When I walked into the kitchen to see what Dean and Sam were up to, I confess I had no idea I was only a few seconds away from almost ruining everything.
Of course, by “everything,” I don’t mean what it has meant in the past. My near-failure wasn’t about the end of the world, my smiting of Heaven, or my loss of my army or my mind. It was just about my own interests, and as such counts for very little in the world to anyone except me.
But we are all limited to our own existence. As much as we try for empathy, human or angel, a central part of us counts our own life as the most relevant to the act of living, even when we sacrifice ourselves.
So when I say “everything,” I only mean everything that mattered to me, which is very small indeed when weighed on the scale of the universe.
But I wasn’t thinking about the scale of the universe that morning when I walked into the kitchen. I was only thinking about Sam and Dean and Jack, and that was quite enough for an angel who lives in a bunker.
But then I saw the back of Dean’s t-shirt, and that’s when I almost lost it.
Many years ago, Dean Winchester asked me what I was going to do with my last night alive and was then dismissive of my plan to sit quietly. At the time, I didn’t understand what he meant about Bert and Ernie’s sexual orientation, but I did understand that somehow he took it as a personal affront that I should die without having experienced sex.
When he asked if I had ever done any “cloud seeding,” which I personally thought was hilarious, I simply told him I had never “had occasion.” It was much simpler than the truth.
In Paradise Lost, Milton’s Archangel Raphael blushes at Adams’ question as to whether angels have sex, which I suppose is quite charming. Personally, I find the language more than a little tortured, even for its time: “Whatever pure thou in the body enjoy'st/(And pure thou wert created) we enjoy/In eminence and obstacle find none/Of membrane, joint or limb, exclusive bars.”
As usual, Milton got the whole thing wrong. When angels decide to mate, the last thing they’re thinking about is a lack of physicality, let alone blushing.
Still, I have to credit Milton for even realizing that angels would seek to join, as they did in droves for the first few thousands of our years. But being limited in number as we are, those who did not find a mate after that initial frenzy stopped looking. The rest of us, in human terms, delegated each other to the “friend zone.”
Angelic lovers, in fact, have a long and valued, even revered, history in Heaven. It was they who helped God in the creation of the cupids. They forewarned other angels about the behavior of humankind in terms of mating, sex, love, marriage, and the desire to be together forever.
This last part was perhaps a deficit, as angel mates never did warn us of the way humans could fall out of love and even out of desire. The concept of “divorce” took us quite by surprise, even after watching the more advanced primates exchange partners for a variety of social and political reasons.
No, we were unprepared when human couples joined in what seemed almost an excess of love, only then to despise each other not long afterward. The ideas of familiarity’s leading to hate, of “getting tired of one another,” and the like are things we angels have had to take completely on the word of humans.
Of the nine angels currently left in Heaven, four are coupled.
I cannot imagine, and I do not wish to try, what it has been like for angels to lose their mates in battle. You may sneer at me for what I considered a mercy at the time, but when I killed so many in Heaven when I was—I will be kind enough to myself to call it insane—I never took half of a couple. Even in my sheer delirium and egotism that I was God, I could not conceive of taking an angel’s mate away from them.
Listen to me. Nothing I did was good then. Nothing I did then can be mitigated.
But still, the idea of taking an angel’s mate away from them was abhorrent even then. I suppose that’s something.
Back before the threat of the Apocalypse, angel mates numbered in the thousands, and I cannot pretend I did not wish to be among their number. The idea of having someone there for you—
Wait, I’ve fallen into human terminology.
To be one half of an angelic mating isn’t about being “there.” It’s about being “here.”
Let me elaborate. An angel’s mate is never separated from them, though they are separate. The bond between mated angels means never being parted, even by galaxies.
Perhaps that’s why I actually didn’t want to know if they could be parted by death.
Now I know what I did not then, that dead angels go to the Empty. Do they somehow manage to sleep as one even there? I would believe it. The things I have seen.
Aral and Zerachiel always come to my mind when I think these sorts of thoughts. They had been together practically from the beginning, and yet they were so different, such strong personalities. In battle, they fought as one. I thought sometimes they could have taken on a horde of Leviathan and won.
But as great as they were as soldiers, I found them, and many other mated angels, most valuable for counseling. Taking on so much consideration for another as they had, their scope of thought was so much greater, so much father in range, than the average angel’s. I so greatly envied them for their ability to see so much.
To say nothing of their obvious pleasure. On occasion a super-nova alert just turned out to be a mated angel couple having a particularly passionate episode.
