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Changing Our Ways

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When Dean drove away from the hospital, leaving him behind, Castiel had felt like his whole world had caved in on him, burying him alive.

 

Castiel knew, quietly, that his being left behind was because Dean couldn't think of another way to protect him. Castiel wasn't the angel he had once been. He wasn't a warrior any more. He couldn't be one. He remembered everything he had been and everything he had done.

 

He remembered opening Purgatory. He remembered the Leviathans and his reign as the new God. He remembered trying to repent, promising he'd find a way to make it up to Dean, to put right all the awful things he'd done.

 

 He remembered the moment when he'd realised that he wasn't strong enough, that he wasn't in control any more. He remembered dying, when the last thing he saw was Dean.

 

His resurrection was a blur. His life with Daphne was like a feverish dream, something that had been vivid but was slowly becoming completely lost to him and only the distasteful knowledge that it had happened, that it had been real, remained with him.

 

It could have been the effects of the medication they gave to him, sleeping pills and anti-psychotics that made everything fuzzy and made him feel sluggish and slow. His body was susceptible to them, in a weakened state. It could have been the pills which dulled the human life that didn't seem real to him, or it could have been Castiel's own choice to forget that time. He couldn't remember loving Daphne, didn't think he ever had, even when he was Emmanuel.

 

They were married which seemed false and foreign. Castiel believed in the sanctity of union and if he'd been in his right mind then it would never have happened. The idea that to someone, somewhere, he was a husband seemed impossible. If he had been in charge of his full senses, he would never have committed to her in any way or form.

 

Castiel already considered himself committed to a cause and a person. It didn't surprise him that Dean had found him, had unsettled him from his life and pulled him back into a world of demons, Leviathans and the supernatural. It seemed inevitable that it would be Dean.

 

Of course, as much as Castiel knew he was left behind for his own protection, he also knew he was a burden to Dean. He was a shadow of his former self, no longer certain of anything. He did not believe he could use his powers, not for the violent acts he had used them for in the past.

 

His world had become fuzzy and strange, and Castiel craved the routine that was offered to him at the hospital. Poor Dean and Sam could never offer him routine. He would be a danger to them, something soft and not-completely there, liable to disappear at the wrong moments or wander off, not the honed weapon he had once been.

 

It was better for all of them if Castiel stayed in the hospital. Castiel could see that. It wasn't a difficult life. He liked it a lot. He found Dean's choice of nursemaid for him rather eyebrow-raising but he understood there hadn't been a lot of time to arrange someone to watch him. Meg was interesting for a demon. She certainly wasn't about to turn him over to Crowley. He didn't trust her but he found that trust was not something that was required for liking a person.

 

Castiel spent his days doing very much the same thing each time, a repetition that he welcomed. There was breakfast where he took his fist dose of pills. If the weather was nice then he walked around the garden.

 

He enjoyed watching the flowers, seeing which ones were in bud and which were in bloom. He liked to see the bees buzzing between them, busy and happy little workers. They didn't get ideas above their station. They didn't rebel and bring the whole world to its knees because they'd got in over their heads. No, bees were happy and contented and they only stung when provoked. Castiel liked the bees.

 

 If the weather wasn't good then he watched television. Then it was lunch. Lucifer used to play with Castiel's food, turning it into maggots or rotting flesh, but Castiel hadn't needed to eat anyway and Lucifer had slowly faded away, a memory rather than reality.

 

In the afternoons he played games. He was especially good at board games, the ones with little pieces and a route to follow, with cards and dice and rules. He found those a most diverting pastime.

 

Then dinner and another round of pills.

 

Sometimes he read before lights out. Sometimes he took the time to think, to contemplate his crimes and consider a fitting punishment for them. When bedtime was enforced he occasionally slept. It was a pleasant enough experience.

 

Once he'd had a dream. He'd dreamed of Dean. They'd stood together, on the edge of another dream of Dean's that Castiel had once interrupted. Dean had held out his hand for him, had refused to go on without him.

 

That had been the point that Castiel had known it was all a dream. His Dean was relentless, unstoppable. He wouldn't wait for Castiel, he couldn't wait for Castiel, not when the fate of the world relied on him. He had to fix the mess Castiel had made of everything.

 

Even if it was something concocted by his subconscious and his guilt, driven by his desperate need to see Dean, Castiel had still taken the fake-Dean's hand and walked through the dream with him. It had been fleeting, over in a few seconds, but Castiel remembered it as if it had been real. He remembered Dean's smile. He remembered the warmth of Dean's hand in his own.

 

He slept now trying to reclaim that moment but he didn't dream again. He wasn't made for dreaming. It was a fluke, a second where he had been all-too-human and all too frail.

 

It should have been a warning, but Castiel was too busy being blinded by Dean to worry about the dependency he had developed.

 

**

 

Castiel awoke to screaming. It wasn't unusual to hear isolated screaming but this was different. There was panic behind it. Not the panic of one, solitary inmate but of lots of people. Maybe it was a riot, Castiel thought but then he shook his head. That happened in prisons. People were either content in the institution or they were drugged to the point of not caring. It wasn't the sort of place a riot would spontaneously happen. Outside his room he could hear people running, more shouting.

 

It could be demons again, Castiel reasoned. There had been demons in the hospital once. They'd taken over the staff, lying in wait for Castiel - a harmless, broken little angel they could take back to their King. It was unlikely Crowley had given up on looking for him and Meg, useful and adept at saving her own skin as she was, couldn't really protect him from an onslaught.

 

He got out of bed, walking slowly towards the door, peering through the little window into the hallway outside. There was black smoke but it was just that, smoke and not the un-housed forms of demons. Something was on fire somewhere. That would explain the running and the screams. There was no fire alarm though. That was very inconsiderate. It suggested a lack of proper concern for safety.

 

Castiel knew he could stay in his room, wait for Meg to come, but she seemed to be taking a long time. She could be stuck somewhere or being forced to help out. She wouldn't like that, if she actually had to work at being a nurse. She had enjoyed using him as an excuse to do as little work as possible.

 

Castiel reached for the door handle. It was hot and he was glad he was alone in the room because he fancied that it was the sort of heat that he shouldn't be able to tolerate, not if he was going to pass as perfectly normal. He stepped out into the hallway, into the billow of smoke, and he was glad he didn't need to breath.

 

He passed slowly along the corridor, checking the other rooms, making sure everyone else was out. He didn't see anyone else which made his own presence there just that bit stranger. If everyone else had been evacuated, why had Castiel been left behind? Had he been overlooked? Had he slept on while others with a better sense of self-preservation awoke? Castiel wandered on through the hallway, convinced now that he was alone in the hospital.

 

He might have been assumed dead, Castiel thought to himself. Sometimes he forgot to breathe and it was harder to remember if he was asleep. Someone might have checked on him, counted him as already lost and moved on to other, still breathing patients. That seemed a likely conclusion. Later, Castiel was sure he'd laugh about this. It was the sort of thing Dean would find funny, Castiel rising from the smoke and ashes like a phoenix.

 

There was a set of stairs to his right. Castiel took them, going down and then down again, heading for the back door that led out into the garden. He'd wait down there. Meg would come to look for him there eventually, he was sure of that. It was one of the few places he went and since the games room would be filled with smoke, he knew he couldn't sit down there. There were only so many miraculous escapes from death he could make till someone became suspicious. Sitting in a choking, smoke filled room completely unharmed would certainly raise a few eyebrows.

 

The garden was shaded in moonlight. It was even more peaceful looking in the night than in the day. Castiel found his favorite seat, the little bench in the middle of the garden, and sat down to watch the hospital burn. As far as Castiel knew, everyone was safe. He supposed the others were at the front. Maybe he should have gone there too, but it seemed easier to be found wandering in the garden after the event then to appear at the front door.

 

Castiel stared at the hospital, at the smoke billowing from the cracks around the windows and doors, at the fire dancing behind the safety of the glass. It was beautiful in a destructive, deadly fashion.

 

There was a noise behind him, footsteps on the gravel path. Castiel sighed. That would be Meg, come to find him. He hadn't had to wait very long.

 

"Ah, there you are," a voice said, a deep male voice. Castiel turned, wondering if Meg had had to take over a new vessel. It would be very inconvenient for her if she had. He saw the man standing outlined in the moonlight and he saw under his skin, saw what he really was.

 

"Leviathan," he breathed.

 

"Angel," the Leviathan said, nodding his head in greeting. "I've been asked to pick you up. Come along, the boss is waiting."

 

“Of course,” Castiel said quietly.

 

He rose without hesitation, pausing only for a moment, shrugging off his tan trench coat and draping it over the bench. They both knew that if he resisted the Leviathan could kill him easily. Castiel didn’t have the power to fly away. He had been expecting something to come for him but he had hoped demons before the Leviathan.

 

He hoped Meg had made it out of the hospital and that she would understand the clue he left for her. It was the only thing he could do in the short time he had.

 

He hoped she’d know to give it to Dean.

 

He didn’t want her to look for him, didn’t want anyone to look for him. This was his fate. It was what he’d known was coming. He couldn’t escape his punishment.

 

He walked down the garden path, joining the Leviathan who took a firm grip on Castiel’s collar. They vanished together into the night.

 

**

 

They were staying off the grid, they had to. Their faces had been all over the news, the faces of mass-murderers and they couldn't exactly check into anywhere they might be noticed. It wasn't the first time they'd had to fly under the radar but it was getting harder and harder to do.

 

Their usual bolt holes were gone. There was no more Roadhouse, hadn't been for years. Now there was no more Bobby's either. They had lost everyone. There was nowhere left to go so they were reduced to sleeping in abandoned warehouses, dragging in sleeping bags and piggy-backing off the Wi-Fi from the nearest houses to get any research done. It was degrading. That was probably the point. They were being pushed to their limits, almost unable to function but the Winchesters were adaptable. They'd stopped an Apocalypse. They wouldn't back down because people died or things got hard.

 

Sam was on his laptop, watching footage of Dick Roman. Dean couldn't stand to watch any more news feeds or read any more articles. There was only so long he could focus on those things before he began feeling helpless. When he felt that way was when he started coming up with crazy ideas that pushed them too far, too soon. He was better off watching their backs, making sure no one had called the cops because they'd noticed vagrants in the building or anything like that. It didn't matter that Dean knew it was unlikely, patrolling the outskirts of the building still made him feel useful.

 

His cell phone rang and Dean fished it out of his jacket pocket. There were only a handful of people who'd call. Only a handful who knew the right number.

 

"Yeah?" he barked into the receiver.

 

"It's Meg," came the voice on the other end of the line. "Something's happened."

 

"What?" Dean asked. "Is it Cas? Is he okay?"

 

Rationally he knew the only reason she'd call would be about Cas. Either he was getting better or he was getting worse. Dean really, really hoped it was better because if Meg was calling to tell him there was no hope then Dean didn't want to take the call. If Cas wasn't getting better Dean didn't want to know about it. He'd be happier not thinking about Cas or the sacrifice he had made, a sacrifice that never would have been necessary in the first place if Castiel hadn't broken Sam's wall. 

 

It all came down to that, to Cas's stupid, fucked up choices and Dean hated himself for being worried about him but he couldn't stop.

 

"Meg?" he said, aware suddenly of the noise in the background. Meg wasn't calling from somewhere quiet. There were sirens in the background. "What the fuck did he do, Meg?"

