Dean was having that dream again. The one where he was in Hell. The first time he started torturing people; an infinity of screaming echoing through the vast demense. Hell wasn’t really a place. It was vast - both seemingly everywhere and nowhere. Everything seemed familiar, yet twisted. Like a Dali painting made with blood and flesh and the slow decay of human souls into something wrong - something evil. The sky was a boiling vat of rage, clouds that rained acid and fire, twisting eternally like a storm in fast forward.
And the smells - like sulfur and burning hair and vomit and feces and decay. Even sense seemed heighten in Hell, the better to be tortured with he imagined.
There was another faceless victim on the rack. She cried out to him, begging to be release, begging for her children, for her parents. He took pleasure in them, the sickening pleasure of a job well done, even a job as cruel as this.
Alastair came up beside him clapping him on the shoulder, “Excellent Dean Winchester. My best student.”
Dean turned to him and smiled.
Suddenly he was falling, or flying maybe… a voice calling to him. “Dean!” Sam’s voice, wracked with pain, denial and anger.
He bolted awake.
“Damn,” Dean muttered, his breath coming in sharp painful jabs as his heart raced wildly.
He looked over, Sam’s bed was still empty.
“Jesus Christ!” Dean whirled, gun already in his hand, to the figure standing by the widow. “WHAT THE FUCK, CASTIEL??”
The angel in question turned, orange light from the parking lot lamps casting a harsh shadow across his face. He gave a slight bow at the neck, “My apologies Dean, I did not mean to frighten you. I was saying that I believe your brother is still at the bar.”
“Yeah well, it’s been a rough day.” he groaned, rubbing his face. Well if Cas’ goal was to give him a heart attack so he could pull him out of Hell again he was certainly headed in the right direction.
“You are speaking of the psychic, Pamela?”
“Yeah, our friend who died helping us - helping you.” Dean leveled an accusatory glare at the angel.
“I am aware.”
“You could’ve saved her. I know you could have.”
“I cannot save humans on a whim, just as you cannot.”
“You pulled me outta Hell, you could’ve popped in, done some healing. Can’t you angels do that?”
“We can - if God wills it.”
“And how do you know if he wills it? You burned her freaking eyes out of her head Castiel! Least you could do was save her life.” he spat, rage and despair gathering inside his chest crushing him from the inside, out.
“I wish it were that simple.”
“Maybe it is that simple. Maybe you just can’t see it.”
Castiel turned back to the window, staring out into the distance.
After a long time Dean broke the silence. “What are you doing here anyways?”
Castiel, usually motionless to begin with seemed to freeze as if made of a photograph rather than flesh and blood. He inhaled deeply, “I have come to believe my deception was… inconsiderate.”
“Inconsiderate?” Dean asked, his voice rough with growing anger.
Castiel turned, looking him in the eyes with that timeless, stoic gaze. “It was a violation of your trust, what little you have for me. I believe I errored.”
“Well Hell’s Bells chuckles, is that a freaking apology I hear?”
“It is." Cas nodded, "I am regretful.”
“Apology accepted. Is it too much to ask to be kept in the loop a bit? I know you guys are almighty angels and shit. I’m just a human that’s proven to be a little useful. But I’m not a chess piece, so stop treating me like one?”
“I will endeavor to do so. Uriel dislikes that I talk to you at all.”
“Aren’t you his boss or something? Can’t you just tell him to fuck off?”
“Not truly, God is his commander, I am just more senior.”
“Well Uriel’s a dick.”
Dean saw or thought he saw the briefest flash of amusement, a twitch in the corner of Castiel’s mouth. “His opinions on humans are… contrary to my own. Sadly, however, I am in the minority of my kind.”
“I will let you return to sleep, I am led to believe all human require it.” Cas said, half turning towards him eyes staring into the distance and seeing God-knows-what.
“Yeah, well, I haven’t been sleeping so well lately.” Dean said, shrugging as flopped down carelessly. He gathered up the deflated motel pillows, stuffing one under his head.
“Would you like me to watch over your dreams?” he asked, finally finishing the turn and looking at Dean.
Maybe it was Dean's imagination but Castiel looked a little sad- wistful? maybe. Shit, Sam was the guy for words, not him.
“What do you mean by that, Cas?”
“I will enter your dream state and keep you from envisioning or remembering so that you may rest.”
“So you’d be in my head?”
Castiel gave a tiny shrug. “In a sense, but I would not go where I am not welcome. I would only guard your dreams for the night.”
“Yeah… actually… yeah. I’ll go with it. Just… no poking around in my personal porn collection… ok?”
“I will not. You have my word.” Castiel crossed the room in two steps, pressing two fingers gently to Dean forehead he whispered, “Shhhhh.”
Dean slept and did not dream. In the morning, Castiel was gone.
A/N: I have to dedicate this to Katie, for whom this work would never have been made. She is insisted I go down the Rabbit Hole, so I guess she's my White Rabbit. This is meant to closely follow the show... but I am only in season 4 so we will see how much the writers piss me off.
