John locks the door behind him. Castiel watches as he pulls up a chair and sits with his back facing the door, gun in his hand, and looking directly into Castiel’s eyes. “Alright, spill. What do you know about the son of a bitch that killed Mary?”
Castiel closes his eyes and almost regrets telling John about Azazel. Almost. But even after he healed Dean of his broken leg (it had taken all his power to do so, leaving him drained and unable to heal Dean’s other injuries afterwards), John was still adamant that they go their separate ways. Castiel persisted in requesting to join them. John wanted to compromise, offering to take Castiel to the nearest gas station and leave him some money as payment for his help in their hunt.
Castiel had then been forced to pull what Dean would’ve called his ‘trump card’. “I can tell you how to find the creature that killed your wife.”
That stopped all three Winchester men cold.
They had only just returned to the cottage John rented for the duration of their hunt. As soon as they were through the door John dragged Castiel to an upstairs room with him, ordering his sons to stay below. Dean readily complied, though Castiel knew he was aching to join them for the impending conversation. Sam was not so quiet. He protested vehemently, declaring he and Dean were old enough to know the details, but after some pleading from Dean, he reluctantly obeyed John’s order.
In Castiel’s opinion, Sam was right. The boys had every right to know what really happened to their mother all those years ago. Although he couldn’t tell them everything, there is some information they need to know to prepare them for the future. The family is already embroiled in so many secrets that adding anymore would suffocate them.
Or trigger the Apocalypse, as the Host had been hoping for.
“This creature,” says Castiel slowly, choosing his words carefully, “is like nothing you’ve ever hunted before.”
“Yeah, I figured.”
Castiel inhales. The action is unnecessary, as he doesn’t actually need to breathe, but he’s seen Dean and many other humans do it multiple times when frustrated. Before he descended on Earth, he never felt frustration before. Now, it seems as if he is experiencing the emotion more and more. He’s never felt more trapped in Jimmy’s body as he does now, so big yet so small and unable to do anything about it. He can move mountains, calm seas, but at the moment, trying to talk to John Winchester seems like an impossible feat. It makes him want to scream. “I can’t tell you everything,” he says honestly, “because knowing too much would endanger you and your sons. There are some things I can tell you, but you’ll have to trust me.”
John looks torn. In the end, his shoulders slump in defeat and he says, “Fine. What... What can you tell me?”
Castiel exhales, releasing the breath he didn’t know he had been holding. He’d expected more of a fight from the hunter and he thanks his Father that it hadn’t come to that. He didn’t want to fight with John. It would not have done either of them any good. “First of all,” he begins, “you have to go back to the beginning.” He pauses. “No, even further than that if you can,” he adds.
“That doesn’t help me much.”
“You need to go back to the day Mary Winchester died and examine everything that happened on that day. Anything unusual at all—”
John cuts in, “I’ve already done that and I found nothing.” He sounds devastated and angry, more at himself for his failure than the lack of information.
Castiel shakes his head. “No, you haven’t. You have to try again, look deeper. The answer will come to you eventually, but I cannot tell you what it is. You have to find it for yourself.”
John narrows his eyes. “How do I know I can trust you? For all I know, you could’ve been the one who killed Mary.”
Castiel almost smiles. The thought had been weighing heavily in John’s mind the moment he mentioned Mary’s name and he had been prepared for the inevitable question. “That’s true,” he admits, “but you know as well as I do there is a way to verify if I’m telling the truth or not.”
Realization dawns in John’s eyes. “Missouri Mosley.”
“This... This is... a vessel.”
A vessel. Dean felt as if he’d just walked into a freezer.
What if Caspar was a vessel?
The explanation was ludicrous—but it was also the only one Dean had. He wanted to ask Castiel right then and there if the name of the person he was wearing was ‘Caspar’ but something at the back of his head stopped him. No, it whispered to him, this isn’t the time, not yet.
