Part II

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 as I do not have a beta. Please do not copy this story.

He stared unwaveringly at the woman in front of him. It didn't take long as the brightness faded from her eyes and she blinked several times, like coming out of a trance before looking around cautiously. He saw her eyes lingering on her friends fallen form and then turned towards the dead angels, before coming back to him and whispered slowly, "Castiel?"

"Artemis?" he called her name carefully, angel blade clutched tightly in his hand. He had no idea who she was and what she wanted, but he had seen her powers first hand and he wasn't going to 'tread lightly' as Sam would say. Even though the angel she had killed was from the lower garrison, but killing an angel was not something a human could do on their own. No matter how powerful! And even though she had helped him, but it could be a ploy. So, he didn't make a move, instead waited for her to take an action and also, because he knew that he stood no chance against her, especially as a human.

"What…?" she started, but whatever she was going to say was cut short as the sudden pain in the head hit her. He hands went to her head and she closed her eyes, trying to will away the sudden pain and collapsed on the ground.

Castiel stared alarmed when she fell, obviously with pain and darted towards her without another thought. Yes, she had killed an angel, but it was in self-defence, wasn't it? The angel had killed her friend and had been in the process of killing her. What he couldn't understand was how wasn't she hurt because he knew the angel had tried to smite her. It hadn't hurt a single strand on her head, instead she ended up killing him. He hadn't seen or heard about anything like it in all his million years. He also hadn't missed the elf which he knew were a part of wizarding world. She had been using a wand, hasn't she? It was obvious that she was a witch, but even then, nothing explained what had happened! Mortals simply did not possess the kind of power to kill an angel!

He knelt in front of her cautiously and asked, "Ar-are you alright?"

"Peachy!" She snapped as she looked up and he noticed that her nose was bleeding. He had faced a bleeding nose himself and knew that he should find something to clean her up and maybe some water, so he hurried towards the car to search a napkin or something which would help her. Thankfully, he found a box of tissues in the glove compartment and he gave it to her. She narrowed her eyes at him, but took it with a nod.

Once he was satisfied that there was no imminent danger, Castiel asked her slowly, "Do you need me to drive you home? I can take Dean and leave." Knowing that no one would want him in the safety of their home after the attack. Maybe he would call Dean and Sam, and they would be able to find what Athena was? And then he could ask them to forge some papers for him and some money until he found some work.

"You can't be serious?!" she asked him perplexed. "You're not going anywhere near my child until you tell me who they were and what's happening?" Another thing occurred to Artemis and suddenly her eyes widened with horror. "Merlin! Is Dean really a cat? I left Teddy unprotected…"

Castiel's eyes widened at that and he shook his head and said earnestly, "Artemis! Dean is a cat and I found him in a dumpster."

"If something happened…" she threatened, but before she could finish, he told her gravely, "Nothing will happen to Teddy. Dean is truly a harmless cat."

"Missy!" she called again and the elf appeared looking at her with its huge eyes. "Is Teddy safe?"

"Yes, Mistress Potter. Kreacher is with Young Master and the cat." The elf nodded frantically and Artemis sighed with relief.

"Okay. Would you take the car please? I'll be home soon." She asked Missy, who nodded again and vanished with a snap of its fingers along with the car.

Castiel looked the empty space where her car had been parked seconds ago before looking at her and blurted, "That's an elf. You're a witch."

Her head snapped towards him and Castiel flinched at the fury he saw in them, but for his part, he stayed where he was as she moved towards him, even if his grip tightened on his blade. He knew they needed to have 'the talk' as Sam would've called it, but the only thing was that he wasn't sure what to make of her. Could she be trusted? He found himself unwilling to think that she wanted to kill him like the others, but that was what the humans did! It had taken a literal kick in the gut, but that's what he had learned in his time as a human. Poor people had helped him when no one else did and even the two humans he felt kinship with, had left him on his own when it became clear that he was useless. Artemis, on the other hand, was by no means poor and the simple thought that her helping him could've been a ploy, made him feel miserable in ways he had become accustomed to. He pushed that thought aside for now as he kept an eye on her, his mind whirling with the various scenarios she would torture him with and being useless as he was, he wouldn't be able to do a thing.

