Actions

Work Header

The Life and Times of Jimmy Novak

Work Text:

Castiel blazes bright inside his daughter.

Light spills out, pouring off her almost as fast as blood is pouring from Jimmy's gut, and he surrenders to it, awe-struck and afraid. There's no pride in him this time, no selfish excitement at being the chosen vessel of an angel, just sheer desperation to get that deceptive light out of his daughter.

He knows what kind of grenade he's jumping on and when he says yes for a second time, he tells himself it will be better now.

It's less scary when you know what's coming.

+++

Two weeks later, an archangel blows him to smithereens.

Jimmy begins to realize that his earlier optimism may have been misplaced.

+++

Heaven is everything he was promised and more. He spends Sunday afternoons playing baseball in the backyard with his father; he tastes the cherry of Amelia's lipgloss when she kisses him under the light on her mother's porch; and he watches Claire's tiny hand curl around his finger as she laughs for the first time.

It's the closest thing to bliss Jimmy has ever experienced and as he settles in his old treehouse with his favorite book, he can't help but be grateful that it's over.

As such, he's understandably disappointed when he comes back to life a minute later.

+++

Zachariah's eyes widen. "How are you…"

"Alive?" Castiel says with Jimmy's mouth. "That's a good question."

"Kill him!" Jimmy yells from inside. "The exploding thing worked well last time!"

Behind Zachariah, Sam and Dean look as though they're seconds away from death. Jimmy is wildly jealous.

"Now put these boys back together and go," Castiel says, ignoring him entirely. "I won't ask twice."

Zachariah looks offended. Jimmy seizes the opportunity.

"Come on, man," he says with vigour. "Are you really going to let him talk to you like that? He was dead five seconds ago. Let's go back to that glorious time. Smite, smite, smite!"

Castiel and Zachariah stare at each other long enough that Jimmy half-expects them to make out.

Unfortunately, Zachariah disappears before Jimmy can decide whether making out would be better or worse than exploding again. Dean and Sam collapse, apparently much happier about their continued existence than Jimmy is, and he slumps back down under the weight of Castiel with a sigh.

It'll be okay, he tells himself. Castiel is friends with the Winchesters. His days are definitely numbered.

+++

A few weeks later, a still-alive Castiel spends some time in a brothel.

Jimmy finds the whole experience indescribably awkward and does his best to repress it.

+++

A few more weeks later, a still-frustratingly-alive Castiel spends some time as a small, plastic figurine.

Jimmy decides it's an improvement on the brothel.

+++

Castiel comes face-to-face with the Devil in Carthage, Missouri.

Or, more accurately, Jimmy comes face-to-face with the poor schmuck who volunteered to let Lucifer take a ride, because angels are apparently incapable of having a conversation without borrowing other people's voiceboxes.

As much as he feels bad for Lucifer's vessel, he can't help but feel that this is a high-quality opportunity for potential Castiel death.

Jimmy's psyched.

"What's wrong with your vessel?" Castiel asks.

Jimmy winces. As far as conversation topics go, that seems on par with 'Why is your acne so bad?'.

"Nick is wearing a bit thin, I'm afraid," Lucifer says. Jimmy wonders if angelic vessels are chosen in part because they have thematically relevant names. "He can't contain me forever."

Castiel shifts inside him, flaring up in anger, and he takes a step towards Lucifer, only to be stopped short by the ring of holy fire.

Lucifer gives him a pitying look, as though Castiel is a flailing toddler strapped into a car seat. Jimmy sympathizes.

"You are not taking Sam Winchester," Castiel declares. "I won't let you."

"You tell him, Cas!" Jimmy cheers. Then, to Lucifer, "You smite him, Satan!"

"Castiel," Lucifer says. Jimmy braces himself for fire, brimstone and blessed oblivion, but frowns when Lucifer continues, "I don't understand why you're fighting me, of all the angels."

Trapped inside his body, Jimmy throws his non-corporeal hands up in defeat.

It was bad enough getting the 'I'm not angry, just disappointed' conversation from his own father but coming from the Prince of Darkness, it's a staggering letdown.

