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Cross To Bear

By Zafona

Adventure / Drama

Purification

The immediate silence that fell between them was thick and left Cas' mind racing. He grit his teeth and raised his head, the same way he remembered Dean and Jet doing right before a fight. The things they did to protect him made sense, he understood the need to fight.

They were always defending him…

"Mr. Winchester that's enough!" Mr. Milton had shouted at him, Cas had already pushed him to his wits end and it was just the beginning of the day.

"I didn't do anything," Dean had grinned and nearly made Cas laugh.

"You didn't have to do that," he'd told his brother but the seamless shrug and carefree smile told him so much more.

"It was pretty funny though, wasn't it?"

Dean had always looked out for him but could hide it so well behind that smile of his. He seemed like he just did it naturally, and maybe he had. There was always that feeling, Cas knew it well, that he was being watched over.

But Dean wasn't the only one.

"Cas if you keep letting them get away with that shit you'll never stop 'em." Jet demanded he do something for himself, but his response wasn't at all what his friend had hoped for.

"I don't need to be violent to stand up for myself, that's enough." How wrong was he? He could only ask himself questions and talk himself in circles as he stared Lucifer down. No one could un-ring the bell he'd rung, he could never take back the violence he'd shown and he wasn't sure it was right for him to hold back.

He'd argued with the two of them about fighting and violence many times but when it came down to the wire he knew they would fight for him, and he knew they would kill for him. They already had.

So then the question he had to ask himself was this; would he do the same for them?

"No, I don't think we have met." Lucifer replied finally and turned toward him, a snarl pulling at the left side of his upper lip. "A new angel, I presume?"

"More or less," Cas arched his wings, "And I'm here to put an end to you."

He could tell Lucifer was fighting the urge to just blast him into next week but he held his ground. The prince of darkness exhaled heavily and started taking slow steps his way. It was reminiscent of the broken shamble he'd seen in Shimizu. "Castiel, was it? Listen to me, little brother; you don't know what kind of mess you're stepping in here."

"You're no brother of mine. I was born separately from you, I am nothing like you, and I will never be your family." Cas stood firm and was unyielding to Lucifer's attempts to frighten him or talk him out of it. "Enough stalling." He burst forward and lunged for Lucifer's throat, just barely missing as the archangel stepped out of the way.

Lucifer's expression held as it had looked before but Cas could feel the shift in energy, Lucifer was nervous and Cas was much faster than he'd anticipated. "You're nothing special, you insignificant runt." He spat and snapped his fingers.

"Cas!" Gabriel shouted as the snapping echoed but nothing happened. Cas glanced back toward Gabe who had gone to Michael's side; both archangels were staring in astonished horror. "Nothing…?" Gabriel blinked a few times and started to smile, "Nothing happened!"

"What is the meaning of this!?" Lucifer shouted next, his anger directed at their Father who sat smiling quietly as he watched the scene unfold. "Nothing but archangels can withstand that, he should have exploded!"

Cas looked down at himself for a second but wasted no extra time on the thought. He cracked his elbow into the back of Lucifer's neck and sent a shock of energy into his spine. Lucifer was shot to the ground face first, his eyes wide open, he didn't know how to handle the shock. Castiel dove onto him, a heightened and sharp physical source of energy extended from his arm. Just before he shoved it into the devil's abdomen, Lucifer's grace surged out of him like a protective barrier and sent Cas flying backward.

The young angel crashed right next to Gabriel and Michael, his wings flailed in an attempt to get him upright again. Michael struggled to stand as well, "You won't fight him alone, Castiel."

"You're dying and fighting is only speeding up the process," Cas looked at him sternly, "Sit down and rest, I'll finish him myself."

"Cas…" Gabriel trailed off anxiously and looked at Lucifer; the other archangel was rising to his feet again. "He's our brother, we can't kill him."

"You don't actually believe that, do you?" Cas asked as he pulled himself to his feet.

"How would you feel?" Gabe asked him, anger seething just below the surface of his exterior. Gabriel was hurt; Cas could feel the anguish that the ancient fight had caused him over so many years.

"I'm sorry Gabe," he whispered softly, "I really am. But if Dean, Sam, Jet, or Meg ever did what Lucifer has done, I would do to them whatever I had to do to make them stop. That includes killing them." He could hear his own words and it was like another being was speaking through him. Or was that really him? The angel inside was capable of fulfilling those words, but the boy, the teenaged boy that he'd always known himself to be denied it. Pretty words to ease the suffering of another. He reached inside Gabriel to do the same thing he'd always done, soften the blow of reality and erase the spikes of pain until they were barely noticeable.

"Do it." Michael urged him. Cas could tell he was torn up about it just like Gabriel but he'd long come to terms with the reality of what he'd have to do one day. Gabe was good at living in denial; Cas figured his human side was far more like Gabriel than the other angels. Maybe he could always be himself no matter what happened, humanity and all included.

"What the fuck have you made?" Lucifer had stalked to stand over his father, rage seeping out of every part of his being. "What is that!?" He pointed to Castiel.

"That is a new type of archangel; Castiel is an inspired work of art."

"An archangel?" Lucifer turned to look at Cas again, they were both stunned but something about that answer bothered Castiel. He was more than that. He could feel it, there was more to him than just being on an archangel's level.

"Figures," Michael smiled, not seeing the same problem that Castiel did. "We'll need a new one to replace the old one."

