Lost and Found
Summary: After losing his job at Gas-n-Sip, Castiel finds himself on the streets, with no job and nowhere to go. He had already lost Dean and Sam's trust. He had given up on himself and was ready to accept whatever fate had planned for him, when a girl saves him despite his unwillingness to be saved. Turns out, things are never as transparent as they look! The girl turned out be to more than he had ever imagined!
Set in mid S9. (The Gas-n-Sip episode.)
AN:I do not own Harry Potter and Supernatural. They belong to their respective authors and writers.
I would like to apologize for any mistakes in advance. Please do not copy this story.
Castiel was still reeling from the loss of his job after Nora had told him to leave, not that he could blame her. First, he had put her daughter at risk when he was supposed to take care of her. Apparently, inviting your friend into your boss's house without their permission wasn't a great idea. But Nora took pity on him and he got away with a warning. Later, he decided that even if Dean and Sam didn't want to work with him, he wanted to be useful, so he found a hunt.
He had leaned many things from the brothers and was pleased when he was successfully able to pose as an FBI agent. He found out that it was the work of angels and to his immense pleasure, Sam and Dean turned up the same day! Of course, he knew the possibility of them appearing was high, but seeing them made him forget everything he had faced ever since he lost his grace. The idea of working with them again, helping them in anyway he could made him happy after a long time.
Until he realised that how badly he had misjudged the situation.
Dean had seemed very uncomfortable, almost upset to see him again. He had shrugged it off, of course, wanting to show Dean the car he had bought himself and maybe buy a drink or two for them with his own money. It turned out, they both left without another word before he could even set the bottles down. They didn't even say goodbye, but instead Dean had been extremely blunt. He had been told to "keep distance" and as if it wasn't clear, he said that, "we can't work together", and told him to leave before Sam returned.
Now that he thought about it, he realised it should've been obvious. He was the one who misunderstood. He had blinked back the sudden stinging in his eyes before leaving. He just wished he could've apologised before for not understanding sooner and being such a fool.
He turned up to work after 3 days and Nora fired him. The only option he had was to sell his car, so he could have some money for food or a room to sleep in. But he found out that he couldn't bear the thought of selling it. Nora was kind enough or maybe she pitied him after seeing the state he was in, that she agreed to keep the car in the parking of Gas-n-Sip until he could find another job to refuel it.
He didn't have the money to board a bus, so he ended up walking from Idaho to Denver. A kind man gave him a lift, even though he didn't have anything to offer in return. He found a homeless shelter in Denver, which he had been more than thankful for, until a couple of angels found him. He managed to run without major injuries, but it resulted in death of every single human at the shelter. After which he decided that he should stay on his own. After all, he deserved it and he knew it. The little cat followed him after he shared half of his food with her, which wasn't much to begin with. Just like him, she was alone and he decided that he was going to take care of her. He tried to find a job, but he found out that it was even more difficult to find work around holiday season.
He didn't have any identification, qualification, references and apparently, no useful skills. He tried everywhere, but no one was ready to hire him. He had his toothbrush and the mobile Dean had given him before throwing him out, safe in a zip lock bag. Dean had told him that he would call, but so far, he hadn't. Even Sam didn't want him around and why should he? Without his grace and powers, he was useless. A hammer, just like Dean had said. It might've been something he had done. He knew that he was strange and people mocked him. Dean did it all the time, but he hadn't been able to figure out that he wasn't wanted. At least not till he had been told to leave.
Everything around him was new; he was confused, scared and he had no one. One thing he was sure about – not to trust anyone after April Kelly turned out to be a reaper and tortured him. So, he turned his focus on staying alive. Normally he would find some benches to sleep on or would hide under the bridges when it rained. He was dirty, his clothes were torn but he had no money for shower or to wash his only pair of clothes. He hated it, but knew that he deserved it all and more. Finding the cat had been a blessing, now at least he had someone to talk to. They shared whatever meals he found and he was no longer alone. In retrospect, he knew Dean would've made fun of him, but he couldn't bring himself to care. Nor could he bring himself to call or text either of the brother, no matter how many times he thought about it.
He had learned very early that people also earned money by giving sexual pleasures to others. The lady had come to his bench, saying that he was handsome and she could give him money and a decent place to live if he agreed. He was hungry, cold and tired, but couldn't say yes.
Castiel winced as he limped towards one of the restaurants, knowing that they would be throwing out waste at the end of the day and probably he would find something to eat. His left hand was throbbing and there was a deep gash on his stomach from the fight he had days ago. He probably should've gone to a hospital, but again, he had no money, so he bandaged it as best as he could. It was middle of December and the wind was howling as he shivered and pulled his jacked closer, trying to hide the cat from wind as well, but he wasn't sure how successful he was. He was wearing a shirt, a half-sleeve sweater and the thin jacket, given to him by the lady from the shelter, after she told him that there was no space available. He had a well-worn jean which hadn't been washed since late-October and the shoes were provided to him by Nora as the part of uniform in Gas n Sip, which were even in worse condition.
