A/N: First off, thanks so much to everyone who had read, reviewed, alerted or faved any of my other fics so far, you guys rock! Second, I promise I didn't mean for this one to be so long, it just kind of exploded on me. I actually started this one back just an episode or so after Sam got his soul back, so it goes a little off canon after that. I'm happy with the way parts of this turned out, but I feel like it kinda drags in a few places. It sort of took a weird turn when I was writing it and I've considered splitting it up into chapters, but I think it still works like this. Also, last thing before the story, I promise, massive thanks to everyone who has reviewed and favorited, you guys make me ridiculously happy!
Warnings: Some language, minor season six spoilers, some boy kissing
Characters/Couples: Dean/Castiel, Sam, Bobby and two guest appearances
Disclaimer: I own nothing, if I did one of the special guests in here would have been brought back ages ago! Also, unbetaed, so all mistakes are mine.
Dean was more than a little tired as he sank down onto the too soft motel bed and let his head fall onto his hands. Stupid frigging Balthazar, he just had to keep screwing them over. True, he had managed to get both Dean and Sam vital info on a demon gang that had been massacring small towns in Nevada. It was more the, leaving them to be bait for Raphael while he vanished that pissed Dean off. Only a split second intervention by some guy in a leather jacket had saved them. Dean had never seen the guy before in his life, but he wasn't about to stab the guy who had just stopped them from getting char broiled by teenage mutant ninja angels. The guy had said something about Cas before he zapped him and Sam away. He would have gone back, really, but after they got chucked out, the place kinda burst into flames. Yeah, little hard to get back to help the guy.
Sam was off checking out a new case with Bobby, so Dean decided to take a well deserved breather. Damn angels, he thought, shaking his head and standing up. Maybe they still had some beer left in the car. He was less than a foot away from the door when it flew open. Dean almost stumbled as he stepped back from whatever was breaking in. He breathed a sigh of relief as Castiel entered and the door slammed shut behind him. "Man, Cas, you nearly gave me a heart attack, whatever happened to—"
"Where is Sam?" Castiel's tone made Dean freeze. He hadn't heard the angel sound that serious in a long time.
"He's researching with Bobby, why?"
Castiel nodded distractedly, looking about the room, unable to stand still. "And you, you are unharmed?"
Dean nodded. "Yeah, Cas I'm fine, what's this about?"
"Nothing, I just…" Castiel trailed off and his Adam's apple bobbed as his wide eyes moved back to Dean. The angel suddenly took two steps forward, so he and Dean were practically touching, and grabbed the hunter's face, pulling him down slightly so their foreheads pressed together.
Dean's eyes went wide and he grabbed Castiel's wrists to pull his hands away. "Dude, what the hell?"
The pleading tone in Castiel's voice caught him by surprise. Dean sighed and let his hands drop to his sides. He'd let Cas have his moment of strange, then he'd ask questions. Feeling slightly uncomfortable with the closeness, Dean shut his eyes. Then things got weird.
There was suddenly this bizarre warm feeling and it was all over the place. It wasn't bad; actually, it was kinda nice, still weird though. Dean could still feel Castiel's hands on his face, but everything else, the sound of the clock ticking and the hum of the mini fridge, seemed very far away. Slowly, Dean let his hands drift upwards to grip Castiel's forearms, not to throw them away, but to keep them in place. The aches and pains Dean had felt before all just melted away. Waves of relief and comfort washed over him, though he was not sure why.
Even though it was only a few seconds later, it felt like they had stood that way for hours by the time Cas pulled away. Dean blinked several times, feeling slightly lightheaded. "Uh, what just happened?"
Castiel shook his head and drew back from him. "It was nothing."
"Yeah, I'm pretty sure it wasn't. Cas, spill."
The angel bit his lip and fidgeted before sitting on one of the motel beds. He looked less anxious than he had when he arrived, he was actually starting to look more like his old self, before all the new powers. "It was… an angelic gesture."
Dean sat on the other bed, directly across from him. "Okay, but why? You've never done that before, I think I would remember."
Castiel twisted the sheets beneath his hands and looked at the floor. "I… I was informed that Raphael went after you and Sam again. That he was trying to hurt you to get to me. I was told… that you had been killed."
That made Dean pause for a moment. "Let me guess, Balthazar told you that part?"
Dean shook his head. "That douche, if he'd had his way, we would've been toast." He stopped and leaned forward slightly, trying to catch Castiel's eye. "Hey, look at me." Castiel did so. "We're both fine. Raphael didn't even break any bones."
The angel swallowed and nodded. "I know that. There is more…I-I… Dean, the last time we met I said… I said terrible things to you about your choices with Sam. I could not bear the thought of that being our last exchange, of you dying because of me after I said such things to you about your own brother."
"Cas, it's…" The emotion in the angel's eyes made Dean's words come to a stall. He sighed. "Look, I don't blame you for yelling at me… It wasn't…" He paused, trying to think of how to phrase it. "Getting his soul back was the right thing to do, but… but I wasn't thinking, I just needed him back… but you were right to tell me off. I deserved it; you probably let me off easy, really."
Castiel nodded, his eyes flicking to the carpet. "Thank you, Dean. I… I needed this."
Dean cocked an eyebrow. "Things still goin' bad upstairs?"
Castiel nodded again. Dean fidgeted slightly and scratched the back of his head. "Look, I know you can't just leave in the middle of something, but, uh, if you ever need a break… Sam and I've got room in the Impala."
