There is a legend of a dark secret kept away and hidden deep in the forbidden forest where no one dares to go alone. Parents still tell their children not to venture too close to the line of shadowed trees that mark the entrance. Sometimes you can hear the long cries and howls at night if the air is clear. It is said that once upon a time a great family lived in the abandoned tower that rests in the centre of the trees. No one has come out of those woods in almost twenty years and nobody ever dared go in either by accident or design, save one. A boy named Castiel.
Castiel picked up the last of the freshly baked bread and delicately covered it with a warm cloth, setting it on the counter for a second while he unhooked his scarlet cloak from the peg by the back door. He wrapped it tightly around his shoulders. Castiel always loved the early evening, watching the sun set after finishing his rounds. He would gather up all the leftovers from the day at the bakery where he worked for food and a warm bed of straw for the night. Most people had been very kind to him since he lost his home. He would often distribute spare food to many of the poor children who lived down the end of the muddy lane leading out of the village. Sometimes he would give them his share too, but they never knew. They all loved him so much. He was sweet and kind and thoughtful. Castiel was also a wonderful story-teller and the children loved him all the more for it.
Castiel picked up a roll of bread while it was still warm and placed it in one of the small wicker baskets he used for local deliveries. He had one last look around the kitchen, and took a few more items he didn’t think would be missed. There were a few pieces of fruit and half a slab of oat cake that had been there since the night before. He pushed them all down and carefully covered all the items with a checkered cloth. It matched the colour of his cloak perfectly.
Castiel would usually stop and tell them a tale or two while they munched gratefully through the scraps he always took for them. Most of the children had lost parents, brothers or sisters in the last wave of great sickness that had swept through their land and left nothing but death and destruction in its wake. That was a little over twelve years ago and Castiel had been too young to remember. He was only two when his entire family were claimed by it. He lost almost all of them, one by one. His grandmother was the only one of his closest kin to survive, and she often told him he must have been the lucky one. His young body proved to be strong enough to fight off the infection. Castiel didn’t feel very lucky. His grandmother had finally succumbed to the perils of old age last spring. Death had eventually taken her too and Castiel lost the only home he had ever known. He was all alone in the world and had always felt so different. He wasn’t even sure why he felt so different. He just did.
The thought soon left him when he lifted up his hood to cover his head, preparing to set off up the lane. The early autumn evening was surprisingly pleasant. Castiel carefully latched the door behind him. The fresh breeze blustered against his cloak and sent it billowing out behind him, golden leaves swirling up above. He had to keep one hand on top of his head just to keep his hood in place. The basket of provisions was looped over his other arm while he hurried off down the track, smiling to himself when he saw some of the younger ones already waiting expectantly on the side of the path for his arrival. They ran up to him, their bare feet kicking up the dry dust from the ground. Castiel was nearly knocked off his feet when they crowded around him, many small dirty hands pulling at the cloth to see what he had brought for them. Castiel coaxed them all over to a tree stump and carefully placed the basket next to him. He made them all sit still at his feet before starting to tear off sections of bread and cake and hand it out. Castiel shared the fruit by letting each of them have a small bite in turn. All the children sat staring up at him while he brushed the crumbs from his clothes and crossed his legs. He knew they were waiting for one of his stories. Many pairs of sparkling eyes were now watching him intently.
Castiel smiled down at them while he slowly removed his hood, letting it rest in gentle folds on his shoulders. Strands of dark hair fell across his blue eyes that peered out through the canvas of a pale face. The sun was just starting to set, and the red glow behind him only made them seem to shine out more brightly and pierce through the dusk gathering around them. Castiel knew what story they wanted to hear. It was his favourite too. His grandmother had told him it many times. He often thought she seemed to focus on it a little too much, always wondering if it had been deliberate, or whether age had claimed her fading memory. He would never be able to ask her now. That chance was lost forever.
“Please, Castiel.” Came a small voice from the back of the group. He could see a thin arm poking up above the heads of the others.
“Yes, little one." Castiel said kindly. "Do you want to choose the story tonight?”
“Yes, please. I want to hear the one about the forest again.” His tiny voice was quickly lost to more cries of “Yes, the forest!” and “The forest, Castiel. Tell us about the Blue Bloods.” Castiel had to hold up his hands to calm them all down again, nodding with a patient smile.
