The blistering hand print on Dean Winchester’s left shoulder was very small and not for the last time he wondered, as the small blonde figure in a yellow shirt (that Dean suspects is a pajama top judging my the pink sheep dancing all cross it) and half-zipped blue hoodie approached him, exactly how something so tiny could have held so much power.
“Who are you?!” Dean demanded down at the little girl after she's walked right through his and Bobby’s warding and a rain of salt rounds in her sparkly pink sneakers as if it were nothing.
“I'm the one who gripped you tight and raised you from perdition,” her soft flat voice answered back. She stared at him with fire in her eyes and Dean, for all that he towered over her, is slightly intimidated.
Then he tries to move, to stab her in the heart with his demon killing knife because no way is this really a little girl, but he can't. Dammit. She still fucking looks like a child- but fuck, Lilith looked like a child! Bobby sees him hesitate and moves to attack for him, having none of the same reservations. She reaches out and hand towards the older man absently. Without looking away from Dean she splays and hand on Bobby’s chest, and Bobby falls to the ground limp.
She introduces herself as Castiel, Angel of the Lord. When Dean of course calls bullshit Castiel looks up at him with disinterest as, lightning flashes outside the barn, somehow lighting up the space within, and on Castiel’s back great shadowy wings appear, stretching out across the ceiling and making the child seem somehow even smaller.
“Some angel you are.” Dean immediately lashes out standing straight to tower over the little figure even more. “You burned out that poor woman's eyes.”
“I warned her not to spy on my true form. It can be... overwhelming to humans, and so can my real voice. But you already knew that,” the supposed angel explains dismissively, attention taken over by observing the warding strewn on every inch of the barns surface.
“You mean the gas station and the motel. That was you talking?” Dean questioned incredulously. Castiel nodded, returning her attention to the man before her. “Sweetheart, next time, lower the volume.”
“That was my mistake. Certain people, special people, can perceive my true visage. I thought you would be one of them. I was wrong.” Castiel is new to her form, and unaware of the embarrassed expression that graced her face.
“And what visage are you in now, huh? What, Mini Miss Heaven? Seriously you look ridiculous.”
“This?” Castiel asked. Looking down at herself for the first time. “This is... a vessel.”
“Wait you're possessing some little girl?! Get the fuck out of her!” Dean barked, reached out to snatch Castiel’s wrist in his big hands as if to shake her out of her vessel, but stops short realize he has no way to actually do any such thing.
“Time was limited and she was more willing than her Father to listen.” Castiel said plainly, twisting herself out of his grip with ease. “She actually prayed for this.”
“Right. An eleven-year-old consented to this. Yeah, I'm not buying what you're selling, so who are you really?”
“I told you.” Castiel answered, frowning in frustration- oh, that's new- incapable of understanding why this man would doubt her. “See that's your problem.”
In The Beginning
She knew Dean's sleep was strained and full of terrors, and it took little prompting, just the slightest dip of the mattress as Castiel sat gently on the edge of his bed, to wake the tortured man.
“Hello, Dean. What were you dreaming about?” she asked, she's not sure why, and in hindsight she thinks she ought not have, when he snapped at her in answer.
“Fuck- what, your Dad never teach you it's creepy to watch people sleep-Jeez!” He sits up “What do you want Princess?”
Castiel gets straight to business, hoping to move past upsetting her charge as quickly as possible “Listen to me. You have to stop it.”
“Stop what?” he asks, but Castiel doesn't answer, she simply reaches forward, stretching her arm out in front of her, reaching across the large bed placing her fingers on Dean's chest sending him away in a flash.
Castiel has a problem, she knows. She’s admired Dean Winchester from the moment she saw the strength of will and the pure resilience of his shattering soul in the pits of Hell. She knows this isn't considered normal behavior for her kind, and that it's something she could very well lose her rank over, but there's something special about him that she likes nonetheless.
That's why it… disturbed something in her, watching him run around in circles as he tried to stop something he didn't know only truly ever happened because he tried to stop it. She watched in silence, and obediently waited in the shadows, anticipating the seconds the deed is done, and the lesson learned, so she may snatch Dean away from this trial of his heart.
The second Mary Campbell's lips seals the deal with Azazel, Castiel manifests herself behind Dean and grips his elbow in her hand in an odd attempt to comfort him. She hopes she's doing it right. He looks so hurt when he turns at her touch and every inch of her bottled grace screams at her to fix this! Protect him! Help him! She does the only thing she's allowed. She takes him home and prays to her Father she never has to hurt him again.
It will be the first of many unanswered prays she sends her Father's way
It’s The Great Pumpkin Sam Winchester
Uriel had better luck convincing his chosen vessels to consent, and as she and he stood in the Winchester’s motel room, Castiel refused to admit jealousy over his height advantage, or the neatness of his attire.
Of course height advantage is the least of her worries. They're about to wipe an entire town out of existence, and all the people in it if Dean Winchester doesn't order otherwise. She been feeling anxiety pooling in the pit of her borrowed stomach all morning, because she's afraid Dean might let it happen.
He and Sam arrive shortly after the two angels and the younger brother has his gun drawn instantly, on Castiel for only a second before he seems to dub her less of a threat and aims for Uriel instead. Dean shoves his way around Sam quickly, putting an end to his worries by informing him of who she is.
“Him, I don’t know.” Dean finishes, looking at Uriel, who back is still turned.
Sam is looking at Castiel though, and she is surprised to see what she thinks is wonder on the smiling face of Lucifer’s vessel. She would have expected him, not his brother, to be the non-believer. The fleeting thought of Lucifer’s luck if he ever escaped crossed her mind as she looked up and up and up at the man, before she shamefully banished it and greeted the man instead “Hello, Sam.”
“Oh my God- er- uh- I didn’t mean to- sorry.” He stampers in excitement, and joy, of meeting and angel. “It’s an honor, really, I-I’ve heard a lot about you.”
Sam stepped forward and held out his hand to Castiel. He sort of shakes his hand at her and this reminds her it's a form of polite greeting, so she places her hand in his and returns the gesture.
“And I, you. Sam Winchester, the boy with the demon blood. Glad to see you’ve ceased your extracurricular activities.” she nods in affirmation. There's an awkward silence, and perhaps those where not the correct worlds.
“Let’s keep it that way” Uriel says out of the blue, still not facing the mortals.
“Yeah, okay, Chuckles.” Dean rolls his eyes. “Who are you anyway? Another angel?” he gives Cassie an incredulous look. “So you could have spared the kid?”
“This the raising of Samhain, have you stopped it?” Castiel asks Dean instead of answering his questions, she isn't going to explain it to him again. Uriel has already said enough for everyone about the senselessness of such a vessel, as if he didn't already know.
“Not yet, why?”
They discuss the witch, the sixty-six seals, and the Winchester’s failing plan of actions. When Uriel has decided they’ve gone on for too long he interrupts, and Dean demands to know who he is.
“This is Uriel, he’s what you might call a… specialist,” she hesitates.
Uriel finally turns to face them all and walks toward them.
“What kind of specialist? What are you gonna do?” Dean ask
“You- uh, both of you- you need to leave this town immediately.” Just like with her last mission she tries to avoid answering by sending Dean away, only this time she can't simply transport him to “away”, she must have him go willingly, and it doesn't seem he will.
“Why?” he demands.
“Because we’re about to destroy it,” she says.
“So this is your plan, you’re gonna smite the whole friggin’ town?” He’s shouting. He's mad. She's disappointed The Righteous Man, and it hurts her more than it ought.
“We’re out of time. This witch has to die, the seal must be saved.” She reasons.
“There are a thousand people here!” Sam steps in.
“One thousand two hundred fourteen.”
“And you’re willing to kill them all?” oh, he's disappointed too. This at least does not bother her quite as much.
“This isn’t the first time I’ve… purified a city.” Uriel sounds proud. Personally Castiel would've very much prefer to preserve the beauty of her Father's creations, but she supposes like her sister that whipped out the dinosaurs, Uriel simply finds pleasure in a clean end.
“Look, I understand this is regrettable-”
“Regrettable? No, regrettable is the kidnapping of the little girl you're wearing, this is disgusting Cassie.”
“We have to hold the line. Too many seals have broken already.”
The boys argue more in the defense of the town and Castiel argues in the defense of the world. They don't care that Lucifer may escape, they remain more concerned with the here and now. The angel breathes a sigh of relief when she can finally consent to allowing the Winchesters a chance to save the town.
On the way to the high school, Sam questions what Dean meant by kidnapping, and Dean explained the angels need freaking vessels. That the girl's father “wouldn't put out” so Castiel just went for the little girl.
“They don't have a rule about kids? She couldn't just ask the girl's mom?” Sam asks, growing more and more disappointed in the angels with every passing minute. “Some angels they are.”
“I don't know man, she didn't explain. Believe me it freaks me out too, and if I could, I would do something.” Dean says.
“I mean I know you said she was young but, you didn't say it was a vessel. God what if she's awake in there?”
“Nah, I don't think that's how it works with them. But hey, at least it wasn't that asshat Uriel, that guy's got a huge stuck up his ass.” Dean tries to distract Sam from freaking out. The thought strikes Dean then that the Uriel they met today was wherein a meat suit too, and he voiced his worry to Sam about more angels descending and more people getting possessed. “At least the demons don't usually snatch kids.”
“What if more angels start coming down, and possessing more kids Dean?” Sam asks. “I mean if Castiel did it because it was easier, the rest might just start skipping asking adult.”
“Hey, don't worry Sam, we're gonna kick this witch's ass, save ourselves a seal, and show those feathered dicks we don't need ‘em!” Dean says with false confidence.
“Can I tell you something if you promise not to tell another soul?” Castiel asks as she sits on the park bench next to Dean. To the average onlooker they might appear to be a father and daughter in the midst of a serious discussion, and she can appreciate the half of that statement that is true, she very much wants to have this conversation with Dean, and explain herself in confidence were none of her family can judge or lash out.
“Okay.” Dean says, giving his permission for her to continue.
“I’m not a… hammer as you say. I have questions, I have doubts.” she wrings her hands together and wonders if this is a trait all her own, or something her vessel is doing. She holds her hands still between her knees nevertheless, refusing to show her anxiety. “I don’t know what is right and what is wrong anymore, whether you passed or failed here. But in the coming months you will have more decisions to make. I don’t envy the weight that’s on your shoulders, Dean. I truly don’t.” she looks out at the carefree children running around the playground, with not a weight in the world on their shoulders. She and Dean share a look, and Dean looks out to the kids himself. Before he can look back at her, draw more confessions from her borrowed mouth, she flies away.
