Crawled Up From Hell
It was indescribable; Sam's heart was in his throat as the horizon edged in closer like a descending wave of space invaders and the ground opened up before him. That awful piercing sound didn't stop either. Jet had him up against his chest, looking over his shoulder Sam watched as the chasm in the ground became large enough to swallow a skyscraper. His eyes widened, he could tell what was happening. His gut feeling told him it was Cas, it absolutely had to be.
Then a long, pale arm reached out of the ground. It was huge and only led to more and more incredible imagery that Sam wasn't even sure he understood. The creature that emerged was barely able to fit out of the gorge it'd made, and as soon as its back was free enormous wings spread out and blocked the sun. It had three heads sticking off of one elongated neck; it looked so elegant despite the size of it. Each face was different, the centre one had wings sticking off where Sam had expected ears, and one set of eyes that glowed white-ish blue. There wasn't a mouth or a defined nose, though the shape was curved as if in the makings of those features. It reminded Sam of a mask, as though someone was wearing a featureless, white mask with only eyeholes carved into it.
Sam couldn't stop staring as it pulled itself from the ground, the chasm closing on itself as it went. He watched it and tried to study it, Sam never wanted to forget how this thing looked. The face on its right side had six eyes, all the same colour, and its shape was more animalistic though still very humanoid. Its muzzle looked almost feline, its mouth open slightly with fangs visible in its grin, and everything about that face felt intense. The left side Sam couldn't see until the being turned its centre head to face them. There were only two sets of eyes there and its shape was much closer to the same as the original head. There were markings all along its face that glowed similarly to the centre eyes; the biggest difference was that it had a nose and a mouth. Its mouth was closed but its eyes were docile, steady. To counteract the docility and ferocity of the other two faces, its centre was neutral and showed no expression with bright eyes.
"It's beautiful," he whispered, unable to focus on how far Jet had run or if he even still was. There wasn't a lot of movement, Sam figured he'd stopped.
Jet was looking now too; mouth agape at the enormity of the newcomer. "Please let that be Cas…" he uttered softly, only Sam could've heard it.
The demons on the horizon hadn't gotten any closer and Sam's examining of this new being didn't change a damn thing but he was glad to put it to memory. His eyes felt like they were watering, his heart pounded heavily and he just wanted to get closer to it. Luckily for him, he supposed, Jet hadn't let go.
The thing reached up with its hand, it looked as though all its fingers were fused into one mass aside from its thumb. It pressed its hand to its abdomen and as light flickered to life where it touched, its hand slowly sunk inside. Sam stared in awe, wondering what it could possibly be doing when he saw it pull something out.
It was Dean. Which meant that that had to be Cas, didn't it? Right?
"Dean!" Sam squirmed from Jet's grip and bolted toward them, calling ahead. "Cas is that you?"
"Sam! Goddamn it!" Jet shouted after him, very likely in pursuit.
It gently laid Dean in the grassy field, its main set of eyes focused on Sam as he approached. The closer he got the larger it seemed, but the second that it nodded its head he no longer cared. Cas was home. Tears ran down Sam's face before he could speak, he dropped down next to Dean whose eyes were blinking open. "You're okay," he whimpered and dropped his head against Dean's chest, "I can't believe you're okay…" the last sentence he knew what he was saying but it was mumbled and half sobbed against his brother, he wasn't entirely certain anyone else understood. It didn't matter though, Dean probably got the picture.
Dean wrapped his arms around Sam's shoulders and held him, very subtly rocking him back and forth, "Yeah, I'm alive, Sammy."
"Holy shit," Jet walked up to them and nudged Dean with his foot, "did he just pull you out of his stomach?"
"Uh… I dunno?" Dean scoffed at his friend, as if it were obvious, "I didn't see what he did." He turned his head and looked up at Castiel who loomed over the lot of them, getting a good look. "Fuck…" the word slipped through the air like wind, "My first good look at you since the change, lookin' pretty cool."
Castiel responded with a series of syllables that made no sense whatsoever. "What?" Sam furrowed his brow and looked up at his brother.
"Oh, uh Cas you're speaking that weird language still." Dean said so nonchalantly that Sam thought maybe Cas had accidentally left the oven on.
Castiel only shook his head with a strange shrug of his sort-of shoulders. "I don't think he can switch back?" Jet tilted his head curiously, something he'd learned from years of hanging out with Cas.
Their angel brother nodded his head, Jet was right.
"Cas?" John asked as the rest of the adults inched closer, "Son, is that you?"
"Yep," Dean answered as Castiel nodded again.
"Wow, you're amazing," Mary was stunned, her hands partially covered her mouth as she tried to do exactly what Sam had done and memorize his features.
Cas turned away and looked at the distance and the battle going on nearby. He straightened up to a standing position which was when Sam realized he'd been crouching that whole time. Cas was as tall as a building in the city, his legs were jointed like the depictions of a t-rex, and his arms were far longer than was proportionate to the rest of him.
They must have looked like ants.
Castiel was fast, too. He moved swiftly to where Meg was fighting and reached into the fray. Sam watched with the others as Cas lifted up what looked like was the Meg demon. There was some kind of shift in the earth as some of the demons around them changed their immediate sizes – none had quite expected the angel to arrive in full form.
The next few moments were like watching a monster movie, some of the creatures matched Castiel's size but not very many. The rest were laughably small, some didn't even change. It really showed the ranking of these things. The one that were closest though was Meg's father, and some of his right hand men. Meg stayed smaller, possibly because that was her normal size or because she'd taken a beating from a rather large group of demons. Regardless, Castiel took her and tucked her away like he'd done with Dean. Afterward he locked horns, so to speak, with Azazel. They matched blow for blow, the ground shook even more and drowned out the sounds of oncoming vehicles.
