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No One Gets Left Behind

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"Not leaving you, Cas, come on damn it!" Dean growled out, trying to get Castiel to stand.

"Dean, I can't! Just run! Get your family out and go!" Cass panted out as the black veins spread across his skin. Ketch’s irradiation gun had done its job, and done it well. As they spread, they caused a dizzying pain to race through his blood. He lay out on the floor, his body arching in pain with every pulse of the black veined intruder.

Dean stood, looking back at Mary and Sam standing near the door. Sam looked devastated as he gripped his gun like a lifeline, his hands trembling as he looked down at Castiel. Mary looked guilty, as well she should. It was her lies about working with the BMOL that had led Castiel into this trap. Her remorse was no comfort to Dean. "Mom, Sam, go. I'll catch up."

Sam's eyes widened and he began to protest but Dean barked out, "Go!" And Sam obeyed, letting his eyes linger on Castiel before they ran.

"Dean, damn it, go! You can't help me," Cass growled through clenched teeth, sweat dewing on his forehead.

Dean nodded to himself, his eyes tightening, knowing this would not go over well. "Yes, I can. Are you still able to leave your body?"

Castiel looked up at Dean, his eyes barely able to focus through the pain."Yes, but I'd rather die than return to Heaven."

"I'm not telling you to go back to Heaven," Dean said as he peered over his shoulder, watching for Ketch. "I'm inviting you in..." Dean locked eyes with Cas, knowing time was of the essence…"So, you know, get with the possessing. We'll come back for your body and we'll get Rowena and Crowley to figure out a way to undo this and get you back in..."

"Dean I won't..." Cas began, shaking his head weakly, his hands gripped into tight fists at his side.

"Then we both die, cause I'm not leaving you here. Not leaving you again." They held one another's gaze until Cas nodded once, knowing he had to save Dean, had to get him away from Ketch.
Dean knelt down and hissed through his teeth, "Come on! We're out of time! Make with the Celestial intent!"

Castiel’s head threw back quickly and the blue smoky glow Dean had seen only from a few angels poured from Cas. Dean was willing but had a moment of panic as the first tendril touched his lips, until he became calm. It was Castiel. He could sense him and his good intentions. Dean could even feel Cas’ hesitation. He had seen other Angel’s take their vessels. There had been no hesitation, just take.

Come on Cas…please. Let me help you for once you damn martyr. I’m not leaving without you.

Dean prayed for Castiel’s haste and he felt his form absorb into Dean’s body. As soon as the glow dissipated, Dean blinked in surprise. He didn’t expect to be coherent. Why wasn’t Cas taking the wheel? He felt a buzzing in the back of his head and he could hear Cas, though it wasn’t the voice he knew. It felt the same though.

Your body. Your control. Now get out of here, Dean. Ketch will kill you.

“Don’t have to tell me twice,” Dean spoke out loud, unwilling to answer in his head.

Apparently I have to tell you numerous times…to point out the obvious.

Dean ran out the door, sparing a glance for Castiel’s body, lying lifeless on the floor with the black veins obscuring his features. He turned to leave. “We’ll get your body back, Cas.” Dean ran out the door, feeling stronger and faster than he had since his prime. Castiel’s grace he assumed. He ran until he found Sam and Mary, waiting impatiently by the Impala. He wasn’t even winded as he met up with them. Guilt wrenched his stomach as he saw tears in Sam and Mary’s eyes.

Why are they crying?

“Because they think you’re dead you moron,” Dean growled softly as he came up to them.

Mary began, “Dean, I’m so sorry. I never meant…”

Sam interrupted, “Are you okay? We’ll come back for his body. Hunter’s funeral…” as he raked his hands under his eyes.

“Hey guys! Cas is okay…Calm down,” Dean said with a smile.

“Dean…no. He’s not. He’s…” Sam said quietly.

“Here,” Dean tapped his head and Sam quirked his head to the side.

“Yes, Dean, we’ll always remember him…”

Sam is not very quick right now…

“Yeah, no kidding, buddy…” Dean mumbled out loud. “Sam! Damn it…Cas is using me as a vessel…”

And we don’t have time for this conversation now.

“Yeah, I’m trying to tell them that Cas..” Dean mumbled again softly as understanding dawned upon Sam and Mary.

Get in the damn car, or I will take the reins Dean.

“You’re not driving Baby, Cas,” Dean laughed softly as Sam tossed him the keys with a look of bewilderment.

But you’d willingly give me your body to wear…

Dean didn’t answer out loud this time. Castiel knew Dean had been willing to give up his body so he could live. That spoke more than any words either of them could share.

“He’s like, talking in your head?” Sam said as he slid into the passenger seat and Mary got into the back. They sped out, Ketch out of sight, for now.

“Yeah, same snarky, guy except different. I can’t explain it…” Dean said, his eyes glued to the road.

“I can’t believe you’d let anything possess you, ever…” Sam said with confusion in his tone, his eyes looking at Dean as if he expected him to sprout a second head.

“He’s not anything, he’s Cas. It was the only thing I could think of,” Dean said quietly, discomfort clouding his tone now.

“Dean, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean for Cas to get hurt,” Mary said timidly from the backseat.

Dean’s grip on the wheel tightened, his knuckles turning white with the strength of his grip. “No, you didn’t. You also didn’t tell us you were working with the British dicks, putting Cas in danger. You haven’t noticed how they look at him? Cause I have…”

Sam’s forehead scrunched as his eyes darted from Mary to Dean. “How are you even in control right now, Dean? Shouldn’t Castiel be, you know, possessing you?”

“Because he won’t. The amount of power…control. I can’t…” Dean hesitantly answered. He didn’t like remembering Gadreel possessing Sam due to his own lies.