She narrowed her eyes at him and said, "We're getting out of here. And then you'll tell me everything. I kept you in my home and God knows what could've happened!" She grabbed his arm and his startled eyes met her, but before he could stop her, she apparated out of there.

Castiel stumbled a bit as they landed on a small island surrounded by nothing but water. His startled eyes met hers and he flinched when he saw the fury mixed with disdain in them. Before he could ask, she answered his unspoken question.

"I inherited this island from my family. It's protected and no one knows about it – muggles or witches. No one can find us here, so you better start talking before I'm forced to do something, I really don't want to." Artemis threatened.

He felt his heart hammering in his chest – a feeling he had become familiar with after he became human. He stared at the witch in front of her and swallowed thickly. He was scared, but more than that, he felt resigned. It wouldn't matter if she left him here to die, he had nothing to live for anyway, but he wanted his cat to be fine and more than that, he felt obliged to tell her the truth. She had saved his life when no one else had, taken care of him when he wasn't even useful to her and he couldn't forget the fact that she had given him warm food. Just for that, he owed it to her even if she killed him after knowing the truth.

She was looking at him impatiently with narrow eyes. He took a deep breath and asked quietly, "Would you take care of Dean when you leave me here… or kill me?"

The gasp that escaped her was involuntary. Artemis couldn't believe the words that came out of his mouth. The man wanted her to take care of his cat when she left him stranded here or kill him? "I'm not going to kill you! Nor am I gonna leave you here to die! As far as I know, you're human. If you're evil or planning something to harm innocents, then I'll lock your memories and let you go. I'm particularly good with memory charms." She told him truthfully, but in a tone, which made him believe her.

Cas shivered as he stared at her, knowing that he would end up dead if she removed his memories. The angels or the demons would kill him, but in a way, he was grateful that he would forget everything – the treason, his brothers and sisters and both the Winchesters. No one wanted to deal with a useless ex-angel like him anyway. It would be better, he thought to himself. He was feeling tired, more so than he had been yesterday or this morning. So maybe he hadn't recovered fully. He took a shuddering breath and said, "My name is Castiel and I am… was an angel of the Lord."

Artemis almost laughed at that, but something in his eyes stopped her and stared at him shocked for a long time before muttering, "What?!"

Castiel nodded and ended up telling her everything. How he was tasked to save Dean Winchester, how the angles wanted to start the apocalypse, Lucifer's release from the cage even after he defied his brothers, how he joined the Winchesters in a quest to prevent either from becoming vessels of Michael and Lucifer, knowing that the world would end. How they were able to prevent the apocalypse after Sam trapped both the archangels away. How he was resurrected by God with new powers, being promoted to Seraph. How he started a civil war in Heaven to prevent Raphael from restarting the Apocalypse. How he teamed up with the king of Hell to claim the souls of Purgatory and betraying him to absorb all the souls, resulting in his powers reaching the level much higher than any archangel, but the powers that the evil souls granted him had warped his mind, causing him to proclaim himself as the new God. How he released the souls inPurgatory on Dean's advice, but the Leviathans overpowered him and how he ended up in Purgatory with Dean. And how he was stripped of his grace after being betrayed by Metatron, which caused all angels in Heaven, even the imprisoned ones, to fall.

She had of course seen his memories and him being human made it easier, but by the time he was finished Artemis was gawking at him perplexed. "You're not lying." She whispered aghast.

He frowned at that, not understanding why he would lie about such a thing? But he also understood that it might be too much for any human who didn't had the knowledge about demons and angels. He shook his head and said, "No. I wouldn't lie to you. Not after everything you've done for me."

Artemis stared at him silently before concluding casually, "So there's no God."

Castiel opened his mouth to oppose such a statement, but promptly closed it. What could he say? No one had seen God for millions of years now and there was no proof that he was still there. So instead he said adamantly, "No one has seen him for a very long time now."

