A/N: Okay, yes, everyone calm down. I'm alive. And back with the story! In case anyone remembers where we left off... Okay, well, I'm sorry. I really hate it myself when I have to wait forever for a story update, so believe me, I try my best. It may take a little longer, but I promise I won't abandon it. I never abandon a story once I started uploading it on the site. Cross my heart.
- Part 6 -
Castiel takes a step forward. Then another.
Then there is a little pause in his movements; the slightest shadow of hesitation passes over his aura.
Then he takes another step.
Dean's constant yelling is starting to turn into banality.
"I know you're in there somewhere. I know you can still hear me. Look at me Cas!"
The angel is facing him; however, his gaze is not focused on anything in particular. It goes past Dean, bears through the wall and gets lost somewhere in the distance.
Castiel is clearly not himself.
Sam and Kevin follow the scene in silence, still unable to move, still not knowing what to do. Their panting is almost stifled by the tension sparkling in the room. The force that the wills of Naomi and Dean collide with is overwhelming and almost unbearable.
Castiel is gripping his blade so tight it makes his fingers turn white. He is not aware of it, as he is not aware of the throbbing of his injured shoulder, the exhaustion that has threatened to swallow him a few minutes ago, or the presence of another angel's mind in his own. He is practically nothing, a stripped consciousness inside a hollow vessel, reduced to doing only the basic pulses of living: breathing, blinking, swallowing, walking.
He is standing in front of Dean now; agonizingly slowly he lifts the blade. It is only then that he finally looks down and his eyes find their way to lock with the hunter's.
Something cracks in the air; it is not visible, not audible, but they can most clearly feel it. Kevin flinches, Sam lets out a long-held breath, and Dean becomes aware of the chills running down his spine. Thunder rumbles somewhere above the ocean.
Castiel lifts the blade even higher.
Almost a minute passes, and he is still there, frozen on the spot, as if he was paralyzed.
"Do it." Naomi's voice smashes into the waiting silence.
But nothing happens.
Castiel is still standing there, not moving, although a slight trembling has now started to creep up his blade holding arm. Second passes after second until he finally moves. Speaks, actually, but the three words that leave his mouth leave Dean utterly speechless.
"Who are you?"
Though they are softer than a breath, in the silence deeper than death Castiel's words sink down and thud almost audibly on the floor. Sam forgets to let his breath out. Even Naomi looks dumbfounded for a long second.
Dean's mouth is slightly open as he stares up at the angel, and his gaze would bear right through Castiel's soul if he had one. The hunter's heart releases a sluggish beat, as if it had frozen along with their surroundings. An eternity passes until the next heartbeat, and it is only then when Dean is able to speak.
"What?" He stutters out, but the angel does not answer, just looks at him, and finally Dean can see something lurch in his eyes.
Only he has no idea what that is.
"What do you mean, you don't recognize me? It's me, Cas. I'm the one you brought back from Hell. I bear your handprint on my shoulder."
Dean's desperate. He is trying everything to bring Castiel back from this amnesiac, mind-controlled, fucked-up state. He proceeds to tug his shirt up to show the angel the mark of his hand when Castiel speaks again.
"Yeah. Thanks for that."
He is not making any sense. Dean manages to tear his gaze from the angel to look at Sam, but he can only see his own perplexity mirrored in his brother's eyes.
"What does he mean?" Kevin's voice creeps into the lingering silence, sounding unsure, frightened. The boy now sounds equally afraid of both angels in the room.
Naomi smells his fear like a bloodhound can smell the fear of game while running through the woods. She does not even bother to look at him. She has all attention on Castiel, the strange creature that is somehow managing to obey and disobey at the same.
"Do it!" She shouts; her voice storms through the room like a hurricane, almost deafening the three humans. Castiel, however, looks unperturbed.
"Who are you?" He asks again, maybe even softer than last time; yet somehow it sounds louder and more terrifying to Dean's ears than Naomi's yell.
"It's Dean, Cas; remember?"
"Yeah, figured out that much. I mean, what are you?"
His words have no color. They are gray and toneless; in fact, they completely lack any kind of intonation. Castiel is still standing there, unmoving; blade still in hand and ready to strike; still glaring down at Dean with a strange, vacant tenderness.
Naomi watches the scene with an angry curiosity. Kevin watches the scene with a fragile composure. Sam is watching the scene with an anxiety so loyal it almost breaks Dean's heart. And Dean is just watching his angel horrified, trying to figure out what he can possibly be referring to.
