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the One i kiss

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“You killed him,” Cas says, kneeling beside the Stein boy. The boy couldn’t have been older than 20. Dean killed a child.


“I took down a monster,” Dean says with the ease and confidence of a man who believes what he’s saying. He clicks the safety of his Colt on and goes to tuck it into the wait and of his jeans. “‘Cause, that’s what I do. And I will continue to do that until—“


“Until you become the monster,” Cas cuts him off as he rises off the floor. 


Dean looks at him with hard eyes. If that’s what Cas really thinks, then Dean doesn’t need him around. “You can go now, Cas.”


“No. I can’t. Because I’m your friend,” Cas implores Dean to understand. He can’t leave. No force on this Earth that would be able to take Castiel from Dean at this moment. It’s Dean’s hour of need. Cas would fight tooth and nail to stay by Dean’s side. He will not leave Dean to let him succumb to the Mark.  


“Really?” Dean says turning back to Cas and walking towards him. Venom drips from Dean’s tongue. “Then, let me ask you something. You screw over all your friends?”


“Sam and I were trying to cure you,” Cas is defensive, feeding off Dean’s anger. “We still are.”


“Like hell,” Dean bites. 


“We can read the book now.” There’s hope now.


“Oh, so what? You might find a spell that might take this crap off my arm.” Cas’s eyes dart around the floor as if it’ll give him the words to make Dean see the hope, see the light. It might be a one in a million chance, but there’s still the one. One is all they need. Dean doesn’t give him the opportunity to speak, “Even if you do, what’s it gonna cost? ‘Cause magic like that does not come free. No, it comes with a price that you pay in blood. So, thanks, but I’m good.” 


Dean can’t let anyone pay the price for his choice. Nothing good can come from the Book of the Damned. He would rather carry this curse until the end of time than let anyone he loves pay whatever the book demands. 


They’ve already lost Charlie because of this ridiculous quest. That thought cuts Dean to the core. Charlie didn’t deserve the end she got. Slaughtered, butchered, cut, drained, and left in a motel bathtub like she was something dirty and disgusting. Charlie was beautiful, kind, optimistic, intelligent, loving, funny, unique, passionate. She deserved better. She deserved a good ending, something fitting how special she was. She should’ve gotten to have a life. A real life. A life where she didn’t have to run anymore. A life where she didn’t have to fight. She should’ve had a house and a good job and a good woman. It should’ve been something gentle with soft touches and serine smiles. If it weren’t for Sam and Cas’s half-cocked plan to save Dean, she would’ve had it. If they had just listened. But no, they ignored Dean’s warnings, dooming him to play the role of Cassandra in their greek tragedy. 


The idea that anything along the same vein could happen to Sam or Cas was enough for Dean to dismiss the idea completely. Perhaps, it’s all fear and love, but somewhere in Dean’s head it gets picked at and twisted until it’s rage. There’s a part of him that wants to take Cas’s face in his hands, look into his deep blue eyes, and explain why he can’t lose him, how it would crush Dean to lose him, how he would suffer for eternity just to keep Cas alive and safe. It's drowned out by the part of him that howls and thrashes and screams. The anger burns everything else out of him. He can’t even see the urges to do anything else other than yell, fight, and kill. Dean is a rabid dog gnashing its teeth. He will bite the hand that feeds him.


Dean turns back on Castiel again, turning to leave again.


“No,” Cas’s voice is full of anger now. He reaches out and grabs Dean by the shoulder. He won't let him leave now. He can’t. Dean looks down at the hand on his shoulder. “You’re not. Maybe you could fight the Mark for years, maybe centuries like Cain did, but you cannot fight it forever. And when you finally turn, and you will turn, Sam and everyone you know, everyone you love they could be long dead. Everyone except me. I am the one who will have to watch you murder the world. So if there’s even a small chance, that we can save you. I won’t let you walk out of this room.”