+++

"It's my vessel," Castiel says. "Jimmy. His appetite for red meat has been touched by Famine's effect."

"Oh, wow," Jimmy says, "you mean it's inconvenient having your mind and body controlled by the whims of someone else? What a shocking turn of events."

He burps internally. It's meaty.

"Now give me another bite of that burger, asshole."

+++

"Whoa, wait," Dean says. "You're gonna take on five angels?"

Jimmy does a double-take at Castiel. "We're doing what now?"

"Isn't that suicide?" Dean asks, concerned.

"Maybe it is," Castiel says, and then with a level of passive-aggression that would've made Jimmy's mother-in-law proud, "But then I won't have to watch you fail. I'm sorry, Dean. I don't have the same faith in you that Sam does."

Before Jimmy can point out that this is exactly why Castiel doesn't have many friends, Castiel pulls a boxcutter from the pocket of Jimmy's once-prized trenchcoat.

"What the hell are you gonna do with that?" Sam asks, once again taking the prize for the most sensible question of the day. (Jimmy keeps a tally.)

Castiel gives him a dark look and stalks away.

"Hey now," Jimmy says, "let's not do anything you'll regret." Castiel ripples inside him, bulky and alien, but Jimmy doesn't give up. "Look, I know I'm not exactly anti-death but this isn't the blissful oblivion I was hoping for. This is going to be painful and terrifying and probably messy."

Ignoring him, Castiel opens his shirt and begins to slice into Jimmy's chest as Jimmy pleads, "Come on, man, don't do this. We bonded! I ate some burgers, you drank enough alcohol to ensure that I'll probably never be under the legal driving limit again. Good times!"

Evidently finished carving himself up, Castiel rebuttons Jimmy's shirt and walks into the warehouse where he promptly kills another angel and its vessel.

Jimmy tries not to dwell on how little murder bothers him anymore.

More angels circle them, all armed and angry, and Castiel drops his weapon as he shouts, "What are you waiting for? Come on!"

"No! No coming on!" Jimmy shouts back, grumpy and desperate. "This is the opposite of what I wanted!"

The angels charge; Castiel rips his shirt open; and as a blinding light rips through everyone in the room, Jimmy can't feel anything but pain.

+++

Castiel wakes up inside Jimmy, dazed, confused, and mostly powerless.

Jimmy wakes up on a shrimp boat outside Delacroix, bloody, dishevelled, and surrounded by suspicious sailors.

"What did I tell you," Jimmy mutters.

+++

Much to Jimmy's surprise, Castiel is surprisingly efficient at being an almost-human.

Despite being power-free and in bad shape, he manages to save both Winchesters, defeat a horseman of the apocalypse, and help destroy a warehouse full of the Croatoan virus. It's pretty badass and not entirely unsatisfying to watch, and so when Castiel steps forward at the final showdown between Michael and Lucifer, Jimmy is pumped for the act of heroism that is sure to follow.

The molotov cocktail flickers in his hand and fearful anticipation twists through Castiel when he raises Jimmy's arm to throw.

"Hey," Castiel calls, "assbutt!"

He explodes into chunks of flesh a few seconds later.

Jimmy thinks it's probably for the best.

+++

The second time around, Jimmy is less aggrieved by the miracle of resurrection and more resigned to the fact that he's never going to be allowed to actually die.

What does impress him, however, is the fact that, while he and Castiel were dead, Sam somehow overcame Lucifer's control long enough to throw himself in the cage. Jimmy isn't totally sure of the details but apparently love for Dean and for the Impala factored into the equation somewhere, and so he decides to give it a shot.

He focuses on his Toyota Yaris, then Amelia, then Claire, then, as a last ditch effort, on that niche German pornography he really enjoyed in his early twenties, but when Castiel stretches out to fill his skin once more, Jimmy reluctantly concedes defeat.

He wonders if he can somehow slip a note to Sam to ask for tips.

+++

A few months later, Castiel appears next to a bald guy in a decidedly shady compound.

(Jimmy's pretty sure the guy's a long-lost Winchester relative but he honestly doesn't care enough to figure out which one.)

