Title: The Hand That Feeds
Pairing: Dean/Castiel, prelash
Word Count: 1807
Summary: Dean gets cursed so that all the food he touches turns rotten before he can eat. The only way around it is for an angel to hand feed him.
Notes: Set between 4.08 (Wishful Thinking) and 4.09 (I Know What You Did Last Summer).
Because it started with a gas station egg salad sandwich, neither Dean nor Sam noticed anything wrong, other than the fact that thick chunks of mold replaced what could have been a potentially delicious meal. Dean had taken one bite, spit it out, and placed the blame on Sam. Sam thought this was quite unfair.
"You're the idiot who's willing to eat food from gas stations, Dean. It's not my fault their stuff isn't fresh!"
"You could have picked something that wasn't obviously moldy, bitch! How could you miss all of this?" Dean waved around the uneaten half of the sandwich for emphasis. "You need glasses or something?"
"It didn't look like that when I grabbed it!"
"I bet you didn't even look! It's on now, Sammy. You better keep an eye open while you sleep."
And so, another epic prank war began between the two brothers. Itching power (done before but always a classic) was met with cellophane wrapped completely around his car. Dean lost one eyebrow to midnight shaving after he dunked Sam's hand into a bowl of warm water. And when Dean tried the cellophane on Sam, placing it across the bathroom doorway at Sasquatch height, retaliation came in the form of all of his boxers being replaced with lacey thongs. Sam gave as good as he got, and Dean was forced to admit that he'd learned from last time. However, even after a truce was called and the pranks stopped, Dean's every bite was still spoiled by rot.
After more stale bread, slimy, decomposing meat, and piles of maggots than Dean ever wanted to see ever, he finally broke down and decided to try fresh fruit.
Only for an apple to turn brown and soupy in his hand.
Sam, who was standing nearby with his phone out to captured the once-in-a-lifetime event of Dean eating healthy, dropped his jaw and stared like an idiot.
"Dude, what the Hell?"
Both of them watched as goop oozed between Dean's fingers and plopped onto the carpet. Dean grimaced, threw the mess onto the table, and stomped to the bathroom the wash off the sticky slop left behind.
"So, what are we thinking? Witch's curse, hoodoo gone wrong? What?" Dean's voice carried over the sounded of running water, agitated and more than a little pissed off. When he stormed out of the bathroom, he had a thundercloud expression to match. Sam could see the slight worry underneath the anger and annoyance, though, and he could understand it. Dean was still proverbially wet behind the ears from being resurrected and he was already getting cursed without realizing it.
"Well, do you remember pissing anyone off recently? Or touched something you weren't supposed to? You're pretty good at that."
"Ha, ha. Such a comedian. No, I don't remember pissing anyone off, at least not more than usual. And we haven't worked any cases with unknown artifacts since that weird ass wishing well with the depressed teddy bear."
Sam remembered. It was hard to forget getting struck by lightning. "Okay, then we'll call Bobby. Maybe he'll have an answer for us."
As Sam called Bobby, Dean tested this new-found problem. He dug into his brother's bag for the hidden stash of chocolate he knew the little bitch hid there. As soon as he grabbed hold of it, the chocolate turned stale white and the peanuts and nougat oozed out in a moldy, rotten mess. Dean turned to the grocery bag Sam brought back from the gas station down the block. He knew there was a piece of pie in there (because Dean told him to get one, and Sam liked having all the hair on his head, thank you very much), had smelled it as soon as it made it into the room.
It was a Boston cream. Not his favorite, but he wouldn't turn it down. He made sure not to touch any part of it, not even the dollop of whipped cream sitting on top, as he set it on the table and opened the container. It came with its own plastic fork, taped to the lid.
"Come to papa, baby."
Dean dug in, spearing a little bit of each layer and dipping it into the whipped cream. It smelled wonderful, warm and sugary and chocolately. With just a moments hesitation, Dean shoved the bite into his mouth and pulled it off the fork. A rush of sugar hit his tongue and he relaxed his tense shoulders.
And then the pie turned stale and dry and sour on him.
"Fawk!" Dean spit the wasted food onto the table and scraped at his tongue with his fingers. "Sonofabitch that's nasty!"
Sam poked his head through the door, phone pulled away from his mouth. "Stop trying to eat the food, Dean, Bobby says this isn't something that'll wear off. I'd rather not go out and re-buy everything again." He stepped back outside again and left Dean to try to figure out how to get the horrible taste out of his mouth when even fresh tap water turned stagnant on him.
