“Sam, Cas is in trouble!” Dean hisses, then takes off through the forest even though it's dark.
*Honk, trill, uhn*
Dean doesn't bother to look behind him to make sure Sam is following. Cas needs him. Cas is calling out for Dean, and there's no way in hell Dean would ignore it. His flashlight keeps him from falling, but he's running fast enough that even being able to see a few feet in front of him doesn't keep him from stumbling a few times.
The moon is full, but the sky is full of clouds that are keeping all but a small amount of light from peeking through. Between the clouds and the trees, it's near pitch black.
Dean doesn't hesitate as he comes upon them. When he gets within firing range, he pulls out his gun, aims, and shoots the werewolf in the head. The body falls half on top of Cas.
“Cas!” Dean yells, scrambling over to Cas quickly and pushing the dead body off him.
Dean takes the time to shoot the werewolf in the heart before turning his attention to Cas. He's not going to take the chance the thing isn't dead.
*Uhn, uhn, uhn* “I'm okay, Dean,” Cas says. “It's just a small wound.” *Uhn, uhn, uhn, uhn, uhn*
Dean assumes Cas is reassuring himself by repeating Dean's name over and over again. And he doesn't trust Cas' assessment of his own injuries, so he gets down on the ground and rips Cas' shirt open at the collar.
He growls when he sees the werewolf has bitten Cas. He hears Sam running up to them, then sees him crash to his knees on Cas' other side. Dean is a fast runner, but Sam's no slouch. For him to take that long to get to them, Dean must've been running on sheer adrenaline.
“He okay?” Sam asks, breathless and concerned.
The blood is running down Cas' neck and soaking his shirt. The blood loss is already slowing from when Dean first got a look at it, but the wound is deep and wide.
“Open the connection a little,” Dean demands, looking Cas in the eye.
“Huh?” Sam asks.
*Hiss* “I can't,” Cas says, a frown on his face, his breath coming out in little huffs that have nothing to do with Cas' huffing noise. He's in pain. A lot of pain.
Dean wants to shake him, force him to do what Dean's telling him. “Yes, you can,” Dean insists. “Open it enough to get what you need. I'll be okay,” he says with as much authority as he can push into his voice.
“What the fuck are you opening?” Sam asks, sounding frustrated by being out of the loop.
“Shut up, Sam,” Dean barks, still looking at Cas, and he hears Sam grunt his begrudging assent.
*Nih* Cas winces. “The wound would be fatal for a human, but I'll be okay,” he says, his voice strained.
“You're so fucking stubborn!” Dean growls. “Open the fucking connection, take what you need to fix your neck, then close it down again,” he says, trying to force the connection between them open even if he knows he can't.
Dean snorts. “Yeah, I know you're worried about me, but I'll be okay,” Dean says. “I know the only reason the werewolf was able to hurt you was because you were using so much of your grace to keep the connection to a minimum that you didn't have enough to kill the fucker. I'm telling you, open it the fuck up or I'm going to find a way to do it myself.”
“It's not funny!” Dean barks. “You know me. I'll find a way.”
*Snuffle* “I know you will,” Cas says, his eyes closing in frustration and pain.
“Then do it,” Dean says, then gasps as he feels the connection open.
He's pretty sure it's because Cas is in pain and injured, but the connection is opening in a way that Dean can only describe as like someone hammering a nail. It's opening a little, then a rush, then a little more, then a rush. It's nothing like the way Cas opens it when they're alone together, smooth and gentle.
Dean's not completely overwhelmed by it, but he has to concentrate on keeping himself calm, focused. The pain is bleeding through their connection, as is the feeling of inadequacy, the fear, the feeling of stupidity and shame that Dean wishes he could wipe away.
He uses a splotch of blood on Cas' shirt to focus, keeping his mind from spinning, pulling, latching onto Cas as hard as it wants to when he feels more of the connection. He can hear things throughout the forest he knows he wouldn't be able to if he weren't connected to an angel so intimately.
Dean knows how many animals are in a one-mile radius around them. He can categorize and name all of them. He knows there's a body of water one hundred and fifty-three feet north of their location. He knows how many gallons of water are in the small lake, how many fish are in there, how many years the lake has been there.
He knows the lake was formed seven hundred and forty-nine years ago when a mild earthquake shifted the surrounding earth, creating a crater and forcing a river that has long since meandered outside of the one-mile radius Dean can sense to overflow and fill the crater, creating the lake.
Dean gets a spike of pain in his neck that shoots up to the top of his scalp, but he keeps still, not wanting Cas to be distracted by anything. If Cas knows the pain is bleeding through their connection, he'll close the connection before healing himself. Dean won't accept that.
He sees the cells in Cas' vessel's body, and Dean gasps when he realizes Cas is telling each cell in the vessel's body what to do, how to heal itself. Dean's mind spins, and it's hard to keep upright. He feels an itchy sensation in his nose and on his upper lip, and he wipes at his nose because he knows it's a small trickle of blood.
Dean sees the cells, feels them working together, obeying Castiel. He knows they're not sentient, but that they have a purpose, a set course, and Cas is manipulating them, but they're doing what he wants though it goes against their nature.
It's happening fast, and Dean hangs on for the ride. He tries to focus on the splotch of blood on Cas' shirt again. He knows he'd lost focus for a moment, but he's getting it back. The cells knitting the wound are becoming background noise and a tingly sensation throughout his body, an echo in the back of his mind.
Then the connection closes down to a very small trickle again, and Dean looks up at Cas to see that the wound is gone.
“What did you do?” Sam asks, his voice a mix of surprise, awe, and concern.
Dean figures Sam never saw Dean's nosebleed, because it seems as if Sam has been staring at Cas' wound. Good. He would've said something to Cas had he seen it.
“We'll tell you on the way back to the motel,” Dean says, helping Cas up, smiling like an idiot because Cas is fine again.
Cas hugs him once they're both standing, and Dean feels Cas sending a pulse of something warm throughout Dean's body. Cas is checking him out, seeing that he's okay, and he probably already knows about the nosebleed, but he doesn't say anything to Dean. No noises of concern.
Cas doesn't need to hug Dean to check him out. Dean knows the hug is not only because Cas loves him, but it's because opening the connection and closing it again is hard for both of them. They both crave it, but Dean's not ready for it to be fully open yet.
A hug is reassurance for them both and a connection they can have here and now. It'll never make up for the connection, but it still feels great, and it grounds them both after everything they've felt in the last few minutes.
Dean hears Sam getting up and heading back toward the car. He's grumbling as he's walking, and Cas chuckles into Dean's neck.
“He's going to want an explanation,” Cas says as they break apart.
Dean smiles. The stronger bond they've had since the witch's power hit them has made Cas take on so many more human traits that it thrills Dean. He's more casual in his movements than he used to be, seems to fit in his own skin.
Dean doesn't think it's because of some sort of bleed-through from Dean's personality or Cas losing something of himself. Rather Dean believes it's because Cas is relaxing into his life, enjoying himself, letting more of what he is come through his vessel as he learns to do things humans take for granted like having a shoulder to shrug when they're stumped over something someone has said.
“Yeah, yeah,” Dean says, smacking Cas on the ass as he starts walking toward the car. “Promise me you'll knock him the fuck out if he freaks out and starts rattling off questions and won't shut the hell up.”
*Eh, hic* “I'll take care of Sam,” Cas says, so much affection in his voice and the noise that Dean feels his chest tighten.
Dean never dreamed he could have someone who loved him so deeply, let alone someone who also loved his brother, would do anything for Sam, and would feel just as much affection for him as Dean does. It warms his heart and makes him feel like the luckiest man alive.