Hey everyone! Just finished a fic I have been spending forever on, and I am writing another one already! This story should be set around the middle of season 5. Castiel is getting low on angel juice and Dean has begun to be affected by the strain of all the angel vs demon crap. In this story, Dean and Sam take Cas on a camping trip as they hunt for the last known Wendigo in the United States.
Dean was frequently astonished by how little Castiel knew of the world. A seasoned soldier of God's army and he didn't even know how to tie his shoes. Dean often felt that he was the baby sitter of the heavenly being but he knew that he secretly loved his job. Castiel was absolutely adorable. Dean had trouble describing him as anything else. Never the smart one of the brother duo, it felt nice to have a hoard of information he could simply hand out to Castiel when he wished. It made him seem very intelligent, and as he liked to think, rather worldly. Astute even, though Dean himself would never use the world. Maybe sagely, made him seem like a cool jedi master or a Chinese scholar that had taught himself how to fly, literally. Dean was worried about his angel. Lately, he had been getting tired from normal angel activities. Like zapping and even healing himself. It scared Dean. Castiel did not get tired. He was like a less peppy Energizer Bunny and Dean had first thought angels were unstoppable. Untouchable beings who were cold in spirit and judgment. Castiel was cut off from heaven and it showed how much angels relied on the power they gathered from their home.
Today Dean was going to not only teach Castiel some vital survival skills, but to hopefully catch a Wendigo in the process. Sam and Dean had killed one a few years ago, and it was strange for such a creature to appear this frequently. Wendigos were very rare and old. It was often said that such monsters were once human beings themselves, and Dean seemed to support the theory after experiencing all of humanities cruelties. Something about them made Castiel wistful, if not openly saddened. They began as humans and died as monsters. Left to suffer through years of neglect until they lost the humanity that separated them from the animals they hunted for their own tables. Transformation into such a creature was a very slow process with the precursor years of brutal starvation. They were constantly hungry for something and the little bit of flesh that slipped into their nests didn't seem to satisfy them in the way a decent burger had always made Dean happy. But Castiel had realized that Dean was similar to the very beasts he obsessively hunted. He hungered. And he was so lonely. Castiel had watched him retreat more behind a quick smile and cheap joke. They had connection that no one knew of or shared with them and Castiel could feel the strain on the other end. He came to Dean whenever he called to him, in the hopes that it would be something other than hunter business. That Dean not only needed him as a soldier but that liked to have him around.
Dean closed his eyes and thought of the blue eyed angel. He smiled when Castiel appeared behind him the instant he called him over.
"Hello Dean." Castiel gazed back at the hunter almost reverently. They stood there staring at each other for a few moments, Dean looking a bit uncomfortable and Castiel slightly smiling back.
"Just kiss him already." Sam entered the room carrying an armful of blankets out to the Impala.
Dean glared back. "Shut up Sammy."
Castiel was now eyeing Dean curiously. "Why is it you called me out here?" His blue eyes roamed the area as he frowned. "You do not seem to be in any sort of danger."
Dean grinned back at him. "Not at the moment Cas. Sammy and I have gotten word from Bobby that another Wendigo was spotted in these United States of America. In the northern forests of Arizona. And we are going to gank him."
Dean frowned at Castiel. "Because they are evil? And they like to eat people."
"Oh. I understand. But don't animals and people do the same things?"
Dean ran a hand through his hair tiredly. "What…eat people?"
Castiel smiled absently. "Not cannibalism necessarily. You eat animals to live don't you? I am confused. Aren't Wendigos doing the same thing?"
Dean glared at Castiel. "No." Castiel titled his head at him curiously. "Jesus Cas you can be really dumb sometimes." He sat down on the back of the Impala. "You see, we are humans. Me and Sam? Humans."
Castiel nodded. "I understand that Dean but-"
"If something is going around eating people, we don't exactly want to let it run wild and start a people buffet. Monsters are some of the only actual creatures on this planet that can kill us, so I plan on killing them first. Before they kill innocent people. Kapeesh?"
"Yes Dean. Are you ready to leave now?" He reached over towards Dean with one arm extended.
"No Cas." Castiel looked confused. "We aren't zapping there. Sammy and I are taking you on a real camping trip."
Castiel looked intrigued. "And what do you do there?"
"Live and act like a man Cas. It is training time. If you can't get your mojo up like usual, I want to teach you some real life skills. With the apocalypse cooking on the front burner, I want to know that you will be alright if you aren't up to your usual…angel stuff."
Castiel smiled shyly. "Thank you Dean."
Dean pulled at his collar nervously as he opened the door for Castiel. When he turned to say something to the angel he saw he had simply teleported into the car. "Ummm Cas?"
Castiel gazed back at him solemnly from the back seat. "Yes Dean."
"Just…try and cool it with the angel magic for awhile. If you are running out of angel juice, you don't want to waste it on teleporting into cars instead just getting into it yourself." Castiel stared blankly at him. "If you haven't noticed most people don't do that."
