Because I can apparently never leave anything alone.

Ever.

*headdesk*

This is a follow up to the ficlet I wrote for spn_30snapshots. Cas responds to Michael taking Dean as his vessel… The first ficlet can be found here: http : / / community . livejournal . com / deancastiel / 1010962 . html # cutid1 with the spaces removed, obviously. It can also be found here at ff, under the story title Brothers- 30 snapshots or something like that. It's the second chapter.

(I swear, new chapter of To Reign In Hell is coming soon…and I was so going to write that this morning…but this little plot bunny dove for the throat. *rubs at bite wound*)

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The front door slammed, open, ricocheting off the wall with a force that knocked a few books off the bookshelf to the right. "Where is he?" His voice rang with cold fury, and he could tell that Bobby was almost frightened. Later, he would apologize.

"In the backyard."

He stormed through the house, came out the back to find Sam parked just beside the door, watching the yard with an expression that would've been more at home on a beaten dog. He took a deep breath, let his hand ghost across Sam's hair as he passed. "Sam."

He brightened at that, a little, looked up. "Cas, it's so good to see you man, I was gonna summon you as soon as-"

"Leave us, Sam. Now. Please."

For once, Sam listened without asking a single question. He was grateful for that. He wasn't sure he would've had the patience to try and explain.

The man that had been sitting on the Impala stood, brushed dirt off his hands. "Castiel."

The voice was warm and rough and familiar with just a tiny edge that shouldn't have been there, but there was a deeper level of wrong to the way the word sounded on his tongue. It sliced through his chest, had him with the lapels of that old leather jacket in his hand before he could even register the movement, shoved the too-familiar body up against the car and trapped it there with his own.

"I asked you, I begged you not to do this! The years we've served together, the years I have called you my friend, and you betray me now with this, Michael?" His tightened around the leather until his knuckles turned white, and he shook him none too gently. "I trusted you! You swore to me you wouldn't-"

"Castiel, please, be reasonable!" Michael smiled, a little sheepish, and Castiel fought the very human urge to be violently sick. The expression was Dean, the warm skin he could feel brush against the back of his hand was Dean, but the light in those soft green eyes…that was unrecognizable. "I did not break my word to you, my friend. He is unharmed. I haven't even restricted him entirely, just enough."

"Unharmed?" He let out a harsh breath, shoved him harder against the car. "Tell me that he's alright. That he's not hurting. That he's not struggling."

Michael hesitated, and that would have really been all the answer he needed to know. He had to have seen the violence in Castiel's eyes, though, and he brought a hand up in a placating gesture, buying himself a second's thought. "He is…uncomfortable, for the time being. I'm not putting undue stress on him, I promise. This would be so much easier, entirely pain free if he wouldn't fight me and I told him as much. But he's stubborn, this one." He smiled, eyes bright. "I can see how he drew you in. He does have a magnificent soul, brother. I think he's my favorite I've had so far, honestly."

Castiel barely registered the growl that left his own chest. It was feral, powerful, but not enough to scare an angel that vastly outranked him. A clap of thunder sounded overhead, and Michael glanced up, sighed. "Oh, Castiel, please. Enough, I understand, you hate me for this. There's no sense in taxing your powers like this; I won't fight you. We both know how that would end, and I don't want to hurt you."

"Let him go." His voice was low, rough with rage and something dangerously close to the pain he could feel clawing at his ribs. "Let him go, Michael, now."

"You know I won't. I have a job to do first, and the sooner you work with me to get it done-"

"Never." He was seething, the words forced out through clenched teeth. "I will never help you again. I came to you in faith, I asked you-"

"Not to hurt him, yes, I know! And I swear, he made the choice on his own!"

Castiel cocked his head, his grip easing a fraction in his curiosity.

"He did, truly. I…I told him that I if he would not agree, I had another option for a vessel and I would-"

Castiel's fist connected hard with his jaw, and Michael sighed, rolled his neck. "Did I not tell you? I haven't restrained him fully, to appease you ironically enough. He can feel everything . You know it won't hurt me, but him..."

"Dean…" It slipped from his lips in a horrified gasp and he let go, almost staggered back. He had hurt him. He'd been too worked up, too furious to think straight, to realize just what he was doing. "Dean, I…" it was hard, talking to him like this. Knowing he could hear, but not really answer…it twisted his heart, the pain overpowering the rage for the moment. "Dean, I'm sorry."

"Oh don't worry, he's busy cursing me for upsetting you. He didn't mind." His lips curved into an easy smile, his hands coming back to rest comfortably against the black sheen of the Impala. "He wanted me to tell you, earlier, that he thought I was a dick."

He swallowed convulsively, fought the sound of fury that ached to rip from his lungs. He wanted to get out of here, to leave his vessel and scream with his true voice until every window in this hemisphere shattered.

He heard Michael sigh, heard the sound of his boots in the dust as he came close enough to lay a hand against his shoulder. "Castiel, I'm sorry, alright? I swear to you, if I could have taken another vessel, if there was another living Winchester outside of these two boys, I wouldn't have done this." His voice softened, a gentle whisper. "I know how you love him, and believe me, it pains me to hurt you. But I had no choice. Lucifer is of utmost importance, here. We cannot allow him to rise simply because Dean Winchester is stubborn."