“Alright.” He agreed. “Everyone gather round.” Castiel had many talents for a boy so young. Telling stories was definitely one of his best. The children all sat transfixed in front of him, hanging off his every word when Castiel began his tale. They had heard it a hundred times before, but the way Castiel seemed to come alive when he retold it was something wonderful to be seen. Most of the children would have even gone without the scraps of food just to hear him tell it again. Castiel waited for them all to fall into silence before he would start. One of the youngest boys shuffled uncomfortably while he tried desperately to get nearer. Castiel coughed pointedly. The child sat back down with a pout and Castiel smiled sympathetically at him before he began. “There is a dark forbidden forest that lies just over that hill.” He started, dramatically waving one hand in a direction somewhere behind him. He had no idea which hill he was actually pointing at, but it didn’t really matter. “Many young boys have dared to venture into those woods over the years in search of game and deer. Those boys have all disappeared, one by one. They were never to be seen again. There was once a great and noble family who lived in the estate that lies behind those trees.” Another theatrical wave. “They were all hunted down and killed because they were different.” Castiel visibly faltered at that line, but none of the children seemed to notice. “They were very special. They were the last in a long line of what people used to call the Blue Bloods. They had a pure and unbroken lineage that went back centuries.” Castiel leaned forward and whispered the next line like he always did. He seemed to have integrated it effortlessly into the performance. “But they also had another legacy. They were the ruling alphas in this land, and many of the village folk thought they were responsible for all the missing children.”
“What’s an alpha?” Another small voice piped up from a very dishevelled looking child on the back row.
“You already asked that last time.” Someone said, nudging him hard in the ribs.
“I forgot.” The little boy said with a sniffle. Castiel was more than happy to indulge him.
“An alpha is a powerful and strong mate - I mean male.“ Castiel said quickly. He wasn’t sure where that slip had come from, and it took him a few seconds to regain his composure. “There haven’t been any around here for a very long time. I think the sickness must have taken most of them." Castiel seemed lost in thought while the children waited. "There was once a rumour they could sometimes take the shape of a wolf at will, but I don’t know if that was true.” He felt himself becoming distracted again, forcing himself to go on.
The children soon settled again, and Castiel continued to unfold his story while the evening wore on. He told them once again about the legends surrounding the lore of the forbidden forest. Some people thought it might be visited by dark spirits and hungry monsters. That was the only explanation anyone ever gave for the haunting cries that sometimes poured out of the woods when the rest of the world was clothed in darkness. Castiel dared a quick glance over his shoulder while he spoke, like he expected something monstrous to come leaping out of the shadows at any minute just to prove him right. He turned back to the small gathering at his feet and finished with the sad story about the death of the Blue Bloods. He told it in wonderfully graphic detail, as always. Most of it he usually made up or improvised on the spot, but no one knew and as usual all the children went home happy with reasonably satiated stomachs and their imaginations full to bursting.
The sun was almost completely hidden behind the horizon by the time Castiel had finished his story, and the last small one finally disappeared back up the lane in a flurry of dusty earth. He smiled to himself, standing up to gaze at the sky and gasping when he suddenly felt something wet and uncomfortable drenching the space where he was sitting. Castiel frowned with confusion when he looked down over his shoulder and patted his rear end with a tentative palm. His breath caught in his throat when he realized whatever it was had come out of him. He started to move his fingers more insistently over his back and thighs before holding his hand up to the fading light. He couldn’t see much but a thin layer of shimmering liquid covering his skin. At least it wasn’t blood, and Castiel took in a couple of deep breaths to steady his nerves.
He turned to pick up the empty basket, suddenly stopping mid-stretch with his arm still reaching out in front of him when he heard a low growl come from the line of trees ahead. At first he thought he might have imagined it. He tried to shake off the irrational fear that was slowly creeping up his spine, when it came again. He swallowed loudly and waited, holding his breath. It seemed to ripple through the edge of the forest and Castiel tried really hard not to panic. He reached forward a little more, curling trembling fingers around the handle, ready to grab his basket and run away. Castiel peered into the shadows at the side of the trees and narrowed his eyes. It almost felt like someone was calling out to him, but there was no sound save the hush of deep regular breaths carried towards him on a delicate breeze. Every single one seemed to rumble over his senses and vibrate through his entire body like it wanted to set all his senses aflame. He could hear the breaths getting faster the more time he spent staring into the shadows. Castiel suddenly felt something warm flood down the inside of his thighs when he realized he was being closely watched by a pair of piercing green eyes.
