I Miss My Wings
The Angels may not have been the most empathetic of all creatures, but they left Castiel well enough alone once Metatron was imprisoned. Mostly, he suspected, they were still mad with him, but they had good reason to be, really, so he let them fume. Even if he'd felt hard done by as he passed cold shoulder after cold shoulder, he didn't have the heart to defend himself.
He sat on a bench in his favourite eternal Tuesday afternoon, frowning into the water before him, as careful hands constructed, shaped and groomed a new set of wings stretching out from his shoulders.
"There you are," their owner, Gloria, said. It was the first words either of them had said for some time.
Cas stood up and walked to the water's edge, using the pond as a mirror as he flexed his wings, feeling them shift, and the crisp new feathers shifting against each other. As he watched them stretch to their full extent, he had to admire the craftsmanship. Still, they did not feel like his old ones. They did not feel like him.
"Is there something wrong?" Gloria asked, stepping to Cas' side.
"No, no." Cas shook his head. "Thank you, Gloria. They're beautiful."
As Gloria smiled, shrugged and continued fussing with him, Cas and pressed his eyes closed for a moment, scolding himself once for his ingratitude, and again for taking advantage of Gloria's difficulty in reading him, even though it would do little good, he imagined, to attempt to explain to her the reason for his lack of praise for what were, in truth, magnificent creations.
"Did you know I was a hair dresser on Earth?"
His eyes were still on his reflection, but he could have sworn Gloria snuck him a smile. He frowned, surprised. He'd thought angels' emotional incompetency was something he was just going to have to get used to again; he hadn't thought that perhaps, in the time they'd spent Fallen, they'd picked up a thing or two.
"I see those cogs working away in there, 'Commander'," Gloria teased.
"Don't call me that." Cas shook his head.
"Sorry." Gloria raked her fingers through his lower feathers and fluffed gently in silence for a minute, before speaking again. "I'm serious, Castiel. Carrying a burden such as yours is bad for the soul. There is more than guilt and concern for your grace on your mind. I don't intend on letting you go until you talk, even if I have to start these glorious things over. Do you still want black? Or are they too much like your old ones? Don't worry about me starting over. These were some of my favourites, I enjoyed the revisit, but I'm always happy to make you something different."
"No, don't do that!" Cas pulled away from Gloria for a moment before she grinned, and he realised she was teasing him again.
"Amateur," she muttered gently as he resettled under her touch.
"Black is fantastic," Cas continued. "I love them. Thank you. My wings are not the problem."
"Well I knew that as soon as I walked in. Give me some credit. Hair dresser, remember?"
"Hair dressers are surprisingly insightful." Cas nodded, and Gloria laughed quietly.
"You're a strange one," she said. "But come on now. Confess. It's about Dean Winchester."
Cas groaned silently. Of course they'd all heard it. That's why they were avoiding him. They knew. They all knew.
It was all about saving one human.
"Take your time," Gloria offered. She stopped fussing with his wings, and led him gently back to the bench. His wing tips collapsed, dragging in the dirt either side of them. She wrapped her soft mouse-brown ones loosely around them both and sat quietly, watching Cas blink forlornly down at his hands in his lap as he built up the courage to talk about it. What came out, in the end, was not a lengthy recap of everything that had been plaguing him since receiving the news.
"I missed my wings," he said. "But now that I have them…I feel like there's nowhere they can take me."