Dean…You have to let it go. You didn’t know.

“Stop being my Jiminy Cricket…” Dean whispered softly.

“What?” Sam said, turning to Dean in alarm.

“I’m talking to Cas, damn it.”

“Why don’t you talk to him, you know, in your head?” Sam said, a light laugh finally entering his tone.

Dean rolled his eyes at his brother as he ran one hand through his hair. “Oh, yeah, cause that’s not crazy?”

“And talking to yourself out loud doesn’t make you look crazy?” Sam added unhelpfully, compressing his lips to fight back the smile forming.

He has a point.

Dean sighed, exasperated already with his brother and Cas. “You’re literally riding shotgun in my brain and you still side with Sam?”

Sam laughed out loud, his teeth flashing in the dark. “He agrees with me? Of course he does.”

“Both of you shut up,” Dean said with a hint of a smile on his face.

“Dean…umm, not to bring up a sore subject, but is this a permanent arrangement or…” Mary said with uneasiness creeping into her tone.

“Until we get his body back, this is what we’re doing. Got a problem with that?” Dean’s eyebrow quirked as he spared a glance back at his mother over his shoulder.

“No…no…” Mary said as she leaned back in her seat, the upholstery squeaking underneath her.

Dean glanced at her in the rearview, a look of guilt and unhappiness clouding her features. “Good. Cas is family. Family means no one gets left behind.”

You just quoted Lilo and Stitch…I knew you liked it when we watched it. Liar.

“Shut up, Cas,” Dean said, another grin flitting across his face as they found a place to park and hide out until Ketch cleared out and they could retrieve Castiel’s body.

Chapter Text

That night as they settled into the bunker, it was an odd sensation to Dean. They’d left as four and though there were all still “accounted” for, it felt odd to be carrying Castiel’s limp form down the stairs and he still be talking in his ear. Dean had a grip on his legs as Sam carried down his head end. It was a good thing they lived rural or they'd be getting a visit from the cops about now...

Is Sam intentionally hitting my head on every step? If I was capable of having a concussion, I would have one once I reinhabit my body.

Dean bit back a laugh, settling for a snort through his nose. “Hey Sammy, Cas would like you to quit hitting his head on the steps if you don't mind.”

Sam huffed as he lugged Cas’ body under the armpits, his eyes rolling at the comment. “I’m doing my best here. He’s not exactly light…” He muttered under his breath.

Is he calling me overweight? I keep my vessel in peek physical shape, Dean. Castiel spoke only for Dean to hear, a sound of annoyance clear in his tone.

“Easy buddy. Sam doesn’t think you’re fat, do you Sammy? Since when are you this insecure? Geez…” Dean snickered, not seeing Mary and Sam exchange a long-suffering glance.

I cannot help you can hear my unfiltered thoughts. Just as you keep much to yourself, so do I. I will endear to keep my thoughts to myself if they bother you so much… Cas bit back, annoyance and frustration clear in his tone.

Dean sighed as they placed Castiel’s body as gently as they could on the library couch. The tail of Cas’ coat dragging along the floor annoyed Dean for an inexplicable reason so he flicked them up and tucked them under Castiel’s prone legs. He expected a thank you or something inside his head, but he was met with silence. Deep, impenetrable silence. Crap.

Sam, Mary, and Dean stood awkwardly around Castiel’s body for a silent minute. Mary broke the silence first by exclaiming she was tired and heading to bed. Dean and Sam both bid her goodnight and watched her pad quietly down the hall. Sam had an odd look on his face as he watched Dean out of the corner of his eye, looking for his own exit strategy.

“Dean..look..I’ll start in on the occult books first thing in the morning about restoring him. I’ll call Rowena and Crowley, as much as it pains me. We’ll get things back to normal soon…Night Dean….Cas…” Sam added, embarrassed at the omission.

Dean acknowledged it was a weird situation. He’d never let anyone inside his head, metaphorically or otherwise. He was a closed book and he liked it that way, thankyouverymuch. At that thought, Dean didn’t hear Cas so much as feel him shielding his own thoughts from Dean, like pressure behind his eyes.

“Look..”Dean said as he rubbed his hand over his face tiredly. “I’m sorry okay? I know this ain’t ideal for either of us, but you can’t keep giving me the silent treatment. Besides, your little mental shield’s giving me a migraine. Come on, Cas…” He all but felt Castiel sigh, like pressure leaving a balloon inside his head.

Very well, Dean. I will try not to be a burden to you until we can put me back into my vessel.

“Dude…” Dean growled out as he looked down at Cas’ body, his stomach knotting up subconsciously at the sure look of death about it. “You’re not a burden, and…and I know you’d do the same for me if our positions were reversed.”

Of course, Dean. I will always protect you and Sam, to the best of my ability.

You always do…Dean thought to himself.

I heard that Castiel said softly.

“Shut up…” Dean smirked before a wave of exhaustion pressed through him. “Well, I guess it’s time for bed…We’ll get Rowena here in the morning to check your body out…” Dean said with a joking sneer of insinuation.

Oh joy… Cas said with thick sarcasm that surprised Dean.

“Come on…she’s kinda hot, for an evil witch, huh?” Dean nudged mentally, trying to lighten the mood.

Dean…I have had quite my fill of evil women and my body, thank you. Castiel said with slight bitterness in his tone. Dean winced, realizing his mistake. He was always forgetting about the damn reaper...

“Yeah I guess…Sorry…so um, are you gonna be...awake while I’m asleep?” Dean said, quickly trying to change the subject, though this one was more uncomfortable for Dean for a reason he couldn't place.

I am a disembodied multidimensional wavelength of celestial intent…How am I supposed to sleep?