His teeth were chattering and walking seemed too much work. He blinked, trying to stay awake and kept on walking. He couldn't remember the last time he ate and his stomach was growling hungrily as he coughed. His shivering increased and he blinked, trying to shake the dizziness away as he stopped in front of a pizza parlour. People were enjoying with their families; the city was lit brightly with the Christmas lights. Everyone seemed happy and cherry. He had heard that Christmas was the best time of the year, but as he thought about it, he realized that he would be extremely lucky if he survived till the day.
No matter how much he tried, to him, it didn't feel Christmassy at all.
It was almost Christmas and she wanted Teddy to have the best time possible. He was 4 and was more aware about his surroundings than ever, so it was no doubt that he was excited for the festival and the Santa and the toys. She couldn't remember the last time she had celebrated it. Was it in her 3rd year, before everything went downhill? She had shifted to America after the war. The memories were too much, but she couldn't stay depressed as she had Teddy to take care of now. She and Ron always wanted to become aurors, but after what happened, she couldn't. To distract herself and more importantly to stop herself from spiralling downwards, she decided to become a healer. After she completed the training, she worked at St. Mungo's for almost a year before Andromeda died and she decided to leave her job for Teddy. He had been only 3 and she wanted to give him a stable home. So, she decided to shift to other side of the pond, away from everything, for a new start. The last year in America hadn't been that easy, but being with Teddy helped. It was something that made her happy.
Artemis sighed as she waited for her order. The kid loved pizza and she was determined to show him the best time ever. He wouldn't grow up like her, orphaned. He wouldn't get hungry, cold and he would be loved. He was young, but he knew that his parents loved him and one day, she was going to tell him the cause his parents gave their lives for.
She sat near the window and looked out. Every street and trees were shining with lights. People were high with Christmas spirits. It was only a week away after all. It wasn't snowing yet, but she was sure it was going to snow soon. She never believed in God and she had no reason to do so, but she had set-up a tree at home, only for Teddy. He helped her in decorating it and they had a great time. But without the people she loved, knowing that they weren't here, it didn't feel very Christmassy to her.
As she looked out, her eyes landed on a man who was standing at the edge of the road, just outside the glow of the pizza shop. He was looking or more likely gawking at the people who were laughing or eating. As she looked closer, she realized that he was staring at the food rather than the people. He was thin and looked tired. The second thing she noticed was that his clothing was wholly inadequate for winters. He did have a jacket, a dirty old thing which might've seen better days, but just from the look of it she could tell that it probably would've worked in October, but not in December, and it was certified by the fact the way he was shivering uncontrollably. He didn't have a hat or muffler or gloves for that matter. The only thing he was wearing was the thin jacket, jeans were torn from several places and cheap shoes.
Without a second thought, she went to the counter and doubled whatever she had ordered before along with something hot to drink. It was after 10 and she knew there wasn't anything she could buy for him to wear, neither had she a blanket in the car. She took her order and went outside, instantly shivering as the cold wind hit her in the face. She walked towards the man, who was still staring inside the shop with what seemed to be the most miserable look on his face.
"Hello." She whispered which visibly startled the man and he flinched away from her, looking at her through half-lidded narrow eyes. Maybe he was trying to look intimidating, but the effect was ruined by his shivering as he clutched the jacket tightly around himself. She winced when she saw that he had a bruise on his face and was even thinner than she had first imagined. He had the most striking blue eyes she had ever seen but they were sunken and gaunt looking. His face was dirty and he had black greasy hair which she could bet hadn't been washed for weeks.
She showed him one of the bags which held two pizzas, a hot chocolate and a bottle of water. His eyes went to the packet and back to her eyes, but he made no move to take the packet from her, but his eyes narrowed even further. "I just ordered it. It's hot." She told him.
"What… do you want?" he asked gruffly.
She looked at him confused and asked, "What?"
"I've learnt that most humans… don't help anyone… unless they want something… in return. Do you want me to give you… sexual pleasure for food? I'm not… feeling… very well, but… I think I could try… for the food." He stated stumbling across his words as his eyes went to the food before returning back to her.
The words were said with such sincerity and there was so much hope in his eyes that Artemis gaped. Who would do that to someone? Sex for food? But clearly that had happened to him before. "NO!" she stated horrified. "I bought this for you. I don't need anything in return."
He cocked his head to the side as he observed her before lifting a trembling hand out and she handed him the package. He peered inside and looked up at her as he whispered, "Thank You."
