whynot: SPN: all hail (golgotha)
Lassiter ([personal profile] whynot) wrote2010-12-27 05:26 pm

'Istighfar' - SPN - Jimmy Novak

This is a Novakfest fic, starring Teuku Ryan as Jimi Nasrudin. In fact, here is a a short clip of Jimi wishing us all a happy Eid.

My thanks to the garrison - [livejournal.com profile] callowyniel, [livejournal.com profile] clwright2stiel, [livejournal.com profile] dayadhvam_triadiel, [livejournal.com profile] switchbladesistiel, and [livejournal.com profile] viridian_magpiel - for their betasmiting action. Thanks especially to Switch and DT for teaching me to make hover-translations! Now we don't have to open the Indonesian-English glossary in another window - just put your mouse over the Indonesian text ET VOILA - English appears!

My thanks also to the Novakfest mods for their awesomeness and patience and for putting this party together. My apologies to Kahlil Gibran for cribbing that one line from "On Love" from The Prophet.

Supernatural. Jimmy, Castiel, Amelia, Claire. Rated G. No spoilers
Warnings: None. References 'Mystery Spot' and 'Jus in Bello'.
Written for [livejournal.com profile] extatiana from her prompt, "They're the model of a modern religious family: Muslim? Jew? Mormon? Church of God with Signs and Wonders? Quiverfull? Switch it up, retell Castiel's making a trainwreck of their lives." Jimi Nasrudin and his family are Muslim Indonesian immigrants in Pontiac, Illinois. ~2000 words

The crests of waves remind him of Quranic script.

Jimi Nasrudin stands ankle-deep in the Atlantic Ocean and can almost read the surah in the waves. God is great, it might say, and the faithful recite back, God hears those who praise Him. Behind him, Amalia and Chandra are building a sandcastle, and in front of him God's words swell up from the waters to be swallowed by the next verse.

Castiel is everywhere. He is more everywhere than ever before, even more than the first time the holy fire rained down on Jimi in his dreams. You are chosen.

Chosen for what?

The fire just said, You must wait.

A sudden gust of wind blows from the south, and Jimi thinks he hears his name.

"Castiel?" he whispers.


He turns around.

"Jangan bengong aja," Amalia smiles. She gestures at the vaguely castle-shaped pile of sand. "Tolongin dong."

"You should find seashells," Chandra decides. "For the castle. They'll be the doors."

So Jimi walks along the beach with his family, looking for shells. He chases his laughing daughter down the waterline. He holds his wife's hand. They forget about the castle until they walk past it again on the way back to the car. The sandcastle is nothing but a smooth wet lump, reclaimed by the rising tide.


The tasbih was a going-away present from his mother, who kissed his face approximately a hundred times at the airport.

"Jangan lupa ngaji, ya?" she said, tears streaming down her face. A few feet away, Amalia and Chandra were receiving similar treatment from the extended family. "Anak bageur, jangan lupa shalat." As if he would. "Jangan lupa Ibu." As if he could.

"Ini dari Ibu," she said, and gave him the tasbih in a small white box. The beads were made of obsidian, the tassel green and iridescent. "Jangan lupa, nak. Jangan lupa."

And Jimi promised her he wouldn't.

The family loaded Jimi and Amalia up with last-minute gifts of snacks and small cakes, everyone insisting "no, please". Some of the snacks were confiscated by customs in Detroit. They were weighing them down anyway, Amalia decided. But she took two more nagasaris before the customs officer took the box away, one for herself and one for Chandra, who shared it with Jimi as they waited for their connecting flight.


As a boy, Jimi had asked the angel many questions.

You say I'll do great things?

Castiel replied, Yes.

Will you be there when I do them?




Castiel's reticence has trained Jimi to seek out solitude, the better to hear him with and the more of himself to give. That particular afternoon, he was in the garden and nine years old, sitting under a frangipani tree as the comic book on his lap went unread. Where was he, this angel? Was he in sunlight, the sunlight itself? The wind? The tree? The wind in the tree?

Jimi asked, What will I do?

You will go back to the beginning.

"Castiel," Jimi breathed, and the light at the edge of his vision suddenly shone too bright. Castiel's voice was like the call to prayer, invoking the simultaneous comfort of the familiar and the relief of the unknowable. It thrummed gently against his bones. When Castiel called his name, Jimi's entire being sang.

