“I fail to understand why this was considered necessary,” Cas gripes as he walks with Joshua down the long hallway leading to the garden.
“The powers that bad believed we could gain a better understand between our two peoples by walking in each other shoes,” Joshua answers calmly. He’s so rarely ruffled. It’s one of those things that irritates Cas to no end.
“Fine,” Cas huffs. “In the name of greater equality in human and angelic relations I understand the concept. What I’m confused about is why they would pick me to spend a month with a human. I have no particular feelings about humans one way or another.”
“I would say your selection had more to do with the particular human that you will have to live with more than your feelings about them as a whole,” Joshua says with a secretive smile.
It makes the feathers on Cas’ wings puff up in anxiety. Joshua smiling is almost never a good thing.
Cas tries hard to think about what his cryptic comment could possibly mean. Over his lifetime Cas has interacted with a number of humans and he’s struggling to remember when he’s had difficulty. “I don’t understand,” he finally sighs.
“You will,” Joshua murmurs. The words offer no comfort.
“When does it begin?” Cas finally asks as they circle their way into the wild and secluded garden designed specifically for this challenge. It’s large and beautiful. There are high perches designed to help Cas show this human the joys of angelic flight, partnered with a cottage for two and enough food stored up to get them through the time requirement.
Cas has never spent a month alone with anyone. But he’s an adult and rather even tempered for the most part. He’s fairly certain it can’t possibly be that bad.
“In the morning,” Joshua tells him. “The Oracles have given you the evening to gather yourself in preparation. This is a very important task Castiel. You must practice patience with this human. The changes to his body will be difficult for him to accept and negotiate. He will have a great deal to learn from you and it will be different than teaching an angelic child to fly.”
“I’m aware of how disconcerting it might be to suddenly have new appendages,” Cas chuckles. “I can do this. You needn’t concern yourself. I’m choosing to view it as an adventure.”
“That it will certainly be,” Joshua laughs.
He stops at the doorway and bids Cas good night and good luck.
Cas brushes it off. He doesn’t need luck. It’s just one male human.
Two thousand years of fighting between humans and angels led to a sudden ceasefire ordered by their world’s most powerful beings just before Cas’ birth. The Oracles are as mysterious as they are commanding and what they say goes with no complaints. They stay to themselves for the most part and allow the world to move on at a natural pace but the stories say that the war had been on the verge of destroying everything. So they had stepped in and asked for peace. What they ask for they get.
Cas was born into a world broken by conflict on the day of the truce. They angels say his wings reflect the nature of the world then. They’re different than other angels, spotted and huge with no real pattern or direction. He has a clump of jet black feathers on the tips of his wings but the rest of the outside is covered in grey and the sensitive underside of his wings are covered in clumps of white and black and grey in no real order.
“Sometimes you must go back to go forward,” one of the Oracles had told him. Cas had never figured out what that meant.
He eats and meditates, rolls his way through is wings stretches hoping to shake off the tension that seems to be hovering over him at all times. It’s possible he’s more anxious about this ordeal than he lets on. When Cas slides into his bed that night it takes him a long time to get to sleep as he stares at the empty pallet across the small room where the human will be tomorrow.
In his dream he’s a child standing outside of some kind of huge compound. There are human guards around him. The ground is muddy everywhere and it looks like it’s been raining for days.
“Hey featherbrain,” a voice sounds from behind him. “What are you staring at so hard?”
Cas grinds his teeth down in response to that voice. He hates that voice so much it makes his feathers ache. “What do you want Dean?”
“Nothing,” the human boy shrugs as he walks around into Cas’ view. “Just checking up on you.”
“Leave me alone,” Cas hisses as he draws his wings in tighter around his body. Being the focus of Dean Winchester’s attention has never ended well for him. He’s immediately self protective. Dean is always picking on him.
“No,” Dean says simply with a smile that if Cas didn’t know him better would look friendly. “You don’t get to tell me what I can do.”
He reaches out with his hand and shoves at Cas’ shoulder. The size difference between them is such that Cas stumbles backward, sliding in the mud. “Don’t touch me!”
“You’re not with the angel’s right now birdy,” Dean snaps as he presses his advantage and forces Cas to take another step backward. “Here at the compound you’re on my turf and what I say goes.”
He reaches out to grab Cas then, shaking him hard by the arm. “Why do you hate me so much?” Cas gasps as he’s manhandled by Dean until he has to snap his wings out to maintain his balance.
“If you don’t know then I’m not going to tell you,” Dean answers before slamming a hand against the inside of Cas’ wing hard, making him cry out before shoving him backward into the mud.
Cas jerks awake covered in sweat. His eyes dart around the cottage and he sighs in relief when he realizes it was just a dream.
He hasn’t thought about his childhood in a long time. It’s disconcerting that the memories would resurface one the night before such an important event.
There’s light coming in the window and Cas can hear movement outside the cottage. He stumbles up off the pallet and heads toward the front door. There’s a moment where he debates that he’s hardly dressed appropriately to meet a human dignitary but on the other hand delaying any further could also reflect badly and Cas has always been careful about seeming offensive.
He opens the door ready to greet his partner for the next month with a smile only to stumble to a stop and have the welcoming grin fall off his face in horror.
“Cas?” the human breathes as though he’s just as shocked.
And there he is, Dean Winchester, Cas’ childhood tormenter, the very bane of his whole existence while he and his family had lived with the humans for that one horrible year.
He’s just standing there with wide eyes and an open mouth looking much like Cas thought he would as an adult. But now instead of being entirely human, for the next thirty days Dean’s body has been altered.
He has huge honey colored wings growing from his back.
“Can I help you?” Cas makes a split second decision to play dumb. It’s been since they were children. It’s not entirely impossible that he wouldn’t remember Dean Winchester.
“Can I help you?” Cas makes a split second decision to play dumb. It’s been since they were children. It’s not entirely impossible that he wouldn’t remember Dean Winchester.
They haven’t seen one another or spoken since Cas was eight years old. He’s thirty five now; that makes Dean thirty six. The angel doesn’t stop to wonder about why he would remember that little insignificant detail after all these years.
“Cas, it’s me,” Dean says with quivering hands and thrashing wings that he clearly has no control over. They dance and weave over the back of his head in a way that Cas has only ever seen on small children when they are particularly anxious. But it can’t possibly be him that causes those feelings in Dean.
No one has ever been afraid of Castiel.
“Have we met?” Cas asks as he struggles to plaster a flat but friendly smile on his face even as he grinds his teeth. If he can just make it through these first few moments then he’ll be able to make it through the next thirty days. At least that’s what he keeps telling himself.
“You don’t remember me do you?” Dean whispers and in response his wings droop until they drag along the ground behind him in a sure sign of severe disappointment.
He’s being very obvious about his feelings. But then Cas contemplates that of course he would be, Dean’s not meant to have wings.
“I’m sorry no,” Cas lies and swallows before adding “Were we friends?”
He thinks he might strike Dean in the face if the man answers yes.
“Not hardly,” Dean huffs with a shake of his head. “But that was all my fault and not yours. I guess I should be glad you don’t remember. I wasn’t very nice to you.”
“No you weren’t,” comes out of Cas’ traitorous mouth before he can stop himself.
Dean’s wings puff up and swing into points up above his head so fast the human staggers backwards under the pressure the movement causes. “You DO remember me!”
“Spending every day for a year bruised, humiliated, and muddy because of you makes you fairly hard to forget I’m sad to say,” Cas says flatly. “It’s not for lack of trying though I assure you.”
“Oh,” Dean mutters as his wings come down to curve around his body like a shield. “I’m so sorry for all of that Cas.”
It’s like Dean pours gasoline on him and lights a match. As children Dean was much stronger; humans built more compactly than angels. He used his girth and muscle mass to his benefit when he harassed the small, frail boned child that Cas used to be. But as an adult angelic strength is far superior to human and one shove from Cas now has Dean staggering backwards several feet. “You’re SORRY! You don’t get to be sorry Dean Winchester.”
“Cas,” Dean says with his hands stretched out in front of him, palms out as though he were trying to ward the angel off. “Let’s talk about this.”
“No,” Cas hisses as he marches forward and shoves Dean again; this time reaching out and grabbing a hold of Dean’s wing when he would have hit the ground.
The human lets out a sharp bark of shock as Cas grips the feathers just a hair too hard. It’s not enough to cause injury; he just wants Dean to be afraid like he was so afraid all those years ago.
“Let me go,” Dean orders.
“Make me,” Cas replies and so help him he knows it’s childish, he really does. But the sense of power over someone who frightened him so badly drives him to keep going. Dean’s free wing flares out for added stability and Cas takes the opportunity to teach Dean a valuable lesson in wing anatomy.
He smacks his hand into the center of the sensitive underside of Dean’s wing just like Dean did to him almost daily as a child. The human cries out and collapses into the wet grass curling in on himself immediately.
“Stop Cas, please,” Dean gasps. “It hurts.”
“Yes it does,” Cas pants into his ear and he bends over him. “It hurt when you did it to me all the time too but you never quit or cared. If I did this to you every day for the next month it wouldn’t make up for what you did to me. It wouldn’t make it right. Don’t you ever think that you can take back hurting me like that with a few simple words. We are not friends Dean Winchester and we never will be.”
He takes flight before the urge to grab Dean again becomes uncontrollable. The sky being the one place he knows the human cannot follow.
Its night time before Cas returns to the cottage. He slides into the room containing their sleeping pallets and finds Dean curled up in his wings facing the wall. His feathers are in disarray and they’re grass stained.
It occurs to Cas that Dean probably doesn’t know how to groom himself. Cas was meant to teach him these things.
What a horrible teacher he’s turned out to be so far. “Forgive me,” he whispers, uncertain if Dean is even awake. “I should never have done that to you. I won’t forget myself again. You have my word.”
When there’s no response from his roommate Cas slides down onto his pallet and mutters “Of all people in the world why would the Oracles choose us to be here together?”
“I volunteered,” Dean answers without moving. “And then I asked for you to be the angel they chose to come with me.”
The tension in the room is palpable. Cas can feel each individual feather standing up on end. “Why?”
“Because I wanted a second chance,” Dean answers. “And apparently even all these years later I’m still too selfish to care about what you might have wanted. I’m sorry Cas.”
They speak no more that night. The angel is still awake when dawn comes.
He’s utterly shamed by his behavior the next day.
Dean avoids him carefully as though he’s constantly on alert for another attack and Cas can’t blame him. The petty, childish part of him that wants to take enjoyment from the other man’s nervousness is quickly smothered by the reality of how difficult life is for Dean right now.
He’s a mess.
He’s utterly shamed by his behavior the next day.
Dean avoids him carefully as though he’s constantly on alert for another attack and Cas can’t blame him. The petty, childish part of him that wants to take enjoyment from the other man’s nervousness is quickly smothered by the reality of how difficult life is for Dean right now.
He’s a mess.
Dean’s pale skin is already showing signs of being burned from exposure to the sun due to the human being unable to wear his shirts, the weight of his wings causing him to drag them along behind him unless he’s experiencing some kind of emotion that forces them to spring into life and display. He’s clearly off balance and from the way his hands often reach around to cup the side of his shoulders or the small of his back the human is uncomfortable as well.
Cas loses himself in his thoughts for a long while until he realizes that Dean’s no longer within eyesight. After a quick check around the cottage Cas takes to the air and is amazed to see the human shuffling along away from their designated home with his belongings.
“What are you doing?” he barks as he drops to the ground at Dean’s side.
He’s blindsided by one honey colored wing bashing into his side at full force causing him to stagger away. “FUCK!” Dean blurts. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean it! You scared the shit out of me and I can’t control these damned things.”
The look of horror on Dean’s face is enough to coax a smile out of the angel. “I should have been more careful,” he concedes and then watches as Dean’s posture relaxes minutely.
“I’m just going to set up camp on the other side of the garden,” Dean answers his question belatedly as he starts walking again. “I can’t exactly leave but I can at least show you some respect by giving you space and staying out of your way.”
