in the beginning.
And on the Sixth Day, YahWeh made the ishim, the youngest and most numerous of the angels, and as they shook out their single sets of wings in the waters of the Garden they smiled and laughed, and raised their faces, unafraid, to follow the circling ranks of their brothers above them. And YahWeh drew them close, whispered the final threads of their Making into their ears: be free - and gave only the ishim the gift of a soul and grace both.
Some say that the War began that day.
It was only afterwards, when Gabriel's Host had annexed the Garden, that the rest of the Hosts actually began to take him and his mostly ishim Flights seriously, and by that time, it was too late. As Gabriel had probably planned it.
Castiel watched the brilliant sphere of the Garden from a safe distance, wistfully, lingering long after even Uriel had departed. Cloaked in the dark emptiness of the Unbound, with Michael and Raphael's Silver City behind him and Lucifer's New Jerusalem above, he would be unnoticeable, free to lose himself briefly in indulgence. It hadn't been too long ago that he had lain on the grass in the Garden, bathed his wings in the warm iridescence of its holy luminescence. Now the jewel of his Father's Creation belonged to Gabriel, and knowing the archangel, it would be a long and costly battle that Michael could not afford, if he wanted to retake the grounds.
Pity. Michael and the rest of the ha-elyonim had underestimated Gabriel, and now they would pay for it.
Turning to leave, Castiel tensed when he abruptly noticed the other angel watching him. "Moritiel."
There was a snort. "The name's Dean Winchester."
"Ah. Yes." When the War had begun, all of the ishim who had followed Gabriel had cast off the angelic names that their Father had given them, taken often outlandish names of their own, supposedly to represent 'free will', drawn up strange and complex affiliations, and worst of all, forged their own flavour of Enochian, wreathed thick with 'slang'. To most of the rest of the Hosts, even Lucifer's, there were few greater blasphemies.
And of all of the ishim, few were more dangerous than the angels who now called themselves Dean and Sam Winchester. Generals of Gabriel's Host, both more than made up for their innately inferior angelic abilities with wide streaks of stubbornness, cunning and luck. Logically, Castiel knew that he was stronger than Dean, but he wasn't entirely sure if he could best him in a fight. Still, he drew his blade, tensing, wings flaring in warning.
Dean didn't seem to notice - or care. Like the rest of the ishim, he chose to wear strange, lightweight clothes, possibly of Gabriel's fashioning - layers of leather and soft fabric, dark breeches tucked into knee-high boots. Cream secondary coverts flowed to black and brown barred primary and secondary feathers on Dean's large osprey wings, semi-opaque like all of the seraphim, which were folded casually at his back; he didn't even bother to draw his blade.
"Forgot your way home?" Dean enquired, thumbs tucked into the hems of his breeches. His tone was... playful, Castiel realized, and the osprey wings unfurled slightly, then clipped shut. Dean was amused.
"I am one of the malakhim," Castiel warned him, straining his senses, in case any others were lying in wait.
"I know that," Dean drawled, rolling his shoulders. "Three sets of wings? Kind of obvious. Relax. No one's going to jump you. Everyone's getting smashed at the big party in the Garden."
"Except for you?"
Dean arched his eyebrows in an expression of mock innocence, even as his wings twitched and folded shut again. "I felt like checking out the wards that got tripped."
Castiel hadn't sensed any wards - he hadn't been aware that wards could even be installed in the dark space of the Unbound. More of Gabriel's cunning, perhaps. Or more of the ishim capacity at innovation that had served them so well to date. "Not so long ago, a quarter of my garrison were with me."
"I saw," Dean grinned cockily, as though a quarter of a garrison of malakhim didn't worry him either, and this was the strangest quality of the ishim: their illogical, incredible unpredictability. It was probably why Gabriel had been drawn to lead and protect them: of all of the ha-elyonim, Gabriel was the only one who loved chaos.
"You are either extremely brave, or very foolish."