Instead, he asked, “You’re possessing some poor bastard?”
“He’s a devout man. He actually prayed for this,” answered Castiel.
Suddenly, the room was too hot and Dean couldn’t breathe, yet his heart was pounding at a hundred miles per hour. Then there was nothing. It felt like the whole world had disappeared, leaving nothing behind except him and the angel standing in front of him.
“Why do we have to go to Uncle Bobby’s? Why can’t we come with you?” Sam looks indignant and Dean’s face is a mirror reflection of his brother’s.
John doesn’t look at either of them as he continues cleaning his guns. “Because I don’t want you to. And it’ll be a hell of a lot easier if we meet up in South Dakota.”
Sam rolls his eyes. “You’re visiting a psychic, not going off to hunt a werewolf. Seriously, why can’t we come?”
Rather than attempting to answer his son John turns to Dean with a desperate plea in his eyes.
Dean, obedient as ever, places a hand on Sam’s shoulder. “Come on, sport. Dad’s got his reasons. Besides, wasn’t there a book at Bobby’s you really wanted to read? Or was it all of them?”
Sam wavers and eventually he sighs. “Fine.” The boy may believe that he and his father are as different as day and night, but it is undeniable that he is very much John Winchester’s son. He stomps out of the room toward the bedroom he shares with Dean, making sure his steps are booming like thunder and heard by everyone until he reaches his destination. The last Castiel hears from Sam is a violent slam of his door.
A brief moment of silence hangs in the air before Dean breaks it. “I’ll talk to him,” he assures John, already making his way to the door.
John grunts out a curt, “thanks.” He doesn’t even look up when Dean closes the door softly on his way out.
“Your sons love you very much,” offers Castiel a few minutes later. It feels like he had been sitting in the same chair forever, though he knows it’s only been an hour, forty-five minutes, and six seconds. He offered to help John when he began cleaning his guns, but the other man had just thrown him a look that suggested he would only receive another round of bullets if he so much as touched a gun.
The other man directs a similar look at him now. “Why don’t you go make yourself useful somewhere and stay out of my business?”
Castiel tries to do so but soon discovers that there’s not much he can do as he wanders around the small cottage. Meanwhile, Dean’s eyes follow his every movement like a hawk observing its prey prior to going in for the kill. When Castiel finally sits down on the couch in the living room, Dean is instantly standing in front of him with his arms folded. The boy’s intention to block his path is not lost on him.
“Look, I don’t know what you are and I don’t really care, but what I wanna know is, why are you here?” It’s hard to ignore the threat in his voice.
“I can’t answer that.”
Dean snorts, “Whatever.” He goes on before Castiel can open his mouth to say more, “Let me tell you something, Caspar, my dad may be human but he’s one of the best hunters in the country.”
“I don’t doubt that.”
“So whatever you’ve got planned,” continues Dean, like he hadn’t heard Castiel at all, “you’d be better off giving it up right now.” Dean leans down until they’re face to face, echoing their positions earlier when Castiel healed him. “But if, somehow, you hurt my dad, I promise I will hunt you down to the ends of the earth and gut you like a fish myself,” he says, his voice barely above a whisper.
Castiel nods. “I understand and I have no intention of harming your father. In fact, I am very keen to protect him as well as you and your brother.”
Dean is still suspicious. “Why do you wanna help us so badly?”
“Now why would an angel rescue me from hell?”
“Because God commanded it. Because we have work for you.”
Castiel is saved from answering the question when the door to John’s bedroom opens and the man himself walks out carrying his duffel bag, declaring it’s time to go.
It takes John and Castiel several days to go from Maine to Kansas, by the time they arrive Castiel feels he’s now well-acquainted with the word ‘antsy’. He still can’t stretch his wings—it is the worst feeling in the world. For the entire trip he constantly felt like he was on the edge of an explosion, only there was nowhere to go except inward.
