Part 3: There Are Angels in This Angel Story, Right?
The angels come again for his 17th birthday. Uriel looks exactly the same - to the last fiber of his clothes - as he was 10 years before, and from the way his eyes roam through their things, the last decade did nothing to improve his views on the human way of life. The angel following behind him seems more curious than disapproving as he stares with big, awed eyes at the colored glass of the small window of the door.
Sam doesn't remember ever seeing someone like this second angel. His eyes are a shade of blue so otherworldly there would be absolutely no question he is ethereal, even if his enormous black wings didn't give him away. Sam is no expert, although he did spend the last few years buying every angel-related book he could get his hands on, but he remembers reading that feathers of darker colors are very rare to find, the more common being white and honey-colored ones. He can't remember if it's the size of the wings or the feathers that is supposed to represent the rank of the angel.
"Samuel Winchester," Uriel says. "You remember me." It isn't a question. "This is my brother, Castiel. He insisted on coming."
"It is a pleasure to meet you, Samuel," Castiel's voice is deep and rough. Sam thinks he sounds just like the actors playing angels in the movies. "You're famous among my brothers and sisters."
Not the angels too… "Just Sam is fine," he says with a weak smile. "Do you guys mind calling next time?"
"'Calling'?" Castiel inclines his head to the side a little.
"We do not have cell phones." Uriel looks at him with distaste. Sam sighs. At least they knocked first.
"Sam, who-" Dean comes from the kitchen and stops when he sees their guests. His eyes travel Castiel's body from head to toes, and he grins. "Hello there."
Sam makes a constipated noise. His brother never misses the opportunity to hit on anyone with a pretty face, but he'd thought Dean would draw the line at someone from a different plane of existence. All that is missing are some wolf whistles so Sam can die of embarrassment and finally be beyond this veil of tears.
"You got secret angel friends, Sammy?"
"I don't; they just showed up. This is my brother, Dean," Sam introduces him and hopes the angels won't take flirting as an insult.
Uriel only acknowledges the human with a nod, but Dean doesn't seem to mind, for he passes right by the first angel to stop in front of Castiel. "Dean, the cute brother," he says, extending his hand.
The angel looks at the hand being offered to him like he's trying to remember what he's supposed to do with it. Uriel murmurs something that sounds like 'shake it', and Castiel finally does. "My name is Castiel."
"We come in the name of the Hunters." Uriel doesn't waste any more time, crossing his arms like he can't wait to leave. "When you turn 18, you may become a Hunter, if you so wish."
Sam doesn't know what to say to that. He still doesn't know what he wants for his life, but he also never expected angels to show up with a job proposal.
"This organization is the only contact angels have on this Plane," Castiel tells him, turning away from Dean in favor of staring at Sam with an intensity that makes him uncomfortable. "Aside from them, most humans will never interact with our kind."
He thinks about the implications of this. "I see."
"Right, I'll be working on the Impala if you need me," Dean tells Sam, looking sort of disappointed Castiel has already forgotten he exists.
His brother leaves, and Sam gestures to the couch. Both angels just blink at him.
"Would you guys like to sit down?" he tries.
"No," they both say, just standing there stoically.
"Well…" He shifts his weight from one foot to the other. "Who sent you here?"
"The Hunters," Uriel repeats, unamused.
"But why would they care?" Sam asks.
"They have employed angels' mates before," Castiel tells him, but it still doesn't feel like an answer to his question.
Sam approaches Castiel, knowing Uriel doesn't care about him. Castiel came here of his own volition. He insisted on coming. "Who really sent you here?" he asks, eyes pleading for the angel to just answer and get this over with, this doubt that The Angel may or may not know Sam exists, that they may or may not be offering him the chance of meeting them.
"It is as close as you will get to angels." It's all Castiel has to offer, looking at the floor like he feels bad for not giving the answer Sam longs to hear.
"Not all positions are dangerous," Uriel tells him. "The Hunters don't only require field work. There are tactical teams, detectives, researches, lawyers. You can take your pick."
Sam doesn't want any of those. He just wants to face his mate and move on.
"Hello," a deep male voice says from Dean's right.
It's Castiel, and he came alone. Dean grins, closing the hood of his car.
"Hi there, Mr. Angel dude." He cleans the oil from his hands, liking the way the angel's eyes closely watch him do this. Out here in the sun, his black wings look magnificent, huge and wild with feathers sticking out everywhere like someone just grabbed and pulled at them.
