A/N: This is a rewrite of my fanfiction "Protecting a Vessel." When I ended the old story I was really unhappy about how flat it was, so instead I made it into this. I hope you still enjoy.
All the charactors are lent,
and I do not own a single cent.
So please don't sue,
I'm begging you!
Extra disclaimer: I don't know or own Misha Collins (tho I made a whish), and the way he behaves in this story is completely fictional, although based losely on interviews.
The lights flickered off and on, as the wind outside picked up the pace. Dean raised his head and looked at the lights in the ceiling of the living room of the abandoned farmhouse, and then his eyes found Sam's. Neither of them spoke, as the two brothers moved absently closer to each other. Dean knew Sam was ready to pull the demon knife, and his own hold on the Colt tightened.
"Maybe it's just the storm." Sam suggested after a few seconds, but it was just to make conversation. None of them believed it was a normal storm raging outside. It had come out of nowhere, and had escalated like a damn hurricane.
Dean looked at the boarded up windows, feeling fear rise in him, but trying not to let Sam know how scared he was. They had been running for weeks, keeping their heads down, hiding in random places, doing everything they could to break old habits.
But they hadn't run far enough.
This became evident when the wind blew out the windows of the small motel room, and the ground beneath them started to shake. Strong gusts of wind swept around the two brothers, tearing at their clothes. Dean's eyes were wide. He was sure he could feel the wind, like a living, conscious being, sweeping over his skin, like it was curious.
"I think it's about time we got the hell out of here." Dean yelled, pulling at Sam's shirt. Sam turned his head to look at his brother, Dean's fear reflected in his eyes. He nodded once.
The two brothers ran to pick up their bags, but as Dean reached for the door handle it suddenly started to glow white hot. He jumped back and stumbled further backwards as a white light started to stream through the broken windows.
"Shit." Dean mouthed, looking around the room, searching for another way to save Sam. Just get Sam out. His head screamed. Save Sam. But Sam was stunned in place by his side, as the light shone brighter and filled the whole room.
Dean shielded his eye with his forearm, the other hand ready to fire the Colt. He could feel Sam pressing against his side, just wanting to know that Dean was still there, even if he couldn't see him. Slowly the light faded, and the brothers found themselves face to face with a young, blond girl. It took a second for Dean to recognize her, and then his head went spinning. He moved in front of Sam, shielding his brother, even though he knew that his human body wouldn't protect Sam, not this time.
But the girl didn't move. She held her pose, arms hanging at her sides, head slightly tilted, looking amused. Then her eyes darted from Dean to Sam, and then to the angel proofing drawings on the walls. A small smiled played on her lips.
"That's not going to work on me anymore." The girl said in a soft voice, full of Angel-rumble. "But I appreciate the gesture."
"Castiel?" Sam had shaken off the initial stun of the Angel-God appearing in the room, and was on high alert. "What happened to you?"
For a moment Castiel seemed unaware that Sam had spoken, and then her face changed slightly, as she considered what Sam could have meant.
"You need to specify your question. Your lifespan does not allow for a full recap of what has happened to me. Not even if we only include the timeframe since our last meeting." The girl said, a slight furrow between her perfect brows.
"What happened to Jimmy?" Sam specified and stared at the young girl's gentle features, so unlike the force inside her.
"Jimmy finally got to go home. To heaven. Unfortunately his body gave in. I tried to purge myself of some of the souls, just to keep Jimmy's body from burning up." Castiel lowered her eyes and seemed uncomfortable admitting this information to Sam and Dean. "But apparently that wasn't enough. This is just a makeshift solution. Claire cannot contain me any better than Jimmy could. She will soon be worn down as well. It's a plus for her though, that she is still a child. Her body is stretchier."
The girl looked at the two men, seemed to search for a sign of understanding. She just found shock painted across both faces.
Dean was the next to speak, although he didn't really trust his voice to stay calm. "You wore Jimmy out and then tossed him aside like an old pair of shoes? And then you took his daughter? The one he begged you not to take?"
Castiel looked at Dean without emotion, but her stare was intense, and in the end Dean had to look away. "I do what I must, Dean. I know you cannot understand..."
"I don't understand? You're damn right I don't understand. Look at you, Castiel." He spat the whole name, like it had a bitter taste. "You used to be one of the good guys. Team Free Will." Dean was looking at the angel again, avoiding the eyes. "Now you're just a possessive dictator, just like Rafael, just like all the rest of the motherfuckers we've been fighting against for the past years."
Castiel didn't react to Dean's tone of voice, but she searched Dean face, perhaps looking for emotions that weren't hate. "I knew you couldn't understand. I didn't understand either. But I have a responsibility now, Dean. I cannot let mankind waste away in chaos. If this is what it takes, a few human sacrifices, for the greater good."
"Save it Cas!" Dean barked. "I'm so damn tired of the greater good." He felt Sam's hand on his shoulder, calming him, trying to keep Dean from pissing the Angel-God off again. They had barely survived the last meeting. Dean clenched his jaw, clearly not done yelling, but keeping quiet for now.
"I thought all those souls were trapped inside Jimmy's body?" Sam tried to find some logic in what was happening, Dean knew, the eternal science geek looking for answers.
The girl pursed her lips, a gesture the boys had never seen Jimmy's body do, and then spoke very slowly, as if she too were unsure of the answer. "I assume the souls are tied to me now." Castiel said and then paused to think. "They follow me willingly, as if they are happy to be a part of something magnificent at last, after all that darkness."
"Magnificent?" Dean growled quietly, before he could stop himself. "Modesty wasn't included in the God special menu?"
The girl turned her head to look at Dean again, her head slightly tilted. "I don't appreciate you making fun of me, Dean." She said in her soft voice. "And I am not here to argue. I need your help."
Dean opened his mouth to protest, but once again Sam cut across Dean, trying to keep him quiet. "Why would you need our help for anything?"
"Shut up, Sam." Dean said harshly, unable to keep his mouth shut any longer. "You tell me this, Cas. Why should we lift one finger to help your stubborn, self-righteous, white ass?"
The girl lifted a single eyebrow. "Because your God ask it of you." She answered flatly.
Dean looked like he might boil over, and Sam was fast to put a soothing hand on his brothers shoulder.
"Cas. Castiel." Sam corrected himself. "You can't really expect us to be at your beg and call, here. After what you did to us."
Castiel seemed to consider this, but clearly reached a different conclusion than the brothers. "I believe I can ask your help. Whenever I wan't in fact. And I also believe you will help me gladly."
"What could we possibly do for the all mighty Castiel?" Dean said sarcastically, tossing his arms out to the sides, in a gesture that reeked of contempt.
Castiel ignored Dean's tone and answered the question with a serious voice. "I need you to watch my vessel." She said looking from Dean to Sam and back again.
"Your... your vessel?" Sam asked surprised. He looked at Dean with a what-the-hell-is-he-talking-about-expression on his face. Dean shook his head. He had no idea.
"My vessel, Sam. As I told you, Claire cannot contain me for long; I need to find a new vessel."
"I thought Jimmy was your true vessel." Dean interjected. "And he couldn't contain you. So you're just moving through these poor people like a kid in Disney world?"
Once again Castiel ignored Dean's snide tone of voice. "I found a way." She spoke in a low voice, as if she was sharing a secret. "This is not the only world, Dean. In one of the other worlds I found someone who have the properties to be my vessel, but who also have a rare quality that people from this world doesn't." Dean and Sam listened as the young girl continued to explain. "He is from a world without magic and is therefore more resilient to it, so to speak. In fact he repels it. This means that I can possess him when I need to come to earth to talk to people. And when I leave to return to Heaven, he will stay behind – here on earth. That will mean a lot less wear and tear. After all I do not need a body in Heaven." Castiel ended her explanation.
The brothers looked shocked. They exchanged a glance and then their eyes returned to look at the girl in front of them. This time Dean was the first to recover. "So you need us to take care of this poor sonuvabitch while you skip right back to Heaven?"
"Yes." Castiel answered flatly.
"You want us to tug him in at night and give him a little cupcake and tell him a bedtime story as well?" Dean asked sarcastically.
"If you want." Castiel shrugged her shoulders. "But I need you to keep him safe. Both of you. Preferably Bobby as well."
"You gotta be frigging joking us, Cas!" Dean growled.
"I am not, I assure you. And I promise you this as well, Dean." The girl said, moving closer to Dean, eyes never letting him look away. "This once you will do as I ask you to."
Sam looked at Dean, expecting him to make more snide comments, but none came. Instead Dean just nodded, compliant.
Against all expectations Castiel had left both brothers unharmed. They had been running for weeks, dodging angels, dodging people in general, just to have the Angel-God find them the moment he needed to. Sam thought that perhaps the former Angel had always just known where they were. After all the Angel Blade hadn't worked, and neither had the Angel proofing. There was no reason to expect the enochian sigils to work against Castiel.
Castiel hadn't been quite as smitefull and crazed as Sam remembered him, but he wasn't Cas either - his head were still too scrambled, too messed up.
But of course Dean had reacted to the Angel-God the way he had always done; even when Castiel was full blown Death-Bringer, the first days after he opened Purgatory, Dean hadn't changed the way he talked to him.
Sam had never understood how Dean dared, but of course Dean had never truly understood what creature they were dealing with. Dean treated Castiel like a human, even though angels were about as close to humans as a hurricane were. And Dean hadn't even understood that the reason why the angel had started to act like a human in the first place, was because Dean treated him like one.
But there were one thing that bothered Sam. Castiel had looked right at Dean when he said, "This once you will do as I ask you to." And Dean had complied, without a protest, without even cursing. Sam tried to push the thought away, but in the end he couldn't keep his mouth shut.
"Dean, what the hell happened to you? You didn't even argue." Sam looked at his brother who just hunched his shoulders and hang his head a little lower. "I was expecting screaming, cursing at least. A few snide remarks and then some get-the-hell-out-of-here-attitude. But you just... well you jumped. And even asked how high. I don't get it."
Dean didn't respond at first, but when he realized that Sam was gonna keep staring at him until he did, he finally spoke. "I don't think I can help it, Sam. I mean, I don't know what happened, if he went Jedi on me, but it didn't feel like I had a choice."
"You think he forced you? You think he can do that?" Sam asked shocked.
"I don't know what he, she, Cas can do. But it felt like it." Dean answered and buried his face in his hands, and then rubbed his head.
"Well. I'd say that's a dent in our Team Free Will then." Sam tried to sound casual about it, but Dean could hear the same fear in Sam's voice as he felt in his own stomach.
Misha Collins found himself enjoying the interviewer's questions more and more, and felt a little guilty for it.
"How would you describe the response you personally have received from the fans, after the ending of the sixth season?" the interviewer continued.
Misha took a short second to think it over. It was an easy one though. A fan-pleaser as well. "How would I describe the response I've received after the ending of season six? Well I can't complain." He joked and smiled. The interviewer winked at him.
"I have to say that I was very pleased at how many of the fans were outraged. That must mean they liked what I've done with Castiel, and were unhappy when he went a little darker. But it had to happen. I'm not giving anything away, of course, but it had to happen. Dean calls Castiel a child, and he really was right. Castiel had to grow up, but he didn't grow up in the way Dean had hoped, of course. But I don't think my fans, or rather Castiel's fans, will be disappointed next season. Cas will still be awesome to the extremes."
