The fun part of this story started with a bee. One tiny, stupid bee.
It had been weeks at this point since Meg had volunteered to stay at the hospital with Castiel. She tried to give herself what she considered to be acceptable reasons why she had made that decision in the first place.
Obviously, his friends had abandoned him there.
Which didn’t exactly make the angel her responsibility.
But hey, you never know when it will be helpful to have an angel in your pocket (or on your side, or whatever).
Not right now, obviously. Castiel was still practically catatonic.
Catatonic was an improvement from the very beginning of his stay there, screaming for hours at a time, crying uncontrollably, cowering in a corner from whatever his brain was making him see.
And wasn’t that just another thing about his friends. Castiel welcomed the madness willingly, and his current condition was a direct result of him healing Sam Winchester. That act was clearly not enough to make either him or his brother stay, Meg assumed.
He was already starting to get better, though. The damage was extensive, but eventually, that angel Grace would work its way through and fix him right back up. And he’d be on her side, an exceptionally powerful ally against any adversary. Even Crowley. Even...well, she couldn’t be sure, but he would at least consider protecting her from the Winchesters. Probably.
If he came out of this. If he recognized how she had protected and cared for him.
It wasn’t often that Meg let herself step back and look at the big picture. She’d been an unapologetic Lucifer loyalist for...well, forever. Lucifer’s presence was a constant thread woven through the story of her current situation. Had it not been for Lucifer, she would never have met Castiel. She would never have met Dean or Sam (well, the thing with Sam was slightly more complicated, she supposed, maybe a bit more Azazel-related).
She couldn’t really blame the Winchesters for leaving Castiel here at the hospital. She wanted to be angry with them, but Meg knew that the stakes were exceptionally high right now. Someone had to keep up the fight against the Leviathan. Those monsters hated angels and demons just as much as they hated humans. The Leviathan weren’t looking for allies - they didn’t need allies. And there was no question that were they not stopped and exterminated, the entire planet would be theirs to do with as they pleased.
Dean and Sam had been on the job since those things had shown up, and no one had a better shot at the chompers than they did.
Meg had taken a small apartment one block south of the hospital, but even when she wasn’t working, she took every precaution and she laid low - as low as possible. There were quick trips in and out of the liquor store, but she didn’t drink in bars. Even way out here, there was never a guarantee that there wouldn’t be someone (or something) that recognized her, or at least was able to tell that she wasn’t human.
She didn’t want any attention at all. She just wanted to stay there and keep watch over Castiel’s progress. The Winchesters did, at the very least, call to check in every once in a while, to ask her if there was any change, any improvement, any trouble.
And if they called this week, Meg would actually have news for them. Castiel still wasn’t very responsive, but he was opening his eyes more often. Focusing, actually - it seemed that he was starting to recognize his surroundings. And then it happened. Meg leaned in to adjust his blanket and he raised his hand, weakly gripping her wrist. It was just a whisper, but his blue eyes were trained directly on her when he used up every bit of strength he had in that moment to make a sound.
She nodded, yes, but his eyes had closed again and his hand had dropped back onto the bed. He probably wouldn’t move again for days.
It’s not like she didn’t see it coming. Meg could sense his Grace, she could feel it getting stronger, repairing the damage, attempting to patch up the spots where insanity had ravaged his mind.
She knew it wasn’t supposed to feel… well, pleasant in any way. To a demon, the sensation of an angel’s Grace should be off-putting, to say the least. Meg had felt it before, in the presence of other angels. It wasn’t painful, really; the best way Meg could describe it was that it just felt like something she wasn’t supposed to touch.
It hadn’t been that way with Castiel, though. The first time he touched her, he’d thrown her into holy fire. The fire was excruciatingly painful, but once she had gotten her wits about her, she’d realized that Castiel’s touch wasn’t what she’d expected. It definitely felt like something she wasn’t supposed to touch, but in a different way. In the way that demons took no pleasure in feeling something pure and clean and beautiful. It threw her off a bit, but she figured it was just a fluke, or possibly that she’d imagined it.
Until a year later, when her usual flirty innuendo went a little too far and he’d kissed her in the hallway of that awful warehouse building. And he didn’t just kiss her, he pressed his entire body against her, ran his hands through her hair, even touched her face despite the fact that he was easily able to see her true demonic countenance underneath the pretty girl she was wearing.
