Title/Prompt: Benediction

Fandom: Supernatural

Characters/Pairing: Dean Winchester/Castiel

Rating: PG

Word Count: 545

Notes: For "sacred_20". Someone wanted Dean to get a hug and it fit with my bunny. *pets bunny* And holy hell, I found Castiel! Big thanks to darksilvercat for the fantastic beta job *hugs*.

Summary: Castiel has his orders, Dean doesn't agree.

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"You're out of your fluffy little mind, Cas," Dean scoffs.

Castiel is not omniscient, but this, he knows this; he knows Dean. Dean who is angry and wishes to lash out because he is afraid. (And Castiel reigns in his desire to soothe and calm him, to take, for even a moment--longer, he'd bear the entirety of the burden for eternity if Dean asked it of him; even if he didn't--the weight that is laid across the breadth of Dean's mortal shoulders, around the span of his fragile, human neck.) "This is how it must--"

"Bullshit!" Dean snaps angrily, his eyes burn bright with emotion. "Do not feed me that crap. I order you not to go."

Castiel does not laugh, though he feels something not unlike humor. "The Lord commanded me to follow your orders and I have. Do not make me choose, Dean. Please," he adds after a beat of silence.

Words have power.

That single word quiets Dean, smoothes away the tension that stretched and tightened his body.

"Cas," Dean chokes on the single syllable and stares at him with wide eyes--still the eyes of a child, though how he denies it--crystalline with forming tears.

Salt and water.

The scent and taste of sorrow.

Tears are another gift He gave them, so bittersweet.

Castiel enfolds Dean in his embrace, thankful once again for the mortal flesh that allows him this small mercy, the blessing of simple, human touch. Such a gift, to be the recipient of these small affections--hugs, pats, chaste brush of lips, hands on shoulders, back, arm, fingers across cheek...he can see why He loves them so.

"I won't order you," Dean murmurs grudgingly, releasing Castiel from the agony of having to make a choice (he serves two masters now--never has he understood the conflict, the uncertainty of humanity so well--and he still does not know whom he will choose in the end).

"But, if I asked?" Dean's voice is softer than a whisper upon the wind, brushed faintly with hope and insecurity, the vulnerability that Dean does not allow the world to see.

"Do not ask me." It is not a plea. His voice is steady, though his arms tighten.

"Okay." A shuddery sigh, rush of warm breath against skin, the tickle of lashes, and the wet heat of tears. Dean is self-contained again. Castiel's arms loosen; the time for comfort is over.

But Dean doesn't step back, doesn't recapture the distance between them.

"I won't order you to stay," he repeats. His hands come up to the sides of Castiel's face, their warmth and strength an anchor that lulls his human eyes shut, allowing his divine senses to revel in the wonder of the man before him.

"I order you to come back," Dean murmurs as his lips brush across Castiel's forehead.