Misha shot a big smile to the camera and the interviewer giggled. She had been flirting the whole interview and Misha had enjoyed it. He didn't mind feeling like a star once in a while. When the interview was over he shook the woman's hand and she bend in to give him a kiss on the cheek.
"You were fabulous." She whispered and looked him deep in the eyes as he stepped back and released her hand. With a giddy feeling in his stomach he left to get ready for his next shoot, an offset footage of him wandering a remote meadow.
His mind had been distant while going over the interview in his head, and as a result his heart skipped a beat from shock, as he suddenly found himself face to face with a young girl.
"Don't be afraid." She said, before Misha had a chance to open his mouth. He quickly gathered his focus and forced a smile.
"Ehh, Sidney, right?" Misha asked, suddenly remembering the young girl's face. "Are you back for an episode?"
"No." The girl replied with an amused smile. "I need your help."
"Sure." Misha said, reaching a hand out to pad her blond hair, but stopped himself. Sidney seemed older, much older, and she didn't seem like she needed, nor wanted to be patronized. "Sure, what do you need?"
The blond girl was suddenly serious. "I need you, Misha, to say yes to me."
For a few seconds Misha stood stunned, but then a smile lit up his face. "Funny Sidney. Did Jared put you up to this?" Misha laughed. "He did, didn't he?"
The girl forced a small smile, but her eyes remained serious. "No Jared did not. And I'm afraid you don't get a choice either. Usually I would need your whole hearted consent, but apparently I can bend that law as well now."
Misha could feel a strange calm filling him, forcing him to relax. It felt intrusive though, so he tried to fight it. Castiel could have explained to him, that it was the natural resilience that his non-magical world gave to him, that sheltered him and kept his mind fighting, but Misha wouldn't have listened, and he wouldn't have believed any of it anyway. In the end Misha, who didn't consciously know what he was fighting, gave up and let the calm feeling in.
"So will you please say yes to me, Misha?" The girl said. It sounded like a plea to anyone who might have been listening, but it felt like a command to Misha.
"Yes, I'll do it." Misha said, and clapped his hands over his mouth in horror.
The little girl smiled and reached out to take Misha's shaking hand. "Don't worry, Misha. Your God will provide."
It had been a hot day, even for Arizona, and Dean was restless. Sam had taken a trip to a local hoodoo man, who Bobby had referred them to, to stock up on charms against mood alteration and mind control. Sam had been hopeful, but Dean had declared it a waste of time. When Sam returned he had brought food; a bucket of hot wings and a fresh supply of beer. They ate in silence, mostly because Dean had nothing new to add, and Sam was unwilling to admit how little he had found.
"So what did the hoodoo man tell you?" Dean asked in the end, and opened a new beer. "Did he know a spell to keep former angels, who have swallowed purgatory and consequently gone dark side out of our heads?"
Sam smirked and reached into his pocket. "No, but he had this." He held out the necklace and let it dangle in front of Dean's face.
"That's..." Dean stopped himself and creased his nose.
"That's yours. The exact same." Sam told his brother and held it out, expecting Dean to take it.
"How did the hoodoo man get it? Dunno. But it's definitely yours."
"I don't need to find God, Sammy" Dean growled and made no move to take the necklace.
"That's not the only thing it does." Sam said, frowning. "Take it."
Dean clenched his teeth and looked from Sam's expecting face to the dangling necklace. "Why don't you hold on to it for me?"
Sam sighed and put the necklace back in his pocket. He grabbed his beer and got up from the chair.
"So," he said his voice a little raspy, hurt. Dean noticed, but just took another swing from the beer. "We're going to be babysitters now."
Dean snorted. "Yeah, well. I'm glad Cas is at least finding a male vessel this time. It's damn eerie talking to a little girl, when you know it's Cas inside."
As an omen, Castiel chose that very moment to appear in the motel room, blinding the brothers with a white flash of light. It took a few seconds for them to focus, and when they did, it took another minute to process what they were seeing.
"Cas?" Dean asked looking at the young girl, holding the dark haired man's hand. Looking at them, he wasn't quite sure which of the two would answer him.
"Yes, Dean." Claire's soft voice answered. "I'm still with Claire. But not for long. I'm on my way to return her to her mother. Luckily she is still whole."
Dean nodded silently, and stepped closer. He couldn't drag his eyes off the semi-sleeping man.
"How did you find a copy?" Sam asked in the end, looking from the girl, to the vessel, ending on his brother, who had begun circling the two.
"There are multiple copies of everyone around the universes. And he is my true vessel in all of them." The little girl responded. "I wouldn't have it any other way. And after all a human form is a charade that I only continue for your sake. I might as well play in a costume you recognize."
The girl said it so matter of factly that Dean cringed. Had Cas really stolen this poor man from his own safe world, so that he and Sam would feel better about having him around? If so, Dean could already tell Cas that he - she - had failed. This was even worse than having a little girl look at him with Castiel's soul searching eyes.
"So what's his name?" Sam asked and walked around the dazed man. "We need to know what to call him."
"His name is Misha." Castiel said softly, and let a cold hand glide down the vessel's face.
"Misha? Where have I heard that before?" Sam asked, examining the man. There were no visual difference between this man and Jimmy, as far as Sam could tell.
"Misha. Wasn't that the douchebag who played Castiel when we were in bizaro world?" Dean asked, but already knew the answer. He covered his eyes and exhaled slowly.
"He is not the exact same, this one shares an affectionate bond with the actors who play you." Castiel answered. "He will be easy to control, and therefore easier to protect."
"And I guess we get to explain everything to him?" Sam said in a tired voice and sat down on the bed.
"Luckily he already knows this world, in a relative sense, and I've told him why he is here, or rather I imprinted it on his memory. But it is up to you two to make him believe what he knows. I will not be here when he wakes. I'll return Claire tonight, while she's still in a tolerable condition. When I return after that it will be in Misha's body."
Without goodbyes the little girl left the room, leaving just a faint whooshing sound.
"Sonuvabitch." Dean swore and forced himself to calm down. Then he looked at Misha who was still more or less sleeping where he stood. "How the fuck did we end up here, Sam? Dean asked. "We're fucking Angel valet."
"Let's just get him lying down." Sam sighed and the two brothers dragged Misha to the closest bed, where he collapsed as if he had been denied sleep for days.
"You think he'll be out for long?" Dean asked, examining Misha's face.
Sam shrugged. "Bet he'll be scared shitless when he wakes though."
Dean nodded and seemed to be puzzling a few scenarios over in his head. "Better tie him up." He said, and Sam, who apparently had been thinking along the same lines, agreed.
"What the hell is happening?"
Dean was ripped out of his shallow sleep, just to find that Sam was already awake, sitting on the other bed, looking at the tied-up Misha, who were trying to worm out of the ropes.
"Come on guys. Don't you think this is getting just a little too much?" Misha pleaded when he saw Dean was awake. "Jensen, Jared. Come on guys, get me out of this."
"I'm afraid we can't let you go just yet, Misha." Sam said with his soft voice, the one he used when speaking to people, who had an especially hard time accepting the supernatural things.
"What? Really, you guys, this is stupid." Misha whined and tried to roll off of the bed, but Sam caught the rope and pulled him back.
"We need you to understand a few things first." Sam continued in his caring voice. "You sorta already know this, if you think about it. This is not your own world."
Misha looked confused for a short second. That was not what he had expected to hear. You could almost see the wheels turning in his head, trying to pick an inch of sanity out of the madness he had been placed in. But he was too settled in his magic free world views, and the words Sam was telling him, only made him conclude that he was being pranked to a limit he didn't like at all.
"It's not fun anymore, Jared." Misha said, trying to force a hard, angry voice. It was clear that his mind would keep fighting the truth, no matter what the men in front of him said, no matter what information he had spinning in his head, no matter what all the signs pointed too. He wasn't going to make that final conclusion that would tie all the evidence together.
"Yeah, about that Misha." Dean said roughly, deciding that Misha wasn't going to play ball. "His name is not Jared, and I'm not Jensen. They don't even exist in this world, and to be honest, you shouldn't exist here either. But you do now. Because an Angel on a power trip decided to pull you out of your marry little suburbia world and into this hell hole."
Dean's eyes examined the man, who were looking more and more like he might start to cry. It was hard to watch. This isn't Castiel, Dean had to remind himself. This isn't Cas.
"Can you please let me go now, Jensen?" Misha continued fighting what he already knew to be true. "You got me, this was fun. But I just want to stop now."
Sam was looking very concerned. With a glance at Misha he got up and signaled Dean to follow him to the far end of the room.
"He's not going to accept it, Dean. I don't know if he's really that stubborn, or if something in his brain is blocking the truth, but I'm telling you. He might have a total break down sooner than accepting that what we're telling him, and what he already knows, is the truth."
Dean rubbed his neck and looked at the man, sobbing on the bed. "Of course we had to get the Alice, who's afraid of going down the god damn hole."
"So what do we do?"
"I don't know, Sam." Dean sighed. "If we let him go he'll just run off and get himself killed. If he doesn't accept that this world is a different kind of dangerous all around, he won't have a chance."
"Maybe he just needs to sleep on it?" Sam suggested.
Dean tossed the idea over in his head while looking at the sobbing Misha on the bed. "I have a better idea."
He walked over and kneeled next to Misha's head, catching the man's eyes and locking them to his, like Cas had done so many times to Dean. This was a sure way to keep someone's attention. Slowly he reached out and started to untie the ropes.
"I'm gonna let you go Misha," He said quietly. "And when you get lose, you're gonna get up, really slowly, because you might be in shock, and I don't want you to tip over and fall, okay?" Dean's eyes, still locked into Misha's demanded an answer just as stubbornly as his voice had done, and Misha just nodded. "And then you're gonna follow me to the table, and we're gonna have a nice, quiet talk. You understand me Misha? No one is going to hurt you, we're just gonna talk."
Misha looked at Dean, confusion and defiance in his eyes. He waited for Dean to untie him and sat up, folding his arms around himself. He seemed very small like that, vulnerable, and Dean realized that vulnerable would probably describe exactly how Misha felt at that moment. Dean got up and watched as Misha got to his feet on his own, swaying just a little.
Misha kept his focus on Dean as he walked to the table, so he didn't notice Sam until he grabbed his arm and locked the handcuffs around his left wrist. Misha tried to jerk away, but Sam just waited patiently for Misha to calm down before he forced Misha to sit down with a hand on his shoulder, and locked the other end of the handcuffs to the chair.
Dean walked to the refrigerator and got some beers that he slammed on the table, before sitting down on a chair across from Misha.
"So Misha. How are you feeling?" Dean asked taking a sip from his own beer. "I bet you're regretting saying yes, hu? Whishing you'd taken the blue pill, right?" Dean gestured for Misha to take a beer, but he didn't react. Not even when Sam sat down and opened one that he pushed right in front of Misha. But both brothers kept staring at Misha, until at last the man gave up and took the beer with a sigh.
"I didn't really agree to this." Misha choked out and took a big swing of the beer.
Dean and Sam looked at each other and then looked at Misha. "You haven't said yes yet?" Sam asked, but Misha just shook his head.
"I said yes, but I didn't want to. I mean, I didn't mean to. I didn't feel like I had a choice." Misha tried to explain. "I know, it sounds stupid."
