Perdition catch my soul but I do love thee
And If I love thee not, chaos is come again.

2002 – Madison, Wisconsin

I can't tell one from another
Did I find you, or you find me?
There was a time before we were born
If someone asks, this is where I'll be . . .

The breeze that ruffled through the garden stirred the leaves and petals of the rose bushes as the hydrangeas that hemmed them in rustled in argument. This dream was not new. Lingering drops of rain settled among the roses, bearing down the scent into a thick, almost meaty blanket. Castiel sucked in great mouthfuls of it, but the heady sweetness was making him feel nauseous. The roses were a dark rich burgundy, the color of wine, and the blossoms on the hydrangea nearest the blooms were as dark, though the others were a soft baby pink.

Under the metal arch that marked the entrance to the small garden was a figure, with his back to the light, there were no defining features, merely the shape of a young man, older than Castiel, at most perhaps sixteen or seventeen. "Aren't the flowers beautiful?" the man asked, "do you know why they are so red, when so many others are just pink?" Castiel didn't answer him, he never did in the dream. "Bodies under the roses nourish the flowers, only blood can make the flowers grow that color."

Castiel asked something, some piece of nonsense that made sense in the dream, and it was carried away by the roses as the young man walked towards him. He was always outlined against the light, so there could be no details, although the moon was to the rear of them. "Let's make a bet, you and I, when we meet again..." A sudden wind rose up and drowned out his words. It carried them away from the rose garden by the small church of which he dreamt. There was something written on the metal arch. He could not read the words. The figure reached out and cupped Castiel's face in his palm. "So, for now, I'll just let you go."

Cas woke from the dream to his cosy bedroom in the Harvelle house. He swung his legs out from his bed and stretched out his feet on the small rug that Jo had made for him in home ec. Then he padded across the hall to the shared bathroom, and began his morning toilet, appraising himself in the mirror to decide whether or not he needed to shave this morning. It still wasn't every day.

Jo popped her blonde head around the bathroom door. Years of living together had given Cas a sort of immunity from her quirks, if the door wasn't locked she always had considered it fair game.

"Hey, Cas, Mom said I could take the car today if you didn't mind, because I have to get to school for practice, and she's gonna be out all day so she can't drive me and well, you can get Dean to drive you to college." That was followed by a conspirator's grin. At sixteen years old Jo was a force to be reckoned with. At twenty one, Cas was convinced, she'd rule the world.

"I've made you breakfast." She added. This was an exaggeration clearly because Jo couldn't cook and Cas never had anything more substantial than coffee and bread and jam for breakfast. "So, please, Cas, can I? I mean I've got get going, or I'll be late to practice and you know how Coach rides me, and it'll be such a terrible bother for you to drive me, then drive back, and if you,"

Cas held up his hand and cut her off. "Just take it." He said, "the keys are in the kitchen drawer, but you crash it..." he tried to look menacing but it was pretty much ruined by the high school girl who landed him with a flying tackle shrieking thank you thank you thank you. Cas just embraced her back then watched her go in a flash of jeans and her dancing blonde pony tail. He never could say no to her.

Turning back to the mirror he stuck out his tongue to see how furred it was, before scraping his hand over his head. But turned quickly to look around the bathroom at the phantom scent of roses.

Wolfing down his breakfast, Jo had considered making his breakfast leaving the jam out beside the uncut loaf and turning on the kettle to boil water to put into the press, he picked up the phone and scrolled down to Dean to beg a lift. He might as well get some use out of his constant protestations of love. Cas liked Dean, he was a great friend, even with all the touching that might have been a bit more than friendly, but he always seemed to be on the other end of the phone, even if the constant declarations of undying love were exhausting.

It was something of a game between them, Cas knew, Dean would tell him he loved him, or that they should run away to Canada together, and Cas would tug on his gloves, which everyone knew was his tell for just about everything that went through his head- especially in response to Dean, and pretend to ignore him.

Dean picked up by the third ring with a grumbled and curt "Winchester."

"'S me," Cas said, "Lucas Harvelle," he corrected himself just in case. "I was wondering if, well, it it's not too much bother, if you could, well,"

"Need a ride?" Down the phone Cas could hear the grin, that million megawatt grin that made people look at Dean and keep looking- like they were the one who could make him smile like that; like they were the one who made him light up like a pinball machine. And damn if he didn't make it sound like a euphemism.

Cas sipped his coffee as he looked at his socks, determined not to tug on his gloves, even down the phone. The black wool was wearing a touch thin over his big toe, and he doubted that they'd survive another wash before Ellen performed her signature darning, holding them over the waste bin and going "darn it" as she threw them away. "Yes," he agreed, "Jo negotiated the car out of me before I found out about Ellen being out all day, she said about how she needed it for practice."

"Swimming?" Dean asked, Jo was part of the varsity team, "or that martial art she does? I mean, I don't know how she makes time, she does so much."

