Author's Note: Like the description said, I really wanted to try this couple out - who, as of yet, haven't even met. I had some fleeting ideas, which grew, and spawned into this. Also? I love reviews and feedback, and welcome constructive criticism! So please, if you have time, drop me a review. :)
This will too be a huge collection of genres. Besides romance and hurt/comfort, there will also be drama, humor, friendship, family, etc.
Disclaimer: Own not. Profit not. Sue not.
A is for Angel
"This is the angel?" asks Jody Mills, staring down at the unconscious figure that's just been deposited on her couch.
Dean offers her a hurried, agitated affirmation, bustling through the room, drawing symbols on her walls with chalk and blood—the second of those she'd rather not know the origin of. Jody was of the mind to let the boys do their thing, and then stay the hell out of their way.
Frank abandoned his mobile batcave long enough to help Dean in the transport, seeing as Sam wasn't going to be of any help to anyone at the moment. Admittedly, Jody doesn't know much about the psychological underpinnings of hunters, but even she can see how much Dean wishes the older man were Bobby instead, though he'll never say so. A dark, secret part of her wishes that too, but there's no sense mourning a—
Jody's really starting to hate that phrase. Tucking away the bottle of bourbon she'd been nursing into a cabinet, she leaves the hunter to his sigils, turning her eyes back on the unassuming—while apparently celestial—being. It's a bit of a puzzle, because instead of the all-powerful, holy vibe she expected to get from him, he doesn't look any mightier than a golden retriever. Maybe a little more rugged than your average boy-next-door, but everything about him looks too soft to be imposing.
But then, he was also unconscious.
Perhaps, when he woke up, things would become very different. Maybe her houseplants would catch fire, or the room would shake. Dean told her once that there'd been thunder and exploding lights when he met the thing that dragged him out of Hell. He also told her about the shooting and the stabbing portion of that little encounter, and Jody can't remember if she'd actually called the hunter an idiot, or just thought it silently.
Deciding right then, Jody resolves that there will be no stabbing or shooting of any angels in her house, thank you very much. She wonders where his wings are—thinks she might ask him when he wakes up, but maybe that's committing some terrible faux pas in angel culture, so maybe she won't. That same, secret part of her yearns to know about her family—where they are, if they're all right, if they miss her, if they know she misses them…
Stop it, Jody, she berates herself. He's not even conscious yet and already she's racking up questions to smother him with. If he'd even have the answers at all. Dean did say his friend was cut off from the home office…
Dean had called her several hours prior, spouting out a clipped and panicked summary of the situation, in desperate need of shelter. She'd of course offered her home to him, and he arrived shortly after with Frank and an unconscious body in tow. As soon as Dean told her that this was Castiel, everything clicked into place. The extent of what she knew on the actual, Winchester Timeline, was that the angel had been dead, and now he wasn't.
"Frank, I need you to stay with Jody and Cas while I get on this demon situation," Dean delegates, going off in a litany of orders.
Frank mutters, hemming and hawing, but inevitably submits to the urgency of the older Winchester's tone. "Alright," the old crackpot rumbles, vacating the room. "I'll be parked on the porch with a shotgun, if you need me."
It takes Jody a moment to realize that Dean is speaking to her. "Yeah, Dean?"
He's still out of breath, roughly out of sorts, and too focused on getting the hell outta there to offer her much of an explanation, but she gives him points for trying. "Look, so… he's—he's okay, I think. A demon worked some kind of mojo over on him to put him out, but he should wake up soon. He, uh… he's not exactly himself. I…"
Jody butts in, trying to make sense of his disjointed remarks. "Dean. Slow down, hon, and just give me the cliff notes. In as close to English as possible."
Dean exhales heavily, jamming a hand through his short hair and daring a look at his friend on the couch. "He's having trouble with his memory. I don't think—I don't know, he's… it's Cas, but he's not all there yet. We found him in a psych ward." The hunter grimaces at his own reminder, and Jody crowds his personal space, getting him to focus.
