it’s hardly sanctuary, but for now it will do.
Michael looks at Raphael. He wouldn’t have thought Raphael would make any sort of promise, even if the archangel had been a Healer at one point, after so long in the midst of fighting, Michael had thought his second-in-command understood the fact that sometimes people just went beyond saving. And as far as Michael was concerned, little Castiel approached such a point when he dared assume the position of God.
He shook his head. “I don’t care who you might have made this promise to, brother, but you will, in all probability, have to break it,” he said. “An angel like Castiel was never meant—was never created—to hold anywhere near the amount of power he’s consumed. And we all know it. If the actual extraction of so many souls does not destroy him, he’ll be destroyed for what he’s dared to do in the first place.”
The eldest of the archangels, the leader of Heaven’s armies, stared hard at his brother. “His blasphemy has gone too far. Not even Lucifer—for every offense he committed, for every crime for which he received punishment—proclaimed himself as God.” Michael shook his head. “Whether or not Father is here, that position is still His and His alone.”
Michael sighed. One of the last things he wanted was to destroy a brother, even if he didn’t know Castiel all that well, but the point still stood. “So no, Raphael,” he said. “There is no saving Castiel.”
“Good,” Raphael says. He’s had far too much conflict lately regarding his loyalties, and it’s good to know that in this instance, he’s in the right. Castiel is beyond saving, and no matter what he’s promised his brothers, Raphael will destroy him. He supposes it’s a plus that he swore to Gabriel, rather than… anyone else.
Not too long ago, Raphael told Castiel that God was dead. At the time, he’d just been trying to crush his rebellious little brother’s hopes. But lately he’s begun to believe it as truth. It’s easier to think of his Father as dead than apathetic, and after certain indiscretions, he prefers the idea that God will never have the chance to know. About anything. Michael’s bad enough.
There are those who will not be happy, Raphael knows. Particularly Balthazar. Now that they share this bond, he’ll have to be particularly cautious moving forward. Balthazar wants Castiel saved—naïve, soft-hearted fool that he is. And he will be much less than happy when Raphael stops their brother. The idea chills him, and he doesn’t quite know why. Perhaps it is trepidation at what new levels of torment the bond will allow if Balthazar ever learns of Raphael’s plan.
“Castiel still has friends,” Raphael says. “Somehow, he still inspires loyalty. I cannot fathom why, only that he does, and I would hate if any of those friends knew we plan to destroy him.” He sighs. “But in time, they will understand that it’s for the best. That we had no choice.” He’s not afraid of Balthazar or Gabriel or any of the angels who seem so insanely desperate to save that which is beyond saving. He just wishes it wouldn’t come to that.
He should know better, truly. Not for the first time, he looks back on the days he did nothing but Heal, wielding the Power and the Glory and mending that which was broken. He doesn’t do that anymore. These days, he breaks what was once whole, and destroys what is cracked. The Power he wields is a blade and the Glory is gone from him. All he has now is rage and resignation and a chain locking him with Balthazar and the key out of his grasp.
“There is little chance he will survive the purging of the souls, then,” Raphael continues. The terror at facing his brother has abated, and he is able to speak to Michael as they once did. It’s a relief. “In all honesty, I believe it would be easier on us all. The punishment owed him for his blasphemy and his atrocities—I have seen terrible things, Michael. We all have. I remember Lucifer’s rebellion well. I cannot imagine a suitable sentence for what Castiel has done, nor do I ever wish to witness it carried out.”