Author's Note: Written for my darling Dyani who wanted something with wings or Cas or Gabriel and something brotherly, so I combined them all. Unbeta'd
Castiel was shaking. The effort of keeping himself up was too strong now that he was losing faith and trying to hide it. He was falling, slowly. The effort to remain aloft in the heavens was trying on his being.
There were very few he could go in this state. His superiors were already suspicious and there were very few angels upon the earth. The angel braced himself as he left the heavens in search for a sanctuary.
A sanctuary that he crashed into. Castiel fell into a heap on the floor of a strange room. The lighting was low, but that was really no issue to an Angel. The small angel gave a gasp, shaking violently from the effort of flying. The weight of doubt still sitting heavily upon his body.
He didn't even know where he was, just that it was safe.
A small goan pulled from him as he shifted. Everything ached painfully - it was a pain he had never felt before. Something was pulling out his faith slowly and painfully. "Help?" he asked weakly. "Shit," a voice sounded. It was unfamiliar, but a low hum of another voice pulled through.
"Castiel, buddy, open your eyes," the low humming voice was so soothing compared to the rough overtone of the mortal voice. It took some effort, but the small angel opened the eyes of his vessel. He could feel Gabriel's grace push against his own, comforting him.
Cas was lifted, gently, though the heavy crushing feeling still remained. He was placed upon a soft bed at the center of the room and a hand ran through his vessel's short locks. "What have you gotten yourself into, little brother?" he asked.
He did not get a chance to answer, Gabe giving him a tap on the forehead and he knew no more.
When the young angel awoke, he was laying on his stomach, wings spread out over nearly most of the room. His upper half was free of cloth and the wings splayed visibly, pressed mostly against the floor in exhaustion.
The feathers were rumpled and many were torn and gone. It was... an ugly sight. Was this what happened when you began doubting? Cas shut his eyes again, trying to ignore the sight of his ugly wings.
Why was this happening now?
Movement in the room forced Cas to freeze, wings pulling close to his body defensively. "Oh, you're awake are you," Gabe's voice sounded from the next room over. The heavy feeling remained, but it felt lighter somehow, if only a bit.
Cas no longer felt like he was being crushed.
Curiously, Cas spread the damaged wings again, using them to help him sit up. Cas sat cross-legged on the bed, shifting his wings so Gabe could move closer to him. Gabriel pulled Castiel closer to him, resting his head on top of his little brother's head.
It was odd, Gabe was so human-like compared to him. "What's troubling you, little brother?" Gabe asked, brushing his fingers down the spine of Castiel's vessel. He wouldn't touch the wings without permission, but the least he could do was relax the little one a bit.
"I'm beginning to doubt..." Cas spoke softly, arms tightening around him in comfort. "It'll be okay, Cas." Gabriel assured. How could he even know? Cas thought bitterly, a scowl flashing across his normally stoic features. "Can I?" he asked, brushing the base of Cas's wings. The feathers ruffled in apprehension and the young angel tensed.
But he gave a small nod.
Gabriel gave a small sigh of relief. He might be a trickster, but this was family. This was different, Cas needed him right now and by his Father, he would never push an angel this fragile over the edge.
Gabriel started at the base of Cas's left wing, massaging the muscle under the wing and shifting feathers back into place. He pulled softly at feathers that were falling out and were likely painful to the young angel. He doubted Cas had ever been out of sorts to this degree.
They sat for hours, Gabriel working through the mess that made up his wings, masses of feathers lying upon the floor. They made small talk of things going on, but only brushing the surface of deeper problems.
And Castiel was looking healthier already. The remaining feathers were flag against each other now, rather than working against each other. There was nothing pulling and tearing at each other, making things painful for Castiel. Without realizing, much more of the weight had lifted from the younger angel.
Gabriel gave a small smile. The wings still weren't as magnificent as they were before, but they were getting there. He hoped the young angel would not lose faith and continue to shed his feathers until he fell.
He waved away the fallen, damaged feather, leaving one long feather before him. He plucked it from the floor, tapping Cas's nose with it. "When I was young, we would give one of our feathers to someone we cared about," he mentioned, setting the dark feather in his young brother's hands. He pulled out a similar one, lighter in color and slightly yellow in shade - a bright contrast to Castiel's greyish feathers.
The yellowish feather was worked into the greyish mass of feathers, sliding between two feathers similar in length. Gabe's face turned to one on concentration as he healed the feather into his brother's wings.
It was harder to heal an angel than a human. The biology was totally different. Humans were easy, angels were... not so much.
Surprised, Cas ruffled his wings, puffing them up and having them lay flat. The yellowed feather felt natural against his wings and he turned embracing his older brother. "Thank you," he murmured, emotions swelling within.
Gabriel pressed a small kiss to his brother's forehead, hating how broken the young angel was to thank him for a gesture that when he was young was common among siblings and friends.
And for the first time in a long time, Gabriel prayed to their father.