"I'll make sure he's okay. You go and do whatever it is you do." She offers him the most encouraging smile she can, hoping it might have an effect. "Oscar the Grouch is out on my porch with a sawed-off, and I'll stay in here with him."
Dean pulls her into a fierce hug, grateful, as always, for the help. He's not used to catching a break, and the sheriff has proved time and again to be a permanent touchstone they can rely on. "Thanks, Jody."
She nods against him, giving him an extra squeeze. "Don't mention it. Now get outta here."
Jody all but blinks and Dean is already out the door.
Frank is still guarding the porch, muttering to himself and being generally inconvenienced. But, when things get really hairy about twenty-some minutes later, Jody knows how much he actually cares. It's so easy to forget that he had people he loved once, too.
She'd been trying to read, to clean her weapons, pacing on and off—anything to drown out the unbearable silence and her curiosity of the goddamn angel passed out on her couch.
She can't stop looking at him. Erroneously innocent, lying there. He hasn't moved a muscle, but still looks somehow distraught. It's only evident in the very slight frown and crease of his brow, but it's enough to make her notice. His chest rises and falls, slowly, as he breathes, so that's a plus. Jody files away the fact that angels do in fact breathe for future reference. She's heard of the mighty Castiel, of course. But this unpretentious and, bizarrely, down-to-earth seeming creature curled over the faded cushions of her sofa tugs at her heartstrings, and Jody can't figure why. He looks so small compared to the mythology of what he is, despite that, by the length of him, she can tell he'd tower over her.
Without warning, his eyelids flutter, and he finally starts to stir. Jody gets to her feet quickly, hurrying over to his side. As he comes to, the indicators of unease progressively manifest into true distress, and Jody realizes she'd been correct in assuming the angel was not okay. "Castiel?" she begins, a little awkwardly. The name sounds foreign on her tongue, like maybe she's not worthy to even be speaking it. She reaches out to him, not sure what to do or how to approach him.
His eyes fly open and dart to her. It's clear she's startled him, because he lurches upright and tries to disappear himself against the back of the couch in a mad scramble. He's huddled in the corner of the arm now, alert and looking scared. His large, startlingly blue eyes are locked on her, disoriented and wary in a way that's painful.
"Where am I?" His voice is gruff, raspy with disuse, but somehow just as small as he looks right now. The way he speaks, the way he looks, everything about him is a paradox. A series of contradicting anomalies that even a human as limited as her can distinguish.
Suddenly, all at once, she needs to protect him.
The foreign, but prevalent desire to calm him fills her unexpectedly, and Jody extends her hands in a mollifying gesture. "It's okay. You're safe."
Her words settle in, registering with him, and the expression of genuine concern on the face opposite his own connects with something deep inside of him. So much so, that the tension in his hunched frame gradually begins to wane. "I," he breaks off, feeling a belated sense of regret for upsetting her. Even still, he can't help the lost and hopeless sense that he's been misplaced in the middle of these unfamiliar surroundings. "I don't—"
"You're at my place," Jody explains to him. "Dean brought you here; you're safe."
Naturally, Frank would choose that moment to barrel into the room, shotgun at the ready. "The hell's going on?" he demands of the commotion, ready to assist her or shoot something, Jody doesn't really know.
And damn it! I said no stabbing or shooting of any angels! That includes scaring the unholy hell out of them! What the hell was it with hunters, anyways?
This, of course, only sets the angel off again. Castiel bolts to his feet, seizing an abandoned weapon from the table and warding it out in front of himself. It's odd, Jody thinks, because he looks like he's never held a weapon in his life. This was the creature that Dean claimed to have smote an entire building full of demons with his bare hands—took on his own kind with an angel's blade, burned the very eyes from those unfortunate enough to look on his true form.
"Frank, put the gun down," commands Jody, inserting herself between the two. At his grizzled scowl, she squares her shoulders at him and narrows her eyes. "It's fine—just go in the other room. Have a beer or something and chill out." Frank grumbles, but relents after a particularly roasting glare from the sheriff. "Go." He levels a final warning look of his own in the wayward angel's direction, then shuffles off. Once he's gone, Jody turns back to her charge. "Castiel."
