Prompt: A while back, Filthysweetie sent me this prompt: Cas lets go of the souls and he finds his way back to the Winchesters, but they turn him away.
Genre: Angst & profound bond (friendship or slash, it depends on how you see it! You probably know how I do.)
Wordcount/Rating/Warnings/Spoilers: ~1200 words / PG / None / Up to season 6 finale.
Note: I haven’t written in a long, long while. A big thank you to Colleen for this prompt that helped me get my muse back! I owe a huge thank you tosupernatgeekgrl as well since she beta read this story and helped me making it better! (PS: I truly hope the Read More is working but apparently it isn't.)
Fallen and Bruised
Castiel walks past the barrages and the gates. He walks into the camp, the ground is dry and hard beneath his feet, the sun has burnt any life that could have grown from the earth. He walks by people, people with weapons, people gathered, people on their own, familiar people, maybe; he’s not quite sure of whom he has known and whom he hasn’t. It doesn’t really matter anymore.
Sweat slides down his brow, his chin, his neck, along his spine. His knees hurt from walking for so long, his head aches from everything it was filled with… It is empty now. There was a time when his mind was filled with angels’ and humans’ whereabouts, with creatures coming to life or giving their last breath, falling through the depths of the earth left to endless torture or joining His heaven of peaceful souls. There was a time when he could hear every word, breath, laugh or cry- but then they were mostly cries. Castiel can’t hear anything anymore. His tongue would stumble over words if he were to pronounce them but he thinks it is called relief.
He can feel people staring. Some are eyeing him from afar, some are wondering, he can hear them whisper- is that him? Some look terrified, hiding the face of their child against them. Some look aghast.
He walks through the village as if he had lived here, as if he had walked this ground, breathed this air, lived in one of these poor excuses for a home.
He sees shadows of people on his way and simply keeps walking. He waits for them to clear his path because that’s what people have always done since he can remember, since he started walking.
The man, a middle sized man with a beard and brown hair and with no more importance than any other man, lets go of the papers in his hands. The woman next to him gasps as the forgotten sheets of paper reach the ground, her pupils grow wide as she catches sight of Castiel.
“Chuck, go get Dean,” she says, putting an arm across the man’s chest to urge him to take a step back.
“What?” the other whispers, mesmerized, perhaps. Castiel barely sees his lips moving and the strange expression on his face. He stares at the woman, the petite dark-haired tanned woman who loved drawing as a child, especially blood-red daisies, cats and sunflowers, who broke a rib at age twelve in a car accident involving a drunken recently-divorced banker from Ohio named Timothy S— Castiel blinks and his mind blanks out again. He watches the woman turn her back on him and run deeper into the camp. The noise of her footsteps gets lighter and lighter and then he hears her yell the name he’s been waiting to hear for days and months. It echoes in his ears like the most sacred hymn.
Castiel follows her paces, her voice, and no one tries to stop him, no one matters. He doesn’t see them, doesn’t hear them, just follows the path this woman took and hopes- is it? Hope? Can he really feel hope, what is hope again? There was a time when it wasn’t a foreign word, an unknown feeling, but there were so many things, so many sensations that were familiar- and all are gone, what if this is gone too?
He stops in front of a shack that looks like all the others scattered across the camp. He can’t take his eyes off the shed. People stare at him and his eyes start aching from not blinking. His skin burns and his chest tremors with each breath. Until he sees Dean. Dean walks out wearing an unknown dark green jacket, used khakis and worn-out laces on his shoes. There is also this new, yet old and used look in his eyes that Castiel has never seen him wear before.
There’s a man with him, a taller, broader man with long hair, a beard and the same ancient look. Something whispers in the back of his mind that the boy is younger. The boy seems nervous and surprised, worried but determined. In the back of his mind, the whispers sing a familiar song. But they don’t say anything about Dean, Dean’s blank face, Dean’s invisible thoughts, Dean’s painfully tensed shoulders.
“What do you want?” Dean asks.
It takes some time to properly understand the question. He tilts his head, tries to reach a better comprehension of the words and the intention behind them. Dean’s jaw clenches.
“I w- ”
His voice is raw and his throat hurts. His lips are dry, so dry, he notices.
“You” is the simplest answer that comes to his mind.
He can see the bones of Dean’s jaw, the joints, the muscles, the tendons, everything clenching so hard it hurts, so much that he doesn’t see Dean walk up to him, look at him in the eye and almost doesn’t hear him – almost – when he says:
“Get out of here.”
And with that, he turns back and goes back into the- the house, the shack, goes back into the shack, without another glance, why does he- what- And the taller man, the broader man calls “Dean!” when he’s standing on the threshold, “Dean, look at him! That’s not- he’s not- Dean, look at him for God’s sake!” but why is it- it hurts. His head, it burns, hurts, his chest, he’s- dizzy, he’s- why doesn’t he, why- Dean, why- Dean doesn’t even give the other man a glance, shrugs off the hand on his arm that he hadn’t even seen was there and doesn’t- he hears broken words about another goddamn twisted game and Dean leaves. Just like that, he- he’s gone.
The tension in the air, it is palpable, odorous, tastable- can humans taste tension? Can they smell, touch, hear? Can they feel the pain, the crushing feeling in his ribcage- can they? They look at each other, nervous, anxious, something, something else, some feel different, some look different, some with weapons, some leave, some stay, some look, some run, some- He can’t see Dean anymore, he just can’t see.
The tall man, the broader man, the boy, the long-haired boy, with a beard and eyes, old eyes yet still young, the boy is standing in front of Castiel, looking at him, ho- hoping? Is that, can humans- do they hope? He can’t remember. He’s not sure, what is- how-
“Dean!” It’s the only thing, the only one that matters, what else could he say, could he think, could he feel- it’s the only thing he’s sure of.
“Cas, mate, you- Are you okay?” the voice shivers, trembles, shudders, can it- can it shudder, feel the cold, or is it-
He falls onto the ground, the dry, dry ground, falls on his knees and there’s nothing else that the tall man can do but reach out and try to slow his fall.
In some books, somewhere, at some time, will be written the story, the words, about the time when the angel God had fallen, had walked and had fallen again during the fourth year of the so-called better God’s era. Later, much later, no one will know how the God fell, and maybe they’ll never know, and maybe some will hope that someone caught him in his fall.
Maybe when he opened Purgatory’s gates and let out the souls tormenting his mind, maybe he had hoped, maybe, when he gave it up, gave up all of it, maybe the angel God had hoped someone would catch him in his fall.
I would love to hear any opinion and constructive criticism about this. Any hit of the like button is also appreciated ;) Your comments can only help improving my writing so don’t be shy to speak yor mind! ^^ Thank you for reading.