His eyes were shining and she felt her hear clench for him as she gave him a small smile and almost ran where her car was parked. Quickly jumping inside, she started the engine and cranked up the heat. She had no idea how to help him and was sure he wouldn't survive more than a couple of days like this. This wasn't her problem and she would be a fool to do what she was thinking of. The man could be a murderer for all she knew and she had a child to take off, even though she had Kreacher and Missy. She nodded to herself before she could change her mind, but just on cue the first flake of snow fell on her windscreen. She closed her eyes and her head fell on the steering wheel. There was no chance that anyone would help the man, especially at this time of the year. She took a deep breath before turning the car and stopping in front of the man, who was busy catering the water to a small cat with trembling hands. She stared with her jaw hanging open. The man wasn't eating himself, even though it was clearly visible that he was hungry, but he was looking after a cat who was hidden inside his jacket. She opened the door and shivered as the icy wind hit her face again, chasing the warmth away. The temperature was dropping alarmingly as the wind picked up even more and the snow continued to fall.
The man's head snapped up and he slumped over the food as if he expected her either to snatch it back from him. She wasn't sure how he had survived until now without warm clothes and she climbed out. "Get in the car or you'll die in this cold. I'm not going to take advantage of you."
'And that was something, she never thought she'd say in her life.' she thought.
The man looked at her suspiciously and pulled the cat closer to himself as she opened the passenger door. He looked at her for a long time, surprise clearly written all over his pale face, but he looked down at the cat and asked quietly, "C-can he come? He… doesn't have a home… or a family."
Artemis stared at him perplexed, but nodded. The man gave her a small nod as he stood up or tried before swaying and falling back. She jumped into action trying to help him, but almost hissed when she touched his wrist. He was burning up and it was a wonder he was able to talk. She helped him towards the open door and cursed internally as she realized that he was soaking wet. He needed medicine and thanked her lucky stars that she had potions which would make him feel better in a day or two. She didn't think about it, but it was obvious that he would've been dead if she hadn't helped him. She removed her coat and covered the man with it. By now, he was shivering violently, chin tucked to his neck, but still he managed to look at her, clearly bewildered.
He shook his head as he tried to remove her coat and muttered, "I-I cannot…"
"You're ill. You need it more than I do and I'll be warm in a minute." She told him comfortingly, gesturing towards the AC and closed the door before running back to the passenger seat. She looked into the rear-view mirror and caught sight of him curled up in the back seat, teeth clattering loudly, his body wracked with uncontrollable spasms as he tried to warm the cat instead of himself.
She almost hit her head with her palm when she remembered that she was a witch and hurriedly cast a non-verbal warming charm on him and the cat. She turned up the heating to maximum and started driving. He didn't have anything on him and she needed to hurry if she wanted him to live another day.
"S-s-sorry… I s-smell." He muttered suddenly, and she caught a glimpse of his face in the rear-view mirror, full of shame and embarrassment.
"Don't worry about it. We just have to get you warm." she told him as he snuggled even more with the cat.
She drove in silence until they reached her house. As soon as she parked the car in the garage, Kreacher was there to help her with the groceries and food, until his eyes landed on the man and his eyes widened. She looked back and a curse left her when she saw that the man was slumped into the seat, almost hidden inside her coat, which should've been impossible. She tried to wake him up, but gave it up when he gave no response.
"Kreacher. What's Teddy doing?" she asked sighing as she jumped out of her car and opened the backdoor.
"Young master is playing in his room with Missy." The elf answered; his eyes glued to the man.
"Take him and his cat to the guest room, please. He's sick and needs medicine. I'll be there soon." She told him as she hurried inside. She needed to tell Teddy that she was back. Then she needed get the potions from her room and check the man.
When she entered the guest room minutes later, Artemis was gratified to discover that Kreacher had turned on the electric heater under-blankets and the room was toasty warm by now. Her eyes landed on the things Kreacher had found from the man's jacket. There was a razor, toothbrush and a phone in a plastic bag, but what made her stop in her tracks was the blade. It was long, silver and a triple-edged dagger. It was something she had never seen before and she got a distinct impression that it was something magical, but then she shrugged it off. How would a muggle get his hands on a magical object? But she had no clue why a man like him would keep a blade, which essentially could kill someone easily, in his jacket? Maybe she was being paranoid, but she couldn't leave it with the man, at least not until he was here. She didn't touch it, but cast a few spells to make sure that the man wouldn't be able to use it against anyone if he had malicious intentions.
She turned towards the man once she was satisfied with her work and was startled to see him awake, staring straight at her. It turned out that he was incoherent and almost delirious which she was thankful for because she had no idea how she would've explained about an elf in her house. His clothes had been changed, thanks to Kreacher, who had taken them 'to burn, because apparently, they were dirty and unsalvageable.' He was wearing Neville's clothes which he had forgotten the time he stayed here. His shirt was left open and she saw a deep cut in his stomach. It was old and as she inspected it, she shivered. It was old and infected. It was no wonder he had a fever. As she moved his hand, he winced painfully which she found out was because of his broken arm. She took care of the cut and bandaged his arm before giving him all the necessary potions. Once she was satisfied with everything, she covered him with the blanket.
