When Dean opened his eyes that morning, he couldn’t find it within himself to question the sunlight that bounced through a window and around a well-furnished room before hitting his face. He didn't even question the large, surprisingly comfortable bed with many rumpled up sheets that he lay upon. For a minute, he questioned the sound of the shower turning off in the adjoining bathroom, but his brain quickly filled in the memories needed to placate his curious nature. Castiel emerged from the bathroom, wet hair flopping down on a crinkled forehead. Seeing Dean awake, a tender smile formed on his lips, "Good morning, Dean."
Dean grumbled incoherently before pulling the sheets up over his head, "not yet," he mumbled, willing himself back to sleep, "five more minutes."
It was Castiel's good natured laugh that shook him to wakefulness, he knew he'd heard it before, had many memories of it, but why did it sound like a revelation each time? He'd stilled under the covers, letting Cas's nimble fingers pull them off him. Squinting green eyes met amused blue ones, and Dean forgot his questions.
"I'm going to go get the coffee," Cas said from above him, "you should go get ready. Big day today." Dean ruefully nodded in agreement as he sat up, Cas was already headed out the door.
"Sam's already called twice by the way," Castiel stuck his head back in, "he seems…troubled, perhaps you should call him first."
Confusion muddled Dean's brain as he stepped into the bathroom. The thought occurred to him that today was Sam's wedding. Sammy was getting married, to Eileen. Dean was disorientated for a second more before he remembered clearly all that had happened over the last year or so.
He'd used Michael's powers to defeat Lucifer, and then he'd managed somehow to expel Michael. It had taken a bit of a fight, but at this point he didn’t question the wins when they came. And then came peace. There were hardly any monsters to kill, no angels to fight, disorganized demons were hardly a threat. They'd spent months in the bunker, collecting, organizing, being true Men of Letters, he supposed. But he'd felt aimless, grown stir crazy until he'd decided to come back out to Bobby's old house for a visit.
His heart had broken a little to see the dilapidated house. It hadn't been much, but it had been Bobby's home, their only home for a while.
He'd begun the renovations solo, having found a new, if temporary, outlet for his need to fix things. Cas had joined in soon after; he enjoyed creating things, he'd said, after so much destruction, he wanted to use his hands to make something good. Dean hadn't said much in response to that, but soon after he had realized he's stopped referring to the house as Bobby's. Somehow, it had become theirs, his and Cas'. Sam had come by to visit often, Jack in tow. The Nephilim had been recovering slowly for months. Having been left with a smidgen of grace after Lucifer's assault, Jack had slowly recuperated and was finally getting back to his old strength. He'd spend his visits wandering after Dean, asking many questions that Dean found himself calmly answering. Castiel was always nearby, a fond smile gracing his face often as he watched them.
As the house headed towards completion, it felt like their lives were too. Jack, fully recovered, had accepted the angels request that he visit to heaven. Castiel had accompanied him, leaving Dean alone for days with only the demons in his head. When they'd come back after nearly a week, Dean had made a very important decision. Before he could declare it however, Jack floored them with one he'd made. He'd agreed to head back to heaven, and stay, in exchange for one thing. Dean couldn’t place the emotions that had overcome him when watching Jack announce to Sam that he'd found Eileen, and she'd wanted to come back to earth with him, for Sam. Pride perhaps, he'd thought, and gratefulness, and so much love. Dean didn't question how all this was possible, simply because he didn't want to anymore.
He'd pulled Castiel aside as soon as he could, and in his own words, 'laid it all out there.'
Dean's declaration of love had surprised Cas, he was sure, but Dean Winchester, for once in his life, had a plan. So, when he'd gently pushed Cas against the side of a house they'd built back up from studs and bent down to his lips, Dean knew exactly what he wanted his kiss to convey. Feeling Castiel, angel of the lord, melt into his arms was everything Dean had ever wanted and more, even if he'd never known it before.
And so, Dean Winchester stood in a shower he had picked with Cas, fingers pruning, cheeks flushed as hot water rolled off his back. He smiled in contentment at his life.
Dean's eyes flew open at the sudden intrusion, he hadn't heard the door opening had he?
"Dean!" The voice seemed warbled, but unmistakable, Castiel. Why did he sound so… far away?
"Cas?" he called out, but got no reply.
Turning off the water, he wrapped a towel around himself as he called out again. Walking outside Dean heard nothing more, but called out once more to be sure, "Cas, you there?"