So that night I thought I was about to die, sitting there in Jimmy Novak’s vessel in what truly was a den of iniquity, I wanted to trust Dean. I wanted to believe that the sad woman with so many wounds on her soul was going to give me at least something of the pleasure I had seen so many of my brothers and sisters enjoy. When Dean handed me the money with the inexplicable directions not to order “off the menu,” I followed that poor woman down the hall in the terrified hope that there would be something, frankly anything, I could savor.
So then I made the mistake, or the correction, of trying to make a connection beyond the strictly physical and told her about her father. I had hoped it would make her feel better.
Even now, I’m not completely sure about the social politics of what happened after that. I only know that I did not have to couple with a highly damaged female human to please Dean, and that instead I brought him some measure of joy, or at least amusement, with her rejection.
I believe that moment was also when I began to suspect the truth about myself and Dean Winchester. At least, it is my truth. I’m quite aware it’s not his.
I have tried on more than one occasion to explain to my brothers and sisters that I do not seek Dean as a mate. I have yet to convince them. Naomi in particular never believed it, which is why at one point I was a greater danger to Dean than anything else alive.
It reminds me, as the humans say, to “keep it in my pants.”
Dean and Sam Winchester, Bobby Singer, Jo and Ellen, Ash and his notoriety in Heaven, and everything else since I took James as a vessel has brought me to a place in my existence that I could never have suspected.
That day I went into the beautiful room and vanquished Zachariah with my blood wasn’t just about believing in Dean, or in Dean and Sam. It was about everything they and the people in their lives believed in.
I had stood idly by before, you understand. My last time on Earth, a woman and her Nephilim daughter had been declared enemies of Heaven, and I did my duty as a soldier.
I did that duty again many more times, through not on Earth. I don’t know why that made a difference.
I would like to pretend I wasn’t made proud when the word came down from on high that I had been chosen to rescue the Righteous Man from Hell. I took select members of my garrison (no mated couples) with me into the Pit. The filth and suffering we encountered just made us more prideful when we pulled him out.
I could have healed my handprint from Dean’s shoulder, but I wanted that signature on my work. I was, in short, proud.
Now, I have great respect for some of the accomplishments of the Catholic Church, but like all human institutions, it tends to simplify things. The pride I felt wasn’t the problem, let alone a sin.
In fact, the pride I felt got me through that first bit with pure obedience: I left him in that grave.
I left Dean Winchester, the brightest soul I had ever seen, the strongest human I had even known, inside that grave.
I wanted to be there, but I had no vessel yet, still negotiating with Jimmy Novak. But I could have left someone else to be there, such as Uriel.
You see, my sin wasn’t born of pride, but of jealousy.
I didn’t want Uriel to be there, or any other member of the garrison. Though I greatly rationalized it to myself at the time, I didn’t want any other angel to be there because I wanted to be there. Or, more honestly, if I couldn’t be there, no one else could.
I watched Dean as he clawed out of that grave. I did try to speak to him at the gas station, and then later at the hotel, which was my mistake.
My very deep mistake.
When I saw Dean Winchester’s soul in Hell, so bright, so human, so strong, I felt my first-ever sensation of what I think other angels have felt upon recognizing each other.
Of course, it was and will ever be one-sided. Dean has done me the highest honor in thinking of me as a brother. It is only my own fault that it’s not the honor I would prefer.
So there Dean was, whole and on Earth again, and I assumed that someone so fitted to my own desires for companionship would be able to hear my true voice. And I was wrong. It destroyed a small building and a hotel room, how wrong I was.
So I went into Jimmy Novak’s body, and even while I was walking across that sigil-scribbled barn floor toward two hostile and terrified humans, part of me was still foolish enough to think, somehow, he would recognize me inside the “holy tax accountant.”
Idiotic in the extreme. It’s painful now to contemplate it.
I remind myself that in the range of my failures, that moment when Dean Winchester shoved a knife into my heart is small when weighed on the scale of the universe. I was a stranger to him, nothing more.
But all has not been lost. Far from it.
Dean Winchester is my friend, as is his brother Sam. Somehow, this angel with a “crack in his chassis,” this “top of the Christmas tree” failure, has become a pseudo-brother to two of the best humans ever born.
I find myself thinking now of the Castiel from the Apocalypse World, a creature right out of Raiders of the Lost Arc.
That self-righteous comic book villain could have been I. I could have walked that path, pitted by angels against humans. I could have been something into which I gladly plunged my angel blade.
How much do I owe Dean Winchester and his family and friends? How little have I done for them in recompense?
