quiddative: Thor (Baby Hollywood is Dead)
a question to the world ([personal profile] quiddative) wrote in [community profile] conversely2010-09-27 07:20 pm

Face to Face with the Skies 3/9

Note: This chapter contains a Hellblazer reference, though knowledge of the series isn't necessary.

August, 1996

After the La Diablesse case, the Winchesters’ lives change, though not nearly as drastic as Castiel feared. They continue to do what they’ve always done, but the process is different now.

Amidst his research on Azazel, John continues to find them cases to investigate. Most of them turn out to be genuine, supernatural-related incidents. It doesn’t take them long to finish hunts—a day and a half at most—and it’s usually due to Castiel’s powers. It’s simply a fact, though Castiel can’t help but feel a flutter of pride when John and Sam congratulate him on a job well done. Dean is always strangely silent during those times, but he grudgingly gives Castiel looks of acknowledgement once in a while.

Castiel can, as John describes it, “spot the problem miles away”. Patterns that are invisible to the human eye are clear and bright like stars to him.

He can sense the Winchesters’ growing curiosity about his true identity but none of them have approached him yet. John had kept his word to Missouri that he would “leave Caspar well alone and let him do his thing” and his sons have followed suit, deciding that their father must have a good reason for not confronting Castiel yet. He doesn’t think he will ever cease being grateful to Missouri for her help.

Sam took to Castiel quickly, more intrigued than scared by his powers and wealth of knowledge. And Castiel realizes that despite the demon blood running through Sam’s veins, despite what the rest of the Host says about the Boy King, he can hardly see any darkness in the boy now. His soul is mostly pure, innocent, and warm. He is always asking Castiel questions—verification of an event in history, the proper construction of a Latin sentence—and Castiel can’t help but enjoy playing the role of teacher to Sam.

Unlike the rest of his family, Dean still isn’t convinced that Castiel is anything but a monster. He doesn’t say it, but Castiel can hear the words—sharp and deafening—every day.

Whenever Dean’s eyes settle on him, Castiel can feel a wave of anger radiating from him like one of the too-loud songs he constantly plays in the Impala. It can’t be ignored. He knows on a technical level that he is not at fault, that Dean is letting his ties to his family cloud his judgment. He’s angry at John for accepting Castiel so easily, for throwing the word ‘family’ around like it means nothing, but Dean is Dean. He can never be angry with John so he directs his rage at an easier target instead, which happens to be Castiel.

He is also jealous of Castiel, jealous that Sam doesn’t go to him with questions anymore, but to whom he perceives as a random stranger instead.

On a certain level, Castiel can sympathize with Dean’s feelings. But for the most part, he finds it incredibly frustrating. He is not the one at fault yet Dean still treats him as if he’s the enemy. He tries to befriend Dean, because surely if he was able to establish a tentative relationship with the Dean in the future, he can do so once again? But Dean rebuffs him at every turn. He hardly speaks to Castiel and when he must, it’s in clipped, single word responses. He tries his best to ignore Castiel’s presence, pretend that it’s just him, his brother, and father. Like nothing has changed at all.

The only time he acknowledges Castiel’s existence and says more than two words to him is when he wants to challenge him. There is no denying that Castiel knows far more about the things they hunt than John Winchester could ever hope to learn, but even after proving it time and time again, Dean remains stubborn like a bull and doesn’t stop drilling him with harsh questions and spitting out snide remarks when neither John nor Sam are present.

“How do you know it’s a Banshee we’re dealing with?”

“If it’s not a witch, then what the hell is it?”

“Why should we trust you?”

Dean never fails to ask that question and Castiel never fails to answer, “Because I want to help.”

In accordance to the trend, Dean would usually respond with a scoff, “Yeah, right.”

It’s a little disheartening, Castiel decides.