"So, the ones who were trying to kill you, they were angels?" She asked after a long pause.

He nodded, lowering his head and said sincerely, "I am sorry for the loss of your friend."

Artemis closed her eyes as the image of Max burning came to her eyes and she shuddered visibly. One more friend who lost their life because of her. She looked up at the sky and smiled humourlessly. She didn't want to think about it, so she hastily changed the topic.

"The man that I killed, he was an angel?" she asked instead.

Castiel turned towards her warily and said, "Yes."

She nodded at that and asked softly, "Is it possible for witches or wizards to kill angels?"

"No. No human can kill an angel, no matter how powerful. Not without the angel blade." He answered at once, showing his blade which was still clutched in his hand.

Neither said a word, staying quiet until Artemis decided that she just had to ask. She couldn't possibly leave him alone, not after what she had seen in his mind. It would make her just like the people who had failed him. She didn't want him to be upset, but after all this knowledge, how could she not ask? He had told her that his friends would call, but he would have died in the snow if it hadn't been for her. How could someone, who had been through so much together, leave a person like Castiel on his own? Even she knew by now that he had no knowledge of human world, at least not much. So, she asked quietly, "What about the Winchesters? Why aren't you with them?"

Castiel's face crumpled at the mention of the brothers, especially Dean and he looked ready to cry, but resolved himself and said, "I stayed in a homeless shelter after I lost my grace, but the angels found out and killed everyone. I couldn't let anymore innocents to be killed because of me, so I ran. I was hoping to go to Sam and Dean's place, but it was a long way and I had no money. A young girl gave me food after she found me rummaging through garbage for food. April offered me a place in her home as it was raining and I had nowhere to go. She seemed nice, but she turned out to be a reaper. She tortured me to get information on Metatron. She stabbed me with my angel blade…" His hand tightened on the blade as he continued, "Sam and Dean found me and killed her, but Dean told me that I couldn't stay with them, so I left. It wasn't easy, but I found a job at Gas-n-Sips. I saved the money so I could afford a room for winters and I was hoping that Dean or Sam would call, but they didn't, even though he said he would before I left Kansas."

Suddenly, he stared into her eyes and told her proudly, "You know I bought a car from the money I earned? It was from the money I saved for myself."

Artemis almost smiled, but he deflated and looked at the ground. He swallowed convulsively and added, "Well, I wanted to be useful, so I took a case even if Dean didn't find me useful. I met Sam and Dean who were investigating the same case and the thought of seeing them again made me happy. I knew they didn't think of me as a part of their family, but I thought at least we were friends. Dean seemed upset to see me, but I didn't think much of it. They are the only family I have and I wanted to buy them beers. Its what you do for friends… but they didn't even touch the bottles. Dean told me "keep distance" and that, "we can't work together" before he left. They didn't even say goodbye!" He finished in a breath and she felt her heart breaking for this man… uh… angel. Because that was what he was. Everyone makes mistakes and he made one. There was no one to guide him, not one person he could depend upon and this was something she could relate with.

She focused on him when he spoke again. "I was 3 days late and Nora fired me. It wasn't just that, I put her daughter at risk. She got hurt and I couldn't heal her. It was to be expected. But she was kind enough to agree to keep my car in the parking lot until I got money to refuel it. I couldn't sell it, even if it was for food or a warm bed."

Artemis had no idea what to say. There wasn't much that could make him feel better. The ones he had thought of as family, the ones he rebelled for, left him to die when he needed the most. She couldn't even begin to imagine how that would feel. Yes, she had enemies, but her friends, her family had been there for her until their last breath.

"I think it should have been obvious. I misunderstood the situation. They might've tried to give me a signal before… but I didn't understand. I put them in a position where they had to be direct… It must've been awkward for them, which is why Sam left without a word. I wish… I wish that I could've apologised for not understanding sooner and being such a fool." He blinked back the sudden stinging in his eyes but rambled on. "They never saw me as the part of their family, I suppose. I see now that I destroyed our friendship long ago; I just never could accept that it was beyond repair.Maybe I'm being punished."

