Title: (Re)Making an Angel: The Morning After
Characters: Sam Winchester ♂, Castiel ♂, Kafziel (OC) ♂
Rating: T" width="32px" /> (L2 N1 S0 V1 D0)
Warnings: Missing time, edited memories, past death threats, lore applied with a shoehorn, dysfunctional family
Notes: There is a lot more shit going on in Castiel’s head than anyone counted on. Kafziel gets a glimpse and it’s much more than he bargained for. Yes, I just totally set up a sequel. No, I’m not going to write it right now. I don’t know if I’ll get around to it. Quotes are Proverbs 8:22 and Sirach 1:4-5, NRSV.
Chapter 6: The Morning After
The next morning, Sam stumbled out toward the kitchen with an angel blade in one hand and an empty coffee cup in the other, pyjama bottoms slung low across his hips. Between Crowley and an angel he’d only known a day, walking around unarmed had lost its charm. He’d spent most of the night annotating and editing the video from the day before. Turned out that with the right filters he actually could see through the blazing blue flare that occupied about four minutes of footage, and even if he couldn’t quite make out all of it, Kafziel was right — it was beautiful. On the other hand, it was also burned into his brain, from hours of tweaking the contrast and brightness, watching and rewatching.
He passed the angels in the main room, on his way to the coffeemaker, twined around each other and moving through something that looked like it might be a martial arts kata. As he passed, he mumbled something in the way of greeting, figuring he’d have time to be more coherent once he added a little caffeine and sugar to his ragged wit. No asses were being kicked, he couldn’t hear Crowley and Dean raving at each other, a relatively calm morning. All he needed to do was apply coffee.
At least, that’s what he thought, until he heard Castiel sob his name so loudly it echoed off the roof. The coffee mug missed the counter and exploded across the kitchen floor, as Sam bolted back into the main room, ready to stab anything that got between him and Cas.
Kafziel flicked the edge of one wing at Sam, unwilling to unwrap them from, presumably, Castiel. "Shh, shh. It’s ok." His eyes met Sam’s, but he kept talking to Castiel. "What’s past has passed."
Castiel continued to sob miserably, and Kafziel’s wings folded away to reveal that his arms were also wrapped around the smaller angel crying into his chest.
"Sam’s right here." Kafziel gestured Sam closer, with just his eyes. "Ask him."
"Sam, I’m sorry. I’m so sorry. I know I’ve said it before, but I am." Castiel’s face remained pressed against Kafziel’s chest.
"Hey, hey." Sam stuck the knife in the back of his trousers and put a hand on Castiel’s back. "I’m still here. You really fucked me up, you know that? But, you came back for me. You took it all onto yourself. Everything you put on me, you took back. I forgave you then, and I’m not taking that back."
"I used you as a pawn, Sam. I did it to hurt your brother." Castiel sniffled and turned, and Kafziel slowly let go, as Castiel hovered between him and Sam, unsure whether to step closer to Sam.
Sam took the step and wrapped his arms around the little angel. "Everybody does it, Cas. I wish to hell they’d stop it, but it is what it is. You want to hurt one of us, you go after the other one." He watched the rivulets of angel snot run down his bare chest. "C’mon, Cas. I already have one self-loathing prick for a brother. Don’t stick me with two."
"I am not your brother." Castiel doesn’t dispute the other points.
"The hell you’re not. You’re a part of this increasingly weird family, and I say that part is my brother. You saved me, you almost killed me, you made me crazy, you dragged Dean out of Hell… That’s what brothers are for, and you’re ours, just as much as you’re his." Sam tipped his chin toward Kafziel. "Now, put your ass in that chair. I’m going to go get coffee. Yes, for you, too. And tissues."
Kafziel brushed a hand across his shirt, clearing up the smeary, wet faceprint. "May I trouble you for a cup, as well?"
"Yeah. Sure. I’ll just bring out the pot." Sam helped Castiel into a chair, and then crouched in front of him. "Hey, you mean a lot to us. Not just as an angel, either. If this doesn’t work, you’re still you. You’re still my brother, and we’ll still teach you to hunt. So, just chill the fuck out and have some coffee."
"Sam?" Castiel looked down at Sam. "Thank you."
Kafziel put a hand on Castiel’s shoulder. "Castiel? Will you be ok, if I go help Sam clean up the kitchen? We’ll be right back."
Castiel nodded and Sam stood, expecting the conversation would not, in fact, be about the coffee mug all over the kitchen floor. With many too many looks back, Kafziel and Sam headed into the kitchen.
"What the fuck was that?" Sam hissed, as soon as they were through the door.
"His memory. Parts of it, anyway. He’s missing a couple hundred years, judging from things I know he should remember, but there’s a lot of very recent, very serious damage. He’s got some memories only in the abstract, like he knew what he did to you, but he didn’t remember doing it, until now. Hence…" Kafziel flicked his hand toward the other room, and stared at the shards on the floor until they became a cup again. "It looks like someone took him apart with a dull hacksaw, in there."
