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She was resistant.

She was obstinate when she wanted to be, not that she would ever share this with her family, and in this he was certain. Her fingers wrapped around his wrists, short nails creating crescents in his flesh. His temporary flesh, of course.

This was nothing more than a vessel, a mess of skin and bones to hold his power. Their father would be displeased if his real form were to blind one of his apes. Inferior in every way, a human's eyes could never see an angel in its true glory.

But she could see him, she could touch him where he asked. She could follow the directions he gave, with her clumsy and awkward mind. Some days she required more direction than others. Her hesitation was snow, and her obedience rain.

They were so similar in making it was difficult to tell them apart.

"I do not- believe..."

She shut her eyes, her features soft and still while her body shook from his movements.

"This to be-" her back pushed into the base of the large, dark pine tree; it was the only thing holding her up.

'Yes, focus on the pine tree,' she thought. 'Focus on anything.'

The nature of this intricate planet could take her breath away (or, it would if she required oxygen) but the plants would give that very chemical back to her in exchange. She thought the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide to be a fascinating process.

Not that she would tell him this, she preferred to keep those small thoughts to herself. She liked to keep as much as herself away from him as possible. But he was just, he knew his purpose and served it well.

She admired that.

And this helped him to continue such work, even if she did not enjoy it. Even if she hated it. Even if, buried deep within herself, she hated him for it.

So deep was her hatred buried, that she convinced herself she enjoyed this. This helped him operate, helped him lead them to do what was right. She was helping him do what was right.

"This is not- the purpose- of our mission," she managed, grimacing.

She closed her eyes. No, this was right, this was okay. She was okay. She should be pleased he was with her, that he was not disgusted by her gasps and cries.

He smiled as she shook beneath him.

He missed her soft, authoritative tone, but found pleasure in being the one to take it from her.

"Am I not the commander of your garrison, Castiel?" He grinned, moving deeper into the vessel.

He could not understand Castiel's protests, her flickering eyes and shaking arms. Ishim was their leader, the protector of his family. It was Ishim who made the decisions, Ishim who helped his brothers and sisters.

Ishim had always led his garrison, and he took pride in their abilities.

He admired Castiel's ability to keep quiet, to follow orders and perform as he asked. Castiel rarely voiced her own opinions, unlike Lily, whose dead daughter was still rotting in the woman's home.

May was gathering flies the way Castiel gathered sweat across her brow and between her thighs.

He was disappointed in Lily, this he knew. But to be angry was a human emotion. Disappointment, however, was a common feeling amongst angels, whether it be with Lucifer or god's unspoken absence.

Castiel, Mirabel, Benjamin they all assumed God spoke directly with Ishim.

But their father had never spoken to him, a fact which did not bother the angel. If God were to speak with Ishim, he would likely speak with Ishim's angels as well. The angels that followed him into battle, that trusted his judgement and his actions. These angels were his, they were for him.

Castiel was for him.

Yet her back dug into the pine behind them, as if she was attempting to distance herself from Ishim. He held back a sneer; emotion of any kind would seem strange. He pulled her closer instead, ignoring her sounds of discomfort.

The sky was dark above them, lit with soft, shining spots strewn between the blackness. Castiel held onto these spots of light as Ishim found dark spots in her body, the woman's body. Nothing was truly happening to Castiel.

Nothing was happening.

Whatever he was doing, she could not understand how it contributed to their mission. It seemed strange to her, painful in a way nothing was and unlike Ishim. Ishim, her commander and friend.

But he did not seem himself as of late.

His calm, commanding voice seemed to wave with something darker: contempt. She could not understand this sense she felt from Ishim.

She cocked her head at his sweating form, frowning. She bit back a scream when he moved again. She wasn't sure if she held back the scream to please Ishim, or herself.

She never screamed, it seemed strange to start now. Her- the vessel's- lungs seemed to be burning with something wet and shaky. Castiel did not understand. If the trees were producing oxygen, why did her chest feel so small and wet?

Why did she feel so small?

It was helping him, so she said nothing of the pain she felt. Castiel felt a flicker of anger, and she was suddenly glad she could not breath. She wouldn't want this flicker to become a fire.

She thought of Akobel again, and felt a twist of something bitter within her grace. She was glad Akobel was gone. Ishim did not explain these interactions to Castiel, but he seemed at ease.

Ishim said this was natural. Castiel held back a cry, wishing she could watch Akobel die again. If Castiel, an angel, was in pain she could only imagine the suffering Lily had endured.

She felt like she was being ripped apart. Not only was Akobel intimate with a fragile human, she had hurt Ishim. And now Ishim needed Castiel.

She dismissed a wave of sharp, slashing red that ripped through her grace. It was Akobel's fault. She was glad they had killed someone so vile.

Akobel had lied to Lily, hurt her in a way Castiel had not known existed. How could he do that to her? Ishim grunted above her.

Why did he seem displeased?

They had stopped a dangerous, corrupt angel and saved the humans from a Nephilim. The garrison had completed their mission successfully, yet Ishim seemed... unsure of this, his grace did not seem calmed by their success.

Whatever he was doing to Ca- whatever Castiel was helping him do, was affecting him. Earlier, his grace had been crumpled around the edges and darkened. Now, every part of Ishim seemed bright, hot and powerful.

