In the beginning, as the word was uttered, His word; an outstretched arm of gift and grace, came with it a path of life. In His presence there is fullness and joy; at His right hand, pleasures forevermore, rewards of an eternal paradise. At His left hand, departure into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.
What remained unspoken was the eternity that lay in wait for those who chose neither hand. The edge of a hem on a garment, for humans do not hold a place in purgatory. It is on this plane for which eternity is granted through penance; in the form of servitude to His children. Slaves are to be submissive to their own masters in everything; they are to be well-pleasing, not argumentative, not pilfering, but showing all good faith, so that in everything they may adorn the doctrine of God in which they had not in their life.
Dean closed the book with an angry huff and scrubbed his hand over his face, belying his frustration with the flowery words. “What the hell does that mean?” He slammed the book on the library table before pulling out his cell phone. One, two, three rings; Dean sent out a quiet prayer, begging the angel to answer. On the fifth ring, at the gruff ‘hello’, he cried out, “Cas! What do you know about Limbo?”
“Too much,“ he replied with a growl. “Why?”
“Sammy’s been taken there.” Dean grabbed one of the other books from the Men of Letters annex that catalogued different tomes and books about the varied planes of existence, precariously cupping the cell phone to his ear by his left shoulder. He flipped the book open to the page about Limbo. It was blank. “I can’t find any lore on this place.”
“I’m not surprised. Are you at the bunker, Dean?”
“Yeah, how fast can you…” Before he could finish his question, he heard the flutter of angel wings behind him. Dean turned around and was face to face with Cas. Phone still pressed between his face and shoulder, he stared kind of dumbly at his friend. How could he forget the guy got his wings back?
“You can hang up now,” Cas said dryly as he lowered his phone and pocketed it in his trenchcoat.
Dean ignored the heat in his cheeks and the embarrassment that accompanied it. “Uh, yeah.” He replicated the angel’s action and pocketed his own phone, never breaking eye contact with Cas. The staring was getting awkward, so Dean cleared his throat and asked, “You said you know about Limbo?”
“Yes. Tell me what happened, Dean.” His tone was soft and concerned, but demanding.
He sighed and closed the book he was holding. “We were on a hunt, thought it was gonna be a good ol’ salt and burn, but we ended up in, I don’t know... Do angels have lairs?”
“No, but we are usually out on missions with our garrison. You were attacked by angels?”
“Yeah, we put up a good fight, but Sammy, man. One of the angels clapped some sort of, I don’t know, it looked like this thick metal dog collar on him and they disappeared. The rest of them followed, but I was able to keep one bound here long enough to find out where they took him.”
Cas closed his eyes for a moment and Dean didn’t like the worried expression on his face - at all. His friend slowly shook his head. “This is bad. I…” Cas bit his lower lip, which was in no way distracting, whatsoever; before he continued in a thoughtful tone, “I will try my best to rescue Sam from there, but it may take me a few days to do that.”
“Then take me with you.”
“I can’t, Dean. Limbo isn’t a place where any human should go. It’s too dangerous. It will be easier if I go alone.”
“Dude, then I’m definitely going. You can’t tell me that it’s a dangerous place for humans after my brother has been taken there and expect me to just sit at home with my thumb up my ass. Not happenin’.” Dean folded his arms across his chest, a defiant and adamant stance.
He could see the tense, almost haunted expression in Cas’s eyes, before his friend looked to the table. “Sit down. I’ll tell you everything I know, hopefully it will change your mind about coming with me.”
Nodding as he did as instructed, taking a seat at the table, he waited for Cas to do the same. “Is it like Purgatory?”
"It's nothing like Purgatory," Cas practically spat. Dean was surprised to hear so much disdain in the angel’s voice. He took the chair next to Dean and their knees touched when he moved to face him. "The human souls trapped in Limbo are neither bad enough for Hell nor good enough for Heaven. They think they are serving the angels from that realm to gain entrance to Heaven, but it’s just a lie to keep them in place. Heaven’s policy about Limbo was always strict. We are not allowed to interfere with their realm or to upset the natural order. Since there weren’t many souls fulfilling the requirement to end up in Limbo, the plane doesn’t have much power and is mostly cut off from everything. The angels there are different, they can’t travel between the planes and they depend on Heaven’s support to sustain their existence. It wasn’t something that was talked about, some angels in Heaven loath our connection to this plane, but others…“ Cas shook his head sadly. “They were of the mindset that humans belong in that sort of position, serving the angels as slaves.”
