Summary: Dean is cursed by demonic hiccups—if he hiccups a hundred times, he can kiss his lungs (and his life) goodbye. Thankfully, Castiel has a solution.
Disclaimer: Supernatural belongs to Kripke and all those guys. I am not one of those guys.
Nota Bene: Pairing is Dean/Castiel. Also, I have an apparent disdain for timelines and canon.
Dean thought that this was all quite unfair. He and his brother had managed to do the impossible—halt the Apocalypse-with-a-capital-A—and bottom-feeding demons like this one still thought they could mess with the dream team? That was just lame.
"You got a reason why we shouldn't send you back to hell right now?" Dean growled, looming over the demon they'd trapped in the circle. "What're you doing here, anyway? You'd think Hell's bosses would take a vacation—I hear the Bermuda Triangle's nice this time of year."
"I ain't talkin'," the demon grunted, crossing its arms over its meat puppet's high school letter jacket. It was a scrawny guy with a unsettling amount of acne, and Dean totally didn't feel like doing this today. Why couldn't the demons do him the favor of at least possessing bodies that were hot? The demon probably could've possessed some cheerleader if it'd only moved two feet, but instead it went for this one. Eurgh.
"Oh, yeah? You'd better start talkin'." Dean didn't want to deal with this. He had plenty of other stuff to do—like eating bacon cheeseburgers, picking up ladies at the bar, bothering Sam, watching Busty Asian Beauties… he had a full schedule! There was no time for wimpy little demons like this.
"I've got nothing to say to you."
"Fine. Sam, start exorcising this little bitch."
"Exorcizamus te, omnis immundus spiritus omnis blah blah blah blah."
Dean zoned out as Sam droned on, pausing in opportune moments so that the demon could shriek and wail out information. Cleaning out his ears irritably with a finger, he tuned in just as the demon was pointing a finger at him and shrieking, "I curse thee, foul human scum! You will die a fool's death, Dean Winchester! A fool and—and a little girl!" He choked a little, giving a rumble of discomfort as Sam's chanting began to force a swirl of black from his mouth. Unwilling to be deterred, however, he continued with an outstretched finger. "You, Dean Winchester, will hiccup yourself to death! A hundred and it's curtains for you!"
"Not a chance!" Sam growled vigorously, plowing his way through a few more lines of Latin.
A moment later, Sam had blahed his way through the last of the exorcism, and the demon's soul poofed into black smoke, leaving a very confused, very terrified teenage boy behind.
"Whoa, dudes! Is this—is this real life?"
"Unfortunately," Dean groaned, readier than ever for a burger and a long night of jonesing.
Dean was just throwing back a few when it started. It began small, just one hiccup in between swigs of Jack Daniels—that had Sam giggling and grinning into his girly drink—but a few minutes later, they still hadn't stopped, and Sam was beginning to genuinely worry about the harmless little curse the demon had placed on him.
"He said a hundred hiccups, right? A hundred and you die." Sam's eyes were worry-bright by now; apparently Dean's hiccups were no longer funny. They were up to eight, and Sam was fidgeting with his glass.
"Don't worry 'bout it, Sammy; a few hiccups aren't gonna hurt me. Hiccups would be a stupid way to die." He clapped Sam on the back reassuringly, taking a long swig of his drink even as he felt the jerk in his throat that meant hiccup number nine. He swallowed it down and set his pint aside with a hard thunk. "See? No way hiccups're gonna—hic—kill me."
It was a good effort, but Dean supposed the effect would've been better without the addition of hiccup number eleven.
He gave Sam his most winning grin, but Sam only frowned back at him and tugged him out of the bar.
"I don't know what else you want me to do, Sammy—I've tried –hic—holding my breath, I've tried drinking, I've tried not drink-hic-ing—I've even tried spoonfuls of –hic—sugar! What else is there?" Dean had just breezed through hiccups thirty-three, thirty-four, and thirty-five, and the Winchester brothers's patience was wearing thin.
"Well, if they really are… demonic hiccups, maybe we should look for less traditional remedies. Maybe there's some other way of curing—whatever this is," Sam sighed, looking harried as he Googled frantically on his laptop.
"Sam, you're not gonna—hic— find the cure for demon hiccups on WebMD!"
"You call Bobby, then. Maybe he knows something about this," Sam grunted, tapping angrily at his keyboard.
Dean rolled his eyes and stifled a hiccup, dialing up the old man.
"Angel's brea—hic—th? What the hell's that?" Dean growled into the phone.
"Is it a plant?" Sam suggested from where he was hunched over the computer. "Like Baby's Breath, or something?"
"What? You mean we have to go find a baby? And have it breathe on me? How the hell is that going to help? That's the dumbest hiccup remedy I've heard all day."
"Dean, can I talk to Bobby?" Sam said in his most irritating and maternal voice, the one that meant Dean was being childish and idiotic.
Dean would've liked to deny Sammy his phone privileges, but he figured that with his life on the line like it was, he might have to settle for a glare (that got interrupted mid-hiccup). He passed the phone over to Sam and scooted behind him to stare at the computer screen.