"Sugar," Cas answered, "and those fancy energy drinks. Ellen thinks she pees isotonics."

Down the phone Dean laughed and Cas knew there was that smile, the million dollar smile that crinkled the corners of his eyes, and was usually followed by, "God, I love you, Cas," he said, "you sure you trust me to take you to college and not just drive all the way to Canada so I can have my wicked way with you." It wasn't a question, not really. It was just the ongoing joke between them.

"Yes," Cas replied pouring himself more coffee, "you don't know where I keep my passport."

There was a short quiet pause before Dean answered, "so you do have one," and it was Cas' turn to laugh. "I'm on my way, so make sure to put your shoes on this time," Dean told him fondly, "and I take my coffee straight." Cas pulled down the travel mug that even Ellen considered Dean's and flicked on the kettle to make more. "I'll be about ten minutes, be ready." He waited for Cas to reply and when he didn't he said, "love you, be there as soon as."

"In his eyes and on his lips
There lies the love of a thousand years"

Cas had met Dean Winchester on the day before the university spring term started in the anthropology department office. June had been busy with the coffee machine, which was, as always, being temperamental. Most of the department had installed simple filter machines into their offices, because it was just that much less stressful, but June remained the hub of everything in her place as the department secretary and was determined to make it work.

Cas opened the door to her office just as she stepped back to let the student in there with her have a go. Cas was of the opinion that the best thing to do with the machine was to take it out back and leave it for the pelotte team to use as target practice. Most opinions were similar just with different sporting teams.

Dean Winchester had the entire anthropology department eating out of his hand that day as he coaxed a single, perfect cup of espresso from the Beast, and did so in such a way that the thick crema was marked by a leaf. For a second June, who was never short of some sort of comeback and had a tongue like a whip that she was not afraid to use, was speechless as she took a deep breath of the coffee. "Oh, Dr Harvelle," she said to Cas, her tone suggesting that she was in love with anyone who could work the coffee machine, thirty years of happy marriage not withstanding, "this is Dean, he's Dr Markham's new grad student."

On recollection Cas still wasn't sure which of them was more surprised, Dean or himself.

Cas had finished his doctorate the year before on an accelerator program. He had graduated high school at fifteen and moved to Wisconsin-Madison U where he did his bachelors, then his MPhil and Ph.D. together. That meant he was younger than most of the students that he taught.

Dean however, was about the right age, but in scuffed jeans, an old wife beater and plaid shirt under a leather jacket that must have been his dad's at one point. He looked more like a car mechanic than an anthropology student.

"A doctor, wow," Dean was the first to recover, "consider me in love," then he gave a lecherous grin, taking in all of Cas' appearance, his eyes lingering on his hands and the brown leather driving gloves he wore. "Well, that's settled it, we're just going to have to go to Niagara to get married," he said it in an offhand manner as if it was just the kind of thing people just did, run away to Canada with complete strangers just to get married.

"Why?" Cas asked, shell-shocked as June snickered into her perfect espresso, sitting down at her chair under the desk.

"Well, doc, that should be obvious," Dean said and for the first time he grinned, that grin- the one that burned like the sun and crinkled the corners of his eyes, "you're a doctor, my grandmother will be passing around the cigars in Heaven."

Joan snickered into her coffee, watching this over the rims of her reading glasses. "And besides every one else in this department apart from the lovely Joan here," she quirked up a silver eyebrow, "is older than Methuselah, there's the age difference to take into consideration, and well, Professor Markham has that thing," he rolled his eyes unable to roll just one of them the way Markham did, "and well, Dr Harvelle," he said the name carefully, "I simply loved your article on the assumption of the language of magic into prayer."

Cas was silenced again. That article hadn't been widespread. It had appeared in a single journal that had a very limited release, in fact there were something like ten copies of it in the country, and most of them were in this department. "And we have the same taste in music," he looked at Cas' tee, causing Cas himself to look to see if he had spilled something on it. It was a tee that Ellen had given him, that had been Bill's, and was an old concert tee for Led Zeppelin "So, we should just get in the car and drive across the border."

"Can't," Cas answered, trying to think of some sort of comeback, then smiled, "I don't have a passport." He lied. He did, but it wasn't in the name Lucas Harvelle, but instead his true name, Castiel Tarabotti, the one he had to keep hidden no matter what.

June raised her head, "do you need a passport to go to Canada?" Both men nodded the answer at her.

Dean made an exaggerated expression of defeat. "Wounded, my heart is broken, you shall have to take me out for coffee to apologise."

"You got the Beast," Cas gestured at the coffee machine against the wall, between the book shelves, making strange creaking and hissing noises with needles fluttering on valves- One of the previous professors had bequeathed it to the department and no one had really gotten much more than burns from it since- "Working, we don't have to go "out" for coffee at all." Then putting his collection of print outs on the desk for June to post on the notice board- it was mostly sign up sheets for his second year classes which were pretty much designed not to have any students want to do them at all- "lunch might be doable though, if you do all my photocopying." Cas wasn't an idiot and a grad student was just a work horse for anyone who needed some horrible job completing. Dean wasn't going to be the exception.

