Dudes... I do not even... I have no idea what this is. It is NOT SLASH, and normally I will make no apologies for that, but in this one case, I want to make it absolutely clear that this does not go there.
Um, y'all are gonna hate it, like whoa, but I'm having a crappy day and needed to write something cracky. In my opinion, this is too serious to be crack and too cracky to be serious. I fail. If you don't want it to be crack, then quit reading at the scene break ------ I made it quite obvious. I think it can read as meta up til then. Beyond that, there are no holds barred. I kid you not.
Basically, a friend of mine was commenting about the Dean and Castiel dynamic. She may have said, "Dean and Castiel sitting in a tree," and I may have said, "I hope it's not THAT tree." And fic was born. Cracky fic. That's not slash at all. It's Cas and Dean banter with a shot of meta and a dose of espresso con crack. Enter at your own risk.
Warnings: Language, (f-bombs ahoy) and immaculate pollination, there's only two three characters in the story, and they're all guys, so yeah, that's all I'm saying. Do not shoot the brain. The brain is wise and wonderful. And for Heather, yes there is "weird stuff" in this, so do not read.
Disclaimer: No profit or defamation. Pure fiction, like whoa.
Well, that was a rip-roaring waste of time and face. Dean doesn't know what the hell possessed him to spill his guts like that. Okay, so that's not entirely true. When someone offers words of wisdom and then turns into a friggin' angel, they tend to be pretty convincing.
Still, he can't really see the point. Now, not only does he have the whole PTSD Hell remix playing in his head, but Sam's got some variation of it in his. Way to spread the joy.
And now here he is, fucking Kentucky, when all he wants to do is get in the car and drive. Sam's not having it, though, says they need a day or so to "regroup". He's, no doubt, regroping a certain demon at this very moment, himself.
Hey, everyone's got coping mechanisms.
Speaking of which, Dean takes a swallow off his beer, nearly draining it in one drink. He wishes he'd thought to bring another. Of course, he didn't. He hadn't even really planned to come here in the first place, doesn't know why he has. Lowering the bottle, he raises his chin to the sky, follows the sweeping boughs of the tree as they stretch into the night sky. He can't say whether it's just a really clear night, and that's the Milky Way sprawled behind it, or if the tree's actually glowing. Seems like it'd be a lot more popular if it did glow, not just standing out here alone in the middle of a field where no one can see it.
Then again, freaks of nature do have a habit of pressing the veil of belief a little farther than most people are willing to tolerate. He wonders if maybe he's the only one who's ever seen it and come back.
"Oomph!" Without warning, he sways on his feet, the crick in his neck from trying to see the uppermost branches ripples down his back bone and buckles his knees. He lands on his ass over a gnarled root. It should hurt like... well, it should really smart, but it doesn't. Instead, the root thrums beneath him, which "Holy fuck!" makes him lurch back to his feet. Friggin' tingles. "You know, I'm all for a little grope in the dark, but if you plan to go all Evil Dead on my ass, you can forget it. I don't do vegetables." That just sounds wrong. "I mean, I don't eat veget..." He shakes his head, still rubbing his ass, tilts his chin down while he searches for the right words. "Fine. I apologize. I'm sure you're a great lay... er,.. pollinator, or whatever, but I prefer to stick to my own species."
"Is that so?"
Dean does not even need to look. "Great, an angel in a tree. Christmas just keeps coming earlier and earlier." Nor does he need to stop rubbing his aching ass. Lord knows, Cas has seen him in worse positions.
"Don't tell me," Dean huffs, "I'm passed out drunk, and come morning, I'll be hypohermic on the ground."
"Not yet." The voice is serene, actually well-suited to be wafting down from the limbs of the tree. Dean feels like he's just completed a pilgrimage of some sort and has earned a consult with the oracle.
"So you're not just molesting me in my sleep anymore? Good to know."
"There are those who would sell their souls to have one of us come to them in dreams."
"Been there, done that." Dean's pretty sure he's got a bead on the voice, now, but his neck can only take so much of this straining, and he'll be damned (not literally, he hopes) if he gives Cas the satisfaction of having Dean look up to him.