“Ok..point taken. Just don’t go joyriding around in my body while I’m sleeping okay? I mean…if you wanna stay up and read or watch Netflix or something, I guess that’d be ok. ” Dean muttered.

I will endeaver to control myself….

Dean could have choked on the snarkiness. Geez, was this what he was thinking all the time?

Yes.

Dean rolled his eyes. “You’re kind of an asshole, you know that? Let’s get to bed….I mean, I’ll sleep and you'll stay up and...”

Shut up, Dean

Chapter Text

Dean hesitantly shucked off his day clothes, not having to strip all the way down, thank goodness. That awkwardness was for tomorrow. How do you make an angel close their metaphorical eyes while you take a shower? Even as he had the thought, he knew Cas must have heard it, but he stayed silent.

As he leaned over the sink in the bathroom, watching the last of the toothpaste wash down the drain, he sighed. He was overwhelmingly tired and this whole thing was so weird, but he knew they could have just as easily been coming home with just a body and no Cas and that thought was infinitely more terrible. They needed Cas. He flushed with embarrassment that he couldn’t control his own thoughts, knowing Castiel had a direct line. His mind was silent a beat longer than he expected.

I need you and Sam too, Dean. You’re my family. Mary too…though I still don’t believe she fully accepts me. I am a supernatural creature…

A small grin slid onto Dean’s face as he grabbed a washcloth and washed his face, settling for that over a shower for now. “She just doesn’t know you like we do, that’s all. Sam and I didn’t trust you at first either. Look at us now…haha…” Dean’s laugh died quietly in his throat. Yes, look at him. Dean was willingly harboring him to keep him safe. If you’d asked Dean from eight years ago if he’d have let an Angel possess him, he would have exploded with a rather impressive string of expletives. Now..

I liked past you too, you know Dean. You just didn’t see your potential yet. Sometimes I still don’t believe you think you deserve to be saved. The evidence is in your completely reckless, self-sacrificing behavior. Castiel growled out, making Dean huff.

“You’re not my fairy godmother. You can’t protect me from everything you know….” Dean said softly as he opened the bathroom door and headed to his room.

Oh I have failed you enough times to know the truth of that statement, Dean…but I will continue to try

Dean was silent as he…they…made their way to his room. The bunker was quiet as the grave…a phrase Dean had never been fond of before or after he’d dug his way out of one.

I’m sorry about that….I didn’t know then. I should have dug you out myself but Heaven wouldn’t allow me contact with you yet.

The frustrated sigh that slipped past Dean’s lips was not for Cas. It was for every sorry they gave each other, unneeded. “Cas, that was a damn long time ago. I can’t help stuff like that slides through my brain. I don’t blame you, and if we’re going to share our little mind melding for a while, you’re going to have to stop reading into everything I think. It’ a shitshow in my mind and you’ll drive yourself crazy trying to sort it out.”

I happen to find your mind quite fascinating, but I will do as you say

Dean rolled his eyes playfully as he walked into his room. “Ain’t nothing fascinating about anything in there. Not very fair that you can meddle Mr. Disembodied voice.”

If I let my walls down and let you “meddle” as you say, your eyes could potentially melt out of your skull, Dean

Dean huffed annoyedly. “Aren’t you special…”

Castiel laughed inside Dean’s head, a sound he couldn’t recall hearing more than a handful of times. Dean almost stopped in his tracks at the sound of it. It was a pleasant, relaxed sound he wished he could hear more often from him.

I find you and Sam both quite humorous much of the time, but I don’t think you’d find my laughter pleasant if I was laughing at your antics, and much of the time when I am here, it’s a crisis. Not much humorous about those times

“Yeah…about that…” Dean said as he stretched his arms tiredly above his head before gently tugging open his dresser drawer to pull out one of his well worn Zeppelin t-shirts he liked to sleep in. He slipped it over his head with a contented sigh. Sam had long pestered him to toss the thread bare shirts but Dean ignored him, sentimental he might be. They fit him like a hug. No scratchy tags or new fibers for him. “You know this is your home too right? You don’t have to run off all the time. Sam and I…we like you being here. You’re family. You said so yourself…You could just hang around here when it’s not a crisis you know?” Castiel was silent as Dean sat down softly on the edge of his bed, pretending to pick at something under his nail while he waited for a response.

I’ve never considered that actually…

Dean scrunched his forehead up in a questioning expression. “What do you mean you haven’t considered it? This is your home.”

Heaven was my home for a very long time, Dean, but I didn’t belong there. I was more of a burden than anything. I don’t want to be a burden to you and Sam too

Dean rolled his eyes and let out a frustrated huff. He seemed to be doing that a lot lately. “For the last time Cas…You’re family, not a burden. At least if you were here I wouldn’t have to worry about you all the time…” Dean stopped abruptly, realizing his mistake. Never admit you worry about anyone.

You worry about me when I’m not around? Why?

“For Pete's sake, Cas. You really don’t get it, do you? You’re my best friend okay? You, Sam, and mom, you’re my family. When you’re not here, when you wander off doing God knows what, you make me and Sam both worry. Sure, you’d be extra helpful on hunts if you hung around, but that’s not it okay? I…I like to know that you’re safe, and I only know you’re safe if you’re here with me...us, Sam and me.” Dean ran his hand through his hair awkwardly, feeling like his words were chalk in his throat, making him feel needlessly breathless.

You want me here?

“Cas, if I have to spell it out more I’m going to scream. Yes.” Dean shoved the comforter back on his bed and slid his legs under.

Okay, Dean. I’ll stay when I can…..I…I guess I don’t really have a choice right now do I? Castiel said with actual humor in his tone toward the end.

Dean smirked to himself before letting a self-satisfied laugh slide past his lips. “You are indeed my prisoner, huh?”