 

Maybe she was calling to tell him that Cas had gone psychotic. Spending all that time with Lucifer in his head had tipped him over the edge and now Castiel was something he needed to hunt down again. Maybe Castiel was a danger to them that Dean was going to have to put down for his own good.

 

"He's gone, Dean."

 

"What do you mean gone?" Dean asked, suspicion gnawing at him that his hunch was right and Castiel really had snapped and broken out.

 

"I mean he's gone! There was a fire. I couldn't get to him, Dean. You'd think in all that smoke and confusion they wouldn't notice one nurse going missing but apparently I was needed," Meg said angrily.

 

"A fire? I don't care what you had to do, Meg. What about Cas?"

 

"I went to look for him when I could get away. I thought he'd be in his room. It's not like the smoke or the fire can kill him. He wasn't there and I checked the games room and he wasn't there. The other place he likes is the garden."

 

Dean frowned. He hadn't realized Castiel was functioning. Sam had been exhausted, hours away from a sleep deprived death when Lucifer was tormenting him and Dean thought Castiel would have been the same, not able to die but stuck in limbo with Lucifer.

 

 It was why he didn't think about Castiel that often. If he did, then he hated himself for letting Castiel take on all that pain. He hadn't ever let himself think that Castiel might be coping, that he might be making progress.

 

"Yeah, okay. He likes the garden. Really important information, Meg. Get on with it."

 

"Fuck you, Dean," came back Meg's retort. "I went to look in the garden and he wasn't there, but his stupid coat was."

 

"He left his coat?" Dean swallowed.

 

That brought back unpleasant memories. The only time Castiel hadn't had that coat was when Dean was carrying it around, holding on to it since it was the only damn bit of Cas he had left. If Castiel had left it behind was it meant to tell him something? Tell him maybe that Castiel wasn't coming back and Dean should think of him as dead again.

 

Dean swallowed hard. It wasn't that easy. Cas didn't just get to walk away like that.

 

"The fire was set deliberately," Meg said. "I know that already. I think it was set so someone could get inside to get to Castiel. It's not as if they could just swing by and take him out. I would have put a stop to that. I think whoever took him knew that he was being watched and they created a panic to get me out the way."

 

"They? Who are they, Meg?" Dean asked angrily. "Crowley?"

 

Crowley had been after Castiel before, when Castiel didn't know who he was or what he was. There'd still be demons out there searching for Castiel, planning to give their King the angel he wanted so much. Not every demon was as stupid as the ones they'd run into bringing Emmanuel to the hospital. Some of them were smart, some of them were devious and some of them had just as much ambition as Meg.

 

"No, it's not demons. I don't think demons would have given him enough time to leave his coat. He's an angel; they'd grab him and run before he could kill them. It's someone who's not afraid of him. I think it was Leviathans."

 

"Leviathans?" Dean shook his head. He didn't want to believe it.

 

The Leviathans had killed Castiel once before. They'd destroyed him from the inside, bursting out of him and leaving nothing of Castiel but that coat. Maybe that had been the message, not telling Dean not to look for him but telling Dean who'd taken him. If it was the Leviathans though, then Castiel could already be dead.

 

"Meg, just stay there and find out what you can. Me and Sam will be with you as soon as we can."

 

"Like I'm going anywhere," Meg said and Dean could hear her rolling her eyes. A second later the line went dead.

 

Dean shoved his phone back in his pocket and turned, running back into the warehouse. He'd give Sam ten minutes to pack and then they were hitting the road. He'd thought he was doing the right thing, leaving Castiel in that hospital. He'd thought Cas would be safe. He was wrong though and Dean really hated when he was wrong.

 

When he was wrong, people died.

 

He just damn well hoped Castiel wasn't one of them.

 

**

 

The room that he'd been left in was very clean. That was the first thing Castiel noticed about it. It was very white - white floors, white walls, white ceiling - and scrubbed to keep it that way. There was no trace of dirt. No trace of color either or individuality or anything human. It was an unfeeling room.

 

It made him feel uneasy. He'd been left there, on a nice soft white sofa that he almost didn't want to sit down on. He was covered in soot. He hadn't thought to make himself clean, it hadn't been the first thing on his mind. He'd been too busy watching the Leviathan that had brought him there, wondering when it would kill him, but it hadn't. It had left him.

 

That had been strange too. Castiel had thought he was brought for punishment, he'd been expecting it, waiting for it. It was what he deserved and it seemed fitting that that punishment should come from the creatures he helped realize into the world. Castiel couldn't work out why they were waiting. He had been destroyed by them once. Even if he was resurrected again, he wasn't strong. He posed no threat to the Leviathan.

 

The door to the white room opened and Castiel looked up. There was a man in the doorway. He wore a business suit and he was handsome, relatively young. What was under his skin was more interesting to Castiel though.

 

 

"Castiel," he said, smiling. Behind the smile there were rows and rows of teeth.

 

"I know what you are," Castiel said quietly.

 

"I thought you would." The man nodded. "But to everyone else I'm Dick Roman, CEO and billionaire."

 

Castiel remained silent. There was nothing he could say. He hadn't realized that the Leviathans had managed to spread so far, to climb so high but it didn't come as a surprise to him. He had hoped that somehow Sam and Dean had been able to stop them, to prevent their spread but Leviathans were unquenchable. It was why they were consigned to purgatory. If Castiel had known what he was going to let out, what was going to be freed, then he wouldn't have attempted to open purgatory in the first place.

 

"I should thank you, Castiel," Dick Roman said, crossing the room and coming to sit down on the white sofa beside Castiel. "None of this would have been possible without you."

 

"Don't say that," Castiel said stiffly. It was true, he knew it was true. He didn't want to hear it though.

 

Dick leaned closer, reaching out to stroke one finger over Castiel's soot streaked cheek.

 

"I bet you're rather attractive when you're cleaned up," he said, eyes skimming over Castiel's clothes, his sullied hospital scrubs that had once been so white but were now grey.

 

Castiel swallowed and stared past Roman. Any second now he was certain the fatal blow would be coming. He almost welcomed it.

 

Dick sighed and dropped his hand. "I'll have to have you cleaned first but I think once you're clean, you'll make a very fine addition to my office." He smiled again, that ugly, toothy smile. "Like a nice house-plant or an ornament."

 

That hadn't been what Castiel was expecting to hear and he looked up at Dick Roman, his eyes wide in confusion.

 

"You're supposed to kill me," he said uncertainly. "You're supposed to punish me. I was resurrected to do penitence, to suffer for my mistake. I don't understand."

 

Dick Roman looked at him, a smirk tugging at the corner of his mouth. He moved in a blur, one moment self-contained and the next pinning Castiel down on the sofa, his weight shoving him down into the cushions, holding Castiel in place.

 

"This is a punishment," he growled. "You don't even know the suffering you're going to feel. Death would be too quick for you, too easy. You freed me, Castiel and now you're mine to do with as I like." Dick paused for a moment, leaning down till his nose was buried in Castiel's hair. He inhaled deeply, breathing in the scent of Castiel's vessel. "I bet you would taste delicious," he whispered, tongue sneaking out to lick a strip along the length of Castiel's neck.

 

Then he sat back, letting go of Castiel, straightening himself up and brushing his fingers down the front of his jacket, brushing away the dirt and grime left by Castiel. He stood up, staring down at Castiel who didn't move, lying there shocked and startled, the world having tilted and taken him to a strange, terrifying place he couldn't make sense of.

 

"As I said, you'll have to be cleaned up first," Dick said, tugging on his sleeves. He turned away from Castiel and marched towards the door, letting himself out and leaving Castiel completely alone again.

 

**

 

Dick paused outside the door, locking it. He turned to look at the Leviathan he had left on guard.

 

“I want the angel washed and I want his clothes spotless. I think I’ll keep him in white, he looks good in white,” he said and the Leviathan nodded.

 

That was the good thing about being the leader. He gave orders and people accepted them. Soon he would have a clean, docile, broken Castiel which was just what he wanted. It was safer to have Castiel here with him, to have him under his control, than to leave him out in the world as a possible ally to the Winchesters.

 

Edgar was waiting for him a little way down the corridor. He’d done very well, setting the fire and retrieving the angel for him. Dick had checked the news already. Nothing could be traced back to him. It had been a freak electrical accident, a very normal, very human occurrence. No monsters had been involved. No one even seemed to have noticed that there was a patient missing.

 

“You did well,” he said in passing, continuing on down the corridor. He had meetings, projects to supervise, proposals to look over. The hostile takeover of the world couldn’t happen without Dick Roman at the helm. 

 

Edgar pushed away from the wall and followed him.

 

“Why did I have to bring the angel here?” he asked. “Why haven’t we killed him?”

 

“I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but when we kill him, he comes back,” Dick said mildly. He really didn’t enjoy being questioned.

 

“But why is he here? Is it a trap for the Winchesters?”

 

“No, if they do attempt to rescue him then it will be an added bonus, although if you did your job properly then they won’t know that the angel’s disappearance had anything to do with us,” Dick said.

 

He reached into his pocket, pulling out a key card, which he ran through a scanner at the end of the corridor. It opened a door and he stepped through it, prepared to let the door swing shut on Edgar but the other caught it and held it open, walking in behind him.

 

“Then why?” he asked.

 

“Because he’s a danger to us.  You remember being inside him, don’t you? You remember his memories, his feelings? He seems to remember us too. I think it would be rather short sighted to leave something with that knowledge running around in the outside world, don’t you think?”

 

Edgar nodded slowly. “How did you even know he wasn’t dead?”

 

Dick sighed. The others were mostly stupid. It was useful but it did leave him feeling far too often that he was throwing pearls before swine. They could hardly comprehend the nature of his insight.

 

 “Demons may be inferior life forms, but they do provide interesting gossip. They were getting very excited about a healer. It turned out that healer was our angel.”

 

He came to another door, scanning the card again. This time he shut the door forcefully in Edgar’s face, preventing him from following. There were only so many questions Dick was willing to answer before he decided that Edgar, for all the good work he did, was too inquisitive to keep around.

 

**

 

They were half-way through the state when Sam turned to him, switching off the radio. Dean gritted his teeth. That meant Sam wanted to talk and even though it was stupid, Dean couldn’t help feeling that talking would slow them down. They had to keep moving, had to go faster, had to get there before the sun rose.  Sam wanting to talk could only be a distraction.

 

“You know I’ve forgiven Cas, don’t you?” Sam asked.

 

Dean glanced at him from the corner of his eye. “What?”


“I just wanted you to know, if you’re still angry with him, that I’ve forgiven him.”

 

Dean wondered if Sam was being particularly dense or if he thought Dean was racing through the night because of the Leviathan connection, not because Castiel was in danger.  Dean didn’t even know how to begin to tell Sam that being angry with Cas wasn’t like being angry with anyone else. If it had been someone else who’d hurt Sam, Dean probably would have left them to their fate. He wouldn’t have gone looking for them, determined to rescue them.

 

“I haven’t forgiven him,” he said slowly. “But that doesn’t mean I don’t care about him, Sam. We’re going to find out what happened to Cas, we’re going to get him back.”

 

Sam smiled at him, a little sadly. “I just thought you should know, in case you were holding out because of some misplaced concern on my part. I’m fine, Dean. I’m really fine.”

 

Dean snorted. “No offense, but there’s a lot more between me and Cas than you, Sam.”

