(It's been a while since I've written a fanfic, but I just loved this idea and had to write it down; I'm also working on a long Destiel fanfic which follows the story from season 4 to the present and beyond, which I can hopefully start posting eventually.
I didn't make Castiel female because I don't feel comfortable with them getting together as men- in fact, when it does go canon, they had BETTER both be men when it occurs or I'll be -_-; I did this because I've always wanted to see a female Castiel and I've found so few fanfic like that and because the idea just came to me in the format of Castiel being reincarnated as a human female).
Hope you enjoy :)
I had been an angel once. Or, maybe I was still. I couldn't know. I don't remember all that much these days.
I know my face- young and surrounded by long, curly dark hair. I still have the blue eyes I'd once possessed but these that now looked back at me in mirrors were my own. I knew my body- it was still as tall and still has muscled as the last one, but there were some differences- my skin was covered in freckles and was lighter than it had been. Or, my vessel's at least. Angels don't have skin.
And I knew a face, a beautiful face, one that had looked at me with stunning gazes that had cut me to the core, had cut me open so that my wings burst asunder and the stars in my veins, barely contained, had thrust themselves out. These stars, these galaxies and nebulae and everything from time and space that I'd ever seen, had enveloped him and I'd shone around him, mighty and powerful and happy.
For the briefest of a time span, I'd been content.
But something had happened and I'd awoken, wings- wings that hadn't worked in a smidgen of that blip- gone, my body coiled tightly around my essence. A body that I was not used to and that had been around for a long time from the wear I detected.
“Who are you?”
There is a human before me and the air stifles me, pushing down my throat and I try not to gag.
I was an angel.
And when angels fall, they fall hard.
I only knew the name because of the memory of that face, that voice, murmuring it- on a prayer blown in the winds of distance, in a desperate shout, in a soft plead. My heart ached for him, even if I couldn't remember more than snatches.
The human- a woman- leans towards me, green eyes so like his, and continues to probe.
“We found you unconscious again outside of that bar, Cassie. What do you remember?”
I remember stumbling through a forest of trees and then a forest of buildings, I remember my hands catching and bleeding against the stone, the branches, the wood, and the metal. I remember a faded life of a girl that I am not. I remember the feel of wings at my back, soaring me to places far above and away. I'd seen planets and stars and galaxies and supernovas, the lights blazing around me in such beauty I could barely believe it.
And how those wings- even when they didn't work anymore- longed to return to an emerald soul so bright I could barely dare look when I plucked him from a ravenous pit of screams.
I must have been a fool. For angels shouldn't fall.
I swallow, pressing a hand to my mouth. Another difference to the one that had been mine for that time. Unlike those chapped, firm ones, these felt thin and soft, like they'd been newly made.
His face appeared before me again and the ache redoubled its efforts. There was something I'd wanted to say to this man, something I needed, something important and all encompassing, but I'd forgotten
I blink back the stings that form in my eyelids.
“I think I have a friend I need to find.”
I had never felt the need to classify a gender to myself but the body I'd had for that time had been male, and therefore it had become comfortable. This new one was most definitely that of a cisgender female. I stare down at it in the shower the nice lady had directed me to. As I press my forehead to the glass of the door, I try to remember more details. But the specifics allude me, memories a haze of swirlings confusions.
My form was young too. My old one had always been somewhat close in age to the man's- the age of a father- but now, looking at the slick young skin- free of all wrinkles- I knew I was little more than a child. And from looking in the reflective glass, I can see that I no longer held lighting in those irises that once had pulsed from my palms. They are the eyes of a child too.
I'd been a girl not that long ago- it was sooner than my memories of the man and of my wings, but those memories dim as these new ones surface. I knew I was called Cassie in this world, this body, but the name had never fit well, a too-small jacket pressing in on me, suffocating me.
I'd had a daughter- or someone like daughter- that had been around this age. Or, least, I think I did. All I can remember of her is a flash of yellow hair the color of corn and a pair of arms pressed around me.
I slick my hair back from my face and stare at the drizzles of drips that zigzagg along the glass like rain. I remember being able to peer into a single drop once, see its every detail, trace its beauty and clarity for hours as the light shone on it changed from the pinks of dawn, to the yellows of day, to the purples and blacks of twilight and night.
But now its just clear and its just a droplet. Not a galaxy of wonders any longer.
Just like me.
I am cresting a hill in the park outside the children's home when I remember his name.
I can recall the sound of his name as it had rolled off my tongue. My voice had been deeper than but even as I whisper it now to the grass under my bare feet, I can still feel that reverence, that strange utter amazement at such a name. Once I had thrown my very essence before his puny, delicate fragility, fallen with a crash, tumbled further and further until I knew not what was up and down any longer. I had risen up, a terror, wings expanded to shield him.
