Cas laid me onto my bed and pressed a hand to my head.
"Shay, I can't help you unless you tell me what's wrong."
I barely heard him. He wasn't letting me roll off my back. It hurt so much. I felt the shift again. The pain was worsening. Tears ran down my face as I arched my back.
"Please!" I sobbed. "Make it stop!" Cas covered my mouth to stifle another scream. I took the opportunity to roll into my side, and the shifting started again. I bit my lip so hard that it bled.
Cas saw the movement under my dress and quickly unzipped it. My back, especially my shoulders, were an angry red. He touched my bare skin and pain raced through my body.
I was pushed over onto my stomach. Cas turned my head to look into his. His deep blue eyes helped calm me down.
"You are going to be fine, Shay." His hand ran over my hair, like a parent soothing a sick child.
I nodded slightly, wincing as the shifting started again. I could feel whatever was under my skin trying to to break free. I closed my eyes against the pain and screamed into my pillow. I felt cool metal touch my back. I looked over to see Castiel holding a blade against my skin.
"Does that hurt, Shay?"
I shake my head. Cas nodded and disappeared. He came back with a bowl and a rag. He placed them on my nightstand and picked up the blade again. Kneeling next to me, Cas placed a hand on my shoulder.
"I need you to stay still, Shay."
I was scared. It must've shown in my eyes because Cas gave me a slight comforting smile. "Everything will be fine."
I hugged my pillow and buried my face into it. I felt the blade dig into my shoulder and drag slowly down. I nearly blacked out from pain, then the same thing was repeated with my other shoulder. I bit my pillow as the darkness claimed me.
I came to with the feeling of cool water brushing my back. The shifting stopped, but my shoulders felt strangely heavier, like a small pile of books was stacked on them. I sighed and turned to the extra weight on my bed.
Cas had some blood on his sleeves and arms and he was running the cool rag around my shoulders.
"You are awake. How are you feeling?"
I try and push myself up, but Cas held me down. "Don't move yet. I asked how you were feeling?"
"The pain is gone."
"Good. The holy water is healing your skin well."
"What was wrong with me? I haven't felt that much pain, in like ever."
"And for good reason. Look what was being confined in your body." He nodded to my back. I craned my neck around and gasped.
A pair of damp wings lay nestled against my spine. I reached back to touch one of the feathers. The wing I reached for moved towards my hand. I saw a few feathers that were quite straight and felt a little uncomfortable. I started to straighten them and waves of, I guess I could call it pleasure, raced through me. It was a pleasant and comforting feeling. If I was a cat, I would have purred.
"They will become less sensitive in a few days," Cas said, placing the bowl aside. "So try to not bump them up against anything until then."
I finished preening the feathers. Curious, I looked at Cas. "Am I an Angel?"
Castiel's brow furrowed. "I'm unsure. I cannot sense a Grace within you."
"Oh." An Angel, who probably knew every creature under the sun had no idea what I was. I felt self-conscious. I felt tears gather at the corners of my eyes. Now I was a freak with scars and wings. As if hiding my scars wasn't hard enough, now I had to hide maybe ten feet of feathers, and I knew they weren't just going to fit under a sweatshirt.
The pounding on my front door made me jump out of my pity party. Cas stood up and went to answer it. After he left, I pushed myself upright. My wings felt lighter that I thought they would. I looked at the mirror that hung on my closet door to get a better look at my wings.
They shimmered and changed colors in the light, but I could see that under the color change the down that rested against my back was a deep purplish-blue that faded out to a pinkish-orange color towards the tips, like a sunset. Completely outstretched, they might be closer to fifteen feet from tip to tip. Looking closer, I found silver and gold flecks sprinkled along the feathers. They were beautiful.
I ran my fingers through the feathers again. A sharp intake of breath made me jump. My wings flailed out, knocking into a lamp and the walls.
"Shit!" The sudden pain made me draw them back in close. Cas wasn't kidding when he said they would be sensitive. I gathered them against my back and stood up. The slight weight difference made me fall backwards. I squeaked and landed with a "oof" back in the bed.
I looked at Cas. "How do you keep your balance with these things?"
"I have had my wings since I was a decade old. I have millennia of practice under my wings."
Sam and Dean looked at Cas. Dean smirked and put an arm over the Angel's shoulders. "Did you just make a joke?"
Cas tilted his head. "Was it appropriate?"
"It was fucking brilliant, Cas. My little Angel is growing up."
I tried standing up again. I pushed to my feet and used my wings to try and balance. I knocked them up against the walls and bed posts twice, but I was standing on my own. I looked at Cas expectantly.
"Can I hide them them way you do?"
The Angel shook his head. "My wings are concealed by the power of my Grace."
When Cas mentioned his Grace, I felt a strange hollowness in my chest. Now that I had my wings, I felt strangely incomplete, like a part of me was missing.
"What about the binding sigil on her stomach?" Sam asked. "Since the ones on her shoulders bound her wings, maybe the one on her stomach is binding her Grace."