Dean tilted his head in a I-don't-know-about-that-way, and took another sip of bear. "Dude, you're in a parallel universe, where monsters and magic and God is real. You can't tell us anything that will make us go noway! I can promise you that."
Misha raised his arm and rubbed his forearm over his eyes, his hand still grabbing the beer bottle tightly. "This is the most surreal experience I've ever had, even if what you're telling me isn't true." He murmured and lowered his arm to take a new big swing of the beer.
"Sorry, Misha, but it is true, and you already know it is." Sam said softly, putting a hand on Misha's shoulder. "Castiel told you, didn't he?"
Misha looked at Sam and then turned to Dean, but the two brothers just looked at him with concern. "This is like I'm in an episode but I don't know my lines, I haven't received a script!" Misha said emptying his beer.
"Welcome to our lives." Dean smiled, emptying his own beer.
Dean was on his back on the bed, cleaning his gun and looking at a mundane TV-show on the small TV. At the bed next to his was Misha, handcuffed to the bed frame, pouting about not being trusted, but he had already tried to sneak off once, although he hadn't even made it to the door. The hunters were far more aware than he had expected.
Dean and Sam had discussed if they should bring Misha to a simple ghost job, just to scare him enough so that he would barricade himself under his bed covers for the rest of his life.
Dean took his eyes off the TV-show to steal a glance at Misha. He couldn't get used to all the new facial expressions Misha made, not to mention the movements and sounds. Dean couldn't get past the fact that it wasn't Castiel, that was with them, and he had to stop himself, more than once, from asking Castiel a question. Misha wouldn't know the answer, even if he looked exactly the same.
If he hadn't just been looking at Misha's pouting face, fascinated by yet another facial expression he had never seen on Castiel's stone face, he probably wouldn't have been so shocked when a bright white light shone from Misha's eyes.
"Why am I handcuffed to the bed?" Castiel asked in a deep voice, full of Angel-rumble. Dean almost felt a chill down his spine. Damn, he'd missed that voice.
"Cas." Sam got up from his chair, where he had been researching a case, not so far from where they were staying. "It's you."
"It's always been me." Cas replied dryly. "Why am I tied up?"
"Because you've been a bad boy?" Dean suggested innocently, while Sam rushed to Castiel's side, to unlock the handcuffs. Castiel got up and looked down at himself, obviously happy to be back in his true vessel.
"What do you need, Oh Mighty Castiel?" Dean asked and got up to pour himself a glass of whisky.
"I wanted to make sure Misha was... up to date, so to speak." Castiel said hesitantly, and examined Misha's clothes.
"About as well as you can expect from a guy who's been kidnapped to a different universe, I suppose." Dean mocked.
"I didn't kidnap him." Castiel said scowling, "He gave me consent to take him here."
"Yeah, I'm sure he did." Dean growled. "I'm sure he was real compliant once you did your little Yoda tricks on him, hu Cas?"
Cas looked like an unhappy child. "I don't know what you're talking about, Dean."
"Did you just come to check on Misha?" Sam asked, interrupting the Angel-God and his brother's staring contest.
Castiel didn't break eye contact, but he answered anyway. "No I also came to tell you to stop working that case."
"You don't think it's our lane?" Sam asked, creasing his forehead and looking at the police report.
"No it's not. In fact none of the cases are for you." Cas walked to the window and looked at the sky outside. "You won't be hunting anymore. You have a new job, remember?"
Dean stared at Sam who was staring at Castiel's back.
"You didn't say anything about not hunting anymore." Sam said quietly, eyes fixed on the Angel's back.
"I told you to keep Misha safe. How did you expect to do that running around fighting demons and vampires?" Castiel asked coldly.
Sam opened his mouth and closed it again, like a stranded fish.
"You expect us to sit here on our hinnies and play backgammon?" Dean growled. "Because that's not going to happen, Cas."
"Dean, you can't even keep yourselves alive out there. And I don't have time to perch on your shoulder." Castiel said in a calm voice. "This is not up to debate."
"You're damn right it's not." Dean growled, stepping closer to the angel with his index finger pointing at the angel, like a sword. Sam was quick to get in between the two. He raised a hand and placed it at Dean's chest.
"Dean, please." He cautioned, and kept Dean away from the Angel. Dean stepped back with his arms behind his head. He spun around himself once in frustration, his head racing.
"You want us to stop hunting." Dean said, it wasn't emphasized as a question. "Well I say no way in hell, Cas. This is what we are, this is what we do. We hunt. You're not happy with that, go find yourself a new babysitter."
"Cas, do you really want us to keep Misha handcuffed to a bed for the rest of his life?" Sam interjected, trying to keep the conversation from getting to a fight.
"Of cause he does, Sam. For the greater good, remember." Dean spat the words.
Castiel hadn't moved. He was still facing the window, the muscles in his back flexed, as if carrying a great weight on his shoulders. For a second he seemed tired, and Dean almost regretted his words. He knew Castiel was fighting against an ocean of pain and suffering, and he knew the angel was crashing slowly. Him coming here, asking for their help, was proof of that. But Dean had never gone easy on Cas, and he wasn't about to start now, especially not now.
"Is he trainable?" The angel asked in the end, his voice strained.
Sam lit up like he had been given a gift. Dean felt more like having been handed another duty, but a better one than playing a stepford wife anyway.
"Sure," Sam burst out. Dean shot him a warning glare, but Sam ignored him. "In parts he already knows a bunch of this. He just didn't believe it was true."
"He'll have to start from scratch on the hand to hand combat though." Dean said, shrugging. "He's a wuss, and has the pain threshold of a three year old."
Castiel turned to look at the brothers. "Would you be happier if he could help you hunt?"
Dean was taken aback, for a few seconds; he had no idea how to respond. "I guess," he finally said.
The Angel looked unconvinced, but didn't press the matter further. "You can train him then. Keep him in shape. But if something happens to him!" Castiel didn't have to make threats. Dean and Sam both knew the stakes.
"We'll keep him safe, Cas." Sam finally said earnestly. "It's our job to help people."
Castiel turned Sam's words in his head, and accepted them as true and honest. Then he turned his head, slightly tilted and looked at Dean. Dean looked uncomfortable, but his eyes met Castiel's and locked into them, two pools of soul searching blue.
"He's a pretty bad replacement, Cas." Was all Dean could say before he turned his back and left the motel room.
Dean started training Misha in combat techniques the next day, while Sam was watching from behind his laptop, trying not to laugh. The first few hours were like a dance show, with Misha trying to attack Dean without falling on his face, but failing miserably.
Dean showed Misha how to spread his legs and how to protect his face, while still keeping balance, but Misha would still tumble to the floor as soon as Dean attacked. Sometimes Dean would respond with an amused smile, but mostly he would get mad. The second day of training Sam had to drag Dean to the side and remind him that Misha hadn't chosen to be here, and that Dean should lower his expectations and demands, and for some time, Dean tried to go easy on Misha. For some reason, however, this seemed to annoy Misha more than Dean's yelling had.
"I won't learn like that." Misha hissed. It was the first thing he had said to Dean since the first day.
Dean tried not to let it show, but it was clear to Misha that Dean didn't want him around. Misha knew Dean after all, much better than the hunter understood. So he kept his distance and tried to stay out of Dean's way, but it was hard when they were training. Dean would demand his attention, and at the same time clearly whish that Misha wasn't there. Misha was trying not to let it get to him, but it was hard. He had to remind himself constantly that this wasn't Jensen. This was Dean, and Dean was a bundle of fucked up emotional responses.
Dean looked at Misha, eyebrows raised. "I'm trying to give you a chance here." He said patiently. "You'd rather that I punch you straight in the face and give you a concussion?"
"As a matter of fact, yes." Misha tried to sound braver than he was. He was pretty sure Dean could knock him out cold in a single swing. "It's just a waste of time, if you keep cuddling and don't tell me what I'm doing wrong."
Dean looked over at Sam, who shook his head. "Castiel won't be happy if you beat the crap out of his vessel." Sam said warningly. Dean gave a small smile, as if that was reason enough for him to do it.
"Get back in position, Mish." He said and walked over to open a beer. Misha winched when Dean used the nickname, but got back on the floor and put his feet and hands where Dean had taught him. And for the rest of that day, Misha worked harder and didn't complain once, not even when Dean slammed him into the wall and swept his feet away from under him, so he ended up in a pile at Dean's feet. Dean crouched down and lifted Misha's head by his chin. "You okay there, Mish?" He asked slightly amused.
Misha looked up at Dean and tried to repress the pain long enough to nod. "I think you broke my wrist." He said, and only noticed then that his lip was bleeding.
"Just a strain." Dean smiled and pulled Misha to his feet. "I wouldn't want to harm Castiel's precious Vessel."
After that, Dean took it a little easier on Misha, but he never let him lower his guards. And as the days went by it turned out Misha was a good student. He observed Dean and copied his moves, and once in a while even did something that left Dean in amazement. At one point Misha took Dean by surprise by pulling off a very advanced and athletic move, that sent Dean flat on his back.
Dean just got up and called for a time out, which meant that he sent Misha back to the bed handcuffed. It wasn't really necessary to keep him handcuffed anymore. In fact Misha had been a good sport and agreed to stay close to the brothers, though Sam had suggested that it might be because he was terrified of going outside, more than anything.
But Dean had already developed a habit of sending Misha to the bed and handcuffing his left arm to the bed frame, whenever Misha annoyed him. Sam found this very amusing, and once shared a theory with Dean, that the older brother was taking all his frustration for Castiel's constant disappearing out on his poor Vessel, by making damn sure he couldn't go anywhere. Dean didn't find it funny.
At the end of the week Misha could hold his own against Sam in a fight, but Dean could still kick his ass if he put just a little effort into it, which he did at least once a day. Every day, just before bedtime, Dean would challenge Misha to get up and fight him, and every day Dean would send Misha to the floor like a ragdoll. Sam didn't approve of the way Dean seemed to find it satisfying, but he ignored it because Dean never really hurt Misha, and because the beating Misha took at the end of the day, would make Dean behave a lot better towards him the rest of the time.
"Do you think Cas imprinted some moves in your head, Mish?" Sam joked after barely winning a fight. It was a week after Misha had joined them and Dean had left Misha's training to Sam for the day. "Those are angel fighting techniques."
Misha was lying on his back on the floor, panting "I'm... just... awesome." he puffed out and tried to sit up, but had to give up and fell back on the floor. "But really, do you know how many weeks I've spent with a stuntman, trying to learn those moves?"
Sam looked confused for a split second, but then he seemed to remember what Misha had been in his own world. "I didn't think of that." he said frowning. "You really know a lot about Cas don't you?"
"I know a lot about you too." Misha said slowly, unsure if this was something he wanted to draw attention to. He was pretty sure Dean wouldn't like that Misha had inside information about how his mind worked, but Dean wasn't in, and Sam was smart enough not to tell him. "At least I know as much as any of Chuck's fans does. Our episodes in my world are the same as the ones he writes as books. But I really think our show is better." He joked and got to his feet and started to stretch his muscles, moaning a little when he rotated his shoulder. Sam frowned. Dean had dislocated Misha's shoulder last night. That was why he hadn't wanted to train with Misha today. Sam knew Dean didn't want to look Misha in the eyes.
