Jegudiel beat her six wings frantically across the starlight and the vast openness of the crumbling Heavens, beautiful old ruins from several Civil Wars. It was a sad statement to Heaven’s priorities that its forgeries and armories were still in sterling condition.
Touching ground, she inclined herself before the two guardsgates, identifying herself, and walked towards the Advisor.
‘Sister’. Hannah acknowledged her presence. ‘Why the rush?’
‘I think—I think I’ve got it!’ She almost seemed to be fluttering like a butterfly. ‘I may have found an answer in the Archives!’, the excitable Seraph chirped.
Again, it was a statement to how much things had changed the fact she deferred to Hannah, a mere Malakh. Hannah zeroed in her many eyes, and Jegudiel stood straighter to attention.
‘Right here. It was always a bit strange to me, once I found out about the whole débâcle, why there was such an spell on the angel tablet! But this’, a hand rolled out something a human might describe as a “parchment”, ‘says there is a counterpart! See?’
‘That’s excellent’, Hannah bit. ‘However, it says we need to find the—the anti-angel tablet, if you will’.
‘That’s the beauty of it! It was stashed in there!’ She threw it right there in front of the Advisor. ‘And it looks legible!’
‘It’s in Old Enochian’.
‘Yeah, that was the only thing that held me back from reading it; it wasn’t under my purview’. Her wings sagged.
‘You misunderstand. I was a follower of the Metatron’, Hannah admitted. Jegudiel briefly crossed her many eyes trying to figure out what that had to do with anything. ‘I can read all that has been written, but for what is for the Prophets to see’.
Hannah and Jegudiel bumped their heads together, while Hannah read out loud.
‘Oh, dear’, Jegudiel agreed.
They huddled together in solemn silence.
‘Ahm, you are basically our boss. Right, Advisor?’
‘As the humans say: in your dreams’.
‘I guess Castiel takes one for the team, doesn’t he?’
Many things could be said about the sad state of angelic affairs from there not being enough angels around to staff adequately such an important mission. So Hannah made Jegudiel her aide-de-camp. It was only sensible to do so to try to keep the secret under wraps.
Hannah liked the subtle approach.
Jegudiel much, much preferred to swarm.
‘Have you compiled a list of volunteers?’
‘I thought you would!’
‘I left my vessel behind. I am here to aid Castiel in running Heaven’.
‘The ritual said they both had to be pure of intentions and pure of heart, which is hard enough to find as it is, anyway’.
Hannah nodded dejectedly at that.
‘We are lucky Castiel could, theoretically, fill those requirements’.
‘That in mind, I did recruit some angels I thought fit best, you know’.
Hannah unfurled her full wingspan.
‘I figured we could amend the list you would have compiled’.
Hannah bit her tongue, for then was not the time to chide Jegudiel. After a beat, she spoke:
‘Who did you recruit?’
‘Ariel, Harut, Samara, Haniel, Sachiel, Baruchiel, Zadkiel’.
Hannah could fell her Grace throbbing. Patience was a virtue.
‘I suppose we can work with this’.
‘What’s the first step?’
‘Impress upon the angel’s Grace’.
‘What does that even mean?’
‘A romantic impression, I would hope, since it would directly lead into the second step’.
Sam and Dean had prayed for help. Having an angel who had to drive around (to conserve his Grace) made Sam feel so fucking grateful for all the times Cas had been there for them before.
After they found out about possible pagan gods hanging around, they didn’t want to take any chances. Especially with Dean being kind of fucked up in the head right now. After appraising Cas of the situation, they all started to eat their meals.
‘Castiel’, the handsome man said as he walked over to Castiel, in the diner where the seraph was sitting with Sam and Dean.
‘Samara, brother. What are you doing here?’
‘I wanted to ch—’
‘Wait, wait, wait a minute. Isn’t Samara a girl’s name?’
‘Angels are genderless, you ignorant human!’
‘I can’t believe this! Oh, my god; this totally means—’
‘Dean, you’re embarrassing me’.
‘You don’t get to finish that joke’.
‘I wasn’t going to make any jokes’.
‘Dude. You totally were going to make a tranny joke. Stop’.
‘Is that bad?’, Samara stage-whispered to Castiel, arranging his well-tailored suit.
‘Probably’. Castiel shrugged.
