Castiel has no mother. If one is being precise, he does not truly have a father either. God is beyond gender and while God created Castiel, parenting would be inaccurate description of what followed. Mother and Father were human constructs.
It was of little concern. An angel needed only orders, not care or guidance. He is a good soldier. He has siblings unending, who think much as he does. The world forms slowly, but steadily under God’s attention and his life unspools in easy obedience.
Sometimes Castiel drifts along the shores of the seething oceans and watches. He does not think this unusual though no one walks beside him as they would in Heaven. On one of these walks, a larger presence arrives. It shivers through the thin beam of energy that marks Castiel’s existence.
“And what will you take?” Asks Gabriel.
“Take?” Castiel repeats, confused. He owns nothing, needs nothing. Angels did not ‘take’.
“We are to be guardians of all the world, little one. What would you look after?”
The question confounds him. The world is distant beneath him and unreal.
“What have you chosen?” He asks searching for the first time, but not the last, for guidance.
“What do you want?” Gabriel’s question shifts, but does not relent.
Castiel has never wanted anything. The thought is new and difficult. He looks over the ocean and knows he could not ask for that immense expanse of water. He is small and unremarkable. How could he guard the ocean? Or the thick spread of sand? Surely he is not worthy of the creatures that might someday rise onto the land. Already, his siblings spoke of the Days that had come before and the ones that would follow forever.
The sun rises over the ocean and it’s orange light warms Castiel’s insubstantial self. Gabriel waits quietly next to him, reflecting back the incredible light.
“I like this.” Castiel decides. “This dawn of the Fifth Day.”
“Just dawn?” Gabriel seems amused, a thin trill of laughter humming over the beach. “You are humble, little one. But let’s take a little more shall we? You can be the angel of all fifth days.”
“I do not know-”
“It’s still not very much.” Gabriel assures him. “Now come closer and I will mark you as such for all to know.”
Castiel comes closer. He does not often commune with other angels. For the first time, he wonders if that is a bad thing. A wrong thing. He has never yet been wrong. No one has yet been wrong. Everything is still too new for sin.
“Castiel, as I am a messenger of God,” Gabriel intoned and then the beach shook with a sonic boom the likes of which the world had not yet heard before.
They say you see your life flash before your eyes when you die. That’s humans. Mortals with their whisper-thin slice of vision, their tiny perception of the vast unknowable world. Gabriel had lived too long to revisit his past as he lay dying. Instead, his mind travelled forward, secrets like salt soaked knots in his head finally unraveled.
The Winchesters would win. Gabriel mourned as Lucifer and Michael tumbled headlong into the pit just as he rejoiced in Kali’s triumphant song as they went. She watched it all, silent and terrible, from a safe distance. The other gods, the ones remaining, spilled back over the world.
He went further still, following a line that burned most brightly for him. He saw the coming of the new king of hell and Castiel’s losing war. He saw the failure and the attempts at redemption. He saw the Winchesters, bleeding and dying by degrees from the inside out. He saw the ascension of Sam and the diminishment of Dean. He saw Castiel, always Castiel and his terrible, inhuman mind.
Gabriel saw and he bled onto the cold floor and he lingered in the edges of a DVD. Time, he thought, was such a malleable thing. And he had just enough grace left to play one last trick. One last attempt at justice. One last chance to not die on a hotel floor as pointless as a third thumb and not nearly as funny.
Time travel was never pleasant even at the best of times. And he had to go back, almost to the very beginning. He pushed his consciousness to the limits, the last fleeting tatters of his grace fueling his last mission.
There is a thing on the beach. A curious peach and red and gold and white thing.
“What is it?” Castiel asks, reaching out a tendril of curiosity towards it. It answers, in a painful tiny way, as an angel would.
“It is me.” Gabriel says and he sounds surprised. “From many many years from now. Why would you come here?”
“Let me bestow the blessing to Castiel.” The old Gabriel in his limited form gasps. “Please.”
Castiel cannot imagine why anyone would travel backwards through time for this, but he knows that Gabriel is wise and must only have become wiser as time continues. He does not wait for the current Gabriel to object. Time passes too quickly and this older Gabriel reeks of ending.
“I would be honored.” Castiel says and approaches.
“As I am a messenger of God,” the old Gabriel says and his voice is not like an angel’s voice, but a tired worn thread of a thing. Yet God still must speak through him because it feels no less powerful than it had the first time the words were spoken, “I decree that Castiel is to be the angel of all Thursdays and of Dean Winchester.”
Then what had once been a form of Gabriel toppled to the white sand and was inhabited no more.
“What is a Dean Winchester?” Castiel asks the Gabriel that remains.
“I have no idea.” Gabriel hovers uncertainly around the body, eventually gathering it up and then dispersing it into dust among the sand. “We should not speak of this yet. Let me make inquiries.”
Castiel agrees. He never hears from Gabriel again. Two fathomless and long days (eons) pass, one of great excitement for the birth of all mankind, then another of perfect rest. And on the eighth day, the brightest, most gracious and true angel took up his sword against the Host of Heaven and the war began. They all have more important things to do than wonder about a time traveler dead on a forgotten beach.