“Something’s wrong” Castiel uttered before he started to cough, deep and grating, then keeled over unceremoniously. At that moment, all the lights in the warehouse conveniently gave out. The brothers, ever ready, got their flashlights and guns out before shuffling toward their fallen companion.
Getting on one knee, Dean shined the light in Castiel’s eyes and felt for a pulse. He was out cold. In the meanwhile, Sam was looking around for sign of foul play. There was none. The warehouse was still silent and was empty, except for the dusty crates. No monster was about to jump on them and no obvious explanation for the angel’s state.
Sam whispered nonetheless. “Is he ok?” Dean flinched, holding the unconscious man to his chest, getting ready to grab him in a fireman carry. “I dunno. We getting the fuck out” He whispered back then holstered the limp body over his shoulder.
To his defense, Sam suspected something as soon as he had read about the story. For starter, it was in the same town they’d met the trickster aka Gabriel the first time, and that town, for this reason alone, would always sound suspicious to him. But it looked, at least on paper, like a textbook case of a vengeful spirit. Praying on college students. Hot college students by the look of the one picture illustrating the article. One glance at the raven haired and blue eyed cheerleader had Dean panting to know more.
At the time, he chuckled a little at his brother’s reaction. If Dean had a type, it was dark haired beauties. Eye color didn’t seem to matter much, but for the record, that girl’s eyes had the same cerulean color than their angelic friend.
After a customary check on the internet and a short 3 hour trip to the town, it was obvious that there was more to the case. There was no proof that anyone was dead as they’d never found blood or body. It seemed, they’d just disappeared into the thin air. There was also a rumor that the warehouse where the victims had been previously, was a hot spot for horny teenager. The place had a reputation for helping people achieving mind blowing orgasm. That is, if you didn’t disappear mid-coitus. Sam guessed that’s why people were still going there. Sex was a profound motivator. So of course, when Dean had learned of this, he raised an eyebrow and casually suggested that they’d call Cas. Sam agreed.
Which brought them to their current predicament.
Dean was sitting beside the flaccid angel who had not moved a muscle since their forced exit from the warehouse, yesterday afternoon. Sam was out asking around about the mysterious warehouse while he tried not to think of Cas having his... mind blown, right now.
Yep, still flaccid… Dean visually confirmed. Although, he shifted in his seat, himself was starting to be anything but.
Searching a distraction for the disturbing thoughts, Dean grabbed the remote and opened the television to a nature documentary. He then decided against it - too many chances of seeing animal humping it out, ya know - and switched to the weather channel… which was depressing. The pretty doe eyed presenter though, cited the grim news with a melodious voice. Thunderstorm and rain all week… bleak… but he was stuck inside watching the angel until he woke up. Or Sam came back, whichever happened first.
A sudden gasp made him look down and he saw those big blue eyes looking at him, confused. Bad weather report forgotten, Dean grabbed the angel’s hand.
“Hey Cas! You okay man?”
Castiel blinked a few time, which gave him time to appreciate the warmth of the angel’s hand. Was he usually this warm? It also made his concern skyrocket and his heart sink. Seconds were an eternity while he was waiting for the angel to make his status known. Opening his chapped lips as to say something, he only coughed that same grating sound they heard in the warehouse. Only closer and in more horrible details. Dean let go of his hand, whispering “Wait a sec” as he went to grab a glass, fill it with cold water and brought it back to the angel who was still occupied trying to hack a lung.
He helped him get seated, and the way Cas was leaning on him for support did not freak him further, no it didn’t. The water did help thou and he inhaled it as he’d never drank anything of his life. And maybe he hadn’t. His breathing slowed down. Yes, another thing to get freaked about. Dean had to consciously think of slowing his own breathing while he waited for the angel to say his first word of the day.
“No” He croaked.
Of course he wasn’t. If his being unconscious for a few hours short of a day was any indication. That wasn’t a pleasure nap he just woke up from. What had he though? He tried to keep his voice neutral as he asked. “Care to elaborate?”
The angel sighed as his eyes dipped down and god didn’t he look wary and tired right now. “I lost contact with…” he sniffed “with the host and...” his eyes closed and his head dipped down. And what??? A few seconds later and Dean realized he had gone back to sleep. Seated. This was so not good.