It’s just Dean and Castiel on the next hunt, much to Dean’s chagrin and Sam’s delight. With September looming so closely on the horizon, John is forced to start thinking about sending Sam to school. After a few minutes of deciding, he chooses a public school somewhere just outside of Phoenix, Arizona. “Not that it’ll make a difference,” Sam had mumbled to Castiel. “We’ll end up moving in two weeks. Three, if we’re lucky.” Castiel doesn’t believe for a second that it’s a coincidence the hunt he and Dean are to embark on takes place in the very same state that Sam is about to go to school in, but he doesn’t comment on it.

“Hey, Dad’s got his reasons,” Dean snapped back. He had been in a foul mood all morning, since John announced they needed to go their separate ways. “We can’t just stay in one spot while—”

“Yeah, yeah, I know. While other people are getting hurt out there,” Sam’s voice dropped to a baritone as he mimicked his father.

Dean wasn’t amused.

“You two going to be okay by yourselves?” John addresses him and Castiel as he’s loading the truck with his belongings. Sam finished packing well before him and is already sitting in the passenger seat, as if being there could somehow make time fly faster.

Dean flashes John a winning smile. “Don’t worry about us, Dad. Caspar and I are gonna be just fine.” He slaps Castiel hard on the back but it’s Dean who stumbles back at the force of it. “Jesus... ” he mutters. “what the hell are you? Superman?”


“Yeah, you know, the Man of Steel? Is super strong and can shoot heat lasers from his eyes?”

Castiel blinks. “I am not made of steel, nor do I shoot heat lasers from my eyes,” he answers slowly.

Dean laughs and it’s the first time Castiel has heard him laugh with genuine amusement and no bitterness layering his voice. “Never mind,” says Dean.

John isn’t happy about leaving Dean and Castiel alone either, but the job at Badger Lake, Arizona can’t be ignored. Too many people have gone missing already. He looks even less happy about registering Sam to a school and made no effort to hide his opinions on the prospect. Sam only gritted his teeth and bore his father’s complaints in silence, if only to keep him from deciding that sending Sam to school wasn’t worth the hassle and forcing him to drop out.

“Take care now,” is the last thing John says to Dean and Caspar. He gets into the truck with a loud slam of the door and doesn’t even spare them a glance as he drives out. Only Sam turns back to give them a wave.


There is nothing natural about the disappearances at Badger Lake at all. Castiel discovers that even the humans of Show Low, the closest city he and Dean could find near Badger Lake, were beginning to wonder what was the real cause behind them.

The moment they arrive at the city, Castiel can already sense that there is something distinctly not human permeating air. When he mentions it, Dean snorts. “You sure it’s just not the summer heat getting to you?” It is already August, two months since Castiel found the Winchesters in Maine. The weather is scorching, Castiel knows this, but it doesn’t affect him. He can feel the heat baring down on Jimmy’s body like a thick, scratchy blanket, but it doesn’t cause him nearly as much discomfort as it causes Dean.

“You will overheat if you continue to wear your jacket,” Castiel advises him.

Dean glares and only pulls his leather jacket closer to himself, adamantly ignoring the heat searing his skin. “I’ll be fine, Mom,” he says scathingly. “now come on, we’ve got people to see and a monster to gank.”


No one knows anything about the disappearances. After talking to some relatives of the fourth victim and still coming up with nothing, Dean decides they’ll probably have better luck at the library. “Never thought I’d hear myself say that,” he tells Castiel, grinning easily. “It’s more Sammy’s thing.”

“I can tell,” Castiel observes.

“Hey,” says Dean suddenly, quirking an eyebrow. “do you have any idea what this thing is? Since you’re so good at it and all.” The words bite through Castiel’s skin.

His patience with Dean is growing thin. Dean himself is a good person. He’s selfless, wise, and one of the most virtuous people on Earth, despite his self-doubt. But dealing with an angry Dean is beginning to wear him out. “This... This thing’s presence is old, too big. It’s covered Badger Lake completely,” Castiel answers honestly. “I can’t get a firm reading of its essence.”

“Then what are you good for?” challenges Dean.

Castiel doesn’t answer. He’s not entirely sure himself.


They spend three hours at the library but don’t find anything until the final hour. “Hey, check this out,” Dean calls from the other side of what the library has designated as the ‘study lounge’. He ignores the harsh glare he receives from the librarian as he makes his way over to where Castiel is sitting, surrounded by old books on the history of Badger Lake. So far, he has discovered nothing and the fact stings his pride.