Chapter 2: On the Head of a Pin
Occurs during and immediately following the events of On the Head of a Pin in Season 4
You know, just when you think you’ve got your shit together, some angels come swooping into your life and ask you to pick up a knife. Castiel asked him to torture Alastair in the name of God. Which he’d pretty much chalk up to it’s Wednesday, angels are douches, what else is new?
Except it was fucking Castiel asking.
He didn’t even know how to start figuring how he felt about him. Mostly he seemed like he was trying to do the right thing, fix the world, do God’s work. Except he had this untouchable aloofness which was kinda- aw, fuck, he might as well admit it to at least himself- Castiel was kinda hot.
That was a whole can of worms he didn’t want to open. He’d never wanted a dude. But Castiel wasn’t a dude, he was a freaking angel of the Lord. Dean didn’t know if that made it better or worse.
But that wasn’t the point. The point was he was starting to trust Castiel. Hell, even like the guy - apart from the fact he didn’t laugh at Dean’s jokes. And now this - fucking great.
“What's going on, Cas? Since when does Uriel put a leash on you?”
Castiel was still, too still. As if hiding some emotion under immovability, “My superiors have begun to question my sympathies.”
“I was getting too close to the humans in my charge. You. They feel I've begun to express emotions. The doorways to doubt. This can impair my judgment.” What emotions would those be? Because from where Dean was standing there wasn’t much in the way of tender loving or anything else.
“Well, tell Uriel, or whoever...you do not want me doing this, trust me.”
“Want it, no. But I have been told we need it.”
“You ask me to open that door and walk through it, you will not like what walks back out.” Dean meant it. He didn’t know what opening that part of himself would do to him. Twist him, make him evil. The kind of evil he was always so afraid of Sammy turning into.
“For what it's worth, I would give anything not to have you do this.”
For what it was worth, Dean believed him.
Then shit got real. Having a heart to heart torture session with Alastair wasn’t really his idea of a good time. Alastair got loose and slammed him against a wall and everything was black after that until he woke up in the hospital. Sam wouldn’t really tell him what had happened after. Dean didn’t really want to fight him for it.
He was tired. So fucking tired.
Castiel came and, despite this curling despair in his stomach he told him to fuck off.
Because he wasn’t a righteous man - he didn’t care what Alastair or Lilith or Castiel - he didn’t care if the Lord Him-fucking-self came down off his golden throne and told Dean that he was a righteous instrument of His Justice. Because that wasn’t him. He was just a screwed up kid turned screwed up man, just trying to kill evil in his little part of the world.
He refused to believe that he was responsible for the Apocalypse. He refused to accept the he could start or end it.
Castiel disappeared, or at least Dean believed he had. He kept feeling the angel, as if he was right there, just out of reach. Maybe he was going crazy which was entirely possible with the shit going on in his head. Bad enough when he was waking, he felt half sane at best but then night came.
The dreams, the fucking crazy dreams. Before it was Hell and torture. Now it was Castiel. While he didn’t wake up sweating, heart racing and fearful, he was waking up sweaty, heart racing, and hard.
Dean thought, in his more lucid, post-masturbation moments that with all the shit that had just gone down he really should be having some wicked nightmares not hot, wet dreams that far surpassed his teenage ones.
It always started the same… back in that warehouse where he tortured Alastair. Except there was no chained demon to be found, just him and Castiel in the nearly empty room.
“I was getting too close to the humans in my charge. You.”
In the dream this moment wasn’t filled with emotional tension, it was sexual.
“Me?” Dean asked, stepping closer.
Castiel licked his lips, a nervous gesture that had the effect of making Dean’s blood start thundering through his veins.
“You are very… attractive.”
“Yeah?” Dean stepped even closer, now they were nearly nose to nose.
Castiel was staring at his mouth. “Yes, very much so.”
Suddenly, they were together, mouths tangling as they pulled at each other’s clothing. Dean lifted Castiel up, legs immediately wrapping around his waist as he pushed his lover up against the nearest wall.
“Dean… Dean…” Castiel was grinding down against him, mouth now seeking the tender spots on Dean’s neck. “I need… I need…”
“I know, Cas,” Dean whispered, cradling the back of Cas’ head, “I know what you need…”
Suddenly they were on a bed and very, very naked; kisses still raining down on each other, their bodies rocking together as their arousal heighten.
“Dean, please… I would like to have you inside me.”
“Hell yes.” Then he’d wake up.
Time for a cold shower.
Chapter 3: If That Which She Avouches Does Appear
This occurs after "On the Head of a Pin" and before "It's a Horrible Life".
Finally, one from Castiel's point of view.
Castiel knew Dean did not want him here. Dean had told him so. He could not feign ignorance at a later time. Yet he could not leave. So he remained invisible, ever watchful as Dean slowly recovered from the wounds dealt to him by Alastair.