You will be my sword.

And he imagined himself gripped tightly at the hilt, brandished aloft and burning.


More than a gregarious country, America is a vast one. Yes, everything is big here - the roads, the yards and parking lots, the gestures and voices. It is welcoming, but not intimate, and Jimi stepped into his new life relieved that he didn't have to brave this new world alone.

The job was good. The house was good. Amalia settled into a routine of household chores and sitcoms, romance novels to improve her English, and Skype appointments with friends and family from home. Chandra began speaking as much English as she did Indonesian. She stopped calling her parents Ibu and Bapak; now they are Mom and Dad.

"Kita harus bersyukur," Amalia insisted, and Jimi was, everyday. He was grateful everyday, but he knew Amalia could sense the impatience in him, the unease. She still blamed it on culture shock.

Sudden refractions of sunlight and the rustling of leaves still made him pause.

Long ago, the angel said to him, Do you trust Heaven with the whole of your being?

And Jimi said, What I have, I submit to you. I submit.

He named his faith, and then he waited. He is waiting still.


There are no mosques in Pontiac.

"Sok dramatis, nih," Amalia teases, and he wonders if she's right. No one means for him to be lonely. It's just how it is. Did the angel not say his path has already been written? The holy writ is a bridge to God, and Jimi puts one foot in front of the other. The river is vast. So be it.

During evening prayers, after Amalia and Chandra have rolled up their sajadah, Jimi remains seated on the ground and whispers the istighfar. I seek forgiveness from Allah. Silently, in his head, after every transmission: Castiel, where are you? Castiel, what am I? What news? What revelation? He misses the days when he prayed with Castiel's grace around him, reciting the words with him as the weight of blessing slid down his bowed head and lingered on his shoulders, on his heart, in his cupped hands.

Castiel has not spoken to Jimi in years. The beads of the tasbih click through Jimi's fingers, gleaming in the soft lamplight, and he says, To Thee I turn in repentance, and I am the first to believe.


Amalia's laughter, bright and free one summer night. She laughs more easily these days, and Jimi is glad for it.

Tonight, Chandra is sleeping over at Kim's, and Jimi and Amalia are sitting at the kitchen table, exchanging memories about the first time they met. Dinner is over, but they haven't cleared the table. They haven't moved from their seats in a couple of hours.

"Kamu sih yang malu-maluan," Jimi smiles. "Agak genit, lho."

And Amalia laughs, insisting that he had been the shyer of them both. Her fingertips linger on the back of his hand.

Jimi finds himself wishing, suddenly and strongly, that she could know about Castiel. He thinks maybe it would be easier. Finding her husband awake in the middle of the night, or lost in thought, or brittle and arrhythmic, she would ask him what was wrong, and Jimi would be able to say, "The angel."

The last time Jimi really wanted to tell her about Castiel was when he realized he was falling in love with her. He almost told her; it was on the tip of his tongue. Of all people, Amalia should know. He wanted her to know. He remembers that Amalia had smiled at him expectantly, and he could feel the words in his throat. They wouldn't come out.

It's late by the time they call it a night, and they turn on the television as they clean. The news recites the country's list of woes. A town councilman caught in scandal. The search for a missing professor in Florida called off. An explosion in Colorado that leveled a police station and everyone in it.

"Dunia kok tiba-tiba amburadul, ya?" Amalia murmurs.

"Sebenarnya nggak tiba-tiba, kok," he replies, and she just shakes her head and continues rinsing the plates.

Jimi would like to tell Chandra about Castiel. He thinks she would understand.

There is an angel, he would say to her, and his name is Castiel. Together we will save the world.


He is trying to break the habit of seeing miracles everywhere. Every sound like a whisper or ghosts at his side, every suspicion that the winter chill is just the angel's way of telling Jimi that he is here. Every lingering shadow just a message telling him that it will be soon, that Jimi is right: it has been too long, much too long.


It is the tail end of Ramadhan and Jimi cannot sleep. So he prays.

Ablutions: the water trickles loudly as it collects in his cupped palms. In the name of Allah, the most merciful and most kind. During the wudu, you wash the hands, the mouth, the nose. The arms, the face, the neck. He feels the momentum for prayer building deep inside.

