Author's Note: So this was a surprise plot bunny attack. A short while ago, I wrote a companion piece to AFMH called "Aeternae" where I alluded to the headcanon possibility of Castiel being Meg's guardian before she became a demon. Excerpt went as thus:

Asenath, first nephilim of the earth, daughter of Azazel, daughter of a human mother, was born on a Thursday morning, long ago. She was assigned a guardian angel, the bond forged never willing to break, even as she tore into her first soul in the fires of Perdition. Even as she became the monster her guardian was created to defeat.

So... here you have the oneshot that little excerpt birthed. Mostly pre-series. Lyrics are from "Guardian" by Alanis Morissette. Also... there's a reason I've named Meg "Asenath" in most of my fics. Wikipedia that shiz. (Let's just say it involves paganism, angel visitations, and bees.)

you, you who has smiled when you're in pain
you who has soldiered through the profane
they were distracted and shut down

Castiel is looking at a child.

He thinks, as he stares at the tiny form in the bassinet, that this is not quite within the realm and boundaries of his duties. But yet, the infant girl is so small and the room so large. The world, all around her, is so very large. He is committing a faux pas, standing vigil for hours on end like this, with no immediate danger in the surrounding area. His conscience, however, remains amply oblivious. There is indeed something mesmerizing about her—nothing overt, just enough to snare him. He has seen many humans, children too, and while he has always been fascinated, his curiosity with this one is so overpowering that he makes no effort to even deny it. Although she is silent and still, her presence is a siren call.

This is not the first charge he has been assigned, nor will it be the last, but Castiel knows he will remember her for long into his eternal subsistence.

Startling mid-flight, he hears the cry of the girl and diverts course. A chill runs through him, just skirting across his peripheral, at the notion that she could be in some kind of danger. She is, after all, his responsibility—so his reaction needn't feel so strange, and yet the novelty is there.

Upon his approach, Castiel curves mighty wings that slow his descent into Cairo. He lands gracefully, tucking them away into his shoulders. When her cry doesn't cease, he casts a look around. Seeing no immediate threat, he realizes that she has been left alone—humans, he learns, do not always answer the cries of their children. To embolden them, he thinks. Still… the girl gives a lonely wail and his body moves forward of its own volition, bringing him closer than he's ever dared before. Once he is inside the home, he hovers over the bassinet, staring down with large beryl spheres of light at the child swathed in blankets. He has no vessel presently, and is little more than a wavelength of celestial radiance—a suggestion of human form ghosting in and out of the mortal plane. But, at the sight of him, the child quiets.

Castiel puzzles over the phenomenon. She should not even be able to see him, much less sense his presence. More, her cries have tempered. There are a small few tremulous intakes of breath, a fleeting whimper, but it isn't long before the tears on her face dry up.

Small eyes gaze up at him, wide and brown like the earth. On her head is a dark tuft of curls, framing a tiny apple face.

The angel blinks owlishly when the child reaches up a hand, fingers so tiny splayed towards him. He's at a loss what to do, how to proceed. He has already overstepped his bounds by entering this nursery.

"Hello," he says softly.

But it is not a human voice that speaks; rather, an unbidden melody traversing planes to form into cognitive resemblance of speech. It curves along the air like music, a whispered echo lost in the ether. It settles as the down of feathers would around the child, offering an unprecedented warmth.

The child stares, mirroring the angel's gaze. Castiel is not sure which of them is more awed in this moment.

"Do not be afraid," he tells her, and with a gentleness not even he can fathom. What has come over him? What possesses him to speak these words? His form that is not quite a body feels warm, drawn to this child by an invisible pull. "I will stay with you."

The girl blinks, eyelids drooping heavily. There is a small cooing sound and a sigh before the eyes fade from his sight and the infant succumbs to sleep.

so why, why would you talk to me at all
such words were dishonorable and in vain
their promise as solid as a fog

and where was you watchman then

Over the years, he blinks and they pass by, he finds comfort in learning the patterns of her soul during his visits. Vibrant purples and blues, ribbons of pink winding in delicate arcs. In the corners of it he finds sadness, but there is so much joy inside her that it brings him great delight to be near her. He studies her, consumed by fascination. He is at her window more than any of his other charges; indulges much more than a simple ghosting in and out of her life.