Heaven And Hell
When Sam proposed the plan of getting both the demons and the angels to fight each other rather than themselves he thought he could handle the idea of Cassie getting her ass beat. When she went straight for Alastair- Fucking Alastair- placing her little hand on the junction were his collarbones met in what Dean guess was an attempts at an exorcism, any rational thought of sitting on the sideline went out the window. He was already searching for something- fucking anything- as Cassie lost the upper hand. Alastair flung her to the floor and was on top of her- sitting on top of her- he’s so much bigger then her- hand around her throat in the blink of the eyes when Dean spotted the crowbar just a foot away.
“Potestas inferna, me confirma.” Alastair was starting an exorcism of his own as Dean rushed to help the angel. “Potestas inferna, me confirma. Potestas inferma, me confirma-” Dean struck Alastair with a crowbar, but it did little more them distract him.
“Dean, Dean, Dean…” he mocked with his whistling voice, “I am so disappointed. You had such promise.”
Everything seems to happen at once. Alastair attacks Dean and Sam. Anna takes her grace from Uriel while he is killing the last of the lower demons. Anna breaks the pendant releasing her grace. White light Dean guess is her Grace flows into her, so much more that could have fit in the tiny vile and yet it seems to fill Anna up and then some.
“Shut your eyes!” Anna screams as her body begins to shine with the light of her grace. “Shut your eyes! Shut your eyes!”
Dean only sort of listens. He sees Cassie, still sprawled out on the dirty barn floor, staring at Anna and rather than releasing an angel's “true visage” can't burn the eyes out of another angel, he rushes forward. He covers her entire body with his, hides her face in his chest and turns his back to Anna as her body evaporated and Anna, now fully an angel again, disappears.
The clatter of Ruby’s knife falling to the floor as Alastair disappears shocks Dean from his panic, and he releases Cassie from his hold and stands up.
“Well, what are you guys waiting for?” Dean snaps when they do nothing but stare at him “Go get Anna. Unless, of course, you're scared.
“This isn't over.” Uriel says
“Oh, it looks over to me, junkless.” Dean snaps at the angel confidently.
“Thank you, Dean.” Cassie says, a hint of shame in the tone of her voice.
“Don’t think I ain't still pissed at you.” Dean barks, because she hasn't done anything to make up for coming after them and Anna, and he isn't going to let her think what she’s done is okay. Cassie gives him a small nod before following her brother.
On The Head Of A Pin
Castiel stands outside the door of the room she's forced Dean to enter, listens regretfully to Alastair's cries, grappling with her desire to stop Dean, and her need to follow her stupid orders. The light flickers, catching Castiel’s attention; a light bulb explodes. Castiel senses that it's Anna who has materialized behind her.
“Anna.” she says softly in way greeting.
“Hello, Castiel.” The voice is not one Castiel expect. It's far too young, far too similar to Castiel’s own. She turns to look at her fallen sister.
Anna’s new vessel is... surprising to say the least. It's clearly a recreation of her human body only younger. This new body is what Castiel knows Anna must have looked like at a younger age, with her red hair cut short, and a bit too much baby fat left on her cheeks. She’s even slightly younger than Castiel’s own vessel and it puzzles her.
“Surprising, I know. But I wasn't going to take another vessel, not ever again. I called in some old favors and… well let's just say my friend has a terrible sense of humor, a he's heard all about you. “The littlest Angel that could” he called you.”
“You're a child.” Castiel states venomously, as if Anna ought to be more upset. At least Castiel’s vessel is wearing pants and proper running shoes (regardless of the damned sparkles). Anna's been given a frilly skirt that barely passes her knees and a pair of ballet flats. Castiel pities the image to two of them make. Two of God's soldiers, feared by all and greater in size than most man made objects, capable of destroying hordes of lesser demons and monsters alike with but a flip of their wrists, reduced to wearing children and frills and sparkles. Castiel would not be afraid of them.
“It was a fair enough trade,” Anna shrugged. “My own body back, no other soul inside. I can deal with being nine again. For now.”
Alastair’s voice suddenly raises from the other room, disrupting their conversation for only a moment.
“You shouldn't be here.” Castiel feels obligated by their past, and there shared situation, to give her sister a chance to run. “We still have orders to kill you.”
“Somehow I don't think you'll try. Where's Uriel?”
“He went to receive revelation.” Castiel answers.
“Right.” Anna sounds disbelieving. “Why are you letting Dean do this?”
“He's doing God's work.”
“Torturing? That's God's work? Stop him, Cas, please. Before you ruin the one real weapon you have.” Her voice raises even higher, Cas doesn't think even she could raise her vessels voice like that. But still, she voices all the thoughts Castiel is afraid to think.
Anna worries for her sister, and tries to plant the seeds of doubt in her brain, unaware another already has, to teach her to question things, think for herself. Cas doesn't want to listen, she still fears the wrath of Heaven, and calls it faith in their Father. She refuses to face Anna, turning her back whenever Anna walks around to look her in the eyes. She takes a calming breath before she speaks again, now in a lower voice
“These orders are wrong and you know it.” Cas has to know it, Anna can see the way her sister’s head turns ever so slightly at every mangled sound Dean forces from the demon as if she can’t stop herself from listen, ready to barge in and take the knives from Dean’s hands any second now. Anna places a hand on her little sister’s, in a show of comfort and solidarity. “But you can do the right thing. You're afraid, Cas. I was too. But together, we can still-”
“Together?” Cas’ voice rinses an octave in her offence. She yanks her hand free of Anna.
“I am nothing like you-” she pauses, then she amends, “You fell. Go!”
“Go.” Castiel turns her back on Anna once more, and her sister vanishes, leaving her alone to listen to Alastair’s screaming.
“Anna. Anna, please.” Castiel calls in desperation. The streetlight high above her flickers. She looks up, then turns around at the merciful flutter of wings.
“Decided to kill me after all?” Anna is no longer in her frilly skirt, but a dark grey t-shirt, jeans, and a pair of tennis shoes- which Castiel notes with a bit of chagrin, do not sparkle. At least Castiel’s is taller she notes, a small point of pride.
“I'm alone.” Castiel says even though Anna must know Castiel means her no harm, or else she'd wouldn't have shown up.
“What do you want from me, Castiel?”
“I'm considering disobedience.”
Anna nods “Good.”
“No, it isn't.” Castiel's voice raises an octave, like it seems to always do when she feels frustration. Anna should have more of a reaction than she did. Disobedience is no small matter. “For the first time, I feel…”
“It gets worse.” Anna tells her matter-of-factly. “Choosing your own course of action is confusing, terrifying.” Anna once again puts her hand on Castiel’s arm in comfort. Cas only stares at her hand and so Anna let's it drop. “That's right. You're too good for my help. I'm just trash. A walking blasphemy.” Anna turns to walk away.
“Anna…” her voice rises again, and as she continues, she has to fight to keep it even. “I don't know what to do. Please tell me what to do.”
Her sister's voice is so small, and Anna doesn't know how much of it is simply the vessel, but Anna turns back. “Like the old days? No. I'm sorry. It's time to think for yourself.”
That's all she can really do, tell Cas there's another way and hope she takes it.
Castiel returns to the place where they'd been holding Alastair prisoner to examines the devil's trap once again. It's a small act of… not defiance, she doesn't think. However, returning to examine her’s and her brother’s failure, when it's a given she ought to return to the Host now that her task is done, is as close to disobedience as she's willing to tread. She notices the dripping faucet, leaking onto and farther destroying her carefully drawing devil's trap. She shuts it off with little more then a thought.
“You called?” Uriel says, entering the room with a small gust of wind that his large wings can't help but make in the small room. “What do you say, Castiel? Will you join me? Will you fight with me?”
“Strange.” Castiel doesn't turn to face her brother, but points at the pipe instead. “Strange how a leaky pipe can undo the work of angels when we ourselves are supposed to be the agents of fate.”
“Alastair was much more powerful than we had imagined.” Uriel tries to excuse. Castiel does turn around now.
“No. No demon can overpower that trap. I made it myself,” She denies. “We've been friends for a long time, Uriel. Fought by each other's sides, served together away from home, for what seems like forever. We're siblings, Uriel. Pay me that respect. Tell me the truth.”
“The truth is, the only thing that can kill an angel…” A sword slides out of Uriel's sleeve into his grasp. “Is another angel.”
Uriel speaks of an even greater blasphemy then Anna does. He speaks lowly of Father, and praises Lucifer’s rebellion. He attempts to insight her to join him. He tells her to be unafraid, and that's when Castiel knows. Anna has rebelled, fallen. Castiel feels she alone knows to full extent of defiance, of free will, and she said it was frightening. If Uriel means her to be unafraid, he means her to be mindless, just a soldier for a different cause. Well if she is going to rebel for anything it would most certainly be the humans every other angles seems perfectly willing to speak blasphemy about. Every other but Anna.
Castiel watches her brother as she measures the risks of denying him. “For the first time in a long time... I am.” she says.
Uriel smiles proudly, letting his guard down. Castiel snatches the opportunity and punches low in his vessels stomach, sending him through a wall several feet away. Uriel gets up quickly. They fight, and for all that Uriel is bigger, and his vessel should be stronger, Castiel has little trouble avoiding his grasp and ducking under and around to kick him or trip him thanks to her vessel’s smaller size. She does well to avoid injury until Uriel strike her in the head with a metal bar.
“You can't win, Uriel. I still serve God.” She’s on her knees and Uriel has her by the hair, blood is running down her head, and dripping into one eye, but she doesn’t blink, doesn't stop looking Uriel in the eyes. She refuses to be afraid.
“You haven't even met the man. There is no will. No wrath. No God!” Between each phrase Uriel punches her and it hurts. On the last word, just as he's raising his fist to strike her again, and blade appears through his belly.
“Maybe. Or maybe not. But there's still me.” Anna says coldly, pulling out the blade as Uriel collapses. Anna steps around him and helped Cas to her feet.
Uriel screams as white light flares from his vessel’s eyes and mouth.
Castiel looks to Anna once Uriel’s grace has burned out his vessel and his wings have scorched the cement on which he lay. She realizes that Anna is the first person she has met here on Earth who she has been able to look directly in the eyes and she thinks to herself We are the same.