Sam didn't usually judge Dean, but sometimes Dean acted like a baby. He hadn't even been brave enough to muster a simple apology to Misha, brushing Sam's disapproval off with a "He could have just said no." and Sam was the one who ended up putting Misha's shoulder back in place.
Sam didn't know why Dean acted the way he did towards Misha, almost like he was testing how far the man would let him go before telling him to stop. Sam suspected, however, that Dean was waiting for Castiel to stop him, not Misha.
Unlike Dean, Sam really liked talking to Misha, who were honest and funny. But as much as he wanted to ask Misha more about his world, more about his life there, Sam couldn't. He knew it might be rude to never show any real interest in what life Misha had before he was placed with them, but Sam didn't want to remind Misha of a place he would never return to. So Sam kept his curiosity to himself.
A thing Sam didn't mind questioning Misha about, however, was his experience as a Vessel. Sam, the eternal science geek, had asked him all about how it felt, and how much he could remember, but Misha didn't have much to share. All he could say was that he hadn't found his first experience as a vessel very pleasant. But he promised Sam to be more aware next time.
The days passed by and Castiel still hadn't been back. He didn't respond to Dean's semi-abuse of Misha and he didn't respond to Sam's silent prayers.
Instead Dean and Sam had taken Misha with them on his first job, an easy salt and burn. Sam went through every step of the job with Misha as they worked the case. He asked Misha what he noticed, what he saw, heard and smelled, and in the end he let Misha conclude what they were dealing with.
Dean stayed in the background, keeping his mouth shut. He found it very difficult to have Misha there all the time. Not only did it feel like bringing a toddler to work, it also brought up a burning feeling deep in Dean's stomach whenever he had to be around Misha. Dean knew the feeling was anger. It surfaced a lot these days since Castiel had placed Misha in their group. At first Dean had wondered if he was angry at Misha for some reason, but he knew now that all the anger was directed at Castiel. Misha just happened to look like Castiel, a constant reminder.
But at least they were outside, doing some good, saving lives again, and that almost made up for it. But it was still a grey zone for Dean, because they were back to ghost hunting and breaking magic spells, only doing jobs that you would entrust to a kid, just to make sure the damn vessel didn't get a dent, and Dean was getting restless.
The scales tipped when they found a vampire lair in Winnett, Montana, but had to call Bobby, so he could send some other hunters to take care of it.
"Thanks Bobby." Dean ended and hung up the phone. He sat for a few minutes at the edge of the bed and looked at the phone. Sam was on the couch, his books spread all over the coffee table. Misha was lying on the other bed, pretending to read a book, while looking out the windows where heavy rain made everything grey. Dean wondered if Misha knew that he would never be able to go back home? That he was stuck here now? Dean could feel the burning in his stomach start again.
He dragged his eyes away from the dark haired man. How dared Castiel do this to them, to any of them? It was like the Angel-God had been sitting on his little cloud thinking up ways to punish Dean and Sam for not believing in him, when he asked them to.
How do I make them hurt? Have them protect a man, who will be a constant reminder of me, and then stay away, so they can miss me even more.
Without any warning Dean got up and left the motel room, slamming the door behind him. Silence filled the room for a few minutes. Sam continued his research, as if nothing had happened. He was used to Deans temper tantrums. Misha, on the other hand, seemed baffled. He shut the book he had been pretending to read and stared at the door, where Dean had vanished.
"It's my fault again, isn't it?" Misha asked after a while and examined Sam's face, monitoring the reaction closely.
"No. No it's not you, it's... it's the whole arrangement, Mish." Sam said earnestly and glanced up at the black haired man. "It' gets to Dean. It usually helps if you don't think too much about it." Sam offered and got up to get a beer.
"I don't want to be a cinder block, Sam. I can stay home; you can go hunt those vampires without me." Misha said and got to his feet.
"Don't worry about it, man." Sam said and handed Misha a beer. "Tomorrow we'll go to Bobby's. Then he and I can watch you while Dean goes to blow off some steam."
Misha took a sip of his beer, but didn't seem reassured.
The drive to Bobby's place was about as pleasant as waiting in the dentist's office. Dean was having a hangover and Misha was sitting alone in the back seat, Sam's laptop resting on his knees, reading up on the major events of the past few years. Sam drove the Impala, apparently lost in his own thoughts, but he turned his head once in a while to make sure Dean didn't have to puke.
"There are a lot of people disappearing in this world." Misha commented and looked a little sick.
"Yeah, mostly demons taking new vessels. Few other hunters have the nifty little weapons that we have, so they just send the demons back into circulation." Sam explained. "But yes, some of those people are victims of vampires, werewolves, or just crossed paths with something supernatural."
"Which reminds me," Dean added in a thick voice. "We need to get you a tattoo."
"A tattoo?" Misha smiled warily. "Why?"
"To protect you from demonic possessions." Sam explained. "I mean, I'm sure Cas has already done some magic angel spell. We're just making sure. He left you in our care."
Misha seemed to turn it over in his head. "But isn't the whole idea that I'm supposed to be available for... possession?
"The tattoo doesn't shield against angelic possession."
"I'd whish." Dean choked out, but instantly whished he hadn't. He closed his eyes and swallowed a few times.
"I don't know, I don't think my wife would..." Misha tailed off and suddenly focused on the trees rushing past the windows.
Sam left Misha to his own thoughts for the rest of the drive. The only thing that interrupted the silence was when Dean declared that he needed a cheeseburger, and they had to stop at a Diner.
"I can't believe you actually live like this." Misha said. When he saw the brothers hurt faces he smiled. "I mean, I can't believe it's actually possible to live like this." He explained.
"Yeah, well it worked pretty fine with just the two of us." Dean said and took a huge bite of his burger. He didn't notice Misha's expression, until Sam tried to smooth over his brother's bad sense of tact.
"He...didn't mean it like that, Misha." Sam assured. "He's just has his head up his ass today." He took aim with his fork and slapped Dean's fingers as hard as he could.
"Aw! What?" Dean demanded and looked from his brother to Misha, and then finally realizing the brainfart. "Oh. Well no, I just... It was very easy to pull off when you're just two, is what I meant. But we'll get this to work too. We'll get you a fake badge and a suit, and we'll be cracking."
"Yeah," Sam assured. "Dean and I don't mind taking turns sleeping on the couch. We'll just need to adjust a little better."
"I could take turns sleeping on the couch." Misha offered, that defiant look in his eyes.
"No, you don't have to do that." Dean assured, same time as Sam started saying. "Really, man. Don't think about it."
An awkward silence followed, in which the two brothers and Misha each stared intensely at their food. Dean poked at a lettuce leaf left on his plate. He was getting used to these heart to heart chats with Sam, but it was still very hard to talk to Misha, especially being honest and sharing feelings.
"Look man, we don't want to make it harder than it already is for you." Dean said quietly, raising his eyes to meet Misha's. In the beginning he'd expected to find it hard to look into Misha's eyes, but it turned out to be very easy. Misha didn't have Castiel's soul searching eyes. They were just always hurt and full on questions, that Dean didn't want to answer.
Misha was quick to break eye contact. He could keep eye contact with Jensen for a very long time, at least as long as Jared wasn't trying to make them laugh. But Dean was different, every bit as intense as he seemed on the show. Misha shook his head and found Sam's eyes instead. Those were less intense and a lot friendlier "Thank you."
"Yeah, well enough of the Dr. Phil." Dean growled and got up from his seat. "Bobby's waiting, and more importantly, so is a kindergarten teacher gymnast." Dean winked, suddenly rid of his hangovers.
Bobby had been expecting to feel uncomfortable around Misha, but just like Sam he actually started to like the man pretty quickly. While Dean had a hard time looking past Misha's appearance, Bobby didn't find it as distracting. He had dealt with forgiving Sam for his soulless crusade to kill him and he could forgive this stranger for looking like a vengeful demi-god.
"How are you enjoying hunting?" Bobby asked and put a glass of whisky in front of Misha. "Must be a whole new experience for ya?"
Misha shrugged. "Yes and no. It's still... hard, to say the least, to accept everything as true. I still have a constant feeling of being back in my own world, on the show, but without a script telling me what to say or do." Misha smiled and smelled the whisky. "And no stuntman to throw the punches for me." He ended, smiling.
"Well, with the boys training you, I'm sure you'll get there fast enough. They throw some good punches." Bobby said. Misha smiled and looked at Dean, who actually returned Misha's look with a smile. "They sure do." Misha agreed. "Almost got Sam the other day. Though, I think he's going easy on me."
Bobby leaned his head closer to Misha. "I hope those boys aren't too much of a nuisance. It can't be easy to be dragged away from everything you know, like that." Misha almost smiled. Bobby Singer wasn't the worrying kind, and Misha knew to appreciate that Bobby was concerned about his comfort.
"I'm fine. I just keep thinking that I'll be back home soon, but it's not beginning to look that way." Misha said, and took a huge gulp of whisky. "I can't get into my head, that I'm not going to watch my son grow up." He added as an afterthought.
The silence that followed that statement was full of tension and a lot of unsaid pain, coming from all of the people gathered in the room. Sam's reflex was to turn his head and look at Dean, and Dean's reflex was to look quickly at Sam and then lock down, with a great big warning sign across his face, saying "Don't go there!"
Bobby put a hand on Misha's shoulder and poured him some more whisky. "I'll admit, if I could get my hands on Castiel, I'd give him an old fashion spanking. That boy has been too smart for his own good, trying to carry this whole world on his own shoulders. Nothing good can come from that." Bobby growled.
"Who cares about Cas?" Dean suddenly spat. "That stupid sonuvabitch brought this on himself." Dean got up and grabbed his coat.
"Hey boy, where are you going?" Bobby shouted.
"Out." Was all Dean could get his voice to say without cracking?
Dean stubbornly ordered a triple whiskey, when the bartender told him it was the last round. He drank it in one swing and staggered out of the bar.
It was a clear, cold night, but the ground was still wet from the last rain shower, and the puddles reflected the moon and stars in eerie patterns.
Dean leaned against a lamp post and could feel his head spinning. "Castiel!" He shouted the name like a command, or like a curse.
"Castiel, you sonovabitch! You've better show your face down here, or I will..."
"Or you will what, Dean?"
The angel-god was standing at the far end of the parking lot. Just far enough away, that Dean couldn't see his face. For a few seconds Dean stood wavering.
"I don't appreciate that you call me when you're drunk, Dean." Castiel said in the end. "And I appreciate it even less when you call me because you are drunk."
Dean ignored Castiel's words and stepped closer to the Angel-God.
"Please, Cas." Dean raised his hand as he walked, as if trying to calm Castiel down, but it was himself he was trying to keep calm. "Please tell me you did not steal that man away from his family? Please tell me you did not take Misha away from his son! Cas?"
For a second Castiel didn't move. His attention completely on Dean, his keen eyes picking up every trace of emoting in the human in front of him. "I'm sorry that you have father issues, Dean." He said in the end, dropping his gaze. "You seem to think I did this to punish you, but that was not my intention."
Dean wasn't listening to Castiel's words. The father issue-comment had sent his temper over the edge, and in a desperate blur of rage and drunken haze he made a swing for the angel-god's face, breaking a few bones in his hand in the process.