Dean wants to touch. Badly. And he was never any good at denying his urges.
He skipped most of his classes about angel lore, so he doesn't know if it's a good idea to try and touch the wings in a casual way, like he would a shoulder. He's never seen this happen in movies; maybe it's forbidden, and he'd be struck by lightning or some such overkill. He decides to go with a compliment. "Big wings you got there."
Castiel freezes, his wings wincing and shrinking behind his back. "… Thank you."
Okay, not a good a reaction. Dean scratches his head.
"You done talking to Sammy?" he asks, trying to look for something interesting to say that will make him stay longer.
The angel stares at him for a long moment. Surprisingly, it doesn't feel so awkward to have all this attention for himself. "Are you not happy for your brother?"
Dean gives him the suspicious eye. Did Castiel just use mojo on him to read his thoughts?
"That he's going to join the most dangerous profession known to man so that maybe he'll meet the asshole angel who soul-raped him?" Dean spits out the words before he can stop himself. "No, I'm not all that happy…"
Castiel is blinking at him as if he doesn't know if he should be shocked and affronted or just find the human endearing, like a pet. "There was never any… soul-rape, as you put it. That does not exist."
Dean wants to punch himself. "I know it doesn't-"
The angel goes on, interrupting him, "Although angels are free to choose their mates, my Father made this union without their agreement just the way He binds human souls together. This angel had as much choice in the matter as your brother. Furthermore, there is no need for them to consummate their wedlock. No hand is forcing Sam to become a Hunter."
"… Sorry, man. I mean, who ever it is, it's one of your brothers or sisters," Dean says after the lecture, not really knowing where to look. "I wouldn't be happy too if someone went around saying shit about Sammy."
Castiel seems happy with this answer, the lines on his forehead relaxing. He looks friendly. "You do not offend me."
"It's just… Sam is not Hunter material," he says, and it's true. His brother is kind and acts like a geek most of the time. Dean can't imagine him fighting monsters. "Hell, even I'd make a better Hunter than him."
Castiel eyes brighten at this. Or maybe it's just the angle of the sun. "May I see that for myself?"
And what does that mean? He shrugs. "Sure?"
Suddenly, there is a hand on his forehead, and Dean doesn't know what to do with his own hands. "Your heart is strong," Castiel starts, eyes closed in concentration. "You're loyal, you're brave…You care about others more than you care to admit." He steps back, giving him a minuscule smile. "The Hunters shall rejoice if you join them."
Dean opens his mouth, and the angel keeps on smiling slightly, like he just did something normal.
"Dude, what the hell?"
"Oh," Castiel says, eyes widening like he just remembered something. "I apologize. Many times I forget your kind doesn't appreciate being touched. I only wanted to see if you have the moral qualities the Hunters seem to value most."
By… reading his mind? Dean feels dumbstruck. "See anything you like?" he tries to flirt in an attempt at regaining some control over the situation.
"I loved everything I saw," Castiel honestly replies to him, looking unembarrassed. "Your soul is beautiful."
Dean has no words. "Is this some sort of angel pick-up line?" Castiel tilts his head at him again, and it suddenly hits him that the angel probably doesn't even know what a pick-up line is. "Anything else, since this is already a tea-drinking, share-your-feelings fest?"
The angel seems conflicted for a moment. Dean realizes too late he's actually about to tell him even more. "God has not given you a soul-mate, and for that you grieve," he says, voice so full of sadness like he understands the pain he saw in the human. He takes a step closer. Dean thinks this is probably another spell, for he can't look away from the angel's face. "But he has given you the capacity to love, and I believe that must mean something good."
Dean snorts. He just got a pep-talk from an angel cosplaying as John Constantine, who gave him the 'your true love is out there somewhere' speech after reading his mind to find out he's still hung up on the whole soul-mate BS thing.
He laughs. Half lying on the hood of the Impala, he laughs his ass off while Castiel looks pleased with himself, as if making Dean laugh is a good thing, even if he doesn't understand why it's happening.
The rain outside is thin and sparse, and Sam just might be in love with it.
The smell of wet grass has been intoxicating to Sam since his pre-teens, the light/energy/strange-substance-that-sometimes-ting les inside his body telling him to go outside and roll around in the wet earth like a farm dog. And the yearning isn't even his.
Like all the inexplicable urges that come and go without warning, this is only one more item on the ever growing list of 'Things that Belong to The Angel'.