It took a few seconds for Dean to be able to glance at the angel. When he did, he was met with an odd look. He could have sworn it was almost a smile, and he sure as hell did not think it was cute. Dean quickly looked away and coughed awkwardly. "So, uh, that angelic forehead thing, what was that about?" he asked, desperate for a subject change.
Now it was Castiel's turn to look away awkwardly. "It was a… it is a way for angels to connect to one another's Grace. It is comforting."
Dean blinked at him. "Okay… but I don't have… I'm not an angel, Cas."
"I was emotionally compromised; it seemed rational at the time." Dean could have sworn Cas was blushing. "I have found that such an act has brought comfort to my brothers in times of strain."
"So it's like… an angel hug, or something?"
"Well… yes, you could say that." There was something a little off about Castiel's tone, which Dean would have asked about if the door hadn't blown open again allowing leather jacket guy to walk in. Dean and Castiel stood simultaneously.
Dean blinked in surprise. "Hey, you're alive."
Leather jacket guy nodded, a slight smirk on his face. "Good to know. Always nice being alive."
Castiel looked between them taken aback. "You two have met?"
"Sort of, this guy got me and Sam out when the ninja turtle caught us."
Castiel nodded. "I see. Dean, this is Israfel."
"Hey there, handsome." Israfel had a certain mischievous lilt to his grin. His vessel looked to be maybe a few years younger than Sam, with messy blond hair and warm brown eyes.
"So, you're an angel?"
Israfel nodded. "Guilty as charged."
"Israfel is my second in command," Castiel said. "It is only with his help that our forces have lasted this long."
"He exaggerates," Israfel said with a slight eye roll. "I just do what I can to help, which apparently includes watching over a couple of the boss-man's favorite humans. Anyway, I'm sorry to interrupt your little moment here, but Castiel is needed in heaven."
"What's wrong?" Castiel asked, brow furrowing.
"Don't panic," Israfel said, stepping closer to lay a calming hand on Castiel's shoulder. "We just received some pretty big information on what Raphael's next move might be. We didn't want to start planning anything without you there." He looked to Dean with an apologetic smile. "Sorry to steal him away from you."
Dean shrugged. "It's fine, I should probably go check in with Sam anyway. Oh, hey, Cas, don't be afraid to, you know, drop in or something, you know, if you want to."
Castiel gave him another small half smile. "I will, Dean." He took a step towards Israfel then paused before quickly moving back to Dean and gently pulling him forward slightly to connect their foreheads for a brief moment before he pulled away. Swiftly, he moved back to Israfel's side, who was looking at him with an oddly surprised expression. They both vanished before anyone could say anything more. After blinking for a moment, Dean just shook his head and headed out the door, muttering to himself. "Angels."
The next time Dean saw Castiel it was just after he and Sam had gotten back from investigating a rather odd crime scene. Bobby had called him in to see if the angel had any information on whatever it was they were dealing with. Walking in to Bobby's house they found the angel and the old hunter sitting in the living room, deeply buried in several ancient tomes.
"Any luck?" Dean asked as he leant on Castiel's chair to peer over his shoulder at the book.
The angel looked up at him with a slight frown on his face. "Not yet. Whatever it is matches the description of several different creatures, but we have yet to ascertain exactly which one you are dealing with."
"Did ya find anything?" Bobby asked, glancing up from his book.
"Actually, yeah," said Sam, walking further into the room and pulling a bit of cloth from his pocket that he held out to Bobby, who took it and unwrapped it, revealing a long dark claw that had an odd greenish tint and was dripping slightly from the pointed end, the liquid made the cloth sizzle softly as it fell.
Castiel sat up and looked at the claw intently. Dean glanced at him. "You seen this before?"
The angel nodded and quickly began flipping through his ancient text. He stopped and pointed to a picture of what looked to be a giant lizard. "It's a Basilisk and that is one of its fangs," Castiel said, eyes flicking to the 'claw.' Bobby set it down on his desk very quickly.
Dean eyebrows shot skyward. "A Basilisk? Those things are real?"
"Very much so," Castiel said with another nod, "and exceptionally dangerous. If you look it in the eyes, you die instantly. It has lethal venom, and can easily crush a man."
"Great, so how do we kill it?" Dean reached over Castiel's shoulder to pull the book to a more visible angle.
Castiel flipped the page. "Decapitation has been proven to work, but showing it its own reflection may be easier given that most Basilisks are approximately seven feet in diameter."
"Well this should be fun," Dean said standing up and moving out of Castiel's personal space. "Sam, see if we have a sword or an axe or something in the car. Bobby, you got any mirrors?"
"Hell if I know," Bobby said with a shrug. "Check the basement."
Dean nodded and left the room. He knew his way around Bobby's basement fairly well and set to work on finding anything reflective. Halfway through an old box, he froze and quickly turned to find Castiel standing about two feet behind him. He took a slow breath. "Damn it Cas, I swear you're gonna give me a heart attack one of these days. What'cha doing down here?"
Castiel's eyes moved about the basement. "I thought I might be able to assist you."
"Be my guest, I've gone through most of this junk already, but I might have missed something," Dean said, turning back to his box.
Nodding, Castiel walked over to a large pile of odds and ends and began looking through it. Dean couldn't stop himself from glancing at the angel every few seconds. "So, Basilisk's are pretty dangerous then?"
