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Everybody Wants To Rule The World

Chapter Text

Welcome to your life

There's no turning back

Even while you sleep

We will find you

Acting on your best behavior

Turn your back on Mother Nature

Everybody wants to rule the world

- Tears for Fears (covered by Lorde)

 

  “He said yes.”

  “What?”

  “To Michael. He said yes.” Sam’s voice was ragged. “Cas… I don’t know what to do.”

Castiel gripped the phone so tightly that the screen fractured with a high little crackle. His mind was briefly blank. He really hadn’t thought Dean would do it. After all they’d been through, after fighting so hard, to just surrender… He’d truly believed his friend was stronger than that. Anger began to burn like bile in his stomach. He’d sacrificed everything for the man and it had been thrown back in his face.

  “Cas, you there?”

  “Yes.” He bit the word out.

  “What do we do?”

  “It’s the apocalypse, Sam. Now Michael has his vessel, they won’t wait any longer.”

  “We have to stop it.”

  “How?” Castiel demanded.

  “I could…”

  “If your next words are ‘say yes to Lucifer’,” Castiel said flatly, “I will kill you myself.”

  Sam was silent for a moment. “I can’t just sit on my ass. He’s my brother.”

Castiel wanted to snarl viciously down the phone: he is my charge, my friend. My bond. Did Sam think that meant any less? But fighting with the boy was pointless. Anything Castiel said to discourage him was pointless. Winchesters didn’t give up.

Why had Dean?

  Castiel ran a hand roughly over his mouth. “Lucifer’s current vessel is not sufficiently powerful to challenge Michael. He will increase his pressure on you considerably but, until you say yes, he will stay off Heaven’s radar.”

  “Okay.” Sam dragged in a noisy breath, clearly fighting for composure. “So what?”

  “You are at Bobby’s, correct? Get to the panic room. Lucifer will find it more difficult to reach you there.”

  “What? No way, I’m not riding the pine on this.”

  “Sam,” Castiel interrupted. “I will try to stop Michael but I need time. You asked me what to do. Buy me time.”

  “You can’t kill him.”

  “Probably not.”

  “Cas…” Sam’s voice was quiet, tight. “If you kill him, I swear to God…”

  “I think we can agree God is no longer part of this.”

Castiel hung up and stared at the little oblong of plastic in his hand. His whole body trembled with the urge to throw the phone down and grind it into dust. He wanted to throw his head back and scream with rage, to call the lightning and tear the sky apart. The pain of loss felt like his grace was being ripped out, an angel blade to the heart.

In all his thousands of years, he had never endured such overwhelming emotions as those Dean Winchester engendered. It was one of the reasons Castiel hadn’t been able to stay away from the mortal. To feel with such staggering intensity was addictive; sight given to a blind man, music to a deaf. Frustration, amusement, friendship. Love. 

Faith. When he had lost faith in his Father, there had still been Dean. Dean and his fierce ‘we’ll figure this out, like we always do’. And Castiel had believed him.

Now that faith had been betrayed by a moment of weakness and a single word. Castiel couldn’t tell if he was angrier with Dean or Michael, but it amounted to the same thing. There was only one course of action left: kill both his brother and his best friend, or die trying. Probably the latter.

A sharp crack focused his attention. The phone screen was a cobweb of broken glass, and a woman across the parking lot was looking at him sideways with a worried expression. Castiel turned his back, closed his eyes and focused on angel radio. It didn’t take much to find out where the Archangel Michael, leader of the Heavenly Host, was now.

 

Between one blink and the next, Castiel flew from an overcast carpark in Maine to the open, empty night of the Great Indian Desert. Dean - Michael - was crouching a few feet away, his back turned. Castiel let his angel blade slip silently into his hand and tensed to spring.

  “I wouldn’t.”

His target didn’t even look up from the bundle of shadow on the ground. Dean’s deep, throaty voice held Castiel frozen in its grip. As always, the sound coiled heat in his stomach but this time it made him nauseous. He watched, helpless, as the archangel stroked a broad hand gently over the dying gazelle. Then the achingly familiar figure straightened up, silhouetted against a thousand stars, and turned. The gazelle’s soul curled around his raised hand for a moment, casting an ethereal blue light on perfect cheekbones, before winding up into the air. Castiel watched him watching it, and there was wonder in those beautiful green eyes. The expression choked Castiel with sudden grief. It was lost, all of it. The gazelle, the war, the planet. But he would try anyway, because that's what the Winchesters had taught him.

  “Dean, I know you can still hear me,” Castiel forced out. "Please... fight him. You can still say no. Please."

  “Huh?” The archangel was still watching the soul dissipate skywards. “Oh, yeah. Preaching to the choir, buddy."

Castiel blinked. That wasn’t Michael’s normal speech pattern. Nor, now he thought about it, was this where he’d expect Michael to be on the eve of war. Something was off. Then the archangel looked at him and grinned. Not the controlled smile of a celestial being. A toothy, eye-crinkling, cocky grin.

  “Hey, Cas.”

  Castiel felt like he’d been punched in the chest. “Dean?”

  “The one and only.”

  “But… Michael?” He could see the archangel’s wings stretching back, a shadow on the sand a mile long.

  “Oh, he’s in here. But I’m calling the shots.”

  “How?”

  Dean spread his arms. “I’m freaking awesome.”

   Castiel stared, heart pounding. He felt light-headed. The stars spun for a moment. Dean wasn’t gone. There was still hope. Dean wasn’t gone. “Sam said-” he began.

  “He’s okay, right?” Dean interrupted. “Not done anything stupid?”