Castiel gasped in alarm and started to sprint back down the lane as fast as his legs would carry him. He almost threw himself head first into the flour store behind the bakery and collapsed on to the pile of straw that served as his bed. He was shaking, curling in on himself and trying to push down the raging heat that had suddenly started to flow through his veins without warning. It felt like his skin was on fire. It itched so badly, he rolled around on the hay just to get some relief. Castiel was terrified the sickness had finally come to take him. He had never felt anything so consuming. He lay on the flattened strands of straw, still thrashing his body around in a subconscious effort to cool down, gasping in fresh breaths of cold air. No matter what position he was in, he just couldn’t get comfortable. Everything scratched and clawed at his skin until he couldn't stand it any longer and ran outside to the well. Castiel quickly drew up a full bucket of icy water and completely doused himself in it without giving it a second thought. His whole body shivered in response, but even that wasn't enough to quench the furnace that threatened to devour him from the inside. He wanted to scream all the breath from his burning lungs, but silent tears just flowed down his face instead.
Castiel woke early next morning, greeted by the delicious smell of a batch of fresh rolls baking in the oven. He stretched his arms above his head and tried to sit up. He felt weak and dizzy. Castiel looked down at his body, flushing when he realized he was achingly hard under a blanket he had covered himself with before he eventually managed to drift off to sleep. The fever had seemed to finally subside a little after he stripped bare and tried not to think too much about the male alpha he mentioned in his story the night before. His imagination had been working over the details in his head in the dark, and he knew his dream had been filled with something dark and dangerous. Something with strong arms and sharp teeth. The effects of which he was now staring at between his legs. Castiel knew he had leaked again. The straw was now damp, and some of the longer strands were practically glued together where they were covered in slick. He had absolutely no idea why he was suffering like that, and he had no one to talk to. His mind was cast back to the forest once again and the pull he had felt from those haunting eyes. He shook the idea from his thoughts. No one should ever go there. No one ever returned.
Castiel got up and changed quickly. He knew he would have to wash his own clothes and change the straw himself now. He didn’t want anyone to know something strange was happening to him. They might get scared and try to get rid of him, and he had nowhere else to go. He was different. People didn’t like different. That much he knew for sure.
He opened the store door and let in a rush of sunlight, raising one hand up to cover his eyes. He sniffed the air again. There was something else there too. It felt heavy and thick where it settled in his nostrils and made his skin tingle. It smelled like fresh grass and spring rain, burning wood and caramel, crisp snow and rose petals, and everything else he loved, all at once. Castiel inhaled again. He was still savouring the sweet scent filling his lungs when he noticed some deep marks scored into the ground at his feet. They looked like scratches. When he bent down to study them, he could see they went all the way up to the door. It looked like something sharp had been scraping at the wood at the bottom. Castiel shuddered. He had been sleeping just behind it, and the thought of something terrible coming from the forest to get him was almost too much. He let out a soft whimper while his eyes rapidly scanned the surroundings in all directions. He couldn’t see anything now, but he knew something had been there during the night. The edge of the forest where he told his story the previous evening seemed ominously close, and yet inexplicably inviting at the same time. He forced himself to turn away and go round to the front of the store to see what his job list was for the day.
Castiel spent most of the morning day-dreaming about green eyes and beautiful scents while he busied himself in the store room. He was told to finish the inventory before he was allowed to set out on his deliveries. Castiel had never finished a stock take in less than three hours before but he was desperate to get outside. There was something pulling him back to the trees, and he wanted to understand why. He already decided to wrap up a wad of cloth and layer it into the back of his pants in case he started to leak again. He had to consciously keep blanking out all the memories of lustful growls and deep breaths when he packed up his basket with the orders. Castiel shrouded himself in his red cloak and made sure all the ovens were off before he left.
He set out just as the sun crossed the meridian and the morning slipped effortlessly into the afternoon. Castiel walked happily along the path down to the other side of the village and everyone waved in greeting as he went past. He returned each gesture with a smile, soon reaching the end of the road nearest the forest to deliver the last order of the day. He put all the coins he collected in the little round pocket that was sewn into the material for that very purpose and quickly pulled his hood back up to stave off the wind. He stood for a long time at the edge of the lane, watching the fluttered movement of some enigmatic shadow that moved quickly through the trees, just out of view. Castiel could feel his heart start to pound when he took several tentative steps forward.
As soon as you left the path you were done for.