The goddamn Angel who has the upper hand in their non-existent relationship. They can send their lackeys here to keep an eye on him, and all Sam can do is wait like a damsel.
A puff of smoke suddenly takes him away from his musings, sending Sam into a coughing fit. "How is business in Gallifrey going for you, Sammy?" Dean grins.
Smug asshole. "It's interesting how you always say I'm the geek, but you are the one bringing up Gallifrey."
Dean averts his eyes to the ceiling. Sam can see the tips of his ears turning red. "Shut up; I read it somewhere online."
Lying on his bed with Dean became a common occurrence on hot summer nights. They might fight all the time - especially concerning his bond – but Sam and his brother share a special thing, a sort of companionship he hopes will never end.
"Man," Dean whines after exhaling the smoke from his lungs. "Angels are so alien."
"Course they are." Sam tries not to make a face at the smell floating around his room. "Most of them don't even live on this Plane."
"Some of them do." Dean watches his cigarette burning down to the filter line before putting it out by crushing the lit end in his ashtray. Sam manages to contain his sigh of relief. "That Balthazar guy in the papers last week. He stole fifty grand in jewelry! I didn't think angels had it in them."
"But that was one angel!" He rolls his eyes. "Most of them have never even been to Earth. Only the ones who work with the Hunters."
Dean stops to consider this. Every time his brother starts thinking too much, Sam is forced to listen to the most stupid things… "Do you think they have houses?" Dean muses out loud. "I think they just stand on power lines like pigeons"
One day, Sam is going to write them down and make a book.
"The angels who came here," his brother continues. "They work for the Hunters."
"I think the Hunters work for them," Sam guesses, but it's all uncertain.
"This Hunters thing is cool," Dean decides, putting his hands behind his head. "I could be a good Hunter."
"…" Sam slowly looks at him in the semi-darkness of his room. "Where is this coming from?"
Dean shrugs, smiling. "I don't know. That Castiel guy said something that got me thinking."
"Do you even know what Hunters do?"
"Sure I do!" He grins, legs dangling off the bed. "They pose with their coats blowing in the wind while explosions go off in the background."
"And you think a giant fan follows them around so their coats can always look cool?" Sam goes for a serious face but can't contain a laugh. "Dean, being a Hunter is not like on TV. They're not always the heroes. They're the clean-up team for after the angels save the day."
"But there's a lot of things I could do for them. I could be a mechanic…" he trails off. Sam thinks if Dean really wanted to be a mechanic, he'd do just that and forget about the Hunters. "I got to talk a lot with Castiel that day. He said once the Hunters select you they give you basic training, and after that, if they think you're a worth shit, they might even help you get a degree."
"Do you want a degree?" he asks, doubtful.
"Sam, I'm 21." Dean sighs. "I work at Uncle Bobby's garage as an assistant, and he only gave me the job 'cause I didn't want to stay in the house all day with dad bitching at me and mom all sad 'cause I didn't go to college…" He rubs his forehead like there is a headache coming. "So I said I'd only be working there while I thought about what I wanted to do with my life, and I think this is it."
This is probably the most honest Dean has been about himself since he was 12.
"Since when have you being thinking about this?" Sam turns on his side so he can face his brother. "The Hunters, I mean."
Dean shakes his head. "I really don't know. I think talking to Cas opened my eyes."
Sam snorts his laughter and Dean scowls at him. "Are you sure you are not soul-bonded?"
He can't stop laughing through the entire pillow fight. After he's calmed down - the smell of wet grass still coming from the window - Sam realizes there isn't really much to think about.
College can wait – and Mary would faint if she heard him say this – but his bond is getting more insistent, more overwhelming with the years. This is a chance, and he can't ignore it.
"I'm going to join the Hunters too," he says, and there is no hesitation in his voice.
Dean makes a pained sound. "Sammy-"
"Sam, this angel… we don't even know if they wanted this bond, man." They've had this discussion more times than they can count, and it still hurts, even now when Sam might finally meet his mate. "I mean, the other angels know about you, so yours probably knows too. Why haven't they showed up so far?"
"I don't know, Dean." Sam sighs, frustrated. "I'm still 17. I think sending those two angels here was The Angel's way of offering a chance, extending a hand, something like that."
The Angel must know Sam is out there. No one could come up with a better explanation as to how he survived that fall intact without supernatural intervention.
Dean lies by his side for a few more minutes, trying to think of an argument he hasn't used before.