‘I wasn’t! I am a fair, tolerant person!’
‘Dean. Gay scare. You don’t get to say it’.
‘I am just digging myself deeper?’.
‘You kind of are’, Cas chimed in helpfully. Sam facepalmed. Dean made a zipping motion.
‘Shutting up now’. He sulked in his chair.
‘This is so tiresome. How do you even stand this constant bickering?’ Samara inquired, inching closer to Castiel—and in no way respecting his human personal space, Sam noted. Castiel didn’t seem bothered by it.
“Huh. It really is an angel thing”.
‘I don’t know’, Castiel answered Samara. ‘I’ve grown to quite like it myself’.
‘Jerk’, Sam replied absent-mindedly, interested on where the angel exchange was going.
‘What else have you grown to like?’
‘I like all of my Father’s creations’. Dean rolled his eyes and mimed a mouth with his hand, mouthing the same words as Cas. Samara glared at him, then turned to his brother.
‘Would that include White Castle?’ He opened one of the flaps on his coat, and miraculously produced a hamburger in White Castle wrapping. Castiel licked his lips.
‘Yes, actually’. He grabbed the burger, and ate it ravenously, as if he didn’t just eat a full meal before.
‘I’ve got more where that come from’. Samara actually, honest-to-God, waggled his perfectly-shaped eyebrows. Sam and Dean just gaped.
‘Why are you bringing me my favorite burgers?’
‘I thought I should do more for Heaven’s top dog’.
‘First off, you are of the Sarim. You have better things to do. Second, I’m no leader’.
‘You’re very much a leader’, he said, nailing his stunningly charcoal sight into Castiel’s endless blue. ‘We want you as a leader. I will always follow you!’
‘It’s Stockholm’s Syndrome’.
‘Wait, you know what Stockholm’s Syndrome is?’, Dean blurted, getting out of his stupor at the same time Samara tilted his head and said ‘what’.
‘I only want to look up to you’.
Sam snickered, and waved Dean quiet when he was about to be an smart-ass.
‘Samara, while clearly you aren’t assigned enough responsibilities, I have already committed myself to a hunt. I will need to be left alone, if you would’.
‘Fine’, Samara spat, and disappeared.
‘Dude, he was totally flirting with you!’
‘What—no!’. He crossed his arms, sulking. ‘It’s just that it was some pathetic flirting, I felt pity for him. Pity’.
‘That was painfully awkward’, Sam agreed.
‘So you think he really was flirting with me?’ Castiel tilted his head. ‘I wonder why would he’.
‘But I clearly remember the second point, it’s pretty vague. It doesn’t have anything to do with romance or love. We kind of dropped the ball on that one’.
‘It can’t mean that many things. It isn’t exactly open to interpretation’.
‘Are you sure you understand that thing?’
‘Jegudiel, please’, Hanna snapped. ‘How many different things “grand gesture” could be?’
‘You are making a case for a grand romantic gesture?’
They suspected a witch in the case. The evidence seemed to point to that, and Dean was behaving increasingly erratic. Sam was worried. Sam was very worried, especially with Dean’s growing fixation on going on hunts.
Which is why they nearly had a heart attack when they were walking down the street trying to figure out how to crack this case: They saw a beautiful, dark-skinned woman, in a dress of a bright forget-me-not blue shade appear out of nowhere, strolling down confidently, sensuously, to meet them.
‘Sam and Dean Winchester’, greeted the woman. Her very long, thin dreadlocks were arranged in such a way there were braids falling and pinned to her head, framing nicely her face, along with dreadlocks, both braided and loose, cascading down her back, that were adorned with some flower pins and pearls.
‘I’m sorry, who you might be?’
‘I am the angel Harut. I thought I could help you’.
‘Not that I mind the view, but why you want to?’
‘I’ve been an ally of Castiel for a long time’, she smiled, ‘and I know you are hunting a witch, which is something that grabbed my attention’.
‘OK, we can work with that. It’s always nice to have some heavenly assistance’. Dean was going to open his mouth to deny vehemently this, but Sam elbowed him and continued talking: ‘Although, you being attracted to a case with a witch is weird. I thought you guys were more into demon-smiting’.
‘Yes’, she agreed, and put an elegant dark brown hand on her hip; ‘but, you see, I am the angel of sorcery’.