Everyone said so, but he just couldn’t help himself somehow. His gaze was fixed and unblinking while he stumbled over the unchecked tree roots and brambles that marked the descent into the forbidden land. His mouth was rapidly filling with spit and his skin felt far too warm again but he didn’t take off his cloak. It was his rosy shield, his protection from whatever horrors were lying in wait for him behind the thicket beyond.
By the time he reached the bottom of the slope, Castiel had no idea why he had ever been so scared, anyway. It didn’t seem so bad. The whole place looked much darker from the hill than it actually was once you got inside. It was very quiet, though. Castiel didn’t know why, but he had expected to hear more sounds. Birds singing, the rustle of leaves as a frightened animal scuttled away perhaps, but there was nothing.
Then he heard the deep voice by his side.
“What are you doing here?” It was fractured and desperate, but to Castiel it seemed almost fathomless. It washed over his senses like it was the only water that could ever drench the fire that had burned in him the night before. He turned so fast, his hood fell back and exposed his face. He was suddenly staring into the green eyes he had dreamed about. “Go, you really need to leave.” The man growled out. Castiel could feel something happening again. He was very glad he remembered to pad the back of his pants.
“What? Why?” He cried out, starting to back away when he realized the wetness between his legs was an open invitation. His exit was hindered by a large tree, and it pinned him helplessly in front of the man who was quickly closing in on him. Castiel could feel the rough bark digging mercilessly into the back of his thighs where he was pressed up hard against it. The man was almost on top of him when he suddenly stopped. He seemed to be studying Castiel’s face with a searching intensity that made him feel very vulnerable.
“My, what big eyes you have.” Castiel stammered, gazing into them so completely, everything else just faded away.
The man was breathing heavily, the pupils of his eyes had grown impossibly huge while he stared at Castiel’s mouth. There was now only a faint ring of green that encircled the deep pools of black.
“All the better to see you with.” He replied at last, and Castiel felt his knees give a little. As the man got even closer, Castiel could see his pulse throbbing relentlessly fast in his neck, and small droplets of sweat had started to spring from his pores and settle on his brow. His nostrils were flaring wildly while he inhaled a massive breath of air, and his nose twitched a couple of times just before he spoke again. “It’s you. You’re the one who's been driving me mad all night.”
Castiel couldn't stay the soft moan that escaped his lips when the man proceeded to sniff all the way along the length of his neck and pause at his throat. He thought he saw a flash of something dark skim across his eyes for a second, but then the man growled low and forced himself to pull away. He turned from Castiel and moved a little deeper back into the dark forest.
“Sorry?” Castiel asked blankly. His own heart was now racing, thinking he might have actually passed out cold if he hadn't moved away when he did. He had absolutely no idea how he could have upset someone he didn’t even know, but there was something about this man that made Castiel want to try and find out more about him. He finally relaxed a bit, and pulled his back away from the tree but he stayed very still and tried not to make a sound, in case he startled him.
“You mustn’t come here, it’s too dangerous.” The man breathed out a tight rush of air. Castiel couldn’t see his face, but he felt like he might look sad. He stepped down on to a bed of leaves and hurried to pick up his basket where it had been roughly knocked from his arm.
“I’m sorry.” Castiel said quietly. He suddenly felt very irresponsible for thinking he would possibly be safe in such a dreadful forest. He started to make his way back towards the road, but he hesitated when he heard the voice again. It sounded more distant now and Castiel didn’t turn around again. He imagined the man had retreated even further into the cover of the trees to resist the temptation of leaning in to him once more.
“Tell me your name.” He demanded softly. “Please.”
Castiel couldn't seem to resist, and just let the sound fill him with unexpected sensations. There was a sudden and indescribable need to run back to him.
There was no reply, and Castiel felt compelled to look back over his shoulder to see if he was still there. He heard a faint rustling fade away to nothing as the leaves swayed with the swift movement of something running away into the forest. He blinked when he stared hard into the shadows, but there was nothing there. He had gone.