The soft whoosh of angel’s wings behind him.
“Castiel?” It was Anna. He recognised the voice of her human form. He did not turn.
“I could watch over the Winchesters.” Her voice tinged with sympathy, perhaps being human for a time still altered her in her angelic state.
“No.” His voice came out gruff, sharp edged. He did not like Anna, and yet he empathized with her; it was difficult. She embodied his own struggle, had already made her own choices, had already fallen. “He is my charge. My responsibility. I will not shirk my duties.”
“Uriel was right, you know. You are getting too close to your charges. I commend you.” He felt her step closer.
A rueful smile tore across his mouth before he could stop it though he did not turn so she could see it. “As you did?”
“What do you mean?"
“Your final night on Earth.” Just thinking on it filled his stomach with rocks. His vessel’s unbidden reaction to his own emotions.
“You saw that?” Anna did not sound surprised, he did care to look and see if she also appeared as she sounded.
Anna chuckled, “Envy is a sin Castiel.”
He snarled, “I do not Envy.” But he did Anger, his heavenly form and his human vessel seemed to be brimming with Wrath as of late. Not the Wrath of divine justice, just a hopeless, targetless anger.
“Lie to yourself if you must.” With those words and a whisper of wings she was gone.
Castiel turned back to the hospital room and watched, for there was nothing else to do.
Dean was recovering, it was slow as it always was with humans, but Castiel continued his vigil. Unwillingly to leave the one hope of humanity alone. Unwilling to leave Dean to the machinations of angels and demons alike.
Castiel shadowed him, always invisible, always watching. After the hospital it was a motel, then Bobby’s for a while. When Dean had enough strength it was back to work… killing evil.
Dean was in the shower in another seedy motel room, the one place Castiel did not follow him. Though he desired to do so, very much. Perhaps it was the vessel he had taken, he could not say. He had never wanted as he wanted now. But Castiel could not be sure what it was he wanted. He knew at times he wished to cross the room, to touch Dean, but even that seemed not enough. Maybe it would be enough if he were within Dean but he did not wish to take him as a vessel.
Sam was alone now, so Castiel appeared to him, a whisper of his wings as he crossed from the Ethereal Plane to the Earthly one.
“Jesus!” Sam shouted.
Castiel froze, waiting for Dean to come blazing out of the shower. He did not want that, did not want to be sent away.
“Where have you been?” Sam growled at him, low - clearly also recalcitrant to have his brother discover them.
“I have been nearby.” He would not tell him just how close. “How is he?”
“Tore the fuck up. How do you think he should be?”
Castiel was hoping Sam would have seen something he did not, some recovery. The angel felt despair curl within him. “He was wounded, that was my fault.”
“You’re damn right it was. But he should never have even been in that room! How could you Castiel?” Sam was using the formal version of his name. He must be truly angry. “He warned you! You gave him those weapons, made him resurrect the part of himself he left in Hell. What the fuck is wrong with you?!”
“You are right,” Cas confessed, “Dean is my responsibility and I failed him.”
Suddenly, Castiel realised the shower had quieted. He turned, Dean was standing in the doorway with a towel around his waist. Something inside him twisted.
“You should have said that to me, not to my brother.” Dean’s voice was harsh with barely suppressed anger.
“I failed you, Dean Winchester.” Castiel held Dean’s gaze, willing, praying that Dean could see the sincerity in it.
Dean nodded, more to himself than to anyone else. “What do you want? I already told you I’m not playing pawn in your divine war anymore.”
“I know. I came seeking… forgiveness, though I know I have no right to ask.”
“Sam? Could you give us a minute.”
“Sure thing.” Sam grabbed his coat and headed for the door. “I’m gonna go get dinner. Should I bring you back anything?”
“Dying for a pizza.”
“Yeah, okay.” Sam shot Castiel a warning glare before leaving.
Dean gave a half-hearted smile, an attempt to cover his pain, “Think you could turn your back while I put some pants on?”
Castiel obliged, watching the clock tick while Dean shuffled around behind him.
The angel glided over to the edge of Sam’s bed and sat facing Dean who was worrying his hands, a habit his father also had.
“You seem to be apologising to me a lot lately.”
“I seem to be failing you a lot lately, as well.”
Dean nodded his head in acknowledgement. “Look, I get it, you were operating on bad orders. Who knows if that was God or Uriel or some other divine jackass. I was mad at you for a while, a long while. I’m not now. I forgive you, but that doesn’t mean I want to play puppet in this heavenly game you have.”
“You are the only one who can stop this. I know that, I have faith in the Lord’s revelations. But I did not come to argue the point. What will be will be.”
“Que sera, sera?”
“Does repeating what I say in another language aid your understanding? I thought English was your first language.”
Dean laughed, a genuine laugh. It had been some time since Castiel had heard that. “It’s a song… doesn’t matter.”