 

“I know,” Sam said quietly. He stretched out, turning away from Dean and settled against the window, his arms folded to make a pillow for his head. The car filled with silence and Dean was about to turn the radio back on, when Sam whispered, “I just don’t want to be the thing that holds you back.”

 

Dean turned his head, his mouth open in surprise but Sam was hunched up away from him, his eyes resolutely shut. Dean didn’t know what he’d say anyway so he shut his mouth and focused on the road. Having Sam’s blessing didn’t make dealing with the emotions churning in his stomach any easier.

 

He hadn’t forgiven Castiel, but he also hadn’t stopped wanting him or needing him. It was a pain and a suffering that Dean couldn’t share with Sam. Castiel had hurt Sam, left him with deep scars but he’d cut Dean deeper still. He ought to hate Castiel and he didn’t.

 

He just hated himself all the more for being so weak. 

 

He’d known for a long time that Castiel was the weak link in his armor. It had been bad enough having Sam, knowing that whatever awful things Sam did, Dean would defend him. He’d never, ever expected to care for anyone else with that same intensity. Sam was his little brother, Dean had always been told to protect him.

 

Castiel was different, Dean had done all the damage there himself.

 

**

 

The hospital was a smoldering ruin. If there had been any evidence it had burned away in the fire. Dean knew, he’d seen the reports and he’d searched through the rumble himself under the guise of investigating for the FBI. He’d spun some story about insurance fraud and the local police had been all too happy to help.

 

Dean wondered if the people in the town were particularly stupid since they didn’t notice two supposed serial killers in their midst but he’d learned that people could be very stupid if a badge was involved.

 

There was no sign of Castiel. No one even seemed to have noticed he was missing. There was no report filed on him, no one searching for a body. It wouldn’t have done much good if they had been, but it still rankled Dean to see how easily Castiel could slip through the cracks. After checking out the garden, which had remained completely untouched by the fire, Dean drove away from the hospital back to the motel room Meg acquired for them. He picked Sam up from the station along the way, pleased to see Sam had found a photocopier and some spare time to copy them all of the key files on the case.

 

The motel Meg had chosen was half-way out of town. She’d chosen the room at the end of the lot, the one farthest away from the main office and the one most unlikely to be disturbed.  Dean let himself enjoy a private smile, thinking about all the other things two guys and a woman could be doing, sneaking into a motel room in the middle of the day. It was pretty much the first time he’d smiled since he rolled into town and he hoped that the owner got some vicarious thrill thinking there was a hook-up going on. It would leave them less likely to be disturbed.

 

It was also better that rumors went around about a threesome than  about two FBI agents using the motel room to question a witness.

 

Dean knocked on the door and Meg opened it. She was wearing her normal clothes with a leather jacket and purple shirt, her blue nurses’ scrubs thrown on the bed behind her. She opened the door a little wider when she saw who it was.

 

“You’d better come in then,” she said.

 

**

 

Castiel stared blankly at the white tiled walls of the shower cubicle. His clothes had been taken off him a few minutes ago. He had undressed mutely, handing his stained scrubs to the Leviathan guarding him. Those had been taken away, maybe to be washed or to be burned. Castiel didn't know. He'd been lead into the showers and left there. He'd waited for the water, expecting it to come cascading down from the shower head fixed to the wall. He'd fiddled with the controls, wondering if he was supposed to wash himself, but nothing had come out. There had been no trickle of water, either hot or cold. So Castiel had stood there, uncertain of what would happen next.

 

It was humiliating, he understood, to be naked. He quietly craved something to shield his naked body with. There would have been a time when he wouldn't have considered it his body, there would have been a time were nudity wouldn't have bothered him. It was a mark of how far Castiel had fallen, how human he had become, that he now felt their shame. Castiel had sinned, just as Adam and Eve had sinned in the garden. He had become a liar. He had betrayed his friends. It was only fitting that he learned to feel this way. It was part of his punishment, he was certain of it. He was no longer the angel he had once been; he was no longer free from sin.

 

Castiel continued to stare at the wall, even as he heard the door behind him opening. Whatever the Leviathan chose to do to him, Castiel would take it. Even as he thought that though, he cupped his hands around his soft cock, shuffling towards the corner of the shower, trying to make himself as small as possible.

 

A second later, a bucketful of icy cold water hit him square in the back and Castiel screamed. There was nothing in the water, nothing to hurt him, but he hadn't been expecting it. The water was freezing cold. It shouldn't have affected him but Castiel found himself shivering, hunching his shoulders and huddling in even more on himself. He had always been too warm, warmer than anyone human. He had burned bright in his body. That made it worse now. He felt the cold so keenly, felt it sinking down into his skin and his body shook with the effort of trying to keep him warm.

 

"Turn around," said a gruff voice from behind him. Castiel did as he was told, turning slowly, his fingers still covering himself.

 

 

The Leviathan gave him a cursory glance, chuckling softly at what he saw. There was an empty bucket of water at his feet and two full ones beside him. Castiel glumly understood why the taps hadn't worked when he'd tried to turn the shower on. They weren’t supposed to work. That wasn't the point. The point was humiliation. Dick Roman didn't just want Castiel to be clean. He wanted Castiel to remember every moment of it - to remember with mortification.

 

The Leviathan picked up the next bucket full of water and Castiel closed his eyes, bracing himself. The water hit a moment later, splashing over his chest and down. His nipples hardened to painful little buds. Castiel opened his eyes, looking down at his poor little cock, cupped in his fingers. It had shrunk, now a miserable looking thing, his balls pulled up tight. It was a pathetic thing to look at.

 

His guard dropped the second bucket and picked up the third. Castiel closed his eyes again but this time he heard footsteps, the felt the warmth of another's body centimeters from his own. This time, when the water came, it came from above, tumbling over his head and shoulders, soaking him head to toe in the freezing ice water. Castiel coughed and spluttered, droplets rolling down his cheeks, into his mouth, into his eyes. He blinked furiously.

 

His guard looked him up and down again, his look contemptuous and Castiel knew how he must look. Once, this body had been beautiful. It had been one of Gods precious creations and Castiel knew people had found it attractive. They had found him attractive. Now Castiel was shivering and cold, a husk of his former self. He was drenched, his hair plastered wetly to his forehead, his lips blue with cold. He tried to dry himself, tried to think of warmth but nothing happened. He wasn't strong enough, he realized for even such a simple task as that.

 

His guard walked away from him, stacking the three used buckets before reaching for a towel. He threw it at Castiel who caught it clumsily. It wasn't big enough to keep him warm. It was barely big enough to hide his shame. Castiel wrapped it round his hips and then wrapped his arms around himself, rubbing his hands up and down, trying to warm his arms, his chest but he was too cold, cold everywhere.

 

"Come along," the Leviathan said, opening the door and holding it open for Castiel. "Mr Roman doesn't like to be kept waiting."

 

Castiel moved slowly, his limbs dulled with cold. He didn't want to know what Dick Roman planned to do next. This had been bad enough. His guard shoved him, a hand between the shoulder blades, pushing him through the door and Castiel was aware of how those fingers could go straight through him, like a knife sliding through butter, how that hand could punch into his lungs and fill them with black ooze.

 

Despite himself, despite everything he'd said about wanting to die, about accepting his punishment and his fate, Castiel walked a little faster. He knew eventually there had to be a reckoning, that he would be judged and found wanting, but he found himself grasping at his life, clinging on to it.

 

He had felt humiliation, he had felt shame but he didn't feel broken. He felt stubborn, determined. There had always been a spark of rebellion in Castiel, a part of him that refused to be broken and bent to anyone's will. It was that spark that burned now, telling Castiel that whatever happened he had to stay alive.

 

He just couldn't see the reason why.

 

**

 

"I took this from the hospital," Meg said, waving a video tape in front of their faces and Dean could almost guess where this was going. Almost everything else was computerized or burned on to DVD but some places were behind the times. They were out of date, antiquated, like the hospital he'd left Castiel at. "It's the security footage from outside."

 

Sam frowned. "But the police report said all the security tapes were destroyed."

 

"I liberated this one," Meg said. "Believe me, when you see what's on it, you'll be glad I did. There are some things on here the local police really wouldn't be able to explain."

 

Meg had found an old video player from somewhere. Dean wasn't sure if it came with the room. The motel looked like it might be the sort stuck in time-warp, with the kind of owners who knew that people only passed through their rooms for a couple of nights and really only cared that there was a TV, not what state it was in. Alternatively, Meg might have stolen it. Dean really didn't care. He was too eager to see what was on the video.

 

Meg slid the tape into the VCR and pressed play. The picture flickered into life. It was a grainy, dark picture of the garden.

 

"There are cameras around the outside of the building, in case anyone tries to leave or anyone breaks in. As there's prescription medication in the hospital, that has apparently been a problem in the past," Meg said, reciting from memory what she'd been told about the security system. "As you can see, it's pretty quiet. You wouldn't even know the building was on fire, but...." she reached out, pressing fast-forward and then stopped as a blur of white came on to the screen. She returned the video to its normal speed. "There's Castiel," she said, trapping the screen.

 

Dean watched the figure drifting through the garden. It looked aimless, shapeless in the trench coat which had always been too big for Cas but now seemed to dwarf him. Castiel looked like a ghost wandering among the flowers. Finally, he came to a bench and sat down. Dean resisted the urge to touch the screen, too touch the image of Castiel. He continued to watch instead, knowing Meg meant for them to see something more than simply this.

 

"And here," said Meg slowly. "is the strange man."

 

Just as Meg had said, a man appeared at the edge of the screen. He was wearing a police uniform. Castiel noticed him, turning to look at him. Dean couldn't see his expression; the picture quality wasn't good enough. Castiel stood up slowly. Dean drew in a quick breath, waiting for something to happen but all that happened was Castiel shrugging on his coat. Without it he looked smaller, vulnerable. He set it down on the bench behind him then walked forward towards the man. Dean kept waiting, kept hoping for something to happen. He'd seen Castiel walk into unexpected fights, he'd seen him take on guys when he was outnumbered and metaphorically out-gunned and Dean kept waiting for him to light up, for Castiel to fight back but there was nothing.

 

Castiel went, soft and willing as a lamb to slaughter. The man grabbed hold of the back of his shirt and then they were gone.

 

"It's not a fault," Meg said. "The tape keeps running after that."

 

She reached out, stopping the tape and turned to look at both Sam and Dean.

 

"So, do you agree it's a Leviathan?" she asked.

 

Sam glanced up at Dean. "They are taking over people in positions of authority. A police officer would be the right sort of person and his presence wouldn't be questioned at the scene of a suspicious fire. It would all look perfectly normal."

 

"And we all know that Dick loves when things look normal," Dean snarled.

 

He was angry, irrationally, unfairly, at Castiel and what he'd just seen on the video tape. The Castiel he knew wouldn't just give in. He wouldn't just go willingly with an enemy. It was all wrong, everything he'd just seen. He turned away, stomping over to the window and wrenching it open. He drew in a deep breath of air, leaning on the window sill, trying to calm himself down.

 

The Castiel he knew had died. He'd betrayed Dean and then he died.

 

The man on that tape was like a stranger to Dean. He took another breath of fresh air, feeling clearer for it. A stranger who looked like Cas, who remembered being Cas and doing the things he'd done. There was still a spark of his Cas hidden in there, behind all the recriminations and regrets. Dean wasn't about to leave him to the Leviathans.