“So,” says Dean, presenting him with a thick book. “it says here that about fifty years ago, some guy and his wife lived in Badger Lake. The guy, Spencer Locke, used to make daily trips to town but just stopped one day. The first disappearance happened only a few years after that.” He looks up at Castiel, all business. “You think he’s got something to do with what’s been happening now?”

Castiel stares long and hard at the page. “Most likely.” The pieces to the puzzles are beginning to fit together, slowly but surely. “And I think I know what we are dealing with now. Is there anything on what happened to the man’s wife?”

Dean flips to another page. “As a matter of fact, yeah. She remarried almost right after her dear hubby disappeared. Huh.” He raises a brow. “And that isn’t fishy at all.”

“It’s very ‘fishy’,” Castiel corrects.

“It’s just—never mind,” says Dean, shaking his head. “So, what are we after?”



The first Jack-in-the-Green came into existence in England, at what was then known as Oldland Croft at Hither Green. Just as the monster at Badger Lake was once human, the Jack-in-the-Green at Oldland Croft had also been human initially. He lived at Hither Green with his wife. One day, he was betrayed. The man he thought was his most trusted friend killed him, tossed his body deep in the woods, and took his wife for himself.

Years passed and eventually the spirit of murdered man somehow gained enough strength to form a solid body for himself with the powers of the elements on his side. But due to the violent nature of his death, he had no memory of the name of his killer. Without a name, there was nothing he could do to avenge himself. Thus, he spent the following centuries wandering the land that used to be his and killed any unfortunate souls who stumbled in his path.


Dean is less than thrilled when Castiel informs him that they need to go into the swamp themselves. “Explain to me again why we can’t just torch the place?” he asks, waving the flamethrower in his arms for emphasis. He swears when his foot gets stuck in a particularly deep puddle of mud. Castiel’s clothes are ripped and rapidly turning into a grimy brown-green color. He can see to it later but for now, he still has a job to finish.

“Burning the swamp will do nothing but anger Jack-in-the-Green. We have to find him and deal with him face to face.”

Dean groans. “Great, just great. You know you’re picking up my laundry bill after this, right?”

“I can repair the damage to your clothes for you if you like.”

“And let you touch my stuff? No way.”

They head deeper into the swamp where Spencer’s presence is thicker, like smog, where the afternoon light of the sun is barely visible between the trees now. Dean had suggested separating earlier in order to cover more ground, but Castiel flat out refused. Without the use of his wings, there is no telling if he would be able to reach Dean in time if he stumbles on the Jack-in-the-Green before Castiel does. No, there’s too much at risk.

Castiel suddenly stops and holds out an arm to stop Dean as well. “What’s up?” Dean asks cautiously. He readies his flamethrower and his eyes dart wildly from right to left, searching for any movement in the undergrowth.

“Jack knows where we are and he’s here. I can feel it.” He steps forward and, raising his voice, calls out to the dark. “Jack-in-the-Green, my name is Caspar and I have come to give you the name of the man who killed you.”

“This cannot end well,” Dean mutters. He clutches the flamethrower tighter in his hands.

At first, nothing happens. There is no change in the winds. The Earth’s pulse continues to go bump, bump, bump like a steady heartbeat beneath Castiel’s feet.

It happens gradually. The area, already quite dark, goes completely black, as if a candle had been snuffed out, leaving nothing but deadly silence in its wake. The ground shifts like a wave underneath them and Castiel hears Dean yelp when he briefly loses his footing. He is back on his feet in seconds. Then, like a shadow, Jack-in-the-Green rises before them and continues to do so until he is towering over them.

“Oh my god... ” Dean breathes.

There is little trace of humanity left in Jack-in-the-Green. It’s only visible from his blood red eyes but it’s dying, slowly disintegrating from the heavy weight of insanity. He is like a tree; tall, thick, and nearly invincible, composed of an assortment of rocks, wood, and vines messily glued together to provide him a body. He extends a green claw, hovering just in front of Castiel’s heart. “Tell me, ” he whispers. His voice is brittle like bark and old like the trees of the swamp. “the name of the man who killed me and stole my wife away from me. What is his name?