Guardians often accompanied their charges—always unknowingly—for little more than thrice before the human soul was received into the gates of Heaven.

Castiel has already been to see the girl three times in the past fortnight.

Her curls have gotten longer, falling almost to her waist. The girl stumbles around the home and he watches her, the currents of light that are his makeup forming the suggestion of a smile on an indiscernible face. She is an adventurous thing, mulishly brave. There is no fear but the determination on rounded, rosy cheeks. He admires her.

When her footing slips, a nearby mound of shawls is nudged to absorb the brunt of her fall down the step with a simple narrowing of his thoughts. An effortless service that spared her a bruise or two.

This is an inappropriate use of his powers, any angel would know better.

Castiel pushes the thought carelessly away, with a wayward furl of his wings.

He notices that she is at her window more and more, nose and fingers pressed against the panes, large eyes gazing out and up at the sky. Some nights, when she is no longer so young for the bassinet, she curls atop the sill and sleeps.

Almost as though she is waiting.

Castiel hovers just on the other side of the pebbled glass, a troubled crease passing through his light. A harmless leisure, was it not? Indulging like this? But there is a longing at the center of what might be his heart. He feels an almost… urgency to reach out. More than he already has. And for no greater purpose than his own desire to. Is it selfish of him? Is it too presumptuous? For this desire in no way served the will of Heaven or the greater good—merely the whim of a young angel's curiosity.

Best to leave it be.

Even still, when morning comes, and the sun splits the horizon in a kiss of gold, there are the shadows of wings lingering on the stone wall of the home.

I'll be your keeper for life as your guardian
I'll be your warrior of care, your first warden
I'll be your angel on call, I'll be on demand
the greatest honor of all, as your guardian

"I know you never left me, shadow."

Her tiny voice, speaking those words, set him instantly on edge. Something flutters in the pit of his light, something he would liken very much to panic. He has an incredible urge to fly away, to disappear, but he stifles it in favor of that rampant curiosity that keeps befalling him lately.

Her fingers press against the glass—because he has never entered the home again since that first night—and there is a smile on her lovely face. Dimples pucker her cheeks, and she says, "I never feel alone, even in the night. Won't you come to me, shadow?"

Do not do it, his own voice commands him silently.

In a move that has the breath rushing out of him, rendering him frozen in place, he feels her eyes rest on him. "Why do you hide from me?"

A head of curls tilts, a tiny brow furrows. Pink lips pucker in a frown. She fumbles over words because she's still so young, and only further endears herself to him. "I promise to never hurt you. Please, come out."

Castiel's wings fidget anxiously.

He could reveal himself to her.

Surely, if she can sense him, she is among the chosen few who can endure his true form.

But he should not.

Those are not his orders.

Do not.

Just a little… a little won't do any harm. Only because he wonders if she is one of the chosen.

Carefully, Castiel casts out his awareness, filtering through the minutia of molecules in the air to the outreaches of his form. He presses against the barriers of reality, wary, inching through. He keeps a vigilant eye on the girl, who is so focused that she appears far older than the child she is.

When the first tendrils of his light pass through the shield binding him outside her view, the girl's face goes slack with awe. Her lips part slowly, eyes rounding.

That's enough. No more. She can endure the sight of you—there is nothing more to know.

A wing is next. Castiel continues, heedless of the internal monologue berating him in his head. Of the terror and exhilaration. The girl presses firmer against the window, little palms reaching as far as the glass will allow. Her face is full of wonder and delight and Castiel doesn't think he could pull away now even if Heaven commanded him.

Carefully, he arranges particles of his light like a composer might, guiding them into a deliberate flow. They form a compliant shape, obedient to his will, until he is pressing that extremity of light—so similar to a hand of his own—against the press of hers. Only the window separates them now, and he sees the reflection of his grace in the dark pools of her eyes, staring back at him so devotedly. Amazement and adoration is all he sees in that moment, in the mirrored image of what radiates so powerfully from them both.

Her lips form a truly radiant smile. "Hello," she whispers, reverently, like he might vanish again if she speaks too loudly.

"Hello," the musical thrum of his true voice resonates, softly.

"I am Aisie," she confides.

Asenath is her name, he knows, but thinks perhaps it is too difficult a challenge for her to say. Humans developed so much more slowly than angels did, after all.