But Anna has disobeyed. Anna has fallen. They can't the same.
But Anna saved her. Anna loves her. They are sisters if nothing else, and that's more than she can say for Uriel.
The Monster At The End Of This Book
Dean has been having a very shity day, what with getting hit but a car, having his own car broken into and now his brother’s supposed to have sex with a freaking demon!? He is abso-fucking-lutely done with this Chuck Shurley guy, and if the dude ain't gonna fix anything, dean’s damn well gonna let him know how pissed he is.
“Dean, let him go.” Cassie appears, out of freaking nowhere as usual and Dean rolls his eyes. “This man is to be protected.”
Dean only actual lets go so he can turn to look as Cassie, not because he’s suddenly going to start doing what she says. “Why?”
“He’s a prophet of the Lord.” she says like it should be obvious, and he's just being dense.
no, seriously, what?
“This guy, a prophet? Come on, he's- he's... he's practically a Penthouse Forum writer.” Dean turns to apparent prophet. “Did you know about this?”
Chuck has stumbled over to his armchair; he cracked open a fresh bottle of whisky and poured himself some, “I, uh, I might have dreamt about it.” He says hesitantly, fearing another outburst from Dean.
“And you didn't tell us?!” and yet there it was.
“It was too preposterous!” Chuck defends. “Not to mention arrogant. I mean, writing yourself into the story is one thing, but as a prophet? That's like M. Night-level douchiness…. Who’s she by the way?” he says half curious, because he feels he ought to know being a prophet and all, and half just to distract Dean.
“What you mean you don't know who this is? It’s Cassie. The angel. Raised me from perdition?” Dean says, way too pissed to be explain things that the prophet should already know. What? Was Cassie somehow not good enough to make it into the books?
“That’s Castiel?!” Chuck looks horrified. “No no no. That’s not right! That’s not what I wrote! That can't be Castiel!”
Cas looks up from the copy of one of the Supernatural books she was skimming through. “What do you mean?”
“I mean I wrote you- your vessel, he's supposed to me a man, in a suit, long trench coat- not a- not a grade schooler in her pajamas!”
“The man you are describing is likely the father of this vessel.” Dean notes that she doesn't bother with the whole “he wouldn't consent and there was little time” shpeel. She’s probably tired of justifying being in the body of a child.
“Wait so what you're saying is you were wrong about something?!” Dean says, suddenly filled with, well he wouldn’t call it hope (he has no delusions about ever feeling that again) but he definitely likes where this is going.
“Yeah, I mean- I guess?!” Chuck shrugged. “I don't know how any of this works, man!”
“Well this is good then, right? It means we can do something about Sam and his deal with Lilith.”
“That’s impossible.” Cassie denies, flipping through another book, Dean assumes looking for a description of herself- of what should be herself- wait, himself? Fuck- was she- he- yeah, no problem for another time Dean.
“Hey you're the one that broke the prophecy first,” Dean accuses. “I’m just suggesting we do it again.”
Truth be told, Cas is terrified at the idea that she disobey a prophecy, even more afraid that she broke it like Dean said. Prophecies are the word of God, the last thing her and her sibling have of their Father and they have been following his word like bugs to firelight for thousands of years. What will they do if they find out what she’s done? What would they do to her when they found out? What would they do if they found out she was contemplating doing it again just because Dean wants her to?
She wouldn't admit it if asks, but when Dean leaves the Prophet's house, Cas hides. She flies and she finds one of the deepest crack in Europa, a moon of jupiter, which she’d found once long ago, and she suppresses her grace as best she can, hoping none find her. Of course Cas is a thinker, and she’s barely down there for an hour, listening to her quiet song echo off the canyon's walls, and watching the stars drift by so high above no human eye would see it, before she begins to think about what Anna had said, about how much of her orders were really coming from her Father, then about Uriel's own deceptions.
None of her siblings had seen or heard from Father in… in forever! The Archangels were the only ones who knew his true face, his true voice. Who was to say they weren't the ones giving order and passing it off as Father? If angels as low in the chain as she, or Uriel, or even Anna were capable of disobedience, and of course if Lucifer was capable, who’s to say angels as high as Zachariah or even… even Michael weren’t?
Castiel decides then that she couldn’t have broken the prophecy, because it wasn't what should have been written, and if it shouldn't have been written… well then how much of everything that was happening was truly written? Most angels hate humanity! They may not have gone against their Father vocally, especially after they watched how He struck down Lucifer and his followers, but she knows there are only a rare few who ever liked the little mortals. What if those in the highest Circles- what if Michael and Raphael were orchestrating everything in the attempt to- no. Even that was going too far, it had to be someone else.
But clearly something was going on, some one had to be sending false prophecies to Chuck Shurley. Castiel decides she couldn't have broken a prophecy, because for whatever reason, the visions of her vessel that the prophet was seeing simply weren't real. Of course that didn't mean when whoever wrote the false prophecy found out she didn't follow it, she would get accused, still, of breaking it.
She’s still deciding, much later, whether to remain on Europa for a little long, just as a precaution, or to take some other, more drastic course of action when she hears Dean praying and her decision is made. Action it is.
“Well,” and she’s already flying through space, millions of miles in less than nanoseconds, “I feel stupid doing this. But... I am fresh out of options. So please. I need some help. I'm praying, okay? Come on. Please.”
Dean's flashlight beam lands on a symbol painted in blood on the wall of the warehouse that Cassie has sent them too. The symbol is the same one used to banish angels, and the blood is still fresh enough to shine under the light.
“Check it out. Look familiar?” Dean calls for his brother’s attention.
“Yeah, it does... So, what? Cas was fighting angels?”
“I dunno.” Dean's flashlight finds Cassie then, laid out among the rubble, and dwarfed by the chunks of cement wall and metal grates she was one small avalanche away from being buried under. “Sam, hey. Look.”
Dean hurried over to kneel by the small angel, calling “Cassie? Hey, Cassie?”
She finally lets out a small groan as she opens her eyes and immediately tries to sit up.
“Just take it easy. Take it easy.” Dean insists, helping to keep her propped up with a hand on her back.
“Uh oh...” Cassie murmured as she spots Dean next to her.
“Cas, you okay?” Sam asks.
“Uh, no... I'm not, I’m not Castiel,” says the very human girl sitting in front them. “I'm Claire.”
“You're Claire? The Vessel?” Sam asks, completely taken aback.
“Yeah.” she nods her head, cautions of the two strangers, before recognition shines in her eyes.
“Alright, well I'm Sam, and this is my brother Dean, we're friends with Cas.”
“I know that… sort of.” Claire says.
“Hey, how about we get out of here? You hungry maybe?” Dean suggests, coming out of the trance that seeing Claire and not Cassie had shocked him into. Now he was more worried about the child who was definitely lost and probably going to freak out on them at some point.
Food turns out to be a good call, because Claire eats two huge cheese burgers with everything on them, and drinks down half of her large soda before the boys have managed to get there own burgers out of the bag. They're all back at the motel room now and Claire, while she hasn't really said much- just asked where they were and if they could go to White Castle (they couldn't, there wasn't one on the way back, but she's seems perfect okay with where they did end up in any case)- didn't seems as afraid as the brother thought a child should in this situation.
“So… Claire.” Sam starts, while Claire is taking another long sip of her soda. “Do you think you could tell us what happened back at the warehouse? Do you know what happened to Cas?”
Claire swallows “No, I'm sorry. All I remember was saying yes to Castiel and then I woke up in the warehouse. I mean there’re flashes but it's all trivial, like your faces, and her oppinion of my clothes, but …”
“There isn't anything important you remember, anything at all, even if you don't think it matters, it could help up.”
Claire glances back and forth between the two of them before she set her drink back on the table. She clasps her hands and rubs her knuckles, up and down, harshly in the edge of the table. Her face is a mask of concentration as she works to remember anything from her time as Castiel’s vessel. “No, I'm sorry.” she says at least.
Dean doesn't stop her when she reaches into the bag, and takes his burger for herself. “So you don't know what's happened to Cas? Why she left.”
“Nope, but she can't have wanted to leave.”
“How do you know that?” Sam says.
“She promised when she was done with her mission on Earth she would take me home. She wouldn't have left me like that.” Claire shakes her head.
Her mom and dad had been fighting for a week now, in hushed voices at night when they though she couldn't hear. Daddy says he was hearing angels, and Claire didn't understand why her mother was so disbelieving. Her mom was a Christian, and always told Claire God was watching over her, so why couldn't angels be talking to them? Sure, it had been millennia since the last known accounts, but it wasn't impossible.
Admittedly, Claire might not have believed her dad if she hadn't been home, up her room doing homework, the night an angel asked her father to prove his faith. She'd heard the whispers in her souls, saying It would perform a miracle if he did as It said. Claire had crept down stair, desperately hoping to see the angel for herself, even though something told her the angel wasn't truly inside of their house. She found her dad in the kitchen, their half prepared dinner forgotten has all his attention was on his arm, submerged in a pot of boiling water all the way up to his elbow.
“Daddy?” Claire squeaked in alarm from the doorway, forgetting about the angel instantly.
Her dad had looked up at her, surprised, and snatched his hand out of the water, showing her. “No, it's okay Claire, see?” He’d said with joy, his arm perfectly fine, not red, not blistering, nothing.
“Is that what the angel told you to do?” Claire asks in a whisper.
Her dad's brow furrows “You heard him too?”
“I did.” she nods eagerly. “Is he still here?” She asks, she wants to see the angel so badly, she has so many questions, so many things to say. She just want to see It!
There's a ringing suddenly, that sounds to come from everywhere and nowhere that Claire and her dad both understand with clarity to mean “Yes, I still watch over you. Would you like to test your faith as well?”
Claire had looked to her dad, who smiled, and placed his hand back in the water. Claire walked over slowly, nervous now, because of course they both heard the angel, she couldn't be crazy, but still.
She was rolling up her sleeve to keep it dry when her mother came in.
Dean’s heart does a weird kind of skip at that. Of course he always had a thought of the little girl Cassie was walking around in every time he saw her, but he hadn't thought about her family, and how worried they might be, for months now. And of course Claire was probably going want to go home too.
Dean was all for taking Claire home, and he and Sam a very heated debate about it outside the motel room, while Claire has moved to watching TV inside. Sam wins of course when he tells Dean that just because they believe that Claire doesn’t remember anything doesn’t mean that a demon would, and that if any demon finds out an empty vessel- especially a kid- is wandering around without protection, she and her whole family will be screwed. When they tell as much to Claire she deflates even more, already looking very wilted after the eventful day she’s had. But then she lifts herself up and tells them resolutely that she understands, and that she sort of figured as much anyway. She asks what they’re going to do now.
