Genre: AU - canon, H/C, angst, pining, pre-slash.
Characters, Pairing(s): Sam/Cas, Dean, Ruby.
Word Count: 1796
Warnings: temporary canonical character death, spoilers for seasons 4-7.
A/N: I'd like to thank my betas - rock_chick_333, nicole_sill, verucasalt123 & kimberlelly.
Summary: It took five of Sam's mistakes for Castiel to lose his faith.
Castiel is an angel; Ruby is a demon. It’s obvious from the start why he wouldn’t approve of her. That aside, Dean is his charge, the one he is bound to protect and guide. Sam is Dean’s brother, which puts him under Castiel’s care as well – especially since they are never apart.
It was hard enough for Castiel to overlook Azazel’s demonic blood flowing through Sam, but that wasn’t a conscious choice. Sam was just a child at the time, weak and unguarded, prey fallen to a wolf like so many others. That - Castiel has come to terms with.
But for Sam to choose, in more ways than Castiel would like to admit, a demon – one that could have been in contact with Azazel or Alastair – is beyond Castiel.
It’s not his place to speak to Sam in that way, though. Sam is not his charge. Dean is his charge. So he tells Dean instead.
(He doesn’t mention how Sam could do so much better than Ruby because that would harm his cause more than help it.
What does an angel know about human couplings? Nothing. Especially not an angel who’s never coupled himself.)
It takes Castiel longer even than it takes Dean – the quintessential overprotective big brother – to accept Ruby into their group of allies. And it’s a mistake, Castiel thinks, for them to allow her to be this close. It doesn’t matter if she offers up demon-killing knives, her own kin or even valuable information. Sam shouldn’t be getting involved with her so intimately.
Sam is addicted to demon blood.
Addiction never ends well. Least of all for the person trapped in it.
Castiel doesn’t know if Dean chooses not to see, or if he finds it easier to ignore Sam’s odd behaviour, but Castiel has to warn Dean again. There’s only so much denial Castiel can allow Dean to have. Heaven is counting on Dean to be strong.
Sam has a habit of playing with fire – which is much less metaphorical than Castiel would like – but his reasoning behind it is always worthy, pure.
It’s a concept an older creature like Castiel can’t fully comprehend even if he tries. Angels aren’t made to go along more than one path. They are obedient like Michael or rebellious like Lucifer, and that’s where it ends.
How can someone as selfless, as honourable, as Sam fall prey to things so easily? His heart is in the right place, he just never chooses the right method – and that’s his major undoing. Why must he always seek out the easiest road, regardless of where it leads him?
Castiel tells Dean that Sam will surely be stuck in that world of supernatural power, and the fear it provokes, if Dean doesn’t speak to him about all of the demon blood he’s consuming. But Castiel also speaks to Sam about it – since they’ve managed to become closer now.
It may be harsh, holding Sam in a cell until the need for demonic blood drains out of him slowly, painfully, but it’s efficient. Castiel knows it’s one of the hardest things for Dean to face, to come to terms with, but Castiel convinces the Righteous Man he’s made the right choice. Heaven would be proud.
Sam eventually stops, to everyone’s (save for Ruby’s) relief, and Castiel can breathe a little easier. Zachariah would demote him, tarnish his reputation, and maybe even punish Castiel for failing to keep the Winchesters sacred and true.
Castiel befriends Sam – the version not spruced up on demon blood – as the race to prevent the apocalypse continues.
The thing about the Winchesters is that they always end up doing stupid things while on their path of good. And it’s always in the name of good, too. Sam seems most prone to these happenings.
Castiel should be infuriated with them for not consulting him about the apocalypse, and the rules that make it or break it, but he can’t be. They didn’t have enough time to study all of the seals.
They were doing well, very well, on their own.
They were saving people, following their hunter instincts, protecting seals like no other humans could have. Like no-one but a Winchester would. The perils they face are remarkable, and yet they never shy away from what’s demanded of them.
They couldn’t have known they’d be starting the very thing they meant to avert. Ruby – who Castiel is saddened to have been right about – fooled them into believing her lies. How could they have known that killing a demon, that wretched child spawn of Hell named Lilith, would be the greatest seal to break? For Sam especially, who struggled so much to come back from the place he’d fallen to, breaking that seal would have been the last thing he wanted to do.
So Castiel lets it go; forgives them like his Father would. What else can he do when they meant no harm? When they’ve done so much to protect humanity, God’s creatures, already?
Sam is broken up about it, though, and Castiel wishes he was programmed for more than just fighting in a time like this – when his charge is rapidly losing faith in his cause. Dean can’t keep Sam from straying on his own. Not anymore.