There it is. The crux of the issue. Castiel cannot leave Dean. He rebelled against heaven for him. He became a twisted god for him. He broke through Naomi’s conditioning for him. Everything Castiel has done since he pulled Dean out of hell has been for him; he can’t stop now. He can’t stop ever. If Dean lets the Mark overtake him, not only would Cas be powerless to stop his endless bloodshed, he would never harm Dean. He would stand by and watch the carnage, incapable to do anything else. That’s not the future he wants for Dean. He wants Dean to be happy and safe. He wants Dean free of violence, anger, and pain. This is Castiel’s last chance to save Dean. He would die before he lets it pass him by. 


“Oh, you think you have a choice,” Dean challenges. 


“I think the Mark is changing you,” Castiel declares with as much angelic righteousness as he can. 


“You’re wrong,” Dean contends. 


“Am I? ‘Cause the Dean Winchester I know would never have murdered that kid,” Cas tries once again to reason with Dean. It may all be in vain, but Cas can’t rest until he’s done everything he can.


Castiel has seen Deal’s soul. He knows him inside and out. He knows him in a way no other can. He knows Dean is kind, gentle, selfless, loving. He knows Dean wouldn’t murder a boy who was barely more than a child. 


Dean looks back at the boy’s body. It’s a boy, a boy who Dean killed. Maybe, once upon a time, that would’ve made Dean pause. Now, it doesn’t even register. He avenged Charlie. He wiped out every last Stein. Nothing else matters. He feels no remorse. He is judge, jury, and executioner. His justice has been carried out. 


Still, he feels a twinge. An unnamed, unexamined emotion fights to make its way to the surface. Saving people. That’s what all the killing is supposed to be about. Dean is justice. Dean is protection. He may be a sword, but the sword is carried by a knight. He has a righteous mission. Is this righteous?


Dean deflects, “Yeah, well, that Dean’s always been kind of a dick.” 


Dean moves to leave again. Cas stops him with a hand to his shoulder. He grips the same place he did when he raised Dean from hell a short lifetime ago. This is it: Cas’s last stand.


“Dean. I don’t wanna have to hurt you,” Cas says desperately. It’s a truth wrapped in a lie.


There it is. There’s the challenge. Cas threw down the gauntlet. It’s only fair that Dean should pick it up. 


“I don’t think that’s gonna be a problem,” Dean says threateningly. There’s a dangerous edge to his voice. Deadly confidence twists around his words like a snake ready to strike.


He strikes. He grips Cas’s arm and twists until he hears pop and Cas’s hand is removed from his shoulder. Before Cas can have the chance to react, Dean’s fist connects with his jaw. Cas doesn’t falter. He ignores the pain and the blood in his mouth. He grips Dean’s right shoulder with his other hand.


“Dean,” Cas grits out. Let him know what it means , he unconsciously prays to a higher power that will never answer, let him hear everything I can’t say


Dean throws punches at Cas’s face and torso. He lets the rage consume him. He lets the Mark whisper hateful, violent things to him. He listens. Cas blocks his blows, but never once hits back. Dean gets a grip on the angel. He uses the leverage to throw Cas behind him. The angel slides into the bile of books.


Looking battered but undeterred, Castiel rises to his feet. Dean turns away, again, and begins to walk away, again.


“Dean,” Cas says his name again, like that one word, Dean’s name means something. Like it means everything. “Stop.”


Stop fighting me. Stop resisting. Stop arguing. Stop getting angry. Stop lashing out. Stop. Stop and let me help. Cas tries to say it all in that one word. He says it so kindly, almost gently. His voice is rough with emotion. A trail of blood escapes his mouth. He hurts in every way one can hurt. Still, he doesn’t let it change the way he says it. It’s tender and understanding. He says it like he’d take Dean’s hand in his and lead him back to the light. It’s altruistic when Dean has been nothing but cruel. Dean is harsh, but Castiel forgives it all with that one simple stop


No . That's Dean’s reply. How dare Cas ask him to stop when he won’t. Dean can’t stop fighting if Cas won’t stop trying to cure him.


Dean walks back to Castiel and hits him in the face again. Cas gains momentum and wraps his arms around Dean while turning him so his back is to the angel’s chest. He only wants to subdue him, not hurt him. Dean slams his head back into Cas’s face. He drives his knee into the other man’s stomach. 