Castiel nodded, briefly examining an old umbrella before setting it down. "Yes, most angels will not willingly fight one."
"So I guess that means you won't be coming with us then."
The angel turned to him with his usual quizzical head tilt. "I had not made any such decision. Would you like me to accompany you?"
Dean shrugged and quickly turned away, trying to be very interested in the contents of the cardboard box. "Yeah, wouldn't hurt to have you along, I mean."
Castiel's head tilted just a bit more. The two of them went back to searching in relative silence for several minutes until Castiel found a small old hand mirror with a cracked surface. "Well, 's not perfect, but it'll work," Dean said, giving it a once over. "Good job, Cas."
Castiel suddenly looked up. Dean frowned. "What's the matter? Someone calling you?"
The angel nodded, looking a bit hesitant. "My presence is requested in Heaven."
"You need to go?"
"It is… not urgent, but…" Castiel trailed off, frowning.
"Well, you should probably go; we've kept you away pretty long." Dean's eyes drifted to the ground.
Castiel blinked at him then opened his mouth for a moment before he shut it and stared at the ground, shifting a bit awkwardly. Dean put a hand on his shoulder. "Seriously, it's fine. Sam and I can handle this."
"But what if you can't?" Castiel looked up at him, eyes bright and more piercing than usual. "A Basilisk is nothing to be trifled with, Dean."
"Cas, don't worry," Dean said, giving Castiel's shoulder a squeeze. "We'll be fine, I promise."
Slowly, Castiel looked up at him and then sighed. "All right, call me once you return or if you need any assistance." Castiel stared at him for a second then moved closer, bringing up a hand to pull Dean's face towards him, foreheads gently pressing together.
Dean rolled his eyes, but made no move to pull away. Seeing that Castiel had his eyes tightly shut, Dean followed suit. Again, the rest of the world seemed to fall away and Dean felt that strange warmth surge through him once more. This time though, there was a sense of anxiety and fear, he could feel Castiel's fingers twitching slightly on his neck and his other hand was tightly fisted in Dean's shirt. Dean tightened his grip on Castiel's shoulder and allowed his other arm to come up to wrap lightly around Castiel's waist. He tried to push back against what he now realized was Castiel's Grace, to pour a bit of himself into Castiel as Castiel so easily pushed his Grace into him. He also tried very hard not to think about how gay all of this was. Other guys hugged, okay, so maybe they didn't awkwardly Grace-soul hug, but it wasn't really that weird when you knew what was going on. Really.
A sudden coughing fit from the top of the basement stairs made Castiel pull away and both turned to look at the intruder. Sam had a fist pressed to his mouth as he choked on air and looked pointedly at the next step. "Uh, sorry, am I interrupting something?"
"Not at all," Castiel said, drawing away from Dean and glancing upwards again. "I was just leaving." He fixed Dean with a pointed look. "Be safe," he said, then vanished.
Dean nodded to the now empty spot and tried to look casual. "I found a mirror," he informed a large stack of spare tires next to the stairs.
"Dude, what did I just walk in on?" Sam asked, reaching the bottom of the steps and leaning on the railing. "Were you guys kissing?"
"Pssh, no," Dean said, rolling his eyes as if that were the most ridiculous thing in the world, which it totally was, he didn't kiss guys, not even ones as pretty as Cas. Shit, why'd he think that? Focus damn it. "We were just… it's an angel thing, it's how they shake hands or something."
Sam raised his eyebrows, patented look of disbelief number four settling on his face. "Uh huh, handshake, right."
"It was! You remember that cupid thing, with the creepy hugging. That's a cherub, or whatever's handshake, that's just how regular angels do it—it's not that weird!"
Sam nodded slowly. "Right, that makes sense." His tone was so laced with sarcasm, Dean could practically feel it poking at his nerves.
"Why'd you come down here? Did you find any swords?" Dean asked, extremely eager to change the subject.
"Yeah, got 'em all packed and ready to go. Just thought I should let you know, didn't realize I'd walk in on you guys 'shaking hands.'"
"Shut up," Dean said, starting up the stairs, shoving the mirror at Sam as he went. "Bitch."
"Jerk," Sam called after him as Dean shut the door to the basement behind him. He pretended not to hear his brother's laughter as he stormed out of the house.
Taking out the Basilisk went fairly well, and, as he said, Dean called Castiel afterwards, though the angel could only stay for a short time. Apparently some pretty big battle had just broken out, so he only had time to check in and give Dean a brief forehead bump, which Sam had to walk in on again, before he left. Dean then got to spend the next several weeks throwing things at Sam while his little brother laughed at him.
"Come on, Dean," Sam said as he followed a fuming Dean out of their hotel room. "I just meant that it was kinda sweet seeing you like that."
"It was not sweet," Dean snapped, wrenching open the door to the Impala. "It was a manly handshake, and you should shut up about it already, bitch."
"Jerk," Sam said as he happily slid into the passenger's seat. Dean silenced him with a glare and the ride back to Bobby's featured no talking and extra loud music to stop Sam from trying.
Clouds boomed overhead ominously as they pulled up to Bobby's house. Stepping out of the car, Sam glanced up at them and frowned. "This storm just came out of nowhere, think there's something going on?"
Dean shrugged, still a bit annoyed, and pulled his jacket tighter against a sudden harsh wind. Sam did the same and followed him inside. "Bobby, you home?" Sam called as he shut the door behind them.