If there is one thing above all others that I cherish in humans over angels, it is their lack of prejudgment.
Perhaps that isn’t fair. All angels have known each other since the creation of angels, which stopped when God left.
But while we know each other, we do not—I don’t quite know how to say it—we do not seek to look past the company file, I suppose.
Not all humans are skilled at judging one’s character. Certainly, not all are as skilled as they think they are. But still, they are often willing to take that incredible leap of faith. They are ready to say, “I have no real reason to trust you, but I will.”
Most of them get royally boned after that, yet they still do it.
On very little, Dean and Sam trusted me, believed in me. Even when I stopped believing in Dean, when I thought he would betray us and everything we stood for, Sam stood by him, and so I believed in Sam. And I was right.
We were right.
Not long ago, even after Dean lashed out at me in anger, I was able to stand with him and Sam as they addressed “the troops.” That was a moment of pride without any chance of sin. That was a hint, a taste—so much more than I have ever had—of what it means to join. To belong.
That’s what I couldn’t tell Dean that day in the brothel. Coupling with some injured human female, what could that give me? I received a thousand-fold more when he leaned on my shoulder and laughed.
I have already had my greatest moment of connection, my closest moment to mating, when I gripped Dean Winchester tight and raised him from Perdition. I am flawed enough to wish for more. I am old enough to know it will never happen.
And indeed, what does it matter? Dean, Sam, and so many more of them have been closer to me than any angel I ever knew.
And then, of course, came Jack. A son.
There is nothing in my existence as an angel that remotely prepared me for Jack, for how fiercely I love him, for how easy it was to bargain for his life with my own, for how greatly I am concerned regarding him. Even the delicate balance of Heaven and the prospect of a reality worse than the Apocalypse somehow does not twist my metaphorical gut into knots as drastically as my concern for Jack’s life and soul.
And so it was that I wasn’t thinking about the scale of the universe that morning when I walked into the kitchen. I was only thinking about Sam and Dean and Jack, and that was quite enough for an angel who lives in a bunker.
Ah, but I have almost forgotten what almost cost me everything that morning.
On the back of Dean’s t-shirt was a pair of wings.
Instantly, I recognized them as a part of the logo for Metallica, an American heavy metal band formed in 1981 in Los Angeles by vocalist and guitarist James Hetfield and drummer Lars Ulrich. I knew Dean enjoyed them and that Sam and Jack enjoyed them somewhat less, but still enough to classify the sensation of listening to their music as pleasurable.
I was also quite aware that the band’s merchandise often uses a logo incorporating a pair of wings.
Yet none of this quite prepared me for walking into the bunker’s kitchen and seeing a pair of wings on Dean Winchester’s back.
Like some sort of dragonfly, my first, second, and third thoughts had been to fling myself over to him and mate.
It was only around thought six or seven than I remembered it was some useless t-shirt from a heavy metal band Dean favored I. It was only then, after that delirious near-disaster, that I knew I was just looking at nothing.
And so despite walking into a room and seeing the entity I desperately longed for as my true mate display his wings, I controlled myself.
“Nice to see you all have slept.” As I said those words, if the Shadow had come to take me to the Empty, I doubt I would have resisted. That’s a horrible thing to feel, but for one split-second I had thought Dean was presenting himself to me in courtship, and then I realized that of course he wasn’t and that I was an idiot to think he might have been; that shock of disappointment and self-loathing was perhaps the hardest blow in battle I have ever known. Ramiel’s thrusting the Lance of Michael into my side was almost nothing in comparison.
And then I felt, as I have often felt, a different sort of pride. Not one of them, even Jack, found anything wrong with my words.
In fact, they began to talk about how Jack had been comparing police reports across states and found specific word groupings that hindered their searches for similar crime reports.
I nodded in approval and thought about sucking Dean’s dick.
Ah. I might want to explain here.
You see, when I realized Dean and I would never be mated, I allowed myself to fantasize.
It’s not an angel action. Angels do not have fantasies. We live to serve.
But there I was, betraying everything I had ever known. And yes, it wasn’t just for Dean, but Dean wore the face of it.
So, yes. I have imagined intimacy since then as a physical act with Dean Winchester.
Over the past few years, by which I mean a small planet’s rotation around a rather out-of-the-way star, I have been accused by other angels and a demon or two of human psychosis regarding Dean’s appearance, as though the fact that he is lovely in human terms matters when I can see his soul.
