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The Hands That Bind Me

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Stars hide your fires. Let not light see my black and deep desires.

Dean has been staring at the popcorn ceiling of some shitty motel room for over an hour. He tries to focus on breathing in and out, deepening his breathing but his fist still clutches sporadically at the scratchy comforter. Like it has been long enough for him to forget he's doing it with only the oncoming cramping in his fingers to remind him occasionally.

Two days. They had driven two freaking days straight to Illinois for what turned out to be a goddamn goose chase. And now he's twitchy, he couldn't seem to get his pulse to calm down since they got back to their temporary home crap home.

On the way in, the night clerk had tried to give them some shit about how they double charge in the off season for more than two nights and he almost shoved him through the wall. He vaguely heard Sam smoothing things over behind him with quick apologizes and an extra hundred as he stormed into their room. He would have had to endure a feelings talk or at least an epic bitch out if he hadn't headed straight for the shower.

Dean finally gives up sleep as a lost cause. With a glance at his brother's sleeping form, he grabs his leather jacket and closes the door behind him.

He passes the Impala and just keeps on going. Dean's used to traveling long distances by foot and lets the blackness of night wrapped around him like a protective skin. He liked the dark now more than he used to. It meant less exposure. You could blend into the shadows just like one of them. It meant safety. For a while.

He doesn't pay attention to where he's going until he finds himself in a field with tall grass that's been left to grow unattended.

Dean Winchester. Hunter. Brother. Defender of the Innocent and Scourge of the Monsters.

He grinds his teeth so hard he might break them. After a second, Dean laughs up at the still pitch dark sky but nothing's all that funny. Everything's churning and bubbling just behind his eyes, under his skin, between his teeth and he has to get it out. Somehow. He feels like screaming until he's ruined his throat and won't ever be able to make another sound with it.

For a brief moment, that makes him think of an impossibly guttural voice. He wonders if he'd sound like Cas if he sat out here yelling like a crazed thing until he couldn't anymore. That thought has him smiling for the first time in weeks. Closing his eyes, Dean breathes the angel's name before he even thinks it through.

All the knee-high grass around him sways to one side and when he opens his eyes, Cas is there.

"Dean," he says simply with that barely there smile. It's replaced with confusion when he takes in their surroundings. "Is something wrong? Where's Sam?"

"Uh.." Well shit. This is a little embarrassing now that he's here. I mean they're in a field in the middle of nowhere. He doesn't have his car and he knows he's shaking slightly.

"Sam's fine. He's sleeping back at the motel." Wherever that is, he adds to himself.

Dean tries to pull his shit together long enough to swallow down the tightness in his chest and ticking in his jaw to sound normal. "Just wanted to, ya know, catch up. You still watching over Fred?"

Castiel frowns and answers as though he's preoccupied. "I've been helping people... healing the sick... trying to do penance and redeem myself. I still check in on Mr. Jones- Dean, what's happened?" He had been looking around the open space as he talked and finished by taking a step forward. Closer.

Trying to feign innocence, he says, "Nothin' Cas. A guy can't say hello?" His voice raises a little too loud as he gets defensive. Dammit why did he call him anyway? Breathe in. Breathe out.

Castiel does his usual soulful stare and tries again. "We are.. friends. You should give me the courtesy of the truth."

He can't help it. He's already strung too tight. Dean barks out a harsh laugh. "Are we friends, Cas?!" He's pacing now with unspent energy. "Alls we ever do is fight. Fight each other. Fight friggin' shifters.. vamps. Fight demons. Pain in the dick angels. Hell, if God would ever show his ass, I'm sure we'd have to fight him too." He tries and fails to slow his breathing - he's too amped up again. "All I'm good for anymore is the damn fight!"

Cas is looking at him all concern and scrunched eyebrows. Dean forces himself to stop the aimless rant and try to put into words what has him wandering in the dead of night. What he can't tell his brother. What has him terrified if he was being honest with himself but when was he ever that? Maybe Cas would get it.. or just stoically listen and flit away. Either way, he starts talking.

"Do you ever miss it?" Dean chokes out gruffly with his back turned.

"Miss what?" Cas stays where he is. Waiting.

"Purgatory." Dean turns to meet his eyes. Cas didn't understand 80% of Dean's pop culture references, but he instinctively picks up on where his head is immediately.

"I'm an Angel, Dean. A soldier. I've fought in wars that lasted longer than your species has been on this planet." He pauses and cocks his head slightly. "You miss.. battle?"