  “I told him to go to the panic room. He thinks you said yes to Michael.”

  Dean hunched his shoulders a little. “I did.”

  “Why?” Relief gave way to anger.  Castiel took a step towards him, and another. The angel blade was still in his hand, held low. “Why did you give up? Damn it, Dean…”

  “I took a gamble, okay?” The grin was gone now. Even with the archangel’s grace shining through his body, Dean looked exhausted. “Couldn’t see another way. Sammy was gonna let Lucifer in, and Adam... “ He scrubbed a hand roughly through his hair. “Well, anyway. So I called up Michael. Guess Sam caught the tail end of that conversation.”

  “But you are in control,” Castiel said.

  “Yeah, Einstein. You can put that pig-sticker away.”

  Castiel kept hold of the blade. “How?”

  “I’ve had a damn sight more experience at being me.” Dean closed the gap between them and slapped him on the shoulder. “Come on, Cas, relax. I knew what I was doing. You gave me the idea, actually.”

  “Really,” Castiel said flatly. His shoulder buzzed from the brief physical contact.

  “I’ve seen how hard it is for you to handle the human shit. Feelings. You shut ‘em right down, keep a lid on ‘em. Hell, I know how it works, I get it. Too much of the Hallmark stuff and you can’t do what needs to be done, right? The moment Michael touched down in Docking Bay Winchester I threw as much as I could at him. And believe me, man, I had plenty stored up. What with Sammy and Adam, and you… It overwhelmed his systems, which meant I kept hold of the wheel."

Castiel narrowed his eyes and looked at Dean; properly looked. The battered, glorious soul of the Righteous Man was in ascendance, spread throughout his physical form. But at the edges Castiel could see a crackling white light - Michael’s grace, augmenting the body’s powers. A human with the power of an archangel. The wonder and terror of it almost brought Castiel to his knees. He concentrated instead on the more mundane action of sheathing his blade.

  Dean rolled his eyes. “Finally!”

  “It is good to see you, Dean,” Castiel said carefully, holding out his hand.

  “Dude.” Dean shook his head with a despairing expression and pulled him into a hug.

Castiel breathed in the scent of cheap motel shampoo and old leather and salt, closing his eyes to savour it. Dean’s arms were banked fires around his body, the heat warming him to his core as it had done many times in the past. But there was a buzzing under his skin, a static urgency that was new. Intoxicating.

Feathers filled with thunder stroked along the edges of his own wings and he gasped. He felt Dean’s breath in his hair, an echo that sang through him like a harp string. Then Dean pulled back sharply, one hand still on his shoulder.

  “What the hell?”

  “You are an archangel.” Castiel was breathing fast, face warm. He couldn’t look at Dean; moved his gaze to where magnificent wings formed constellations in the stars.

  “What, I get an electric shock when I touch people now?”

  “Not exactly.” Castiel forced himself to step backwards. He felt the loss of Dean’s nearness like winter on his skin.

  “Don’t make me read the small print, man.”

  “It is… difficult to explain.”

  Dean folded his arms grimly. “I ain’t taking Lucifer on without knowing about my new Achilles Heel.”

  “Your heel is not the problem.”

  “Then what is?”

Castiel met his eyes briefly, wide-pupilled and gleaming, before glancing away again. Dean growled low in his throat and the noise went straight to Castiel’s groin, an abrupt pull that suddenly demanded all his concentration.

  “Cas, you’re acting like a shy fucking schoolgirl. Quit stalling and give.”

  “Angels are…” He paused to clear his throat.

  “Douchebags,” Dean supplied.

  “Made differently,” Castiel said, voice sharp. “Man was made of earth, but my kind were created whole out of God’s love.”

  Dean shrugged expansively. “Okay, you’re all the Milk Tray Man. So what?”

  “We feel love more intensely than humans. It’s rarely a problem - all angels are brothers and sisters. The love we share as a family binds us to a common cause-” Dean snorted at that. “Usually. Very rarely, however, an angel... falls in love with a human.”

  “So?”

  Castiel swallowed past a painfully tight throat. “Now you have an angel’s grace, you can feel it. Physically.”

It took Dean a moment to work it out. Castiel watched through his lashes for the first sign of disgust, revulsion, even pity on that shining face. He steeled himself to bear it. He was a soldier, he had survived more fatal blows. Armageddon was just around the corner - he wouldn’t have to survive it for long.

  Dean touched the old handprint on his shoulder, looking thoughtful. “Huh.”

Then he rolled his shoulders slightly and Castiel flinched as the frisson of thunder brushed against his pinfeathers again. He shut his eyes, fought for balance, and won. Until he opened them and found the archangel had stepped right into his personal space.

  “So,” Dean drawled, low and smoky. “More than one kind of fall, hey, Cas?”

  Castiel couldn’t look away from the mouth that was suddenly so very close to his. He couldn’t think past the dark curve of predator’s lips. There was lightning behind them, powerful enough to break the very gates of Heaven. He managed a husky “Yes.”

  “Why didn’t you say anything?” Dean’s breath ghosted across Castiel’s skin, making him tremble.

  “I did not think you would welcome the information. Besides, it is forbidden."

  Dean ran a single fingertip along Castiel’s jawline and the angel bit down on a groan. He leaned in and growled in Castiel’s ear. “Fuck forbidden.”

  Castiel gripped Dean’s shoulder tight, hand fitting perfectly in place. Joy was a sunrise, filling him with glorious light.  “Yes. Please. Yes.”

