Blaze of Glory

Spoilers up to 4x03

Summary: Castiel considers Dean.

When he dives into Perdition, the hot blast of sensation is almost more than he can stand. Everything here is hellfire and unbearable agony, the hiss of demonic snakes and screams of gutter souls, laid low by weakness and filth and despair. His God-injected, unerring compass (righteousness, goodness, love, creation, joy--) leads him arrow-straight to the besieged soul of Dean Winchester. Castiel lays his hand upon the shoulder of the damned man and the touch is like fire and ice and the explosion that birthed the universe. A rush of unbelievable ecstasy – life – rockets through him and into Dean.

Dean turns from the landscape's red flashing insanity and looks at him with awe and terror and relief. He doesn't fear his rescue, but instead cleaves to Castiel like a helpless child, burying his face in Castiel's shoulder with a ragged sob.

Castiel extends his great wings and flies both of them straight away from this terrible place to the grave where the human's moldering body lies. His father's power surrounds the dead form, infuses it with life, re-knitting tissue and re-forming blood and plasma and marrow.

When Castiel withdraws from the grave, he reminds himself to be careful of his charge's fragile form (trapped bird, fluttering and panicking).

From the time he receives his father's order to rescue the soul and resurrect the body of Dean Winchester and the time when Dean gasps air into his newly re-made lungs, an instant has passed.

Eternal and immediate. Such is the nature of the infinite.

He is a loyal soldier. He fights when he would rather lie like a newborn in the arms of his father, drowning in pure celestial bliss. He travels even when it takes him far away from all he wants and needs and desires. Even when it takes him down to Earth.

Being here is much harder than he expected. Everything is harsh and sharp and hard. Thick and dense. Just learning how to move in a physical body again is a trial. He hadn't realized how much he'd forgotten about Earth – the pain and beauty and glorious, terrible complexity of … so much. Child's hands and woven cloth, flower petals and steel girders.

And Dean.

He blazes with emotion like dry tinder on fire. He's not what Castiel expects. He's all jutting angles and fierce devotion, so wrapped up in his fear and pain and love that he doesn't see the bigger picture. He just reacts, ignorant and passionate and angry.

Castiel makes mistakes when dealing with him, he sees later. He's too patient at the start, then too threatening, then he puts Dean through heart-rending sorrow by making him falsely believe he can save his family from their endless spiral of demon deals and martyrdom. When Castiel realizes the pain he's caused his charge, he reaches out to him for the second time. And unknowingly forges a connection as strong as when he poured life into the dead vessel of Dean's body.

He feels Dean with him now. Like a heartbeat, low and ever-present, the throb of his human's hope-desperation-anger-compassion-frailty-anxiety-lovelovelovelove—

Now, when he is absent from the Earth, flying unimpeded through the celestial realms of pure light, he's anchored by a thin (unbreakable) silver thread to this man. This man who is all flesh and bone and dirt and grime and pain and promise.

The connection is deepening every day. Castiel thinks he should be afraid of just how deep it will go, how far he'll fall into the roiling stew of humanity. He does with his fear what he has always done.

He gives it over to his father, and abides.