Just thinking about a hidden power being bound within me, made me shudder. I didn't know how to control it. For all I knew I could accidentally blow half of the Springs off the map with a sneeze!
"A Grace that has been bound for twenty-one years with no training or release is dangerous. Just releasing it could have disastrous effects. Even releasing it in the middle of the Sahara could be dangerous, not to mention it would make every Angel aware of Shay, and whoever wanted her hidden, will more than likely stop us."
"When Anna took back in her Grace, the world didn't explode, Cas," Dean said pointedly.
"But that Grace was able to create and move, for lack of a better word. Shay's potential Grace has been confided inside of her body with no release."
Then the three men started discussing what should happen like I wasn't there. This was my life. I wasn't going to let them decided what was best for me. I weighed out the pros and cons.
Pro: a Grace can be controlled with time and training. Con: I will not have the time to get the training I needed.
Pro: with this new Grace, I might be able to get Lilith out of me. Con: Grace might make Lilith stronger.
This was pointless! No matter how many pros I could think of, a worse con came up. Screw logical thinking, I needed to know what I am and what I can do. I spied the silver knife that Cas had used to free my wings. He said the Sahara wasn't safe, maybe Antarctica? It was abandoned and there is nothing for hundreds of miles and an ocean protects civilization from my potential explosion.
How would you get there, oh genius one?
I slump. Another con in the way.
Thanks a lot, Lilith.
It is my job to make your existence a living nightmare.
I roll my eyes, and caught a glimpse of something flying by my window. I felt my wings twitch. A sudden urge to fly hit me.
"What's the matter, Shay? You are twitching a lot over there." Sam walked over to me and put a hand in my shoulder. I fought to keep my wings in, but I wanted to spread them even more.
A second hand rested on my shoulder and I wasn't in my room anymore. I was in the middle of nowhere on top of a rock cliff. I could see the sun peeking over the horizon. A breeze blew past us. I let my wings spread enough to let the wind run through my feathers. I closed my eyes and hummed in pleasure.
"It is uncontrollable sometimes. The urge to soar above it all." I turned to Cas and gasped. I thought my wings were large, but I was wrong. Cas's wings were easily twenty-five feet from tip to tip. What surprised me was that they were pitch black, so black that I saw blue and purple glimmering in the feathers. I couldn't stop myself from reaching out and gently touching a dark feather.
Cas just smiled slightly and took my hand. "I thought a flying lesson was in order, and it is easier to teach you if I can show you what to do."
I grinned, but then something crossed my mind. "Sam and Dean are going to be pissed when we get back."
"Well, we did just up and disappear on them." Cas looked at me with a confused look. "You guys were talking about me and the dangers and blahdy-blah, so yeah I'm expecting them to be pissed."
Cas smiled. "They already are. Dean has been yelling for me since we disappeared."
I giggled at the picture of Dean mentally and physically yelling at the ceiling, trying to summon them back.
"Shall we start?" I nod enthusiastically.
One would think that flying would be easy. Tell that to my sore ass and stomach. Two hours later, everything ached. My knees and hands were scraped beyond belief, my party dress was ruined, and I still couldn't get two feet off the fucking ground!
Cas flew us back to my apartment and before either Winchester brother could say a word, I sent them a death glare.
"If anyone dares enter my room in the next hour, I have a loaded 9mm in the table by my bed and won't hesitate to shoot said asshole through their fucking brains!"
I slammed the door and stomped to my shower.
Sam and Dean looked at Cas.
"Where did you fly off to?" Dean demanded.
"If she had been in the room another minute, she would've jumped out the window to try and fly. I took her to a safe area where I could teach her and catch her, if necessary."
Sam raised an eyebrow and looked at my door. "I take it the lesson didn't go well."
Cas sighed and collapsed on the couch. "No, it didn't. An Angel's wings are an extension of their Grace. Yes, they will have physical form, but if our Grace is severely depleted or bound in Shay's case, we can't stay airborne for more than a few minutes at most and we can't go great distances. We are subject to gravity as well."
"So," Dean cut in, "you are basically saying no Grace, no flying?"
"In simple terms, yes."
"YOU COULD'VE FUCKING TOLD ME THAT BEFORE I BECAME THE WORLD'S LAUGHING STOCK!"
The men turned to find me standing in my bedroom door. I was furious. I had given my all and Cas knew that it wouldn't have been enough. I had made an utter fool of myself. I opened my mouth to yell some more, but Cas pressed two fingers to my forehead and I fell asleep.
Cas placed me on my bed and closed the door.
"Dean, have you told Sam what the Allens told us?"
Dean nodded. "I told him while you two were having a flying lesson."
"Now we just need to find her."
A soft hand caressed my cheek. "You don't need to fear your Grace. It won't harm anyone, but you need to wait until the time is right. It is soon, Shay. You must be ready."I heard the flutter of wings and opened my eyes. My window was open and no one was there. I used my wing to push the window closed. I turned, wrapped myself in my wings and fell back asleep.