After the spectacular catastrophe that was Sam and Dean trying to kill Lucifer with the Colt, their little ragtag group decided to get out of Dodge and regroup. They obviously needed a new strategy if they wanted to have any hope of stopping the apocalypse. Because Lord knows whatever they had been doing up to this point wasn’t working. Everywhere they went, it seemed their damn “destiny” just kept getting shoved back in their faces. Sam was to be host to Lucifer; Dean was to be host to Michael. And they were supposed to fight some epic battle to determine the fate of the world.
Well, fuck that. There had been too many casualties already. Ellen and Jo were dead; half the hunters they knew were gone. Dean had just about had enough. If the angels and demons wanted this world so bad, they could fight it out amongst themselves. Dean was done.
They regrouped just outside St. Louis. Bobby said he knew some hunters nearby who might know something about… something. Dean hadn’t been paying too much attention. Bobby and Sam had gone off to see what they knew and would be back in a couple days. Meanwhile, he and Cas were left to pore through the remaining texts looking for any lore on what might be able to kill the devil. Well, Dean was poring through the texts. Cas was sitting at the table next to him. Twitching.
“You okay, Cas?” Dean asked.
“Are you sure? You’re looking a little… twitchy there.”
“It’s nothing. I’ll be fine,” Cas assured.
Dean raised an eyebrow in question, but kept quiet. Castiel still had some little quirks Dean wasn’t quite used to. If Cas said he would be fine, Dean was inclined to believe him. For now.
After a few minutes, Cas stood up and shrugged off his trench coat. Dean stopped what he was doing and watched because Cas never did that. Dean became further intrigued as the tie came off, followed by the shirt.
“Uh, Cas?” Dean interrupted. “If you’re going to get any more naked than that, you might want to head into the bathroom for some alone time.”
Castiel looked over at Dean, a confused look on his face as if he had forgotten Dean was there.
“No. This is… better.”
“Are you sure you’re okay?”
“Yes. Yes, I’m perfectly fine. Now, where were we?”
He sat back down at the table and the two continued looking through every book Bobby had had in his trunk. So far, they weren’t having much luck. Every mention of Lucifer described him as some unstoppable beast. Once he was risen, there was nothing anyone could do.
After a couple hours, Dean ran out to get some food and returned to a sight he thought he’d never see. Castiel was sprawled out on the bed, still topless, rolling around with a look of utter bliss on his face.
“I can come back later, if you want,” Dean said.
“No!” Cas said sitting up abruptly. “No, it’s fine. Please come in. I’m starting to feel a little hungry.”
“Seriously, Cas,” Dean said as he set the bag of burgers on the small table. “What’s going on?”
“Nothing, it’s just…,” Castiel hesitated. Dean wasn’t sure what was wrong. He just hoped whatever it was wasn’t too serious.
“In times of extreme stress,” he started, “angels can molt, I suppose you would say. And it can be a rather unpleasant experience. Usually, my brothers and sisters are around to help, but…,”
“Not so much, anymore,” Dean finished.
Castiel nodded in defeat. He seemed so saddened by the turn of events.
“Is there anything I can do?” Dean asked.
“I’m not sure you could. It would mean you seeing a part of my true form. I don’t know what might happen to you and I would hate to cause you any harm, Dean.”
“Well, why don’t we just take it slow and we’ll see what happens?”
“All right. If you’re sure.”
Dean shrugged in response. What’s the worst that could happen? He maybe went a little blind? Considering he wasn’t planning on living through the impending apocalypse, did it really matter?
“Close your eyes,” Castiel instructed.
Dean closed his eyes and took a deep, steadying breath. He could tell the room was slowly getting brighter. Soon it was almost like he was standing out in the noon day sun at the height of summer.
“All right. Open your eyes.”
Dean carefully cracked one eye open and then the other. The room was filled with a pure white light, seemingly shining out from Castiel’s whole body. It reached into every dark corner in the room and washed over Dean like some kind of purifying force. He felt a peace and calm settle over him that he hadn’t felt in months. He finally turned his attention to the large wings that were spread across most of the room. Even in their ragged state, they were the most beautiful thing Dean had ever seen.
“What,” Dean cleared his throat before continuing. “What do you need to me do?”
