Trust In Your Unfailing Love
But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation.
Of all the things Dean could think of right now, it was the Murphy’s law of Winchester luck which clearly stated that if the absolutely worst possible thing could happen, then it would do so in spades and never in their favor. The universe really seemed to love bending Sam and him over the latest catastrophe and letting them have it. Dean just wished every once in a while that the ‘powers that be’(whoever those bastards were) would deign to use a smattering of lube because this cluster fuck was one hell of a raw dog deal.
Death’s wall of sanity in Sam’s head was cracked wide open with all of hell bleeding through the cracks. Dean and Bobby were bruised, bleeding sore from Crowley’s earlier attack and covered in ick that was all that was left of Raphael after the archangel had been exploded.
Castiel, or more accurately what was once the angel they all knew(and in one particular hunter‘s case, loved), stood before them with every molecule of his still form pulsing from the power of millions upon millions of souls stolen from Purgatory. It tainted the room and coated their skins with a near oily sensation, making the air feel almost too thick to breathe in, and left it tasting sharp with electricity, moist from misted angel blood, and smelling sour due to all the humans in the room cold sweating buckets of fear through their pores.
With horrifying ease, the former angel reached around behind his back to pull the imbedded blade from his spine where Sam had placed it, the expression on Castiel’s face eerily placid.
“I’m glad you made it Sam, but thee angel blade won’t work anymore because I am not an angel anymore.”, Castiel told his captive audience with a certainty that was leaden in its gravitas. “I am your new god. A better one.”
Winchester luck was a bitch most of the time but Dean decided this moment was an all time new level for it. If any of them survived this, they were going to have to mark it down on a calendar or something and remember it by wearing festive hats. As it went and as Dean excepted, had come to expect with the certainty of tides and moon phases, things only got worse from here on out.
“So you will bow down and profess your love unto me your Lord or I shall destroy you.”, Castiel told them evenly. Bobby and the Winchesters exchanged a series of looks, all of them coming up with nothing good.
Ok, chances of surviving this were starting to look slim to none. Dean fought to breath normally as everything inside of him chilled at once, clenching tightly down in one all over body cramp of ‘fuck me, we are all so screwed‘. He didn’t doubt a single word Castiel said. The new god meant every calm word he uttered with deathly certainty.
“Well alright then.“ Bobby, smart old bastard he was, conceded first, the old hunter already starting to descend to his knees. “This good or the whole forehead to the carpet thing?”. Dean stared down at him in disbelief, the surreal nature of this entire situation still not really sinking in for him. Bobby’s submission was only making it worse in a way. They were warriors, not sheep to any power that said ‘Jump’. They were supposed to keep fighting, keep standing, no matter how bruised and bleeding or even dead they got.
“Guys….”, registered in Dean’s ears, Bobby reaching up to tug at Dean‘s shirt sleeve. It startled the older Winchester into action, into survival, Dean swallowing painfully hard as he watched Sam mimic Bobby’s actions. This was really happening, this was their new reality. Submit or die. Internally every part of Dean raged against him, arguing that this was not the way. That this was not him or what he stood for, what he should remain standing for.
“Stop.” It was such a small word but it had a huge impact and more than a little power riding behind it. All movement in the room halted as the humans focused on their new god and his whims. Dean and the bulk of his pride could have sobbed in relief if he could ever let enough of himself go to do so.
“What’s the point if you don’t mean it? You fear me. Not love. Not respect. Just fear.”. If Dean had to guess what expression Castiel was going for, he would have thrown his money in with ‘disappointed’.
“Not always.”, Dean thought, arguing back in his own head which turned out to be a very bad idea. Castiel’s full undivided attention homed in on Dean, making the hunter physically flinch from it. It reminded Dean of being suddenly shoved out into a desert’s midday sun and staked out under that heavy heat, the kind that weighted down on every inch of your skin, singeing it(damn, that hunt had sucked, stupid coyote spirit).