"I didn't get caught, did I?" Dean pointed out, smirking again, then he glanced over to the Garden, and back to Castiel. "Hey, do you want to come to the party? It'll be fun."
"I am your enemy," Castiel told him, blinking, surprised enough that all of his wings flared back behind him.
"Pretty sure Gabriel's too drunk by now to smite you, and you looked pretty lonely peeking in from way over here."
It had to be a trap. And Castiel was certainly not foolish enough to walk straight into an enemy stronghold - no matter how 'drunk' the rival Host's archangel was. Briefly, he considered attacking Dean, but quickly decided against it. He had seen Dean in battle, and he had no doubt that the ish could, at the least, last long enough to alert his Host.
"I must decline," Castiel decided, stiffly.
"So polite," Dean told him mockingly, though he grinned as he said so, and his wings arched up, long primaries curling, the pale glow from the Garden and the Silver City refracting gorgeously through the array of grace threaded through his feathers in... in a display, Castiel realized abruptly, astonished. Dean was flirting with him.
Stunned, Castiel could only stare dumbly, and then when Dean began to laugh, he realized that he was blushing. Mortified, he took a quick step back, and fled as quickly as his wings could take him. He had made a mistake in remaining so close to enemy territory as long as he had - he would not stray from his garrison again.
He was also fairly sure that he had imagined Dean's protesting yelp of "Wait!" before he had taken flight.
"Dean-o," Dean's first warning that Gabriel had arrived was a patently syrupy croon from somewhere behind him. Groaning, he didn't bother to get up from the warm grass; the Garden was set in a warm sunny afternoon ever since they had annexed it, and he was lying next to one of the limpid pools, his left wing draped into the cool, crystal-clear waters. "How's my favourite general?"
"Your favourite general is Sam," Dean pointed out, grimacing as Gabriel sat down just behind him and peered into his line of sight.
"Maybe." Gabriel grinned mischievously. "But why so down, Dean-o? We've only had a major victory three days ago, and you haven't even joined in the party. Sam's worried about you."
"I'm fine, boss," Dean drawled, trying his best to look bored. "Just tired."
"Oh come on," Gabriel shifted over, and despite Dean's grunt of protest, settled his shoulders heavily against Dean's belly. Ever since Gabriel had decided to lead the ishim, he had taken to hiding all of his wings except his primary pair of gigantic crimson cardinal wings, as a symbol of unity, and all of the other seraphim who had followed him into his Host had mostly done the same. Still, Dean could still feel the weight of all of Gabriel's massive wings folded over his, and he winced as he tried to fold his trapped wing upwards. "I'm not moving until you tell me what's eating you."
"I hate you."
"No, you don't. You love me and you'll die for me," Gabriel replied, all too fucking smug about it at that. Michael led by example, Raphael by discipline, and Lucifer by fear; Gabriel's so-called Team Free Will, however, was only there because of loyalty. All of Gabriel's Host knew how much the archangel had given for them, how he would die to defend them if he had to. It didn't make Gabriel any easier to bear when the archangel was in one of his Moods, but Dean had to grudgingly concede the point.
"I ran into one of the malakhim three days ago," Dean admittedly sulkily. It was either that or get his grace ground into the firmament of the Garden by the weight of Gabriel's wings.
Gabriel immediately frowned at him. "You aren't hurt."
"No. He ran away from me. Gabriel, seriously. You're crushing me."
The archangel ignored him. "I guess you are fairly well known."
"I didn't even get his name," Dean grumbled, even as he tried in vain to edge outwards, and then he scowled when Gabriel began to snigger.
"Dean Winchester," Gabriel drawled, in mock reproach, "Were you flirting with the enemy?"
"You did." Gabriel's mate, Balthazar, was once one of Michael's malakhim, after all. No one in Gabriel's Host was even really sure how that had happened, or why Gabriel even liked him. Balthazar seemed to be caustic by nature, and he seemed to dislike most of the ishim - including Dean and Sam.