“I would give my Grace to undo what was done. But God makes no deals.”
“Yeah. I kinda figured that one out.”
“How have you been resting, Dean?”
“I think the last good night of sleep I had was the one where you used your magic angel juice to help me.” He fidgeted on the bed. Perhaps Dean was made uncomfortable by Castiel’s presence.
“I could do so again.”
Dean visibly flinched. Clearly still mistrustful. “Not tonight.”
“Alright, then I shall take my leave.”
With a whisper of wings he was gone, this time to the other side of the world. There was work to be done. The war breaking out in Heaven would not wait for Castiel.
“So,” Sam asked, “what did Cas have to say?”
They were shoveling their way through breakfast at Julia’s Homecooking Diner. Dean had managed to dodge this conversation last night, he figured he wouldn’t be lucky enough to skip it the next morning.
“That he was sorry.”
Sam gave a little snort of disbelief.
“I think it was sincere. I mean- you should’ve seen the guy… Cas is a friggin’ angel and he looked wrecked. Like three days on the Miller Train sort of wrecked.”
“Yeah well, too little, too late.”
Dean shrugged, scooping another bite into his mouth. “I know most of the angels are dicks but Cas isn’t like that. I think he’s actually just trying, you know?”
“Are you defending him?” Sam’s eyes narrowed, giving him a long inspection.
“Man, he said he would’ve given up his grace to undo it… If that’s not sincere…”
“I’m not saying the guy… angel… whatever. I am not saying he didn’t mean it… I’m saying it doesn’t matter. He did it. He can’t undo it.”
Well that was true. But Sam hadn’t seen him. Dean, as much as he didn’t like to admit it, was worried. He really didn’t go in for this girl crap. That’s what Sam was for.
Dean tried to look casual, “Maybe you should… I dunno… Talk to him?” He glanced up from his plate to snatch a look at Sam.
“Just to… see if he’s ok… you know?”
“Dean, he’s not gonna talk to me. He doesn’t trust me. Touched by demons and shit, remember?”
“Yeah,” Dean mumbled to himself, “I guess.”
“Why don’t you talk to him? Pray to him or something?”
Sam shook his head, “Well, if you’re worried… and I know you are… you talk to him.”
Except he didn’t because shortly after that relaxing meal an angel busted them out of their lives and into new one’s to prove a point. The next time Dean saw Castiel he appeared out of nowhere to save a Prophet.
Chapter 4: The Monster at the End of the Book
This occurs during the same episode as the title and a little after.
(See the end of the chapter for notes.)
“Dean! Let him go! This man is to be protected.”
“Why?” Dean was a little fucking agitated, he hadn’t seen Castiel in a long ass time (except in his dreams). Shit was falling apart but angels couldn’t be bothered to help, except now here Cas was defending this guy. How was he so special?
“He’s a Prophet of the Lord.”
Well that pretty much explained it.
“You... You're Castiel... aren't you?” Chuck stammered. He was staring open mouthed at the angel. Even though Dean’s logic brain was shouting rather insistently that Chuck probably wasn't into Cas; a twinge of jealousy still shot through his body.
“It's an honor to meet you, Chuck. I... admire your work.” Castiel picked up one of the books and started paging through it.
“Whoa, whoa, what? This guy, a prophet? Come on, he's – he's... he's practically a Penthouse Forum writer.” How the fuck could Castiel be honored to meet this guy? Dean whirled to face Chuck, “Did you know about this?”
Chuck stumbled across the room to his armchair, groping for the bottle nearby. The whiskey cap cracks as he breaks the seal and pours a healthy dose into the nearby tumbler.
“I, uh,” Chuck stammers as he looks between the angel and the hunter, “I might have dreamt about it.”
“And you didn't tell us?!” Great, just great. Not only was he trying to play catch up in a celestial game of… something… but it looked like Sam was going to go all Witches of Eastwick with Lilith. Now the one person who could help… undo it or whatever… was a freaking prophet and apparently untouchable.
Clearly Chuck was unaware of the mental turmoil Dean had been thrown into because he just started stammering, “It was too preposterous. Not to mention arrogant. I mean, writing yourself into the story is one thing, but as a prophet? That's like M. Night-level douchiness.” Chuck paused momentarily to look reluctantly at his glass before desperately gulping down the whisky.
“This is the guy who decides our fate?” Dean gestured vaguely to the filthy house.
Castiel looked at him wearily, as if explaining something to a small child, “He isn't deciding anything. He's a mouthpiece – a conduit for the inspired word.”
“The word? The word of God? What, like the new new testament?”
“One day, these books – they'll be known as the Winchester Gospel.”
Dean and Chuck seemed to be of one mind as they said in unison, “You’ve got to be kidding me.”
“I am not... kidding you.” Castiel replied with mild confusion.
The writer dude looked like he was going to puke. “If you'd both please excuse me one minute.” Chuck whined before standing, still clutching the bottle and trudging his way up the narrow steps.