"This Castiel?" The bald guy looks him up and down. "You're scrawnier than I pictured."

"Go fuck yourself, dickwad," Jimmy says cheerfully.

Being a forced spectator is much more fun when he can heckle.

+++

Back when he had full bodily autonomy and had never heard of Castiel, Jimmy bought his grandmother a computer for Christmas.

She'd requested it, wanting to be able to email one of his cousins and to look up knitting patterns online, and so Jimmy had obliged. He'd spent the whole of Christmas morning setting it up for her and had been there to provide support as she sent out her first email.

It had been a slow and frustrating process, watching her conduct a painstaking search for each letter as he sat there silently, unable to intervene, but as Castiel sets fire to some non-Crowley-related bones, Jimmy can't help be grateful for the lessons it taught him.

Watching Castiel grapple with his life choices is a lot like watching his grandmother send an email.

+++

"You know, I've been here for a very long time."

Confused, Jimmy scans Castiel's current field of vision. Aside from a lot of snow, a couple of benches and some trees, he comes up blank.

"And I remember many things," Castiel continues.

"What things?" Jimmy asks, lost. "Are you talking to me?"

"I remember being at a shoreline, watching a little grey fish heave itself up on the beach."

Jimmy looks around again. "Seriously, who are you talking to?"

"And an older brother saying, 'Don't step on that fish, Castiel. Big plans for that fish.'"

"Why would you even consider stepping on a fish?" Castiel keeps talking as Jimmy asks with a sigh, "Are you high?"

"But come on," Castiel says, "dried dung can only be stacked so high."

Jimmy despairs. "Look, I honestly don't know what drug makes people want to sit on a bench and recite their life story but whatever it is, you should stop taking it. Go fight your war or something. That seems like it's important."

"What if I've made the wrong choice?"

"You have," Jimmy chimes in helpfully. He isn't sure of the context but given Castiel's history, it's a safe bet that whatever choice he's made is the wrong one.

"I'm getting ahead of myself," Castiel says. "Let me tell you my story." He lifts his head, staring intensely into thin air. "Let me tell you everything."

"Help me," Jimmy whispers to the universe.

+++

Jimmy suspects the universe actively dislikes him.

Far from helping him, the universe seems content to leave him to the mercy of Castiel. Jimmy's trapped inside his own body, unable to do anything but watch as Castiel continues his downward spiral of poor decisions.

Wearing Jimmy's body, Castiel visits Hell, kidnaps and tortures a nice professor lady, and obliterates the mental wall that was keeping Sam functioning. Imprisoned in his own skin, Jimmy screams and shouts and writes the internal equivalent of strongly worded letters, but by the time Castiel stabs Balthazar to death in front of him, Jimmy feels like he's losing his grip on reality.

Being possessed by Castiel is a lot like sharing a body with a supervillain, except supervillains are probably less desperate for Winchester approval.

Power crackles through Castiel when he moves through Crowley's lab, lighting Jimmy's body up with sparks of confident pride, and Jimmy huddles down inside as Castiel steps back from the smear of blood on the wall.

"This is a bad plan," Jimmy tells him. He isn't sure how many times he's said it already today but when Castiel begins chanting in Latin, he decides he's definitely not said it enough. "This is a bad plan, this is a bad plan, this is a bad plan."

The wall tears open in front of him.

Light comes pouring out, wave upon glowing wave of souls sweeping over Jimmy's body like a flood. They fill him up, thrashing around inside his skin and lighting Castiel up with yet more power as they just keep crashing in. By the time the wall closes up again, Jimmy's pretty sure he's screaming but given the number of souls currently filling his body, it's hard to be totally sure.

They settle as the wall closes itself up again. Inside himself, Jimmy can feel Castiel grappling with the souls, forcing them into submission beneath the angelic strength of his grace. Triumph rushes through him the instant Castiel takes control and Jimmy basks in the glorious reprieve as Castiel straightens up.

It's a power trip, the moment of weightlessness at the top of the swing, and Jimmy tries not to think about what's waiting for them when they come back down.