Dean’s mouth came down on his like a thunderbolt, all firm tongue and desire and hunger. Their wings meshed in the emptiness above them, sending white tension trembling through Castiel’s body. He gave a ragged groan and Dean grabbed his hips, pulling them roughly together. Fire roared outward from the touch, filling Castiel’s groin with urgent heat. He bit down on Dean’s lip and felt the answering chuckle vibrate through his chest. Castiel buried one hand in Dean’s hair and pressed the other hard between his shoulder blades, revelling in the ripple of muscle. Feathers brushed the backs of his fingers, soft spikes of dark sensation rolling down his arms.

It took a few seconds for him to realise that the buzzing in his pocket was something different. He pulled away from the kiss, shaking his head like a dog coming out of water. Dean tried to follow after with a frustrated growl but Castiel wrestled his phone out.

  “It’s Sam.” Dean subsided but left his hands where they were, one thumb idly stroking circles through the cloth of Castiel’s trousers. “Yes?”

  “Lucifer’s here.” Sam’s voice was high, urgent. “I mean, physically, actually here. He’s trying to break into the panic room. I don’t think the door’s going to last much longer.”

  Castiel looked at Dean, who straightened up with a sharp nod. “We’re on our way.”

  “Who’s we?”

  Dean took the phone out of Castiel’s hand. “Hiya, Sammy.”

  “Michael.” The younger Winchester spat the name, loathing its syllables.

  “Guess again, bitch.”

  There was a brief pause. When Sam spoke again he sounded breathless. “Dean?”

  “I’m coming to smite some satanic ass. Hold tight.” Dean hung up on Sam repeating his name incredulously. “Okay, feathers, let’s roll. But when we’re done with stopping the apocalypse and saving the world, you and me got some rebelling to do, capisce?”

  Castiel smiled, his love and faith lighting up the desert. “Yes.”

Chapter Text

There's a room where the light won't find you

Holding hands while the walls come tumbling down

When they do I'll be right behind you

So glad we’ve almost made it

So sad they had to fade it

Everybody wants to rule the world

Tears for Fears (covered by Lorde)


Sam wiped the sweat from his palm and regripped Ruby’s dagger. He kept his eyes fixed on the door to Bobby’s panic room - a door that bore several new deep dents in the metal. He’d been scared before, more times than he could count, but this was probably in the top ten hit list. Worst of all, he was on his own. Adam was chained to the couch upstairs, Bobby had gone into town, and Dean… Dean had been taken by Michael. No big brother to help him this time, to stand between him and the freaking apocalypse.

  “Come on, Sammy,” Lucifer called, his voice muffled by the metal walls. “You’re hurting my feelings here. Open the door.”

  “No!” he shouted.

  “This hunk of junk won’t keep me out for long, you know.”

Another thud that reverberated through the room and Sam’s nerves. He fumbled his phone out of his pocket with shaking fingers and called the only person left. It wasn’t until the call connected that he remembered Cas had gone to fight Michael. He closed his eyes in despair… and miraculously, the angel picked up.

  “Yes?”

  “Lucifer’s here.” Sam tried to speak calmly but there was another thud against the door and the words spilled out of him. “I mean, physically, actually here. He’s trying to break into the panic room. I don’t think the door’s going to last much longer.”

  “We’re on our way.”

  Sam hesitated. “Who’s we?” Have you been sucked back into Heaven’s plans? Can I trust you?

  “Hiya, Sammy.”

  The voice of his brother, being worn to the prom. Suddenly Sam wasn’t afraid any more because there was no room for anything except anger. “Michael.”

  “Guess again, bitch.”

  Sam forgot to breathe. Only one man in the world could have said that. “Dean?”

  “I’m coming to smite some satanic ass. Hold tight.”

  “Dean?” Sam said again, mind empty of everything except the possibility that his brother was still there.

Still himself, anyway, because the line had gone dead. Sam lowered the phone slowly and stared at it. He didn’t understand, didn’t care, so long as it was true. And Cas was with him, had given the phone to him, so surely it must be. It had to be. He had the sudden urge to laugh. Even with Lucifer quite literally at the door, he was filled with joy. Dean was alive, and on his way.

There was a scream outside. It rose sharply up and ended in a ragged gargle. Sam dropped his phone and moved to the door.

  “Let me in, Sam,” Lucifer said gently. “Or I’ll break this boy’s other arm.”

  Adam… “Get the hell away from him!” Sam yelled. He could hear his little brother sobbing breathlessly.

  “I will, just as soon as you do what I say.”

Sam fumbled with the locks. He had to stall, give Dean and Cas a chance to get here. The door swung open to reveal a smiling Lucifer, his face peeling grotesquely. Adam was slumped on the floor to one side, cradling his right arm. The radius jutted through the skin, an incongruous sliver of white.

  Lucifer spread his hands. “That wasn’t so hard, was it?”

  “Let him go,” Sam said in a low voice, holding Ruby’s knife up between them. “He’s got nothing to do with this.”

  “On the contrary. He seems to be the key to making you do what I want.” Lucifer ruffled Adam’s hair affectionately.

  “I opened the door. Now back off.”

  Lucifer shook his head. “Put down that knife.”

   Sam hesitated. Lucifer dropped his hand and squeezed. Adam screamed again as his collarbone snapped. Sam flinched, heart pounding. “Stop!”

  Lucifer looked pointedly at the knife. Slowly Sam crouched down and placed it on the concrete, straightening with his palms open. “Very good. Now for your final trick. Say yes.”

  Sam glanced at the panting boy and swallowed. “No.”

  “You’re a slow learner.” Lucifer’s fingers cradled Adam’s face, his thumb coming to rest just below an eye. “Come on, Sammy.”