Sam let out a breath he didn’t realise he’d been holding, and got the coffeemaker started. "How dangerous is it going to be to fix it? Is he gonna be ok?"
"Most of the work I’ve done has been with humans, who I’ve learned have many profound regrets. As long as he doesn’t try for too much at once, he shouldn’t be too much worse for the wear. I expect there will be some crying and tearing of his hair — he’s not quite recovered from his stint as a human. If he goes for the sackcloth and ashes, though, I’m going to worry." Kafziel’s delivery was a sliver above deadpan, and it was only the cant of his head that turned the last line into a punchline.
Sam did not look nearly amused. "You got that from Gabriel."
"I used to be his personal assistant. We have a very similar sense of humour, but I have a whole lot less malice. I never managed that much resentment, and I have no idea how he keeps it up." Kafziel picked up the cup and found two more on the drainboard.
"You’re sure Cas is going to be ok?"
"I don’t sleep. He’ll be fine, or as close to fine as I can keep him. He’s my brother, too."
"His brothers keep trying to kill us. You’ll excuse me if that’s not the best reasoning I’ve heard," Sam snapped, the crisp light of the kitchen highlighting the bruise-coloured smears under his eyes.
"How’s this: I’m terrified of losing him. There are so few of us who ever learned to handle being cut off from His holiness, and I’m sure more died in the fall. We’re not supposed to run without a guide. We’re not built for it. I’m trying to find angels I can trust, not angels who will obey me or expect me to obey them. We are so far out of our depth, here, I don’t know what’s coming next, even with my recollections intact. You and your brother broke the world. Don’t get me wrong, I approve. But, you did. And there are things going on out there that none of us were ever meant to handle. My two best friends are gone. I think Hizkiel is dead, and Gabriel’s completely lost his mind. If any of us are going to make it through this, we need angels who can think on their feet. Angels who aren’t afraid to do their own thinking. And what you’ve got in the other room is the most famous case of exactly what I’m looking for. I need him. You need him. We’re not going to make it, without him." Kafziel paused to take a few breaths he didn’t need. "And he’s my brother. And I love him, in exactly the way we were all designed to love each other."
"That is an answer. Let’s do this." Sam pulled open the fridge and studied the contents. "Bacon and fried bananas good with you?"
"That’s not what I was expecting to come after ‘bacon’ in that sentence."
"You’ve never tried putting fruit into my brother. It’s this or pie, and this is actually weirdly good. Pie and I have had a bit of a rough relationship since that whole Sucrocorp thing." Sam started slicing bananas, while the griddle warmed up.
"Sure, make some for me, too. I’m just going to take the cups out and check on Castiel." Grabbing a cloth napkin off the top of the fridge, Kafziel headed back out. "I’ll wash this later, if he uses it for a snotrag."
A few minutes later, Sam joined them in the main room, carrying one huge plate, five forks (just in case), and the pot of coffee. "Ok, let’s try that again. Breakfast. Like semi-civilised people."
There came a clattering of forks and dishes, and coffee was poured. Kafziel held his cup at chest-height, breathing the steam, meditatively. Castiel helped himself to a banana slice, not without comment.
"Food is still strange. I remember liking it, but it’s… different, now. I don’t want to taste the molecules, separately. I want to taste the food," Castiel complained, picking at the bananas, anyway.
"You’ll get over it," Kafziel assured him, wrapping a piece of bacon around three banana slices and popping it into his mouth. "You’re approaching it too linearly. Don’t taste each thing, taste all the things. Compress the moment."
Castiel looked contemplative, mashing a bit of banana around his mouth with his tongue, while Sam looked on in amusement.
"Thank you both for providing me with the most surreal eighteen hours of my life, including the ones I spent with Gabriel. I just spent the night editing a massively destructive porno, and I’m now listening to a discussion on how to taste food." Adding coffee to the problem was not helping nearly as much as Sam had hoped it might.
One of Castiel’s hands began tracing absent circles on the table, and the thousand-yard stare set in. His other hand put down the fork and traced a strange pattern in the air, his hand spreading slowly across the centre of it, after a few seconds, and then his eyes focused sharply on Kafziel. "You were there. In Babylon."
"Gabriel and I did a lot of Babylon. When?" Kafziel looked confused.
"I was sent to kill you. You and Hizkiel." Castiel rested his head on the edge of the table, and Enochian words poured out of his mouth.
"That’s what they told you? That he was cast down? He wasn’t cast down, we just left." Horror seized Kaziel’s features. "They told you he had ruined us, and we needed to be put down. That we were unrecoverable."