He grabbed the angel by the shoulders and shook him to get more information but the angel just grumbled and banked on his side. He was still breathing so… still a cause for concern but he’d have to take it as a positive and run with it. Because he was feeling so concerned about the little dorky guy it wasn’t even funny.
The doe eyed presenter smirked than continued “And now for something totally different” before Dean grabbed the remote and closed the television.
Sam was sitting in a diner, vigorously typing on his laptop while nursing his third cup of coffee of the day. It was mid-afternoon and the place was half empty, a few discussions going on between patrons in nearby tables, nothing too loud to distract him from his research. Not that he was making headway.
He’d gone to interview a few students but nothing they said had been helpful. More of the same, really…. Frat parties, warehouse, lots of sex. Nobody spotted object moving by themselves, disappearing people into thin air…. or smelled something like rotten eggs – demons were his second hypothesis since the angel was now on Crowley’s radar for helping the brothers – but this this was also dispelled easily.
Sam pushed a strand of hair away from his eyes and huffed. If he was frank with himself, the absence of clues was bugging him. No EMF, No Sulfur, No even a proof that something had been going on in the warehouse, period. By the look of the dust on the floor, nothing had been going on there for a while, human or otherwise which left him with his least favorite hypothesis.
A trickster… or THE trickster.
So Sam started to research the town’s news to see if anything even suggested Gabriel’s presence into the town. He finished his tepid coffee in one easy gulp and the waitress swept seconds later by to refill his cup. He was looking at a promising headline when someone sat beside him. Sam looked sideway at her mid-length blond hair and soft brown eyes. Sam hadn’t realized but the waitress totally looked like a young Becky but with a white dress and a red apron. He turned her way to ask if he could help her when a golden glint in her eyes caught his attention. That and the knowing smile she had on her pretty red lips.
“So have they kissed yet?”
His jaw dropped a little. He really didn’t expect the question, even if it was from the trickster himself. Or Gabriel. Whichever name he used these days. It seemed like he changed vessel, or body… But back at the subject at hand.
He stammered “W… What??”
“Kissed, smooched, canoodled, played tonsil hoc…”
“I… I know what you mean but… why are you asking me that?” Sam said, effectively cutting the girl off. But then another question rose to his mind “Hey, Are you responsible for Castiel being inconcious? Are you doing something to him… or…. are we in one of your fantasy world?”
The girl-angel snorted, totally un-lady like. “So many questions Samuel… what if I was?”
Sam looked around, trying to guess the answers. The Diner was suddenly quieter, as if the archangel had turned down the volume so he could better concentrate to the discussion. Oh he’s good. Fantasy world then, he thought.
Looking back at the woman, he turned his puppy eyes to eleven and said “I don’t know what you are trying to do but you have to stop.”
The girl smiled. Gabe 1, Sam 0. Her golden eyes crinkling “And what am I trying to do, Samsquach?”
God he really hated it when Gabriel called him that. “You…” His mind was drawing a blank. The Fem-Gabe grabbed a strawberry milkshake that had mysteriously appeared in front of her and took a sip while he tried to think.
A few seconds later, she leaned toward him, her eyes bore into his and she said softly “Deep down you know what I’m trying to do“ she paused and blinked, leaving Sam’s brain do the math, then continued “you’ve seen those two dance around each other for months now. Those looooong languid stares, and today…right now…. The way he stand guard over his fallen friend…” she pulled back and grinned “you outta admire that much dedication!”
She took another long sip of the milkshake while Sam tried to grasp the fact that Gabriel had just admitted playing matchmaker with his brother and Castiel. His very hetero brother and…
“And I know my brother” she then said as if he was monitoring his thoughts “He has no social graces whatsoever, but I know what makes him tick” Her golden eyes swiftly locked into his as she finished her tirade “and most important, I know what makes your brother… tick”
Sam frowned. What did he… she, he corrected himself, meant by that?
“This is one of my proudest moment Sammy” she beamed “I’ve created the perfect scenario, engineered the perfect storm and made you land right in the center of it…” she said touching his hand.