+++

About two seconds after reducing Raphael to a bloody splatter on the wall, Castiel proclaims, "I was right all along."

In light of Castiel's track record with being right, Jimmy is rightfully suspicious of this declaration. Nonetheless, megalomania is a new and exciting experience and as Castiel conducts multiple violent massacres with Jimmy's hands, he can't help but think that maybe Castiel's got it right this time.

Blood spills down over Jimmy's knuckles as Castiel rips the heart out of a young guy with blond hair. It's warm against his fingers, even as the broken edges of the guy's ribs tear the skin on the back of Jimmy's hand, and Castiel keeps Jimmy's eyes on the guy's face until the death spasms stop. Behind him, the building is on fire, lighting up the night with dancing flames and the screams of those trapped inside.

Rationally, Jimmy knows he should be sad, should be shocked, should be fighting to stop this. Human life is human life but as the Center for Vibrational Enlightenment smoulders and sags under the vicious blaze, it's far easier to let the voices inside him sway him towards pleasure rather than pity.

+++

Jimmy's body is disintegrating.

Castiel looks in a mirror and Jimmy stares placidly at the blisters and burns creeping over his skin. His body's been pushed beyond the breaking point for years now; a little external evidence makes no difference to him.

He doesn't need to look good when he has this much power.

The souls ripple inside him, inhuman and hungry, and their voices hum through Jimmy's flesh as they urge Castiel to free them. They churn and twist, easing past Castiel's restraints to push at the barriers of Jimmy's body and he can't help the hysterical laugh which bubbles up at the sight of hands clawing at his stomach from the inside.

He can't move, can't think past the clamor inside him and as the souls continue to demand release, Jimmy finds himself chanting right along with them.

"Let us out," he hisses, safely ensconsed in the warm grip of psychosis. "Let us out!"

+++

In a way, Castiel does let them out.

It takes more than chanting to talk him into it. He makes it through a stand-off with Death, a couple of encounters with the Winchesters, and another incredibly fun massacre before he winds up back at the laboratory in front of another open wall.

(Somehow a surprise eclipse has figured into the plan. One of the voices inside Jimmy tells him just to go with it.)

The souls go rushing back out again, pouring down into the depths of purgatory and taking the bright rush of power with them. The withdrawal is sharp and instantaneous, like being cut free of a rocket and left to flouder in nothingness, and Jimmy's mind promptly shuts down in protest.

+++

Jimmy comes to, ankle deep in water, and immediately regrets it.

The presence of Castiel is gone, smothered beneath a writhing mass of darkness that's already ripping Jimmy open at the seams. Black ooze slides down his face and his arms, a faceless monster pushing through where the membrane is thinnest, and Jimmy's scream is muffled by the crush of the creatures inside him.

It's like being in a pit of snakes, except Jimmy's body is the pit. The vipers wriggle their way through him, slithering down his throat and pushing through the meat of his brain as Jimmy thrashes helplessly in his cage.

The water rises to his chest, his legs carrying him deeper and deeper into the lake, and for the first time since he said yes, Jimmy starts to think that Castiel may not be the worst thing to ever happen to him.

He's underwater when he explodes for a third time. It doesn't make the experience any less unpleasant.

+++

Resurrection, take three is more like waking up in the morning than waking up from the dead.

Jimmy's head feels heavy, thick with memories of a dream, but as Castiel plants his hand on the head of a demon, the memories start to trickle back in.

It's all there, both the memories of the last few months and the memories of the last few years. He remembers flexing his wings, helping and/or fatally injuring the Winchesters, and opening the door to purgatory, as well as pulling himself out of that lake, healing people in need, and picking out the deeply unflattering pants that he's currently wearing.

It's a lot to take in, especially as more memories come back each time Castiel high-fives a demon's face. The memories settle around him, rippling and shifting until they all fall into the same rhythm, and Jimmy surfaces with a shaky gasp, largely sane and mostly sensible once again.

"I don't think running will save you," Castiel says to a demon, but Jimmy is too distracted by sorting through his recollections to pay attention to the demon dying in a blaze of light.

