Is it worth it can you even hear me
Standing with your spotlight on me
Not enough to feed the hungry
I'm tired and I felt it for awhile now
In this sea of lonely
The taste of ink is getting old
Castiel felt it the moment that Famine's power ceased to affect his vessel. That gaping hole, full of need, longing, and emotions he didn't even know that somehow yearned to be filled eased and his mind came back to himself. He was leaning over a pan of raw animal meat, clutching handfuls of the chilled protein, and still swallowing far far too much of it. Castiel slowly sat back on his knees, disgust rising in his gorge. He put a wrist to his mouth (his hands were stained with blood) until the feeling eased slightly and he could look up.
Dean and Sam were standing to his side, swaying slightly in the aftershock of Famine's demise. Sam's face was covered in blood, both his own, and demon. Castiel felt a shiver of sadness that Sam hadn't been able to resist. Then again, neither had he, so who was he to judge?
Slowly, Castiel got to his feet. He could feel the burgers, sitting lump like in Jimmy's stomach. It was an unpleasant sensation.
Sam, still gasping with effort, jumpy with demon blood was looking down in shame. Castiel was sure that the cravings had gone from Sam the moment Famine was killed, but he was still feeling the effects of the large amount of blood he'd ingested. His eyes twitched over the room, almost meeting Castiel's.
Dean, however, stood shoulders slumped. He could barely look at Sam, and didn't glance towards Castiel at all.
Sam coughed, and wiped at his face ineffectively.
"We should head to Bobby's." Sam murmured, and his voice seemed to jolt Dean out of his stupor. Dean cleared his throat, and gently touched the blood that dripped over his brow. Castiel wondered when he'd been hit; he'd been disgustingly preoccupied.
"Yeah," Dean said, his voice like crushed glass. He cleared his throat, seeming to pull himself together a bit. "We should grab his ring." Dean jerked his head towards the limp body.
Castiel took a step forwards, the meat sloshing in his stomach, and slid the metal ring off Famine's finger. It was heavier than he'd expected it to task done, he slid it into his coat pocket.
"We should go." Castiel said. The others looked as uncomfortable as he felt; Castiel wanted nothing more to get out of here, and away from the memory of bloody meat on his tongue, the sense of evil from the demon cloud pulled unnaturally from their host's mouths, the hunger Famine had awakened. The smell of beef was overwhelming, sickening.
The demon's hosts, lying on the ground where they'd fallen began to stir. Dean, doing a visual check apparently decided they would all be fine, before gesturing to Castiel, and Sam and striding from the building. Sam's brown met Castiel's blue; his lip twitched, and he followed Dean outside. Castiel took the rear, moving slowly. He was experiencing more and more discomfort as the full effects of Famine's powers faded, and Jimmy's stomach woke to the fact that there was far too much food inside. His angel physiology prevented the overstuffing from becoming dangerous, such as it had for the other people in this town: Castiel could not have eaten himself to death, but it didn't stop him from feeling the after effects.
Dean was leaning on the roof of the Impala, weariness in every line of his body.
"Dean?" Castiel asked, worried there was something else he'd missed. "Are you hurt?"
The other man started, and Sam looked up, his brow furrowing further.
"I'm fine," Dean said, hunching his shoulders slightly. He jerked the car door open then, and climbed in. Sam followed suit, reaching in the glove compartment for a cloth to wipe his face. Castiel opened the back seat door and gingerly settled himself in, not flying in like he usually would. The thought of the twisting, gravity defying flight that even such a short distance would result in made him swallow heavily. He'd avoid "zapping" as Dean called it, if he could help it.
The ride back to the motel was silent, as they were all in a subdued mood. Castiel elected to stay in the car while Sam and Dean packed and checked out of their room. No one wanted to stay in this town any longer. Castiel had heard Sam mention Bobby's, and he realized that Sam meant the panic room, where he'd detoxed before. Castiel also remembered the circumstances of that detox and more precisely the reason for his release. Castiel frowned, a hot flush of shame rushing through him. He'd never told Dean, and Sam didn't remember, as Castiel wasn't visible to him at the time. Castiel thought back to that order, and the almost overwhelming sense of wrongness about it, the doubts he'd had, even before Dean's impassioned speech. He felt sure he should have told Dean about that, but the thought of bringing that up now sickened him. Though that could have been the beef.
Castiel shifted his thoughts from past mistakes; there were more and worse ones he could think about if he so chose, but there was no point in dwelling. Dean and Sam were still in the motel, and Castiel took advantage of the solitude to draw his knees up to his chest, leaning back against the seat. His stomach was becoming more and more painful, churning and grumbling like he'd eaten a live animal, instead of just a prodigious amount of dead ones. A moment later he was swallowing compulsively, wishing he'd phrased that better in his mind. He wrapped his hand around his midsection miserably.
"You feeling okay?"
Castiel quickly put his legs to the floor, and removed his hand from his belly, looking up to see Sam peering in, still nearly vibrating with energy. There was concern on his face, and Castiel quickly worked to remove any indication of discomfort from his own.
"I'm fine." Castiel replied, noticing too late how closely his tone resembled Dean just ten minutes ago, when it was clear he was not well at all. Sam didn't believe him, but let him be, settling into the front passenger seat. Dean came out a few moments after, carrying his bag and placing it into the trunk. He then got into the driver's seat.