“Why would you do that?” Cas blurts as he cocks his head in confusion.
“Because of this is my fault,” Dean snaps as he waves his arms around. “I got you stuck here and I’m sorry. You’ve probably got a family to get back to or something and instead of being able to go home you have to live in a bubble for a month with someone you hate. So the very least I can do is get as far away from you as possible.”
He’s silent as Dean turns to go and watches as he walks away with his grace swirling in confusion. He doesn’t want to spend a month with Dean. But he doesn’t want to spend a month alone either. He spends too much time alone as it is. Dean has no idea how wrong he is; Cas has no one waiting for him at home. He debates just letting the human go until Dean trips over one of the bags he’s dragging with him and steps on his own wing tip trying to catch himself. The human goes down in a heap of feathers with a bark of startled surprise and doesn’t move to right himself.
Cas edges toward him slowly. Dean looks up into his assessing gaze and admits “I hate these things.”
“You’re going to permanently injure yourself if you keep carrying on this way,” Cas comments.
They stare at each other for a moment before Cas rolls his eyes and sighs, holding out his hand. “Come on, let’s get you cleaned up at least. Living with you will be much less tolerable if you start to smell.”
Dean takes his hand hesitantly, hauling himself to his feet and gathering up his things slowly like he’s waiting for Cas to change his mind.
They agree not to talk about it; for the most part acting as though they have never met one another before.
Several days later and Dean’s belongings are back where they should be. Cas has spent the much of their time talking Dean through some exercises designed to strengthen his back muscles to help hold the weight of his wings higher so they stop dragging the ground.
There’s some progress on that front which Cas takes some small sense of pride in. But it seems no matter how many times Dean bathes the stains on his wings will not come out.
Cas is slightly appalled at Dean’s lack of skill in wing care but upon further thought he’s not certain the human knows how to groom himself properly. Which is one of the more uncomfortable lessons that Cas assumes he will have to teach. He goes with Dean to the pool for him to bathe and it’s then that Cas notices a real problem aside from their disastrous previous relationship.
Dean lacks the flexibility required to reach the back of his new wings.
He contorts himself in every possible angle but finally just heaves a sigh and says “Just wrap a rag around a stick or something and I’ll take care of it.”
Cas is tempted because he’s loath to groom this man that he’s barely stomaching being near. Still the idea of poking his own wings with a stick makes him flinch in sympathy and he doubts it would reflect well to the Oracles if Dean injured himself too much while under his care.
“Come here,” Cas mutters as he motions for the human to ease his way to edge of the pool where he’s sitting. Dean allows himself to be turned around and moves his wings into position for grooming under gentle pressure from Cas.
He tries to be quick about it. Wing grooming isn’t inherently sexual but it’s a level of contact with Dean that he doesn’t really wish to experience. Cas is halfway through scrubbing off the grass stains when the tension in Dean’s wings shifts and then dissipates entirely.
“Feels good,” Dean murmurs as he bows his head. “It’s the first thing that hasn’t felt uncomfortable since I got these things.”
Cas’ hands still as he process the words. Dean’s wings have to be sensitive, most angels wings are. It makes Cas a little sad that these new appendages are temporary and that Dean is receiving such little joy from something angels view as so necessary. He stops scrubbing after the last of the staining comes clean and just presses his hands into the arches of the wings, burrowing slightly up under the feathers in a way that he knows will feel soothing to Dean.
“They aren’t like yours,” Dean says softly.
Cas laughs. “No, they aren’t. Your wings would earn you a great deal attention in the angelic community. This shade of feather is very rare.”
“You must be really popular back at home then,” Dean chuckles. “I’ve never seen wings like yours.”
Cas’ hands slip from his feathers to clench into fists. “Don’t tease me.”
He goes to heave himself off the edge of the pool and give himself some space but Dean turns suddenly and his wings heave out of the water until the tips sweep in a gentle caress along the underside of Cas’ spread wings.
“Don’t go,” Dean says roughly. “I wasn’t joking. Your wings are amazing.”
Cas can’t see anything but sincerity in Dean’s eyes. He’s lost for a response until Dean’s wing tips slide in closer against his body until his feathers rub along the place where his wings meet his back.
It’s a mating gesture; something akin to being molested in public and not something that any real angel would do given their situation. But Dean’s control over his wings is sketchy at best and it’s that alone that keeps Cas from punching him in the face.
He grabs Dean’s wings instead and forces them away from his body saying “Dean! You cannot do that!”
To the human’s credit his wings snap flat against his back without hesitation. Cas stumbles to his feet and escapes back to their cottage before Dean can say or do anything more to unhinge him.
That night as they rest on their pallets and Cas searches desperately for rest he hears Dean shifting in his bed and pretends to be sleeping. A little less than a week with this man and Cas finds himself more confused than ever. He thinks he understands the point of altering Dean’s body to raise his awareness. But what is Cas supposed to learn from teaching him these things? He wants an answer but knows the Oracles believe that you find your answers when you’re ready for them.
Cas hates that crap.
Dean shifts again quietly and Cas does his level best not to jerk when he feels the weight of Dean’s wing slide carefully along his own. “I can’t believe they don’t think you’re beautiful,” Dean whispers so softly that Cas almost misses it. He waits until the human’s breathing has evened out before opening his eyes and looking at where their feathers are now mingled together across the tips of their joined wings.
He doesn’t pull away.
“Are we ever going to talk about it?” Dean blurts over dinner.
“Are we ever going to talk about it?” Dean blurts over dinner.
They’re twelve days into their thirty day confinement and Cas has so been hoping that the answer to the human’s question could be ‘no.’
It seems Dean has different ideas. “Must we?”
“Yeah,” Dean says as his feathers puff out all over the place. Cas is actually proud of him for the moment. A week ago Dean would have knocked over everything within reach by flapping his wings around when he became agitated. “I mean, don’t you want to talk about it?”
“What purpose would there possibly be in discussing it?” Cas asks as he puts the rest of his food to the side, suddenly no longer hungry.
“To understand each other better?” Dean huffs and his control slips due to his lack of focus. His wings begin to rub together behind his head and weave back and forth. “To forgive and forget and move on? So that I can fucking FINALLY get down on my knees and beg you to forgive me?”
“Is that what you want?” Cas asks. “For me to forgive you?”
“YES!” Dean shouts as his wings slam into the ground on either side of his body. He jumps in reaction to his outburst and then takes a ragged breath and clenches his hands together. “It doesn’t matter what I want really. I just want to be able to tell you why and whatever you do with it is up to you. I would love for you to forgive me Cas. But I get that I can’t control that any more than I can control my stupid wings.”
Cas says nothing. His mind is swirling. There’s a part of him that very much wants answers for why Dean would target him so maliciously, but another part, just as strong that doesn’t want to view Dean as more than just a cruel human. To find out there is another layer underneath, to make him not be the villain of Cas’ life story leaves too much grey area for Cas to handle.
Things should be black or white. Not like his wings.
“You never noticed me,” Dean mumbles to the fire.
Cas’ eyes widen and his wings jerk. “What?”
“You never noticed me,” Dean repeats. “I tried everything. I sat next you in class and during meals. I followed you everywhere. You were different and new and I had never seen an angel before in person. I was curious about you, wanted to know you better. But when I spoke to you it was like I wasn’t even there. You just ignored me. It made me so angry.”
Cas watches as Dean’s wings curl up behind him. They look tense and the signals they’re putting off indicate that Dean is shamed.
He thinks back to his childhood, past the trauma inflicted upon him by the man across the fire. His memories are blurry and there are no specific incidences that stand out. In fact, it occurs to Cas that it’s the lack of memories that might be the issue. He doesn’t even remember knowing Dean prior to when Dean started bullying him.
Which makes Cas take a moment to assess his approach to humans in general. He had told Joshua that he no strong feelings about humans one way or the other. But why?
Because to him they are unimportant; the painful truth of it falls on him like a physical weight. This is what he’s here to learn. Cas is to spend thirty days with a man who refused to be ignored in order to learn about his own prejudices.
“I thought humans were beneath me,” he offers.
Dean eyes snap up to meet his over the fire. “That was pretty obvious.”
“I never realized that until now,” Cas admits. “I have much to consider.”
He goes to walk away, the need to fly and think about his new discovery of himself pressing against his grace. “Wait!” Dean’s tightly controlled voice dragging him out of his thoughts. “Don’t leave yet.”
When he pauses Dean gets to his feet and staggers around the edge of the fire to enter into Cas’ personal space. “I was angry and young and stupid. I wanted you to notice me and when you remembered my name after I shoved you the first time I just kept going. It was cruel and I have spent the rest of my life since you stopped coming to school trying to find a way to make it up to you. I’m so sorry Cas. Whatever it is that you just think you figured out about yourself I need you to hear that nothing you did or didn’t do back then excuses my behavior.”
When Cas doesn’t immediately answer Dean’s wings curve forward toward him quickly pressing against the underside of Cas own wings and rubbing their feathers together intimately. “Dean!” He gasps as he lurches backward.
“Fuck!” Dean snaps as he jerks his wings away and steps back. “I don’t know why they keep doing that. I swear it’s not on purpose.”
The angel knows why. He’s just not ready to discuss with Dean the fact that the human is clearly attracted to him and that all the wing touches and brushes of feathers that happen when Dean isn’t focused are invitations for Cas to mate with him.
He’s also a little shocked that Dean appears to be the more passive partner in angelic mating terms; always reaching under Cas’ wings instead of trying to curl around them. He would have thought Dean would wish to be more dominating.
“Do you want to learn how to fly?” Cas offers suddenly.
Dean’s mouth dropping open so wide is comical and the angel can’t stop the smile from spreading across his face.
“More than anything,” Dean says softly. Cas holds out his hand in a silent invitation. When Dean reaches out to tangle their fingers together Cas tugs him away into the night muttering “We need to find a perch.”
“Why?” Dean asks as he stumbles along behind him.
“So I can throw you off it,” Cas says with a grin.
“You’re joking right?” Dean asks. Cas doesn’t bother answering.
Dean’s…….less than graceful.
Dean’s…….less than graceful.
Hysterical…..yes that’s the one. Cas has spent most of the night smothering his snorts in his arms and choking back tears from the amount of mirth he’s experiencing at the human’s determination to learn this new skill and his total lack of success at it.
But Dean never gives up. He climbs back to the perch Cas selected time and time again only to allow himself to be thrown off of it over and over to disastrous results. By the time dawn breaks Dean is battered, bloodied, and exhausted.
He leans heavily on Cas’ supportive shoulder as they walk back to their home. “I didn’t think it was going to be that hard,” Dean murmurs.
“It’s usually not,” Cas offers. “You seem to just be spectacularly bad at it.”
“Peachy,” Dean snorts. But when Cas can’t choke back the giggle that erupts from his mouth the human doesn’t jerk away or get mad. He just smiles tiredly before wincing when he fails at picking up the weight of his wings off the ground.
“You wore yourself out,” Cas comments. “I can’t imagine how sore you’re going to be tomorrow.”
“It is tomorrow,” Dean says as he gestures to the sun peaking out over the horizon.
“And?” Cas presses as he settles Dean down into the chair in front of the cottage.
“And I hurt like Hell has stomped all over me twice,” Dean chuckles before breaking off with a groan.
Cas moves back into the cottage digging through shelves and checking out bottles full of lotions and ointments that he finds in the hall closet. He’s relieved when he finally stumbles on the right one.
“What is it?” Dean asks when he comes back to the human’s side.
“It’s an analgesic,” Cas says with a grin. “It’s goopy and it smells like shit but you will love me for it as soon as I put it on.”
“So you’re saying it’s magic?” Dean gasps as Cas shoves him forward until his head is almost between his knees so he can get a better look at Dean’s wings.
“No,” Cas laughs. “But you’ll think it’s made from pixy dust compared to how you feel right now.”
They don’t speak as Cas uses a wet rag to clean off all of the dirt that he can while he tugs out loose branches and leaves along with damaged feathers. It’s by no means the thorough grooming that Dean needs but that will have to wait until after they get some rest. Cas can feel the human shaking with exhaustion even as he sits patiently. Cas finally covers his hands in the ointment before he reaches up to smooth it into Dean’s wings.