His stomach rolls at the memory of the slaughters carried out at Castiel's (and by extension, Jimmy's) hands but he pauses in horror when he reaches an equally troubling piece of his past.

"Holy shit," he says, shellshocked, "I'm a bigamist."

+++

Castiel looks down at an unconscious Sam. "I mean there's nothing left to rebuild."

"Why not?" Dean asks.

"Because it crumbled," Castiel says sadly.

"Also because it's a mystic fucking head wall," Jimmy points out, somewhat belligerently. It's bad enough being alive and ridden around by Castiel again but his situation is made worse by the fact that his favorite Winchester is still out for the count. "I don't think rudimentary DIY is really appropriate here, guys."

"So you're saying there's nothing?" Dean asks. "That he's gonna be like this until his candle blows out?"

He sounds heartbroken. Jimmy can relate.

"I'm sorry," Castiel says. "This isn't a problem I can make disappear. And you know that." He pauses in contemplation. "But I might be able to shift it."

"Shift?" Dean and Jimmy ask at the same time.

"Yeah," Castiel says. "It would get Sam back on his feet." He moves to sit on the bed next to Sam. "It's better this way. I'll be fine."

"What the fuck?" Jimmy cuts in. "Hold your goddamn horses, asshole. What do you mean, you'll be fine?"

"This may hurt," Castiel says to Sam. "And if I can't tell you again, I'm sorry I ever did this to you."

He reaches out to lay a hand on Sam's head as Jimmy yells in protest, "Hey, no! I am not okay with this!"

A red glow travels up Jimmy's arm and he flails uselessly inside his body as Castiel keeps his hand in place.

"Look, I don't want Sam to die any more than you do," Jimmy says angrily, "but moving some kind of Hell tumor from his head to the head of an innocent third party is not a valid solution!"

The red glow settles deep inside Jimmy's brain. His vision distorts for an instant, setting the world ablaze with blue flames, but when Castiel opens his eyes again, it's to see Lucifer sitting on the hospital bed.

"Hello, brother."

"I hate you," Jimmy says as Castiel backs away in horror.

In front of them, Lucifer advances, a sadistic smile playing on his lips, and Jimmy cowers down inside his body to brace for the oncoming madness.

It could be worse, Jimmy tells himself. He could be Adam.

+++

"Jesus fucking Christ," Dean says, putting a hand over his eyes.

Castiel tilts Jimmy's head as the bees crawl over his body, covering him from nipples to knees.

"Ha!" Jimmy says, validated by the traumatized expression on Dean's face. "I told you we should've gone with butterflies. They're much classier."

+++

Despite the madness and the bees and his general failure at being a functioning person, Castiel manages to assist Dean in taking out Dick Roman.

(Privately, Jimmy suspects that Roman isn't the only dick Castiel would like to help Dean take out, but he keeps the thought to himself.)

Dick dies with a bone in his throat, which Jimmy finds hilarious and poetic at the same time, and he gives Dean and Castiel an internal round of applause as black liquid runs from Dick's nose.

"Yes! Nailed it!" he cheers but frowns when shimmering waves of energy begin to roll off Dick. The sound of a heartbeat fills the room like a ticking bomb and Jimmy elbows Castiel as much as one can elbow an otherworldly being borrowing your body. "Hey, you think maybe you should take cover? He-"

Dick explodes in a splatter of goo.

Before Jimmy can snigger, he opens his eyes to find himself in a deep, dark wood.

"What the-?" He rounds on Castiel. "What the hell did you do?"

"Where are we?" Dean asks, scoring a rare victory over Sam in the quest for the day's most sensible question.

"You don't know?" Castiel asks.

Jimmy rolls his eyes.

"Last I remember, we ganked Dick," Dean says.

"And where would he go in death?" Castiel prompts.

"What are you, a pre-school teacher?" Jimmy says. "Just tell us where we are!"

"Every soul here is a monster," Castiel says. "This is where they come to prey upon each other for all eternity."

Dean looks like he's about to crap his pants. If Jimmy had full control of his bowels, he would be right there with him. "We're in purgatory?" Dean asks in a terrified whisper. "How do we get out?"

