Chapter 1: Team Free Will & Their Friend, Uriel
AU: If Uriel had been a member of Team Free Will.
“Is it true?”
“You will have to be more specific.”
“Okay. Is it true that you consider the counsel of a half-demonic sack of self-righteous meat over that of your own brother?”
“No, please, explain to me how a pissant ape is more persuasive than I. Did my word not once guide your sword? And yet you dismiss me, I who have collapsed stars, and dote upon Alastair’s whore.”
“You amaze me. Even agreeing with you is wrong.”
“Following orders from a new general is not the same as forming new opinions.”
“I will still need a lieutenant, brother.”
“Are you sure?”
“This is madness.”
“I know that you sometimes do not understand—”
“Don’t defend them when you doubt as much as I.”
Castiel’s vessel tightens its lips. ”I am your captain and a conduit of Heaven, Uriel. Do you not remember my position’s… benefits?”
“Then you know I cannot do as you ask.”
“What you choose to do and what are capable of doing are entirely separate matters. Don’t confuse the two, and don’t lecture me. Not you.”
“It could have been worse.”
“They could have promoted Rachel.”
“How would that be worse? She would listen.”
“Hold on a sec.”
“Hold o—I will not hold on. I have been in this queue for five minutes, and I demand your immediate attention.”
“Yeah, okay, sir. Whaddyou want?”
“What I want is of no consequence. What I will order is ten cheeseburgers, no tomato, no pickles.”
“Would you li—”
“If you even suggest that I might desire fries, you slithering whelp of Lilith, you will know my wrath.”
“…Yeah. That’ll be $17.39.”
“Castiel, I am not going to ask—fine. Is it too late to make that twelve cheeseburgers?”
“I’ll have your total at the window.”
Chapter 2: Shoot the Moon; Miss Completely.
They might share a more profound bond, but there are some serious communication issues that just cannot be resolved with lustful gazes.
I. The Man in the Moon
“But the man closest to the moon is in the International Space Station, which is currently several thousand miles away.”
“It’s an expression, Cas.”
“It’s kinda like an inkblot, though. The Japanese say there’s a rabbit in the moon, but I’ve never seen it.”
“I do not see either. Do humans often see forms in shadows?”
“I know Sammy used to. Had to do pest control in his closet all the time.”
“Yes. The answer’s yes. We see bunnies in the moon and dudes in the stars, and we think that angels wear halos and live in cloud castles, and all they ever do is play hippie music in dresses. We’re stupid, and you know what? I don’t care.”
“I don’t think that’s stupid. It sounds pleasant.”
“Yeah, well, it’s not.”
“It’d just be nice to see things for what they are.”
II. So I Keep Sleeping
Castiel always learned best by doing, but watching Dean was an acceptable substitute. For example, did you know you’re meant to aggregate the fallen leaves into one pile? Castiel did, now. When you kiss a woman that you love, you’re supposed to close your eyes. If her son wants to learn about cars, you smile, ruffle his hair, and drop whatever you had been doing. And if at night you succumb to tears, then you are to lie still as her fingers run through your hair and she hums “Hey, Jude.”
He learned from watching Lisa, too. Lisa who could watch Dean and see the tides within him turning—Castiel looked where she looked, saw what she saw, but he could never have known that sometimes you need to make Dean smile, and sometimes you just give him a beer and a project. You have to let Dean fix things. You have to let Dean protect you from imagined predators, and never let him think about the real ones. You have to make him feel useful. Castiel would have never learned that without Lisa.
He did not know why he dedicated his time to learning these things. Raphael’s forces were gathering power, waiting to destroy him; his fellow angels looked to him for leadership. Crowley might be quiet now, but peace with Hell would never happen. And yet here he was, watching a human pretend to be ordinary. Castiel never knew if he wanted Dean to remember he was a warrior, a general, or if he wanted the man to plant roses in the shade.
Castiel just knew it wasn’t his choice to make.
III. Wonders Bright and Rivers, Lakes—!
"How can you not know how to swim?"
Jimmy never learned how to swim, so Castiel doesn't know, either. It's not worth answering, so Cas merely stares at Dean. This, however, makes Dean laugh harder.
"Really? And you're gonna have to take the trenchcoat off, too, so you'll just be straight-up baby out there." Once Dean is able to stand up, he walks up to Cas and takes his hand, tugging a little. "Come on, man. I can show you. It's easy."