"In here," Bobby called from the living room, judging by the other noise he had a TV turned on. "You'd better come have a look at this."
"Is it about the storm?" Sam asked as he and Dean hurried into the room. Bobby nodded and turned the volume on the TV up. A news reporter was talking about the sudden weather change. "… a massive storm front seemingly appearing from no where. The eye of the storm is guessed to be about two miles from Sioux Falls, but high winds and lightning are making the area impossible to reach. Reports of a massive strike to the center of the area have come in, but nothing has been confirmed. It is unknown whether anyone has been harmed by this enormous lightning strike, though one witness claims to have seen a man in a trench coat just after the lightning hit…"
"Dean where are you going?" Sam asked as Dean suddenly stood up and made for the door.
"I'll bet you anything that was Cas. I'm gonna go check this out."
"Want me to come with you?" Sam's question was met only by the front door slamming shut behind his brother. He sighed and slowly sank into a chair.
Bobby shook his head and turned back to the TV. "I sure hope that boy knows what he's doing."
Dean didn't. But he still pulled off the road about a hundred yards from the supposed eye of the storm about five minutes later. He staggered slightly as he got out of the Impala. The wind was blowing like crazy and the thunder seemed impossibly loud. Ignoring this, Dean started forward towards the middle of the storm. "Cas! Cas!" He yelled, trying to be heard over the roaring wind and thunder.
Lightning scorched the ground every few feet, some strikes missing Dean by inches. Still, he kept going through the crackling, heated air until he reached the edge of a ten foot, exactly circular crater. Sure enough, at the center of the crater, facing away from him, was Castiel, posture stiff and rigid despite the howling wind. Skidding slightly, Dean edged his way down into the crater. "Cas!"
Castiel made no sign of having heard him as Dean drew near and reached out to grip his shoulder. "Cas, what's going on?"
"You should leave." Castiel's voice was very low and dangerous. "You shouldn't have made it through. No one should have."
"Well, I guess Mother Nature will have to do better than that." Dean blinked against the wind. "Come on man, let's get out of here." He tugged at Castiel, but the angel remained immobile, thunder crashing loudly overhead. Dean stared at the back of his head. "Cas, are you causing this?"
"Dean, you will leave if you know what's good for you," Castiel said harshly, still not moving.
"I'm pretty sure we both know I never do what's good for me. Come on, Cas."
"Dean, please," the sudden change in Castiel's tone caught the hunter by surprise, "please leave, I-I tried to avoid hitting anything of import but… if you remain here… please Dean, I do not wish to hurt you." There was no doubting it, Castiel's shoulders were shaking and his hands were clenched tightly at his sides.
Dean quickly walked around him, finding the angel facing the ground, eyes shut tightly, and tears running down his face. "Cas, what happened?" he asked, gently reaching out and tilting Castiel's face up.
Castiel swallowed hard and turned away. "Israfel is dead. He was killed trying to protect me. I-I could do nothing… it is my fault. Dean, please go, I-I do not wish to harm anyone else… please…" His voice faded and his eyes seemed to grow dull.
Dean opened his mouth to speak, but the wind snatched away his words. Lightning began to strike more frequently and the ground seemed to be shaking. "Cas, come on, snap out of it," Dean said, gripping the angel's shoulders. "Look at me." He forced the angel's head upwards. "Cas, talk to me damn it!" Dean winced as lightning hit a spot just inches from his foot. He could feel part of his hair sizzle. "Shit!" Looking around frantically, his mind raced trying to think of something, anything. His eyes locked on Castiel's face and he blew out a slow breath. Well, it had helped Cas calm down before. Dean placed one hand on either side of Castiel's face and pressed their foreheads together.
The world was still unpleasantly there. It must have been Cas's Grace that started that weird other worldly thing. Shit. Dean shut his eyes tightly and tried to reach out, he didn't know what the hell he was reaching with, but he fervently pushed any positive feeling he could find to the front of his mind. Tried to push all his normal self-loathing aside to make room for whatever comfort and calm he could dredge up. Damn it, still nothing. Deciding he would never tell any of this to Sam, ever, Dean allowed his no-chick-flick barrier to drop and tried to pour all the love and affection he could find into whatever the hell it was he was doing. Come on Cas, Dean thought, I'm here for you, just snap out of this, just let me help, please. A hand gently pressed against his and he almost jumped in surprise. He suddenly felt just a bit of the warmth of Castiel's Grace, then it slowly grew stronger and the wind slowed and stopped and the thunder faded away to nothingness, then the rest of the world followed suit.
Hands fisted in Dean's shirt pulling him closer. Dean let out a breath he hadn't realized he'd been holding in and gently brushed tears from Cas's face with his thumbs. "Dean…" Castiel's voice was barely above a whisper.
"I'm here, Cas, I'm not going anywhere."
Castiel slowly pulled back and Dean opened his eyes to find Castiel staring at him, eyes shining. "Thank you," he whispered and Dean pulled him into a tight hug, not giving a damn who saw. Honestly, no matter how manly you were, anyone would have hugged Cas seeing him look like that. Anyone who would say otherwise would either be lying through their teeth or a massive dickwad. They stood there for several minutes, neither moving except for the occasional shake of Castiel's shoulders. Dean said nothing, but held the angel tightly, ignoring the way his shirt and the side of his neck became slightly damp.
