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Both Have Fallen from Grace

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Dean couldn't quite remember the events that led up to him walking to that highway bridge. Perhaps a few too many beers at The Roadhouse, whose previous owners had long since passed on, assisted in the past half hour of stumbling through a blurred town. Maybe his mind, cloudy with images that he would rather forget, is what drove him toward the side of the bridge.

He doesn't recognize his actions until he feels the cold metal of the handrail against his hand, causing him to stop all movement.

He blinks down at the bar that blocks him from a drop that could surely take his life, considering all options before he planned to move again.

Thoughts continued to run through his head. Bobby would be pissed. He can't even imagine what his dad would say. Though it isn't as if any of that matters anymore. They're both gone now. The only one left is Sam.

But would his little brother even notice his absence? After this mess that dragged him back into demon hunting, Sam hasn't been the same. When Azazel killed their father, Bobby, Ellen, and Jo; the two Winchester brothers worked to hunt him down and kill him with the colt, a gun specifically made to kill demons. Afterwards, Dean had expected his brother to stay in the family business, but instead Sam decided to go back to Stanford.

Sam has only visited Dean once since then, at last year's Christmas, but besides the occasional phone call, the older sibling doesn't  hear from his brother much at all.

Dean now stands on the thin strip of concrete on the outer side of the bridge, feet shoulder width apart, and calves pressed against the railing. His arms are out to his sides and twisted backwards at an awkward position so he can hold onto the rails.

For a moment he considers if anyone besides Sam would attend his funeral. He didn't necessarily have friends, or anyone else that he was very close to, but surely there would be someone else there?

The ex-hunter pushes those thoughts from his head, looking down at the city road far below him. It's smooth, cold, monochrome streets seem so surreal from this high up. The street lights shine down onto the road and reflect light as if the streets were a black river. The stretch of dark concrete goes on forever, trailing off into the distance and becoming less recognizable as it goes.

The fall has to be at least fifty feet straight down. Maybe more. A jump like this should kill him instantly, though its less than he deserves. He deserves the pain, every last bit that he had brought upon his friends and loved ones, to be brought back tenfold onto himself. He deserves to pay for the deaths of each comrade that he lost. It was all his fault anyway. He needed to make it right. He was the one who should have died. Or so he believed.

A quiet, shaky breath escapes his lips as he tilts his head back a bit, letting his eyes slide shut. The cool wind rushes smoothly across his face and causes his hair to dance, tickling the back of his neck. The sound of the evening air mixed with an occasional car going by plays hollowly into Dean's ears. For once, in a long time, he is at peace, ready to accept his end with open arms. He's ready to rest at last.

He takes one last breath of chilly night before letting go of the handrails and plummeting off of the side of the bridge.


 Dean falls through the air, watching the concrete below rapidly approach. He feels his eyes water up and sting from the pressure of air rushing against his face.

It isn't quite like he imagined. Its not slow or dramatized, like you'd read about in a book. Instead he is greeted by not even two seconds of falling, and before he knew it he had reached the bottom.

The pain is unbearable.

A grotesque cracking noise can be heard as he hits the ground. Why wasn't he dead? A scream rips through his throat at the pain that ripples through his limbs and sides. Throughout his years as a hunter he had acquired far too many injuries, fractured ribs, broken bones, bruises and cuts. Nothing could compare to what he's feeling now. There's no way of telling what part of him hurts the most. Its as if every bone in his body has been crushed by the fall.

The pain slowly starts to feel more numb as he becomes light headed. It's still agonizing, but now it seems to be further away.

He feels as if the earth is gone from beneath him. He has no sense of the state that he's in. All that run's through his foggy mind is "This isn't what I wanted."

He tries to move but his body won't obey him. It's as if he is being pushed from all sides in an attempt to hold him still.

In one last effort, he manages to open his eyes a bit. The first thing he notices is the shiny bright red liquid that pools around him onto of the dark concrete. He has to give all of his effort into making his eyes focus more.

When they do, he sees the shape of his right arm. The site is almost enough to make him throw up, and surely if he was able to move then he would. It's bent at an unnatural angle, elbow completely out of place. A blood covered bone has ripped through the muscle and skin of his forearm and is protruding outwards.

"This isn't what I wanted."

The pain fades as his senses are numbed and his vision becomes cloudy. He's losing too much blood to survive. Soon. He will be able to sleep. He lets his eyes drift shut and holds still, and even with his eyes closed, his vision goes white.

Then he feels a burning on his upper left arm. It starts off dull and warm but slowly starts to burn. It gets hotter and hotter until Dean is sure that his arm is on fire. His eyes squeeze shut tighter, still blinding by a white nothingness. His other injuries aren't even recognizable through the pain in his arm.  The burning continues for a bit longer, spreading through him like a wild fire until he slowly loses consciousness.

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 The ceiling of his bedroom is the same as it has always been. The bends in the ceiling are all in the same places, making the entirety of the house seem less stable. There is still a light stain in the right corner that is furthest away from the bed, caused by the pipes that run through the house leaking and seeping through the ceiling. The ceiling fan whirls on a medium setting, making a slight rattling noise as it goes, spinning around and around in an attempt to cool down the room. Which is greatly assisted by the open window on his left that allows for cool air to enter, rustling through the plain white curtains and into his bedroom.

Everything is as it should be.

Except for Dean.

Dean shouldn't be here. He shouldn't be in the familiar comfort of his large bed, staring up at the ceiling as if nothing had happened. He should be dead, laying bloody and mangled on the asphalt of the highway that he remembered so clearly.

Yet here he is. In his room, in his house that Bobby left to him in his will. He cant help but consider if the previous happenings were all in his head, perhaps a dream, his imagination going wild, or even the very real possibility that Dean has just gone insane.

He doesn't dare move, staring upwards and glancing around with his eyes. Maybe, if he doesn't move, then all of this will go away. Just maybe, he can sink into himself, no longer having to deal with the world around him or the pain that walks hand in hand with everyday life.

 Time passes, although Dean isn't sure how long it is before he finally moves. His body feels heavy and weighed down, yet he fights to will himself up. He sits up groggily, remembering every second of his dream in excruciating detail, the desperate ness, the hopelessness, and the pain. They all mix together in a crystal clear montage.

A dream.

That is all it was. Just a horribly vivid dream, unlike anything that he had ever experienced before. So real that he honestly thought he was dying. He honestly thought that it was over. But no, it was just a dream. Dean keeps trying to convince himself of this fact as he stands up out of his bed.

Then out of no where it hits him. The pain rushes into his left arm. It's all too much like a feeling that he remembers, though a little bit duller, it still burns as if someone had lit his arm on fire.

The ex-hunter turns to get out of his bed, legs shaking a bit as he stands. He rest's a hand on his arm, where the burning occurs before pulling it away quickly, hissing in pain. He makes his way out of the room hurriedly, stumbling down the familiar hall and into the bathroom. Dean unceremoniously flicks on the light and starts to tug his shirt off, wincing as the cotton fabric drags across his shoulder.

There he stands, studying himself in the mirror, unable to deny how awful he looks at the moment. Dean's eyes have developed dark circles beneath them from lack of sleep. His skin is paler than it use to be undoubtedly from hardly leaving his home, making him look strangely sick. His hair is a mess, as it usually is nowadays.

He observes his features only for a brief moment before the sting in his arm sets him back on task. With the reminder, he turns to the side, directing his attention to the bright red, hand shaped mark upon his upper arm. His eyes widen slightly as he rests his hand on the mark. It stings badly, confirming that it is in fact real. Yet he keeps his hand in place for a moment, the burn of it somehow helping to ground him and keep him calm.

Before Dean can wrap his mind around what might have caused the burn during his sleep, his lights start to flicker.

Dean's gaze trails upwards from the dirty porcelain of the sink to the florescent light above the bathroom mirror. A frown takes his face, his eyes squinting and blinking at the light. The house shakes. It is almost un noticeable at first, but then gets more evident as a shrill, high-pitched screech starts to ring throughout the house. It gets louder and louder until Dean is covering his ears and shutting his eyes tight, trying to block out the awful noise. Through the palms of his hands he can hear the lightbulbs and mirror above him shatter, and feel the sting in his back as the glass falls upon it.

Only a few seconds go by before the noise seems to have disappeared, but when Dean removes his hands, he can hear a man screaming. It's far away, yet close at the same time. Then there is a muffled crash from somewhere behind him.

Then he realizes, it came from outside. The ex-hunter pulls his shirt on hurriedly, not thinking about the burn on his arm until the fabric of his shirt has dragged across it. He quickly pushes his pain aside and walks out of the bathroom and down the hall, toward the back door of his house. It takes less than a minute for him to slide on a pair of worn out tennis shoes and grab a flashlight and shot-gun.

Then he heads outside into the cold night air.

 

Chapter Text

Was it really so wrong to save him?

Castiel had spent almost the past thirty years guarding Dean. He had watched the Winchester grow from a child into adulthood. He spent every second protecting him as best as he could, doing everything in his power to keep the young hunter safe.

So many strings needed to be pulled. There were many instances in which the hunter was meant to die, but Castiel always found a way to avoid it. It wasn't easy work by any means. It never is for guardian angels who are assigned hunters. Most angels simply get tired of it and give up. They let their charges die, then move on to be assigned to some boringly average human that they don't have to pay as much attention to.

Though somehow Castiel had managed, taking his job as serious as ever. But for what? For Dean to throw it all away with a single step?

He couldn't let that happen. He was supposed to. But he couldn't.

And now he pays for it in full.

Castiel plummets through the air at uncontrollable speeds, turning and flipping with no control of his own body. Wind rushes against him, pushing at his skin and hair, trying to push and pull him in every direction at once. His throat is sore from screaming, it burns painfully as the high pitched screech tears through his throat, slowly becoming lower and more human-like.

In a last, impulsive, and desperate effort to save himself, he spreads his wings, expecting for them to catch the air and help him glide safely to the ground. Immediately, he regrets his actions. The force pushing against him as he falls is too great. His right wing catches the wind before it can fully extend, causing the air to rip it backwards, sending a searing jolt through his body.

The feeling of pain is new to Castiel. It's much worse than he would have imagined. It's electrifying, and hot like fire beneath his skin. There's nothing like it; no way for him to associate it with anything he has felt before. It's killing him, he thinks, its burning him up and it just won't stop. For some reason, he was expecting for pain to be a momentary feeling, then for it to fade. But no, it just increases, getting hotter and hotter. It crosses his mind that maybe the feeling will last forever, tearing him apart until there is nothing left.

Just when he doesn't think it could get any worst, he reaches the ground, letting out a blood curdling scream of agony as his vision goes black.

Castiel is comforted by a soothing, pitch black, nothingness for only a few minutes. It's enough time to give him a break from the pain but not enough to dull it at all. So when the far off sound of someone yelling awakes him, the pain returns, hitting him suddenly at full force. Though this time it's much worst, rippling throughout his right wing and into his shoulder, dominating his senses.

Castiel lets out a helpless whine as he moves up onto his forearms and knees weakly. For someone who just fell from the sky, perhaps he should consider himself lucky. He can move his arms and legs, though not without some difficulty, and most of his pain is sourced at the large, black, feathered wing that extends out of his right shoulder blade. The rest of his body is covered with a sore ache, though it is masked significantly behind the pain of his wing. If he had been an average person, he would have surely burned up during the fall. He can only assume that the remainder of his grace kept his body intact from the moment he exited heaven, to the second he hit the ground. But now that he has landed, he can feel the last of his grace leaving him slowly.

He works his hands beneath himself to push the majority of his weight onto his knees. The foreign, cold, metal surface below him has been bent and dented from the force of the fall. He tries to fold his wings inward, but the motion jerks him to the right quickly, onto his side, and sends pain shooting through his entire body. A scream works its way out his mouth to be followed by a pathetic sob.

Castiel's new body is beginning to shake from a mixture of the cold night air, and the fear of what is going to happen to him. He doesn't know how badly he is injured, or if it's even something that can be fixed. All he can do is fight to stay conscious, take deep breaths, and figure out what his next move needs to be.

The angel forces his eyes open once again, fighting to get them to focus, and for the first time, looks at the world around him. The night is dark, and there is just barely enough light to make out his location. He is surrounded by junk. Broken machines, trashed cars, construction material, and scrap metal, litter the area. Some of it is set to the sides, pushed into small groups of various metals and machinery, and some is just stacked up into unorganized piles of various sizes. There are old wooden light posts every so often, though all of the light bulbs in them seem to have been blown out recently, leaving the junkyard in the dark, only to be illuminated by the dull moonlight.

Castiel knows this place. He's seen it before, though not from the ground like this. This is Singer's Salvage Yard. It is located on the property that Dean inherited from Bobby when the old hunter died. His eyes dart across the area quickly, looking around the junk yard for a moment longer. Why did he land here, of all places?

When he looks to his right, he can make out the outlined shape of his dark wing. It's clearly bent unnaturally in the middle, with a long, vertical, and sharp piece of what seems to be scrap metal, impaling it. He stares up at his injury in horror, trying to keep his pain to a minimum by holding still.

That is, until he hears a gruff voice from somewhere not too far off in the distance call out, "Who's there?!"

Castiel's eyes widen a bit and he tries to stand, whining when he doesn't get anywhere, only managing to drag his wing further up the rusty metal. His eyes brim with tears of pain as he continues fighting to pull his injured wing from where it is stuck. His other wing flaps quickly, trying to give himself some form of leverage to get up, but only succeeds in knocking him onto his stomach again which drags his hurt wing back down the metal spike, sending more and more pain through him. The helpless angel keeps struggling, glancing up at his wing often in a panic as he flails and keeps pulling away from where his injured wing is trapped, tearing and ripping it even more than before.

Suddenly, a beam of light moves across the yard, illuminating individual junk piles in turn, before settling on Castiel, allowing him to see his wing more clearly. It's torn up significantly from the angel's fight to free it. The metal that protrudes through his wing is likely more than eight feet high. It's jagged and pointed in a way that resembles a lightning bolt at the top, and its drenched in dark, shiny red blood. His black feathers reflect the light, tinted and damp with that same deep red. His feathers are mused in different directions from the fall, giving him a chaotic appearance.

The click of a shotgun is what draws Castiel's attention over to the space in front of him. His eyes squint shut quickly and dance with black patches behind his eyelids as he is practically blinded by the flashlight that shines in his face.

"Don't move!"

The angel obeys the familiar and angry voice, holding as still as the rest of the world around him.

The man standing in front of him is someone that Castiel never thought he would actually meet. Not for a long time anyway, and surely not on earth. Though the light only allows for him to see the outline of the man's body, Castiel knows who this is. He's tan and freckled, with sandy blond hair and piercing green eyes. Castiel has become so familiarized with this man. He knows everything about him, and gave up everything to save him.

And now, the man that Castiel fought for so long to keep safe has a shot gun pointed right at the wounded angel, finger on the trigger.

"D-Dean?"

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Dean hurries out of his house, shivering slightly at the cold air that hits him and leaves him with chill bumps. When he turns his back to the door, the first thing he notices is how dark the junkyard is. On most occasions, the high wooden lamplights would caste a dull, yellowish glow across the sea of rusted junk metal and old cars. The lights must have been shattered by the same noise that had broken his house lights and his bathroom mirror. He's now grateful for the flashlight that he grabbed at the last moment as he was exiting.

He keeps his head up to stay alert for danger. His shotgun is moved into the crook of his right arm as he holds the flashlight in both hands, twisting the top of it until the light turns on with a quiet click. Then he directs the light in front of himself, using it to guide his way down the rickety porch steps and out into the junkyard. He keeps his sawed off shot gun loaded and ready in his other hand, just in case.

His worn out tennis shoes are nearly silent against the dirt ground beneath his feet. He makes his way through the area, peering down each turn in the dirt path as he goes. He listens carefully for any sound of movement that could lead to source of the noise that he heard earlier. This comes in the form of far off rustling, followed by a pain filled whine. Dean instinctively grips the shotgun tighter, making his way in the direction of the noise.

He slowly approaches a pathway that branches off to the right of the main route, fingers tightening on his gun. He turns the corner quickly, shining the light down the path and stopping in his tracks.

The beam of the flash light traces across the heaps of junk metal, landing on an abnormal figure about twenty feet away. It takes his mind a moment to process what it is that he is seeing. The first thing dean notices is an adult man curled over himself on top of one of the junk cars. He's flailing around as if in pain, and does not seem to notice Dean's presence despite the light that shines in his direction. There is something dark and large that jolts and moves inhumanly around the stranger's form. The hunter walks a bit closer to get a better look; that's when he sees them. Feathers. They are wings.

His eyes widen as he fumbles slightly with his gun, aiming it at the creature in front of him. He cocks the shotgun, causing the monster's head to snap over and look toward him. The monster squints his eyes in the light, confusion evident on his face.

Anticipating an attack from him at any moment, Dean keeps his index finger ready on the trigger of the gun, and the barrel pointed the creature's heart.

"Don't move!" The hunter's voice comes out rough and loud, echoing throughout the yard. This causes the half-man's eyes to widen as he stops all movement. He looks like a deer in headlights, frozen in his spot, shoulders hunched over and looking rather distressed all of a sudden.