Cas followed, saying, "Forgive me if I doubt you."
At the edge of the water, Dean peeled off his shirt and kicked off his jeans, leaving on his red boxers. It occurred to Castiel that he did not know what color underwear Jimmy was wearing—or, he supposed, what he was wearing, now. Dean waded in, splashing more than necessary, and turned back to Cas with a smile. "You comin'?"
Dean did not know, would not care, that the afternoon sun was filtering in through yellow-green leaves, framing him in sunlight, or that Castiel could count his freckles.
Dean Winchester would never care that Cas thought that he was beautiful. So, instead, he said, "Of course."
Bending his—Jimmy's?—his knee, he brought his shoe up, unknotting the laces for the first time. He smiled, remembering through the actions of his borrowed hands how Jimmy had taken care to make the bows even lengths, as if an angel would judge a vessel on something so trivial. With care, he removed the shoe and bent to place it on a rock.
"You gonna take all day? You look like a stork."
"What would you prefer I do, Dean?"
Dean winked and said, "You any good at dancing?"
"I thought you wanted to swim."
Dean stared, then splashed Castiel. "Just get in already."
Dean turned his back, which Cas took as tacit permission to use his powers. With a thought, the rest of Jimmy's outfit was folded neatly on a rock. Castiel looked down. Orange. A strange choice for undergarments meant to cloak an angel, but he supposed Jimmy never intended Castiel to remove his clothing.
Castiel walked toward Dean and the lake. The mud was cool and grasped at him; a light breeze stirred the soft hairs on his belly, which made him shiver. Grasses brushed against his ankles, and, oh, oh, the water was cold.
"You get used to it," Dean said, softly, watching Jim—Cas's feet. His eyes traveled upward, slowly, and this too caused a quivering. "You look different. Smaller."
Cas frowned. "Is that bad?"
Dean's lips turned up, though it was not a smile. "Just new."
Chapter 3: What, With Borrowed Lips?
Cas/Meg ficlets here. I don't always ship them, but when I do, they're bros with odd romantic tension.
“I didn’t even ask yet.”
“I don’t care. No.”
“I really, really, really, really want to play bowling.”
“Okay, first of all, you don’t ‘play’ bowling. You ‘go bowling.’ Second, no.”
“Isn’t language so interesting? Humans are amazing. In Enochian, there’s only one word for pink, but humans have fuchsia and coral and blush and cerise and salmon. Do demons have their own language? What does that sound like? Are there dialects? Because there aren’t any dialects in En—”
“If I tell you, will you shut up?”
“Not exactly encouraging, Clarence.”
“I’ll listen really, really hard.”
“Okay. Okay. There’s no set language, not really. It’s basically the soundtrack of the tower of Babyl, made from the cluttered words of a thousand souls weeping out their life story. Lots of words for ‘no’ and ‘stop’ and ‘please’ and ‘need.’ I don’t think there’s even one word for pink, much less fifty. The exact shade of a pretty flower isn’t all that important in Hell. I… can we talk about something else?”
“The Inuit people have over fifty words for snow.”
“Not a word for ‘snow,’ either.”
“We could make new words. For ‘pink,’ and ‘happy,’ and ‘love.’ If you wanted to.”
“I’m a demon, Clarence. I don’t want to.”
Chapter 4: Dislikes: Horseback Riding (He Gets Hives)
They face the ghosts, but can they face... themselves??!!? (Or: oh my gosh, Ed/Corbett asdf;alkjsdflkj CUTIES.)
The above summary is an example of why no one should ever ask me to write summaries.
"I have benadryl and calamine lotion in the truck, but we don't have any ice—"
"Corbett, I'm fine."
"But you look so itchy and hot and it's all my fault!"
"Wh—how is it your fault? I knew I was allergic to horses."
"Then why did you go with me?"
"Because you asked."
"Ah! Corbett, that stings."
"Well, maybe now you won't just put things you're allergic to between your legs just because a cute boy asked."
"I—that is not what happened—"
"How would you describe it?"
"I don't—I'll think of something. Jesus, you're cocky tonight... Stop laughing."
"I can't. I'm too happy."
"Because I'm miserable?"
"It has more to do with your pants being off."
"Okay, Mr. Forward."
"You know, ice is a good topical cure for hives..."