Stepping out of John’s truck and greeting the air with his skin instead of feathers is nowhere near as satisfying as unfurling his wings, but it’s better than nothing.
Missouri Mosley’s house is small and nondescript, but it radiates warmth and home. They’re barely out of the truck when the woman herself comes barreling through the front door. “John Winchester,” she bellows, “I thought I felt you coming from a mile away.”
“Hello, Missouri,” greets John, his lips curling into a grin that easily makes him look twenty years younger.
Missouri wraps her arms around him, squeezing him in a tight hug that would make any cherub proud. When she lets go, she turns to Castiel with a questioning look.
Angels, once they’ve taken vessels, are immune to psychics. Nonetheless, psychics are still able to sense that there is something inhuman about them. “John,” Missouri says slowly, her eyes never leaving Castiel. “who is this handsome young man?”
John grunts, “His name’s Caspar. I want you to tell me if he’s clean or not.”
Missouri raises a brow. “Oh, he’s something, alright.”
Sam had readily believed Dean when he recounted his and Bobby’s run-in with Castiel. Dean wasn’t sure whether he was happy about that or not. He almost wanted Sam to disagree with him when he said Castiel was an angel, give him a good reason to believe otherwise, tell him that it was probably some kind of monster he could kill without feeling guilty.
“Sam,” said Dean once Bobby was out of the room. “the guy—this so-called angel... it’s Caspar.”
Sam’s breath hitched. “Caspar? But I thought he was—”
“Dead? Yeah, I thought so, too.”
Sam fixed Dean with an unreadable look. “Are you sure?”
“Of course I am!” Dean snapped. He’d expected Sam not to believe him but damn it, something in his gut told him it was Caspar and it had never been wrong before. “I’d recognize him anywhere,” he said, voice quieter now but more confident than it was before. “I don’t know why he hasn’t aged but I know it’s him. Or at least it’s his body and that son of a bitch angel or whatever it is is wearing him like a meatsuit.”
Sam looked worried. “What are you going to do about it?” He asked, but there was fear in his voice. He was afraid of the answer Dean would give.
“I don’t know,” he replied truthfully. “But I am gonna get to the bottom of this.”
Missouri pushes John into her kitchen to make tea, threatening to unleash “a world of hurt” upon him if he even tries to eavesdrop and that she’ll know if he does. She shuts the door to the kitchen before sitting down in front of Castiel in the living room. “Alright,” she says, clapping her hands together, “why don’t you tell me who you really are?”
Castiel closes his eyes. In order to convince John Winchester to trust him, he needs Missouri to trust him. He uncloaks his Grace just a fraction, not enough to harm Missouri like it did Pamela, but enough to give her a glimpse to his true form. When he opens his eyes, it’s to find Missouri staring at him in fright, gripping the handles of her chair so tightly her knuckles have gone pale. “You’re an—”
“I’d prefer if you kept this information from John,” Castiel says curtly.
A few moments pass before Missouri regains her composure. “I take it your name isn’t really Caspar then, huh?”
“It’s Castiel,” he answers, a little more eagerly than he’d intended. It feels good to be able to say his own name again. Names hold power.
“Okay, Castiel,” says Missouri, testing the name out on her tongue. She’s still staring at him. “why don’t you tell me what an angel like you is doing with the Winchesters?”
Of course, Castiel does not tell her the truth. He can’t. Although Missouri is an honest and trustworthy woman, Castiel can’t risk her accidentally letting something slip to John. So he tells her a variation of the truth, a task he is unused to. He explains that he is an angel sent by the Host (true) to help the Winchesters find the thing that killed Mary Winchester fourteen years ago (somewhat true). Once he finishes explaining, Missouri gives him a strange look. “Listen, I’m glad that the Heavenly Host is taking so much interest in helping those poor boys out, but why is this one family so important to you?”