Castiel stared quietly ahead as if the car had already started. He figured he had a lot to learn. If he ran out of "'angel mojo" he was going to be on major trouble. Castiel sat in the back seat looking rather like a wilted flower. Everything he did seem to make Dean laugh at him. It was like Dean was the supreme holy being and Castiel far below him. This relationship didn't always trouble Castiel though. In fact, Castiel loved being around Dean since the man was absolutely fascinating to Castiel. He seemed to constantly run off of a full tank of emotions when Castiel had just begun to realize such things actually existed. He could feel emotions too. The more time he spent with Sam and Dean, the more he began to not only get to know them, but to understand things about himself. That he felt fear when Dean was in trouble. That he felt safe when he was near him. He could understand, comprehend even, some of what he felt around Dean. But some of his feelings seemed to be cut off from his brain. He couldn't place the bubbly feeling that stretched all the way into his wing tips when he was near the hunter. As much as he tried to understand the hunter he found himself more often confused than enlightened. Dean was full of contradictions. Most of his confusing nature was necessary, but Castiel didn't seem to fully understand that fact yet. Dean was always throwing jokes around even when one could glimpse the strain behind his eyes. People were always looking towards angels for answers, for someone to be stronger than them and braver than them. To Castiel Dean was the real hero. Here he was taking Castiel out of the delusion of heaven and its supreme orders. He and Sam had practically adopted him into their family and as he gazed at their laughing faces in the rear view mirror he realized that he longed to be like them more than anything in the world. But he was so scared. Every day he was away from heaven his grace seemed to diminish bit by bit. All he had ever known was to love a father he had never actually met and to take orders from brothers he hadn't truly loved since he hadn't known how. Castiel was beginning to learn of loss. Of how Dean got that far away look in his eyes and clenched his hands whenever he talked about his own father. Castiel had always rested on blind faith and now he could see that someone could both hate and love someone at the same time. Whenever Dean reprimanded him for something, Castiel hoped with all of the building feelings inside him that Dean wasn't hating him in that moment. That he was doing things wrong because he was new to them. That there was even the slightest possibility that he could even learn to be like him. To have Dean smile at him, place a hand on his shoulder, and tell him 'good job Cas.' He lived for those moments. Lately Castiel had been appearing to the Winchesters without his usual reasons. Not as the harbinger of information but to see them, make sure they were alright. He understood how pain could be expressed in both the tangible physicality of injury or sickness and the more confusing pathway of emotions. Castiel had never felt as happy and depressed as he was with the Winchesters. He sat, always in the back, of the Impala as he absorbed himself in his thoughts, occasionally humming along to Physical Graffiti since the Led Zeppelin cd had been practically imprinted into his brain. Castiel smiled as Dean locked eyes with him in the mirror and felt that same distinctive flutter in his heart as he saw Dean return the gesture wholeheartedly.
"How are you doing back there Cas?"
Castiel smiled, pleased. "Fine Dean. And yourself?"
"I'm doin' great Cas. Actually, I just wanted to tell you that…I'm glad you are coming with us. Sammy and I have been doing this for a few years and before that I just hunted by myself." Dean cleared his throat. Just…It is nice to have you on the team." Sam glanced at his brother curiously. Dean jabbered a whole lot, but he didn't often say things explicitly. A joke may be a hint towards something deeper or not. As much as their angel was confused by Dean, so was his own brother.
"I am happy to be here Dean." Dean smiled as he turned up the music. When Castiel wasn't watching the hunter's face in the mirror, he took to staring out the window of the car. Zapping everywhere ha its benefits, but Castiel was beginning to realize how much he was missing. Castiel loved all of his father's creations, but earth and the novelty of its human inhabitants really struck a chord in him. He felt home here with Dean, and more than in heaven. The earth was so beautiful to Castiel. Transitory, but it had an oldness to it that didn't match the young shoots peeking out of the earth. He watched pine trees transfer into junipers as a light rain drummed on the cab top.
"Woah. Look." Dean parked the Impala on the side of the road as Castiel and Sam looked confused. "See that?" Dean pointed out towards the woods.
"No, what is it Dean?" Sam craned his neck to get a look around his brother.
"Elk. See them?" Castiel scooted closer to the window and peered out. He could see a doe or too nuzzling grass out of the ground as crowned member of the heard stepped out of the overgrowth of aspen trees. "Oh shit Cas, see that buck there! Six prongs on those antlers! Oh man, haven't seen one in years. We don't get out to the woods enough anymore Sammy; I would rather see this than any old demon." Dean smiled as he started the car again. Castiel nearly pressed his nose against the glass as he stared at the lanky brown animal. He watched as it raised its heavily laden head towards him. Wild brown eyes locked with the curious blue of Castiel's irises. Castiel felt something deep within him cry out for the same freedom of the beast as it let out a low bellow. The car pulled away as Castiel put a hand against the glass in farewell. He smiled softly to himself as he fell into a doze and dreamed away the rest of the drive to the camping site.