That night was even worse than the one before. Castiel was scratching hard at the surface of his skin to try and get rid of the burn that gradually developed since his return from the forest. Every time he tried to go back to sleep, he was assaulted by distracting images. The fierce green eyes, the strong line of a chiselled jaw, and that smell. He slowly reached down inside his sleeping pants and brushed one hand across his butt cheeks to see if he was still wet. The tips of his fingers slipped over damp skin. He had no idea how to stop it, and it seemed to be getting worse. Every time Castiel thought about the heated encounter that afternoon, he could feel a pulsing shiver pull out of him and cause more of the mysterious substance to slide out. He didn't even dare to touch himself anywhere else. He was so sensitive and responsive, he could hardly breathe. He thought maybe he should try and take care of it himself, but he was too afraid it would hurt even more than it did already. He left it be and tried to go back to sleep. Castiel was on the edge of consciousness when he heard a faint snuffling outside the door. He sat up quickly and held his breath. He could just see the edge of the door in the dim light, watching a large shadow cross back and forth under the gap. The shadow suddenly stopped moving altogether and seemed to change shape when the moon dipped behind a cloud. Castiel pushed himself back into the corner of the tiny room and pulled his knees up tight to his chest. He closed his eyes and willed whatever it was to go away. When he opened one eye after a few seconds, the shadow was gone. He slumped with relief and crawled back on to the scattered pile of straw and lay there for a long time staring at the slats in the ceiling. He thought he caught a hint of something familiar and pleasant before he drifted off again.
Another day dawned bright when Castiel woke up, rubbing at his eyes to chase away all traces of sleep. The bakery was closed all day so he decided to go for a long walk, and try to make sense of everything that had happened in the last few days. His soft red cloak was still hanging on the peg in the kitchen and he needed to fetch it before he set off. When he pulled open the door that led outside, his gaze was suddenly drawn to something on the ground he knew had definitely not been there the night before. He bent down slowly and stretched out his fingers to pick it up. There was a single red rose that looked like it had been placed there deliberately. He could also see there was a small piece of parchment attached to it with a twisted length of vine and a small metal box, that was very simple in its construction. He looked around instinctively while his hand hovered over the gift. It was still early, and the street outside was quiet and deserted. There was no one around and the only sound was that of a distant bird call high overhead.
Castiel checked the road again to make sure no one was watching, frowning when his fingers wrapped around the stem. He brought it closer to his face and turned over the paper. It had one word written neatly across the centre in silver ink.
He gasped, blue eyes widening in surprise. He couldn't understand why someone would leave something like that for him. He waved the petals underneath his nose and breathed them in. The subtle perfume was light, but his heart almost stopped beating when he realized there was another scent underneath it. It was almost masked by the delicate aroma of the flower but it was unmistakable. The man with green eyes. Castiel felt himself flush pink when he reached for the box and carefully opened it. Inside was a small metal pin wrapped in a red silk ribbon. He unfurled it to reveal the image of a shield emblazoned with a rampant wolf on one side and a stone tower on the other. Across the middle was a metal bar designed to look like a scroll with the word Winchester scratched into its surface. It was a coat of arms, and Castiel recognized it at once. He had used it in his stories a hundred times.
He got dressed as quickly as he could and hurried to fetch his cloak. He was already running down the hill towards the forest before he managed to fasten it around his neck, and almost tripped over the broken pebbles that littered the path in his haste to reach the end of the lane. He didn’t even care if anyone saw him go in to the forest today. He had so many questions that needed to be answered.
By the time Castiel reached the tree line, he was sweating with the exertion. His cheeks were still flushed and his breaths were coming short and fast. He stopped at the edge and tried to calm himself before he went in.
He could smell him before he even reached the first tree. He drew in a sharp gasp when the man bounded forward and leaned in to his space. Castiel could see he was trying very hard to keep his hands down by his sides. He was nervously flexing his fingers, and couldn’t seem to keep still.
“Castiel.” He breathed out, licking at his bottom lip. How anyone could put so much passion and desire into a single word was beyond Castiel’s understanding. He felt dizzy again. “I see you got my gift.” The man smiled, and Castiel could see the white glint of sharp teeth under his pink lips. He nodded. “Good, did you like it?” Castiel nodded again. “Cat got your tongue?” The man purred out as he crowded against him. Castiel felt like he was surrounding him on all sides at once and he couldn’t breathe. He could feel the perspiration leaking from his skin and the response was almost immediate. He couldn’t move at all when the man inhaled his fresh scent, suddenly flicking out his tongue to lick a wet mark up one side of Castiel’s neck. His mouth was dangerously close, and he could hear a low rumble of appreciation vibrating deep inside the man’s chest.
“My, what a long tongue you have.” It was all Castiel could manage right there. Something was burning like a fire behind the man’s eyes when he ran the edge of it along the space between the boy's lips.