He’s not prepared for Dean to moan as though something deeply sexual is occurring to him. This touch is much deeper than the only other time Cas has groomed Dean. He has to burrow deep into the wing, up under the feathers to reach the muscles and skin affected by the night’s activities. By the time he gets done with one wing Dean is whimpering and panting.
Cas is surprised to find himself not unaffected. “Should I stop?” He offers shakily. He doesn’t want to. Truth be told Cas lives a lonely, isolated life. He’s not considered good mating material by other angel’s due to the way his wings are designed. It doesn’t help matters that he has what his kind consider a flat personality.
He’s never been hit on as much as he has been in the last almost two weeks with Dean and it’s starting to get to him. As much as they aren’t emotionally close Cas is still a man with needs and working out his sexual frustration on a willing partner who seems as though they would be happy to receive his attention is very tempting.
“Yes,” Dean huffs out in response to his question. “Yes, please. I can finish on my own.”
Cas’ hands tremble as he pulls them away from Dean’s wings. He’s not able to stop himself from brushing against the feathers along the top ridge in a gentle caress as he goes. Dean’s body gives a full on shudder as Cas lets him go.
“I didn’t realize they were so sensitive,” Dean whispers as he watches Cas walk around him to get something to wash his hands off with.
“Your wings?” Cas asks. “Yes, they are the focal point of a great deal of sensitivity.”
“Oh,” Dean mutters while he applies the rest of the ointment onto the insides of his wings himself. When he’s done he swallows audibly before asking “Cas….the way I’ve been touching you with my wings….what is it saying to you?”
“That you find me attractive,” Cas answers while he’s suddenly pretending like he’s really interested in the dirt on the ground at his feet.
Dean’s eyes widen but he nods slowly as he processes the information. “Okay.”
“That you’re offering yourself to me,” Cas adds after a long pause. “That you want me to take you and claim you….that you submit to me.”
“Okay,” Dean blurts suddenly and a little to loudly as he jerks to his feet. “On that totally embarrassing and humiliating note I think I’m going to go for a walk.”
“Dean,” Cas breathes. “I’m just answering the question. It’s not my intent to shame you.”
“Yeah,” Dean nods. “I get it. I do. I’m private Cas. I know you don’t know me at all. But without these wings there would be no way for you tell how I feel about anything. I keep everything I think and feel pushed up really close to my chest. So for it to be hanging out there off my back for you to see….fuck Cas. I can’t do this. Now you tell me I’ve been basically molesting you for thirteen days. That’s awesome. None of this is turning out how I planned it.”
It’s not until Dean stumbles uncoordinatedly out of his sight that it occurs to Cas to wonder how exactly Dean had planned for this to turn out.
The human doesn’t come back for several hours. Cas would never admit it to anyone, but he spends some of the time imagining what it would feel like to take Dean up on his unconscious offer of submission while finding release at his own hand.
He justifies it by thinking that at least this way he’ll be more relaxed the next time he’s close to the human and less likely to take inappropriate liberties.
At least that’s the excuse he uses after coming harder to just the idea of Dean than he has ever before in his life.
He’s just not going to touch him anymore. How hard can it be?
He’s just not going to touch him anymore. How hard can it be?
Dean has no idea what he’s trying to accomplish. It’s like now that he knows what those touches mean he’s compelled to keep doing it.
Fighting his wings into submission is becoming a full time job.
A very stressful full time job. If Cas wasn’t so damned beautiful it would be easier. But Dean has long since stopped blaming the angel for his own short comings; that’s what got him in trouble and ruined everything when he was a kid.
So he manages as best he can to keep his wings as close to his back as possible at all times. He learns with no small amount of difficulty how to twist his way around to clean the backs of his own wings and keeps their conversations as politely distant as possible for the next four days.
It’s less than two weeks now. Dean’s almost certain he can make it. The flying is helping a lot; most of the time he’s so sore and exhausted by the end of the day that his only thoughts involve collapsing onto his pallet and falling asleep. His dreams are still haunted by blue eyes and soft feathers but it’s nothing that quick trip off into the garden alone won’t fix, at least temporarily.
Which is why he’s stunned into stupidity when he strolls around the outer edge of the enclosure and finds the literal man of his dreams draped topless and barefoot over a giant rock that’s been baking in the sun all day. Cas’ wings are stretched out farther than Dean has ever seen them as they curve around the slope of the stone to soak in the warmth radiating from it. He must make some kind of noise because Cas turns toward him opening sleepy eyes to smile drowsily.
“You should try this,” Cas comments with a stretch of already relaxed limbs. “I believe you would find it very enjoyable.”
Dean has a list of things involving Cas that he believes would be very enjoyable…..flopping on a rock isn’t on it.
But he stumbles forward halfway numbed by the sight in front of him anyway and struggles off his shoes as he goes….suddenly very pleased that none of his shirts fit so the angel won’t think he’s being too presumptuous by taking it off.
Cas is right; as Dean gets settled into the warmth of the stone he’s immediately soothed by the heat. He settles on his stomach facing the angel and is careful to curve his wings around so that they wrap around the sides of the stone near Cas’ wings but not touching them. The last thing Dean needs is more touching if he wants to not make a total ass of himself.
“Yeah okay,” he sighs once he’s comfortable. “You’re a genius.”
The startled bark of Cas’ laughter does more to warm up Dean’s heart than the stone ever could.
“Tell me about your life,” Cas says quietly after he’s finished chuckling.
Dean opens his mouth to answer with his typical line of bullshit but then hesitates before telling the truth. “Not much to tell Cas. I live in a tiny apartment. I work almost everyday doing shit that probably doesn’t matter to anyone else but me. When I do take time off I spend it with my brother. But that’s gotten less and less now since he got married and is starting a family. I don’t have a lot of friends and the ones I do have I don’t take good enough care of. That’s pretty much it.”
“You sound lonely,” Cas comments.
“I guess I am,” Dean sighs. “Relationships aren’t something I’m really good at. I’m pushy and grumpy, I either want too much affection or I don’t have time for it at all. I’m constantly trying to prove I’m good enough when the person I think I’m trying to prove it to is already dead so that’s not working out and really under all of the bravado I’m insecure as hell. I don’t like people knowing me. It scares me.”
“Why?” Cas isn’t looking at him when Dean is brave enough to check and somehow that makes it easier.
“Because what happens when they don’t like what they see?” he whispers. It’s more honest than he’s ever been with anyone and he wants to stop now. “What about you Cas?”
There’s a moment where Dean thinks the angel is just going to leap to his feet and fly away.
“I’m a tactician. So I spend most of my time crouched in front of blurry videos or bent over a chart. It’s tedious and I hate it but it’s what I’m good at so it’s what I do,” Cas mutters. “I’m not…exceptional in any way by my people’s standards. The only reason I stand out at all is because of my wings and my people think they’re ugly.”
Dean bites his lip to keep from shouting how wrong they all are.
“I’m not good with people so I’m alone much of the time,” Cas continues. “It’s probably better that way. Feelings are confusing for me and I prefer to live my life with a clear head.”
“I must have really messed up your routine,” Dean offers; hoping to ease some of the sorrow they seem to both be feeling.
“Indeed,” Cas huffs. “But maybe that’s a good thing. I’ve been thinking about you these past few days while you’ve been working so hard to be social appropriate and I’ve decided something.”
“Ummm,” Dean squirms and grips the rock under his hands hard. “What?”
“I don’t like it one bit,” Cas says sternly. “I don’t want to be treated in a socially acceptable manner by you. I want this to be different than the rest of my life.”
“You realize that option B is me hitting on you all the time,” Dean reminds him.
He’s startled when Cas reaches out to touch his hand. Dean watches with fascination as the angel examines it carefully, running his fingers over the back and palm, tracing Dean’s fingers with gentle pressure just on the good side of being ticklish. “Have you ever spent two weeks with nothing else to worry about or focus on but being with a lover Dean?” Cas asks so softly that Dean almost misses it.
“No,” Dean squeaks.
“Do you want to?” Cas’ eyes are so blue when Dean looks up into them startled that he thinks for a second they might be glowing. The air around them feels charged and static filled. Neither of them move.
“Yes,” Dean manages to squeeze past the lump in his throat before Cas tangles their fingers together and slides off the rock, tugging Dean with him. The angel’s wings stay wide open as Dean faces him and at this point it’s not like he can act like he doesn’t understand that message. Dean raises his wings up until they brush along the soft feathers on the underside down to where Cas’ wings meet his back.
He’s not prepared for Cas to curl his wings around him and use them to tug him closer. The pressure on the outside of Dean’s wings is almost enough to make his eyes roll in pleasure. He can’t stop the whimper that pours off his lips.
“The time we have left,” Cas purrs into his ear as Dean buries his face into his neck. “Let’s spend it exploring each other.”
Cas’ wings ripple against his more tightly and Dean goes a little weak in the knees while his companion smirks. Cas is clearly aware of what he’s doing. But turn about is fair play and his wings might be the more passive partner but they sure as hell didn’t discuss it with Dean first.
He tangles his fingers into Cas’ unruly hair and tugs until their lips meet. Cas staggers under the press of Dean’s mouth and when they part for air panting he rumbles “I should have known you would be bossy.”
Dean laughs in his face.
Dean had been expecting really hot sex.
He hadn’t counted on a slow seduction.
Not that he’s complaining.
Cas kisses him slow and deep like Dean thought people only did in movies. He holds Dean’s hand while they explore the garden together and talk about the different kinds of plants they both know nothing about. It’s sort of like dating.
Dean gets his first really good grooming that night at the pool while Cas sits along the edge and meticulously works his way through the feathers that Dean’s only been able to pay the minimum of attention to since he’s been gifted with these wings. The more Cas touches them the less they feel like they don’t belong to him.
It’s intimate, comforting, Cas’ touches make him want to squirm at the same time that they make him want to melt into the angel’s embrace and let the world pass him by.
Dean finds out that Cas like classical music which Dean knows nothing about and diner food which he happens to be an expert in. They bicker good naturedly about whether onion rings or french fries are better as a side in between stolen kisses and hesitant touches.
He tells Cas about Sam and Jessica and the baby they are getting ready to have. Dean tells the angel about his string of useless emotionally empty relationships and is sad to hear that Cas has experienced the same thing in his life.
He’s upset with himself when there’s a part of him that’s glad Cas has no one to go home to. Part of Dean wants to keep him.
He spends the evening curled up beside Cas in front of the fire with the angel feeding him bits of food by hand. Dean’s never done anything like that before and the deeply erotic response he gets from his brain tells him it’s something he’s going to have to seek out at every upcoming opportunity. Apparently his dick is directly hooked to his stomach.
He’s even more far gone when Cas lets him return the favor and Dean spends a good hour rubbing fruit over the angel’s bottom lip before feeding it to him just so Dean can lean down in between bites to lick the flavor off of Cas’ mouth.
They push their pallets together when its bedtime and Dean ponders if this is the main event and this weird ass day that started with avoidance might end in sex. His feathers puff out all over and Cas laughs.
“What?” Dean mutters while he blushes.
“You look a little eager over there,” Cas points out.
“I’m just standing here,” Dean exclaims.
“That’s not what your feathers are saying,” Cas chuckles.
“That is so unfair,” Dean hisses as he tries to force the worst of his out of control feathers back into place by smoothing his hands over them. They’re stubborn though and with them standing up like they are even just the touch of his fingers feels so good that he thinks he might be doing more damage that good.
That and Cas is watching him with his mouth hanging open.
“What?” Dean asks as he stills his movements.
“What you’re doing,” Cas gestures abortively at where Dean’s hands are gripping his wings. “It’s very erotic.”
“This?” Dean asks as he drags his fingers through his tousled feathers and shivers at the feeling.
“Yes,” Cas breathes. “It’s like an angelic version of a strip tease.”