Meg had obviously been flirty with Castiel - in the past, all the way up through their trip here to the hospital. But that was kind of her thing. She had plenty of sex. No reason not to, really. And she flirted with Sam Winchester. She kissed his brother Dean; once she had even climbed into his lap. She’d never been big on the whole ‘consent’ thing.
The moment when Cas had kissed her back in that warehouse changed something in her. He did it because he wanted to. He wasn’t being held still, he wasn’t tied up, he wasn’t incapacitated. Meg never thought that the angel would feel genuine desire for her. And now, of course, with all that had happened, maybe he’d never feel it again. It had been long enough at this point that she’d learned never to let her feelings for Castiel show. It was difficult for Meg to accept the existence of those feelings at all.
But here she was, in frumpy boring nurse scrubs and comfortable shoes, heading once again to the room where Cas was convalescing. Meg imagined that moving his hand and speaking her name a couple of days earlier had probably used up all the energy he’d be able to expend for quite some time. It was all right. She could be patient.
Opening his door, she wondered why the lights were off. She always left them on. It only took a handful of seconds for her to observe the dark room and the empty bed and only the slightest hint of an angel’s Grace left behind for her to realize that he was gone. She tried not to panic, but that was no easy feat.
If Castiel had left on his own, it would mean that his healing process had sped up incredibly rapidly. If he hadn’t left on his own - well, that wasn’t something Meg felt she could even process right now. It certainly wouldn’t be anything good. No one who was friendly would have taken him out of that hospital without letting Meg know. Hell, even the Winchesters would have done her the courtesy of stopping in to say they were taking her angel away.
Wait, her angel? Meg shook it off. She didn’t want to think about affection or desire right now.
She needed to find Cas, but of course she didn’t have the slightest clue where to start looking. Would he be able to find his way around the hospital? Would he be able to find his way out? Thankfully they were in a fairly isolated area - there were some rural roads and a whole lot of woods, that was pretty much all.
And then it caught her eye - the lights hadn’t been turned off, the bulbs were shattered. There was no way for Meg to tell if that was a good sign or a bad sign. If he woke up and his Grace went a little wonky, well, that would be understandable. But if someone or something had tried to take him and he had reached for his Grace as a way to defend himself…
Meg did the only thing she could think of. After deciding this was not the time to call Dean or Sam, she started walking around. Maybe Cas had found the day room or a closet filled with snacks or...something, anyway, that had caught his attention.
A cursory check of the small facility turned up only one clue - one door that was just very slightly ajar on the far end of the hospital. Okay, if he went out there, she thought, maybe it was all right. That side of the building faced the nearby woods.
Picking up a jacket and a flashlight that had been lying on a counter, Meg opened the door. She didn’t get very far before she could feel that low thrum of Grace. He hadn’t gone far. Less than ten minutes into her search, she could hear him humming.
Castiel knew she was there before she actually saw him.
“Meg”, he called out, in a strange-sounding stage whisper, “come here, right here, look at this, it’s amazing!”
Cautiously, she moved in the direction of his voice and saw Castiel squatting on the ground, still wearing his white hospital clothing. “Castiel”, she said, slowly, as she sat down next to him, “what are you doing outside?”
“I just walked out the door to see what was out here. And then I saw a bee. One of these, the buzzing ones with the yellow and black stripes. So I followed it. They can’t really hurt anyone, you know. Most of them don’t sting. They’re not aggressive. They just carry around the pollen so there can be more flowers. And they all live here, underground. It’s like magic. I mean, I know it’s not magic, it’s just-”
Meg had to cut him off at that point. “Cas. Cas! Okay. It’s great. The bees are great. But you haven’t moved in so long. How did you manage to get out of your room and all the way out here into the trees?”
Cas shrugged. “I was just awake. I know I haven’t been really awake, but I still knew you were there. You were there because of me. To care for me, to keep me safe while I was infirm.”
“I - yeah. Yeah, I was there. I’m not really sure how much you remember from before, but there was no way you could leave. Dean and Sam have no place to keep you, and they have a lot going on right now.”
“Fighting. I know. I remember. My fault”, he said, looking up at Meg with a crooked smile, “but I can’t fix it now. I don’t want to go back, Meg. Not to the hospital bed, not to the fighting. There are so many things out here”, he gestured toward the woods, “places I could go. Maybe even hide.”
He had this look...a combination of afraid and nervous and happy and hopeful and curious. Meg was having a really hard time keeping her affection buried, seeing him like this. He didn’t shrink from her, or hide from her. “I don’t think you have a lot of experience with the great outdoors, Clarence. Not sure that would be the best idea right now.”