After hearing what was going on with Dean, Bobby ordered them to head to his place; "And don't lollygag about. Head out right the Hell now."
So the boys spent five hours in tense silence. Sam, because he was worried but knew that if he said what if one more time Dean was going to punch him, and Dean was hungry because he hadn't been able to eat anything without it spoiling in his hands. Sam's already tried feeding him, carefully placing a forkful of food on his tongue, only to have it spit back in his face when it rotted immediately. When they crossed the border and the "Welcome to South Dakota" sign loomed in front of them, something eased in each of them. Bobby would know how to fix this.
"I don't have a friggin clue how to fix this." Were the first words out of Bobby's mouth after they'd exchanged greetings. "But I know what's caused it." A heavy, moldy-smelling book was slammed on the kitchen table in front of them. Bobby flipped to a page marked with a piece of scrap paper. "You've been cursed by Temperantia."
Sam frowned. "Temperance? But isn't that a Virtue? What's it doing cursing people?"
"Dean's ability to eat food has been affected. Have you seen the way he eats? He's like the personification of Gluttony, made human."
"Shut up, idjit. If you took the time to breathe between bites, you wouldn't have this problem."
"And there's no way to fix this?" Sam asked before Dean could got mouthy and earned a slap to the head.
"Like I said, I don't know. Logic says since food is the only thing affected, if he moderates how much he eats the curse would go away, but since he can't even eat a small bite, it's a bit trickier. I'd say go after whatever cursed Dean in the first place and 'convince' the sonofabitch to release him, but a Virtue ain't exactly an easy thing to find. We ain't even sure if Virtues have celestial personifications like the demonic personifications of the seven sins."
Dean slumped down in his seat. "Well, shit."
After three days of searching through all of Bobby's relevant books, and even some non-relevant ones, Sam was growing desperate to find an answer and Dean just laid on the couch, no energy to do anything but breathe. Sam could see that Dean was starting to visibly lose weight.
And then Castiel and Uriel showed up, the latter more than likely just to harass them, and their problem was solved as soon as the angel laid eyes on Dean.
"Temperantia has visited you."
Dean pried one eye open and gave a quiet snort. Sam couldn't stop the hope that rose in him as he looked at Castiel. "Can you get rid of the curse? Dean hasn't been able to eat for nearly a week now. You're like his guardian angel, right? Not exactly doing your job if he starves to death."
Bobby sat stiffly on the other side of the table, watching both angels with a firm grip on his hidden shot gun. It wouldn't do a bit of good against either of them, but he felt a hell of a lot better for having it. He hadn't forgotten what the shorter one had done to him the first time he saw him.
"Shut up, mud monkey. Of course he can fix it. Virtues are powerful, but nothing next to the power of an Angel of the Lord."
Castiel's bright blue eyes flickered to his companion. "Careful, Uriel, or Humilitas may think a visit is in order." Uriel only snorted and flickered out of sight. Castiel turned back to the humans. "Uriel has gone to stop a seal from being broken. I am here to inform you of another seal that we think may be targeted next."
"Well, we'd be glad to help, but do you think you could help my brother first? He's kind of useless right now." Sam ignored the weak kick Dean aimed at him from the couch.
"Yes, of course."
And then Castiel was suddenly sitting next to Dean, a small piece of fruit in his hand. Sam thought it looked like apple, but it was pushed between his brother's lips too quickly for him to tell. Sam waits for Dean to spit it back in Castiel's face, but instead his brother's face lights up and his jaw moves as he chews. A satisfied sigh explodes from his lips as he swallows and Dean sits up, color returned and his face no longer looks like he's been starving.
"That's more like it! What the hell was that, Cas? It was delicious!" Dean's licking his lips to get any left over juice and eyeing Castiel's pockets like he thinks the angel is hiding more food in them.
"It was a blessed apple from the Garden. Only its fruit offered from the hand of an Angel of the Lord will appease Temperantia when a human as been cursed for exhibiting Gula."
Sam rolled his eyes. "Gluttony, Dean. You ate like a pig and offended a Virtue."
Bobby had long left the room, shaking his head and muttering about morons.
Castiel stood back up as if he hadn't just shoved his fingers in Dean's mouth. He hesitated, as if unsure about something, and glanced at Dean from under the fringe of his vessel's hair before speaking. "The next seal we believe to be targeted is in a cave West of here, in the Silvertip cave system of Montana. Go there and stop the demons from breaking the seal. I must leave to assist Uriel."
Sam and Dean were nonplussed at the angel's abrupt exit.
"Was Cas blushing?"