I'm unhealthily obsessed with Castiel's wings. So sue me.
The more time Castiel spent on Earth, the more empathetic he became.
Before, he was just an angel of the lord. Now, he still was dedicated to his heavenly garrison (until incredibly recently) but more compassionate. More human.
Angel's don't have souls. They have no use for them. Angels are angels, heavenly beings with nearly unlimited power. Power used to follow orders. And when you are giving an order, you follow it, because it was the right thing to do.
Until, that is, Castiel met Jimmy.
Jimmy wanted to be a vessel. He trusted Castiel and was rewarded for his faith by getting what he wanted.
Jimmy is also the reason why Cas lost his grace and his power.
Jimmy has a soul. A soul Castiel can feel from inside him. A soul that cries out when his body does something it should never even dream of. A soul that doesn't understand the concept of 'orders', and only a sick twisted few, the 'greater good'. A soul that, when harmed, reflects the state of the vessel. When Jimmy hurt, Castiel did too.
To an extent, of course. He was still an angel.
But he could still feel Jimmy's soul screaming from within. After awhile, he decided to stop fighting it, and to listen to what he was saying.
And Castiel listened. And he changed.
Each day, every time he disobeyed, he lost more and more of his grace. He wasn't becoming human, per se, but he was losing his power.
It got to the point where he just stood up and walked away from his 'duty', and lost a lot of the perks that come with it. Most of the perks, actually.
He became an outcast, shut out from heaven, with very little to prove his angelic nature.
Except for one thing. One thing they could never take.
His beautiful black wings. The very sight caused terror in the beings he fought against. His condensed ones were nice, but his true form radiated power and control.
But on earth, they were mostly a mean of transportation.
Not many can see them without being blinded. After all, they are his most divine feature.
Cas had been down lately. He hadn't said anything to Sam and Dean, but he was pretty sure they knew something was off kilter.
Most of his grace had been lost, a lot of his more potent powers too. It was hard for him to hold his own, especially when he discovered he had to start eating.
Day by day, he was losing more and more of himself, and nothing could bring him back.
He disobeyed. Rebelled. What he did was right, but it called for him to sacrifice his home, and himself.
Sometimes, when he caught glimpses in mirrors, he saw only Jimmy. A stranger. Not the powerful Castiel, and angel of the lord. A fallen angel.
That when it was hardest for him, when he couldn't see any angelic resemblance.
Not much made him feel better, except for one thing.
For convenience, and also because he had no where to stay, Castiel had been travelling with Sam and Dean, helping on hunts when he could.
They were currently on a search for a shifter in Alabama, and had pulled into a motel for the night.
He waited until the brothers were asleep, then vanished to the dance studio he saw outside of town.
Standing in the doorway, Cas eyed the wall of mirrors. He walked in and stood in the center. He carefully slid off his trenchcoat and unbuttoned his shirt and threw the clothing aside. He took a good look at the sigil carved into his vessel's chest and internally apologized as he slid to the ground.
Still staring at himself, he slowly unfurled his wings. No one was here and in danger of seeing them, so he extended them as far as he could, not bothering to make them invisible to humans.
He needed to see them. He needed Jimmy to see them.
At full extension, they spanned about 8 feet each, thickly fused with both coarse and soft feathers.
He looked at himself in the mirrors. He flitted them around, happy to finally stretch them out. He moved them about in the manner of flight, slight but useless flapping and meaningless turns.
Due to his lack of use, a few feathers had come loose and were poking up at wrong angles. He curled each wing around and gingerly plucked the strays. He placed the foot long feathers in a pile in front of him.
Molting was natural, even for angels, so this did not disturb him. It actually made him happy. The more he pulled (only the needed ones) the healthier they grew back.
His black wings were sharp in nature and designed for precision flight. He twitched out his turns again, pleased by the slight movements in the mirror, and absolute control over them.
Standing now, he turned to the back to see them sprout from in between his shoulder blades. The transfer of wings to a vessel certainly was not pleasant for it, but Castiel made sure Jimmy felt no pain. He also protected him from supersonic flight speeds.
He started pacing around the room. Wings don't just flop out feet on each side at all times, they become vertical in nature and fold neatly into the attached feathers. They don't intertwine with the other.
He saw this in the mirror and felt pride.
He may never had occasion to have sexual relations, but that never stopped female angels from casting him flirtatious glances. Only when, of course, all work was in order and they had time for such nonsense.
That was when he belonged. Now he must hide the one, or two, things he values most. And for what? Disrespect from the people he lost everything for?
No. Stop. It doesn't matter. This is right. This is the price he paid.
And it was worth it. No one could truly understand the value, pride, and importance that comes from having wings. Most angels take flight for granted, assuming they deserve it.
With another hearty shake, Cas walked back to his clothes, tucked his wings and redressed. He picked up the impossibly soft and light feathers and placed them in his pocket.
"To be incinerated later."
He can't burn things with a touch, anymore.
He walked out from the dance studio, back to the motel, reveling in the night around him.
His thoughts centered on the first time he did this shakedown, and how embarrassed he was. But time after time, he felt relieved and renewed. His body may be human, but his wings were not.
That vain little reminder was just enough to remind himself of who he is, what he stands for, all the good he is doing, and not being a true angel to do them.
And that's just enough for the fallen angel to be more at peace with his 'fallen' status, because try as they might, they can never take his wings.
Does anybody find it super cute when you can hear him flutter in or out? Gah! Precious.