Okay, firstly this story will have some obvious warnings, which will include torture and references to PTSD, amongst other things, however, it should never become M-rated at any point, so unless you are easily triggered you should be fine, but only you can tell for sure. Secondly, this story is general; this means there will be no ships within this story, although you are free to read it from a pre-slash perspective as there is a focus on relationship. And thirdly, enjoy :)
Castiel's eyes flickered open. His mind was covered in a thick fog and his body carried a heaviness that he had never experienced before. It took a moment for the memories to trickle to the surface, and with them a new surge of adrenaline, mixed with dread and a suffocating anguish. He scrambled to his feet, ignoring the pounding inside his skull and the strange nausea that gripped his body in a swirling revolt. He turned his eyes to the heaven, but the thick canopy of trees blocked his view. He spotted a clearing up ahead, and approached with hesitation, knowing that it was unlikely that the sight that would greet him would bring him anything other than grief and festering regret.
He knew he shouldn't have been shocked. The sight of those flaming, screaming meteors plummeting to earth was a direct result of his own foolish actions. He felt his eyes start to burn, but he was nothing if not stubborn, and no tears escaped. He swallowed against the painful tightening of his throat and pushed onwards, desperately tearing his gaze away from the sky and his fallen brethren. He scrambled blindly through the forest, the thick undergrowth tugging cruelly at his legs. A faint scent of mist and soil clung to the air, and he paused for a moment to breathe in the new smells. As an angel he would have been able to deduce a much greater palette of detail. He imagined being able to infer the exact type of soil, the age of the rainfall, even the pH would not have escaped his keen senses. Yet this was different now; it was vague, wafting just beyond him, yet all around him. He closed his eyes, allowing this new, more limited smell to drift over him, alongside his other senses. Elsewhere a bird called out in the darkness, and the leaves rustled uneasily as the wind picked up, carrying its own unique scent.
He opened his eyes, his vision dull in contrast to what he had once been able to see. His blue gaze danced around his surroundings; trees towered above him and their roots invaded the soil beneath his feet. His whole body tingled with the crawling sensation of his own fearful isolation. The wind howled again and he was certain that he heard the ground give a fearful quiver as another angel crashed to earth. The air crackled with energy which tickled his skin, a painful reminder of the power which had once pulsed within his very being. Now it was lost.
He forced himself to move once more, his legs groaning under the strain. His whole body seemed sluggish; heavy when before he had been light. He could feel his bones grinding at the pitiful tug of his muscles, a spark traveling down his nerves in order to elicit movement. This body belonged to him now. Whereas before this vessel had merely been a tool, he could now feel himself rooted into its atoms. It was a part of him, as he now was a part of it. The form which he had once occupied- his true form- was no more.
He didn't know how many thoughtless steps he had taken before it dawned on him that he had nowhere he could possibly go. The Winchesters were a possibility. But he could not take their solidarity for granted, not after all he had done. Dean had been angry at him before for losing the tablet. Now that mistake paled in comparison to what he had just done; what he had allowed to happen to his brothers and sisters. Even if the Winchesters would welcome him, he did not know how to navigate this foreign territory without his wings. He had no idea where he had landed, and he was alone with no way of contacting his extremely limited number of allies. A cold wind cut through the trees, tiny pinpricks of ice piercing his weary skin. He briefly contemplated just settling down and allowing the elements to claim him. It would be easier for everyone.
"Castiel." His thoughts were interrupted by a familiar sneer, and he startled, turning just in time to watch as a shadowed form emerged from the forest depths, turning blazing eyes on him. He took a cautious step back, his eyes fixed on the deep lines of anger that sprouted on the angel's face which trembled in fury as the angel's jaw locked tightly together. A glint of metal slid into the newcomers hand, and Castiel carefully raised his hands in defeat, aware of his own vulnerability, unarmed and human as he was.
"Please brother." He started, unsure as to what he was trying to accomplish. His eyes flickered to take in the rest of the angel's appearance, finding himself unable to perceive the angel's true form, and therefore unable to identify him by name. Had he not consigned himself to his fate, this realization would have had him crashing to the ground and calling out to a father who would never care to listen. As it were, he knew that any pleas for mercy would be a waste of breath. He swallowed heavily, his faze transforming into a mask of stone-cold acceptance, knowing that this would be the only way for him to ever achieve redemption. Not that he had any hope for such a thing. "Just do it!" He hissed, the wind helping to carry his voice even as his throat threatened to fail him.