"That's not my name," he whispers, looking so unsure of himself that she feels another tug in her chest. She can't imagine what could be wrong with him, but she's pretty sure that angels shouldn't look so afraid.
Jody approaches him slowly, curling her fingers over his atop the knife hilt. He's warmer than she expected. "You don't have to be afraid. No one here is going to hurt you."
Maybe it's her maternal instincts resurfacing, maybe it's something else entirely. But, something in her immediately latches onto him, and she sees the mirrored reaction in the gaze looking back at her. She can't for the life of her put a name to it.
His eyes bore into hers, large and timid, and Jody at last realizes that he isn't having trouble remembering what day it is, or if he left the iron on in Heaven. He's having trouble with his memory, Dean had said. Castiel doesn't even know who—or what—he is.
"It's okay," Jody tells him again, gently, until his shoulders don't look so severe, and his expression becomes more and more apologetic. She's reminded of the time she'd had to coax and sooth the wild fox that got itself stuck in her fencing, 'til she could work it free. Jody sets the knife back down on the table when he surrenders it to her, and, when she looks at him again, she takes her time, eyes roaming over him.
He really doesn't look like an angel, standing there awkwardly in her living room, which now seems too small for him and too big, all at once. He's in jeans and a tee shirt and hoodie, which only adds to the contradictory image she'd cooked up in her mind of what angels were meant to be. Castiel continues to look desperately out of place, and his own name apparently triggers some kind of residual anxiety for him. Which, while unfortunate, is good information to have. "What should I call you?"
He shakes his head. "I don't know."
Jody waits, watching the expressions as they scroll over his face, his eyes downcast in thought.
"Seven," he mutters. Before Jody can ask what that means, he clarifies for her. "At the hospital, they called me Seven. It was my number."
Jody's eyes soften, like the earth thawing after a frost. "Seven?"
He nods a little.
"Do you remember Dean, Seven?"
"I remember he helped me escape. And his brother is sick."
Jody thinks, and the two dissimilar beings—angel of the Lord and human woman—consider each other carefully. "Are you okay to stay here with me until he gets back?"
The angel nods, and can't help but think that no one has asked him what he was okay with until now. He's grateful, of course, to this Dean Winchester for freeing him of a corrupt establishment and for killing those demons intent on doing him harm. But, at the same time, it had all been too much, all at once, and he hasn't really been able to breathe until now. He feels a little bit in control again, and it's a monumental relief.
Jody rights the upended pillows on her couch and he watches her. After awhile, he mumbles an apology about making such a scene, but something eases inside of him when she gives him a smile that's full of warmth.
"Are you hungry?" Jody asks, squeezing his arm lightly. "Because I make a mean skillet."
The second his eyes fall on her once he wakes, he's surprised. Naturally. But, once he gets a better look at her, his trepidation settles.
She's a petite little thing, but not soft. Her dark hair doesn't quite reach her shoulders, and flares out in jagged tufts that surround her face with character. She wears flannel and jeans and has a kind face. Her voice, when she speaks, is by no means delicate, and it carries a bit of a sly edge to it—specifically when dealing with the older man who bursts into the room looking to do some damage.
But, when she looks at him and speaks, all cynicism vanishes and all he can hear is the cool, gentle timbre. And it isn't an act—he can read the wavelengths of her aura, and they're clean and good and so very warm. He doesn't know how he can do such a thing, of course—read another person's aura—only that he does and it's as automatic a reflex as drawing breath. The voice is low and sweet, like the soft notes of a cello, hypnotic. Moving, in a way that's profound to him.
When she touches his hand, fingers closing over his, he does feel safe. And, for a moment, he forgets that he can't remember what Dean Winchester so desperately wants him to.
"It's okay," she tells him again, and, looking into the swirling earth tones of her eyes, he believes her. So disarmed is he by her open and transparent warmth, that every dark thought he harbors is erased, at least for now.
She smiles, the corners of her lips curling softly at the edges.
An odd notion comes to him then, and he thinks that maybe she's an angel.