Work Header

not failing as he fell

Work Text:

Sam gasps for breath he can't get. That he doesn't have the lungs to get, Christ. The lack of oxygen isn't doing a thing to stop the hole in his leg from killing him, though the rest of him's starting to numb up.

Even with his vision graying at the corners, he can still see the malice curling up the corners of Zachariah's mouth.

That son of a bitch is really enjoying this, torturing him to get to Dean. He doesn't know why he's surprised. Just look at Jimmy Novak; "consent" clearly doesn't mean to angels what it means to people.

Dean drops to his hands and knees, spitting out a dark red clot of blood. "Just kill us."

"Kill you?" Zachariah chuckles darkly. "Oh, no. I'm just getting started."

Before he can list off what he intends to do next, like some kind of sadistic B-movie villain, the door to the lockup creaks open. Zachariah turns slowly, his minions turning with him, to stare at the scared little girl in the doorway.

Oh hell.

"Claire," Dean chokes out, teeth stained pink with bloody saliva. "Don't - "

"You're Castiel's vessel," Zachariah realizes, stepping closer. Claire stares up at him, wide-eyed. "He left you in the end, didn't he? Tried to save your life, since his was already over." He tilts his head slowly, and one of the minions reaches into his jacket pocket. "Bad enough he rebelled for a human, but did he have to die saving one?"

Zachariah holds out a hand. Without a word, the back up dancer hands him a sword, the blade almost rounded but tapering to a deadly silver point. An angel-killing blade.

"No matter," he continues, running a thumb over the edge. "We'll fix that." He takes another step closer, his minions blocking her exits.

Zachariah turns back to Dean and Sam with a grin. "Don't worry boys, I'll be with you in a minute, I've just got some trash to - "

The bald minion dies with a strangled cry and a burst of light. Alarmed, Zachariah steps back, shielding his eyes with one hand.

The light fades to reveal Claire Novak gripping the handle of the angel-killing sword, the blade of the sword still buried in the minion's stomach. She tears it out of his body with a grunt and gets to her feet, handling the sword with frightening skill for a kid.

Except, pretty clearly, that isn't a kid in there. Sam feels suddenly breathless for a reason that has nothing to do with his lack of lungs.

"Cas," Dean says, hushed, staring.

But the other angel isn't going to let his brother die without protest. He charges at Castiel with a cry, grabbing at Claire Novak's hair and tugging, pulling her head back to reveal her neck, pale and vulnerable. With a snarl, he draws his own angel-killing sword across her throat.

Or he would have, if Castiel didn't parry the motion with her own sword. The minion tugs again, shaking Castiel's hold. The press of sword against sword wavers, both blades edging ever closer to Castiel's neck. With a frustrated grunt, Castiel pushes the swords away with both hands. The other angel takes a step backward, surprised by the strength in the tiny girl's shove. His hand, still tangled in her hair, pulls her along.

Castiel swings her arm around and hacks the hair off.

Hand free, the other angel falls back another step, two. Long enough to give Castiel an opening that she takes readily, jumping on the angel's chest and stabbing down.

His death etches wings in the floor of the lockup.

The whole thing takes maybe thirty seconds in all.

Castiel stands up on the empty vessel, ragged pieces of hair still falling away from her face. She stares up at Zachariah, who gapes at her.

"How are you..."

"Alive?" Castiel whispers, voice low. "That's a good question. How did they," gesturing at Sam and Dean with her sword, "get on that airplane? Another good question. You certainly didn't do it. I think we both know who did."

"No," Zachariah protests, stepping back. "That's not possible."

"And yet, here I am." Castiel steps off the corpse and approaches Zachariah. "Put them back together and leave. I won't ask twice."

Zachariah disappears, and Sam can suddenly breathe again. Sucking in air gratefully, he stares up at Cl - at Castiel, who looks back with such strange, young-old eyes he has to avert his gaze. Pulling Dean to his feet seems like a good alternative.

"Jeez, Cas," Dean mutters, looking at the angel with something like admiration, or maybe worry. "Way to make a guy feel inadequate."