Castiel sighed and reached to zap Dean unconscious, but Dean was fast enough to make an evasive move, that with his two penny worth of balance sent him on his back on the asphalt. Castiel watched the human for a few seconds, and to his surprise he saw tears welling up in Dean's eyes.
"You son of a bitch." Dean spat and tried to sit up. "You spineless, petty, conscienceless prat. Was it really that bad for you, hu Cas? Is it better in your cloudy feather-world to not have a dad, than to have a dad, who's trying, but failing?"
Castiel remained silent, watching Dean with a distant pity on his face.
"Was it really that bad, that you had to run away? That you had to be a fucking martyr on your own little crusade?" Dean was running out of steam, but his words were still full of blame.
In the end Castiel kneeled and looked Dean straight in the eyes. "I know you want to, Dean, but you cannot begin to understand my reasons for doing what I did." The Angel-God whispered softly. "All I can say, is that I did what I had to do."
"Bullshit, Cas." Dean growled.
"You don't have very high thoughts of me Dean, you never did." Castiel said quietly. "I did everything for you. And you still spat right in my face."
Dean ignored Castiel, refusing to be manipulated again. "Did you ever feel, Cas, or was that just a lie too?" Dean looked into Castiel's eyes, the scary ones, the ones that look at you, but see your soul. "When you said you cared about me and Sammy, you were lying. All you cared about was winning."
"All I cared about was winning." Castiel agreed. "I gave up everything I was, all my morals, all my hope, every chance I ever had to be happy, just so I could win." For you. Castiel didn't say it out loud, but the rest of the sentence was ringing inside Dean's head instead, echoing, and drowning out anything else. It wasn't like Castiel hadn't said it before, but it was different this time, when it was inside his head, and Dean knew it was true. He shuddered.
"And now I need to have angels keeping an eye on you constantly." The Angel-God continued, as if he was trying to admit everything he could to Dean, to keep the human from thinking about the things that Castiel couldn't tell him yet.
Dean was still pissed, but he managed to look up at Castiel, confusion in his eyes.
"Don't be so naive, Dean. Did you really think they wouldn't try to get to you, to get to me?"
Just then, Dean's phone started vibrating. He shot another confused look at Castiel and took the call.
"Sam are you okay?"
"Yes it's Misha, he disappeared." Sam's voice said.
"He's here. Or rather Cas is here." Dean explained. "We're having a little heart to heart, you know, abandoned son to abandoned son."
"Dean are you drunk?"
"As drunk as I could get without dying, is my bet." Dean's voice were slightly blurry, as his eyes looked deep into Castiel's blue ones, still trying to project guilt into the Angel-God. "But I'm not really sure it's myself keeping me alive. I mean who knows these days? Apparently I need 24/7 angelic protection nowadays. Maybe they are keeping my heart beating too!"
In the other end Sam felt a few seconds of panic, as the call was ended, but when he turned around he was facing Castiel, with an unconscious Dean dangling over his shoulder.
"Sam." He said politely and walked past him into Bobby's living room. He gently lay Dean down on the couch and a few seconds he stared at the unconscious man's face, head slightly tilted. He didn't move when Sam came up behind him.
"I don't know how to protect him, when he insists on putting himself in these situations." Castiel said quietly.
"Perhaps he doesn't want you to protect him." Sam suggested just as quiet, but Castiel just shook his head.
"I won't give him that choice." The angel-god answered and pushed past Sam. "I'll put Misha to bed." And then Castiel had disappeared up the stairs.
Misha was slowly becoming a trustworthy part of the hunting team, meaning that Dean finally felt comfortable letting the man handle weapons and sometimes asking him to cover their backs. But even though Misha was allowed to handle weapons, and was left in the belief that Dean and Sam trusted him, there were never a second that Dean wasn't watching the man, ready to jump to his side if he should need it.
While they had been at Bobby's place Dean had tried to stay away from Misha as much as possible. Misha didn't let himself be hurt by this; he knew Dean was a mess. So he gave Dean space, kept his mouth shut when Dean was in the room and never looked him in the eyes, except on those rare occasions when he could feel that Dean needed it. Dean had said he didn't want to make things harder for Misha than they had to be, and Misha returned the favor.
As soon as they were back on the road, living in small motel rooms, however, Dean started getting frustrated again. Sam knew what mood Dean was in. He hadn't hunted in weeks, he hadn't had sex in weeks and to top it, Dean was clearly still pissed at Castiel after their last meeting. It was just a matter of time before Dean would turn his pent-up frustrations and anger on Misha.
Dean kept telling himself that he didn't need to punch Misha in the face to get in a better mood. Not that he wasn't tempted. It was easier to let his frustration out on Misha. And there had been a lot of frustration since the night when he had called Castiel. He knew that the Angel-God could have wiped his memories away and Dean really wished he had. Perhaps, Castiel had expected the booze to do the job for him, or perhaps he wanted Dean to remember.
Sam had asked, almost begged Dean not to fight Misha as long as Dean was in that mood. But Misha had accepted without hesitation when Dean had gotten up and pulled Misha to his feet. And from then on the two men were back to their old rotation. The next few days Dean had been almost ruthless, and managed to dislocate Misha's shoulder again.
On the nights when he felt most confined and useless, Dean would go extra hard on Misha. Every night he would challenge Misha, and Misha never turned him down, even though he knew he would end up with bruises and maybe something worse. But Misha took it like a man, never complaining. Instead he got up each night, defiance in his eyes. Dean suspected that Misha was playing along for his sake, taking the beating, just to make sure Dean would get in a better mood afterwards.
Even though Dean kept his promise and made sure to protect Misha with his own life, he was bruising and hurting Misha a lot more than any hunt would. At first it had been about making Castiel mad, but the Angel-God hadn't responded. This time around it was just about letting out some frustration, and both he and Misha knew that. But to his surprise Dean began to enjoy it more when Misha began to really fight back. Actually Dean found this an even better outlet than just smacking Misha around. Dean could feel the thrill whenever he would catch a glimpse of smugness on Misha's face or whenever the dark-haired man managed to land a good blow that would send Dean to the floor for a while.
Sam might not approve, but at least Dean and Misha managed to get along quite well in this way. Misha was slowly beginning to be a real challenge for Dean and without noticing it Dean had grown a lot of respect for the Vessel.
One night Misha finally managed to pin Dean to the floor, both of them had bleeding lips and old and fresh bruises all over. Dean tried to buck Misha off him, but Misha had his legs wrapped around Dean's hips. Slowly Misha leaned his head down, stopping only an inch from Dean's face. "You're my bitch now." He said in a low rumble, almost identical to Castiel's. In the couch Sam shook his head smiling and got up to help the smug Misha get up off Dean and supported him to the bed.
"I think I deserve a beer." Misha said stretching his body, checking how badly he was hurt.
Dean was still on the floor, a pensive look on his face. He was sure Misha didn't mean to, but the Vessel was beginning to remind Dean an awful lot of the Angel. Misha was always honest. Misha would listen to Dean when he spoke to him, and sometimes he would even hold Dean's eyes in the same way Cas did, even though Dean knew he didn't like it. But somehow Misha could feel that Dean needed it. Misha reminded Dean of the old Castiel, and now it wasn't just because he looked like him.
It wasn't until Sam one day dug up a case involving a demon snatching firstborns from their beds, that Sam and Dean decided to bring up a subject, that had proved to be a sore spot for Misha.
"You know, Misha." Sam said gingerly, as the men were settling in for the night. "If you want to help on this job, we need to get you that tattoo." The brothers watched as Misha pressed his lips together, as if they were trying to tattoo his tongue.
"We get that you don't wanna change, man, we really do." Dean said while pacing the motel room. "But you see, Mish. Cas won't let you back home. Somehow he got in to his fried angel head that this is a really good arrangement."
Dean stopped pacing and looked at Misha while he waited for his words to sink in. Misha sat on his bed, face changing expression as his thoughts changed, but determinedly looking away from the two brothers. For a moment Sam and Dean were afraid Misha would tell them to forget it. But instead Misha suddenly turned his head and looked Dean straight in the face, head tilted in a very Castiel way, and even topped the cake by simply answering. "If you think that's best."
If his voice hadn't been so resigned and slightly higher-pitched, Dean would have sworn it was the angel speaking.
"Great." Dean nodded and clapped his hands together "That's settled then."
"Wait Dean." Sam said and sighed. "We really should talk to Cas first. Make sure it's okay to tattoo a vessel."
"What difference should that make? You think angels are allergic to ink?"
"Yes, I mean no. I mean, have you ever seen an angel with a tattoo?"
"Yeah, there was that one time, where I asked all the angels to strip down and twirl for me. Pretty sure they were covered in them, in fact."
"Okay, okay." Dean growled. "We call Cas. But if he's in a snap-his-fingers-see-you-boys-to-the-cloud-party-kinda-mood you get to deal with him!"
Sam shook his head in exasperation. "Fine!"
Dean rubbed the back of his head and looked at Sam in a here-we-go kind of way. "Cas."
But Misha got up and cut Dean off. "You're calling him now?" he asked nervously.
"Yeah, why?" Dean asked.
"I don't know." Misha looked worried "It just feels weird. Possession isn't really that great, blacking out and not knowing what you've been doing, you know? I sorta hoped I'd get some time to prepare."
"Look, Misha." Sam said softly, back to his I-know-this-is-hard-for-you-voice. "You remember what we talked about? About focus? I mean, Jimmy remembered bits and pieces, and he didn't have anything near your resilience."
Dean was frowning. "Won't that be even more uncomfortable? Knowing what your body's doing, but not controlling it? I mean what if Cas scratch his ass?"
"Dude," Sam said. "When did you ever see Cas scratch his ass?"
Dean winked childishly, in a wouldn't-you-like-to-know-way and walked over to face Misha, placing both hands on top of Misha's head, as if he was using him to make a phone call. He sort of was. Cas had once told Dean that angels had a direct line to their vessel, and Dean intended to make full use of that line now. "Okay here we go then. Castiel, all mighty Paris Hilton of the Heavens. We humbly ask you to join us mere mortals." Then Dean removed his hands and took a few steps backwards.
For a few seconds Misha just looked worried, apologetic even, standing there in the middle of the room, hyper aware that both brothers were staring at him. "Busy, maybe?" he suggested. But in that very moment the room went dark and then the only light were streaming out of Misha's eyes and mouth. A few seconds later the light in the room flickered back on.
Dean and Sam waited. They knew they had been the ones to call Castiel, and therefore should start the conversation, but they were both nervous to find out what mood Castiel was in. In the end Castiel tilted his head and looked at Dean. "I don't really feel any change in your respect for me, Dean. You still assume to summon me like a rogue demon."
"Well I guess I just enjoy these cozy moments we have together, where you call us unworthy and threaten to smite us and we tell you to smile a little more." Dean joked, but he could feel his throat getting dry. He tried to swallow.
"I don't have the time, nor the patience or being made a mockery of, Dean." Castiel said weary. "I was in the middle of something."
"Actually it's called playful banter." Dean said and examined Castiel's face. "It's very common and it's an excellent form of communication. Unless the receiving part is a humorless self-righteous God with a stick up his darkest place, of course."
This time Castiel didn't answer. He just looked at Dean with narrowed eyes.
