Hammer to Fall

[Battle of the Fandoms: Supernatural--- Jk, it didn't make the cut. Replaced by "Close Your Eyes"] Season 4 Cannon divergence: Saving Dean from Hell was difficult, but Castiel didn't regret the bond that they had forged during their time in the Underworld. Upon returning to Earth, much of Dean's memory of Hell was destroyed, including how he had fallen in love with the angel who had come to rescue him. Castiel, on the other hand, remembers everything, leaving him with the decision to either let Dean live his life, or try to win him back once more.

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2. Echoes

 

    Castiel wondered if Dean could hear him. After all, he was the Righteous Man, wasn’t he? In his true form, Castiel looked down from high above, watching as Dean looted an abandoned gas station. He considered the fact that maybe, just maybe, if he could just talk to Dean, it might spark his memory and remind him of who Castiel was. After careful deliberation, he decided that it was worth a shot. 

    Descending closer to the gas station, the energy of Castiel’s true form began to mess with the electronics within. Castiel could see Dean race for the salt, frantically spreading some across the window pane. Of course, Castiel knew such precautions were useless, but it was good that Dean was trying to stay safe.
    “Dean,” Castiel called as he got closer. “Dean, it’s Castiel.”

    Dean dropped to his knees, hands clamping over his ears as glass shattered above him. 

    “Dean,” Castiel tried again as the human scrambled across the store trying to find shelter. The windows opposite him exploded with such force this time that Dean was propelled back into the counter behind him, collapsing on a blanket of glass shards. Castiel quieted, hoping Dean hadn’t been hurt. He had thought… He didn’t know what he’d thought, but he must have been wrong. Resisting the urge to say he was sorry, Castiel withdrew to a safe distance, turning away from the Righteous Man. 

    Castiel didn’t know how much time had passed before he felt another presence approaching. He didn’t acknowledge it until it was right beside him, unable to be ignored. 

    “What do you want, Balthazar?” Castiel asked despondently. 

    “I heard you were back,” Balthazar said. “How did yanking the little guy out of hell go?”

    “It was hard,” Castiel said simply. In more ways than one.

    “No surprise there.” There was a pause. “Any particular reason you haven’t come back to heaven for a debriefing yet?”

    “I have to make sure Dean gets to his family safely. If he were to be murdered along the way, what good would that do us?”    

    Balthazar gave a little laugh. “Well, while you’ve been sitting here stewing in your own juices, I hate to tell you, but he’s already met up with his family.”

    Castiel’s head snapped to him. “What?”

    “That’s right. They almost murdered him, but he’s fine.” Balthazar added, “Since when are you and he on a first name basis, anyway?”

    Castiel looked away a little too quickly. “Excuse me if I didn’t want to call him ‘Righteous Man’ throughout our entire journey through Hell.”

    “Fair enough.” Balthazar quieted for a minute, but Castiel knew he was being studied. “There’s more, isn’t there? Come on, Cassie, I know you inside and out. You can’t hide stuff from me.”

    “Then you’ll know I’m not hiding anything,” Castiel said shortly. “If you’ll excuse me, I should report in to Zachariah.”

    “Have fun with that.”

    Castiel felt much the same way. He and Zachariah rarely saw eye to eye, but he was Castiel’s superior. Reluctantly, he returned to the Heaven Zachariah was occupying at the moment and knocked on the heavy oaken door of his acting office. “Come in,” came the disturbingly cheery voice from within.

    Stepping just inside the door, Castiel waited for Zachariah to look up and acknowledge him. “Ah, Castiel. How went the mission?”

    “It was a success, as you know,” Castiel replied stiffly. 

    “Yes, I got the message,” Zachariah said. He smiled an unnerving smile, “Dean Winchester is saved.”

    Castiel nodded. 

    “Where is the Righteous Man now?” 

    “He is reunited with his family,” Castiel said. “I suspect they are speculating as to who or what was the cause of his return. Am I to reveal myself?”

    Zachariah contemplated this. “You will have to eventually,” he conceded. “But wait until they make the first move.” Castiel was silent. He didn’t mention that he had just tried to talk to Dean. “About hell, though. There were no complications?” 

    “Complications?” Castiel echoed.

    “Yes, like, oh I don’t know, Lucifer’s minions after you?” 

    Like falling in love with the man you’re supposed to save? Castiel thought dryly. “No, just lower level demons. Other than that we were too late to save him from breaking the first seal, but you were aware of that.”

    Zachariah’s good humor melted away. “Yes. A pity that the Righteous Man ended up being one so weak.” Castiel ground his teeth together, but refrained from comment. “But, regardless, we’re stuck with him. He will have to be told about the seals eventually. Be sure to impress upon him the importance of not. Screwing. It. Up.”

    “I understand.”

    “Good. Oh, and Castiel?” Zachariah asked before Castiel left. “Don’t interfere with him. That means no helping, no hurting.”

    Castiel nodded sharply, stepping outside and closing the door behind him. As if Castiel needed a reminder about why he hated orders. Castiel took another few steps before he was hit with a force that caused him to stagger back, slamming into the wall behind him. Words echoed in his mind, and he could feel their pull. He resisted, but they grew louder. I invoke, conjure, and command you, appear unto me before this circle. 

    “No,” Castiel whispered. 

    I invoke, conjure, and command you, appear unto me before this circle!

    “I am Castiel,” Castiel hissed, largely against his will. His words carried through the link and he knew they were delivered to the other side. He added a warning, hoping it too would be received, “Stop. Turn back.” He wished he could say more, but even those few words took almost all of his effort to force out. Saying anything else might tie him too securely to the link and actually force him to appear.

    Castiel? Sorry, Castiel, I don’t scare easy.

    Castiel wanted to curse. It wasn’t about scaring her, it was about saving her from glimpsing his true form. If she forced it… Well, he didn’t want that any more than she did, but apparently his warnings weren’t doing any good.

    I conjure and command you, show me your face! 

    I conjure and command you, show me your face!

    I CONJRE AND COMMAND YOU, SHOW ME YOUR FACE!

    Castiel gave it everything he had, but he didn’t know how much longer he could resist the summons. He gritted his teeth and dug his fingers into the floorboards of the hallway, but this psychic was persistent. She wasn’t giving up. 

    Show me your face! SHOW ME YOUR FACE, NOW!

    Castiel felt the link ignite, and he caught a glimpse of a pretty dark haired woman looking at him in horror as her eyes burned out. Castiel drew back as soon as he could, but it was too late. He could do nothing as the link burned away, and he was left with only the lingering image of what damage he had caused. Castiel closed his eyes. He had warned her.

     The guilt he was feeling was something relatively new. A few months ago, there would have been absolutely no remorse in Castiel’s mind. Now, he was wishing he could fix what he had done. Castiel frowned. Perhaps that was another change for which Dean was responsible. 

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