White light blinded him and he found himself standing in front of the motel 6, laptop under his arm and facing Garth who had a very un-Garth smile and his eyes gleaned of gold.
“You just have to let the story play out, dude… and let them play their roles” he heard Garth’s voice finish.
Sam looked at the parking lot and there sat Baby. He looked back at Garth, rubbing the back of his head and huffed. “Okay. If you promise nothing bad will happen to Dean… or Castiel… I’m in but… lose the eye color. Garth’s eyes are blue.”
Fake Garth blinked and there they were, blue irises looking back at him. Corner of his eyes crinkling as he offered Sam a crooked smile. “Oukidooki!”
Then Sam opened the motel room door…
…to a very psyched looking Dean.
“You got something Sam?” he said with a strained voice which confirmed his first diagnosis. Dean was on the verge of breaking. Something must have happened while he was away.
The moment Garth walked through the door thou, Dean got his poker face on.
“Garth? What the hell are you doing here?”
The smaller man brushed by Sam, nonplussed by the accusatory tone of the older brother. “Hey Dean! I’ve been investigating these missing teens and… what happened to him?” He said pointing the unconscious angel.
Sam saw him remove his hand from Castiel’s and stealing a glance toward him, worry still tinting his expression. “Him well... he… well…” he stuttered searching his words which fake Garth put back into his mouth.
“Did it happen at the warehouse?”
“YES!” Dean almost yelled and Sam could only watch in disbelief as Garth walked closer to the bed holding the limp angel and reached behind his head to rip a soft pinkish thing that disappeared in a puff of smoke as soon as Garth let it fall to the ground.
Dean got on his feet in one second and Sam couldn’t help but gape at the obvious un-Garth-iness of the action. Garth wasn’t a fighter, Garth was a lover… his brother was bound to see that.
“What the fuck was that??”
Garth rubbed his hands on his pants in apparent disgust. “That was some kind of leech, magical leech from what I’ve gathered” Sam hovered over the powdered remains of the leech as Garth continued “It feeds on… I’m not sure exactly what… but I know it’s a witch thing” He said as he was reaching to rub his face but stopped short “Guys, can I use your bathroom?”
The brothers looked at themselves in confusion while Garth was washing his hands. Dean, obviously was confused about the whole witch thing. Sam was confused about the fact that Garth-briel had been able to spin a story like that. But then again, trickster.
A shuffle made them look back at Garth who was standing in the doorway, whipping his hands on a towel.
“Is your friend still breathing or…” Dean jerked out of his daze and held one hand in from of the angel’s mouth, the other gently holding his limp arm. “Yeah….. Yeah, he’s breathing fine” he said with a dull tone.
“Coolios!” Dean’s hand was now hovering over Castiel’s jaw and Sam felt like a voyeur, his brother was obviously struggling with emotions he wasn’t even recognizing and when Sam looked back at Garth, the hunter winked back at him. Sam caught the hint.
“So Garth… Did you find out where those sons of bitches are holed up?” He asked him.
“You bet! Wanna join me?” he grinned toward the taller man.
A growl surprised them both “You’re not going anywhere” Dean roared as he got up. His face was hard, every hint of emotion hidden from view, except anger of course. “Not without me, you’re not” A glance from Not-Garth and Sam knew not everything was going according to plan.
“Dean…” Sam started but a low rumble started and it took them a second to register that it was Castiel coughing. Sam couldn’t stop from wincing at the loud grating sound. “I’m good with Garth, you better keep an eye on him”
The angel was slowly curling around himself as he continued to hack, he was clearly having trouble getting his breath back. Garth echoed his thoughts “Yeah, that cough doesn’t sound good at all, man… I hope I wasn’t too… ouch” Sam ventured a knock on the archangel in disguise.
This seemed to kick Dean into action and he went to help the angel seated to ease his breathing.
“Okay, go… And Garth,” He warned, “You better not let anything happen to my baby brother, or God help me… “
“Yeah I know” Garth answered before he closed the door behind him, then huffed “Oh Father…. That was a close one”
Just as the door closed on the hunters, Dean let go of the facade and his face crumbled under the weight of worries. Of course he worried about his brother but he knew Sam was a good hunter and he knew how to handle himself. He also knew he wouldn’t have been no good so it was best he stayed here.