“Do you see the feathers that have turned gray? They’re dead and need to be removed so new ones can grow in.”
Dean nodded as he saw what Cas was talking about. There were a dozen or so feathers on each wing that would need to be plucked out. He carefully sat down on the bed behind Cas and reached out a tentative hand to touch the wings before him. His breath stuttered as Cas’s wings flexed under his hand. They were softer than they looked, more like goose down than regular bird feathers. He reached towards the first gray one and gently pulled on it, not wanting to hurt Cas. It came easily, sliding free of the other feathers with a gentle snick. Cas sighed and dropped his head, already visibly relieved at Dean’s help. Dean made quick work of the rest of the feathers, trying to ignore his quickening breath and the strange feeling developing in the pit of his stomach. This was a much more intimate experience than he had expected.
“OK. That’s the last one,” he said as he finished.
“Thank you, Dean,” Castiel said. “I appreciate it more than you know.”
With a blink, the wings were gone and the room was back to its normal dimly lit interior. Dean moved back to the table and picked up the book, trying to remember where he had left off. Cas joined him a few moments later. He had put his shirt back on, but the tie and trench coat were still on the floor. It was the most relaxed Dean had ever seen him and it made Castiel look decidedly… human. It was disconcerting.
Dean tried to concentrate on his book, but he couldn’t help stealing glances at Cas out of the corner of his eye. He couldn’t get the feel of the wings out of his mind: the softness of them, the intimacy of the grooming. Dean’s head was with spinning with unbidden thoughts and images. He had to admit, the angel had a nice body underneath the shabby exterior. Or, well, Jimmy had a nice body. At least he did while he was alive. Was the body just Cas’s now? And that brought up a whole other series of thoughts his mind couldn’t seem to ignore. Dean resolutely pushed the matter from his mind and got back to work.
There had to be some way to beat the devil.
A few nights later, Dean found himself in a similar situation. Though this time, Sam was just out on a food run for the three of them. Bobby had headed back to South Dakota to check up on things there, leaving Dean and Cas alone in the motel room. Again. However, tonight there were no books to read, just trashy TV to educate Cas with and greasy Mexican food on the way. Dean was attempting to explain that Charlie’s Angels weren’t real angels when he noticed Cas getting all squirmy again.
“Cas?” he asked cautiously.
“I’m sorry, Dean,” Cas said softly. “I’m afraid I must ask for your help once more.”
Dean immediately knew that Cas was talking about his wings again.
“Like I said before,” he replied. “It’s not a big deal. Anything I can do to help.”
“All right. If you’re positive?”
“So help me, Cas, if you ask me that one more time.”
“All right. Thank you. Close your eyes.”
Dean did as he was told and waited for the light to brighten up the room. Once he saw it, he took a deep breath and slowly opened his eyes.
Cas had already positioned himself so he was sitting on the edge of the bed, his back to Dean. Dean sat down gently, afraid to disturb Cas anymore than he had to. He slowly reached forward and let his hand rest on Castiel’s back between his shoulder blades, where the wings seemed to be growing from. The wings fluttered, causing a small draft to blow through the room. He left his hand there as he felt Cas breathing, his rib cage expanding slightly with each breath. He’d already almost lost his strange friend once. He wasn’t sure what he… what they would do if they lost him for good.
“Dean,” Castiel whispered getting his attention.
Dean jerked his hand back as if he had been burned. “Sorry,” he said. “I just… Is Jimmy still in there?” It was suddenly vitally important that Dean know.
“No, he’s not,” Cas answered. “What was left of him was gone when Raphael destroyed us. There are times, though, when there seem to be remnants of what must be him, strange thoughts and feelings that are not my own.”
Dean heard Cas sigh and felt his heart break just a little bit.
“You’re doing the right thing, Cas.”
“I know, Dean. It’s just difficult being out here alone.”
“You’re not alone. You’ve got me and Sam,” Dean said trying for a laugh.
“Do I?” Castiel asked as he turned to look at Dean over his shoulder. “Do I have you?”
Dean could not look away. Cas seemed to be implying a lot more than his simple question was asking. Without even thinking, Dean knew the answer. Yes, Cas had him. Dean would do anything for him, wanted everything for him. He wanted Cas to find God, to get his questions answered and to stop this stupid apocalypse. But mostly, he wanted Cas to stay. When this was all over, if by some miracle Dean was still alive, he wanted Cas with him.