I’ve had worse captors….and worse jails.

Dean coughed softly, delaying a reply. He’d had worse voices in his head as well, mainly his own. “Well, now that we’ve got that all cleared up, I’m going to sleep. You still remember how to work Netflix?”

Quite well. Goodnight, Dean.

Dean sighed as his head hit the pillow needlessly. He knew Cas would be propped up in his body watching Netflix as soon as he fell asleep. It was fine, really. Odd, but he knew he could trust Cas with this. He trusted Castiel with almost everything. He blushed softly, realizing he must have heard but Cas blessedly said nothing. “Night, Cas.”

Dean fell asleep for the first time in a long time knowing Cas, at least his essence, was safe.
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Sam padded down the hall about 5 o'clock that morning. He was dressed for his morning run but he was headed for the kitchen for a bottle of water when he stopped short, seeing the glow of the tv from the crack of Dean's door. Dean never stayed up this late, he thought to himself. He tapped lightly on the door as he stuck his head in. If Dean wanted privacy he should close the damn door.

"Dean? Why are you up so early?" Sam said, meeting his brother's wide awake eyes as he sat perched on the bed, his legs crossed and arms propping his head up. He glanced at the tv, surprised to see him watching David and Goliath on Netflix. Wait..."Cas?"

Dean's vessel nodded softly, a soft smile pulling at the corner of his lips. "Dean gave me permission to stay up and watch Netflix. They have added an interesting assortment of new content since the last time I watched."

"David and Goliath? Really?" Sam said with an amused smile. He was surprised Dean had agreed to letting Cas use his body this way...surprised but not shocked. Dean and Cas had a very different relationship than Sam had ever seen him have with anyone else. Dean forgave and trusted Cas more than anyone. Sam knew he'd shoved it in his brother's face more times than was fair, but he admitted to himself a small sliver of jealousy over their friendship.

Castiel looked back at the screen at Sam's mention. "Well, it's very historically inaccurate. I was there, in a observant role of course. I haven't found a show yet that gets all the details right."

Sam's mouth hung open for only a second. He really should be used to reminders of Cas' age by this point, but sometimes those moments just reached out and smacked him in the face. That made his choice to befriend he and his brother more awe-inspiring. He was an ancient being, but he sat on his brother's bed watching Netflix. He didn't know why any of it surprised him. God had sat in their kitchen drinking coffee. he had a weird life. Weird, but good.

"Maybe you should write your' stories down some time? They'd be accurate at least. Anyway, I'm heading out on a run. When will Dean be awake?"

Cas seemed to be concentrating as he tilted his head. it was a very typical movement of Castiel's, but on Dean's body it was odd. "He is still in deep sleep. I suspect a couple more hours at least. I do believe he would like some bacon when he awakes though. He's dreaming about food...." Cas smiled fondly to himself, seeming to enjoy knowing Dean's thoughts. There was a comfortable happiness in his eyes Sam wouldn't dare point out.

"Okay, when I get back I'll make some breakfast. See you in a bit, buddy." Sam left the bunker with a lot on his mind, and nothing he could share with his big brother or their Angel friend.

Chapter Text

Sam’s arms were full of groceries as he struggled with the lock of the bunker door in the garage. He shuffled one bag over to his already full arm and used his chin to steady it as he fished his keys from his pocket. The lock finally turned and he kicked it shut behind him before shuffling the previous bag back into his now free hand.

“Dean, I’m back..” Sam called out as he walked toward the kitchen with purpose. He slowed as he neared the kitchen, his shoes making only a soft thud on the concrete and the paper bags crinkling in his hands. Dean was in the kitchen talking to himself…well Cas, at least Sam hoped that was the case. He grinned and leaned against the door frame of the kitchen when he saw Dean’s back was to him.

“Look, I’m not saying you’re wrong, but you’re wrong. Peanut butter and jelly is completely inferior to a properly made BLT…….There’s nothing to prove! It’s got bacon in it. It wins. Look, it’s not my fault you’ve got the taste buds of a five year old………..That was totally uncalled for,” Dean laughed as he grabbed the peanut butter and jelly from the cabinet, still unaware of Sam’s presence. Sam’s face softened as he watched his brother. When was the last time he’d laughed so carelessly? He was so different with Cas, he noted with a touch of sadness.

“Yeah…yeah….raised me from perdition. One day that little guilt trip won’t work,” Dean said with a light laugh in his voice as he tugged open the old wooden utensil drawer and pulled out a knife. Sam cleared his throat and set the paper bags down with a thud on the counter, but quickly dodged to the side as a butter knife sailed past him, sticking in the door frame.

“Damn it Dean!” Sam growled out as he pulled the offending knife from the door face. Dean looked a bit sheepish before stifling a laugh.

“Sorry Sammy, you startled me. Not the best idea,” Dean said with a grin as he took the knife from Sam and continued spreading the peanut butter on the bread he had waiting on the white plate before him.

“I called when I came in,” Sam grumbled as he began unpacking the groceries, laying out the veggies and rolling his eyes at Dean’s face as it wrinkled in disgust. He sighed and fished out the bag of powdered donuts his brother had requested and slid them across the table. Dean snapped them up and grinned like a child before quirking a smile and rolling his eyes.

“Yeah eating a salad MIGHT kill me Cas. Have you watched the news? Lettuce has ecoli. No one ever died eating a donut….well, don’t fact check me on it but…..Seriously? First the PB and J, now this? Let me live!” Dean groaned before plucking one single donut out. “Fine, but the day I eat kale is the day you’ve taken over my body forever. I’d rather die.”

Sam gave a half smile as he put away the groceries. “I feel a little left out of the conversation here fellas. Should I see myself out?”

