On Website(s): beyond-redemption.net | deancastiel community
Pairing(s): Dean/Castiel (Sam, Bobby)
Spoilers: Season Four Finale.
Word Count: 6679words
Summary: Angels can be cruel and capricious creatures, and Castiel knows there’s a price to pay for his disobedience.
Author Notes: Written for the deancastiel Renegade Angels Fic Exchange for bellajayd. Many thanks to absinthefairy88 for the read through and encouragement.
- - -
It’s the end of the world as he knows it. Standing in St Mary’s Convent and watching as a gateway to Hell wrenches open the fabrics of time and space,- spilling forth a vortex of unbearably bright light and the sounds of fresh and torturous screaming as Lucifer makes to crawl himself free,- Dean’s first and only thought is a reflection of just how much trouble they’re in now.
“Fuck,” he breathes, his fingers grasping desperately at the lapels of his brother’s jacket. Sam’s terrified voicing that ‘He’s coming’ failing to rouse either of them from the sudden numbness of apoplectic horror that washes over them, superseding the surge of adrenaline that rushes through their veins and keeps them rooted to the spot.
Dean hasn’t a moment to contemplate just how on earth they’re going to get themselves out of this one (they’ve been in some pretty shit situations to be sure, but nothing quite as serious as knowing you’ve just helped bring along the apocalypse. He’s pretty certain dumb luck and a cursed knife aren’t going to cut it this time) before he hears a whispering of wings and twists to find that Castiel is suddenly standing there behind them.
“Oh, thank-,” He begins unthinkingly, but his words are swallowed into nothingness as Castiel swiftly reaches out and grips tightly at both him and Sam. He feels the frisson of displacement as he is moved from one place to the next and he blinks his eyes closed at the sudden head-rush that washes over him before he’s blinking himself back to the here-and-now and the paint-peeling walls of an unfamiliar motel room.
His exultation at having had their arses saved from what could potentially have been the end of the pair of them is short lived, however, for just as Dean turns his gaze back to the angel,- a grin of gratitude upon his face at knowing that Castiel is well and truly on their side now,- he finds Castiel suddenly crumpling before his eyes to land in a rumpled heap upon the floor.
“Cas!” Dean drops to his knees without a second thought, his hands grabbing at the angel’s shoulders as Sam kneels down beside him, echoing his call to the angel. Castiel’s head lolls a moment as he tries to focus on Dean, his brow furrowing as he meets Dean’s eyes with a look that has Dean’s stomach twisting with uneasiness. Angel’s shouldn’t look as fearful as Castiel does now. Not even when he’d been bested by Alastair did Castiel look scared. Not like this.
“Cas?” Dean questions, with shaking hands and clenching fingers. “Cas, what’s wrong?”
“I disobeyed,” is as all Castiel manages to say before his eyes roll into the back of his head and his body goes limp against Dean’s hold.
“Castiel!” Dean tries, calling his name as he reaches out to press shaking fingers to the pulse-point of his neck. The beat is weak and fluttery but he finds his own heart almost stopping at the knowledge that there is a heartbeat to find at all.
“Is he-?” Dean looks to his brother as Sam hesitates to finish his question. Dean can only shake his head, relief and worry warring within him as he looks back down upon the angel. He realises, as Castiel lies disturbingly still in his arms, that he doesn’t know what to do.
- - -
The pain never leaves him; it licks at him with tongues of fire even in the darkness of his unconsciousness, ensuring that there will be no escape from this. That there can never be any escape from this damnation. The fire burns him, charring him to the core in a manner he has only ever felt twice in his lifetime, the first when pulling Dean from perdition, and the second as he paid the price for his initial disobedience.
He knows that this time however there will be no one to stop the burn from taking him over completely, no one to prevent his Grace from scorching him from the inside out and searing him from existence. Angels can be cruel and capricious creatures, and Castiel knows that so long as he remains inside the body of Jimmy Novak, he will die. He also knows that should he leave this body, without a replacement host nearby with which he could seek refuge in, he will die.
It is all he can do to keep from crying out his anguish in his true voice. As it is, the body he resides in shakes and shudders and he finds he hasn’t the strength to control both it and himself as he resides within.