But how the hell was he supposed to tell Cas that?
Two weeks later, Sam and Dean were wrapping up a simple haunting in Oklahoma when Cas popped back in. They had been on the trail of a demon that was supposed to be one of the big bads in Lucifer’s army if the information from Bobby’s friends back in St. Louis was to be believed. Castiel had finally managed to get a lead on the guy.
“Wait a minute. His name is Lenny?” Dean asked.
“It’s Leonard,” Cas answered in all seriousness. “Do not underestimate him, Dean. He is well known for corrupting the young and innocent with his wild orgies.”
“He’s an orgy demon? I think I might kind of like him,” Dean said with a smirk.
“Dean,” Sam said.
“Never mind,” Sam said, shaking his head. “So, any idea where this guy is, Cas?”
“He is somewhere in Iowa. Unfortunately, I cannot get anything more specific than that at the moment.”
“OK,” Dean said. “Well, we’re not too far from Iowa. We can be there by late afternoon if we leave first thing in the morning. You gonna come with us or head out early and try to get more info?”
“I’ll meet you there once we pinpoint where he is,” Castiel replied before vanishing off into the night.
“Well, OK then,” Dean said. “I’m gonna go grab some dinner. You want to maybe see if you can find anything more specific on this guy’s location?”
Sam was already at his laptop, plugging away. “On it. And get me salad!”
Dean just waved him off as he went to grab some dinner from the nearest diner. He returned half an hour later with two burgers and all the fixin’s, including a salad for Sam.
“I think I found something,” Sam greeted Dean.
“Excellent. What is it?” Dean asked as he started pulling food from the bags.
“A new casino opened a few months back near the town of Fayette. Everything was going fine, local businesses were booming, real estate was on the up. Then one day, a mysterious stranger showed up. Locals started complaining about the degradation the town has gone through since then: murder and other violent crimes are on the rise. And there’s also the opening of some underground brothels since prostitution isn’t exactly legal there.”
“Brothels?” Dean questioned as he turned his full attention to Sam.
“No,” Sam said simply. “And each story seems to indicate the same man is responsible for these crimes, though no one seems to be able to describe what he actually looks like. There are also no records of this person seeming to live anywhere in town. He doesn’t visit any bars or restaurants. He just shows up, gets folks all riled up and then isn’t seen for weeks at a time.”
“Well, that’s handy.”
“Yeah. There have also been quite a few demonic omens in recent months – cattle mutilations, freak lightning storms, strange weather patterns.”
“Sounds like we got our guy,” Dean agreed. “All right, finish your dinner and we’ll leave first thing in the morning. Maybe Cas will have more information by the time we get there.”
The boys left before the sun was up the next morning and arrived in Fayette just after 2:00 that afternoon. They checked into a motel on the west side of town. It was farthest from the casino and well within their dismal price range. Dean called Cas to let him know they had arrived and wasn’t surprised to see him pop into their room before he had even hung up the phone.
“Leonard is here?” Cas asked.
“We believe so,” Sam said. He went on to explain what he had found the evening before that led them to believe this is where Leonard was. “And if it’s not Leonard specifically, there’s at least some other demon in this town.”
“So, I think the best thing we can do is split up to cover more ground,” Dean said. “Sam and I will take the east side, closest to the casino. Cas, you can take the west.”
They agreed to meet back at the motel room in the early morning if no one had made any progress. They waited until it was dark, then they set out to hunt down Leonard. Dean really hoped they found this guy soon. The town was just giving him the creeps for some reason.
“Hey,” he said to Sam. “Do you feel weird here? Or is it just me?”
“A little, yeah,” Sam admitted. “Kind of like a cold, clammy feeling on my skin. But I can’t figure out where it’s coming from. It’s like an invisible fog has just settled over everything.”
“All right. Let’s do what we can to find this guy ASAP. I don’t want to hang around here any longer than we have to.”
“Agreed. This whole town is just…weird.”