Castiel sighed, “You should've seen Luke.”
“Why'd he get tapped?”
“I don't know how prophets are chosen. The order comes from high up on the celestial chain of command.”
“How high?” Dean asked, wondering to himself what else Castiel was keeping from him. They were supposed to be on the same side.
“Well, whatever. How do we get around this?” Dean was starting to feel like getting shitfaced like the prophet.
“The Sam-Lilith love connection. How do we stop it from happening?”
“What the prophet has written can't be unwritten. As he has seen it, so it shall come to pass.” Castiel gave a little helpless shrug.
Just fucking great. So Dean raced out of there, hoping to get Sam as far away from this as possible. He knew it was hopeless, all his attempts to circumvent Chuck’s predictions had failed. But he had to do something, Sammy was his brother for Christ’s sake. If Castiel wasn’t going to help, well, he would just drag Sam out by his ear.
But of course, Sam refused. Some lame ass excuse about how he had to stop her.
So there Dean was, pacing outside under the street lamps. He felt like it was all slipping away… He dropped a couple coins into the vending machine. The familiar motions helping to steel his resolve. He really couldn’t fucking believe he was about to do this.
He huffed a frustrated sigh, his breath pluming out into the cool night air, “Well, I feel stupid doing this. But... I am fresh out of options. So please. I need some help. I'm praying, okay? Come on. Please.”
A moment, then another.
“Prayer is a sign of faith.” Dean whirled to face the familiar voice. Castiel. And goddammit if he didn’t look sexy as hell. All rumpled like he’d just had a good fucking. But, of course he hadn’t, because he was a freaking angel. “This is a good thing, Dean.”
C’mon Dean, he thought to himself, get it together. End of the world. Business, not pleasure.
“So does that mean you'll help me?” Dean asked, forcing himself to look at Cas’ eyes, just his eyes.
Castiel shifted from foot to foot, nervous, as if debating something, “I'm not sure what I can do.”
Simple enough, “Drag Sam out of here, now. Before Lilith shows up.” The panic was starting to set back in. The momentary distraction of seeing Cas now wiped away by the impending doom to his little brother.
“It's a prophecy. I can't interfere.”
His frustration boiled over, “You have tested me and thrown me every which way. And I have never asked for anything. Not a damn thing. But now I'm asking.” He took a deep calming breath, trying for a nicer tone, “I need your help. Please.”
“What you're asking, it's…” Castiel hesitated, as if the words wouldn’t form, “not within my power to do.”
“Why? 'Cause it's "divine prophecy"?
“So, what – We're just supposed to sit around and, and wait for it to happen?”
Dean believed him. Didn’t make him want to punch him any less.
“Screw you. You and your mission… your God. If you don't help me now, then when the time comes and you need me... don't bother knocking.”
Dean brushed past him, intending to go inside, maybe try to reason with Sam again.
“What?!” Dean spun back around to face him, fists clenched at his sides.
“You must understand why I can't intercede.” Castiel glared at him, as if willing him to understand. “Prophets are very special. They're protected.”
Dean rolled his eyes. “I get that.”
Cas continued, “If anything threatens a prophet, anything at all, an archangel will appear to destroy that threat. Archangels are fierce. They're absolute. They're heaven's most terrifying weapon.”
“And these archangels, they're tied to prophets?”
Castiel relaxed, as if Dean had hit on something, “Yes.”
“So if a prophet was in the same room as a demon –”
Castiel finished his sentence, “Then the most fearsome wrath of heaven would rain down on that demon. Just so you understand... why I can't help.”
Dean wanted to cross the few steps and kiss him. Instead he said, “Thanks, Cas.”
It worked, Dean dragged Chuck the prophet back just in time to stop him from consummating whatever deal Sam had made with Lilith and the wrath of some archangel started coming down on all of them. Lilith ran away with her tail between her legs.
Everything had settled down. Sam was passed out in the motel bed in another anonymous town two nights later. Dean stepped outside, walked down to the end of the buildings where it butted up against a little crop of trees.
“Castiel, it’s Dean… can you hear me?”
A whoosh of air behind him, Castiel was standing under the parking light. He looked tired, if an angel who’d lived since time began could look tired. His hair and clothes seemed more rumpled than usual; they also seemed too large, as if they were about to swallow him.
“I can always hear you Dean.”
“You kinda look like crap, man.”
Castiel shrugged, “It is of little concern.”
“Yeah, guess you’ve got bigger things on your mind, huh?”
A few moments passed, silence filling up the space between them.
“Thank you.” Dean said, his voice cracking as he spoke.
“You are very welcome, Dean Winchester.”
"You gonna get in trouble for that?"
Castiel cocked his head to the side, as if it had just occurred to him. "We shall see."
“You know,” Dean started pacing, rubbing at the back of his neck, “most of the time I figure you angels are emotionless freaks. Just using humans for whatever. Not you though. I figure… you’re one of the good ones.”
