Author's Note: I loved the premiere and I promise not to say anything else about it in case there are some of you who haven't seen it. That being said, there are mild season 9 spoilers in here. As this story doesn't really focus on Sam and Dean, they are few and far between, but I highly encourage you to watch the premiere before reading. So, I'm a huge fan of Charlie. I think she's such a fun character and I'm hoping one day we will see her interact with Castiel. This is just the product of my longing for that to one day happen. Please enjoy!
"Don't you think we would've been best friends?"
She wasn't even sure what possessed her to stop at the laundry mat that night. Her hotel was only a few miles down the road and she could get dry cleaning for free. Yet, there was something about the news of the meteor shower—which she suspected wasn't actually a meteor shower, but she hadn't had time to research it—that made her want to go out and drive for a bit. Her mother had always loved meteor showers. Half of Charlie's childhood memories were lying on a blanket in the middle of the field, her mother's arms securely around her, staring up at the beautiful night sky. Charlie smiles, her expression bittersweet as she pulls into a parking spot. A lone streetlight illuminates her way, the sky darkened above her. No stars could be seen and whether that was because of the meteor shower or just the town lights, she wasn't sure. As she pulls her laundry out, she tries to push back the feeling of grief that always followed after she thought about her mother. It had been a month since she had bade her mother a final farewell and she knows that she's getting a bit stronger each day. She shudders against the cool air and as she enters the practically deserted laundry mat, she quickly picks out a washer near the door. After being with the Winchesters, her survival skills had definitely kicked in and she always had an escape route before she went in anywhere. You never knew what kind of situation you could be walking into. Humming the theme from Batman, she drops her clothes into the device. She idly wonders if the next convention she's going to attend will be any good as she pours in the soap. Closing the lid, she deposits her quarters and then steps back as the machine rumbles to life. Out of the corner of her eye, she notices a man standing on the porch outside, his eyes locked on an empty water bottle. Charlie knows it isn't polite to spy, but she can't help it for some odd reason. She takes a few steps towards him and observes his pained expression. Why he was so upset over a water bottle, she had no idea and she was just about to return to her machine when she notices his hand. Dried blood is caked on and before she knows it, she abandons the machine and steps out onto the wooden porch. She can hear Dean's voice chiding her in her mind for being too trusting, but she can't help it. If there was something she could do to help, she would.
"Excuse me?" The man startles and jumps back. He eyes her warily and Charlie feels captivated by his cerulean gaze. He wears an oversized sweater in a color that does not seem to suit his complexion and she can see dried cuts on his face. This man . . . he must've been through something terrible. She cautiously bridges the gap between them and he towers over her. Still, her lips twinge upwards in a smile and she tries her best to reassure him that she means no harm. "Sir, you're hurt." As if noticing for the first time, his eyes dart to his hand and then he pulls it behind him, much like a child trying to hide a treat from a parent.
"It's nothing." She knows she should mind her own business and let it go, but there's something about him that draws her in. She feels as if she's met him before for he appears so familiar to her. Perhaps they had crossed paths somewhere else?
"Is there . . ." She swallows nervously, trying to gather her thoughts. "Is there someone I can call?"
"Unless you can call God, I doubt it." He chuckles mirthlessly and the statement strikes her as odd. He was a man of faith, something that Charlie had never believed in. Sure, she'd like to think there was a higher power looking after everyone, but she wouldn't hold her breath waiting for that said power to show up. She'd make her own destiny.
"I have a first aid kit in my car," She plows on, though she's not sure why. The man had turned her down. Why's she trying so hard? It not as if she thought him attractive, though she can tell that most straight girls would. It's not as if she went around trying to help every stranger she encountered. What made this one so special? "I can bandage that up for you." Seeing the water bottle by his side, she adds, "And I have some food and water too, if you'd like some." She's babbling, something she's always done whenever she's nervous. "I know that I'm a stranger and trusting them is bad, but I mean, you're hurt and you should really get that looked at and—"
"Thank you." He says it with more sincerity than anyone has ever said it and she really believes that he is grateful for her help. She beams and with a wave of her hand, she directs him towards her car. Glancing at the laundry dial as she passes, she checks to make sure she has enough time. Charlie rummages around in her trunk for a few minutes before finally finding the kit that Sam had bought her as a present for winning her LARP war. She can't help but grin as she pulls it out, happy that she had two boys looking out for her. For such a long time she had drifted without anyone to care for, without anyone to rely on. Now, she's slowly but surely learning that it was okay to let people into her life.