As they got closer to the casino, it was easy to see what the locals were complaining about. Half the store-fronts were boarded up and littered with graffiti. There were scantily clad women loitering on virtually every street corner and on porches of rundown bungalows. They watched young men wander out of alleys looking nervous and quickly stuffing their hands into their pockets. The whole area was one giant den of iniquity.
The first two bars Sam and Dean checked out were a bust. No new regulars had been coming in and no old regulars had suddenly stopped. The bartenders had heard of the new guy in town that was said to be responsible for setting up all the brothels, but no one could say what he looked like. They were just about to make their way into the third when Dean’s cell phone rang. He saw it was Cas on the caller ID and immediately picked up.
“Tell me you have good news,” he said as he picked up.
“I believe I’ve found him,” Cas answered.
“Great. Where are you? We’ll come help.”
“I’m behind a bar called The Laughing Goat on Vine Street. He seems to be engaged in some business dealings, so I don’t think he’s going anywhere soon. But hurry, just in case.”
“We’re on our way. Be there in ten.”
“Cas find him?” Sam asked as Dean hung up.
“Yup. He’s behind a bar just on the other side of town. Let’s go.”
They hopped in the car and were pulling up next to the alley just over five minutes later. Dean had just opened his door when he heard a loud crash and someone cry out in pain. He slammed the car door shut and went running towards the alley to see what was happening. He stopped short as he saw Cas go flying through the air and slam into the wall of the building next door. He looked further down the alley and spotted a dark-skinned man stepping under a streetlight, his hand raised as he held Castiel in place against the wall. This had to be Leonard. Wonderful.
“We need him alive, Sam,” Dean said.
“I know,” Sam agreed. “You get Cas; I’ll do what I can to get Leonard alive.”
Dean watched as Sam checked the TASER to see it was fully charged before approaching the alley; Dean tucked Ruby’s knife into the back of his pants as back up. He really hoped they didn’t have to use it. Leonard was definitely more use to them alive.
After a quick look confirming that the other was ready, they took off down the alley. Sam yelled “Hey!” to get Leonard’s attention. Surprisingly it worked and Dean watched as Cas fell to the ground like a sack of potatoes. Dean ran over to him, trying to keep out of sight of the demon. Cas had to be OK. They’d already come close to losing him too many times for Dean to care to think about.
“You all right?” he asked as soon as he reached Cas. There was no response as Cas had been knocked unconscious with the last toss. Dean started gently patting him down looking for anything that might be broken. His coat and shirt were ripped at the left shoulder, and his tie was missing completely. There was still a pulse, though, and he was breathing. So just out cold then, he thought. Cas seemed mostly intact, if a little banged up and bruised. There was a small cut over his left eye that was bleeding and his knuckles were starting to swell. Good to know the little guy had been able to get a few punches in before he was taken down.
Cas groaned as he started coming around, blinking heavily. “Dean?” he asked.
“Yeah, we’re here,” Dean replied.
“Sammy’s taking care of him.” He looked around quickly and saw that Sam had Leonard on the ground, the leads from the TASER pumping out the last of their charge into his neck. Leonard went limp and collapsed on the ground. “And it looks like he’s taken care of. Come on, let’s get out of here.”
Dean helped Cas stand and stopped at the groan Cas made as he righted himself.
“What is it?” Dean asked.
“My shoulder,” Cas said indicating the left one.
Dean looked and saw his arm hanging limply at his side.
“It’s probably just dislocated. I can pop it back in, but it’ll hurt.”
“I’ll be fine. Just do it,” Cas grunted.
“All right. On three,” Dean said to prepare him. “One,” and Dean popped the shoulder back into place.
Cas groaned as the joint settled back into place. He cradled his arm gingerly to his body and they made their way over to where Sam was standing by Leonard’s body. Cas was able to walk, even if slowly, under his own power so Dean helped Sam get Leonard into the backseat of the Impala. He took a moment to look over his brother and saw a bruise blossoming on his cheek.
“You okay?” he asked.
“Yeah, fine,” Sam said a little winded. “He just got a lucky shot in.”
Dean stared at Sam for another minute, before he just rolled his eyes and shoved at Dean’s shoulder.
“Let’s go, dude. He’s not gonna be out long.”