“I don’t think strip teases feel this good,” Dean mumbles as he grips the upper edge of his wing a little tighter and drags his hand down toward the tip. It makes him shake all over.
“Does that feel good?” Cas whispers. “You like that?”
“Yeah,” Dean responds as he watches the angel scoot closer.
“You should try it with your hand a little more forward,” Cas explains as he reaches out to reposition Dean’s hand higher up on the arch and a little more toward the front. He presses in with his own hand as he moves Dean’s through the wing and a low groan pours out of Dean’s mouth by the time they reach the bottom.
Cas is panting slightly.
“Are you teaching me wing masturbation techniques?” Dean asks suddenly as it hits him how weird this whole situation is.
“Um,” Cas hesitates before adding in a slightly higher voice “yes?”
Dean snorts. Cas cocks his head to one side and bites his lip. Dean snorts again and Cas breaks into an indulgent smile. That does it. Dean falls out with giggles until Cas finally cracks up too. They end up on their sides facing each other in their newly combined bed.
“I thought when you asked me about the next two weeks that we were just going to have a whole bunch of hot sex,” Dean admits.
“I hope we have hot sex,” Cas admits with a smile. “But my offer was to treat you as I would treat a lover. And there is more to a relationship than sex.”
“I’m not good at relationships Cas,” Dean admits.
“I haven’t really ever had one so I wouldn’t know,” Cas admits. “But there’s no one here but us. We could pretend to be good at it.”
Dean traces his fingertips across the angel’s cheeks and over the slope of his nose. “Yeah,” Dean whispers as he leans in for another kiss. “Let’s give it a shot. I bet you’re great at it.”
Cas is kissing him again like he thinks Dean is the most precious thing in the universe. Dean falls into it willingly and soaks up the affection he wants so desperately though there’s a part of himself that wishes it was something that would last.
They woke up rumpled and tangled in a heap. Cas’ left wing totally numb from the pressure of Dean’s body on it half the night as the human insisted in cuddling closer and closer until it was like they were one unit instead of two separate people. Dean’s face creased with the imprint of Cas’ feathers from his forehead to his neck and Cas hair sticking up at impossible angles all around his head.
It perfect. Heartbreakingly so.
Cas has never felt so free. He stomps down on the internal monolog of ‘not real not real’ that runs across his mind from time to time and is determined to lose himself in the moment for the next week and half. It might be all the time they have together and he’s determined to enjoy every moment of it. That way, maybe his memories of Dean will be good dreams instead of childhood nightmares when he’s back in his home and alone in his bed.
He doesn’t want to miss a single second of this. It’s the first time in Cas’ life that he’s felt intimately connected to another person outside of those few moments of release at the end of a sexual encounter and after those he mostly just gathers his things and leaves.
Dean clung to him all night. It had been beautiful.
“You keep thinking that hard you’re going to pop something,” Dean comments as he settles down in the grass next to him.
Cas smirks. “Like you would have any understanding of being at risk for that.”
“Ouch Cas!” Dean melodramatically exclaims while shoving at him with a wing. But there’s a smile lighting up the human’s face that tells Cas Dean knows he’s kidding.
“I don’t want to think about anything but right now,” Cas admits softly as he watches Dean shift into a more comfortable position in the late morning sun light and sweep out his wings. “But it’s proving to be more difficult that I thought it would be.”
“I know,” Dean agrees softly as he reaches out with his wing to rub along the inside of Cas’ outstretched one. The angel hums in pleasure at the touch and shifts closer as Dean works his wing in tiny circles all along the underside. “Staying in the moment isn’t so easy when you’re on a time limit.”
“What will you do when this is over?” Cas asks even though he dreads the answer.
“Go home I guess,” Dean sighs. “Go back to what now seems like a very shallow and lonely life. What about you?”
“I don’t know,” Cas mutters. “When I first saw you again I thought I would be counting the days until I could get away from you.”
“And now?” Dean’s gaze is so serious.
“You’re a good man Dean,” Cas admits after a moments hesitation. “I’ve grown fond of you. I’ll miss our time together.”
“You make me sound like co-worker,” Dean grumbles and Cas is slightly hurt when the gentle caress of his wing falls away. “I don’t want to be your co-worker. I want to at least be your friend.”
“You’re more than that,” Cas reminds him.
“For like eleven more days,” Dean snaps. “Then we’re right back where we started.”
“No we won’t be,” Cas argues. “This time we’ll have the memories.”
“Memories don’t keep you warm at night Cas,” Dean huffs.
“No they don’t,” Cas agrees. “But then nothing’s kept me warm at night for thirty six years and I haven’t died from it yet.”
There’s a tense moment where Cas suspects that Dean is contemplating getting up and walking away. But the human stays put and after a pause Dean turns to him and asks “This wing thing, the way I keep shoving up under your wings, is it like a permanent thing?”
“I don’t understand what you’re asking,” Cas is confused.
“I mean,” Dean blushes. “Like since I’m the more um, passive one….does that mean I never get to be on top?”
He snorts before he can stop himself. Cas bubbles with laughter at the awkward question and adorable blush no painting Dean’s ears, cheeks, and neck.
“Forget I even asked,” Dean groans and throws and arm over his face. Cas is still smiling when he lifts his wing to drape it over Dean’s in a repeat of the actions that human had just done to him.
“It feels very good,” Cas says aloud. He’s a little surprised actually. “Most of the time romantic partners don’t trade off in angelic society.”
“So once you’re a catcher you’re always a catcher,” Dean stutters out while his muscles jump and shift in reaction to Cas’ steady movements.
“It doesn’t have to be that way,” Cas whispers as he shifts closer. “I wouldn’t be opposed to um, catching for you if that’s what you wanted.”
“That’s good to know,” Dean’s voice is so shaky that it gives Cas goose bumps in reaction to it. “Cas,” Dean gasps. “What are you doing to me?”
“Loving you,” Cas whispers as he rolls over until he’s pressed against Dean’s chest. The startled look in Dean’s eyes shows him that the human understand he means more than just the physical caresses. “I want to,” Cas adds as he shifts on top of Dean’s body and squirms down onto him. “Will you let me? I think I could learn to be what you need.”
Dean’s grip would be crushing if Cas wasn’t an angel; even so the fierceness of it as Dean drags his head down to kiss and works his mouth open without a moments hesitation takes Cas’ breath away.
No matter what they are out in the world they are equals here. The rest of it doesn’t matter, tomorrow doesn’t matter, the foolishness of this blooming relationship and the pain Cas will certainly feel when they are parted doesn’t matter.
Right now it’s just him and Dean.
Cas is spread out underneath him groaning into the bed sheets. His wings are spread out across the room as Dean straddles his bare hips and works his hands through the already ruffled feathers of Cas’ wings.
Simple grooming isn’t so simple when both parties are totally naked. Dean’s learning lots of things about angelic eroticism tonight. Cas is slowly coming apart under his hands even as Dean’s fingers are trembling with nervousness and he’s so hard he thinks he might come at any moment. There was some laughter at the beginning when Cas had first stripped off his pants and crawled onto his stomach. Dean’s pulse rate had gone through the roof and every feather on his wings had puffed out at an angle. Cas had actually giggled when he’d turned his head to look.
“You make me crazy,” Dean murmurs as he digs his fingers up underneath the larger, stiffer feathers that cover the backs of Cas’ wings to the soft downy feeling ones hidden underneath. The gel on his fingers making them feel sleek and slick as he glides over them. Dean adds a little twist and tug on the ends and Cas growls into his arms and thrusts frantically against the bed every time he does it.
Dean spares a few moments to think about how fucking glad he is that the angels are so stupid. He still can’t believe that they don’t view Cas as attractive. The eyes alone would be enough to drive Dean bat shit at home but add in the wings and he’s over the top on Dean’s ranking of hot as hell people. The fact that there’s no one waiting at home to take his place when this is over just makes him want to work that much harder to bring Cas pleasure and shower him in appreciation so that the angel learns to understand how amazingly beautiful he is on the inside and out.
Cas has an amazing sense of humor and a kind heart. Dean’s learned over their time together that he is fiercely dedicated to those he considers friends and family and that he works himself to death in order to keep his people safe in the small ways that he can. It was the reason Cas agreed to this even though he didn’t understand at the time why he was chosen. He wants a better way for them than tense meetings and fear of returning war with Dean’s people.
Communications are happening between the humans and the angels but the war was long and the losses were terrible. The idea of it happening again is chilling and it’s taking a long time for opinions to change and old hatreds to be let go.
“Dean!” Cas keens as he squirms underneath him. “Please.”
The cry snaps him back to the present and the man under his hands that makes Dean crazy with wanting. His dick slides along the cleft of Cas’ ass; the friction making him quiver and he keeps stroking and caressing his way over and through the feathers.
They haven’t made it to penetration yet. The clock ticking for both of them as they know the time is getting short. But there is more to being someone’s lover than the act of sex and they’ve agreed that it can happen in their own time. Dean’s afraid to get that far, part of him wondering if he learns the feel of Cas moving inside his body that he might not be able to move on from it when the time comes to leave.
It’s the night of the eighth day, they only have a week left together and every time Dean opens his eyes in the morning that sick feeling in his gut gets a little bigger and harder to ignore.
He stamps it down and pushes all of his concerns to the back of his mind. All that matters right now is Cas and giving Cas pleasure. “What do you need baby?” He whispers.
Cas whines and tosses his head back and forth but he doesn’t really offer up an answer.
“I’m going to make you come like this,” Dean whispers as he leans down over the angel’s back. “I’m going to get you off rocking into the sheets while I rub my way through your fucking gorgeous feathers.”
He slides his hands off the back of Cas’ wing, ignoring the screech of frustration Cas gives when he stops touching him. But Dean’s just moving, reaching around to dig his hands up on the sensitive underside of the wings. It’s like he hits Cas with a cattle prod. The angel’s back bows up and his head tosses back as he jerks under Dean’s body. It’s like he can’t stop moving.
“Gonna come for me?” Dean asks as he works his hips against Cas’ body and bites his lip trying to hold back the need to come. It’s going to be so close. He wants Cas to come first but the angel clenches all of his muscles after Dean grabs his wings down at where the feathers turn into flesh and it pushes Dean right over the edge as he comes all over the small of Cas’ back.
He’s not sure if it’s his grip of the feeling of being marked that makes Cas scream but when Dean finally gets himself back together the angel is a lump of blissed out enjoyment against the pallet.
“We need to change the sheets,” Cas mutters in a voice hoarse from screaming.
“I’ll get right on it,” Dean assures him but he doesn’t even try to move.
Cas snorts as he reaches up to rumple Dean’s hair with affection.
Their last meal together was eaten mainly in silence. Both men decided to skip the wine. Though Dean had a strong urge to drink himself into oblivion he figured he could start that tomorrow when they came to remove him from this wonderful place and angel beside him who Dean was fairly certain he could give his heart to.
If only he had the chance to do it.
Cas’ wings have been slumped all day, almost to the point of dragging the ground behind him and Dean considers that it’s almost a parody of his first day here when he couldn’t even pick his wings up yet.
Thirty days changes a lot of things. Dean’s proud of his wings, his ability to fly, he’s secure in the fact that Cas finds them attractive and enjoys teasing the angel with every seductive curve and dip he can think of. Cas is terribly easy to read.
But now they’ve given up hope of holding off the dawn and retired to their bedroom for one more night of intimacy before real life comes for them in the morning. It’s not romantic in the least and Dean’s never felt less aroused.
They go through the motions until their clothing is stripped away and fumble around on the bed without looking each other in the eye. Cas is a ball of tension and Dean feels sick to his stomach. When the angel reaches out to caress Dean’s wing in a way they both know he enjoys Dean stiffens instead and tucks his wings behind him as far from Cas’ grasp as he can.
“What is it?” The angel asks. He clearly concerned because of the way Dean’s acting.
“I’m not going to have them tomorrow,” Dean grinds out through clenched teeth. “It will just me regular Dean Winchester out in the real world. Would you still want me then? Would I ever even catch your eye? I love these wings Cas. But they don’t belong to me; not really. This isn’t what I am. Maybe for just one night I want to just be me without the wings for you.”