Dean shook his head, disbelief washing over him. The slaves passage he had read earlier was starting to make sense. A plane where humans were slaves to angels? Yup. It was confirmed. Angels were nothing but a bunch of dicks, Cas being the exception. “So, these poor schmucks are forced into slavery with the hope of Heaven being dangled over their heads? How is Chuck okay with that?”
“He doesn’t care. He never cared what happened to his creation. Free will… Anyway, I hope you now understand why I can’t take you with me. I can walk this plane without being at risk, but you can’t. The only way humans may roam the plane is under their master’s watchful eye.”
Dean scoffed. The more he heard about the place, the more determined he was to save his brother. “What does that mean?”
Cas let out a deep sigh. “It means if you insist on accompanying me, you would have to pose as my slave; and I highly doubt you would want that.”
“Wouldn’t it be weird if the angels see you with a slave? I mean, they must know angels from Heaven don’t have them.”
His query was met with a soft headshake. “While Earth is protected by Heaven, the souls from Hell are not. I would be allowed to keep a soul for myself, if I rescued it from Hell. And although that fact would work perfectly as a cover, I still can’t imagine you’d want to pretend to be my slave.”
“Dude, I’m pretty sure if I could pretend to be a virgin, or a born again virgin, then I’m pretty sure I could handle pretending to be a slave. We’ve gotta get Sam, man.”
“'Pretty sure’ is not enough. You would have to listen to everything I say. You would not be allowed to talk back to me, nor to question me. I know you, Dean. You would want to help those souls the moment you see how they’re treated, but you can’t. I’m just one angel and I’m not strong enough to change anything on that plane. I can help you get Sam out of there, but that’s it. If you truly wish to join me, I need you to promise that you won’t do anything stupid and that you won’t question me.”
Dean sat there for a few moments, contemplating his response. Naturally, he wanted to argue, but that would only cement Cas’s adamance that he not accompany him. It irked him beyond belief, the idea of having to be completely submissive to anyone, but thinking of his brother, needing to rescue Sam from such a hellish place; Dean knew he could suck up his pride for a few days. Step one to acting the slave, he bowed his head to his friend and said, “I understand.”
For a moment Cas was speechless. He had clearly expected a different response. After a moment of silence the angel cleared his throat. “There is also… another thing I should mention…”
When Dean looked up, he noticed Cas rub the back of his neck, looking downright horrified and embarrassed. “What is it, Cas?”
“Um… the human slaves… some of them… they are… um… also used for sexual gratification.”
Dean’s eyebrows shot upward, it was one thing to pose as a slave, but as a sex slave? When had they entered an episode of Taxi Cab Confessions? “Would… would I have to…” He couldn’t even bring himself to finish the thought, let alone the sentence.
Cas looked as uncomfortable with the topic as Dean felt. “Of course I will do everything to keep you safe, Dean, but… There may be situations requiring certain expectations in regards to your behavior towards me. There may be circumstances in which I would have no control over the socially constructed norms of this plane.”
Dean let out a sigh. “What are we talkin’ about here, Cas? What is a socially con-whatever you called it? Am I gonna be expected to blow every slave owner who commands it?”
He could have been wrong, but it looked like Cas paled at his question. “No! You would be mine.”
“So, then I’d be blowin’ you at your command?” He probably should have been freaked out by that idea.
Cas looked down at the floor, biting his lower lip. Dean supposed that was plenty enough of an answer. He watched his friend rake his fingers through his hair, messing it up even more than it already was. “You know I would never ask that of you, but… Dean, you could still stay here.”
Unsure of how to respond, he took a deep breath. Dean was no stranger to sex, particularly meaningless sex for some sort of exchange. He’d slept with far worse people, with far less at stake. Honestly, if having to be Cas’s sex slave for a few days could save his brother, it was a no brainer. Again, he tried to not think about how he wasn’t anywhere near as freaked out as he probably should be by that idea. “So, uh… do I call you master or…”
“You would call me Geiad, it’s the Enochian word for master. I need to get you some clothes and…" Cas sighed deeply. “I’ll be right back.”
“Gee-yad?” Dean asked, testing out the way the word felt on his tongue. It was a little heavy, the syllables dragging his tongue down. He looked up for confirmation he had pronounced it correctly.
Cas appeared to be frozen in place and Dean wondered what his friend was thinking. Maybe he had pronounced the word wrong and said something else? Something insulting? The angel slowly shook his head and said the word again, this time slower and more pronounced, “Geh-i-ad ”
Dean nodded. “Geiad,” he pronounced correctly. “I understand, Geiad.” He ducked his head in feign modesty. Leonardo DiCaprio, eat your heart out.