“What if - I don’t know, maybe - what if you came with me? Not forever. I know you probably have a lot of better things to do, places to go. But you stayed with me all this time. I just need a little more time, that’s all. A little more time before I have to go back and face everything. Everyone. You kept me safe in there”, he said, nodding toward the hospital building, “Would you consider helping me for just a little bit longer?”
Meg thought about what she ought to do. It should be in her nature. Call the Winchesters, tell them to come pick up their angel, and go back to trying to hide from Crowley, hide from the Leviathan threat.
She couldn’t do it. There was just no way. Until he was awake and looking at her with so much trust in those blue eyes, Meg didn’t realize just how strong and how deep her affection for Castiel had grown. She answered the only way she could.
“Can you stay here? I mean, right here, and not wander off after any more insects? Let me just go back inside. I’ll let Sam and Dean know you’re okay, and you’re with me, and then I’ll come right back to get you, okay?”
He smiled, and a look of relief washed over him. “Of course. Yes, I can - yes. I’ll be right here.”
Walking back toward the building, Meg’s mind was all over the place. She should not be doing this. But she couldn’t turn her back on Castiel now. Especially now.
The phone conversation with Dean went exactly as she expected. But she was able to efficiently overcome his arguments by pointing out that Cas wouldn’t be safe with them, he was in no condition to join in their mission, and regardless of whether or not Dean thought he might not be safe with Meg, the truth was that Cas felt safe with her.
As quickly as she could, she grabbed her own jacket and headed back to find Castiel sitting in the exact same spot where she’d left him. “All right, Clarence. Come with me, let’s pick up a few things we’ll need”, she said, reaching down her hand to help him stand.
The brief skin to skin contact would have made her break into a sweat if she were human.
Collecting herself, she guided him the short distance to her apartment.
“You don’t seem to require much in the way of material things”, he said, walking into the door to find the small space quite sparse.
Tossing some clothes, a bottle of tequila, and some blankets into a bag, she looked back at him and said, “I’m not here much.” It seemed self-explanatory, and he quickly seemed to realize that most of her time was spent at the hospital.
“I don’t know how I could ever repay you for the sacrifice you made, staying in that place to watch over me for so long.” Castiel’s eyes roamed around the practically empty apartment.
Meg had to snap herself out of this. “It wasn’t - just, shut up. It’s fine, come on, let’s get out of here.”
One more quick stop for Meg to sneak into a general store, and she came back out with two more bags - one with a few supplies along with clothes and shoes for Cas, one holding a small pop-up tent. He quietly took the bags from her and asked, “Okay, where to now?”
“Back to the woods, I guess. You said you wanted to stay out there for a bit. So, looks like we’re camping.”
Their walk away from the road and into the trees was mostly silent. Castiel stayed behind her as they made their way to a decent-sized clearing. It seemed to take hours to get the tent upright and solid, By the time they were finished, Cas smiled at her and said, “Oh. I suppose I could have just…”, and waved his hand in the direction of the tent. It immediately straightened up and the spikes dug themselves just a bit more securely into the ground.
At that moment, it seemed the absurdity of this whole situation took over and they both laughed, really laughed, for a bit. “Fantastic”, Meg said, “how about starting a little fire for us then?”
Once the fire was lit, they both sat down on the ground, almost close enough to touch. Then Cas reached over and did touch her. Just a gentle hand on her arm. “Do you require food?”
Meg smiled. “No. And I don’t think you do, either, judging by the angel mojo you’re throwing around. I do have some booze in that bag over there, though, if you want to get it.”
When he returned to her side, he was holding the tequila in one hand and something else in the other. “This is yours too?”, he asked.
It was a small polaroid camera. She couldn’t even remember where she’d come across it, or why she’d kept it. “Yeah. You can have it, though, if you want it.”
Smiling again, Castiel sat back down next to her, as close as he was before. He waved off her offer when she held the bottle out to him, so Meg just put it down. She wanted to enjoy this time. It was a situation that she couldn’t have imagined possible only that morning, but now that she had it, she was feeling adventurous. Maybe spurred on by Castiel’s kindness, or his trust in her, or his appreciation, or the pure physical and emotional attraction that she couldn’t turn off.
Meg didn’t want to turn it off, anyway. She was pretty good at reading a situation, and her gut was telling her that Castiel was feeling quite affectionate himself.