“Not always.”, Castiel echoed aloud, the angel turned god sounding miffed as he drew closer to the hunter, Dean sinking further down on his knees, fervently wishing that the floor would open up and swallow him whole. Dean found himself studying the minuet details of Castiel’s dress shoes as they came to a halt in front of him, the leather of formal footwear all shiny and scuff free. Despite his high chances of being smited at any given moment, Dean found himself wondering if Castiel cleaned his shoes with his Grace or just constantly created new pairs of shoes to wear. It was amazing what the human brain came up with in times of stress. Dean would have liked to ponder those kind of thoughts further but reality horribly reminded him that a god was standing before him, studying him with a focus that was making Dean want to crawl out of his own skin to escape it. When light fingertips brushed against Dean’s bowed forehead, the hunter looked up and immediately regretted it as he met too blue eyes that opened his mind like a stolen present, brushing aside a lifetime of defenses like a rock thrown through tissue paper.
Castiel’s being sat fat and wide in Dean’s ‘too small for it’ mind, his presence much too large for the hunter’s inner space as the former angel examined the insides of Dean’s head, picking and choosing memories seemingly at random as a small child would pebbles off a shore. Dean was made to be a bystander in his own mind and forced to watch as past scenes were replayed for them both but this time with the director’s commentary, Dean‘s inner most secrets giving the scenes vivid new introspective. Every stray thought, emotion, and feeling he had ever had about Castiel was laid bare before the ethereal being in bright openness. All the good, all the bad, every need, every want, every desire was witnessed by the one Dean had hidden it away from the most.
“You love me…..”, Castiel stated in a flat tone and Dean wept, inwardly and outwardly, in loss and embarrassment, in relief and betrayal. He didn’t bother to deny it, or even try to voice an opinion on the matter. It seemed pointless now. He was exposed, laid out flayed and bare before his hidden heart’s own desire, Castiel voicing what Dean would have spent a lifetime hiding. “Have loved me. For so long.”, the new god continued, Dean’s pain apparently unworthy of his notice as he tore the hunter apart, killing Dean slowly with his dead words. “It was your own self loathing and fear that kept you from expressing it though.”.
Just as suddenly as Castiel entered his mind, he left it, leaving Dean’s head space abruptly empty. The rush of internal pressures righting themselves made Dean almost pass out as he fell over onto the cold concrete, the hunter clutching his head as he gasped with pained relief. He barely felt Bobby‘s hands trying to keep him upright or hear the concern in the old hunter’s voice when he asking Dean how he was doing. Everything just felt like one big blur of hurt at the moment. Unfortunately, his current state of mind did not include being deaf or unaware of Castiel’s scrutiny.
“It is tainted now though, your love for me. Your anger and fear make it murky and displeasing to my eye.”, Castiel said, his gravelly voice cutting through Dean’s haze. It was enough to make the hunter snap out of it, the new god’s words like a Molotov cocktail to Dean’s temper.
“Well maybe you should stay the hell out of people’s head if it displeases you so much.”, Dean snapped, forgetting who he was dealing with for a second. Sam and Bobby’s sudden intake of breath reminded Dean that perhaps he might not want to mouth off to someone who could make him a wet spot on the concrete with a mere thought. Dean was beyond giving a good goddamn though as he glared up at Castiel. Stubborn, head strong bastard that Dean was, he ignored the drying saltwater on his cheeks, the ache in his head from where Castiel had carelessly torn a gaping hole in it, and the other hunters in the room who were desperately trying to make him shut up by shooting silent desperate looks at him.
“What a brave little ant you are.”, Castiel smiled, the expression slight but fond.
“If you are going to kill me, just do it already. Send me to Hell gift wrapped for all I care.”. Dean was tired of this song and dance, his humiliation wanting to bring this thing between them full circle and his pride wanting to get it over with quickly. Castiel had pulled him out of Hell and remade him from scratch so in a way, it only seemed appropriate that his savior be his very own reaper as well and return him back to the dust and his place on the rack. Dean knew he’d rather be dead than someone’s puppet, even if it meant an eternity as Hell‘s favorite whipping boy.