And now I would fling this well-worn body before him if I could, to save him no matter what the cost.
I don't remember why I feel this way, but I do know that it is right. It's the only thing that's right.
He'd had a brother. Sam.
My friend, I remember, a chill freezing me as I recall another face, his face. I glance up into the heavens as a flood of memories suddenly accosts me- flurries of me laughing with the two brothers, or me cradling- stone faced- a warm body to my chest as sobs escalated around me- oh how I wish I had turned my head-, or even me staring at the reflective lights on the back of Dean's battered t-shirts as he stared down at back of his car, headlights rendering him an angel himself in the dark of night.
I dream about him that night- a soft, desperate hand pulling me up an incline, a voice calling out to me over and over, vibrant eyes that poured a multitude of emotions into me, filling my empty places, making me whole.
Sitting up in bed, arms encircling legs, I blink away the tears that had fallen from eyelashes like morning dew once the sun hits it. I could barely remember him- how had we met? Were we friends? What did we do together? How had I met his brother, Sam? Why were my feelings for him so very different than they were for Dean?
Once I had been Cassie- a waif wandering through life- but now that I was recalling these sights, these memories, these feelings, I knew I had to find him.
Before I left the home I had been admitted to after being found wandering alone for days on end, I dug through a trashcan out back. I found a battered, tan trenchcoat and pulled it on. It was too big for me, enveloping my skinny frame, but it was familiar and real and it set my heart a flutter.
I couldn't wait any longer. I had to find Dean. I couldn't figure out WHY exactly, but something niggled at the back of my skull, something I had to do, something I had to tell him.
The streets I traversed in my search were splattered with rain, the overgrown coat hanging from me like a second skin, shivering me to the bone. As night descended, the lights came on and decorated the slick stone with their electric paint. My eyes trained on it, parsing out the particles and pigments, naming the myriad of shades I could- and could no longer- see. I had seen stars die and form and explode and grace the sky, but these sights are more bright and real than any of those ever had.
Sometimes I wonder if an angel I will always be. One night, when the moon is but a sliver in the sky overhead, a tight hand curls its way around my upper arm. Strange, hissing words of fake kindness- filled with sweethearts, and babys- fill my hearing and before I know it, the man is on the ground, fear in his eyes as I stand over him.
I wonder if Dean had been a fighter like me, or if he'd been something else entirely. I remembered the look of awe as he stared at me. At the time it had filled me with the greatest of joys. But now it just made me ache.
I must be getting closer to him- the information I found online tells me someone by that name lives in Kansas (somehow this does not surprise me a bit)- for the memories start assaulting my memory more frequently.
Bursts of light as I entered a barn, reminding me of a faint echo of hell where I first beheld his beloved majesty.
“Help me, please.”
“And I did it, all of it, for you.”
The rolling hills of the east become soft plains of wild grass and shrubs. I tie my hair back to let the warm sun freckle my face. Dean had had freckles, I remember, and I'd loved to count them when he'd been laughing or talking and hadn't been looking my way.
“Dammit Cas, we can fix this!”
“Dean, it's not broken.”
A last look before fleeing, the flicker in his gaze filling me to the brim with an emotion I had barely begun to name even to myself.
“I'd rather have you, cursed or not.”
The cities also change as I walk through them. They grow smaller, more old; cracked-stone buildings appearing randomly even in the metropolises. I remember these places- Dean had grown up in such landscapes, the open space wide and ready to swallow him and his brother whole into its soft embrace. The only mother Dean had ever had once Mary had past.
A strong hug in a swiftly tilting hell. Except it wasn't hell- it was Purgatory and that was almost worse. The hug, brief but powerful, had calmed those waters of rage inside of me and it had taken all of my willpower to not grip onto him and never let go- let him save me like I had done for him. But I had to be strong.
“Let me bottom line it for you. I'm not leaving here without you. Understand?”
“We're family. We need you. I need you.”
That last memory had me doubled over in the middle of a sidewalk; pressed to a shop wall, I had squeezed my eyes shut until I'd stopped weeping. The feeling- the emotion I had known in that moment with all my body and mind and grace and soul- flared up withn me and I knew it. Knew it with such clarity and certainty I was confused as to how I could have ever forgotten its terrible, but beautiful touch.
“Everyone except me.”
I raise my head to the sun, sniff roughly in and wipe my damp eyes til they were dry.
Dean is close. I know he is. He had to be.