Dean holds tight to the gun, the burn in his arm keeping him alert. He steps forward slowly, being careful to keep the gun leveled with the monster. He is racking his brain for any information that he might have absorbed at some point in his hunting career to prepare him for this. Throughout all of the books he has read on demons and monsters, he's never seen something like this creature. Most monsters are killed by special means, like a stake to the heart, silver, or sometimes beheading.

Dean seriously doubted that shooting this beast would kill it, or even harm it for that matter. However, there is no reason as to why he shouldn't give it a try.

The hunter is just about to pull the trigger when something quiet catches his attention. "D-Dean?" At first he thought he had imagined it, because of the low volume and incredibly weak human voice that comes from the bird man before him.

Dean's green eyes widen and his index finger lightens off of the trigger. "What?" he speaks in a barely audible whisper, utterly shocked and dismayed by that one familiar word.

The half man shakes and stares at Dean, desperation in his glassy blue eyes. His body and wings are shaking, making him seem weak and terrified. He speaks again quietly, in his low and gravelly voice, "Dean... Dean please... Don't-..." His voice goes silent as he trails off. All of a sudden, his eyes go out of focus and slide shut as his arms and knees give out causing him to collapse onto his side.

As he does so, only one of the large black wings fall with him. The other seems to be suspended in place. The hunter has to take a few steps closer in order to see why. Somehow, the creature had skewered its wing through a piece of long and jagged scrap metal. From the looks of it, he had been trying to free it, but to no avail. The wing is stuck in such a way that the creature would not be able to raise it high enough to remove the metal. When the light from the flashlight lands on the wing, a red liquid can be seen shining off of it. It's sickly and ripped to where Dean can see the torn flesh beneath the clumped and damp feathers.

The hunter redirects his attention back to the face of the barely conscious winged-man that lies helplessly before him. Could Dean really kill him in such a weak state; and with so many unknown variables? What is this thing? Where did it come from? And most importantly, how does it know his name?

The hunter could attempt to kill this being now, while he is weak, and be done with this entirely; or he could wait and figure out everything the creature knows before offing him.

As the monster's eyes slide shut, likely with another jolt of pain, the opportunity is perfect. Dean is left with a decision to make.

Chapter Text

Castiel feels as though he is floating. The world around him has stopped mattering entirely. He feels weighed down and sore, unable to move from the force that holds him. He doesn't know where he is anymore but he keeps his eyes closed, not wanting to find out.

Outside of himself, the only thing he is aware of is a muted tapping noise from somewhere to his right. The sound goes back and forth; it gets louder, then seems to fade out, only to repeat the process. It almost sounds like someone walking. Whatever the source of the sound, it is hypnotizing; keeping him in place as the information he knows runs through his head.

Quieter.

Dean, the same hunter whose safety had been Castiel's top priority for almost thirty years, had jumped off a bridge. He had tried to take his own life and had the angel not interfered, Dean would be dead.

Louder.

Castiel was not supposed to save Dean from himself. When someone tries to commit suicide, it is considered throwing away God's gift to them. It will result in them being kept from entering the kingdom of heaven for all of eternity.

Quieter.

Surely Castiel could not let that happen. Not after everything that he has done for the hunter. He wanted Dean to live a long happy life, not to feel as though suicide was the only option for him.

Louder.

Castiel fell from heaven. He was cast down for saving someone who did not want to be saved. He interfered in a way that he should not have and now he will pay the ultimate price.

Quieter.

What is more, Dean could see him now. The hunter pointed a gun at him. Did he think that Castiel was going to hurt him? Does Dean think that the angel is one of those monsters that he hunts? How is Castiel supposed to deal with that? Perhaps he doesn't need to deal with it. For now, he can just drift back into sleep.

When Castiel finally regains consciousness, the dull pain throughout his body is what slowly brings his eyes to finally open. The angel finds himself laying on an uncomfortable cot, staring upwards. High above him is a large, slow turning extractor fan with an iron devil's trap worked into the grill of it. Castiel can see the sky beyond the fan; he thinks that it must be early morning. Dawn is approaching; the sky is not bright enough to light the room fully, but bright enough to cast dull light around the room to see. He watches the blades of the fan move around and around in their slow circles until finally, his attention is drawn to the walls of the room. He finds that the room is circular, littered with newly drawn warding sigils. Castiel is familiar with almost all of them, though there seem to be no precautions taken to trap or ward off angels. Castiel knows that Dean does not believe in angels, so the fact that he would not ward against them doesn't surprise him.

Minutes pass, and eventually Castiel gathers enough strength to lift his arm up off of the cot that he lays on. As the angel raises his hand, he feels the sharp cold sting of metal on his wrist, keeping his hand in place. His other hand, however, is free to move, though it does him little good with the pain that controls his right half. He turns his head toward the source of the pain in his wrist, only to discover that his left hand has been fastened to the side of the bed with a pair of manacles. With a closer look, he notices that the pair of handcuffs are pure iron, with devil's traps and various other monster proofing symbols engraved into the metal. The sigils would do little to bind Castiel if he was in his true form, but the iron in the handcuffs would be capable of protecting against many different creatures.

The angel was impressed that Dean had taken such in-depth precautions to guarantee his ensnarement. A part of him is happy that the hunter has done this. He wouldn't want for him to be anything but careful. Looking around the room he can't help but feel proud of Dean. The hunter has always been so smart. He's always been so careful. So Castiel can't be mad at him. He can't bring himself to resent him. Even with the situation he is in now, the fallen angel still considers Dean to be the most precious thing to him.

"You're awake?" the voice brings him out of his thoughts, causing him to turn his head to look in that direction.

The hunter sits in a wooden chair about fifteen feet away. His back is against the wall and across his lap is the same shot gun from the previous night for protection, should he come to need it. His eyes are darkened with bags underneath them, a sign that the man had not been sleeping, likely watching intently over the fallen angel so he would know when he woke up.

Castiel's voice comes out croaked and dry as he rasps out, "Dean?" After not getting a response from the stone faced man, Castiel continues, "Dean, how long was I unconscious? What happened?" Each word is a struggle to make its way up his throat and out of his mouth. He didn't believe that his throat and mouth could be so dry, as if there is no moisture in them at all.

The blonde stands up, walks over to a desk not far away in the shadowy part of the room and almost silently sets his shotgun down on it. When he doesn't audibly respond to Castiel, the angel almost believes that Dean did not hear him due to his voice. But soon the human is turning his head to look at Castiel. "Long enough." His eyes only flit to the wounded angel for a moment before they zone back in on something on the surface of the desk.

"Don't pass out again. I need you awake for this." The hunter talks quietly as he picks something long and silver up from the desk, holding it up to examine it in the shadows. He looks back over to his captive, tilting his head just the slightest bit. "You're going to tell me everything." His green eyes finally give off that familiar hint of a glimmer in the morning light as his eyes lock onto Castiel's blue ones. His mouth is kept in an indecipherable straight line when he turns to face the angel slowly.

Then he slowly walks toward Castiel with the knife.

Chapter Text

Dean's eyes shone brightly in the early morning light, but his face was dark and malicious. He was nearing the injured angel, holding a silver blade in front of him.

"Dean. Dean, stop. Please." The angel's voice comes out in a weak croak. "Just- don't do this Dean-"

Before Castiel can finish, the hunter cuts him off, kicking the side of the cot in frustration and practically yelling, "How do you know my name?!"

The angel's blue eyes are wide from shock as he tries desperately to form words. "I-.. Dean-" Before he can gather his thoughts enough to make a coherent sentence, the sharp of Dean's knife is being pressed against his neck.

"You're going to start talking." Dean practically growls. His piercing green eyes are locked onto Castiel's blue ones, staring deep into them with a cold, cruel gaze. The brunette can't bring himself to talk. Of all the thoughts that run through his head, there is only one that he allows his mind to dwell on.

He has looked into Dean's eyes a thousand times. Castiel has seen those vibrant green irises every day since Dean was born. He has looked into them when they drooped ever so slightly with dark bags beneath them when Dean didn't get enough sleep. He has seen them burning with anger directed toward his father, a monster, or even occasionally his brother. He has seen them glassy and red rimmed from overwhelming sadness. The angel can practically read Dean's thoughts and emotion just by a glance and what he sees in the hunter's eyes now leaves him speechless.

At first glance, Dean's eyes convey that he is determined and serious. It's the same look that he has in his eyes when he is hunting, or interrogating a demon. But something is different this time. Behind the hunter's strong facade, Castiel sees a flash of fear. Dean is afraid. How could he not be?

Every moment since Dean stepped over the rail of that bridge has kept Dean on the alert. From the moment Dean heard the crash from outside he entered monster hunting mode for the first time since Sam left. The blonde had said he was done with that life. He had sworn that the most he would do is keep in contact with some of the other hunters to help with research. When Dean laid his eyes on Castiel in the junkyard, he must have immediately thought that he was a monster and a danger to Dean's life.

Suddenly Castiel is pulled from his thoughts by the sting of flesh being torn by the knife in Dean's hand. Dean is dragging the knife down Castiel's left shoulder, keeping his eyes locked on the angel's face. Castiel tries to no avail to squirm away from the cold silver of the knife cutting into his shoulder. It splits his now mortal skin easily, leaving a sharp pain followed by beads of blood in its wake.

Castiel hisses at the cut and squirms against the bed, moving his other hand to his arm quickly to attempt to cover the now bleeding appendage. The sudden movement of his arm sends pain jolting through his broken wing, causing him to let out a blood curdling scream that reverberates throughout the room, bouncing off the walls and echoing back into the angel's ears.

The knife doesn't pull away from his skin. It cuts deeper, drawing a bright red line from his shoulder down his upper arm. The angel is pleading with his captor, screaming and yelling for the pain to stop, for Dean to stop. "Dean, please! Just listen to me!"

The hunter's eyes narrow into bright green slits as he practically growls out, "I'm listening." Dean twists the knife into Castiel's skin, bearing down harder to rip another scream from the angel's throat. Before the blonde can react, a shadowy dark wing is flailing and extending outwards.

Castiel's uninjured wing flaps open, striking Dean hard across his chest. The blow knocks the air from the hunter's lungs and sends him tumbling backwards toward the ground.

Castiel frantically struggles to sit up, flailing and rolling onto his side, and putting his weight on his left arm. He hisses from the pain that shoots through his body, burning in his right wing, left wrist, and shoulder combined with the dull and drumming of the soreness from the fall. By kicking his legs and shifting his weight, he manages to sit up despite the immobility of his left arm.

Blue eyes look over the handcuff in panic, noticing the blood pooling from his wrist and onto the cot. The wound was likely inflicted during the angel's struggle to sit up. He reaches down to fumble with the chain of the handcuff, hoping to find the other end attached to something that could be easily broken in order to ensure his freedom. He finds the other end latched onto a horizontal bar that extends the side of the length of the cot. Both of his hands latch onto the metal bar, yanking and pulling on it despite the impracticality of it all.

The ragged breathing of Dean Winchester gasping for air snaps Castiel's attention back to the hunter. Dean is hunched over himself, grabbing at his chest in pain, trying desperately to fill his lungs with air. A pang of guilt shoots through the angel's heart as he watches Dean's struggle. It reminds him too well of all of those times that the blonde had been hurt while hunting. Except this time, it was not a monster that has hurt Dean. It was Castiel. Despite all of those times that the angel has tried to protect his human, he still somehow managed to hurt him. The angel cannot help but think that to Dean, he must seem like just another threat, a monster that needs to be dealt with.

The thought is unbearable to Castiel, and before he can register what is happening, his eyes are brimming with tears. "D-Dean," the angel sputters out, his throat tightening with despair, "Dean I'm so sorry. I'm sorry, I didn't m-mean to." His body is shaking as his chest heaves with broken sobs while the blonde gets up and hurriedly makes his way toward the angel again, knife raised. Castiel can't bear to defend himself from his attacker, too disheartened by the idea that he was the one who has caused Dean harm.

As the knife makes its way down toward the fallen angel's chest, the only thing that the sobbing creature can bring himself to do is lift his free hand and rest it upon Dean's upper arm lightly. The touch is not intended to stop Dean from hurting him. Castiel believes that he deserves the pain now, for if he has hurt Dean, then he is in fact a monster and he would rather the green eyed man end his life now rather than risking Castiel hurting him again in the future. However, before the angel dies he needs Dean to know how sorry he is.

Castiel is blubbering on helplessly, sobbing and repeating his apologies and how he didn't mean to hurt Dean. His fingers tighten slightly into the blonde's arm, hand shaking as he chokes out, “I-I’m s-sorry, Dean. I’m s-so sorry.”

It is not until his head hits Dean's chest tiredly that he realizes that he has not been stabbed by the former hunter. His body is shaking with sorrow, fatigue, and ache. The fallen angel has lost so much blood at this point, and it is due to this that he slowly loses consciousness, all the while crying to his protected about how sorry he is.

Chapter Text

Dean's chest hurts badly from where the monster's wing stuck him. The attack knocked the breath from his lungs and sent him to the ground. He now sits on his knees, doubled over himself with his hands pressed against the cold concrete floor. He lost his knife as he fell and heard it skid across the floor to his right. His vision is prickling with black splotches that fade in and out of sight, dancing around his surroundings. His ears are ringing from the panic of the unforeseen attack, causing the world around him to be lost in a low muffled buzz.

"Dean I'm so sorry. I'm sorry, I didn't- m- mean to."

The words do not fully register as Dean scrambles to his feet, unarmed and in pain. Anticipating another blow, he lunges to his right, reaching out frantically for his hunter's knife. As soon as his fingers brush the hilt of it, the blonde is grabbing onto it and getting up as quickly as he can, wobbling from dizziness. His vision is still somewhat blurred from the lack of oxygen, and the sudden upright position makes his world go dark for just a few seconds before his eyes regain focus.

He looks over at the monster, panicking slightly as he notices that it has now sat up. Dean assumes that the being plans to attack, or attempt to get away, so he hurriedly takes a few steps over to the half-man, raising his knife in preparation to bring it down into the creature's chest.

When he reaches the bedside, he begins to bring the knife down, only to have the winged man reach up and grab his upper arm. Before the knife gets within a foot of the half-human's heart, the blonde is practically turned to stone, holding completely still, frozen in place.

As soon as the blue eyed man's hand lands upon Dean's arm, a strange electrifying heat travels through his body. He cringes at the hand lying against his burn, opening his mouth in preparation to yell in pain. That moment is when he registers that the contact does not actually hurt. It's warm and foreign, spreading across the surface of his skin and through his veins.

At that moment, all of the pain and soreness in Dean's body is gone. He feels completely refreshed, as though he has recovered from every sleepless night in the past year. All of the anger towards the world and the creature in front of him disappears almost instantly on contact. The immeasurable grief brought on by the loss of Dean's family and friends has somehow vanished, and a feeling of contentment washes over his mind.

It is then, through the clearness of his mind, that he sees his entire situation in a new light.

The half man that clutches his arm has his head tilted down in a way that hides his face from Dean's view. The monster is shaking in his place and mumbling broken words that hardly make sense to the ex-hunter. The Winchester can tell that the winged man is crying. He watches its back heave with every choked up sob, bloody and black wings shaking as they rise and fall with the rest of the man's torso. "I-I'm s-sorry, Dean. I'm s-so sorry," the human hears him sputter out.

The hand on Dean's shoulder tightens its grip slightly, making the blonde more conscious of the hand's pressure on his skin. He realizes that the hand is the exact same size as the mark and the position of each long slender finger matches up precisely with his burned flesh.

Dean, puzzled by what this may mean, is taken abruptly from his thoughts by the feeling of the half-man's head falling forward against his chest. He stares down at the set of dark wings that connect into the creature's shoulder blades, looking for any sign of movement, but only sees the slow and even rise and fall the other being's upper body, indicating that it has moved on into unconsciousness.

For the next minute or so, Dean is left worried and confused. The only noise in the room is the low, quiet whir and creaking of the industrialized fan above him. The only light comes from almost fifty feet up, and is cut off by each rotation of the fan blades.

The hand on his shoulder slides off slowly and falls to rest on the mattress of the cot. As the touch vanishes, so does the relaxing serenity that has filled Dean's mind for the last few moments. The reality of his situation slowly creeps back into his mind as if it had only snuck away briefly, as if Dean would not have even noticed that it was gone.

But he had.

There wasn't any way to turn back now. He now knows that the answers he searches for will not come with this standard, harsh interrogation. He now knows that he cannot bring himself to harm this creature again, not after the being had cried and apologized for defending himself from Dean's attack. He now knows that if it is at all possible to feel the way he did with the half-human's hand on his shoulder, taking away his pain and fatigue with only a touch, that he will do what needs to be done.

Hesitantly, Dean reaches down to slide his hand into his jean pocket until his fingers brush the cold iron of a key. He takes the key and puts the tip of it into the small keyhole in the handcuffs. The Winchester pushes down all feelings of doubt, hiding them behind a wall of determination as he turns the key. A tiny click comes from the manacles as they open, and Dean is careful as he pulls the ring from around the bloodied wrist before him.

It takes a minute of awkward maneuvering to accommodate to the creature's wings, but after some fumbling, he is soon hefting the man into his arms, carrying him like a child toward the exit of the panic room. It's hard for him to open the iron door, and even more difficult to ascend the wooden staircase as he leaves the basement, heading toward his bedroom. Eventually he sets the half-man down on his bed, taking care to lay him on his side to keep the pressure off of his hurt wing.