The touch of a hand to his sweat-dampened brow has him starting to sudden awareness, his ears picking up the murmured sounds of a conversation that is both considerately soft but unexpectedly irritating as the words buzz around his head like angry bees.
“Castiel?” Dean’s voice calls to him moments later. “Castiel, can you hear me?”
Castiel does not answer him; he can feel every ache of muscle, every laboured draw of breath as he inhales-exhales, the sticking of his eyelids as he blinks his eyes opened-closed, the lashes clinging together for a fraction, the touch of cool air to his lips as he rasps his tongue over their chapped roughness. All these feelings, all these sensations and hurts and pains and niggles of humanity which once he was only ever aware of in a peripheral way but which now dominate his every waking and sleeping moment.
There is no way to escape this. No way to stop feeling the workings of this body as his Grace works tirelessly at destroying it entirely.
“Cas?” Dean calls to him again and he opens his eyes, looking up into his face and seeing there both worry and trepidation. He finds himself oddly touched by Dean’s apparent concern for him and wonders at the sentiment. His own feelings for Dean notwithstanding, he’s been lead to believe on numerous occasions that Dean only ever cares for him when it is to the human’s advantage. He wonders now if there can be any advantage to this.
“How are you feeling?” Dean asks him, hovering uncertainly beside him. He’s been moved onto one of the two beds in their motel room and stripped of his outer garments: the thin sheet pulled up to his chin feels too warm and stifling but he finds he hasn’t the energy to move it.
“I am not myself right now,” he answers tightly, carefully, biting back a moan as a spike of pain lances through his body.
“No kidding,” Dean says, forcing a smile that fades just as swiftly as it appears. He presses something cool and damp to his forehead and Castiel swallows a different sort of moan as he lets the brief respite wash over him.
“Seriously though, Cas,” Dean starts, sombrely, “what’s going on?”
Castiel does not answer immediately. He blinks his eyes slowly, the lids lingering closed a longer moment, before Dean calls out to him once more and he is forced to open them again.
“Is this… is it my fault?” Dean asks. His face is open and afraid as he looks imploringly at Castiel for the answer. For the truth, no matter how much he does not want to hear it.
Castiel meets his gaze and tells him yes.
“The Archangel has ensured that I will be of no further hindrance,” he finishes and watches as Dean flinches back at his words; his fingers twisting in their hold of the washcloth.
“What does that mean?” He asks after a moment, though they both know he knows the answer.
“I will die,” Castiel says impassively, his face expressionless even as Dean blanches, cursing his disbelief and running shaking hands over his face and through the short tufts of his hair. When he meets Castiel’s gaze once more it is with the kind of desperation and determination Castiel has only ever seen Dean apply to Sam when his baby brother’s done something exceedingly stupid and Dean sees no other option but to fix it himself.
“What will happen to you?” Dean asks after a long pause; the question forced as though he does not really wish to know the answer. Castiel hesitates but replies.
“My Grace will consume my vessel and I so long as I inhabit it until that which gives us both life no longer exists.”
“Jesus,” Dean curses before biting his lip apologetically. “Is there anything I can do?”
Castiel closes his eyes, teeth grinding tightly together as the body tenses around him shuddering with fresh waves of agony as it fights against something it has no power to overcome.
“Come on, Cas,” Dean implores him, “tell me, what I can do?”
“There is nothing,” Castiel tells him. Dean shakes his head, refusing to believe that there is no option other than to let him die. Castiel feels, for a second time, oddly touched by Dean’s open display of concern and determination in regards to him.
“What about getting another vessel?” It is Sam who speaks this time, stepping up beside his brother and peering down at the angel with a contemplative look upon his face. Dean frowns at Sam whilst Castiel grimaces at the thought.
“It is not that simple,” Castiel says, voice tight against the words.
“But still possible?” Sam presses but Castiel shakes his head.
“A vessel must be one of God’s chosen. I do not have the energy required to initiate a search like that,” He stops speaking as the body cramps with a suddenness that frightens him and tears the softest of moans from his lips.
“What about me?” Dean asks softly, voice almost a whisper as he stares with determination into his eyes. Castiel frowns, momentarily uncomprehending before he allows his face to fall into an expression of surprise.
