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Faith, where there is Doubt

Title: Faith, where there is Doubt
Fandom: Supernatural
Rating/Pairing: PG, brief hints of Castiel/Dean
Summary: Carlos was a man of religion but little faith, until his prayers were answered. (D)




Carlos was a man of religion but little faith. He'd had both, once; Maria, his beautiful, vibrant Maria, had brought them into his life. And it was her death (too soon, far too soon) that took away his faith. He still did all the little rituals and prayers, but it was more for her sake, for her memory, than for the God she had believed in.

And then, one morning, he knelt as always before the cross in their bedroom. Maria's cross, it was, made of rosewood and polished so that it refleted light like her laughter. The words he spoke were failiar, if meaningless:

/Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
Where there is sadness, joy./

It was a prayer Maria had taught him. An old one, belonging to Saint Francis of Assisi. He spoke the words because they reminded him of Maria, not because he believed, not any more.

"Lord, make me an instrument..."

He certainly didn't expect them to be answered.

#

"Do not be afraid," the presence behind him said, a rumbling whisper that wasn't quite sound; and Carlos feared.

"Who are you?" he asked, the words of St. Francis forgotten mid-prayer. He still knelt, not moving even to turn his head.

"I am an angel of the Lord."

"The Lord?" Carlos did turn around, then, rising to his feet. There was nothing to see but shadows, but still he felt the presence, as strong and hard as love. "God, you mean? I don't believe in him." He spat to one side, and felt the response: gentle compassion underneath a stern look that felt like a slap, and Carlos turned his head, ashamed.

"He believes in you," the presence said, the not-voice that echoed in his head.

Carlos was trembling, but he said, "He is not my God."

"You pray to him."

"I pray for my wife." It had been over a year, and still he felt the sharpness of loss. "She prayed, and believed, and her God let her *die*."

Silence, but the presence remained. "It was... unfortunate," it said finally, "but necessary. If she had lived, you would now be choosing between her and the Lord, when He needs your service."

Carlos didn't believe in God, he reminded himself, but a thread of doubt coiled through that reminder. Perhaps he still did. It was hard not to, with an angel standing near him. "What do you want from me?"

"The service of a devout man." He could almost feel a smile: "You doubt yourself, but you are well suited to what we need."

"And what is that?"

"A body. A voice, so that we may speak with one who doesn't have your faith."

Carlos didn't respond.

"We will not force you. We must have a host for a short time, but we will take only from the willing. It is your decision, and yours alone. The Lord has chosen you, called to you: will you accept?"

/If I say no,/ Carlos thought, /will I get Maria back?/ (And a mental nudge of reproval: /even the Lord cannot change what is already written./) /If I say no,/ he thought, and let it trail off. (Mental nudge of promise: /we will leave, and never bother you again./)

The presence of the angel was filling holes that Maria's death had left behind. Did he want to lose that again?

"What is your name?" Carlos asked, finally, meaning: /yes, I will serve. Make me an instrument of thy peace--/

A rush of pleasure filled him, intense and fiery, almost too much to bear. Carlos wanted to weep. He felt his body answer the question, heard his own voice say: "Castiel."

His body blinked and then closed its eyes, and Carlos, exhausted, let himself slide into darkness, carried by the angel.

#

Carlos awoke, briefly, when he felt bullets slide through his skin, a burst of pain that didn't hurt. /What--/

/It is nothing,/ the angel Castiel answered him tersely. /I will explain later./ And Carlos was barely aware that there were two other people there, hostile and wary; one wielded a knife against him that, again, didn't hurt. The other person would have fought as well, except that Carlos could feel Castiel's message of /be still/. It was directed to the other but Carlos knew that Castiel meant it for him as well, so he subsided.

And then, when they were alone again, he said: /Speak to me./

"I needed to speak with him," the angel said, "in a way he would hear." It wasn't much of an explanation.

/And the bullets,/ Carlos insisted. /Am I dead?/

"Your flesh is whole." Castiel raised Carlos' hand to his own chest, let him feel the unbroken skin beneath the blood-lined holes. "As long as I am with you, you will live."

/And after?/

A flicker of discomfort, followed by sharp-edged deliberate carelessness. "This may be a longer-term arrangement than we initially agreed upon." Then, gentler, the angel repeated: "As long as I am with you, you will live."

Carlos wanted to protest, but his life had been so empty, between Maria's death and the angel's visit; he didn't want to return to that emptiness anyway, did he?

"Your faith," the angel murmured, as Carlos submerged again, "keeps you whole."

#

The only other time the angel's control lessened enough to allow Carlos to surface, he was mostly naked, and the feelings of sexual arousal were dimly familiar. The partner, equally naked and equally aroused, was not -- the partner was a *man*, and Carlos panicked, thrashing about in his own mind until Castiel broke the harsh kiss and stepped back.

"Problem?" the partner said, challenge in his voice. Carlos, even through his terror, recognized him as the one the angel had needed to speak with, the one of lesser faith.

"A moment," Castiel said through clenched teeth, turning his head aside, dipping into shadow. To Carlos, fiercely, he said, /do not interfere./

/This isn't who I am,/ Carlos said desperately. /This-- with another man-- it is an abomination--/

Castiel's presence pressed down against him, so that he couldn't struggle even within his mind. /You are not worthy,/ the angel hissed, blazing with anger, /to decide what is an abomination and what is right in the sight of the Lord./

/This isn't me,/ Carlos repeated. /I loved Maria--/

/Enough,/ Castiel said. /You volunteered as a host, remember that./

/You didn't tell me it would involve this!/ he wailed.

/No *man*,/ with a slight pause, /can choose the details of his path./

/But--/

/You are an instrument of God's will./ Castiel's voice was cold and forbidding. /This is what you wanted./

/I don't believe in God,/ Carlos said, helplessly; and as he sank back into darkness, he was aware of Castiel's fierce humorless smile in response, of the hungry way the faithless other kissed him, of the way his own body, under the angel's command, responded to the rough touch, and he despaired.

Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
rickybuchanan
Oct. 20th, 2008 02:20 am (UTC)
Ohhh, I like this a lot! I wondered if the man was conscious like the demon-posessed seem to be, but then mostly I've thought about Castiel - not the human he's inhabiting. I love the different viewpoint! I think it's well told and readable and sorta scary and sorta comforting (at the start, at least) and I just really liked it :)

Inarticulate!Ricky
killing_rose
Oct. 20th, 2008 09:47 pm (UTC)
*blinks* Oh. Wow. I lack the words to describe how fantastic this is. (And you totally deserve the 200 messages your dream promised. Yes, I do stalk people from the weekly pride thread. Sorry 'bout that.)
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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