The piece of paper has a weight to it, a gravity that sinks it deep, deep into his pocket; sometimes, he can focus on nothing but that piece of paper, and how important it is. Sometimes it is so heavy that he feels like he will fall over.
But he is an angel. So he doesn't.
He touches the paper constantly. It's folded neatly, tightly compacted; making sure it remains so is one of Castiel's nervous habits.
Nervous habits. Those are new. So is the feeling of the paper against his vessel's skin. Chalky and smooth, slightly tattered and soft at the edges. He recalls the first time he feels the sensation of his pocket's fabric, the gentle press of fingers against fingers; it nearly overwhelms him. He is not used to… all that. How humans can bear so much sensation is a mystery to him.
Until it isn't anymore. That is when he knows things are going to go badly for him.
When he knows he is ready, he finally sets out to make the piece of paper into a note. A list. He'd had that intention when he first acquired it, but was hesitant to begin. Afraid.
He has sought out a quiet place and he finds himself in a library. The Winchesters are staying in this town; they called and asked him to help translate the Enochian scrip on a talisman they found. Castiel told them it was nothing; just a name. It wasn't important.
Castiel knew that name. He also knew that the angel to whom that name belonged was now dead. She had probably dropped it when she—
He is in a library, and he has taken a pen from the woman at the front desk. He deliberately secludes himself in a corner of the mostly-empty building. He removes the paper from his pocket and unfolds it, spreading it flat on the desk. And he writes.
The first four come easy, so easily that he is shaking. He has written them in English, and his handwriting is terse, precise, compact. He has never seen his own handwriting before.
It strikes him that maybe the handwriting is not his, but Jimmy's. He remembers with a pang in his chest that he hasn't felt Jimmy in almost three months—not even a ripple. That is… concerning.
He clenches his jaw. Another nervous habit he has picked up.
The next three items (because there are seven, and isn't that the most sacred of numbers to choose?)do not come as easily. He knows what they are, yes, but he doesn't want to write them down because it feels like he is sealing his fate.
He does want to, though. He doesn't. Does. Doesn't. Does. Doesn't.
"Sir? Must be quite a list you've got there, you've been here almost four hours. But we're closing in a few minutes, so I'm afraid you'll need to leave," says the kind old woman who let him borrow the pen. Castiel nods, and is not surprised that so much time has passed. Hours are nothing.
He carefully writes down the last three and folds the paper—list—back up, places it in his pocket. He gives the woman back her pen, thanks her, and walks out of the library. He feels empty.
1. Eat chocolate cake
This one is easy. He's always wanted to eat; all angels have. It is a terrible secret that they keep from their Father, and they only speak of it in hushed tones, secrets locked up in mouths and souls and perfect hands.
The angels are envious of humans for only a few things. Of course humans are weak, stupid, cruel, but they come together over food (communion, some call it). They connect. Bond. To share a meal with someone is to unite—not out of necessity, nor battle, nor over twisted loyalties and blasphemy—but simply for comfort.
Angels have never had that.
Their fascination with food stems from their cold interest in human bonding. And Castiel learns of many foods during his life. Marzipan, cabbage stew, bread, rolls, eggplant, spaghetti, chicken vindaloo, hamburgers, rock candy, Turkish delight, toffee pudding, oranges and apples and so many others. But what he really wants is
"Chocolate cake," Anna says with a grin, and Dean smirks. It's Dean's dream, and Castiel is spying. He watches them talk and kiss and move into the car, and later in the dream watches them make love.
Dean's dream twists, and he is alone and crying out for his brother—he is stuck in hell again, and Castiel watches as his dream-self pulls dream-Dean from dream-Hell. Castiel finds it absurd that his dream-self is Jimmy Novak, and he's flying.
When he exits the dream and waits (for what? For a mission? Revelation? A cell phone call?), all he will let himself think about is the chocolate cake and how truly delicious it must be, to make an angel forget her regrets.
Everything else is dangerous territory.
