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earning your wings

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Long after the Winchesters had gone out in a blaze of glory, Castiel found himself in heaven. He walked through the stark white halls that connected each individual's personal Heaven.

He had forgotten how much he had missed being surrounded by the pure souls. But those pure souls made him remember how much damage he had caused when he had absorbed all the souls in Purgatory. How could he forget? Castiel had dared to declare himself the new God. It was blasphemy of the highest degree.

Castiel didn't want to continue on that train of thought. He tried to focus on some of the good he had done to try and make up for his previous mishaps.

He was thinking about the Winchesters when he heard the cry of a young angel. Castiel realized he must be near the nursery for fledglings. He was about to go past the entrance when the angel cried out again. The cry echoed throughout his grace. There was something about that cry that was vaguely familiar to Castiel. He stopped and turned towards the nursery.

When he stepped through, he noticed that the nursery seemed empty. He stepped close to one of the nests used to comfort newly made fledglings and saw that it was empty.

He walked to the next one and saw that it was empty as well. Where were all the newborns? Surely there were more being created due to the increase of angel deaths over the past few years.

The baby cried out again and Castiel followed the sound until he reached one of the last few nests.

When he looked in, he gasped. No wonder this child sounded familiar. It was Sam Winchester.

Sam looked up at Castiel with the saddest look he had ever seen. His chestnut hair was sticking out in all directions. His eyes were wet and threatening to release tears again. His lower lip was sticking out.

What surprised Castiel was the silver wings curled over Sam's shoulders. Sam sneezed at that moment and the wings made a sudden movement as well. Then Sam began to wail again.

Castiel knelt down. "What's wrong, Sam?"

Sam responded by screaming louder.

Castiel picked up the little angel and started bouncing him while walking. He looked around the nursery and it hit him that he and Sam were the only ones in the room. Castiel's, and now Sam's, brothers and sisters should have been in there taking care of the little Winchester.

While Castiel was walking, Sam became noticeably quieter. Castiel looked at the baby and saw a smile on the face for the first time since he had entered the room. Sam started giggling with every bounce.

"More. More!" Sam surprised Castiel by uttering words. Castiel looked harder at Sam, noticing something different about him. In fact, if he hadn't known better, Castiel would've thought that Sam was a young toddler.

Castiel had never seen this in his lifetime. Sam was aging at a phenomenal rate. He had been an infant only moments before, and yet here he was holding a toddler angel.

"Yay! More please, big angel!" Sam demanded, interrupting Castiel's thoughts.

"In a minute, young one. I need to go find a special book." Castiel told Sam.

Sam gasped. "Are you gonna get a bedtime story?"

"Not quite. But if you're good, I might tell you a story about the bravest men I ever had the pleasure of working with." Castiel comprised.

"Okay!" Sam quieted down immediately.

Castiel poked his head out the door and started walking back the way he came before he began his tale. "Once there were two boys. One was destined to be the vessel for Michael the archangel, and the other was destined for Lucifer the archangel. But both of these boys fought destiny and managed to trap the archangels in a cage far away from here. Even after that,they fought monsters of all kinds to protect humanity. They were the greatest men to ever exist."

Sam's face was one of fascination. "Whoa! That's the best story ever!"

When Castiel reached the door to Heaven's library, he paused and noticed Sam had grown again so that he appeared to be a seven year old human child. He needed to hurry and find the book, so he put Sam down and held out his hand for Sam to hold onto.

"What are we doing?" Sam asked. His appearance had shifted to that of a fifteen year old. If he had been a regular angel, this would have been the time where his flight feathers would have started to come in.

"Looking for a specific book on angels." Castiel squinted and spun in a circle, stopping when he found what he was looking for. "Stay there."

Castiel moved to an area of the library that was rarely used. He moved his hands across the spines of the books until he found the one he was looking for. He flipped around the book until he found the page he was looking for. Castiel scanned the page carefully until he came across the words, "unlike a regular seraph fledgling, archangel fledglings grow at a rate of a few days on earth, whose time runs at a faster rate than those that reside in heaven".

"Cas?"

Cas looked away from the page he was reading. He turned around and saw the Sam he had fought with during the apocalypse, looking confused. His three pairs of sleek silver wings twitched at Sam's confusion, which caused him to jump.

"What the hell?!"

"Actually, Sam, it's quite the opposite. You're in heaven." Castiel responded.

"I get that Cas. I meant why in the world do I have wings?" Sam said.

"There's no easy way to say this, but you're an archangel, Sam."

"What?!"

"I don't know what happened, but I promise you I will help you in any way I can." Castiel said firmly.

Sam turned his head. Castiel could see the uneasiness in his eyes. He spoke up. "Sam, you have helped me so many times even when I didn't deserve it. Now it is my turn to do the same. We will figure out what happened and I will be there for you."

Sam's wings fluttered at that. "Thanks Cas."

Castiel could see some of that uneasiness melt away as he spoke. He realized that helping Sam would help him as well. He could relearn how to be an angel.

Maybe it was finally time for Castiel to earn his wings.