“We are not emotionless. We simply are not at home in this form. When humans express emotion they do so with their whole body, happiness, anger, pleasure. For an angel it is similar, only this is not my body, my body is contained within this vessel.”
Dean nodded. “So, how does a human know when an angel is happy?”
“That would be most difficult.” He thought for a moment. “Angel’s can imitate human emotion, for example…” Castiel plastered the most terrifying grin across his face. “See? I can smile.”
“Dude, that’s way off…” Dean chuckled, it was kinda horror movie level terrifying. If he didn't know Cas, he might've bolted for the safety of the dark creepy woods.
Castiel shrugged, “I have had little reason to practice.”
“How would you normally? In your angel form…?”
Between one breath and another Castiel’s wings, massive white glistening freaking angel wings appeared. Dean think, everything shut down when faced with Castiel’s sheer raw inhumanness.
“Come here,” Castiel said, gesturing him closer. Dean moved but he didn’t remember wanting his body to do it. Seemed like the autopilot had taken over.
Castiel took his hand and pressed it into the feathers, so incredibly soft. Dean has to resist the urge to bury his face in the radiating heat. Maybe Cas read his mind, because suddenly the other wing wrapped around him, circling him in warmth.
“When we are happy our feathers do this…” Cas’ feathers stood up, the were fluffy and full. It reminded him of a peacock. “Hold on,” the angel warned, gripping Dean’s arms. There was a brief spinning feeling and then they were somewhere else. “I am sorry,” Cas apologized, not letting go of where his hands had settled on Dean’s arms. “The parking lot was too public for this demonstration.”
Dean nodded and croaked out, “Where… where are we?”
“A mile or so away.” They both looked at their surroundings. “In a field.”
Dean laughed. “Hello Captain Obvious.”
He was expecting Cas to be confused or have something to say back, instead he pressed his hand against Dean’s chest, feeling the laughter through it. “Is this alright?”
Dean nodded, although the laughter had stopped, replace with electricity shooting through his veins and straight to his cock.
He tried to focus, he really did but, Cas was staring at him with this mixture of wonder and awe. “So, I take it angel’s don’t laugh?”
Castiel shook his head, “We can… like Uriel. He was much better at imitating humans in the manner to which they are accustomed.”
Cas' wings were so freaking close, he just wanted to feel it on his face. Fuck it. Dean thought, pressing into the wing’s still circled around them. He felt Castiel’s feathers fluff up in response. “Is this ok?” Dean asked, repeating Castiel’s earlier question, his voice muffled by the feathers.
When Castiel finally spoke, his voice came out rough, “Yes. It is fine.”
For a moment they just stood there like that before the voice in Dean’s head chimed in, Dude, this is totally gay.
Moment ruined. Thanks head.
Castiel must have felt Dean stiffen because suddenly the wings were gone and the angel had taken a few steps away.
“I apologise Dean, if I was inappropriate. I should go.”
"Cas-" With another stomach churning feeling, Dean was back at the motel… alone.
A/N: So clearly, this has gotten a little plottier than I first intended. Guess I am going to have to fix those tags.
Chapter 5: The Rapture
Covers the events of the same titled episode and bleeds into When the Levee Breaks.
From the moment Dean stepped into the ruined factory with his brother he had a bad feeling. Usually when Cas was around he could sort of sense him after a moment; like a humming in the back of his head. Usually Cas announced himself before Dean could really notice it but he always felt its absence when he disappeared. So when they found Cas, lying on a pile of shrapnel his gut twisted. This was wrong. Still it was Castiel, an angel - his angel.
“Jimmy. My name's Jimmy.”
That explained it. “Where the hell is Castiel?”
They dragged Cas - not Cas - out of there and to the closest motel to try and make sense of this fucked up shit. Dean couldn’t stop looking at the man - because there was no doubt that he was a man - whatever Divine Grace Castiel had possessed was not in this regular Joe horking down fast food in the backseat.
So they sit him down for a good ol’ casual interrogation and it turns out Jimmy knows nothing, less than nothing, bupkis. And just looking at him makes Dean feel weird because he’s been looking at that face for months now feeling whatever it was he was feeling and now it turns out Cas’s meat suit is just a regular guy with a wife and family. And shit, if that doesn’t make things awkward.
At least Jimmy doesn’t remember Cas holding him in the middle of nowhere, wings wrapped around him.
All he wanted to do was get this guy who was definitely not Castiel even though he wore his face - or Castiel wore his face - whatever. As far away from him as fast as possible and back to his suburban wife and family, christ that was weird.
So of course Sam had the opposite idea. ‘Take him to Bobby. Let a psychic pick through his brain.’
Jimmy didn’t want to stay or go to Bobby’s, who could blame the guy? Which is why he left Sam on watch. Surprisingly he wasn’t pissed when Jimmy gave Sam the slip, he was kind of relieved actually.
