"You must find your lost brother, Deanael."
Castiel was kneeling before the statue of his Father in Heaven, the temple the largest structure in the realm. He'd been meditating in one of the 7 gardens when a brother had come to deliver the message that he'd been summoned at the temple. None of the angels actually saw their Father but he communicated with them through the statue they'd built of him in his honor. It was considered an honor for Father to ask to talk to you personally.
"But...Father...Deanael...he's been gone for centuries. Finding him would be close to impossible. How would I even know which plane to start on?" asked Castiel, keeping his head bowed down. He remembered the first great purge of Heaven, how many angels had been lost in it. The purge had been caused from a large group of angels gaining minds of their own...free will, they'd called it. Once they'd risen up to gain control of how their existences were handled, God had them banished from Heaven in a great explosion. It was rumored that they'd been dispersed among the many planes meaning that there were now lost angels on Earth, Limbo, Purgatory, and even Hell. Deanael had been at the head of this movement and Castiel wouldn't be surprised if he was locked in the depths of the pits, maybe in a cage similar to Lucifer's.
"He landed in Hell and has resided there ever since. It is your job to find him and bring him home."
"What of Samuel?"
"He is none of your concern. Find Deanael and bring him home."
Castiel felt his Fathers presence suddenly disappear, the conversation brought to a close. After carefully coming out of his bow, he walked out of the temple and stretched into his true form again. One condition of going into the temple was that you had to squeeze yourself into a vessel. It was a way of making yourself vulnerable before your Father. The vessel was supposedly a reflection of the strongest one available for you on Earth at the time and angels had seen the vessel they squeezed into change over time. They were all connected by bloodlines so all the vessels held a certain likeness to each other.
"Brother, you look troubled. Do you need to seek revelation in the seas of solitude?" asked Uriel, coming to stand beside Castiel where he was positioned above the section of heaven made for animals. Most angels had no problem acting as shepherds for the animals because of their simple minds and how they automatically knew their place in life just like the angels did. Some of the angels even loved animals and had nurturing feelings towards them. It was the creation of humans, however, that crossed the line for many. Their "free will" opened up old wounds from the First Great Purge of Heaven and the brothers they'd lost. Many remembered the Twins and how strong of a presence they'd had in this plane before their exile. Father giving this concept the Twins had fought for, though many of the remaining angels didn't understand it, felt like shame to their memory. Castiel would do his job as a faithful son but that feeling of resentment always lingered, growing heavier the longer he thought about it.
"No, Uriel. I have a job to do." said Castiel before flying off to the Gates of Heaven where he saw St. Peter looking over the list of names for people who were to be entering Heaven soon. The angels were bound by duty to be respectful to the Saints and their places in Heaven, especially because of their role with Jesus. It all existed in a delicate balance where the majority of the angels who were most prejudiced against humans would always input an exception for the Saints because they had to be at least part angelic to have been trusted with not only their Earthly missions but also their Heavenly missions. Castiel tried to stay out of these discussions as much as possible, feeling there were too many details you could get yourself caught up in and that it always wasn't worth his time, limitless as it was.
"Ah, Castiel. What brings you to the gates today? I haven't seen you in these parts in....hmm...I'd say 40 years." said St. Peter, looking up from his papers as Castiel landed in front of him.
"Father gave me a job to do. I was told to fetch my lost brother, Deanael. I'll be needing your clearance." said Castiel, reaching a hand out towards the large key that rested around St. Peter's neck. While Castiel could easily take it, he'd grown a great deal of respect for the guarder of the gates and how he chose who got to enter heaven. While the sorting was mostly decided by the Reapers, Peter's job was to weed through the ones who were truly ready and the ones who needed to pay penance still by spending time in Limbo before being allowed into the most sought after realm.
"Good luck, Castiel. I do not envy the journey you now find yourself on." said St. Peter before unlocking the gates and letting one swing open.
Castiel gave the gatekeeper a nod before stepping out and spreading his wings for take off. It would be a long trip before he even got to hell itself since it was the last realm you could possibly go to. The order of realms was set out as Heaven, Limbo, Earth, Purgatory, Hell. He would have to go through all of these before he could get to the one place he was needed. His wings were large and powerful but even they tired as he journey'd closer to the depths of existence.