“Dean,” Sam is the first of them to speak, his voice tight as he reaches out and lays a hand upon his brother’s shoulder. Dean shrugs him off, leans forward, meets Castiel’s eyes with trepidation as he asks again, “What about me, Cas? Am I… can I…”
“No!” Sam’s voice is angry, pitched-high, “We can find someone else,” he says, compromises, pleads with puppy-eyes at his brother, “someone more suitable.”
“We don’t have the time,” Dean counters, “we don’t even know where to start looking,” he argues, turning back to Castiel who is shaking his head even as a fresh wave of pain wracks its way through his body and he feels himself being dragged away from consciousness.
- - -
They’re not quite sure where they are. The motel, Sam tells him, is completely deserted. He’s managed to find a reasonably well stocked diner and a few vending machines to keep them going, but all in all they’re on their own. They have no car, no reception on their phones and the only person who could realistically get them out of this mess is lying in a writhing, whimpering mess upon one of the two beds.
It’s been two days since Castiel last surfaced enough to speak with them. Two days in which Dean has been tearing out his hair at his inability to help. Two days in which Sam has been fighting non-stop with him over his ‘inane offer to help the angel’. Two days that feel more like two years and Dean thinks he’ll go crazy if Castiel doesn’t wake up soon.
Between themselves they’ve debated walking till they find the nearest signs of civilisation, or mobile phone signal, or passing vehicle in which they could use to get help for the angel. Between them, they initiate and then dismiss these ideas. Between them, they studiously avoid talking about Sam’s betrayal and Lucifer’s subsequent rising. They do talk about the angels though, and their plans for earth.
They do talk about Castiel too, but no matter that Dean’s offer was done on the spur of the moment, and that Sam is so very against the idea of it, the more time Dean has to think on it, the more he wonders if he could actually do it. Could he offer his body up as a vessel to Castiel? After hearing Jimmy talking about his experiences he isn’t so sure. And then at the same time… he feels he owes Castiel something. And so long as he made sure they both knew it was never going to be a permanent solution then surely he’d be able to cope with it? For a couple of weeks at least?
Dean hovers helplessly over Castiel’s prone figure, but it is clear he doesn’t know what to do. He feels his guilt building as he watches the angel tense and shudder upon the bed before him, looking nothing like the untouchable being he’d first set eyes upon so many months ago.
“I’m sorry,” he says, but the words are inadequate and don’t do a damn thing to alleviate his guilt or stop Castiel from hurting so much. He knows that it is because of him that Castiel lies here now, dying. It is because of him that Castiel disobeyed and sent him to stop Sam. A task of which he’d failed so miserably at.
“Do not blame yourself for this, Dean,” Castiel’s voice is hoarse, the words forced out through gritted teeth, and Dean jumps at hearing it; not having realised that Castiel was awake.
“Cas!” He exclaims, leaning forward in his seat beside the bed, hands making aborted attempts to reach out and fuzz before, finally, he clenches then into fists to still them.
“How are you feeling?” He asks instead.
Castiel’s smile is more of a grimace and Dean’s initial elation at having the angel back promptly fades away.
“Cas…” Dean begins, but Castiel shakes his head.
“Do not offer me what you are not willing to give, Dean.” Castiel says, his voice soft and Dean fancies he hears a plea to the angel’s words. He swallows thickly and stares intently into Castiel’s sunken blue-eyed gaze, ignoring for a minute the sickly pallor of his skin and the way his body trembles with shivers despite the heat radiating off of him.
Dean realises then, that yes, he is willing to give this to Castiel. He’s willing to give it all to keep the angel from dying. He reaches out and smoothes Castiel’s sweat-dampened hair from his forehead.
“Are you sure?” Castiel breathes, eyes widening a little as he reads the determination in Dean’s eyes.
“Yes,” Dean whispers, his mouth suddenly and inexplicably dry. He pulls his hand back and waits.
There is a long and expectant silence between them as they stare at one another. Dean’s heart is pounding in his ears and he’s thinking of all the things he’ll be giving up by doing this and how pissed off Sam will be when he gets back from the diner, and how Castiel will be alive instead of burning to death in a body he can’t escape because he chose to help Dean over obeying his orders.