There was a loud rustle and a sudden blast of wind from behind Lucifer. A silver blade appeared, point first, through his chest. Both Sam and Lucifer stared at it in astonishment.

  “I’m the only one who gets to call him that,” Dean growled.

  Sam thought he saw a flicker of fear cross Lucifer’s face. “Michael?”

  “My dance, asshole.” Dean yanked the angel blade free and took a few steps back.

  Lucifer turned, a hand pressed to his chest. “That won’t kill me…” he started, and then narrowed his eyes. “You are not my brother.”

  “Nope, I’m theirs.” Dean flicked his eyes to Sam, who was staring with his mouth open. “You okay, Sammy?”

Sam nodded automatically. He wasn’t sure he could speak. Had he finally gone insane, or had Dean really flown here? Another rustle, softer, and Castiel appeared beside Sam.

  “Cas, get them out of here.” Dean’s attention returned to Lucifer.

  Castiel raised a hand to Sam’s shoulder and he ducked. “No.”

  “You heard what he said.”

  “I’m not leaving him to fight Lucifer on his own.”

  Castiel turned his head to watch the two opponents, who had started circling slowly. “He can handle himself.”

  “I don’t care,” Sam said vehemently. “Take Adam, heal him. I’ll be fine.” He bent to scoop up the knife again.

  Castiel sighed. “Winchesters.” He moved to the boy and they both vanished.

Sam edged around the room, trying to get behind Lucifer. He would only get one shot - he had to make it count. He saw Dean’s movement change instinctively to complement his, trying to manoeuvre Lucifer into position. That alone was hard for Sam to wrap his head around - it was clear the devil was afraid of his brother.

  “What have you done to Michael?” Lucifer demanded.

  “We agreed to take you down on my terms.”

  “He would never agree to that.”

  “Okay, so I told him.” Dean bared his teeth in a smile. “Always had a problem with authority figures.”

  Lucifer gave a chuckle which, to Sam, sounded forced. “Perhaps you should have been my vessel.”

  “You definitely picked on the wrong Winchester.” Dean’s eyes glittered. “You’re gonna pay for that, you son of a bitch.”

  “You want to fight here?” Lucifer looked disdainfully around Bobby’s basement. “It’s a bit cramped. Besides, we have a destined time and place of conflict.”

  Sam saw his brother’s muscles tense for attack. He drew a breath and readied himself.

  “Screw destiny.”

Dean launched himself forward. Lucifer dropped and rolled sideways. Sam stabbed down but the devil was faster. Instead of landing in his spine, Ruby’s knife scored a thin line from shoulder to rib. Lucifer yelled and twisted away, ending with his back to the open door of the panic room. Sam and Dean closed in together.

  “Those pathetic bits of metal aren’t enough,” Lucifer sneered.

  Sam glanced worriedly at Dean.

  “Yeah, I saw Zach’s art gallery. It takes Michael’s toothpick, right? The Spear of Destiny.” Dean looked around and held out his silver sword. “Hang on to this, Sammy.” He took a long-handled spade off the wall, considered it for a moment, and then snapped the head off.

  Sam flinched. “Jesus! What are you, the Hulk?!”

  “I’m pretty angry, yeah.” Dean gave the wooden handle an experimental swing and grinned at Lucifer. “You were saying?”

  Lucifer shook his head. “You think a gardening implement is sufficient stand-in for the real thing?” But his eyes kept tracking the swinging end.

  “Dean,” Sam said in an urgent undertone.

  “Stay back, Sammy, I got this.”

Lucifer clicked his fingers and Sam’s right leg erupted in white-hot agony. He collapsed to the floor with a scream, dropping the knife to clutch at his splintered thigh bone. Dean charged with a roar. Lucifer sideswiped, sending him crashing into the wall. He slumped to the ground and tools clattered over his shoulders.

  “Dean!” Sam gasped.

  His brother pushed himself onto hands and knees. He crawled towards Sam, still clutching the broken spade.

  Lucifer laughed pleasantly. “You can’t beat me, Dean. Only Michael stands a chance. Why keep trying?"

  Dean knelt over Sam and gently put his hand on the broken leg. A bright light flickered under the palm. Sam groaned in pain as the pieces of bone started to knit back together.

  “No,” Lucifer whispered, and then, louder “You took his grace?!”

He lunged forwards, hands outstretched to send Dean flying again. As he reached the boys, Dean’s head snapped up. With a snarl, he used the full weight of his rising body to punch the spade handle into Lucifer’s heart and out through his spine. Lucifer gave a surprised grunt and staggered. Dean used the impetus to ram him back towards the panic room. There was a rustle of wings and Castiel appeared in the same place as before - in front of the door - just as Lucifer reached it.

  “Dean, stop!” Sam yelled.

The half-foot of splintered wood caught Castiel on the breast bone, which snapped with an ugly cracking sound. Dean froze, his face a rictus of horror at the two angels impaled on his make-shift spear. Castiel looked down at his chest in confusion. He coughed and blood spattered across his lips. Lucifer giggled, high and breathless, then went limp.

  “Oh God.” Dean wrenched the spade handle free and tossed it aside. He shoved Lucifer roughly through the door to sprawl inside the devil’s trap, and grabbed Castiel in both arms. “Cas, I’m sorry, I’m so sorry, you’re gonna be okay. Stay with me, buddy.”

Castiel coughed again and folded over with the pain of it. The motion took them both down to the floor, Castiel leaning heavily against Dean’s shoulder. He touched his chest wound, fingers coming away bloody and trailing tendrils of grace.