“Shut up, Sammy. You try living with a disembodied voice in your head….Shit….I’m sorry Sam,” Dean said with a pained look that Sam had trouble taking seriously as his brother’s cheeks were puffed out like a chipmunk and stray donut powder lingered on his upper lip. Sam sighed and let the grimace melt away for Dean’s sake.

“It’s fine, Dean. If I’d gotten to choose, I’d have chosen Cas for an inner voice over….” He shuffled his feet and coughed. “Well anyway, I called Rowena and Crowley. They of course are willing to help, for a price. As yet undetermined of course. No telling with those two….I told them to contact us when they had something that would help Cas get back into his own body. Not that you two seem to mind being bunk buddies,” Sam said teasingly, trying to lighten the mood.

“Ha ha,” Dean deadpanned. “With those two no telling what they’ll want but we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it…….No, Cas. There’s not an actual bridge. It’s just a phrase…..We’ve had this conversation before. You’re how old and you haven’t heard that one?” Dean continued his conversation with Cas as Sam lifted an eyebrow and walked out of the kitchen shaking his head. If they didn’t get Cas back in his body soon he might go nuts from trying to listen to Dean carry on a two man conversation by himself. It was almost funny if not for the circumstances.

He didn’t blame Dean for not thinking about what he had been through with Lucifer. It was so odd watching his brother be so at ease talking to Cas when every conversation he had with “Lucifer” in his mind was divisive and full of anger or fear. He would never have thought to offer Cas his body to inhabit in order to save him. Would he have allowed it if he had? He didn’t know and that made him angry at himself. After all Castiel had done for them, was he not as good a friend to him? He still could not believe Dean had allowed it, let alone that it was his idea. He had stopped trying to understand those two a long time ago but sometimes he wondered…..Nah. Sam shook his head, letting the lingering thought scatter to the edges of his mind as he closed the door to his room and booted up Netflix on his laptop.

Chapter Text

“It’s about bloody time. It’s quite rude to leave guests waiting outside your door, especially when we were invited,” Rowena huffed as she breezed past Sam at the door. Her heels clanked with authority as she descended the stairs.

Crowley shared a look with Sam before shouldering past. “Pardon mother. Always a pleasure to be called in to help. You know I aim to please….” He said with a calm smile which was met with a huff from Sam.

Sam followed them down the stairs, his demeaner tense as they headed to the library and looked down at Cas’ body laid out on the library table. It had not changed in appearance thanks to Rowena’s stasis spell she’d shared but it also left his vessel with the same jarring tracks of black veins branching out across his face.

“Well, always knew Feather’s meet a bad end hanging around with you two. Everyone does,” Crowley said with a soft growl, almost looking forlorn at Cas’ body….almost.

“He’s not dead. He’s just not in his vessel and can’t be put back in while it’s…damaged the way it is. That’s why we called you,” Dean spoke as he entered the library from the living quarters.

“Well, if he’s not there,” Rowena gestured at the body, “and he’s not dead, where is he? He’s always held a bit of a guilty fascination for me…” She said as she walked the length of the table, her red, manicured nails running along the polished wood. “I’d hate to see him lose such a handsome vessel,”

Crowley scoffed and crossed his arms over his chest. “Would you not ogle the dead body mother? It’s making me want to gag. Though, she brings up a valid question. Where is your Angel?” Crowley looked to Dean to answer his inquiry, making Dean squirm under the knowledge in Crowley’s eyes.

“That’s not any of your concern. We just need to know if you can put him back in this body and if either of you can repair him…the body? Rowena, would you not? Cas doesn’t…I mean, I don’t think Cas would like that,” Dean stuttered out, his hand involuntarily reaching out to stop her.

Rowena withdrew the hand she had placed on Cas’ lapel, giving Dean a slightly puzzled look. “Very well…and of course I can do it, but does he even want to go back in the vessel? Maybe he’s moved on, mores the pity,”

Sam looked on from behind Crowley and Rowena but remained quiet. If Dean didn’t want them to know Cas and he were sharing a vessel, he knew there was a good reason. “Look, can you help or not?” Sam barked out, his arm crossed tightly over his chest.

Rowena rolled her eyes, her lips drawn up in an arrogant smirk. “I said I can. Don’t know why you even bothered calling Fergus in for this. It’s a witch you’ll be needing. This isn’t Demon territory,” She said with a hint of annoyance. “But it will take time to gather what I need.”

“Fine. We’ll owe you one,” Dean said with a curt nod as we glanced down at Cas' prone form.

“Oh, you certainly will boys. You certainly will,” She crooned out as she laid a hand delicately on Cas’ forehead, mindlessly brushing away a stray lock of his dark hair. “Irradiation? Nasty bit of business that. Will make things a bit more complicated I’m afraid, but it can be done. I’ll be in touch. Come along Fergus,” Rowena said with a rolling drawl as she stepped up toward the stairs. Crowley stuck his hands in his pockets and casually followed behind. Dean followed them up the stairs while Sam stayed behind in the library to wrap the body back up.

Rowena had stepped out into the sunlight when Crowley leaned forward and grinned at Dean, laying a hand on his shoulder. “Good to see you again, Castiel. I always told Dean he’d enjoy having a little demon in him. He did you know…but a little Angel may be what he really needs.” He said with a laugh.

“Wait, you knew the whole time?” Dean said in an angry whisper. “How?”

“Are you kidding me?” Crowley said in mock disbelief. “Your soul and his Grace are entwined tighter than a homoerotic pretzel…but what’s new about that?” He said with a nefarious wink. “I’m off. Later boys. Don’t do anything I wouldn’t do, Feathers….which isn’t much,” Crowley said with a wicked grin as he departed.
--------------------------------------------
Dean stood there, his forehead scrunched and his hand gripped tight on the handle of the door he’d slammed on Crowley. His knuckles were white with the tightness of his grip.