She was seething and vowed to herself that if she met the brothers, they would suffer greatly for being absolute tossers!

"It wasn't your fault." Immediately Castiel's eyes went to hers and he frowned, but she said vehemently, "None of it was your fault. You hear me? If anything, it was your God who left behind idiots to rule the world. It's his fault, not yours. And the Winchesters, who left you when you needed them the most."

"But it was my fault. The Leviathans entered the world because of me. So many lives were lost because I was arrogant. The angels fell because of me…" Castiel told her like she hadn't understood the first time, willing her to understand that it was his fault. He deserved this and more.

"I'm not saying what you did was correct, but I just want you to know that not everything was your fault. You couldn't have known that Metatron would betrayed you! Everyone makes mistakes, Castiel. You're not the only one. Humans do it all the time and from what I've learnt recently, angels do it too. Some even deliberately, but you…" Artemis added softly, making sure he believed her, "…you didn't do it on purpose. You were being controlled. I know how that feels and believe me when I say this, that it doesn't make you evil."

"Bu-but, Artemis," Cas whispered, his face falling, but she didn't let him finish and spat, "The world wasn't perfect even before you freed the Leviathans. The world didn't end before, nor will it end now. And if anyone made a mistake; it was the God of yours and certainly the Winchesters."

His eyes widened at her tone and he shook his head. "They're not at fault, Artemis. It's me, not them!"

Artemis looked ready to argue, but thought better of it, knowing it would be of no use. To Castiel, the Winchesters were family and no one could say otherwise, even if they betrayed him again and again. By now she was able to see, that even after all he did, how pure he was. How naïve!

"Come on, let's go back." She said, startling Castiel, who blinked at her, taken aback.

He tilted his head and asked curiously, "You-you're not… going to… lock my memories?"

"No." She said softly, looking straight at him. "You're not what I thought would be. The world needs people like you… even if it doesn't deserve it."

Castiel's eyes shined as he felt them filling with tears and shook his head emphatically. "I'm nothing. Incapable of doing anything now. Nothing but broken." His voice quivered.

"Castiel, look at me." She said forcefully and his gaze met hers. "You're not nothing. You understand me? We'll find something, yeah?" She told him ardently, "And even if we don't, you'll be fine. I know we're not friends and you don't know anything about me, but we can be, right? You're my friend now and I'll be there for you if you need me."

He didn't reply, but his eyes never wavered from her face as he stared with something akin to awe and she shifted uncomfortably.

"Let's go home." She took his hand in hers and apparated.


Artemis heard Teddy and he collided with her as soon as she stepped foot inside her living room. She picked him up, only to realize that he was crying. One hand went to the back of his head and she patted him with the other as he buried his face in her neck.

"Hey, baby. Everything's alright. You're fine. I won't let anything happen to you." She whispered to him as he locked both his legs behind her waist, tiny fists clutching her jacket.

"I thoug-I thought… they hurt you." He hiccupped, keeping his face hidden.

She almost cried along with her boy, but controlled herself and choked out, "No one is going to hurt me, baby. I'm never going to leave you. I promise."

He pulled his face back, eyes red rimmed with tears, snuffled before looking at her dubiously and asked in a small voice, "You promise?"

"I do." She nodded solemnly, noticing his white hair, but then added with a fake smile, "Now, would you help me in packing the Christmas presents? Castiel don't know how!"

The child turned his head and gaped at Castiel, who noticed with wonder as his hair turned back to black from white within seconds. "You don't know how to pack?" he asked, like it was the worst crime ever and said seriously, "You absolutely have to! Wrapping gifts is important!"

Artemis raised an eyebrow at him and asked, "Are you done with lunch?"