"Here we go." She places it on the hood on her car and motions the man to the side. Putting on some gloves, she inspects the wound. While it looked pretty bad, the bleeding had stopped and all she really needs to do is clean and dress it. Humming to herself, she efficiently cleans it and finally wraps a bandage around it.
"I'm in your debt." He tells her, his tone quite formal.
"No, no," She dismisses with a wave of her hand. "It was my pleasure." He opens his mouth to say something when she hears the beeping of her machine. Placing the kit back in the trunk, she scurries up the stairs, almost tripping in the process. Tossing her clothes into the dryer, she feels pride course through her veins. It's becoming easier for her to trust people, to allow herself to care for others. She helped a complete stranger without any worries that she would be hurt in the process. That's an accomplishment for her. Making sure her clothes are secure, she heads back to the car and pulls out her sandwich and her soda. She hands them to him and judging by the way he wolfs them down, she knows it's been a long time since he's eaten. Seeing her curious gaze, he ducks his head, embarrassed.
"No, I didn't mean to make you uncomfortable," She assures him. "Just . . . when was the last time you ate?" He pauses, actually considering this.
"Three years ago, I ingested a copious amount of hamburgers." Her eyes nearly bug out of her head. He can't be serious. There was no way he could've gone such a long time without eating.
"You hit your head?" She questions and he tilts his head to the side in confusion. "I mean, in whatever happened to you."
"No, I was wearing my seat belt." He tells her in such a matter-of-fact voice that it nearly takes her off-guard. How could be so calm about being in a car accident?
"Do you need a doctor?" She asks him immediately, panic setting in. Ever since her mother's accident, she found that any car accident sent her head into a tailspin. "The hospital isn't far from here. I could drive you—"
"No," He answers calmly. "I'm . . ." He struggles to find a word. "Fine."
"The cuts on your face—"
"All healed." He assures her with a quick grin before taking a swig of the soda.
"Are you sure—?" He places his uninjured hand on her shoulder, silently offering her comfort and reassurance.
"I'm fine," He reiterates. "You need not concern yourself."
"Ah, okay." An awkward pause passes and she sizes the man up. He didn't seem like a threat and she, for some reason that she couldn't figure out, wanted to help him. "I never did get your name—?"
"Castiel." Her eyes widen and suddenly she realizes why this man was so familiar. Dean had told her about Castiel, the friendly neighborhood angel and the last time she checked, he was supposed to be able to heal himself. If Castiel was hurt, it stood to reason that her boys were hurt as well. Dread settles in the pit of her stomach, hardening into a ball that made her want to be sick. She wraps an arm around her waist, trying desperately to hold herself together and not jump to conclusions. Sam and Dean were okay; they had to be! Castiel's eyes light up with concern and his hand holds her up. "Are you ill?"
"The Winchesters," Castiel stiffens at the sound of their name. "Are they hurt?"
"How do you know—?" His tone is accusatory, but she doesn't have time for an interrogation. She has to know whether the two men that she had let waltz back into her life; the two men that she viewed as her family were hurt.
"My name is Charlie and—" Castiel visibly relaxes, as the news of her identity set in.
"I know of you," He informs her. "Dean has spoken of you."
"Are they hurt—?"
"Dean is unharmed," He replies and a bit of the dread dissolves away. "Sam is hurt, but Dean is sure that he will recover." His gaze locks onto hers and the implication of how badly hurt Sam is instantly understood. She wants to rush to their side, but she knows Dean and she has no doubt that he has some sort of plan to keep Sam alive.
"Do you know where they are?"
"A few states over." She resists the urge to curse. It would take her a few days to get there. Suddenly brightening, she faces the angel.
"You can teleport us—" At his grim expression, she lets the sentence drop. Castiel is hunched over, as if whatever he is about to say will destroy him in some fashion.
"I lost my grace," He confesses quietly. "I am human now."
"Well, fuck." She swears and then realizing how insensitive she sounds, she places her hand on his, squeezing it tightly, trying to offer him some of her strength. They are friends, that much is understood. They have a pair of brothers in common and Charlie has no doubt that Castiel would do anything to keep them safe. That in itself, endears him to her. They have never met before tonight, but she already trusts him with her life simply because she trusts Dean and Sam. The feeling must be mutual, for Castiel continues to speak and confesses about the fallen angels and how he can no longer be of use to anyone.