"Not exactly. Not just that." He hesitates. "It was simple, right? Clean. Everything else was dialed down to just adrenaline. Blood. Finding the weak spot. No worrying about Sammy or saving the world or... or stopping whatever goddamn monster of the weeks gotta buncha kids locked up for lunch. It was just me- us- and the monsters."

Cas was silent, waiting for Dean to finish. He wanted to reach out, touch him somewhere.. somehow in comfort but he knew Dean wouldn't thank him for it.

"Jesus, man, I want that. I need it. We were on a hunt today that turned out to be just a big fucking waste of time and I feel like.. like I'm gonna lose it or something. Like I'm hungry for it and so..." He shakes his head bitterly. "Empty."

"Dean..." Cas starts and tries not to flinch when Dean barks out, "Fuck! There's something broken inside me."

His voice is shaky. He's feels like a whiny bitch. He's acting like a whiny bitch. Why is he talking about this? It's making it stronger and harder to not want to tear into his own flesh.. if not someone else's.

Everything takes too long. They have to research and then drive and stake out and track down the thing and hunt it into a corner. It all takes fucking days, sometimes weeks, at a time. Then it's over too quickly. There's not enough stuff to kill here.. and that's the most terrifying thought of all.

"I think.." he trails off and looks at the sky for the rest of that sentence. "I feel like soon maybe we'll run out of monsters. Like I might not pull back in time when I realize its a human and we need the police. Or.."

Cas has been giving him his blank stare, letting Dean go non-stop. He knows he's said the word feel in this rant more than he has in his whole damn life but he's got to get the next part out so someone else knows. If he gets too close to the dark side.. he needs Cas to know that he'll have to stop him.

Dean looks straight at his friend for the first time since he started and comes to stand right in front of him.

"I get this itch now. It don't go away until I've torn something apart and watched the lights go out. You understand? I thought hunting would do it and I'd be fine.. but it's not enough. I might hurt someone. I need you to take care of me if that happens. Sammy can't do it. It has to be you."

Cas is clenching his jaw and squinting at him with a lot of intensity. "So you're just going to let this have you, Dean?"

"Cas, look I -"

"No." He shoves Dean backward until he loses his balance and winds up on his butt in the grass. He angrily glares down at the hunter, showing Dean a glimpse of Castiel, Angel of the Lord. Maybe Cas will just smite him here and now like the evil piece of shit he is.

"I refuse to have rebelled, fought and died in your name just to now destroy you."

Dean gets to his feet, feeling his anger return like a warm caress. Cas immediately pushes his chest hard enough to knock him right back on the ground again.

"I will stop you if you need it, but I won't kill you, Dean." Cas' fists are balled at his sides.

Dean knew rationally that it was Cas above him, but his body was getting all flushed and keyed up to attack. Anticipation starts to knot in his belly and this time when Cas steps forward to knock him down, Dean dives lower and charges his middle.

They ended with Cas on his back and Dean straddling his chest for leverage, arm raised to punch his pretty boy face. Castiel caught Dean's wrist mid-air and tries to ignore the feeling of Dean pressed so intimately against his body. His fingers twitch to release his angelblade but he concentrates instead on forcing the human off him. Even if he looked like a holy tax accountant, he would always be stronger and it was time he reminded Dean of that.

While Dean is busy trying to pull back his arm so he can hurt and purge some of his rage into this fight, Castiel pushes upwards and uses his strength to flip them.

Dean grunts in impotent anger as he's pinned hard into the earth. Barring his teeth, he growls as he bucks and tries to dislodge the angel. He needs an outlet for all the violence swirling inside him before he explodes.

Castiel locks his jaw and exhales slowly, knowing Dean doesn't realize his denim-covered groin is rubbing against his vessel's with every attempt to throw him. He tries to direct his focus on holding the furious hunter down instead of the blood rushing to his lower extremity. Human anatomy's were annoying and they betrayed you. It aggravating how good this feels despite his anger at the writhing man beneath him.

Trying to distract himself and make Dean settle down, he rears back and backhands Dean hard enough to stun him.

Through the screen of red, Dean feels the sharp blow along with the sudden twitch in his dick which he also just realized was pressed against another dude's. Cas' to be specific. Dean's eyes shoot up to find Cas looking surprised, pissed, and definitely worked up.

Breathing out deeply through his nose again, Castiel keeps his lips pinched together tight. After a handful of seconds, he makes himself let go of where he had been holding Dean's arms.

"I'll stop you, Dean. When you need it."

That's all he got before the angel took a powder and his weight disappears from above him. Dean's left on his back staring up at the lightening sky and not entirely sure what the fuck just happened.