I stare at my hands as I sit in a booth outside of a coffee shop. The empty paper cup grows cold on the metal mesh as the street lights glance off it. The palms are the thing I miss the most of my old form. I had left that print on Dean's arm, I had used those hands to heal him, to grip him tight when I raised him from perdition.
I clench the fingers over the new and varied lines and moved to pick up the cup. And the light that erupts around the stretched out fingers is pure white.
Setting my jaw to keep myself from weeping, I snatch the paper cup up and stand, throwing it away as I escape out into the night once again.
I missed being an Angel.
The policeman eyes me suspiciously and I swallow, wishing I still had that FBI badge Dean had given me. Of course, considering I looked fresh out of highschool, it wouldn't have worked anyway.
“Yes,” I reply with a nod, my voice deeper and more gravelly now that my memories had returned. The man's eyes perceptibly widen but he nods and plugs the name in.
“Um..cousin,” I manage, delighted at my quick lie. Dean would have been proud.
At the thought, a hot rush crawls up into my cheeks.
“Why did you come here, then? Couldn't you have just asked your family.”
“Well..we're..estranged...and I wanted to reconnect now that my...gran has died.”
Great. I sounded like those terrible plots for those B movies Dean pretended to like. But, somehow, the man bought it.
He sent me out with information with a distracted wave of the hand.
And as I walk the last few miles, coat billowing around my grungy AC/DC t-shirt, jeans, and battered tennis shoes, I feel my heart beat quicken.
I am confused when I find myself standing adrift in the pushing breeze before an assisted living center. The policeman must have been wrong. Why would Dean be here? Unless he was working a case? That makes sense.
Pulling my trenchcoat tightly around my frame in the chilly air, I march up the steps purposefully when I catch sight of the Impala. It's more battered than I remember it being, but there it is. How many times had I ridden in there with my friends? When my wings had been lost, I'd rode in there many a time before I got my own car.
What had ever happened to it?
I pry my fingers at the door and it creaks open on shimmery hinges. Inside is vast and mustily bright, a faint echo of a heavenly chamber.
A lone woman, brown hair in a bun, sits at the far wall and for a moment I pause. Naomi?
No, not Naomi, she was gone. She couldn't hurt Dean again, could never use my hands to beat him to a pulp like she had in my dim past. I start towards her with purpose, pretending I know exactly what I was doing.
“May I help you?”
“Yes, I'm looking for a man- fairly tall, handsome, with dark blond hair and green eyes. His name is Dean Win-”
The woman smiles sadly as I say the name and I feel a surge within me. She's seen him.
“What is your name, dear?”
The endearment confuses me and I'm about to ask why she's comparing me to an animal when I realize- something from that Cassie's memory- that saying such a thing wouldn't be right.
“Castiel....Castiel Winchester. I'm his cousin.”
At the placing of my name before his last name, a warm sensation thrills through me and tears prickle my eyes before I can stop them.
The woman's eyes move from me to someone behind me and I freeze. I-I know that voice. It had laughed with me, encouraged me, assured me that Dean still cared for me. His arms had hugged me in such a way that I felt like I truly had a brother.
I spin around, hair slapping tan shoulder padding, and find myself looking at Sam Winchester.
Something is...wrong though. He looks older. Much older. His long hair is graying and new lines streak his face, especially on his forehead. An older woman is at his side, her hair cut short, arm linked around Sam's.
I open my mouth to reply, to say that yes it is indeed me, but before I can stop myself I am flinging myself around Sam, holding him tightly as I press my face to his chest. He smells like flannel and cinnamon, just like I remembered.
“What happened to you, Sam?” I ask with a crack. Before, I would have been embarrassed at the sound but I knew now that it didn't matter. What mattered was that I'd found him and that I would soon see Dean again and tell him the promise of my heart.
My friend laughs with a slight choke.
“I could say the same to you. You look like one of Dean's high school girlfriends.”
I glare up at Sam, but I was secretly pleased. I had always tampered down this feeling- Angels should not feel such things towards their charges- but now that I was permantely human it would seem and there was no dangers to worry oneself over, I let them come. I wouldn't act on them completely- and thankfully I didn't experience the lust Balthazar and Gabriel had felt- but I would make them known.
And, if he'd let me, I'd like to be close to him. Just once.
Sam claps me on the side of the face tenderly and I jolt back to reality with a sickening punch. If Sam looked older, then Dean was older, and I had been gone for far, far too long, and-
“Cas, do you remember anything that happened?”
Warm, comforting hands guide me down an adjacent passageway, the woman trailing behind Sam with a sharp look that I usually associated with hunters. I wonder who she was and if she and Sam were a 'thing' now.