The mouth of Hell, like the gates of Heaven, were guarded. A lone but powerful demon stood in the entrance, filling the space almost entirely. The moment Castiel touched down, the demon tensed and looked around for the threat.
The demon in question was Adam, the first human to be made and the one to eat the apple, granting him knowledge. While he'd been banished to Earth, he hadn't been allowed paradise in Heaven when he died. No, he'd been sentenced to spend the rest of time in Hell while his partner, Eve, the one he first tricked into eating the apple, was sent to Purgatory. In Hell, he'd met his first wife Lilith again and she'd had some payback for him seeing as how she'd been banished for not "obeying" him. So, now, while powerful from age, he was subservient to Lilith and guarded Hell as she commanded.
"I wish to gain entrance. I want to talk with my brother, Deanael." said Castiel, bowing his four heads though doing so felt wrong. Angels were superior to demons in every way but he knew that in order to gain entrance he would have to lower himself. Demons loved humiliating other creatures and to see an angel bowing to them would give them a sick sense of pleasure. A few seconds of silence passed with Castiel wanting to snap to his full height with each one.
"I will see if Lilith will allow it." said Adam with reluctance in his voice. The demon turned around and seemed to melt into the stone that guarded hell, the wall solidifying behind him.
Castiel simply waited for someone to return, going through a backup plan in his head in case he was refused. He didn't want to kill Adam, not out of friendship or anything, but because doing so would likely start a war which they didn't need. The wars in Heaven held enough casualties, he couldn't imagine what one between Heaven and Hell would bring. Earth would likely be brought into the mix and that would be a whole other disaster itself. It was as Castiel was contemplating all of these scenario's that the stone wall rippled and two figures stepped through, Adam and a woman he hadn't seen for a very long time.
Well, woman was a loose term seeing as how the figure had hardly any way to display a gender. There was, however, just enough of the original soul left, a small speck, that Castiel was able to identify the monster before him. It was Lilith, Adam's first wife and the first demon. Lucifer had made her and she'd likely made Adam. The weird look on her face told him that she was relaying a message so she wasn't the top person in Hell. If Deanael was here then he was the ruler and from Lilith's face, she didn't like following his orders.
"Deanael has said he wants you to come in. He has some questions."
Castiel gave Lilith a nod and followed her, the stone feeling like it was trying to get inside him as it passed by. The inside of Hell wasn't any less horrific than he'd expected it to be. The landscape was jagged rock and volcanoes, lava spewing intermittently and creating lakes and rivers at various locations. The screams of the damned filled the air and scratched at his grace, him having to go against his natural instinct to grant forgiveness. As they walked deeper into Hell, he saw souls in various states of dismemberment on racks while others were locked in cages. They all called out to him when they saw him, recognizing his light and beauty.
"He's through that door."
Castiel looked back at Lilith before turning his head toward the stone door that was ahead of him. He wrapped his hand around the handle and held it briefly before pulling on it, the stone scraping against the ground and wall. Inside, he could hear the sound of chains rustling and he wondered if there was a tortured soul on a rack there. Surely his brother hadn't fallen so far that he was torturing human souls even if they were damned.
The room was large and lit from above, a sort of fire chandelier almost. Still, despite the fire, it was cold and sent a chill through Castiel's grace. He was busy looking around and trying to study the room he was in when he once again heard the scrape of chains. His heads all turned sharply to the left and he saw a figure walk out before hunching over a table, making sure to keep its back towards Castiel. The figure was small, much smaller than Castiel had expected.
"Deanael? Is that you?" said Castiel in enochian, sending the words gently to the other figure. Angels generally didn't actually talk, instead communicating telepathically and sending messages in different frequencies to express emotions. These words had been sent out slowly and softly, expressing hesitance.
The figure turned around at last to reveal a human shape with angelic traces but also scars so deep that they had started to tinge his very being. Half of his face was black and burned while the other half was untouched and jagged scars covered his body. Slightly demonic features shown on him with the beginnings of horns at his temples and sharp nails that almost resembled claws. The most noticeable thing, however, were the chains attached to him at his neck, wrists, and ankles. This was far from the beautiful angel he remembered in Heaven. The angel had become a beast.