“Yes,” he repeats, his voice stronger, firmer, and Castiel nods and closes his eyes for a heartbeat. When next he opens them, Dean sees that the blues of them are glowing bright, glowing brighter, then brighter still until Dean’s own eyes are watering as he watches with a shiver of apprehension as the angel pours itself out of Jimmy’s body. He closes his eyes before long but the brightness does not fade. It fills him and warms him and he opens his mouth to gasp in a lungful of air and tastes the brightness on his tongue as it slips almost gently into his body.
There is a moment where, upon hearing the door to their motel room slamming open, he is able to open his own eyes and see Sam gazing at him in horrified silence through the halo of light surrounding him before he smiles, closes his eyes, and knows no more.
- - -
He feels a terror rearing up inside of him, a primeval reaction to overwhelming darkness or blindness that he can’t even begin to fight as he stumbles- like a blind man searching- around a world coated in nothing but a thick fog-like whiteness. With his eyes wide-open he still sees nothing, not even his hands as he waves them desperately in front of his face. His ears, straining for the slightest of sounds, do not even pick up the shuffling of his feet as he moves.
There is nothing here. No sight. No sound. After a while, he begins to realise that he’s no longer moving. Then, that he can no longer feel his body. He moves arms and hands and legs and head but he does not know if he moves them or thinks he moves them and the terror reaches up inside of him with claws that grip him tight and drag him down into a darkness more forgiving that the surrounding white.
The fog swirls aimlessly around him; flexing and fluctuating and parting like the red sea to offer him a vision of a memory he once knew, but Dean is no longer there to see it. Dean is nowhere.
- - -
He comes to awareness slowly; like watching as the coming dawn lightens the night time sky he sees as the blackness of unawareness bleeds itself into the whiteness of awareness. He finds himself stumbling through the fog, still sightless, but now there is noise to hear, voices to hear as they call at him, and touches to feel as phantom fingers brush at him as he spins and twists and tries to catch sight of the things moving around in the fog. He shouts out in frustration, desperation, and hears his voice echoed back to him before another voice, softer, closer, answers his wordless cry.
“Dean,” Comes the call and he turns, heart lurching as he finds Castiel standing only inches away from him.
“Cas,” he breathes, gasps, relief flooding him at the very sight of the trenchcoat-clad angel.
“I thought… did it work?” Dean asks, relishing in being able to see and to hear and to speak. The fog keeps a tight circle around them, but Dean finds he can ignore it with Castiel standing beside him.
“It worked,” Castiel agrees.
“Good,” Dean answers. “That’s good,” He nods, exhales heavily, pauses, “Where are we?” Castiel looks at him and Dean feels something inside of him tighten. “Cas, talk to me here, where are we?” He repeats as the angel fails to respond.
“It worked,” Castiel repeats, before raising his arms and manipulating the fog around them. With a wave of his hands the whiteness clears to leave them standing in a motel room. For a minute, Dean thinks he’s been returned to the real world, but then he sees with a lurch of his stomach, the sight of him and his brother sitting at a table in the corner of the room, pouring over books and papers and their father’s journal.
“What the hell?” Dean exclaims, backing away from the sight and turning to Castiel with alarm. “What’s going on? Where am I?”
“It is only a memory, Dean,” Castiel explains. “I brought it up in the understanding that a familiar sight might make this easier for you.”
“A memory? You can… all my memories?” He asks, uncomfortable at the thought of Castiel being so familiar with him.
Castiel nods his answer and pretends not to notice Dean’s discomfort as he watches the vision of himself and his brother bantering good-naturedly over their work with something akin to sorrow.
“So,” Dean starts, dragging his eyes away from the memory and focussing them back onto the angel before him, “you want to tell me what’s going on?”
“It is as I said, the transfer from Jimmy to you worked.”
“But?” Dean presses.
“There is… resistance.” Castiel admits.
“Resistance?” Dean repeats, not understanding, “What kind of resistance?”
“I am not sure. Something is trying to expel me from this body,”
“My body,” Dean finds himself interrupting, and Castiel nods in acquiesce. Dean bites at the insides of his mouth. “So, what happens now?”