“Then, all the better to taste you with.”
Castiel felt his vision dim when he was overwhelmed by the rush of so many sensations he could never hope to identify. The man’s scent got stronger when he pushed his body up against him and curved his hands around his back to hold him close. Castiel let out a long drawn out whimper, letting the man caress his body with desperate hands.
“I don’t even know your name.“ Castiel managed to gasp out, through the hot breath that was exhaled into his mouth. The man suddenly pulled back so he could study Castiel’s face. He huffed a small laugh and released his grip just as quickly as when he made a grab for him.
“Dean.” He replied slowly. “It’s Dean.” Castiel felt himself relax a little now Dean wasn't quite as close as he would have liked. “Where did you come from?” He asked, moving away again. He leaned his back up against the nearest tree and crossed his arms over his chest. His gaze never left Castiel’s face while he waited for an answer.
“What do you mean?”
Dean narrowed his eyes.
“You have no idea what you are, do you? How old are you, Castiel?”
It was an odd question, but he felt compelled to answer anyway. Castiel felt strangely put out he had been asked something like that. He pushed out his shoulders deliberately to look a little taller.
“I was fifteen last summer.“ Castiel said defensively. “What do you mean I don’t know what I am? You don’t know anything about me.”
He could feel a pout developing on his lips. This handsome stranger had come into his life and sent him all kinds of something, and then started to presume he knew things about him that he didn’t even know himself. Dean tried to restrain a smirk at the way Castiel was staring off into the distance with his nose in the air. Dean moved back in quickly and tried to make a grab for him again. Castiel took a step back and pulled himself just out of reach.
“Hey, don’t be like that.” Dean murmured persuasively. He reached for him again and Castiel couldn’t help but give in. He let Dean pull him close, moaning shamelessly when he buried his face in Castiel's neck. He could feel the warm caress of heavy breaths vibrate against his skin, and he liked it. “I didn’t think there were any like you left. I never smelled you before. If you just turned fifteen, that would explain it.” Dean continued. “You just went into your first heat.”
Castiel looked at him with total confusion etched deeply into his face.
“My what?” He stammered. That word had rapidly brought into focus everything that had been happening to his body recently. He suddenly remembered the ancient tales of the alphas, but he didn’t dare to believe any of that was really true. If Dean was an alpha, that would mean he must be a… no. Castiel frantically shook his head and tried to push the thought from his mind. He couldn’t be. Male omegas were just a legend to be retold in bedside stories. They were hunted. Shunned. He would have known. Someone would have known.
“So you do know, then?” Dean nodded thoughtfully. “Suspected, is maybe a better word. You are an omega, Castiel.” He said quietly. “I know. I can smell you, and you’ve driven me to distraction ever since I first laid eyes on you.”
Castiel inhaled a shaky breath while he tried hard to accept everything Dean was telling him. He thought back to the burning skin, the itch inside him that wouldn’t go away. The forbidden desire he felt for Dean with every shred of his being.
“But if anyone found out… I could be hunted - killed.” Castiel whispered, feeling the sting of tears start to fill the corners of his eyes. He was trembling while Dean held him and ran his fingers through Castiel's hair.
“Hey, hush now.” Dean encouraged. “That’s not true. Sometimes they are prized, cherished. Just as they should be.” He added with sincerity. “My omega would be the most precious thing in the world.” He said, gently lifting one hand to brush away the tears that had fallen down Castiel’s cheeks. Dean waited for him to stop snuffling and dared to reach down and wrap his hand around Castiel’s fingers while he stared into his eyes. “You're beautiful. I won’t ever let anyone harm you, Cas. You have my word.”
Castiel eventually stopped crying and let Dean hold his hand. The comfort was wonderful. He quickly felt inside his pocket and pulled out the little silver pin Dean had given him.
“Can I ask you something?" Dean just nodded. "This is the symbol of the Blue Bloods, Dean. Why do you have it?” Castiel asked through a stilted sob, new and raw emotions finally subsiding. Castiel was fairly certain he already knew the answer, but he needed to hear Dean say it anyway.
Dean smiled. He was pleased Castiel had recognized its significance.
“Because it belongs to my family. I am Dean Winchester.”
Castiel blinked stupidly at him for a few seconds.
“You’re a Winchester? They were the purest of all the alpha families. I thought they were all dead.” He whispered. Dean reluctantly stepped back and held out his hands in front of him with his palms turned upwards as a gesture of honesty.