So what if Cas can't actually get satisfaction from it. It's the principle of the thing, and it's principle that pushes Dean closer to the tree and makes him hoist himself up. It has nothing at all to do with the fact that it's dark and cold down here all alone.
"And you would turn away."
Dean heaves himself up to the next branch that looks sturdy enough to hold his weight. "I never asked for the royal treatment," he huffs. "Don't see how it matters whether I turn away or not."
"You are right. It does not matter. God's love is unconditional." Dean's nose to toe with Castiel's shoe. Dude's wearing penny loafers with no pennies. You'd think there's a collection plate somewhere that could remedy that. God should maybe spend some of those tithes on his military. Maybe Heaven's not so different from Earth. The G.I.'s get screwed all over.
"Anna didn't seem to think so. God seemed to have nothing but Wrath for her." With a last heave, Dean plants himself (no pun intended) beside Castiel.
"That is different."
"Why is it different?" Dean asks. "I mean, God made us all, right? Humans and angels both. Demons, too, if you wanna be technical. Why, when we turn away do we get the prodigal son treatment, and when one of you turns away, you get the Wrath?"
Castiel's gaze remains fixed forward into the thick canopy of the tree. From this angle, Dean's absolutely positive the tree itself is glowing, and it reflects in the angel's eyes, magnified somehow, though it feels like Cas is drinking it in. "You are made in God's love, to be his children. We are made of this," Cas says, stretching his finger out to a leaf so that Dean can see the way it trembles and glows brighter in his presence. "Of grace, to be God's soldiers, his advocates."
"The grunts," Dean says, and he can't help the little tinge of sarcasm that creeps into his voice. Blasphemous or not, in his book, that doesn't make God any better than the villain in any of a world domination, sci-fi flicks he's seen in his life.
"It is a privilege. With it comes... great power." Cas folds his hands in his lap, right thumb stroking over left, his mouth set in a straight line.
Dean feels one cheek quirk up, a huff of cynical laughter as he ducks his chin and shakes his head. "Oh, man, you are totally brainwashed. Didn't anyone ever tell you about power? You know, how with great power comes great responsibility, and yada, yada, yada?"
"Certainly," Castiel says. "We understand this. Millions of fates have been decided based on our intervention. We do not take the responsibility lightly."
"But do you want it?"
Castiel's face pinches ever so slightly, as close as he's come to looking genuinely puzzled since Dean's known him. "We are made to want for nothing."
"You're kidding, right?"
"I do not kid."
Dean tilts his head back. "Rrriiight, cuz nobody's laughing about you yanking me outta the Pit." He forms his hands in the shape of a mock marquee banner against the backdrop of leaves. "Dean Winchester, Chosen One." He elbows Castiel's shoulder with a grin. "Now, tell me that's not a punchline."
"I only follow orders, Dean. I do not make them."
"You see, now that's what I'm talking about." Dean tilts a little toward Castiel, ignoring the little tingle that goes up his calf when the toes of their shoes touch momentarily. "You might not know this about me, because it seems like I manage to find a way to fuck up everything, but I do know a thing or two about responsibility. I have a few, and one of 'em," he leans in closer to Castiel as if to whisper in his ear, "one even has a name."
Dean snickers. "Yeah, that one. Just don't let him hear you call him that." His chest jerks with a contained laugh. "Anyway, when we were kids, Dad used to leave us alone for days at a time, and every now and again CPS would get on his tail. We never did know who was snitching us out, but when it happened, that was it. We just packed up and moved on." He clears his throat, something clogging up his voice box at just the mention of those times when everything always slipped out of his control.
"For awhile there, I had one standing order. Lay low and keep Sam quiet, because there's nothing like a temperamental screaming four year old to draw attention to the fact that there's no parental unit in the vicinity." He chuckles. "You don't know Sam too well, but Dad might just as well have told me make the toilet water swirl counter clockwise. The only way to keep that kid quiet was to just let him have his way all the time. I swear, we watched nothing but the Cartoon Network for days on end, ate so many Lucky Charms I think we sweat marshmallow creme. By the time Dad came back, I'd be climbing the walls."