‘There is an angel for sorcery!’ Dean gasped. ‘I thought that was unbiblical and—and you weren’t big fans of it, in general’.
‘What are Enochian carvings, chants, rituals and circles, if not spells?’ She turned her light brown eyes to Sam, significantly. ‘We’ve never particularly minded. You could call me the first witch, even’.
First Blade, First Demon, the Alphas… “For people who try to be run-of-the-mill hunters”, Sam mused, “we sure find lots of extraordinary things”.
‘Well, there is an angel for Thursday so…’, Sam trailed off, uncertain.
‘Castiel is also the angel for solitude and tears. You could say that to walk the lonely path is a part of his destiny‘. Sam nodded along with what Harut said.
‘You know, Dean? This explains so much’.
A thought occurred to Dean.
‘Weren’t angels using spells before that? And demons?’
‘Quite interesting you should say that. Sorcery; subtle, true sorcery is actually older than demons. I was the first witch in the sense I helped translate the natural world into a framework people could use. Enochian is more connected to the divine, and highly complex; as such, it’s not always practical for nomads with much to do and not enough time to dedicate years to learn to read and write’. Sam and Dean blinked.
‘OK, we can roll with this’.
Turns out that, with the goddamn angel of sorcery, the case was easy-peasy. Dean only spent like, five minutes maximum? Only spent about five to ten minutes as a fourteen-year-old, because disabling a hex bag was easy when you had someone who really knew her way around them.
Sam was fascinated. Harut indulged him with explanations when unpacking the hex bag, and was even more interested when Harut suggested turning the spell towards the caster. If someone who was an adult turned into a child, they’d know who was the caster. “Like Harut said”, Sam smiled, “sorcery is a subtle art!”
‘Wow, it’s like an actual science’, Sam said, marvelled.
‘It’s the science of the non-scientific forces. Much has been lost’, she said, wistfully. ‘In some places in what you call Africa, Latin America, deep corners of Asia, it’s still very much practiced, though’.
Which was how they found themselves with a cannibalistic fourteen-year-old Hansen.
‘What do we do with him?’
‘We smite him’, Harut said solemnly, because she might be a cool angel, but she still was one of the heavenly host, and didn’t exactly had tact.
So she did just as she said in front of poor Tina, who shrieked.
‘You just—you just killed a kid! What is wrong with you, lady?’
Harut turned her visage towards her, her voice thundering, and the whole place shook.
‘Do not question me, human’. Then she turned to Sam and Dean with a pleasant smile. ‘I think we are done’.
‘Come on, don’t scare the poor girl off! She’s just been through a traumatic experience’.
‘I’m not her wet-nurse. In the old days we would say DO NOT FEAR’, all glass objects exploded; their ears hurt so much they screamed while Harut talked dispassionately, ‘and let the human deal’.
Sam and Dean glared at her. Very harshly.
‘I’ll wait in the car’, she said, frowning, like she didn’t understand what just happened.
Later, at the motel, Sam was annotating and discussing enthusiastically spell-crafting theory with Harut. Dean was uncomfortable; Harut was in a hot chick’s body, in their motel room.
Dean’s cellphone rang.
‘Yeah? Oh, hey, Cas!’
‘Is that Castiel? Make him speak to us all’, Harut all but demanded.
‘Geez, fine’, Dean grumbled, but he turned on the speaker and tossed the phone on the table. ‘Everybody wants to speak to you, buddy’.
‘Castiel!’, Harut enthused. And perhaps there was something inherently angelic in her voice, because Cas instantly picked it up.
‘To which of my siblings I am talking to?’
‘It’s been a while, sister’, Castiel said warmly, ‘although, I thought you had other duties now’.
‘I took some time off Reconstruction to help your favorite humans, brother’.
‘Favorite humans! What are we, pets now?’, Dean protested. Harut just stared at him condescendingly.
‘It was a witch case’, Castiel hummed while Harut kept talking; ‘it could have turned into a real mess for them’.
‘I thank you for looking after them’.
‘Are you busy?’
‘Not particularly, no’.
‘I was looking forward to tell you about this most ingenious hex bag we found in this case’.
“I think we just confirmed Cas is a huge nerd”. Dean smiled like a cat. All the ribbing yet to ensue!
‘Better face to face, rather than using this infernal human contraption. Are you up for a coffee?’