“Dean…” Castiel said softly in his head.

“Drop it, Cas…” Dean hissed out through clenched teeth. “Crowley’s such a shit stirrer,” He grumbled as he descended the stairs.

“Everything alright, Dean?” Sam said with curiosity as he got a look at his brother’s face. He had a mixture of anger and something else in his eyes. Fear? Embarassment? Hard to tell with his brother.

“Just fucking dandy,” he said in response as he stomped to the kitchen and swung open the fridge. He snatched up a cold bottle of beer, twisted off the cap, and drank it down fast. He tossed to bottle cap into the counter, listening to it roll in the silence.

“Dean…” Castiel tried again.

“I said drop it,” Dean growled out a second time as he tossed the bottle in the trash and stomped to his room. He slammed the door, making the hinges rattle. “Damn Crowley straight to Hell.”

“That’s not really much a threat at all for him….” Castiel said with slight mirth in his tone that didn’t fit the current mood.

Dean paused a moment in his fuming and pacing, letting a tiny lift of his lips be the only indication he found any humor in the comment. “I see your point.”

“Now, may we talk?” Castiel said in a reasonable tone, that tone that someone took when talking an unstable man off a ledge.

Den groaned as he raked his hand through his hair. “I’d rather not..”

“Why do you let what Crowley says bother you so much? The moment you let me in I knew..” Cas began but Dean abruptly cut him off.

“Cas! I said drop it! We don’t have to talk about this…”

“No, we don’t have to, but we need to,” Cas said firmly.

Dean sighed and gritted his teeth. “Please, Cas…”

Castiel’s voice softened and he sounded shocked, a sudden realization hitting him. “Dean...you really don’t think I feel the same do you?”

“ Cas, I said…..Wait…What?” Dean’s words fell off in shock. His forehead creased in confusion.

“Crowley’s words clearly upset and embarrassed you. Why? I feel the same way about you as you do about me. I thought you knew,”

“What? No, I don’t…What?” Dean stuttered out, his face reddening though no one was around to see it. He raked his hand nervously through his hair as he paced around the bedroom.

“Dean…” Castiel said softly.

“Cas, I don’t…I don’t know how to talk about this,” Dean said in less than a whisper.

“That’s the beauty of this arrangement. You don’t have to say anything. I can hear you without any words. Thoughts, feelings…I hear you. I’ve always heard you to an extent. Longing, prayer, but this way…this way I can hear everything. Please, don’t shut me out again, Dean.”

Dean’s voice cracked, stuck in his throat. He took a deep breath, let it out, and sat down softly on the bed. He propped his elbows on his knees and clutched his hands together in a fist. “Okay, Cas, we’ll try it your way.”

Chapter Text

Dean could feel the humor in Cas’ tone before he could fully get his words out. “You can relax, Dean. You’re braced like this is painful….We’re just talking.”

Dean rolled his eyes, though no one was there to see. “Talking is painful, and awkward, and embarrassing…” He trailed off as he fiddled his clenched fingers together.

“Funny. I rarely find it to be so with you…” Castiel said softly.

He let out a breath he didn’t know he’d been holding. “You’re right. I can usually talk to you about plenty of other crap. Why is this so hard?”

“Because you pretend to not have feelings, perhaps? Never fooled me…” Castiel responded. “Now, stop sitting there like this is causing you physical pain,” Cas said with a smile Dean could hear but not see. “Would it be easier if you could talk to me face to face?”

“Well, I mean, yeah. I feel stupid,” Dean said, throwing himself back on his pillow in frustration. He crossed his arms over his chest. “But you’re bodies currently unavailable for conversation.”

“Well, yes, true. However….” Castiel began with hesitation.

“What?” Dean said with caution, his curiosity piqued.

“Well, I hesitate to bring it up but…I’m sure you remember when Crowley conversed with me while I was being possessed by Lucifer?”

“Yeah…that might be something I remember…” Dean said with thick sarcasm and an eye roll to boot.

“Sarcasm noted. Regardless, I don’t know if Crowley explained how it worked but he and I were speaking face to face, in a manner of speaking. We could try that, but it would require me being in control and you being put into a dream state, kind of like Sam was with Gadreel. It’s not ideal, but it’s possible…”

“Do it,” Dean said quickly with authority.

Castiel chuckled inside his head. “You have to relax, Dean. It makes it easier…”

“Relax, right. Relax while waiting to have an uncomfortable, personal conversation with a disembodied angel that is currently possessing me. Easy. Right…”

Castiel sighed, a soft sound in the back of Dean’s mind. “It’s really not that bad. Think of a place you feel safest, or felt safe. It can be anywhere, and breath deeply.”

“Somewhere safe? Harder request than you think….okay…” Dean said as he breathed deeply in and out. He tried to relax against his pillow as he closed his eyes and tried to not feel stupid.

It seemed only moments later that he opened his eyes and found himself looking up at a familiar ceiling. The formal looking red and gold wallpaper and the dark wood had always made Dean think of a castle. Bobby had laughed at the first time Dean had asked it and told him his house was no castle. He swung his legs off the red couch, and looked around. The details were mostly right. Stacks of books were piled up on the desk, some still open as if they had been read only moments ago. Which was impossible since the real house was nothing but walls and weeds now…

“I’m actually a bit surprised at your choice…” Castiel said as he leaned against the far wall of the living room. Dean startled a moment, having forgotten why he was here. He stood like he’d been shocked then shifted uncomfortably, rubbing the back of his neck and avoiding eye contact.