Jimmy decides he was too hasty in his allocation of the 'most sensible question' trophy and re-awards it to Dean's latest effort.

"I'm afraid we're much more likely to be ripped to shreds," Castiel says calmly.

He looks around, giving Jimmy a good view of the red-eyed monsters watching them from the trees, and then promptly relocates himself to somewhere with far fewer monsters but with no Dean.

Since he's the only one of them who seems to give a shit, Jimmy takes a moment to mourn Dean's imminent death as well as the fact that he'll probably never hear a sensible question again for the rest of his life.

+++

"Cas!"

Jimmy beams at the familiar voice. "Dean! You're alive!" Then, to Castiel, "He's alive!"

"Dean," Castiel says. He sounds far less excited about this reunion than Jimmy is.

"Cas," Dean says again, coming in for a hug.

Despite Jimmy's desperate attempts to reciprocate, to cling on to someone who isn't Castiel or a terrifying hellbeast, his arms remain limp at his sides.

Dean doesn't seem to mind as he pulls back and brushes Castiel's cheek with a grin. "Damn, it's good to see you. Nice peach fuzz."

"That's a giant lie," Jimmy translates. "The beard makes you look like a slovenly serial killer."

"Thank you," Castiel says.

Jimmy groans. "Don't be an idiot. Facial hair is not our thing. I mean, look at Dean."

He eyes Dean's face again. It's probably twenty percent stubble, thirty percent blood and fifty percent dirt but it's still an improvement on Castiel's current grooming habits. "At least Dean looks like an attractive serial killer," he says hopefully. "Please shave. Please. For me."

+++

Despite the lack of shaving, Jimmy's purgatory experience improves considerably after meeting up with Dean again.

He'd like to put it down to the fact that he has company, or that they now have an escape plan, or that they've made it three days without something trying to gnaw off his leg, but really it comes down to one thing: Benny.

Benny is the light of Jimmy's life.

He's surly and grumpy and vampiric, none of which are typically positive qualities as far as Jimmy is concerned, but that is redeemed by the fact that he seems to hate Castiel almost as much as Jimmy does.

"He's got his strong points," Benny says, watching Castiel step over the corpse of a monster, "but holy hell if he ain't a magnet."

Dean frowns. "Before we found Cas, you said it was my humanity that was drawing too much attention."

Benny shrugs. "Yeah, that too."

Benny's also full of shit about sixty percent of the time. After a few years with a painfully naive angel and the ever-earnest Winchesters, Jimmy appreciates his commitment to bullshitting.

"It does present a curious curl in the metaphysics, doesn't it?" Castiel says. "If you murder a monster in monster heaven, where does it go?"

Benny looks skeptical. "And this is the crazy aunt I want to take on the road?"

"I feel you," Jimmy says with a sigh. He gives approximately the same amount of fucks about the metaphysics of purgatory as Benny does.

"I am not your aunt," Castiel says sternly.

"What? Really?" Benny asks with a heavy dose of sarcasm. Jimmy wants to high-five him.

Castiel gets up in his face. "I have no possible relationship to your sibling offspring."

As far as aggressive comebacks go, it's not particularly intimidating and, as expected, Benny does not sound particularly intimidated when he shoots back, "You're kidding me."

"You two are killing me," Dean interrupts, impatient and frustrated.

"Oh, come on," Jimmy complains as his imaginary bowl of popcorn vanishes. "They were just getting warmed up!"

With one final glare at Benny, Castiel finally relents. "I have to agree with the vampire, Dean. The risk of crossing purgatory with a seraph -- it's less than strategic."

That's Castiel-speak for 'It's an incredibly stupid plan, even by my incredibly low standards for stupid' and from the smug look Benny gives Dean, he knows it too.

"I love you," Jimmy tells Benny.

+++

"We gotta move!" Dean yells. "The portal's closing!"

Castiel stumbles as they make their way up the slope and Jimmy bounces anxiously inside him. "Come on, man!"

"Cas, damn it!" Dean shouts. "Come on!"