What was it with angels and popping into the backseat? Not that he really minded Anna in his backseat considering the things they’d done there. Man, what was it with him and angels? He was starting to question whether this was becoming a kink.
Despite being kind of happy to see her Anna wasn’t any more helpful than Jimmy had been. Well she confirmed that they needed to find him and told them that Cas probably got dragged back to Heaven - which turns out is not a good thing. Other than that she was as cryptic and unhelpful as Cas always was.
Man, he missed that guy. It’d only been a day since they’d realized he wasn’t in Jimmy anymore but just knowing that he wasn’t going to pop into his life with a whisper of wings was tearing him up. Christ. He had it bad. Even Anna couldn’t loose the feeling of longing in his chest. Thank you universe for making Dean Winchester the butt of another cosmic joke.
Turns out he couldn’t just blow a guy in a truck stop like every other self respecting straight dude with a crisis of sexuality; turns out he had to fall for an Angel of the Lord. Thing is? That didn’t even make the top ten most fucked up things in his life.
But this day might.
It was one thing to make it to Jimmy’s house in time to save them, he was used to being the hero. Demon in the mom? Probably should’ve seen that coming. Watching Cas - Jimmy - nearly die? He couldn’t even think about that too hard without a hysterical scream bubbling up in his throat.
The way Cas looked at him… the utter chilling fucking cold behind his eyes… If he let it, it might break him.
His brother sucking down a demon’s blood? Well that was nearly par for the Winchester course. He was relieved when door to Bobby’s safe room closed on his brother. At least Sam was safe for now, from himself and from the demons who tempted him.
Dean was desperate. He’d heard enough of Sam’s screaming to last a lifetime. Even here, in the midst of Bobby’s junk yard he could still hear it if he listened hard enough - or maybe he was just imagining it. Just be really desperate to call on Castiel, after what happened in Illinois he wasn’t sure he ever wanted to see the guy again. Not if he was going to look at him like he did last time; but this was for Sam.
Turns out Castiel was going deaf.
He ended up screaming for nearly an hour, voice echoing off the metal cars before Castiel appeared in front of him.
Turns out his face wasn’t as cold as he remembered it. Angels had one hell of a poker face but Cas’s was slipping, he looked pained. Even as he suggested Dean swear fealty to God and the angels Dean could see the pain on his face. If he was another man, a better man he might have stepped close and kissed that pain away; instead, he took the goddamn oath.
He didn’t know what he expected, to be immediately whisked away for the Final Battle? To be taken up to Heaven to prepare? He sure as shit didn’t think he’d still be a Bobby’s listening to Sam screaming his lungs out and now he got to hear Bobby second guess every decision he’s made lately. Fucking great.
At night he was tortured, tortured with seeing Sam turn into a demon, tortured with watching Castiel get shot - only this time it was really Castiel not Jimmy and Dean was holding the gun. After a week of the nightmares torturing him till he woke screaming and covered in sweat he almost considered calling Cas, begging him to make it stop. But he didn’t. At least he still had his self respect.
Chapter 6: When the Levee Breaks
Occurs during the events of the same titled episode and covers all of Lucifer Rising.
Listening to Dean call for him was a blessing and a curse. Emotion; the doorways to doubt. Seemed as if he was too full of emotion these days. He had told Dean that he could feel because of course he could, but angels prided themselves on their control of such emotions. His was not as powerful as he had once believed.
That he loved Dean Winchester he did not doubt, he loved all God’s creatures. Though how his love for Dean manifested was somewhat different.
“Answer his call Castiel,” Vasiariah demanded.
Castiel did not want to, did not believe he was strong enough to withstand the force of Dean’s anger and disappointment. It was his duty, however, so he went.
Just as it was his duty to convince Dean to serve God’s Army. That he doubted the righteousness of the command of said army was not something he would reveal to Dean. When the elder Winchester swore his fealty to God’s Divine Purpose he should have felt triumphant, relieved. He felt unwell. Perhaps his vessel was not as healed as he had believed.
“Your orders,” Vasiariah said, his palm touching Castiel’s forehead sending the missive directly to him.
Castiel, the angel and not the vessel, gasped.
“To release the younger Winchester is a mistake.”
He felt Zachariah before he spoke, “Do not doubt your orders Castiel. Obey. Or must you be reminded of what happens when you defy His will?”
Castiel obeyed, because that’s what an Angel of the Lord did. That it didn’t sit well within him was a consequence he would have to bear. No one ever said service to His will would be easy.
Worse still that they would use it to lure Anna but Heaven could no longer stand for her meddling. He had hoped against hope that she would see it for the trap it was. It seemed that the Lord has his own plans, or that he no longer listened to Castiel’s prayers.
That it would be Castiel himself to bring Dean to Heaven to prepare for the final battle, well, it would be another burden on his soul but not one he could not manage.