"The only one I'll replace is him," Cas composed himself and rocketed at Lucifer another time, his wings spread and he felt a shift in his body. Full angel form burst out all at once in a flare of grace just before impact. Lucifer matched his attack and managed to deflect the majority of its strength, though he still took a nasty blow to the side. Cas kept coming at him, beat him with his wings and cracked skulls with his main head.

He watched as Lucifer's form shifted and the power surge shook the base of the Heaven they stood in. "You wanna play like that, do you?" he grinned maliciously, one of four beautiful faces inches from Castiel's. It was incredible, the power and energy that pulsed in the air around them was electric and sent shivers down his spine. Lucifer mixed with Castiel and it resonated throughout the entire realm they were in. It was just a moment of silence before Cas realized the danger he'd let himself be in. Lucifer's grace was toxic and burned into his own through the contact of their skin.

Cas fought it immediately, expecting it to be difficult but his grace instantly overpowered the devil's. He watched as that instant stretched out before him, his light burst through Lucifer's veins and forced him to let go, recoiling in pain.

He didn't get the chance to question it, Lucifer stopped holding back and more importantly; he stopped underestimating the newest angel. "You can't exist." He hissed and grabbed Castiel's arm again, strength and energy swelling like a tidal wave.

The ground seemed to evaporate from beneath him and Castiel found himself falling. The air rush through him as Lucifer dragged him down, one set of multiple arms clutching him closely. Cas' wings spread out for wind resistance to slow them down but it wasn't as much use as he'd hoped. He could feel it; they were headed right for the gate that separated Heaven from Hell. Before he could stop them his back hit the closed doors suddenly and he heard a resounding crack.

Lucifer was fast when he wasn't treating Castiel like a gnat.

The gates shuddered under the weight and pressure placed on them but didn't burst open. Cas was grateful for that much but he didn't have time to reflect on it, he caught another of Lucifer's free arms that just about pierced his belly.

"I'm going to send you back in there, you mutant angel! You can take my place in prison." Satan growled into his face. Castiel struggled to push the angry archangel's hand away; he could hear the gate beneath him groaning. But more than that he could feel Heaven crumbling from the shockwave of each move that he or Lucifer made. The holy lands wouldn't last much longer with that kind of power shaking it.

And then the doors shattered. It gave way under his wings and his core, pieces rushing by him in the gust of stale air. Demonic cries echoed and Cas knew the mass of monsters he'd seen on his first pass through were behind him. Death had told him not to fight, that he wasn't ready yet.

But he wasn't the same angel he was then. He understood everything and he could use his potential. He was complete.

Castiel watched Lucifer's main face twist in a grin, distorting its beauty and decaying before him. But Cas wasn't afraid of it, instead he smiled back and grabbed onto the prince of lies, tightening his grip. His grace sparked inside him and surged through his body again, lighting his skin and shining in his eyes.

"What are you doing?" Lucifer's demeanor changed suddenly, he could feel the power growing inside Castiel as they fell into Hell.

"I'm going to make these demons, this place, and you insignificant." Castiel replied. Lucifer looked panicked but Cas didn't stop. Light emanated from him, every surface of his body glowing brighter and brighter. He could hear the malevolent cries of demons becoming more anguished as his strength grew, his grace was everywhere.

"You're no angel," Lucifer struggled to get away from Castiel but he couldn't, Cas could feel the terror surfacing in him. Castiel's touch was like acid, slowly eating away at Lucifer's arms like it had done to demons before. "Not even archangels can do this! What are you-!" The gate was the only thing remaining behind them; the light in Castiel's grace spread and devoured the demonic and every tainted wall of Hell. "What are you doing!?"

"I'm purifying it," Castiel lost track of his own voice, Enochian ruled his tongue again as he dragged Lucifer down through his own domain. Each level they passed fluctuated and became a ripple of dimensional space. He never did understand the meaning of this place. "How did you poison Heaven?"

"Let me go!"

"Who gave you the essence of the angels and God?"

Lucifer screamed out of agony as Castiel's grip dug deeper into his body. "I d-don't know!"

"Liar."

He could sense the damned human souls released, he knew they'd go to Purgatory to wait. Death would be mad with him but he'd handle it later.

"STOP!" Lucifer shrieked and tried to beat on Castiel, it did little to nothing now. Cas' full strength was realized and Lucifer's strikes nearly bounced off him. "I don't know who it was! One day my prison was weakened, I broke free and found it nearby!"

Castiel crashed them both into the center of the icy prison at the bottom of Hell, the place Lucifer had originally crawled out of. "I was told an angel betrayed us, that means that there's one angel that wasn't affected by your venom. Who was it?"

Lucifer struggled but couldn't push Cas off, "Every angel I know of was accounted for, you're the only one that wasn't in there." His arrogance had deteriorated and all he could do was stare up at the new being above him. "I'm not lying this time… I don't know how I got it, I just used it."

"I believe you," Castiel replied, his language reverting to English again.

Cas held him still and stared him in the eye, watching the fear become more than real to a being that thought itself invincible. The purification was catching up to them, eating away at the darkness and cavernous walls around them. "I have one more question for you," Cas whispered and reached up to touch Lucifer's face, cupping his cheek gently. Tears fell from the devil's eyes but he didn't protest. "What do you think will become of you once you're purified?"

Lucifer didn't get the chance to answer as light engulfed them both. Castiel's grace settled and left him kneeling alone in an empty world; the only things nearby were an open gate to Heaven and a tunnel of darkness leading to Purgatory. He straightened out and flexed his wings, "Rest now, Lucifer." He smiled quietly to himself and flew silently back through to Heaven. He could feel it falling apart, he just hoped he could save what little of it that was left.


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60. Purification
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