Castiel understands wanting to make things right, being redeemed, forgiven. What Castiel doesn’t understand is how Sam would so easily throw his life away to achieve that goal.
Sam’s made mistakes, yes, but how is taking away the last flicker of light in a room full of shadows – from the only family Sam has left; Dean – going to make anything better? Castiel would have tried to find another solution if his vessel hadn’t been splattered around the field at the time.
But it was.
Castiel is eviscerated, non-existent, while Sam makes, arguably, one of the stupidest decisions he ever has. And the effect on Dean is far beyond devastating. Not that Castiel’s around to witness that either. If he had been, however, he would have been inconsolable, shattered along with Dean. He would have wanted to follow his brother-in-arms down into Hell.
Castiel is a soldier of God, and soldiers never leave their brethren behind if they can help it.
But Sam removes that option from them completely when he throws the rings to the ground, and jumps into the cage with Lucifer and Michael.
All Castiel can do is pick up his battered and broken friends – Dean and Bobby – and hope they can wait for him to retrieve Sam’s soul from that place of nightmares. However long it may take him.
And this, the foolishness, the martyr-attitude flowing through Winchester veins like an unequivocal family trait, is almost too hard for Castiel to forgive. Almost.
It doesn’t take that long, which should have indicated a flaw in Castiel’s plan.
Sam is broken in his own way when Castiel breaks him free from Lucifer and Michael’s endless feud in Hell.
Castiel was so intent on bringing Sam back as soon as possible, he didn’t do it properly, and forgot the most important part: Sam’s soul.
There’s no point in Castiel harbouring these feelings of betrayal when he couldn’t even bring Sam back to his family in one piece.
It’s the final straw.
Castiel has done everything, forgiven everything – without exception or grudge – and Sam won’t simply accept this. Castiel’s uncharacteristic show of affection. Just a hug that he’d like to offer Sam to prove how important their friendship is. It’s something that is so foreign to him already; that he thought Sam – the overly emotional man that he is – would appreciate far more than Dean ever could.
(Castiel wanted to use it as an apology as well for taking so long to realize that he failed to bring Sam back just as he was.)
But maybe Castiel is trying too hard. Maybe Sam doesn’t want to be this close to Castiel, never did. So Castiel gives up, dropping his arms limply to his sides. He lets the sadness envelop him, carry him away, drive his decisions (and his vessel) toward a probable near-death experience.
What is the point exactly of staying on one side of the line if Sam and Dean cross over it time and time again? Why must Castiel play by rules that no-one has spoken aloud? Can’t he, once, just once, dabble in the dark side to make everything good? Besides, Crowley isn’t that bad, is he? The Winchesters have worked with him before.
Then his friends, his family, the only people he’s trusted with his life turn on him. Castiel doesn’t know what to do, how to feel, why it’s turning out this way. He’s given so much: blood, sweat, tears, and his life on numerous occasions.
But Sam is the one who convinces Dean that Castiel must be stopped. Sam is the one who forces Castiel’s hand, makes it all go down the drain, when he ends up surrounded by a fire made for angels.
And Castiel doesn’t know why, but the anger swells, grows, devours him until there’s nothing but his goal left, and Crowley saying I told you so.
Even after Castiel gets the souls he wanted – turning on Crowley in the process – his anger doesn’t subside.
It’s a truly fierce rage that boils his blood. He doesn’t say, but the wrath the world suffers is due to Sam Winchester. The smiting, the killing, the threats on innocent lives, it’s all Castiel can do to call for Sam’s attention, to be noticed. Maybe if he’s rotten enough, maybe if he’s comparable to the King of Hell, maybe if he makes them all fearful, Sam will see the resemblance in them and finally accept Castiel.
Castiel has to give up on that when he sees the souls tearing his insides apart, though. Sam won’t ever want him this way.
Until Sam does.
One night, Sam asks Castiel to come back to them – to him – and Castiel listens.
Sam doesn’t wait for Castiel to speak, just drags him close, and wipes away the dark, tacky blood from Castiel’s vessel overflowing with souls. Castiel doesn’t feel it as much anymore – the scratching, the clawing, the scraping at his flesh – because Sam is there holding him, cleansing him, needing him.
Sam kisses Castiel when Castiel finally looks more like himself (and less like a hit-and-run victim), and Castiel knows he’s the one who’s been forgiven this time. It feels like a lot of things, but Castiel is afraid to imagine what they are.
“I’m glad you’re back to yourself, Cas,” Sam whispers, stroking along Castiel’s nape. “I know I don’t always show it, but I do love you.”Forgiveness is something only God could create.
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