Teddy's eyes widened and he shook his head. Soon, Kreacher served the food and they ate silently, meanwhile Artemis was contemplating everything she had learned today, while Teddy was busy blabbering to the cat. Castiel ate his meal, but he too was busy mulling over everything. The existence of witches and wizards wasn't something they had given much thought to. These people were just another one of his father's creation, different in their own way. What he couldn't understand was how had she killed the angel without any weapon? No other being, apart from God himself or the archangels could kill an angel like she had. There might be something he was missing because a human didn't possess the power she had. Another thing that concerned him was how hadn't anyone noticed such a powerful being before? Neither the angels, nor the demons. It wasn't possible.

He blinked when he heard his name and looked up to see Artemis staring at him worriedly and asked, "Are you alright?"

Castiel blinked, noticing that her elf had cleared the table while he was lost in his thoughts. He nodded at her, indicating that he was fine. She didn't look convinced, but thankfully chose not to say anything. It turned out, the presents they were packing were for the homeless children who stayed at the nearby shelter. It turned out; he was useless even in wrapping a present. The child did a better job than him and was about to apologise when Artemis, along with Teddy showed him how to do it. By the time they were done with all the 40 presents, he was satisfied to see that at least half were done by him.

Once they were done, he noticed with mild amusement as Dean followed Teddy to his room. He stood up and shifted uncomfortably, not knowing if he was allowed to stay. He looked out, only to see the snow, huge flakes swirling outside the window and took a shuddering breath. He had no place to go to, but he also knew that Artemis wouldn't want someone like him around, especially when her friend died because of him. She might not have said anything, but he could see the pain in her eyes as clear as the day while she was playing with the child.

His head turned towards Artemis when he saw her approaching, bracing himself, waiting for her to throw him out. He peaked out of the window once again and shivered involuntarily. It was snowing and was colder than it had been 4 days ago. She had said that they were friends now, so maybe she would let him borrow the sweater and one of those fluffy looking pyjamas she bought in the morning. It would certainly make surviving easier.

"Castiel?" she looked at him concerned.

"Would it be okay if I take one of the sweaters and a pyjama before I leave?" he asked in a small voice before adding fervently, "I'll return them back when I find a job!"

Her eyes widened and she asked bewildered, "What?"

"I-I understand that you would want me to leave, no-now that you know the truth. Its not safe." He told her gravely, resigned about the fact that he had to leave and determined to leave Dean under Artemis's care. He knew his little cat won't survive the weather outside, but hoped that he would be allowed to stay here as Teddy had taken a liking towards Dean. It would be safer and more than anything he would be able to provide on the streets.

"Castiel!" Artemis said, firm tone leaving no room for argument, startling him as he looked up at her, "Now you listen and listen carefully. I told you that you can stay here until you find a job and I'm not letting you leave knowing that you'll die out there. If not by the angels, then because of the cold. When I said that I believe you, I meant it and I cannot have your death on my conscience, knowing I could've done something about it. You've seen yourself that I can protect myself, so maybe I could help you out?" He opened his mouth to argue but she held up her hand to stop him. "You can stay here until you figure everything out and, in the meantime, you can help me with any wards you know to protect my home from demons and angels?"

Castiel's eyes misted as he stared at the woman in front of him, blinking back his tears. He had been sure she would ask him to leave, after all, he bought nothing but trouble. No one had shown him any kind of benevolence in all his time on earth, especially since he became a human. Not even Sam and Dean, who had rebelled for. His throat felt clogged up for some reason, so he nodded. He knew wards and sigils that would protect her and Teddy along with the two elf's. It was the least he could do for all she had done for him.

Artemis stared at the man in front of her, still unable to believe that he was an angel until a few months ago. How could she not, for she had seen his memories herself. She felt aggrieved on his behalf. The people who were supposed to be there for him, the people who he rebelled for, fought his brothers and sisters for, had left him to die when he needed the most. He wasn't completely innocent, but she knew that he felt remorse for what he had done and had suffered more than enough because he thought that he deserved it. She felt like cursing the Winchester's when she remembered the state, she'd found the former angel in. He would've been dead. She didn't blame him one bit for believing that she would throw him out in this weather, especially after the way he had spent the last three months; but she was determined to show him that not everyone was the same. That there were still some people who were compassionate.