  “No,” Dean said fiercely. “No, no, no, hang on, damn you.”

  Sam dragged himself closer, grief wrenching at his throat. “Cas?”

  The angel looked from him to Dean and opened his mouth. He shuddered violently. His eyes rolled back. His head fell into the crook of Dean’s arm. Grace flared, flickered, faded away.

  “No.”

  Tears obscured Sam’s vision. “He’s… he’s gone.”

  “No!” Dean shook his friend’s body roughly. “Dammit, Cas, I did not go through all this just to lose you.”

  “Dean…”

  “I said no!”

There was an echo to the words, like distant kettle drums. The basement lights flickered and burst. Sam threw his arm up against the rain of glass. The walls shuddered, ropes and tools crashing down. Dean raised his free hand to cover Castiel’s wound, light blazing. Sam stared at his brother, at the angelic grace in his eyes, at the shadow of enormous wings stretching impossibly through the ceiling. There was a moment of unbearable tension in the air. Sam could feel every hair on his body standing up and his skin crawled. The light in Dean’s hand grew so bright that he had to look away, squinting. Then it abruptly died, the walls stilled, and the air settled into peaceful darkness. Sam blinked through the dancing afterimages and tried to calm his breathing.

  There was a rustle of cloth. “Dean?”

  Sam heard his brother’s breathy half-laugh of relief. “Don’t scare me like that, man.”

  “Alright.” Cas sounded shaken.

  “You’re alive?” Sam said incredulously.

  “Apparently.”

  “That’s… incredible. And Lucifer?”

  “Doing his best impression of Johnny Stompanato.” Dean’s voice was rich with satisfaction.

Sam felt dizzy. The months of torment, of fear, of never being left alone inside his own head. The threat of the apocalypse hanging over him like an anvil, and all the guilt he carried for knowing he was a part of it. All gone. His arms shook. He closed his eyes. It was over.

  “How you doing, Sammy?”

  “Yeah.” He sounded like a child. He coughed to clear the weakness from his throat. “Yeah, I’m okay.”

  “How’s the leg?”

  “It hurts, but in the grand scheme of things…”

  Dean appeared out of the darkness and crouched next to him. “Let me take a look.”

  Sam watched as a gentler version of the white light spread from Dean’s palm and into his thigh. It felt like electricity running through his flesh and he gritted his teeth. “What the hell’s going on with you, Dean?”

  His brother flashed him a grin, uplit face all planes and shadows. “I got bit by a radioactive spider.”

  “You prayed to Michael,” Sam said flatly.

  Dean withdrew his hand and straightened up. “There you go.”

  Sam rubbed at his leg. The pain was fading fast. He got to his feet, testing it carefully. Good as new. Which was so wrong.

  Castiel had been rummaging around on the old dresser. He lit an oil lamp and held it up, peering through the panic room door at Lucifer’s body. “I don’t understand. You needed the spear to kill him.”

  Dean joined him, one hand resting on the angel’s shoulder. “Yeah, I managed to get some intel from the source on that. Apparently Michael doesn’t actually need a magic weapon - the power comes from him, right? First and greatest, blah blah blah. So any spear he holds becomes The Spear. And, well, I am Michael. Kind of.”

  Sam balled his fists tightly and glared at his brother. “Care to explain that?”

  “Huh?” Dean half-turned away from Castiel to look at him.

  “‘I'm Michael’?” Sam clenched his jaw, trying to keep the anger under control. “You let him in.”

  “What was I supposed to do? Let him take Adam? Wait for you to say yes to Lucifer?” Dean squared his shoulders. “I did what I had to.”

  “Without talking to me.” Sam’s voice rose. “Without trusting me. Again. I thought you’d gone, Dean. I thought you’d given up. Game over.”

  “Enough,” Castiel growled. They both looked at him. “Why are you fighting? This is a moment of celebration. Lucifer is dead and you are both alive.”

  “Yeah, but at what cost?” Sam ran a hand through his hair. “The apocalypse doesn’t stop here and Michael’s going to want back in. How long can Dean keep hold of the reins?”

  “I’ve done a fucking fantastic job so far,” Dean snapped.

  “Stop it, both of you,” Castiel said.

  Dean grinned and patted the angel’s face, his mood flipping abruptly. “I love it when you get all stern.”

Sam’s jaw dropped. Was Cas blushing? He blinked and looked again. Dean was standing very close to the angel. Personal-space-close. He rolled one shoulder and now Cas was definitely red. The angel averted his eyes quickly but Dean pulled him back with one finger under the jaw.

  “Guys!” Sam spluttered.

  Cas flinched and Dean dropped his hand with a sigh. “What?”

  “Seriously, what’s going on? I feel like I just stumbled onto the set of 'Brokeback Mountain'.”

  To his utter astonishment, Dean gave him a dangerous glare. “Problem?”

  “What?!” Sam ran both hands through his hair. “You get possessed by a freaking archangel and suddenly you have the hots for your best friend? What am I supposed to think?”

  “It’s alright, Sam,” Cas said quietly.

  “There’s no ‘suddenly’ about it,” Dean interrupted. “I just assumed angels weren’t interested in sex. Turns out I was wrong.”

  “But…” Sam floundered, struggling to adjust his established understanding of his brother. “But you like girls.”

  “Yeah.” Dean smiled at the angel with staggering tenderness. “And Cas.”

  “I have no wish to come between you,” Cas said, showing signs of distress. “I can go.”

  “No, Cas, it’s not that.” Sam pinched the bridge of his nose. “It’s fine, man. Just a little left-field. Honestly, if you guys are happy, I’m happy.”