Despite his general disdain for Castiel and the metaphysics of purgatory, Jimmy can't help but be concerned that if he dies here, explosion or otherwise, he's going to be trapped in another unpleasant dimension for eternity instead of the treehouse heaven he's still hoping for. The appearance of the portal is definitely a good sign and he shouts encouragement to spur Castiel on as they evade more leviathans to approach the exit.

The portal is blue and shiny and not entirely dissimilar to wrapping paper but Jimmy isn't about to look that gift horse in the mouth.

Dean steps inside as Castiel stumbles again and he reaches back to pull him up. "Come on!"

"Come on!" Jimmy echoes. "I'm human! Get my body in that portal already!"

With a lunge, Castiel grabs Dean's hand. Jimmy cheers.

"I got you!" Dean says. "Hold on!"

"Dean!"

"Less talking!" Jimmy yells. "More climbing!"

"Hold on!" Dean says again. His fingers are tight around Jimmy's wrist, ready and willing to haul him to freedom, and Jimmy braces himself for the surge of movement that is sure to follow once Castiel gets his ass in gear.

"Dean!" Castiel shouts once more time before knocking Dean's hand away. "Go!"

Dean staggers back, swept away by the closing portal before he can reply, and Castiel slumps in the dirt as portal-free silence rolls over him.

Jimmy counts to ten.

The seething rage doesn't diminish in the slightest.

"I am going to murder you," he promises. "Slowly."

+++

Castiel is screaming.

Ordinarily, that wouldn't bother Jimmy too much but since there's some kind of dentist's drill being shoved through his brain by an angel (who, in a perplexing turn of events, apparently rescued them from purgatory), he can't help but agree with the decision to scream.

The drill goes deeper and deeper and Castiel screams and screams and screams.

The angle of the drill shifts, pressing against a different part of Jimmy's brain, and the scream gets noticeably more high-pitched.

Jimmy does a double-take and the scream stops.

"What the-"

Naomi looks at him in surprise. Moving his actual, physical mouth is like pulling open rusted hinges but Jimmy tries again, almost jumping when sound comes out. "I can talk?" he says in disbelief. "I can talk!"

Naomi raises an eyebrow. "Guess I dug deep enough to hit vessel."

"I can talk!" Jimmy says, almost sobbing in relief. "Oh my god." He looks down to where his arms are strapped to a dentist's chair, because clearly Castiel isn't the only angel with bizarre fetishes, and wiggles his fingers. "Oh my god."

He's waited years for this opportunity and now has no idea what to say.

"I- My name's Jimmy," he stammers. "Jimmy Novak. I know you want to do bad things to Castiel and I am totally not opposed to that, but please let me go."

Naomi looks at him with pity. "I'm afraid you won't be going anywhere."

Jimmy nods, still enjoying the way his head moves when he does so. "Please tell my wife I love her?" he asks hopefully. "Uh, my first wife, I mean. Not the amnesia one."

The whir of the drill starts up again and Jimmy speaks faster, "Tell my daughter I never meant to leave her. Tell Dean it's not his fault I got stuck in purgatory. Tell Sam he's my favorite."

Evidently done with the experiment, Naomi moves around to focus on the drilling again and Jimmy hurries over what could be his last words, "Tell Castiel I-"

Castiel starts screaming again before he can finish.

A dramatic scream of horror is probably an accurate summary of Jimmy's feelings towards Castiel anyway.

+++

"Cas, you gonna book a room or what?"

Castiel's presence flutters oddly inside Jimmy. "No, I'll stay here."

"Oh, okay, yeah," Dean says sarcastically. "We'll have a slumber party, braid Sam's hair."

Sam smirks. Jimmy isn't wholly against the idea.

"Where are you gonna sleep?" Dean asks.

The fluttery feeling is back and Jimmy groans internally as realization dawns. "You're kidding me," he says in despair. "You actually have a crush on Dean?"

"I don't sleep," Castiel says blankly.

As come-ons go, it's not stellar.

"I knew you spent way too long looking in the mirror today," Jimmy mutters. "It's not even your face, asshole."