Castiel unfolds his hands, places one on each side of himself on the branch. "I do not understand. It did not make you happy to give Samu... Sam what he wanted? You were not satisfied to do your job and do it well?"
"Well, sure. I mean, it beat getting my ass handed to me or having my family ripped apart, but you know what really made it worthwhile?"
"When Sam asked me what I wanted to watch and handed over the remote, promised not to complain no matter what I picked. Or when he woke up early and made cereal for us both instead of waking me up to do it. Even if he spilled more milk on the counter than in the bowl. When he brought something home from school and gave it to me instead of Dad."
Castiel's brow furrows. "So, it is the reward which satisfies you?"
"Dude, no." Dean shakes his head, fingertips to brow, tapping away. "That's not it at all. What made it worthwhile was the connection, the way Sam smiled when he handed me that remote, the way it felt when I turned on his program anyway, because I wanted to. The way he'd get so bored watching my shows he'd fall asleep with his head on my shoulder but never complain, because HE chose to."
"I think what you are saying," Cas surmises, "is that responsibility is easier to bear if you care about making the right choice."
"Not exactly," Dean harumphs, "but close enough, I guess."
"Then, tell me, Dean, do you think Anna acted wisely when she fell?"
Cas and those damned eyes. Dean wants to look away but he can't... or some part of him chooses not to. Something about the way they seem to see right through him... Dean can't lie. "I think she had to fall in order to find that out for herself."
"She chose to go back."
"Because she cared about what would happen if she didn't."
"And you would have chosen Hell over forcing her hand?"
Dean scratches the back of his neck because the hairs back there are crazy twitching. "Boy, you guys really don't keep secrets."
"We do not."
"Then, yeah, I did," Dean says with a shrug. "I did choose to go back so she wouldn't have to." He purses lips and huffs. "For all the good it did me."
"It was," Cas pauses. "That was admirable."
"Realllly," Dean snickers. He leans over enough to bump shoulders with Cas. "Best keep your voice down, Cas, my man, wouldn't want God to catch you worshipping at the Church of Winchester. I mean, I know you can't help it. I am pretty damned irresistible and all..."
Cas seems unfazed, one coattail in each hand, opening, closing, opening, closing, deep in thought. "You cared about Anna." A statement, not a question.
"I did." Dean clears his throat. "I do."
"And you care about Samu... Sam."
"Kind of a no-brainer." He shrugs.
The rhythmic swoosh of coattails stops, and Cas looks up. Again with the eyes. "And if you did not, then this... all of this would not be worthwhile. Is that correct?"
"So, you did not mean what you said to Sam. You do still wish to feel?"
Dean doesn't even realize he's been swinging his legs over the edge of the branch all this time until he stops suddenly. "You heard that?" He wants to be angry. He does, but in the grand scheme of things, angel eavesdropping is hardly a capital offense.
"I did not, but someone did. Someone is always listening, Dean. Even when you do not speak."
"Well, then he's getting an earful right now." Dean laughs but there's no heat in it. It fades awkwardly into a nervous cough. "Tough crowd." He clears his throat, straightens his jacket so it pulls over the scar on his shoulder, a gentle reminder of something not so gentle. "Yeah, I guess I didn't mean it. Not all of it."
"So, there are only some things you wish you could not feel?"
"Yup." No point denying it, or sugar-coating. He rubs his hands over the thighs of his jeans. "I, uh, I suppose that makes me a selfish bastard, doesn't it?"
"I am a heartless son of a bitch, so I guess we are even."
Dean raises his eyebrows. Never heard his own words thrown back at him in quite that way before. "What can I say? Things are tough all over, Ponyboy." Their shoulders are touching, and Dean doesn't feel like moving away, a sharing of something more than distribution of gravitational forces.
Castiel nods. "A literary reference."
"In a fashion."
Dean grins, elbows on knees, tilts his chin up, his resolve not to look up to Castiel having melted with time. "By osmosis, right? Dude, that's a cool trick. That would come in so handy, way better than wading through microfiche, I gotta say." He straightens, smacks both thighs with the flats of his hands, a mini eureka moment. "If I had a super power, that's what it would be." That question's been weighing on his mind since Sam was in the fourth grade and came home from school with it.