“We were thinking of going to our friend Bobby’s place, for now.” Dean tells her. “It’s the safest place we know, and it’s warded against everything.”
“Even angels?” Claire asks worriedly.
“Uh, no. We’re still working on that one.” Dean says regretfully. Neither of the brothers quite realizing Claire is relieved, not worried, to know the angels could find them where they're going.
Claire is very quiet about it that night, but she still thinks the brothers heard her crying. She doesn’t regret what she did of course, she loves being blessed and playing her part in the grand scheme of things. The night she’d jumped from the window though, and consented, she hadn't expected to wake up in the middle of a battlefield with two strange men, she hadn't expected to wake up until it was over. She knows she can't, and she won’t ask, but she wants to go home… or else she wants Castiel back.
Having an angel inside her, it was the most incredible thing. She told Sam and Dean the truth when she said she didn't remember anything that was happening in the real world, but insider her head, oh, everything was happening. Her soul was lit up from the inside out and Claire knew everything there ever was to know. Now it’s gone. Just on the edge of her memory, but impossible to grasp. She wants it back because she feels so empty. She feels lonely.
Claire was a lot more talkative the next morning, once they’d gotten some food in them, and some shopping done for Claire. She'd been going on about every little thing, not letting the silence last, but at least not talking a million miles an hour, and letting the boys cut in if they had something say, Dean was grateful.
“You know,” Claire says in the back seat of the Impala as she pulls her hair up into a high ponytail, “of all the things for an angel to hate, you wouldn't think pink sparkly tennis shoes would be worth the effort, but if you guy could have heard her. Well I don't think she actually hated them I just think she felt kinda silly compared to her brothers and sisters. You think she’ll like these better?” Claire kicks one foot up onto the back of the Impala’s front seat to show off her new grey high tops she'd bought that morning at Wal-mart, along with other shoes, and laughing when she makes Sam jump.
“Hey feet off the seat,” Dean warns. “And I thought you didn't remember anything Cassie knew?”
“I don’t. It was just one of those impression that filtered through.” Claire shrugs. “That's why I picked this dumb outfit out, I figured she’s like it.” Claire didn't exactly know what “professional” looked like, besides the suits her dad wore, and really neither did Castiel but the angel and vessel did know how how the other angel’s vessels tended to dress. Claire had tried, with the minimal options offered at Wal-Mart, to mimic that with a pair of blue jeans so dark they were practically black, a light blue button down which she had actually bothered to tuck into her pants, and of course the new shoes.
“Wait, are you going to say “yes” again if Cas comes back?” Sam turns around in his seat, realizing what Claire meant.
“Well, yeah. I mean it’s either me, or someone else, and I’m already here. I have nothing to loose, you know? Besides, that’s only even if Cassie comes back and if she asks me. She could ask anyone in the bloodline. She certainly wants a taller vessel, I can tell you that.”
“Wait, what bloodline?” Sam asks.
“That’s how vessels work. Our bloodlines are blessed. We can talk to angels, see them and they can possess us without burning us up, like it would with a regular person.”
“I thought you said you didn't learn anything from being possessed.” Dean accuses.
“I learned that before!” shouts in her defense. “When Cassie was trying to get my dad as a vessel, I sometimes overheard! Besides, it's hard to remember things when people are pressuring you! It's not like I'm doing it on purpose!”
She prayed to the angle for a week, and begged him to come back. She promised she was faithful, that she would do anything the angel asked, if he would just come back and show himself to her mom, so that the fighting would stop. So the accusations would stop.
Claire tried to tell her mom the next day, when she thought everything had cooled down, that it was all real because she'd heard it too. Her mom hadn't listened, only told her that her father was sick, and that no, Claire, you didn't hear anything. That she couldn't trust her father, because he was confused.
When she tried to talk to her dad instead, he apologizes to her. He told her he was wrong to ask her to do what the angel said, that she could have gotten hurt and he was sorry. He told her that if the angel asks her to do something, she shouldn't do it. It upset her to hear her dad say something like that about an angle of the Lord. She's grateful though that he doesn't try to tell her it wasn't real, but she knows she would do whatever she was asked.
She hears Castiel speaking to her dad throughout the week, even has he resolutely ignores her prayers. She hears him tell her dad he's been chosen. He tells her dad that it's in his blood, his father blood. He tells her father he's been chosen for a higher purpose, if he's willing to answer the call. Claire does not ask her father why it sounds as if the angel is begging him to listen now, but she thinks her dad is scared to lose her mom, or that her mom will take Claire way. Claire would understand if her father did whatever the angle needed. Claire would be willing if she was asked.
But Castiel does not speak to her. Claire prays anyway. She promises she's a good person, promises she's faithful. She asks the angels to come. Castiel does not come.
Until she does...
“Oh… right. Sorry.” Dean's gaze focuses harder on the road.
“You know Cas might not come back all that soon.” Sam tells Claire, his expression apologetic.
Of course she knows that, it doesn't mean he has to say it. Claire doesn't answer, and goes quiet for a while after that, staring at the window as they pass through field after field of different kinds of crops. What will she do if Castiel never comes back?
She can't go back to a normal life- at least not until the apocalypse is averted. How was she going to be expected to sit in a classroom and learn basic math while the soldiers of God walked the earth battling back the forces of Hell, and she was promised to be on the front lines? How could she be expected to, what? She didn't even know any of the people she was with were like. Would they let her help in the ways she could, like she wanted, or would they push her way, encourage her to do “normal things”? Honestly she had just as much a blood right to be involved in everything as The Righteous Man, and she would fight tooth and nail if they expected her to not get involved.
Claire spins around with a shriek and backs away from little girl that’s just popped up in the seat next to her. Dean jerks the wheel, he and Sam turn around to find a redheaded ten-year-old in the back seat.
“Smooth.” says the girl sarcastically, plainly unimpressed with all of their reactions.
“And who are you?” Dean asks, though he thinks he knows.
“I’m Anna.” the child answers with more than a hint of irritation, and yup. That just great Dean thinks, more kids getting mixed up with angels. “And before you say anything, this isn't a vessel. My friend just isn't funny.”
“Oh good. That makes since. Hey, you ever try calling ahead?” Dean barrels on, not really interested in how that couldn't possibly be a vessel.
“I like the element of surprise.” She turns away from Dean, giving the other brother the same sort of boring-into-your-soul look that Castiel has sometimes given them. “Sam. You seem different.”
“Me? What about you, you're-” he instantly tries to deflect.
“Approximately ten, yes. That's not important,” Anna gives Sam another meaningful look then she looks at Claire. “Do you remember anything? Cas has something important she needed to tell us.”
Claire shakes her head, recovered from her fright at realizing this was an angel, one of Cassie’s sisters. “No, I’m sorry.”
“What's going on?” Dean calls into the back seat. If even Anna is willing to come out of hiding because of what Cassie knew, then they’ve got to be in trouble.
“I don't know everything. But I know Cas got sent back home. Well, more like dragged back.”
“Yeah, we've figured that much out ourselves.”
“Is that really a bad thing? To have to go back to heaven?” Claire asks the angel, understandably more confused, as Anna was only the second angel she'd ever met.
“For an angel yes, the way it must have happened.” Anna tells her vaguely. “It's a very bad thing. Painfully, awfully bad. She must have seriously pissed someone off.”
“It's gotta have something to do with whatever she wanted to tell Dean then doesn't it?” Sam said.
“Yes. Are you sure you remember nothing?” Anna turns back to Claire.
“Yeah, it's all just lights and sounds. None of it make any since,” the girl shrugs regretfully.
“Dammit.” Anna hisses, kicking her short leg into the back of Dean's seat, ignoring his protest. “Look I’m gonna- I don't know, I'm gonna see if I can't find anyone who’s safe to talk to, who’s talked to Cas in the past few days. You guys watch her,” she nods her head towards Claire. “Do not let anything happen to her.”
“That was the plan!” Dean shouts sarcastically at nothing. “Freaking angels!”
The next time they stop to fill the tank, while Dean fills the tank with gas and Sam goes inside you use the bathroom, Claire gets to use the laptop and the free wifi from the sub shop attached to the gas station, to look up the best rout to Sioux Falls from where they are, because none of their paper maps- who even uses paper maps anymore anyway- didn't have any routs from their current location. Once she’d gotten the route pulled up she look out the window to check that Dean isn't watching. She debated with herself for only a second before deciding it can't really do that much harm, and pulls up another tab. She types quickly, but hesitates again with her finger right over the Enter button. When she does finally hit the button, she clicks the first link, which reads Pontiac, Illinois missing persons reports.
Her name and face are there among countless others. The page gives a basic description of her, her hair and eye color, her height, and what she was last seen wearing (it says jeans and a purple T-shirt, so she guesses her parents hadn't even realized she'd go to bed that night). She clicks over to the News section, and looks through all the links, until she gets to the third page and finally finds one about herself.
“Dean!” Claire shouts, hurriedly tossing the laptop onto the the seat and fighting the seat belt to free herself.
“Jesus, Claire what is it?!” Dean takes a step back as Claire pops out of the back seat, almost hitting him with the door.
“You have to take me Pontiac, I have to talk to my mom!”
“What are you talking about? You know we can't do that.”
“No you don't understand, okay my mom isn't part of the bloodline, so of course she doesn't think an angel was talking to me- or, well, really my dad! But he kept trying to tell her and she was trying to get him to take pills cause she thinks he's crazy! But basically the police thought my dad might have killed me at first “because the angels were telling him to” or something and he's not a suspect now, but he's in a psych clinic and we gotta tell my mom to sign home out or something!” Claire rushes out in a single breath.
“How'd you know all that?” Dean asks.
“I googled myself, duh. Okay, so can we go?”
“Let's wait for Sam.” Dean says, because Hell yes does he want to get this girl back to her family, even if just for a little while, but it's still not the smartest idea and Sam will kill him if he goes making promises he can't keep.
When Sam does gets back to the car, and they propose their idea, he shuts it down immediately, saying it was still safest if they stayed away. “Your parents might be a little, well, upset’s not the right word. But no one's going to bother your mom if they think your dad's a vessel, and you dad's being watch twenty-four seven. People would know immediately if anything happened to him.”
