Dawn Summers had loved him from the second she saw him. It wasn’t that he was handsome, though his vessel was very handsome. No, being attractive only would have served to attract her. Instead, she had laid eyes on him and completely tumbled head over heels in love. She had known he was an angel, but that had ceased to matter. She’d looked at him and seen the flimsy façade of stoicism and the world of wonder and pain and love in his eyes. She’d seen how very human he was, despite his bumbling and confusion with humanity. And she’d loved him from head to toe.
She would never dare to say a word about it to anyone. She didn’t want their pity. She knew she would have it if she told a soul. It was deserved. She was in love with an angel. It was an impossible relationship, even if the angel in question wasn’t totally clueless about her feelings, let alone feelings in general. So she kept it to herself and loved him silently.
She couldn’t help flirting whenever he turned up, though, however vainly. He didn’t understand and the others just thought she was playing with him. She was, but that wasn’t all there was to it, like they assumed. She did like to watch him splutter and fumble when she said something particularly suggestive. Then again, she just liked to watch him, plain and simple.
If she was completely honest with herself, she knew this was it. She would never love anyone else. It was a tragedy. Her whole heart was wasted on an angel who would never even know he had it. If she let it, that knowledge might tear her up inside. But she never, ever let it. She refused to grieve over love.
He showed up in her room one day and her heart nearly stopped when she saw him. She could have said it was because he startled her, but it happened every time she saw him, no matter the circumstances. He stared at her, his solemn gaze piercing through her. “Despite what you may believe,” he said, “I am aware of your feelings for me.”
Now her heart did stop, but out of sheer terror. Uncertainty and fear clenched at her. What would he say? Would he ridicule her? Would he tell the others? What would he do? Somehow she managed to appear calm as she asked, “What feelings might those be, Castiel?”
“Do not play games, Dawn,” he ordered. “You are in love with me.”
Dawn stood up from where she sat at her desk and stepped forward so they stood close together. “Yes,” she admitted, dropping her pretense. She reached out and fingered the collar of his ever-present coat. “Very much so.”
He frowned at her like she confused him and reached up to capture her fidgeting fingers in his own. “Explain to me why,” he requested and Dawn thought there might have been a hint of pleading in his voice.
She smiled softly at him and curled her fingers so they wrapped around his. “Because of what you are, Cas,” she told him. “You’re an anomaly. You’re this gorgeous, perfect, confusing anomaly. I like it.”
“What do you expect from me now?” he asked as he released her hand.
She frowned at the loss of contact, but just answered his question: “Nothing. I don’t need anything from you. You can pretend this never happened.”
Castiel sighed and rephrased his question, asking, “What do you want from me now?”
She smiled at his concern for her, when he could just walk away. “I want you to love me, too, and for us to live happily ever after. But what I want doesn’t matter because it can never happen.” She frowned and sat back down at her desk. “So you should go so we can both put this behind us and forget it happened. Alright?”
“You are right that what you want can never happen,” Castiel said, not moving to leave. “But I will not forget this happened.” He stepped forward and kneeled down in front of her so they were face to face and said, in his emotionless monotone, “Dawn Summers, I have loved you from the second I saw you.”
Tears slipped down her cheeks and she reached out to touch him, but he was gone by the time her hand got there, leaving behind nothing but the sound of wings.