2. Run until I collapse
Angels, as a rule, have very little physical limits.
Even in a vessel he can still go wherever he wants, and he is never truly injured. Which is why he wants to run.
He's tried a few times, in Jimmy's body. But he too quickly forgets and simply travels as he usually does; it might be flying, it might be teleportation (Dean called it that a few times, he is still unsure of what it means), but it is quick and natural to him. He wonders often what physical exhaustion must feel like; to have your knees buckle without your consent, your muscles and tendons simply give out, to meet the ground on the ground's terms instead of your own.
He thinks it will feel good.
Because when you are human and healthy, when you collapse with exhaustion, you get back up. Smile. Rest. And go again.
When you are an angel and you collapse with exhaustion, you are killed.
3. Make Dean Winchester laugh (joke?)
Castiel has made Dean Winchester laugh before, he knows this. The brothel incident—when Dean urged him to have sex with that emotionally crippled woman, and he couldn't, he was nervous and terrified and ashamed (that's when I should have known, he thinks, shame is the furthest possible thing from angelic, it was the first Sign). And as he and Dean run out of the brothel, Dean laughs and laughs. It is tinged with sorrow, and Castiel knows that Dean misses his brother.
Castiel misses his own brothers. All of them. He betrayed them, and for what?
For an arrogant man who gave him a nickname.
"Cas? You all right?"
He straightens his clothes and nods.
Castiel knows that jokes are things that make people laugh. Uriel (he cringes inwardly whenever he remembers Uriel—shame, shame for himself and for his brother) used to make jokes, and Castiel would laugh. Just to try it. Just to taste it on his tongue.
He tries, sometimes, to make jokes, when he's by himself.
When he's with the Winchester brothers, sometimes he'll say things that make them laugh. Though he doesn't know why, and sometimes he feels shame.
He made Jo and Ellen laugh. Once.
Thinking about that… it is the opposite of laughing.
Castiel understands this better than he does humor.
He goes to a book store and finds a section with "joke books". He reads them, mutters them out loud, trying them out.
None of them seem particularly funny. He is becoming further discouraged. All he wants is to make Dean laugh again in a way that doesn't make Castiel feel embarrassed, or shy, or simple. Because he is an angel of the Lord. He should not be any of those things.
Yet Dean makes him feel them anyway.
It is the third item to go on his list.
4. Read a book
He watches Sam Winchester sometimes. Sam is a strange creature. Castiel didn't like him at first. Castiel wanted him dead at first, to be honest, same as most of the garrison.
They know what Sam will become.
But Sam is… kind. He is unassuming, and for all the mistakes he has made with the demon blood and giving in to temptation, Sam is still… sincere. Good. Castiel sees him hurt almost physically when Dean mentions Sam's betrayal or the path they both must take, and how it is Sam's fault. Sam seeks forgiveness in his heart, but is not sure if he deserves it. Castiel is not sure either.
Castiel knows that though destiny has wrought these fates upon the Winchester brothers… neither of them deserve it. Especially Sam. Dean's fate is a gift. He will be exalted. Sam's fate is a curse.
When Dean pronounces the three of them to be Team Free Will (for Castiel was not asleep, he has never slept, he was just… tired), Castiel almost smiles and prays that they prevail. For all three of their sakes'.
He can see Sam's other life, sometimes. The one where he had never been pulled back into hunting. He is a lawyer; a small-time defense attorney. He is married to Jessica, and they are expecting a child, and they are wealthy. Sam is happy, beyond happy, because his life is of his own making.
Dean is dead, in this other life. Died in early 2006. Sam doesn't know.
Castiel shakes his head. That other life… he doesn't prefer it.
Sometimes he talks to Sam about little things—heaven, angels, Castiel's Father. Sam is patient and inquisitive, and has more tact than his brother. Castiel appreciates this, and decides that Sam is his friend. For what it's worth.
He sees Sam read books. Novels. Historical texts. Biographies. Religious books. There is a sort of reverence that the younger Winchester seems to have for them, and Castiel cannot understand it.