“For now we are at a stalemate.” Castiel answers, “I am fighting to stay, you are fighting to force me out.”
“No, I’m not.” Dean says, feeling the need to defend himself.
“Not consciously, perhaps.” Castiel agrees and looks away. Dean follows his gaze and sees that the fog is starting to press in around them, the motel room and the memory being swallowed up by the thick whiteness as it swirls ever closer.
Dean looks to Castiel with barely disguised trepidation and Castiel reaches out to touch fleetingly at his shoulder.
“You will feel no pain,” he promises before Dean is lost in the fog.
- - -
The body- Dean’s body- burns around him. The wash of heat nowhere near as all consuming as the fire that spread through his last vessel, however, and for that he is grateful. For Dean, he is thankful. There is a touch of coolness to his brow and he opens his eyes. He sees Sam, sitting at his beside, a wet cloth held in his hand.
“You’re awake,” Sam says stiffly, angrily even as he stares intently at his brother’s face, scrutinising what he sees.
“You’re not Dean are you?” He asks after a heartbeat, lips pursing as he sits the cloth in his hand aside and eyes what he assumes is Castiel cautiously, warily, as if waiting for him to disappear in the blink of an eye.
“How’s Dean?” Sam asks, demands, after another indefinite pause of silence. “Is he even still alive?”
“Of course,” Castiel finally answers. Though his face remains expressionless and his voice even, he knows that Sam can see the scorn in his eyes for asking such a question.
The younger Winchester clenches his jaw and looks away, anger flaring then failing as he slumps back into his chair. “You say that like I should know better,” he bites out, “but you left Jimmy’s body easily enough.”
“Had I stayed, we both would have perished.” Castiel says.
“He died anyway,” Sam snaps. “You took my brother and left Jimmy to die.” Castiel closes his eyes, prays.
“Can I believe the same won’t happen to my brother?” Sam asks quietly, his voice more tightly controlled.
“That which threatened my immediate survival has been alleviated.” Castiel answers.
“And Dean?” Sam presses.
“Dean’s sacrifice has given me the chance to recuperate.” He continues, giving nothing else away.
“That’s not what I’m asking,” Sam mutters but seems as reluctant to press for more answers as Castiel is to give them.
“You’ve been… asleep,” he begins instead, finding the right words, “for a few days now.” He rubs his hands together in distraction before reaching to the nightstand and taking up a glass of water. He holds the water out to Castiel, who stares at it, perplexed, before Sam gestures for him to drink it.
“I do not need it.” Castiel says, though he pushes himself upright on arms that shake and cramp, like the legs of a newborn colt trying to find its feet for the first time. He frowns inwardly at the weakness but knows his Grace cannot spare him his strength as he fights now to remain within this body.
“Maybe not, but Dean does,” Sam moves the glass closer and Castiel takes it in careful fingers. He eyes it, sniffs it,-
“You drink it,” Sam snipes at him. Castiel shoots him another look.
-and then lifts it to his lips and sips at it. He is surprised. The water tastes good. The body- Dean’s body- likes it. He finishes the glass and hands it back to Sam who stares thoughtfully at him.
“Thank you,” Castiel says. He lies back down and closes his eyes.
It takes almost ten minutes before he feels the press of the damp cloth to his brow.
- - -
The fog clears and Dean rouses himself from the nothingness to stare out across another memory. He watches as he gets his arse handed to him by a poltergeist that just will not quit whilst Sam tries desperately to ignite the bones of its body. He grimaces at the sight and turns away, feeling the distortion of the memory as Castiel steps up beside him.
“Whatever happens to me,” Dean begins, making light of the situation, “make sure they burn my body in the end, ‘k?”
Castiel says nothing as he looks between Dean and the memory. He shows no reaction to the sight of Dean being thrown headfirst into a pile of headstones except to raise his hand and beckon the fog forward once more.
Dean grabs at Castiel’s hand, his fingers gripping as tightly as they dare as he turns to the angel with hooded eyes.