Castiel is suddenly reminded of Dean when he’s nervous. He starts sweating and his Adam’s apple begins to bob up and down at a rate much quicker than normal. Castiel knows he shouldn’t be nervous around Missouri. She may be psychic but she’s still only human. Then again, she holds herself in a regal air not many other humans do. “I... I’ve been watching them for a long time,” he answers. It’s not exactly a lie.
When Missouri narrows her dark eyes at him, Castiel is almost certain she has seen through his fabrication, despite having cloaked his mind from her. “I just want to help them find justice,” he adds truthfully.
The smile Missouri gives him is dazzling. “Thank you,” she says simply.
The easy atmosphere between them disappears when John bangs on the kitchen door, yelling that the tea is ready. “Stop making such a racket before you bring my whole house down, Winchester!” Missouri yells right back.
John grumbles the whole time he’s setting the cups down on the coffee table but he instantly reverts to his usual professionalism once he sits down. “So?” he prompts, “Is he clean?”
Missouri laughs, the sound not unlike that of wind chimes in the spring. “Winchester, this guy’s about as far from evil as you can get.”
She snorts, “Honey, I’m a psychic, remember? If you can’t even trust me, then I don’t know who you can trust.”
Seeing Castiel—or Caspar—the second time had the exact same effect on Dean as it had the first time. It felt as if his heart was frozen but speeding up at the same time. It was uncomfortable, to say the least. Castiel had cut to the chase, congratulating Dean on taking care of the Witnesses, pointedly ignoring the fact that neither he nor any of his angel buddies had lifted a finger (or wing, whatever) to help.
“I thought angels were supposed to be guardians... fluffy wings, halos, you know, Michael Landon. Not dicks.” Dean took pleasure in seeing Castiel wince. Take that, body-snatcher, he thought vindictively.
“Read the Bible,” replied Castiel, his voice clipped. Whatever warmth was there earlier was gone now, snuffed out by the coldness Dean was more familiar with. “angels are warriors of God. I’m a soldier. I’m not here to perch on your shoulder. We had larger concerns.”
“Concerns?” Dean sneered. He knew full well that he was being a jackass but he couldn’t help it. Castiel triggered something inside of him, something he hadn’t felt since Hell. Since Alastair personally released him from the rack and put a knife in his hand. He hated feeling this way but it was like a drug and he couldn’t stop wanting to hurl every hateful word he could think of at the angel. He wanted to hurt Castiel, let him feel what Dean was feeling.
A small part of him wanted to hurt Caspar, too.
But Castiel proved that he wasn’t above doing the same to Dean despite being an angel. “Our numbers are not unlimited,” he said. “Six of my brothers died in the field this week. You think the armies of Heaven should just follow you around? There’s a bigger picture here.” He stepped closer to Dean, their harsh breaths mingling together.
The memory of meeting Caspar at Kittery Point all came flooding back to Dean now and his heart clenched. Fuck, it was killing him—how much he missed Caspar.
“You should show me some respect,” continued Castiel, “I dragged you out of Hell, I can throw you back in.”
John had barely stepped out of the truck when he’s met by a round of bullets. He swears loudly but doesn’t seem too surprised by Robert Singer’s greeting. “Damn it, Bobby!” he snarls. “Can’t a man pick up his sons in peace?”
Robert fires again from his bedroom window in response, forcing John back into the truck.
Moments later, Dean and Sam are walking out the door, each with a small duffel bag slung over their shoulders. Dean sticks his head inside the driver’s window. “Dad?” he asks hesitantly when he catches sight of Castiel. He bites his bottom lip, clearly unsure of what to make of Castiel’s presence.
“Dean,” says John, slapping Castiel’s back none-too-gently, “meet Caspar. He’s gonna be part of our family from now on.”
Sam looks surprised but seems far more receptive to the idea than his brother. A hurricane of emotions rages across Dean’s face. Shock, betrayal, distrust.
The first thing Dean says when they arrive at their latest motel is, “You can’t be serious.” He’s looking at John like he’s seeing him for the first time in his life.
