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Saving Grace

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Castiel weaves through the throng of students, keeping his wings close to his body as he moves. There are plenty of other sets of wings scattered amidst the crowd, so his don’t draw much attention. The humans are used to it for the most part, and aside for an occasional accidental brush against the external feathers, no one touches them.

The angel reaches his locker and clicks the combination, kicking the bottom corner expertly to dislodge the bent mechanism and allow the door to fully open. He collects his Chemistry and Calculus books and is debating about whether to grab his History book now or after next period when he hears them.

“Seriously though man, you should hit that.” Three lockers down he spies a handful of his classmates, humans, chattering. Benny Lafitte is the one speaking, and the person who should “hit that” is none other than star quarterback Dean Winchester. Dean smiles brightly at his friend and shrugs.

“Maybe,” the football player says noncommittally.

“Well if you decide to pass, you cool if I take a shot?” asks a slim redheaded girl. Charlie, Cas thinks her name is.

Dean laughs. “Feel free, my Queen.” The three of them chuckle together before Dean slams his locker shut and they begin to walk in Castiel’s direction. They veer as a unit to avoid his wings, but other than that don’t acknowledge him.

Castiel sighs. The entire school was a mix of angel and human, one of the first of it’s kind, and for the most part it had been successful. The two groups got along well, and many cliques were composed of both angel and human. Castiel was just a loner no matter which species you were looking at. He was too quiet, too shy, and just generally too dorky. He opts to leave the history book and shuts his locker firmly, his black wings twitching behind him the only evidence of his emotional state.

He clutches his books to his chest and makes for his Chem class. Dean and Charlie are in the class with him. He knows they probably have no idea who he is, but he knows them. He knows Benny too, and Dean’s younger brother Sam. Castiel had been watching the football player for years, intrigued by his sense of humor, his easy manner, the way he managed to be popular and still not a dick. He may not know who Castiel was, but at least Dean wasn’t mean to him. Not like….

“Hello Asstiel” Shit, Shit. Zachariah. Castiel ducked his head down and walked faster. It didn’t work. A hand yanked his wing, making him yelp. Touching wings without permission was a gross violation and it made his stomach churn.

“Where you going princess?” The second voice was Raphael. Castiel felt the urge to vomit increase. If the two of them were together that meant that he was going to get hurt. He pulls his wings closer to his body and turns to face them, still gripping his books as if they were a shield.

The other two angels were leering at him. Zach’s large grey wings were spread in an aggressive display. Raphael’s burgundy plumage was still relaxed, as if he viewed Castiel as not worth the effort of attempting to intimidate.

 

“I’m going to class.” Castiel starts backing up, hoping against hope that he can just walk away. No such luck. He can’t tell which one pushes him first, but his head hits the wall with a sick crack. After that the blows are a blur. At some point he gets a foot to the gut. He curls his wings around himself in an attempt to deflect the assault. He feels pain and anger building up, choking him, and without conscious thought, he reaches deep, he feels the burn and the light within. The entire hallway is bathed in a burst of illumination and he can hear Zachariah and Raphael yelling, swearing. Then the blows are gone.

Castiel pulls himself to a seated position, wincing. There are scorch marks around him, and on the wall. He begins to panic. He had pulled on his grace. He had fought back in a way that was strictly forbidden. He hadn’t meant to, he just wanted the pain to stop. He wraps his arms around his knees, buries his face and begins to sob, wings curled around his body. He was going to be punished for this.

 

Dean had forgotten his Chem book. He blames Benny and his stupid comment about him hooking up with Jo. I mean, yeah , she was pretty, but Dean had known her since they were little. That would be like making out with his sister. Not to mention the fact that girls weren’t exactly ringing his bell lately. So he was rushing down the hall back to his locker, Mr. Turner’s exasperated “Really Winchester? Hustle up!” echoing in his ears.