 

Dean turned away from the window.

 

"Have you got his coat?" he asked Meg.

 

She looked puzzled.

 

"Yes, of course. I wasn't just going to leave it there for someone to find," she said.

 

"I want it," Dean said.

 

He'd carried Castiel's coat after he fished it from the lake. He'd kept it, waiting to give it back to Cas for all that time. He'd been the one who believed that Castiel was coming back. He should be the one taking care of it now, not Meg. When they got Castiel back, because they were going to get him back, Dean wanted to be the one to drape that coat around his shoulders and tell him it was okay. It had to be okay. Dean couldn't keep losing him like this.

 

Meg shot him another look but she went to the closet and took out Castiel's coat. She's even hung it up. Dean felt irrationally, stupidly jealous and he caught the coat when Meg threw it at him, folding it over and holding it close. If Castiel had left that coat behind for anyone then he'd left it for Dean, not for Meg.

 

Dean hadn't left Meg in charge for her to slither in and get her blood-soaked hands on Castiel. Dean's hands weren't much cleaner but he wasn't a demon. He had been worth saving.

 

"There's no sound on the tape," Sam said, drawing their attention back to the case. He was trying to find a way to explain Cas's strange behavior, trying to make the truth more palatable for Dean. "We don't know what he could have said to Cas. He might have threatened him, threatened us. Cas isn't well, he's seeing Lucifer."

 

"No, he isn't," Meg interrupted bitterly. "It wasn't real."

 

"What do you mean it wasn't real?" Sam asked, his eyes growing wide. "I know what I saw, I know what I felt."

 

"It was a hallucination," Meg said. She turned her back on Sam. "Don't you think I wanted it to be something more? It wasn't Lucifer. I'm disappointed too." 

 

"I don't understand," Sam said, shaking his head. He looked down at his hand and instinctively dug his fingers into his palm. "It had to be real."

 

He looked up at Dean questioningly but Dean didn't have any answers for him. If Lucifer had only been a hallucination, if he really had faded away, then why hadn't Castiel come back to them? Why had he chosen to stay in the hospital, to stay away from Dean? Was he really that damaged or had he chosen to hide?

 

Dean just didn't know any more.

 

“So what next?” Meg asked, crossing her arms over her chest.

 

Dean swallowed. He folded the trench coat, stroking his fingers over it as he did.

 

“We go after Cas. We storm Dick’s HQ and we get him back,” he said.

 

“Is Meg coming with us?” Sam asked.

 

“Yes, Meg is coming with you,” Meg said tersely.  “That isn’t open for negotiation.”

 

“We need everyone we’ve got, Sam, and right now the only person we have got is Meg,” Dean said.

 

 

He hoped Sam knew him well enough to tell that Dean wasn’t happy with this either. If they’d had a choice to work with anyone else, Dean would have taken it but there wasn’t anyone else. Meg was a survivor. She was sneaky and she made her own luck.

 

Sam and Dean were going to need all the luck they could get.

 

As far as Dean’s plan went, it was exactly what he’d just said. They were going to break in to Dick’s headquarters, a building probably crawling with Leviathan, to go after the most powerful of the almost unstoppable killing machines. It wasn’t the best odds they’d ever taken. Dean still didn’t know if they were going in there to rescue Cas or to avenge him. He could be dead. He could very easily be dead and all that was left of him was his battered old trench coat and some grainy security footage.

 

Dean just didn’t believe, in his heart of hearts, that Cas was dead.

 

He hadn’t believed it when Cas had walked into the river, he hadn’t believed it when Raphael had shattered Castiel into a million pieces or when Lucifer had done the same and he didn’t believe it now.

 

**

 

Castiel had been left in Dick Roman's office, once they'd returned his washed and bright white scrubs to him. He'd looked around but nothing was locked apart from the door keeping him in. There was nothing hidden, nothing secret and Castiel wondered if everything in the office was just for show. Castiel was the only thing odd and out of place in it.

 

In the end he sat down on the couch set against one wall, something to make the office look more homely and normal, and lay down. He stared at the door. Castiel could remember, although it felt like another life, that once he'd stood on a road side all night, waiting for Dean. He had been able to wait then and it had felt like nothing, but staring at the office door now, Castiel was counting the seconds.

 

Eventually he closed his eyes. He didn't fall asleep but he did find it peaceful. He could pretend he was somewhere else. He could pretend that once again he was waiting for Dean.

 

Castiel lost track of time, drifting somewhere in his memory. He could have chosen any time, any place. He had the whole of creation to choose from but he chose to be back in the Impala with Sam and Dean. They had been driving to a new hunt. Castiel had only dropped in for a few moments but he remembered all of it.

 

 

He remembered the music blaring from the radio. He remembered Dean's smile when he realized who was in his back-seat, how he'd half turned to look at Castiel and said hello. The sunlight had shone through the window. Sam had smiled too. In those few precious seconds everything had been so very beautiful. Castiel had seen the stars created, the oceans filled but that was the first moment he had seen the true wonder of his father's creation.

 

Castiel wanted to stay in that moment with them forever. He wanted to bask in that moment when Dean had realized he was there. When the sun hit him just right and his eyes sparkled and he was happy because of Castiel. There'd been too many times when Dean hadn't been happy because of Castiel.

 

Castiel whimpered softly, screwing his eyes up tight. He didn't want to remember those times; he never wanted to think about those times again. He just wanted to stay on the back seat of the Impala, bathed in sunshine and the warmth of Dean's smile.

 

He heard the click of the office door but he kept his eyes closed. He tried to focus instead on the sound of the radio, let that anchor him in the memory. There were footsteps and then the couch sagged as someone sat down. Fingers reached out, stroking his hair but Castiel kept his eyes tight shut. He tried to remember words, lyrics, anything to stop him from opening his eyes.

 

"Aren't you just the prettiest thing? All dressed in white like a proper little angel," a voice cooed.

 

Castiel's eyes snapped open. He knew that voice. For a second he thought he'd imagined it but he hadn't. It was Dean. It was Dean sitting next to him, Dean whose fingers were in his hair. Dean who was talking to him.

 

Castiel pushed himself up. He couldn't believe it. Dean was here, in Dick Roman's office and he didn't sound angry with Castiel at all. Castiel didn't know how Dean had found him but he was glad that he had.

 

"Dean," he whispered and he wanted to touch him, wanted to hug him but he didn't think Dean would let him. He couldn't even look directly at him. He could still remember Dean's smile and he didn't want to see a different expression on his face.

 

"You're such a pretty little thing, aren't you?" Dean said, chuckling soft.

 

Castiel tilted his head to the side, something was wrong. Dean didn't talk like this, not to him. He made fun of Castiel. He told him he was behaving like a baby, that he was a nerd but he didn't call Castiel pretty.

 

Castiel looked straight at Dean.

 

He recoiled in horror. The creature on the couch with him looked like Dean. It smelled like him. Talked like him. Smiled like him but it wasn't Dean. Castiel could see the Leviathan underneath Dean's face.

 

"What have you done to him?" he hissed. "If you've hurt Dean, I will find a way to kill you. I will send you back to Purgatory."

 

Not-Dean sat back, looking surprised, almost hurt. Castiel did have to hand it to him, he had Dean's mannerisms down perfectly but that wasn't enough to fool Castiel.

 

Someone clapped. Castiel looked away, realizing that it was Dick Roman. It had been two sets of footsteps that he'd heard enter the room then, not one, but he hadn't been concentrating. He hadn't wanted to concentrate.

 

"I'm almost disappointed you figured it out so quickly," he said. "I was looking forward to seeing exactly what you'd do for your beloved Dean."

 

"Dean is not my..."

 

"I was inside you. We were all inside you. I know, we all know, what Dean Winchester is to you."

 

The not-Dean slung his arm around Castiel's shoulder. "If it helps, he wants you too. I know everything he's ever thought about you and some of it's just downright sinful."

 

Castiel pushed the Leviathan away. He wouldn't believe it. He didn't want to believe it. Not coming from the mouth of a Leviathan posing as Dean, one who'd had his filthy hands over Castiel a moment ago.

 

Dick smiled.

 

"Think of this as an experiment. I wanted to see if you could tell what we are all the time and if you could tell us apart. I thought we might have left a trace of us inside of you."

 

Castiel shuddered.

 

"And if I hadn't been able to tell?" he asked, although he thought he already had an idea of what would have happened.

 

"He really does want to do some sick things to you," Not-Dean said.

 

"And you would have let him do those things," Dick said, his smile growing wider. "We know you Castiel. We know exactly what you would have done. I would have considered it a gift to you as you're never going to see the real Dean Winchester again."

 

**

 

The emptiness of the motel room was comforting. Dean didn’t know where Meg went and he didn’t care. She’d booked the room for them; her face wasn’t on wanted posters. Not the kind of wanted posters that most people kept behind the check-in desk at least. She might be on Hell’s wanted list but that was different.

 

Dean and Sam had dawdled in the car while Meg had booked them a room with twin beds and smiled sweetly at the manager. They’d stowed their stuff, arranged a time to meet, then Meg had vanished. That was all for the better. Dean didn’t like having her in the car; he didn’t like having her on the case.

 

She was there because they needed all the support they could get, because this was about Cas and Meg had already proved she had a soft spot for the angel. Dean didn’t trust her though and he didn’t want her sticking around when Cas was back. He didn’t want a soft spot turning into something else.

 

As much as Dean didn’t want to remember it, Castiel had kissed Meg and she’d kissed him back. He tried to put it out of his mind, tried to tell himself that it hadn’t been anything, but he couldn’t be sure. 

 

He’d had to deal with Sam falling for a demon. He wasn’t going to let Cas get the chance.

 

Sam was out getting food. It took longer now than it used to, but Sam had to check the back of every packet, making sure that the store wasn’t using any of the suppliers owned by Dick Roman. Last thing they needed was to fall victim to whatever additives he was putting in the food supply.

 

So that left Dean on his own.

 

He watched a little TV but nothing held his attention. He tried to sleep but every time he closed his eyes all he saw was Castiel walking into that lake. That image had replaced Hell in his nightmares.

 

He kept trying to reach out, kept trying to stop Cas, to pull him back but he was always too late. Rationally Dean knew that it had been the Leviathan that had walked into the lake, not Castiel, but rationality played no part in his nightmares. It was always Cas's worried eyes he saw, the fear in them before the creatures had completely taken him over.

 

He hadn't been able to save Castiel then. This time things had to be different.

 

He got up, pushing the bed-covers back and padded over to where he'd left his bag. Cas's trench coat was where he'd left it, buried under two shirts and a pair of jeans he'd been meaning to wash for a while.

 

He tugged it out and buried his nose in it, inhaling deeply. Despite the fact that he'd been carrying it around in his bag, it still smelt like Cas. It was a deeply reassuring scent, which was ironic because seeing Cas had almost always signified something bad was about to go down. Still, Dean felt calmer.

 

He went back to bed, bringing the trench coat with him. Dean settled down, his head on the pillow and the trench coat beside him. When he closed his eyes now he could pretend that it was Cas lying in bed next to him.

 

What would he do if he had Cas back? Dean had asked himself that question enough times. He wouldn't let him go again, he knew that. He wouldn't leave Cas behind. Cas might be damaged but he was Dean's. Dean couldn't trust anyone else to protect Castiel; he had to do it himself.