"They wish to kill me," He states. "And their anger is justified." He sighs softly, glancing up at the night sky. "Part of me wonders whether I should just allow it to happen." He runs a hand through his hair. "Perhaps, death is the only way to atone for my sin."
"No," Charlie retorts. "No, you made a mistake, but that doesn't mean you should die for it." She smiles, trying to offer him some comfort. "We'll figure something out." She's a part of this fight now, she realizes dimly. No longer was she going to stand on the sidelines and watch Sam and Dean continue to take the hits. She would do her best to help them, to show them that they weren't as alone as they thought.
And for right now, that means taking care of Castiel and getting to Dean and Sam's side.
"How are you sure?" He inquires. "You've never even met me before tonight."
"If Sam and Dean trust you, then so do I," She confesses. "Isn't that why you just told me everything now? Because you knew the boys trusted me and therefore, you could as well?" His expression softens and she knows she's won her case. "Listen, my hotel is just a few miles from here. Let's go back and while you get a few hours of sleep, I'll pack and get you some clothes."
"I couldn't impose—" She chuckles dryly.
"It's not a big deal," She assures him with a grin. "Let me just grab my clothes and we'll be on our way." She's halfway up the stairs when his strong arm grabs hers. She pauses, meeting his expression. His eyes remind her of storm clouds, so full of emotion yet unreadable. "Castiel?"
Her response is to pat his hand and just beam.
"This is a hotel room?" He questions, surveying her suite. She chuckles as she places her laundry bag on the maple dining room table.
"A bit different than Sam and Dean's taste, right?" She laughs as she vanishes into the bedroom, checking to make sure it was clean before she allows the former angel to get a few hours of sleep.
"Their rooms are quite . . . small compared to this." Noticing the pristine white sheets, he smirks. "And much less clean."
"Yeah, well," She shrugs absently and then returns to the foyer where he stands. "I'm spoiled. It's suites or nothing for me."
"A sweet?" He echoes. "What does candy have to do with this?"
"I'll explain it to you later," She promises him and then gestures to the bedroom. "The bed is in there. While you get some sleep, I'll get us ready to go." He doesn't move. Tearing her eyes from her bag, she tries to be gentle, but the pressure to get so many things done in such a short amount of time is starting to weigh on her. "Something wrong?"
"But?" She prompts; he sighs softly.
"I just . . ." He shrugs and she waits patiently for his response. "I feel that all my efforts are futile. Perhaps, I am meant for nothing more than this."
"'This' being what exactly?" She inquires, trying to figure out the former angel's words.
"Being helpless and unable to protect those I care for," His expression tightens up as his lips form a thin, grim line. "My brothers and sisters will pursue me for an eternity." His eyes pierce her gaze. "Right now, I am placing you in danger." His gaze darts towards the door and she quickly steps towards it to prevent him from leaving. "Let me pass."
"Castiel, I know being human sucks," He laughs mirthlessly. Still, she has to make him see reason. The boys would want to see the fallen angel, that much she was certain of. Plus, the more help they could get, the better in order to figure out how to set things right. "But running away will solve nothing."
"You don't understand—"
"You're right," She concedes. "I don't." She lightens her expression and keeps her eyes locked on his. "Still, we're better sticking together than drifting apart. Safety in numbers and all that."
"Charlie—" She holds her hand up, effectively silencing him.
"Just give it some time, okay?" A moment of understanding passes between them. Slowly, he nods his head. "I'll wake you up in a few. Get some rest."
It's only when he vanishes into the bedroom that she allows herself to feel the tremor of fear snake its way up her spine. Pulling a sharpie from her purse, she quickly begins to throw up the sigils that Sam had drilled into her head the last time they had met. It wouldn't do much, but it would keep Castiel safe.
Now, she just has to head outside and make it back in one piece.
"Piece of cake." She chuckles.
Surprisingly, it is actually quite easy.
She makes it to the stores and back to the hotel safely, bags of clothing dangling from her hands. It's only as she makes her way down the hotel corridor and with her guard down, that it happens. One arm snakes around her waist and another covers her mouth. Startled, she tries to push free, only for the bags to clang to the floor. She fights with all her might, but the arms are like titanium and she can't make them budge.