The chair next to him scratched in a sharp hiss against the hardwood floor when Cas quickly stood up and turned away from Dean. “Yes, that was correct,” he mumbled, before clearing his throat again. “I have to go, Dean.”
Dean slipped to the floor, heavily on his knees before Cas, grasping the hem of his friend’s trenchcoat. He looked up at the angel with a smirk and asked, “Have I displeased you, Geiad?”
Cas gasped before he looked down at him with a shocked expression, one that instantly turned into an annoyed eye roll when he noticed Dean’s smirk. “You’ve made your point. I will be back soon, you’ll need different attire for this plane, as will I.”
Dean chuckled and moved to get back in the chair. He watched as Cas disappeared into thin air, his cheeks a little reddened. He’d be lying if he said he wasn’t a little proud of himself, making the angel blush. He took the moments of solitude to grab the book he’d first read to familiarize himself with the passage.
Slaves are to be submissive to their own masters in everything; they are to be well-pleasing, not argumentative, not pilfering, but showing all good faith, so that in everything they may adorn the doctrine of God in which they had not in their life.
How messed up was it that humans had to, literally, service angels in some misguided hope to gain entry into Heaven? Friggin’ dicks, man. Now that he thought of it, he was kind of glad that Billie had threatened to throw him and Sammy into the veil. Nothingness was probably a hell of a lot better than having to be the Julia Roberts to all of the damn Richard Geres in Limbo.
When Cas returned, Dean stifled a gasp. He hadn’t been kidding about getting new clothes, not that Dean had tried to imagine anything, but he certainly hadn’t expected the angel to come in looking like that. Cas was wearing some kind of armor, black chainmail over his legs, heavy boots, and black leather wrist guards upon his forearms. Chest bare, apart from a deep silver embroidered sheath wrapped diagonally across his torso. Had Cas always been that tan?
The guy had certainly hidden his body well under all of the layers of clothes, because Dean really hadn’t expected Cas to look so se… And whoa there, Winchester. He stopped that train of thought in its tracks. He had been staring at his friend for far too long anyway.
“I’ve brought you this tunic, Dean… And you have to wear this collar, too.” Cas showed him the clothes with an apologetic look. The collar wasn’t like the one he had seen on Sam. It was solid gold and encrusted with emeralds the size of quarters.
For the first time since they had ventured into the reality of this uncomfortable situation, Dean felt the urge to protest. He could wear a frilly ass tunic that left little to the imagination - hell, he’d done that more times than he could count with Charlie when she roped him into LARPing as her handmaiden. But a collar? It was one thing to pretend to be a slave, but to be visibly put on display as owned? As someone’s property?
Dean picked up the collar and examined it, a grimace etched into his features. “Really? What’s with the jewels? Wouldn’t a collar from PetSmart serve the same purpose?”
Cas turned away from him as Dean unceremoniously peeled off his clothes to shrug on the silky green tunic. “The collar represents the rank of the slave’s owner.”
Dean flattened out the fabric against his torso, it fell to about mid-thigh. If he bent over, the presently empty room would be getting the full monty if he had gone commando. When he looked down, he could see the hem of his bright red boxer-briefs peeking out from the tunic. Perhaps Cas wouldn’t notice, he tried to tug the material down as far as it could go as he asked, “What kind of crazy rank does that make you?”
“I have the rank of a commander in Heaven… It’s a very high rank, which will be to our advantage when we visit this plane. It will make things easier…” Cas turned back to face him, eyes darting downward. “Dean, you can’t wear underwear.”
He rolled his eyes, pulled his boxer-briefs down and off, before throwing them at Cas. He couldn’t help but chuckle at the indignant noise the angel made.
“I hope you’ve gotten that out of your system. You know you can’t do anything like that when we’re there.” Cas glared at him, but Dean could see the worry in his eyes.
He nodded and bowed his head. “I’m sorry, Geiad."
Cas sighed and took the collar from where it was lying on the table. “Do you trust me, Dean?”
“You know I do,” Dean answered, his voice carrying resignation and sadness. He knew Cas was right. This was the only way if he wanted to help save his brother. He had to do it, even though everything in him wanted to fight it. But he trusted Cas with his life. And now he was going to show him just how deep that trust ran.
Dean fell to his knees in front of the angel, bowing his head forward as he was fitted with the extraordinarily heavy collar. Castiel’s fingers caressed his skin when he closed the clasp of the sign of slavery; the symbol that gave Dean’s life over to the angel’s mercy. Dean suppressed the urge to close his eyes.
“I’m sorry, Dean. For everything that you will have to witness and endure on our journey ahead. I wish you would stay here.”
“You know I can’t do that, Cas. I’ve gotta look out for Sammy.”