 

But he'd do more than just protect Castiel.

 

He could still remember the bitter jealousy that had flooded him when he'd found Castiel again, living as a human man with a wife and no memory of Dean. It had broken his heart.

 

When he found Castiel this time, he wouldn't leave the angel in any doubt of his feelings. He needed Castiel to belong to him, to know that no one else had a claim on him. No false-wives, no demons, no other angels. Dean had always been jealous of all of them, jealous because there was the danger that they might take Castiel away from him.

 

Dean unbuttoned his jeans, slipping a hand into his boxer-shorts and finding himself half-hard. 

 

When he had Castiel back, he was going to mark him up all over, come so deep inside him that Castiel was forever marked by him. He wanted every damn creature on the planet, in this world and in the next, to know that Castiel was his. He wanted them to know that if they laid a hand on him, they were signing their own death sentence because Dean Winchester didn't share. He protected the things that were his and Cas was certainly one of those.

 

Dean could remember all too easily Emmanuel, the man who was Cas but didn't know he was. He could remember how much he'd wanted to take him, to pin him down and fuck him till he remembered who he was and what he was, till he remembered that he was Dean's.

 

It was primal, a desire that burned deep in him, a desire that reminded Dean of everything he'd been in Hell. It was the darker part of him, the part that saw Castiel as something to be possessed, and sometimes Dean couldn't deny that part of himself.

 

He wrapped his fingers round his cock, tugging it free from the confines of his boxers and stroked himself, pressing his nose deeper into the folds of the trench coat, trying to bury himself in Castiel's scent, trying to pretend it was Castiel's hand on him.

 

Castiel's fingers wouldn't feel so calloused though. They'd feel softer. Castiel's body was always the same, no matter how much work Castiel did, his fingers weren’t rough through use. Castiel's touch would be hesitant too. Dean would be his first. Despite everything, Dean believed he would still be Castiel's first.

 

Castiel would be uncertain, looking up at him for confirmation, wanting so badly to please him the way he always wanted to please Dean. Dean stilled his hand, basking in the imagined moment of Castiel looking at him, his blue eyes wide, waiting for Dean to tell him what to do. He already knew what he'd do. He'd reach out, stroke his fingers through Cas's dark hair, tell Cas just how pretty he looked, tell him what a good angel he was.

 

Then he'd wrap his fingers over Castiel's and guide them together, up and down the length of his cock. He'd show Castiel just how to touch him, show him exactly the way he liked to be touched and he knew Cas would remember it. He knew too that Cas would be concentrating intently, determined to get everything right. It would be so endearing, the look on his face, his brow slightly wrinkled as he puzzled.

 

 

Dean tightened his grip, moving a little more forceful now, imaging two hands instead of just his own. He knew exactly how he'd kiss Castiel, at the corner of his mouth, to break Castiel's concentration. He knew how Castiel would blink owlishly at him, how his cheeks would be pink and his smile shy. Dean had imagined this moment so many times that he thought he knew it perfectly but every time he imagined it, it was better.

 

Every time he kissed Castiel in his dreams, held him in his fantasies, he fell more in love with him. Nothing, though, would ever be as good as the real thing. Even if Castiel behaved exactly the way he did in Dean's fantasies, the reality of Castiel would still be better than even the most vivid dream could ever be.

 

Dean screwed his eyes up tight, pressed his nose deeper into the trench coat, forcing himself to believe that Castiel was there with him. He could almost hear the beating of wings, could almost feel the ghost of Castiel's fingers on his cock, the press of Castiel's lips against his own.

 

That was what drove him over the edge, crying out "Cas!" into the empty air of the motel room.

 

He lay there for a moment, chest rising and falling as he fought for air. The orgasm had ripped his breath from him and for a long moment Dean couldn't do anything but waiting, feeling dizzy and light-headed. Then, slowly, he sat up. He tucked his cock away and then got up.

 

He was careful of Cas's trench coat, not wanting to get any come on it, not wanting to have to wash it. The more he washed it, the more Cas's scent would fade and Dean didn't want that. It was all he had of Cas for the moment, till it came time to give it back to Cas and then Dean would have the real thing once again.

 

Carefully, he tucked Castiel's trench coat back in his bag, back under his clothes. Then he opened the window a little way and went to take a shower. He wanted the smell of sex and spunk to be gone by the time Sam or Meg got back. He didn't want either of them guessing what he'd done while they were away. Sam would probably only shake his head, mumble a bit about Dean being disgusting and having no manners, no boundaries.

 

It was Meg he was really worried about. Sometimes, when she looked at him, Dean suspected she knew everything. There was something in her eyes. She knew the depths of his soul, knew the kind of person Dean really was. Maybe she knew because she'd been human once too, because she'd fallen from grace. Or maybe she just knew because she wanted to do those things to Castiel too. Dean might be her rival.

 

If that was the case then Dean thought Meg should be careful. He'd let her help him but that was as far as it went. In the battle for Castiel's heart, all bets were off. Dean wouldn't play nice and he wouldn't play fair. He'd lost Castiel too many times.

 

He wasn't going to lose his heart as well.

 

**

 

There were no windows in Dick Roman’s office. The only lights in the room were artificial. Castiel had stopped trying to guess if it was day or night. He couldn’t even use Dick Roman’s infrequent visits as a guide. Castiel didn’t think Leviathan had to sleep.

 

At first, being left on his own had been disquieting. Castiel was scared of closing his eyes, scared of what he was going to open to find when he opened them again. The not knowing had left him on edge. On his own, he was left imaging and anticipating the Leviathan’s next move. Everything he thought of was painful, another torture, another twist of the knife.

 

Now, Castiel wished he was on his own. The anticipation of pain had been bad, but it was nothing like the real sting of it. He was supposed to be a warrior. There would have been a time when he wouldn’t have felt fear. He’d gone to Hell to pull out Dean Winchester’s soul and he hadn’t been afraid, even though he’d been facing death. At one point Castiel had been an emotionless drone and he’d been content.

 

He hadn’t known what living was.

 

Now he knew and he was terrified.

 

He was glad that Dean couldn’t see him now. He was glad the other angels, the ones who were left, couldn’t see him. They would have been horrified by his weakness. They wouldn’t have understood why he submitted meekly to having his arms bound behind his back by Dick Roman, instead of trying to fight.

 

Castiel wanted to survive; he wanted to see Dean again, the real Dean, not some cut-rate Leviathan copy. He’d do anything Dick Roman asked of him to make that a possibility.

 

When Dick Roman had entered the office, pulling a length of rope from his pocket, Castiel had felt a lump stick in his throat. He’d wanted to say no, but he hadn’t.

 

Castiel bowed his head, hissing as the rope bit in to his skin. The fact that it hurt at all was a surprise. It shouldn’t have been able to hurt him, not something as simple as a rope.

 

“Do you feel that?” Dick said, smiling. He stood up, watching with pleasure as Castiel began to twitch, trying to get away from the slow, steady burning rub against his skin. “I had the boys at the lab work up something special for you. I knew a normal rope couldn’t hold an angel. This one isn’t normal. It’s rubbed in acid, made especially for you. It will leave marks. I want to leave me mark on you, Castiel.”

 

 

He stroked his fingers through Castiel’s hair, looking down on him. His fingers trailed down over Castiel’s cheek, rubbing over his lips.

 

For a moment Castiel thought something else was going to happen, that the rope wouldn’t be everything Dick Roman wanted. He whimpered softly, unable to hold back.

 

Dick Roman’s smile widened.

 

“Stay here, Castiel, face the corner. I need to make some calls.” He dropped his hand, looking at Castiel regretfully for a second. Then he turned, crossing to his desk and picked up the phone.

 

Castiel bowed his head, staring at the white thread of the carpet beneath him. He tried his hardest to focus on anything put the pain radiating though his arms. He tried not to make a sound. He didn’t want to give Dick Roman the satisfaction of hearing his sobs.

 

**

 

It felt stupid, filling a super-soaker with Borax. It didn't feel like something a real hunter did. They fought with knifes and rock salt, silver bullets and guns. The fact that they were going into possibly the toughest fight of their lives with bottles of Borax and water pistols, made Dean feel like a laughing-stock.

 

It didn't matter if it worked. It didn't matter that any hunter worth his salt was carrying a bit of Borax on him nowadays. All that mattered was they were going to storm a building, looking like rejects from a kids' seventh birthday party.

 

"I want the purple one," Meg said.

 

Dean sighed, finished filling it up, screwed on the top and then tossed it across to her. She caught it, grinning at him. Dean didn't smile back.

 

"Remember, you've got to cut their heads off too," he said.

 

"I haven't forgotten," Meg said. Dean grunted, wanting that to be the end of things and reached of the blue super-soaker, the one he'd already earmarked as Sam's. He could feel Meg's eyes on him, watching him, and he tensed uncomfortably. After a second she started humming, the noise grating on Dean's nerves.

 

Finally, he couldn't take it anymore. He slammed his hands down on the table and turned to look at her.

 

Meg was smiling.

 

"Why are you even here?" he snapped at her.

 

"Why shouldn't I be here?" Meg asked. "Castiel is my friend."

 

"You're a demon, you don't have friends," Dean growled.

 

Meg rolled her eyes.

 

"Fine, maybe Castiel and I are more than friends," she said.

 

Dean swallowed hard, feeling sick to his stomach. Something had happened between them then, Meg and Castiel. Something more than the kiss Dean knew about.

 

Cas hadn't been in his right mind, he'd been weak and confused and Dean had left him in the care of a demon who'd taken advantage of him. Dean couldn't believe it would have been consensual, that Castiel could have really begun to feel something for the demon who watched over him.

 

Meg's smile grew wider. "You're surprisingly easy to manipulate, Dean. I thought you would have grown a thicker skin by now."

 

"What's that supposed to mean?" Dean asked angrily.

 

"You're so jealous. It's almost painful." Meg shook her head. "You're so convinced that Castiel is going to be taken away from you. Do you know you were all he talked about? Day in, day out." She lowered her voice, a rough estimation of Castiel's. "Do you think Dean will forgive me? Do you think Dean knows I'm sorry? Do you think Dean would like these flowers?" Meg pulled another face. "It was sickening."

 

"I don't care," Dean said, turning away from her. "I don't care what he said."

 

"Yes, you do," Meg insisted. "You think I stole him from you."

 

"Shut up, Meg."

 

"Listen, Winchester. Cas is sweet and corrupting an angel would be a feather in my cap, but he's yours, Dean."

 

Dean swallowed hard. He wanted to believe Meg, wanted to believe that Castiel was his and his alone. It just sounded too good to be true.

 

"Why are you here then?" he asked her. "If Cas is mine, why are you here?"

 

"I told you, we're close."

 

"You don't want him?"

 

"I'd get tired of him whining about you."

 

Dean turned, finding himself able to face Meg again. She was smiling but this time it wasn't a cold smile, a mocking smile like the ones from before had been. She was a demon, Dean reminded himself. A demon and he couldn't trust her.

 

"Besides," Meg said, standing up. "I like this body. I wouldn't want to change it and I think I'd have to for Castiel. Too bad you've got that tattoo. We could have had a lot of fun with him together."

 

She did a little turn, showing herself off.

 

Dean shuddered, trying to suppress the images that came to his mind at her suggestion. Dean didn't fancy sharing his body with anyone and he certainly wasn't sharing it with a demon who had designs on Cas. Their little conversation hadn't made him feel any better.