She looked over at him and he was already staring. Just looking directly into her eyes with a sense of wonder. Smiling, she reached for his hand. “How are you feeling, Clarence? I mean, you’ve only been really awake for a couple of hours.”
“I feel fine. Good. Unburdened. Thankful. Curious. And… I wish you wouldn’t call me Clarence, if that’s all right? I mean, I know you don’t mean anything by it, but I have this feeling of closeness to you. Intimacy, maybe? I don’t know. Just-”
“Hey”, she interrupted, “hey, Castiel, of course it’s all right. I, uh - I guess I feel a bond between us, too, after all that time in the hospital.”
“Before”, he said, still holding her hand. “I remember, Meg. I felt this way before the hospital. I kissed you.”
Meg let out a small chuckle. “Yeah, you sure did. That was kind of unforgettable.”
“Things were so different then. Terrifying, when I look back on it. No one knew who to trust, what was going to happen next, who would be the next person we lost. But I don’t feel afraid now. I’m not afraid of whatever is happening in the world. I just don’t want to be a part of it. I want to stay out here, under the stars. With you.”
She wasn’t sure exactly how it caught her by surprise, because she really was paying attention, but he’d obviously been moving closer, and before Meg could manage to close her eyes, Cas was kissing her. Not like last time. This was slow, and gentle, and he hadn’t moved his hands at all. But she scooted in closer to him, kissing back and shedding all of her inhibitions about how a demon wasn’t supposed to feel this way about anyone, especially an angel. She did feel this way, and she wasn’t going to try to bury it.
When they finally stopped, it felt like they were the only people on the planet for just a minute. Meg couldn’t help herself. “Castiel”, she said, caressing his cheek, “that intimacy thing you were talking about, I feel the same way. Do you, uh - you know, do you want to go and lie down? We can be as intimate as you want”, she finished with a genuine smile.
Castiel’s smile matched hers. “I would. I mean, I haven’t actually been with anyone that way. My vessel has the memories, but I have no experience.”
“That’s okay. I have a feeling everything will be just fine”, Meg replied, standing and leading him into their tiny little tent.
When the sun started to rise, they were both still naked, under a blanket and wrapped up in each other’s arms. “Meg, can we stay? I know we can’t stay forever, but just for a while?”
“Of course we can. I already made sure Dean and Sam know you’re safe. They’re out there fighting and we can leave them to it, that’s their job. Right now, let’s just enjoy this little break, what do you say?”
In response, Cas kissed her again, and they stayed right there inside the tent for a good long while.
It wasn’t really all that long, just a couple of weeks. Every now and then they’d wander out of their little hiding place. Walking along the rural roads hand in hand, they explored a bit. Castiel discovered a fascination with yard sales. They spent most of their time at their improvised little camp site, talking and making love and discovering interesting little things in nature.
Cas loved taking pictures of her, but she didn’t love having her picture taken, so he only did it a few times. There were some difficult days and nights. Times when Cas was a bit overcome with the memories of things he’d done in the past. Times when Meg had to be convinced that he truly did think she was beautiful, and that she was perfectly worthy of being loved.
One morning, Meg came out of the tent to find Castiel sitting quietly, staring into the little stream that had popped up after the hard rain they’d had a few days ago. She knew right away that something was off.
“I can feel a change, Meg. I don’t know what it is exactly, but I think we ought to try and find out.”
They hiked out of the woods until they had some reception on Meg’s phone, and Castiel called the Winchesters. It was the first time they’d spoken in a very long while. Sam relayed the good news that they had defeated the Leviathan. Cas and Meg shared his relief in having that particular threat eliminated. He talked to Dean, and agreed to meet them.
Meg understood, of course. She never doubted how much the Winchesters’ friendship meant to Castiel. But she declined to join him, saying she’d wait there. When he promised he’d be back very soon, she accepted his word without hesitation.
And the very next day, there he was. He’d spent a day with Dean, talked to him about the relationship that had developed between himself and Meg, showed off the few pictures he’d taken of their little hideout in the woods. It was no surprise that Dean’s initial reaction was far less than positive. But they had talked for a good while, and once again realized how important it was for them to trust each other.
Meg knew that they’d have to get back to the real world soon - rejoin civilization, even though they had both changed so very much. It was certain that their lives would be very different than what they had been before all of this, but Castiel assured her that they would find a way to work it all out.
And she believed him.