Dean got behind the wheel and they headed off to an abandoned building they had spotted driving into town. It was in a sufficiently decrepit part of town and there shouldn’t be anyone around to bother them.
The drive took just about half an hour and they had to work quickly to get everything set before Leonard regained consciousness. They had just finished securing him to the chair in the devil’s trap when he made the first signs of stirring. Sam grabbed the bucket of holy water they had on hand and tossed a good amount in his face. Leonard screamed in pain as smoke rose from his body.
“Hey, Lenny,” Dean drawled. “Nice of you to join us.”
Leonard lifted his head and turned his cold, black stare to Dean.
“Dean Winchester,” he said cooly. “So nice to finally meet you in person. I have fond memories of your time in the pit. You helped torture a great many souls I condemned.”
“Shut up,” Dean hissed as he slapped the demon across the face. He hated thinking about what he had done down there. He hated that these demons kept popping up to remind him of what he had become.
“Nice to see you haven’t lost your touch,” Leonard commented as he spit blood on the floor.
“There’s worse we can do to you,” Sam said.
“I’d love to see you try.”
“Enough!” Dean yelled, sick of all this bullshit chit chat. “Now, let’s get to the reason you’re here. We know you have information on Lucifer’s location and you’re going to give it to us.”
“Oh, I am? What makes you think I’ll do a silly thing like that? Besides, Dean. You know where you can find him. When the time comes.”
“And that is something that is not going to happen,” Sam insisted. “Lucifer will be long dead before I ever say yes.”
“And just how are you planning on killing him? Your little Colt didn’t work. I don’t suppose you have any other tricks up your sleeves?”
“Not yet,” Dean said. “But we will. Now, where’s your boss?”
Leonard just laughed. “I’m not telling you anything. You can keep me here as long as you want, you can threaten me with whatever you like, but there’s no way you’ll get me to talk.”
“We have our ways,” Cas said, finally speaking up.
“Oh, yes. And you did such a bang up job of that earlier. I’m shaking in my boots here.”
He lowered his head and began chanting. Soon, a mighty wind swept through the building, the lights started flashing and the ground was shaking.
“Cas!” Dean yelled.
Dean watched as Cas ran into the devil’s trap. He laid his hand on Leonard’s forehead and they watched as the demon was banished back to hell. The man he had been possessing collapsed in the chair. Dean rushed forward and checked for a pulse.
“He’s alive!” he shouted as he found it. “We need to get him to a hospital.”
Sam and Dean got him settled in the backseat, an interesting mirror of his earlier situation. Sam settled in the backseat to keep an eye on him as Cas took a rare seat riding shotgun. They were about half way to the hospital on the northern side of town when he jerked back into awareness.
“Get away!” he yelled upon waking.
“Calm down,” Sam said soothingly. “It’s okay. It’s all over, you’re fine now. I’m Sam. That’s Dean and Cas up in the front seat. We’re taking you to a hospital to get checked over. What’s your name?”
“Brian,” the man replied. “Lieutenant Brian Wagner.”
“Nice to meet you, Brian. How do you feel? Are you all right? Sorry about earlier.”
“Don’t sweat it, man. You did what you had to do. But, um, yeah, I think so. Nothing feels broken or anything,” Brian replied as he patted himself down. “But, man. That was one serious mind-fuck. Demons? Seriously?”
“’Fraid so,” Dean replied.
“Wow, all right. So, then I’m guessing the stuff about the apocalypse this guy was talking about was true, too?”
“It’s why we’re here,” Cas replied.
“But you’re not a demon,” Brian said, puzzled. “I never got what you were out of him, but you’re definitely not a demon.”
“I am an angel of the Lord.”
Brian’s eyes widened in shock at the news.
“An honest to God angel?” he asked.
“Well, the God part’s debatable…,” Dean said.
“Dean!” Sam said. “But, um, yes. Castiel is a real angel.”
“It’s an honor to meet you,” Brian said extending his hand over the seat towards Castiel.
“And you,” Cas replied.
“Where are we headed?” Brian asked.
“There’s a hospital a couple towns north of here,” Dean explained. “The docs can check you out and you can contact whoever you need to.”
“Are we still in Iowa?”
“Yeah. Just outside Fayette.”
“Turn around and head towards Des Moines. My base isn't far from there. I can just get the docs there to check me out.”