"Actually, it is more like diffusion, since there is no water involved." Cas pauses, his hand clinging to the empty space on the tree branch between them, fingers splayed so the pinky stabs into the seam of Dean's jeans. Something like a static charge zings even through the doubled over denim. "It doesn't only work for words."
Dean starts, his head jerking to the left, eyes wide in the face of Castiel's. He's not surprised, doesn't know what causes the shock to his system. The way Castiel looks at him, like he could both push Dean from the tree and catch him at the same time, like he would just to keep Dean's attention, present and so deeply in the moment time might just stop... It closes off Dean's throat, something caught in there sucked out into this new vacuum.
But Dean's not ready to give that up just yet. He swallows thick, laughs, dry and rasping. "Well, yeah, I mean must work for pictures and things, too. How else would I get Technicolor Angelvision in my head while I'm sleeping?" He quirks a grin, without looking up. "And by the way, Freddy Krueger's been stealing your mojo there, and he's way better at it than you. I mean, we're talking 3-D surround sound, blu-ray hi-definition..."
"I can share the memories with you, Dean."
"Memories?" Dean fronts. "You mean, like in 'Cats'? All alone in the moonlight and all that jazz?" He huffs through his nose. "I knew there was a musical in this somewhere. Just, a little heads up, though, put Sam in the dance line, cuz the dude is tone deaf."
Castiel's lips part, his eyes downcast as he takes a long breath in and holds it. And holds it. And holds it.
Dean shuts up, not because he has to, but because the guy who gets his orders from God should not have such a hard time finding words. Whatever tongue ties an angel gets Dean's attention just on principle.
"You are not the only one marked as a result of our... introduction," Castiel says, his eyes raising slowly, stop-starting in small increments until they're fixed on Dean's. "When I touched you, your soul, I felt you. All of you. Every little fragment of your being that makes you chosen. I knew then, why God loves you and not me. And I could not find in myself, the strength to let that go."
Dean draws back to the point of nearly losing his balance. "Dude, you're giving me the heebie jeebies, here." When Castiel reaches to put a hand on his shoulder, Dean jerks away, arms in the air.
"I only want to help."
"Help who? Me or you? Cuz, if I'm hearing you right, you're saying you touched my soul, which... eew, inappropriate touching anyone... and it what? Opened a little door in your head so you could see God?"
"Not God. Only his love."
"You know, dude, there's a name for guys who claim to see peace and love. LSD trippin' Hippie whackjobs. And I don't care how much you're jonesing over there in your 'vessel'," he spits, more venom in his words than he intends, "I am not your fix."
"That is not what I am offering." There's a flash, a moment of vertigo, and then Cas is crouched on the branch, half-standing. He straightens, turns so that he's staring into the canopy once more. "I would never purport to use you, Dean. What I would propose... it would be mutually beneficial."
"How so? I let you reach under my skin and siphon off some of God's love, and I get what? A get out of Wrath free card?" Dean makes a half-hearted attempt to stand, but the branch quivers and shakes the second he pulls his legs up under himself. Instead, he just slides closer to the trunk, braces his back against it. As an afterthought, he crosses his arms over his chest.
His chin is not quivering. Not at all.
"I am only saying that you have things you do not want which you cannot dispel. I can take them from you and use them to better understand my purpose and the plan God has for all of us. Would that not be a fair transaction?"
Understanding dawns slowly, and when it does, Dean can't help the way his eyebrows raise, how his knee bends up into his chest, arms wrap around it as though he's lazing in a hammock waiting to be fed grapes. "Aaahhh, I gotta hand it to you, Cas, man, you're not nearly as junkless as your buddy Uriel. Takes some serious 'nads to slip one by the Big Guy. I didn't know you had it in you."
The branch trembles, the first time it's so much as quivered since Castiel stood upon it. The tails of Cas's coat flutter for just a second before settling again. "As I see it, the war at hand requires the implementation of more unorthodox tactics."