“People don't believe crazy people Sam. If they wanted, as long as the demons leave her dad in the ward they can do whatever they want! And, you know what? Anna wasn't exactly all that safe herself!” Dean argues smugly. “They found her out and I bet you anything they started watching out for angel talk among the crazies. I mean a guy comes in claiming an angel was talking to him and took his daughter, wouldn't you want to know more? It's not a big leap from “angel took a little girl” to “father of the vessel of Castiel”.”
"Okay. Well what are we gonna do, we can't just take Claire home and say “Hey it's okay your husband was right, but Claire can't stay it's still not safe- oh and hey can you sign Jimmy out or something?” They're gonna think we're the kidnappers Dean. We're supposed to be dead, we can't get back on that radar!” Sam shoots back.
“Okay then we just straight up bust the guy out Sam.” Dean retorts, getting nervous about arguing with Claire in the back seat. He glances cautiously back at her through the rearview mirror, but she only seems to be looking at them with hope.
“And where's he gonna go, huh Dean? He can't go back to his wife, she still thinks he's nuts. He runs his cards and they'll find him quick. He'll be in twice as much trouble.”
“So we get him a fake ID.”
“Yeah? What, a whole new life without his wife and daughter?” Sam's practically sneering, he can't even look at Dean right now, so he turns to glare out the window. “This is so fucked up. He barely talked to an angel and his whole life is ripped from under his feet.”
“Can't he come stay with me at your friend's house? You said it was safe.” Claire offers hopefully.
Sam sighs, thinking about the the conversation he and Dean had had the night before. They used to save families, not rip them apart. He still doesn't think it's a good idea, in fact he knows it'll all go to Hell in a hand basket real quick. But... he really doesn't want to turn around and tell Claire no, when she's willing to give up her very existence for Castiel’s sake, and all she's really asking in return is to break out one person from a locked ward. Really it can't be that hard can't it?
They arrive in Pontiac late that night, even after having driven straight there with few stops, and check into a motel before doing anything else. They get two rooms right next to each other with a door that joins them via the shared wall, so that Claire can have her own room tonight and neither brother has to feel like a creep, but they can still easily get to her if anything happens.
Claire’s nerves start to coil in her stomach almost as soon as they get there, she keeps thinking of all the things that could go wrong when they try to break her dad out of the hospital, she couldn't help it. There could be demons there, surrounding her dad, making it impossible to save him. They could be torturing him too! Or maybe Sam and Dean would get found out by security, and get arrested. What if the cops found Claire, and they did get in trouble for being kidnappers? Or what if their information was bad? What if her dad had been asked for consent by another angel, and he'd said yes so he could find her!? Oh, that one made her want to throw up a little.
She ended up in her half of the rooms watching, or rather mindlessly staring at, the TV for a good portion of an hour before she could get her thoughts to quiet even a little. When she realized cartoons weren't helping, and she didn't want be alone, she walked back through the shared door. There she found Dean passed out on one of the beds, fully clothed and snoring into his pillow, and Sam sitting at the table, reading something from his laptop.
“Hey Sam, can we order pizza or something?” she asks when the younger Winchester doesn't look up at her entrance.
His head does jerk up then. “Dean went to a diner or something earlier. I think he got you chicken strips, they should be in there.” he tells her, pointing towards the mini fridge.
Claire pulls the Styrofoam to-go box out of the fridge and sits down at the table next to Sam to eat them cold. “He must be really tired to fall asleep so fast.” Claire notes quietly, looking at Dean.
“Yeah, he hasn't slept into last couple of days, between worrying about what Cas needs to tell us, and where she's gone, and what all we have to do for you- that's not to say we have any problem helping you.” Sam amends quickly. “He just gets so caught up in what he's doing and then he totally crashes.”
“Aren't you tired?” she asks, nibbling in a rather bland chicken strip. They’re not very good cold. “I am, but I don't think I can sleep.”
“Yeah I'm getting there, but I'll have all day to sleep once I find the most current floor plan for your dad's hospital. Right now I have no idea where the psych ward is, and the place is kind big.”
“He’s still there right?” Claire blurts.
Sam raises an eyebrow, not understanding why she thought he wouldn’t be. “Uh, yeah, he's definitely still there. There was an update on his profile from a therapist this afternoon.”
“What did it say?” Claire asks on impulse, unable to quell her curiosity.
Sam laughs. “I don't know. Didn't read it, it's kinda private.” He chided lightly.
“Do you think it's gonna be hard?” Claire asks, back pedaling. “To break him out I mean?”
Her mother and father are in the living room, and her mom is trying to get her dad to take some kind of medication. Claire’s laying in bed, and she's left her door open, just a crack, so she could hear the conversation her parents are having.
“You almost let our daughter stick her hand in a pot of boiling water for Christ's sake Jimmy!” Amelia shouts. Claire listens with her heart hammering, still praying in the back of her head for the angel to come, while she strains to hear what her parents say next.
“I wasn't making her Amelia. The angel offered, Claire wanted to prove herself faithful. She would have been just as fine as I was.” Jimmy argues in a calm voice.
“She didn't hear anything Jimmy, you're- you have a skewed sense of reality and you're projecting you delusions onto her.” Amelia states what is clearly a rehearsed line, but one she believes wholeheartedly.
“Amelia, I'm not-”
“Take the pills Jimmy. Take them or-or I'm going to take Claire and leave.”
Jimmy relents, only for Claire’s sake and the guilt he feels for having endangered her, though his daughter doesn't know it. Jimmy doesn't know that in doing so, while he still believes that an angel is talking to him, that in taking the pills rather than fight for his faith, Castiel believes he is retracting his consent before Castiel has even asked for it. Castiel does not bother with Jimmy Novak again, but turns to Claire who lays upstairs, ever faithfully, even more willing.
It turns out Jimmy's in a relatively unsecured building, nothing but the basics between him and freedom. They go late the next day, well into the afternoon and Claire, who was supposed to wait in the car, refuses stubbornly.
“You can't leave me out here by myself, it's not safe,” she'd said, passing the brothers and starting the trek through the parking garage on her own. “Besides he's got no reason to trust you, but he knows who I am so there.”
No one stops them on their way through the building and up to the third floor. Only one person- a doctor in the elevator- says anything to them at all. They figure at first she must have simply misinterpreted the way Sam politely gestures for Claire to enter the elevator first, or the way they're all standing a little too close or something equally ridiculous, because she says unabashed and very sweetly “You both have a lovely daughter.”
Sam’s the one that answers with a slightly embarrassed “Uh, thanks. Thank you.” not wanting to correct her and get into exactly who they all are in relation to one another, not even with another lie.
Dean and Claire both give the women twin looks of insult, Claire because she doesn’t see how anyone could think she’s the daughter of either of them and Dean because why the fuck do people always think he’s gay for his brother?! Apparently this does nothing but farther the woman's ridiculous theory because the next thing she says is “You look just like your daddy.”
“...Thanks.” Not a trace of Claire’s offence is hidden. The woman only thinks that because they’re both blond and they both ended up wearing a purple shirts this morning.
“No really.” The woman’s eyes bleed black. “You do.”
Claire screams and backs up against the wall immediately. Dean shoves her behind himself, farther back into the corner while Sam pulls out Ruby’s knife and jabs the stop button on the elevator key pad keeping them all trapped. Sam and Dean are both standing in front of Claire when the demon adds “Do you know how long we've been waiting for you to show up?” She pulls out a knife of her own. “Give me the vessel. You can't kill me and walk out of this elevator. Everyone will see.”
“You can't leave the elevator with her either!” Dean retorts, looking for an opening to disarm the demon.
“Yeah, but I have back up.” the demons grins big and smug.
Claire starts praying then, begging Castiel to return, that she consents because she doesn't know anything else she could do. “Castiel, please.” she whispers “Castiel I need you... Cassie please…”
The Demon lunges at Sam, and cuts across his arm as Sam slashes back at her. He missed, but it scares her enough that she jumps back again.
“Castiel please come back-”
The demon throws herself forwards again, succeeding in grabbing Sam's wrist this time and twisting the knife out of his hand. Dean takes advantage of her distraction to grab her arm and use it slam her against the elevator door.
“I consent, I consent-”
The demon slides to the floor, but recovers quickly and locks her legs around Dean’s, knocking him on his face.
“We need you, please-”
The demon tries again to stab at Dean, but her agility is hampered by that very man currently being tangled in her legs and Sam, now with an even better height advantage, manages to take the knife out of the demon's hand.
“I don’t wanna die, please-”
Undeterred, the demon frees one leg from under Dean and kicks him roughly in the stomach. Sam pulls her away by the wrist still in his grasp. Dean’s just rolling out of the way when Claire lets out a started shriek and her voice drops into the same flatness is has when it’s Castiel that's talking. Her eyes stare straight, focused on nothing as she recites something in what the brothers recognized as Enochian, the only words of which they know being “Castiel” and “Babalon”
It’s all rather anti-climactic. The demon stops mid-motion in an attempt to kick Dean again. Her eyes flash black and then fade again to their natural color. The the woman, apparently no longer possessed, stares at them blankly with obvious confusion. Sam’s the first to recover, moving to sit by the doctor and offer her as much comfort as one can when they’re sitting in the floor of a cramped elevator and they've just been possessed by a demon.
Dean however is more concerned with whomever is standing in the corner “Hey,” he calls and he sits up. “You Claire or Cassie?”
“Uh, Claire. Yeah... still me.” Claire says dazedly.
“Alright cool, mind telling me what the Hell that was?”
“Uh, Enochian exorcism especial designed for unoccupied vessels?” she tries, hopping the truth sounds more believable to the hunter then it does to her. She rubs her head as she feels the beginnings of a headache start to develop. “I think I just killed every demon in a six mile radius.”
“You did what-”
“Oh Lord, I was possessed by a demon. Holy fuck.... Holy shit.” the Doctor starts rambling interrupting Dean train of thought and Sam moves to help her up. She gets to her feet and immediately starts to slide back down to the wall, her legs refusing to hold her up. “Okay no. No, I'm just going to sit here. Thanks.”
“Alright, hey you're gonna be okay now.” Sam is saying as Claire slides onto the floor herself and Dean knows they can't say here.
“Hey we gotta take this somewhere else, you got an office or something?” He says to the doctor, who's starts crying little hiccuping sobs, and shakes her head.