  “Good, then everybody’s happy,” Dean said briskly. “Let’s figure out what to do with bozo here. We can’t leave him cluttering up Bobby’s basement.”

  “I still have the rings,” Sam said. “Even if he’s dead, the Cage is the safest place for him.”

  “I agree,” Castiel said. “Although I would recommend opening it somewhere else. It should be safe but there is no need to take unnecessary risks.”

  “Bobby’d skin us alive if his place got sucked into Hell.” Dean nodded. “Okay, so we -” He broke off abruptly with a muffled grunt.

  “You okay?” Sam asked.

  “Fine. Lucifer’s sucker punch just catching up with me.”

  “Your nose is bleeding,” Castiel said, eyes narrowing.

  Dean wiped it clean with his arm. “I said I’m fine. But I’m also getting updates on angel radio. We gotta move, Cas.”

  “I didn’t hear-”

  “Sorry to leave you to clean up the mess, Sammy.” Dean grabbed the angel’s shoulder and Castiel’s expression softened immediately. “But it’s not like either of us can get into the panic room anyway.”

  “Yeah, yeah, any excuse.” Sam grinned. It felt stiff, as if it had been years since his face last moved that way. “Go on, get moving. You guys have things to do.” Dean smirked and Castiel’s cheeks reddened. “Which I do not need to know the details of,” Sam added emphatically.

Dean winked lewdly, there was a brief flurry of air, and Sam was alone in the basement. Silence fell. He breathed deep, revelling in it. How long had it been since he heard silence? There was a freedom to it that he’d never appreciated before. He felt taller, sharper, able to think again. Blessedly Lucifer-free. No one needed him - Dean and Cas had each other (it might take him a while to adjust to that), and Cas would have put Adam somewhere safe.

In the stillness of the shadowy basement, Sam put his head in his hands and wept.

Chapter Text

It's my own design

It's my own remorse

Help me to decide

Help me make the most

Of freedom and of pleasure

Nothing ever lasts forever

Everybody wants to rule the world

Tears for Fears (covered by Lorde)

                                          

Dean had a headache.

No, that wasn’t right. His head was an ache. He was thinking through static, the noise and electrical mini-shocks fighting to disrupt every sentence. If he concentrated on it, he could make out specific ideas. Mostly angry ones. Michael was a bitch of a back-seat driver.

He tried not to concentrate on it.

Emotion was the key. If he felt, rather than thought, the static receded. Well, that was just fine. Thinking wasn’t his strong point anyway. Feeling made him faster, stronger, alive. The pent-up power of pain and rage and frustration kept him going like a Duracell bunny. The day he stopped caring would be the day he stopped moving.

Right now, he was a Duracell bunny on crack. The archangel’s strength was a riptide through his muscles. He knew it wouldn’t pull him apart – chosen vessel, and all – but it could easily pull him in a direction he didn’t mean. He could flatten a house if he wasn’t careful. He could certainly flatten a man.

And there it was, the whisper of temptation that Lucifer must have learned from his older brother. Keep me, it said. Think of all the monsters you could kill with this power. Think of all the lives you could save.

Another reason not to think.

But not all emotions were safe. Healing Sam’s leg had nearly been disastrous. Dean’s love for his brother was something Michael understood. Dean had almost been overwhelmed by the rapture of divinely-powered love that flowed through him, and Michael took full advantage. There had been a sharp struggle and if Dean hadn’t grounded himself by touching Castiel he might have lost. That kind of love was outside Michael’s experience.

The archangel was learning fast, though. Fast enough that, if Dean wasn’t mid-emotional peak, he had to fight hard to keep control of his body. The nosebleed was a bad sign. So he grabbed Cas and made for the hills.

Well, the lake actually. The pier out over the water, where he went in his mind when he needed some space. It was an old memory, salvaged from the scraps of his childhood before Mom was killed. Dad had rented a cabin and taught Dean how to fish whilst Mom, heavily pregnant, did a little reading and a lot of napping in the sun.

It was late afternoon, golden light gilding the calm water. Dean arrived with his hand still on Cas’ shoulder, the building heat an anchor for his soul. But not enough - he could feel the tickle of blood creeping down his nostril. He needed more. It wasn’t fair on Cas but an upside of the angel juice was that he could sense some of what Cas felt. It would be okay.

He grabbed that stupid tie just below the knot and yanked the angel into a fierce kiss. Cas stumbled and Dean’s lips landed on his nose. With a growl Dean wrapped his hands firmly around Cas’ jaw, lifted it, and claimed his mouth. The tingling heat sparked from tongue to tongue, building and building until Dean thought his heart might explode. Cas responded with awkward eagerness, making low purring noises of pleasure at the back of his throat. His hands slid under Dean’s jacket, separated from skin only by a thin t-shirt, and even that barrier was too much.

Dean pulled back, panting, and wrenched the layers over his head. Cas raised one hand to ghost over his tattoo, a strange expression on his face.

  “You okay?” Dean asked gruffly. He wasn’t sure what he’d do if the answer was no.

  “Are you sure about this?” Cas said, lake-blue eyes meeting Dean’s.

  “You kidding me?” He leaned into the touch and smiled at the tremor that ran through Castiel’s fingers. “Yeah, I’m sure.”

  “It is not just because you… need to be loved?”

  “Jesus, Cas, way to Jeremy Kyle the moment.” Dean took a step back and ran a hand through his hair. Castiel’s forehead wrinkled in confusion. “No, you idiot. And it has nothing to do with grace, or heat of the near-death-experience, or any of that crap. Now, will you lose the damn trenchcoat?”