“I could do that. Throw you back into the Pit. I could do it so easily and yet you still dare to bark orders at me.”, Castiel mused, “Here you lie, cringing in the dirt on your back and still you are defiant. Demanding even.”
Dean glared silently back in answer, wetting his lips with a quick tongue, unsure of what to say to the god staring down at him with something akin to amusement. “Even now, you never cease to amaze me.” Castiel said, his tone thoughtful and soft, two terms that Dean felt did not bode well for him.
It was a command, one that could not be ignore by any of the humans, by the undeniable power underlying it. The hunters got to their feet, their movements wary even if they were not fully under their own control. “I could punish you all and I would be well within my rights to do so for your blatant deceit and distrust…..”, Castiel said, looking all the hunters in the eye one by one, each flinching back from it but for different reasons. Bobby in fear, Sam in guilt, Dean in resentment. “….but I am a loving god. A benevolent one, forgiving and patient even to the ones who have sinned most grievously against me.”.
Gritting his teeth to keep from speaking out, Dean bit back the words that fought with the tip of his tongue. They had only wanted what was best, wanted to keep Castiel safe, wanted to help the wayward angel, had once considered him family and to a Winchester, there was no greater title than that of family. When Castiel’s head swung around to pin Dean down once again with that heavy, heart stopping gaze, Dean swore a blue streak at himself to stop thinking so damn loudly. It was going to get him worse things than killed.
“Good intentions build excellent roads to Hell.”, Castiel said, reminding the hunter that he could read his mind any time he wanted.
“You would know.”, Dean shot back before he could stop himself. Castiel suddenly in his personal space was a swift reminder about his current precarious position in life.
“So beautifully honest……so beautifully obtuse…..”, Castiel murmured, touching Dean’s face, a lone fingertip lightly following the curve of the hunter’s jaw line until it reached his lips to trace the chapped silk of it. Dean had never wanted to scream more. He hated himself for wanting so much to lean into the touch of another, his other, his angel once upon a time. It was intimate. It was invasive. It was longed for on so many different levels by Dean it physical hurt him. It was horrific to experience all at once.
“I will have your love again, free of fear, untainted by sadness and guilt. Pure.”, Castiel said softly, his words sounding like promise and doom all at once.
“You can’t make me love you.”, Dean spat out. This was beginning to get too bizarre, even for him. It wasn’t every day a god decided to hit on him or demand his adoration.
“I could. I could make you beg at my feet and follow me around naked on all fours like a beast, and you would thank me for it with tears of gratitude in your eyes. I could make you give me your body, your will, your very soul, and you would do so without hesitation or regret if I truly wanted any of it.”, Castiel’s voice was a murmur that still managed to fill the corners of the room and make Dean quake on the inside with a fear so cold it cracked and burned his heart.
“I would rather be dead.”, Dean admitted, biting his ruined bottom lip to keep his voice from shaking near the end. A lone finger pressed to the tortured flesh kept it from further injury, healing it back to plush health again. Dean resisted the urge to savage his own flesh again just to spite the new god.
“Hush. I have decided that is no longer to be your decision or your fate.”, Castiel said, leaning in so that his lips brushed against Dean’s in rasp of flesh, a barely there kiss that was chaste in composition and execution. It still managed to make Dean‘s skin tingle and burn. “Calm yourself. I wish to demand none of those things from you. You will give me what is so rightfully mine by your own free will. It would be meaningless any other way.”. Castiel rested his forehead against Dean’s, making all the little hair on the back of the hunter’s neck stand up on end and crackle with static.
“I-I don’t understand. Why? Why do you care?”, Dean stammered as he tried and failed to wrap his head around what Castiel was thinking, what he was asking of him.
“Oh Dean, most beloved of all in creation, you are worthy of this. I will make you worthy of this.”, Castiel whispered into Dean’s mouth, ending his sentence with another dry kiss, this one far longer than the last. By the time Dean opened his eyes, Castiel was gone as if he had never been.
“That don’t sound good.”, Bobby grunted, reminding Dean that he was not alone and even worse, that he had had witnesses to the whole exchange.
Dean didn’t answer.
He was too busy checking on his fallen brother.