‘Coffee?’, asked the three men in unison.
‘Well’, Harut pointed out reasonably, ‘I know how much you enjoy these quaint human things. Coffe, my treat’.
‘Sure’, Castiel said, a bit taken aback.
‘I’ll be right there’.
Castiel hung the phone, Harut disappeared, and Sam and Dean looked at each other.
‘Did Harut just use us as a springboard for a date with Cas?’, Dean said.
‘It seems like it’.
‘What a bitch’. Sam decided not to comment on how angry Dean looked at that, because that was some righteous wrath right there, and there were things one did not mess with. Dean continued, saying: ‘So sorcery is really subtlety. Even angelic witches are sneaky’.
‘I hate witches’, his little brother concurred.
‘Although, I don’t know how we are going to manage the next one’.
‘Why not?’, said Hannah. ‘There are several angels who have done ‘great deeds’, both in the civil War and during the Apocalypse’.
‘Yeah, but it says ‘great deeds for one another’, doesn’t it?’
‘Yes’, agreed Hannah, ‘but the particular characters seem to hint at a more sacrificial sense’.
‘That makes more sense for you; you were allied with the Metatron and then went against everything, and became Castiel’s envoy even at your own risk’.
‘So’, she asked, her eyes lighting up in flames and her wings unfurling joyously, ‘are you entering it, yet?’
They were hanging out with Castiel in some woods, before departing to their respective cases, when, all of a sudden, Castiel yelled.
‘Sam, Dean! To the floor! And close your eyes and cover your ears!’
Their ears were ringing, and even with their eyes closed and their backs turned from Castiel, the white light made their eyes sting.
‘Zadkiel’, Castiel said annoyed.
Sam started to wonder if Heaven had some sort of miracle-equivalent for spy satellites, because this was getting ridiculous.
‘Brother’, Zadkiel greeted.
Zadkiel was, in what seemed to Dean, the buffest vessel ever. He looked like a stereotypical Russian or something, with a strong jaw and green eyes.
‘Why did you do that?’
‘It seems to me you have forgotten the glory of our kind, by spending so much time amongst humans’.
‘There’s nothing heavenly about winged dicks!’
‘You cannot comprehend the true form’, snarled Zadkiel, ‘you arrogant worm’.
‘Ooo, I’m so offended’.
‘In olden days, I would have smitten you for your insolence’.
Castiel massaged his temples, a startlingly human gesture, as if a giant headache was oncoming.
‘Brother, could you please get to the point?’
‘I’m just saying it’s been a while since we roamed the Earth in our true forms. What was the last time you did it? Since you rose the Not-So-Righteous Man?’
‘I always knew you guys were incredibly petty’.
‘Agreed’. Sam nodded along with Dean.
‘Yes, but I’ve been busy. Amongst humans’.
‘Your wings deserve better’.
‘Zadkiel, you are the leader of the Hashmallim—’
Sam gasped at that.
‘Wait, is the guy like a Heaven big-shot or something?’
‘—I know you have better things to do than just inviting me for a flight’.
‘I just wanted our leader to spend some time doing things more befitting of angelkind, that’s all’.
‘Frankly, Hannah is working more as your leader than I am’.
‘You led us into this’.
‘Every time I lead anyone into anything ends in tragedy’.
‘I disagree. For the first time in a long while, we’ve had peace’.
‘You call this peace?’
‘This’, Sam whispered to Dean, ‘is turning kind of heavy’.
‘As you say, I’m the leader of the Hashmallim. We gave out the orders of the Archangels. It is better than eons of war’.
‘Yeah’, trailed off Dean, unsure of where this was going.
‘So’, Zadkiel continued, ‘let us at least enjoy what our Father afford us’.
Castiel almost automatically inclined himself in Zadkiel’s direction, much to Dean’s chagrin. Zadkiel smirked, and seemed to straighten out more, and puffed out his chest. Dean crossed his arms.
‘Wait, what is going on now?’
‘Nothing’, Zadkiel happily crowed. A wistful smile formed in Castiel’s lips.
‘Hey, Cas, we’re out of the loop here, mind explaining?’
‘Zadkiel’s wingspan is very impressive—reminds me of my own’.
‘Very impressive’, Dean snickered, making Sam laugh, at least until they saw what was happening.