The angel hesitated, peering uncertainly at him. The irresistible drive of passion began to ebb and Dean could feel Michael coiling in his mind. He suddenly remembered that he’d left his sword with Sam. Plan B - falling on it - was out, then. He hoped Castiel would be quicker to pick up on the need for violence than he was on the need for sex.

Cas closed in like a panther and pressed an open-mouthed kiss to the handprint on Dean’s shoulder. His tongue stroked a line of heat across the marked skin, and Dean’s head tipped back with a groan as it connected straight to his groin. Then he felt the pressure of teeth and a jolt of desire punched through him. His knees were shaky, his pelvic muscles clenched and his erection went full-throttle.

  “Fuck me,” he gasped.

  “I plan to.” Castiel pulled back again. “But only if you tell me what is happening.”

  “I’m fine. Hell, you keep doing that, I’m better than fine.”

  “I can see your soul. Michael is getting stronger.”

  “You want to talk about that now?” Dean’s balls throbbed. “We’re kind of in the middle of something here.”

  “Yes. Why?”

  “Okay, okay,” he growled. “Get rid of the coat and I’ll tell you.”

  Castiel cocked his head to one side thoughtfully. Then he shrugged himself out of the trenchcoat, folded it neatly over one arm and placed it on the dock.

  “Michael’s rolling with the punches. It’s getting harder to keep him on lockdown.”

  Cas looked deeply concerned. “You cannot give in to him.”

  “Thanks, Cas, why didn’t I think of that? It’s not easy but this -” He slid a hand to the angel’s jaw and lowered his head. “This helps.”

This time the kiss was gentle, their lips brushing softly. Dean flicked his tongue across the seam of Castiel’s mouth, coaxing him open, and took a long, slow taste. Summer rain and peppermint. Dean could get addicted to the flavour. His fingers curled into Castiel’s hair, angling the kiss deeper. Shirt buttons scraped against his chest as he pressed tightly against the angel’s body. Then his wings mantled, brushing over Castiel’s, and fireworks went off in his mind. Cas moaned into his mouth and scrabbled to get out of the suit jacket without losing contact.

The moment his arms were free, Dean ripped his shirt open. Buttons went flying, as did the tie. Dean sucked at the base of his throat whilst one thumb teased his nipple. Castiel ran his hands over Dean’s hips, sending waves of heat through the skin, and slipped his fingers under the waistband. He gripped Dean’s firm arse and ground their hips together. Dean’s erection rubbed against the angel’s thigh and he could feel Castiel’s answering hardness.

  “Easy, tiger,” he said breathlessly. “You ain’t done this before.”

  “I have watched.” Castiel’s lips brushed against his earlobe.

  Dean swallowed. “You ever watch me?”

  Cas slid one finger between Dean’s cheeks, making him shudder. “Yes. You were beautiful.” Took his earlobe in gentle teeth and growled, “You are beautiful.”

Dean fumbled at the fly of Cas’ trousers. The idea of Cas watching him fuck some chick was probably the hottest thing he’d ever heard. He traced the outline of Cas’ cock through the soft cotton of his underpants, revelling in the hiss that drew from the angel, then stroked the hot length of him.

  “Dean,” Cas said urgently.

  “I got you, Cas, it’s okay, I got you.”

Dean kissed the side of his neck, licking the tang of salt from his skin. He worked his way inside Cas’ underpants and wrapped his fingers around the angel’s cock. Castiel clutched at his shoulders, thumbs digging deep.

  “You like that, huh?” Dean gave a low laugh. “Buckle up, I’m just getting started.”

  “Stop…” Cas rutted his hips instinctively against Dean’s hand. “Stop talking.”

Dean grinned, pupils flaring with desire. He brushed his thumb over the head of Cas’ cock, swirling the dampness across heated skin, then eased slowly down. Cas shuddered, tipping his chin up to expose his stubbled throat. Dean licked the dimple below his adam’s apple, keeping up a steady stroke with his hand. The velvet heat folded into his palm perfectly, wonderfully. He’d jerked himself off so many times thinking of this but the fantasy paled in comparison to the beauty of his angel on the verge of orgasm.

And Cas was on the verge. Lips parted, panting, eyelids fluttering. The white shirt hung from his elbows, contrasting the flush of his skin. The planes of his face shone in the rich evening light. He was breathtaking. Dean’s throat clenched with the sight of him. The years of wanting that he’d ruthlessly pushed to the back of his mind… time to make up on all those wasted chances.

He licked his palm and added a wet, filthy twist to the end of each stroke. At the same time, he brought the shadow of his wings down, stroking the angel from shoulder to knee. He gasped as the building stormfront of tension rolled through his torso. Cas moaned something in Enochian and came over Dean’s fist, shuddering with intensity. His fingers convulsed hard in Dean’s deltoids, enough to leave bruises. Dean leaned into the sensation, dropping a kiss on Cas’ forehead.

  “Is…” Cas’ eyes opened dazedly. “Is that what it always feels like?”

  “Hell, no.” Dean smiled at him. “That was a gentle intro, after millennia of not getting your rocks off. You got lots to learn yet.”

Castiel drew in a deep breath and straightened up. He let go of Dean carefully, as if he was setting down a fragile piece of china. Then he met his eyes unflinchingly.

  “Will you still want to, once you cast Michael out?”

  “Okay, for one, will you get it into your head that this ain’t about Michael?” Dean said with an edge of tension. “He ain’t some kind of angelic roofie. And for two, I don’t think I can cast him out.”