“Are you sure? You might have internal bleeding or something.”
“Nah, I’m fine. Y’all didn’t rough me up that badly.”
“Okay,” Dean said as he turned around and started heading south towards Des Moines.
The occupants lapsed into an easy silence as they made their way through the night. A lot had happened, but still not much had changed. Dean was starting to think they would never get a break and this apocalypse was coming no matter what they did.
“Oh, shit!” Brian suddenly shouted. “What’s today’s date?”
“December 6,” Sam replied. “Why?”
“Fuck! I’ve been AWOL for six months. That’s it, I’m done. My military career is over. I am so screwed.” He slumped against the door as the reality of the situation set in.
“Not necessarily,” Sam said slowly.
“What do you mean?”
“Well, one of the handy things about having an angel on your side is that he can manipulate minds.”
“I can’t alter the memories of an entire military base, Sam,” Cas replied. “My powers aren’t what they used to be.”
“What about just one mind? Could you do that?”
“I think so.”
“Sam, what twisted scheme are you cooking up back there?” Dean asked.
“Well, we can’t let him be discharged for something that wasn’t his fault. So, we get on base where we’ll be directed to the commanders office, I’m sure.” Sam looked to Brian for confirmation, who nodded in agreement. “So, we get in, Cas does a little mind job making him believe that Brian here has just returned from his top secret undercover mission. I can hack in, fake a few records and we’ll be golden.”
“Really? That’s going to work?” Brian said skeptically.
“Sure. We’ve done dumber things,” Dean said.
“Why do I not doubt that?”
They used the rest of the just over 3 hour drive to hash out the final details in the plan, Brian filling them in on the details of the base they would need to know. They stopped just down the road from the base at an abandoned gas station so Cas could pop in and pull a mind whammy on the General. The boys also took the time to change into the suits they kept in the trunk. They needed to look as official as possible if they wanted to fool the guard at the gate. Sam moved up to the front seat and pulled their fake CIA badges from the glove box. As they pulled up to the gate at Camp Dodge, Dean put on his best authority face.
“Agents Henley and Leadon, CIA,” he said flashing his badge. “We’re transporting one of your lieutenants back to base here and need to see the commander ASAP.”
“I have no record of expecting the CIA this evening, sir,” the gate guard replied.
“That’s because you’re not clear to know. Now tell General Johns we’re here and let us be on our way,” Dean said gruffly. He watched as the guard picked up the phone to confirm their arrival. Dean just hoped Cas was able to pull this off.
“Sorry about that, sir,” he replied, turning back to the Impala. “General Johns is expecting you. Welcome to Camp Dodge.”
Dean drove through the open gate, following the directions Brian had given him to the commander’s office. He found it easily enough and they were quickly ushered inside to his office. Dean and Brian distracted him with the tale of Brian’s “undercover mission”, while Sam went ahead and added the necessary documents to Brian’s file to corroborate their story. Castiel must have done an excellent mind-whammy on the guy as he had no problems at all believing what he was being told.
Sam and Dean were done and out the door in less than an hour. They picked Cas up just down the road where he had been waiting and they headed back towards Fayette.
“That was a close one,” Dean said. “Thanks, Cas.”
“You’re welcome, Dean,” Cas replied with a smile.
When they arrived back at the motel, the first rays of dawn were just beginning to break the sky. Sam ran off to do the eighty loads of laundry they had piling up. Dean was about to ask Cas if he wanted to stick around, but he vanished before they had even put the car in park. Well, okay then.
Dean walked into the motel room alone and headed straight to the bathroom. It had been a long day and he needed to wash it all off. He stayed in the shower until the water ran cold and his fingers were all wrinkled. The thoughts swirling around his head were centered on everything that had happened that evening. Once again, any lead Dean thought they had on this apocalypse business was shot to hell. Why was everyone so eager for this apocalypse to happen? The Earth wasn’t that bad of a place to live. Sure, there were issues: wars and poverty and famine. Families fought and killed each other. But damn it, humans were messy. That’s just the way things were. If God had wanted everything perfect and shiny and happy and nice He would have made it that way. Right? So, what? Did God fuck up? If so, too bad. People were here and they were here to stay. The angels and demons could go screw themselves for all Dean cared.