He wants to, though. Sam seems as at home reading as Dean does watching television and eating a sandwich. Maybe Castiel could be like that, too.
He supposes he could read a book, if he wanted. He just hasn't had the time. Before he was utterly destroyed by Raphael (and brought back by some blessed miracle, by a gentle voice that carried his soul as one would a babe, clutched to a breast, restored life to him with a warm exhalation, and that, he thinks, is when he started to have Faith again, and…),before he rescued Dean from the Pit, he was always in the company of his brothers and sisters. Uriel, Anna, Zachariah eventually. He hadn't experienced much in the way of leisure time before the Winchesters, and he didn't have much now.
But soon, maybe. If God would allow.
And then he will read everything he can get his hands on. He will allow himself to be greedy, and he will talk to Sam about books they've both read, because they are friends and that is what friends do (friends eat food together and tell jokes and compare books and give each other nicknames and maybe Dean and Sam will teach Castiel to hunt one day, and maybe, and maybe…)
He wants to read a book. That's number four.
5. Make love to a woman
The night Dean took Castiel to a brothel was not the first that Castiel had contemplated the act of sexual intercourse.
It was the first night that the mere thought terrified him. Being a virgin had not mattered for him, nor for most angels; they did not have the equipment nor physical need for sexual activity. It was simply another thing to scoff at; humans made such absurd faces and noises mid-coitus. It was repulsive and basic.
Or so Castiel thought. Until he himself began to intermingle with his vessel, and they seemed to blend together more and more until there were times when Castiel could physically feel everything. The line between angel and human was thinning.
He contemplates sexual intercourse with a woman much more seriously when he is wandering one night in a nameless city, waiting for Dean to summon him, and he sees a woman. She is young and lost, and asks him for directions to the nearest pay phone. He doesn't know what that is.
Her dress is very small. Very, very small. He feels heat begin to creep into his face.
She thanks him coldly and crosses her arms (which pushes her already-protruding cleavage out further, and he can't not look), walking away without a second glance. Her… bottom… waggles intriguingly as she leaves, her heels clicking against the pavement. It takes a few moments for Castiel to remember to close his mouth
He has the grace to feel slightly embarrassed.
And then he notices that his vessel's… that the blood in his body had been swiftly travelling southwards, and he was alarmingly hard. This was new.
While contemplating his options (should I touch it? Ignore it? Rub it a little?) and attempting to rid visions of the woman's spectacular cleavage from his mind, Castiel senses that he is needed. Ignoring his own—no, his vessel's—body for a moment, he flees.
He does not have sexual intercourse with the prostitute, of course, but he tries to picture himself with a woman, when he is alone. The imagined sexual intercourse is… stimulating.
He has not allowed himself to touch just yet.
But it is not only the intercourse he imagines. He watches Dean, sees the shuttered expression on his face whenever he looks at a family or a couple.
Castiel can see the longing Dean has. The man is 31. Many of his peers already have a wife, children. Dean does not speak his desires aloud, but he doesn't need to. Castiel can feel the heaviness in Dean's heart.
Sometimes it hurts even him.
Castiel ponders marriage. It is sacred and holy, a most treasured union. The angels respect it, for the most part.
Jimmy was married. Castiel keeps the ring in his other pocket. The one that doesn't hold the list.
Castiel's wife—if he has a wife, one day—will be tall, like him, he imagines. And she will think that his jokes are funny. Her laugh will sound like music, and she will read him books before they settle down in the dark, their bodies becoming flushed and warm, pressing against each other. Before they make love.
He still doesn't allow himself touch, not down there, and especially not while thinking of his make-believe-wife. He wants to, sometimes he needs to, but he cannot. He suspects his brothers already know how far already he has fallen, and he restrains himself; he doesn't want to feel any more shame than he already does.