“Seriously, Caspar, I could just toast him now and be done with it,” Dean murmurs in Castiel’s ears.

Castiel shakes his head, resolute. “No, he deserves to know his killer’s name. It might give him peace.”

Dean doesn’t look convinced. “If you say so.”

I’m waiting.” Impatience laces Spencer’s voice.

“The name of your murderer,” begins Castiel, “is Andrew Lowell. He and your wife have been dead for over twenty years.” He adds, “I’m sorry.”

Spencer gives a roar and the soil beneath them trembles. Vines shoot out from the ground, trees—everywhere—and wrap around Dean and Castiel. They struggle desperately against the coils but their efforts gain them nothing but exhaustion. “How dare you lie to me?” Spencer bellows. Then, without warning, they are lifted up into the air and thrown across the clearing into the nearest trees.

Jack gives them a few seconds to recover before the vines are back again, this time wrapping themselves tightly around their necks. “You will regret crossing me, Jack-in-the-Green!” Castiel can feel the vines squeezing the air out of his lungs and he instinctively lifts his hands to pull at the vines, though it will take much more than asphyxiation to kill him. Dean, on the other hand, is struggling frantically and that urges Castiel on. He sends a shock down the vines in the hopes of his Grace being able to do some damage to Jack-in-the-Green, and isn’t disappointed when the vines immediately loosen and Jack cries out in pain.

Dean is on his knees and judging by his harsh breathing, he isn’t fully recovered from the ordeal yet. Still, he doesn’t give up and his hold on his flamethrower tightens. “Can we please toast this son of a bitch now?”

Castiel nods. “Yes, we can.”

Dean doesn’t have to be told twice. He’s already got the weapon raised, aimed straight at Jack-in-the-Green’s head, and pulls the trigger.

What Castiel hadn’t counted on was Jack being fast. He dodges the line of fire easily and dissolves back into the ground. “What the fuck?” yells Dean. He looks around frantically. “Where did he go?”

“Be quiet,” Castiel commands. Dean obeys, but he’s furious. “I have to concentrate.” He closes his eyes and searches for any unnatural rippling in the Earth with his Grace. He hadn’t been exaggerating earlier when he said Jack’s presence at Badger Lake was too huge, had practically taken over the entire area. But just as he’s finally got a grasp on Jack he’s interrupted by Dean’s shocked cry.

He opens his eyes immediately and turns to Dean, sees him being dragged into the mud by a slimy green claw. The boy’s eyes are wide with terror and the sight pierces through Castiel. “H-Help!” Castiel is at his side in a second, reaching out to grab his left shoulder.

“I’m the one who gripped you tight and raised you from Perdition.”

He fights against Jack’s pull. Jack is strong but Castiel is invincible. With one sharp tug, Dean is secure in his arms, shaken but alive. Jack follows closely behind with a roar. “Neither of you will ever see the light of day again,” he vows.

Castiel narrows his eyes and, still keeping his arms wrapped securely around Dean, says, “You’re wrong.” He begins to recite a spell, weaving the words around Jack like they’re string until he’s completely wrapped in them. He finishes the spell just as the words light up around Jack, setting him aflame. Jack screams and thrashes, reaching out to Castiel but it’s no use. He’ll be gone from this world within minutes.

Castiel watches with cold eyes as he is devoured by flames until there is nothing left but a pile of ashes.


“What the hell was that?” Dean yells.

Castiel blinks. “What are you talking about?”

“I’m talking about that stunt you pulled with Spencer Locke. He nearly killed us! If we’d only torched the swamp in the first place, that would never have happened!”

“You don’t know that.”

“No,” laughs Dean unkindly. “but you know what I think?” Castiel says nothing. “I think that you felt sorry for the guy.”