Well, except for Cas. He could stay, if he wanted. It was odd how important the little guy was becoming to him. To them. He thought back to those nights when he was “grooming” Cas’s wings and he felt his pulse quicken again at the memories. The vulnerability of Cas to him in those moments and the intimacy of what they were doing. It humbled Dean to think that Castiel had trusted him with something so important. He tried to ignore the physical reaction his body was having to those memories, but it wasn’t easy. He knew what he was thinking, what he was feeling, was wrong. Cas was an angel, for crying out loud. The one attempt Dean had made to get him laid had gone spectacularly bad. Did angels even have a sex drive? Would Cas even know what to do with the, well, equipment Jimmy had?
But, no. Dean had to stop this train of thought before it went places he didn’t want it to go. He couldn’t help remembering the Castiel he had met in what was supposed to be his future. He remembered how sad and defeated Cas had seemed. Sure, he had put on a good mask. On the outside he was all smiles and laughs, but Dean knew better. He knew how heartbroken Cas would be at his family having abandoned him. Having seen it firsthand, Dean would do anything he could to make sure Cas never had to know what that felt like.
And sometime in the next five years, Cas would apparently learn a great deal about human sexuality and how it all worked. He wondered who it was that taught him and found himself growing angry at the thought that it might not be him. He should be the one to show Cas all that. He was his angel, after all.
Dean scolded himself as he walked back into the bedroom in just his boxers, rubbing a towel over his damp hair. He stopped short when he saw Cas sitting on one of the beds.
“I should thank you, Dean,” he said.
“For your assistance last night. I’m still not used to the… limitations I’ve developed and Leonard was much stronger than I had anticipated. I’m not sure I would have been able to hold out much longer before you arrived.”
“Well, I… we like having you around. You’re one of the few angels who isn’t a complete dick,” Dean said with a laugh.
Dean stood there, suddenly very aware of his state of undress and becoming uncomfortable under Cas’s stare.
“Can I ask you something?” Dean said before he was able to stop himself.
“Can I… Will you show me again?” Dean asked, hoping Cas understood his request.
“Of course,” he replied with a small smile.
Dean closed his eyes, even though he wasn’t sure he still needed to. But he waited until the room was filled with the pure, white light before opening them to see Cas standing before him. He had once more removed his coat and shirt and was standing before Dean as this purifying presence. All his doubts and fears seemed to vanish to the background in these moments.
The layout of the bedroom in this motel meant that Cas’s wings nearly stretched from wall to wall. They pulsed every so often, creating a calming breeze throughout the space. Dean could see that they had been restored to their full glory, all the dead feathers had been groomed away. What was left were feathers made of pure white that shimmered in the early morning sun.
Cas was even more beautiful than Dean remembered.
Dean had no idea how to put into words what he was feeling. He was overwhelmed and awed and it was just too much. So, he did the one thing he knew how to do – he kissed Castiel.
He wasn’t surprised when he felt no response. He supposed this was an entirely new experience for Cas and he probably wasn’t sure what to do.
“I’m sorry,” he said stepping back. “I just… Thank you.”
“It’s all right, Dean,” Cas replied stepping back into Dean’s personal space. “It’s all right.”
“No. No, it’s not. I mean, I’m…. And you’re….”
“It’s all right,” Cas repeated.
He stepped up to Dean and folded his wings around the two of them. Dean let out a breath he didn’t even know he was holding and immediately felt relaxed.
“Everything will be okay, Dean.”
“How can you know that?”
“Because I have faith.”
“Yeah, right,” Dean snorted. “Faith in what? God? Where is He in all this?”
“No, Dean. I have faith in you.”
“Don’t. How can you say that?”
“Because if anyone can get us through this, you can. You may not believe in God or what His plans are, but you believe in Sam. And Bobby. Even me. You believe that when the time comes, we will all do what is right. And there is nothing more admirable than that.”
Dean finally reached out and placed his hand on Castiel’s chest, the strong heartbeat he found there steadying his own erratic pulse. That Castiel had such faith in him was mind-boggling. In truth, there were days when all Dean wanted to was hide away and just wait for the end to come. But it seemed like that might no longer be an option.
He had work to do.