I cannot disapprove, but it does not bode well if mankind must learn to defend itself from the demon hordes that will rise up with Lucifer.
But I have faith that we will stop this, that our Father will have given us the means to win in this Dean Winchester.
Upon entering Hell, nothing appears to block my way. The first thing I notice is a slight chill. It is strange—I have not felt anything before, and the sensation of cool air makes me shiver. But I must press on. There is a reason for my presence here.
I hold my wings back carefully and attempt to adopt the manner of walking that many souls exhibit here, but I soon give up—I am too pure to pass completely unnoticed by them.
And yet, because I am silent, none give me trouble. Perhaps they take me for a wandering soul that has merely taken a wrong turn. As for the demons, I shield myself with my inky black wings whenever they come close enough to spy me, and holding still, they do not notice my presence in the darkness of the Inferno.
I find the torture chambers—it's not difficult. I merely have to follow the screams of the damned. As I draw nearer, the coldness intensifies, and I frame my Grace with my wings to try to keep warmth in, but to no avail. Then I begin to hear more than screams: the sickening squelch of flesh as it is hacked off and strewn about carelessly.
Still silent, I ease into the chamber.
Despite the horrors and bloodshed filling the room, my attention is drawn only to one point. A soul, shining bright as the sun, with sheen similar to that of angelic Grace, is in this room.
I instantly know that this is Dean Winchester.
I circle different souls, at work on torturing their victims, each soul getting darker, more mangled and twisted by its actions.
And then I watch Dean, working quietly, efficiently, with a grim smile of satisfaction on his face. He guts a man and forces him to watch his innards spill onto the floor. Then he takes a ladle and spoons some of it up.
"Hungry?" he taunts.
"Dean Winchester," I say softly.
And the world around us rumbles in response to the announcement of my intrusion.
Dean turns and notices my presence, but he only frowns, green eyes narrowing, unsure what to make of me. The rumbling gets steadily louder, and I grasp his forearm.
"Dean, we must go."
"No," he responds, jerking his arm away.
"Now, Dean!" I growl, and the rumbling is thunderous now—the other souls have stopped their torturing to clap their hands over their ears, but Dean only looks at me defiantly.
A great cloud of black smoke tears into the room, ripping chunks of the wall away. The temperature drops even further. I react on instinct, grasping Dean's shoulder tightly and pulling him toward me. My wings snap out, and we take off through the smoke.
It beats at us, and I hear souls screaming down below as demons attack them as well. Dean lets out a few hoarse shouts in pain and demands that I put him down, but I only tighten my grip on his shoulder.
"Hang on, Dean Winchester," I murmur in his ear, even as the demons tear at my wings in an attempt to stop my flight.
At my words, Dean relaxes slightly, and I brace myself for a quick heal and an even quicker flight. I let loose my Grace, allowing it to burn away the demons nearest us, buying me enough time to fix up my wings and steady our flight.
But Dean howls in pain, and I realize with regret that as bright as his soul is, it still is not Grace; as a human, he cannot bear to be in contact with an angel's Grace. But the desperate measure works—I soar out of Hell relatively unscathed and land heavily by Dean's grave.
In this world, Dean glows even brighter, free of the tainted stains of Hell.
I move into the grave and slowly reconstruct his body from his skeleton, his form making itself known to me as I work. Each muscle, each nerve, each tissue forms at my command, and I feel the Creator's magic pulsing through my being as I put this man back together again.
I make his body whole, free of any marks or blemishes, and when I am satisfied, I carefully return the soul of Dean Winchester to his body.
But as the soul takes hold, I see that the scar of a handprint manifests itself on his shoulder, and I am ashamed. Ashamed that I marked a soul so bright, so special. For he is the one who will stop the Apocalypse, and with a soul as bright as his, able to survive so long a term in Hell without taint, I do not doubt it.
In the last moments before he wakes, I recreate his clothing before retreating to look after myself. My wings ache, and I sit in a stretch of privately-owned woods, invisible to humans, and stretch my wings out.
I look up at the sky. It seems much bluer from down here. Two clouds drift across slowly, and I sigh.
The first seal is broken. When did it break? How many more seals have broken?
I will ask Zachariah when I return to Heaven—I am certain that he will make Dean Winchester my charge, and if I am to properly assist him, I must be informed.
A long road lies ahead.
"Leviathans, you say. Well, Michael mentioned them, but he left out all the dirty details, I'm sure. Do you know how to kill them?"
I shake my head. "I do not know if it is possible for them to die by another's hand."
"Well, you're an archangel. Why don't we find one of the slimy creatures and test you with it?"
I consider it. I don't want the Leviathans to know of my return—not yet. It will help if I can surprise them.