John levels him with a blank look. “I’m dead serious.”
Dean stares incredulously a him. “So,” he says, “you’re just gonna take some psychic’s word on some... some freak of nature?”
“Dean!” John cuts him off with a glare. “This psychic has never steered me wrong before. I trust her.”
The words cut deep into Dean’s heart like daggers. Castiel can feel it, can also hear him silently ask “But you don’t trust me?”
The tension lingers around them, tight and uncomfortable, before Sam breaks it. “So, Caspar,” he says, “you’re travelling with us now?”
Castiel nods. “Yes, I am.”
Sam’s eyes brighten and his lips widen into a smile. He steps forward until he’s only a foot away from Castiel and holds up his hand. “Hi, I’m Sam. It’s nice to meet you, Caspar.” Castiel can’t help but smile. He can almost believe he’s back in the present.
”I—I’ve heard a lot about you, Castiel. It’s nice to meet you.”
“And I, you,” replies Castiel, taking his hand and shaking it.
When he turns to Dean, Dean folds his arms as if to form some sort of shield and glares at him. “I’m not shaking your hand, dude.”
John sighs but doesn’t say anything. Instead, he seems to decide that he has done all he needed to and goes into his room, murmuring that everyone needs to be up by eight the next morning because they have a long way to go for their next hunt. “Do you want to take the couch or the bed?” he grunts at Castiel. The motel room only has three beds—one in one room and two in the other with the sad imitation of a living room separating them.
“It’s alright. I don’t need sleep,” Castiel informs them.
He should be used to the stares by now. “Right then,” murmurs John. “in that case, you can take first watch. Boys, get some sleep.”
“Yes, sir,” they chorus. As one, Dean and Sam pivot on their heels and they all head to their rooms. Two doors close at almost the exact same time, the resounding ‘clack!’ of their locks still echoing through Castiel’s ears loud as drums.
He sits down on the couch and is surprised by just how tired he is. He is not physically tired, because he is an angel and angels don’t tire. It’s unheard of. But between Dean’s stubbornness and everything else that has happened he begins to wonder what he has gotten himself into.
Soon, Dean and Sam’s voices float to his ear from behind the thin door of their room. “Geez, Dean, what’s your problem?”
“Yeah, right. You can barely stand to be in the same room as Caspar. Is this really just because of his powers?”
“Yes.” Then, quietly, Dean adds, “Look, I don’t trust him and his freaky Wendigo-killing mojo. I mean, have you ever heard of anything like that before?”
“Yeah, on the day he rescued you,” Sam replies dryly. “Seriously, Dean, he saved your life. You should treat him better.”
“I just don’t trust him, alright? He looks like a flasher in his creepy get-up!”
A sigh. “So he’s a little different, so what?”
The conversation between them dies down into mumbles until there is nothing left for Castiel to hear. He closes his eyes and leans back on the couch. He never had any inclination towards sleeping, seeing it as a waste of time, but he knew it was a necessity to humans. Now, he wonders what it would be like to close his eyes for just a few hours, forget about the world—the Apocalypse, the Host, prophets and their prophecies, vibrant green eyes—and simply rest.
Their next hunt takes them to Paris, Idaho, which Dean takes great delight in pointing out to Sam when they pass the sign that says, “Welcome to Paris!”
John decided to drive alone that morning, forcing Castiel to ride in the Impala with Dean and Sam. Dean had all but thrown Sam into the passenger seat and cast Castiel a dark look after that, daring him to challenge his authority. Castiel hadn’t, and silently took his place in the backseat.
“Check it out, Sammy,” he says with glee, “we didn’t have to go all the way to Europe to go to Paris!”
“It’s not really Paris,” sighs Sam, but he’s grinning along with Dean. Dean’s good mood is infectious and Castiel finds that he’s unable to resist it as well. In this moment, it’s easy to forget that in the future, Dean is destined to carry the weight of the world on his shoulders, that he’s a weapon created solely for the purpose of destroying the world.