"They were right." Castiel muttered. "You were unrecoverable. So am I."
"It’s a good thing you were always horrible at following orders, or we woudn’t be having this conversation. They kept you because you could be used on those things where no one wanted the blame to fall on them, when things went according to someone’s plan, didn’t they. And they wanted me dead, because I was loyal to Gabriel." Kafziel started to unpack centuries of assumptions. "Tell me again."
Castiel took a deep breath and rattled off the same long string of Enochian. "They wanted Gabriel to come home, didn’t they? If I had killed you both, he would have stormed the gate."
Kafziel nodded. "I think you’re right. You’re ordered to kill us both, and to leave evidence that he would understand, but to stay clear of him. It was a trap. Why didn’t you do it?"
"Because our father doesn’t kill his children. Sophia reminded me. Sophia did something to me. I remember her so clearly — the little girl taking my hand and speaking? No, singing. I didn’t understand the words, then. But, I followed her for weeks. She took my sword from me. I never thought of not putting it in her hands. She slew two rams with it and gave it back, telling me to go home, and that I had done what I came to do." Castiel cleared his throat and sat up. "I thought I had killed you."
"And I never saw you." Kafziel looked a little wide-eyed. "Sophia? You’re sure?"
"Sophia. I’m sure."
"This is going to be even more interesting than I thought. You’ve had more than just heaven in your head. She’s older than all of us. She was one of His first. ‘The Lord created me as the beginning of his way’? ‘Wisdom was created before all other things and prudent understanding from eternity. The source of wisdom is God’s word in the highest heaven, and her ways are the eternal commandments’? That Sophia." Kafziel laughed then, horrified as he thought he could never be. "You were chosen from the beginning. Not to lead, but as proof of point. I just don’t know which point she was trying to prove."
"A being with free will cannot be controlled forever, no matter how much you take from that being. That cannot be removed, only suppressed." And then Castiel’s head tipped back, precipitously, hanging over the back of the chair as a single, low tone emanated from his throat. His hands clamped down on the edge of the table.
"I think he’s having a seizure," Sam hissed, leaping to his feet and rushing to Castiel’s side.
Kafziel moved more slowly, walking around the table to tilt the chair back a little, before he cupped a hand around the back of Castiel’s head and thumped him once, soundly, between the eyes. He barked an Enochian word at Castiel, and suddenly the pale angel began to recite in unaffected Enochian. Kafziel closed his eyes and listened. Two more sharp commands, and Castiel’s eyes refocused.
"Why are you standing over me? What happened?" He sounded confused, but not particularly concerned.
"Someone left me a present. Not me, but the next person to ask you uncomfortable questions." The softness of Kafziel’s voice was insufficient to conceal his burning fury. "There are only four of us who can do that. Zachriel, Zadkiel, Mupiel, and I. And I’m sure whichever one of them it was wasn’t expecting that someone to have any idea what to do when you started reeling off your base instructions. After all, you killed me, didn’t you?"
"I returned to heaven with your blood on my sword, and awaited my next instructions." Castiel smiled a little awkwardly, as he spotted Sam hovering on his other side. "Sam? You look terrible. Have you slept?"
"No, I haven’t slept, and you know why I haven’t slept." Sam snatched his coffee off the table and poured it down his throat, before smacking the cup back onto the table. "You’re all kinds of not ok. I’m not leaving you."
"No, no." Castiel untangled himself from the tall angel’s hands and stood. "You need to sleep, Sam. I need to meditate on what has happened. Come lie beside me. I’ll hold your hand, until you wake up. So even while you sleep, you will know that I am fine."
Kafziel took the opportunity to grab another slice of bacon. "He’s right, Sam. I’ll go read a book. He can’t go looking any deeper, today. I don’t want to lose him."
"You don’t want to lose the perfect weapon, just like everybody else," Castiel accused.
"No, I don’t want to lose the only angel I can carry on a decent conversation with," Kafziel retorted. "Or a decent lover."
"Decent? Yesterday I was amazing."
"Maybe you’ll have to remind me how amazing you are," Kafziel teased. "Go lie down a while. Let that settle before you try to do anything else with it."
Castiel wrapped an arm around Sam’s ribs and led him out. "May I borrow your laptop, while you sleep? I promise to keep the sound off."
"Yeah, sure. Just don’t watch too much porn. I don’t want you bringing down the roof. Dean’ll be pissed as hell if you drop this place on his head."
"Dean will be pissed in Hell, if I drop this place on his head," Castiel corrected, and Sam started to laugh, despite himself.
Kafziel considered that book of Enochian poetry, wondering if it could be as good as Sam seemed to think it was. He’d take the time to find out. The two demons who appeared and started arguing over the bacon, as he left the room, just added flavour to the day. Demon and a half, according to Sam. Either way, he’d get used to it. He was going to be here, for a while.