The man was almost hidden under them as he stared at her with bleary eyes. She could tell that he wasn't comfortable with the idea of staying with a stranger and she understood him apprehension after what he had told her. So, she picked his cat from where it was roaming on the floor and settled him near the man. His eyes didn't waiver from hers, but his hand moved and he clutched the cat to him tightly. There was an unrestrained fear in his eyes and she gulped.
"I gave you some medicines for your fever. I'm not going to take your advantage. This place is safe and no one's going to harm you, alright? If it's any consolation, I'm a doctor." She told him slowly, trying to make him understand that he was safe here.
The man didn't give any reaction apart from blinking of his eyes, which closed soon as he fell asleep within seconds.
Artemis stared at him sadly and left the room, leaving the door ajar, in case he woke up and needed something. Not to mention that she would need to check on him again in a couple of hours.
By the time she was done, it was almost 2 in the morning and Teddy was fast asleep. She kissed him on the forehead and went to her own room. As she changed into her pyjamas, it occurred to her that she should've been concerned. She had a child and she brought a complete stranger into her home, but she couldn't bring herself to worry about it. First, she didn't feel any magic from him, so he was a muggle. Second, she had two house elves keeping an eye on him just in case. But the main reason behind it was totally foolish. She had this feeling, and she just knew that this man meant no harm. She was a healer and was mainly relieved that the man was safe here, instead of dying alone on the side of a road with no one to care about him.
The man slept for two days straight and she thanked her stars that she had potions to keep him fed. His fever had come down and he had drunk water easily when she woke him the last time. He had looked at her with confusion, but the potions he was on were strong, so he ended up falling asleep again.
Teddy had been ecstatic when he found the cat roaming in the house the next day. He had taken it on himself to feed her and keep her with him all the time. She had told him that the man was sick and not to disturb him and the kid had taken it way too seriously, not even allowing the cat to go into the room.
The third day, she woke up to the sight of the man sitting in her living room with Teddy perched on his lap and the cat lounging near their feet. As Artemis moved closer, she almost laughed. She had thought the man was reading Teddy the book, but it turned out that Teddy was teaching him. She really needed to ask their names. Kreacher and Missy were nowhere in sight, knowing to stay hidden from the muggles. Both Teddy and the man jumped as she entered, though for different reasons.
"Mummy!" Teddy exclaimed excitedly. "He's all better. I didn't wake him up. And I was reading him my book. See!"
She looked at Teddy fondly before kissing him and he squealed. Though he pouted when she told him to brush his teeth, but ran to the bathroom nonetheless after the promise of chocolate chip pancakes.
She turned towards the man, who was standing and shifting on his feet awkwardly.
"How're you feeling?" she asked with a small smile, at which the man nodded and replied, "I'm better and the pain is gone."
He shifted again and Artemis got the impression that the man was uncomfortable in his own skin. He was clutching onto his jacket and the zip lock bag which held a mobile phone. The clothes he was wearing were big on him, but it would have to do for now. She had saved his jacket, but was unable to stop Kreacher from burning his other clothes. He looked at her from the cat and then to the floor before squaring his shoulders. He stared at her, eyes wide and she blinked at how blue they seemed in daylight. She could see that they were almost arctic in colour, now that he wasn't bleary or dizzy anymore.
"You have a nice home." Was the first thing he said and she winced. Yeah. She had inherited way too much money. "Uh… Thank you." She murmured quietly. "The wound on your stomach was infected and you had fever. Your hand was sprained, but it should be fine in a couple of days." She told him, not wanting him to wonder how his broken hand had healed within 2 days.
"I'm…" he stopped as he closed his eyes before opening them. "Castiel and this is… um… Dean" He gestured towards the cat.
She said with a smile, "Artemis. My name is Artemis."
"Artemis." He nodded. "I want to thank you. You've been very kind to me. More than I deserve. You took a… strange man in your home. You nursed me back to health or I would've been dead." He stated slowly.
She looked at him, Castiel as he thanked her and grimaced. He looked so sad like the weight of the world was on his shoulders and she could understand. She had gone hungry before she was 11. Dursley's used to lock her without food for days on end, but she always had roof on her head. He had dark circles under his eyes and he looked dead on his feet and with a jolt she realized that he hadn't eaten anything for the few days and maybe before that.
"I'm making breakfast. You should eat something." She changed the topic, not knowing what to say and moved towards the kitchen.
Almost everything was ready, just like every day. Missy had taken extra care and had finished preparing it all before he woke up. Castiel gave her a grateful nod, but he sat on the dining table looking miserable as he eyed his phone and then looked outside, until Teddy barrelled through the door and went straight to him along with the cat. Artemis watched him chattering about anything and everything, and Castiel listened to all very attentively. She made pancakes, eggs, bacon, toast, tea and milk for Teddy. Even though Artemis had juice, but she he made fruit salad for him, knowing that he needed something healthy. And she could ask Kreacher to make some chicken broth for dinner, because for some reason, the elf who positively hated her until 'she killed the murderer of Master Regulus', had been hovering around this muggle like a mother hen. She would've laughed if it hadn't been so disconcerting.