“Oh, well, I mean, Bobby was like my dad, moreso than my actual dad I mean…” Dean murmured.

Castiel nodded softly. “Bobby was a good man. He’s doing well in Heaven if you’re wondering. The angels didn’t punish him for helping us when he told them that damned rebel angel Castiel forced him to help,” Cas grinned as he said it.

“They really don’t like you in Heaven do they?” Dean said with a halfways grin as he stuck his hands in his pockets, still unable to move any closer.

“Really is an understatement, but I chose my side. I don’t regret it,” Cas said with surety. “Now…”

Flustered, Dean quickly changed the subject. “You know, I kind of thought you might look different since you’re not actually in your vessel…”

Castiel did a playful eye roll at Dean’s less than subtle change in subject. “I am as you perceive me to be, at least here…” Cas gestured down at himself. “Though I must question the backwards tie…I haven’t worn this since…” Castiel said as he flipped it around correctly.

“Since you turned human that time, I remember,” Dean said softly as he sighed and closed the distance between them and flipped it back around backwards. “Since I screwed up…” Cas began to argue but Dean held a hand up. “No. Truth is truth. But this..” Dean said as he gestured at the tie, “Is who I always see."

“I’m not looking this young anymore either, Dean. With my Grace less than what it was, my vessel ages as well.”

Dean smiled softly and shrugged. “My vessel isn’t as young as it used to be either. It’s called life. It happens.”

Castiel locked eyes with Dean and slowly raised his hand to Dean’s face, asking permission with his eyes. Dean leaned in toward his hand and Castiel’s thumb softly stroked along his cheek. “You look the same as you did the day I pulled you from Hell, Dean. Your soul shines just as bright as ever.”

Dean huffed out an embarrassed breath. “I don’t know how to do this, Cas”

“What, talk to me?” Castiel said with a raised eyebrow.

“Don’t play that,” Dean grumbled out as Cas’ hand dropped from his face to his shoulder.

“We’re just talking. Granted we’re in your mind and we could be doing absolutely anything….but we’re talking,” Cas said with a laugh.

“I…I didn’t want this to come about because of a comment from Crowley of all people. It’s weird, and…and I feel stupid.”

“I can’t thank Crowley for much….ever, and if you ever tell him I did I would call you a liar…” Cas said with a grimace, “but if his comment helps us to…talk….I’m okay with his meddling, just this once,”

“But, you’re an Angel and I shouldn’t…”

“I’m far more man than Angel these days, Dean…but it really doesn’t matter. Unless it matters to you, I can not….” Castiel said as he slowly withdrew his hand, doubt forming in his eyes.

Dean’s eyes widened as Cas pulled his hand away. “No!” He reached out and grabbed it back. He wasn’t sure he’d ever held it before when it wasn’t to give help, pull him up, or direct him where to go. This was different. “I’m sorry. I just feel weird. Why bother talking when you already know what’s in my head?”

Castiel shrugged softly and had the grace to look a bit embarrassed. “Well, call me vain but even I would like to hear it….maybe I’m more human than I thought.”

“Fair enough I guess….”Dean said with a shaky breath. “Okay…okay. I…shit. Okay…” Castiel nodded encouragement and stuck his hands in his pockets, waiting.
“Well, don’t look at me like that!” Dean said with a small laugh. “I’m doing my best. Okay. I have feelings….for you. Not brotherly ones…I…” Dean groaned and raked his hands through his hair in frustration.

Castiel’s face lit up and his eyes sparkled with happiness. It almost took Dean’s breath away. “Okay, Dean. Don’t hurt yourself. I’ll take it. I have non-brotherly feelings for you as well, if that helps.”

Dean’s lip twitched in a smile at Cas using his own words at him. “Yeah, that helps a hell of a lot. So….what now?”

“We get my body back so we can talk in the real world, and then I can hold your real hand…” Castiel said as he looked down at their entwined fingers. Cas absently drug his thumb over Dean’s knuckle, making a shudder run down his back.

Dean looked down as well. “Is it weird I keep forgetting we’re in my head? How can I touch you? I don’t get how this works…”

“I can’t really explain it myself. I suppose it’s like those dreams I’ve seen described on tv where they can smell, taste, feel things like in the real world…I can smell your cologne but is it real or a sensory memory? That does bring up an interesting point I,” Dean cut Cas’ words off when he leaned quickly over and pressed his lips to his. He too could smell Cas’ familiar scent. He swore he was drowning in it, but he didn’t care for the reasons why. He simply had to know what those lips felt like, dream or no dream. To his delight, Cas reciprocated rather enthusiastically, his lips moving against his own. Dean slid a hand to his neck, feeling his fingers dance along his hairline. He felt Cas move a hand between them and look regretful as he separated from their kiss.

“It’s Sam. You have to go…” Castiel said before Dean woke up abruptly. The hard knock on his door startled him and he tumbled out of bed, his arm wrapped around a bed pillow. Sam charged in at the noise and looked confusedly at Dean on the floor.

“What the hell are you doing? I’ve been knocking…Dude, you drooled all over your pillow. Sorry I interrupted your nap…Mom called. She wanted to catch up with you. I told her you’d call her later.” Sam said as he looked with confusion at Dean who seemed frozen to the floor. “Are you alright?”

Dean shook himself like a wet dog and grabbed the bed to pull himself up. “Oh…yeah. Was just dozing and had a pretty intense dream. Sorry I didn’t hear you,” He stumbled up, his face flushed red. Only Dean could hear the throaty laugh in his head of Castiel.

“Ok then…I’ll just go. Don’t forget to call mom…” Sam said with a concerned look before he closed the door behind him.

“Shut up, Cas,” Dean said with a groan. “I think I bruised my tailbone.”