They sat in the elevator for a good five minutes more before the doctor, who introduced herself as Anna McCarthy, was finally collected enough to talk.
“Dr. McCarthy, I hate to ask this, but do you remember anything from while you were possessed?” Sam asks.
Dr. McCarthy opens her eyes and looks at Sam, then Claire, still sitting in the corner with her head between her knees. “Her dad's James Novak? The guy going on about angels? He was really important to them, especially when the found out he had a missing daughter.”
“How many are there?” Dean asks. “How many demons?”
“Um- I don't… I don't know-”
“It doesn't matter, they're all dead. That's what the Enochian Exorcism did.” Claire dismisses, voice muffled and a little strained.
“Yeah hey, about that. There anymore you don't remembering you did know, cause that one seems like it would've been a good one to share Claire.” Dean asks, wanted to get the bottom of all this shit real fast.
“It didn't know it till I knew it!” Claire says unhelpfully, then tries again when the adults only blink at her. “I mean, the spells ingrains itself into the brain of every vessel that consents to an angel. It's emergency protections for the vessel if the angel leave, so they have something to come back to. It only works in times of absolute unwilling distress. I don't even remember what I said!”
“Well you said Cassie’s name, and something about Wicked Ones.” Dean offers.
Claire returns her head to her knees. “We're just lucky I even remember what the spell was meant for.” then “I have a headache.”
“Wait was she possessed by an angel?!” the Doctor asks, now more worried for Claire, a child, than for herself.
“Yeah, it's... kind of a long story.” Sam replies hesitantly. “Dr. McCarthy, we're actually here to see Claire's dad. Do you think you could let us into the psych ward?”
Dr. McCarthy is more than willing to help them out once they explain the basics of what’s happening, and they all make their way through the third floor, past the other Doctors and visiting guests, in what they hope looks like a normal, non-suspicious fashion. Even as Sam helps to keep the doctor on her feet and Claire keeps bouncing five steps ahead then having to stop until they all catch up before doing it all over again.
When they arrive at Jimmy’s door, they all pause for a second, before Dr. McCarthy finally moves to slip her ID key-card into the lock. Sam and Dean walk through the door first, and Jimmy only spares them a curious look before he goes back to writing something down on a piece of paper at the small desk along the wall. When Claire enters though, coming around Dean to stand in front of her father, Jimmy just stares.
“Claire?” His voice breaks on her name and Jimmy makes an aborted little motion in his seat, like he was going to stand but stopped himself at the last second. His eyes scan the other faces now, first Dean, than Sam, than Dr. McCarthy. Sam and Dean still don't seem the register, but he lands on the doctor, now sitting in the bed, looking like death. “What's going on?” he asks her.
When the doctor makes no move to responded Dean steps in. “Hi. I’m Dean.” The older hunter gives a little sarcastic wave for attention. “This is my brother Sam. We’re friends of Castiel.”
“Really?” Jimmy raises an eyebrow at that, as if surprised only that they would think Jimmy would find that reassuring. Understandably this comment aggravates him instead. “Well then you can tell that child snatching Son of Bitch to go rot in Hell. Now get out before I call somebody.”
“Dad, Castiel didn't kidnap me.” Claire jumps to the angel’s defense immediately. “She needed vessel and I said yes!”
“And you shouldn’t have! I told you not to do anything the angel said,” Jimmy reprimands, easily falling back into the role of father, even after a year out of practice. “Look what happened! Where have you even been?!”
Claire knows her dad is just upset, and Claire could let her own frustrations consume her as well, but instead they seem to only leave her, and she let's them as the sadness and regret of hurting her father fills the spaces left behind. She moves across the small space to hug her dad.
“I know Dad, I'm so sorry,” she says into his white scrubs. “I’m sorry I left you, and scared you, and let people think you were crazy-” several loud sobs escaped her throat, halting her apologies.
Jimmy hugs his daughter back fiercely, his own anger replaced with concern in an instant. “No no no. Baby it's not your fault, I shouldn't have been ranting about angels. That's all on me. You're alright, it's okay Claire.” He declares, rocking her slightly, forgetting the other occupants of the room because he'd never thought he'd see Claire again, and he just couldn't process anything else right now but his baby, here and whole.
Once Claire calms down and pulled way, much to Jimmy’s protest, his arms hugging her to him for just a little bit longer, Dean tries again to get Jimmy ready to go.
“Where do you think I'm gonna go with you? What about my wife?” Jimmy questions Dean, then asks Claire, “Does your mother know you're back?”
Claire shakes her head regretfully. “There’s not really a good explanation for where I was, and it’s not really safe. We weren't even going to come back at all, but we didn't think you'd be safe here.”
“Yeah and we were right. Seriously can you put the damn clothes on so we can go?” Dean’s impatience gets the better of him again. “Claire says she killed all the demons, but I don't believe for a second that more ain't coming, now we got two vessel’s, one they'll think actually has the information they want and a very distinct face and I wanna put as much space between us and them as I can.”
“Wait, they’ll come back!?” Dr. McCarthy shrieks from her spot on the bed. She'd been quiet since they'd gotten in this room, but she had not, apparently, check out completely.
“Yeah, there is a chance,” Sam tells her apologetically, moving to sit beside her.
Dr. McCarthy stand instantly, making Sam just back before he can sit. “Oh my God. I quit. I can just move right? Will they follow me?”
“Uh… Fuck.” Dean sighs.
It takes the five of them almost twenty minutes to get their plan of action sorted out, but by the end of it everyone’s finally on the same page. Dr.McCarthy is given a list, written out by Sam, of all the precautions she can take to avoid anymore demons finding her, including the name of a friend who makes excellent fake identities and a details picture of the anti possession tattoo that she’s to get immediately. When Dr. McCarthy asks what she's supposed to do about the other Doctors she knows were possessed, the brothers tell her to do whatever she wants, they won't be the one the demons come after because none of them helped the Winchester’s and two vessels escape.
Jimmy agrees to come with them out to Bobby’s without contacting his wife, but only on the condition that the boys contact someone to keep an eye on her. He takes the clothes given to him and changes, while Claire waits outside and the hunters tie Dr. McCarthy to the bed frame with Jimmy’s bed sheets.
“I can't believe this is my life now.” She deadpans while Sam is cutting a strip off the sheet to tie up her legs.
“Hey at least you get to say we threatened you. We're supposed to be dead, and now we get be the abductors of a twelve-year-old and her mentally ill father.” Dean informs her, trying to make a joke of it but even he knows it falls flat.
“Wait, why are you supposed to be dead?” Dr. McCarthy whine, looking about ready to cry again.
“Shapeshifters framed us. For several counts of murder and a bank robbery, we had faked our deaths or else.” Sam says. “For what it's worth I'm sorry you got dragged into this.”
“Yeah, her, but not my daughter.” Jimmy mutters to himself from the other side of the bed where he's buttoning up his new shirt.
“Isn't whatever the fuck they give you in here supposed to make your mood better, not make you an ass?” Dean barks back, standing up to look Jimmy in the eyes. “For the record, I am sorry you and your daughter got dragged into this! I’m sorry your life and your family are getting ripped to shreds! And God knows I'm sorry Claire's not gonna have a normal childhood- or any fucking childhood, but it's the freaking apocalypse! She'll be lucky if she has any future, but at least she's doing something! So don't blame me for doing what I can to keep you all alive just-” Dean chokes on his rage and has to stop. When he finishes, his voice is much quieter. “When Cassie gets back down here, you just say yes like you were supposed to.”
They're at Bobby’s house for all of two days when the guy Bobby asked to watch Amelia Novak calls early in the morning.
The first night at Bobby’s was tense. They'd been on the news, Sam, Dean, Jimmy and Claire. The FBI was claiming they, Sam and Dean, might be suffering from religious delusions similar to Jimmy, as indicated by their previous claims of ghost and the like during previous arrests, believed now “in light of this new evidence” that Sam and Dean had somehow- they had not yet come up with a way for the brothers and Jimmy to have met- either been influenced by Jimmy Novak’s delusions of angels into thinking Claire was possibly an angel, and taken her from her home that night because of it, or they believes that it was their, Sam and Dean's, delusions which had influenced Jimmy’s and he could have actually been involved in their kidnapping of Claire after all.
They had no explanation yet as to why the brothers would have come for Jimmy, especially with Claire, but they were incredibly worried she had succumbed to Stockholm syndrome, judging by her lack of attempts to escape on the footage from the hospital. On the bright side it seemed they believed that the nearly ten minutes spent in the elevator with Dr. McCarthy had been spend threatening her into compliance (the bruises from their fight with the demon had bloomed nicely across Dr. McCarthy skin, and she's needed only agree when the interrogator suggested it) and they did not suspect her of any part of the escape. Of course, as Dean so helpfully pointed out, that was going to change as soon as the good doctor dropped of the face of the earth in a few short days. Then the FBI would have an even bigger field day.
Jimmy and Claire had a very long... discussion on the drive to Sioux Falls in which Jimmy had basically forbade Claire from consenting to Castiel. Claire had been livid at first, claiming that it wasn't her dad's right, or business to tell her what she could or couldn't do with her angel! Even after Jimmy had explain that it was because he'd be worried sick if he knew she was out on a battlefield, and that he just wanted to keep her safe, she'd still been mad enough to ignore him for the next two days, other than the polite “thank you” and “yes sir” that were required when Jimmy said something her.
So naturally seeing Claire, this morning, two days later, letting her dad French braid her wet hair after a shower- because of course this guy's the kind of dad who can do that- almost has Dean thinking things are starting to look up.
“Let's see…” Jimmy says as he wraps the bring orange ponytail around the end of the braid. He starts counting the number of notches in the braid, starting all the way at the top of her head. “There’s… eight. I think that's more than last time, Bub.” He says with that false sort of enthusiasm one has to use when trying to make braid notches exciting for your daughter who's literally flown with angels. Dean has to give the guy credit though, if Sam or Dean pulled a stunt like that, running off with a Supernatural Creature, they would have had their asses beat.
Dean can see Claire's face from where he’s standing, and he doesn't miss her frown. It makes him wonder if Claire has aged at all since saying yes to Castiel. He wasn't paying attention obviously, but he thinks kids grow a lot at her age and that he would have noticed. He wonders if Castiel did come back and took Claire for years and year would she absolutely never age? What if she stuck around for ten year then suddenly left and Claire's still thirteen when she ought to be twenty-three? Fuck was that a scary thought.