Cas doubles over. Dean uses that to get two hands fisted into the trenchcoat. He throws the angel into a table that’s been shoved into the corner of the room.


Dean follows. Hands clenching the trenchcoat again, he uses all his strength to smash Cas’s face into the table. He feels the rage rise within himself. It bubbles over each time he slams his friend into the hard wood. Dean slips further and further beneath the rising ocean of anger. He sinks as he tosses Cas face-first onto the floor.


Dean is lost in the madness of the Mark of Cain. There is no more joy, no more compassion, no more love. There is only violence; the insatiable thirst for blood.


Dean flips Cas onto his back. The angel goes easy. Dean beat all the fight out of him. The hunter reaches into Cas’s sleeve where the angel blade materializes. He takes the blade. Dean’s thighs bracket Cas’s waist. He claps Castiel’s tie with his left hand and raises the angel blade with his right. He’s in position to kill. Dean holds it for a moment and breathes. Cas’s hand latches onto Dean’s wrist. 


Blood is splattered on Castiel’s face. He feels weakened and defeated down to his bones, but it’s not over. It won’t be over until there’s not a trace of him left on earth. He holds Dean’s wrist like he would hold his soul or cup his cheek. He tries to let his love seep through his fingertips. Maybe if it makes its way into Dean’s skin, into his bloodstream it can chase out the Mark.


Pain makes its way to the front of Castiel’s consciousness. He groans. 


“Dean. Please.” Blood bubbles out of Cas’s mouth.


The please is what catches Dean’s attention. The anger made him immune to the way Cas says his name. He doesn’t care if Castiel says his name reverently, imploringly, forcefully, lovingly. What’s in a name, anyway?. But the please . Dean has an angel underneath him begging. He’s just a man. A fragile, human man. Yet, he has a celestial being trapped under his thighs. Angels are beings of pure energy and infinitesimal power, and Dean pinned one on his back. That fact strokes his ego in a way it shouldn’t. Pride. There’s a reason it brought about the fall of the brightest angel. It’s intoxicating. It gets Dean drunk. There is unholy power in the way he has Cas. He wants more of it. He wants to drink it.


Dean leans forward until his face is mere inches from Castiel's. Cas can count the individual freckles that decorate the bridge of his nose. He can pinpoint each shade of green in Dean’s eyes. Even covered in blood and with this disease, he’s so beautiful. Breathtaking. Cas, not for the first time, is thankful he has no biological need to breathe. Surely, he would’ve died from asphyxiation a long time ago. 


Dean presses his lips to Castiel’s. It’s soft and chaste; a quiet antithesis to everything Dean’s done until this moment. Cas feels like flying as his lips move against Dean’s. Every question he’s ever asked is answered by Dean’s lips against his. The world stops turning or it spins faster on its axis. Cas can’t be sure, but he’s sure this simple act has changed the Earth on a cosmic level. Every silent hope, every unspoken fantasy is realized in this one kiss. Every agonizing moment Castiel has spent loving this one stubborn human is suddenly blissful. It's no longer flying, it’s soaring.


Something pierces Castiel’s heart. It all comes crashing down.


Dean breaks the kiss as he drives the angel blade further into Cas’s heart. It was a simple distraction to keep the angel from fighting back. 


The betrayal is sharply rotten on Cas’s tongue. He stares into green eyes that he’s loved since he saw them for the first time and sees nothing of Dean behind them. They are hollow and full of hate.


The brilliant blue-white light of Cas’s grace shines out of his eyes and mouth. The mangled and broken imprint of his wings sears into the floor. He failed. He dies and he fails. 


Dean leaves the angel blade impaled in his best friend’s heart. The last human part of Dean remarks that he loved him. He doesn’t feel grief, regret, pain, or heartbreak. Not even a twinge.


Dean leaves the Bunker feeling lighter than he has in years. He doesn’t notice the tears clouding his vision and dripping down his face. He doesn’t hear his wracked sobs. He doesn’t feel anything over the wonderful pulsing whisper of the Mark.