The Host claims that he will really be purifying it.
Castiel wouldn’t call it genocide, but it comes close to it.
If there was one thing Dean taught him, it’s that humans are more than they seem. They laugh, they cry, they fight, they love, and the amount of strength they possess is astounding. The other angels can’t see it because they can’t see anything past themselves, but Castiel can. That is what free will is, that is what the Lord created them for.
And he will fight for it.
“This Paris is much smaller than the one in France,” Castiel notes thoughtfully.
Sam turns to him with wide eyes. “You’ve been to Paris before?” he asks, amazed.
“Can you speak French?”
“Je peux parler en français.”
Sam laughs, delighted. “Can you speak other languages, too?”
Castiel is bombarded with a series of questions about his abilities for the duration of the drive. If he were human, he’s certain he would not be able to keep up with all of Sam’s questions. But in all honesty, he doesn’t mind. In fact, he quickly realizes that he enjoys answering the boy’s inquiries and learning more about him.
At one point, Castiel casts a glance at Dean, who had suddenly grown quiet, and finds himself the object of a venomous glare.
“We’re here,” Dean announces briskly when they arrive at the ‘vic’s’ house. Stepping out, Dean whistles. He turns to John as he steps out of his own truck. “You sure we’re at the right place, Dad? We don’t usually visit palaces,” he teases.
John grunts at him but his lips are quirked into an amused smile. “Trust me, Dean, this is it. Come on, let’s go in and meet the family. Sammy?”
Sam rolls his eyes. “Yeah, I know, stay in the car, keep outta sight and have the shotgun loaded. Got it.”
John nods, approving, before motioning for Castiel and Dean to follow him up the steps.
“That’s Caspar, alright,” said Sam once the angels were gone.
“What makes you say that?”
He shrugged, “I dunno, just... the way he holds himself, the way he talks—and the way he looks at you. It’s definitely him.”
Dean blushed and ducked his head to hide his face. “The way he looks at me?” he couldn’t help ask.
“Like you’re an impossibly hard Chinese puzzle box that he wants to put down but can’t.” Sam crossed the room in three long strides, grabbing two beers from the fridge, before returning to his place on the bed beside Dean’s. He handed a bottle to Dean, who accepted it gratefully. Sam smiled. “He had the exact look on his face when we first met him and you treated him like shit for the first few weeks, like a kicked puppy who didn’t know what he did wrong.”
“I didn’t treat him that badly,” protested Dean, even though, yeah, he kind of did. But he said he was sorry! “Besides, he doesn’t remember me now.” He took a long swig from his beer but didn’t feel anywhere near buzzed yet. He was surprised he’d lasted this long in the conversation with Sam sober. Whenever his brother tried to bring Caspar up in the years after he died, Dean always cut him off and practically ran in the other direction. Cowardly maybe, but it worked every time.
Again, Sam shrugged. “Well... maybe he’s got amnesia or something.”
“That still doesn’t explain how he hasn’t aged a day since we last saw him. I told you, that angel has to be using Caspar as a vessel. Maybe... maybe that was what he meant by ‘special people’. People like Caspar who had those weird, funky powers.”
“I don’t think so,” said Sam honestly. “If he were using Caspar as a vessel, I’m sure he would’ve known about you—I mean, us. It’s... I know it’s not the same thing, but angel possession sounds a lot like demonic possession, no matter how you slice it. The minute the demon’s in a person’s body, they get everything—memories, fears, and all those other lovely things they use to their advantage. But it doesn’t look like Castiel knows anything about you at all. So... ” He threw his hands up in defeat. “I got nothing.”
“But,” continued Sam. “I know that’s Caspar. I don’t know how or why, but... Dean, trust me on this. Please?”