At least he would make the end more comfortable. He knew all of Dean’s desires - the burgers, the beer, even himself; that he had not shared with Zachariah choosing instead a more palatable truth - Ginger from Gilligan’s Island. He could see the face and body through Dean’s psyche but not why it tempted him in such a way.
That he had to deny Dean the one thing he wanted - to speak to Sam a final time - it burned like hot coals in his soul. He had his orders, he would be a good soldier even if it killed him. He would do as he was ordered, but he did not have to leave things unsaid.
He returned to a form that Dean could see just as he hung up the line on static. “You can’t reach him. You’re outside your coverage zone.”
Dean did not laugh, not even a trace of a smile. “What are you going to do to Sam?”
Castiel had known this would be difficult for Dean, he had even prayed that this destiny did not have to be so painful for this human. He knew thousands, perhaps millions would die in the coming days. Yet he could not bear the pain of this one man.
“Nothing,” Castiel spoke the truth, “He’s going to do it to himself.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
Yet another question he could not answer, both because he was not entirely privy to the knowledge but also because he did not wish to know.
“Right, right. Gotta tow the company line. Why are you here, Cas?”
Direct. Castiel had always admired that about this human. He wasn’t even frighten by the might of the Lord’s armies. “We’ve been through much together, you and I. I just wanted to say… I’m sorry it ended like this.”
Castiel saw the moment Dean decided to strike him. Castiel did not move. Dean’s fist connected. It didn’t hurt, a pity. Dean turned his back, Castiel knew he was cradling the injured hand. He suppressed the urge to heal it.
“It’s Armageddon, Cas. You need a bigger word than ‘sorry’.”
“Try to understand -” Castiel needed him to understand, if only he could give Dean his memories. Such a thing would burn out his fragile mind and yet, he wished. Words were so inadequate, yet, he tried. “-this is long foretold. This is your-”
“Destiny?’ It seemed a paltry explanation in the face of Dean’s pain. He could kiss him. Castiel knew he could use Dean’s desire against him. But that was not his orders, he would not stoop so low. “Don't give me that "holy" crap. Destiny, God's plan... It's all a bunch of lies, you poor, stupid son of a bitch! It's just a way for your bosses to keep me and keep you in line! You know what's real? People, families -- that's real. And you're gonna watch them all burn?”
“What is so worth saving? I see nothing but pain here. I see inside you. I see your guilt, your anger, confusion. In paradise, all is forgiven. You'll be at peace. Even with Sam.”
‘Even with me.’ he left unsaid. That every part of him both human and divine was filled with such a longing to see this man at peace.
“You can take your peace... and shove it up your lily-white ass. 'Cause I'll take the pain and the guilt. I'll even take Sam as is. It's a lot better than being some Stepford bitch in paradise. This is simple, Cas! No more crap about being a good soldier. There is a right and there is a wrong here, and you know it.”
He did know it. But his desire to obey his Lord was stronger, or at least he wished it to be so. Then why could he not look at this human?
“Look at me!” Dean grabbed him, forcing their eyes to meet. Dean was touching him, close, too close. “You know it! You were gonna help me once, weren't you? You were gonna warn me about all this, before they dragged you back to Bible camp. Help me -- now. Please.”
For one impossible minute Castiel thought Dean might have the power to compel his thoughts from him - but of course he could not; no human had such power over an angel.
“What would you have me do?”
“Get me to Sam. We can stop this before it is too late.”
He was tempted in a way he had not been even when his brothers and sisters fell from Grace. But there would be consequences. For himself, he did not care, he was no coward. Yet he could not do this and watch Dean be slain for it. It seemed so long ago he had plucked this one soul from Hell. Now he knew he could never stand by and watch it return. Let the heavens burn, Lord help him, he would not let Dean burn with it.
“I do that, we will all be hunted. We will all be killed.”
“If there is anything worth dying for… this is it.” Dean implored.
Castiel couldn’t voice his thoughts then, they were too selfish. It didn’t matter that Dean died, it mattered how. In service to God he would spend eternity in Heaven, was Castiel. He shook his head.
“You spineless… soulless son of a bitch. What do you care about dying? You’re already dead. We’re done.”
“Dean-” please forgive me.
As he flew through the divine winds Dean’s dismissal played over and over in his head. If he did nothing Dean would spend eternity in paradise, he wouldn’t even hate Castiel, he wouldn’t be able. Yet, that was not Dean, not truly. The bliss of Heaven could wipe away the anger and pain but so could Castiel. If there was anything he had learned about the human it was that he would fight until the end. But he needed his friend, he needed an angel.
Castiel turned, heading to the Celestial City.
Once his mind was made up it was remarkably easy. His soul finally at peace.
He plucked Dean from within the heavens. Even Zachariah couldn’t stop him. He bid Dean farewell even as he faced against an archangel and who knew how many others of Heaven’s host. He did not care. He was at peace. That the farewell seemed inadequate he pushed aside. All that mattered was stopping Lilith.