In his head, as Hester's fist pummeled him, it sounded like the old comic book he'd found in the hospital cafeteria that must've belonged to another patient.
Castiel wasn’t a fighter anymore. Slumped on his knees, accepting his beating, he hoped that Hester was getting what she needed from this exchange. She was obviously wanting for something. Answers? Retribution? Didn’t matter.
He busied himself with other thoughts.
Bees collect 66 lbs of pollen per year, per hive.
Pollen is one of the richest, purest natural foods... up to 35% protein, 10% sugars, carbohydrates...
High in B1, B2, B3. All the Bs. Bees...
The facts he was running through internally did nothing drown out the sounds he was imagining, though.
KABOOM! TWACK! CRACK!
Castiel might have laughed, but the absurd association didn't negate the pain of the beating, or the concern that he might actually die, which should be a relief, he thought, if he wasn't so certain he would never see heaven again. Then again, he wasn’t sure he ever wanted to see it again.
When Hester’s chest exploded with light, Castiel could only look up blearily as she slumped to the ground, revealing Meg behind her holding a bloodied angel sword. His heart sank for a moment--he didn’t want more death--but his emotions never stayed put long these days, and his chest swelled again with affection for Meg. She saved him; she thought he was worthy of saving. Who knew they would ever be friends? Or... not friends. Castiel wasn’t sure, but he was okay with that.
He’d heard the term "frenemies" once. It was odd the way humans came up with these expressions. Maybe that one applied. He had grown to like her quite a lot, though, in spite of her affection for him seeming dubious at best.
A week later, he’d found himself on a beach. He’d taken to free flying lately, just jumping and landing wherever he landed. This time he was sitting on the stretch of pavement that lined the sand; California, he thought. He’d been there a few hours already, and had decided that the sandy bits were not for him, but the sound of the waves drowned out some of the noise in his head.
He felt Meg before he saw her, and turned his head to find her sitting next to him. He resisted the urge to "boop" her on the nose. She'd disabused him of this idea pretty quickly where she was concerned not long after he'd woken up, nearly breaking his finger in the process.
"Hi, Clarence," she purred.
"Hello," he replied. “How did you find me?”
Meg shrugged. “You’re not as subtle as you used to be.” She was smirking.
He looked out at the water, but he felt her watching him. She wasn’t going to ask if he was okay, he knew, in spite of the thrashing he took the last time he saw her. Still, he felt oddly relaxed just knowing she was there. She had watched over him since he'd been found again, after all. Maybe he should say thank you, he thought, but something else entirely came out of his mouth.
"Worker bees..." He drew a breath, ready for her to stop him, but she didn't. "They rarely rebel. Unless the daughter of the queen tries to take over the hive. In which case..."
"What?" He asked.
"Now I understand the obsession with bees. Princess.”
“I am not a Princess," Castiel said. He wondered why she looked amused, but then decided it didn't matter. Even still, he felt slightly awkward, which was an entirely new emotion he'd discovered recently. Interestingly, he tended to only feel it around Meg.
Funny thing, this broken brain of his.
“I never said thank you,” he said.
“For what?” she replied, her eyebrows lifting.
“Staying with me.” He looked at his hands, noticing a torn cuticle. He brushed a finger over it and it healed.
“Oh, please,” she said, and he could practically hear her eyes rolling. “I’ve told you, I’ll take power where I can get it these days. Even in batshit crazy angel form.”
He tilted his head and looked back at her. “Even still.”
She blinked at him for a moment, and he wondered if she’d ever been sincerely thanked before. Then she breathed an dismissive laugh. “You really are batshit.”
Her legs were moving, so he looked down to see her kicking off her shoes and socks. When she got them off, she slouched down on the bench, just enough to dip her toes into the sand at the edge of the pavement, red toenails disappearing under it. When he looked back up, her arms were crossed over her, but her face was relaxed as she stared at the ocean.
Oh. She was staying with him. Again.
A small smile spread across Castiel’s lips and he looked back at the ocean too, feeling his body relax at the unexpected warmth of her presence, and with each crash of the waves against the shore.