Dean buried his face in his hands and wished a black hole in the floor would open so he could get swallowed into the depths of the earth. He just wanted to fall asleep, disappear and never wake up again. He couldn’t deal with all of this—not now, hopefully not ever, but he had a feeling that it was about to get a whole lot worse before it got better. If it ever will.
“—and they just found him lying there in the park, and he was blathering nonsense and... and... ” Katherine Park burst into tears once again. Dean barely stifles a sigh as he hands her a Kleenex. “Thank you,” she gulps.
“Don’t mention it,” he murmurs.
“It’s La Diablesse.” All eyes turn to Castiel, confused. “The Devil Woman,” he translates, but the stares don’t go away.
“The Devil Woman?” squeaks Katherine. She was the victim’s—Tony—fiancée. “What’s that? Is it some kind of cult? Oh my god, he totally got kidnapped by a cult that performed weird experiments on him or something and now he’s like this!” she wails.
“No,” John says firmly, but it’s obvious to everyone in the room that he’s weary. He closes his eyes and pinches the bridge of his nose. “your fiancé wasn’t kidnapped by a cult.”
“Then what the hell’s this Devil Woman thing he’s talking about?” Katherine’s voice increases nearly a whole octave.
Dean shoots Castiel a glare. He can almost hear the this is all your fault in Dean’s eyes. “It’s nothing, ma’am,” he says easily, “It’s Detective Jagger’s first time in the field and he doesn’t really know what he’s saying half the time.” He gives the woman his most disarming smile. It seems to work because she stops asking questions. John and Dean continue to ask her a few more questions, but none of them are useful to their investigation. They’re all mundane and asked mostly to ease whatever suspicions the woman might have that they aren’t genuine detectives.
Castiel asked what the purpose of it was and why they could not have told the woman the truth, that they suspected her fiancé had the unfortunate luck to encounter a supernatural being and needed her cooperation to solve the mystery. This had earned him twin disbelieving looks from both Winchester men. “Because,” answered Dean, in a tone Castiel had heard many times before—from mothers speaking patronizingly to their toddlers. “people lie to get what they want. Sorry, buddy, that’s just how the world works.”
“It shouldn’t,” Castiel responded. But he had been ignored. He doesn’t understand why humans think lying could possibly result in anything other than pain for all parties involved in the end. He’d learned that the hard way when he didn’t tell Dean what the Host had planned for Sam and Lilith until the last minute.
They say their goodbyes to Katherine and gather around the Impala. John barks, “Alright, Caspar, what the hell is a Devil Woman?” Sam, still sitting in the car, looks up from his book (To Kill a Mockingbird), ears perked.
“She is a prominent character in Caribbean folklore, very similar to North America’s ‘Woman in White’.”
“That poor son of a bitch,” sighs Dean under his breath, shaking his head in memory of Tony Waddell. “So this Devil Woman... she caught her husband cheating on her, drowned her kids in a fit of rage, then killed herself?”
“No one knows the origin of La Diablesse,” Castiel admits. “but her characteristics are nearly identical to the Woman in White. She roams the streets at night, making her presence known by the sound of her cloven feet.”
“Cloven feet?” echoes Sam.
“Well, that explains the ‘devil’ part,” mutters John.
“Yes. She wears an ancient but elegant dress native to the islands as well as a large, wide-brimmed hat to cover her hideous face. That is how she attracts men to her. Once she has them trapped under her spell, she will lead them into the dark forest and leave them, lost until they either die or go mad. It would appear our... ‘vic’ has fallen prey to the latter.”
Dean snorts, “I dunno about that. To be dead or locked in the nuthouse for the rest of your miserable life? I’d rather die.” The words echo eerily through Castiel’s being and he fights down a shudder.
“No, you shouldn’t,” he says harshly.
Dean looks offended and opens his mouth to reply when John cuts him off. He only spares his son a brief look of warning before turning his eyes to Castiel. “How do you know it’s a Devil Woman?” he asks, suspicious.