“Is that so wrong?” Castiel bristles. Suddenly, he’s angry at Dean. All the frustration he had to endure for the past couple of months come spilling out of him like water escaping a broken dam. There’s no stopping it but Castiel isn’t sure he wants it to. It’s liberating.

Dean seems to sense it and apparently chalks that up as some kind of victory. He plows on. “Yeah, because humans aren’t supposed to feel anything for monsters like him. That makes you one of them.”

And herein lies the problem, Castiel finds himself thinking. “What are you implying?”

“That you’re not that different from that Jack-in-the-Green, or any of the things we hunt,” says Dean, not missing a beat. Once the words started flowing, they kept going, unstoppable. “You may have fooled my dad, Sammy, and that psychic, but you don’t fool me. You’re not human. You’re a monster, just like the rest of them.”

The words sting Castiel more than they should. “So that’s what you really think,” he says calmly, but a storm is raging inside him as he speaks. How can this Dean and the Dean he knows in the future be so alike yet so different at the same time?

“Yeah,” continues Dean. “I don’t know what you’ve got planned but I don’t trust you. If you’re planning on hurting my family, you better get the hell out of here right now or I’ll cut your head off myself.”

This is only one of the many layers of the problem. Yes, there’s no denying Dean’s suspicions of Castiel, but that’s not the main reason he’s so furious. Jealousy, betrayal—it’s all unraveling like a loose ball of yarn. Castiel is not far behind. “I mean you and your family no harm,” he growls, closing the distance between him and Dean with each word. Dean stands his ground, unmoving. “I’ve assisted you and John in your hunts countless times. I saved your life. What more do you want from me?”

They’re so close now. Dean’s scent—salt, metal, and oil tinged with smoke—is a little overwhelming but Castiel doesn’t lose focus.

“Tell me what you are,” orders Dean, his voice barely above a whisper but nonetheless threatening.

“I can’t,” Castiel shoots back.

Dean snorts and turns his back on Castiel, already making the trek back to the Impala. “Figures.”


Neither of them speak to each other for the next few hours. Too wrapped up in their own thoughts. It’s broken only by the shrill ring of Dean’s cell phone. “Yeah?” Dean answers. He listens carefully before saying, “Yeah, we just finished the hunt.” After that, he’s mostly silent save for the little “mmhmm” sounds he makes every once in a while as he nods along with the caller, whom Castiel suspects is John. He’s proven right when Dean unexpectedly hands the phone over to him, scowling, “My dad wants to talk to you.”

Castiel takes the phone gingerly. “Hello?” he says into it.

John doesn’t waste time with greetings. “Caspar, Dean’s going to give you some money. I want you to take a bus to Austin and investigate a hunt. Once you’re done, meet up with Dean and Sam at Phoenix.”

“You won’t be there?”

“I’ve got Sammy settled for school and in an apartment. He’s hanging tight until Dean gets there, hopefully by tonight. I’ve... there are some leads I want to check out in Lawrence,” he finishes quietly.

He’s getting closer, Castiel realizes. He nods, momentarily forgetting that John wouldn’t be able to see it before replying, “Alright.”


Dean is more than happy to give Castiel the money he needs for a bus ticket. Castiel is too tired to be hurt or angered by this.


He finishes the hunt in record time, dispelling the poltergeist the very night of his arrival. Unfortunately, the next bus to Phoenix doesn’t leave until the next day so he is forced to stay the night.


The next morning, Castiel is hit with a wave of panic and SamSamSamSamohmygodSammy. He’d always been able to pick up on Dean’s feelings better than anyone else. Without meaning to, he forged a connection to him after pulling his soul out of Hell, but it’s never been this strong before. It usually takes most of his efforts to actually read Dean’s mind. Usually, he is able to make accurate guesses, but now... his thoughts are deafening, as loud as church bells.

Sammy, where are you?

At that moment, Castiel knows what he has to do.


Despite the staggering number of souls in the States (over three hundred million, actually), it’s not actually that difficult to find Sam’s soul and follow it as if it were a homing beacon. He is Lucifer’s vessel, after all.