"I do not wish to harm you," A velvety rich voice whispers in her ear, but she doesn't buy it for an instant. She keeps trying to free herself and dimly, she wonders if this will be the end of her. Funny, she'd always figured she'd die in her sleep when she was like 100. "Stop struggling!" She ignores the command because losing the will to fight would mean she had already lost the battle. Out of seemingly thin air, a blade bites into her throat and she stills as she feels the cool wetness of her blood slowly dribble down her skin. The pain is a sharp reminder of how one false move could end up with her lying on the floor, bleeding out.
"Why?" She breathes, but her voice comes out as soft as a summer wind.
"My quarrel is with Castiel," The voice informs her. "You are just bait. Now, play your part." An angel is holding her, she dimly comprehends. A freaking angel was going to kill her and for what? Because she had wanted to break out of her shell and help a stranger. "Castiel!" The fallen angel shouts. "Come out or your friend shall perish." She wants to scream out for him to stay inside, but the pressure of the metal blade against her throat prevents her from voicing anything. "Will he let you die?" The angel muses and she winches as she blade bites deeper. She sees drops of her blood on the carpet and it almost makes her sick. "Castiel!"
The door opens and Castiel cautiously steps out. Meeting Charlie's gaze, she can see nothing but regret. She wants to assure him that she doesn't blame him for this and that he needs to go back inside, but she's starting to get light-headed and her vision swims before her. Her thoughts flow like a river and she finds it hard to focus on one before it leaves her.
"Release her," Castiel orders, his voice gruff and sharp and his eyes deadly. She doesn't doubt his warrior upbringing. She just wishes he had something to back it up. "She has nothing to do with this."
"If you surrender to me," The angel begins. "I will let her go."
"Do so then." Castiel hisses. That stirs something in her and she rouses quickly.
"Castiel, no, you can't—!" She yelps as the knife cuts into her and then things happen very quickly. Somehow, there's a bloody sigil on the wall and she wonders how Castiel managed to do that without the angel noticing. The angel holding her screams out in pain and then he vanishes. She sinks to her knees, her sole support now gone. Castiel is by her side in an instant, pressing one of the shirts she had bought for him against her neck.
"Charlie?" He asks, though she gets the feeling this isn't the first time as his voice sounds rather panicked.
"Hey," She rasps, frowning at the pain that comes from speaking. "M'kay."
"We should get you to a medical professional—" She waves that idea off and places her hand on his and adds some more pressure. It pains her, but the wound needs to clot in order to get better.
"M'kay." She insists weakly. Seeing his cream shirt dyed red, she chuckles. His eyebrows rise suspiciously. "Gotta get a new shirt." He shakes his head, as if he can't see the humor in it. She's relieved that it's over though; that she's safe and for once, not alone.
They were messed up, she and this fallen angel, but Charlie had a feeling that somehow, someway, they would be able to achieve their goals together.
"You're unharmed for the most part?" He questions her, worry dancing in his eyes.
"Yeah," She whispers and then tries to stand, only for the fallen angel to have to help her up. "We gotta go."
"Your wound—" Castiel protests.
"Bandage it in the car," She starts to reach for the bags, only to find him doing it for her. Nodding, she enters the room to grab her last few possessions. With her bag slung over her shoulder and the shirt still pressed onto her throat, the two of them slowly, but surely make their way to her car. In the small light of the car, she checks the wound and places a bandage on it. It would have to do for now until they reached Sam and Dean. "What state?" He informs her of the direction and she pulls onto the highway.
"Are you sure you're unharmed?"
"Don't worry about me," It hurts less to speak, but the experience had scared her. Still, she had a destination to get to and she wasn't about to let some pissed off angels get in her way. "Get some rest."
"Charlie." She shoots him a glance and is taken back by the sincerity of his expression. Gratefulness is etched onto his face and she wonders how long it's been since he felt like he belonged somewhere. "Thanks."
She just grins.
Maybe they had been drifting for so long in order to find each other. Perhaps, this was fate's grand design. A fallen angel and a geeky hacker—both were bad with people, both cared fiercely for their friends. They weren't so different after all, she thought.
And as she watches him fight a losing battle against his drowsiness, Charlie concludes that she and Castiel could become good friends.
The sun begins to rise, hues of yellow and pink beginning to overtake the darkened sky and the redhead smiles.
A new day awaits them both.
Author's Note: This is my 100th story on this site. Thanks so much for supporting me all this time. I hope you enjoyed. Please review if you have a second!