"Let me guess. You want to find the Winchesters first."
I nod. "But first, explain something to me. Did Michael mention what he was doing all this time? I raised Sam quite some time ago. Why did he not stop me from opening Purgatory?"
Balthazar sighs. "I don't know. If you hadn't noticed, he and I didn't exactly part on friendly terms."
I wish I had thought up the question for Michael before he left. I close my eyes.
"Scan for prayers," I tell Balthazar. "Perhaps if we're lucky—"
And then I hear his voice and hone in.
You feather-assed sons of bitches! If you aren't going to help us, at least bring Bobby back! You put me and Sam back together enough times; why can't you do it for him?
"He sounds very drunk," Balthazar observes.
Meanwhile, I search for Bobby Singer and come up blank. "Bobby's dead," I report, sorrow welling up inside me.
I am still not so accustomed to feeling, but every emotion reminds me of the man who started it all.
"Shall we, then?" Balthazar prompts.
I deliberate for a moment longer before nodding. "Do not reveal yourself yet. We should assess the situation before we act."
Balthazar nods and shakes out his wings. "Oh, how I've missed flying."
"Let me guess. You're here for the 'I told you so.'"
"Well good, 'cause I'm really not that interested."
"I'm not here to judge you, Dean."
"Then why are you here?"
"Yeah, you know, I've had about enough of these orders of yours—"
"Our orders were not to stop the summoning of Samhain. They were to do whatever you told us to do."
"Your orders were to follow my orders?"
"It was a test, to see how you would perform under… battlefield conditions, you might say."
"It was a witch, not the… Tet Offensive."
"So I uh, failed your test, huh? I get it. But you know what? If you were to wave that, that magic time-traveling wand of yours and we had to do it all over again, I'd make the same call. 'Cause see I don't know what's gonna happen when these seals are broken—hell, I don't even know what's gonna happen tomorrow. But what I do know is, that this, here? These kids, the swings, the trees, all of it is still here because of my brother and me."
"You misunderstand me, Dean. I'm not like you think—I was praying that you would choose to save the town."
"You were?" he says, raising an eyebrow doubtfully.
"These people… they're all my father's creations. They're works of art," I say, leaning for and looking out at the playground. "And yet, even though you stopped Samhain, the seal was broken, and we are one step closer to Hell on Earth for all creation. Now that's not an expression, Dean. It's literal. You of all people should appreciate what that means."
Dean looks at me, and I see the pain in his eyes. There's a strange feeling in my chest, and I turn my head away, trying to understand what it is.
"Can I tell you something if you promise not to tell another soul?" I ask.
I look down. "I'm not a… hammer, as you say. I have questions, I… I have doubts. I don't know what is right and what is wrong anymore, whether you passed or failed here," I say, glancing at him. "But in the coming months, you will have more decisions to make."
He looks me in the eyes, and I instinctively avert my gaze.
"I don't envy the weight that's on your shoulders, Dean. I truly don't."
I look back at him as I finish, only to find that his eyes are still on mine. And I realize that I can't turn away, even though something tells me that I should.
This sudden helplessness terrifies me.
He finally turns his head away from me to look out at the playground again, and I take the opportunity to flee.
What's happening to me? I… I don't understand.
Uriel's deep voice sounds right behind me, and I turn slowly to face him.
"You are troubled. Why?" he asks.
I stare at him for a moment. Would he understand? Uriel has been my partner for a large number of years. Even when Anna was still with us, he was already my partner. Perhaps it is right to ask his opinion.
"Humans… they feel things. What do you think of these feelings?"
He chuckles. "Feelings? Feelings are weaknesses. Why do you think that we were placed in Heaven and these mud monkeys placed on Earth? It is because they are weak with emotions."
"You're close to blasphemy. Again."
I've had to warn him too often these days, ever since we came into contact with humans. He appears to dislike them greatly. I might have been mistaken to ask his opinion.
"Why are you asking me this, Castiel?" he says.
What can I say? That I have doubts? That I question our orders? That Dean Winchester has some strange effect on me?
It is not in my nature to lie. I am a warrior, not a strategist. I do not map out what I say. I try to measure what effect my words will have, but in the end, I cannot choose the correct words. I maintain a level stare at Uriel, waiting for him to drop the subject.
Though I cannot lie, I have never lost a staring contest.
Sure enough, he huffs a sigh and gestures toward the sky.
"We should return. Zachariah will want to hear of this new failure," he says.
Failure. Is that really what it was? I don't know anymore.
Uriel takes off without another word, and a moment later, I extend my wings and follow.
Author's Note: So what did you think? How am I doing so far?