It takes Castiel days to pinpoint the location of his soul and another few days to reach Flagstaff, Arizona by bus. Meanwhile, he’s constantly hit with waves of rising panic and despair from Dean, who searches frantically and uselessly all over town for his little brother. All anger and frustration toward his previous behavior now a fading memory, Castiel wishes he could contact Dean in some way, to soothe him and let him know that his brother is safe. But he doesn’t have a cell phone nor does he know Dean’s number. It’s a rather ruthless, futile cycle.

When Sam opens the door to his motel room and sees Castiel, he doesn’t look surprised, merely disappointed. “How’d you find me?” he asks nonchalantly.

“You’re forgetting who I am.”

Sam nods as understanding clicks into place. “Your powers, right?” he says. “Are you gonna bring me back?” he asks hesitantly.

Castiel sighs, not unsympathetic. “You already know the answer to that.” He pauses, then adds, “Why did you run away?”

Sam opens his mouth to answer but is interrupted by a dog barking from within the room. Castiel tilts his head to get a better look and is awarded by the sight of a large Labrador Retriever bounding towards them. “Hey, Bones. This is Caspar,” says Sam, bending down to ruffle the creature’s fur, his face split into a grin Castiel rarely sees on the boy’s face. “Caspar, this is Bones, my dog. Well, not really. He ran away from his family—like me—so we’ve been hanging out here together.” The dog licks Sam’s face enthusiastically, earning a bubbly laugh from its current owner.

“Hello, Bones,” Castiel greets seriously. The dog looks up at him, curious, but when it becomes clear that he isn’t about to join Sam in the petting, it instantly loses interest.

“Dad never let us have pets,” Sam says by way of an explanation. Nothing in his tone betrays his true feelings on the matter, but Castiel thinks he’s become better at reading the younger Winchester. His shoulders are tense, hunched forward in defeat, and his eyes aren’t as lively as they usually are. “I just... I couldn’t stand it, being stuck in that apartment with him. I had to get out of there and bolted as soon as he was gone.”

Castiel only knows one thing to say. “I’m sorry.” Nothing else ever seems adequate.

Sam shrugs. “Hey, it’s no big deal.” But it’s obviously a big deal to him. He wraps his arms around Bones’ neck, pulling him into a tight hug, and presses a light kiss at the top of his head. “Come on, let’s get Bones back to his family. They put out a five hundred dollar reward for him.”

“They must be really worried,” observes Castiel. He shoots a significant look at Sam, who averts his gaze.

“Yeah, I guess they are.”


They take a bus to Phoenix with two hundred and fifty dollars in their pockets each. Castiel begins to loathe buses. The seats are always too cramped, the unnatural smell of worn fabric mixed with sweat never fails to assault his nose and almost makes him gag. Worst of all, the rides are always too long for his liking. He never missed flying so much.

Somehow, they arrive at the apartment in one piece. “Dean’s gonna kill me,” mutters Sam as he steps up to the door like a convict facing execution. He knocks on it once, hesitant, and waits. Barely a second later it’s flung open and a blur of leather and denim flies out to engulf Sam in a tight embrace. “Oh my god, Sam! You’re okay!”

Sam struggles, squawking indignantly. “Dean!” Dean ignores him, most likely on purpose, and doesn’t let go until it looks like his brother’s about to lose consciousness. Even then, the torture doesn’t stop. He immediately swats him upside the head. “Ow,” is Sam’s response.

“God, Sammy, what the hell is wrong with you? Do you have any idea how much trouble you’re in? How much trouble I was gonna be in if Dad found out?”

Sam is surprised. “You mean you didn’t rat me out?”

“I wouldn’t have had to if you didn’t show up by tomorrow morning. Speaking of, where the hell did you go, anyway?”

“Flagstaff,” answers Sam, his face breaking out into a wide smile. “Oh man, Dean, it was the best! I didn’t hear the word ‘monster’ once while I was there and best of all, I didn’t have to deal with Dad! You have no idea how much he was driving me crazy.”

“Don’t talk about Dad like that,” scolds Dean, but Sam ignores him.

“Seriously, Dean, it was great. You should try taking a vacation like that some day.”