"Well," Dean yawns and gets up. He takes the ashtray, sighing. "That was my last cigarette."
Sam snorts. "No way. Where have I heard that one before?"
"I'm serious this time!" Dean swears. "Cas said I probably can't keep up with their training if I smoke, so…"
Sam rolls around the bed laughing. "One date, and you're already whipped."
The ashes on his bed are so worth it just to see his brother's face going red.
"Dude, you won't believe it!" Dean blurts out as soon as Sam answers the phone. "That Castiel guy is my angel guide!"
"No way," comes his brother's shocked reply. "What are the chances?"
"Don't know, don't care." Dean grins, checking out his reflection in a window nearby. "I'm gonna get me a slice of angel cake."
"Dean," Sam shouts. He can feel his brother's bitch face dripping from his voice. "Hitting on your guide will get you fired-"
"He's coming back," he whispers before hanging up. "Wish me luck, Sammy."
Dean gives him his most charming smile as Castiel walks up to him.
"I need to wait for the paperwork," he tells the angel who nods and proceeds to stand absolutely immobile. Dean desperately looks for something to say when Castiel offers nothing. "Are we killing anything today?"
"No," Castiel answers and carries on with his apparently favorite game of creepily staring at him.
"You got other 'students'?" he tries again.
"You're my only ward."
"So you only take one at a time?" The sentence is so obviously a pun, especially with Dean's suggestive tone and raised eyebrow.
Castiel doesn't seem to notice. "This is my first time as a guide."
"Really?" This gets him interested. "What's your usual job?"
The angel just barely smiles. "I smite."
"Right…" Dean tries to smile back. "Well, this is a great help for me! Without an angel I'd have to stay months in a classroom learning stuff the boring way. I didn't even think I was going to get one; they say the wait is, like, a year."
Castiel blinks, nothing on his face changing as he says, "This is not a burden."
This frustrates Dean. How is it possible for someone so alien to get him so hot?
"So, they put you up for human-sitting duties?"
"I volunteered to be your guide." Castiel looks away.
The woman from the administration office comes back with his papers, and Castiel immediately says, "Let us go, Dean."
"Right." He quickly signs the documents and turns to his guide. "I parked my car-"
Castiel holds his arm, and they are not in the Hunters administration building anymore. Powerful wind almost sends him flying back, but the angel holds him tightly. Castiel says a few words in a strange language, and an invisible bubble seems to appear around them, keeping the wind away.
They are on top of a huge cliff with a valley and mountains in the distance, and if he wasn't too busy about to seriously embarrass himself, he'd enjoy the view.
"Wow, dude!" Dean screams, throwing himself on a big chunk of rock and holding on for dear, sweet life. "The hell- I mean, this thing is huge!"
Castiel nods with patience. "About 3,600 feet. They call it 'Troll Wall'."
Dean gulps. "What country?"
Dean feels like he just died, and his lips still haven't caught up yet. "What are we doing here?"
"We are going to fly."
"No, no, no-" he desperately repeats, walking to the other side of the rock as if to prevent Castiel from taking him by force. "No more of that zap thing-"
"Not 'zap'," the angel tells him with his small smile. "Actual flight."
It just figures the very first thing the angel asks him to do is the one he fears the most.
"I don't know, man," Dean whines – says – looking down at the beautiful valley and trying to imagine himself in free fall- okay, not helping. "Is it really necessary? This wasn't in the job description."
Dean can already see Castiel writing on his weekly progress report: 'Dean Winchester presented himself to be a total pussy. No more observations'.
"You don't have to, Dean." The angel looks more and more disappointed, like he thought this was a great idea, and now Dean is going to be the asshole that made a pretty angel sad. "I only thought this exercise in trust could bring us closer together."
Couldn't we just get a beer? he thinks but sighs, defeated. "You ain't gonna let me fall?"
Castiel extends his hand in invitation, and Dean imagines he feels something like an energy emanating from the angel, making him feel good and secure.
"Never," Castiel says, and Dean believes him as he takes his hand.
It would be a lie if he said he hadn't fantasized before about putting his arms around this very same angel and holding on tight. Sure, the setup was usually his bedroom, not a deadly cliff in a Nordic country, but his hands are only two inches away from Castiel's wings joints, and it's suddenly all he can think about.
"Are you prepared?"
"Just do it, man."
Castiel leaps, and Dean finally understands what could possibly feel so good that would drive his brother into jumping from their rooftop when he was six.