He watches as Cas cocks his head to the side, his face full of confusion. “Even if I ignore them Dean, they will still be a part of you.”
“Not for very much longer,” Dean mumbles as he turns his face away and tries to ignore the fact that Cas didn’t answer his questions.
It’s not something that escapes Cas’ notice. “I don’t know what you want me to say. I’ve never looked at a human seeking a potential lover before. So if you’re asking would you have caught my eye then I think the answer must be no. But remember I’ve never been focused on finding a partner either. There’s nothing that proves that you having wings, even ones as attractive as yours would have made a difference to me out in the world either. Most likely I would have assumed you wouldn’t want me due to the state of my wings and never thought about it again. I don’t have an answer for you Dean. I’m sorry.”
“So am I,” Dean sighs. “I’m sorry I drug you into this.”
“I’m not,” Cas says after a long period of silence. He rolls onto his back and gathers Dean close to his chest. Dean relaxes into the embrace and lets his wings droop until they spread across both of them like a blanket. He closes his eyes and inhales Cas’ scent; imagining them both in his bed at his apartment instead of this fairy tale place that won’t be here for them in just a few hours. Could they have a life like that? Could they learn to be together?
Dean doesn’t know and he’s not sure he wants to risk trying to ask. If Cas agreed and then rejected him once this is over then he knows his heart would really be broken. This way at least he can dream.
“You’ve given me a gift,” Cas whispers to him as he runs long, elegant fingers through Dean’s hair. “I’ve never enjoyed myself as much as I have with you. These memories I’ll carry with me always. You changed my life. I thank you for that.”
“Don’t do that,” Dean hisses as he feels tears roll out of his eyes and onto Cas’ bare chest.
“Do what?” Cas scoffs and so what if it sounds a little strangled.
“Say goodbye to me,” Dean barks as he wipes at his face even though the tears won’t stop. “Don’t you dare.”
“So what would you have me do then?” Cas asks with a hint of desperation. “Pretend tomorrow will never come?”
“Yes,” Dean gasps. “That’s what I want you to do. No goodbyes.”
Cas squeezes him then, so hard it makes his back pop a little. Dean clings to him silently sobbing, feeling the tremors shaking the angel’s chest as he quietly falls apart as well.
“We’ll go back to that giant rock tomorrow,” Cas murmurs. “Lay out in the sun again. It’s going to be a warm day.”
“Then the pool,” Dean lies. “I can groom you. I know how much you love it when I do that.”
“Take a nap in the afternoon,” Cas adds even as his wings twist and flail under their weight.
“Stay up late looking at the stars,” Dean whispers.
“It will be perfect,” Cas says quietly.
Dean doesn’t hear anything more as exhaustion drags him to sleep.
“Welcome back,” Joshua says brightly.
Cas flinches against the harsh, unforgiving light of the hospital room.
“Where am I?”
“The same place you were yesterday,” Joshua comments with a grin. “Though significantly more aware. We were worried about you. You agreed to the experiment, the Oracle touched you on the forehead and you went down to the floor like a rock. You haven’t been woken up since. Gave us quite a fright.”
“Yesterday?” Cas asks as a trickle of dread rolls down his spine. “It can’t be. I was in the garden for a month.”
“What garden Castiel?” Joshua questions as he feels his way across Cas’ face as though he’s checking for fever. “You’ve been right here and trust me it’s only been a day, twenty four hours at best.”
Joshua keeps talking, his voice a buzz in the back of Cas’ mind as he struggles to process that not only is he not with Dean, but that he never was to begin with.
The garden isn’t over, it was never there.
It was all a dream. A stupid, horrible, painful dream that Cas experienced on his own. He grips the bars of the hospital bed so hard the metal screeches at it twists.
Not real. The most fulfilling, joyous time of his whole life, and none of it was real.
His idea of finding Dean and them making a way together shatters. There is no Dean. Not one that’s accessible to Cas. His brain manufactured the whole thing.
The real Dean Winchester is probably living on the other cotenant with a wife and three beautiful children. The real Dean Winchester doesn’t even remember Cas’ name.
He hears beeping in the distance. It’s annoying. Then there are hands on his chest and Joshua is yelling something from very far away. Cas doesn’t care. None of this matters if that wasn’t real. There’s pain, sharp and bright through his chest and a feeling of not being able to breathe.
As the darkness creeps up to claim him he wonders if he’ll find his Dean waiting there for him.
Dean’s going to fucking kill someone. It’s a done deal. He’s not sure yet, it could be anyone frankly, he’s tired and he hates everyone.
Well, not everyone. But the only person in the world he doesn’t hate was a figment of his imagination and probably has a sweet little mate who adores his ruffled and grey splattered wings as much as Dean thought he did when he thought what was happening between he and Cas was real.
Which it wasn’t, but it’s been four months since he woke up from dream land and everything still hurts so bad inside.
So he hates the Oracles for making him feel, and he hates the world for not caring that his heart is smashed into a thousand little bits that he’s just dragging it along behind him. He hates Sam because Sam’s happy and Dean knows it’s a really shitty reason to hate someone but he can’t help it. He wants to be happy too.
He hates himself because he can’t get over it. He can’t let it go. Dean’s never been the kind to thinking about just lying down and dying but honestly, if it weren’t for the fact that his dream Cas would hate him Dean would have taken that plunge a week after he got home.
But then he remembers that his Cas was just a dream construct and not real at all and he starts the whole process over again.
He doesn’t date. Sam’s done everything but beg him and Dean’s refused. He’s off balance and feels naked without his wings. He can barely stand to touch himself to relieve tension and even then those short moments of physical relief usually end in tears when all he can fantasize about to come is Cas, CAS, CAS!!!
So yeah, someone’s going to die today. Dean’s pretty sure of it. He hates his life.
The Oracles had sent him home after looking at him with eyes full of sympathetic understanding. It made Dean wonder how alone he and Cas had really been in that garden.
Then he remembered Cas hadn’t really been there at all.
It’s a total mind fuck really. Dean’s never been good accepting that kind of thing.
“Now the learning begins,” the Oracles had said to him.
They hadn’t answered when Dean had shouted “What the hell does that mean?!”
Four months later and he still doesn’t understand what they were talking about.
“You’re late,” Bobby comments as Dean dashes in the door of the office.
“Traffic sucked,” Dean mumbles.
“You walk to work,” Bobby replies with a glare.
“Yeah,” Dean nods. “People traffic was a bitch today.”
“Try to be civil,” Bobby orders even as he squeezes Dean’s shoulder affectionately. “I know you haven’t been feeling right but this is important Dean. We need you at the top of your game.”
“I know,” Dean sighs as he rubs his tired eyes. Sleeping has been so hard for him. He feels like his body spends all night long looking for the comforting warmth of another that’s just not there and never going to be there.
How can you miss a dream so badly that you feel it in your bones?
“They’ll be here in a few minutes,” Bobby announces. “Here’s the deal. The angels are bringing over a group of strategists to look at dismantling the no fly zone between our two lands. They’re going to work with us to come up with a plan or two for navigating the mess that is left from the war. We have to figure out a way to disarm and remove the weapons in the no fly area before they become any more run down and the government starts worrying about them exploding all over the place. Each member of the team here is being partnered up with an angel to focus on a specific task. Based on your background in mechanics you’ll be part of the team designing equipment needed safety and support.”
“I’ve got it,” Dean assures him. He’s worked with Bobby a long time and he hopes his mentor still trust him to do his job. “I can do this Bobby. I know I’ve been not myself for a while but I can pull it together enough to make this happen. I won’t let you down.”
“I know,” Bobby sighs. “I just wish I knew what those Oracles did to you son, it’s like you’re raw all over.”
“I am,” Dean whispers. “That’s exactly what I am.”
There are no formal introductions for which Dean is grateful. He hates pomp and circumstance. So he heads back to his office which isn’t more than a cubicle in the corner of the garage he’s always worked in and gathers the things he thinks he might need in order to make this little get together something worth paying attention too.
He doesn’t even think about the angel that’s coming to meet with him. It doesn’t matter who it is, they won’t be who he wants to see.
He’s sliding a desk across the center of the room in the garage when he hears the door open. Dean doesn’t even bother to look up. “I’ll be with you in a minute.”
It’s the lack of response that makes him turn around.
“Cas?” He blurts out without thinking.
This cannot be happening to him. Dean’s never done something so bad in his life to deserve to suffer like this.
“Dean?” Cas whispers looking just as stunned.
This angel, he’s not really Cas.
Or rather, not Dean’s Cas. The one he remembers from the dream that he both wishes he had never dreamed and aches to go back to.
This angel, this Cas is….fragile. He’s broken somehow. His wings are totally unkempt; his posture is horrible, he has circles under his eyes that make him look thirty years older than he really is. He speaks in a voice hardly louder than a whisper and even then he doesn’t speak often enough for Dean’s liking.
There’s no banter, no challenge in his presentation, nothing really that links this real Cas with the one Dean misses so much that he wants to die.
Somehow, the being wrong makes it that much more painful. Thinking that his Cas was out there in the world leading a better, happier life than Dean could have given him is what kept him sane.
The fact that he’s not, the fact that he’s just as lonely and wrecked as Dean himself is just makes Dean want to find and choke the shit out of the Oracles.
Fuck them and their stupid games.
What the hell is he suppose to learn from this?
“What are you taking?” Dean blurts abruptly when Cas reaches into his jacket pocket with trembling hands and pours two pills out of a bottle before swallowing them dry.
Cas’ eyes roll toward him in a rare occasion of the angel meeting his gaze. “I take them for anxiety. They help me stay calm and focused.”
They’ve been working together for a week now and Dean’s starting to think his soul is breaking every time he learns something new about this angel he imagined he new so well.
He must sense something in Dean’s expression because he jerks suddenly and knocks over a cup full of pens until they scatter across the desk and onto the floor. Dean sighs as he crouches down to help Cas pick them up. While they’re bent over Cas rambles “I had…. an accident I guess you could call it a little over four months ago. Since then I’ve been anxious, I have trouble sleeping. When I get nervous my heart races and it can cause fluctuations in my grace leading to seizures. The medication helps to keep me level, safe.”
“And I make you nervous?” Dean asks. “You’re popping those things like candy.”
Cas blinks before he snorts softly “You have no idea.”
There’s something like a smile on the angel’s face and Dean can’t help but reach out and brush his fingertips along the side of Cas’ mouth. The angel stops breathing for a second and then his eyes slide shut on a shuddery exhale and Dean finds himself breathing in time. He closes his eyes for a moment and when he opens them again Cas’ wings are spread out around him with their feathers puffed out and extended.
He’s aroused. Dean would remember the look of those wings anywhere.
He just doesn’t know how to respond without having wings of his own. “Have dinner with me?” He asks as he smothers the feeling of cheating on a lover he never really had to begin with.
“Me?” Cas asks.
“Yeah,” Dean assures him. “Come to my place tonight and I’ll cook. Or I’ll order take out and lie to you by saying I cooked it. Say yes.”
“Yes,” Cas says earnestly, looking lighter than he has in all the time that Dean’s known him.
Dean shouldn’t feel guilty. He shouldn’t. This is Cas. It’s not his Cas but his Cas isn’t real.
Cas shouldn’t feel guilty. He shouldn’t. This is Dean. It’s not his Dean but his Dean isn’t real.
It’s time to move past fantasy and maybe if he gets to know this real Dean he can finally purge himself of the horrible longing he has for the one that his subconscious created without his consent.
At least, that had been the idea when he had agreed to meet Dean at his apartment down the street for dinner.
But he likes this Dean. Away from the confines of the work environment he’s far more relaxed and personable.
He’s funny, and speaks with great affection of his brother in the same way the false Dean he fell in love with once did.
“Sam’s taking his share of night time feedings and diaper changes,” Dean chuckles. “His wife really appreciates it.”
“Jessica,” Cas comments.
Dean stills. “How do you know that?”
“Know what?” Cas asks with his head cocked to the side.