Castiel looked from the food to her when she served him a plate, a bowl of fruits along with tea and a glass of juice, but didn't start eating until she told him to, practically attacking the meal in his haste. "This the most wonderful meal I've ever had. Most wonderful." He kept muttering between mouthfuls as the two occupants stared at him with alarm.
Both Amelia and Teddy focused on their own breakfast till she noticed that he had finished the last piece of bacon with the fruit salad and was gulping down the juice. She went to the kitchen and whipped some eggs for an omelette along with some toasted bread with extra better, because undoubtedly the man was extremely malnourished and needed all the food to get back on his feet. She carried it over the table, putting the toasts with omelette on his empty plate. Again, he looked at her with wide-eyes, seemingly confused like he couldn't understand why he was even given the food, but gave her a small smile nonetheless, offering to clean the utensils which she waved off. He looked troubled, but finished everything within record time before thanking her again.
Teddy finished his pancakes within minutes, looking ready to run as far as possible from the table or moreover, his glass of milk.
After they were done, Teddy ran after the cat somewhere and again Castiel stared at her with wide-eyes, shifting uncomfortably. It wasn't difficult to figure out that it was a nervous habit. "I… Just want to say… thank you for your kindness. I'm not sure if I'll ever be able to repay you, but I'm incredibly grateful for what you did." He spoke softly, his voice grave, but intense and imbued with sincerity.
She smiled at him and said, "Don't worry about it, Castiel. I did what anyone would've done. I'm just glad you're fine."
Castiel shook his head at that, but stayed quiet. The grave expression stayed on his face as he asked, "Could I ask for one more favour?"
Her eyebrows arched with surprise, but she nodded. He looked out the window before turning back to her. "I… could I take a bath? And maybe… I could take the blanket? The smallest one. Not for me, but for Dean. He's young and its… cold outside. And maybe we could wait here… just until the storm stops?" He explained hastily, but by the end, he had hunched in on himself, like fully expecting her to throw him out.
Artemis looked out and her eyes widened. She looked out again over the seemingly endless white that was blanketing the landscape. There was nothing but snow as far as she could see. Asking him to leave now would be killing him and she shook her head without thinking. She refused to have one more death on her conscience.
"Do you have anywhere to go?" she asked already knowing the answer, but she had to ask.
He hunched in on himself even more as he looked outside before shaking his head. He clutched the zip lock bag tightly and stared at the phone. "I… My friend said he would call me."
She frowned. "When was it?"
Castiel looked at her for a second before his eyes went to the phone in his hand. "October. It was in October. He will call… He said he will call." He said and she wasn't sure if he was trying to convince her or himself. It was obvious his 'friends' weren't going to call, but he was getting more distressed by the second, so she said, "Listen, Castiel. The snowfall has just started and its going to get worse. You don't have the fever anymore, but you aren't out of the woods yet. Both you and Dean will end up dying if you leave now. Well… I don't invite strangers to my house, but under the circumstances… You can stay here until the storm stops and then we can see what to do next. Maybe contact your friends?" she added for his benefit.
His head snapped to her and he stared at her bewildered, shaking his head frantically. "I cannot do that. You've already done more than enough and I don't want to impose more than I already have."
"You're not imposing. I'm asking you to stay. You'll get the sleep which you need as you aren't fully recovered yet and even Dean can't survive in this weather outside. You can stay in the spare room and take all the baths you want. And um… my… butler… he burned your clothes." She told him embarrassed and his eyes snapped to her. "They were torn and caked in blood. We can buy some warm clothes for you once the storm stops." She explained.
Castiel cocked his head to the side, looking rather confused before he stated slowly as if urging her to understand. "Artemis. What you've done for me… My friends… even they… There must be reason they don't want me. Maybe it's because I cannot help now? And I have no means to repay you for your kindness." Then he added miserably, "I'm useless. I don't know anything. I have no money."
Artemis closed her eyes at the pain in his voice. It was so pathetic and sad, that she wanted to cry. It didn't take a genius to understand that his friend's abandonment had hurt him badly. And she almost snorted at the irony. He had friends who left him to die and her friends… No! She wasn't going to go there. So, she looked at him and said, "I have everything I need. Think of me as your friend. That's what friends do, right?"
She didn't have the time to say anything else, for a second later, he was hugging her and she hadn't even seen him move. At first, she tensed, but then he pulled back and whispered hoarsely, "Thank you." His eyes shining with tears. Then told her frantically, "I can help in cleaning the house and I know every language and I know how to make coffee. It's not much, but I can also clean your car and do the laundry."
He told her hopefully and she didn't have the heart to say no to him, so she nodded.