He stopped cold when he turned a corner and was met with black scorched paint. The entire wall was covered, and so was most of the tile floor. The air practically crackled. And there, sitting in the middle of ground zero was an angel. The angel was furled in stark, gleaming onyx wings and it sounded like he was….crying?

“Uummmm….” Dean started, completely at a loss. He didn’t interact with angels much, and he had no idea what had happened but he had a suspicion it wasn’t good. The wings parted and he was met with tear filled eyes that were bluer than anything he had ever imagined and backlit with an inner glow.

“Oh my god…Please…please…it was an accident! I swear! I didn’t mean to!” The angel choked out.

Dean lifted his hands in a placating gesture. The angel looked really familiar now that Dean could see his face. He knew he had classes with him. “Look, I’m sure it was, just, we should probably get you somewhere. Like the office maybe?”

Castiel broke into another loud sob. “They are going to punish me!” he wailed.

“For what?” Dean is confused. He knows that there are special angel rules, but since he didn’t hang out with any angels he had no idea what the kid was going on about.

“I used my grace! I’m not supposed to do that! We are never supposed to do that, especially around humans.” His voice breaks. “I just wanted them to stop hitting me.”

“Who? “ Dean finds himself asking. He has no idea why the hell he cares, but something about the idea of this angel being pummeled upsets him.

“It doesn’t matter.” The angel unfurls his wings and moves to get to his feet. He grimaces and has to use the wall to pull himself up. Dean can see he is in pain and looking closer he sees marks on his face and arms. “I’ll go see Principal Shurley and face my penalty.”

“Look…let me help you. You can barely walk.” Dean moves forward and shoves the boy’s books into the backpack on the floor and throws one strap over his own shoulder. Then he loops an arm around the angel, careful to grab low, underneath his wings. The angel moves to pull away and Dean tsks at him. “Quit it. You need help.” The angel sighs but relents. “What’s your name anyway? I know I’ve seen you around.”

“Castiel.” The angel says softly, allowing some of his weight to lean on Dean.

“I’m….” Dean starts.

“I know who you are, Dean.” Castiel cuts him off . Dean’s cheeks flush, suddenly feeling at a disadvantage seeing as he knows nothing about the other boy. “And don’t worry about it. No one notices me, so it’s not like you’re the only one who has no idea I exist. “ He laughs a little, then winces. “Well I guess I can’t say no one notices me, but I would rather Zachariah and Raphael forget I existed.”

“Is that who did this to you!?” Dean is surprised at the anger in his voice. They turn the corner nearest the office and Dean realizes in a few moments he will have no further reason to stay with Castiel and he finds he isn’t happy about it.

“I said don’t worry about it.” Castiel grumbles. They limp into the office together and the secretary, Ellen, scrambles from her chair to assist them.

“Again, Castiel?” She asks, her face both angry and concerned. “I wish you would tell us who keeps doing this to you.” She says gently.

“This has happened before!?” Dean blurts. Ellen seems to notice him for the first time and arches a brow.

“What are you doing here, Winchester?” she asks, tone pointed.

“I forgot my book for class, and I was going to my locker, and I found Cas sitting on the floor.” Dean stammers, her iron gaze pinning him. “He looked like he needed help.”

Her expression softens. “Thank you, Mr. Winchester. I’ll take it from here.” Dean gulps and nods.

“Uh…your bag.” Dean tugs Castiel’s backpack off his shoulder and places it on the floor near Castiel’s feet.

“Thank you, Dean.” Castiel says quietly, glancing up at the other student from where he is slumped in one of the hard plastic chairs.

“Yeah. No problem, Cas.” Dean rakes a hand through his hair and smiles awkwardly. He walks out of the office, then pauses to look back and finds Castiel still watching him. Blushing, looks at the ground. Then remembers that he was supposed to be getting his book and class was going to be over in less than five minutes. “Shit!” he blurts, walking as fast as he can without flat out running back to class praying Mr. Turner doesn't decide to flay him.