Eventually, Dean led Castiel out of the crater and back to the Impala, an arm locked around the angel's shoulders. When they pulled up at Bobby's, Dean ushered him inside and stayed very close to him as they entered the living room. Bobby and Sam looked up in surprise. Sam stood quickly and opened and closed his mouth as if unsure what to say. Bobby had no such problems. "You look like hell."
Dean just nodded.
"What happened?" Sam finally managed to ask.
Dean winced slightly and glanced at Castiel, who only had eyes for the floor. "Uh, stuff, stuff happened, Sammy."
"Sam," Bobby said suddenly, "how 'bout you go grab some beers? I think we need 'em."
Sam glanced back at Dean then nodded and left the room. Dean shot Bobby a grateful smile and moved to pull Castiel onto the couch before plopping down next to him.
The rest of the day and the next several, passed fairly quietly. There were no new cases, so Dean and Sam had no reason to leave Bobby's. Castiel did not seem very inclined to leave and either wasn't receiving any calls or was just ignoring them. Either way, the angel stuck very close to Dean's side and, for once, the hunter had absolutely no complaints about the personal space invasion. Sam commented on it once, when Castiel was pulled away by Bobby to help him translate a particularly old text.
Dean just shrugged as he opened a beer and leant on the kitchen counter. "I don't know, the guy's been through a lot, I don't want to go yelling at him for something stupid."
"Yeah, but it doesn't even seem like you notice it." Sam had seen Dean casually walking around with Cas following about an inch behind for the past few days without so much as a twitch of annoyance.
Dean shrugged again. "I guess I don't. It's just how he is, I should probably get used to it at some point."
Sam probably would have pressed it further, but Castiel chose that moment to enter the room and reaffix himself to Dean's side, so he had to settle for making bitch-face number four and leaving to go help Bobby with something he probably just made up on the spot. Dean just shot Castiel's questioning look a small grin before he dragged him outside to wash the Impala.
Eventually, a new case did crop up and Dean and Sam found themselves gearing up and heading the Impala, only to find that Castiel had already claimed shotgun. Neither brother really had a complaint and they soon found that dealing with demons, vampires and most other things was considerably easier with an angel tagging along. In between hunts, Castiel did quickly check in once, but returned almost as soon as he had left. Apparently things had lulled somewhat, leaving him free to glue himself to the Winchesters, go on hunts, and give Dean the occasional forehead hug. Dean still tried to make sure that those usually didn't happen around Sam, who had a real talent for walking in on things, or Bobby, who would probably just mutter under his breath and leave. Plus, it wasn't like it happened all the time, just every so often, especially if Castiel looked down. Though Dean could tell the angel needed to talk, he wasn't going to push it. The guy would talk when he was ready; Dean just hoped that when the floodgates opened, he'd be ready too. Stupid chick-flick moments kept popping up like damn rats.
They were sitting together on the Impala when Castiel finally decided to open up. "He was like Sam," the angel said suddenly.
Dean looked at him, trying to figure out what the hell that meant. He gave up. "What?"
"Israfel. He… he and Sam are very similar." Castiel sighed and stared at the dirt below his slowly swinging feet. "He always did everything he could to help me, even if… even if he didn't always know how, he still tried. I… I remember when this all started, he swore he'd do anything to help me…"
Dean nodded slowly and looked at an old junked up car several feet away. "That does kinda sound like Sammy. Were you… you were brothers, right?"
"All angels are brothers… but," Castiel nodded slowly, "I believe the two of us were far closer to your definition. Israfel was… I felt closer to him than anyone else." He slowly shook his head. "Angels are not meant to make such connections, but our bond… it was nearly as strong as the one I share with you."
Dean turned and found Castiel looking at him with his weird almost smile. "Now that I think of it… he was quite like you, Dean." Castiel opened his mouth as if to say more, but all that came out was a slow breath as he dropped his head to stare at the ground once more.
"You still miss him like crazy, huh?"
The angel nodded. Dean licked his lips and cast a quick glance around the junkyard before he scooted closer to Castiel and threw an arm around him, pulling him close. Neither of them said anything for a very long time.
Eventually, things set into a familiar pattern. Bobby would find a new hunt. Castiel would quickly check to see if he was needed, apparently things had slowed to a crawl on the angelic front, it was almost weird at this point, but no one was complaining. Then they would set off, sometimes just a pair or three of them, but often all four would head off on a case. Most of the hunts were quick and easy, just the typical stuff. Until, of course, they ran into the Portland Witch Coven. Then things changed.
The witches had been trying to summon some kind of crazy powerful pagan God. No one had caught the name, something weird and Scandinavian sounding. It wasn't the summoning that was really the problem; it was the fact that there were thirty-seven damn witches in one coven. How the hell was that fair? Really? Plus, these were some pretty hard core witches, Dean was sure that at least four were actually just guys in wigs, but when ducking punches and jumping over kicks to the crotch, it was kind of hard to check.
Even Castiel had his hands full; a few of the witches were packing angel resistant hoo-doo. You could say a lot of things about witches being insane, but these bitches were prepared. They had managed to knock out a fair number of them, but at least half were still up and kicking, literally. Dean just missed having his ear sliced off by a wicked looking pair of salad tongs when he noticed that a couple of the witches had made their way to the summoning circle. "Damn it. Cas!" He stopped himself when he saw that Castiel had at least two of the burlier witches holding onto him and several of the smaller ones advancing towards him.