Then again, would it really be any different if Cassie went and possessed Jimmy? He wouldn’t age either, and one day he wake up with a grown daughter and a wife who’d probably moved on. He'd have nothing either. Dean tried to distract himself from that depressing line of thought by picturing Jimmy as Castiel.
He was so used to picturing Cassie as a short blonde tween in sparkly tennis shoes, however, that he literally could not picture Jimmy doing anything she did. Like that weird head-tilt of hers. It was cute on Claire, but on Jimmy? And the popping in on his motel room in the middle of the night- nope. No. That was gonna have to stop. That was too- Just. No. Seriously if someone thought waking up to the Angel of the Corn staring down them was weird, waking up to a full grown man was never not going to make Dean’s skin crawl.
And for that matter was he gonna have to call Cassie a man now? Or would she still be a she? Did she even care in the first place? She had been going after Jimmy, what if she was a he and just never bothered to correct them? Fuck he was gonna have to ask her- him? Them about this as soon as she- they got back wasn't he?
“Boys!” Bobby called about then, pulling Dean out of his little internal crisis. “Get in here, my friend in Pontiac just called!”
Despite everyone protesting, and arguing, and demanding this or that, Claire is left behind with Bobby, while her dad runs off with the Winchesters- in some crappy pick that had Dean bitching instantly about “putting baby in corner”. After an hour of sitting on the couch cursing her dad, Bobby finds her.
“You still in here moping?” He asks her. “C’mon I got a job for you.” Claire follows Bobby upstairs to the room next door to the one her and her dad were borrowing. The bedroom is filled with stacks of books and files all piled in wobbling stacks as high as Claire’s chest. Some of the ones in the bed and the dresser almost reach the ceiling!
“Are all these about demons?” she asks.
“Mostly. and other monsters like Banshee and Rougarous. Now I can't get to the other side of the room, but I want you to climb over here-” he point to the vanity dresser pushed against one wall that has very little piled on to it by some miracle, and seems to be the only way to reach the cramped clearing on the other side of the room. “-and start handing me over anything that looks like it’s about demons, angels, or the apocalypse.”
Claire climbs over cautiously, and has to kick over a stack of small boxes on her way down in order to find a safe place to set her feet. “Why do you have so much of this stuff?” Claire asks.
“Everything says something different,” Bobby tells her. “Most hunters won't admit it, but studying what your hunting before you hunt it's about the only way not to get killed.”
“Oh- hey something like this?” Claire says, carefully pulling a warn book from near the top of it’s pile and holding it up for the man to see.
They work amiable for most of the morning. In that time, between what Claire shuffles around and what she hands over to Bobby, she uncovers an honest to God treasure chest. She opens it up in expectation of more books, only to find it packed with women’s clothes.
“Who’s are these?” she asks, holding up a green dress.
Bobby looks like he’s been struck when he sees what she’s holding. “Put that back!” he snaps.
“Whoa, okay, sorry.” she dropping the dress back into the chest and holding up her hands in surrender.
Bobby instantly recovers, “No, no. You didn't do anything,” he sighs. “Just put it back.”
Claire does as she’s told, closing the chest back up, and they go back to picking out all the needed books and files in silence for maybe another thirty minutes before Bobby declares it's time for lunch. He makes sandwiches, and they eat at the table which Jimmy had cleared off earlier that morning when he’d made breakfast for Claire.
“... Can I ask whose clothes those were in the chest?”
Bobby gives her a look around his mouth full of sandwich, but when he swallows his bite, and opens his mouth to tell her no, he tell her “They were my wife Karen’s” instead.
“What happened?” Claire asked.
Bobby doesn't answer for a moment, just stares at his plate, debating what to say, but most isn't really appropriate to tell a child who hasn't really grown up in the life (or any child at all really, but you can't pick and choose these days). If she were Sam or Dean, he straight up tell her what happen, just like there daddy always did, but for a kid who up until a year ago, which Bobby’s guessing only feel like a week ago to Claire, she didn't know anything. How would her daddy feel about it? Well, Jimmy doesn't seem the type to let her get involved in dangerous situations, but she’s already here so…
He tells her about what happened. Not in the greater details, but he doesn't sugar coat it either. He tells her that of course he didn't know what to do, and he was scared, that he acted out of fear and panic when the demon came at him in his wife’s body.
Claire sits quietly for a while after the story is finished, thinking. Her dad’s sort of in the same position as Bobby had been. What would her dad do if her mom died. What would she do? If Castiel never came back, and her mom died, would her and her father end up hunters like the Winchesters? Or would they do what Bobby does and hoard their house full of lore, hoping to God that they can save everyone else?
“What do you think would happen if they don’t save my mom?” Claire blurts out.
“That not gonna happen,” Bobby says stubbornly. “Those boys are twenty times more capable than most hunters I know, and they specialize in hunting demons. Your mom and dad are going to be just fine.”
“Yeah, but what if-”
“You wanna be a hunter Claire?” Bobby asks.
Claire didn't think he meant her to answer, but when he remains silent, she gives it some thought. She knows she doesn't want normal now, not with the end of the world coming, but would she want to be a hunter for the rest of her life? Not really, now she wanted to work with the church, and spread the Holy word of God. She wanted to find others who might believe her stories about the angels and the apocalypse she’s determined to avert. She will be one for as long as she needs, until the Winchesters (and Castiel and her dad if the angel ever returns) have stop the apocalypse, but does not want to be a hunter, of that she is certain.
“No,” she answers plainly.
“Well then you're gonna mourn her, and think about her a lot, and you'll be sad for a very long time. And then you're gonna be mad. Damn furious I imagine. And then if you're lucky you’ll learn to move on.”
“If my mom didn't die, but my dad says yes to Castiel, what do you think would happen?” Claire ponders out loud.
“Honey, I don't know.” Bobby sighs, standing from the table. “That’s just one of those bridges you cross if you get to it. Now c’mon, let finish digging through that room.”
Claire starts making piles of all the different types of monsters out of the things she doesn't hand to Bobby, and about halfway through the afternoon she manages to clear a path around the bed, so that she won’t have to climb back over the vanity again. At some point the phone rings downstairs and Bobby leaves to answer it, grumbling something about “that idjit Garth again probably.”
Bobby stays down stairs for a while. Claire hears the phones in the kitchen ringing, so she assumes he’s busy pretending to be the head of the FBI, the CDC and whatever else hunters presented to be. So busy in fact… Claire could probably look through that chest for a few minutes if she wanted to.
Mostly it's just clothes, but there are a few romance novels at the bottom and a really beautiful silver hairbrush with a matching hand mirror that Claire looks at herself in for just a bit too long.
“What are you doing?” Bobby calls from the door and Claire freezes. She hadn't heard the phone calls stop, or the creaking of him coming up the stares, and she was almost too embarrassed at being caught to say anything.
“I’m sorry!” She starts without turning around. “Her stuffs just really nice, and I did-”
Another phone call interrupts her, and she hears Bobby sign. “You just… put everything back when you're done, you hear me?”
“Yes sir,” she squeaks, and now that she’s listening, she hears his leave, heading back to the kitchen.
Relieved at not be getting in trouble for the moment, Claire starts to hastily put everything back as close to the way she found it as she can. The only things she leaves out are the green dress she'd plucked out when she'd first opened the chest, and a small grey pea coat that Claire found honestly adorable. Both looked like they would fit her.
Standing, Claire slipped on the coat. It was just a bit too big but, she thinks as she looked at herself in the vanity mirror, it looked really nice with the outfit she was wearing; a cobalt blue, silky shirt, the blue jeans so dark they could be black, a pair of black cargo boots. It had the cutest black and white plaid pattern in the flaps of the pockets and in the trim of the collar, it was faded and the fabric is afraid in a few places, but Claire doesn't think this diminishes its character at all.
She doesn't notice the ringing at first, dismissing it in the back of her mind as a phantom ringing in her ears, but then it grows louder and louder, until it starts to form words.
Castiel is back.
Grace floods this room the same as it did her own a year ago.
I hear you, the angel says in answer to the child's ever increasing prayers. It's night and the lights are off upstairs, but Castiel floods every corner of her room with a blinding light that does not hurt Claire's eyes. Castiel tells her all the things she already knows. That she is special like her father. She asks her if she'd like to prove her faith.
“Yes. I'll do anything Castiel.” Claire whispers. The large windows of Claire's bedrooms, which had been bolted shut well before her family ever move in, swing open for the first time in years. A chilling breeze fills the room and Claire hugs her blankets to her, even as she sits up.
Jump Castiel says. There's not a bit hesitation in Claire’s mind. She’s out of bed in a second, taking her blue hoodie off her chair and slipping it on over her yellow night shirt to protect her from the chill. She slips back on the jeans she’d been wearing that day, and grabs the first pair of shoes she can find- her old sparkly pink ones, and doesn't bother with socks as she slips them on as fast a she can.
She looks out the window and down at the cement patio very far below. She'll break something if she jumps, definitely. Except, Castiel will keep her safe. She’ll be fine, she has faith. She steps up into the window, and squeezes her eyes shut as she more or less flings herself out the window, no concern for her safety. The night is cold, she knows it's cold, but as soon as her feet leave the windows sill Claire is enveloped in a warmth that almost burns. After a few seconds, at which point she knows she should have hit the ground, she carefully opens one eyes, to find herself floating, still as high as the second floor. She starts to drift down slowly once both her eyes are open. Claire lands on her feet softly, and had Castiel not caught her she knows she would have landed in her stomach and cracked her head open.
I need to ask more of you now Claire Novak, the angel says. There is very little time.
Watching her parents argued in the living room, she whispers “Anything Castiel.” No thought the agony she'd going put them through in exactly thirty-eight minute when, after Jimmy's taken the pills and left the house for the night, Amelia goes to kiss her goodnight only to discover her missing. None of that matters.
Claire turns her face to the brilliant star drifting in the air above her, there for only her eyes to see. She giggles a little at this.
An angel all for her.
My mission on the earth requires that I have a vessel Claire Novak. Say that you will allow me to take you as that vessel.
“What's your mission?” She whispers into the night, her breath frosting.
Prepare the Righteous Man for the battles to come. She sounded proud of herself, as if God himself had tasked her to this, and Claire completely understands her joy. The end is coming Claire Novak and it must be stopped.
“Will I die?”
It is possible.
For as long as it takes.
“Will you bring me home when it's over? If I live.”
Of course, anything and Paradise shall be your reward.