"What, kill you?" The angel mocked, his lips trembling violently as his grip on the blade tightened. Castiel stared at him, a cool dread sinking into his heart as two more forms crept into the clearing. "Never." The angel finished his voice a strange mixture of cold indifference and animalistic desire. Castiel swallowed heavily, his breath hitching in his throat as the true intentions of his brother washed over him. The two newcomers grinned ever so slightly but their eyes remained cold and unmoving as they began to circle him, their blades poised at the ready. He started to back away, his resolve shattering before him. Death was something he could willingly accept; but torture? He knew that his actions were blackened with sin, but he had been under heaven's influence too long. He couldn't face their punishment again, not with Naomi's meddling fresh in his mind. He knew that by heaven's law he was unworthy of mercy. He knew that torture was all he deserved, but he wouldn't surrender to such a fate. Knowing that his action was selfish and immoral in the eyes of God, he turned tail and ran, hoping that just maybe, without their wings his brothers wouldn't be able to catch him.
The faint hope that struggled for dominance against the dark recesses of his sole was quickly engulfed before it ever had the chance to really spark into life. One minute he was running, the sound of his heavy labored breaths that seemed determined to slowly tear apart his chest, and the steady pounding of his feet on the sodden ground the only thing he could hear. The next minute, and he was falling. A strong gust of wind used his momentum against him, causing him to come tumbling to the ground where he found himself pinned and unable to move. He slowly turned his head, fixing his gaze on the approaching angels that were looking at him as if he was nothing more than a demon- a stain on creation- waiting to be smote.
Pain exploded as the butt of the dagger connected viciously with his skull. A groan forced itself from his lips despite the tenseness of his firmly closed jaw. His head was hit again and his vision started to swim; explosions of light and color contributing to the pounding within his mind. He forced his eyes open, glaring at the angels with a new surge of determination fueled by the knowledge that had they wanted him unconscious they could easily have made him so with an effortless and painless touch. Already blood was seeping from his head, trailing a line down his forehead where the droplets of blood rested precariously just above his eyes. Another hit and his now human body could no longer take it; his vision faded into black and he found himself drifting in the darkness, before all conscious awareness trickled away and he found himself left alone in this non-existent void.
When he reawakened he was no longer lying on the forest floor, but was chained to a solid surface behind him that held him upright. The scent of the forest had gone, instead replaced by a faint smell of dust that tickled his nostrils, distinctly unpleasant in its almost moldy aroma. He twisted his hands, feeling the cool metal bite down hard on his wrists and keeping him still. He craned his neck, observing the manacles that connected his wrists to the metal board behind him, seeming almost medieval in its set up. He shifted again, and almost yelped as something gave way beneath him, his wrists throbbing painfully as they were forced to carry the full weight of his body. He scrambled against the board, pushing his heels back into it in order to grant himself some more support. He glanced down, quickly repositioning his feet so they rested on the smell platform which was connected to the board, which helped to relinquish the burden on his wrists somewhat.
He carefully tugged at his bindings, testing the limitations of his movements. His body was held back by the rusted chain that was tightly wrapped around his exposed abdomen, forcing him to remain as upright as possible. He let his head lull back against the hard and unforgiving surface behind him, closing his eyes for a fraction of a second as he tried to regain his dwindling strength. He stretched against his restraints, his muscles bunching together in order to give him some leverage to see that the upright platform he was chained to was metallic and engraved with enochian sigils. He frowned, twisting further but careful to keep his feet on the platform. He couldn't fully make out the sigils from this angle, but there was a possibility that they were angel binding sigils. He had no idea of how much his fallen kin knew, so it was possible they still thought he was an angel. If so-he decided-he would not correct them. The torture that they would inflict on an angel would surely kill him in his human form, a mistake he was hoping they might just make. It was better than the alternative, and after all it was what he craved after all his wrongdoing.
The slight click of a door closing echoed around his new prison. He swallowed down the fear, the muscles in his neck bulging as he tried to twist to get a look at the new occupant, but he could not see them. The majority of his vision was restricted to what was directly in front of him, and from the sounds of things, the only entrance to this prison was behind him. Even in his situation, he had to acknowledge the genius of this design that increased the physiological impact of any torture. He briefly wondered where the angels had managed to find such a place, or whether it was a building of their own creation.
"Castiel," he craned his head, trying to locate the source of the sound, but it was still out of sight. He took a deep breath, closing his eyes in order to focus his senses. His training was already kicking in, forcing him to gather information in order to formulate an escape, despite the fact that it was near enough impossible. He heard the steady rattle of what sounded like a trolley being rolled towards him. His blinked his eyes open, his breath catching in his throat as he saw the array of torture devices that were arranged on the trolley which was being pushed towards him by an angel occupying a middle-aged man's vessel, with dark hollow eyes, and a wrinkled brow. The eyes shone with a dangerous spark of anger mingled with sadistic pleasure, and he was unable to control the fear that exploded within him. An image of Dean about to confront Alistair invaded his mind before he desperately pushed it away, unwilling to think about the hunter in such a way.