“Not yet,” he starts, there is a plea to his voice he’d rather not contemplate as he swallows back the urge to beg Castiel not to leave him so soon. The look the angel gives him lets Dean know his silent desperation has been heard even as the fog continues to close in on them. His fingers tighten further, not willing to let the angel leave him even as his vision starts to white out.
The fog clears swiftly however, showing them both a fresh memory of a diner he once had the pleasure of sampling some of the best goddamned pie in the universe in. He squeezes at Castiel’s fingers in thanks before he slowly releases his grip of the angel’s hand. They move wordlessly to an empty booth and slide themselves in. Dean opens his mouth to speak but is stopped by the approach of a waitress,- name tag Barbara,- who smiles widely and asks them for their order.
Dean looks at Castiel and sees the first bit of emotion displayed upon his face since his reappearance. The angel quirks what can only be a smile at him and Dean finds himself staring.
“Go on,” the angel encourages and Dean is suddenly grinning back. He doesn’t need telling twice. He orders pie. Castiel asks for a glass of water. The waitress leaves them.
The silence between them is both awkward and comfortable and Dean does his best not to fidget whilst Castiel remains disturbingly still.
“Why do you look the same?” Dean asks softly after a moment. Castiel cocks his head as if not quite understanding the question.
“Like Jimmy,” Dean says in clarification, “you still look like Jimmy.”
Castiel nods in comprehension. “You still associate me with this form.” He answers and Dean frowns.
Their orders arrive and Dean hesitates, fork poised and still above the crust of a simple apple pie with a dollop of homemade vanilla ice-cream.
“Will it always be like this?” Dean asks. He’s not quite looking at Castiel, though he can feel the angel’s eyes focussed intently upon him.
“If you want it to be,” Castiel answers, watching as Dean uses the side of his fork to cut off the very tip of his slice, he stabs it onto his fork but makes no move to taste the bite.
“No,” Dean shakes his head, looks up, “I mean this,” he waves his arm towards the window where the view of the outside world is warped and distorted by the wisps of fog hovering around the diner, waiting for its moment to slip in and take awareness away from Dean once again.
“I mean the not knowing,” Dean says and cuts off another mouthful of pie even though he’s not yet tasted the first bit. Castiel frowns, sips at his water- pleasantly surprised to find that the memory tastes just as good as the glass Sam gave him earlier- and waits for Dean to organise his thoughts.
“I mean,” Dean starts again, frustration colouring his words, “not knowing how long I’m out in that fog, in the darkness, not knowing what my next memory will be, when my next memory will be, not… not being in control…”
Dean’s eyes meet his at the end and Castiel holds his gaze. He is the first to look away.
“It is how it is for all.” He answers and knows this is not what Dean wants to hear at all.
Dean looks glum and Castiel watches as he pushes the mutilated slice of pie away from him. Castiel feels his stomach lurch at the sight.
“How long has it been?” Dean asks, hugging himself and slumping back against the vinyl of his seat.
“Days,” Castiel says, “Almost a week.”
“Feels longer,” Dean mutters and Castiel feels that same lurching of his stomach. He doesn’t like the feeling. He realises, also, that he does not like the look of despair on Dean’s face.
“It won’t be forever,” Castiel tries to reassure him. Instead he watches as Dean fails to suppress a shudder at the thought. The fog presses in, unbidden, and Dean looks up with wide eyes, his arms moving to reach out for Castiel before it can steal them away from this memory. His fingers grab at nothing. His calls of Castiel’s name echo back at him from the whiteness and he slips away into the nothingness surrounding him.
- - -
When next Castiel comes to him, Dean finds that they are standing in a park. The memory this time is of the pair of them as they sit on separate benches and talk, staring ahead at a children’s playground, hearing their shrieks and cries of joy as Castiel confesses his doubts to Dean for the first time.
“Why this memory?” Dean asks, but does not turn. He knows Castiel stands behind him; he can feel the angel’s presence as surely as the shiver that creeps down his spine as he watches his memory self talk with the angel.
“I did not pick it.” Castiel answers, causing Dean to frown.
“Why are you fighting me, Dean?” Castiel asks.
Dean’s first instinct is to deny anything of the sort. He closes his eyes and feels his fingers tightening into fists as the anger he has been trying to work up over being left out in the fog builds and then crumbles. He flexes his fingers and blinks his eyes back open. The memory is gone, he sees, and only the park remains.