 

Dean still felt like a creep for leaving Castiel under her care. He didn't let himself believe that anything Meg said was serious. He knew her smiles were because she liked playing with him, liked seeing him uncomfortable. Dean hadn't forgotten the things she'd done, hadn't forgiven them.

 

Meg sighed, finishing her little twirl.

 

"I do admire your dedication, Dean," she said after a moment, her face carefully honest. "It almost makes up for you abandoning him."

 

"It was dangerous and Cas was sick," Dean said.

 

"Still," Meg said, tapping a finger against her lips. "If anything happened between me and Castiel, it would be your fault. You left him with me and he was so beautifully broken."

 

"I swear Meg, if you don't shut up I'll gank you right now."

 

Meg looked at him, her eyes wide.

 

Slowly, she nodded.

 

"You know, I really think you would."

 

Dean closed his eyes. He knew that he needed Meg's help, that they stood a slightly better chance with three of them rather than two. Even so, if she didn't shut up about Castiel, Dean didn't think he'd be able to stop himself.

 

He opened his eyes again, exhaling shakily.

 

"Yeah."

 

"Let’s just hope the Leviathans don't know you're sweet on Cas. This could all be a trap after all," Meg said.

 

Dean bit the inside of his cheek, stopping himself from saying anything. They knew. The Leviathans had to know. They had his DNA. One of those bastards had been him for a while until Dean had decapitated it. They knew what he felt, what he wanted.

 

Dean could only pray that he wasn't leading them all straight into a trap.

 

**

 

There were CCTV cameras, guards at the front of the building and a security barrier across the entrance to the parking lot. Dean hadn’t been planning to use the front entrance as it was but it gave him a good idea of the sort of security they’d be going up against once they got in the building. He wondered if they could create a diversion; draw the attention to the parking lot. It would be easier to sneak in; easier to get to the higher floors if everyone else was outside, dealing with something spectacular.

 

“Do you think you can steal a car?” he asked Meg.

 

She looked at him, one eyebrow raised. “I know I can steal a car. Why?”

 

“I want you to ram one in to the front of the building. Or set it on fire and take the hand break off. Make it explode. I don’t care what you do; I just want something in that car park to be one fire. I want to get as many Leviathans out of the building as possible.”

 

“They’re not scared of fire,” Sam said, his brow furrowed in confusion.

 

“I know. I don’t want them to be scared. I want them out of the building.”

 

**

 

Castiel became aware of the sound of running feet, of shouting. For a moment he thought he was back in the hospital. When he sniffed, he could smell smoke. He opened his eyes, looking round and sighed when he realized he was still in Dick Roman's office.

 

He'd hoped it had all been a dream. His arms ached. There were long red welts burned in to his arms from where he’d sat for hours, silent tears stinging his eyes, until finally he was released. Already the marks were beginning to heal. Castiel was sure by the end of the day they would have faded completely and Castiel’s skin would be a blank canvas, ready to be hurt again. 

 

There was no sight of Dick Roman in the office now. Castiel spared a momentary thought for where he might be then decided he didn't really care. There would probably be a Levitation standing guard outside the door. Castiel really had no idea why he was being watched. He hadn't tried to escape and he wasn't about to try.

 

 He deserved to be here.

 

He'd made up his mind that he would accept his punishment, that he wouldn't fight back but he also resolved that he wouldn't die here. He wouldn't die until he had apologized to Dean, until Dean knew he was sorry for everything he'd done.

 

As long as Dick Roman was content to keep him alive just to torture and provoke him, then Castiel wouldn't try to leave.

 

The door handle rattled and then the door opened. Castiel looked up, then looked away, seeing who was in the doorway. It was the fake-Dean, the cut rate Leviathan version of the man Castiel really wanted to see.

 

"There's a big commotion out there," the fake-Dean said, shutting the door behind him. Castiel knew he'd locked it. He heard the click of the bolt sliding into place. "I thought I'd better come and keep you company."

 

"Does Dick know you're here?" Castiel asked. Somehow he doubted that Dick Roman would want the unreal Dean to be there without his approval, or indeed, without Dick there to watch over them.

 

"He doesn't need to know everything I do," not-Dean said, his mouth twisting unhappily.

 

"He's going to be angry," Castiel said. "I don't think he's very forgiving."

 

There had been no forgiveness, no mercy in the way he'd wrenched control from Castiel, the way he'd snuffed out the light that had been Castiel's life. He had smothered Castiel, swallowed him alive and taken control of his body. Castiel didn't think that Dick Roman was the sort to give second chances if someone displeased him.

 

There was a flicker of worry on the not-Dean's face, but it vanished quickly.

 

"He's busy. Someone just drove a burning car into the front of the building. Something like that, it draws people's attention. It might even draw the press. He's going to be on damage control for a bit." He stepped away from the door, walking purposefully towards Castiel.

 

Castiel drew his knees up, curing into a ball, trying to make himself seem as small as possible. 

 

He couldn't fight this thing, he wasn't powerful enough and even if he was, the Leviathan had already proved that they could kill angels. Castiel felt frightened. He had been frightened before, he had had doubts, he had worried - worried over Dean, worried that their plans wouldn't work and that Dean would die but this time he was worried for himself.

 

"What are you going to do?" Castiel asked quietly, picking at the short sleeve of his hospital scrubs. He'd never understood before why Dean and Sam spent so much time fidgeting but now he did. It was a comfort thing. It gave him something else to focus on, something to focus on apart from what he was certain was coming.

 

The not-Dean stopped in front of him, squatting down so they were almost level. He reached out, brushing Castiel's hair away from his forehead, smiling.

 

"He hates you so much, do you know that? He hates everything about you but he still wants to fuck you. That's funny, isn't it? Sometimes, he wants to hold you and cherish you and sometimes he remembers what you did to his brother and he wants to hold you down and fuck you till you cry."

 

Castiel wiggled back, trying to get away from the not-Dean, to get away from the words coming out of his mouth. He wanted to put his hands over his ears, wanted to block out everything he was saying, start screaming until he couldn't hear anything.

 

He didn't though.

 

He stared at the not-Dean, forced himself to listen to what he was saying. He knew Dean hated him. It hurt to hear it but the Leviathan knew Dean, it knew what was inside his head and Castiel deserved to hear every cold, cruel thought that Dean had ever had about him.

 

The not-Dean tapped the side of his head, smirking. "Inside here? It's amazing. He knows so many ways to make you bleed. He tries so hard to be good, to not give in to his urges, but we both know that you could heal up all pretty and spotless when he's done with you. He could tear you apart, open you up, drink your blood, and you'd be fine afterwards."

 

Castiel let out a strangled little sound, the noise bubbling up inside him. He desperately didn't want it to be true. He desperately didn't want to be responsible for Dean's thoughts, for bringing back the memories Dean had of Hell. He didn't want to be responsible but he knew he was.

 

It was his actions, his failure to protect Dean from the war in Heaven that had drawn Dean into this, that had made Dean want to hurt him, to rip him apart and destroy him. Castiel had made himself Dean's enemy. It was only fitting really that Dean wanted to torture him, to break him like he'd broken those souls in Hell.

 

Castiel knew he only had himself to blame.

 

The not-Dean straightened up. "He's a coward really, though. He'd never do those things to you. He wants to, he wants to so badly, but even after everything you did to him, you're still his angel."

 

His hands, Dean's hands, went to his belt, unbuckling it, then unzipping his jeans. Castiel watched in mute fascination. It was grotesque, a parody of the real thing but Castiel couldn't look away. He knew what was going to happen but he couldn't make himself leave. Castiel deserved this. This was the punishment he'd been waiting for. It was fitting that it came from something wearing Dean's skin.

 

"He doesn't have the guts to do it to you," the not-Dean continued. "But I'm not him, and I'm gonna make you scream."

 

**

 

Dean ran through the corridors, checking round corners, his tread light. He had no idea what room Castiel was being kept in, or even if he was being kept in the HQ at all. Dick could have Castiel stored somewhere else, somewhere secret. Dean was just going on instinct and his instinct told him that Dick Roman was a cocky son of a bitch.

 

All his plans, everything he’d done, he’d done out in the open – brazen and with a veneer of respectability to protect him. Monsters kept men chained up in abandoned warehouses and hidden lock-ups. Dick Roman was out in public, pretending he wasn’t a monster. He’d keep Castiel somewhere close at hand.

 

Meg was outside, splashing Borax into the faces of the Leviathan and having the time of her life. Sam was on the lower levels, going through the basement of the building, looking for hidden rooms where Castiel could be held, but Dean had headed straight for the top. He chuckled under his breath. The whole building was set up to be easy to navigate, divided into sectors and Dean was currently making his way through upper-management. Sam had found the layout for them online.

 

If anything, overconfidence was going to be Dick’s downfall. He acted as if he had nothing to hide and that left him wide open. Dean didn’t usually go into the lairs of monsters with a diagram showing him exactly where the monster’s head office was.  

 

There was a lack of people on the upper-floors as well. Either they were distracted by Meg or they were attending to something else because Dean kept passing offices and they were empty. He hoped they were distracted by Meg. The last thing he wanted to do was turn the corner and run into a group of them huddled round a water cooler. Dean didn’t fancy his chances going one-on- ten.

 

Dick’s office was down two more twisting corridors. The door, when Dean got to it, was locked. He rattled the handle, convinced now that Castiel had to be in there. The door was locked, a locked door meant a secret and Dick had been so transparent otherwise.

 

“Cas?” he called, standing back from the door. “Cas?”

 

“Dean!” Castiel’s voice was faint, the wooden door trapping most of the sound, but Dean still heard him. He still heard Cas calling his name.

 

He hurled himself against the door, jamming his shoulder into the wood, trying to force it open. It didn’t budge, didn’t splinter so Dean slammed into it again and then again but the door was solid. Angrily he pulled his gun from the holster hidden underneath his jacket and shot through the lock. The gun shot was sure to draw some attention and Dean didn’t think he had that much time before someone turned up to check on what had happened.

 

He kicked the door open and stopped, the sight in front of him chilling his blood.

 

Cas was face down on the sofa, his arms held behind his back, his white hospital scrubs pulled down around his thighs. He was so still, his whole body tensed up and Dean could hear him, could hear his breath hitching, could hear his sobs.

 

The worst part though was that it was Dean who was kneeling over him, Dean who was holding his arms back, pushing his face down into the sofa. It was Dean who was about to rape him.

 

Dean didn’t even have to think. He tossed his gun aside, reached for the knife he always had with him. Sam said he was like a walking armory and right now Dean was glad of that. It was the second time he’d had to decapitate something that looked like him.

 

Dean threw himself across the room, knocking into his doppelgänger and sending them both toppling to the ground. Dean got the upper-hand as quickly as he could, sitting on the monster’s chest. His knife didn’t make things quick. He couldn’t do it with just one swing but that didn’t matter. He grabbed hold of the creature’s hair, held it in place and worked as fast as he could at the gruesome task of taking its head from its shoulders. He could worry later about how much he enjoyed it.

 

Finally he stood up, the monster’s head in his hand, trying not to look too closely at it. He didn’t need to know what his own decapitated head looked like. He didn’t want that image for his nightmares. Glancing around, he stuffed the head in the nearest drawer. It would be enough for the moment.  He found his gun on the floor and slid it back into his holster.