"So, what brings you all the way down here?" asked Deanael, crossing his arms and leaning back against the table which was seemingly the only furniture in the room.
"Father sent me." said Castiel, setting himself on the floor and attempting to curl up so he could be closer to Deanael's size. He ended up coiled like a snake with his wings providing a shield for his body, four heads resting on the ground. The size difference was still immense but it was the best he could do given the circumstances.
"Father sent you? Really? What, is there a second part to my punishment?" asked Deanael, walking up and standing as close to Castiel's middle head as he could without touching it. Tainted as he was now, touching the pure grace would burn him and he was burned enough as it was.
"No. Father told me to bring you home."
Deanael stood in front of Castiel blinking for about five minutes, just opening and closing his mouth because he didn't know what to say. "What about Samuel, though? I can't go back without knowing that he'll be there with me."
Castiel's form withered slightly as he heard this. One block he'd been expecting was Deanael's loyalty to Samuel. In their glory days, the twins hardly went anywhere without the other. They were called twins because when Father made them, he'd split the grace at the last second so they were made from the same essence. No two angels could possibly be closer than them. In truth, Castiel had always envied the bond they'd had with each other since he'd been more of the black sheep of Heaven, the one that never quite fit in. That was one of the reasons Deanael had asked Castiel to join his cause but Castiel had said no, saying he was a soldier and would be loyal to his superiors.
"I'll make a deal with you. If you come back with me, I promise we will search for Samuel together."
Hesitantly, Dean gave Castiel a nod of agreement. "Okay, let's do it."
The sound of metal hitting the floor had to be one of the best things Castiel had ever heard. Deanael was free and he was coming home. At least, that was the plan. They had to get through Hell first.
"I know this will hurt but I need you to hang onto me so we can leave. I don't know how easily they're going to let you go."
The feeling of Deanael clinging to Castiel's grace caused a number of sensations, none of which were pleasant. He ignored them in favor of pushing the stone door open and running down the hall, his wings flapping to give him momentum. When things opened up again, Castiel took off towards the entrance with each beat of his wings stirring up ash and sending visibility down to zero. Unable to see, Castiel had to use his other senses to find the exit and hope he could get there soon as he heard shrieks behind him.
His wing finally flapped against a wall and that was both good and bad news. It was good news because the exit was up ahead but bad news because his wing bones snapped. Trying not to think about the pain, he ran forward and leaped through the stone exit before landing on the other side. Before Adam could get a good look at him and his passenger, he was on his feet again and running with his wings attempting beating. While he had three sets, if one wing was injured it was hard to fly.
Castiel didn't stop running until he was near where Limbo crossed over to Heaven. He practically collapsed on the ground and let go of his hold on Deanael. Looking over, he saw that the part of him that had been in contact with Castiel was shining blue but there was also a sizzling smell. Without the energy to contemplate that for now, he curled around his charge and fell asleep. While angels generally didn't sleep, they were able to and only did it in extreme circumstances. This was an extreme circumstance.
When Castiel woke up, there was a funny sensation inside of him. He did his best to inspect himself to see if he had any unknown injuries but came up with nothing. It was as he was sitting up that he felt something stir in his chest and he looked down to find his companion curled up there. Deanael was now fully glowing blue, the same color as Castiel's grace, and the only way he was able to be seen was his features and silhouette. It was rather odd to have something, or, rather, someone inside his chest but it wasn't altogether unpleasant. He could feel his grace cradling Deanael and trying to repair the damage done to him. Maybe it was a good thing he couldn't fly right now.
When he reached the gates of Heaven, Castiel knocked on the bars with one of his giant hands. St. Peter soon appeared with the key, first checking to see who it was before granting him entrance. Castiel nodded his thanks while covering his chest with one arm. He didn't want to be stopped with any questions until he got to his destination which was the Temple. There, he'd bring Deanael to Father and see what would happen next.
The climb to the Temple was longer than Castiel remembered or maybe that was because he was walking instead of flying. Either way, he was glad when they finally got there but sad to extract Deanael from the spot he'd nestled himself into. Going into the Temple required being pushed into a human vessel and that was hard to do with another being already inside of you.