He considers for a moment the state of the avian man. He is shirtless, with purple and yellowing bruises all along his torso, the worst of which stretch along his side. He wears white pants which have tracks of dirt and blood on them, and his feet are bare. His hair is dark brown with patches of sticky red blood drying in it.

Dean decides to first patch up the damage that he inflicted upon the creature. He leaves the room and returns quickly with a handful of first aid supplies and a bottle of water for when the brunette wakes up. He pulls up a stool to sit beside the bed and begins his work in cleaning out the stab wound. He uses rubbing alcohol to clean out the wound before carefully stitching the flesh together with a needle and some dental floss. Dean checks through the dark hair of the avian to see if he has any serious damage done to his head. After finding, tending to, and stitching up a serious cut a bit above the man's hairline, he moves on to inspecting the half-man's hurt wing. He can tell that it is broken, but cannot decide upon how he should go about fixing it. After a quiet sigh he is leaving the room to get a wash cloth and more water to clean the excess blood with.

Once he has settled again, he dips the cloth into a bowl of water that he has set up on the nightstand and rings it out. The blonde uses very little pressure as he runs the damp cloth into the man's hair, being careful as he washes some of the dried blood from the man's scalp. After he has gotten a good portion of the blood from his hair, he re-dips the cloth in the bowl of water and wrings it out again before moving his hand to clean the injured man's face and neck, and upper arm and shoulder, applying little to no pressure in fear of loosening the stitches. All the while he watches the chest of the man rise and fall slowly.

Despite all of the pain the being must be in, he looks strangely calm in his sleep. Without thinking about it, he moves the rag lower to clean the blood from the other cuts on the brunette's chest, and soon he finds himself running the cloth tenderly over the palm of the strangers hand to wash the blood from it.

When the damp fingers slowly curl around Dean's hand to hold onto it weakly, every instinct in the hunter tells him to pull his hand away. His body goes tense and he looks up to the half-man's face, expecting to see vivid blue eyes piercing into his own, only to find that he is still asleep.

Still, the Winchester knows in his mind that he should pull his hand away, whether the creature poses a threat or not. But after all of the pain that this being has been through, some of which was caused by the ex-hunter, Dean cannot bring himself to pull away. So instead he holds completely still, silent, and waiting for those bright blue eyes to open.

Chapter Text

The child shifts underneath the blankets in his small bed, "Mom," he whines quietly as he tries to push the heavy blankets off of himself, "One more story?"

His mother sits on a stool next to the bed. She wears a pure white nightgown that pools around her legs. She has beautiful blond hair that flows down her shoulders and back, looking a bit tousled as it was in the late evening. Her eyes are a vivid hazel with very light laugh lines that crinkle in the corners of them, making her appear even more radiant than she usually does. Her voice is silvery as she laughs kindly, "That's the third one this evening," she says sweetly as her hands move to tuck the child back into his bed.

"I know," the child pouts in his disappointment before quickly proposing, "Just one more. Then I promise I'll go to sleep." He looks like his mother. They have the same thin, arched eyebrows, the same nose, and the same high cheekbones.

"And that's the third time you've said that." The woman smiles softly at her son as she pulls the covers back up to his chest before brushing a bit of his dirty blonde hair from his forehead. "You need to get some sleep."

The boy looks up at his mother and smiles tiredly, "Okay," he says, sinking down into his covers a bit as he relaxes, "I love you, mom."

She smiles down at her son and leans down to press a tender kiss to his forehead, "I love you too, Dean," she mutters quietly before straightening up and smiling down fondly at him. "And remember," she adds on in a sweet whisper, "angels are watching over you."

With that, the young boy's eyes are closing.

Within just a few moments of being surrounded by darkness, he starts to hear the soft crackling of a fire. It starts off low and far off but soon starts to roar with pops and sizzles. He can feel the heat of the flames against his skin, and smell the smoke that surrounds him. Through the blare of the fire he begins to hear another sound, one that will haunt him throughout the rest of his life. It starts off muffled and covered by the fire, then slowly gets louder until it is shrieking in his ears. His mother is screaming. She cries out and wails as the fire roars around her. The scent of her burning flesh mixes with that of the smoke and it wafts with the flames, making the young boy feel sick to his stomach.

"Angels are watching over you," he hears her whisper.

 

 


 

Dean's emerald green eyes shoot open and he straightens up in shock, resting his hands on his knees as he leans over. His chest is heaving with his erratic breaths and his neck and back are covered in a cold sweat. He runs his hands across his face, attempting to rid any drowsiness from himself. He must remind himself again that it was just a dream; that his mother died long ago, that it was over, that there was nothing he could do.

He looks around the room which is the same way he had seen it last. He sits in a chair in the corner. After having given up on waiting for the half man to awake, he had moved to the corner in favor of reading through some books on supernatural beings to try to find any hints as to what the creature could be. He must have fallen asleep while reading.

The blonde looks down at the book in his lap only to see that it is not on the page that he had stopped on. Instead, it was open on a page that Dean could not remember paying any attention to before now. There are several hand drawn sketches on the page, each showing intricate detail of men and women clad in white robes. The creatures have beautiful, grandiose wings that extend out from their shoulder blades. The wings are all different colors, some white, brown, black, or even golden. As Dean's eyes trail up toward the top of the page, he sees a heading scrawled in the top left corner, handwritten in large, faded, cursive. Angels.

His eyes look toward where the half man has been lying unconscious for the past two days, only to cause the blonde to freeze completely when he sees a set of tired bright blue eyes staring at him. He is rendered speechless as he stares at the other, simply watching him in wonder.

Dean can't tell how long their eyes have been locked upon one another. It feels as though a whole lifetime had been crammed into those few seconds of eye contact. Finally, Dean feels his throat loosen up enough for him to speak quietly, almost as if he's afraid of an answer, "You're an angel?"

The brunette stares at the ex-hunter with a pained expression. His entire body aches from the impact of the fall and he can't move his right wing without sending excruciating pain through his entire body. Nevertheless, Dean is still his priority. He nods slightly in response to the man's question before opening his mouth to speak. His throat is dry and his voice sounds hoarse and almost inaudible. "My name is Castiel," he rasps out quietly.

Dean's eyes widen and he stares at the half man in disbelief. He shakes his head slightly, trying to come to grips with the fact that this creature that he has been so wary of for the past couple of days has actually been an angel the whole time. Dean didn't think that they were real. He didn't believe in heaven, hell, god, or the devil. He certainly didn't believe in angels. Yet, here was a winged man who fell from the sky, claiming to be an angel, and Dean couldn't think of any other possibility.

The blonde hesitantly stands up and makes his way toward Castiel, waiting for a moment before sitting in the chair at his bedside. He can tell that the supposed angel seems to be in a lot of pain. He carefully moves a hand to the creature's shoulder. "You need to sit up," he mutters quietly.

Castiel doesn't put up a fight with the action, allowing the other to help him sit up against the pillows that are behind him. Searing pain courses down his wing at the movement and it takes all of the strength in him just to muffle back a scream that instead comes out as a whine of discomfort. Once he has been repositioned, the other offers him some water, helping to hold the glass as Castiel drinks from it. The angel, never having to have food or water until now, sputters slightly with the water before swallowing it thirstily.

Dean sighs quietly as he starts to change out the bandages from Castiel's arm. The silence is becoming too much for him as he finally asks, "Why are you here?"

The other is taken aback by the cold tone of Dean's voice but quickly reminds himself that it is to be expected from him. After all, this information surely comes as a surprise to the hunter. The angel looks at the man with furrowed eyebrows and eyes full of heartbreak, "I fell," he recalls in a voice that sounds as if it could break at any moment, "I fell from heaven." The severity of his situation was slowly beginning to weigh down upon him. He stares at Dean as he tells him, "This is my punishment."

The blonde's eyebrows knit together as he mulls over what Castiel is saying. He can't seem to make sense of the past few days and the angel is only seeming to leave Dean with even more questions that have yet to be answered. "Punishment for what?" he asks, then waits for a response.

The angle simply looks away from him in favor of staring hopelessly at the adjacent wall.

This causes Dean's eyes to narrow in frustration at Castiel. He sits up a bit in the chair and glares at the injured man. He moves his right hand to his left arm and proceeds to pull his shirt sleeve up over his shoulder to expose the hand shaped burn on his skin. "What is this?!" he asks angrily.

The outburst causes the angel to flinch slightly, ducking his head away from Dean at the noise before he looks back at him. His tired blue eyes look back up at the face of the other man before trailing down to his arm to lock onto the handprint that he had made there. "I'm sorry," he utters quietly, "It is the mark from where I grabbed you." Castiel reaches out with a weak and shaky hand to rest it over the red and blistered skin of Dean's burn.

Dean doesn't bother pulling away this time, instead he holds still and feels Castiel's hand slide into its place over the mark on his shoulder. Just like it had before, it sends a calm and relaxing feeling across Dean's body. It's almost enough to make him stop worrying about the things that the brunette is saying. It takes a moment, but he slowly pulls himself from the comforting trance enough to ask the angel, "What do you mean you 'grabbed me?' When?"

Castiel smiles softly at seeing the hunter relax at his touch. It's comforting to know that Dean will not think of him as a threat forever. "I could not save your life without physically intervening," he explains calmly, "When you attempted to take your own life, I had to reach out and-"

At that, the ex-hunter is pulling his arm away from Castiel. He looks at him in shock and then in anger as he stands up. "You mean that you're the reason I'm still alive?" he asked bitterly. Somewhere inside his mind a part of him was yelling to stand down, that he should get over it and that it didn't matter anymore.

The fallen angel's mouth gapes open slightly in distress as he watches Dean stand up. "Please, Dean you don't understand," he begins, "You were intoxicated and it wasn't the right choice-"

"I was ready!" Dean's voice breaks as he yells the words. His eyes burn from the newly brimming tears, causing them to go red. "I was ready and-" his voice trembles as he tries to keep himself together, "and you ruined it." He glares at the angel and walks toward the door, looking back at him for only a moment to say, "It wasn't your decision to make," before disappearing out of the room in an attempt to calm down.

And so Castiel lies there, a fallen angel with no hope for redemption, hated by the one who he was sworn to protect, trying to tell himself that he did the right thing.

Chapter Text

Dean runs a hand through his hair as he paces back and forth in the main room of the house. He takes a few ragged breaths and rubs at his eyes, trying to calm himself down.

He is angry that he is still alive. He tries to direct his rage at the angel that lies injured in the other room. He tries to tell himself that he was in the right mindset and that Castiel was interfering with something that he shouldn't have been. He tries to resent the monster that saved his life, but some part of him is telling him that the angel did the right thing. He doesn't want to believe it. When he had been standing up on that bridge, he thought that his life was over.

He truly believed that his job was done. He has believed that ever since he and Sam finally managed to kill Azazel, the demon that took away every other important person in Dean's life. Ever since Azazel killed his mother when he was just a child, Dean had lived to hunt monsters. He followed his dad's footsteps, doing what he said and striving for his approval. That is, until he went missing. At that point, Dean's purpose had been to hunt down Azazel and get rid of him. In the process, he lost Bobby, Ellen, Jo, Ash, and finally, his father.

Now, without his dad's guidance, he didn't know what do to anyone. He felt as though he was living without a purpose due to his mission being complete. It was that lack of a purpose that led him over the side of that bridge.

But now, suddenly there was a new mission at hand. Castiel was a fallen angel. He was injured and needed help. Dean wasn't sure what he could do to help a celestial being, but he decides that he will do what he can. He will forget that the angel saved him without his permission and he will help the angel heal.

Dean makes his way to the kitchen, grabbing another bottle of water for the angel along with some pain medicine from one of the cabinets. He briefly wonders what angels eat, considering bringing the winged-man some food, but then decides that he would come back for the food in a minute.

When Dean enters the bedroom again, he finds Castiel staring up at the ceiling with glassy eyes. The angel turns his head to look at the man, opening his mouth to speak, but Dean quickly dismisses him with a shake of his head. He sits in the chair at the bedside again, opening up the bottle of painkillers. "You need to take some of these," Dean says quietly, "It'll help with the pain until I can figure out how to fix your broken wing."

Castiel stares at Dean tiredly, watching as he opens the bottle and pours a couple of pills into the palm of his hand. "You think my wing is broken?" he asks nervously in a gruff voice, looking over to his right wing. The wing is bent to the side and it's stained with blood. Luckily, his left wing seems to be alright, though it is a little sore.

"It looks like it," Dean sighs out quietly, "Yeah, I think so. Here." He holds out his hand with two blue pills in it, which Castiel takes carefully.

Castiel has seen humans take medicine before, but he has never himself had the need to so before. "I just... swallow them whole, correct?" he asks hesitantly.

"Yeah," the blonde replies simply before inquiring, "Guess they don't really have pills up in heaven, do they?"

"We have no need for them," Castiel says with a blank expression. He then opens his mouth and puts the pills inside, reaching over for the water on the nightstand.

Perhaps it was his inexperience with his humanoid form or the fact that he has never needed to swallow anything until he landed on earth, but when he feels the water easily slide down his throat while the capsules of the pills get caught before they can make it down, he immediately panics. He leans forward, coughing up the pills quickly and spitting them up onto the bed sheets, gagging as his eyes brim with tears of panic. If his throat didn't hurt before, it is stinging with pain now. "I- I can't do it," he rasps out in hysteria.

Dean's eyes widen in surprise at the unexpected horrific reaction from the other. They then narrow in disbelief. "Yes, you can," he says with an accusatory tone.

"I can't," Castiel insists, leaning back against the pillows. "I'm sorry Dean, I didn't mean to-" he stutters out, feeling guilty for not being able to take the medicine that the human had offered him.

Dean sighs quietly and thinks for a moment as he picks up the disgusting pills with a rag that was on the nightstand. "Hold on. Just wait here," he says a bit irritably. With that, he takes the bottle of pills from the nightstand and makes his way out of the room and to the kitchen.

Once there, he looks in his refrigerator and then his freezer for anything that he deems will work before pulling out a container of vanilla ice-cream from the back of the freezer. He scoops a bit of it out into a bowl, places the pills into the bowl, and then mashes them up and mixes them in with the ice-cream.

Once back in the room, he sits down in his chair again and hands Castiel the bowl of ice-cream and a spoon. "Here," he says with a sigh.

"What is it?" Castiel asks as he pokes at the strange, half solid material in the bowl with confusion.

"Ice-cream," Dean responds, "Eat up."

The angel lets out a noise of understanding as he scoops up a bit of the ice-cream and lifts it to his mouth. As soon as the dessert touches his lips he pulls it away a bit. "It's cold," he murmurs quietly before eating the bit that is on his spoon. He honestly didn't expect the mixture to be so sweet, and immediately he lets out a tiny pleased hum. His uninjured wing stretches out and flaps gently in glee, accidentally hitting Dean in the head.

Dean sputters slightly at the feathers in his face, reaching up and guiding the angel's wing down gently. "Careful with those things," he chuckles quietly with a faint smile.

"Sorry," Castiel mumbles as he lowers his wing, then smiles tiredly over at the blonde. He hadn't seen Dean smile in the longest time, so even the slightest of smiles from him was a relief to the angel.

Dean blinks at the angel in confusion at the soft expression. "What?" he asks quietly.

Before the angel can answer, Dean's phone is ringing. He reaches into the pocket of his jeans, pulling out his phone and checking the caller ID, eyes widening for a moment in panic. Sam hardly ever called him anymore. When Dean answers the phone, his mind has already gone to the worst case scenario. As soon as he answers the phone, he quickly asks, "Sammy?"

Chapter Text

"Sammy?" Dean holds his breath as he waits for his brothers reply. A feeling of dread creeps its way through the blonde as the silence goes on. A few seconds pass before he is opening his mouth to ask for Sam again, only to close it when he hears the younger man speak up from the other line.

"Dean?" Sam sounds perfectly fine, but it is not enough to calm the blonde.

"Sam?" he asks worriedly, "What's wrong?"

"What?" Sam asks quietly from the other side of the line, "Nothing's wrong. I was just-... How are you?"

Dean frowns slightly but sighs in relief. "I'm okay," he responds shortly, "Are you okay?" He couldn't help but be concerned about the fact that his brother had called him so randomly. Sam hasn't spoken to Dean in a few months. He only calls when either something is wrong, or it is a special occasion.

"Yeah Dean, I'm fine," he hears Sam laugh half-heartedly, "I just... thought I'd check in on you."

"What?" the blonde asks in slight disbelief. It was so strange to know that his brother had called only to catch up with him. Dean knows that it is impractical of him to not believe his younger brother, but he cannot help but be suspicious that there is an ulterior motive behind this conversation.

"Yeah, I just," Sam falters for a moment before continuing, "We haven't talked in a while and I wanted to know what you were up to." A bit of rustling can be heard over the line. "Is this a bad time?"

Dean looks at the angel beside him, seeming to consider if he needed anything else. It was a bad time. He didn't feel as though he could spend time talking to his brother while this celestial being was laying injured in his bed and eating ice-cream.