And I desperately need to find Dean.
“No. I just-”
A flash of light, the dead weight of a body in my arms, my grace screaming in denial as I pushed and tugged and fought stoically with some-
“Is Dean okay?!”
That had been his body. I'd left him again, been lost to him, he'd been lost and maybe I hadn't found him and-
Two hands grip my shoulder and I look up into Sam's face.
“Cas, calm down. Yes, Dean's okay.”
I sag in Sam's grip, before I burst into tears.
Damn human emotions.
Quickly stopping myself and wiping the tears from my cheeks, I step to the side, coat whispering along with my voice.
“What did happen, Sam. I know Dean was hurt, but I can't remember much after that. And where's Claire?”
Sam's fingers on my shoulders loosen and he looks down sadly before clearing his throat.
“When Dean was hurt you....you used your grace to save him. The darkness, it had gotten to him, because he was a holder of the mark it made him more suceptible. But you put yourself in his place and you just vanished. Dean...and Claire...they haven't been the same sense.”
From the weighted look in his shoulders, neither had Sam.
I reach up and pull my friend into a hug, feeling the tremor of his chest as he suppresses old wounds now brought up once again. I would save him if I could from these but that it is not longer in my power. While I may still scare like an Angel, I am no longer one.
I swallow at Sam's harrowing words as they fully computed. What had happened to Dean and Claire during my absence?
I take in Sam's graying hair, lined and weary face, once again and feel that gagging fear overtake me.
“Sam...how long have I been gone.”
“Eighteen years. Which makes sense seeing as you look that age. You must have been reincarnated somehow. Not sure how, but I have some theories.”
My world spins but this time instead of my wings guiding me, I flailed, because I was a human again and I couldn't fly straight and I would crash and burn and it had been eighteen years.
Arms press into my torso and I realize I must have tripped in my initial panic. I breathe in and stand up straight, embarrassed at such a showing of terror.
“You can see Dean, if you wish. Jody and I were just visiting.”
Sam gesters to the woman who gives me a faint smile that I return.
“I would, Sam. Thank you.”
I pull the coat round me, the soft and warm folds comforting somehow, as I follow Sam and Jody down the passage. This place almost reminds me of a hospital- with its similar scents- but its much home-yer.
My pulse speeds up once again and suddenly I am strangely frightened, the sensation overwhelming my before-hand determination. What would Dean say? Would he hate me? Be disgusted? I'd worried before- after all, I'd looked like a man and I knew that even though he had attraction to men, he would never love me in that way. And I am worried now, because I look like a child and nothing could come of that.
Sam chats with me and I hear snatches. Jody is his wife and is a Sheriff, though she also hunts occasionally. Sam has given up the life for the most part, though he is still a man of letters and helps others in any way he can. He'd also raised Claire, who was now entering grad school. The soft smile on his face warms my heart. At least something in my existence had turned out all right.
Sam stops at a door and hovers uncertainly, looking suddenly frail.
“Cas...Dean has. Changed since you last saw him. You did save him, but.”
Thud. Beat. Drop.
Stars were dying, bursting into supernovas inside of me, crashing down to smother me until I nearly howled, the light matter crashing in on itself, swamping me in utter blankness, the last monster Dean and I had ever faced together.
“Don't freak. But he was hurt and...he might not remember you. He barely remembers me on his best days.”
Numbed, not only wingless but senseless, I stumble to the door and push it open.
There Dean sits on a couch, legs stiff from no use, leafing through a book, a novel titled “Paradise Lost”; it appears to include a sequel as well called “Paradise Regained”. It seems like a nice idea.
He is very old now, that much is certain. His hair is all silver and his still beautiful face is sagged with lines of age.
I nearly wept aloud at the sight of the man I loved looking so worn and faded in a pair of gray sweats. His hands are shaking and from the sweat that glistened on his wan forehead I know he is ill.
I press a hand to stem my crying for lost time, for the loss of a chance to throw myself before him once again. Because I could do nothing for him now, being just a human child.
But he's so old now, tired and different and still somehow the same.
Usually that got his attention and I would hear his pulse quicken through the air separating us, but this time when he looks up, the gaze directed towards me was the one that I'd seen when we first met. Wary, distrustful.
“What is it?” He asks lightly, dropping the book into his lap.
Trying to be silent, careful, as to not startle him, I walk towards him, the light above us flickering, dapples of shadow and golden light slipping hypnotically across his features. A sense of familiarty sweeps over me and I pause uncertainly before him.