Castiel stared at his reflection in the mirror. The shadow staring back at him didn't seem his or even Jimmy's for that matter. The hollow eyes, gaunt cheekbones, pale skin and the bruises made him look like an entirely different person. He sighed before shaking himself off and looked at the phone in his hand. He hadn't been able to charge it as the $20 Dean had given him had been spent in buying food and water in the first week itself. He had tried to find a job of course, but it had been so difficult. He had kept the phone in hope that Dean or Sam would call until he received a message that he should charge it. The guy had been nice and had let him use the port. It was at the end of November, but no one called. It had long since died, but now he saw no reason to charge it anymore. And maybe he was angry, so he left it like that.
He had lost all hope and was sure he was going to die until Artemis helped him. When she had offered him the bag of food, he had been so started that he wasn't able to comprehend that someone was offering him food. Warm, freshly made food at that! He had thought she was an angel trying to kill him, but had been unable to refuse the food. It had smelled so good and it had been warm. She had even brought him a bottle of water! He had been dizzy and extremely tired, but after getting into her car, he couldn't remember much more than the warmth that filled him. It had been such a long time since he had slept in a bed or even in a place which was warm. He hadn't given it much thought before. He knew he would die either way, so he had even given her his real name. He had been fairly surprised that his blade was still resting by his bedside when he woke up and he released a breath he didn't knew he was holding. Seeing that she was a mother to a small child had been oddly comforting for some unknown reason. Then she had offered him breakfast and he couldn't even remember the last time he sat in a warm place and ate his meal peacefully. She was a wonderful cook and he needed to tell her that!
He had been even more surprised when she told him that not only could he take the bath, but he could stay until the storm stops. He had no idea what he would do afterwards, but it was a kindness no one had showed him in all his time on earth or as a human, which he knew from experience by now, was the most selfish species.
He brushed his teeth and took a bath. The water was warm and he relished it, staying under the hot spray for more time than was necessary. His body was caked with blood and dirt, his hair greasy and he took this rare opportunity to clean himself, not knowing if he would be able to have this luxury again. He wore the clothes Artemis had provided him with and sighed as the soft cloth touched his skin. He looked into the mirror again, noticing what a huge difference a hot bath, warm clothes and food could make.
Castiel wasn't sure what would happen next, but he would do everything in his power to show Artemis that what she had done for him would never be forgotten before he left. He nodded to himself and stepped out of the room.
Her eyes widened when they landed on the man standing in the corner awkwardly. Despite the dark shadows under his eyes and the gaunt hollowness of his features, he looked good. There was no grime or blood on him anymore, his hair had been washed and even though Neville's flannel pyjamas were too big on him, he looked like a totally different person. The bruises on his face were now more pronounced and she made a mental note to give him some potions for it and for pain as well.
"Would you like some hot chocolate? I'm making some for Teddy." Artemis asked when he made no move to sit.
Castiel cocked his head to the side, looking like a confused puppy and asked, "I'm not sure what this hot chocolate consists of. Is it a chocolate which has been heated? I'm afraid I haven't tried it before."
He told her apologetically and her eyes widened along with Teddy's, who had been busy playing with Dean until now. The cat hadn't been so keen, but was essentially sleeping in front of the fireplace. She opened her mouth to remind him that she had bought hot chocolate for him the other day, but promptly closed it after remembering that he hadn't touched anything apart from water before passing out promptly in her car.
"You don't know what a hot chocolate is?" Teddy questioned like it was the worst crime of the world, his expressions filled with horror. "Didn't your mummy ever make it for you?"
"Teddy!" Artemis reprimanded, but before she could say another word, Castiel stated casually, "I never had a mother."
Her eyes snapped to Castiel, but he was focused on Teddy, who looked sad for a moment until he practically jumped in Castiel's lap and says, "Is she in heaven? You're not sad, are you? Grandma told me that my mum and dad are in heaven as well. And mummy's mom and dad are there too. Mummy says they're happy and we'll meet them someday. You shouldn't be sad." Castiel's eyes had gone wide before turning downright grief-stricken as they roved from her to Teddy, and she shifted uncomfortably. He didn't say anything and for that she was grateful, but Teddy prattled on, unaware of the tension in the room. "You absolutely have to! Mummy makes the best hot chocolate in the entire world, especially when I'm sad! Even better than grandma Molly!" he whispered to Castiel conspiringly and she almost laughed.
She turned towards Teddy and said, "What about you and me make some for him and see if he likes it?" at which he nodded eagerly before jumping from Castiel's lap and sprinted towards the kitchen.
Castiel was uncomfortable until the duo told him to sit while they worked.
"Oh!" he whispered as his eyes widened before taking another gulp. "This is… Oh!" He almost moaned and she gaped as he finished the contents of the mug within seconds.
"I quite liked it. It was… quite delicious." He said finally.
"See! My mummy makes the best hot chocolate in the whole world!" Teddy told him smugly, almost jumping in his seat and Cas nodded, eying his now empty mug regretfully.