She saw him blinking back tears and hugged him without a second thought. He tensed as soon as she touched him, but slowly it faded, and even though his arms stayed at his side and he didn't hug back, but she felt him relax.

Artemis pulled back and spoke softly, "You should sleep. You haven't recovered enough. I have wards around the house, so it should be safe, but we'll work on strengthening them tomorrow."

With that she kissed him on the cheek and went to her room, while he was left in the hallway, gazing at her.

Her tears fell as soon as she closed the door. Grieving for all she had lost, for Max who died because of her. A sob escaped her when she remembered that he worked to support his family – his mother and a younger brother, who had no one to depend on now. She slid into bed; her eyes fixed on the huge flakes swirling around in the escalating breeze outside her window.

"You're Artemis Potter." Was the first thing she heard when she entered her living room the next morning. Her eyes went from Castiel to the picture on the mantle and she tensed. The picture was taken at Hogwarts before everything became hell. Taken right before the last Quidditch match they had ever played.

"I'm sorry for your loss." Castiel said solemnly when she failed to reply.

"You know?" She asked, even though it was more of a statement, but he nodded.

Her eyes narrowed and she muttered through gritted teeth, "You knew? You knew and you still did nothing!"

He tensed, something akin to shame filling him as he told her, "We weren't allowed to interfere."

"You weren't allowed to interfere?!" she gasped indignantly before shouting, "You could've saved thousands of lives! Thousands including innocent children are dead because you weren't allowed to interfere?"

Castiel looked stricken, his shoulders hunched, but he murmured slowly, "There were much more things at play. The demons were active more than ever and we had our orders." He looked into her eyes and whispered earnestly, "I cannot tell you how sorry I am for everyone that you've lost."

Artemis pushed back the sudden rush of tears along with her magic which was thrumming angrily inside her, wanting an out. She knew that it wasn't Castiel's fault. He was just as much a puppet as she was in this game, but that didn't stop her from lashing out.

"Not sorry enough apparently." She snapped before leaving the room.

"Castiel?" she knocked on his door before opening it. He was standing in front of the window, looking out at the night sky forlornly as if the weight of the world was on his shoulders, and her guilt about accusing him of something which he probably had no choice in, increased. He hastily turned to look at her before looking at the ground, like he was the culprit.

"Castiel." She whispered again and this time he looked at her, blue eyes filled with sorrow. "I'm sorry."

He cocked his head to the side, frowning and said confused, "Sorry? There is nothing for you to apologise about. We know what you've been through, who all you've lost. I regret that we couldn't do anything to help

Artemis didn't say a word. She couldn't, so instead she took a deep breath and changed the topic. "Missy said that you haven't had anything since morning. Come on, dinner's ready."

Artemis sighed as she slumped on the sofa while Cas took the seat beside her. After she had put Teddy to bed, Castiel had helped her in warding the house, showing her different sigils and runes to keep both demons and angels outside and some from finding them. She flicked her hand and a bottle of malt came floating before pouring itself into the two glasses. She picked the glass before motioning for Castiel to follow, which he did after looking at her tentatively. Artemis didn't wait for him to drink and sighed as soon as she took the first sip. It was time like this that she wished that somehow, she could talk to someone, anyone who could understand what she was going through. Max knew, but never said anything about the subject. Her eyes went towards the man sitting beside her as he took a sip doubtfully before she saw him relax for what felt like the first time since she had met him and took another swig. Her eyes drifted downwards, where he was clutching his new flannel pyjamas as if to make sure that he wasn't imagining them. He was wearing a beanie even though they were sitting in front of the fire and she almost laughed. She had never seen anyone as content as he was because of a woollen cap, but she could also understand his reasoning. For a newly turned human, the months had been quite overwhelming.

She stood up suddenly, starting Castiel who stared at her wide eyed as she rushed to her room and came out with a box, which she thrust into his hand. He looked from the box to her bewildered, but before he could open his mouth to ask, she gestured towards it and said, "You said that your phone is broken. Well, there you go. It has the same number… in case your… friends tried to contact you."