"Sam!" Nope, Sam, who had lost his gun ages ago, was swinging a knife around wildly while trying to throw off a witch who had decided that she really wanted a piggy back ride.
"Bobby!" Still no, even though the old hunter was the only one who still had his gun, Bobby was wedged tightly into a corner and seemed to be just about out of rounds.
Remembering his own situation, Dean quickly ducked and jumped to the side just in time to avoid being smashed by a fairly substantial book case. He rolled sideways just in time to avoid having the book shelf's friend crush him. "Son of a bitch!"
That was when the chanting really took off. The ground started shaking and crazy light beams erupted from the middle of the circle. Judging by the massive blasts the beams of light were making in the walls, they weren't just for show. Dean heard Sam swear loudly just before the chant reached its big finale. The center of the circle exploded, throwing back the witches and everything else. Dean counted himself as being lucky for already being close to a wall as he threw up an arm in front of his eyes to block the glowing light, which just grew brighter and brighter. It seemed to take a very long time to fade and an even longer time for the ground to stop shaking, but eventually it did.
Slowly, Dean stood and surveyed the damages. The building was trashed, every bit of furniture was in several pieces and all of the witches were splayed on the floor, unconscious. Dean looked around. "Cas, Sam, Bobby, everyone okay?"
There was a grunt as piece of an armchair moved apart and Sam stood shakily. "I'm okay."
Castiel stood up from his place behind a large washing machine. "I am unharmed."
Bobby had managed to edge himself out of the corner and limped over to Dean. "I'll live. What about you, boy?"
"I'm fine," Dean said, wiping a bit of sweat from his brow before he turned to look at the center of the circle. "What the hell did they summon?"
A large amount of debris had fallen in the middle of the room, almost completely obscuring the summoning circle. Almost, through the rubble, there was definitely something moving. Bobby's gaze joined Dean's and he squinted slightly, trying to see more clearly. "Well, it looks human shaped at least."
Dean nodded and glanced at Sam and Castiel then stopped. Castiel was staring at the center of the room very strangely. "Cas, what's the matter? Can you tell what this thing is?"
Castiel frowned. "I… am unsure." He shook his head as he began striding through the rubble, casually stepping over motionless witches without batting an eye. Easily, he moved large bits of furniture and ceiling from his path until he reached the center and stopped dead. With a flick of his wrist, Castiel cleared the wreckage revealing the hunched over figure of a man. Castiel tilted his head to one side. "This… this should not be possible."
A low, horribly familiar laugh came from the man, who slowly looked up at Castiel and then began straightening up. "So, I guess that means you're not happy to see me. Thanks for that, little brother, way to make a guy feel welcome." He stretched and then turned to face Dean, Sam and Bobby, his grin growing more and more pronounced. "Hey guys, did you miss me?"
Dean's mouth dropped open slightly and Sam's eyebrows nearly merged with his hairline. "Gabriel?"
The trickster smirked and spread his arms wide. "In the flesh."
Sam and Dean exchanged a look before turning back to the archangel. "Son of a bitch!"
It seemed to take years to finally get back to Bobby's house. Well, they couldn't just leave Gabriel in the middle of a city. Those poor people didn't deserve that, true, Dean wasn't sure what the four of them had done to deserve it either, but someone had to watch the bastard. Once in the house, the archangel instantly made himself at home, propping his feet up on the table and taking a long drink from a whiskey bottle that Dean had definitely not been hiding under the sink for several months. He couldn't even bitch about it, because then Sam would know what really happened to the last month's grocery money, so Dean just leant against the kitchen counter, quietly biting his tongue. Castiel had already taken off to see if there was any news about this new development and Bobby had locked himself in the panic room and refused to come out, so Dean and Sam found themselves stuck in the kitchen with a very bored reality warping trickster.
It was a little bit tense.
Dean rolled his eyes and resisted the urge to stick his leg out as Sam walked past him for the millionth time. "Dude, would you stop with the pacing? I don't need two people driving me insane."
"Oh, Dean-o I'm pretty sure you're already at least half way there," Gabriel said with a smirk. He took another long drink of Dean's secret booze. "This stuff isn't half bad, you got any more?"
"No," Dean tried to say calmly. He failed.
Sam stopped and awkwardly gestured with his arms for a few moments.
"Spit it out kid, you look like you're about to have some kinda fit."
Bitch face number two fell into place as Sam's arms stopped their awkward dance. "It's just… how are you back?"
Gabriel shrugged. "Hell if I know, crazy witches found a spell or something I guess."
"Yeah, but shouldn't you need, like, a new vessel or something? I mean, you died…" Sam paused for a moment. "You did die, right?"
"Yes, that one was for real. Lucy got me good. Didn't think daddy'd be kind enough to drag me back here, so I wasn't really holding my breath." Gabriel shook his head. "Not that I'm complaining. D'you know how long I've gone without a threesome? A guy's got needs, man."
Dean and Sam both winced and turned away. "Really, man? You get yanked back to life and that's the first thing you can think to do?"
Gabriel shrugged. "Why not? Not like I'm back on some holy mission or any of that crap. As far as I'm concerned, I'm a free agent."
A slight rustle caught Dean's attention as Castiel suddenly appeared next to him. "Anyone up there know anything?" Dean asked, crossing his arms over his chest.