Her joy is palpable and he realizes she is waiting for another reply. Feeling the last tremor of unease slip from him, he is pleasantly surprised when a strange sense of contentment takes its place.


The girl, Aisie, watches him. Great satisfaction fills her expression, insurmountable elation. Her eyes leave him and rest on the sight of his hand pressed against hers on the window, feeling the warmth of his light soaking through. "Angel," she murmurs, knowing this to be the truth.

Castiel knows this will not be the last time he visits her.

Not by far.

The constellations of his ever-shifting visage form the barest hint of a smile. He thinks her name again to himself, and is glad.

I'll be your keeper for life as your guardian
I'll be your warrior of care, your first warden
I'll be your angel on call, I'll be on demand
the greatest honor of all, as your guardian


you, you in the chaos feigning sane
you who has pushed beyond what's humane
them as the ghostly tumbleweed

and where was your watchman then

Castiel is looking at a demon.

Meg is sauntering away from him, delighting in the pleasure of striking his last nerve. He's already threatened to kill her twice. She regards him over her shoulder with upturned lips twisted into a smug grin. "Don't be a drag, sugar. You'll take the fun out of murder and mayhem."

The angel narrows his eyes at her, put off, yet again, by her infuriating lack of filter (and lack of restraint). "Killing those guards was unnecessary, not to mention unwise. Someone will have heard."

Meg lifts an eyebrow. "Let them hear. Smitey McSmiterson and Bad Ass of Sass are no match for whatever poor excuse of a challenge comes through that door."

Castiel closes his eyes as they move, calling on reserves of patience that are fast running dry. "You need to think more strategically and not so chaotically."

She snickers. "You mean less like a demon. Sorry, baby. We're more stab first, strategize later."

"I am aware."

She hears the checked aggravation in his gravelly tone and gives an eye roll. "Oh, come on, Clarence. What's worse? Having a little fun at the expense of others, or walking around with some giant holy stick—"

"Would you be quiet?" he says, eyes cutting to her sharply. "I'm trying to focus."

She raises her hands. Thinks maybe she'll dig the knife in a little. "All I'm saying is that, giving in to Alistair? Best life decision I could have ever made."

Before she realizes what's happening, the angel has her in a chokehold and is slamming her against the nearest wall so hard that rubble shakes loose when a large fissure splits the stone framework. Her eyes slit to black and she's fighting him, but his grip holds unrelentingly fast.

"Do not say that," the angel growls out. "Ever again, Meg. Do you hear me?"

He lets a scratch of his real voice through, just enough to disturb the air around them and make Meg go momentarily quiet.

She's even roused his true form, for shit's sake. Lights all around them fizz in and out, some shattering with loud pops and cascades of glass. Outside, she hears the thunder. Meg claws at the grip on her throat, gnashing her teeth and growling out obscenities. "What crawled up your ass?" she demands.

"You may not care… you may not remember what you were, but I do!"

She's suddenly startled by the amount of pain and devastation pouring out of him. Anger, she can handle. But whatever this is…

He looks shaken; haunted. There is an upsetting sense of bereavement that washes over him as he goes on. "I do. So enough."

He remembers a little girl reaching out to him through the glass.

He remembers ignoring the disapproving looks from his kin when he found a vessel to better converse with her. He remembers her delight in being able to touch him, to hear him speak so clearly to her.

He remembers a child taking his hand and leading him around Creation with such precious glee, begging to learn what everything was and its purpose and she had so many questions and he was so thrilled to answer them all.

He remembers the doll she was so deeply fond of, well-worn and stitched together in the spirit of Celtic myth. A simple little doll, but he knows the meaning behind it even if she doesn't. A sea aingeal, creatures said to be fallen angels in disguise; so strange for a child to hold it so dear. She'd look at him, smiling, and say it was her Guardian Spirit. The doll had been there that first night, tucked beside her amid the blankets, constantly towed after her wherever she went.

He remembers his angelic name being so foreign to her, how she'd struggle over it, how she was so young and hardly even able to pronounce her own name, much less his. So, instead, for several years, she simply calls him Klarenz. In honor of her most cherished possession; the name of her doll. So convinced she'd been that he was really her childhood companion come to life, and he adopts the name with a smile.

He remembers consoling her when life was cruel, comforting her when she needed it, offering his company when she was otherwise alone.

He remembers her curled within his vessel's arms, fast asleep with tired eyes pressed into the warmth of his grace.