I remember something my friend Anna had said oh so long ago. That time was circular, that beginnings and endings were one and the same, meshing together to connect others and events and places. And, for the lucky few, on these roads- these paths- you would find someone or something meaningful and important and profound. They were webs of light betwixt the stars, in the dirt, in the clouds that painted sunsets, twisting lanes leading to a soft...
The word appears in my mind, clear as day.
Dean blinks up at me, wide-eyed face drained of color, the book sliding off his even more slack legs.
Tears build up in my now human eyes but I hold them back for his sake. He coughs and I reach forward as if to heal him before I realize I cannot. Instead, I place my hand on his shoulder, the one my hand print had once been branded upon.
I feel foolish about that now. Dean was no more mine than the wind. Yes, I had saved him and we had become friends, but there was nothing for me beyond that. All I could have was this one moment, if he allowed it.
“Cas...you're here? H-how? I saw you...you...”
His hands, gnarled and old but still his, bunched in my trenchcoat and I feel him pull me to him. I hold myself back, not allowing myself to sink against him like I wanted, like I had for years and years, but I let my cheek rest against his shoulder, let myself take in the feel of his clenched hands against my back.
“I'm so sorry Dean.”
“I missed you.”
I pull back slightly and found myself face to face with him, closer than when he'd admonished me about personal space. He looks worse than he had before, skin tinged gray as if my arrival had taken a decades toll on him.
Abruptly, he is moving, gesturing with his arm, face strained and taut.
“Over t-there, Cas. In the drawer. I- I kept it. L..like the last time.”
I don't want to pull away, don't want to let my gaze travel from him for even the briefest of moments, but I move anyway when I see the desperation in his eyes, hear it in his voice.
“A part of me always believed you'd come back.”
Pulling on the handle, I see inside- folded neatly and pressed- my second old trenchcoat, the one I'd been wearing when I'd last been me. I gently tug it free from its prison and hold it before me. Dean's scent- leather and vanilla- wafts off from it and I tighten my hands around the stiff folds.
He had kept it again. All these years and he-
I turn to him, determination a pounding alarm in my blood, surging with the power of a thousand suns.
“Dean, I have something I need to tell you.”
Dean doesn't speak but gives me a nod. Cautiously, I approach and sit down beside him, which, at the angle he was in the seat, put my shoulder up against the warm planes and muscles of his back. I rest my head against his shoulders and close my eyes with a deep exhale.
I have to tell him. I have to tell him the truth, about what broke the connection, why I listned to him even through my programming, why I'd stood so close back when I didn't understand. Why I'd- despite draping myself in the flag of heaven as Metatron had so eloquently put it- done what I'd done because of one human. Why he'd taught me more than I'd ever thought to learn.
Why I'd somehow stayed alive, even when I shouldn't have, so I could get the chance to see him again.
It didn't matter that he didn't feel the same. I accepted that. All that I cared was that I finally put it out there.
Breathing in one last time, I squeeze my lids tight and whisper.
“I love you.”
The silence is deafening. But the world doesn't implode, I'm not smote down for loving a human, and Dean doesn't recoil in disgust. I keep my eyes closed anyway. I want to enjoy the close contact I had while it lasted.
A hand fumbles against my hair and I turn to see him with his head bent, palms shoved against scrunched up features.
I reach out and place my hand against his and he gives a jolt, raising tearful eyes to me.
“I am sorry for leaving you again, Dean. I'm sorry that I make you uncomfortable. I will always be your friend and I am content to stay in that role.”
Dean's hand suddenly curls around me, pulling me tight against him as he burries his face in my neck. His body shakes against mine.
Carrying him out of hell had felt like this- me holding him close, him clutching to me with a desperation that at the time I had thought was only fear. Now I understood. For now, I felt the same way.
It had been joy too.
And, as I stand at the beginning once again, our roles almost reversed, I turn his face to mine.
Dean lightly rests his forehead against my own, eyes closed and I brush a soft kiss to his cheek.
He gives a choking gasp and I open my eyes to see a gentle smile in them as the light fades.
A peace steals over me, his body weightless against mine. A darkness softly closes in around us, but it is a comforting one, one masking a soon to be revealed light. A light I knew well.
It was then that I realized and when I did I couldn't help but smiling.
I had been the one to grip him tight an raise him from perdition, but I hadn't fulfilled my promise to save him. Not quite. When I'd died, my promise had been broken. By all accounts I shouldn't have been able to fulfill it. But I had. Somehow- whether through my own volition or through God's- I had forced my way through the rules, shattering them, to see my beloved one last time, to save him like he'd saved me.
And I as I look up into the light that broke through the shadows of death, Dean bundled in my arms, I knew I'd finally done it.
I'd saved Dean Winchester.