Biting his lip, Castiel stepped into the Temple with Deanael in his arms and felt the familiar feeling of being condensed into something much too small to contain you. When things came into focus again, he was in a vessel and so was Deanael. The vessel Deanael was in was solid but the features were all blurred. If you looked directly at him, you could only see a mess of colors where his face should be. It was odd and hurt Castiel's eyes so he looked forward instead.
Castiel walked forward and laid Deanael down before the alter before lowering to his knees and bowing in submission to his Father.
He was told to leave the temple shortly after delivering Deanael. He'd simply nodded before walking out and stretching out into his true form again. Angels congregated around him with questions, wanting to know about his journey and what he'd brought in with him. He declined their questioning and retreated to the seas of solitude for revelation. A few angels started to follow him but soon fell back, able to see where he was headed and knowing he needed to be alone for revelation.
The seas surrounded Castiel and he retreated into his mind, cutting off all of his other senses including the link he shared with his brothers and sisters. Everything was relaxing inside of him, unwinding and preparing him to rejoin the ranks again with a clear mind when a sharp voice cut through the link he'd shut off, or tried to. It was difficult to drown out the sounds of his siblings in Heaven since they were all around him.
"Samuel has been found."
Castiel's eyes opened and he rose out of the water, floating directly above it as he carefully opened his link again. Voices slowly filtered in, all of them talking over the other about different things and what the return of the Twins would mean for Heaven. The chatter rose and rose until one voice cut through it all and silenced all the others.
"They have not returned. They have a prophecy to fulfill."
This was said by Michael, the first born and the strongest archangel in Heaven.
Castiel remembered the day it happened perfectly. It was January 24th, 1979 and he was spending time in the eternal Tuesday of an autistic man who drowned in a bathtub. A pain went through his head and he felt weak, like power was being drained from him. He fell on the soft grass and his breathing was ragged for a few minutes before he was able to stand again. When he was back on his feet, all of his muscles were sore and his mind felt like mush.
It happened again on May 2nd, 1983. This time he was spending time with the animals when the feeling hit him. He fell and landed over several of them, knowing that if they weren't already dead they would have been after that. He still hadn't gotten an answer about what the last event was and this one had played out the exact same way. It was like Heaven had sent out a massive blast of power that took from everything it passed. He'd never come across anything like this in all his years but calmed himself with knowing that Heaven wouldn't do anything to intentionally harm its occupants.
Life continued on as normal after that event until he got the news that Hell was trying to break the 66 seals to free Lucifer from his cage. The Righteous Man, Castiel was told, would break the first seal when he tortured souls in Hell. Once the first seal was broken, Hell was free to go about breaking whatever seals they could get their hands on as long as they added up to 66. Then, Lucifer would be free to walk the Earth and the apocalypse would begin.
Castiel and his Garrison had been called upon to rescue the Righteous Man from Hell before he broke the first seal. Since Castiel was the leader of the Garrison, it would be his job to actually retrieve the soul while his fellow soldiers would serve as backup for him. It would be a long and difficult journey and some of them would surely perish during it but that was a sacrifice they were all willing to make to carry out their duty. Making sure that Lucifer didn't walk the Earth was their top concern and if a few of them had to die to ensure that then so be it.
They arrived to Hell as a group and greeted Adam with menacing stares. The demon had only a few seconds to react before he was a pile of ash thanks to several angels hitting them with their powers at once. Swiftly, they rushed through the entrance and kept their wings tucked close to their bodies since Castiel had told them of the injury he sustained just before he got out on his last visit. Once out in the open, they took off and made sure to only flap their wings when necessary so as not to stir up too much ash in the air.
It didn't take long for the inhabitants of Hell to become aware of their presence and soon they were fighting off deformed creatures just to get forward. Most of them were easy to bat away, low level demons they could either flick off or burn with barely a thought. As they got deeper, though, their enemies got harder to fight. Castiel felt claws dig into his grace and he flung the offending creature off, making note that he needed to be on even higher alert. In his peripheral vision he could see some of his brothers be dragged down and while his instincts screamed for him to go and save them, he resisted the urge. He had a mission and he would not fail. They came here knowing they might die.