 

Finally, Dean turned back to look at Cas. He hadn’t been able to look at him before. He had to keep Cas safe, had to stop the threat and make sure it never came back, but now he needed to look at Castiel. He needed to see the damage that had been done. The angel had pulled his pants back up and was staring in to space, his fingers clasped in his lap, faded red marks patterned up his arms. He looked practically catatonic.

 

“Cas? Hey, Cas?” Dean swallowed hard. He didn’t know what to say or what to do. He knelt in front of Castiel, hesitating for a moment before he reached out, placing his hand over Castiel’s. “You know that wasn’t me, don’t you? You know I would never hurt you like that Cas. You know that.”

 

“I know it wasn’t you,” Castiel said and his eyes flickered up to Dean’s face. His eyes were rimmed red and Dean realized he’d been crying. “But he was only going to do what you want to do to me.”

 

Dean swallowed hard. “No, they twist everything. It’s what they’re like, Cas. I’ve never thought about...I would never hurt you!”

 

“You hate me.”

 

“No, Cas. I don’t hate you. I love you, I love you so much that it hurts. I can’t hate you,” Dean said.

 

He gripped Castiel’s hands tightly in his own, looked up into Castiel’s eyes and willed him to believe what Dean was telling him.

 

“But I deserved it,” Castiel said softly, blinking back tears.

 

“No, no you don’t. You fucked up, but Sam and I have fucked up too. We’ll fix it, Cas. I promise you, we’ll fix it.”

 

“I want to make things right,” Castiel said hesitantly.

 

“Me too, Cas and we will,” Dean promised. “That wasn’t me, whatever he said, it wasn’t me. I just want you safe, Cas.”

 

“I’m sorry, Dean.”

 

“Stop saying sorry, Cas,” Dean said, tugging him off the sofa and down on to his knees with Dean. He wrapped his arms around Castiel, worried that Castiel would push him away, that he wouldn’t want Dean to touch him. “I told you already, we’ll fix this.”

 

Slowly, Castiel’s arms slid round Dean’s shoulders, his head pressed to Dean’s chest and he sighed softly.

 

“It’s really you,” he murmured.

 

“Yeah, it’s me, Cas,” Dean whispered, pressing his lips to Castiel’s hair. He took hold of Castiel’s hand gently, turning it over, looking at the marks that ran all the way up under the capped sleeves of Castiel’s shirt. “What did he do to you, Castiel?”

 

“It doesn’t matter,” Castiel said. “They’re already healing. They won’t be there in a few hours.”

 

“It matters,” Dean said sternly. Out of the corner of his eye he saw the fingers of the Leviathan’s body twitch. “Come on,” he said, pulling Cas to his feet and taking hold of his hand. “We’ve got to get out of here before he gets his head back on.”

 

Castiel looked at him his head tilted to the side, his expression one of puzzlement but Dean didn’t have the time to explain Leviathan biology.

 

He tugged Cas with him, out of the office and away down the corridor. He wanted to run, hold on to Cas’s hand and run with him, but Dean knew he couldn’t be reckless like that. He had to be careful. He couldn’t lose Cas again, not when he’d only just got him back, and he couldn’t lose him because he did something stupid. They weren’t safe yet.

 

“We just gotta get out of here, Cas,” he said softly. “Then we can meet up with Sam and Meg, and get the hell out of town.”

 

“Meg’s with you? Is she alright?” Castiel asked.

 

Dean felt his heart clench involuntarily.

 

“She’s fine,” he snapped, sharper than he meant to be and behind him Castiel flinched.

 

Dean sighed, looking around them then tugged Castiel through a door and into an empty office. There were blinds on the windows, pulled down which provided them with an extra bit of protection.  Dean made sure the door was shut then leant against it. This probably wasn’t the right time to talk about this, but Dean had to get it out in the open. He had to know. There were footsteps outside, people running past and Dean was suddenly really glad he’d pulled them both into the office. If they’d been in the hallway, they would have been sitting ducks.

 

Castiel stood in front of him, his hands clasped together, his gaze rooted firmly on the floor. He looked like a naughty little boy, waiting to be told off. He made Dean feel guilty just for looking at him.

 

Dean waited for the footsteps to go past, waited for them to be alone before he spoke. He knew he was being irrational, he knew his jealousy was getting the better of him but he had to know. Only a few minutes ago he’d been telling Cas he loved him. He’d been open and unguarded and now he was worried that Castiel was already someone else’s.

 

“You and Meg?” he asked.

 

“Meg is my friend,” Castiel said, glancing up at him. “She’s very beautiful, not unlike a rose with her thorns.”

 

Dean felt a little sick. He’d never expected Castiel to call a demon beautiful.

 

“So, when we get out of here are you two going to ride off into the sunset together? A regular Romeo and Juliet?”

 

Castiel looked confused.

 

“I thought I would stay with you, Dean,” he said, licking his lips self-consciously. “If you’ll have me.”

 

“What about Meg?” Dean asked.

 

He wanted to believe so badly that Castiel would be his and only his. He wanted to believe that Castiel knew what he was saying. He knew that he shouldn’t be hounding Cas for an answer. Cas had suffered and he’d suffered at the hands of someone who’d looked just like Dean.

 

“Cas, just forget it. It doesn’t matter. Do whatever you want, Cas, I just want you to be happy.”

 


Dean glanced away, opening the blinds just a little to peer out into the corridor. It was empty.

 

He turned back to find Castiel centimeters away from his face, peering at him intently.

 

“Cas?”

 

For his answer, Castiel leant forward, pressing his mouth determinedly against Dean’s. Dean struggled for a moment, his eyes wide with shock and the he relaxed, sliding his arms around Castiel, holding him tightly, afraid that any moment Castiel was going to vanish from his arms.

 


 

 

The kiss didn’t last very long, Castiel pulled back too soon for Dean’s tastes but he let him go. He couldn’t cling on to him, couldn’t kiss him again while he still had the image of that thing with his face holding Castiel down, hurting him.

 

Castiel sighed softly, nudging his nose against Dean’s cheek.

 

“It didn’t look like you to me,” he whispered and Dean swallowed hard.

 

He’d forgotten Castiel could do that, could look inside his mind and know just what he was thinking. Maybe he’d just been screaming it inside his head too loud for Castiel to ignore.

 

“I shouldn’t have left you, Cas. I thought I was protecting you,” Dean said, his voice strained.

 

None of this would have happened if Castiel had been with him and Sam, instead of alone in a hospital with just a demon to guard him. It was all Dean’s fault. Castiel was his responsibility and Dean had washed his hands of him because he’d thought it would be too difficult.

 

Castiel nodded slowly. “I don’t like violence, Dean. I don’t want to fight any more, I’m broken. I’m not a weapon; I’d be useless to you and Sam.”

 

“You’re not useless,” Dean growled. “You’re still mine, Cas. I’d rather have you, broken or not.”

 

“And Meg is my friend, Dean,” Castiel said, his fingers clenched in Dean’s jacket. “Only my friend. I’m yours, Dean. I’ve always been yours.”

 

Dean tugged him closer, tilting Castiel’s chin up. He kissed him hungrily, wanting Castiel to know that he wasn’t going to leave him again, that whatever happened in the past, it was all forgiven now. Dean wasn’t ever going to make those mistakes again. He wasn’t going to let Cas get in over his head, wasn’t going to use him as a weapon when Castiel was so much more to him.

 

He broke the kiss, wishing that they were anywhere else. Dean wanted to undress Castiel, wanted to kiss every inch of his skin, wanted to show the angel just how much he’d missed him, how much he loved him but he forced himself to remember where they were, the danger they were in.

 

He couldn’t let himself be overwhelmed. He had to get them out of the building, had to get them to safety.

 

He checked the hallway again, peering through the blinds. Once he was certain there was no one out there, he opened the door slowly. He didn’t need to reach for Castiel’s hand, Castiel grabbed his. Dean pulled him out into the corridor.  

 

He retraced his steps, back to the stairwell he’d come up from and led Castiel down, down to the lower levels where Sam should be waiting for them.

 

He pushed the basement floor door open, running straight into a shape in the blackness and a second later he was soaked.

 

“Sam!”

 

“Dean? I thought you were a Leviathan,” Sam said.

 

“I’m not,” Dean said, trying to ignore the wet feeling of his shirt clinging to his skin. “We need to get out of here. They probably already know that Cas is missing.”

 

“And Meg?”

 

“She knows where we’re meeting, she’s probably already there.”

 

“Cas, can you zap us out of here?” Sam asked.

 

Castiel shook his head slowly.

 

“Cas is running low on juice,” Dean said, tugging the angel a little closer to him. “So we’re going to have to make a run for it.”

 

**

 

First there had been the flaming car then gunshots and the others ran around like headless chickens, lost without orders. That had been why he had risen to the top. That was why he was their leader. They needed him. Without him they were hopeless, unstructured. He was the one with the plans, the one who could see the big picture. He always had been.  Even now, he was their leader, the other Leviathan swarming around him as he hurried through the corridors.

 

His office door was wide open. Dick took a moment to look around but it was clear that the angel was gone. He didn’t think though, that Castiel had escaped on his own. It wasn’t like an angel to shoot through a lock and Castiel hadn’t had any weapons to hand.

 

He found the Leviathan, the one that looked like Dean Winchester, kneeling in the middle of the room, reattaching his head. It took Dick only a few moments to put together the pieces of the puzzle. The gunshots, the car, a Leviathan decapitated.

 

The real Dean Winchester had been here and he’d taken Castiel with him.

 

Dick was almost impressed. He hadn’t expected the Winchesters to work it out half as quickly as they had done. It had been a matter of days, not the months he was expecting. They’d been so bold as well. It had been a smash and grab job. There hadn’t been any grandstanding and neither of the Winchesters had come after him personally. They had come for the angel and the angel only.

 

He had underestimated what was truly important to them. He had seen both Sam and Dean though Castiel’s eyes, he had seen them battle against monsters and stop an apocalypse. He had assumed that when they came, they’d come for him.

 

It was an unpleasant feeling to be wrong.

 

“What were you doing in here?” he snapped at the Leviathan-Dean.

 

It had succeeded in successfully reattaching his head. It looked up at him, the guilt written all over its face and Dick sighed, disappointed. That was the problem with the others, they had no patience.

 

“Bib him,” he said, pointing his finger at the Leviathan on the floor.

 

“What about the Winchesters and the angel?” Edgar asked.

 

Dick hadn’t noticed him amongst the throng that had followed him but he supposed must have been there, probably hiding at the back. He had told Dick there’d be no trace for the Winchesters to follow but that had proved to be untrue. He was lucky that Dick didn’t order him bibbed too.

 

“What about them? This is only a minor setback.” Dick straightened the lapels of his jacket and smiled. “All they’ve done is bought themselves a little time together. The Winchesters can’t win this battle.”

 

That was the bottom line. Eventually, the Winchesters would die and Dick could pick up again from where he’d started with the angel. He’d waited since the beginning of time in Purgatory. He could wait a little longer.

 

“My team found the tablet this morning,” he said. “And the construction of the factories is almost completed. There’s nothing the Winchesters can do to stop us. As I said, this is only a minor setback.”

 

And the next time he wouldn’t bother with mind games. He’d strip the angel down to his bare skin and devour him whole.