"Okay, Cas, you can flap off any time. You don't have to stay and babysit." Dean was gruff sounding. Castiel thought again of flying, the whirlwind of a ride that he usually so enjoyed. Even as his other powers got weaker, flying was still a part of him. But angels didn't normally feel nauseous, as Castiel did now. Flying did not sound pleasant.
"I'll stay with you for the moment." Castiel said, trying to sound unconcerned. Sam glanced over at him, and then Dean.
"He's not feeling well." Sam said matter of factly.
Dean twisted around, and peered at his face, eyes narrowed. Castiel sighed inwardly.
"Uhuh," Dean said, turning back to the wheel. "Well if you need to hurl, let me know. I'll pull over." He flashed him a half smile in the rearview mirror. "You did eat a buttload of burgers, Cas."
Castiel closed his eyes. "Don't remind me."
A small chuckle lightened the atmosphere in the car, and Castiel was glad to be the "butt" of the joke if it made Sam and Dean feel a little easier about the results of this day. Dean turned on some music, something low and pulsing, and they put the town behind them. Bobby's house was near, Castiel knew, but human miles were confusing to him. At some point he'd ask just how long they'd have to drive to get there, but for now he was content to lean back and listen to Dean's music, watching the fields go by.
Castiel was glad that Dean seemed slightly more relaxed then he had before going into the motel. He wondered if perhaps he and Sam had had a word, if Sam had said something while they were inside. Or perhaps teasing Castiel did remove his mind from the tense situation, from the weight of knowing that within twelve hours his brother beside him would be in the throes of withdrawal. Through no fault of his own (and Castiel, of all people, really did know that it wasn't his fault) Sam had made one of Dean's fears become reality. Seeing Sam again with his mouth lined with blood was jarring to him, let alone Dean.
Castiel rubbed his belly, the churning growing more and more disagreeable as the miles flew by. The cars rumble was at times comforting, other times seemed to make his head spin, and each time the world rotated, a terrible feeling seemed to be trying to crawl up his throat. He pushed it back, and tried to hold still.
By this point, his feet were back up on the bench seat, and his hands were clenched around his midsection. Castiel felt hot, and clammy, and the burgers kept trying to escape through his esophagus. He kept desperately trying to calm his stomach, as vomiting was something he'd never had the desire to experience within a human vessel, but he didn't know how much longer he'd be able to avoid it.
"Cas? You okay?" Dean was looking in the mirror at him again, but this time, Castiel couldn't muster the energy for a lie, especially when it was about to be clear how not okay he was.
"No." Castiel managed to get out, before spreading his wings and leaping from the car, aiming for just the side of the road. He landed sprawled in the dirt and litter, and a moment later was choking up the meat and burgers he'd consumed. His stomach was heaving and the White Castle tasted vile on the way back up. The smell of dry grass and vomit filled his nostrils, making him gag again.
He heard the Impala screech to a stop ahead of him, and back up along the shoulder until Dean and Sam were close to where he knelt. His arms shook as they held him off the ground, his body expelling an obscene amount of stomach matter. Had he really eaten so much?
The doors slammed as the two got out of the car, and came closer, but seemed unwilling to interrupt. Indeed there was little they could do, at least until Castiel's stomach decided to stop rejecting his ill advised food intake. Turned out he was right about flying in his condition, for his head was still spinning from the jump to the shoulder. One of his elbows collapsed, and he would have fallen face first into his own mess, were it not for Dean's quick reflexes.
"Woah! Come on, Cas. Deep breaths." Castiel gagged and heaved a few more times, feeling Dean's hands tighten against his spasming back, and then he was able to calm himself. Nothing more was coming up for the moment, although his stomach still churned. Dean tilted him up on his heels, a hand on each of Castiel's shoulders, and Castiel leaned against him, breathing heavily, and raising a hand to wipe away the sweat and tears of exertion from his eyes. His fingers trembled.
"You done?" Dean asked, and Castiel nodded shakily.
"That was unpleasant." He said, his voice rougher than usual. Castiel's mouth tasted foul, and he spat on the ground before moving back and slowly standing. His stomach contents stayed in place, for which he was glad. Dean didn't let go of his arm until he was upright and steady.
Sam held out a water bottle, and Castiel gratefully took it, rinsing and spitting again. The water felt cool on his tongue, though it exacerbated his shivers.
"Thank you." Castiel murmured, putting his free hand on his stomach again, as if that could ease the agitated organ.
"We should get going." Dean said then, his eyes lingering on Castiel and Sam in turns. Castiel knew he was watching for signs of withdrawal from his brother, but so far Sam seemed alright. Ashamed, but not twitchy or in pain (yet). Castiel nodded, and took another sip of water.
"How far are we from Bobby's?" He asked, his mind still not used to thinking in terms of mortal vehicles, and travel time, even after all this time among humans.
"About eight hours." Dean was worried, and Castiel nodded again to show that he understood. They'd be cutting it close. Sam would be past the initial symptoms by that point, would be jittery and in pain, nauseous and cranky, but still himself, not out of his mind with withdrawal. Castiel remembered last time, though Dean and Sam didn't know he had been there for that. It had been a hard experience for everyone, not to mention what had followed after.
But that was in the past. Castiel, feeling marginally better as his stomach seemed to settle, moved towards the car. They had better start driving.