Castiel leant into something invisible when Zadkiel’s vessel hung slightly forwards, or so it looked to the eyes of the humans present. He closed his eyes.
Yes, it reminded Castiel of his own when he was healthy and burning and glorious. Castiel couldn’t help but touch the wing offered so freely with his own feeble ones.
Castiel stepped back, almost shyly, due to the way Zadkiel was looking at his wings. Of course, Sam and Dean didn’t know this, so he just looked like suddenly wearing a sad face and hunching in on himself.
‘Cas?’ Dean asked tentatively.
Castiel was ashamed of his own weakness. He pressed his wings tightly to his back.
‘Is this a challenge to authority, Zadkiel?’ A determined look crossed his face. He made no movement, but he gave the impression of a panther waiting to spring to attack.
‘Not at all’, disagreed Zadkiel, dipping his huge vessel’s head. ‘As I said, I am happy with the leadership we have right now, even if you refuse to acknowledge it. It is as I pledged. I want only to fly with you’.
Castiel laughed, bitterly. That was when Sam and Dean knew something was up.
‘But I’m—’ He shut up abruptly.
There was no need to continue. Dean zeroed in Castiel and mentally completed “I’m not strong enough”, and grew worried. Because there was shit Castiel was not saying. Again.
For a moment, Castiel sent them a panicked look.
‘I can do the heavy lifting’, offered Zadkiel, completely oblivious.
‘Very well’, Castiel agreed.
Zadkiel strode forward and sneaked an arm around Castiel’s waist, much to Sam and Dean’s astonishment. They disappeared.
‘I feel so dirty now!’
‘Did he jut bride-nap Cas?’
‘I know, right?’ Dean nodded frantically. ‘It’s like a starting scene from gay porn’.
‘How would you know that?’ Sam smirked. Dean sputtered.
‘All porn is the same! I’m an expert in porn! Especially gay ladies porn’.
‘Suuuuuuuuure, Dean. Stop lying to yourself’. Sam laughed. Dean grew flustered. Sam stopped guffawing after a while.
‘But seriously. Way too freaking weird’, reasoned Dean.
‘Once is happenstance’, Sam nodded.
‘Twice is coincidence’.
‘Thrice is enemy action’, they said in unison.
‘What kind of plan would involve taking Cas on dates, though?’, mulled Sam.
‘I don’t pretend to know how those dicks think’.
‘Plus’, Jegudiel pointed out, ‘it has to stand the test of time. That’s the final step. How’s that a step!’, Jegudiel grew exasperated.
‘Well’, Hannah tapped the table, ‘the spell is listed right before that. It’s more of a condition, “the bond need stand the test of time”. There are many ways to interpret spells. I would say it is not so much a step as pointing out it would not work with anything else that could not withstand time’.
‘I still think you should do it’.
‘Stop goading me. Castiel’s hardly attractive, at any rate. His wings are so small’.
‘His wings are so cute’, countered Jegudiel. ‘All fluffy and shimmery, come on!’
‘Plus, his true form lacks… Presence’.
‘It’s only because he’s living on borrowed time, and you know it. Keep your eyes on the prize! We are all going to get restored. Remember when he was a Seraph?’
Hannah and Jegudiel took a moment to picture that, and sighed.
‘He was triumphant, yes’.
‘As expected of the one favoured by our Father’, Jegudiel affirmed.
‘I wouldn’t go as far as to say—’
‘Sister, I don’t see any resurrections in store for us if we die’.
Cas had cited them to an empty barn, and, for the Winchesters’ convenience, it had been in Iowa, just before their next hunt. They had been wondering about Cas, troubling themselves greatly. Sam was especially worried since Dean’s troubles with the Mark were not helping.
After they all had used some magic supplies to proof the barn to a ridiculous degree, with Cas even bringing up the weirdest sigils in the history of mankind, Sam and Dean turned their heads to Cas.
‘You have been avoiding us’.
‘I haven’t’, Cas said irritably.
“But you have”, Dean thought; “since you never answer your phone”.
‘Explain the Zadkiel thing’.
‘I don’t know what happened there’.
‘I don’t mean the date thing, I meant the other thing!’ Dean was exasperated.
‘Dean, Sam, I—’. He looked at their earnest faces. ‘I’m living on borrowed time. Again’, he said flatly.
‘Why didn’t you tell us! We could’ve helped!’ Sam cried.