And take care of Cas.
His stomach dropped at that though.
The angel’s cough had eased since he was moved but he hadn’t really regained complete consciousness, Dean knew this by now. He smoothed his hair, half gauging his temperature, half comforting him. Castiel made what could pass for a contented sound. A sound an angel of the Lord should in no way make. It made Dean’s stomach drop further.
The last thing the angel had said was that he’d lost contact with the host. Maybe that meant that he’d lost his mojo to that leech thing. Maybe he was as good as a sick human, with a fever of 100 at the very least. He made a move to get the med kit from his duffle but the angel grabbed his arm as soon as it left his hair.
“Stay” his voice wrecked beyond recognition said and Dean almost complied. Almost.
“Hey, sleepy head” he surprised himself to say, gently patting the angel’s head “I have to grab something but I’ll be back in no time” The angel let go and closed his eyes.
When Dean came back, holding the whole med-kit and a refilled glass of water, he thought the angel had gone back to sleep but when he sat back, he heard the angel sigh and open his eyes slightly.
“Can you… hum, can you open your mouth for me?” he asked and the angel complied, letting him slide the digital thermometer under his tongue and close his mouth. Dean was strangely weirded out by his pliancy. Then angel rarely left himself be ordered around so he must have been pretty out of it. His heart gave a little tug at the though.
The beeping thermometer gave him the answer as to why.
“Damn it, Cas” the angel reopened his eyes a bit to look at the swearing hunter who sighed “When you said you’d lost contact with the host, did you mean that you were…”
“I…eh… eh” the angel panted “ETShhhh” he then sniffed and looked sheepishly at the hunter who just uttered “Well shit!
“You did WHAT? And Why? " Sam uttered, disbelief colouring his words.
They were back at the diner and Gabrielle, Sam had decided to call the archangel’s feminine self, was devouring a quarter of a cherry pie. Dean would be so envious if he was in his right state of mind. She turned toward him, speaking around a mouthful, and repeated “Your brother has a few kinks, one of which is taking care of someone who’s weak, and nothing’s weaker than a full on angel who’s become human AND sick. What a downgrade…” she chuckled swallowing more pie.
“But you promised that Castiel wouldn’t be hurt!”
“He’s not technically hurt” she air quoted on the last word “I just cut his access to the mother ship… and gave him the mother of all colds, making him weak as a kitten. Dean won’t be able to keep his hands off of him”
“I think you got my brother wrong” Sam countered, remembering the few times he himself had been sick “he’s the biggest germaphobe on the planet! It’s not gonna work”
Gabrielle swallowed the last of the pie and smirked “That’s what you think… I KNOW otherwise” the girl pushed her plate away and snapped her fingers, all the big screen TVs switched to an inside view of their motel room.
“You gotta be kidding me…” Sam gasped.
“Erm... Cas?” Dean asked, voice shaky.
He sounded unsure, he felt unsure... The angel was caught in a loop of sneezing and Dean had to shift to keep his erection from rubbing too intensely on his jeans. He didn’t want to pop a boner right there and then but, seeing the angel so lost in the moment, sneeze after sneeze, he just…
… couldn’t control himself. His body leaned forward as the angel exploded again, hand limply trying to contain the wetness escaping from his nose and lips but missing the mark by a few miles. Dean blinked, he should do something, get tissues, help his friend blow his nose or something, yet he was paralyzed, mesmerized by the sight of his hitching breath, his twitching nostrils….
And of course, every time Castiel sneezed, his brain rebooted and he asked himself the very same questions over again. Should he do something? Bless him, maybe?
“Eh… eh….. eeeeehhhh” Dean blinked again as the sneeze seemed to die and Castiel sniffed liquidly, barely opening his glossy eyes and let himself drop on the mattress, sighing. Of course, Dean’s brain chose that moment to remind him of everything that had passed through his brain a few minutes before and ran to the bathroom to take a roll of toilet paper – the motel was too cheap for tissues it seems- but even as fast as Dean had been, Castiel’s eyes had closed by the time he was back. Dean gingerly sat back on the chair, trying very hard not to make it creak and placed he roll on the bedside table, beside the empty glass.
