notahammer: (Frontline [Dean])
Castiel had not set foot on earth for many years. He had had no need, not since Lilith had been slain and Lucifer had been safely put back in the bowels of Hell. But he had continued to watch Dean when he had a chance, had felt responsible for him in a strange way. It was as Uriel had said, so long ago in human terms – he had a weakness, he liked the man.

Still, he had not watched enough. He had not seen Dean trapped by a pair of Hell’s viler inmates, cornered and alone. By the time he had seen, the hunter was already broken beyond repair, and there was nothing he could do other than carry the man home. To his wife and daughter.

Faith had been, understandably, distraught. Castiel had heard her, time and again, tell her husband he was too old to hunt. That he should follow his brother’s lead and settle down with his family. And now he had the job of carrying her lover’s broken body home for the last time.

“I am... sorry, Faith,” he told her as they stood at Dean’s bedside, watched the irregular rise and fall of his chest. He did not know whether she had heard him or not, and so he stood silently at her side, slumped awkwardly in his human form. When Sam and Mary arrived, he moved himself silently from the bedroom into the lounge, and from there he took to his wings. Flying, silent and invisible, back to the bedroom, he watched from above as Dean took his final breaths, his family around him.

The hunter’s soul, as it left its physical body behind, was bright almost to the point of angelic. It flew straight to Castiel, its guardian angel in the afterlife as well as when it had still resided in the body of Dean Winchester. Castiel bid it to wait, before quietly revealing himself once more to the mourners. “Faith,” he spoke, taking her by the hand and guiding her silently from the room.

Outside, in the lounge, he looked long and deep into her devastated eyes. He would not see her again, had no more ties to this plane of existence now that Dean had passed, but he felt he should leave her with at least some sort of hope.

“I will not see you again,” he told her, human hand brushing away some of her tears. “But I am bound to Dean. I will deliver him safe to Heaven’s gates, I give you my word on that. He is at rest now, and happy. And he will be waiting for you, when your time comes. You will be together again.”

Again, he looked deep into her eyes, looking for some sign that she had heard him, that she had understood through the haze of grief that clouded her mind. And there it was, deep in her soul, that flicker of hope. That knowledge that, although it hurt now, things would get better. That she would be reunited with her husband, one day.

Stepping closer, Castiel wrapped both arms of his human vessel around her, and she fell easily against him. He held her there until he could feel her soul strengthen, feel her resolve set. Only then did he step back and, with one final lingering look, take to his wings to make good on his promise.

He delivered Dean Winchester to Heaven, where he and Faith would one day be reunited for all eternity.

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Castiel

December 2009

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