The Lailatul Qadr is the night the angel Gabriel revealed the Quran to the Prophet, and its anniversary is when the veil is thinnest between the worlds. Prayers have a greater likelihood of being answered, entreaties heard.

"And no one knows which day?" Roger asked earlier. (Sometimes he forgoes his lunch to sit with Jimi, which Jimi insists is unnecessary, but Roger won't have any of it.)

"It's one of the last ten days of Ramadhan," Jimi explained.

"One of? That's a little bit of a crapshoot, isn't it?"

"Yes, so you cover your bases."

"What do you pray for?"

Jimi hesitated, then replied, "What would you pray for?"

And Roger laughed. "Where to begin, man?"

It is 2 AM, and Jimi is wide awake.

Astagfirullah al adzim. Tasbih beads clicking. I seek forgiveness from Allah.

For whatever trespasses I have committed. For whatever makes me unworthy. For whatever keeps Your eyes averted from me, Lord; whatever keeps your angels away.

He loses track of how long he sits there. He loses himself in the routine longing of prayer until he realizes that what he is hearing is not just his own words. The "I seek forgiveness from Thee" comes from his mouth, but there is something deeper and brighter interwoven, whispering, I seek thee, I forgive.

Jimi pauses, but the litany continues: I seek thee, I seek thee, I seek thee, the ever forgiven.

He holds his breath.

The voice is louder than any version he's heard or imagined before. He hears it call his name.


In his dream, he is back in Cape Cod, ankle-deep in the water, eyes on the horizon, Castiel all around him. It is dusk, and the sky and sea bleed red where they meet. He reads Castiel's words in the water. This alphabet looks like the crest of waves, the sequestered part of Jimi's life where the word of God is inked in graceful curves, holy, private.

Jimi Nasrudin, the angel says, in a voice that isn't a voice.

Castiel, he replies.

Did I not tell you, long ago, that one day you will be my sword?


Are you ready?

The stars shiver into view, one by one above him. I am your servant.

Do you believe that there is no god but Allah?


And do you believe that Muhammad was His prophet?


The shahadah is the testimony spoken by those converting to Islam. It is comprised of these two statements, said with sincerity and full knowledge of its meaning. Exhale the words with honesty, and on the next inhale breathe in the grace of God.

Jimi Nasrudin, will you give yourself to me?

He thinks of Amalia, lock of hair falling over her cheek. Chandra falling asleep at his side as he sings her a lullaby. The memories of his family evoke a sudden pang, but Castiel is embracing him again and Jimi is engulfed. This soothing fire, once a refuge for his own vulnerability. Jimi hasn't felt the burning in years. The angel once told him, in the midst of his crumbling faith after his father's death, Ask not if God is in your heart, for you are in the heart of God. And Jimi had imagined the heart of God as a ray of light, six wings, gilded heat on his face sliding down his body, working its way through his skin.

Will you give yourself to me?


And then the earth, the sky, his body, begin to fill with light.

kimboosan: (Team Free Will)

[personal profile] kimboosan 2010-12-28 12:25 am (UTC)(link)
This is incredibly moving, and so beautiful. It's a love story, not just of Jimi and Amalia but between Jimi and the most coy of them all, Castiel.

Thank you for this, it is gorgeous.

alexseanchai: Blue and purple lightning (Default)

[personal profile] alexseanchai 2010-12-28 12:40 am (UTC)(link)

[personal profile] gwenbasil 2010-12-28 03:52 am (UTC)(link)

O-ohmygoodness. YOU WROTE IT. I was so worried about that prompt. MY WILDEST DREAMS, YOU WROTE THEM. I've wanted Jimi Nasrudin fic since ... someone(you?) offhandedly mentioned him MONTHS and months and months ago.

Jimi and Amalia are so sweet~
Lailatul Qadr! ~flail~
(also I love the Roger cameo)

"Amalia could sense the impatience in him, the unease. She still blamed it on culture shock." T___T eeeveryyyooooneeee


[personal profile] gwenbasil 2010-12-28 03:52 am (UTC)(link)
oh and there I go failing at gif.

horusporus: A small WALL--E robot by a blurry window. (Default)

[personal profile] horusporus 2010-12-28 05:30 am (UTC)(link)
ah i like this very much! ^^