Castiel accidentally catches eye contact with Dean but he immediately looks down to the bowl in his hands, as if pretending that the frozen treat was the most interesting thing in the world. He felt bad for listening in on what the two brothers were talking about, but from the moment Dean uttered his brother's name into the phone, Castiel was worried for the younger man.

He knew how much Dean's brother meant to him. Ever since they were young, Dean made it his responsibility to care for his younger sibling, protecting him in any way that he could. This was one of the most remarkable things that the angel saw in Dean. His love for his younger brother was something that Castiel wished he could see in more humans. It was Dean's love for Sam that prompted Castiel to help look after the younger Winchester as well, even though it was not his responsibility. Now, not being able to keep an eye on the Sam was nerve racking to Castiel. If something happened to Sam, Dean would be crushed.

"It's not a bad time," Dean lies to his brother, staring at Castiel as he talks.

Castiel keeps his head down as he takes another bite of the cold dessert. The volume on Dean's phone was just loud enough so that Castiel could faintly hear what Sam was saying.

He listens to the two brothers talk on the phone for a while. They each ask how the other has been recently. Sam tells Dean that he has been having fun at school. He talks about having met some new friends and about how well he is doing in his classes. He says he has been busy studying for the past few days.

Dean stares at Castiel as he talks, no doubt trying to come up with a lie on the spot. He tells Sam that he has been working on a few of the cars from Bobby's old junkyard, that he has been taking parts to fix up the Impala. He says that he did some research for a hunt for one of Bobby's old friends, Rufus, and explained that besides that he has not had much to do up here in South Dakota.

Castiel keeps his head down as he listens to the conversation. He knows that by human standards it is rude to eavesdrop but he cannot bother to differentiate between being nosy and looking after the blonde like he has for the past twenty-nine years.

He can't help but realize how strange the conversation between the two brothers is. It seems as though they are both trying to hide something from the other. In Dean's case, the lie is obvious and comes in the form of Castiel himself and the burn on Dean's upper arm. But with Sam, Castiel cannot pinpoint what exactly is wrong, or what he could be untruthful about. He wonders if Dean has noticed his brother's strange behavior as well or if he is too absorbed in being able to hold a casual conversation with him.

"Hey Dean?" Sam asks suddenly after being relatively silent for a while.

Dean stops talking halfway through recounting the story of how he had been feeding Rufus information on Rawheads to help the hunter out down in Oklahoma. "Yeah, Sammy? " he asks quickly, "Is something wrong?"

"No," Sam responds quickly, "I just... I was wondering if I could come up and see you soon."

Dean is a bit taken aback by the request. It has been so long since either of them have talked to one another and now, seemingly out of nowhere, Sam was trying to reconnect with his older brother. "Is-..." Dean begins to ask before trailing off again. He takes a moment, then is finally able to ask, "Is there something wrong? Or a special occasion or something?" He glances at the angel momentarily, sitting back in his chair a little more.

"What?" Sam asks, "No. There's no special occasion... I just," he trails off before speaking again, "I just worry about you sometimes... Being up there by yourself and all."

Guilt is immediately washing over the blonde. He has been spending all of this time thinking that his brother wouldn't care if something awful were to happen to him. He had planned to take his own life, not nearly considering Sam as much as he should have.

He looks at Castiel a bit nervously. He wasn't sure if it was a good idea for Sam to know about the fallen angel, but he did want to see his little brother again. "Yeah, of course man," he says with a forced smile, "How soon are you wanting to come up?"

"I-" the younger sibling falters for a second, seeming to think something over quickly, "I've uh-... got some stuff I have to do for school next week... How about the week after that? Maybe I can stay for a couple of nights?"

At this point, Castiel is staring at Dean in curiosity. He has finished his ice-cream and the empty bowl rests in his lap.

"Yeah," Dean says in confirmation, staring back at the fallen angel, "Sound's great."

"Awesome. Great," Sam says, "I'll see you then... and I'll call once it gets closer to then, alright?"

"Yeah, alright Sammy," Dean agrees, looking over Castiel slowly. Then, as his eyes momentarily lock onto Castiel's bent wing he asks Sam quickly, "Hey wait, Sam?" he holds for a second, waiting for his brother to acknowledge him before continuing, "You... Wouldn't know how to fix a broken wing would you?"

He can hear Sam chuckle quietly on the other side of the line. "Like, a bird wing?" he asks, "Why would you need to know that?"

Dean frowns a bit, having to concoct an answer for the question. "I uh..." he stutters for a moment, "Just... There was a bird... I found it outside in the junkyard. It's got... I mean its wing is bent to the side really weird."

Sam is quiet for a moment, taking in what his brother was saying. He did think that it was a bit odd that Dean was trying to nurse a bird back to health. The older brother had never shown an interest in animals before now. "Dude, there isn't really much you can do for it," he tells his brother, "I mean, I guess you could put a wrap on it or something, but I mean it's probably best that you just take it outside and put it out of its misery."

At that, Castiel's eyes go wide and his uninjured wing flaps frantically.

"No," Dean says quickly, feeling a bit guilty for considering getting rid of the angel the other day. "No," he repeats, "I'm... Not going to be giving up on this bird."

The brunette visually relaxes, shoulders slumping and letting out a quiet sigh of relief.

"If you say so," Sam mutters, "I'm sure you could look up how to make a splint for it."

"Yeah, okay," Dean mulls it over, nodding a bit, "I'll do that. Thanks, Sam." His eyes lock onto the angel's and they stay like that for a while as the two brothers exchange goodbyes over the phone.

Chapter Text

"How is Sam?" Castiel asks quietly, as if he had not been listening to the conversation for the past few minutes. He stares at Dean with wide blue eyes of concern that were not only for Sam, but for the older Winchester as well.

"He's fine," Dean says without a second thought. "He's just busy with college... He's going to come up here the week after next," he tells the angel, "So we'll have to figure out what to do with you."

Castiel's smile falls suddenly. "What to do with me?" he asks quietly, "What do you mean, Dean?" Was Dean going to get rid of him after all?

"I just mean-... We're going to have to find a place for you once he gets here," he says while frowning down at the injured man, "Just so he doesn't see you and all."

This makes the angel furrow his eyebrows in confusion. "Why do you not want him to see me?" he asks "I would have enjoyed meeting Sam."

Dean stares at the blue eyed angel as if he had said something wrong. "No, Cas," he covers up his disbelief with a quiet laugh, "You can't meet him. You're kidding right?"

The angel's jaw drops momentarily. He honestly thought that he was going to be able to finally meet Sam in person. "I am not kidding... Why can I not meet him?"

"Because," Dean interjects with a tone of sternness as he stands up, gathering the now empty bowl from the nightstand, "He'd be worried if he saw you. He'd think that I was getting back into hunting." He makes his way to the door and freezes once he gets to the door frame, just long enough to mutter a quiet, "He doesn't need to worry about me... He's busy at school." With that, Dean walks out of the room.

Castiel sighs quietly and leans back against the pillows, wincing as a slight pain shoots through his injured wing. It isn't as bad as it was before, he thinks, then wonders about what sort of medicine Dean gave him, and how much. He begins to feel tired, eyes sliding close slowly as his fingers play absently at the soft white cotton of Dean's bed sheets.

He begins to think that falling is not so bad after all. The pain of the initial fall is fading slowly with the help of the medicine, and surely his wing can be fixed. And on top of all that, he is able to be near Dean. The ex-hunter can finally see him and speak to him, and Castiel can talk back.

After about fifteen minutes, the angel slowly finds himself beginning to drift off into sleep only to be started out of his trance by the blonde entering the room once again.

"Okay," Dean said as he walks in holding a roll of bandages, medical tape, a cloth, and some peroxide. "We've got to be able to brace your wing." He glances over the bent appendage briefly before looking down at Castiel. "You need to stay awake for this, Cas," he tells the other, "Then you can sleep. Trust me, I'm tired too."

The angel sits up slowly at the sound of Dean addressing him. "Cas?" he mutters in confusion, deciding quickly that he likes the nickname. "Okay."

Dean examines the wing for a moment longer before speaking up again, "Do you think you could lay on your stomach? That would make things easier," he tells Castiel.

The angel finds himself nodding in agreement as goes about turning over. He tucks his left wing in to rest against his back, rolling onto his stomach. The right side of his body sears with pain at the movement, and he is grateful to return to stillness once he is lying down.

Dean grits his teeth slightly as he works through what he is about to do. He had pulled up the directions for bracing bird wings on the computer in the other room, but he knew that this was still very different.

A few minutes go by before Dean is reaching out to touch the angels wing, feeling it flutter slightly in pain at even the slightly touch. He knows that he will have to clean the wound before he wraps it and that this will not be comfortable for the injured man.

He pours some peroxide onto the cloth in his hand, and holds it out closer to the blood stained wing. "Take a deep breath, okay?" he tells the angel.

Castiel does as instructed, only to let out an earsplitting scream, making Dean's hair stand on end. Both of the half man's wings begins to flap frantically in an attempt to escape the burn, only succeeding in sending waves of pain up Castiel's body, which make him whine and thrash at the feeling.

Dean is taken off guard by the sudden movement and he quickly grabs onto the broken wing, trying his hardest to keep it still as he cleans out the split flesh.

Castiel finds himself crying in agony, biting into the pillow in front of him to try and quiet his screams.

By the time that Dean is done washing the wound, Castiel is shaking and he has drooled slightly on the pillow. He's only given a moment of peace as Dean trades out the peroxide and cloth for the bandages and medical tape.

"Almost done," he hears Dean mutter soothingly to him, "You're-... You're doing well Cas."

He knows it is a lie. He knows that he is behaving horrendously, screaming the way that he is and not being able to take the pain. But nonetheless, the compliment is calming to him. He wants to be able to calm down, and endure this. He wants to make this as easy for Dean as possible.

So when he hears the sickening crack of his wing being forced back into place, he does not flail or fight it. He simply keeps his head down against the mattress and grunts quietly, still shaking from pain as Dean wraps his wing closed quickly and then tapes it down to his back.

The next few minutes are a blur to Castiel. He hears Dean moving about the room, then leaving and coming back a few times, likely putting things away. The angel is too out of it to really pay much attention, and his whole body aches now despite the medicine that had soothed his pain earlier.

"Hey, Cas?" Dean looks down at the shaking angel, not able to see his face from the way it is buried in the sheets. "You should sleep alright? I'll come check on you soon."

Finally, Castiel moves his head to look to the side and peer up at the blonde. He is tired and he would not object, but a sudden thought runs through his head. "You're tired," he says simply, remembering what Dean had told him earlier, "You should sleep too."

Dean blinks in surprise for a moment. "Yeah, I will Cas. Promise," he says quietly, looking over the bandaged wing for a moment before beginning to stand up. "I'll see you in the morning-"

"Wait," Castiel chokes out quietly, looking over to Dean with pleading eyes. "Sleep with me?"

Chapter Text

Dean furrows his eyebrows. "No," he says quickly, "I don't know about angels, but two men don't just sleep together. It's weird." Dean crosses his arms, staring down at the hurt being. "Especially when they just met," he adds on stubbornly.

"But," Castiel stammers, voice full of heart break, "I'm not a man." His body aches with pain, tears still brimming in his eyes. He chokes back a quiet sob and grits his teeth before adding on quietly, "I can't watch over you if you sleep somewhere else."

Angels are watching over you.

Dean cannot help but feel slight guilt at the other's expression. He sighs out and finally moves onto the bed beside the angel. He supposes that he will be able to leave as soon as Castiel is asleep. "Why do you need to watch over me? Just 'cause you're an angel?" he asks curiously as he lays on his side to face Castiel, who is still on his stomach.

Castiel stares at Dean tiredly, moving his uninjured wing to rest over the hunter as he speaks. "No... I'm your angel," he tells the other in a weak voice, "At the beginning of time... All the angels were assigned a list of humans to protect... One after another, for forever." His wing curls around Dean weakly, encasing the blonde in a feather canopy. "I am your guardian angel Dean... I have been since the beginning of time..."

Dean is taken aback by the soft feathers around him, but he keeps his eyes locked on Castiel's, not allowing himself to relax. "What about now?" he asks. "Did you say you," he pauses for a moment, thinking back, "fell from heaven? Why did you fall?"

Castiel turns his head, not wanting to recall the events before his falling. "It-" he begins quietly, then sighs, "It was because I saved you that night. I wasn't suppose to interfere."

Dean finally drops his stern expression, mouth gaping slightly in confusion. "Wasn't suppose to interfere? With saving my life? Isn't that sort of the whole point of being a guardian angel? Like... Protecting me and all that?"

The angle blinks tiredly at the man next to him. "Yes," he mutters, "but when you decided to take your own life-" Here, Castiel takes a slow breath, squinting his eyes slightly to focus them through his drowsiness. "Suicide... It's the equivalent of rejecting the gift that God has given to you," he goes on, "When you stepped off of that bridge, you rejected the life that has been made for you... along with any celestial help that I could have offered."

Dean frowns in disbelief, glancing upward at the dark wing that stretches over him. He sighs and reaches up, touching the wing gently and running his fingers over the feathers. "Why did you save me then?" he asks as he finally looks back to the brunette, "If you were going to fall because of it, why didn't you just let me die?"

Castiel stares at Dean with tired eyes, turning a bit so that he can lay on his side without putting pressure on the hurt wing that is taped to his back. "Dean," he utters in a quiet voice, reaching out to lay his right hand upon the covered burn on the hunter's arm. "For all the good you've done in the world," he whispers, "None of it would matter if you had killed yourself there."

Dean tenses up at the touch on his shoulder, then slowly relaxes as he watches the angel's long, thin fingers slide into place of the fingers on the mark. "What do you mean?" he asks, staring down at the other's hand, before looking back to the creature's face.

"When someone commits suicide," he explains in a weak voice, running his fingers along the burn on the blonde's arm, "they are not allowed into the gates of heaven."

"What happens to them?"

"Either they get lost here on Earth, doomed to walk amongst the living as a spirit,"

Dean knew what became of spirits. Even the most harmless of ghosts would eventually lose themselves in their loneliness, becoming more malevolent as time passes, and one day become the poltergeists that the hunters seek to get rid of.

"Or they go to hell to suffer for the rest of eternity."

Dean looks away slightly out of guilt. He understood now. Castiel had saved him not only from himself, but endless suffering. In doing so, the angel had given up his life in heaven, where he could have spent forever in peace, doing God's work and protecting the humans that he was assigned. But why?

The ex-hunter frowns and reaches to the hand on his arm, being careful as he moves it away from the scarred flesh on his arm. He had meant to let go soon after, but finds that Castiel is now holding onto his hand weakly. The blonde does not have it in him to pull away from the gentle gesture.

"Why would you-" Dean stops and frowns at the angel. "Why would you give away your spot in Heaven to save me?" he asks.

Blue eyes widen at the question and the angel's mouth gapes as if Dean had asked him the most simplistic question in the world. "Because I love you."

An expression of shock flickers over Dean's face and he forces out a breathy laugh, trying to brush the comment off as a joke. "You're kidding right?"

The angel looks heartbroken for a moment as he pulls Dean's hand closer, tightening his grip on it slightly. "I am not joking... "

"You just met me. you can't... actually like me-"

"I don't just like you, Dean," he cuts the other man off quickly. "It's more than that," he explains, "and I didn't just meet you. Dean, I've known you since the beginning of time. I've always know that I would love you." Castiel, noting the look of confusion on the other's face, goes on, "It's not romantic... At least, not from what I can understand. It is deeper than that, Dean."

Dean averts his eyes. He believes that he should be even more concerned by the angel's explanation of his affection, but instead he feels as though it makes sense, in a strange way. He sighs, watching Castiel lift his hand slowly.

"We're connected Dean," he tells the man in a soft voice, "I knew I had to protect you because of that." Castiel lifts the hand the rest of the way up to press a soft kiss to the back of it tired. "We're connected," he insists as he begins to nod off, "We always have been."

Dean watches at the angel's eyes finally slide shut. He sighs, not pulling his hand away from the sleeping winged-man. He finds himself thinking over everything that Castiel has told him, and he starts to understand what the brunette had been saying.

After a few minutes, he finds himself relaxing under the blanket of feathers. His hand finally tightens to hold onto Castiel's and he closes his eyes, slowly allowing himself to drift off to sleep.

Chapter Text

"You sure that it's okay now?" Dean asks, sitting behind the winged man and frowning as he carefully unwraps the bloodstained bandages from the wing. He was a bit apprehensive to taking off the wrap since everything he had read online said that for the wing to be fully healed it would take between two and four weeks.

"Yes, Dean," Castiel replies in a calm and quiet voice, easily disguising the fact that he was excited, almost ecstatic, to finally be rid of the restraint on his wing.

The blonde sits on his knees behind the angel on the bed. He wears a pair of flannel pajama pants and a plain black v-neck shirt. "Just be careful, alright?" the blonde says as he runs his fingers gently against the black, matted feathers of Castiel's wing, continuing to work the thin cloth strips off from around the appendage.

"I will be, Dean," Castiel smiles softly at the slight worry in the human's voice. He knew that he had healed very fast compared to what humans were accustomed to. He could not really explain it himself, but assumed that it had something to do with the fact that even though he had fallen, he was still an angel.