"And the way I see it, you get to have your cake and eat it, too. You get to know God's love without losing your grace. I'm like angel ambrosia or something."
"I can see that humility is not a virtue you nurture."
"What can I say? Hell can't hold me, and Heaven's got a hard-on for my soul. I'm a pretty hot commodity."
"To everyone but yourself." The branch stops shaking, Castiel's voice as sure and steady as his feet on the narrow limb.
Dean's face falters. "You're," he jerks his head to the side, tilting into his shoulder as he fidgets with the cuff on his jeans, "you're kinda contradicting yourself there, aren't you? Just a second ago you said..."
"That you do not nurture humility. Rather, you are smothered by it, so certain that you are too tarnished for God or anyone to value. You try to gild over yourself, unaware that iron cannot be turned to gold." He takes two steps forward on the limb, hands clasped behind his back. "Tell me, Dean, would you not like to have some of that tarnish removed? I could do that for you."
"Oh, I don't know," Dean drawls. "I kinda think it gives me character, don't you? I mean, I've watched a few episodes of Antiques Roadshow, and once you refinish that stuff, it loses all its value."
Cas quirks his head to the side, now, too, studying Dean with a gentle back and forth sway of his shoulders. "You believe that your worth is determined solely by the size of the burden you carry. That is very noble, but also flawed."
"Of course it is. We've already established that I'm a giant fuck up, right? We're beating a dead horse, here with the flawed this and tarnished that, don't you think?" There's something bitter in his throat that won't let him get the inflection right. He sounds angry, even to himself, doesn't know where it comes from.
"Your virtue is not bought in suffering."
"Then I'm really screwed, because I don't have a damn thing else to give." And why the Hell is his voice so raw all of the sudden? He shoves back against the tree trunk again, crossing his arms once more, but can't look Castiel in the eye.
"You have yourself."
"I already gave everything I..."
"No, you give what you think is needed and keep the rest buried underneath." He takes another step closer, hand outstretched, a foot on either side of Dean's leg. "You will not be any less if I take some of the burden. You will be free to find your true worth."
Dean laughs to himself, surprised at how much it feels like a sob when it actually bubbles from his chest. Because he doesn't want that. He doesn't. The inhale that follows is broken and stutters in one hiccup at a time. There's some weight on his chest getting heavier by the second, something he can't NOT notice now that it's been drawn out of him and painted in dark swathes over the lens of his mind's eye. He's surprised that he has to sniff past some moisture trickling down the back of his throat before he can pretend to joke, "It sounds like you're trying..." He wipes the back of his hand over his mouth, aware of how his chin trembles. "Sounds like you're trying to seduce me."
Cas smiles, an actual smile. And here Dean had been thinking Grace was the equivalent of Botox. "It is more difficult than I had thought it would be."
And that just does it. Cas and his friggin' eyes.
"I appreciate the effort, but anyone can tell you, I'm kind of a sure thing." He surges up, his earlier failed attempt to stand forgotten, rising up on his knees. Not afraid to fall anymore, he reaches out with both hands, grasps Cas's thumb in one hand and his pinky finger in the other, drags it down to the shoulder that's been throbbing and tingling since they sat down together.
Cas's eyes flutter shut, his chest hitching, and his head drops back. A second later, the tree and the canopy wash white in light so bright Dean has to shut his eyes. A jolt of something white hot and thrumming crackles up through the soles of his feet. He feels himself start to sway, feels the grip on his shoulder tighten, warm and soothing where everything else is fire and electricity, the one place of quiet in his whole skin.
Something breaks loose, a dark mass as dense as lead and cold. It splits him open from navel to collar bone, his lungs suddenly free and filled with crackling ozone, pure oxygen like a drug.
He doesn't even feel the fall.
"Dean! Dean wake up!"
Dean tries, but sleep is so heavy in his bones. He hasn't slept far enough into R.E.M. sleep to get any actual rest in what feels like weeks, and now his body won't be gypped out of the deficit. He moans, tries to roll from his side to his stomach, but can't even lift his stomach off the ground to resituate himself. Dew's collecting in his eyelashes when he tries and fails to blink them open, and the skin on the back of his hand glistens, but he isn't cold. He's never been so warm, so content.
