Dislcaimer: I own neither Supernatural nor Buffy, the Vampire Slayer. They belong to Kripke and Joss. THis is solely for fun, not profit.
A/N: Whoops. Took me a while. Life's a madhouse, though, so I feel like I have an excuse. And I'm working on the next part again after a total block, so go me! I hope you enjoy this little ficlet and that it sheds some light on Buffy and Castiel.
+Like a Comet
+In the old myths, it is said the world will end in fire, or in ice.
It was a Tuesday and it was sunny and bright and warm and Jimmy had left work early so he could pick up his girls and take them to the park. He owed it to them, after all the strange (crazy) things he’d done lately.
He knew (hoped) that Castiel was real and not just a figment (monster, burning comet, raging sword of fire) of his imagination. But Amelia and Claire couldn’t see, and so they couldn’t believe. They had faith in God, faith in religion and faith in Jimmy Novak, but they couldn’t believe that he was an angel’s chosen vessel.
Some days, he couldn’t believe it himself. But he heard Castiel, caught glimpses of him in the mirror and he knew that he was real. And one day soon, he would come to ask of Jimmy what he needed to save the world. And Jimmy would give it to him.
But first he would take his girls to the park and laugh in the sunshine with them.
Smiling at the thought, he missed the woman until he bumped into her. He reared back in surprise but she didn’t move, just stood in the middle of the sidewalk like a rock in the sea of people. She was looking straight at him, head tilted the slightest bit to one side, hair falling over sharp features, and something about her was… bright.
So very bright.
“Your eyes are bright,” she suddenly said and her voice was high and girlish, like her stature and age suggested but it lacked the childishness he expected for some reason. Bright
. She plucked the word right out of his head, felt like. (Except people didn’t do that.)
“I…,” he was flustered, confused and didn’t know how to react. She was young and pretty, reminding him of Amelia in their college days, except that there was a fire under her skin, a brilliant sun (beautiful and dangerous) that his wife had never had (thank God and what a pity). “Thank you.”
And asked, “Do you believe in God?”
Automatically, he nodded. He believed. Better yet, he knew.
“I don’t,” she told him and then echoed his thoughts, “I know. That’s something different, isn’t it?” (Again. Her words right out of his head.)
Why were they having this conversation? Who was she? Why was she asking (demanding) these things of him? He listened for Castiel’s voice, waited for some sign of what was happening, but nothing came. The sun kept on shining, people kept on walking and the blonde girl in front of him kept looking at him like she expected something from him. (What?)
But he was only Jimmy Novak. An empty vessel.
“I… I don’t think so,” he finally said because he had to say something.
“I do. Knowing is cheaper. It’s easier than just taking things on faith.” (Like Amelia and Claire refused to do.)
“Perhaps,” he acknowledged noncommittally. He had believed and then Castiel had come and now he knew but his faith had stayed the same.
“He had others before you, you know?”
He jerked, wide-eyed, startled. Looked around them, but no-one seemed to have heard, seemed to have noticed. A few pedestrians grumbled as they had to move around the motionless pair, but none took real notice of them.
“Castiel,” she said calmly, and his entire world tilted.
Castiel was real. He knew that. He believed that. (And those were the same things.) But to hear his name spoken out loud by another human, to hear it with his ears instead of his heart with such clarity… it shook him. Badly.
She either didn’t notice or didn’t care. She just kept on talking, quietly, friendly, but with a sense of urgency. “He had others. Vessels, like you. Not true vessels, but good enough. For a while. They burned up. They… like comets, Jimmy. They burned like comets because that’s what angels are. Fire and starlight.”
“I don’t-“ He had no idea what he didn’t. But it hurt to hear things said out loud that sounded secret and forbidden, special and horrible even in the silence of his head.
“You don’t have to say yes.”
“Castiel chose me,” he started, but she smiled and interrupted.
“I know. It’s why I’m here. He’s a good guy. A good man. And I wouldn’t say that of most angels, but… they are terrible. Angels, I mean.”
“They are God’s creatures.”
“So are humans, right?”
“Then why do angels wear you like cheap dresses?” He heard the ‘you’ instead of ‘us’ but it didn’t register (didn’t want to) because he felt the old anger, the familiar sting of someone looking at him and seeing a raving madman, not the chosen he was. (And he was. Chosen. By Castiel. He, Jimmy Novak.)