Someday, though, Castiel will slip out of their awareness like sand through outstretched fingers, his presence unknowable and anonymous to his kin. And when that time comes, Castiel will find a woman with a beautiful soul and touch her, kiss her, make love to her.
And he will feel no shame.
6. Make love to a man
This particular realization comes a little too late.
The feelings have been there since he began his mission, since he reached into the Pit and pulled a man out, scorched a shoulder. Since he took up a vessel.
But he doesn't realize what it is that he feels because he is unsure of what it even means to feel. He cannot place all of his emotions; they are chaotic, overwhelming. So he steels himself, and pushes them away until they are muted and vague, indecipherable, and he forces himself to be dispassionate again. Like before.
It is after they confront Famine that Castiel experiences vomiting for the first time. He consumed far too much ground beef for his vessel—body—to handle, and although he is angelic and will not die (though for a second he is convinced he will; he has never felt physical pain this strongly before), he is still crouched before the toilet in the Winchesters' motel room for hours in abject misery. He is too weak to leave by his own means; the horseman has left him drained.
"Remind me never to get you drunk," Dean says with a grin. Castiel doesn't understand what Dean means, but his throat hurts so he just nods, avoiding Dean's eye.
Dean pulls Castiel's coat off and lays it outside the bathroom door. "Don't wanna get that dirty," he says with a smirk. "D'you think you're going to throw up every burger you ate? I mean… you angels don't seem to, uh, digest."
Castiel shuts his eyes and nods a second time. He leans his head against the cool porcelain.
"Jesus, Cas…" Dean says. And then Castiel starts vomiting again, and he feels Dean's hand on his back, rubbing soft circles right between his shoulders. Castiel never knew a simple touch could provide so much comfort, and Dean… where did he learn this?
Castiel feels a little better.
Much later that night, both Winchesters are sleeping. Castiel stopped vomiting hours earlier, but he doesn't sleep and he can't leave. So he stays in the bathroom.
He's never taken off his coat before. He was aware that there was a body under all of these clothes, yes, but never paid much attention. It was an irrelevant fact, before, but now… he is curious. And he is safe, alone.
He takes off the suit jacket, and pulls off his tie. Though he has never undressed himself, he knows implicitly how to unbutton, how to peel, how to untie a shoe. The harsh fluorescent light in the bathroom cuts across his skin, and he feels worn as he uncovers what Jimmy—no, what he looks like.
Castiel examines his body in the mirror. His shoulders are not broad like he thought; the overcoat gave him an illusion of largeness. His chest is unremarkable; a smattering of hair, a slightly soft waist; he presses his fingers into his yielding flesh. It is uncomfortable, and his stomach lurches. For a moment he feels as if he'll throw up again, but he doesn't.
Castiel touches his shoulders, gently fingers his collarbone, slides his hands down to his chest and then tucks them under his arms. And he just stares at himself. He could use a shave (Dean has told him this), and should probably learn how to cut and comb his hair. He tips his head and watches as the tendons in his neck stretch.
He inhales and watches the skin stretch over his ribs. He gently runs his fingers along them, and shivers. He wonders if he will ever get used to the feeling of skin on skin. He glances down the length of his body, at the parts that the mirror is not long enough to show, including that part of him that has been …affected by women.
He hears a creak behind him, but does not lift his head. He knows who is watching him.
"Hello, Dean," he says, and hears a soft exhalation.
"Cas," Dean says in a low voice, and Castiel lifts his head, looks Dean in the mirror. The man is behind him, closing the bathroom door. "What are you doing in here? And why are you naked? Puke on your clothes or something?" He is grinning.
"No," Castiel says. "I am… exploring my body." Dean raises his eyebrows, and something is suddenly off about him, Castiel sees. He can't place it.
"It's Jimmy Novak's body, Cas, not yours. You sure he's ok with some angelic voyeur exploring him?"
Castiel turns to face Dean, who doesn't flinch. "Jimmy is gone, Dean," he says. "I… haven't felt him in here for some time. At least two months. And you are the last person to chastise another for voyeurism."