Castiel doesn't know how to fire a gun, so he takes Dean to his favorite place in New Zealand to teach him how to feel an angel's Grace and enhance his senses.
He tells Dean to stand with his eyes closed inside a forest and try to feel something, and Dean just doesn't understand what that's supposed to be.
"Is this the angel equivalent to Mr. Miyagi's waxing the car technique?"
"… I don't know what that means."
Dean sighs and tries to concentrate. He can hear the cracks and snaps and birds singing, but not whatever it is that he's supposed to pick up on.
He waits what feels like an eternity before there is heat brushing gently on his hand, and Dean freaks out. "What was that?" he asks, turning around to search for it, but it's already gone. "Was that your mojo?"
"My Grace." Castiel nods.
"Why did you do that now?"
"I have been doing it for the past five minutes."
Castiel can barely contain his smile, happy that his first lesson seems to have worked. Dean grins. "Ah, so I can only feel it if I concentrate. Nice."
But it takes him almost 20 minutes after that for him to calm down and stop thinking about how attractive Castiel looked with so much emotion on his face.
"We shall do this every morning," Castiel announces after they're done. "After you have acquired your sustenance, I shall teach you about the creatures we fight, and if you are not too exhausted by night, we shall hunt them."
"Sir, yes, sir."
And they begin Dean's training. Day after day after day he only comes back home to sleep and spend occasional Sundays off - when Dean manages to convince his guide humans also need a moment for themselves.
They climb and walk and watch, Castiel's soothing voice a constant narration over their lessons. By the end of the first month, Dean can feel a shift of air when Castiel zaps into the room. By the second month, he feels Grace trying to comfort him when he's scared, instead of just shrugging off the sudden calm feeling in his chest as being his own doing.
By the sixth month, Dean is addicted to his Grace, asking Castiel on more than one occasion to expand it without offering an explanation as to why. His angel never asks for one.
They have becomes friends, companions beyond their roles of guide and student, and Dean wants more. Even more time together and less space between them. He wants to be allowed to touch his wings, groom them to perfection and then kiss feather by feather before giving his undivided attention to the smooth skin of his back.
And most importantly: he wants Grace without having to ask for it.
It comes to a point of no return when they enter their seventh month of training.
Castiel shows up in his kitchen like he does every morning, without knocking or caring that Dean might have a heart attack from the scare. This time, his feathers are sticking out everywhere, making his wings look wilder than ever.
"Dude, they are a mess," Dean comments around his coffee mug. Castiel always waits for him to finish breakfast before they leave. "Don't you groom them or something?"
"I have not found the time to care for my wings in a while," the angel admits with a sigh. "It is a long process, for they are larger than myself."
"Yeah, they're…" Green eyes stare at them in a daze for a long moment. "Hm, so, I'm not doing anything right now," Dean so casually says. "Want me to help you out with that?"
"Only a mate is allowed to touch their angel's wings. For someone else to do so would feel like a violation," Castiel tells him, avoiding eye contact. "Not even angels touch each other in that manner."
"… So basically it's like I just asked to touch your ass or something?" Dean wants to go back to the past and punch himself for skipping so many classes.
"Yes-" Castiel quickly adds, "But I do not feel insulted. I understand human knowledge on angels is limited and not spread out as it should."
"What's there to know? You guys are people with wings." Dean shrugs, like it's obvious. When he thinks about it, it was this sort of reasoning that made him skip classes about angels in the first place. "The only difference between us is that humans think they're the shit, while angels are pretty sure of it."
The angels shake his head. "It is not that simple. Angels are made of light. We are immortal - although not invincible – and it's not in our nature to have 'casual relationships'. We mate for life."
The word 'mate' catches his attention immediately. He makes the connection between 'immortal' and 'for life' in his head and can't quite believe it.
"So you guys marry forever forever?"
Castiel nods solemnly. "We'd rather die than leave our mates' side. No matter what, we'll always stand by them."
"So, basically," Dean says, putting his mug on the counter and trying not to look too excited. "Even if your mate acts like an asshole for no good reason, you'll still put up with them?"
"That's correct." Castiel nods.
"You won't leave them ever?"
"I believe that's what I just said." The angel's wings give a small flap – a sign Dean has noticed means he's either amused or annoyed. "Surely this isn't surprising for you, as you live in a word where humans have their souls bonded to each other?"