“My brother’s wife,” Dean presses. “How did you know her name was Jessica?”
Dean told him in the garden, Cas knows that’s how he knows the name. But he can’t tell this man that he had a dream once that they were in love and happy together and when he woke up and found out it wasn’t true he had a panic attack so bad he had a seizure so damaging that he nearly died.
“You must have mentioned her before,” Cas comments.
Dean studies him for a long time before shrugging it off. Cas sighs with relief. They’re becoming friends. Cas might be able to have Dean in his life even if it’s only on a limited basis so long as Dean doesn’t discover the simple fact that he’s insane.
They pass the evening in easy companionship and it’s not until Dean is holding open the door for Cas to make his way back to his hotel that it hits the angel something else that seems odd about their interactions. When they pass at the doorway the angel catches a bit of the human’s scent. Dean smells just like he remembers.
This Dean smells like home, just like the dream Dean did.
A month later and he and Cas are buried under a mountain of paperwork related to the designs and specifications of their idea to help with the removal of a the weapons in the no fly zone. They’ve made some good progress in the last few weeks and Dean’s pleased with the direction they’re headed in both professionally and personally.
He likes Cas. He likes him a lot actually, probably more than he should.
Dean’s falling in love again with the same man. He’s falling in love with this real angel who doesn’t laugh enough and hides his mouth behind his hand when he smiles. He’s aching to touch those wings that still haunt his dreams even all these months later but now instead of the warm sun and sweet breezes of his imagined garden he’s finding himself imagining Cas in his bed on rumpled sheets with his wild feathers and shy eyes.
His memory of that other Cas is fading in light of the kind soul of the real angel he finds in his life.
Dean just wishes he knew if his feelings were returned. Cas is like an onion and the more Dean peels away the more confused he gets by what he finds. Half the time Cas responds to the things Dean says with information that Dean’s certain he couldn’t possibly know and then the other half of the time he’s talking in circles like he’s trying to confuse Dean.
Not that Dean hasn’t had a few weird moments himself; sometimes when Cas is telling him a story Dean swears he’s heard it before from the Cas in his dreams. But that can’t be possible. Can it?
“We should be ready to make our proposal to the board within the next week,” Cas comments as they are packing up for the night. “You should be proud. This is a very well thought out plan.”
“It’s OUR plan Cas,” Dean shrugs. “We did it together. I am proud of it but you should be too.”
The angel nods without turning in Dean’s direction but the flare of his wings and the way his feathers puff out tells the human that Cas is pleased by what Dean said.
“Have you ever been in love Cas?” Dean finds himself asking almost without thinking about it.
The angel stiffens before answering, “Yes, I think I was in love once. I was happy at least; content with him in a way I had never been before.”
“What was he like?” Dean presses because he’s always been a glutton for punishment and this is no different. He wants to know who this man was that Cas loved so much that the memory of him still makes the angel light up like Christmas.
“He was warm,” Cas sighs with a far away look in his eyes. “He had a bright smile and a wicked sense of humor. He was goofy as hell.” Cas snorts with laughter while he wraps his arms and wings around himself like he’s trying to hold the memories tight against his chest. “He pushed all my buttons and everything between us was a give and take, back and forth, but he made me feel like I was flying when I was just sitting on the ground and I never wanted to let him go. He had the most beautiful honey colored wings.”
Dean’s heart clenches at the admission. Of course the angel Cas loved had to have the same kind of wings Dean had in his dream. He’s nothing special. There’s nothing unique about Dean.
“What happened?” Dean blurts out.
Cas crumples. “It ended – abruptly. One night we were together and the next it was like a dream.”
Dean turns to look at his friend and sees the tracks of tears rolling down the angel’s face. “I miss him very much,” Cas whispers. “Everything’s been horrible since he’s been gone. Every day was a struggle.”
The angel’s eyes turn toward him and Cas adds, “Until I met you Dean. You make me feel like I could fly again.”
Dean grabs him. He drags Cas into his arms and holds him the way he’s been aching to do for months now. The angel gasps at the first intimate touch of Dean’s fingers dragging along the inside of his feathers. But then he shifts and spreads his wings out under Dean’s caress. Cas’ mouth finds Dean’s and their tongues tangle together in a dance Dean swears they’ve done before even though it’s not possible.
Cas whimpers and squirms against him as he tries to get closer and cling to Dean harder. They sweep the papers on the table onto the floor before Dean lifts Cas up and puts him on the desk before stepping between his spread knees and yanking their hips together. Cas yanks Dean’s shirt out of the back of his pants and tugs it up and over his head before throwing it to the side on top of the papers they scattered all over the floor.
God, it’s so good. Dean’s eyes are rolling up in his head. Cas’ wings feel just like he remembers, the angel tastes the same, smells the same, feels the same. He makes the same noises as the Cas from the garden did and fuck, Dean thought he was getting over this but it’s too similar, too close to that aching place inside his soul that hasn’t ever healed.
He’s backing away from the angel, planning to run, to stop torturing himself when Cas rumbles, “I miss your wings,” as he trails his hands down the smooth skin on Dean’s shoulders.
They both freeze.
Cas is sputtering, kiss swollen lips fluttering as he flushes with what Dean guesses is embarrassment.
But then everything clicks in Dean’s head. It’s insane, it has to be, but just in case he whispers, “Cas? Is it you? From the garden. Please tell me it’s you.”
“Dean?” Cas gasps before making a strangled sound, seizing up in Dean’s arms and collapsing off the side of the desk and onto the floor.
Dean paces the hallways of the hospital ward they are housing Castiel in; the angel never regaining consciousness after the last set of seizures triggered by the sudden awareness that their shared dream had been real.
Dean’s left with the stark understanding that he might have found the love of his life again, just to have him torn from his arms by a cruel twist of fate. Cas might never wake up. Cas might die without ever knowing for certain that he is loved so completely.
It’s a burden that Dean simply cannot bear. The beeping of the machines is driving him crazy and waiting was never something Dean could say he was good at.
So he turns, brushing past the angelic grouping that has been present near Castiel’s bedside since they brought him into his hospital room. Dean rushes past the elevators to the stairs, racing downward thirteen floors to the open air sidewalk outside. One his feet touch it he races through the busy streets of his home city. People on the street duck and swerve out of his way and he thinks about time the third car almost hits him that he probably seems like a mad man and it might not be far from the truth.
But he has a destination in mind; Dean knows where he’s going and he doesn’t give a damn if the Oracles want to see him or not.
It’s time Dean got some answers.
The doors are open, the hallways clear. There’s no security staff or dignitaries blocking his way. Dean rushes through the atrium deep into the bowls of the place he knows the Oracles work and live and slams into a small, private chamber into the group of them.
Clearly, they’ve been expecting him. They even saved him a seat at the breakfast table.
“Come,” one of them says. “Eat with us and tell us what you have learned.”
“What I’ve learned?” Dean questions with wide spread arms. He’s panting with exhaustion as he erupts, “What I’ve learned is that you guys are a bunch of DICKS!”
He’s a little shocked listening doesn’t strike him dead on the spot but once he realizes he’s not going to be immediately slaughtered it’s like the rest of his anger comes pouring out. “How dare you?” he sobs. “You manipulated us. You threw us together and toyed with our emotions for what? What do want from us? He’s sick. Cas is sick and he’s wasting away. He’s in that fucking hospital bed and they say he might not wake up. But I bet you already know that don’t you?”
“We do.” Another one of them speaks. “There are many things we know.”
“What the fuck kind of answer is that?” Dean blurts. “This isn’t a game! I want you to tell me why you did this to us. WHY?!”
“Castiel is important,” they say. “Unique, powerful; he’s meant for great things. A leader of his people in this new world without war. His guidance will grant many long years of prosperity.”
“Cas?” Dean mutters, stunned. “Have you met Cas? He’s shy and withdrawn. He almost stutters when he speaks and he can’t look anyone in the eye. He has seizures because his panic attacks are so bad. Hell, he’s comatose right now! He’s not leading anyone anywhere!”
“Not with you,” they say. “With you he’s fierce, passionate, and dominating. You bring out his strength and confidence. With you, he soars.”
Dean’s mouth opens…and then shuts. He can’t think of anything to say. It’s true, the only real difference between Cas in the garden and Cas in the real world is that the Cas in the garden wanted to be with Dean enough to take a risk. He hadn’t allowed himself to be held back by the ties of their real lives.
“Now please,” they ask, “tell us what you have learned?”
“I love him,” Dean whispers. He’s suddenly so tired. “None of the rest of this matters to me. I don’t care what you think his destiny is, or why you think I’m important. I just love him and I need him to be okay.”
“How much is this love worth to you Dean Winchester?”
He chokes out a laugh as he swipes a hand across his face. “I don’t even know how to answer that…I love him enough to come running in here and call you guys a giant bag of dicks. Is that a good enough answer? He’s worth everything.”
“Then you have proven yourself to be teachable,” they smile. “Not you must prove you can impart your knowledge.”
“You lost me,” Dean complains as he crosses his arms.
“You had to learn to love, Dean.” They answer. “And you have learned love’s value. The first part of this task was for you. You learned to love not just the illusion of Castiel but his true self as well. His flaws are enough for you and you are happy, yes?”
“I might be if I can keep him awake long enough to find out,” Dean grumbles as he glares.
He didn’t think the oracles laughed. But they do, and loudly.
“The next part of this lesson is for Castiel,” they continue. “You had to learn to love. He must learn to have faith.”
“Faith in what?” Dean asks.
“In himself,” they explain. “You must get him to see himself as you see him. You must have him believe his true self is worthy of love.”
“How am I supposed to do that if he won’t wake up?”
“He’s waiting for you in the garden, Dean.” They say as they rise and begin to come toward him. “But be warned, teaching is often more painful than learning. He will not want to leave the garden and come back here with you. Find a way to make him see, Dean. He is needed by the world just as much as you need each other. You both are.”
One moment Dean’s barely standing on his feet in the halls of the Oracles home. The next he’s surrounded by sunlight and warm breezes. He looks around quickly at the familiar site of the garden with a grin before shaking out his wings and taking to the sky.
He has an angel to find.
The air feels so good against his skin, on his wings. Dean closes his eyes and plummets toward the ground just to feel the rush in his stomach and the breeze bursting against his wings.
He’s flying, something he never thought he would be able to do again and it’s glorious and perfect and so fucking sweet.
He could do this for the rest of his life…it’s intoxicating.
He’s missed this so much. But more then that, he’s missed the man he’s currently supposed to be looking for.
Cas. He’s going to see Cas, his Cas; the one that recognizes him and knows how to touch him. God, it’s like finding a long lost lover.
It’s hard to remember that these two totally different men are the same person. Even harder for Dean to believe he loves them both.
Dean’s heart stops when he sees him. Cas is spread out across the giant rock they frequented naked as the day he was born and glorious in the early afternoon sunlight.
He’s just sprawled there, wanton and gorgeous; looking like a beacon to Dean who folds his wings and dips toward the earth.
“Dean,” Cas breathes as he lands off to the side of the angels perch. “Where have you been all day? I’ve been looking all over for you.”
“Looks like it,” Dean says with easy affection.
Cas chuckles, “Well…I got tired, it was warm.”
Dean smiles at Cas’ relaxed posture and seemingly unconscious grace. This angel in front of him is a far cry from the soft spoken, nervous one that Dean knows is waiting for him in the real world.
“We need to wake up Cas,” Dean says seriously.
Cas’ expression tightens in confusion. “What are you talking about? Do you have heat stroke?”
“No,” Dean gasps. “I’m serious Cas, this is serious. You need to wake up. The Oracles sent me to get you.”
“You’ve lost your mind,” Cas laughs. “What have you been drinking? Did you find some alcohol somewhere or something?”
Dean’s dumbstruck. He doesn’t know what to do. He knew from the Oracles that Cas wouldn’t want to come back with him. But he never expected that Cas wouldn’t remember being in the real world with him at all. It’s been half a year for Dean since they’ve been together like this. For Cas it’s like the dream never ended.