Dean looks uncomfortable. "Jimmy's gone?" Castiel nods, looks away.
Then he feels a hand. One that is not his. It settles on his shoulder.
Dean edges closer, and suddenly Castiel is aware. Of his own nudity, which now makes him embarrassed, of how close Dean is, of how hot Dean's hand burns on his skin. His breath quickens of its own accord and he feels heat gather in his face.
He looks at Dean. Just looks at him for what feels like ages (and his eyes are very green, almost unnaturally green and he is looking at Castiel in such a strange way, unlike anyone else), and tilts his head slightly. Dean moves closer, and the air is so tense, whatever is between them is palpable… and he stares at this man that he found screaming in the Pit, torturing souls, that he brought back and remade; Castiel remembers how Dean's muscles and skin knitted itself into a perfect wholeness, how the only mark he bore was that of a handprint on his shoulder. And then he finally realizes it, after all this time, and it is close to overwhelming; what he feels for Dean Winchester is like a blow to the chest, and his heart (it is his heart, now, finally) begins to ache.
He opens his mouth slightly to speak (that's what he tells himself), but Dean is quick; he presses his lips to Castiel's gently, briefly.
Castiel stiffens. He has never kissed anyone. He doesn't know how to do it. And this is Dean, and suddenly all the emotions he forced down are pushing back up, and Castiel is trembling.
Dean thinks he has been rejected, and his face goes blank. "Fuck, sorry Cas. I didn't mean to do that, I--"
Castiel kisses him, and in a matter of seconds they are gripping each other tight, hands roaming from waist to shoulder to neck to buttocks, anywhere they could touch, bruising and mapping. Castiel feels his cock begin to swell, and gasps when Dean presses his own erection against Castiel's thigh. Dean keeps kissing him and their tongues touch, and ohhh Castiel thinks that he will be done in by this man, he may finally understand why Anna chose to Fall… and this is Dean, Dean Winchester who I pulled from Hell, who I wove back together and watched him come to life, who is my friend and perhaps more than a friend, how could he not be when we've been through so much and…
"Wanted this for so long," Dean growls as he moves to Castiel's neck, biting and kissing and licking. The words shock Castiel and his mind is racing. This, this is so hot, so good, and he nearly cries out in pleasure when Dean nips at his earlobe. He tries to reciprocate, but he's never done this before and can't concentrate on anything but Dean's tongue and teeth and hands and warm, wet breath, and hardness slowly grinding into him. His hips buck almost involuntarily into Dean's and he feels a hand close around his cock and—
It is automatic. Castiel shoves Dean away forcefully. The man is flustered, his lips are pink from kissing, and the lust in his eyes mingles with hurt and confusion. Castiel wonders if he looks the same.
Castiel presses two fingers to Dean's brow and the man crumples on the bathroom floor.
Lust. This is lust, and it is driving Castiel into… the most dangerous of territory. With Dean Winchester, of all people. The human he was supposed to watch over, protect. And although he admires Dean, loves him, this is still wrong.
His erection is rapidly deflating as he pulls his clothing on, and he feels shame. So much shame… there is something forming in his throat, some sort of lump, and his eyes sting; he has no idea what to associate this with, other than his feelings of embarrassment and frustration. He wills it away by taking deep breaths and thinking of Heaven, and then gently lifts Dean from the floor (because though he is not large, he is still an angel and still strong).
He whispers an old Enochian memory incantation into the man's ear and opens the bathroom door. He places Dean on his bed; Sam is fast asleep on its twin. Dean will not remember this encounter at all come morning.
As far as he will know, Castiel left in the middle of the night.
The angel grabs his coat from the chair and slips it on. Quietly, he opens a notebook that one of the Winchesters left laying on the desk. He rifles through it until he gets to a blank page at the back, and tears out a piece of paper. He folds it neatly and places it in his pocket.
He feels rejuvenated, human adrenaline rushing through him; he flutters away, really, really fucking far away from the Winchesters. They can call him in the morning.