"That's right," Gabriel agreed, unrepentant. "I've nothing against fraternization, Dean-o. The more seraphim we can draw out of my brothers' asses, the better. But you'll have to be careful."
"I'm not a fledgling any longer," Dean retorted, annoyed. "Besides, he wasn't interested. At all. I invited him for the party and everything."
"Perseverance is key," Gabriel observed, in the vague tone of a seraph who had, by nature of what he was, had likely always had any angel he wanted at his beck and call. "Balthy took some persuading, too."
"He hates it when you call him that," Dean said automatically, then he blinked. "Really? But you're an archangel. There're scores of angels who want to be your mate."
Gabriel snorted. "True, and they're fine for a bit of fun, but would any of the angels who want to mate with me purely because I'm an archangel be of any true worth to me as a partner? Plenty of angels in my Host would be happy to have you, as well. You're more than aware of that. Sometimes I wish you'd even keep it down."
Gabriel had a point. Even if he was being an asshole about it. As usual. "You've been spying on me? Pervert."
"You could work on your technique," Gabriel smirked at him, unrepentant, though he obligingly sat up when Dean sputtered and took to pushing irritably at the primary wing draped over his right. "What did this uninterested malakhim that you've been moping over look like, anyway?"
"Uh... he was pretty. Mussed dark hair, gorgeous blue eyes." Dean had originally been planning on taking on the malakhim, just for a bit of fun. It had been the sight of the other seraph's beautiful blue eyes that had stopped him, and the curious, luminous iridescence of all three pairs of raven wings. Identical pairs of wings weren't common. "Pale skin, raven wings. All of them. Even the tertiaries. Silver armour. Three red seals on the right shoulder plate."
That meant that as quiet-looking and polite as the malakh had been, it was clear why he had been confident enough to stand in the Unbound, away from his garrison, within sight of enemy territory. Silver armour meant a fairly high rank, and three red seals spoke of a notable proficiency with the blade. And the way the malakh had looked him over, cool and controlled and assessing... and fuck, his low, rough voice-
Gabriel seemed to think this over for a moment, and then he began to laugh. "Dean, Dean. You're going to have your work cut out on that one."
"I'm fairly sure that you've just described Castiel," Gabriel grinned wickedly. "And as far as I remember, he has never, ever been interested in any other seraph. He's had offers. Even from the erelim."
Something cold, irrational and ugly twisted in Dean's belly at the thought of other angels propositioning Castiel, but he squashed it down. He didn't even know the other seraph, after all. And if Castiel was asexual, that was going to be a major problem, anyway.
On the bright side, that meant that Castiel was most probably a virgin. Which was hot. Dean sucked in a slow breath as he thought this over, wings flattening out on the grass in anticipation. The things he could teach Castiel, if the other seraph would let him. All the myriad ways that Dean could use to make Castiel scream his name-
Shifting surreptitiously, Dean muttered, "Uh. Thanks for the information, I guess."
"Cheer up. Balthy used to be fairly good friends with him. I'll have a word."
Dean grimaced. The last thing he needed now was Balthazar's acid tongue. "Don't."
"Stop worrying, Dean. It'll be our private little project," Gabriel winked, and disappeared.
With a groan, Dean rolled over to press his cheek on the turf. "Someone please kill me."
Gabriel and his Host seemed content to just occupy the Garden and their few other dominions for now, which freed Raphael and Michael to continue their primary war against Lucifer and the seraphim that he had corrupted. The corrupted ishim, in particular, were now known as 'demons', abominations with wings of thick, black oily smoke, and dark, all-pupil eyes. They were stronger than they had ever been when they had still been seraphim, and the skirmishes were bitter and often demoralizing.