Sam only knew they were there because he saw them down the road, large army issued trucks and he was pretty damn sure there was a tank or two in the back. "The military's here!" He shouted over the earthquakes. They were pretty far off and he was certain they wouldn't make it before the massive horde did, but they were still coming.
Dean and Jet looked at one another, expressions Sam knew to mean 'what the hell does that help?' Though it had been proven that with enough firepower demons were killable, maybe they stood a chance.
Castiel tried to be gentle with the ground beneath his feet; he could feel the weight of their fight and understood immediately why nothing took its full form on Earth. The planet couldn't survive a fight of that magnitude, even demons would prefer a place to go other than Hell and so they didn't trample it flat.
He had no idea who he was fighting against but it was pretty high on the list of toughest fights he'd had thus far. He wanted to ask why they wouldn't just leave, now that Hell was working again why they couldn't just go. But that was stupid and he knew better.
Each movement seemed to make it more dangerous for any people nearby, namely his family. Coming out so close to them was incredible though Cas was pretty sure it had something to do with longing. He could feel his family's hopes for him, wanting to see him and Dean safe and just needing them. It was the first place he would've gone to, wanted to be and so it was. He hadn't expected them to be on the road into town though. And perhaps seeking them out was possibly the worst choice he could've made knowing that the Earth was crawling with demons that would be hunting for him.
Yes, in hindsight it would've been smarter to not do what he did. But now he had the problem of keeping his family alive in the coming onslaught. An army of demons had arrived and his heart was racing.
Castiel's fingers split apart again and he grabbed his attacker's face, at first all it did was laugh. "You can't smite me, angel!" It crooned out the words and mocking laughter until the pain set in. "Wait! What are you doing!? Angels can't do this!"
"I'm not a normal angel." Cas snarled back and pushed his hand further into Azazel's skull. His mind supplied him with the identity, Meg's father.
Azazel was smart enough to retreat; he wrenched away from Cas' hand and moved as fast as he could away. His lackeys didn't follow suit, however. They took his place and went at Castiel with combined effort. His eyes glowed brighter and he decimated them without a second thought.
"How the hell are you doing that!?" Meg questioned him from her safe place inside him.
"I'm different, I don't understand how or why but I'm not like any other angel that's ever existed."
"You are… new I guess." He felt her smile, "I figured you were special but I never imagined that the big G would've made you this strong."
"I'll thank Him later, after I'm done being pissed about it." He responded as another demon disintegrated against his hand.
"What're you going to do about those guys over there?" She brought his attention back to the swarming demons that would indefinitely mutilate his loved ones.
It was a good question. He had all that power, all that strength and what was it good for if he could only use it in small, concentrated bursts? What if he could use it all, would that work? Would that save them?
His mind raced for an answer, he stood above his family with the clock ticking overhead like a fucking bomb. Castiel could see them all, Dean had been standing in front of Sam protectively, Jet right at his side to do the same but also slightly ahead of Dean. John and Mary stood on either side behind their boys, expecting some kind of shockwave to send their kids flying. Bobby and Karen stood a little further away; they hadn't wanted to get too close to the monstrous fights.
There must have been something.
The hideous cries of Hell were etched into his mind and the army of demons headed his way weren't much different. Cas' eyes felt unfocused as he pushed his mind. Think. Think goddamn it.
"There aren't as many demons as it looks like, most of them invaded Heaven. A lot of those are probably illusions; some of them can do that." Meg tried to console him after putting him on edge in the first place, at least she felt a bit of remorse for that.
But that was a bright side; there weren't as many demons coming at him as he could see. Some were illusions, some were fake and he'd probably end up swinging at the fakes.
No. He couldn't think like that, he stopped himself before it got worse and concentrated. If all of his power went into one attack, one all-encompassing assault against demon-kind in his vicinity then everyone would be safe. He could smite smaller demons with less than the flick of his wrist so he could bet that most of them would be gone easily. He hoped.
Cas didn't know if it'd work. He slid a leg back and braced himself above his family, wings arched threateningly and eyes glowing brighter than they had yet. He waited and prayed.
To who? Probably himself. Maybe Death if he was listening.
It was the most sickening wait of his life, possibly only seconds long but still too much for him to handle. If he'd been in his human form he would probably have thrown up. But it ended, the demons swarmed him like flies, they were all together and fast.
He'd charged up long enough. Demonic auras were the first thing and only thing he targeted.
"Wait! Cas what about me!?"
"You'll be fine." He told her with confidence as he felt the centre of his being trembling, he was ready to burst. His grace spiked and pulsed, each time getting stronger and reaching further.
And then he let it go.
The power surge came from his entire body and cut through the air around him in a split second. The energy held midair like it was trying to pull the slow-mo stunt from the Matrix movies. Cas felt it leaving him, all of it. His energy poured out and with each passing second he felt like collapsing to his knees. He couldn't see, one by one each of his eyes stopped working and showed nothing but darkness.
Were the demons suffering? Did it work? He couldn't tell, his senses had dulled and faded away from him. Meg was gone; he couldn't feel her there anymore.
He felt small all of a sudden. The world he knew went black; he couldn't sense his brothers, his friends, his mom or dad. Cas wanted to cry but he couldn't do that either.
The last thing to go out was his consciousness, like someone was shutting off the lights one by one.