“Well, as you can see I am very much alive… and very much in love.” He added, with a shy smile. “I want you so much, Castiel. I want to claim you as my own.” Castiel could feel his legs almost buckle beneath him. Two days ago he didn’t even realize what he was, and now he was the sole object of affection of a once powerful and very noble alpha. He couldn’t speak. His voice was trapped behind the constriction in his throat and his mouth seemed absurdly dry. “Well?” Dean asked hesitantly. His proud smirk began to fade the longer Castiel waited, and Dean had started to doubt himself.
Castiel suddenly pulled away and sprinted back up the lane as the tears came again. He wrapped the red cloak tighter as he ran, and all Dean could see while he stood at the edge of the forest was the soft hood fluttering in the breeze.
Castiel didn’t dare go into the forest again. He didn’t know what to say, or what to do. His heat had been so desperate since their last meeting that he couldn’t trust his instincts anymore, and he was scared to be close to Dean while he felt like that. It would have only taken a soft breath or a gentle caress, and he would have been lost. He was so confused. He wanted Dean so badly it hurt to think about it, but he was terrified. Despite Dean’s promises, Castiel knew the world would be a dangerous place for him now. He was alone. If he dared to venture too far from the safety of the little village he knew he would be a target, and if he wasn’t going to be claimed by Dean, then he didn’t want to be claimed at all.
It had been three nights since Castiel had left Dean standing alone in the forest. The villagers were starting to talk about a dangerous wolf that had been patrolling the woods at night. Many people heard the sorrowful howls that had been coming from the edge of the trees after the moon rose up into the sky. Castiel had heard the mournful cry on the first night, and had tried to block it out by pulling his blanket over his head and crying himself to sleep. On the fourth morning he awoke to the sounds of many voices in the street outside the storage room. He peered out of the open door when he forced himself out of bed, and gasped in horror when he saw a large crowd gathered in the middle of the road. Some had pitchforks, others swords and shiny daggers and one man was holding a flaming brand above his head while he rallied the others.
“What’s happening?” Castiel stammered, to one of the men who was standing on the edge of the mob of people.
“Wolf.” He said in a gruff tone. “Can’t have it threatening our young ones. There hasn’t been sight nor sound of one in over twelve years but now… well. We mean to kill it.”
Castiel could feel his heart ache in his chest. He couldn’t breathe, and pushed his way through the mass of angry villagers and ran off down the path as fast as he could. He slipped away unseen into the crowd, his cloak and shoes forgotten.
He was calling Dean’s name before he even reached the end of the road and into the dark forest. Dean wasn’t there. He had always been waiting for him, but not today. Castiel started to sob uncontrollably while he rushed through the trees. He had to find him. His stupid hesitation might cost Dean his life, and the thought crushed him as he stumbled on. The sharp branches cut into the soft skin of his arms, but he didn’t care.
“Dean!” Castiel yelled again. He finally reached a small clearing near the edge of the old estate and dropped to his knees in the fallen leaves, frantic cries fading into a whisper. His throat was hoarse and his cheeks were covered with spent tears. Blood was seeping from the wounds on his body, but all he cared about was finding his alpha. He bowed his head and sat alone in the forest with his shoulders shaking from the effort.
“Dean!” He jumped up and threw his arms around Dean’s shoulders while he sobbed again. “They’re coming to kill you.” Castiel whispered into his neck. Dean was standing motionless, both arms rigid at his sides and his face expressionless.
“I know.” He said quietly.
Castiel released his arms and looked up at him in confusion.
“Dean, I mean it. You have to get away.” He begged.
“I'm ready for them.” Dean added. His mouth was turned down at the corners, and there was a deep sadness in his eyes. “I would rather die than spend a lifetime without you.”
Castiel inhaled like it was his last breath.
“I would rather die.” Dean repeated, his voice just a dull echo of what it had once been. Castiel knew in that moment he had to follow his heart.
“Then we will go together.” He whispered, touching Dean’s face with a trembling hand. “Claim me, Dean. I want you to claim me.”
Dean’s eyes flickered back to life, and the bright green pierced through them once again.
“Do you mean it?” He asked. His voice was so quiet, Castiel almost missed it. He nodded. Dean grabbed him around the waist and pulled him in until their bodies were so close, Castiel could feel Dean's heart beating against his own. Dean pushed his mouth against him and forced his tongue between Castiel's lips to draw a first kiss from him. He was completely lost to Dean the moment their mouths met, and nothing else mattered.