As soon as the last of the bandages fall from his wing and onto the bed, Castiel is stretching out both of his wings, which easily span over twelve feet in all.

His wings are beautiful, Dean thinks. He has not seen them fully extended before and the image now is absolutely breathtaking to the human. "You probably shouldn't try to fly for a while," the blonde muses quietly, "I don't know if it's strong enough yet."

A sudden clatter to the angel's right makes him fold his wings back in quickly, eyes going wide.

Dean chuckles quietly and gets off of the bed, leaning down to pick up the now broken alarm clock from the ground by the dresser.

"I'm sorry, Dean," Castiel says quickly, holding his wings tightly behind him, afraid that he would break something else.

"Don't worry about it, Cas," Dean tells his new friend as he stands up straighter and sets the clock back onto the dresser. He then directs his attention back to the angel, watching the newly unwrapped wing flutter slightly. The feathers are slightly matted from the pressure that had been kept against them so long.

"Want to go get cleaned up?" Dean asks Castiel, looking the brunette over to take in his condition.

"I would like to, yes," the angel says with a soft smile over his shoulder at the man behind him before, with a nod from the hunter, standing and walking out the room toward the bathroom.

For the past week, Dean has been trying his hardest to take care of the fallen angel. He has helped Castiel become accustomed to human functions such as eating and drinking. The blonde was becoming more comfortable with the idea of sharing his home with Castiel.

The two have been spending a lot of time watching movies together to pass the time and even though it was awkward at first, Dean was beginning to enjoy sleeping in the same bed as the angel. There was something strangely comforting about being so close to him. In the past week, Dean felt as though he had gotten more sleep than he has gotten ever since his father died.

Dean makes his way to the kitchen, planning on making them something for lunch. Before he can really start, Castiel is walking into the kitchen with a towel around his waist, his wings, hair, and torso dripping with soapy water.

"Cas?" Dean frowns at the water that is dripping all over the floor before looking back to the angel and blushing heavily. "The hell are you doing, man?" His eyes run down the pale skin of the angel's chest for a moment, then back up to the scar that is forming on his left shoulder due to the injury that Dean had inflicted upon him. He finally settles his gaze back on Castiel's face.

"I can't wash the back of my wings," Castiel tells the other innocently, looking down at his bare feet in embarrassment. "I need help," he admits quietly, blue eyes glancing back up to stare into Dean's green ones.

"Just," the taller man begins, running a hand through his sandy hair in dismay, "Go wait in the bathroom while I clean up this mess. I'll be in there in a minute."

With this the angel nods, turning to make his way back to the bathroom. He slips slightly in the water that he had trailed into the room a moment ago, but catches himself on the wall and hurries down the hall.

The blonde pinches the bridge of his nose in frustration, letting out a quiet sigh. After a moment, he walks down the hall toward the bathroom. He knocks briefly on the door, only waiting long enough for Castiel to tell him that the door was unlocked.

With that, he opens the door, immediately lifting a hand to shield his eyes. "Dammit, Cas!" he huffs in annoyance, gritting his teeth.

The angel stands in the center of the bathroom, still dripping with water. The towel that had been around his waist is now at his feet on the floor, leaving nothing to the imagination.

"Dean?" the angel asks, worriedly stepping closer to the former hunter, lifting a hand rest it on the man's shoulder.

"Man, Cas, just get in the tub!" Dean yells at the angel, making sure to avoid looking at the other's naked form.

In a moment of realization, the brunette turns and makes his way back to the tub, stepping into it and sitting down quickly, allowing the bubbles to cover up the lower half of his body. "I do not understand where the problem lies, Dean," Castiel admits truthfully, "It is not as if I have not seen you naked befo-"

"Okay, that's enough," the taller man interjects, huffing as he moves his hand from his face. His cheeks are a bright red from embarrassment as he makes his way toward the angel. "A bubble bath, really?" He sighs in disbelief.

"I saw it in one of those movies that we watched," Castiel explains, a soft smile taking over his face.

Dean nods slightly in understanding as he reaches for the washcloth on the side of the tub before pausing suddenly. "Wait," he says, "where did you even get bubble bath soap?" He stares down at the froth in the water, catching the faint scent of Axe. "Did you use all of my shampoo?" he asks, narrowing his eyes slightly in frustration.

"No," the angel tilts his head back to look at Dean while he speaks, "There is still some left."

Upon picking up the bottle, Dean finds that his newly purchased shampoo is almost gone. He lets out a quiet sound of disbelief, wetting the washcloth in his hand with soapy water and running it along the angel's dark wing.

Castiel holds completely still as Dean begins to clean his wings in silence, but after a few moments, he cannot help but ruffle the feathers on his wings, spraying water onto the man behind him.

"Ah!" Dean exclaims in surprise, pulling his hands away briefly. "Cas, watch it-."

"I'm sorry!" the angel hurries out, involuntarily flapping his wings. One catches Dean on the side, pushing him toward the water.

The blonde tries to catch his balance on the side of the tub, but as soon as his hand meet the water he instinctively knows that it is no use to try and stop himself from falling.

Chapter Text

Castiel's eyes widen at the splash behind him and he quickly turns to the side to look back at the man who now sits in the tub behind him with his feet dangling out of the side of the bath tub.

The green eyed man winces in slight pain, shifting in the warm water uncomfortably as his wet shirt and jeans now cling to his skin. He growls in frustration, resigning to sit in the tub behind Castiel. Dean pulls his soaked shirt off and tosses it across the bathroom and into the sink. He then begins to pull off his jeans, doing the same with them and ignoring the desperate apologies coming from the angel's mouth. Luckily, he had nothing important in his pockets.

He huffs out a quiet "Forget about it," trying to force himself to relax and go back to washing the angel's wing. He suddenly feels nervous, being so exposed in such close proximity to the angel. It was even more unnerving when he remembers that the half man in front of him is completely naked underneath the suds.

"Hey, Dean?" the angel asks for the other's attention in a quiet voice, making sure to hold as still as possible as to not hit Dean again.

The ex-hunter does not speak for a moment, splashing water onto the jet black wings in front of him to rinse off some of the suds before picking the wash cloth up again. "What?" he asks a bit coldly, eyes narrowed.

Dean was not happy with Castiel at the moment. Sometimes it was too difficult to deal with him. The angel had no understanding of what was normal for the majority of humans. He did not understand personal space or common sense, which made him difficult to explain things to. And now Dean had to buy more shampoo and clean up the mess of water in the hall and on the bathroom floor. His clothes were soaked and he was in pain because of the way that he had fallen a minute ago.

The winged man must realize that Dean is upset with him. He keeps his head down and has to force a soft smile to take the place of his wistful expression. "Thank you for taking care of me," he says in a quiet but rough voice.

The blond goes completely still at that, hands pausing on the softness of the angel's damp wing. He waits a moment before letting out a slow breath. "Are you kidding me?" Dean asks, lowering his voice slightly to match the angel's volume. "You took care of me first," he reminds the blue-eyed angel. His hands go back to cleaning the dried blood off of Castiel's wings but he keeps his head down as he works. "Don't thank me for it...It's only fair that I take care of you now, right?"

Castiel fidgets at the words, slowly relaxing due to the soothing feeling of the taller man's hands working against his feathers carefully. "You do not have to take care of me, Dean," he explains, "but you decide to anyway. For that, I would like to thank you." He stares at the heap of bubbles in the water in front of him, running his hand up to disperse them absently. "If only there was something more that I could do for you," he thinks aloud, "Sadly, there really isn't much that I can offer in this form."

A frown works itself across Dean's face. "What do you mean there's nothing you can offer?" He splashes some more water onto Castiel's wings to rinse them off, reaching for the almost empty bottle of shampoo and putting some into his hands. Now that the dried blood and dirt was out of his wings, Dean could wash them properly. "You did a good job protecting me so far. Just consider this as a break," the blonde says, trying to reassure the half man, "Didn't you say you liked being down here, able to actually talk to me?"

Castiel frowns to himself, reaching in front of him to swat lightly at the bubbles there. "I do, Dean," he hurries out quickly, a sullen expression plastered to his face, "I just wish I could look after you like I use to... It is not that I don't like being here with you. I do, truly. I just feel so powerless."

Dean rubs the shampoo into the large wings, slowly massaging the soap into them. "Cas," he mutters quietly, trying to think of a way to soothe the other man, "You're doing your best." He wishes that he could have thought of something more to say on the matter, but it was hard to cheer the angel up when he did not really know how the other felt.

"I am," the brunette says with a quiet sigh. He feels himself slowly relaxing against the hands on his back. The comforting touch of the human accompanied with the warm bath water was beginning to make him tired. "I love you , Dean," Castiel says with a quiet, pleased sound.

"I know, Cas," he says with a sigh, "You tell me that a lot." What was he suppose to say? Despite how the angel constantly insists that he loves the hunter, Dean cannot wrap his mind around it. It seems so strange to him, that someone that he had never met until a week ago could care for him this much.

Castiel loses himself in his own thoughts again. He was not necessarily upset that Dean was not telling him that he loves him back. He wishes that the other man would, of course, but he knew that it took a while for Dean to be that comfortable with anyone. Castiel cannot recall a moment in the man's life that Dean had told someone outside of his family that he loved them. It just was not in the blonde's nature, so why should Castiel expect the other to requite his feelings? "I think I am tired again," the angel warns Dean as he feels his eyelids grow heavy.

"Alright," the taller man mumbles, "Just give me a minute to get you rinsed off." Dean really could not blame him; he was also beginning to feel drowsy due to the warmth of the water.

"I can do it," the angel mummers, reaching forward to unplug the water stopper.

Dean nods slightly, standing up and cringing at the way his soaked boxers stick to his thighs. "Just call me if you need anything," he tells the angel before stepping out of the tub and grabbing a towel and wrapping it around his waist. He pushes his underwear down and steps out of them, making sure to keep his lower body covered with the towel before making his way out of the bathroom and into his bedroom to get dressed.

He lets the damp towel fall to the floor and pulls on a pair of gym shorts and a light grey t-shirt. He then moves over to the bed, trying to stay awake. After about five minutes, he begins to feel himself drift off. He is mostly asleep by the time the angel walks into the room.

Castiel only wears a pair of Dean's sweatpants, since they had not bought him clothes of his own yet, nor had they found a way to make shirts fit around his wings. He had shaken his wings out in the bathroom, likely spraying water everywhere, which Dean would have to clean up when he saw it. However his wings, along with his hair, are still damp.

He notices the half asleep hunter lying in the bed and smiles softly, crawling in to lie beside him. Blue eyes watch the man for a few minutes, studying the even rise and fall of his chest and the way his lips part slightly in his sleep, eyelashes fluttering slightly.

Castiel cannot help but smile as he moves a bit closer, letting his wing fold over Dean gently to cover him protectively. "I love you," he utters quietly, thinking back on the first moment he had said that to the hunter. He remembers how Dean had told him that he could not actually love him because they had just met.

At this point, Castiel thought differently about the word "love." He was convinced at first that what he felt was very different from what humans considered it to be, but now he realizes they are not so different. Maybe the sort of love that Castiel means now is exactly what Dean had thought he had meant at first.

He smiles softly to himself and with a bit of hesitation, leans in to press a kiss to the forehead of the man sleeping next to him. It is brief and sudden, but it felt right. It was something that from what he understood, was an expression of love and affection. It was odd to think, but kissing Dean just felt as though it was the right thing to do. The thought of being "in love" with Dean occurs to him briefly.

A soft smile works its way across the blue eyed angel's tired face as he leans in once more to place another soft kiss to the blonde's face, this time on his cheek.

I love you.

Chapter Text

"How long is he staying?" Castiel asks quietly as he steps foot into the dusty shed, fidgeting with the strap of the bag in his hands and squinting his eyes in the light that streams through a few of the worn down holes in the roof. The large duffle bag in his hands contains several blankets, a pillow, some snacks, a book, and a few changes of clothes. The clothes mainly consisted of a few pairs of Dean's pants and some of the blonde's old shirts that the two had cut up and ironed Velcro onto.

"Huh?" Dean asks as he drags the twin sized mattress behind him and into the shed, taking it to the furthest corner and setting it down on a tarp he had set up an hour ago.

Castiel follows the blond across the room to the corner, setting the bag beside the mattress and kneeling beside the bag to find the bed sheets that they had put in it. "Your brother," he explains hesitantly, "How long will he be staying for?"

He tries his best to not let it show that he is upset that he must stay outside while Dean's younger brother is visiting. He did not quite understand it. He wanted to meet Sam. Not only that, but he would miss being near Dean. He was not sure what he was suppose to alone for so long.

"I don't know yet, Cas," the taller man says as he kneels beside the angel, taking two sides of the dark blue fitted sheet and helping Castiel to stretch it out over the mattress, "It could be a week." Dean looks up at the sound of the angel letting out an exasperated sigh. "What's wrong, man?" he asks with a frown, seeming to be concerned.

"You're leaving me alone for a week?" the angle asks with sad eyes that almost make Dean want to reconsider.

The ex-hunter shakes his head, trying to ignore how upset the other looks by this realization. He focuses on his hands as he continues to pull the sheet over the bed before moving to the other side to stretch the sheet over the other corners of the mattress. "It can't be helped, Cas," he insists, not looking up from his hands.

"Why can't it?" Castiel's lips curl downward into a hard frown once he realizes that the other is avoiding looking at him. He stays quiet as Dean ignores his question, watching the human make the bed with the rest of the sheets. Once he is done, Castiel speaks up again, crawling onto the mattress and sitting directly in front of Dean to get his attention. "Why don't you want me to meet Sam?"

Dean lets a sigh roll out of his mouth. He stares into the bright blue orbs in front of him before shaking his head and turning his head away, trying to move away a bit. "It's not that, Cas," he says, trying to brush off the question again.

At that, two dark wings go up at the same time, blocking Dean from moving to either side.

"Then what is it?" the angel persists, now looking more than just a bit upset. His eyebrows are knitted together in confusion and his cheeks are puffed out slightly. "Are you afraid that I will embarrass you? I won't be clingy anymore. I don't even need to sleep in the same bed as you if you don't want me to."

Even as the angel says this, he does not know if he could stick to it. He enjoys sleeping with the hunter. There is a strange air of trust and comfort that it brings between them. Castiel does not know if he could give that up.

Dean shakes his head slightly, cutting his friend off quickly, "Cas, man, that's not the problem. I just don't want Sam to worry. I mean," he hesitates in his explanation, "If he sees you, he might think I'm getting back into hunting." The blond finds himself reaching up slowly to brush his fingers against the soft feathers on Castiel's wing absently. "He says he's already worrying about me," he mumbles quietly, feeling guilt ebb at the back of his head, "I can't give him any more reason to worry okay? He should be focusing on school right now."

The brunette's wings flutter slightly at the soft touches from the other's fingertips. "Okay, Dean," Castiel mutters quietly. It made sense to him when the blonde explained it to him like this. He knew if the younger sibling even suspected anything to be abnormal during his visit that he would worry about his brother more than he would need to. The angel lets out a slow breath, reaching up to rest his hand over Dean's upper left shoulder, squeezing at the place where his handprint had been left on the other.

Dean cannot help but smile softly at the touch. The burn had almost completely healed by now, but when the angel touched the still red skin it seemed to still have the same calming effect as it did the first time that Castiel put his hand over the mark.

Dean closes his eyes in relaxation before being taken aback slightly when he feels a pressure against his forehead. He opens his eyes, surprised by the sight of the angel's face only a few inches from his own. The other man is smiling softly at Dean, resting their foreheads together carefully.

It is a strange closeness. One that the blonde feels as though should bother him, but oddly it feels as though it is completely normal, and even relaxing. He smiles fondly at the other, then closes his eyes, content at the feeling of the other man so close to him.

The two men are brought out of their calm silence by the sound of tires rolling up through the gravel driveway.

"He's here," Dean says quickly, pulling away from Castiel and standing up quickly, "I need to go. I'll come back tonight with your dinner, okay?"

The angel frowns when Dean pulls away so suddenly, and without any sort of response, he watches the taller man rush out of the shed, the metal door close loudly behind him, and hears Dean running toward the front of the house. In only a moment, he is left in silence.

Chapter Text

Sam and Dean had not spent this much time together since the younger brother had went back to college. It has been a week since Sam arrived in South Dakota to visit his brother and Dean still was not ready for him to leave.

The two have been catching up on the past year or so. Sam tells him how college is going, and asks about what Dean is doing for work. Dean talks about working in Bobby's old salvage yard and how he has not been getting out as much as he used to.

It was odd for them at first. For the first night or so, it seemed as if they were each being careful to tip-toe around talking about what happened to all of their friends and family. They did not discuss hunting or ghosts or demons or any of the hardships that they had faced together. This of course made it difficult for either of them to find common ground for them to talk about.

But after a couple of days had passed, conversation became easier. They managed to bond over other things. They even watched football together for the first time since they were kids.

The week had gone by so quickly, and now it is time for Sam to say goodbye. The younger Winchester has been strangely quiet all morning, not saying much through breakfast. Even now as he is about to leave, Sam remains fairly reserved.

"I'll see you again soon, right man?" Dean asks, pulling his brother in for a brief hug and patting the taller man's back.