Thankfully, Dean doesn't seem receptive to Castiel's charms. "Okay, well, I need my four hours…"

"I'll watch over you," Castiel volunteers.

Dean doesn't quite laugh in his face but it's a close call. "That's not going to happen."

The flutter in Castiel's presence fades sadly and Jimmy sighs.

"Hey, it's okay," he says with his best attempt at sympathy. "More fish in the sea, right?" He looks over to where Sam's shirt is stretched pleasingly tight over his biceps. "And more brothers in the family."

+++

Over the next few months, a brainwashed Castiel lies to the Winchesters, murders a fellow angel, and beats Dean to a bloody pulp.

Given that a non-brainwashed Castiel has done the exact same things in the past, Jimmy can't summon up much interest in proceedings and instead naps through the majority of it.

+++

Jimmy wakes up when Castiel decides that the best place to hide the mysterious and sought-after angel tablet is inside his vessel.

Jimmy is not convinced Castiel has the proper respect for his internal organs and the correct placement thereof.

+++

Metatron has a beard and is remarkably shady. Obviously he is Castiel's new best friend.

"See our waitress?" Metatron says, taking a sinister bite of his crepe. "She's the first trial. Got to cut her heart out."

"Some general life advice," Jimmy says. "If step one of a plan involves murdering someone, that is a bad plan."

+++

Metatron's plan culminates in all the angels being thrown out of heaven as a graceless Castiel stands in a forest and watches.

Jimmy is not remotely surprised by this outcome.

No-one loves bad plans quite as much as Castiel loves bad plans.

+++

Graceless Castiel isn't all that different to regular Castiel.

As far as Jimmy's experience goes, Castiel's presence inside him is as intrusive as ever, albeit with less external power.

There is the human element, however -- deodorant is now much higher on Jimmy's list of concerns -- and so he's understandably perplexed, when Hael declares, "We're going to become more than just friends, Castiel. We're going to become one."

Jimmy frowns. "We're going to have sex?" He takes a quick sniff of his trenchcoat on the next inhale and grimaces. "Really?"

"You want to possess me," Castiel says, dismayed.

Jimmy snorts. "Oh, what, you don't like that idea?" he says. "Gee, I'm glad you're suddenly so concerned with how much possession sucks. I mean, it's not like I could've used that concern at any point over the last five years or anything."

"Your vessel is strong," Hael says. "This one won't hold me much longer."

"Thank you," Jimmy says happily. It's been a while since someone said something nice about him so he decides to return the compliment. "You have pretty hair and you're a very efficient kidnapper."

+++

"You watched humans for millenia," Jimmy says, staring into the mirror of the homeless shelter. (Against his wishes, the facial hair is making a comeback.)

"You stalk the Winchesters at every available opportunity. You can recite the entire history of coffee for random passers-by." He clenches his non-corporeal fists in frustration. "How can you not work toothpaste?"

+++

Despite being bleeding, homeless, borderline psychotic, and a bonafide murderer, Castiel manages to hook up.

It's a thoroughly horrific process for all involved and as soon as he comes back from the dead for a fourth time, Jimmy works extra hard at repressing every last second of it.

He'd honestly thought the toothpaste would be the low point of his day.

+++

Dean taps the table awkwardly. "Cas, uh, can we talk?"

"Of course," Castiel says around a mouthful of burrito.

(One of the positive aspects of Castiel being human is getting to eat food again. After so long as an angel vessel, the first bite of real human food was like seeing God.)

The flutter in Castiel's presence in back once again as he looks up at Dean. "Dean, you know I always appreciate our talks." He fixes him with a meaningful stare. "And our time together."

"Well, that's subtle," Jimmy mutters. "Did you learn nothing from the clusterfuck that was your last romantic encounter?"

Dean clears his throat. "Listen, buddy," he says, taking a seat on the table. "Um…"

Castiel leans in.

Dean meets his eyes. "You can't stay."

The flutter stops dead and the alien presence inside Jimmy's body curls up in shocked disappointment.

"This right here?" Jimmy says, not without a hint of smugness. "This is why I like Sam better."