"Hey, Bobby? Yeah, it's Sam. So it's not a plant?" Sam was nodding as he thumbed through a page of exceptionally unhelpful Google results. "Any idea what it might be? Oh… right. Makes sense. Thanks, Bobby," Sam said with a sigh, closing the phone and passing it back to his brother.
"So, do we –hic—have a winner?" Dean asked, up to number forty-seven by now.
"Not sure. Bobby found a reference to some panacea called Angel's Breath, but he wasn't sure what it was. He suggested we go to the source."
"Pana-what?" Dean asked, glad when his hiccup came in the pause between sentences rather than in the middle of a word. He had to count his small victories, after all. "How're we gonna get to the source –hic- if we don't even know what kind of pana-hic-whatsit it is?" Sam raised his eyes skyward; it could've been an eye-roll, but Dean wasn't going to push it. "Oh, right. I'll call Cas."
"I'll keep looking," Sam replied, opening another tab to search for the elusive Angel's Breath.
"Hey, Cas? It's Dean."
"Yes?" Castiel breathed awkwardly across the line.
"I'm in a spot of trou—hic—ble here—life-or-death trouble—so if –hic— you—"
Dean was cut off when the angel appeared in the room without warning, looking ready to rip a few demons apart just as hiccup number sixty-two rolled by. "Don't do that, man—you know it—hic—freaks me out every—hic—time you do that."
Castiel seemed mightily confused when he noticed that neither of the brothers were in trouble; Dean seemed fine, other than being a little jumpier and squeakier than normal, and Sam was staring rather intently at that electronic box of his. There were no demons here, no vampires, not even any rabid Pomeranians with pink bows in their perfectly groomed fur. He tilted his head a little as he looked at Dean, wondering why the man had called him when there wasn't any danger around. The human couldn't possibly want to engage in team-building exercises with him, could he? Castiel thought he'd had enough of those in Heaven, but he supposed that if Dean asked, he might grudgingly agree… just because it was Dean.
"Cas—hic—we were wondering if you knew anything about—hic—Angel's Breath, because I've got some crazy –hic—killer hiccups, and we could use your help –hic—before I turn into a—urr, well, whatever happens when you—hic!— hiccup yourself to death," Dean muttered sheepishly, crossing his arms and looking away.
"Dean, humans can't hiccup themselves to death," Castiel replied evenly, as if that took care of everything.
"Yeah, Cas, but these are demonic hiccups. I got cursed—hic— earlier today and—"
"And you think Angel's Breath will cure you?" Castiel asked. He thought the situation was rather silly, but if it meant curing Dean of lethal hiccups, he'd try (almost) anything once. Or twice. Castiel thought that cursing people with hiccups was a very un-demonic thing to do, but he supposed that the demonic bureaucracy needed some time to recover its creative minds—and refill a few key positions, by the looks of things—before they'd be up to batting in the big leagues again. He could hope.
"Well, uhh," Dean gulped down a hiccup, "What is it? It's got nothing to do with babies, right?"
Castiel gave him a funny look, choosing to ignore Dean's worried question. "Exactly what it sounds like."
Dean wasn't sure that cleared up his doubts at all, but he went with it. "So you just—hic—breathe on people? And does it cure them?"
"Any sort of contact with an angel will have a positive effect on humans, yes. I suppose an angel's breath would have some powerful healing properties," Castiel reasoned slowly, letting the suggestion hang awkwardly in the air for Sam and Dean to puzzle on.
"Heh. Imagine that, Sammy—all I've gotta do is get touched by an angel, and I'm cured." Dean laughed at his own joke, but choked a little as hiccup number eighty-five interrupted him. That got him worried again, and he glanced nervously at Sammy, and then at Castiel. "Go on, Cas. Work your holy mojo on me."
Sam nodded, and Castiel stepped closer to Dean, his trench coat swishing around his legs as he moved. Dean swallowed another hiccup (that felt strange and hard, like a lump in his throat) as the angel stood before him, both their hands awkwardly at their sides. Dean noticed Castiel staring curiously at his mouth, but he figured Castiel was just being weird and angelic again, and decided not to comment. Tearing his eyes away from the man's face, he realized it was suddenly much closer than he was really comfortable with (but that was normal Castiel behavior). "Go ahead," Dean muttered, shutting his eyes and waiting for the angel to work his magic. He really hoped he didn't die like this—eyes squeezed shut, getting awkwardly stared at by an angel as he pathetically hiccupped himself to death.
Castiel took Dean's hand forcefully, raised it up to his face, and blew a hot breath across his fingers. Even Sam looked a little disappointed a few moments later, when Dean's shoulders jerked and the hiccup count rolled around to ninety. "Well, that—hic— didn't work," Dean grumbled into the silence.
"Maybe if we try—" Sam suggested, looking more worried than ever as he fidgeted furiously at his computer.
"Give it up, Sam-hic-my. Looks like there's nothing for it—I'm hic really going to hic die from freakin' hiccups."