Castiel was starting to lose hope after circling the depths of Hell for years, seeing more souls being piled in and losing strength as he was cut off from the Host for even longer. It was as he felt like giving up that he saw a light shining through the ash clogging the air. The light had a magnetic pull to it that drew Castiel in and he could tell even from where he was that it was the purest thing in Hell even with angels around. The light grew stronger the closer Castiel got to the source and there was no doubt in his mind that this was the Righteous man he'd been sent to retrieve.
The actual soul, however, was a sad sight to see. It was mottled with black scars and had several gashes that were leaking smoke. Black veins stood out prominently along with a pair of horns, leathery wings, and claws. Despite how deformed it was, though, it shined impossibly bright through undamaged parts and it made Castiel wonder how bright it would glow without all the wounds defiling it.
Castiel's plan had been to just grab the soul and leave as fast as he could. The soul seemed to sense him and turned around, revealing a rack with a soul strapped to it along with a pair of black eyes and a mouthful of sharp teeth. Castiel froze for a second as he looked at the rack, knowing what that meant. The first seal was broken and apocalypse had started. Now, the demons would be trying to break all the seals they could and the angels would be fighting a losing battle because of how many seals there actually were.
The small pause was all the time the soul needed to attack and Castiel found a knife in his side. It caused grace to leak out of his body and his healing factor was sluggish because of how long he'd been in Hell. Now knowing the soul wasn't going to come peacefully, Castiel pulled the knife out and got into a defensive position like a snake ready to strike. The soul growled at Castiel and flared its wings out while baring its teeth and claws, crouching down to gather up power before pouncing.
Castiel was ready this time, though, and caught the soul in his hands and held it away from his body so it could tire itself out by struggling. It was snarling and spitting, lashing out and biting at the air in an attempt to get at the angel but it was no use. Castiel had him firmly in his grip and the soul eventually started to calm down, if only physically. It was still glaring at Castiel murderously and he knew that if given the chance it would kill him.
"Let's get you out of here."
For some reason Castiel felt the need to tell the soul that it was leaving Hell. The soul, after hearing what Castiel said, gave him a confused look before growling and biting at the air harder. It was clear that the soul didn't believe him even a little bit and probably thought that he was being lied to. No matter, he would see soon enough that he was going to receive salvation and that his soul would be healed. He wasn't a totally lost cause even if he had broken the first seal. After all, the Righteous Man who begins is also the one who can end it.
With this in mind, Castiel placed his hand on the souls arm before clutching him to his side in a way that made it impossible for him to claw at him. He'd still be able to bite but he couldn't do both which left Castiel with enough space in his head to focus on getting them out of Hell.
He made it just outside of the 7th level of Hell before he was attacked with more demons than he'd seen coming in. The Righteous Man's soul was a beacon and Hell wasn't going to let something so pure go so easily. Castiel's grace was torn and hacked at but he kept going, his brothers soon joining him to shield him in the escape. They were all looking like they'd been through a shredder but they carried on nonetheless because it was their duty.
When he actually escaped, it took a long time for Castiel to fully register it. He was helped up and he was thankful for the assistance but backed away when a fellow angel tried to take the soul from him. By now the soul had burrowed itself mostly into Castiel and was trembling. What had started as an angry thing wanting to kill him was now clinging to him for comfort. No, Castiel wasn't going to let him go.
In Heaven, Castiel took the soul to one of the gardens, which was cleared for him, and laid it down on the soft grass beside a flowing stream. The soul reached out and grabbed for Castiel's body but it was just out of reach, eventually settling for curling in on itself and digging its claws into the dirt. Castiel, for his part, waited for the soul to stop trembling in fear before he laid a large hand against his arm. Then, gently, he reached his grace out to the poor creature in front of him in the form of a warm embrace.
The soul before Castiel was extremely damaged from its time in Hell and he healed it slowly, knowing that if he rushed it he risked maiming the soul even further. His healing grace spread all over the soul, dissolving the most demonic features first until they crumbled away to dust. A tan skin tone began to show as the scars were brushed away and the grace turned the black veins blue. Claws became blunt nails and fangs fit perfectly in the souls mouth again. The last thing to change back was the eyes, melting from an inky into a bright, emerald green.