In fact, I have found most of the truly beautiful souls are inside humans who do not fit their current society’s standards of physical beauty. I have wondered whether outer beauty in humans actually discourages inner beauty, but I’m in no position to judge this. My brother Gabriel once told me that physically lovely humans are stunted in their spiritual development because they get everything they want by smiling and “showing a bit of hoo-hah.” I have no idea if this is correct, and I have often wished for an older brother who didn’t sound like he was making crude sound effects most of them time.
But then, I confess, I am somewhat stymied when others accuse me of fixating sexually on Dean. I always deny it, of course, and usually I believe I am successful in doing so.
But of course I have made Dean my entire universe of sexuality. I never wanted to be with anyone before him, and I doubt my fixation will ever change to another.
With a welcome joy, I remember that evening I watched the Pizza Man and the Babysitter. It took me some time, and an experimental kiss with Meg that I cannot regret, to realize what I had seen. The idea of slapping a partner’s rear was so odd at the time. But after April I know that during sexual arousal all stimulus can add to sensation.
Even more, I have read that some people quickly produce endorphins in response to pain, even quickly enough to be of use during a sexual episode, generating an opiate-like, euphoric response in the nervous system.
However, this release only happens when fear has been eliminated from the experience, and that is one reason the “Pizza Man + Babysitter + Spanking” scenario is considered pornography, not documentary.
Lack of fear requires trust. It is most unlikely—not impossible, but unlikely—that a young woman would so completely trust the pizza man.
After I made this realization I considered whether Dean Winchester would enjoy having my erection up his rectum while I spanked him. My ultimate conclusion was no. While Dean is a man with a healthy prostate, I do not believe he would ever feel safe enough with a sexual partner to experience pain as anything other than something to be endured for that partner’s pleasure.
I should explain.
Dean is a highly sexualized human, but unlike most of them, I have observed from our social interactions that he is not just considerate of his partners, but sexually dependent upon them.
Let me explain again. I may not have phrased that correctly.
Dean enjoys coitus primarily as a mutual, in his words, “click.” It’s one of the reasons he has no mental blocks with becoming aroused during onanism. He simply imagines a partner who is enjoying stimulus as much as he is, and he’s stimulated.
Excuse me while I admit to finding that admirable.
And yes, even personally stimulating, although this last is pointless.
So, I do not believe Dean’s sexual pleasure would be particularly highlighted, especially with a new partner, with spanking or other pain-inflicting or controlling sexual advances.
Indeed, I have seen several such approaches return less than optimal results in Dean’s experiences.
I want to make it clear at this point that I do not, and have never, watched Dean experience sexual congress, or onanism. I am only taking information from what Dean and Sam and others have expressed openly.
Is it still a breach of their privacy to take everything they’ve said publically and put it together? Ask the NSA.
All I know is that only moments after one of the most unsettling moments of my existence—a moment caused by a t-shirt, of all things—I was standing in the bunker’s kitchen when Dean, Sam, and Jack sat down for breakfast, and I sat down with them. Dean, as usual, had given me some food. It was his way of saying that I was part of the social gathering, regardless of whether I ate. Additionally, he would eat the bacon off my plate with a particular satisfaction.
Again, such a thing from one angel to another would basically be translated as, “Hey, jump my bones.” But I knew Dean meant it strictly as a sign of being family.
For the next forty-odd minutes, the three of them talked about Jack’s new search algorithms for crime searches. I nodded amiably and said a few encouraging phrases I couldn’t frankly give a flying fuck about.
Of more interest to me personally, I was fantasizing about Dean naked.
Ah, now there’s a concept angels aren’t used to. Like all other angels, I saw humans in their clothing, naked, skeletal, cellular, spiritual forms whenever I looked at them. Before Dean, the most visible layer truly didn’t matter.
Frankly, even naked humans having sex with other naked humans was, as I told Keven Tran, boring.
It wasn’t until I saw Dean and his soul—so bright, so much a comment on the rest of him—that it even occurred to me that seeing the layers of humans mattered.
But here I was, listening to them talk about surveillance methods and completely agreeing with their importance, and all the while I was thinking about Dean in his entirety, every perfect layer.
I haven’t just seen Dean naked, I made him naked. When I pulled his soul out of Hell and went to his body it was, frankly, putrid. The flesh had been ripped and bones broken by Hellhounds, but that was nothing compared to three months of decomposition without the intervention of a mortician. There were many contented worms feasting on Dean’s flesh, I can assure you.
In short, Dean’s body was a hot mess and certainly nothing I could use to shove his soul back into.
But I had been provided with Dean’s specifications to the letter by what I had thought at the time was God. Now, it’s more likely the specs came from Zachariah, but it doesn’t matter.