He remembers visiting her after a battle, which was foolish of course, but he'd needed to see her. There had been this irrational thought in his head that perhaps she was in danger too. He remembers her tiny hands pressing the wet cloth to his wound even though it was unnecessary. He remembers her relieved smile and the smack of her lips against his vessel's cheek.

He remembers her wild laugh and vibrant life.

He remembers when Klarenz finally became Cassie. Remembers it being shrieked with delight upon every visit, and a tiny blur colliding with his legs and little arms embracing his vessel's waist in a loving stranglehold.

The moment when she no longer needed the doll to feel safe.

He remembers watching her grow older and mature into a young woman so beautiful it was startling, even for him, and he was the epitome of ancient in comparison, even then. He'd thought nothing held the power to awe him anymore.

He remembers hearing her desperate cries of prayer when he was on the other side of the world, remembers abandoning his duties and launching himself into the air, wings pounding at the sky. Arriving with a wrathful slam against the earth, making it quake. Seeing the men pinning her in the alleyway and his grace pouring hot as divine vengeance was unleashed. The questions, the whispers, of the men with their eyes burned right out of their skulls. The memory of taking the adolescent girl into his arms and holding her until she no longer cried.

He remembers that they were each other's touchstones.

He remembers going to her with his doubts and worries. When his family fought amongst itself, to her he would go, and she would welcome his sad eyes and wilted wings with mirrored regret and open arms.

He remembers the Rebellion's aftertaste.

He remembers needing to stay away more and more, for her own safety. The sound of her voice, calling to him, pale fingers gripped tight around a doll long forgotten. Always with hope. Too dangerous, he'd whisper along the winds, knowing she could hear.

He remembers… remembers… the moment he knew.

Knew what had become of her.

Remembers the betrayal he'd felt, the inconsolable heartache. The sense of loss being so devastating, so suffocating. The physical need to close off his emotions forever, lest anyone ever come to mean that much to him again. He could not allow himself to feel, never again. He would become a marble statue; a soldier, nothing more.

"You're some heartless sons a bitches, you know that?"

"As a matter of fact, we are." The painful nostalgia saying those words dredged up. "And?"

They had to be.

"I think maybe angels just don't have the equipment to care. Seems like when they try… it just… breaks them apart."

"I remember," he whispers, like he might come apart. There is something amiss with his sight, blurring at the edges, and a pain so tremendous it feels as if his chest is being crushed. Because she promised she'd never hurt him. She promised.

"Too much heart was always Castiel's problem."

And then Meg's expression is softening, hardened eyes slowly losing their black cast, unbidden and against her better judgment. There is a sadness in her now as well, a remorse, one he never expected to ever see again—however reluctant. Castiel finds himself unconsciously loosening his grip at the utter sincerity of her expression. The tension wanes in her shoulders, and they slump beneath his towering form.

She looks up at him, and there is regret. There is guilt so powerful, he thinks for a moment that those might be tears he sees. All that righteous anger leeches out of him at her obvious suffering—a change he doesn't understand until she speaks.

Her voice is small, like he first remembers hearing. Full of anguished admission.

"I remember you, Cassie."

And damn you for reminding me, she thinks, without venom. Because she has tried so damn hard to forget. Because those memories are a constant reminder of what she has become without him. What she became in spite of him. The levels of which she has utterly failed him, her oldest friend, and now sometimes-enemy.

This is her armor falling away, piece by agonizing piece. There is fear in her heart because of this, but Castiel now realizes that, instead of pinning her in place, he has been holding her up. All this time.

All she'd needed was to see him trapped inside that ring of fire for every memory to come flooding back—every memory that Hell had fought so hard and so brutally to strip from her. It had succeeded for a long, long time.

It's been so hard, suppressing those memories now. While Castiel had clung to their fading effervescence, Meg had fought tooth and nail to escape them. He had mourned, while she remained haunted.

But, in unity, they both desperately wished they could somehow go back to the way things used to be.

When things were as simple as a lonely child and lonelier angel becoming friends.

When they were Aisie and Cassie, not abomination and soldier.

no more smiling mid crestfall
no more managing unmanageables
no more holding still in the hailstorm

the greatest honor of all, as your guardian

Author's Note: Please review. It makes me ever so happy. *cheeses at you*