"Okay, we didn't just call you here for a slumber party. We need to tattoo Misha," Dean pulled the neck line of his t-shirt down, showing his own tattoo as an explanation. "And Sam thought..."
Sam cleared his throat.
"Yeah, okay. We thought that it would be best to ask for permission." Dean said the last few words while bowing gracefully, arms out to the sides in a bad parody of submission.
For a moment Castiel stood silent, examining Dean's face. "I appreciate that you considered asking for my permission." Castiel said at last. "But you don't need it. I left Misha in your care. Because I still trust you..." Castiel trailed off, and sighed, looking at the spot on Dean's t-shirt where he had seen the tattoo to be. Then his eyes returned to Dean's. "I would appreciate it however, if you kept Misha in a slightly better state. I have to heal him every time I come here."
"Yeah, we were just training." Dean said, forcing himself to not look away.
"Don't lie, Dean. That's pointless." Castiel answered, frowning. "I know Misha don't mind, but I would still prefer if you didn't redirect your anger to him."
"Where do you think I should direct my anger, then?" Dean growled. "Where it belongs? You wouldn't care, I bet, if I hated you just a little more?"
Castiel didn't answer, he just frowned and looked away from Dean. Dean recognized Castiel's hurt face, that tiny show of emoting, that Castiel couldn't suppress. As a few seconds passed, without the two brothers adding anything further, Castiel decided that the subject must be settled and left Misha's body, making the man drop to the floor like a ragdoll.
"He really suck at goodbyes." Sam commented, and heaved Misha to his feet. Misha was shaking, and Sam had to support his weight, as he helped Misha over to the bed. Misha couldn't stay on his feet on his own. "Are you sure that was worth it Mish? You don't look too good." Sam said concerned, looking down at Misha's face.
"I'm fine." Misha insisted, but then corrected himself. "I'll be fine." He tried to move on the bed, but he didn't have the strength. Instead he turned his head to meet Dean's eyes. Like all the other times Castiel had been in his body, Dean was looking at Misha with intense anger. "I'm sorry." Misha whispered, he couldn't help himself. He knew Dean wasn't angry with him, but that intense look Dean gave him was hard to handle.
Dean closed his eyes and turned his head away from Misha. "Get the drawing, Sam. We should get going." He walked to the bathroom and shut the door behind him, barely managing not to slam it.
Sam frowned and looked at the closed bathroom door for a short minute before going to Dean's bag and looking through it for their Dad's journal. Sam flipped through the pages until he found the drawing that they had used for their own tattoos. He turned to look at Misha, who were still at the bed, staring up into the ceiling.
"So next time you probably shouldn't try to stay conscious when Cas jumps you." Sam offered and sat down on the bed next to Misha. "I guess that was a pretty bad idea."
"It wasn't as bad as it seems, it's just draining. I'm not sure I could have kept it up if he had stayed much longer." Misha turned his head to look at Sam. He wanted to explain to Sam how it had felt to have a million voices screaming in his head, and to be able to feel all that power, and to hear Castiel's thoughts. And to have Dean look at him like that, begging and intense and full of anger, all at the same time. But Misha couldn't. So instead he forced himself to sit up and look at the bathroom door.
"I totally get what all the shippers are about, though." Misha said, trying to remove the tension in the motel room. "Those guys have a lot of eyesex."
Sam snorted. "Don't say that in front of Dean, or he'll dislocate both your shoulders."
"Don't say what?" Dean said, returning from the bathroom. This time he looked right at Misha, no anger in his eyes.
"Nothing." Misha said hurriedly and looked to Sam, who still had a smug smile on his face. "So where am I getting the tattoo?"
Dean and Sam exchanged a glance. Dean looked like he was thinking very hard about it, but it was clear from the look of exasperation on Sam's face, that they had already discussed it, and that Dean had somehow won the right to decide.
"Well," Dean started, and walked over to the bed where Misha and Sam were still sitting. Dean sat right behind Misha's back and gently lifted Misha's t-shirt. He noticed that Castiel had in fact healed Misha. All the bruises were gone, and so were the tiny cut that Misha had gotten on a hunt. Dean slowly let a finger brush from one shoulder blade to the other, and then in a line down Misha's spine. Not caressing, but measuring. In the end he found a spot somewhere in the middle and pressed his finger to it. "Right here."
"Why?" Misha said, keeping his voice steady, even though he was pretty sure he wouldn't like getting a tattoo right over his spine.
"Because Dean is an emotional and vengeful brat." Sam answered and got up from the bed.
"Because," Dean said, ignoring Sam. "This is right between Cas' wings. Someplace he can never ever see it."
"Like he'd even notice." Sam said annoyed. "He doesn't pay much attention to his vessel."
"Well that's comforting to know." Misha said in a miffed voice, shaking Dean's finger off his bag. "I'm glad he's not been undressing, you know, looking for hidden tattoos whenever he takes over my body."
Dean beamed. "That would be fun though."
Sam shot Dean a look of contempt, but Dean just shrugged and mouthed "What?"
While Sam was out interviewing the parents of the missing children, Dean had taken Misha to the police station. Misha who weren't used to lying to authorities, had talked Dean into going over the meeting before hand, and Misha had then approached the whole thing as an improvising scene in a movie. As a result Misha didn't find it as nerve wrecking to hide behind a suit and a fake badge as he could have.
"Well agents. I already have all my men on the job." The sheriff said and leaned back in his seat. "We've asked people to make sure their windows and doors are safely locked, but this is a small town. People aren't used to something like this. They are pretty traumatized."
"I can understand that." Dean said and forced a sympathetic look. "And none of the parents have received any demands for a ransom?"
"No. No, and that's the weird part." The sheriff looked at the police reports in front of him. "Basically we have no leads. Just half a dozen missing children. They aren't even the same age."
"But all firstborns?" Dean asked.
The sheriff nodded. "All of them. Except Michael Bellings, of course. Technically he's not the firstborn. He had an older brother who died a few years back."
Misha looked at Dean to see what he made of that information, but Dean's face didn't change. He just nodded solemnly and stood up. Misha followed his lead.
"Well thanks, Sheriff Daws. We'll try not to get in your way, but please contact us if you hear anything new." Dean said and shook the sheriff's hand. Misha copied the move and followed Dean out on the street.
"You held it together." Dean said and looked Misha over. It wasn't praise, just a statement, but Misha still replied with a proud smile. For a short second Dean didn't react, but then he surrendered and smiled back, just a small smile, but it felt like a victory to Misha.
"So what do you think?" Dean asked as they got into the car and drove off. He took out his phone from the pocket to call Sam.
"Ehm," Misha answered uncertain. "I don't know."
"Sure you do, you're a smart guy. I'll give you a minute to think about it." Dean said, looking at Misha. "Hi Sam, what did you find out?" He continued, now talking into the phone. "Yeah, same here. Did you talk to the Bellings? Okay, we'll meet you there."
Dean hung up the phone and looked at Misha, waiting. Misha had almost forgot that Dean was waiting for a theory.
"Well. Firstborns sounds like some sort of ritual." Misha offered as the two stopped in front of the Bellings' house and got out. Sam was already waiting there. "And I already know that you think it's a demon."
"But the Bellings kid wasn't in fact a first born." Dean offered, looking at Misha.
"I doubt that a demon would screw the pooch on something like that." Sam added, a pensive look on his face.
"So we don't think the demon f'ed up?" Misha asked, shrugging his shoulders. The two brothers turned to look at him, and Misha blushed.
"Seriously?" Dean asked bemused. "F'ed up? Seriously?"
"What, you guys usually..." Misha tailed off, suddenly realizing what he was about to say. "I mean, Jared and Jensen... thought it sounded fun."
Sam looked sympathetically at Misha, but Dean just felt that anger smolder in his stomach again, the how-dare-Cas-do-this-to-us-feeling. He didn't look at Misha.
"Well, I talked to the Bellings'." Sam said, breaking the tension. "Same MO. Except of course that Michael Bellings weren't in fact a first born. I asked about how his brother died. Apparently he and his younger brother fell through the ice of a frozen pond. Older brother drowned, younger brother, Michael, lived."
"So we might be dealing with an angry spirit instead. Mad about his brother surviving, and taking it out on other kids."
"But why first borns?" Misha asked. Neither Dear nor Sam had an answer.
"I was so sure this had demon written all over it." Sam said, as he and Dean were digging up the Bellings kid's grave. Misha was sitting, legs crossed, at the edge of the grave, holding the flashlight. He watched the brothers as they worked, unable to shake a feeling of awe. He loved these quiet moments, when he could see Sam and Dean in their rightful environment, minds focused and bodies moving with a rehearsed perfection that could only come from years of practice. Jensen and Jared were still far from bringing justice to Dean and Sam, when the brothers were in this little zone of concentration.
"Well that was the plan." A deep voice said. Dean looked up just in time to see the demon punching Misha to the ground. The flashlight landed next to him, light blinding the two brothers. "We needed a way to lure you two here."
Around them seven more demons appeared. They spread out around the two men in the grave, apparently not caring about the unconscious Misha on the ground.
Sam and Dean shared a short look. They were terribly outnumbered, but it didn't seem like the demons cared about Misha. Hopefully they didn't know that the man at their feet was the vessel of the angel-god.
"Well look at this, Sam." Dean shot, sounding cockier than he felt. "It's the douchebag convention."
"Funny." One of the demons said, smiling. "Just a little ray of sunshine, this one."
"Yeah, that's what all my friends call me too." Dean smiled feebly.
"I'm sure." The demon continued. "And talking about friends."
"You mean the TV-show? Yeah, that was just precious." Dean continued joking, until Sam shot him an angry look, mouthing: "What are you doing?"
"I got a little angle parade looking after me, remember?" Dean whispered under his breath. Sam raised an eyebrow in disapproval.
"So you boys wanted something?" Dean continued, trying to check on Misha's state, but at the same time, trying not to draw attention to him.
"Yes. In fact..." The first demon to speak continued. "We're trying to get a message to a friend of yours." He held a short pause. "Castiel."
"I wouldn't exactly call Castiel a friend of mine, he did try to kill us, a few times, actually." Dean shrugged. "But hey. I'll do you a favor, this one time. I'll pass him a note in math class."
"You're awfully cocky for someone in your position." The demon continued. "Almost like you're expecting someone to swoop in and save you."
Sam looked nervously at Dean, eyes wide. Dean clenched his jaw.
"But you see." One of the other demons continued, picking up the flashlight. "None of Castiel's little angels will come to your rescue tonight, Dean." The demon pointed around on the grave stones around them with the flashlight, each of them carrying marks in blood.
"Angel proofing." One of the demons explained unnecessarily.
Dean felt a chill that had nothing to do with the cold night. He looked at Misha, who were stirring behind the demons. He suddenly became afraid that Misha would wake and try something stupid. How could he signal the man to stay down and play dead?
"It was just too easy." The first demon continued. "We led you right here. You two are just too predictable."
"Look." Dean held up both hands, trying to calm the demons down. "Castiel isn't really that good of a friend, okay? I mean, the big Overlord doesn't really care what happens to us."
"Oh, but I beg to differ." The demon smiled. "How many dirty mud monkeys have angels looking after them?" He squatted at the edge of the grave and looked Dean right in the face. Up close, with the light now out of their eyes, Dean noticed that the demon with the deep voice was huge. "Oh I think Castiel cares for you a great deal, Dean Winchester."