He glared, shot his arm out to tug the jacket from Michael's shoulders, yanking the grey sleeve up to press his hand to the brand that fit it like a glove. The body beneath his hand went rigid, a soft gasp escaping his lips.

Castiel twitched, fought the urge to pull his hand back. "Can you feel that?"

Michael shook his head, his eyes awed and a little puzzled. "I…no. But he can. I can…sense it. A very strong connection. You sacrificed much to raise him from the Pit; I commend you."

He squeezed his hand against the print once more, stroked his thumb over the mark as he pulled his hand away and prayed that only Dean could feel the tenderness in the caress. "I wasn't looking for your congratulations." His eyes locked with the archangel's, and he stared him down. "I was making a point. This body was not yours to take. I rebuilt it with my own hands, gave him life from my own Grace. He belongs to me, as surely as we belong to God." Blasphemy, perhaps, but he didn't care. Putting life in someone's hands made you reckless to protect it, and his Father had to have known as much when He sent him to retrieve Dean from Hell. The soul he'd held in his arms had been hard won, his by right of battle and creation and love. He had ripped a piece of his Grace from his own chest, cradled Dean's broken soul in his arms and began to rebuild. In his eyes, they could never belong to anyone but each other, after that.

"Castiel, no one disputes your claim! Certainly, you have every right to be at his side! Did our Father not make His intentions known, after all, when he breathed life into you after your encounter with Sandalphon? Castiel, my friend…" He stroked his cheek, held his hand steady even when Castiel flinched. "He gave you to Dean. To each other. A beautiful gift indeed, and you are entitled to be as ragingly possessive of it as you like." His eyes steeled, undisputable. "As soon as I have dealt with our brother."

He was silent a long time, listened to the horribly familiar sound of breaths he had once counted as he'd waited beside Dean's hospital bed. He finally looked away, felt Micheal's hand fall slowly from his cheek. "You are right. I hate you for this. And I will never forgive you."

"You see? We all must sacrifice something. I would give anything not to lose you as a friend."

He shook his head, ignored the small twinge that came at the sincerity in his words. "There are lines, Michael. There are lines not to be crossed." He clenched his fist, felt his nails bite into his palm. "I love him."

"And he loves you, though he's been afraid to say it. Castiel, please, I will take care of him. You must trust me. Here." He took his hand, pulled it to rest gently over his-Dean's-heart. He could feel it, feel the beat and the humanity of it and he closed his eyes, let all the other sound fade until he zeroed in on the sound. "He's still alive. And I won't take him from you."

Castiel shuddered, kept his eyes closed. "Right now. What is he thinking?"

"That he hates me, of course. I believe his exact words were 'Stop screwing with him you pompous son of a bitch', if it makes you feel any better." He laughed, once. "But I doubt it." He stepped closer, held Castiel's hand tight against his chest. "He wishes he could comfort you, but he knows he can't. He's frustrated. And did I mention that he hates me?"

He let out a slow breath, his hand fisting unconsciously around the familiar cloth against his hand. With his eyes closed, it felt like Dean. "Tell him not to worry. I will be fine."

"He thinks that's bullshit."

His jaw clenched, and he stepped closer. "Yes."

"You're worrying unnecessarily. He is safe, with me. I can heal him."

"And if Lucifer defeats you? If he casts you from this vessel, if he binds you so you cannot heal? There are a million possibilities, Michael. He is not a normal adversary, and he can hurt Dean. I know he can."

"I won't let him."

"I don't trust you."

He laughed, soft and defeated. "Yes. Yes, I know." He felt a warm, calloused hand on his cheek, an arm sliding around his waist to pull him against this body he knew so well, coaxing his head to rest in the crook of his neck. "It's alright. It's alright."

For a moment, he sank into the embrace. He couldn't help it. It was too real, too Dean. He smelled like leather and gasoline and blood and he wanted to grip him tight and breathe it in until he forgot that it wasn't really Dean he was holding.

Michael ran gentle fingers through his hair, reminded him far too soon. "It's alright, you know. If you need…I will do whatever helps you. And he can feel everything."

He swallowed, violently bit back the urge to give in to the temptation. It took all he had to let go but he did, pushing away and shaking his head. "No. No. I want him. Dean, or nothing."

Michael shrugged, a tinge of sadness in his eyes that Castiel wouldn't let himself dwell on. "As you will. He is not opposed, in case you change your mind." He stooped, picked up the leather jacket from where it lay in the dust and settled it around himself again. "Castiel. Come with me. Help me fight Lucifer."

He stood stock still, refused to think.

Eventually he heard Michael sigh. "Very well. I will miss you, my brother. I'll be back from time to time, I'm sure." He heard his wings unfurl, and by the time Castiel looked up, he was gone.

His breath caught, dizzying, and he sank to his knees by the Impala, let his forehead rest against the warm metal. His chest ached, and he wasn't even sure how long he'd be able to feel it. How long it was healthy, how long it took before being heartsick should technically kill you. If humans lived through this all the time, they deserved far more respect than they got from most of his kind.

He felt Sam's arm around his shoulders, warm and solid and he was grateful when Sam didn't try to pull him to his feet but sank to the ground beside him instead.

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Poor Cas…I think I must like torturing him. X.X