“I don’t mean to,” he confesses, shoulders slumping as the realisation that he has been fighting Castiel all along siphons through to his conscious mind.
“I am only here with your permission,” Castiel reminds him after a pause, “if you desire it, Dean, I will leave.”
“No!” Dean turns then, his eyes wide and his hands reaching; fingers grabbing up fistfuls of Castiel’s coat in sudden desperation, “No,” he repeats, “I…” he drops his hands hastily and steps away. Castiel watches him with a frown.
“You’ll die if you leave, right?” Dean swallows against the rising panic that very thought leaves him with.
“I will not last long out with a vessel,” Castiel agrees. Dean nods and looks away again.
“It’s just hard,” he says after a while, “I don’t like not being in control, Cas. I- it’s hard for me to just let go and not fight you every step of the way.”
“If you keep fighting me, you will eventually win.” Castiel replies evenly.
“What do you mean?” Dean asks.
“I am not yet strong enough to force myself on you.” Castiel says, head tilting slightly as he watches Dean.
“But you’re already here.” Dean says.
“Yes, but I haven’t the power to keep myself in your body so long as you refuse to have me here.”
“I don’t know how to let go.” He whispers.
“I do not have any answers for you, Dean. Ultimately the choice to have me here is yours.”
Dean nods distractedly and moves around to sit himself on one of the two benches.
“Can you stay a while longer?” He asks and Castiel moves to sit on the second bench, mirroring the memory.
“I don’t know how to accept you, Cas.” Dean admits after a long while of silence. He keeps his eyes closed and his head bowed, listening to the sounds of the wind rustling the trees surrounding them and the shifting of fabric as Castiel turns towards him.
Castiel’s fingers are surprisingly warm as they touch his cheek and Dean looks up quickly, body tensing as the angel’s fingers curl under his jaw to hold his head firm and lock their gazes together.
“I do not wish to ask for more than you are able to provide me, Dean,” Castiel says, and despite the angel’s hold Dean manages to shake his head.
“I don’t want you to die,” he says, “Just… I don’t… how did Jimmy do it?”
“He asked for it,” Castiel replies, “he gave himself up entirely to do God’s work and was able to lose himself easily within his own mind whilst I took over.”
Dean shudders at his words, “I don’t like the fog, Cas,” he confesses, “I don’t think I could ever lose myself in it willingly.”
Castiel raises his other hand to cup at Dean’s face, his expression thoughtful as he considers Dean a moment.
“If there were a way to keep the fog at bay…” Castiel begins and Dean’s eyes widen with hope.
“Yes,” Dean agrees, “if there’s a way, any way,”
“You don’t even know what you are agreeing to,” Castiel says, but there is a ghost of a smile upon his lips.
“I don’t care.” Dean breathes, “I trust you, Cas.”
Castiel’s look is suddenly intent and Dean swallows nervously, apprehension bubbling up inside of him as Castiel moves surreptitiously closer to him. It is almost unsurprising to find that their faces are only inches apart from each other, and with Castiel’s hands still framing his face, Dean finds he has no reason to play at pulling away from the angel.
“Cas…” Dean whispers, his heart stuttering as Castiel closes the inches between them to press the softest of kisses to his lips. Dean freezes for a millisecond before he feels a whirlwind of emotions flooding through him. He lifts his hands to cling at Castiel’s arms, holding on as he feels the angel’s power washing over him, as he tastes Castiel upon his lips and finds something deep inside of him responding to the touch.
When the angel pulls away, it leaves Dean reeling. His cheeks are hot and his lips are tingling and he swallows again with nervous sort of wanting.
“What- What was that?” He asks, licking tentatively at his lips.
“A kiss,” Castiel replies, thumbs stroking at Dean’s jaw.
“Why?” Dean presses, his eyes flickering between Castiel’s eyes and his mouth. His fingers flex against their grip of the angel’s forearms and it occurs to him to wonder why he’s not freaking out about this at all.
“A test, if you will,” Castiel answers, pauses, smiles that almost not-there smile of his and continues, “There is a way for us to equally co-inhabit your body, Dean, for us to both remain aware and function as one.”