And then Castiel speaks again. "Get the hell out of here. There's no such thing."
Something stirs inside Dean and his eyes narrow unconsciously. Something deep inside him, so far down that he has almost forgotten what it is. A memory. He has heard these words before.
He has spoken these words before.
Eyes gone wide he stares up at the angel, realization suddenly dawning on him. Castiel's expression is still blank, he is still glaring at him with that absent consciousness, but Dean knows now why. The angel is stripped from his own memories, his will is bended under an overwhelming force, his mind is formed to the image of another. He is nothing but a mirror, holding onto and reciting the long-forgotten words he first heard from a man; the same man that is now kneeling in front of him.
Castiel's face is blank, his features are smooth; somewhere deep inside him, back in the sternmost corner of his emptied mind something starts to remember.
A barn. Darkness. Sparkles erupting from exploding lightbulbs.
Castiel's mind is split in two once again.
The emptiness is familiar. He has felt it a hundred, a thousand times. Naomi's presence inside his very being does not feel foreign anymore.
He was going to kill someone; one of the easiest things an angel can do. Merely a lift of an arm, a grip on the blade, then a sweep, quick and clean. Castiel cannot recall a single time he has killed a human being, and he is not sure this is not because Naomi has taken his memories after each case.
But the moment he has looked in those eyes, he literally felt something crack open inside him. The eyes are familiar. Not the shape or the color – no, something deeper and more primordial about them – and Castiel feels a small tremble resonate through the bones of his borrowed body. And suddenly his mind is split, and he is both in Kevin's boat and a dark barn, entering through locked doors, his presence bursting out lights, his clothes and flesh getting torn up by silver bullets that cannot harm him, and he is walking towards a figure so determined and frightened at the same, and he can smell his soul, a soul he grabbed in the bottommost pits, to raise, to return to its body -
And the man speaks to him.
"Who are you?"
Castiel wants to answer, only to find he is unable to. He has no idea of who he is; he cannot even recall his name. Naomi has done a good job. "I," he thinks, but cannot finish the sentence. Came to save you? Kill you?
"Yeah, thanks for that."
There is a feeling of a cold blade burying itself in the center of his chest, impaling his heart flawlessly. Castiel has troubles recalling the memory. It is not an angel blade, it only damaged the vessel, it cannot hurt his true self -
Then why is there pain in his heart?
Does he even have a heart?
In the memory there is no physical pain; still, Castiel's whole being aches as he keeps locking eyes with the man in front of him. He can barely restrain himself from falling to his knees as well.
"Who are you?" The question is asked again, and Castiel closes his eyes in agony.
Castiel, a voice answers in his head, and he wonders if it is his own.
"Yeah, figured out that much. I mean, what are you?"
The name has given him something to hold onto. He knows the words that come up in his mind next. I am an angel of the lord.
It sounds like a creed. The words are strong and powerful and they grow stronger as he keeps thinking about them.
"Get the hell out of here. There's no such thing."
The emptiness is gone, he is standing in front of Dean Winchester, the soul he has rescued from the pit, in the semi-darkness of the abandoned barn. His words latch onto the angel, surround him, giving him the ground he has been yearning to stand on, letting him hold onto them.
I am Castiel; I am an angel of the lord, and I know you, Dean Winchester, I went to Hell for you, I gripped you tight and raised you from perdition, so that you bear the mark of my hand on you and your soul is connected to mine. And I won't let that be ruined by some bossy and stuck-up sister.
But instead of that, he nearly cracks a smile and says, "this is your problem Dean. You have no faith."
Reality snaps back to the old boat where they are still watching him, all three humans and the other angel stare at him in silence. Castiel grows weary, his knees tremble. His blade holding hand is still up in the air, unsure of where to aim. Events of the past hours come back to him, and he remembers how he was able to escape Naomi's control by inflicting pain to himself. A quick look down on his blood soaked shirt tells him he probably would not survive another stab.
The pain is still there. Castiel is back to himself, his right mind, but the memory of meeting Dean the first time, and the memory of a thousand dead Deans mingle in him and it feels exactly like that cold knife was bearing in his chest.
He considers relieving himself from the pain, from everything. The blade trembles in his grip, then starts an unsure descent, aiming at his heart.
A/N: Remember this scene? 4x01 closing. It's my favorite scene in the whole show. Castiel's entrance was epic as hell. Or heaven, whatever is more accurate. If you liked it as well, please leave a review! It will make my day.
Also, sorry for the cliffhanger. I seem to have developed a pscychotic obsession for them:(