“I’ve been... hunting for a very long time,” says Castiel. In truth, he’d known the moment they arrived in the woman’s house. He could smell La Diablesse’s scent in the doorway. Burnt flesh, dry leaves, and old exotic perfume. She had never been near the house, but her encounter with the victim had left a mark in her victim’s home. “I can recognize the signs easily now.”
“Dad, you can’t really trust him just like that, can you?” asks Dean.
John is silent for a long moment. Then, “Alright. Dean, Sam, both of you are going to the library to do some research on this Devil Woman. If what you find matches what Caspar says, we’ll do things his way. If not, then find the best way to take this bitch down.”
Dean is flabbergasted. “Dad, this is just hearsay! You can’t—”
“Yes, I can and I have,” says John. His voice and gaze leave no room for argument. “Dean, I’m tired of your attitude. You’re going to either do as I say now or sit out for the next three hunts. Understand?”
Dean looks down at his feet, fists balled up tightly by his side. “Yes, sir,” he mumbles.
“Good.” John turns to Castiel, “Now, say you are right about this... Devil Woman. What do we need to do to get rid of her for good?”
The answer is easy. “We have to find the object that tethers her to this world and burn it.”
Much to Sam’s dismay, Dean is chosen by John as bait for La Diablesse, buying Castiel time to find the object keeping her on this plane and destroying it. Dean accepts the decision all too readily, joking with Sam about how La Diablesse “would have trouble keeping her hands off” him. “Dean, if I remember correctly, you were the one who had trouble keeping your hands to yourself the last time we used you as bait. At the haunted brothel,” Sam reminds him.
“I was the distraction, remember? Gave Dad enough time to salt and burn those hookers’ remains, anyway.”
“No, I think it was you who got more distracted. Dad was just lucky he got to them in time before they cut off your—” But the truth concerning what the spirits of the prostitutes were about to do to Dean remains a mystery, as Dean interrupts Sam by tackling him on the bed and instigating a brief wrestling match between them.
Before leaving to find the object, Castiel instructs Dean to turn his clothes inside-out if he is ever in danger. “The sight of unkempt clothes is considered ugly to La Diablesse and will dissuade her from going near you.”
“Yeah, yeah, whatever,” is Dean’s response.
After Dean and John set off, leaving Sam with Castiel, Castiel closes his eyes, inhales and exhales deeply, and reached out with his Grace. There are many restless spirits trapped in Paris, Idaho, but tonight he is looking for one.
“Caspar?” Sam whispers hesitantly. “What’re you doing?”
“I am trying to find the artifact keeping La Diablesse here. I must concentrate.”
It takes Castiel five minutes to find it—a gold necklace that had been sitting in one of the town’s antique shops for fifty years—fives minutes longer than it should have been, but he supposes he should count himself fortunate. At least he still has most of his powers, despite being trapped in the past. Losing the ability to use his wings is an unfortunate, but small price to pay if he is able to retain the rest of his powers.
He and Sam, neither able to drive, are forced to walk twenty minutes around town until they are on the front steps of the antique shop. “Breaking and entering,” grumbles Sam. “This is gonna be fun.”
Sam gently nudges Castiel aside, kneels down in front of the door, and picks the lock. “This isn’t right,” says Castiel, but he doesn’t try to stop Sam either.
“No, but it’s the only thing we can do,” answers Sam, but he sounds guilty, too. “otherwise Dean’s gonna be toast soon. Ah, there we go.” He slowly pushes the door open before stepping inside, motioning for Castiel to follow.
They were lucky that the spirit had been too preoccupied with Dean to notice when they found her necklace and quickly salted and burned it. According to John, Dean had somehow trapped himself in between taking off his shirt (“Only to turn it backwards!”) with his pants down to his ankles when La Diablesse vanished in a blaze, leaving nothing behind except the echo of a blood-curdling scream.
Chapter Three →