Claire Novak, comes the song of Castiel’s true voice in her head, touching her soul the same way it did a year ago and every day since. Do you consent?
“What? Oh Cassie, I’m not allowed.” Claire says in a whisper as she always seems to do with Castiel. She has to push down the urge to cry out “Yes! Yes! A thousand time yes!” to the angel, but as mad as she is at her dad, and a sad as she’ll be when he consents in her place, she loves her dad. She doesn't want to disappear on him again.
Who says this?! Castiel’s song is outraged and possessive. Who thinks to have the right?!
“My dad. He wants you to go ask him, he’s gonna go say yes this time.”
Impossible, the angel declares absolutely. James Novak may say yes as many times as he wishes, he does not mean it in his heart as you do. The lesser of my brethren my take a vessel at merely his word, but I will not.
“Really?” that must have been why Cassie had been testing their faith before she even asked, so they'd be open to her.
You are my vessel Claire, but if you say no, I will move on. The bloodline is plentiful, but time is again short.
“Why, what's happening?” Claire’s worry for the world over takes any plans she had of obeying her dad. If she has to say yes then she will.
Your father, mother and the Winchesters have been confronted by demons, and the fight does not go well.
The fear gripping Claire's chest grows so much tighter at the news that it's her parents in direct danger that she throws her father's words to the wind. “You promise me everyone will be okay, and I'll do it.”
You have my word, of course.
“Then yes,” she nods. Still watching herself in the mirror, Claire sees the way Castiel envelopes her, and she has the senseless little thought of hoping Castiel likes the coat too before she falls to sleep for the very last time. She does not see Bobby standing in the doorway, shielding his eyes.
The sight Castiel arrives to is frankly disappointing. Claire’s mother is possessed, Jimmy is bleeding out on his living room floor, and where Dean is struggling with a single demon, Sam is drinking the blood from another.
Castiel steps forward, coming up behind the demon approaching Jimmy and kicks him in the back of the knees, when the demon falls to his knees, she’s places a hand on the back of its head and smites it. Dean succeeds in overcoming the demon he’s fighting as Castiel kneels beside Jimmy. She doesn't bother to turn around when she hears Dean mutter a soft and horrified “Sammy?” she knows exactly what he’s seeing.
“Of course I hear your prayers. And of course I watch over you.” Castiel places her hand over Jimmy’s wound, dissolving the bullet and healing him instantly. “ And of course we keep our promises.”
“No... Claire?” Jimmy sits up slowly.
“She's back with me now.” Castiel answers, placing a hand on Jimmy's shoulder. “It's what she wanted.”
“Please, Castiel. Me, just take me. Take me, please.” Jimmy starts to beg. “Give her back and just take me.”
“Claire told me what you meant to do, and where it a possibility I would have come. You know in your heart you do not consent, and I can not take you.” She stand.
“It doesn't matter. You take me. Just take me!” jimmy insists. “I'm saying yes! Okay? Ye-”
“NO! You had your chance.” Castiel barks, turning her back on the mourning father.
Sam’s face is smeared in blood, and while Amelia- now herself and standing in a pile of demonic ash- is staring horrified between her and Jimmy, Dean and Sam are having a staring contest of their own. Seeing that all of the demons are dead, her Charges have managed to survive in her absence, and that her promise to Claire to keep her family sade has been met, Castiel turns to leave.
“That’s not my daughter is it…” she hears Amelia’s voice mutter, in the edge of tears.
“No, it's not. Hey where do you think you're going?!” Dean calls out to her, aggravation seething from him. “Didn’t you have something to say to me?!”
She doesn't answer him, she doesn't even bother turning to look at him. “I learned my lesson while I was away, Dean. I serve heaven. I don't serve man, and I certainly don't serve you.”
She leaves them all to deal with themselves, it isn't meant to be any concern of hers… even though it is.
Dean’s been stuck in this damn room for hours and everything's going to Hell! His fucking phone’s not working, Sam’s probably gone of the deep end, Heaven’s trying to end the freaking world and Cassie’s- well she’s being a little shit! Dean dials Sam’s number again and hits the buttons far harsher than necessary hopping just freaking maybe it’ll work this time.
“You can't reach him, Dean. You're outside your coverage zone.” Oh good Cassie’s back. That’s just what he needs! Not.
Dean turns to glare the girl down. “What are you gonna do to Sam?!”
“Nothing. He's gonna do it to himself.” Cassie says matter-of-factly, as if Sam isn't important, as if she doesn't care! Dean steps forward so he’s towering over her, an unconscious intimidation technique he's forgot doesn't usually work on her.
“What's that supposed to mean?” He shouts. Castiel looks down like kid being scolded, but doesn't answer like any other kid would. “Oh, right, right. Gotta do that the big kids tell you, isn't that right? Why are you here Cassie?”
“We've been through much together, you and I. And I just wanted to say, I'm sorry it ended like this.”
“Sorry!?” Dean does something irrational then, something he hasn't done since Sammy was little, when he didn't think his brother was fully grasping that he was in trouble, that he had done something wrong, and needed to feel bad about it. Dean grabs her cheek and he pinches it hard, shaking her face a little as he finishes “It's Armageddon, Cassie! You need a bigger word than "sorry!"”
“Try to understand! This- ugh.” she jerks her face out of Dean’s grasp, looking incredible indignant. “This is long foretold. This is your-”
“Destiny? Come on Cassie!” Dean actually can't believe she still believes in that shit! “You're walking around in a broken prophecy! Hell we defied “destiny” just last week! It’s a bunch of lies you poor stupid child! People, families- that's real. And you're gonna watch them all burn?”
“What is so worth saving? I see nothing but pain here. I see inside you. I see your guilt, your anger, confusion. In paradise, all is forgiven. You'll be at peace. Even with Sam!”
“You can take your peace and shove it up your lily white- your-!” he curses himself because he hates that he can't curse her! She not a freaking kid Winchester! “You know Cassie, I'll take the pain, and I’ll take the guilt. I'll even take Sam as is. It's a lot better than being some Stepford bitch in paradise. This is simple, Cassie! No more crap about being a good soldier. There is a right and there is a wrong here, and you’re old enough know it- hey, look at me!” Dean snaps as she starts to turn away. Dean grabs the back of Castiel's new pea coat, and spinning her around with ease.
“You know it! You were gonna help me once, weren't you? You were gonna warn me about all this, before they dragged you back to Bible camp. Help me- now. Please.”
“What would you have me do?”
“Get me to Sam. We can stop this before it's too late.”
“I do that, we will all be hunted. We'll all be killed.”
“If there is anything worth dying for... this is it.”
Cassie shakes her head and won't meet Dean's eye, in shame or frustration Dean doesn't know, but it breaks a barrier in Dean’s mind that he’d been fighting. Dean’s had this bad habit of looking at Cassie and seeing a child, and he's been so much worse since he actually met Claire. He looks at Cassie and calls her “princess”, and he jumps in front of her if he thinks she’ll get hurt, even though she's a thousand times tougher than he is. He pinches her cheek instead of punching her like he so, so wants to do. He’s shouting at her now, trying to explain right and wrong to her like she’s a kid but she not! And he's not a her father! Who is he to have to teach a billion year old being that it was bad to kill people!? But he's fucking done! She can make her own decisions, he doesn't care anymore! “You spineless, soulless little bitch! What do you care about dying? You're already dead. We're done!”
The tell-tale flutter of wings tells him Cassie’s gone, and Dean feels a weight lift off his shoulders before another much heavier one drops on his shoulder yet again. His only means of escape is gone, what the fuck is he gonna do now?
He doesn't have to worry long, because Cassie comes back almost immediately. Stone faced a determined, she'd jerks him around, pinning him to a wall and with more strength than Dean was ever going to expect and holds her hand up against his mouth, until he understand that she expects silence and he nods. He flinch when she pulls up the sleeve of her pea coat and sliced across her wrist.
Once Zachariah’s been returned to the corn field, Cassie grabs Dean’s hand in her own and in a flash they’re free of the Beautiful Room and standing in Chuck's living room while the prophet… orders hookers. Really!?
Dean starts rifling through Chuck’s work desk, not even bothering to greet the prophet
“What are you two doing here?!”
“Do you know where Sam is? Have you seen anything?” Dean shouts without meaning to, taking a step towards the prophet.
Chuck takes a step back. “Uh- ye-yeah.” he looks around for own the papers he'd used to write down his latest prophecy and hands it to Dean.
“St. Mary's? What is that, a convent?” Dean asks, reading through the latest events that Chuck had foreseen
“Yeah, but you guys aren't supposed to be there. You're not in this story,” the shorter man protests.
“Yeah, well…” Cassie glanced up at Dean, as if the check that what she’s saying is the right thing to say. “Nobody's the boss of us anymore.”
Dean looks back at her, impressed, and nods in approval just as Chuck’s computer screen starts to flickers and the house begins to shake. A piercing ringing fills the house as a blindingly bright light floods through the windows
“Aw, man! Not again! No!” Chuck complains bringing his hands up to shield himself from falling debris, or failing that, cover his ears to block out the noise.
“It's the Archangel!” Cassie screams over the ever increasing shrill of her brother’s battle cry. She turns to Dean and quickly places a hand up on his chest. “I'll hold him off! I'll hold them all off! Just stop Sam!”
Once she’s send her friend away she braces herself, facing her brother and readies herself for a fight.
I’m sorry Claire, I don't think you're going to make it home… Castiel thinks to the sleeping soul shielded behind her Grace from any fear or pain her own body is about to have inflicted upon it.
She’s just about to charge outside at her older brother with all she’s got, when she feels a weight on her shoulder, and the suddenness of it actually startles her. She looks to her right, and her borrowed brow furrows at the hand that’s been placed upon it. She follows the arm all the way up to see the apologetic face of Chuck Shurley, just as he reach around to her other shoulder, and pulls her into his chest, smothering her face in the soft material of his T-shirt. A hug, she realizes, he’s hugging her...
“I’m so sorry I fucked you up this bad, if it's any consolation I really like you.” He whispers fast and she doesn't understand.
It doesn't matter that she doesn't understand, because she’ll never remember it, he’ll never let her. She will remember the pain that follows in the next seconds though, as her older brother rips her out of the prophet’s arm, and shreds her body and her grace into nothingness. It could have only take seconds, but for the little angel it felt like it was hours. He could have done it with speed, thinking himself merciful, but he is not a Rit Zien, and her first death is more painful than any that will follow.