 

**

 

The cabin was off the grid. It wasn’t anywhere that they could be tracked to. Only a handful of people even knew of its existence. Of course, they’d had to tell Meg where it was. She was waiting for them when they finally reached it after hot-wiring a car and driving for the better part of a day. They drove carefully, keeping under the speed limit with Castiel in the back seat, murmuring about nonsense.

 

Dean had closed his eyes and let it all wash over him. He hadn’t cared what Castiel said, he was just pleased to hear the sound of the angel’s voice. He didn’t even mind that Sam was driving. For a few blissful hours, once they were sure no one was on their tail, everything had been right with the world.

 

When they got back to the cabin though, that feeling evaporated. It didn’t matter that Castiel was his, Dean still felt jealousy gnawing at his gut when he saw Meg standing out front of the cabin. That feeling only intensified as Sam parked the car and Castiel got out, running to her side, worrying about her and asking her if she was okay. Dean saw Meg brush it off, saw her mouth twitch in irritation and he reminded himself that Castiel was just being a concerned friend.

 

He was the one Castiel had been kissing this time, not Meg. He was the one Castiel wanted.

 

Everything after that was just a formality. Dean knew Meg was pleased they'd gotten Castiel out, but he could also see that she was restless. Castiel was safe; the role she'd needed to play was over. She wasn't a friend and she didn't want to stick around after their goal was achieved.

 

He didn't make her any offers, didn't offer to give her a place to stay or a bed for the night. It made it easier. Meg probably wouldn't have cared about being rude, but Dean didn't want her saying something that might upset Cas. He was still fragile and Dean didn't know the half of what had happened to him in that horrible place.

 

He didn't know if he'd got there in time, or if what he'd witnessed was just one of a long line of violations. Dean needed to get Cas on his own before he could start asking those questions however.

 

Meg took off eventually, mentioning something about dropping by if she was in town. Dean knew she was saying it for Castiel, not because she'd suddenly switched sides or found herself a burning desire to join the Winchesters’ cause. Dean wasn't even certain if they'd be on the same side the next time they saw her. Meg had her own car, stolen from the parking lot of Dick Roman's HQ and she drove off into the setting sun.

 

Sam packed up about half an hour after Meg left. He had research, he said. The second bedroom had the best Wi-Fi, he said. He got up, picked up his laptop and took himself off to the bedroom, leaving Dean and Cas alone for the first time since they'd broken out of Dick Roman's office.

 

Dean was sure Sam had guessed, but he was glad Sam was being discreet about things. Everything was too new, too raw, for Dean to talk about it yet. He needed time, Castiel needed time. They had to work out the future together, before they told Sam what that future was going to be. Dean was glad Sam was giving them the space to do that.

 

Only now that they were alone, Dean couldn't find the words. He got up, poured himself a glass of whiskey. He picked up a second glass, offering it silently to Castiel but the angel shook his head. Dean set the glass and bottle down, picked up his half-full glass instead and took a sip.

 

For a long time he stood there, staring at Castiel, swallowing down the liquor and feeling liquid courage seep into his bones. Finally, he set the glass down and wiped his mouth on the back of his hand.

 

"I've got something for you, Cas," he said.

 

Castiel looked up at him brightly. "Yes?"

 

Dean reached out, taking Castiel's hand and pulled the angel up from the couch. "It's in the bedroom, in my duffel."

 

He pulled Castiel behind him, trying not to think too hard about where they were going or what he was doing. He settled Castiel down on the bed and then dug through his duffel, pulling out Castiel's trench coat. He clutched his fingers in it, glancing up at Castiel's face.

 

"I was keeping this, I thought you'd need it when you got back," he said softly.

 

He got to his feet, moving carefully towards Castiel. He draped the coat around Castiel's shoulders and then stood back, smiling. That looked a little more like his Cas.

 

Castiel reached out, tugging the coat tighter about him and he smiled back at Dean.

 

"I left it for you," he said quietly. "I wanted you to have it. I didn't think I'd come back."

 

Dean felt a lump in his throat, painful and constrictive. He didn't like to think of that, didn't like knowing that Castiel had gone with the Levitation willingly, that he thought he deserved to be punished by them.

 

"What did they do to you, Cas?" he asked, sitting on the bed next to Castiel.

 

His ached to touch him, to wrap his arms around Castiel but he didn't let himself. He needed to know what had happened to Castiel.

 

"They told me I was responsible for their release. They told me I helped them." Castiel's brow furrowed, the memory painful for him. "It wasn't physical torture, Dean, not until later. There was always the threat, always the promise that something more might happen but their leader, he wanted to see me suffer."

 

"So they didn't..." Dean couldn't say the words. They stuck in his throat.

 

"No, Dean, they didn't. You got there in time," Castiel said, his eyes flickering to Dean's face and he smiled.

 

Dean didn’t smile back.  “They should never have had the chance.”

 

“You didn’t know what was going to happen,” Castiel said softly.

 

“I left you there. You were a sitting duck,” Dean hissed.

 

Castiel placed his hand on Dean’s knee, a soft anchor, drawing him back to the here and now.

 

“It’s over now,” he said. “I know why you did it, Dean. I know you were trying to protect me and I don’t mind. You couldn’t have known what was going to happen.”

 

“I just wish…”

 

Castiel shushed him with a little kiss. “I’m here. You told me we could fix things and I want us to fix them. You said you don’t blame me and I don’t blame you, so can we please just fix this?”

 

Dean drew him closer, pulling Castiel into his lap.

 

“How do you want me to fix it?” he asked.

 

“I want you to love me,” Castiel whispered.  

 

He was so close now, his eyes wide – honest and open, and Dean could see he wasn’t afraid. There was no flicker in those eyes that betrayed anything but need. Dean swallowed hard and pressed his mouth to Castiel’s, crushing the angel to him tightly.

 

It wasn’t hard to move Castiel off his lap and down, onto the bed. Castiel went so eagerly, holding his arms up over his head so Dean could pull off his shirt. He arched his hips off the bed when Dean dug his fingers into the waistband of his scrubs and they came off in one swift move, leaving Castiel naked.  Dean took a moment just to look at him. Castiel was naked and exposed but unashamed, lying on his trench coat and looking like something from out of Dean’s most private fantasy.

 

“You have no idea how often I’ve imagined this,” Dean said.

 

He almost didn’t want to touch. Castiel looked so beautiful, completely unmarked. Dean had expected something; some sign of his captivity on him, but there was nothing. Those marks that had been there in Dick Roman’s office had faded completely and there were no other scars on his body.

 

Dean let out the breath he didn’t even know he’d been holding. Castiel had said he was fine but now Dean could see that for himself.

 

He reached out slowly, his fingertips brushing over Castiel’s hip and up, across his stomach, feeling the softness of Castiel’s skin. Castiel squirmed, covering his mouth with one hand, his eyes bright and alive with laughter.

 

“Ticklish?” Dean guessed. 

 

Castiel nodded. He reached out, placing a hand on Dean’s wrist and he pushed it lower, down towards his cock. Dean laughed softly. He wouldn’t tease. He wouldn’t make Castiel wait.

 

He hoped there’d be time later for showing Castiel why it was fun to go slow, to tease but now he just wanted to make Castiel feel good. He wrapped his fingers around Castiel’s cock, smiling as Castiel let out a delighted little sigh and bucked his hips impatiently.

 

“This your first time, Cas?” he asked. 

 

He knew that a lot of time had passed between that night Castiel had told him he was a virgin and this night with Castiel on the bed laid out under him. Castiel had worked with Crowley, been taken over by the Leviathan, married and under Meg’s care in that mental hospital. So many different scenarios ran though Dean’s head, so many ways different ways Cas could have lost his virginity.

 

Castiel looked up at him, his expression completely open and guileless. He smiled at Dean and Dean felt his heart skip a beat. Even if Castiel wasn’t a virgin any more, he was still so innocent. There were still so many things Dean could show him.

 

“You know, Cas, it doesn’t matter,” he said at the same time as Castiel said “Yes.”

 

Dean nodded slowly, unable to stop the grin that spread across his face. He moved so he was lying pressed against Castiel, his clothed body pressed against Castiel’s naked one, leaning in so he could kiss Castiel as he lazily jerked him off.

 

Castiel wiggled and buck against him, driving Dean to distraction. He was so hard, almost painfully so but he didn’t want to stop touching Cas. It would take too long to undress, far longer than Dean was happy with. He wanted to watch Castiel come, wanted to be the one to make him fall apart.

 

There’d be other times, times when Dean could get naked too, times when he could slick up his cock and slide inside Castiel, make Cas come from that, but not tonight. Tonight was different, tonight he just wanted to show Castiel how much he loved him. It was about Castiel’s pleasure only.

 

Dean rubbed his thumb over the head of Castiel’s cock, the pressure just a little different, a little more and felt Castiel buck into his hand. He did it again, smiling as he kissed Castiel’s hungry mouth, swallowing Castiel’s moan.

 

Castiel kept making the most delicious sounds, vocal and unashamed. Somewhere in the back of his mind, Dean knew that the walls of the cabin weren’t thick enough to conceal all of them. Sam would know what was going on; he’d know that they were having sex. Dean wouldn’t tell Cas to keep quiet though. He wanted to hear every little moan. He wanted to hear how much Castiel enjoyed the things Dean did to him.

 

Castiel gasped, his hips rising off the bed as he fucked into the tight grip of Dean’s fist. He reached out, his fingers curling into Dean’s shirt, tugging Dean close to kiss him again as Castiel came. Dean knew it was Castiel’s first time but he hadn’t expected him to go off like a champagne cork.

 

He unwound his fingers from around Castiel’s cock, bringing them to his lips and sucked his fingers clean. Castiel didn’t taste like any other man Dean had ever tasted. He tasted clean and fresh, slightly salty but that was it. The taste of Castiel’s come was another reminder that Castiel wasn’t quite as human as he appeared, that there was something fundamentally different about him.

 

Dean was in love with an angel. An angel whom Dean had just given his first orgasm.

 

 

Castiel wrapped his arms around Dean, nuzzling against his cheek and Dean gave in, throwing his arms wide around the angel and grinding against Castiel’s hip. It was just enough, with Castiel’s hot breath against his cheek and Castiel’s eager hands trying to undress him, to have Dean coming in his pants like a teenager. 

 

He felt boneless afterward, the afterglow settling in to him, making him too tired to do anything but lie there. He didn’t resist as Castiel stripped him, moving only when he had to, to help Cas pull off some errant article of clothing. Finally he was naked and Castiel settled into his arms, entwining their naked bodies together.

 

“I thought I was ashamed of my body,” Castiel said softly. “But now I think I was just ashamed of them seeing me. I don’t mind when you look.”

 

“Good, because I plan to see you naked often,” Dean mumbled.

 

“Are you going to sleep?” Castiel asked.

 

“Yes,” Dean said, too tired to open his eyes.

 

The whole day, the weight of the last few days – all the driving, the worry, the fear – it had taken its toll and now Dean felt it. He’d been running on adrenaline for the past few days and now that was gone, leaving him exhausted. He could relax now, he told himself. Castiel was safe.

 

“I’ll watch over you then,” Castiel said, pressing a kiss to his brow. “I like watching you sleep.”

 

Dean did sleep then. He slept naked and unapologetic, his dreams untroubled, with his angel in his arms.

 

They hadn’t fixed everything yet, the Leviathan where still at large, but they had fixed the most important thing.

 

He and Castiel were together and nothing now could rip them apart.