Written for the Rooftop’s Valentine’s Challenge.
Setting: Post S7 for BtVS, S7 for SPN
Disclaimer: I don’t own BtVS or SPN, I’m writing this purely for enjoyment. Crashed
The day the world as Castiel knew it irrevocably changed, it wasn’t because of Michael or Lucifer. It wasn’t because of the Winchesters, either. It wasn’t even because of his deal with Crowley or the absorption of the souls in purgatory.
It was because of one human woman.
All those other things had changed him in some way or another, but it wasn’t until her that he knew, he knew
, that nothing would ever be the same for him again. *******
Castiel stood in a field, looking at the setting sun and thinking of the life of the sinner he’d just ended. He should’ve felt invigorated, or righteous, or benevolent. Instead, he just felt sick. He knew something was wrong with him, but it was a tiny voice pointing that out - easily overridden by the echoes of others whispering, “Yes, yes, they’re sinners. Ungrateful vermin that need to be taught the glory, the power, of God. Teach them, Castiel, you’re their father now…
They were right. He was God now. He’d defeated Raphael, taken control of Heaven, the Angels bowed to him and he had the King of Hell on a leash. Now he needed to fix humanity. They’d all gone astray. They needed-
“Hey, Columbo? Whatcha’ doin’?”
He turned to look at the source of the strange question and the echoing voices inside him fell silent for the first time. A second later they hissed and cringed back, fighting with each other to bury themselves deeper in their host. The sensation was disconcerting. His vision wavered at the sudden rush of the millions of souls inside him trying to just get away
. When they stopped their mad scramble and fell mostly still again, trembling and wary deep inside of him, the silence felt strange. Almost as if he’d forgotten what it was like to be alone in this vessel. The relief was surprising. And clarifying.
Now that the rush of energy in him had settled, his eyes sought the one that had scared them so and he found concerned green eyes looking back at him. Slowly, he let his gaze wander over the rest of her curiously. The delicate features, the pony-tailed blond hair, the slight frame, the gleaming red scythe…
Yes, he knew who this was…
“Slayer,” he said, his voice sounding raw and tinged in hope that he hadn’t even realized he’d been feeling.
She gave a nod. “That’s me.”
He’d never met her, only seen an image of her after her removal from Heaven. It had caused quite a stir and had been the beginning of a short strife between Heaven and Osiris. He claimed that being part of the group in charge of balance, called the Powers that Be by some, gave him rights to do with her soul as he wished - that she had more to do and Heaven had no say in that decision. The Angels that were in charge of guarding Heaven disagreed, they argued that once a soul was in their care that the Powers no longer had jurisdiction. It had been quite a mess and made her somewhat of a legend.
“You’re not looking so hot, know that?”
Her voice was light but those green eyes were like a physical weight as they ran over him.
“I’m not-” He shook his head slightly, the sudden clearness of his situation startling and foreign. He hadn’t realized how muddled things had become…
“You need help,” she said, taking a step toward him.
She was right, this wasn’t what-We don’t need help
, the voice was tentative at first, but as it continued, others joined in, giving it strength. We are many, she is but one. We are
With that the mass surged forward again, clouding his mind that seconds ago had seemed so clear. Suddenly he was raising his hand toward her without having made the decision to do so, the stolen power surging up in him with horrible intent. He fought back, but it was too late…
Or so he thought. Apparently the Slayer didn’t feel the same, because he saw no sign of fear or resignation on her face, only determination. She darted forward so quickly that it left the souls controlling him staggered for a moment, struggling to catch up and redirect the power they were amassing. But she was quicker. She crashed into him with incredible force, sending them both to the ground and wrenching a furious howl from Castiel’s hijacked vessel.
There was a sudden cracking sound, followed by a rush of air and the feeling that he was being burned alive. Wild eyes jerked from side to side as he took in his situation - black symbols sprouting from the ground beneath him, wrapping around him and pinning him in place as they burned through him. The howling went up a notch, the sound of his own pain mingling with that of the trapped souls.
The Slayer had leapt to her feet and out of range of the twisting, fiery bindings holding Castiel to the ground.
“Got him, Will?” She called out with a glance to the side.
“Yeah,” came the strained answer. “But we’ll have to hurry. They’re really, really
There was a sudden jerk as he felt the ground beneath him fall away. A sharp twisting of his neck to look beneath him confirmed the suspicion. The symbols around him had stretched out to hold onto solid ground and keep him suspended above what he saw was black void beneath him. He tensed as the souls within him writhed in fear and anger, wrapping themselves up in him tighter and tighter.
“He’s holding on,” the unknown person called out, her voice wavering dangerously. “If they’re holding on and he’s holding on… Buffy, it won’t work if-”
Suddenly her voice disappeared as a warm hand slid into his bound one. Panicked eyes jerked to the side to see the Slayer squatting down next to the void, so close that the toes of her shoes hung over the edge. Her hand was warm in his, making him realize just how cold he’d been lately.
“Let them go, you don’t need them,” she said, causing him to meet her eyes.
“I- I think I miscalculated…”
His voice sounded very small, very young, to his own ears. Many times since coming to Earth, he’d felt unsure, but this was the first time that he felt completely lost. Lost and scared.
She nodded. “You made a mistake, but it’s not too late to stop this.”
“I needed them. I had to… To stop him. To save everyone,” he muttered. “If I let go, I can’t keep them safe…”
“This isn’t the way,” she said, squeezing his hand. “They’ll destroy you and everyone else. Part of you knows that already.”
Looking into her eyes and listening to the furious screams inside of him about what they’d do to her when they got free was what made up his mind. He let go. The pain was immediate and intense, blotting out everything else as the souls dug in, trying not to be pulled back into purgatory. He wasn’t sure how long it went on, it seemed like an eternity, but he locked away the screams trying to claw free of him, feeling that he deserved this for his stupidity. The more of them that ripped free of him, the more he realized the horrible truth of what he’d done, what he’d become. The more ashamed he became…
Even when he felt the last one fall away from him and the bindings holding him unwinding as the gateway to purgatory closed beneath him, he still felt a deep pain inside over his terrible choices. He curled onto his side, panting breaths pushing the grass beneath his face to and fro as he berated himself and wished for his Father to rain down on him the punishment he deserved.
But instead of divine judgment, he felt soft, warm hands touching the side of his face. They pushed his hair back gently and pulled him from his self-condemnation. His eyes rose to hers and he found only compassion. It made him feel worse, but he still gripped her hand and curled into it.
“Everything’s going to be all right now,” her words washed over him and just for the moment, he let himself believe it was true.