Castiel shook his head. "It seems to be as much of a shock to heaven as to us. However, it does seem that Raphael has gone into hiding."
Dean raised an eyebrow. "You mean he wasn't before?"
"No, he has merely been fairly inactive since our last battle, most likely trying to reassemble his forces." Castiel shifted a bit a licked his lips, seeming almost anxious. "Now it seems that no one can find him anywhere. Even a few of his own followers that we managed to find and question don't know where he's gone."
Gabriel had been watching the conversation with mild interest. He leant forward, allowing all four legs of his chair to drop to the ground. "So what's this about Raph? He the new head honcho upstairs?"
"Where've you been?"
Dean mentally slapped himself. Duh. "Oh, right. Nope, Cas is in charge now… mostly. Raphael's not too happy about things, but eventually he's gonna have to suck it up, cause there's a new sheriff in town," Dean said with a grin as he threw an arm around Castiel and ruffled his hair while the angel directed a little half smile at his shoes.
"Aw, aren't you cute," Gabriel snarked. He rolled his eyes. "Sam, how have these two not driven you away yet?"
Sam ducked his head, hiding a smirk as Dean raised an eyebrow. "The hell are you talking about?"
"Is he serious?" Gabriel asked, firmly disbelieving eyebrows set.
Guiltily, Sam nodded. "I think so, yeah."
Dean looked between them then glanced at Castiel, who met him with an equally bemused shrug. Gabriel threw back his head and laughed. "How thick can you get?"
"Can someone please start making sense?" Now Dean was getting annoyed.
Gabriel shook his head, shoulders still shaking with laughter. "Man, Castiel, you know how to pick 'em."
"Pick who for what?" Castiel was at level three head tilt of utter confusion.
"For being the second half of the world's cutest angel-hunter dream couple, congratulations, little bro," said Gabriel, applauding loudly. Now Sam's shoulders were shaking with suppressed laughter.
Dean groaned and rolled his eyes. "We are not a couple, right Cas?"
Castiel nodded seriously, but this only made Gabriel laugh more. "Are they always like this?"
"Kinda," Sam said with a shrug. "This is nothing, though; you should see the forehead thing."
That made the laughter stop. Gabriel looked at Sam, mouth slightly open. "What?"
"Yeah, it's this weird forehead touching thing, looks like they're about to kiss."
Gabriel rounded on Castiel, who suddenly found the floor to be extremely fascinating. "Castiel, look who's all grown up, I didn't think you had it in you."
Dean stared at the archangel. "What are you talking about? That forehead thing, it's like an angel hug or something, right?"
Gabriel snorted. "That what he told you? Well, Dean-o it's a little more than that." The archangel's eyes flicked to Castiel. "You wanna tell 'em or should I?"
Slowly, Dean turned to look at Castiel. "Cas?"
The angel glanced at him for a millisecond before looking right back at the tiling as he rubbed the back of his neck in discomfort. "The gesture… is a bit more… intimate than a human hug."
Gabriel snorted. "A bit? Castiel, Grace on Grace action is at least second base, if not a home run."
Dean blinked. "What?"
The archangel stroked an imaginary beard in mock thought. "How to explain? It's like hard core making out, but with your soul, not that that makes any sense at all." Gabriel suddenly frowned. "Actually, it shouldn't even do anything." He fixed Dean with an odd look. "Does anything happen when you guys… forehead touch?"
"Uh," Dean glanced at Castiel, who refused to add anything, "I don't know. Things kinda just slow down and it's like… like everything else is really far away. I don't know, it's weird, but not bad or hot. Why the hell am I even explaining this to you?"
Gabriel's eyes widened slightly. "Well that's not normal. Castiel, did you ever—oh he's gone, never mind."
Dean looked at the now very empty spot next to him. "Damn it, Cas." Without another word, Dean was out the door. Sam watched him go and glanced at Gabriel. "Should we go after them?"
"Nah, best to let the happy couple work things out," Gabriel said, walking over to Sam and clapping him on the shoulder. "They'll probably be a while. You got anything fun around here?"
"Uh, not really."
"Shame, all right, Vegas it is!"
"Wait—what?" There was a rush of wind and suddenly the kitchen was empty.
Dean found Castiel leaning against an old battered pick-up truck. He approached slowly, not wanting the angel to take off again. "Cas?"
Castiel flinched, but made no move to vanish again as Dean drew near. Feeling more than a little awkward, Dean looked distractedly around the junkyard, hands shoved deep into his pockets. "So," he started after what felt like hours, "when were you gonna tell me the truth?"
"I… meant to, but the time never seemed right." Castiel shuffled his feet slightly. "I assumed, once you knew… you would not wish for it to continue."
They stood in silence for a moment; Dean really had no idea what to say. Luckily, Castiel broke the quiet first so he didn't have to. "Dean, I apologize… I… the first time it happened, I merely reacted on instinct. The Grace connection only occurs between those with a deep bond… I was only seeking comfort. I should not have forced that on you."
Dean shook his head. "It-it's fine, Cas. Honestly, I really didn't mind, I mean, it was weird, but… not in a bad way. You, uh, you do that with a lot of angels?" Shit. Where the hell did that come from? The question just slipped out before Dean could stop it.
This time, Dean was sure that Castiel was full on blushing as he suddenly looked up then away. The angel cleared his throat then shook his head. "No…I have never… in the hotel room, that was the first time I ever… connected with anyone in such a way."