“I doubt it,” Dean mutters darkly. Then, louder, he says, “Look, not that I’m not glad you’re back, but what made you come back?”

It’s then that both Winchesters recall Castiel’s presence and turn to him as one. “Caspar brought me back,” says Sam simply.

Dean is frozen. “But... how? I didn’t tell anyone except Bobby that you were gone... ”

“I have my ways,” says Castiel, inciting a giggle from Sam. His eyes lock on Dean’s and vice versa.

Neither of them breaks their gaze for a long time until Sam pointedly clears his throat. “So, yeah, I’m just gonna head inside and use the bathroom while you guys keep doing... whatever it is you’re doing.” He makes himself scarce.

A few moments pass before Dean clears his throat nervously. “So... you found Sam.”

“I did.”

He shakes his head, disbelieving. His shoulders slump, like an extremely heavy burden had just rolled off of him, only to be replaced by another. He lets out a shaky laugh. “How did you even know he was missing? Did you just randomly bump into him?”

“I told you, I have my ways,” answers Castiel, “and I wanted to help.” He has a feeling that telling him the whole truth would not do him any good.

Thankfully, Dean doesn’t try to get him to elaborate. “Thank you,” he says sincerely, so quiet that Castiel knows he wouldn’t have heard it if he were human. “I... why did you want to help?” There’s no sneer in his voice, just genuine curiosity.

Castiel answers truthfully, “Because I like you.”

November, 2008

“I’m not like you think. I was praying that you would choose to save the town.”

Of all the things Dean expected to hear from Castiel, that wasn’t it. It sounded like something Caspar would say. “You were?”

Castiel nodded, his eyes never leaving the park. He watched as kids of all ages and sizes played on the jungle gym, the slides, and the swings, while their mothers sat in a corner and gossiped over the most mundane things. And just last night, the world was so close to ending. Castiel’s eyes, usually cold and intense, softened with warmth and he seemed to brighten like the sun at the children’s laughter. Dean’s heart ached. “These people... they’re all my Father’s creations. They’re works of art.”

Dean remembered Caspar saying the same thing once. They were in a redneck town on a hunt and their reception hadn’t been the kindest. It was a small, close-knit community that didn’t take kindly to people different from them and Caspar stuck out like a sore thumb. Dean lost count of how many times he wanted to yell at them (with his fists doing the talking) for being dicks but Caspar stopped him each time. “Why don’t you fight back?” Dean had asked. “You could kick their asses ten ways to Sunday.”

“I could,” Caspar had conceded. “but I don’t want to. These people don’t know any better. Fighting them would not be worth it.”


Caspar looked at him straight in the eye then. “Because they are all God’s works of art.”

“He kind of did a crappy job.” Dean knew Caspar hated it when he made a snide comment on his religion, but he couldn’t help it. It was the one thing about Caspar he could never fully accept. But hey, relationships weren’t all about sunshine and rainbows. You had to take the bad with the good.

But Caspar only smiled mournfully at him and more than anything, Dean had wished he’d just sniped back at him because then he’d know the other man was angry. He hated it when Caspar didn’t get mad more than when he did. “It’s the imperfection that makes them beautiful. You’ll understand some day.”

What Dean didn’t say was, “You say that as if you’re not one of us.” It wasn’t the first time the knowledge that Caspar wasn’t human, a universe of difference from him, made him feel like he’d been stabbed in the gut.

“Can I tell you something if you promise not to tell another soul?”

Dean blinked, coaxed out of the past by Castiel’s voice. “Okay,” he agreed.

Castiel sighed deeply and although Dean knew he was probably older than the earth—being an angel and all—at that moment he sounded far, far older than he looked. “I’m not a... hammer, as you say. I have questions, I have doubts. I don’t know what is right and what is wrong anymore, whether you passed or failed here. But in the coming months, you will have more decisions to make. I don’t envy the weight that’s on your shoulders, Dean. I truly don’t.”

From anyone else, those words would not have been much of a comfort at all, but from Castiel... somehow, they were all Dean needed to hear.

Chapter Four →

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