Castiel felt drained by the time he removed his hand from the soul, having used a lot of power to reverse the effects of Hell. He laid down on the grass beside the soul and curled in on himself so he could focus on recharging while still watching the one in his care. The soul was breathing but refusing to turn over which frustrated Castiel because this meant he couldn't see how well his repairs went. He wasn't going to force the soul to do anything it didn't want to, though. It had been through enough torture and spent enough time having its choices taken away.
Eventually, the soul did turn over and Castiel's mind seemed to freeze. This soul...it couldn't be...It looked just like Deanael but Deanael was an angel, not a human. It would, however, explain the sheer brightness of the soul even while tarnished but still...shouldn't he recognize him?
"I don't know why you're adding extra letters. It's just Dean."
Castiel had shielded the shock from his face at the response he'd received. He knew what he saw, that the soul greatly resembled the grace of the angel Deanael. However, the soul, the Righteous Man, denied it so Castiel dropped the subject. Instead, he let the soul rest before tucking it into himself again and going down to Earth so he could rebuild the body.
The body was a pitiful sight with the chest ripped open and decomposition having heavily set in. Hardily any flesh was left thanks to the pine box it was buried in but the bones were there and that was enough for Castiel to work with. Slowly, he worked until the bones had muscle and nerves and then organs filled the cavities of the body. The soul was gently placed back into the body and allowed to fill it completely before Castiel breathed life into the newly restored form. After that, he flew out of the ground and went in search of the vessel that he would be needing very soon.
The vessel he ended up choosing was very close to where he had restored the Righteous Mans body. His name was Jimmy Novak and he was a devout Christian who was quite willing to give up his body to the divine. While Castiel had been in metaphorical vessels in Heaven many times, it had been a long time since he'd actually been in a true vessel. The fit was very tight and his senses were both dulled yet heightened as he looked through the eyes of Jimmy and touched with his fingers. His grace squirmed inside of the body, yearning to be released back out into the open but he resisted the urge to abandon the vessel since he knew he had a job to do.
That job started with a summoning spell to a barn with a tin room and symbols inside from every faith. Just his presence answering the spell caused a storm, light bulbs breaking as he walked inside. The two men waiting for him fired guns at him but all those did was damage the coat he was wearing, maybe cause the vessel to flinch. Still, he continued forward past all of the symbols and the giant devils trap they had placed in the hopes he would get stuck in it. He stepped past it effortlessly and came to stand before the soul he had rescued from Hell.\
"Who are you?" asked Dean, sounding just as angry as he had in the pit.
"I am the one who gripped you tight and raised you from perdition." said Castiel, giving him a level look.
"Yeah, thanks for that." said Dean before stabbing Castiel with the demon knife he'd kept hidden behind his back.
Castiel, however, just looked down at the knife like it was a toy. A small smirk came to his face before he pulled it out and let it fall to the floor with a metallic thud, his gaze returning to Dean. Before he could say something else, though, his other senses picked up the other man coming at him with a weapon. Without even turning around, he caught what turned out to be a crowbar before placing two fingers on the mans head which caused him to drop to the floor. Satisfied that he was would be out for a while, Castiel went to the spell book and started leafing through it while Dean checked on him.
"Your friend is alive."
"Who are you?"
"I figured that much. I mean what are you."
Castiel paused for a second before turning to look at Dean.
"I'm an Angel of the Lord."
"Get out of here. There's no such thing."
"That's your problem, Dean. You have no faith." said Castiel as he approached Dean.
"Okay, then why would an Angel want to rescue me from Hell?"
"Good things do happen, Dean."
"Not in my experience."
"What's the matter? You don't think you deserve to be saved?" said Castiel, eyes squinting as he looked deeper into Dean's soul in search of an answer.
"Why'd you do it?"
"Because God commanded it. Because we have work for you." said Castiel.
He looked at Dean for a few more seconds before walking out of the barn and flying away. He didn't want to go back to Heaven just yet so he went to a mountain and sat at the top, just looking down at everything it looked over. They did, indeed, have a lot of work for Dean. Castiel was just hoping it wouldn't open up the wounds he'd worked so hard to fix.