And then Gabriel seemed to decide to intervene, if for reasons unknown. Dean Winchester and a small team of mixed seraphim would make an appearance, now and then, particularly when the fighting was at its most desperate. The garrison was suspicious, but Castiel had been rather more willing to take good will at face value, particularly since the ish general and his friends tended to disappear immediately once the tide was well turned.
He had even begun to look forward to the appearances. Dean had beautiful form when he fought, all fluid, quicksilver movements, like a born hunter, relying on speed and tactics rather than sheer power, and he and all of the other seraphim in his team seemed to treat the war as a game, laughing and shouting quips at each other when they waded into the fray. Strange as it was, their odd, chaotic antics often managed to lift Castiel's spirits - or at least amuse him.
Still, in the few moments where they exchanged words, Dean seemed carefully friendly, but didn't proposition him again. Castiel wasn't entirely sure whether he was relieved. He respected Dean, liked him, and was slowly, grudgingly, beginning to admire him. Dean clearly cared for the seraphim under his command, was an excellent tactician, and his seraphim were clearly fiercely loyal to him. Whatever Gabriel's agenda was, Dean was definitely growing to be a welcome ally.
And when Uriel's betrayal had sundered the garrison, when his brothers and sisters had been cut down, one by one, from within, Dean Winchester had come, when Uriel and his other traitorous malakhim had trapped Castiel in a temple in the heart of Ophir. Castiel didn't remember much of the battle, only impressions of it, sick with anger and betrayal and pain, he had all but fainted from his wounds.
When he woke, he was in the Garden, in one of its pools, his wings stretched and content in the healing waters, and he flared them carefully for a moment before agony burned through his primaries, and he sat up with a hoarse gasp. His armour was stacked on the grass beside the pool, bloodstained, and even as Castiel blinked owlishly, he noticed blood dripping into the waters, rich and viscous. The waters didn't quite work for wings, which were far too intricate weavings of a seraph's grace. He needed rest-
A flutter of wings made him look back over his shoulders sharply, even as he manifested his blade, and Dean grinned at him. The ish looked a little tired, but was all but glowing with smug triumph, an earthenware pot in his hands. And he deserved it. "You fought Uriel and his malakhim." Castiel recalled, impressed by the memory of it all, even as he sheathed his angel blade. Dean and his mostly ishim team had bested a veteran garrison of malakhim.
"Yeah. No casualties, either," Dean settled down on the grass at the lip of the pool, the jar in his lap. This close, it smelled of myrrh and nutmeg, and when Castiel glanced at it curiously, Dean added, "It's salve. Pamela came up with it. Works well for wings. It's a painkiller, and it'll speed up the healing process."
Dean, if Castiel remembered, had used the element of surprise in a beautifully orchestrated ambush, with sigils that Castiel had never seen before, which could only mean that he had known about Uriel's plans. "How did you find out about Uriel?"
"Gabriel has a few trinkets that are really useful."
That went a long way towards explaining the edge that Gabriel always seemed to retain against the other Hosts, despite the power difference. "Thank you. For your help." Castiel murmured, uncertain all of a sudden. "But I shouldn't be here."
"And we should've just left you back at your garrison? When we're not sure who exactly might be in Uriel's pockets?"
True. But still. "I am not of your Host. My well-being is none of your concern."
Dean muttered something inaudible, and sighed. "Don't think about that for now. I'll help you with your wings. Then you can sleep it off, and when you're better, if you really want to, you can go home. All right?"
"I didn't mean to be rude. I do appreciate-"
"Just sit up, Cas."
Dean had somehow fallen into the recent habit of abbreviating his name, but this time, Castiel was too nervous and unsettled by his surroundings to correct him. Cautiously, he stretched out his wings, wincing even as he did so, and Dean made a soft, growling sound in the back of his throat. Frowning, Castiel tried to look back over his shoulder, but Dean was already dipping his hands into the jar.
"Should have sprung the trap earlier." Dean muttered, carefully smoothing down the secondary coverts on his primary wing. "That bastard got you good."