I used every bit of knowledge and skill I had to make him just as he had been, minus a few scars and some plaque in his arteries. I gave his liver a little polish as well.
I did not know for what purpose I had been sent to retrieve and restore Dean Winchester. It was only pride in my work—the right kind of pride then—that motivated me to make him perfect and whole. And I committed every second of that transformation to careful memory in case I were ever called on to restore him again.
So while the others talked, I used that perfect memory to my personal, wholly selfish advantage to relive the feel and smell of him as I imagined now taking him in my mouth not for my taste buds—like everything else, Dean’s skin and semen would taste like molecules—but for the knowledge of the pleasure it would bring him.
I thought of the various notes of hedonism his voice would make, the clench of his muscles, the outbreak of perspiration, the tremble of his bones. While I applied suction, I would run my hands up the backs of his thighs, over the swell of his ass, and then down again, registering every last sound and smell and—
“Cass?” Dean asked.
“Yes, Dean?” I ran over the last few sentences of conversation. They were talking about adapting Jack’s ideas to Angel Radio. “I doubt the application itself would be difficult,” I said. “But considering the limited data inputs these days, I’m not sure how useful it would be. Still, I will pass along the information to Duma.”
The others nodded in thought, while I made sure my coat concealed my erection. I wondered if Dean liked to be rimmed.
Sexual stimulation is shrouded in mystery for humans, but actually it’s a matter of basic math. The more nerve endings in a millimeter, the more sensitive the area. Throw in trust and an erotic mindset, and one has an erogenous zone.
Dean, like almost human males, has an abundance of sensory nerve endings in his puborectalis and anal region. It stands to reason that stimulation there, in the right circumstances, would bring him sexual pleasure
Again, however, what should be a simple matter of A + B = C is complicated by the mental component. I am reasonably certain that Dean has had women stimulate his anal region and that he enjoyed it. The pleasure derived from my fantasy, however, is based on whether he would be able to enjoy stimulation from me.
Could I make him feel good? Could I make him orgasm while saying my name?
A better bet would also be my go-to fantasy: me bent over a sofa, Dean thrusting into my body. The male penis has 4,000 or more nerve endings. He could blot me out of his own understanding, perhaps with some witch’s spell, and my body—my body, not Jimmy’s—would be soft and slick and hot for him.
Being more careful to follow the conversation now, I noticed when it’s my turn to speak without being prompted. I said something appropriate.
But what a new fantasy I found! Dean has been hexed—which in real life I would do everything to counter, but this is a fantasy—and he comes barreling into the bunker. Sam and Jack are somewhere else.
Dean and I are alone. The spell makes him not only delirious and desperate, but in a state that I know means he won’t remember anything. (Again, I wouldn’t take advantage in the real world, but this is my fantasy, damn it.)
Anyway, Dean comes into the bunker under a witch’s spell desperate to fuck. Yes, desperate. He’s sweating. He’s trembling. He’s—
Jack is looking at me.
“Of course” I say. “I think this could greatly improve our odds on recognizing patterns more quickly, which would save many lives.”
They go back to talking.
So, Dean comes into the bunker while he’s stripping out of his jacket, his layer of denim, and then his t-shirt (not the one with the wings). He’s sweating, and his heart is racing. A single bead of sweat runs down the line from his chin to his collar and then down further. I watch the gathering dew of his sweat, farther down as it drops, trickling between his pectoral muscles, which would be called breasts if he were female, and then down further, pooling around his abdominal muscles.
I’ve seen many images in so-called “beauty” and “men’s health” magazines (both of them savage to the human psyche), where men have a “six pack.” Dean does not, neither would I wish for one. Few men actually have the muscular placement for that particular arrangement, regardless of crunches.
Dean’s perfect body doesn’t offer up the lines of such a thing. Instead, his core’s hardness is solid, almost a surprise under his skin. Someone could lay their head on his stomach and sleep in perfect comfort, I imagine.
But, whatever. So Dean comes into the bunker and strips off his clothes. I watch sweat go down his body.
“Can I help you?” I ask.
And this is my favorite part in all my fantasies. I anticipate it like a wave.
Dean rushes at me. Dean pulls off my clothes. Dean wants, and I am there. I am a receptacle for Dean’s lust.
And Dean fucks me.
I really don’t care how. In the thousands of fantasies I’ve had now, my body remains somewhat vague. It is the image of Dean in the throes of sexual pleasure caused by touching me that enthralls me.
For hours, long after they all go to sleep, I sat in the kitchen and imagined it down to the molecule: Dean Winchester enjoying himself with my body.