Sam nods quickly, followed by a quick, "Yeah, of course Dean. I'll come see you after um... After my finals for this semester. I'll drive up again."

Dean nods slightly in affirmation as they walk out to the porch. The blonde reaches down to grab one of Sam's duffle bags from its place on the floor by the front door.

"Hey," Sam says a bit quickly, "No man, I can get it." The brunette's hand goes to the strap of the bag quickly, trying to tug it gently away from his brother.

The blonde's eyebrows furrow at the sudden movement from his brother. It seemed to be too quick and too desperate for the insistent pull to simply be a polite gesture for him to carry his own things.

"Whatcha got in here, porn?" Dean jokes doubtfully, pulling the bag away from his younger brother. He forces a quiet, unsure laugh as he steps toward the door.

Sam steps forward with him, not able to keep a calm expression as he reaches for the bag again.

"Why don't you go ahead and grab your other bags from upstairs," Dean says with his eyes narrowed slightly in suspicion, "I'll go put this in your car."

The brunette stares down at his brother for a moment, looking as though his is doubtful on whether he should do as the other says or not. After a moment's thought, he turns on his heel and heads up the staircase quickly.

Dean does not waste any time. He grabs the keys to Sam's car and heads outside, making his way to Sam's car. He sets the bag down on top of the trunk and unzips it quickly.

He was not sure what he was expecting to find, but this was not it. The bag was mostly full of Sam's clothes and other essentials, but other than that there were about eight different monster lore books that had quite obviously been taken from Bobby's library. One other book though, Dean noticed, was the book that he had found the section about angels in. This particular book had been in Dean's room for the past few weeks since Castiel had awaken there.

The ex-hunter cannot help the panic that is slowly boiling inside of him. He feels as though he is going to be sick. He tosses the duffle bag to the ground and uses the car key to unlock Sam's trunk, pulling it open quickly to reveal the equipment inside.

Bags of salt and iron, shotguns and silver rounds, wooden stakes and candles; all of which line the inside of the trunk. An anti-possession symbol is drawn in chalk on the inside of the trunk.

"Dean."

The older brother turns around quickly to face Sam. "You're going on a hunt?" His voice comes out angry and accusatory, but the tone is only present to mask the fear of his brother putting himself into danger again.

"Dean," Sam repeats, "I can explain. Really, just give me a minute-"

"When were you going to tell me?" Dean yells, only to be followed by an ashamed silence from his brother as the younger Winchester lowers his eyes. The blonde stares at Sam dumbly for a few seconds. "You weren't going to tell me?"

No response.

"Why wouldn't you tell me? Where are you going?" Dean asks the questions quickly, shouting in frustration.

"It isn't your business," Sam declares stubbornly, narrowing his eyes as he walks forward, grabbing his duffle bag from off the ground.

"What do you mean it's not my business?" Dean asks angrily, "It is my business. You're my brother!"

"And I don't have to tell you everything!" Sam finally yells back, throwing the bag into his trunk and slamming it shut loudly. "I didn't want you to worry! This is something I have to do!"

"And not tell me about it?!"

Sam runs his fingers through his hair in frustration, looking everywhere but at his brother. "You have your secrets and I have mine," Sam says, lowering his voice to try and bring the conversation back down.

"What the hell are you talking about?" Dean does not let up, his voice still hostile with mistrust. "When was the last time I kept anything from you?!"

Sam's mouth drops open slightly as he thinks back to the events of the past week. How Dean would say that he was going to sleep very early in the evenings at the same time each night. How he would sneak out of the house every night when he thought that Sam was not looking. How one night, when Sam's curiosity got the best of him, he followed Dean out to the shed, only to hear his brother talking to someone through the tin walls.

"What's in the shed, Dean?"

Chapter Text

"What's in the shed, Dean?"

The blonde tenses up at the question. His shoulders go rigid and for a moment he stops breathing altogether. He feels his younger brother's eyes piercing into him doubtfully. There was not any way that Sam could have known. He had been so incredibly careful all week, trying to keep his brother from seeing the angel that had saved him from committing suicide.

Dean clenches his teeth behind his lips, taking a deep breath through his nose and trying to feign innocence. "I have no clue what you're talking about Sam," he says carefully, staring his brother hard in the eyes.

This causes the taller man to scoff. He looks away and runs a hand through his hair. "You're unbelievable, you know that?" When Sam finally looks back to Dean, it is with a look of disappointment.

"I'm unbelievable?" Dean fusses, "You're the one who's about to go off on a hunt!"

His attempt to change the subject is cut off by Sam promptly turning and walking away from him with a look on his face mixed partly of determination and partly of anger.

"Where the hell do you think you're going?" The blonde yells after the other man, only a bit too late to realize that his brother is heading in the direction of the shed. With this discovery, he darts after Sam quickly, eyes narrowed angrily. "Seriously? There's nothing there!"

This does not deter Sam from continuing forward, not stopping until he is in front of the old wooden doors and feels his brother's hand clamp down on his shoulder.

"Seriously, Sam knock it off!" Dean spins his brother around quickly, only to have Sam knock his hand away.

"You went through my things!" Sam finally yells back, "You don't trust me so why should I trust you?!"

With that, Sam is turning again and pulling the doors to the shed open quickly regardless of his brother trying to stop him by grabbing onto his arm and squeezing tightly. Despite the slight pain, he still manages to open the door.

Once the barn door is open, Sam's hazel eyes are darting around the area before him. They trail quickly over the dusty floor and spare car parts before narrowing at an abandoned mattress in the corner of the shed, walking in slowly.

Dean holds his breath as Sam walks in. He watches his brother for a reaction before directing his gaze throughout the old room. "It's empty?" he asks breathily, not meaning to sound as surprised as he does.

Where had Castiel gone? When did he leave?

Dean shakes the concerning thoughts from his head, quickly trying to recover from his previous astonishment. "It's empty," he repeats again, this time in a tone that seems as though the thought was obvious, "See? Nothing's here."

He looks at the abandoned mattress, noticing a bit more light streaming downward than had been before. This causes him to look upward to a hole in the roof, much larger than any of the other holes that had been worn in by time.

"Come on, Sam," he pushes with a frown, "You have some explaining to do, man."

At this comment, Sam turns around quickly. "Are you serious?" he says with a raised voice, "I don't need to explain myself to you!"

"The hell you don't. I'm your brother and you're going hunting again? What the hell is up with tha-"

"I need to. You don't understand. If you'd just trust me just this once-!"

"I can't lose you too!" Dean is shocked by the sheer volume of his own voice. It made the shouting match that the two had been engaged in before seem like a normal conversation. Suddenly everything is quiet again.

Sam's frustrated expression immediately falls into one of shame. He lowers his head, staring at the ground for a moment. It wasn't his intention to put Dean through this. He wanted their visit to be a good one, and was disappointed that it had to end so badly.

"I didn't want you to worry," Sam finally says softly, not looking up at his brother yet. "I knew you would if you found out. I'm sorry, Dean," he pauses slightly as he finally looks back to his brother, "I need to do this."

Dean cannot believe what is happening. He feels betrayed to know that his brother would hide this from him, even if it was to protect him. In his stomach sits the familiar feeling of dread, knowing that Sam could be putting himself into danger.

"Then I'll come with you," he says this without thinking. It was not as if he particularly wanted to go hunting again, but he knew that if there was no way to stop Sam, then he could keep him safe.

"No," The taller of the two shakes his head.

"Why not-"

"I have to do this alone," Sam interjects quickly. "I can't really explain it. I just need to do this on my own." A sad smile slides across his face. Before his brother can speak, the brunette is continuing, "I promise I'm not in danger. And I'll come see you as much as I can. Please can I just," he pauses and looks down sadly again, "Can I just have my keys?"

Dean was too in shock to argue. His brain was finally processing the fact that Sam was hunting again. He stared at his brother in astonishment before slowly, as if in a trance, he hands Sam his keys back. "What are you hunting?" he asks hesitantly, voice hollow and distant. His mind was wandering, finding it hard to comprehend the fact that Sam's life would be in danger once again.

Sam takes the keys from his brother's hand, frowning as he walks past him toward the door. "I'll let you know as soon as I do."

Dean watches his brother stop at the doorway and turn to face the blond once again.

"I'll call you when I stop for tonight," Sam says quietly, before turning and hurrying away.

The older brother does not move from where he stands in the shed. He stays in place until he finally hears the sound of Sam's car driving away.

Chapter Text

Castiel took a dangerous risk by flying atop of the shed. Though his injured wing is no longer having to be kept immobile, it is still healing. Dean warned him when they took off the bandages earlier that week that he should not risk flying on it for a while longer until they were sure that it was healed completely.

But as Castiel heard the arguing outside, followed by the sound of footsteps hurriedly approaching the shed, he was left with only two options. The first of which would have been to let Sam discover him. While this would have likely been the easier of the two options, Castiel did not know how the younger Winchester would react to seeing him without any warning. More than that, Dean had made himself very clear that he did not want Sam to know about Castiel. And so the angel made his decision without much thought at all, wanting to do what Dean asked of him.

Castiel panicked as he heard the footsteps approaching. He frantically looked around the room, trying to find anywhere that he could possibly hide.

"Seriously, Sam, knock it off!"

Just as Castiel was about to give up on trying to find a place to hide, he remembered the worn out holes in the ceiling. He looks up, eyes going wide and not giving it a second thought before flapping his wings frantically. He winces slightly at how stiff his wings are, but nevertheless jumps into the air, making for the largest hole in the roof. He folds his wings in right as he approaches it, grabbing onto the worn tin roof to pull himself through.

He flaps his wings once when he finds himself on his hands and knees on the rusty roof top. He practically stops breathing as he hears the door of the shed opening below him. He flattens himself against the rusted metal roof, shutting his eyes tightly, knowing that the weak roof top could give out from under him due to how worn it is.

"Come on Sam. You have some explaining to do, man."

The angel tries his best to stay as quiet as possible, listening to the exchange below him. He frowns to himself as he listens to the two yell at each other more. It soon becomes quiet again, and then he hears Sam finally walking out of the shed.

Castiel hesitantly chances a glance over the side of the roof and watches as the brunette makes his way to his car, gets in, and drives away.

The blue eyed angel waits for a minute more, expecting Dean to say something from inside of the shed, or perhaps walk out, where Castiel can meet him. After a couple of minutes pass by, neither of these things happen.

"Dean?" Castiel calls out from his place atop the barn, still apprehensive of moving due to the easily collapsible surface that he rests upon.

Again, Castiel is surprised that the former hunter is not responding to him. He grows concerned quickly, carefully crawling to the side of the shed. He spreads his dark wings out fully as he jumps from the rooftop, flapping them frantically to ease his landing.

"Dean?" he calls out again, folding his wings against his back as he walks around the shed once again and peers inside.

The blonde is facing away from him, standing completely still. His fists are clenched tightly at his sides and he remains motionless, not responding to the sound of his name.

"Dean, what are you doing?"

Castiel's stomach drops with dread, frowning as he approaches the man in front of him. He speaks softly, trying to sound as kind as he can, knowing that the other will not be happy right now due to the fight that he just had with his brother. He circles around the other man slowly to stand in front of him, blue eyes immediately widening and heart aching as he sees the face of the blonde.

Dean's jaw is clenched hard. His eyes are glossing over as he tries to hold back his tears and his lip trembles slightly before he bites it, obviously trying not to show how upset he is.

"Dean-" Castiel tries to console his friend, reaching his hand out slowly, meaning to rest it on his shoulder, only to have it knocked away quickly.

"Don't," Dean warns, suddenly looking angry with himself. His eyes narrow and he backs away from the angel before turning. "I can't believe I was so stupid!" Dean yells the last word, kicking over a dusty wooden chair, sending the vase on it shattering on the ground.

The angel flinches, tensing up as he watches the human before him. "Dean you aren-"

"I actually thought he was safe! I shouldn't have let him go off on his own! I should have moved down there with him and kept an eye on him!" In his anger, Dean clears one of the counters on the wall of its contents, sending everything that was once on it flying to the ground.

"Dean-"

"And then I just let him go!" Dean's voice echos through the shed as he stomps across the floor to the opposite wall. "He's going to get himself killed and then it won't even matter that I'm alive anyway!" In his anger, he swings his arm at the wall, stumbling slightly as he does and sending his fist through the thin glass of the window.

"DEAN!" Castiel's voice booms out in an almost deafening voice that seems as though it comes from the sky rather than the fallen angel standing across the room.

"What?!" Dean finally turns to face the brunette, tears spilling down his face. He goes from looking angry to looking hurt in an instant after he yells at the angel. Blood is running down his hand from where he cut it on the window and he is visibly shaking. His expression softens completely and his legs become weak, sending him crumbling to the ground.

As he falls he is met by the sound of flapping wings and two strong arms circling around him and pulling him into Castiel's chest.

The normally tough hunter is brought to a shaking mess, curling closely against the angel's chest and trying to calm himself down. Nevertheless, tears continue to stream down his face against his will. He hears the angel hushing him quietly.

When Dean finally is able to get a hold of himself, he feels tired and weak. The only thing keeping him from collapsing further to the ground are the protective arms around him.

"Cas?" the blonde mutters quietly, too tired to even lift his head from the angel's shoulder.

"What is it, Dean?" The brunette speaks quietly, moving his free hand to rub at the back of Dean's neck gently, trying to get him to relax.

"You said everyone has their own guardian angel, right?"

The brunette tenses up immediately, holding Dean a bit closer. He knew where Dean was going to go with this, but did not quite know how he was going to explain it to him. "Well," Castiel says quietly, "Yes, that is true."

"So," Dean shifts in the angel's arms, pulling back just a bit, "That means Sam has one too? So there's an angel somewhere up there watching over Sam and trying to keep him safe?"

Castiel knew he could have lied then. He knew that him lying might even save the ex-hunter from worrying. It may put his mind at ease for awhile. But regardless of how hearing the truth might affect Dean, Castiel knew he would not be able to lie to him.

"Dean," Castiel begins carefully, "It is true that every angel is assigned a list of humans but-"

"But what?" Dean interrupts, looking up to the blue eyed man with grief on his face.

"Sam did have a guardian angel. He still does. But he's just... missing," At the look of confusion on Dean's face, the angel continues, "The angel who was charged with your brother left heaven thousands of years ago. He just... disappeared."

"Wait so- they don't like... Reassign him an angel? He just doesn't have one?" Dean's eyebrows are knitted together. He looks incredibly hurt. Knowing that the only reason that he had lived as long as he has was attributed to an angel watching over him was unsettling enough, but knowing that his younger brother was not receiving the same help that he did was even more worrisome.

"I'm sorry Dean," Castiel says softly, pulling the blonde into his arms once again, "I tried to keep him safe to protect you when I was in heaven but-"

"But now you're not."

"I can-" Castiel pauses, trying to consider if what he was about to say would even work. "I will try to communicate with the other angels soon. I will ask one of my brothers from heaven to watch out for him if they can." He feels Dean nod tiredly against his shoulder.

"Thank you, Cas," the blonde says quietly, letting himself go limp against the angel. "Thank you for everything."

Chapter Text

Dean wrinkled his nose slightly at the feeling of feathers brushing along it. "Cas," he mutters, turning his head to the side to bury his face into a pillow but only succeeding in getting another mouthful of feathers. He sputters quietly, eyes finally opening in the dim light of his bedroom. He squints for a moment to let his eyes adjust, only to be met with the angel's face not far away from his own.

"I'm sorry, Dean," Castiel says quietly. His hand rests on Dean's shoulder, covering the now scarred over handprint gently in an attempt to comfort the blonde in his sleep. His wings are wrapped protectively around the human, fluttering slightly as he hears the other sputter.

Dean lies atop one of Castiel's wings, a position that Dean had been hesitant about until the angel had insisted that his wings were sturdy enough to support his weight comfortably. The other wing is draped over the two men, encasing them in a canopy of black feathers.

The blonde shakes his head, dismissing Castiel's apology. "Don't you ever sleep?" he asks tiredly, with fondness in his voice.

After the events of the morning in which Sam left, Castiel managed to convince Dean to come inside to bandage his hand up and eventually got him to lie down and rest.

"I slept for a bit," Castiel explains in a hushed voice, "I couldn't rest for long. I was worried."

"About what?"

"You," he says simply, moving one of his arms to wrap around Dean gently in a sort of half hug. "I still have to watch over you."

Dean sighs out quietly, moving onto his back and staring up at the covering of feathers for a moment before reaching out slowly and moving his fingers along them gently. "You don't have to watch over me," Dean says. He stares ahead with half lidded eyes while he lies next to the angel, his mind seems to be somewhere else. His fingertips drag slowly against the soft feathers, letting his fingers card through them gently.

"Yes, I do," Castiel argues, "I need to know that you're alright Dean. I want to be able to protect you."

"Cas, that's not your job anymore, okay? You said it yourself, you can make your own decisions now. You don't have to watch over me anymore."

The angel furrows his eyebrows in confusion, frowning as he thought about what Dean said. "You misunderstand me, Dean," he corrects the other, "No one is making me watch after you. I am making my own decisions now. I'm deciding that I will stay by your side and protect you, just as I did in Heaven."