Dean cleansed his jaw, eyes darting from the demon's face to Sam and the ending on Misha, who were awake and slowly sitting up.
Dean caught his eyes and shook his head, just barely. But Misha just looked at Dean, his face solemn, his eyes deep pools of soul searching blue. Dean swallowed and saw that Sam had noticed too.
"But I certainly don't think Castiel cares about me." Sam said looking at Castiel, who was getting to his feet. Sam was making sure the demons kept focus on him and didn't notice Castiel moving behind them. "I mean, he never liked me much to begin with."
"Ah, well. Little Sammy." The demon quipped. "How is that soul of yours doing? I'm sure it was a pleasant little picnic to get that back. I heard Lucifer and Michael were very fond of its company, down there in the cage."
Sam flushed with anger, but Dean put a hand on his chest. "At least Sam and I are ending in Heaven next time." Dean said decidedly, exchanging a look with Castiel. "Allot nicer than where you end up." He ended and closed his eyes at the same time as Sam did, and they both dug for cover in the shallow grave, as Castiel burned the demons at once, sending a heavenly light out across the graveyard.
The whole graveyard was silent, and Dean got the feeling that Castiel's Angel light killed more than Demons these days.
"That was some good timing, Cas." Dean admitted and got up from the grave.
Castiel didn't respond at first, he just looked at Dean and Sam, looking slightly pissed. "You're both grounded." He said in the end, turning his back to them. Dean eyes bore into Castiel's back with a heated rage that Sam was sure the Angel-God must have felt, but Castiel didn't react.
"Forget it Cas!" Dean started, but he didn't manage to say anything else before the Angel-God turned in a swift movement and grabbed Dean by the throat. Dean gulped for air, as he found himself dangling, toes unable to reach the ground.
"Why can't you just obey for once, Dean?" Castiel snared in his deep rumbling voice. "You obeyed every order your father ever gave. I brought you back from Hell. You could at least show me the same respect!" Castiel released Dean, and he fell to his knees, gasping for air. Castiel didn't move, he just stood looking down at the gasping Dean.
Sam still stood shocked, unable to move. He saw Dean raise his head in defiance, his eyes locking into Castiel's without fear. And Castiel let him, not using his powers to force Dean to drop his gaze.
Then Castiel crouched down in front of Dean, so close that Dean felt the aura of pure power that pulsed around the Angel-God. "You're grounded." Castiel repeated and made damn sure Dean didn't have will power to contradict him. Then without a warning, the brothers watched Misha dropping to the ground, as Castiel left his body
Usually it was Sam that helped Misha to his feet, because Dean couldn't stand to be around him, right after having been talking to Castiel, but for some reason, this time Dean felt it was his responsibility. He helped Misha up, having to support almost all of Misha's weight. Dean placed Misha's arm around his own shoulder, and kept a hand on his chest for support. For a second Dean noticed that Misha was very light, a lot lighter than Castiel. Dean had never thought about whether Castiel felt heavy for his size, but he was definitely heavier than Misha.
"We need to get you a little vacancy sign, we can hang around your neck," Dean joked and smiled to the limp Misha, pulling him closer so he could hold his weight better. "Then you can turn it when you feel Cas taking over your body."
Sam sighed and looked irritated, but Dean shrugged. "What? I don't want him popping in like that without us knowing."
"Come on Dean." Sam said, and Dean became annoyed when he heard Sam using his calm voice. "He saved our lives."
"Oh, save it, Sam." Dean snapped. "If he really cared about whether we lived or died, he could start by not trying to kill us himself."
"Look Dean, I'm not sure he can help it. He still has a lot of souls in there. They're bound to be messing him up."
"So! He has evil-ass souls scrambling his head, and is all alone in Heaven. How do you expect him to be anything close to the Castiel we knew?"
Dean clenched his jaw. For a moment the anger in his stomach changed and became something close to pity. But then he looked at Misha, still clinging to him for support, and pulled together.
"Because he is sometimes, Sam. Sometimes he's exactly like the old Cas, sometimes I can see emotions in there, behind his eyes. And then sometimes he's this! Frigging terminator. And I can't forgive that, Sam. He's choosing those souls over us. He wants to be pumped up on self-righteous, conscienceless purgatory souls. He's so fucking stubborn."
"Just like you." Sam said and turned his back, refusing to look at his brother.
At this comment it was like a dam broke inside Dean. He gently sat Misha back on the ground and grabbed Sam by the arm, spinning him around. "That's enough, Sam!" he growled. "I'm sick of you defending him. I'm sick of your acceptance. Don't you remember what he did?"
"Yeah, Dean. I do." Sam said quietly. "Do you?"
"Dean, he's the only reason we're here today. He gave up everything for us, including his life and apparently his sanity."
Dean opened his mouth to argue, but Sam cut him off. "The only reason why you're so angry, Dean, is because Cas stopped being your devoted angel-servant and started making his own decisions. And I admit, some of his decisions were crap. But he kinda had alot to juggle."
"You can't be serious?" Dean growled, inches away from Sam. Sam was taller and stronger built than Dean, but the youngest Winchester had never won a fair fight against Dean. And even now, Sam just backed away from his brother.
"Sam." Dean voice changed, suddenly begging. "Man, tell me you're not about to forgive and forget here? He broke the wall, he left you for dead."
"He didn't..." Sam started.
"Well, he might as well have, Sammy!" Dean voice almost cracked. "You could have died, you could have been a veggy for all he cared. All he wanted was to win!"
"All he wanted was for you to accept his choices, Dean." Sam's voice was suddenly loud and cutting. "He begged you, Dean. He begged you to stand by his side, to act like a friend. He did this to himself to save our lives!"
Dean's face was pale, hurt. "How do you...?" The question weren't completed, but just hung in the air.
Sam looked every bit as pained as Dean. "He left it all inhere." Sam pointed to his head. "He left everything in here, every choice, every action. Even all his God damn guilt, Dean. Because he wanted me to understand why he broke the wall."
Dean sat down on the bed, face contorted. "You never told me..."
"What was I supposed to say, Dean?"
For a while the brothers were dead silent, each trying to compose themselves. In the end, after what seemed like hours, Sam finally broke the trance and moved closer to his brother. "I should have told you. I'm sorry." Sam finally said, staring out into the air in front of them. "I just didn't know how to, without..."
"Without blaming me for this whole mess." Dean ended for him.
Sam shrugged and shared a look with his brother.
And that was it, Misha knew. Some brothers ended a fight by punching each other's shoulder, some by padding each other hard on the back. Winchesters ended a fight with a look.
Dean walked over and helped Misha back up. Misha leaned helplessly against Dean as Dean helped him to the car. Ever since he had begun to focus when Castiel used him as vessel, Misha had been weaker when Castiel left him, but as a reward he had been allowed a rare insight into Castiel's mind, and tonight it had been the final piece of the puzzle. If Misha was brave, and played his part right, he would be allowed to go home. But as Dean gently helped Misha into the back seat of the Impala, Misha wondered if he still knew where home was.
When they returned to the motel room, Sam went straight to his bag on the floor by the bed. He rumbled through it and finally found what he was looking for. He held out a necklace for Dean to take. Dean just looked at it.
"We've been over this, Sam. What am I supposed to do with that?" Dean said, refusing to take the necklace.
"I haven't tested it." Sam walked over to Dean and hung the necklace around his brother's neck. "But if Cas is really a god, a demi-god at least, it should burn hot in his presence."
Dean raised an eyebrow.
Sam shrugged. "Hey, you're the one who wanted to know when he's here."
Dean looked pensive and took the little gold figurine in his hand.
Misha had already started the change long ago. Castiel had asked him to, the night he brought Dean home from the bar, even if Misha wasn't conscious enough at the time to really understand why he should change. But slowly he did. He changed his behavior ever so slightly, one character trade at a time.
The change happened so slowly and gradually that none of the brothers could really put their fingers on it. But the consequence was that Dean seemed to attach himself to Misha much in the same way that he had once done with Castiel, and that Sam began to trust Misha, almost as blindly as he trusted Dean. Misha was like the Castiel that never betrayed them.
But it was a just a matter of time before Dean and Sam would catch up.
The realization dawned on the brothers one day when Dean and Sam were going over a case Sam had dug up in a local paper. Sam was convinced it was witch craft, but Dean leaned towards some good old fashion hoodoo. Misha had found a place by the window, where he could stand and look out on the rain.
"I'm not sure." Dean said and turned his head to look at Misha. "What do you think Cas?"
It took a few seconds, of Sam staring bewildered at his brother before the mistake got through to Dean.
"Shit, I'm sorry Misha." Dean said, but a second later he didn't look like he really thought he'd made a mistake, his brow furrowed in his usual skeptical look. Instead he slowly stepped closer to Misha until he was standing only inches away from Misha, a lack of space Dean usually only shared with Castiel. Then his hand reached up and his fingers folded around the gold figurine in his necklace.
Misha looked confused at first, but smiled when Dean turned to the necklace for confirmation. "It's just me in here, Dean." He said and tilted his head. "And I'm alone."
"Sure?" Dean asked and his face became even more worried when Misha kept his eyes locked into Dean's. "I don't know a way to check for Godly possession."
"In this case, your necklace would work." Misha assured, finally lowering his eyes. But he didn't move away.
"How do you know?" Sam interfered, always the science geek.
"Because Castiel knows it." Misha merely said, looking at Sam. He was glad that Sam was here for this, he didn't think he could deal with Dean alone. Not when Dean was about to get really pissed.
"So Cas is bleeding information into you?" Dean asked, voice deep and demanding. "Is that why you're suddenly a little Castiel Copy, Mish?"
Slowly, testing, Misha returned to look into Dean's eyes. " No, he asked me to, actually. That's why he picked me."
The answer stopped Dean for a whole minute. When he'd gathered his thoughts, his first reaction was to punch Misha in the face, but he restrained himself and turned his back to the man, fists clenched, instead.
"What do you mean, that's why he picked you?" Sam asked looking from Misha to his brother with a concerned look on his face.
"I mean exactly what I said. I know, I saw it in his head. He could have chosen anyone, but he chose me, because I could be him, act like him at least." Misha corrected himself.
"Why?" Dean barked out, spinning to face Misha again.
"I don't know." Misha shrugged. "Why don't you ask him?"
"Because I'm asking you." Dean said, his usual short-headed answer. "You have to know, he had to give you a reason."
Misha creased his forehead. He didn't want to do this part. He didn't want to piss Dean off. He drew a breath. "Fine. He chose me to piss you off, to make you miserable. A constant reminder that you couldn't get rid of." Exhaling. "But it didn't really work, did it?"
Dean was trembled ever so slightly, as if he was trying to hold in an enormous burst of rage. Slowly, though, Dean seemed to relax. In the end he lifted his eyes and looked at Misha. Both of them stubbornly held the gaze.
For a few minutes Sam stood there watching the silent battle that was going on between his brother and the vessel.
"I don't know why I'm surprised, really." Dean said quietly in the end, lowering his eyes. Misha let out a sigh of relief. "I'd say that this is unbelievable, but it's not really."
Dean walked to the table and poured a big glass of whisky which he emptied and poured another.