“They need a vessel to walk this Earth.”
“It is an honor to be chosen for such a duty. It is…”
“It’s death, Jimmy.” She finished for him. “You say yes and you will burn up in a brilliant, white light. You’ll be gone. Castiel is my friend. But you don’t have to agree to be his vessel.”
Jimmy was angry now, angry with her for questioning him and angry with himself for listening to her. Castiel was an angel. He was good
. He was pure. He was doing what God commanded him to do and that was right
. He did not want to waver in his (crazy) faith. “You say that I’m his true vessel. If I say no, if I refuse his request, will he keep burning up other men?”
“Why are you not protecting them?”
“I never knew any of their names before,” she answered, calmly but with a hint of guilt in her voice. “He told me yours.”
“But you would have gone to them? Would you have talked them out of it? Refused Castiel his vessels?”
“In a heartbeat.” This time there was anger.
“Heaven sticking a hand up your ass and making you its sock puppet it not all it’s cracked up to be, believe me.”
He couldn’t help it anymore. “Who are
She smiled weakly. “No-one. I just wanted to let you know that you can say no. It’s your choice. Sorry to have ruined your day, Jimmy Novak.”
And with that she slipped sideways and forward, back into the stream of anonymous faces, back into the crowd like she’d never been there. (Maybe he’d dreamed her.) A burly man bumped into Jimmy from behind, shoving him forward. He stumbled, caught himself and was alone in the sunshine.
The girl was gone.
(Maybe he’d dreamed it all.)
Later, weeks perhaps, or months, a man in a beige trench coat sat next to a small blonde woman on a park bench somewhere in a nameless, colorless Midwestern town.
“Why did you tell this vessel to deny me?” He asked, his hands loose in his lap, like he didn’t know what to do with them.
“Did he burn when you entered him?” She asked, ignoring his question entirely, her gaze on two tall men goofing around at a hotdog stand a hundred feet to the right.
“Why – “
“Did he burn, Cas?”
“Yes. But I shielded him to the best of my abilities. His soul is intact.” The angel bowed his head, face blank, as always. Jimmy’s eyes were as bright as before, but his expressions had all gone, wiped away by angelfire.
“Intact, trapped and singed around the edges. Wow. Congrats.” She snorted, shook her head and watched Dean try to get Sam to drop his hotdog by hip-bumping him repeatedly.
“Please answer my question.”
“I told him to say no because you burn up people’s souls, goddamn it!” She snapped, rolling her shoulders tightly in agitation.
“Why does that matter to you? You are not a vessel. You have no personal interest in these people. And I am following His
“No,” she acknowledged, fight leaving her as the boys drew closer, almost within earshot now. “Yes.”
In a moment, he would be gone and their (always) stilted conversation would be interrupted. Again. Some days, she felt like they had been having only one single, big (impossibly convoluted) conversation in all the years since she’d fallen from Heaven and they had had to limit themselves to human words and human mouths to form them.
“But I’m half angel.” She held out her hand for both of them to see, palm up, open to the sky. “One day, I’ll burn myself to ashes.”
“But you are not Jimmy. I did not let Jimmy burn. Why is this so important to you?”
“Fire and starlight.” She repeated.
“You spoke those words to my vessel, too. I do not understand your meaning.”
“You wouldn’t,” she informed him without heat. “It’s a human thing. It’s called fear.” She withdrew her hand and looked at him, green eyes meeting blue, both bright (too bright). “I don’t want to burn, Cas.”
“You will not. You are only half angel. The likelihood of that happening…”
“Hey, Buff, come over here and check this out!” Dean called from where he and Sam had stopped in front of a brightly colored poster. She turned her head to look at them for a second and when she looked back, Castiel was gone.
She clenched the hand she had held out into a fist, shook it, released it and looked at her palm, imagining she could already see the sunlight under her skin.
Part human, part desert, part sky. She knew what happened to humans in the desert. She knew what the sky did in the desert. It burned things.
Burned them with brilliant white light.
“Coming,” she called toward an impatient Dean and stood, ignoring the tiniest rustle of wind through feathers at her back.
(Before that conversation, at the bottom of the porch steps he had painted the summer before last, Jimmy Novak spread his arms and said yes.
And he burned like a comet.)
+It ends in fire