Dean eventually pulled away and took both of Castiel’s hands in his own.
“Come with me, then. Come with me and we can be together forever.” Dean stroked the back of his hands with both thumbs. “I mate for life, Castiel. I want to be with you, if you’ll have me.”
Castiel felt the familiar wash of consuming sensations overpower any shred of logical thought he had left. They soon abandoned the clearing, and Dean led Castiel away through the trees with a possessively tight grip on his hand.
They ran all the way back to the stone tower that sprang up from the courtyard, and locked themselves inside. No one would ever dare to come this far into the forest, and now the wolf would no longer return to the village or howl in the night for the love he thought he had lost.
Dean covered Castiel’s body with his own as soon as the door was bolted shut, pinning him fast and growling against his skin while he ran his hands down Castiel's back and cupped his ass. Dean pulled him roughly against his body and kissed him again. Castiel could feel the heat from his swollen erection pressing against his own.
“Dean.” Castiel breathed, through the want that coursed through his veins. “I don’t know if I'm ready.”
Dean couldn't stop now. The claim had been accepted, and his knot was already starting to swell with the anticipation of taking Castiel. Dean pressed himself even closer until he could feel how hard Castiel was just from his kisses alone. He smiled into Castiel’s mouth and kneaded the tight muscle between his palms.
“Your pert little boy cock says otherwise.” Dean purred, and Castiel suddenly fell limp in his arms when all resistance flowed from him.
Dean quickly picked him up and carried Castiel up the first flight of stairs, groping and licking at him until they reached the top. Dean only moved his hands away from his ass at all to place him delicately on the bed. The smell of sweet slick was still leaking out of him as soon as he gave himself over to being taken and claimed by his alpha. Castiel let Dean undress him while he ran his tongue along the skin of Castiel's neck and shoulders. Castiel could see the line of Dean's erection pressing hard against the inside of his pants.
“My, what a big knot you have.” He whispered, and Dean bared his teeth. He grabbed Castiel hard and pushed him down onto his knees.
“Then, all the better to breed you with.” He growled, consuming lust surging down through his body while Dean prepared to claim him. “Turn over.”
Castiel whimpered soft moans into the sheets and instinctively bowed his head in submission when he presented himself to Dean. He could feel Dean’s fingertips digging into his hips while he pushed into him. Dean made love to him fast and hard and Castiel could feel the alpha knot growing inside him before Dean asked him one last time if he was sure he wanted to be mated.
“Yes, Dean!” Castiel cried out, reaching desperately behind him to pull Dean’s hips even closer until he could hardly breathe from the force of it. “Claim me. Breed me.” He begged, over and over until his voice just faded away when he lost control. He heard a possessive growl next to his ear when Dean pounded into him one last time and sank his sharp teeth into the back of Castiel’s neck. Dean pushed his body forward as his knot formed around the seemingly limitless release he pumped into Castiel. They were locked together, and Dean wrapped his arms around Castiel’s waist and held him against his chest while he licked at the wound until he could taste the blood on his tongue. He soothed him with gentle strokes and kisses until all that was left were two red marks where his teeth had pierced Castiel’s skin and claimed him forever.
5 years later
Castiel was sitting by the fire in Dean’s lap, while one strong arm circled his waist and the other held his baby girl to his chest. Their infant son was sitting at his feet with his head resting on Dean’s knee. Castiel was reading from his favourite book Dean had found in the library at the top of the tower just after their youngest was born. It was a beautiful story about a little girl who always wore a blood red cloak. Dean didn’t much care for the portrayal of the wolf. He always said it lacked characterization. It made Castiel smile.
Dean pressed a tender kiss to Castiel’s temple after he read the last line.
“I won’t be long.” He whispered into Castiel’s ear, only getting up to take the little ones off to bed and tuck them both in for the night. “Be ready for me when I get back.” He winked, and Castiel still flushed pink when he knew Dean wanted him just as much now as he did the first time he had seen him. Even after all these years together, they were still very much in love and it was more wonderful than Castiel could ever have imagined. Dean was still rough and possessive, but that made Castiel just love him all the more.
He leaned in towards the flickering golden flames that warmed their perfect home and thought about how much his life had changed. He thought about all the things that he might have been, or done and Castiel knew he would never change a single thing.
He was actually very lucky after all.