He writes 6. Make love to a man but what he really means is 6. Make love to Dean. But he doesn't need a list to tell him that.
"Hey, dad," Dean says, grinning at his father. John Winchester is sitting at a kitchen table, and the sun is streaming through a window. He gives his son an affectionate smile.
"Good night last night?"
"Great night last night," Dean says, going to the bright and new-looking refrigerator; he grabs a carton of juice. "OJ, dad?"
"Nah, I'm all right for now," John says, as Dean takes a swig right from the carton. "What'd you two get up to?"
"Poltergeist over in Tuscaloosa, no big deal. Pretty fun, actually," Dean says cheerfully, and sits across from his father at the table. "Nice not to be traveling all the time."
"I always knew you'd do great things, son. And look at what you have now: a house, someone to love, white picket fence and all that… and you even get to go out hunting on the weekends," John says, chuckling. "It's what you deserve Dean. Everything you ever wanted. I love you and I'm proud. I'm really, really proud."
Dean's eyes are shining. Castiel shrouds himself; Dean cannot see him, doesn't know he's there. The scene playing between him and his father is… unrealistic, but it is affecting. This is what Dean dreams of; hunting with his brother for pleasure, living in a home instead of motels, being safe and unburdened.
"I love you too, Dad. I miss you," Dean says with conviction, clenching his jaw in that way he does when he is tense. A nervous habit. Castiel notices these things.
John smiles and looks down at his hands. "Yeah, well, there's always gonna be things to hunt. I know you got rid of old Yellow Eyes and ended it all, but I can't seem to get the hunting bug outta me. But thanks for letting me crash here tonight… never thought I'd be back in Lawrence like this."
Dean smiles and nods understandingly. "Hey dad, why don't I call Sammy and we can all go for breakfast together?"
"Sounds great, son. I'll go get my bags together; you get dressed."
Dean leaves the kitchen and stomps up the stairs; Castiel follows silently behind him. Dean turns left and into what seems to be an office; there are charts and illustrations all over the walls, scripts and manuals and books and salts and maps everywhere. The Winchesters are still hunters, that much is clear.
"Hey, Sammy," Dean says, and it takes Castiel a moment to realize he is on a phone. The angel paces the room, invisible, and listens to Dean talk.
"Yeah… yeah, last night was awesome. It's weird not having to pack up a bag and leave after every case though, you know?… Heh, yeah… Nah, why would Jess be mad at you for staying out late? She knows what it is that we do… Good… So listen, I was thinking that since dad's in town we could all go out for breakfast. Ruth's Diner sound good?... I was thinking in about an hour. Yeah. Yeah, see you there."
Dean hangs up and Castiel looks at him; he seems to be the same age that he was when Castiel last saw him, which is surprising; he assumed Dean hated getting older and seeing the life he was missing out on. But the man looks out the window (it is a bright and sunny morning, and who knew that in dreams you could feel the warmth of the sun on your skin) and bites his lip, suppressing a smile. He is happy.
Walking out of the room and down the hall to what looks like to be a bedroom, Dean opens the door. There is a figure lying in the bed, huddled tightly beneath the duvet, facing away from the door. Dean walks around and sits next to the body, stroking what may be a hip.
"Tuscaloosa. We have to go there again," he says happily, pausing to bend over a press a kiss to the figure's shoulder. His wife? "A poltergeist and then a bar. Fucking awesome. Remind me to get you drunk more often."
The figure doesn't stir and Dean grins. "Me, Sam, and Dad are going out for breakfast. Wanna come with? I know you're tired from all the hunting and other stuff we did last night, but it'd be a nice gesture."
But… hadn't Dean been hunting with Sam in this dream? Or had he supposed incorrectly? Castiel feels himself grow anxious, and is rooted to the spot. If not Sam, then who did—
Castiel feels his heart stop.
Dean smiles in an 'I knew you'd say that' sort of way.