"Dean, you..." There's a tugging sensation as Sam shakes his shoulder, tries to roll him over, "Oh, God..."
Sam moves, his feet squishing in the long grass until he's at Dean's back, and when he does, the sun slants through the tree and into Dean's eyes. Dean flops his arm across his eyelids, nuzzling into the warmth of his bicep.
"You need to wake up, man. C'mon." Sam rubs Dean's shoulder, trying to rouse him, and his hand trails lower, stopping at the crux of ribcage and stomach with a tremor. "We got... a real problem here Dean. Wake the fuck up!"
"Geez, Sam," Dean mumbles. "I let you have the room all to yourself last night so you could get the grope on with your..."
"I said, wake up!"
Okay, now that's just it. Dean opens his eyes, gives Sam the best glare he can muster. "What the fuck crawled up your ass?"
"I think I should be asking that question," Sam hisses. "Care to share?"
"What were you doing out here all night?"
"Nothing," Dean says. "I came out here to think, and Cas was here. We had us a nice heart to heart, and you'll be happy to know, I am no longer burdened...that's his word not mine.... burdened," Dean says again, because it feels wrong in his mouth, "with so many bad Hell memories. Cas asked me to share, and I did."
Sam's got the craziest look on his face, won't meet Dean's eyes, won't really look at Dean at all, and it's starting to freak him the fuck out. "And did he share anything with you?"
"I don't know, a hammock maybe?"
"A ham..." Dean jerks away, all of about five inches away, because he's still lethargic, like whoa, sleep heavy and just slow. "Geez, Sam! No! Get your mind out of the gutter. He touched me, that's all. Okay, so it was my soul he touched, and that's a little creepy, but nothing under the clothes. Unless through the clothes counts, cuz I'm not really sure where my soul actually is, but my virtue is intact, I swear."
"And why was he groping your soul, Dean?"
Dean grimaces. "Geez, Sam, you make it sound so dirty. It was perfectly innocent. Said when he touched me, he could feel God's love or some other crazy-assed angel shit like that. Said it was mutually beneficial." And that's way too fucking many syllables for this hour of the morning.
Sam's silent for awhile, the cogs in his head turning at warp five, and Dean nearly falls back to sleep. "You weren't, by any chance sitting in the tree when he touched you?" Sam asks, something accusatory in his voice.
"Dean, the Tree of Pure Creation? You let an angel use you as a conduit for God's love while sitting in the Tree of Pure Creation."
"You got a problem with that?"
"No. You do. A big one."
And that's about all the cryptic bullshit Dean can take. "What the hell are you talking about?" He hikes himself to his elbows, all the better to get in Sam's face, a liturgy of 'what gives you the rights' and 'who the fuck do you think you ares' bubbling in his throat... and stops. He has to, because there's no way he can sit up any farther with his belly swollen like a watermelon.
It juts out from just below his ribcage like a scoop of ice cream on a flat plate, and has forced his pants open down to the last teeth on his zipper. Hell, even his belly button's gone from an innie to an outie, all of which can only mean one thing. "Oh, shit."
"To put it mildly."
Okay, so not the end...
Dean keeps the baby.
It's a boy, because I said so. A child of God's Grace and Love.
They name him Daniel (my brother) and the proud Papa, Castiel, keeps pronouncing it like the girl's name, because that's how you say it in Heaven.
Turns out, Daniel (my brother)'s birth is the sixty-sixth seal, so Cas must disobey God's order. He makes sure the baby is born and then bravely faces God's Wrath. It's what any Papa would do for his son.
Uriel is about to smite Cas for his disobedience when baby Daniel (my brother) pees on him and LO! The Angel go Poof!
As everyone stands around, mouths agape with wonder, baby Daniel (my brother) laughs out loud.
The notes of pure Joy split the veil of Heaven and God's love washes over the land, cleansing it of all demons.
Lucifer turns into a pony, and he gets rode hard and put up wet every night.
The End for Real
Leave the hate mail at the door. Please. LOL.