"I don't need you-" Dean begins, looking over to the angel with narrowed eyes. Upon seeing the surprised look on the angel's face, he stops and frowns. He knew that he was unintentionally taking out his anger toward his brother on Castiel. Suddenly, the thought of the angel taking what he says to heart and leaving him becomes too real. "No," he says, reaching up to take the angel's hand carefully, "That's a lie. Cas, I'm sorry."

The brunette tilts his head slightly, perplexed as to what Dean was talking about. "Dean, you have nothing to be sorry for-"

"I need you, Cas."

The angel's confused expression did not falter at the words, but instead intensified. He turned to face Dean better, lifting his hand up to hold onto it closer. "What do you mean, Dean?"

"I mean," he falters for a moment, trying to think of a way to put how he feels into words. "Just a little over a month ago," he begins again, "I tried- I wanted to-"

Admitting this was not easy for Dean. It was a decision that he was content with at the time, but he grew to feel differently over the past month.

"I wasn't happy when I woke up after I jumped," he continues, "I thought it was all a dream, I-... I was mad that it didn't actually happen, almost, disappointed in myself for not having acted on it sooner... I wanted to die."

"Dean-"

"No. Castiel, I need to say it, okay?" Dean grits his teeth, trying to hold himself together while he talks to the other, "I wanted to die... But when I found you out there, you were hurt and-... And you needed me. So I didn't think about it anymore. And I know that that isn't exactly a good way to cope with this kind of thing or whatever, but it took my mind off of it."

Dean is holding onto the other man's hand tightly, refusing to look up and meet the angel's gaze.

"It gave me something else to focus on instead of feeling sorry for myself. It gave me something to live for, you know? I guess that's what I had been missing before you showed up. But you gave it to me. You needed me and... I needed you. I still do, okay?" he finishes, gritting his teeth and his throat beginning to feel tight as he tries to hold himself back from getting too emotional.

Castiel is speechless. He never could have imagined that he meant that much to Dean. Of course he had hoped to have a positive effect on him, but could not have possibly fathomed that it was to this extent. "Dean," he says quietly, staring with wide blue eyes at the ex-hunter's face, "I need you as well. I- I love you." Castiel smiles happily, pressing a kiss to the back of Dean's hand.

"Yeah, yeah," Dean lets out a breathy laugh, "Profound bond, not romantic, deeper than that, and all that shit." He smiles and finally looks up at Castiel to see the angel frowning.

"Dean, I don't think it's like that anymore." At the look of confusion on Dean's face, he continues, "I mean it was, but that was a month ago. I've thought about it a lot since then. I know that you may not feel the same way but, I love you. Not like in a guardian angel sort of way. I mean, I have feelings for you," he pauses yet again before clarifying, "Romantic feelings."

Dean simply stares at Castiel's face for a minute, trying to decide whether or not he was serious. "You mean that?" he asks, not letting go of the hand in his own. He watches as the angel nods, then he looks down at the hand in his own.

Castiel stares at Dean for a moment, holding his breath as he waits for some sort of response. The blonde appears to be lost in thought for a minute before Castiel finally speaks up once again.

"Do you love me?" he asks hesitantly, not meaning to sound nearly as hopeful as he did.

Dean closes his eyes, squeezing onto Castiel's hand tighter as he thinks about it for a moment more.

"I don't know."

Chapter Text

"Let me know if I wrap them too tight," the blonde says quietly, carefully wrapping the ace bandage around Castiel's bare chest to hold his wings to his back.

Castiel had been wanting to go somewhere with Dean for a while now. He did not particularly care where the two of them went, but being confined to such a limited amount of space was beginning to make him anxious. For a while, he had been worried that he would never be able to go out past the long driveway that led to the house and salvage yard. However, a couple of days ago, Dean had come up with a plan.

The angel holds tight to the edge of the ace bandage as Dean slowly works it under his arms and back around the dark wings again, keeping them folded into Castiel's back. "They're very flexible Dean, I'll be alright." He smiles softly, knowing that Dean would not want to do anything that could potentially hurt the other.

"There," Dean says, clipping the bandage to secure it, "You're sure it's not too tight?"

Castiel chuckles quietly at the question, stretching slightly to see if the bandages would hold. "It's good. Thank you Dean."

The blond nods quickly, watching as the other turns to face him. He looks over the wraps across his chest, feeling slightly bad that this is the only way for them to go into public together. "Go ahead and get dressed and I'll wait out here, alright?" He says, waiting for the angel to nod before turning to leave the room.

The past few weeks have been hard on both of them.

Dean had been very upset for the next few days after Sam had left. He has been beside himself on whether or not he should attempt to follow his brother, but after a few days, was convinced that he could not stop Sam. The younger Winchester had kept his promise of calling Dean, and the two have stayed in touch since. With the consistent check in phone calls and Sam repeatedly ensuring his brother that he was not in danger, Dean slowly stopped worrying about him.

Castiel, on the other hand, had been dealing with a very different problem. Ever since he had told the other man that he loved him, he had been weary of the way he acted around him. He had not necessarily been surprised at Dean's response, but it certainly was not the one that Castiel had been hoping for. Since that evening, the angel has been careful to not do anything that the hunter could see as romantic. He has not kissed him, told him he loved him, or even cuddled up to him during the night. After all, if Dean needed time to think this sort of thing over, then he could take all of the time he needed. Castiel has waited an eternity for the Winchester, so a few weeks or even months would not affect him.

"Do I look alright?" Castiel says quietly, stepping out of the hallway to meet Dean in the living room. He wore a white button down, which had slits in the back of it for his wings, and black dress pants. Over his bound wings, he wore a long, tan trench coat that came down to his calves. It managed to cover his wings entirely, even though it did appear a size or so large on him. His back, Dean thought, looked surprisingly more flat that he would have expected it to be.

"You look good," Dean tells Castiel with a small smile, circling the fallen angel to make certain that his wings were not evident underneath the thick fabric of the coat. "And you're positive you want to do this? I mean, we could just stay here and-"

"Dean," Castiel cuts the blonde off quickly, "I've been wanting to do this all week, please let's just go." He reaches down and takes the hunter's hand, not even thinking to restrain himself in his excitement, and pulls Dean toward the front door.

"Okay okay," Dean cannot help the quiet laugh that escapes him as he realizes how eager Castiel is to get going, "But we're not going to be out long, okay? We'll just go to the park, then get dinner and come right back." The hunter did not realize that his fingers were lacing with the angel's until it was too late and they were heading out of the house together.

"I understand, Dean," Castiel acknowledges with a bright smile on his face as he leads Dean by his hand toward the jet black car in the driveway.

The blonde approaches his car quickly, opening up the passenger side to allow for Castiel to get in and buckle up. Dean makes sure that Castiel is as comfortable as he can be despite how cramped his wings are before closing the door and circling around the Impala.

It is not until he is pulling out of the driveway that he realizes how much this seems like a date, and by the time that he has reached the highway, he decides that he does not care.


Dean and Castiel got back much later that night than they had planned to. They did go to the park and dinner as planned, but afterwards, Castiel convinced Dean to take him somewhere else. Not knowing where else to go, Dean decided on showing the angel one of the nicer bars in town. He had not allowed himself more than two drinks, knowing that he needed to drive back home, but he let Castiel have as much as he wanted.

They walk into the front room of the house, laughing uncontrollably about the events of the evening while still holding each other's hands as they have been all night.

"Help me with this?" the angel says with a smile, pushing the trench coat off of his shoulders, wanting to free his wings of their restraints.

"Yeah, okay," says the other man as he moves forward, pulling the coat from Castiel's shoulders and tossing it carelessly to the side, where it lands draped across the back of the couch.

A moment later, Castiel stands shirtless in the middle of the living room. He closes his eyes and hums happily at the feeling of Dean's fingers carding through his feathers and the bandages slowly being removed. As soon as the restraining fabric is discarded, fluttering to the floor, the angel's wings extend. He flaps them a couple of times, being careful to not break anything as he does so.

Dean however was not so lucky. He bursts into laughter as he gets a face full of feathers for a moment before crouching down, moving under the wing to stand in front of the angle again.

"Thank you," Castiel sighs out in appreciation, taking both of Dean's hands in his own for a moment as the dark wings circle around Dean to hold him closer, followed by the angel' arms. "I love you."

"I know," Dean says, not meaning to sound rude as he does, "You've told me." Dean feels the smaller man stumble against him and laughs. "How much did you have to drink?" he asks, allowing for his arms to wrap around the other man's frame to support him.

"Really, I didn't have much," the brunette laughs, "I just feel... warm?"

"Tipsy?"

"That," Castiel corrects himself without missing a beat, "I had fun tonight. Thank you so much, Dean."

"You don't have to thank me. I had fun too, Cas," Dean is slightly surprised with himself. It was not as if he was expecting himself to be miserable, but he did enjoy their evening much more than he thought he would. "We should do this more often."

At that, Castiel's eyes widen and he grins happily. "Yes, please." he grins, leaning in to rest his forehead against Dean's and simply staring into the beautiful green eyes that he has always loved.

They stay like that for a moment to relax in their closeness to each other, hearing nothing but each other's steady breathing and seeing nothing but the striking colors of each other's eyes.

Dean is not sure what came over him. It is not the alcohol, though it would have been simpler to pass the blame onto that, but Dean had not drank enough to alter his behavior. It just feels so incredibly natural, as if all along it was supposed to happen. He was supposed to kiss Castiel then.

He closes the gap between them, tilting his head gently to the side and pressing his lips against the other's not more than two inches away. The kiss lingers for a moment as he takes in the warmth running through his body, but then he slowly pulls away to look at the angel who looks just as shocked as he does.

"Dean-"

Before the angel can speak again, his lips are being covered by the other pair again, this time with more intent than the last. Dean kisses him slowly, taking his time to think about how it makes him feel. He takes time to notice how the brunette is slowly relaxing against him and kissing him back. He notices the tiny bit of stubble on Castiel's face as he kissed him. He keeps an arm tight around the angel's waist but moves the other into his soft, dark hair, carding through it gently.

The two pull away after a moment, a bit breathless from the kiss and staring at each other for a moment in understanding. Then, Dean kisses the angel once more before taking his hand and leading him toward the bedroom.

Chapter Text

Dean awakes with the rising sun streaming in from the window. The light shines across his face, constricting pupils into tiny pebbles of black against the green and golden forest of the blonde's eyes. He cannot help but stare blankly out the crack in the curtains and blinds, looking directly into the light. He is too tired to process the world around him yet, so instead he settles to gaze into the light from the outside world. It makes his vision go spotty as he stares, unblinking. Even when he finally does shut his eyes and turn his head away, the splotches of remaining light continue to dance around in his vision.

He grumbles out quietly in protest at the persistent discolorations that seem to stain the back of his eyelids and pulls the covers over his head. He waits for his world to become dark once again before finally moving the blanket and turning to cuddle against the side of the person next to him. He feels an arm wrap around his waist comfortably and a pair of lips pressing against his forehead.

"Good morning, Dean."

The blonde barely responds, scooting in closer to press more fully against the man's side. In the warm embrace of the man beside him, Dean finds himself becoming slowly more consumed by the warmth around him. It is not long until he slowly finds himself being pulled down again by the heavy weight of sleep.


 

"Dean?"

Castiel's voice is faded in Dean's half asleep mind. He hears the quiet gruffness of the other's voice, but it does not quite make it through the thin bubble that surrounds him, separating his dreaming self from the outside world.

"Dean, I need to get up for a minute."

"Y' okay," the blonde mumbles, relaxing the arms that had been hugging tightly around Castiel's waist.

"I love you," he barely hears as he feels the angel's lips press to his cheek once again.

"'Good," Dean barely gets out before falling back into slumber.


 

Once Dean awakes for the last time that morning, he is immediately trying to curl against the angel who usually sleeps beside him. Upon scooting closer only to find a cold and empty mattress, his eyes finally open and he sits up.

He frowns down at the messed up covers of the bed, glancing around the empty room. How long had he been asleep? Where had Castiel gone? Maybe he went for a walk? Or to make breakfast? It was not often that Dean woke up without the angel nearby. Castiel always told him that he felt as though he needed to "watch over" Dean as he slept.

The blonde turns his head once again, looking to the digital alarm clock on the nightstand. It was about a quarter past ten. He felt a bit odd about sleeping in so late, but the two had spent a large portion of the night before binge watching some Netflix show.

He runs his fingers through his short hair, moving to get off of the bed and stand up for the first time that morning. He smiles fondly down at the messy sheets, chuckling softly to himself as he notices a mess of feathers that Castiel had left on the bed. It really was beginning to seem as though there were feathers everywhere nowadays. As the angel became more comfortable with accepting Dean's home as his own, he slowly felt less pressure to erase the traces of himself that he had left. Not that Dean particularly minds. It is oddly comforting to him to see small reminders every once in awhile that he is no longer alone.

"Cas?" Dean calls out, moving to walk out of the bedroom, pausing in the hall and listening for any sound to determine where Castiel had disappeared to.

The two would usually awake within minutes of each other and spend the next half hour talking quietly, sharing sweet and brief kisses together. When they would get hungry enough, they would make their way out of bed and make breakfast together to start the day.

This morning however, the house is completely silent. There is no familiar sound of Castiel starting on breakfast in the kitchen. The television was not on, playing quietly with the early morning infomercials that the angel would sometimes curl up on the couch and watch because he found them "interesting." There was not even a response to the ex-hunter calling out for his companion.

Companion? Or Boyfriend?

The lines of their relationship have blurred an unbelievable amount since the night after their first date. Since then, the two have been closer than ever. It became oddly common for the two to share kisses, and on more than one occasion, Dean had cuddled up next to Castiel in his sleep, so much so that it was difficult for him to rest without the angel close to him. It was strange to think that a few months ago before he met the angel, he would have never thought himself being interested in another man. Yet here he is, waking up and looking for the man who shares his bed.

Dean checks the kitchen first, gazing in at the clean shelves and cabinets, which Castiel had insisted on keeping neat, telling Dean that he believed that it would "improve his mental health."

Next he makes his way down the hall, glancing into the empty living room and calling out for the angel once again. He began to feel uneasy due to the silence that he heard in reply to his call. His eyebrows knit together and he quickly makes his way to the front door, not knowing where else to check.

The door opens quickly and Dean steps out onto the front porch, looking around outside in the bright light. It takes him a moment to register, but he feels a sense of relief wash over him as he sees the brunette standing in the front yard about fifty feet away with his back to the hunter.

Dean opens his mouth, ready to call out to the angel, only to shut it quickly when he takes in the rest of the scene.

In front of Castiel is a woman. Her hair is dark brown, curling in loose wavy ringlets. Her eyes are a crystal light blue, with hints of grey mixed in. She has high, angular cheekbones and a thin frame, with lips turned down in a hard frown. She wears a grey suit, and stands with her shoulders back and arms stiff at her sides and is, in Dean's opinion, a bit too close to Castiel.

Dean cannot help the feeling of uneasiness that he gets as he stares while the two talk to each other, too quietly for him to hear. He clenches his fists slightly and frowns, taking a step forward. "Castiel."

The woman turns her head to look at Dean and he feels his stomach drop.

Chapter Text

"Dean," Castiel says quickly as he notices the man on the porch. His bright blue eyes flit between the human and the woman beside him as if he had been caught in a crime. His mouth hangs open for a moment as he seems to stumble for something to say, before he finally gets it out. "Dean, please come here. I'd like to introduce you to Hannah."

Hannah? Dean thought as he took the first step down from the porch, hearing only the creak from the worn down wood beneath his bare feet. Who is this woman? Did she and Castiel know each other well? And if so, when had they had the opportunity to meet with Dean spending most of his time with the angel?

As he slowly approaches the two in front of him, many of these questions are answered by the slight turning of the woman's body. Behind her, as Dean could see a pair of white and grey wings.

"Dean Winchester," the female angel says, in a voice that is much softer and more kind than the human had been expecting, "It's very nice to finally meet you. Castiel has told me much about you."

She steps forward, extending her hand toward Dean in what would be a polite handshake if Dean were to return the gesture. The exchange so far seemed all too much like a business deal, which gives the blond a feeling of dread in his stomach. And so he only stares down at the hand that has been offered to him before looking back up to the woman's face with a frown, keeping his hands at his sides. "What are you doing here?"

"Dean," Castiel interrupts, resting a hand on his friend's shoulder and glancing worriedly at the woman as she lowers her hand. "Hannah is a good friend of mine. She is a guardian angel as well and she takes her job very seriously. She is a very caring person," he explains, stepping a bit closer to Dean.

"But why is she here?"

"Castiel has called me here through prayer," the woman speaks up again, tucking a strand of dark hair that the wind had blew in her face behind her ear, "He asked me to look after your brother for him, since he could not do it from here."

"You're watching Sam?" The blond asks worriedly, "How is he? Were you able to find out what he's hunting?" Though Sam has stayed in touch with his older brother for the past few months, Dean was never able to get Sam to tell him what he is hunting. So, he is never really able to quiet his worry for his brother. For all he knew Sam could be off chasing after another powerful demon like Azazel. However, Dean likes to think that if it really is that important and dangerous, his brother would not be hiding it from him.

The woman stares at Dean with a look of confusion for a moment, mouth hanging slightly open as if she does not know what to say. Her eyebrows furrow and she looks between Castiel and Dean. "He-" she says slowly and then pauses for a moment. "He asked me to watch Sam," she begins again, "But I cannot find him."