He has been hitting on Cas every opportunity he can get, but so far he's been receiving some pretty mixed signals. Cas never flirts back, but they do stare at lot at each other. The angel has a sort of protective affection for Dean, and he did say his soul was beautiful, and the 'L' word had been thrown around…
When he thinks about it, Castiel was the one who came to him, specifically asked for Dean and never explained why…
Dean has never taken a direct approach due to the fear things will become awkward between them, but the thought that Castiel might find someone for himself - and thus taking away from Dean any chance he might have - drives him mad. He makes a decision before he can change his mind.
"So, how is the process of choosing a mate?" he asks, stepping closer to the angel. "Is there coffee, flowers, the whole nine yards?"
"I don't know. I have never dated or asked someone for intimacy," Castiel admits with his usual unashamed expression, although he seems to blush a little.
"You never had sex," Dean says the words out loud to make sure they're real.
"Never." He feels the need to add, "Neither have most angels. We see no point in having sex with someone who won't eventually become our mate."
This would be totally fucking hot if it weren't for the bad feeling in his gut. What if Cas isn't interested in people that way?
Dean's asshole side always takes control when he thinks he's about to get hurt. He says, without finesse or subtlety, "So you're just going to stay a virgin for life?"
"And the problem with that would be?"
He forces a laugh. "You don't really know what you're missing out on, buddy."
Dean thinks back on all the lies he told to get girls to have sex with him and how shitty he felt afterwards. Sure, sex is great, but even during it there was always something uncomfortable crawling under his skin… and yet, he kept doing it anyway.
He doesn't want Cas ever feeling the way he did, doesn't want him to have sex with strangers – with their dirty hands and sick intentions - but can't quite take back what he just said, even if it feels like deceit to him.
"…" Castiel stares at him, and this is not one of their nice staring contests. The angel looks disappointed, perhaps from the words or Dean's tone of voice, and he finally answers, "I'd rather stay a virgin than have meaningless sex with people I don't care about."
Dean sees red. He never told him that. There is no way for Castiel to know unless he read his mind, saw his memories or whatever the hell angels did to get information. His friend had promised to never do that to him, and Dean would rather be angry than heartbroken.
"You read my mind?"
There is realization on the angel's face that he just gave himself away. "No, I- It was an accident, I never meant to pry-"
"Who I sleep with is none of your fucking business." He storms out of his own house, not caring about their training.
Castiel doesn't come looking for him for the rest of the day.
It shows that the angel is also learning about humanity when Castiel comes for him only the next day, appearing with a distance between them.
Dean is trying to fix a loose connector in the Impala but stops before the impending conversation.
"I apologize, Dean," Castiel starts right away, looking remorseful and sad. Dean wishes he could kiss that expression away. "When I first touched you, the knowledge of your sexual encounters came to me before I could stop it. I had only meant to know of your character. It was not my intention to insult you. Like you said, your activities are none of my concern."
"No, it's-" he murmurs, trying to find something to be mad about so he won't have to forgive him and see how sad he really feels in the end. He can't believe he became this girl who storms out of places. "We're cool."
"I don't believe we are." Castiel shakes his head and steps closer, hesitant – like he's unsure of his welcome. "I'm aware you find me terribly blunt, but I'm afraid I know of no other way."
Dean hearts squeezes painfully. "What is it?" They can't be friends anymore, Dean crossed the line, they are too different, he can't forgive wh-
"I find myself to be in love with you." He clenches his hands on the sides of his body. "When I realized you had already been intimate with others, I felt a terrible emotion inside me that I later realized was jealousy. Thinking about this makes me very upset, and yesterday I couldn't hold my tongue in time… I'm sorry if this changes us."
His mind comes to a halt. The words 'in love with you' ring in his ears, and Dean feels like he's about to throw up his breakfast in the most unromantic display of affection ever witnessed. A declaration like this should make him punch the air and tackle his angel to the ground, except…
Dean needs to buy an Enochian/English dictionary, because they can't possibly be talking about the same thing... "Cas, you understand I've been hitting on you all this time, right?"
"Dean…" Castiel shifts from one foot to the other, and the man has never seen him nervous before. He murmurs, "Angels mate for life… We don't do 'casual'."
And the angel looks at him, so hopeful, so gorgeous, Dean wants to hit himself because both of them have been looking for the same thing all this time.
"Damn it, Cas!" He passes a hand over his head in frustration. "I'm not good at this."
