Castiel could see every one of his exhaled breaths. He pulled his black cloak even tighter around his body before lifting the hood to cover his head. Alaska was cold in December, but thankfully there was no wind that night. His bag hung heavy on his shoulder; filled with the necessary spell supplies for tonight’s ritual. The snow crunched under his boots as he made his way along the forest path to his altar.
He was nervous. He’d waited so long for this night. The past had been filled with trials and sorrow, but there had also been unspeakable joy. Tonight’s ceremony would grant him everything he had ever wanted. It had taken years to get to this point. Months of planning for just the right time. But it would be so worth it in the end.
It would cost him much. If he went through with the ritual, he would be shunned. No one in the community would accept this; it was not done. That thought had given him pause before, but no more. No more would he doubt this. He was done sacrificing his own happiness.
Castiel heard the fluttering of wings overhead and he smiled. He looked up to search through the branches of the spruce and birch trees that surrounded him. The moonlight shone through the sparse foliage and reflected off of the snow, casting the world in a light blue glow, but he could not see the source of the sound. Laughing softly, he continued on through the woods.
At last, he entered the clearing. The waxing moon shone brightly, lighting up the marble altar in the center. Castiel set down his bag and started to unpack it. He pulled out his candles, placing one in each cardinal direction to set the boundaries of his circle. Next, he added his representations for each element, lighting the candles as he went.
For Air, he placed a large raven feather. He ran the glossy, black primary feather between his fingers, loving the familiar feeling. For Fire, he lit a cone of incense. It was made from the herbs that grew in the garden behind the house. He inhaled deeply, taking in the soothing scent. For Water, he filled a small chalice with some seawater that he had collected on the last trip to the beach. He smiled as he remembered the time spent walking through the surf. For Earth, he placed a large Amethyst cluster. It had been a gift from his beloved; given long ago when they were just children.
Castiel pulled the last item from his bag. A three-stranded rope made of silk, woven together in colors of green, blue, and white. Raven feathers and hand-made beads of semi-precious stone added to the beauty of the six-foot length of cord. He walked to the center of his circle and called out, “It’s time, my love.”
A large black raven flew in from one of the nearby trees and landed in the snow at his feet. As Castiel watched, his familiar grew. Feathers were replaced by lightly freckled human skin until before him stood his best friend and his betrothed. His skin still shimmered with residual magic and green eyes glowed in the low light. “Hey Cas.”
Dean caressed Castiel’s cheek before he softly asked, “You ready to be mine?”
Castiel placed his hand over Dean’s and gave him a loving smile, “I’ve always been yours.”