"Cas, it's 10. It's time to get up, you lazy son of a bitch," he says, and the person turns and stretches and it's him. He is yawning and looking at Dean sleepily (which isn't right, Castiel has never been able to sleep). Dean bends over and mutters into dream-Castiel's ear, "We have an hour, you know."
The real Castiel watches, transfixed, as his dream-self smiles and wraps his arms around Dean's shoulders, pulling him down and kissing him. It looks so natural, so right. Dean pulls the blankets off of dream-Castiel, and he is naked and half-hard. It goes quickly from there, Dean sheds his own clothing (Castiel blushes and nearly hides his face), and climbs on top of the angel. They are kissing and groping and stroking each other, and Dean grabs lubrication from the nightstand. Castiel watches, mortified (fascinated) as Dean stretches him with his fingers, and when Castiel's dream-self is ready Dean slides his cock in carefully. The sex is quick and rough, Dean making gorgeous noises and his dream-self thrashing wantonly (Castiel can never imagine letting go like that, not in reality) and it looks so good, and real-Castiel's pulse is speeding up, his cock hardening. His dream-self is crying out and moaning "Dean, I love you so much, oh, oh Dean" and Dean stiffens and comes with a shout at the exact moment that dream-Castiel does, and the real Castiel grits his teeth, because he wants.
This is his punishment for invading dreams.
Suddenly it morphs, and Dean is surrounded by naked women, and Alastair ( Castiel nearly panics at seeing him again) is telling Dean that he can have all this if he gives them Sam, but Dean refuses and cries out for his brother. The women crowd him and begin to suffocate him. Dean starts crying out for Castiel.
Then the dream morphs again and Dean is still his current age, but he is making pasta for a young boy in a motel room, telling him that dad will be back soon, don't worry, everything will be fine, Sammy.
"I'm not Sam," the boy says, and Dean looks at him in alarm.
That is enough. Castiel leaves the dream, exits to some vast clearing in a forest, alive with nighttime noise.
He is horrified at what he has seen in Dean's dreams and he's still hard, and he is on his knees crying, for the first time in his life he is crying. He is too desperate now, it is all too much for him, so he gives in; reaching into his pants he begins to stroke himself, and images of he and Dean together (moaning writhing touching kissing) bubble into the forefront of his mind. He has never done this before but it doesn't seem to matter; his hand knows what to do, and keeps stroking and it is so good. It keeps feeling better and better, and Castiel is moaning and he is still crying, until finally (thrusting fucking loving love love lovelovelove) Castiel comes hard. His mind goes blank and he sees pure white; for a moment, everything is infinite.
But then the wave of pleasure recedes, and he is just a stupid angel, on his knees with his hand down his pants, sobbing in the middle of a field. He allows himself to fall to the ground.
He lays there for hours. He watches the sun rise above his head, and feels dried out and tired. He knows the immutable truth, now; before all of this is over, he will Fall (if I haven't already, and I will be human, forever). He lays there and lays there and lets the reality of the situation wash over him. Cleanse him. It isn't until the afternoon that he receives a call from Dean.
"Hey Cas, I need you. There's this weird coin we found with some Enochian or whatever the fuck it's called—shut up, Sam-- written on the back. Can you look at it for us?"
He goes, of course.
Later that evening he travels to the library, filled with purpose, touching the piece of paper in his pocket.
"Castiel," Zachariah says, smirking. "Good to see you again. How is everything working out for you? You and your little boyfriend?"
Castiel simply stares at him.
"Oh yes, we know. What a laugh you've given us… lusting after Winchester. That's your problem; you got too attached. Too bad he didn't feel the same way, huh?"
"There is a battle raging outside, Zachariah. There is no purpose to me being here. Lucifer—"
"Lucifer can wait," Zachariah says, clearly enjoying himself. Castiel is trapped in the circle of holy fire; he is helpless. He prays that somehow he will have salvation.