"Try," Castiel pleads, and there is no way Dean can ever deny him, not when he looks about to breakdown.
"I haven't had sex with anyone since I started my training with you," he confesses and hopes their time together has taught the angel this side of humanity too.
"That was seven months ago," Cas points out; his voice sounds awed.
Dean shyly smiles at the floor. "Yeah..."
Cas gives him a dopey smile, one Dean decides looks awesome on his face. "It's not customary for a sexually active man to go seven months without sex."
Deans laughs, covering his face with a hand. This is probably the strangest dating in the history of interspecies relations. "No, it isn't."
"Wait, I need to show you something." The mood sobers as Cas says this, taking a hesitant step forward. He raises a hand, asking for permission to touch. "May I?"
Dean wants to scream 'fuck, no,' but that wouldn't be very good for his plans of kissing this guy sometime today, so he just nods, looking warily at the hand before it touches his forehead.
Like watching a photo being developed, the memory comes to Dean slowly, one bit at a time. There were angels in Sammy's room, watching him sleep, and one of them was just like an angel hero from his favorite cartoon show. His wings were gigantic, and their feathers cascaded over the floor, like shadows, almost blending in with the darkness of the room.
Dean had hugged one of the wings, squeezing it as hard as he could, fingers deep in softness and warmth.
His younger self had kissed the angel's cheek, and Dean really can't come up with a reason as to why his reaction to meeting Castiel is to always drool all over the guy.
Dean has the distant feeling that maybe he should be mad about this – or at least ask how this memory just came back now - but all that comes out of his mouth is, "So, when do we do this bond thing?"
"Seven months, Dean," Sam mocks him on the phone and would probably laugh his ass off if there weren't so many people around.
"Dude, you have no moral ground here," Dean replies. "Waiting for Prince Angel much?"
Sam hangs up on him, because he can, and wonders how it is possible for his brother to have gotten an angel before him.
Showing a receptionist his documentation, he asks where he can find the form for requesting a guiding angel. She points him at an empty hallway with an administration desk.
The man responsible for the desk gives him a tired smile when Sam requests the form.
"You'll need to fill out this application sheet-" he starts but suddenly stops and stares at the table with huge eyes. "I'm sorry, I just remembered I have a lunch break!"
"Okay?" Sam says but the man is already leaving.
Sam watches him walk away, perplexed.
He turns his attention to the form. There are basic questions, like his contact information, and then three pages of questions about his motives for requesting an angel. Sam really doesn't know what to write under 'areas of interest', where he's supposed to list the departments he wants to work with.
The last page of the form is a huge list with departments and positions, together with a small explanation on the top of the page that a 'supernatural detective' can apply for many posts, like the 'spiritual division' or the 'control of were creatures division', so one should be very specific.
Sam massages his head with a hand. People actually do their research before requesting an angel; they don't just get the first bus to the Hunters Organization building as soon as they get their hands on their high school degrees.
"You need to list at least three items," a male voice from somewhere on his right says as a finger points out his mistake. "Right here."
"Oh, right," Sam murmurs. He's pointing to where he should list the reasons he'd rather be trained by an angel. "I don't know what to write…" he admits, more to himself than to the other guy.
"Then maybe you should just write the truth," the other man goes on, uttering the words carefully. "Angels have this thing about honesty; they value it more than fancy words."
From the corner of his eyes, he can see feathers touching the floor.
Sam feels like he can't breathe all of a sudden.
Even though his hands are shaking, and he can't really see what's in front of him anymore, he manages to write, 'I want to meet my bond-mate' three times over.
Keeping his eyes on the desk, he offers the application for the other man to read. "Is this good enough?"
He takes the sheet, and Sam waited years for this – he was ready to wait a lot longer – and now he just wants this to be over.
There is a hand on his shoulder, and Sam looks up to see his mate. It's a short angel with smooth hair and a handsome face. Looking at him for a few seconds, he doesn't know what to make of him – if he's attractive, if he's plain. Sam never felt anything beyond platonic for people of the same sex; maybe this will be over before it even began.
The angel puts a hand on his chest, and something in him jumps.
The light inside him that expands when he touches himself now sings with joy, and Sam decides this angel is the most beautiful thing he could have asked for in a partner.
This is it. The thing he's been missing, what he's been waiting for.
Entranced, he cups the man's face with both hands and brushes a finger over his cheekbones. He's so gorgeous, Sam thinks again, with his honey brown eyes and this amazed, awed expression taking over his face.