"I'm alive." Castiel pointed out. "Thanks to you."
Dean's deft fingers felt... good. Castiel shivered slightly as the cool salve was pressed over the wounds, then he shuddered with a low gasp as Dean started to rub it into the feathers and the flesh of his wing in careful circles. He had never had any angel touch his wings before, let alone so gently, and the intimacy was strangely intoxicating. Whatever the salve was made of, it soothed the pain nearly instantly, knitting back his grace, and Castiel found himself pushing his wings impatiently against Dean, wanting more.
Dean chuckled. "Hold up, Cas. I'm going as fast as I can here."
Embarrassed, Castiel bit down on his lower lip and closed his eyes, fighting for control, but the removal of one of his senses only made all of the others stronger. He could feel Dean's fingers, stroking intimately over his wing, interlocking through the manifestation of his grace, the pleasure of it magnified tenfold; he could smell Dean, the musk of his feathers, rich and masculine, and belatedly, Castiel realized that he was growing aroused, his cock firming in the water, his wings arching and flaring to refract the light against their curves. Displaying himself.
When Dean sucked in a tight breath, Castiel remembered himself and forced his wings to furl back into place, trembling from the effort of it all. He hadn't known that it would feel so good: Castiel had always been careful in battle, and he had always fought with his garrison. He had never damaged his wings before, and had never suffered any other seraph to touch them. He didn't realize that his wings could be so... sensitive. Castiel had never particularly had much interest in copulation before: the seraphim at malakh tier and above could control their mating drives, after all - and now he was beginning to regret his lack of curiosity. He couldn't control his wings, just like a fledgling, and it shamed him. Dean was trying to help him, after all. He hadn't even tried to flirt with Castiel again after the first time-
"Are you all right?" Dean asked, right then, and Castiel shivered.
"I... I'm fine." He was far too aware of how broken his voice sounded. "Keep working. Please."
"Fuck," Dean muttered, sounding strained, and then his clever, clever hands were stroking over the gashed arch of the secondary wings, and Castiel had to choke down on a groan, hands curling into fists over his lap. This wasn't going to end well. The tertiary wings hadn't even been touched, and those were the most vulnerable of all; usually the sensitive rudder with which a malakh could navigate time itself like a river.
By the time Dean finished with his secondary wings, Castiel was beginning to feel like a nervous wreck, trembling uncontrollably, the flesh between his thighs throbbing in a painful ache. If Dean touched his final pair of wings- "Dean," Castiel managed to choke out, "I will deal with the last set myself."
"I don't think that you can reach the cut." Dean told him, his breathing heavier now, but his tone otherwise still even. "It'll be quick, I promise."
"All... all right." Castiel took in a deep, unsteady breath. "If it's quick."
He had readied himself, but the first stroke of Dean's palm against his tertiary wing's coverts was still an immediate, blinding spike of pure ecstasy, and Castiel was dimly aware of crying out, arching, of curving his tertiary wings tight over Dean's thighs and knees, knocking over the pot-
When the wild high of pleasure began to fade, Castiel realized that he was curled against the lip of the pool, almost fetal, still panting with pleasure. Shamed and humiliated, he looked up, expecting to find judgment written on Dean's features, and instead was surprised to find that Dean looked as wrecked as Castiel felt, his pupils blown wide with want, wings unfurled and flared, arousal tenting his breeches.
"Holy fuck, Cas," Dean breathed, "Was that your first time?"
"I..." Castiel flushed, embarrassed all over again. "I am sorry if-"
"Cas," Dean interrupted, "That was, seriously, the hottest thing that I've ever seen. You're more sensitive than anyone I've... that I know," Dean corrected himself, and something in Castiel's chest clenched as he mentally parsed Dean's words. Dean had been with other seraphim, then. It was certainly entirely unsurprising: Dean was only an ish but he held a high rank in Gabriel's Host, and he was beautiful - not just his wings, but in his poise, his strength.