‘You have done enough. Besides’, Cas smiled wryly, ‘considering your lives, I’ll be alive long after you die’.
‘Cas, we were under the impression it was only temporary and you’d get better, you piece of—’.
‘We have bigger fish to fry’, Cas interrupted as he set the contents of the rucksack he carried on the floor. Holy oil. Sam and Dean looked at each other. ‘Something is happening to the angels’, Cas confirmed unhappily.
“So Cas has noticed”, Sam noted.
‘I asked around, and Zadkiel was recruited by Jegudiel. Rumor says, Harut also’. He looked hurt at that. ‘I haven’t been able to confirm Samara, but it would be safe to assume the same’.
‘OK. So who’s Jegudiel?’
‘A Seraph. But she’s not important, since she’s taking orders from Hannah’.
‘Wait. Your groupie is turning against you?’
‘Dean, I do not understand that reference, nor is it the time for such things’, Cas chastised him. ‘We are going to summon Hannah’.
He got more things out of the rucksack and started, with Sam’s help, to prepare what looked like a highly complex ritual. Cas was smart.
Castiel lit a match and started to chant in Enochian. After a while, Hannah appeared. He dropped the match and Hannah, much to her surprise, was instantly surrounded by holy fire.
‘Castiel, what is the meaning of this?’
‘Explain what Jegudiel has been doing, Hannah’.
‘You found out about that?’
Cas just glared at her. Dean just looked fondly at Cas.
‘Of course he did, you dumb bitch!’
Hannah glared unhappily at Dean, and sighed.
‘It’s not a conspiracy’. Cas raised an eyebrow. ‘Jegudiel found in the Archives a spell to restore Heaven’.
‘Explain’, Castiel bit out, wrapping his hand tightly around the jar of holy oil he had just stopped himself from dousing Hannah with.
‘I thought it was worth a shot to explore all of our intelligence options while the Reconstruction was going on, so I gave orders that anything noteworthy may be presented to me. Jegudiel found a… Parchment, if you will’, nodding towards the humans, ‘alongside a ritual to undo what the Metatron did’.
‘What did it say?’
‘It said, basically, that an angel had to find a partner in all by doing all of the deeds detailed’.
‘And you decided, tacitly, unilaterally, that’d be me’.
‘Yes. Who else but the angel Castiel? It needed to be one of pure heart’.
Castiel chuckled, like it was a good joke.
‘I don’t know about pure’, he crossed his arms, ‘but you could have asked me for help. I would gladly have done so’.
‘Which is exactly what makes you pure’, Hannah noted.
‘So, Hannah’, Sam tried to get the conversation back on track, ‘what did the text say?’
‘Quote’, Cas ordered sharply. He was still clearly irritated at Hannah.
Hannah sighed but took out the tablet, reading something in a harsh tongue. Then, suddenly, she started a chant when Castiel prompted her, in the same language but softer, somehow. Castiel nodded along while Hannah was chanting, apparently trying to interpret something; it was probably the spell part of the ritual.
When the chant stopped, Dean started screaming.
‘What the hell—’
Castiel threw something over the circle of holy oil and Hannah crossed over it, and then put himself besides Sam, while the taller Winchester helped Dean stand. Dean looked very pale and was breathing harshly.
‘What happened to Dean!’
‘It’s strange…’, Castiel muttered at Dean’s side, feeling a tug on his Grace.
‘Wait, what is strange?’, asked Sam alarmed. Dean groaned, and blearily opened his eyes.
‘The taint on his soul has disappeared’. Hannah looked at Dean as if he was a particularly interesting puzzle.
‘Wait, that means—’, Dean nearly ripped his shirt off. There was no Mark. ‘Sammy. Sammy, Jesus, Sammy; I’m free!’
Castiel and Hannah rose from the Winchesters’ side, eerily synchronized. Wind entered through the cracks of the old wooden barn. Sam did not pay attention, for his brother was finally sound and safe, and a shaky smile was brought to his lips.
‘Dean, that’s great! I’m so glad! I told you we would overcome this!’.
Thunder rumbled outside, and heavy rain battered the leaky roof. As the wind picked up around them, Hannah and Castiel threw their heads back at the same time and gazed into the ether with their wide-open blue eyes. They extended their hands, and parts of the roof fell down to wind and rain and thunder. They seemed to be alight from within, the brightness rising until their forms were obscured by the celestial bright light, man and woman scorching the walls of the barn in astonishing wing patterns of their manifested power.