That. Had. Been… Dean couldn’t even let himself think it. He always knew he had a thing for sneezing, his ear always picking up on hints of huskiness or congestion in a woman’s voice, whether they were from a witness, a victim, or a potential hookup at the bar. He was often rewarded by at least one sneeze, sometime he was lucky to witness a whole fit. A few times he’d even been in a situation where he could benefit from the impromptu erection. Others, there was always a bathroom close by...
But this… this had been totally unexpected, in more ways than one. First, yeah he’d never expected an angel of the Lord to collapse, than sprout a fever of over a hundred and two AND have a sneezing fit. And second…. He was a guy! A guy’s sneeze never had this effect on him before…. Sam’s sneezes always tended to gross him out more than anything. Maybe he was getting sick, or his brain didn’t get the memo about him being hetero. Dean sniffed and confirmed his nose wasn’t blocked or anything. So he wasn’t sick. He palmed his own forehead to confirm but oh, of course, it never worked even when he was sick. He decided to rub his eyes instead. This situation was confusing the hell out of him.
“You thidk too loud” Dean almost jumped out of his skin at the wrecked voice. The cough must have made a number on his throat…
But wait, what did he just say??
“What did you just…” Dean tried to voice his thoughts but couldn’t get himself to finish the sentence.
The angel’s head lolled toward the hunter and blinked watery and exhausted looking eyes. “If you dee… deeeeeeeeh…. ehhh.. ehhh” Cas’ eyes fluttered closed as his nostrils flared again, signaling an impeding sneeze. This time, Dean’s reflexes kicked in and in no time, he had a wad of toilet paper waiting to catch it, but after a moment the angel sighed in relief and Dean was left, half standing, awkwardly holding the wad a few inches from the angel’s nose. Castiel’s eyes blinked open and he finished his sentence as if nothing had happened “If you deed to mbasturbate, you don’t have to repress yourself od by accoudt” the angel croaked and Dean jerked his hand back as if he’s been burned.
Holy-fucking-shit-this-wasn’t-fucking-happening-dammit… Dean swallowed around a lump in his throat and struggled to ask “Why… why would I want to… ma… masturbate?”
The angel’s sigh morphed into a coughing fit harsher than the last and Dean muttered “Shit!” before grabbing the empty glass to refill and bring it back for him to drink. After the drink, when his breathing is back under control and he’d forgotten Castiel’s question, he whispers again “I apologize if this, by sdeezigg is bakigg you udcobfortable”
This is the moment Dean Winchester’s mind decides to snap. All that sneezing, coughing, congested talk about masturbation, and his erection that wouldn’t quit no matter how many times Dean would will it to. The moment Castiel apologizes, with his raw, broken and impossibly sexy voice, Dean looses it.
In retrospect, he wishes his brain could have given him a warning so he could have said shut up instead. But then again, the moment his lips connect with Castiel’s and his hands find themselves rubbing his stubbed jaw and caressing his sweaty hair. He doesn’t think about germs, he doesn’t even think about the supposed witch or Garth, or even his brother that is bound to come back soon. He just kisses until the angel starts to react to his pressing lips and accept his tongue.
“WHAT??” Sam uttered in shock barely a second before all the screens in the coffee shut down. He turned toward Gabrielle but there was nobody in the seat beside him. In fact, everybody had vanished as if they’d never existed. Well, there was still pieces of pink popcorn scattered around the table, attesting of the archangel’s presence.
“GABRIEL?” he yelled but his only answer was one of the screen flickering back to life. On screen, golden eyes and a big Cheshire cat smile of the original trickster.
“Sorry Sam, pretty sure your eyes would burn out of their sockets if I’d let you watch any more…. besides, I’ve seen what I needed to see...” The screen blacked out until another one blinked open. “Oh, and by the way, I’d take my time before heading back, you know…” he winked “Take a walk, a long one, and when you get there, give them the pie” The screen finally flickered close and Sam’s eyes settled on a brown bag in front of him. ‘Best Cherrie Pie Ever’ was written on it in big red curvy letters, along with a flaming red kiss mark.