Four days had passed since he'd let go. Penance was proving lonely and tiring, like it should be. Penance shouldn't be anything but a punishment. He needed to serve his time, no matter how long that meant being here. Not that he had a way out anyway. The portal had been quiet since Dean left, clearly sensing that only monsters were left. Trudging through the branches and rocks underfoot, Castiel looked up at the trees overhanging the path, shrouding the forest in darkness. Birds squawked and chirped as they scattered off through the branches and off into the sky. The light would fade soon and so Cas knew he needed to find shelter for the night. Stumbling across a gap behind some bushes, Cas pushed them aside before venturing inside into the darkness.
The cave was cold and rock walled with the only light coming from the small amount that was dribbling in through the gaps in the bushes, and a unknown source at the back of the cave. Furrowing an eyebrow, Cas began walking through towards the light. As he did, he heard the sound of soft whimpering.
There on the floor lay a young girl, covered in the same dirt and grime as he was. Her hair was almost matted in some places, and her skin was a sickly shade. The girl had yet to notice Cas walk in, which struck worry in the angel. Kneeling down beside her, he gently placed a hand on her shoulder.
The young girl immediately jumped, a groan following the action as she wrapped an arm around her stomach, screwing her eyes closed against obvious agony.
Approaching slowly, Cas noticed as the young girl attempted to shuffle backwards away from him as he did. "Please..." He heard her weak, gruff voice practically beg before she appeared to simply accept her fate and lower herself back down to the floor, resting her cheek against the cool stone below her. She looked up at Cas with fear in her eyes, but he couldn't deny the look of relief that accompanied it too. How long had she been here to make her lose so much hope?
"I'm not going to hurt you." Cas spoke softly.
The young girl wasn't convinced. "I don't know that."
"What's your name?" Cas asked, hesitantly kneeling down beside the young girl.
"What are you?" Cas followed up.
"What's the right answer?" Y/N groaned once again after she answered, her arm tightening around her stomach.
"You don't seem like a monster...your aura suggests that you're not a monster."
Cas nodded. "I can try to heal your wounds...they seem to be causing you great amounts of pain."
"Please don't play games. If you're gonna' kill me, just do it already."
"I can assure you that am I playing no games. My intentions are true, and I wish to help if I can."
"How could you possibly help?"
"Because I am an angel of the lord." Cas answered, triggering a snarl from Y/N.
"There's no such thing as angels...nevermind an angel in Purgatory!"
"Stranger things have happened." Cas slowly reached out a hand towards Y/N's stomach, gently peeling away the dark red material of what was once a clean, light blue vest top, to reveal a large slash.
"It's bad, I know." Y/N spoke up.
Cas offered a sympathetic smile to her before softly running two fingers across the wound causing the flesh to knit itself back together in a matter of seconds.
Y/N gasped and groaned out in pain as her stomach healed, before silencing. Her eyelids flickered slightly, but she battled through it, leaning forward the smallest amount to see the perfect skin where the wound once was. She then turned to Cas. "Thank you."
"You never said what your name was." She stated, feeling that she needed to at least know the name of her protector. The man who claimed to be an angel of the lord. Y/N still believed that the man must be confused, but couldn't deny that he did possess some kind of power.
"So you said." Y/N nodded before pushing herself up to a seated position. "Tell me, what's an angel of the lord doing in Purgatory?"
"I could ask you the same. What is a human doing in Purgatory?" Castiel followed.
Cas nodded. "I'm serving penance for my sins."
"What did you do?" Y/N asked.
"Terrible things." He didn't want to elaborate further.
Y/N didn't push it any further. "I crawled out of Hell." She began. "And then discovered that I had all of this waiting for me on the other side of that portal. Apparently anyone from Hell can pass through to Purgatory at their own leisure, but no one is stupid enough to do so...until I came along." Y/N took a breath. "I just wanted out of there...the torture...I couldn't..." She stopped to compose herself. "So that's why I'm here, running for my life all day, everyday." Cas noted the way in which Y/N looked so scared as she spoke about her experiences. It hurt him to see the pain and suffering reflect in her eyes.
"What did that to you?" Cas asked, pointing to her stomach.
"Wendigo. They're quick sons of bitches."
"Have you ever tried to get out of here?" He offered.