Like he can't believe Sam is touching him – so tenderly.
"Hi," the angel mumbles.
"Hey." Sam smiles and can't really keep his voice from shaking. "I'm Sam."
"I know," he answers, sounding almost sad.
And it really hits Sam. This is his mate.
Something on his face must have shown his thoughts, for the angel removes the hands from his face. "You expected taller?"
So many questions. How did this happen? Why didn't you stop it? Do I really love you?
"Why didn't you come for me?" is what comes out.
"I couldn't, Sam." His voice is pained, and he looks away. "You were just a child. I wanted to give you a choice."
"I waited for you," he says. "I'd have waited even longer…"
"I know." And he probably really does. "I waited too."
The angel touches his shoulders with his wing – his perfectly creamy wing – and Sam has to clench his hands so they won't touch it on their own. These are Sam's wings, from his dreams…
"If it's worth anything to you, I prayed everyday that you'd choose me," the angel tells him, stepping closer. "Thing is, Sam." Another step. "Before that, I hadn't prayed in over two millennia."
Sam doesn't know what to say or what to do with the questions this rouses in him, how very interested he is in this man.
"I understand that maybe you don't want a more intimate relationship with me. But I was hoping for us to be friends? You have a piece of my Grace with you that I haven't seen in a long time, and quite frankly, I miss it." There is mirth in his voice, his smile is genuine, and Sam loves that his mate has a sense of humor – although he'll still have to find out its extent.
"What's your name?" he asks, a little bit breathless.
His angel's breath brushes against his lips as he answers, "Gabriel."
And Sam is kissing him, without asking for permission, just taking what's rightfully his, and Gabriel moans into his mouth, holding Sam's shoulders for support.
This is right. Their size difference, Gabriel's wings around them both, and Sam's huge hands. The feel of his mate's determined tongue against his own shy one, the Grace inside him expanding with joy, and the fact that Gabriel doesn't waste any time before squeezing his ass.
They're all right, because God custom made this for them, and Sam thinks He knows what He is doing.
Most of the time.
When they separate, Sam has his arms around his mate's torso – just like they're supposed to be – and he's not planning to let go.
"My father spent my entire life thinking you were an asshole," he warns Gabriel, trying to show he also has a sense of humor. "If you see a shotgun, please don't take it personally."
Gabriel very politely – a Castiel influence – refrains from saying that he can kill Sam's father with his little finger and instead says, "Yeah, bringing your new boyfriend for Christmas might be awkward."
"Wait." Sam breaks off the kiss. "Did you do something to that guy just now?"
"Don't know what you're talking about." The angel gives him a sly smile. "Not my fault he forgot his own lunch break. I mean, can't a guy just help someone around here without false allegations of tampering with-"
Sam is already kissing the grin off his lips again.
Extra scene: Mommy, Where Do Souls Comes From?
"The Warehouse of Souls. I was walking there-"
"Wait. Where is that?"
"It's sort of between Heaven and the In Between… It's hard to explain. It's not on Google Maps."
"How big is this building?"
"It's not a building."
"You said it's a warehouse."
"No, no. Not 'a', 'the' Warehouse. It's capitalized because it's the name of a Plane of Existence, like Heaven, not an actual building! We just call it that because we store souls there."
"Well, how was I supposed to know it's capitalized?"
"Don't they teach this at school?"
"No, I don't think this is common knowledge. I never even thought the souls were stored somewhere. I always assumed they just came into existence."
"Like 'Spontaneous Generation'? Are you insane?"
"Not Abiogenesis! I thought, you know…"
"Nope, Sam. I don't know."
"Like, the soul is created when the baby is born… Like, inside the baby?"
"…You humans are such naïve little creatures, hm?"
Final notes: Thank you so SO much for the amazing feedback you guys have been giving me! All the reviews (both on LJ and on ), all the "favorite story +", the "author alert +", and God know what else!
Thank you, thank you, thank you!
A special kiss to Kodamasama for her eternal patience! She just works so hard to beta my stories! (Seriously, without her, no one would be able to understand a word I write.)
A huge thanks to Cybel who did the art for this story! Her work is great, go check it out if you haven't yet: .
Later on, I think I'll write extra scenes for this story. There was a lot I couldn't add because of the deadline. So sad…
Also, Jenova is the villain of Final Fantasy VII (a little something for all the other geeks out there!). Just saying before someone thinks this is a misspelling.