He opened the box and picked the phone uncertainly. It wasn't the same as his old one… the one Dean had given him years ago, but this one was like Dean's or like he had seen other people use. Not the cheap one, but the one which was made for people who had money to buy food or a house to live in or the ones who had a job. She had gone through the trouble of not only taking care of him when he was almost on death's door, but she had bought him more things that he would ever need, given him a warm place to sleep in along with the food, and now this… She had bought him a phone in case Dean or Sam would call him. His throat clogged up and he gasped, "Artemis…"

"It's paid for, so we cannot return it." She told him before he could return it to her.

Castiel kept the phone down slowly, before he went towards Artemis and hugged her, much like she had done the last night. The only difference being that where she had hugged him for comfort, he did it because he had never been more thankful to anyone in all his life. Maybe not even God. She patted his back awkwardly as he pulled back and kissed her on the cheek, leaving her flummoxed as he collected his phone with more enthusiasm than it warranted and beamed at her.

Castiel couldn't remember the last time he had been happy and he could barely conceal his delight. He hadn't thought that he would live to see the day, but here he was and the reason behind such joy was none other than Artemis. It was Christmas Eve and they had just returned from the shelter after giving the presents to all those children. Not only that, but Kreacher and Missy had cooked food for all those children. The children had been gloomy and doleful just this morning, even though they were bundled in front of the fireplace, but Castiel understood why. These children had no one to take care of them apart from the two caretakers, who themselves didn't have much to go by. The man had told him that they had managed to buy small things for everyone, but it wasn't enough to make everyone happy as his wife had saved up the money for Christmas feast.

Seeing such pure joy that engulfed the children after they received the presents was enough to lift his mood. And then they had lunch with the children, who obviously loved everything. Everything Kreacher and Missy cooked was wonderful. He had never known what true happiness felt until the kid smiled back at him shyly or when the little girl had laughed hysterically at something which he unintentionally did. The contentment spread through him when he watched the children as their faces lit up with unbidden joy when they saw the presents was something he couldn't describe, no matter how much he wanted to.

Then there was also the fact that Artemis had promised to help him in finding a job after New Year. He felt much better after knowing that he would be able to return her money back, no matter how long it took. He wouldn't take her goodwill for granted, especially not if he could do anything about it.

Castiel smiled as he saw the now blue haired child jumping up and down with glee as he clutched his toy to himself. He had never seen someone's eyes shining so brightly as were Teddy's at the moment. He had shrieked as soon as his eyes landed on the toy broomstick and the happiness continued when Artemis told Teddy that she would be teaching him how to fly from now on, as he was old enough. There were still presents which were not opened, but for now, the child was running throughout the house with the toy in hand.

"Castiel?" Artemis called. He frowned, but followed her into the garage, only to stop short as his eyes landed on the car sitting in front of him. It couldn't be, could it? The car was shining. Its gold finish shimmering dramatically as he stared at the 1978 Lincoln Continental Mark V for a long time before turning towards her and asked, "Is this... my car?"

Artemis smiled at him before nodding. "It is your car."

Cas looked back at the car, unable to believe that this was his car… the one he had left at Gas-n-Sips before tearing his eyes away from it with difficulty to look at Artemis and asked perplexed, "You found my car? How-how did you…? I didn't… How?"

Overwhelmed, he couldn't even finish his sentence, but Artemis shrugged. "I didn't do much. Missy bought it here and Kreacher worked his magic on everything it needed. It's apparently as good as new."

Gratitude flowed through him as he looked back and forth between the three and then back to his car, unable to take his eyes off it and breathed, "It looks so beautiful."

Then he turned towards Missy, who was standing in the corner with Kreacher, eyes bright and hopeful as she stared at Castiel, waiting for him to approve. Castiel didn't disappoint as he rushed towards the elf's, kneeled down and hugged both the creatures at the same time, leaving them stunned. He pulled back to look at them and said slowly, "I am so grateful… I cannot tell how grateful I am. I got rather attached to this vehicle. Thank you. Thank you so much."

