And then they made out behind the bleachers.
You were a great and honorable soldier. We fought together. Yes, too many times to count.
Robbing the nobility was fun until the Revolution; now everybody’s at it, like they don’t have any better jobs.
I’m also amazed it took me this long to come up with an AU in which Balthazar is actually, you know, a thief.
It is not that Castiel was ever without fear. It is that he never gave into it.
He did not tumble in fully formed, knowing all the ways of the world. He learned them.
It is not that he has never been weak. It is that his defiance gave him a second strength. It’s not that he never grew angry. It’s that he always unclenched his fist. His expectations were not few, but he always expected the most from himself.
He’s not a saint. He is, and ever will be, an angel.
It is not that he had no doubts. It is that even with doubt, he mustered resolve, and committed fully. He would hang his faith on branches that others considered too fragile to bear fruit. In spite of everything, he is a creature of hope.
He couldn’t save them all. He couldn’t spare them all. But how he wished to!
Few would call him good with words, but never mind. His actions always spoke with the greatest clarity. They are what those who believe in him hear.
Some might call him too sombre. Moments where he lights up with joy are rare. Special. Some might call him too still. Still waters run deep. Things can be lost on him. But never the things that matter.
The strongest? The quickest? The smartest? The purest? Perhaps not. He worked with what he had. It took everything to get him here. What didn’t kill him made him stronger. So did what did kill him. The sum is greatness.
He has been hurt, but can see past his own pain to soothe the hurt of others. He is not untouchable. There is a youth to him, in firelight.
Or perhaps it is just mortality.
It is not that he never fell, but that he always stood up one more time.
We can never look upon him as he really is. But do we really need to see to comprehend? After all of his experiences, his wings and grace must resemble patchwork. Fine material, but torn here, and shredded there. His heart is ragged and worn – it took the greatest damage. It was the greatest target, after all. Too much heart was always Castiel’s problem. But ragged and worn, it still beats. Every last piece of him has been sewn together with golden thread, each resurrection in stitches more hurried than the last. Broken and fixed, repeatedly, always imperfectly.
The result is a peculiar thing, but still just Castiel.
As unlikely as it is, what if there were a time before angels were soldiers?
A time when Castiel and Balthazar were free to explore God’s creation, spending their days one-upping each others’ aerial acrobatics, scaling mountains, skating over the surfaces of vast expanses of water (and “accidentally” splashing other angels resting by the riverside).
A time before God decided free will wasn’t for them.