"So," Zachariah says, circling Castiel, something glinting in his hands. "You kill your own brethren, you try to stop our plans, and you place the autonomy and happiness over two of idiot brothers over the lives of so many others, human and angel. That, Castiel, is called betrayal."
He grits his teeth. "And disobeying our Father is not?"
Zachariah snaps. "Disobeying! Are you that naïve? That blind? God isn't giving orders anymore, Castiel! If he's still alive he certainly doesn't care."
"Blasphemy," Castiel mutters. "And if either of those assertions were true, how is it possible that I am alive right now?"
Zachariah's face turns serious. Castiel can hear the gunfire outside; about half the town's population has the Croatoan virus, and Lucifer is allegedly in town, trying to raise another beast from the Pit. They came here in an effort to kill the infected and isolate the town completely, but if they had known that Lucifer himself was here… they likely would have stayed away. Sam and Dean took a group of unaffected people and armed them with guns; Castiel went to look for ammunition. And he was caught.
"You are alive because of a fluke," Zachariah states. "And I will remedy that."
He door bursts open. "Not if I can help it," Dean shouts, aiming his gun at Zachariah. Castiel does not notice the fire go out behind him, and thus is taken by surprise when Zachariah's blade pierces into his back and out through his chest. He cries out, but there is no noise after that.
He falls to the ground. Zachariah is gone, he thinks, and Dean is shouting something. Castiel knows he has seconds left, so he reaches into his pocket and pulls the paper out, pressing it into Dean's hand. He should have this. It is worthless to Castiel now.
The last thing he sees before he dies is Dean's face.
Sam finds him.
"He's gone, Sammy!" Dean roars, Castiel's head resting in his lap. "He's fucking dead and it's my fucking fault! He's fucking dead!"
Sam moves wordlessly, picking up Cas's body and throwing it over his shoulder. He hears Dean protesting, shouting something incoherent, and Sam knows that this time… this will be devastating for his brother. And it proves to be.
After everything, Sam drives them to Bobby's. They bury Cas's body the next day. Dean refuses to let them salt and burn the corpse, because "He'll be back, he'll be fucking back." Dean is taking it worse than most would expect. But Sam knows Dean better than Dean knows himself, and he isn't surprised.
His brother doesn't eat for almost a week. Sam isn't faring much better.
"Look what he gave me, Sammy," Dean says one afternoon. He shows Sam a piece of paper. "Put this right into my hand the second he died."
Sam reads it, and starts welling up. "Jesus…"
"That's all he fucking wanted. That's all he fucking wanted. What… what are we going to do now, Sam? Lucifer is still alive, the apocalypse is still happening, and now we don't have anyone on our side but us…"
Sam puts his head in his hands. "Dean."
"What?" he shouts.
"Dean, Lucifer isn't here anymore. We went through this already. You said yes right after Castiel was murdered. Lucifer is locked back in Hell."
Dean shakes his head.
"Dean, you remember." Sam is beginning to expect that Michael did a ridiculous head trip on his brother. It's been weeks, and Sam tells him nearly every day that this is all over. "You do remember, I know you do. Cas dying was the last straw for you, you said it yourself. First Cas, and then maybe Bobby, and then Lucifer would come for me. You just… snapped. And you said yes. And we won."
"He didn't deserve that, Sam," Dean mutters. "He didn't fucking deserve it. Now, I don't remember saying yes, and I don't even know if you're telling me the truth. But I just… I keep expecting him to walk through the door, or appear, or… call me. It's…"
"Do you think he will?" Dean asks. "Come back?"
"Yeah," Sam says softly. "Yeah, maybe. One day."
It is the first day of summer. It's warm and beautiful out; Bobby calls it 'perfect post-apocalyptic weather'. A fine breeze blows through the house, and Sam hopes that he can take it as a sign.
What I Will Do When I am Human
1. Eat chocolate cake
2. Run until I collapse
3. Make Dean Winchester laugh (joke?)
4. Read a book
5. Make love to a woman
6. Make love to a man