“Okay…?” Dean says slowly, waiting for Castiel to drop the bombshell he just knows must be coming.
“It has never been done before,” Castiel admits. “I do not know how successful we can be in this endeavour.”
“What’s the worst that could happen?” Dean questions; making light his words.
“I could end up taking you over completely. Or you could end up expelling me from your body.” Castiel replies with seriousness.
“But if we don’t try…?” Dean asks, uncertainly.
“You do not have to do this, Dean.” Castiel offers, his gaze sincere and accepting of whatever decision Dean chooses to make in this.
“Yes, I do.” Dean says, determined, “I want to do this.”
Castiel nods. “It is my only option then.”
“Okay,” Dean breathes, repeats. “Okay. And, what about… after…”
“We will be able to separate when the time comes.” Castiel promises. Dean nods again.
“Right. Okay.” He bites at his lips, he’s on the verge of asking what they’ll have to do when he realises that his lips are still tingling. He realises that he really wants to kiss Castiel again. He realises that Castiel is watching him with a look he’s never seen in the angel’s eyes before and he realises…
“Oh,” he breathes, the sound of his gasp swallowed as Castiel presses forward once more and touches his mouth to Dean’s in a kiss less soft than the first but tasting even better as he tentatively licks at Castiel’s lips. The angel’s power washes over him in dizzying waves and Dean finds himself drowning in the sensation of it all.
- - -
He opens his eyes and sees a watermarked ceiling above him. He pushes himself up on shaking arms and feels the scratch of the blanket upon him as it slips down his arms. He sees Sam starting to his feet and rushing to his side- caution and concern warring within him as he stops paces away and stares with narrowed eyes at him.
“How’s Dean?” Are the first words he speaks and he blinks, sees Sam’s face beginning to fall as he fails to answer immediately, and allows his mouth to morph into a huge-ass grin.
“Alive,” Dean says, holding back a laugh at Sam’s surprised expression, an expression that is quick to cloud with anger as a fist comes out of nowhere and socks him across the jaw.
It is Sam who curses with pain however, cradling his hand as Dean touches amazedly at his face which hurts not at all.
“Dean?” Sam asks, unsure, cradling his hand to his chest.
“It’s me, Sammy,” he answers, smiling more gently at the hesitancy he sees upon his brother’s face.
“And Castiel?” Sam presses, knowing that something is not quite right with him.
“He’s here too, Sam.” Dean says, his smile more tentative as Sam’s face grows pale with the admission.
“Why?” Sam breathes, “Why’d you do it, Dean? After everything the angels did to us? Did to you? Why the hell would you want to help them like this?”
“Cas is different, Sam. You know this. He’s saved me more than once. He’s saved us at great personal cost. I couldn’t let him die, Sammy, not like he was going to. Not because of me.”
Sam wavers but looks unconvinced. He bites his lip and peers at Dean through the flop of his fringe.
“You sound like him, you know?” He says with suspicion as the silence stretches out between them.
Dean’s smile is soft and strangely content as he says, “I know.”
Sam looks as though he’s waiting for an explanation but Dean says nothing as he carefully swings his legs from the bed and steps up to his brother. He rests a hand upon Sam’s shoulder and grins. Sam frowns at him, eyes widening as his brother’s grip tightens and he feels a pulling sensation radiating throughout his body. He only closes his eyes for a second, a fraction of a second as he blinks against the feeling, but when he opens them again it is to find that they are no longer in the motel room but instead in a very familiar looking living room.
“The hell is going on here?” Sam twists instinctively and sees a shotgun pointed towards them, along with a very unimpressed Bobby glaring daggers at the pair of them. Realisation hits and he looks at Dean with disbelief before promptly passing out.
“Hello, Bobby,” Dean says, grinning again as he looks between his brother and the shotgun-wielding man.
“I think you’ve got some explaining to do,” Bobby growls out the words, lowering the gun despite looking as though he’d really rather not.
Dean nods his agreement, “Yes,” he says, watching as Sam rouses himself and flushes as he realises he’s on the floor, “There is much to discuss.”
Bobby raises his shotgun again.
- - -
- - -