Crime and Punishment

For on moment after he is struck by the Killing Curse, Harry sits alone at the blissfully empty white train station. But that doesn't last long, because there is a man walking up to him, and when he tilts his head quizzically, he can see the ornate office he's sitting in and the desk directly before him. Mostly though, it is because of the sudden presence of a second, older, set of memories sharing space with those of just Harry.

It is so easy, even easier than it had been as just Harry, to keep his overwhelming hatred of this Zachariah off of his face. This Zachariah, who claims to do God's Will but really does only what fits his needs. This Zachariah, who sits in front of him triumphantly, arrogantly, with his unworthy, unGodly, hands clasped over the file with his name on it.

"So," Zachariah begins with an arrogant smirk, "let's finish up your … education. Then I can clear you to go back to Earth, to go back to doing God's Will, to go back to where you are needed, Castiel."

Castiel doesn't respond, which seems to fit Zachariah's expectations as he just nods and mutters about getting down to business, then.

Idly, though, Castiel wonders which memories he'll lose first. Unsurprisingly, the first thing to be permanently erased are the memories of his makeshift family. He gets only a second to see them as they flash behind his eyelids, past and present superimposed, before they fade and disappear.

Hermione, blind and betrayed by her mind, left sightless and powerless, so unlike the bright girl he had befriended.

Neville, old and withered before his time, but still a Lion at heart.

Luna, mind blown wide-open and scattered, seeing what could have been, what might be, and things that never are.

Draco, magicless and wifeless, as Luna lives in a land of dreams and hidden things so far away from him.

Ron and Ginny both, one dead in a pool of blood brighter than his hair, and the other surrounded by flames that are too bright, taking the last of the Weasley's just like the rest of her family had died.

And – THIS IS WHY ANGELS DO NOT GET ATTACHED – so on it goes through everyone he knew, until...

Then the places are lost too.

Hogwarts, proud and broken, dead students littering her halls as seen through the holes marring her broken frame.

The Burrow, trapped in to bright flames, becoming the Weasley funeral pyre.

Hogsmeade, stifled by the thick ash of the steadily burning forest.

And – THIS IS WHY ANGELS DO NOT GET ATTACHED.

So it continues, each of his memories of Harry being stripped away, leaving only the lesson behind, until all that he has left are his worst memories of being Harry. Those of his relatives.

His Uncle, always angry, always ready to strike, to take it out on him.

His Aunt, so disapproving, so full of hate, so willing to blame him for everything.

His Cousin, following in his father's footsteps, monkey see, monkey do, hunt the freak, hurt the freak.

But even these memories, painful as they are, serve Zachariah's purpose. Because in the end, after the apocalypse, after the angels win, paradise will come to Earth and nothing like that would ever happen again. Everyone will be happy, happy and righteous. Besides, it is God's Will.

In the end, that is all that matters.

Castiel opens his eyes to Zachariah's, and as he nods curtly to his boss, he clamps down on an inexplicable wave of regret. "Sir."

Zachariah's self-satisfied smirk widens. "Get back to work. Your previous vessel is in danger, but he can be saved. Take care of it."

So he does. He stands unnoticed behind his vessel's daughter, watching the scene unfold before him and wondering how he can possibly make this work in his favor when he is presented with the perfect opportunity – the daughter's prayers. Unknowingly, or perhaps not, she offered herself as a vessel if it would save her father. It could, Castiel thought to himself, just work, since her father's blood ran through her veins.

'Are you willing to give up everything to save your father?' Castiel whispered into her mind.

And of course, the answer was yes.

So he did. He took over her body, and saved her father – his true vessel – even saving her mother instead of killing her along with the demon inside her, before doing what he had come to do – take his vessel back. And what would Dean call it? Ah – toeing the company line, with his mistruthful truth that he followed the will of God, not men.

Still, as he walked away from the Winchester brothers' accusing stares, he couldn't help but wonder why his heart felt like it was being carved out.

Unbeknownst to anyone, a lightning bolt scar engraved itself over his heart.

Lesson Learned

"… Also, natural-born wizards live mainly in the old world, where magic, through heavy amounts of use, is more orderly and easy to use. That is not to say, however, that the Americas are devoid of natural-born wizards, but they do have a much larger population of squibs – or the children born to magical families, but are they themselves without magic. It is these squibs who have always formed to core of demon-dealing witches, as they are exponentially more likely to sell their souls for the chance to have magic because of their willingness to do anything to have what they feel they rightfully deserve and have been cheated out of. That willingness is thought to have lead to the witch burnings that spread across Europe and into the Americas. After that, it s easier to see where the two groups truly started to separate, as natural-born wizards went into hiding following the witch burnings, while demon-dealing witches merely went underground to continue wreaking havoc among non-magicals. Not to mention…" Castiel continues to lecture, most of the information soaring over the heads of the three men sitting in front of him.

Dean, never the best at sitting still and listening, had long since let his mind wander. However, as Castiel continued to talk, Dean began to wonder – since Angels aren't all-knowing, something even Zachariah admitted – just how did Cas know all of this? Especially without even the smallest shred of a connection to heaven? So, Dean being, well, Dean, asked. "Cas, how do you know all of this?"

To his right, Bobby snorted sarcastically, and snarked, "Probably learned it all in Angel school or something."

But Dean knew that wasn't right, because Cas was getting paler and paler, his lips moving soundlessly, and his eyes growing wide with what Dean would have called fear, but that couldn't be right because Cas never showed any emotion, let alone fear.

"Cas?" This time from Sam, his voice filled with concern.

"I –" Castiel stuttered around the lump in his throat, forcing his eyes to look at Dean instead off staring unseeingly at the wall behind him, "I don't know."

Bobby, about to say something twice as sarcastic as before, froze in shock and joined the Winchester brothers in staring at the ashen angel.


A/N: Well, this came to me after I saw the episode in season 4, and I wondered what happened to Cas while he was "dead" and the Winchester brothers were taking care of Jimmy, and then again when they go to take care of Lillith and they think Cas has died fighting the angels. May or may not continue this, depends on reception. That said I hope everyone likes this, and please don't forget to review.

~Sayanora!