  “Of course you can,” Castiel said. “All you need to do is say ‘no’.”

  “Except that Sammy’s right. The show ain’t over ‘til the fat lady sings and Michael’s itching to get his diva on. If I chuck him, he’ll hop into Adam and lead the Wing Patrol against the world. If I hang onto him, well, the Host ain’t budging without his say-so.” Dean hid the fear that he wasn’t strong enough to keep the bastard tethered beneath an easy shrug.

  “Dean, you must know that won’t work. You said yourself that he’s getting stronger.”

  “Guess I’ll just have to have lots of sex.” Dean waggled his eyebrows suggestively. “Speaking of…” He gestured towards his crotch, where his erection was clearly outlined by the tight jeans.

  Castiel narrowed his blue eyes, head tilted slightly. “I might be able to help.”

  “That’s the idea -” Dean broke off as the angel knelt on the deck in front of him. “Whoa, Cas, what are you…”

Then Cas folded back the placket of his jeans and wrapped those perfect lips around his cock, and he lost the ability to speak. His hands fluttered, running frantically through his hair and then, as the dark sensation built and fire filled his groin, burying themselves in Castiel’s unruly locks. He could feel the angel’s tongue flicking across the head of his cock, little jolts of electricity that ran from his knees to his throat. Invisible feathers brushed softly across his collarbone, leaving a trail of aching tenderness that left him weak and almost weeping. Cas ran one finger up the inside of his thigh, and then slipped it between his cheeks. That point of pressure brought him up on his toes, head tipped back, wanting, needing.

  “Cas, fuck, Cas…”

The angel shifted, changing the angle, and deep-throated him. Dean rocked back hard against his finger, and then snapped his hips forward again. His balls brushed Castiel’s stubble, sending a shiver up his spine. He screwed his eyes shut, hanging onto control with the last shreds of sanity. Cas’ wings brushed against shoulders, warm with love and acceptance. Whatever he did, it would be okay. He choked, swallowed it down, and tightened his grip in Castiel’s hair. Then he fucked the angel’s mouth until he came in a deep, urgent, aching release that left him blind and shaking.

He would have fallen but Cas stood quickly and wrapped one arm around his torso, holding him steady. He allowed himself this brief moment of weakness, eyes closed, heart pounding, breath rasping across a voiceless throat. Cas’ wings were a warm presence around them both, not touching - it would have been too much - but a reminder of love and safety.

Then Dean felt a hot line run across his throat. His eyes snapped open to see Cas dropping an angel blade and holding a small vial up. He tried to flinch away, to defend himself, but that supporting arm, those loving wings, were suddenly vice-like, holding him still. Light curled out of his throat on a tide of choking blood, and Castiel caught it in the vial with a look of deep concentration. Dean could feel strength and warmth draining out of him, and a pain in his heart so piercing he couldn’t speak. The betrayal was beyond his comprehension. What had he done so wrong to deserve this? He’d thought, for one shining moment, that he and Cas… but he’d been mistaken and was dying for it.

Castiel closed the vial of light, tucked it carefully away in a pocket, and held his hand against Dean’s throat. There was a flare of pain and Dean could feel the wound sealing. The restraining arm loosened and Dean shoved the angel violently away.

  “What the hell, man?” He dropped into fighting stance, knees bent, arms tensed.

  Cas held up his hands. “I took Michael’s grace from you. He has no power now.”

  “By slitting my damn throat?!”

  “It is the only way.” Cas opened his eyes wide, vulnerable. “I had to save you, Dean. Michael would have taken control.”

Dean put a check on his fury long enough to reach into his mind. Castiel was right - Michael was no longer pushing at the boundaries. There was still something there, niggling away like a word on the tip of his tongue, but he could ignore it. He rolled his shoulders experimentally. The wings were gone.

  “Okay,” he said at last, still pretty pissed. “But you could’ve said something. Finishing a blowjob by cutting your partner’s throat ain’t exactly traditional.”

  “I could not take the risk of alerting Michael to my plan,” Castiel said apologetically.

  Dean humphed and bent to pick up the fallen blade. “Guess I’m not an archangel any more, then.”

  “No.”

  “Probably a good thing.” Even if he’d managed to hold Michael in check, Dean knew he would have used his angelic power. The moment anything seriously threatened Sammy, he’d have gone Old Testament. Yeah, on balance, this was probably for the best. “So what do we do with Michael’s mojo?”

  “I will put it somewhere safe.”

  “Hide it in a box, huh?” Dean handed the blade back to Cas. “Yeah, that ain’t gonna bite us in the ass down the line.”

  “If you have a better idea…?”

  “No.” Dean scowled at the setting sun. “Okay. Fine. Now what?”

  Castiel sheathed his blade and started trying to tidy his clothing. “We have just put the apocalypse on hold. There will be consequences-”

  “I meant with us.” Dean cleared his throat brusquely and the angel froze. “I mean, I don’t… if you can’t… if I haven’t got wings, do you still…”

  “Dean.” Castiel said in a low voice. “I fell when you were human. You are human again. Nothing has changed for me.”

  “Yeah, but…” Dean felt his cheeks flame and looked away. “Look, all this touchy-feely crap, it’s not how I handle stuff. That’s more Sam’s thing.”   

  Cas took a step forward and put his hand on Dean’s shoulder, over the old mark. “You do not need to say anything. I felt the love in your wings. I will carry that memory forever.”

  Dean let out a long breath and summoned up a grin. “Okay, then, Bonnie.” He covered Castiel’s hand with his own. “Let’s go cause trouble.”