"Yeah," he finally got an answer as Cas walked in, a cup of steaming coffee in his hands, "what's wrong Dean?"
"You were the one calling me," Dean replied with a shrug, "you tell me."
Cas tilted his head in that familiar and endearing way, his confusion clear, "I didn't call you, Dean. Perhaps you just thought you were hearing things…"
"But I…" Dean let his words trail off, shaking his head. Maybe he'd just imagined it. He accepted the cup of coffee from Cas's hands, dropping a kiss on his forehead in return, and earning a smile.
He'd surprised both Cas and himself with how affectionate he'd become in a short amount of time. With anyone else, he would've suggested it was a near death experience that triggered the change. But he was Dean Winchester, he'd died and come back to life an impossible amount of times. In his case, he'd deduced, it was the shock feeling something come in and take control over his life. His body that had served his faithfully for decades, had been commanded, albeit briefly, by someone else. And Dean Winchester hated that loss of power, hated the knowledge that his friends and family would have had to look at him and see something else. He-
"Did you call Sam?" Cas's voice interrupted his thoughts again. Dean glanced to the angel's face, he had an eyebrow raised, concern and curiosity clouding his face. Dean leaned in to give him another kiss, a real one. He'd always found that eyebrow surprisingly sexual, after all. "I'm going to do that right now," he finally answered, "but first, coffee."
On a normal basis, Castiel barely felt any physical assaults that came his way. But his grace was dwindling; he'd given most of it to the angels in heaven who hoped to save what they could of their home. And so, like he had when he was human once before, Castiel had begun to feel the effects of not being fully 'juiced up.'
It didn't help of course, that the fists pounding down onto his body were that of an archangel. Not just any, of course, because when had fate been kind to Castiel. The face leering over him, the hands grabbing at the collar of his trench coat and throwing him across the ground all belonged to his dearest friend.
It had become like a sick game for them, this cat and mouse chase all over.
Every few weeks they would meet up in some forgotten corner of the country. Angel and Archangel from another universe, squaring off in a fight both knew shouldve been an easy victory for the one. But Michael seemingly enjoyed toying with the fallen angel. Physically, he would dominate, beating Castiel's vessel within an inch of its life, both knowing it wouldn't truly die without the use of angel blade. But Michael never reached for it, even as Castiel lay prone on the ground, pure will keeping him conscious as his weakened vessel grasped at the last of his grace for comfort.
Michael liked using this time to twist Dean's face into a depraved smirk as he regaled Castiel with all the nefarious things he was doing to Dean within his own body. He was evil, Castiel had often thought to himself, this angel was so far lost he basked in the joy of torturing a human soul within its own vessel.
Even when he had enough grace built up to get up afterwards, Castiel couldn’t get himself to leave. It was masochistic to say the least, but Castiel felt lost now more than ever, and yearned to be close to Dean any way he could. His inability to help his dearest human regain control tore away at him. He'd lay there, a bloodied mess near Michael feet as the Archangel told him of how he'd made Dean think he was back in hell, tortured for a hundred years because this time he refused to accept the deal and make it stop. Castiel would listen, heart wrenching, as Michael told him of how, upon finding a happy Dean was more compliant, he had Dean living in a fantasy he'd found tucked away in a corner of his mind. One filled with a happy family, a happy home…their home.
He hadn't been lying when he'd declared Dean Winchester and he shared a profound bond.
Castiel had raised Dean from hell, used his grace to essentially glue the man's soul back together. He'd gotten some of Dean's soul mixed with his grace in the process; perhaps that's what made him different now. His grace had been tainted, with a human's soul.
He could feel the pulse of Dean's soul within the vessel, feel the traces of his own grace within it. Sometimes, if Michael was close enough, Castiel could feel Dean's pain, his anger, the confusion, and now the sense of peace as it mixed with his grace- their combined emotions so powerful they radiated from Dean's soul, calling out to Castiel. Michaels grace swirled protectively around it, however, preventing Castiel from reaching through it.
He supposed he should've explained this all to Dean and Sam before how it all worked, why Castiel was not so inexplicably drawn to Dean, and why he couldn’t use his contaminated grace to piece Sam back together the same way.
Castiel thought it was somewhat laughable that these thoughts found their way into his head at a time where all of his focus should be on attempting to get through to Dean inside of his own body. But often, all Castiel could do as the archangel wearing a beloved face threw him around like a ragdoll, was scream Dean's name.
Beg for him to resist and cast Michael out.
And beg for him to come home.