Can he hate his real life, his real self, that much?
“Cas,” Dean breathes as he crouches down next to the rock. “This is important. I need you to trust me. Can you do that?”
The angel’s wings arch up above his head as Cas moves into a sitting position with a wary look in his eyes. “What are you talking about, Dean?”
“This isn’t real,” Dean begins; reaching out to hold Cas’ hands when the angel jerks back as though he’s afraid. “The Oracles sent us into a dream that we both thought lasted for a month in this garden but it wasn’t a month. It was one night and this place doesn’t really exist. We woke up and went on with our lives for months until our jobs brought us back together. We both thought we had made it all up. But it was real, Cas. We fell in love. I need you to wake up now. I need you to come back with me.”
“Why are you doing this?” Cas asks. His voice is tight and his body tensing. Dean can see the terror in his eyes and the fear.
Why does this all have to be so hard and hurt so badly?
“I’m so sorry,” Dean whispers and he’s shocked as the tears well up in his eyes. “Please, I need you to remember. We can have more than this. We can have something real together. It’s more than I ever hoped for. I need this, Cas. I need you. Please, baby. Please do this for me. Just trust me and remember.”
Cas’ hands are gripping Dean’s so hard that he’s loosing feeling in them. The angel’s blue eyes widening until Dean thinks he might just yank away and bolt off into the sky. “You won’t want me there. You can’t possibly want me. I’m weak, broken.”
Dean actually laughs, he so startled. “I’m a work obsessed isolationist that has never had a real relationship. I’m narrow-minded and suspicious. I’m rude and abrasive and human, Cas; just plain old human. No wings, no flying, nothing to make us similar to each other. But you took a chance on me. You reached out to me. Why?”
“It’s not the same,” Cas argues.
“How?” Dean presses as he leans farther into the angel’s space. “How is it different? So you’re shy and anxious. So what? You aren’t like that with me. You wouldn’t be like that with me. You’d be like you are here. Most off the stuff that you don’t like about yourself is only there because no one’s been taking care of you. I would fix that. You just have to trust me. Just come home with me and let groom you and love you and show you how much you’re worth to me.”
“Can’t we just stay here?” Cas pleads. “We’re happy here. It’s easy here.”
“It’s not real,” Dean says sadly. “I don’t want a dream when the reality is right at my fingertips.”
“This place,” Cas waves his wings around. “It’s real enough for me.”
“I can’t stay here,” Dean sighs. “I need more than this.”
“What more is there?” Cas asks as he snatches his hands away from Dean’s hold.
“There’s everything else that makes you who you are,” Dean answers as he rises to his feet. “I want all of you Cas, not just the parts of you that you choose to show me. I don’t want to be lied too.”
He hesitates long enough to see Cas’ mouth drop open in shock before Dean flares his wings and takes flight. He’s not giving up, not yet. But he can’t hear himself think anymore over the sound of his heart breaking.
He needs to get away.
It’s late into the evening when Cas finds him. Dean’s huddled in a tree as close to the edge of the garden as he dares to go for fear of being kicked back out into the real world and leaving Cas stuck in here alone forever.
He’s hurt and angry, but it doesn’t stop his wings from burrowing up under Cas’ like they belong there. Suddenly that simple touch means so much more than Dean ever noticed before. He lost these wings once; he may never have them again after this dream. He’s going to treasure every single moment he can before life takes them away again.
But it will all be worth it if he can just leave here with Cas.
“You missed dinner,” Cas says softly as his wings move restlessly over Dean’s.
“It shouldn’t matter,” Dean shrugs. “It’s not real.”
Cas stiffens but he doesn’t retreat. “But you’re hungry. Your body doesn’t know this isn’t real.”
“I don’t want to fight anymore,” Dean suddenly blurts. “I can’t just act like there isn’t a bigger issue here. Don’t talk to me about food right now.”
“Then what would you have me discuss with you?” Cas snaps. Dean’s heart breaks even further as he wrenches his wings away leaving Dean cold and exposed. “Would you have me tell you about my miserable existence and how I’ve spent my life for all purposes alone because I’ve been deemed unsuitable as a mate? Should I discuss with you how tenuous my hold on my anxiety is so that it rears its head at any given moment leaving me gasping and seizing on the floor? Do you want hear about how I thought I was crazy before I saw you again? Do you need to hear how working with you these past weeks has driven me mad with guilt and longing because I wanted you but felt like I was betraying you as well? Is that what you want? Why would I want to go back to that? I’m safe here. I’m whole here. Let it go.”
Dean watches with a stunned sense of detachment as Cas slides his wings around again to slide over his, pressing them close in between the space separating their bodies. “You mean you get to be dominate here.”
Cas’ eyes widen in shock and the wind whistles as he jerks away from Dean. “That’s not fair,” the angel whispers as he crosses his arms over his chest.
“But it’s true,” Dean growls. “You don’t feel like you have control out there but you think you can control me. This isn’t a relationship to you; it’s an experiment, a way for you to feel strong.”
“I love you,” Cas shouts so loud Dean’s ears ring. “How dare you doubt that? I just want to be what you want. I want you to look at me as an equal, as a partner not something pathetic you have to take care of. You like me like this. You like me snappy and strong. You could never be happy with the way I am out there.”
It’s like suddenly there’s nothing more to be said. Dean’s heart is pounding and Cas is panting, both sets of their wings spread out over their heads in a purely defensive gesture. It’s an impasse and if it weren’t for the way Cas’ feathers shake with fear Dean would think it was the end for them. But he’s never been one to give up easy.
“You smudge your left cheek with pencil every time you use one to write with,” he says into the stillness. Cas reaches up unconsciously to touch his face. “You never trip going down the steps but you’ve fallen up them twice in the last three weeks. You add way too much sugar and cream to perfectly good coffee and then you complain the whole time you drink it about it being too sweet.”
He’s relieved when Cas snorts and smiles. “You chew your lower lip when you think hard and when you’re pissed off at me you have this stare that could melt glass. I keep waiting for you to pull a giant sword out of your trench coat,” Dean shifts his feet and wipes his hands on his pants. “You smell like motor oil and old books and I love it. You don’t smell like that here. There’s something really hot about you touching me like I’m made of glass, like your nervous. It makes me want to gather you up and hold you close to me. It feels like you need me a little bit to make you feel secure and I like that because I need you to remind me I’m not all alone out there. You help me Cas, you make me feel like I’m a part of something solid and good and special. I want that. I want that with you. I just need you to take a chance with me. I love you, not this you, the real one; the one that’s hurting and needs me right now. I have to go back to him, Cas.”
Dean shivers all over as the truth of it settles on his soul, “I fell in love you three times in one lifetime. Once when we were kids and I messed it all up, and then here; but it wasn’t real. This time I have a chance to get everything and I want it. All those things that you think are wrong with you just make you…..you.”
Cas’ too blue eyes stream with tears. He takes a shaky breath before he looks up and Dean and orders “Wake up, Dean. Wake up now.”
The floor is cold, and it hurts like hell. Dean rolls over rubbing the slightly swollen side of his face. He must have hit his head when the Oracles sent him back to La-La Land.
It wouldn’t have hurt them to tell him to sit down or something; maybe get him a cot or a blanket.
Where the hell are those guys anyway?
The place is deserted. It’s like they were never there in the room with him at all. Dean staggers to his feet with a groan and turns to make his way back out to the street. He needs to get back to the hospital; he has to get to Cas.
He manages something like jogging until he gets to the street and then has to lean heavily against a light pole to catch his breath. God, he hurts everywhere. It’s almost like they beat him with a stick while he was unconscious.
It takes him forever to limp back to the hospital. It’s the middle of the night and way past business hours. When he reaches the floor that Cas’ room is on the nurses at the station rush to stop him from entering the room.
“Sir,” one of them says sharply. “You’re not allowed in there.”
“The hell I’m not,” Dean growls as he tries to shove his way past her. “The guy I’m in love with is in that room and I’m going in there.”
“I can’t let you do that, that room has been reserved for angels only,” she explains like she thinks he’s lost his mind.
Maybe he has.
“I’m pretty clear on that thanks,” Dean interrupts. “It was probably the wings that clued me in.”
He catches sight of himself in a mirror hanging in the nurse’s station and freezes. He looks like shit. His eyes are swollen and his face is puffy and scraped. He touched his cheek gently and blinks in shock. Did he land flat on his face?
“Can I get you something?” the nurse asks softly as he tries to pull himself together.
“What?” Dean stammers. “I mean no, no, thank you. I just need to see Castiel, Please. I really need to get into that room.”
“Sir,” She hesitates like she’s not sure if she should tell him something. “The angel in that room was discharged three days ago.”
“That’s not possible,” Dean gasps. “I just left him here this morning. I know it’s late but it hasn’t been three days.”
“Castiel was released to the angel contingency on Wednesday,” she explains. “They were scheduled to depart back to their lands this morning. The plane left before lunch today. It was all over the news. The angels are gone.”
Dean has a meltdown, there’s no other word for it. He bursts into panicked tears and wipes at his face with shaking hands. He feels sick and the world tilts around him sharply. The nurses drag him into the break room and make him put his head between his knees. They bring him cool, wet towels to put on the back of his neck and ice chips. It takes over an hour for him to pull it together enough to walk home.
He takes the long way, it’s not like he has any reason to hurry.
The place is locked up tight and dark inside. Dean doesn’t bother turning on the lights. He throws his keys onto the kitchen counter and tugs off his shirt on his way to the bathroom.
He turns the shower on as hot as he can stand it and sits on the floor under the spray with his knees pulled up to his chest for a long time as the gears in his head grind, trying to figure out what he’s supposed to do now.
Cas is awake and out there somewhere, half a world away and Dean has no idea how to get to where he is.
What if Cas doesn’t remember the dream? What if he thinks Dean abandoned him? What if he changed his mind and doesn’t want Dean after all?
“I’m so fucked,” Dean mutters to himself as he shuts off the water and drags himself into the bedroom after drying off.
He clicks on the lamp next to his dresser so he can see to pull on some pants.
There’s an angel in his bed.
“Cas?!” Dean’s grabbing him up and shaking him a little just to be sure the other man is real before Cas even has a chance to answer.
“Where have you been?” Cas snaps as he clings to Dean’s shoulders and wraps his wings around him. “I’ve been looking everywhere for you. No one knew where you went after you left the hospital.” There’s a pause as Cas touched his face gently. “Did someone beat you up?”
“I fell,” Dean explains as he shakes his head. “They told me the angels left to go home. Why are you still here?”
“We finished the preparations for the projects so we were scheduled to go back home and implement our parts until your group was ready to proceed,” Cas explains. “I stayed because this is my home now. You’re here. You promised me we’d be together if I woke up with you.”
So simple, said so calmly, and it changes Dean’s whole world.
A thought occurs to him as he’s grabbing Cas closer to squeeze him so hard he squeaks. “How did you get in here?”
He smiles even widens when Cas blushes and ducks his head. “Your brother,” Cas mumbles. “I looked him up when I couldn’t find you. After I explained our situation and told him a number of stories from your life that only someone very close to you would know he let me stay here in the hopes you would return.”
“I’m going to have to kiss Sam the next time I see him,” Dean comments.
“I would prefer you kiss me,” Cas whispers and Dean finally notices him staring at his mouth.
So Dean does.
Dean spends the better part of the next day on the couch with an ice pack pressed to the side of his face.
God, he hurts all over.
“How did you manage to wake up so much faster than me?” He questions as Cas settles in next to him and carefully strokes a wing up and down his side offering comfort.
“I was motivated?” Cas tease gently. “Once I realized you really wanted me and that I wasn’t going to be alone anymore I couldn’t think of anything else. They said I shot up in bed that day and had ripped half the wires and tubes out before the nurses even made it from the station.”
“I wish I could have seen that,” Dean chuckles. He’s still so tired, even after a night spent curled up in Cas’ arms and wings and days being technically unconscious he just wants to sleep.
“Or perhaps it was your proximity to the Oracles,” Cas offers after a few moments of thought. “The effect might have been stronger for you because you were so close to them.”