Disappointed nonetheless, Castiel said, rather more hotly than he had intended, "I suppose that it's still nothing really new to you."
"That? That was nothing," Dean was wearing his damned cocky grin again. "I can show you more."
Castiel pulled his wings pointedly up against his back. "No. Thank you."
Dean sobered up quickly. "Cas, if I've... seriously, I didn't know that you were going to react that way. We use this salve all the time on each other. In non sex-related ways. For war wounds. I'm-"
"I don't..." Castiel swallowed his words, then added, more tightly, "One reason why I've never bothered with other seraphim is that I do not see the point of casual... relationships, Dean. I am not interested in being another seraph that you 'know'."
"I..." Dean let out a startled bark of a laugh, then when Castiel was about to pull himself up with whatever dignity he had left and leave, he curled fingers tightly over his shoulders, forcing him to sit back down. "Listen. Why the hell did you think that I've been interfering with your skirmishes all this time?"
"Gabriel was against it."
"Were any of us helping the other garrisons? Or making appearances when you weren't around?"
"Ah." Castiel felt blind - he should have seen the correlation. "Why would you do that?"
Dean groaned. "Oh for the love of... because I'm crazy about you, you bloody idiot."
"But you've never... since that day..."
"Because you ran away the first time," Dean grumbled, sliding into the water to straddle him, his breeches getting soaked up to his waist, "And I didn't want to scare you."
His wings arched further upwards, invitingly, splaying the patterns of light through the weave of his grace against the grass, the water, Castiel's skin, and it was the most beautiful thing he had ever seen. The weave of Dean's grace and soul was perfection itself, this close, all clean, strong interwoven patterns, and this time, Castiel shyly wrapped his tertiary wings up, over Dean's waist, smiled when the other seraph breathed out raggedly, as though in relief, and leaned over to press their lips together in a chaste, tentative first kiss.
One kiss led quickly to another, and then there was nothing chaste or gentle about the next, and the next, and although Castiel could see that Dean was trying to be careful about his wounds, he set his hands impatiently on Dean's hips and pulled him down and flush against him, pressing the hot brands of their arousals together, moaning hungrily even as he did so.
"I was gonna take this slow," Dean breathed harshly into his ear, his voice broken now, "You don't know what the fuck you do to me."
Castiel could guess easily: Dean was rubbing shamelessly against him, his wings shaking from the effort of being held still - Dean clearly wanted to wrap them against Castiel, to weave their primaries together, but he was wary of the damage that had been done, and Castiel regretted that. He wanted it, wanted Dean, and desire was new to him, rich in its intensity and nearly frightening.
"I do not want this to be 'slow'. I want to mark you," he told Dean instead, catching the lobe of Dean's ear with his teeth and tugging lightly when Dean groaned. "I want to mount you."
Fingers dug into his shoulders, then Dean hissed, "Fuck yes," and ground down impatiently against Castiel, the wet fabric dragging up uncomfortably over his cock, making him gasp. They couldn't quite remove Dean's clothes quickly enough, and when the last of it was tossed away onto the grass, Castiel flipped them, pressing Dean onto the turf and taking his mouth roughly enough that Dean whimpered, his wings pressed flat against the grass in open invitation, anticipation. When Castiel pressed a finger inside Dean's body, they both groaned - Dean clenched tight around the water-slicked digit, and dug his fingers carefully into the undamaged underside of Castiel's primary wings, sparking ecstasy through every fibre of his grace.
It was exhilarating, the way Dean's moans melted slowly into hungry, demanding cries, writhing under him, spreading his thighs and wings both, begging and cursing until Castiel had finished preparing him. When he mounted Dean, finally, his hands had dragged so deep into the grass that he had torn into the soil, it was so good, both the tight, wet heat and the close melding lock between their grace, Dean's gorgeous soul, Dean's splendid wings thrashing on the grass, his back arching until Castiel had pushed all the way into him, bodies and grace locked in a perfect fit.