"What do you mean you can't find him?" Dean asks, raising his voice slightly in disbelief, "Aren't you guys suppose to be all knowing or whatever?!"

"Dean-" Castiel says softly, letting his hand drop from the hunter's shoulder.

"He is shrouded by powerful magic," Hannah explains with a hard frown, "We do not know what is controlling it, but Samuel Winchester seems to invisible to angels."

Dean narrows his eyes slightly. What would want to hide Sam from the angels? Is he in danger? The blonde cannot help but scoff slightly, crossing his arms in front of him. "You came down here to tell me that you lost my brother?" he asks in frustration.

"I didn't come here to talk to you at all," Hannah says coldly, having had enough of the human's temper. Her grey speckled white wings flutter slightly as a breeze pushes through the yard and she turns to face the other angel, taking a step nearer to him. "Castiel, please consider-"

"Not in front of-" Castiel cuts her off, immediately stopping in his tracks as his eyes catch Dean's.

"What?" Dean asks, looking at the other man, "What can't be said in front of me?" He finds that Castiel will not meet his eyes. The angel's head is turned toward the ground, making him appear guilty of something, though Dean could not decide what that was. "Cas?" he asks again, quieter this time as he steps closer to his friend.

When the fallen angel does not respond, it is Hannah who answers the human. "I have been talking to some of the other angels in heaven," she explains, "They are worried that Castiel's existence, as an angel on earth, may cause trouble for the celestial chain later on. Some believe that this will encourage other angels to act out if Castiel is not punished accordingly. They may start to think that there will not be strict consequences for insubordination."

"Insubordination?" Dean asks worriedly, "What does any of this have to do with him? He's already down here. They can't just-"

"They can," Hannah says calmly, her expressions unreadable, "They have been threatening to take action." Here she pauses, looking over at the other angel who still remains silent. "I managed to convince Michael to compromise," she says, turning her head to look back at Dean, "Castiel is being allowed to choose. He can return to heaven and continue his duties as a guardian angel, starting from where he left off. The higher ups will ignore his past mistake, and yours," she adds on, "Or, he will be made an example of for the other angels."

The silence that lingers after Hannah's explanation is almost suffocating. Neither he nor the angels say a word.

Castiel could go back to heaven. After all of this, he could go back. He could return to his work without facing the consequences of his actions. And if he chose not to-

"Dean-"

"You should go," The blonde cuts Castiel off quickly, turning to face him.

The angel's blue eyes widen in surprise. "Dean, no," he replies, stepping closer to the human.

"Cas," Dean interrupts stubbornly, narrowing his eyes slightly, "You need to go. You heard her. You can go back and it'll be fine. If you stay here-"

"I don't care," Castiel says hurriedly, stepping even closer to the taller man, "We can figure this out together. It'll be alright." He tries to push up a comforting smile, but only succeeds in looking more nervous. His hands finds its way up to rest on the mark on Dean's shoulder. "I love yo-"

"Stop it!"Dean says loudly, knocking the angel's hand from his arm. "You're not that stupid. There's only one real option. And-" he stumbles over his words for a moment before narrowing his eyes at the angel and raising his voice even more, "And stop saying that you love me! I don't love you, okay? Do I have to spell it out for you?"

What was he saying?

The air goes silent once again, this time much heavier than the last. Castiel looks as though Dean had just slapped him, eyes wide and mouth hanging open. Dean's eyes are glaring daggers at the angel and Hannah looks as calm as ever, as if she had expected this.

"Just," Dean stutters slightly, taking a step back, "Just go." Another step back and then Dean is forcing himself to turn around and make his way back toward the house. He will not allow himself to stop and he will not allow himself to look back.

"Hannah," the fallen angel's voice is hollow now, watching as the man that he loves walk away for the last time, "I have made my decision."

Chapter Text

Bright blue eyes stay locked on the human's back as he walks away. Dean trudges back toward the house quickly, shoulders rigid and hands clenched tightly into fists. He thuds up the steps of the porch, opening the door to the house. All the while, Castiel is staring. His mouth is still agape slightly at the harsh words from his lover and his shoulders are slumped in defeat. He tries to will Dean to turn around, to come back. He cannot believe that this is it, that Dean would throw everything that they have made together out of the window so willingly. And yet as he hears the front door slam shut it sounds undeniably final.

"Hannah," his voice sounds so overcome with sadness, entirely crushed by the realization of Dean's cruel words, "I have made my decision."

Stop saying that you love me! I don't love you, okay? Do I have to spell it out for you?

Castiel moves a hand up to clutch at his chest, fingers tightening in the white fabric of the shirt that Dean had altered to accommodate his wings. He has existed for thousands of years and not once has he felt this sort of pain and betrayal. His eyes burn as they fight back tears and he finds himself unable to say anything else to the woman next to him.

She rests a gentle hand on his shoulder, knowing very well that Castiel was upset but unable to feel any sort of empathy for the fallen angel. She was not permitted to be on earth for long periods of time, and therefore could never hope to understand the sort of connection that Castiel has formed. A hint of disgust churns in his stomach. None of the angels would understand. They lacked the ability to feel such intense emotions.

"Castiel-"

"We need to do this now," he interrupts, pulling away from the comforting hand and straightening up, trying to hold back his tears. "Please, Hannah. This has to be done now." Before he regrets it.

The dark haired woman's eyebrows furrow and she frowns slightly. The look on her fallen brother's face told her that his decision was clear. She knows she is not to question Michael's orders but something about the pained expression on Castiel's face makes her ask, "Are you sure?"

"Do it now. Please." He does not want to think about the choice. He does not want to know if this will lead him down a path that he will regret, or how his life could be if he chose the other option. He simply needed the choice to be made. "Now," he says again in a choked voice, shutting his eyes tightly to block out the world. His body goes tense in anticipation, fists clenching hard at his sides.

He feels Hannah's smaller, more delicate hand rest on his forehead before having to hold back a cry as the space behind his eyes burns white.


 The moment Dean hears the door slam shut behind him is the moment he allows himself to breathe. He takes a few deep and ragged breaths, fists clenched tightly at his sides. How could Castiel do this to him? He had been considering going back to heaven and had not even told Dean.

The blonde moves his hands up into his hair, grabbing a handful of it in each hand as he walks into the room, pacing back and forth as he tries to calm down. A feeling of dread rests within him, bubbling up into anger at his chest. He needed to scream, but could not bring himself to hear the sound. And so he continues pacing, body completely tense and in need of some way to release the pressure building inside of him.

Dean keeps reminding himself that the angel gave him no choice but to say the things that he had. He knew very well that Dean could not live knowing that the angel had given up his life in heaven for him again. Castiel had an opportunity now to return back to how things used to be. He could be an angel again. There was not any other option.

We can figure this out together. It'll be alright.

The anger becomes too much. A broken yell escapes Dean's throat as he grabs the nearest object, which happened to be the side table to the couch. It topples it to the ground, sending the lamp on it shattering to the ground.

He remembers the last time he had gotten this angry, when Sam had left again. Castiel had waited for him to calm down before readily comforting Dean when he needed him to. This time the angel was gone, leaving no one who could pick up the pieces.

Dean yells again as he kicks at the broken lampshade, feeling the need to release as much of his anger as he can. He knew better than to direct his feelings at himself, Castiel could no longer take the fault, and he needed something else to direct his rage at, which made anything in his path a viable option.

His vision blurs as he continues, unsure of how much time passes yet knowing it could not have been more than a couple of minutes. His mind is cloudy with a mixture of emotions as he finally calms down enough to head toward his bedroom. There was nowhere else to go. No point in standing around his living room. His jaw is set, angry at the rest of the world as well as himself.

Dean turns the corner, making it to his bed in just a couple of strides but coming to a dead stop as he stares at the mattress scattered with feathers. They litter the mattress and sheets sparsely, only five or six, but still enough to bring back images of the angel. Earlier that morning, the stray black feathers had reminded him that he was no longer alone; now, they made him feel more abandoned than ever. He reaches down in a fit of anger and gathers up the dark feathers in a fist, needing to be rid of the reminder.

The trash can is only a few feet away, and so Dean turns on his heels to step closer to it, stopping once again as he notices the article of clothing that is draped over the back of the chair in the corner of the room. He becomes distracted, stepping toward the wooden chair and lifting up the beige fabric from the back of it. He holds the trench coat to his chest with his free hand, still squeezing tight to the feathers. His chest is tight as he attempts to fight back his emotions, ultimately failing.

He steps backward, staring down at the fabric in his hands as he finally breaks down, regretting everything that has happened this morning. He did not want for Castiel to leave. He needed him. He loved him. Why could he not have realized it sooner?


 The pain was excruciating. It took everything the angel had for him not to scream out as he felt his very soul being ripped apart. His jaw was clenched shut tightly with his entire body rigid. His skin burned hotly as if he were standing in the midst of a fire, and yet still he made no sound.

The process took several hours. He thought it would be quicker when he agreed to this and yet it continues, burning his skin and leaving him unable to breathe as he feels his grace slowly being pulled from him.

Eventually his body goes numb and he drops to his knees as he collapses. His body falls forward, the side of his head resting against the cold dirt and dew covered grass. His ears ring loudly with a high frequency, making time almost impossible to calculate. At one point he thinks that he can make out Hannah telling him "Good luck." But besides that, he cannot comprehend anything outside of his own being.

Castiel felt incredibly hollow. His grace had taken up so much of who and what he was. Without it, the world was quiet. He could no longer feel the world spinning around, the life around him, or the beating of his own heart. All of these sensations that he had become accustomed to as an angel on Earth were suddenly gone. Now, all he could feel was the soreness in his limbs and back and the grass that tickles the side of his face as he phases in and out of sleep.

His eyes open slowly, greeting him with the dark evening's moonlight, green grass, and rich dirt at his nose. He summons all of the strength left in his body to allow him to stand up. The entire day had passed by without him knowing. Hannah is nowhere in sight, and Castiel can only assume that she already returned to heaven. It takes a moment to regain his sense of balance, but he does not waste time in approaching the house. Not once did he stop to think about what Dean would say to him. He did not consider that Dean could send him away or if he would be welcomed with open arms. He did not care. He simply needed to see the other man. To know if he had meant what he said.

The living room is a mess, books and furniture thrown and misplaced, accompanied by shards of broken glass that Castiel has to carefully step over to navigate. His heart drops at seeing how terrible of a state the house was in, only able to imagine how Dean must be coping. Perhaps the blonde did care enough to feel something at knowing Castiel was going to leave.

Castiel has to stop halfway to the bedroom, shutting his eyes tightly as he becomes dizzy due to not having recovered from the extraction of his grace. His shoulder supports him as he takes a few deep breaths, trying to hold onto his consciousness despite the soreness of his body and mind. Finally, he enters the bedroom.

"Dean."

The blonde does not move, seeming as though he has not heard the other man. He lays curled up on the bed, facing away from the doorway and surrounded by feathers. Castiel's trench coat is pulled close to his chest and an empty bottle of whiskey is in one hand. His eyes are closed as he had likely fallen to sleep already, likely from drinking so much.

At not receiving a reply from the other man, Castiel walks forward and hesitantly moves onto the bed beside him. He stares down at the ex-hunter, noticing the swollen red splotches around his closed eyes and the hard frown that overtakes his face in his sleep.

Castiel feels another wave of dizziness come over him, causing him to give up and lay down beside Dean. He pries the bottle from Dean's hand and sets it on the nightstand before scooting closer to his lover. He fights his eyes to stay open, slowly finding himself losing. Unable to do much else, he pulls the other man close to him, holding him tightly to protect him while he sleeps.


Waking up does not come easily to Dean the next morning. His mind woke up long before the rest of him, floating in and out of consciousness as his eyes refused to open. He does not remember much of what happened the night before, but judging by the pain his head was in, he realizes that he likely had a bit too much to drink.

He groans quietly, finally managing to move a bit as he scoots closer to the warm body beside him. He feels the other man's arms wrapped protectively around him as they usually are, and he cannot help but smile slightly in his dream-like state. His forehead rests against Castiel's own and he begins to move his hand up to rest on the other man's chest. As he does so, he realizes how tightly his hand is clenched, and that he is holding a handful of something very tightly.

Feathers.

His eyes open quickly as the memories of the day before come crashing back into him. The angel named Hannah, telling Castiel he did not love him, the angel supposedly leaving, tearing apart his house, and drinking himself into a deep sleep.

"Cas," he says almost silently in disbelief as he stares at the man in front of him, seemingly unable to say anything else. His mouth gapes open slightly in disbelief as a range of emotions pass over his face.

The fallen angel's eyes open the instant Dean calls for him. He stares at the other man, unable to form words. He had been so sure that he wanted to put Dean before anything else, but did not know whether it would be best to stay on Earth or return to Heaven. Now that the one he has returned to is speechless before him, he fears the worst. "Dean-" he tries to say, only to find himself cut off by a pair of lips covering his own and moving frantically against his in a messy and eager kiss.

Castiel tries to speak through the kisses at first, wanting to explain himself to the ex-hunter in any way that he can, but only manages to get out a couple of syllables. He eventually gives up, relaxing into the kiss and feeling one of Dean's hands tightening in his white shirt, while the other is running into his hair. He kisses Dean back eagerly, letting his lips move against the other pair. He is sore all over and yet he ignores the pain in favor of holding Dean closer.

"Cas, Castiel, I'm sorry," Dean finally rushes out between kisses, "I'm sorry, I didn't mean it, I didn't mean any of it, I want you here." The hand holding onto Castiel's shirt still has the feathers clutched tightly within it. "I didn't mean it-"

"Dean," the brunette interrupts as his hand moves to cup the side of the other's face, guiding him to look the other in the eyes. "It's okay. I know. You do not have to say so. I already know, Dean, and I'm here now. I'm staying here." His fingers continue brushing gently along the other man's stubble as he leans in to kiss softly at the blonde's cheek bones and the bridge of his nose, trailing the light pecks across his freckles.

"But Hannah," Dean begins, holding tight to the other as if he did not believe that he would stay, "She said that there would be a punishment. What's going to happen? Aren't you in danger?"

At this Castiel shifts uncomfortably. He does not want to worry the man in front of him, but knows it is better to inform the other now before he realizes it on his own. "Dean," he says quietly, pressing another kiss to his cheek softly, "My wings-"

He has no time to finish. As soon as he gets the words out, the blonde is reaching past him to grasp at the wings that are no longer there. "Cas, your wings. What happened? Where-?" His face is one of confusion as he runs his fingers over the fallen angel's back.

"Dean, I can explain," Castiel says quietly wincing at the touch on his back. He moves to sit up, followed quickly by Dean. He moves off the bed, stumbling slightly due to his impaired balance. He turns his back to the ex-hunter, carefully pulling the white cotton shirt, over his head. He winces slightly as the fabric grazes over his sore back, taking a shaky breath at the air hitting the cuts.

Dean stares at the other man's back, mouth agape at what he sees before him. He scoots out of bed to stand behind the brunette, reaching out hesitantly and resting his hand on Castiel's upper back, between the two deep red gashes on his shoulder blades. They are bright red as if the cuts were fresh, with dark purple and green bruising surround the lacerations. His stomach churns as he stares at the marks, unable to imagine how painful this must have been.

"Both my wings, and my grace were removed," Castiel explains quietly, keeping his head down as he holds back a quiet hiss at the pain in his upper back.

"They took your grace?" Dean asks quietly, unsure of what this means, "Isn't that what makes you an angel or something?" At a brief nod from the shorter man, his eyes widen. "You aren't an angel anymore?"

Once again the other man can only nod in response as he tries to gather himself together. He takes a breath before turning to face the blonde. "That is correct," he says with a tremulous and tired smile, "I am mortal."

Dean finally releases that feathers that had been held tightly in his grip, letting the dark plumes float gently to the ground. "Cas," he says quietly, reaching up to cup both sides of the dark haired man's face, "I'm so sorry-"

"Don't," Castiel interjects quickly, "Do not apologize Dean." He reaches his hands up to hold either side of Dean's face, pressing his forehead to the taller man's. "I made this choice myself. I wanted this. I've wanted this for a while now."

"But, you're human aren't you? You're just human. Eventually you'll age and-"

"And I'll die. Everyone else will too, Dean. You say this as if it is something horrible." He pauses briefly, pressing a soft kiss to Dean's lips, "But it isn't. I knew that if I were to stay an angel, I would have to watch you grow old and die, Dean. I can't do it. I want to be here with you through it all. Even if it means my life is significantly shortened by being mortal, I want to spend all of the time I have with you." At the shocked look on Dean's face he hesitates before continuing, "I want to spend my life with you Dean, because I love you. I understand if you do not feel the same, but I could not return to Heaven after realizing this. I love you."

Castiel seems to hold his breath, afraid to be rejected by the other man, but hopeful that they may start a new life together. He feels Dean's lips press against his softly. The kiss is slow and sweet, seeming to convey everything Dean felt toward the other man in one moment. He was thankful that the one who has protected and loved him for so long has returned to him, that he plans to stay here with Dean. He feels a warming happiness spread through him as he hears those three words spoken, reminding him that he is no longer alone.

"I love you too."