He was hot, and too powerf- she shook the irrational thought away. She looked to her shaking limbs, had she caused that as well? The body had been moving without her thoughts, shrinking from Ishim and shaking in the dirt.

Ishim seemed unconcerned.

His grace cast light upon their interaction in the dark.

She told herself to seek shelter in this light, though she wanted to cover her eyes. She did not want to seek shelter in Ishim, she wanted to hide from him. She forced herself to ignore the feeling.

He was not a reminder of light within darkness, like the stars. Ishim was hot and inside of her. She felt as though her vessel had laid in the sun and burnt until it lost all feeling. Her legs were wet and yet they felt dry and burnt, rubbed with hot glass.

Her stomach was filled with fire, heat and pain peeling back flesh to create new forms of pain. Ishim must trust her greatly to ask this of her, to seek comfort in her in this way. Castiel found no comfort in this, but she held back her cries and let him continue.

After all, if Ishim knew this was hurting Castiel he would stop. And if Ishim stopped, he would never fully recover. Castiel didn't want that, she wanted her brother to heal and join her side once more.

The sooner he was healed, the sooner this could all end. When Ishim finished Castiel could forget all about this, and Akobel would be nothing more than a memory. Ishim would have never sought her healing if Akobel had listened. She would have never needed to do... this.

Although it was becoming easier, letting Ishim connect to her. She was in pain, but some parts of her had grown numb. Castiel was not sure when she had lost feeling. Her numbness troubled her, as she could still feel some deep movements within her.

For the second time that night she asked herself why her vessel was screaming. Or was that her?

She tried to watch Ishim in order to reassure herself, but something was covering her eyes. Castiel could not see.

'Everything is alright.'

She did not believe herself, but asking Ishim for assurance seemed wrong. She looked at him once more, sliding between her legs. The veil over her eyes persisted, blurring her surroundings and running down her face.

She placed a hand on her cheek, and pulled away with something wet. What was happening to her?

"I-I-Ishim," she managed, her voice slipping in her mouth.

He ignored her, the only sound in the air was the slap of their skin. Of the vessel's skin, of her vessel's skin! Nothing was happening to her.

"Ishim," she whined.

His grace cast further light upon her body. She recoiled from his power. She knew Ishim hadn't done it on purpose, none of this was Ishim’s fault.

"What?" He spat between movements.

He probably did not want to be interrupted. If this action was healing him, Castiel should let him continue. Right?

But she was creating water, an action humans were certainly not capable of. Her vessel had been shouting for some time. Perhaps she was concerned by these droplets as well? In that case, Castiel must say something.

She didn't want the human to be in pain.

"I-Ishim," she groaned, coughing as his hands pushed against her chest.

Her grip tightened around his wrists.

When would this end?

"Ishim," she whispered, voice shaking.

He looked down at her, eyes flowing with something akin to fury and... something Castiel wished not to see.

"What, Castiel?!"

"I..." she faltered.

Looking at Ishim, whose grace had been harmed by Akobel, her medical concern seemed absurd.

'Tell him to stop,' the woman begged. 'Please, tell him to stop!'

"My... my vessel." She held up a hand, "It's leaking."

Then he did something she found deeply unsettling. The corners of his mouth pulled up and to the sides. His white teeth shone like knives as he laughed.

Ishim continued this, and Castiel told herself to wait. She told herself not to question her superiors. The woman continued to shout as he moved inside her.

It was Castiel's fault. She couldn't even stop her vessel from leaking. She had failed this woman. Castiel looked down the vessel's body and felt another hot emotion, but this was not frightening it was... she could not describe it.

Whatever this feeling, she did not like it. Her skin felt slippery and her mind sad. This feeling... being at fault, it filled with her a new agony. Castiel thought she had endured all of the pain she could.

The vessel screamed from within.

Castiel could not find it in herself to reassure this woman. Whatever Ishim was doing was right, it had to be right. Or why would he do this?

Why would Castiel let him do this?

She wouldn't do that, and neither would Ishim. Everything was okay.

"Oh Castiel," he laughed, smiling down at her wet eyes and shaking body.

She stared up at him from the dirt, curls framing her bruised face. Her hair had fallen from its coils long ago. Castiel heard the woman whisper something of it being ruined. She was not sure if the woman meant her hair.

The brown curls pooled around her scarlet skin. Ishim looked at her then, dark eyes meeting her vessel's sapphire irises.

If smiling was a greeting between humans, why was Ishim’s so unsettling? She returned the smile, but her lips were quivering and it required more effort than she had expected. It required more effort than she cared to admit.

What was happening to her?!

"Castiel you stuttering puppet." He ran a finger down her jaw.

She resisted the urge to pull away.

"You're crying you fool."

The tree's bark broke against her back with his push. She missed the white doors of heaven, uncomfortable with Ishim in this darkness. Ishim's grace provided its own light, and yet she felt darker.

He had stilled, but still rested within her.

She moved back, extending the distance. "Ishim-"

He pulled his hands from Castiel's grasp, squeezing her small hands in his.

His voice reminded her of a snake.

She thought briefly of the snake in the garden of Eden.

"We're not finished, Castiel," he hissed.