“I am sorry you injured yourself,” Castiel said with humor in his tone. “And that we were interrupted. That was…quite enjoyable.”

Dean’s face flushed even more red. “Yeah…want to talk again tonight after Sam goes to bed?”

“Of course, Dean. I’d love to have another conversation with you,” Cas said with smug satisfaction in his tone.

“Oh stop it. I have to call my mom. Behave, if you can.”

“I truly make no promises….”

Chapter Text

Dean sat back down heavily on his disheveled bed. Falling out of it had pulled the comforter and sheets half off as he’d gone down but he didn’t bother with it as he grabbed up his phone from the nightstand.

1 Missed Call: Mom

“Damn. I never sleep through phone calls. Did you put me in a damn coma?” Dean said with a laugh as he unlocked his phone screen.

As a manner of speaking, yes? Cas’ voice was hesitant, waiting for Dean’s anger.

Dean shrugged, laughing light heartedly. “Huh. Might be the only time in my life I had a deep sleep.”

I’m not going to encourage you to seek out comas, Dean.

“Then I guess you’ll just have to help me sleep. Now, shh. I gotta call mom.” Dean punched in the memorized number. Hunters couldn’t rely on their phone to keep up with important numbers. So many people his age and younger couldn’t memorize a number. He knew too many instances where he’d had no cell phone and had to call for help. Just another part of hunter life some people could never understand. The phone rang twice before his mom’s now familiar voice spoke. She didn’t even mutter hello before she was talking.

“Dean. I called earlier. Sam said you were taking a nap?” Mary’s voice was skeptical. She had reason to feel that way, since he spent most of his free time watching Netflix, drinking beer, or perusing the web.

Dean cleared his throat softly before speaking. “Hey mom, sorry I missed your call. Guess I was just a little more tired than I thought.”

Mary jumped onto that train of thought so fast that Dean’s eyes widened quickly. “Do you think it’s because your harboring Castiel? I’m just not sure that it’s a good idea. I know he’s your friend but he’s still not human. I’ve been doing some reading up on Angels in the Men of Letters books…He could be doing damage to you without you even knowing it…Sam told me about when he had Lucifer...” Dean’s face reddened and he immediately cut her off.

“First off, Cas is nowhere near Lucifer. He would never do anything to hurt me. Two. I’m old enough to take a nap when I damn well feel like it without getting the third degree. Three. Cas is not just my friend. He is my best friend and he’s helped me far more than most of the humans you seem to hold in far higher regard.”

Dean…Don’t fight with her on my account. It’s not her fault she doesn’t understand.

Dean continued on after only a momentary pause for Cas to speak. “Four. He’s defending you in my head even after you’ve talked badly about him! Because THAT is who he is.”

The phone was silent for a full fifteen seconds before Mary spoke. Her voice was small, but he could tell in her tone she had more she wanted to say. “I’m sorry, Dean. It is none of my business, I suppose. I’m just your mother. I only want to protect you, even If its from yourself. Castiel, I’m sorry but he is my son and…”

Dean jerked his chin to the side with the phone, his jaw tightening and Cas trying everything he knew to calm him down but he could barely hear him over the sound of his own raised voice. “No, mom. You don’t get to play that card. Dean, this isn’t necessary You were gone. For thirty fucking years. Because of a choice YOU made. You weren’t there when we needed you. Cas was. So, you don’t get to tell me about my choices.” His breathing was harsh as he felt his anger soften in relation to the silence on the under end of the line.

Dean, please… Let it go.

“Okay, Dean. I love you. I will call you another time…” Mary said softly, little emotion in her voice now.

Dean sighed and ran a hand over his face. “Love you too, mom.” He hung up and felt the weight of his words now. “Shit.”

Shit indeed.

Dean held his head in his hands a moment before he heard a tentative knock of his door. “Come on in, Sam.” Sam’s tall frame came through the door slowly. He ran a hand through his long hair and kept the other hand tucked in his pocket.

“I swear I didn’t think she would compare Cas to Lucifer. She asked me about my experience with him and I told her it wouldn’t be the same with Cas...but she had her mind made up, I guess. I thought she would have calmed down between when I talked to her and you did.”

Dean looked over at Sam and his remorseful face. He couldn’t find it in him to blame him. “It’s okay Sammy. Not your fault she feels this way.”

“I’ll uh, leave you guys to talk if you need to.” Sam shuffled out, aware of his awkward exchange.

Now might not be the best time to tell your mother we have feelings for one another.

“Ya think?? Dean said with a frustrated laugh as he threw himself back on the bed and covered his head with the pillow. Why couldn’t his life be even remotely simple?
I’m sorry

Cas’ voice was full of true sorrow. He must think Dean was rethinking everything. Dean threw the pillow across the room. “Hell. Cas. None of this is your fault, either. I shouldn’t have said to her what I did but I wasn’t wrong. She can’t just come in here like nothing happened and play mom. Not now. Not about this, and don’t you dare think this changes anything to do with us.”

I don’t want to cause you family issues, Dean

Dean rolled his eyes and rubbed a hand across his face again. “You didn’t cause anything, Cas. We’re Winchesters. We’re loud, opinionated, and stubborn.”

I can find nothing to argue about your statement.

Dean grinned and closed his eyes, letting the bright lights of his room be blocked out for a moment. “Didn’t think you would. Things were a lot simpler half an hour ago.”

I can bring you back here, to me, later if you still want me to…

Cas’ words were hesitant, and hell, Dean couldn’t blame him. He wasn’t going to let his mom’s words affect him though. She didn’t know him and she sure as Hell didn’t know Cas. “Yes, I absolutely still want that. Nothing’s changed. I told you.”

Then it would be my pleasure.