Artemis noticed when Kreacher mumbled something before vanishing with a snap of his fingers, while Missy burst into tears before she too vanished. When she looked at Castiel, she noticed that he too looked ready to tear up as he sniffled before standing up and tracing his hand at the top of the roof.

"Merry Christmas, Cas." She whispered to him.

He looked startled for a moment, but he glanced at her and asked, "Do-do you like it? My car?"

"I think it's beautiful." She grinned and he smiled back.

They had fallen in a routine by the time New Year came. There wasn't much to do as the snowfall hadn't eased much. Everything was blanketed with snow as far as they could see. It was possibly the worst winter Artemis had experienced in her life and at times like this, she was glad that she found Castiel or else he would've surely died. Her eyes went to the man who was telling a story rather animatedly to Teddy, as they both sat on the carpet in front of the fireplace, both their hot chocolate forgotten. She sighed as she thought about how attached Teddy had become to the ex-angel as he had taken to transform his eyes like Castiel's from time to time – black hair with bright blue eyes. She didn't know how he would handle if… no… not if, when… when Castiel leave. After losing Andromeda, he didn't talk for a couple of months, hence her decision to come here, away from everything so they both could get a chance to heal.

She was lost in her thoughts, which was why she was rather startled when she heard a knock on the door. Three gazes snapped towards it and she saw Castiel as his body went stiff and he pulled out his blade, which she had no idea was hidden underneath the couch. The knock came again, this time loudly and she hurried to open it after making sure that she had her wand. When she opened it, a blast of freezing air enveloped her and she shivered in even in her sweater and jeans. Immediately assessing the risk presented by the two men standing in front of her.

The taller of the two would've looked intimidating, if she hadn't met Hagrid before. He had a muscular build with broad shoulders, had long shaggy brown hair and hazel eyes.

The other one was shorter, but still tall and had the similar built. Face littered with freckles, dark blonde hair and green eyes.

"How can I help you?" She asked as she stared at the two, reassured that the wards wouldn't let them in even if they weren't muggles.

The taller of two smiled at her and for a moment she was left speechless that a man like him could manage to look like a puppy as he said, "Hey."

"Hi." The other one nodded.

"Uh… We're looking for a friend of ours. We were told…" The taller one started, but couldn't finish as the other jumped in and asked, "Blue eyes, dark hair… a little out of it."

"Dean!" The taller man hissed at the same time she heard Castiel's voice ask hesitantly, "Dean?"

"Cas!" the man slumped with relief as soon as his eyes landed on Castiel, who was staring at the men with utter disbelief and some hope in his eyes.

"Mummy?" Teddy came towards her with thumb stuck firmly in his mouth, which Artemis knew he only did when he felt shy or uncertain.

She tensed and looked at the men, analysing them for any kind of danger, but they were busy staring at Teddy, perplexed and confused with wide eyes and their jaws hanging open. They looked between Castiel to Teddy and Artemis could literally see what they were thinking. A child with dark hair and Castiel's blue eyes.

The shorter one was still gaping as his eyes went to Castiel and he said with a glare, "What the hell man?"

Castiel cocked his head to the side, confused; but Artemis looked at them and asked, "Wait… You're Sam and Dean Winchester?"

The two tensed visibly, but the shorter one, which apparently was even taller than Castiel, Dean, clenched his jaw but nodded.

Artemis smiled at him before she pulled her hand back and punched him in the face. There was a sickening crunch as he cried loudly, "AAHHHH!" Just as his hand went to his nose and he doubled down.

Sam, Castiel and Teddy gaped at her, looking back and forth between the two when Dean pulled his hand away, which was covered in blood and cursed loudly, "Son of a Bitch!"

"That felt good." She muttered smugly, satisfied that she had broken his nose.

EN: Today marks the first-year anniversary of the day I started writing and posted Shadow in the Starlight. Can't thank you all enough for all the love and appreciation I've received. Thank you so much to each and everyone who read or reviewed any of my stories. I really, really appreciate it guys. 😊

July 18th, 2019