"Fuck," Dean gasped, "Oh fuck," choking and stuttering as he dug his heels into the small of Castiel's back, tertiary wings draped over his thighs and stroking. "Move. I can take it."
Castiel shook his head - Dean felt so tight around him that he wasn't sure that he even could - but then Dean growled and slipped his fingers up, to the meld of muscle along Castiel's back under the tertiaries, kneading, and the resulting surge of pleasure made him yelp and jerk his hips up against Dean's. Dean purred breathlessly, legs squeezing more firmly against Castiel's waist, a cheeky grin on his swelling lips, and Castiel growled, setting his hands on the arch of Dean's shoulder and the secondary coverts of his left wing and began to thrust.
He had intended to keep it slow, to draw it out, but Dean was impossible, meeting each driving thrust into his body with a moan and a hungry buck, rolling his hips in a licentious way that seemed primed to make Castiel lose all shreds of his self control, and when he finally, accidentally shifted and pressed against something deep inside Dean that made the ish general scream his name, that was the last straw.
Digging his fingers into the flesh of Dean's wings, Castiel bared his teeth as he began to pound wildly into the lithe, willing body beneath him, his long-repressed mating drive back in full gear, his wings arching and churning the air even as Dean's heaved and bucked in his grip, musk thick in the air and Dean's whimpering, wounded wails of pleasure the purest form of music. He locked his mouth against Dean's, thrusting his tongue deep, growling as Dean surged up to meet him with a muted cry, his release spilling hot and thick between their joined bodies.
Desperately, Castiel shifted back, setting his hands on Dean's hips, ready to pull out as he felt the final imperative of the mating drive try to slot into place, the gland at the base of his cock beginning to swell, but Dean growled and ground back down, holding him in place as the gland stretched, hardening until the knot had linked them together. The sight of how eager Dean was to accept him was the final push over the edge, and Castiel cried out, joyous, as he spent himself, filling up Dean's tight, clenching passage.
Once he was calmer, however, Castiel froze anxiously, glancing up at Dean to see if he had hurt the other seraph, but Dean was panting, gorgeous features slack with pleasure, lips parted. When he noticed Castiel's worried look, Dean grinned breathlessly.
"Feels good," he slurred, then he took in a breath. "S'new."
"Truly?" Castiel frowned. Angels usually tied when they mated, didn't they? "Haven't you..."
"It's not polite to tie with just anyone, Cas," Dean reminded him dryly.
Oh. Oh. Castiel shuddered as he felt a sudden, overwhelmingly protective, possessive impulse, and Dean chuckled as he pressed over for a hungry kiss, squeezing tight like a glove over his still swollen knot. They'd be linked like this for at least another hour or so, Castiel knew that much, gasping as Dean tickled up under primary flight muscles, and he intended to spend every moment of it learning every inch of his mate.
"Mated pairs are never in the same squad," Dean explained as patiently as he could for the sixth time. "Invites distractions."
Castiel's stubborn expression didn't budge. Dean knew that newly mated seraph tended to be possessive - hell, he'd had to stop himself from snapping at other seraphim who had been curious about Castiel, even Sam - but this was a war, he had responsibilities, and he sure as hell wasn't going to be able to keep his mind off Castiel as it was, let alone concentrate if Castiel was in the squad itself.
"I will not be distracted."
"Oh yes you would be," Dean disagreed, folding his arms, "And besides, I doubt that you'd listen to me." Which wasn't going to be good for team morale or cohesiveness. As it was, they were having their argument in a quieter section of the Garden, but Dean was very sure that Gabriel was watching. And laughing. Sam too, perhaps. Maybe even the rest of the goddamned Host. Scowling, he crossed his arms. "You're not coming with me, and that's that."