"That's ninety-five, Dean. If we don't do something, you're gonna die," Sam said, making a face like a sad puppy. "I don't know if I can live without—"
"Hic," Dean hiccupped grumpily, crossing his arms. "What d'ya want, Sammy? Cas couldn't hic fix it with that angel's breath bullshit, there's hic no more time. It's freakin'—hic—over for me."
"Ninety-nine, Dean," Sam said, his eyes pleading—but Dean didn't know what he expected. They'd run out of time; it looked like he really would be done in by hiccups. After the Apocalypse, it was a joke. God or Lucifer or whoever was pulling the strings really needed to quit messing with him, because this was just taking it too far—
And suddenly, Dean's brain shut off, just as hiccup one hundred rolled by. At first he thought it was because he was dead, shuffling off his mortal coil and his cranial functions with it, but then he realized that he felt hot all over and big hands were gripping him tight (and raising him from perdition, his mind supplied infuriatingly) and he was feeling the angel's breath again, but not on the back of his hand anymore.
Castiel's lips were pressed hard into his, Castiel's tongue sliding forcefully past his lips as if the angel were desperate to save him and the only way to do it was by using his own supercharged tongue as a crowbar. Dean was too light-headed to resist, and clung to the lapels of Cas's coat to keep himself standing when his legs went weak as strawberry Jell-o. Castiel's tongue dove into his mouth, past his lips, and it scorched him from inside and pressed electric shivers down his spine and made him feel alive. Castiel's mouth meshed desperately with his, the man's arms so tight around him, and Dean allowed his eyes to close—wondering how long it had been since he'd been kissed so deeply, so needily, like he was everything there was.
Castiel's breath was shaky when he finally released Dean, taking an uncertain step back, now an arm's length away instead of about and around and inside all of Dean. The air in the room was awkward and hot and stale now, and Dean's heart was still pounding, but when he glanced at Sam, his brother was looking dutifully away, and that at least was a small consolation. He'd hate to have his little brother see something like that—and he'd especially hate for Sammy to think he'd enjoyed it. Pulling away from the angel, he stumbled back a little, clapping a hand on Castiel's back in a way he hoped was masculine and fierce and not gay at all. "Man. That was intense—I was almost scared for a minute there. Anybody else want a burger?"
Sam, sensing the tenseness in the air between the two men, jumped up and shut his computer with a snap. "I'll go get some!" And a few moments later, the hotel room door had slammed shut behind Sam, leaving Dean alone with Castiel, his lips still tingling where the other man had kissed him. Shoving his hands in his pockets the way any strong, heterosexual man who hadn't just made out with another man to avoid death by hiccups would, Dean kept his eyes away from the angel and tried not to be hyperaware of his presence.
"Dean," Castiel said in that flat, wide-eyed way of his that meant he was really saying something very, very important. His eyes burned into Dean's back like fire, and Dean tried very hard to pretend he couldn't tell how intently the angel was focusing on him.
"Cas," Dean muttered with a gulp.
Dean held up a hand. "Thanks, Cas," he grunted, definitely not flushing at all as he thought of just how much Cas had done for him, and how enthusiastically he'd done it.
"No need to thank me, Dean. It's my duty as an angel of the lord to protect you."
"Duty, huh?" Dean asked with a smirk. "Well, I'm glad you're dedicated, or I might've just died the most pathetic death ever."
"We'd have brought you back," Castiel said, as if it were reassuring and not creepy to think about all the times he'd died and been brought back from the dead like some super zombie for Jesus.
"Yeah, well… you really helped me out there, Cas, even if you didn't have to."
"I prefer seeing you alive, Dean," Castiel muttered, and Dean could see through his patent blankness all too well. He wasn't quite as obtuse as he pretended to be, and it was hard to ignore the way the angel smoldered all for him—or how nice the kiss had felt, for all its breathless desperation.
He'd never dreamed of doing his with a guy—or well, he had that one time, but his dream about Mr. Watson from Wakefield High had been more of a nightmare, with skimpy sequined cheerleading outfits and clown makeup and awkwardly sensual banana splits—but somehow things with Cas felt different, transcendental (although Dean never would've described it that way, or described it at all,) profoundly beyond. Cas was a special brand of awkwardness and passion all his own, and Dean found he didn't want to turn away from Castiel's stare any longer.
His eyes met Castiel's, and they didn't need words anymore—which was good, because neither of them were good at saying what they needed to. Like this (with Castiel's hands on his shoulders, Castiel's mouth on his neck,) all they needed was touch—and Dean had always expressed himself more fluently through touch than words.
And somewhere in the realms between Heaven and Hell, Gabriel took another sip of his martini and congratulated himself on a job well done.
AN: So there it is. I'm not entirely happy with the dialogue, but this poor story has lain in My Documents collecting cyberdust for long enough. I may edit it later, after I've watched the series again XD. I think it was predictable, but cute, and if I managed to make you giggle, I figure it's a job well done. Let me know what you thought! And thanks for reading :3.
Edited 7/01/11 because my friend said it had typos... I didn't find the typos, but I did improve Dean's dialogue and make a few tiny diction changes. Yay for me.