Dean shrugs and then groans painfully as the movement pulls something in his back. “You know,” he gasps as Cas helps him shift back into a sitting position. “I kinda thought that when we finally got together there would be some actual sex. Not me feeling like I got hit by a truck.”
The angel’s laugh is loud and joyful. Dean smiles through his discomfort and wonders how many times a day he’ll get to hear that laugh for the rest of his life. But then Cas seems to sober, and he’s shifting until he’s sliding over to straddle Dean’s lap as carefully as he can.
He removes the ice pack from Dean’s battered face and whispers, “Do you trust me?”
“Of course,” Dean replies without thought. It’s not even a valid question.
Cas raises a trembling hand to cup the damaged side of Dean’s cheek and though it causes him to wince, Dean doesn’t pull away. The angel’s wings twitch and shiver before enveloping them both and then there’s some kind of heat blossoming under Dean’s skin. Something foreign and warm spreading over where his pain is before easing it away.
It feels so damn good. “Cas,” he breathes. “What are you doing to me?”
“We can do this,” Cas whispers back, the hand on Dean’s cheek no longer cupping but tracing a trail of heat down the bridge of Dean’s nose with a fingertip before sliding across his lower lip. “With our mates,” Cas adds as an after thought. His eyes are dilated and he’s clearly distracted.
“Is that what we are?” Dean asks with a grin. “I’m your mate?”
“You’re my everything,” Cas answers with a smile. “My bonded, you’re what I’ve been waiting for.”
The heat seems to explode as Dean kisses his angel. It pours down his neck and explodes across his back before settling in his groin making him squirm up against Cas’ body and groan in excitement.
The angel’s no less affected. Cas’ wings flare out around the sofa and he’s gripping Dean’s shoulders like he wants to rip the t-shirt right off of him. Dean’s hands scramble up Cas’ sides to dig into the soft feathers on the inside of Cas’ wings in a human mimicry of what his wings used to do. He feels a pang of loss suddenly at not being to able to share his wings with Cas maybe ever again.
“You’re perfect,” Cas mouths into his neck and he presses sucking, nipping kisses along the column of Dean’s throat. “I don’t need them. You’re perfect for me just like this. Beautiful, love you.”
Dean’s jerking Cas’ head up then by his hair and biting at his lips before thrusting his tongue into the angel’s mouth and just flat out owning him. Their both achingly hard and for the first time in their relationship there is nothing holding them back, no deadline they have to meet, nothing looming over their heads. They’re free and they can have this, they can take their time and finally complete the circuit they started when they were children.
“Love you too,” Dean groans into Cas mouth while reaches down to grab the angel’s hips and force their groins together through the layers of their pants and then Cas is yanking his own shirt off and throwing it somewhere across the room before shredding Dean’s with his bare hands and looking completely unapologetic about it when Dean chuckles and raises and eyebrow.
“Want you,” Cas rumbles. “Now.”
Dean can get on board with that. Hell yes he can.
He’s trying to figure out how to get off the sofa and make it to the bedroom without letting go of Cas while his mate seems determined to suck a hicky the size of Nebraska onto the space where his neck meets his shoulder. But fuck it, maybe they won’t make it and after all this build up they can do it here on the couch…or on the floor.
Dean’s yanking at the button on his jeans and then Cas’ while he sucks on one of the angel’s nipples and Cas starts making noise like a porn star.
They’re going to do this for real and it going to be awesome, it’s going to be perfect. It’s going to be…..”SAM!” Cas exclaims suddenly.
“Sam?” Dean grumbles disbelieving. “What the fuck, Cas?”
“Am I interrupting something?” Sam’s amused voice comes from behind the sofa where the door to the apartment is.
Dean turns to glare at his brother from over his shoulder. “I hate you.”
Cas buries his blushing face in Dean’s neck and laughs.
As much as Dean wants to throw his brother out of his apartment and get back to what he was doing in the first place it’s nice to see Sam getting along so well with Cas.
Dean figures it can only be a good thing that his brother and his…mate like each other.
He’s a little surprised to realize the idea of being with Cas the rest of his life doesn’t freak him out. He’s still adjusting to the idea of being basically married but honestly, the only person he can think of right now is the angel sitting across the room from him. All he sees is Cas and the first tiny changes that the Oracles prophesized.
Even after just one night together Cas looks stronger, more whole. He’s not shrinking from Sam the way Dean’s seen him do in front of other people, his wings are settled comfortably but proudly against his back, he’s making eye contact.
Never mind the fact that he hasn’t needed any medication and it’s almost noon.
It makes Dean wonder if there any changes happening to him.
It doesn’t take Sam long to point them out.
“You’re different,” Sam comments as he grabs his coat later on in the afternoon and heads for home after making them promise to come by for dinner tomorrow.
Dean gives him a look that clearly says he thinks Sam is full of shit.
“I mean it,” Sam says more firmly. “You seem brighter somehow, settled, less tense. It’s like…he fills up all those raw places you try so hard to hide.”
He wants to snap at his brother, tell him he’s crazy, that he’s not any different than he was yesterday or the day before that. But Dean knows it would be a lie. The warm press of Cas’ arms around his middle remind him of that even as Sam smiles sweetly at them before looking like he wants to cry as he whispers “I’m so glad you found someone, Dean.”
Then he’s out the door and Dean sighs as he relaxes into Cas’ embrace. The angel holds his body weight with no problem; they’re so much stronger than a human. Cas nuzzles his neck with a happy murmur of something Enochian. Dean doesn’t need to understand the words to feel the contentment behind them.
“Back to bed?” Cas asks as he encircles Dean in his wings.
“Yes, please,” Dean answers. “Let’s finish what we started this morning.”
He isn’t expecting his lover to pick him up, but he manages to hold back a girly squeal as Cas carries him to their bed.
He’s placed on the bed like something precious. Cas’ eyes trailing over his body like he’s trying to absorb everything, like Dean’s something beautiful. Then the angel’s stripping out of his clothes as fast as he can while Dean struggles out of his shirt before Cas can rip up another one. He never makes it to his pants and laughs as he hangs onto the bed frame as Cas tries to yank them off him without unbuttoning them first and almost tips the whole bed over.
Then Cas is on top of him, leaning down to kiss him, his wings spread out all around them with feathers sticking out everywhere. Dean reaches up and drags his nails across the sensitive underside of those huge wings and smiles against Cas’ lips as the angel tenses and moans, his hips smacking into Dean’s with force enough to make Dean groan at the idea of having Cas inside him.
There’s just no other way this is going to end.
“We should slow down,” Cas pants as Dean spreads his legs.
“I don’t think so,” Dean argues as he stretches out an arm and grabs for the lube.
“There should be more foreplay,” Cas complains even as he’s yanking the lube out of Dean’s hand and spilling half of it on the bed as he coats his fingers.
“Next time,” Dean assures him.
“I’m sorry,” Cas gasps as Dean tosses his head back and moans while he slips a finger inside. “I can’t wait, Dean. Not anymore.”
“Don’t want you to wait,” Dean growls as rocks his hips into Cas’ touch and hopes for more. “Come on.”
One finger becomes two and Dean squirms on the blanket covering his bed and strokes his dick while Cas watches him with eyes that Dean could swear are starting to glow. Then three and Dean has to pinch the base of his dick hard to keep from coming right then as the angel’s fingers press in and tease over his prostate.
“Now,” Cas pants as he pulls away and grabs for the lube again and Dean reaches up for him greedily as the angel lines up and slides inside. The stretch still burns just a little but Dean’s too caught up in Cas’ kisses to care.
It’s embarrassingly fast. Dean comes as soon as the angel dips his head and bites down on his collar bone.
Cas follows mere moments later, smashing his wings into the walls of the room as he thrashes and cries out Dean’s name.
“We’ll do better next time,” Cas assures him as he collapses on top of Dean like he plans to happily spend the night there.
Dean snorts but rearranges their bodies until they are curled on their sides with room enough for Cas’ wings to slip off the side of the bed into the open space of the room. He nuzzles the top of Cas’ head as he whispers, “I love you.”
Cas rumbles back, “Mine.”
It’s been a hell of a long day.
Dean rubs his eyes as he wanders the long hallway to his home in the angelic district. He and Cas having moved there three years ago once they finally finished the demolition of the no-fly zone between their two lands.
It’s taken a lot of work to make this partnership between their two races something solid, something dependable. Dean hadn’t been aware he was signing up to be the poster child for human and angelic relations when he fell in love with a wild haired, blue eyed, little boy so many years ago as a child.
He just wanted to make that ugly thing that had been his relationship with Cas as a child right. He hadn’t thought past fixing their relationship, apologizing for his horrible behavior, Dean’s guesses he’s always been short sighted that way. Politics never mattered to him.
They never mattered to Cas either until the angelic ruling party rolled up into their living room one morning and announced that it was impossible for Cas to claim being mated to a human was possible.
They’d proved that theory wrong real quick.
So a solid year of testing later the world finally recognized what Dean and Cas had already known. They were made for each other.
Things changed after that, Cas changed. Dean laughs at him sometimes when Cas flops his wings down and peaks at him out of the corner of his eyes the way he used to when they first rediscovered each other. It’s funny to think of his aggressive and defiant mate as that shy, pain-filled creature he used to be.
The world’s become smaller around them and maybe because of them. Now instead of two conflicting races there’s a Hodge-podge of humans and angels living together in neighborhoods all across both their lands.
Hell, last year, Sam and Jessica adopted an angelic child. Ruby is a shit-storm of trouble all the way around but Dean’s grown to love her. He’s a proud uncle to both of Sam’s kids and more and more often he wonders about having some of his own with Cas.
He thinks maybe they would make good fathers, maybe Dean’s growing up, he’s ready share more of himself with someone other than Cas. He wants a family.
They’re coming off a week of celebrations for the Oracles. It’s rare that they travel out of the main city the human population built around their compound. But it’s beginning to happen more and more often as the years pass. When they do travel, a visit with Dean and Cas is always on their list of things to do.
It’s taken about six years for Dean to stop flinching every time one of them wants to touch him.
“Honey,” he calls as he opens the door to their apartment. “I’m home.”
There’s no answer. Dean winds his way through the living room and down the hall to where their bedroom is. Cas is sprawled, wings hanging limp, in the middle of their bed. Dean snorts as he shuts the door behind him and starts tugging off his clothes. It’s been a long week for both of them and Cas deserves his rest. There’s been meeting after meeting getting ready for this week and then dinners and parties and all the things that neither of them are really good at but suffer through for the good of their people.
There have been ten more human/angelic matings this year and every time Dean hears of a new one he does a little private dance of joy. It’s hard being alone under the microscope and the more people who come to the party the more likely he and Cas will get to step down from the big show and go retire to their little garden cabin they’ve been looking forward too.
Not that they never get to see the garden…they found that out the night after they finally had sex for the first time and it’s been their carefully kept secret for all the years that have gone by since then.
Every time they sleep, they close their eyes and when they open them again they’re back in the garden where it all started. They don’t even have to be together, on the rare occasions that they are separated over night they still find one another in their dreams.
Dean slips into bed under the comforting weight of Cas’ left wing and closes his eyes.
“Took you long enough,” Cas says with a smile as Dean turns and finds him lounging on their favorite sunning rock. “I’ve been waiting forever.”
“You’re so impatient,” Dean comments as he bends down to kiss his mate hello. “I’m only like an hour behind you and I know you waited up.”
“I always do,” Cas grins as he ruffles his way through Dean’s hair with long fingers. “So what do you want to do tonight, my love?”
“The same thing we do every night, Pinky,” Dean teases even though he knows Cas won’t understand the joke.
The angel rolls his eyes before gaining his feet and launching himself into the air. “You coming?” he calls over his shoulder to Dean, still standing on the ground.
Dean grins; it’s the last of their secret. Not only do they get the garden every night in their dreams, but Dean gets his wings back as well. “Race you to the cottage!” he calls out as he takes off.
The sun warm on his tawny feathers as Dean lets the current take him through the sky.