Castiel's tertiary wings drooped to the ground, disconsolate, but his primaries remained partially unfurled and still, clearly determined to argue for as long as it took, and Dean exhaled loudly. "It's going to be a quick recon. I'll be back before you know it. And you'll be in Sam's squad. It's not like you're going to be bored."
When Balthazar had joined Gabriel's Host, he had been acerbic, but willing at least to listen to orders and carry them out, even when he had been assigned to ish-led squads. Somehow, Dean hadn't quite anticipated this particular problem. Being mated to Castiel was an incredible experience - the other seraph was the most considerate, devoted mate that Dean could have ever asked for, and the sex was fantastic - but the moment that Dean had casually noted that he had a mission to perform, and no, Cas wasn't going to be coming along, he'd been up in arms.
"I will not be able to concentrate in Sam's squad, either." Castiel noted reasonably.
"Yeah, well, you're going to have to learn how to deal." Dean told him firmly, though the way his wings shuffled behind his back probably told Castiel better than words how Dean wasn't going to be happy at the separation either: Castiel took one look at them and his jaw set firmly. Tired of the argument, Dean wimped out of it. "Take it up with Gabriel if you have a problem. The rule's there for a reason, and I can't make an exception for myself."
"I will take it up with Gabriel, then," Castiel's secondary wings flared, feathers splayed - unhappy, aggressive - and he took flight. Relieved, Dean quickly called for his team. Castiel was going to be occupied for a while. And Gabriel was probably going to be pissed. The archangel had, after all, made it very clear from the start that he was not available to resolve mating disputes.
But Dean was one of Gabriel's favourites, right? Or at the least, Sam was. Maybe Gabriel wouldn't be that angry.
Hah. And maybe Lucifer would fuck off out of New Jerusalem and everything would be harmony and bloody hosannas all over again.
"Guys?" Dean called out, looking around nervously. "We're leaving. Now."
When he returned to the Garden, exhausted and filthy, Dean made a bee line to his favourite set of falls, wading out into the pool and under the curtain of cool water, wings flared in pleasure as the waters did their work on the gashes on his belly and arms. Lucifer had wrought some new form of monster that he called 'hellhounds', and it seemed like the Morningstar's Host was beginning to turn its attention towards Gabriel again-
A flutter of wings alerted him to the arrival of another seraph, and Dean managed to half turn before Castiel was pressed flush to his back, growling softly, inspecting the jagged claw marks on his stomach.
"We took some casualties," Dean murmured, too tired for argument. "But we got what we wanted. Did you go with Sam?"
"I did." Castiel rubbed his cheek against Dean's shoulders, his new clothes already soaked through from the falls, and Dean relaxed as tertiary wings curled over his waist. So they weren't going to be arguing, then. "It was one of the worst days of my existence. Being apart from you."
"Get used to it," Dean tried for sternness but only managed to sound hoarse, running his fingers over the primary flight feathers of the tertiary wings until Castiel let out a soft hum of pleasure and rubbed hopefully against the cleft of Dean's ass.
"You're injured," Castiel said weakly, as Dean grinned and ground back against him.
"Kiss me and make me better."
"There's no logic to that," Castiel told him, though he obligingly pressed Dean up against the nearest rock face and set his mouth hungrily to the nape of his neck.
Afterwards, they lay in the shallows, curled naked against each other, and Dean grinned against the curve of Castiel's jaw when the malakh grumbled and pressed his fingers gently over the barely closed gashes on Dean's thighs. "I will speak to Gabriel again."
"Go ahead," Dean yawned, too sleepy and content to consider the consequences, squirming until their wings were wrapped together in overlap, in a cocoon of mingled musk and the threads of their grace, mottling their skin with a combined refraction of patterned light. He raised his palm up, pressed it against the firm arch of Castiel's primary, left wing, and smiled to himself as Castiel shivered and brushed a tender kiss over his forehead, tertiary wings tightening in their possessive furl over Dean's flanks.
Maybe it wasn't going to be perfect, but it was going to be damned close.