I felt a Funeral, in my Brain
And Mourners to and fro
Kept treading - treading - till it seemed
That Sense was breaking through
If you had asked me, I would probably have said that the end began the moment I came across Dean's bright, tormented soul in Hell. That soul's defiance, its refusal to let Hell twist and destroy it, its undaunted determination to make sure Sammy was alright... it touched me in a way that I hadn't understood at the time. If I had known then, I might have been able to stop, to reassign myself and let another angel take my place. But I hadn't realized what the warm feeling in my chest was; it was so human. After we journeyed out of Hell, I tried my best to protect Michael's vessel as ordered. But every time Dean turned to me and asked angrily why the angels couldn't do more, the hurt flaring ever so briefly behind his eyes, I felt my answers to be less and less adequate. No one, angelic or otherwise, had ever questioned my sense of right and wrong the way these two humans did, and despite Heaven's careful planning I had not been prepared for it. Despite my millennia of faithful service, despite my loyalty to my superiors and brothers, I began to wonder.
And when they all were seated,
A Service, like a Drum -
Kept beating - beating - till I thought
My Mind was going numb -
Gradually, I began to challenge myself, searching for answers to questions that had never occurred to me had never thought of before. The more I learned about the humans in my care, the more I began to wonder if this was indeed what God had intended. I found myself interfering in their lives beyond the bounds of my orders. Small things at first: healing, helping them find what they sought. Talking. Almost without realizing it, I changed from a mysterious and ominous guardian to something far deadlier for all of us: their friend. After a while, I even started to convince myself that they deserved to know the truth, the real reason that I had been ordered to save Dean. I set a new precedent for myself. I made a decision. Without consulting my superiors, without seeking Revelation, I made plans to warn Dean and Sam about the plans Zachariah had for them. In short, I made the mistake of doubting God's divine will.
And then I heard them lift a Box
And creak across my Soul
With those same Boots of Lead, again,
Then Space - began to toll,
Of course, I could never have gotten away with that short burst of defiance. On one other occasion, long ago when I was reckless and young, I received reeducation from Heaven about some trifling matter. This was nothing like it. Had I known more of human comparisons, I might have described my initial punishment as a drop in a bucket compared to how they treated my newest trespass. When I was finally allowed to return to my post, I was determined not to fail in my duties again, no matter what.
As all the Heavens were a Bell,
And Being, but an Ear,
And I and Silence, some strange race
Wrecked, solitary, here -
Wrecked would have been a good way to describe me upon my return to Earth. Any heavenly observer would have been certain that the very concept of Free Will had been blotted from my mind. But it was strange and unexpected, the effect that the Winchesters had on me. By now, the emotion that had first manifested when Dean and I escaped from Hell had grown. Deep inside of me, in what humans would call the soul but where angels have nothing, it had been silently growing. It was this emotion that, contrary to everything that had happened to me, everything that had been done to me, drove me to take the ultimate plunge. For two humans, two lost, damaged souls, I gave everything I had and more. Castiel, Angel of the Lord, rebelled. I fell from heaven.
And then a Plank in Reason, broke,
And I dropped down, and down -
And hit a World, at every plunge,
And Finished knowing - then -
And the emotion that I felt? I finally had a name for it. It was love. Deep and pure and untainted. And I smiled as I fell.