"Sam do you mind leaving for a few hours?" Dean asked looking intently at his glass, swirling the content around.
"What are you going to do?" Sam asked, eyes moving to Misha.
"I'm going to call Cas."
"And do what, Dean?"
"I don't know, but I'm pretty sure it'll involve tearing him a new one!" Dean said looking his brother in the eyes, daring Sam to contradict him. "At least verbally."
Sam sighed. "Dean. Don't do this. Please!"
"Look Sam, I accept that you forgive Cas for what he did, that's your choice, and I'm not gonna be a bitch about it. But he didn't fill me up with happy thoughts and leave little forgive me stickers in my head, okay? Cas is a big boy and he can defend himself. I got a right to throw a few punches, at least."
"You'll just break your hand again." Misha said quietly, but the look that Dean shot him made him wish he'd kept his mouth shut.
"You're not off yet, Misha!" Dean barked. Misha squirmed and stepped closer to Sam.
"Sam," Dean continued. "Sammy, I've got the right. I mean, for fuck sake, if anyone in the whole world has a right, it's me." When he was done his voice was pleading.
Sam put a hand over his eyes and took a deep breath. Then he exhaled and his eyes found Dean's "If you get yourself killed." He didn't finish the sentence.
Dean just nodded. "I'll try not to."
Sam looked from Dean to Misha, who against all reason were now looking defiant. Then he took his jacket and left the room, a last look over his shoulder at his brother.
"You don't seem as scared as you should be, Mish." Dean said, turning to look at Misha, eyebrows raised.
Misha gave a half smile and shook his head. "I've had you looking at me with hate in your eyes for months now, Dean. And I can fight you off if I had to. You trained me well."
Dean smiled a painful smile. "Too well. I'm sure this will somehow allow you to return home, or you wouldn't have gone with it." Dean started to slowly pace the room. "But really, Mish. Can you even go home? Back to your family, back to Jensen and Jared, two fakes who wouldn't even be able to cover your back in a fight?"
Misha didn't answer, and he couldn't meet Dean's eyes either, because Dean was right. He had been so scared of changing that he didn't even want a damn tattoo, but he hadn't noticed how much he had really changed in the hands of Sam and Dean.
"But I'm not Cas, not really." Misha finally said, pain in his voice. "And you're never gonna stop comparing us. I know you and Sam, so much better that you think, Dean. I know I can't replace what he means to you." Misha swallowed.
Dean looked at him, searching his face, noticing how his eyes got wet, and his lip quivered, just like Castiel. And for a short moment, Dean wasn't sure Misha had been right.
But instead of saying any of this Dean just nodded. "I guess I can understand that." He walked across the room to stand right in front of Misha, invading the man's personal space. To Dean's surprise Misha didn't seem to mind.
"It's been a long time since I was this close to Cas." Dean said, smiling to himself at the memory. "I had to teach him that humans have a personal space."
"I remember." Misha said, so quietly it might as well have been a whisper.
"I guess you do." Dean said looking suddenly worried. "I guess you know everything."
Misha smiled and dropped his gaze. "You taught him a lot about humans." That was the cleanest way Misha could put it.
"I think I failed at the most crucial points." Dean said, reaching up to lift Misha's chin.
It wasn't a very masculine moment, but neither Misha nor Dean cared. They both held their pose, inches away from each other, both readying themselves.
"You know what you're gonna say?" Misha asked looking up into Dean's eyes.
Dean shook his head and smiled. "But there will be a lot of angry words and then some begging."
"I don't think Cas will beg." Misha said frowning.
"I know." Dean said, a small smile forming on his lips.
One second Dean was staring into Misha's pained blue eyes. The next he was being forced to turn his head and close his eyes, as bright light streamed from the vessel's eyes.
Dean could feel his pulse raising and it had nothing to do with excitement or fear or adrenalin. It was just being close to Castiel, the godly aura that surrounded him, that made Dean's heart work overtime.
For a whole minute Castiel stood, head tilted, staring at Dean. When Castiel finally spoke, his voice was calm, but full of angel-rumble, like a low frequency base.
"Dean, we've talked about this." He said gravely, and Dean got ready for another speech about summoning the angel-god whenever he felt like it. But instead an awkward smile spread on Castiel's lips.
"Personal space." The angel-god clarified.
Dean let out the air he had unconsciously been holding back. "That's funny, Cas." Dean tried to smile. "In fact I was just saying to Misha..."
"I know." Castiel just said without letting Dean finish. "I know it all."
"Ah yeah, you got Misha in there. I guess you can read his mind."
"Yes," Castiel answered flatly. "But I don't need to. I always have a small portion of my focus directed towards you, Dean. In case you need saving. Which you tend to do."
Dean frowned. "Great. I got angels in my ass and a God trailing my every move. Do I ever have a second of privacy?"
"No." Castiel broke the eye contact and started to walk around the room slowly. "But I'm a little confused, Dean. A moment ago you were so keen on ripping me a new one, as you put it, and suddenly you're all out of steam. Now that's just disappointing."
Dean raised an eyebrow and followed Castiel with his eyes. "So you want to pick a fight, is that it? That's why you picked Misha, right? To piss me off? So what, you want a reason to smite my ass?"
"I don't really need to look for a reason, Dean." Castiel replied calmly and stopped his pacing to look at Dean. "And if I did, I could find plenty."
Dean felt a sudden chill down his spine. He'd forgotten, as he often did, that Castiel was a force of nature. Jimmy's body, Misha's body, this charade, it made Dean forget that Castiel wasn't anything near a human being. Especially not these days. But he almost was, at one point. The old Castiel could feel human emotions, he could hurt and be confused. Purgatory took all that away. Dean felt anger burning through his veins again.
Castiel inspected Dean with an inquisitive look. "You're getting there, Dean. But you're not nearly angry enough. I asked you to stand behind me, to trust me, and you couldn't. Can't you at least be pissed when I ask it? You could do that for me, Dean."
Dean felt his breath get stuck in his throat, scorching. So this was it, then? Castiel was going to throw all his mistakes in his face now.
"You could just make me." Dean spat, rage rising from the burn.
"I could." The angel-god admits. "But I won't need to, in fact I never needed to. There's enough guilt in you, that I didn't have to make you do anything, Dean." Castiel looked at Dean, who was still standing in the same spot, just turning to follow Castiel with his eyes, as the angel-god moved around. "But I don't need your guilt right now, I need your anger. You're much easier to communicate with when you are full of rage. Although, stubborn as you are, you don't always listen."
"So this is about pride?" Dean raised an eyebrow.
"It's all about pride, Dean." Castiel moved closer, coming to a halt when he was inches away from Dean, back to the starting position. "I let go of my pride. I begged you, Dean. And I don't beg." Castiel looked into Dean's eyes, searching. "Is it too much for me to ask you to do the same now?"
Dean took a moment to process what he had heard. "I might do it for Cas." He said in the end. "But not for you. Get rid of the rest of the souls, and maybe we can talk about redemption."
"I can't." For once Castiel looked away, unable to look into Dean's eyes. "I don't know what I would become."
"You wouldn't be this." Dean said his eyes trying to catch Castiel's. "You wouldn't be conscienceless, emotionless."
"I am none of those things." Castiel said eyes suddenly flaring. "I wouldn't be here if I was. I wouldn't have come here, allowing you to talk to me like you do, allowing you this close, if I didn't feel, Dean." Castiel growled, voice clear, but full of doubt. "I can't get rid of these souls, Dean. I've been almost human before, weak, useless, unable to protect you. I cannot be that again."
Dean clenched his jaw, looking away, looking at the floor, anywhere but at Castiel.
"I'm sorry I made the same mistake that you and Sam did, I know I screwed up, and for that I truly am sorry." Castiel continued. "But we've been through much together. And I know I don't make our friendship easy, but sometimes you expect too much of me, Dean."
Dean's head snapped up, his eyes catching Castiel's. "I expected you to make the right decision, Cas, that's all I ever asked of you!"
"I'm an Angel, Dean. What did I know of right and wrong decisions?"
"That's what Sam and I was there for, you stupid fool." Dean's voice wasn't angry anymore. It was pleading. "You didn't need to carry the world all on your own."
"I didn't want to burden you." Castiel admitted. "You had already carried far too much."
Dean didn't know how to argue that, so he decided he didn't have to. Slowly he reached out and placed a hand on Castiel's shoulder. "Cas, please, get rid of those souls. We'd rather have you weak and human than not at all."
Castiel's eyes were wet and shining with pain, the closest Dean had ever seen him to crying. And right then, Dean did something he had never done before. He pulled Cas into him in a tight hug. He tried to pour acceptance, love, forgiveness and apologies into that small human gesture. He just wasn't sure if Cas would understand all that, with his head full of evil souls.
"I'm so sorry, Dean." Castiel whispered into Dean's ear, and then he felt Castiel going limp, and realized that Cas had left, just like he always did. Dean fought to keep a hold on Misha's body, trying to stop him from slipping out of his arms and falling to the floor. But instead he had to kneel down to the floor, keeping Misha in his arms. Dean had never seen Misha this weak before; he couldn't even hold his own head. Misha was barely looking back at him, a single tear escaping his eyes.
"Tell me you didn't try to stay conscious for all that, you stupid fool." Dean whispered, stroking Misha's cheekbone. "Come on, Misha." He begged and got to his feet. He dragged Misha up in his arms and carried him to the bed.
Dean went to the bathroom and brought back a glass of water that he gently held to Misha's lips, tilting Misha's head so he could drink.
"It worked." Misha whispered, so low that Dean wouldn't have heard it if he hadn't had all of his attention directed towards Misha at that moment. "It actually worked."
"Yeah, but you almost fried yourself in the process, Mish, was that really worth it?" Dean asked brushing a hand gently through Misha's hair.
"No, not that." Misha said, using all his strength to force a smile. "All your bullshit. It worked, I can't believe it"
Dean frowned, searching Misha's face. "What do you mean?"
Misha smiled softly, drew a deep breath and looked hesitantly into Dean's eyes. "He's going to make things right. I knew he loved you, I just, wow..."
Just then Dean's phone started to vibrate in his pocket. Eyes wide, Dean looked at the Caller ID, before accepting the call, a look of disbelief on his face.
"Dean?" A familiar voice said in the other end, Jimmy's voice soft and low, with a touch of Angel-rumble still there. "I've done what you asked, once again."
"Cas? Are you alright?" Dean looked up at Misha, as if he was expecting him to answer, but Misha's couldn't feel the angle inside him any more, had lost all trace of connection to Castiel.
"I send the souls back and as predicted it weakened my Grace. Which is unfortunate, as I seem to be stranded somewhere in North Dakota."
Dean looked down at Misha and smiled. "We'll be right there, Cas. Stay warm"
A/N: English is my second language and I don't have a beta. As a consequence some grammar mistakes and misspelling will occure.
Also, I'm sorry, I just couldn't let Misha go home just yet - I wasn't done playing with him... And yeah, Cas is in a new little Misha/Jimmy copy he snatched up before chucking the souls. If I magicly sweap together a sequal I'll adress this ofc.
Please use the review option! So many don't and it hurts, it really hurts! Or, well... please just review!
Run for cover, we are hearts under fire
And we're going under if we can't be at peace.
Pull the trigger, we are hearts under fire.
And we hold our grudges if we can't just release.