Y/N smirked. "There's no way out of Purgatory."
"There is for humans."
"And you have stone hard evidence of this?"
"One of my friends used it four days ago to escape." Cas explained.
Y/N's eyes widened. "Where is it?"
"I'll show you." Watching as Y/N attempted to get to her feet, Cas wrapped an arm around her back before gently helping her up. "Let's go."
The journey through the forest was taking longer than Cas had first imagined. The pace in which they were having to walk, due to Y/N's apparent ankle injury which was causing her to limp, meant that it was already beginning to get dark by time they reached the edge.
Y/N looked up at the blue, glowing portal. "I've never seen that before."
"That's your way home."
Y/N then took in the cliffs in which the the portal sat at the top of. "Ready for round two?"
Cas nodded before once again supporting Y/N as they walked on. After a few seconds of silence, he spoke up. "I have to ask, why were you in Hell?"
Y/N looked down before sighing. "My friend...she was possessed by a demon. A powerful one. We'd been hunting the SOB down together after it slaughtered her family. Anyway, she managed to take control of it...she was begging me to kill her...'kill me before it makes me kill' she screamed..." A tear trickled down Y/N's cheek. "...she told me that it was okay, and that everything was gonna' be alright..." She paused. "...I killed her, and then the demon killed me. Possessed me, then snapped my neck like a twig."
"I'm so sorry." Cas condoled.
"Doesn't matter..." Y/N shook her head. "Laurie's in Heaven, she's at peace, that's all that matters."
"So you're a hunter?"
"Was, then I got thrown into Hell and they sliced and diced that out of me. The truth is, even if this portal does work and I do get out of here...what am I supposed to do?" She looked down briefly. "I have no one. All I had up there was Laurie, and she's dead."
"There's no family up there for you?" Cas asked softly.
She shook her head. "Mom died when I was a kid. After that I was an army brat for a few years before my Dad got killed too. Lived out with Grandparents for a couple more years after that, but they were old when they took me in. I was old enough to make my own way after that. Met Laurie one night when she was drunk outta' her mind. She started spouting stuff about monsters and demons and all kinds of other wacky things. I obviously put it down to the ten ton of spirit she'd downed, but the next morning she admitted it. Once you get told about what's really out there, you can't turn away. So I didn't. I became a hunter, helped Laurie out looking for her folks' killer. Got me killed in the end too, but I sorta' knew from the jump that it was gonna' end bloody, but I found myself not caring..." Y/N paused. "...I knew that there was no one out there who was gonna' miss me. I would just fall off the map...not that I was ever really on it in the first place."
"Y/N, when you walk through that portal and you get back up there, you need to find two boys. Their names are Sam and Dean Winchester, and they'll look after you."
"Why am I gettin' the feeling that you're not coming with me?" Y/N interrupted. "This have somethin' to do with that penance you're servin'?"
"No!" Y/N shook her head. "We're either going through that portal together, or I'm not leavin'."
"Don't be stupid."
"I'm not, you're coming with me."
Cas took a deep breath. "Fine."
Approaching the portal, Y/N gasped in awe of it's beauty.
"Ready?" Cas asked.
Stepping through, they both found themselves falling before everything went black.
"Dude, she's waking up." Stated a voice.
Becoming aware of her surroundings once again, Y/N flickered her eyes open to the sight of Cas and two other men sat on chairs next to...the bed that she was lying on? Where the hell was she?
"Don't be alarmed, these are the boys I was telling you about, Sam and Dean." Cas explained.
"Hey." They both smiled.
"Hi." Y/N pushed herself up slowly, wincing in pain as she did so.
"We've got plenty of the good stuff if you need it." The guy with the shorter, brown hair offered.
Y/N nodded. "Thanks."
"No problem." He stood up and walked off to go and find some pain medication.
"Where are we?" Y/N asked.
"Kansas, and don't worry, you're safe here." The other guy spoke up.
"I've already told them about you, and they're happy to let you stay." Cas stated.
"I can't...I'd be intruding, I mean I..." Y/N fumbled for words.
"You won't be intruding, and we have enough space, trust me."
Y/N was lost for words. "I...I don't know what to say."
Cas smiled. "You're not alone anymore, Y/N, and you never will be again."