"Castiel. As if slaughtering half of heaven's host wasn't bad enough, you then had to go and cast out those who were left," The angel growled, concentrating his anger on the bizarre metal implement that he was currently heating over an open flame. Castiel forced himself not to look at it too long, in case he figured out what it was used for.
"I'm sorry," he whispered, unable to prevent the pleading tone that entered his voice. It was the truth, but he knew the whispered apology would mean nothing to this angel, nor to the rest of his brothers and sisters. As though to prove his point, the angel paused in what he was doing to send a heated glare in his direction, before grabbing something from the table that Castiel had to strain to properly see. He did not have much time to wonder what it was, as it became quite obvious as the tip of the cattle prod was pressed against his sternum, an explosion of current rippling over his body in an agonizing surge of heat that forced a cry of pain and shock from his mouth.
"Not sorry enough." The angel hissed, backhanding him. Castiel glared at the retreating angel, the stinging of his cheek somewhat numbed by the tingling sensations that captured his body. "You destroyed heaven; did you really think we were ever going to forgive you?" The angel said, his voice indicating that he did not desire a response, and Castiel was smart enough to know that it would be wise to bite his tongue. The angel hummed as he surveyed his choice of implements, his hand hovering over the table before descending on a recently sharpened blade. "Let's start simple, shall we?" The angel said with a wicked grin, approaching Castiel who tensed against his bonds.
The angel started slow, tracing the blade along his abdomen, watching with morbid fascination as the muscles rippled in anticipation. He slowly trailed the blade up to Castiel's throat, pressing down in order to slice at the flesh. Castiel released a hiss, the wound stinging and dribbling blood but he knew it would not be fatal. His heart seemed to flutter as he remembered Metatron doing the same thing to him just a few hours earlier.
"You know, we were a bit put off when we learnt about your mortality. I mean, in heaven, we can be so creative. But down here? We are just so limited. We had to be more...inventive," the angel murmured as he surveyed his work. Castiel tilted his head to look at the enochian sigils properly now that he knew that the other angels were aware of his humanity. The angel yanked his head back before he had a chance to look, slashing viciously at his cheek in order to reprimand him. "The sigils are interesting. It's been a while since we've used them. They deal with the inconveniences of humanity. Prevents the stuff that we really don't want to deal with-purely for sanitary reasons. I mean, you're going to be here for an awfully long time, we don't want it to smell too bad. And, that one is very curious. Prevents you from escaping into unconsciousness. Although, I'm not sure if it combats the symptoms of sleep deprivation, but it will be fascinating to find out." The angel explained in far more detail than Castiel truly wanted, patting his cheek in a strangely affectionate way that managed to make his skin crawl.
The angel returned to tracing the blade over Castiel's skin, although this time he was slicing the skin. Castiel's breathing increased as he bit his lip to hold back any sounds of pain, determined to keep some shred of his dignity. The angel seemed unconcerned, satisfied to carve intricate patterns on Castiel's skin, reveling in the crimson blood that bubbled forth, staining the knife and dripping to the floor in some sick and twisted monotonous melody.
Castiel withdrew into his own mind, closing his eyes in a feeble attempt to shield himself from the pain. He knew he had gone through worse. But, with his now human body, it was like his nerves were on fire. He was experiencing everything; the trembling ache that had set into his muscles, the ripping of skin, the crawling trail of blood: even the damn bitter coldness of the room. He trapped a whimper in his throat, the sound coming out as a guttural hiss. The pain had enveloped his body in a thick white blanket, coating his senses with the searing heat. Every now and again it would flare in a localized area; his cheek, the area beneath his ribs, his left shoulder. He did not know what caused it. He refused to open his eyes. Refused to release a sound; desperate for some small form of victory in this endless demise.
"You can't escape it that easily," the words were whispered into his ear. He briefly wondered when the angel had managed to get so close to him, but he pushed it to the back of his mind, awaiting the next wave of agony. After a few charged moments, he could no longer help himself. He opened an eye, peaking at the angel beneath his bruised and swollen lid. He pressed himself against the metal platform behind him as the angel returned to the table, his body tightening against his will. He took a long and difficult breath, forcing himself to relax, to enjoy this brief chance of relief. But regardless of what he tried to tell himself his eyes remained glued to what the angel was doing, and when the angel returned to his side he could not stop himself fighting against the needle that was jabbed rather harshly into his neck, the strange liquid seeping into his blood to be pumped throughout his body. "Hmm, this will certainly be interesting."