At last, the seemingly eternal but short storm passed, and they looked at Sam and Dean with unnatural gazes; resembling less their vessels so much as human-shaped eldritch beings. Hannah stood to one side, her eyes like firelights in the distance and so blue, and Castiel stood to the other, shimmering and with boundless eyes made of white blaze. His void-white gaze turned to the angel to his side, a small smile tugging his lips
His voice made the already unstable building shake, his throat blanketed invisible by the white-from-within. An easy smile formed on the severe face of the angel before him.
They turned to face the Winchesters completely in stiff moves, as if there was a big disconnect between mind and body. It was such a mirrored motion, at such a measured pace, it looked… Unearthly. They announced, joyously, for the hunters in front of them and angelkind to hear:
WE ARE WHOLE AGAIN.
The Winchesters doubled in pain, their ears bleeding, which immediately subsided as Hannah snapped her fingers.
‘This is amazing’, a delighted Hannah smiled. ‘But I don’t understand’.
Castiel walked, leaving scorched marks where his feet landed. His brightness, as well as Hannah’s lit-up eyes, had returned to bearable levels for human sight. He waved a hand and the broken circle of holy fire extinguished.
‘It appears our Father has more of a sense of humor than we thought, Hannah’. They all glanced perplexed at him, and Castiel turned his head to focus on them. He said, deadpan: ‘Congratulations, Dean. We are married’.
‘WHAT!’, shrieked Dean. Sam was speechless, while Hannah looked thoughtful. She looked inquiringly at the Seraph.
‘The spell’, Castiel elaborated, ‘requires the binding of an angel to a partner. In order to restore Heaven, they have to go through four steps of great sacrifice, as well as saying the incantation. They have to be pure of heart’, he nodded at Hannah at that, ‘which Dean, as the Righteous Man, covers’. Dean looked faintly ill. ‘Of course, the Mark of Cain was an intolerable taint on his soul, so I must deduce the spell removed it. I’m unsure how have we gone through these steps, though. Even if I think of our deeds, there doesn’t seem to be any particular order to it’.
‘That’s strange’, muttered Hannah. Sam looked at Dean incredulously. She scanned the tablet, as if making sure she had read it right, even holding the tablet closer to her eyes. ‘Oh’. Everybody gathered closer. ‘There is a footnote so small, it’s difficult to see’. Sam stepped to Hannah’s side. He couldn’t see anything. ‘It says the steps are a guide, they do not have to be in order’.
If silence could be deafening, this one could be described like that.
‘Shit. I’m really married’.
‘That you—I suppose’. Sam abstained of trying to console Dean.
‘This—not fair! I didn’t even get a bachelor party! With—with strippers, and sexy chicks doing things, and, and, and—not fair…’, he trailed off, sulking. Sam patted Dean’s shoulder silently. ‘Can I even get a divorce?’ Dean looked at Hannah significantly.
‘No, I’m afraid it’s a soul bond’.
‘Your “profound bond” just got literal, bro’.
‘Fuck this. Does this mean I’m the wife? Because I’m not the wife.’ He pointed at Cas. ‘Cas, you are the wife. Not me’. Castiel merely looked amused.
‘Actually, Iowa legalized same-sex marriage in 2009, so I would be the husband as well’.
‘How do you even know that!’
‘Dean, I can read newspapers’.
‘Whatever. I’ll just roll with this. What was the hunt again, Sam?’
“But really”, Dean thought while he packed his things, which were scattered around the barn from the wind, “it’s not like Cas can die”. Dean dying or his spouse dying (like what happened to his father), was something that made Dean stay awake at night, and which made him decide he would never, ever get married. And when he died, Cas could still see him in Heaven.
He thought about the unfathomable being getting a handle on his powers yet again, with his blue eyes behind the white-blaze sight, who was leaving a scorched floor in his every step… And maybe it wasn’t all bad. He couldn’t imagine Cas as his husband, as his partner, but they were friends. Good friends. He didn’t mean to say things out loud, but he was distracted and pondering.
‘You know, I think I could get used to the whole marriage thing’.
Sam threw his hands in the air, relieved.