"Castiel?" Artemis called and he looked at her. "We need to figure out what to do." At which he tensed and his gaze went to Dean, still lounging comfortably in front of the fire. "I haven't been in America for long, but I can tell that the weather's only going to get worse and I need to stock the groceries."
"And Christmas presents!" Teddy screamed jumping on the couch.
Her lips twitched, but she refrained from saying anything. Castiel was looking confused again, so she explained, "I don't have any more clothes. Once the snow stops. we'll go to the mart and get some clothes for you along with everything else."
He shook his head furiously and muttered, "You've already done enough for me. I'm cannot take advantage of your goodwill and generosity."
Artemis blinked. How many people, who doesn't have anything warm, would say no to free clothing in the this weather? "Castiel. You do not have anything to wear and that's partially my fault. The winter has just started, it could go until spring and you are unprepared. You aren't well and sorry to say this, but out there, you won't last a day in this weather. Spending a bit of money on someone who needs it, won't make a difference to me. You're not taking my advantage. Am I clear?" She stated bluntly and he stared at her for a long time before giving a terse nod.
"All right. So, we've already gathered by your attempts that you don't want much help from anyone. And from what I know, your… um… friends… they don't know where you are and neither do you have money to travel. Well… Have you tried to find a job?" she asked slowly, as to not give him any wrong impression. He seemed like a prideful man and she was sure there was a reason he was on streets.
He looked at her as his shoulders dropped. His voice gravely as he said, "I lost my job. I tried to find a new one! I tried, but I have no skills or references or an address and the lack of experience. It also turned out that not being clean affects the prospects of finding a job majorly. I tried cleaning myself in the library's bathroom, but it was too small and I didn't have enough money to buy a soap. I bought a car with my own money. It was the money I had earned myself… but I did not have the money for fuel… and I broke the phone, so I wouldn't be able to call Dean, even if I get tempted to ask for his help." He found himself blurting everything out. "Every time I look at the sky, I wish I had wings, so I could just fly away, but that's the issue, isn't it? If I had wings, none of it would've happened."
She looked at him sympathetically. His eyes had a faraway look in them like he was imagining all of it and she could understand why he wanted to just up and leave. After all, she herself had wanted to do it before Andromeda died. He continued, "I hadn't given a thought about how tough things could be for a human until now. I'm nothing… Ruined. It has been so very difficult… and confusing." Cas finished with a sigh and frowned. He hadn't intended to tell this to her. Maybe it was one of those human things which he had been unable to understand.
Artemis stared at him as Cas stared out the window. She didn't know him, nor she understood half the things he had told her, but what she understood was that it was something he needed to say out loud. Maybe this was the first time he was facing something this huge by himself. He had no one and his friends had abandoned him.
"The thing about being human is that you face the worst of it all here. I'm not sure what's the purpose of it all, but slowly you get used to it." Her gaze went to Teddy who was playing with one of his toys and she smiled. "And no matter how tough things are, there's always this one thing that makes you want to keep holding on. It might take some time, but it's worth it. Even if things don't go your way, everything will turn out to be fine by the end. Probably in a totally different way than you had imagined, but you need to hold onto that one thing that will keep you going until it's the end." She whispered, eyes on Teddy until she looked at Castiel, who was staring back at her with an unfathomable look in his eyes.
Their eyes remain locked until Teddy called her and Artemis looked away embarrassed until another thing occurred to her.
He looked at her and she asked bewildered, "You named the cat after your friend?"
He didn't answer, but the red in his cheeks gave him away.
The snowfall didn't stop until the next day, much to her dismay. There were still some presents left that she needed to buy for Teddy, not to mention the groceries and some warm clothes for Castiel. He had been fine inside the house, thanks to her spells, but he needed clothes along with boots as his old were worn and caked with mud.
By 10 in the morning, Artemis, Teddy and Castiel were trudging across the car park of the mart which was packed with snow. The roads had been slippery, but thanks to her range rover, it didn't take long, even though she had to drive at a snail's pace because of the snow. She had given him one of her coats for the time being, he was wearing his shoes and she made a mental note to add a pair or two of socks in her list as well.
She took two trolleys as soon as they got inside and let Teddy in one of them, who for once was happy to oblige as he focused on the decorations and lights around him. Castiel followed her around, pushing the second trolley in which the child was almost jumping with excitement, with barely concealed confusion as she piled hers with foods, drinks, cleaning stuff, decorations for Christmas and all sort of things he had never seen.
After she was satisfied, Artemis dropped the trolley with the manager of the store, Max, who was be a half-blood and they have been friends ever since he recognised her the first time she entered in the mart. His younger brother was 14 and studying in 'Ilvermorny School of Witchcraft and Wizardry', located in Massachusetts.
He followed her pushing the trolley and watched as she filled this one with jeans, a couple of sweaters, scarves, caps, pyjamas which looked extremely warm, mittens, multiple pair of socks before she finally stopped. He hadn't been paying much attention until she showed him a couple of jackets – one of which was similar to Jimmy's trench coat, and asked if he liked them and he nodded. He liked them. They looked so very soft, warm and comfortable, that he wished that he could buy at least one for himself.