And Dean had thought he could feel anymore awkward. Of course Castiel had to phrase it like that. Stupid brain. "So you haven't ever… angel-kissed anyone else?"
Castiel nodded. For some reason, Dean felt a strange warmth bubbling up. This really shouldn't make him feel special, or happy, or anything. He should want to look away in discomfort or make some excuse to talk about something else. Damn it, he wasn't gay, he wasn't! Just, looking at Castiel's nervous, shy expression, the same thoughts kept running through his mind, thoughts that he should really have been more uncomfortable with. Aw, to hell with it!
Dean took a step forward, trying to remain casual. "So… what about human kissing? You done a lot of that before?"
Castiel made a face. "I have only had minimal experience, but it does not seem… pleasant."
Dean frowned. "Seriously?"
The angel nodded. "It is very messy and… she tasted like sulfur and cheap alcohol and peanut butter."
That got a loud laugh from Dean. "Wait, you're talking about Meg? She's the only person you've ever kissed? Aw, Cas, I'm sorry, that sucks. Look, trust me; it's not always like that."
Castiel looked at him curiously. Dean licked his lips nervously, well, might as well go for it. "Here, let me show you."
Dean leant forward and lightly pressed his lips against the angel's. Castiel's lips were soft and moved slowly against Dean's as the hunter pushed closer, hands coming up to rest at Castiel's waist. The kiss was softer and slower than Dean was used to, but hell, it wasn't half bad. Castiel's hand drifted up to rest on Dean's neck, thumb moving slowly back and forth across his jaw. It seemed to last quite a while before Dean remembered he should probably breathe and pulled back just an inch or so. He couldn't help but smile slightly at the way Castiel followed his movements before stopping himself. "So, better than Meg?" Dean asked, almost surprised by how low his own voice was.
"Much," Castiel muttered before leaning to claim Dean's lips again. Dean responded happily, pushing the angel back against the truck as one of his hands moved up to tangle in Castiel's dark hair. This one was a bit more heated than the first and Dean was panting slightly when he pulled back and rested his forehead against Castiel's. He let out a long slow breath and grinned at the angel. "You know, I think I could get used to this."
Dean grabbed Castiel by the hand and they walked together back into Bobby's house. There was some worry upon finding both Sam and Gabriel gone, but a note on the fridge, that they both somehow missed the first time, assured them that Sam had just taken Gabriel to the liquor store after the archangel had practically driven him insane. Sam's handwriting seemed a little off, but it was probably fine. Eventually, Castiel and Dean managed to talk Bobby out of the panic room and into making them food. Just because Dean could cook, didn't mean he wanted to as he told Bobby, but the old hunter was having none of it and stuck both Dean and a very confused Castiel to work. If he noticed the way Castiel would occasionally try to hold Dean's hand or the way that Dean would lean in to press a small kiss to Castiel's face every few minutes, Bobby didn't say anything.
The next morning there was a very odd message on the answering machine that they had all somehow missed. "Uh, hey Dean, it's Sam. So, Gabriel might have zapped us somewhere, uh Vegas actually, and, um, we might need a little help."
"Sam, stop talking and help me carry this!"
"Shit! Gabriel is that a tiger?"
"No, it's a poodle, now hurry up!"
"Okay, okay—wait, where did all that gum come from?"
"Stop asking questions, and start punching cops!"
"Uh, Dean, I'll call you back! Damn it, Gabriel!"
Dean stared at the answering machine with wide eyes, unsure whether to be horrified or ridiculously entertained. There was a yawn as Castiel entered the room. "What's going on?" the angel asked, voice still rough with sleep.
Even though he didn't really need it, over the past few weeks, Castiel had taken to sleeping in one of Bobby's spare rooms. It hadn't really changed much, but it was an excuse to get him out of the trench coat and into regular clothes, namely a pair of Dean's sweatpants and an old band T-shirt that were both a bit too big for him. Also, Castiel had serious bed head. However, now Dean didn't feel nearly as awkward when he thought about just how damn adorable the angel looked when he woke up. Okay, so maybe he still felt a little awkward, these things didn't happen over night. Dean shot him a small smile and shrugged at the machine. "Apparently, Gabriel poofed Sammy to Vegas. Sounds like they could use some help."
Castiel yawned again as he drew closer and pressed his face into Dean's shoulder. "They'll be fine."
Dean chuckled. "Aw, I can really see how much you care, sleepyhead."
Castiel lifted his head up just long enough to give Dean a short glare before reclaiming the hunter's shoulder as his pillow. "Gabriel is an archangel; he should be able to handle things."
"Good point," Dean said. He grinned and pressed a kiss to Castiel's head. "Come on," he said, pulling the angel towards the kitchen, "they'll probably be back soon, Sam'll want pancakes… okay, I want pancakes," he added when Castiel shot him a disbelieving look.
The angel nodded slightly. "I do like pancakes."
Dean grinned. "I know you do, Cas." Later, Dean found, when he went to kiss Castiel after breakfast, the angel tasted like pancakes too. Dean really, really liked pancakes.
A/N: So the ending was a little lame, but it was the only thing that would come to mind, so I just sort of went with it. I know some parts are ridiculously cutesy, but I just... okay, I have no excuse other than the fact that it makes me smile. Please review and, again, feel free to leave a prompt!