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A Day In January

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Castiel walks through the empty corridors of the hospital, the lights flickering as he moves further down, passing closed rooms fill with doctors, nurses and parents alike.

It's a cold early morning on January 24, 1979, and cries of happiness aren't the only ones filling the commotions behind closed doors.

Inside room 217C, disgruntled and tired after the long hours of labor, Mary Campbell, alone and desolate, weeps and wails and mourns the death of her firstborn child. Castiel, taking over Azrael's Heavenly title as Angel of Death after his brother disappeared along with the Archangel Gabriel, is merely here to carry the young soul back to heaven. A soul that had made it out only to be brought back after only minutes of being alive on Earth.

It's a difficult job, and after only four centuries of doing it, Castiel hasn't gotten used to taking away souls loved so dearly by the others on Earth. Seeing the way some of the humans grieve threatens to break the hard, cold wiring his Father had created him and his brethren with.

Perhaps Castiel is the odd one from all his brothers and sisters, but he's sure that the sight of Mary Campbell in that hospital bed, alone and sorrowful, tears and snot covering her distressed face, holding her firstborn son close to her chest could've broken anyone's resolved, Angel of Death or not.

Birth Asphyxia, the doctor had said, it's when a child's brain has suffered from oxygen deprivation, which in this case had led to hypoxia, very low levels of oxygen in the brain and other muscles.

What Dr. Adler had failed to mention was that it had been his own negligence that had caused the death in the first place. He hadn't taken notice or rather hadn't been quick enough to untangle the umbilical cord from around the young babe's neck.

Mary Campbell, ignorant of how medical injuries in newborn infants occur, hadn't suspected that it had been the doctor's doing that had led to her son's death. And as Castiel watches her, still weeping for the one soul that she believed would bring an end to her unluckiness, he breaks his first rule of Heaven in the forty-eight millenniums he has been conscious.

The distraught mother startles when she first notices him, but as she looks up, all she does is sob and wail. Castiel watches her from where he's standing near the closed entrance door, seeing the way her blonde hair sticks to her forehead and cheeks. Looking into her soul, he sees her pain and devastation over the newborn's death, but what truly captures Castiel's attention is how bright, and beautiful the soul in her arms is. In all the millenniums Castiel has been present in Heaven and on Earth, he has never seen a soul shine so brightly.

He steps forward, awed at such a sight. "What were you going to name him?" Castiel's human voice sounds deep and harsh due to lack of use, and it seems to startle Mary once again.

The young woman sniffles, still desperately holding onto her babe's small and fragile frame. "Dean," she whispers, looking up, letting Castiel see the pain and sorrow in her green eyes. "Dean Campbell after my mom, Deanna Campbell."

"Where's the father?" Castiel knows where John Winchester is, between his new wife's, Kate Milligan now Winchester, legs, enjoying himself. But he does not want to give away the fact that he knows such information. Also, it's perhaps the fact that Castiel's people's skills are rusty, so he doesn't know what is and isn't appropriate to ask, but he does regret his question when Mary shrugs, another sob rocking her body.

"Happily married, I think."

Dean's soul is still bright inside his human body, shining intensely even after his human death. Castiel thinks that if the young mother could see how beautiful her son is, her cries would increase and he's not sure whether it'd be in happiness or misery.

Castiel caresses the infant's cheek, taking notice of the small freckles covering it. "Dean's a good name."

Mary's laugh wavers, a smile barely gracing her face, but even then, she's still a beautiful woman. "Yeah, it is, huh?" She looks up, her eyes turning sad. "Too bad he won't be bearing it."

Castiel hums in response, thinking over his impending punishment as his next caress brings life back to Dean Campbell's human body.

"Oh my God," Mary's blasphemy goes ignore by him because he knows she's only truly expressing her amazement at this new development. Dean Campbell is alive once again, and his cries are now rocking his small, fragile frame. "Oh my God," she sobs, her smile widening, her soul now shining with disbelief and barely contained happiness. She looks up, new tears rolling down her face, but this time she's crying out of happiness. "How did you - how -" She sobs, keeping her question from making it past her lips.

The cries of Dean Campbell are getting increasingly louder, looking for the comfort of his mother. Castiel moves away, never taking his eyes away from the young soul.

"You should feed him, he is crying because he is hungry." Castiel can already feel the pull from Heaven, can feel the Host calling out to him, his brothers and sisters in disbelief, demanding to know why he had broken the rules. Why had Castiel, the obedient good soldier, and son, betrayed their Father's trust?

"Thank you," is Mary’s response before she starts calling out for the nurses and doctor. "Thank you so much," she cries, kissing her son's head, drawing him closer to her chest, letting him cry to convince herself that he is truly alive.

All Castiel does is give a nod, spreading his four thousand wings, the lights flickering once again as the nurses burst into the room, gasping and murmuring amongst themselves. Dr. Adler, incompetent as he is, only stares in wonderment.

"It's a miracle," one of the nurses proclaims, the new occupants in the room unable to see him. Mary keeps crying along with her son, her eyes moving up to him and down to Dean, the heart monitor beeping excessively due to her emotions.

It's before Castiel can't ignore Heaven's call and flies away, flapping his wings that he hears Mary whisper to her son, trying to comfort the loud wails.

"It's okay, baby," she laughs, blurry eyes looking up at Castiel one last time before he flies away. "An Angel is watching over you."