He was brought out from his musings when she showed him a couple of boots before asking what size he wore? And suddenly it dawned to him that she was buying all these things for him! Now, he looked horrified at the amount of clothes that were piled in the trolley and pleaded, "Artemis. I do not have the amount of money to buy all this, nor do I have anything to return to you in any kind. I cannot let you buy all of this for me."
She rounded on him with a look on her face which he would get to know in the future and stated, "This isn't much. The winters have barely started and they're gonna get worse. These are just enough clothes to get you through this winter, and I owe you one after yours got destroyed by my el… uh… butler."
"I feel like I am burdening you unnecessarily." He told her gravely and she took a deep breath to calm herself and replied, "We've been through this. You can return it to me once you buy everything for yourself. Now, we need to get back soon or we'll be struck here."
Finally, he chose a pair of trainers and boots for snow himself, eyes full of gratitude but the grim look remained. By now she had established that it was his signature look, so she ignored it in favour of paying the bill. After which she told him to take one of the trolleys to the car along with Teddy and that she had forgotten to buy something.
By the time she was done, Castiel had loaded the bags in the car and he helped her with loading the second lot of bags. Teddy was already inside and she was about to jump inside too until she saw Castiel standing and staring at a woman, sheriff, who was looking right back at him.
"Castiel? Do you know her?" she asked because it was blaringly obvious.
He didn't reply, instead tensed and shifted in front of her in a swift move, surprising her as the woman came forward and said, "I've been searching for you."
What he said next, made her think of his mental health. "You're an angel." he stated surprised and Artemis gaped at him, until a man materialised next to the lady out of nowhere. There was no crack of apparition, but she was sure she heard a flutter of wings.
"You're very hard to track, Castiel." The man said with a creepy smile and she shivered involuntarily.
It was then she saw them pulling something out of their jackets, something she had seen before. It was the similar blade Castiel had and her mind whirled. He didn't turn, but said authoritatively, "Take Teddy and get out of here."
"Artemis?" She heard and their heads snapped towards Max, who was standing at the gate of the mart.
The woman took advantage of their distraction and attacked Castiel with a practiced ease, who already had his blade out and was defending himself. She turned her head in time to see the man advance on Castiel with his blade in hand and she fired a stupefy. She watched wide eyed as the man stopped and his eyes snapped to hers. He smirked before turning and he moved towards her. She fired many other spells and curses, only for them to bounce right off him. She gazed at Castiel, who was busy fighting with the girl.
"Missy!" she shouted. The elf appeared not second later, staring at her with huge eyes. "Take Teddy and go home!" Artemis ordered. Thankfully, Missy listened without argument and in the next second, she was gone along with Teddy.
She turned her eyes back on the man, watched with increased horror as he fought with Max like he was nothing more than a fly. She saw as he touched Max's forehead with two fingers and in the next moment, he screamed a blood-curling scream. A bright white light burned from his eyes and mouth, burning him and he fell to the ground. She stared at him shocked, knowing instantly that he was dead. She was so focused on Max, that she didn't notice the man until Castiel screamed her name. She looked at him numbly. He had cuts all over and was bleeding, but the woman he was fighting with was dead, lying on the ground. Belatedly she noticed that there were shadows of wings on the ground, right where she was lying.
Artemis looked up in time to see the man touching her forehead with two fingers and frowned when nothing happened. Her eyes went to Max's dead body lying on the snow and turned to the man, who was staring at her with something akin to terror and trying to kill her like he did Max. Her anger returned tenfold and she closed her eyes for a second, before they snapped open and she snarled. She didn't see the bright light shining inside her eyes. She wasn't aware that her hand moved and touched the man on his cheek, who screamed just like Max had seconds or minutes ago. She didn't even blink when his grace was burned and he fell.
On the other hand, Castiel stared at her alarmed. The girl who had helped him and nursed him back to health, had killed an angel with a touch of her fingers. Even angels couldn't do that! He had been alive for million years and had never heard of anyone like her! Never heard of someone killing an angel with full grace just like that!
Terror seized him as her eyes snapped to him. Not the viridescent eyes he had seen in the past week, but eyes that were still shining brightly.
EN: So, I couldn't get the idea out of my head and here it is! It will have 5-6 chapters, one of which is almost finished.
What I want your advice on, is the pairing. Should I keep it Artemis/Castiel, as originally planned or Dean/Castiel or Dean/Artemis/Castiel.
I'm setting up a poll. You can vote if you wish.
As some of you might know that I'm busy with my exam and job, but I will be working on the pending stories soon. The last chapter of Dean's Daughter will be updated sometime in this week.
Next Chapter: Dean and Sam enter the drama.
Have a nice day everyone.
April 30th, 2019