"Consider it done, Doc," he said, "if you tell me your first name."

"Lucas," Cas answered him with the old familiar lie, he'd been Lucas Harvelle for ten years now, installed there for his safety, and he was happy with Ellen and Jo. "I'll be ready for lunch around two," he said and turned to walk away.

To this point he hadn't regretted that decision. Dean was a good friend, he was charming and funny, and he really did help with his work load, and sometimes he could just phone him up and scam a ride.

On the second day he came with a single red rose
Said: "Will you give me your loss and your sorrow?"
I nodded my head, as I lay on the bed
He said, "If I show you the roses, will you follow?"

Cas knew that the university was just a cover story, that someday, he tugged at his gloves as they drove up to the campus, he would have to leave it. He noticed his nervous gesture even as he tried so hard to drive all the details into his memory. He was the Merovingian, he repeated, clenching his fingers though it had been a long time since the leather creaked, all he had to do was live.

Still Dean was beside him, warm and so alive, and, he tugged at his gloves again. Dean would never understand, could never understand.

He was the Merovingian. That was all that there could be.

The university was familiar and common and what he knew. Dean didn't need to know about the demons that lurked in the world. Dean didn't need to know how the Merovingian's touch would expel and destroy them. He didn't need to know how even a hand laid upon their heads would save possessed hosts that they had chosen. Dean didn't need to know about his weekly trips to the asylum to try, just in case, to save any of them.

Dean didn't need to know.

He tugged at his gloves again and then turned to his companion, "I don't have any lectures today, do you?" He had intended to spend the day collating his research in the hope of another paper. Dean looked surprised but shook his head, muttered something about reading week or something else Cas wasn't really listening to. "Wanna play hooky?"

And Dean grinned: that wonderful, dazzling, world shattering grin.

And all of a sudden it didn't mean anything that Dean was a post grad or that Cas was a doctor, or that Dean was a student and Cas a teacher, or that Dean was normal and Cas was the Merovingian. They were just two grown men, playing hooky.

"I knew I could get you to come with me on a date," Dean said, "I've had it planned for," he thought about it, shifting gears with his hand between them, "how long has it been since we met?"

And Cas laughed then. Let the world go away for a day, he thought, for just a day let me have this.

Within this spell my soul to sell
I'll carve your winding path to hell

"Why do you wear gloves?" the student asked. She was pretty girl with milk skin and dark red hair escaping in coarse wisps from the braid over her shoulder. "I mean," she blushed, suddenly shy, and nervous.

"Oh," Dean said appearing behind him, "didn't you hear the story? They're to cover Dr Harvelle's robot hand, like in Star Wars." Cas stood there as Dean rested his chin on his shoulder and it was so natural, so normal, that he didn't even consider the intimacy of it.

Dean was like that, he was always touching, reaching out, he would link arms, or have his hand on his waist, his arm. No one even questioned it.

"I was in a fire," Cas corrected, "when I was a kid, there are scars. They're pretty gross." The student went bright red, her skin matching her hair for a moment, before she lowered her gaze and pretty much ran away. "You scare them, you know." Cas told Dean over his shoulder.

"I'd like to think so," Dean said wrapping his arms about Cas's waist and draping himself along his back like a super hero's cape. "I saw you first, doctor, I'm going to scare them all away until you finally give in to me." And Cas just laughed secure in the knowledge that this was the form their friendship took, manifesting in this game between them. And it didn't matter the way that Dean draped himself along him, because this was just the way that they were.

be my friend
hold me,
wrap me up,
unfold me
I am small
and needy
warm me up
and breathe me

Dean pulled the car alongside the lake, there were picnic tables in a clearing, but it was too early in the year for families. The water was dark and still, a light wind creating little waves that lapped against the store and stirred the trees.

He got out of the car and then stretched his legs. "We could pretend this is Canada," Dean told him, looking at him coyly over his shoulder. "We could pretend a lot of things, you know."

Cas climbed out of the car, walking around to Dean. The day was brilliant. The sky a rich and creamy blue, with a few clouds swimming here and there making strange shapes. The air that curled over the lake was still slightly chill, but not enough to need coats or be unpleasant. There were great trees that leaned around them in dark shadows and bottle green. "What do you want to pretend?" Cas said and joined him in lolling against Dean's tar black car looking out towards the lake. Dean slipped his hand into his and Cas didn't think to question. It was so natural.

"This." Dean turned his head and kissed him. His mouth was soft and hot, with a hint of firmness, the press of him, the weight of his skull and teeth and the slip slide of his tongue against Cas' own when he opened his mouth to receive it.

"You don't need to pretend," Cas said against his mouth. "But I'm not running off with you to Canada."

Dean's laugh was a hot puff of air against his cheek, before it was swallowed by a second kiss, a third, a burning fourth. Cas hated the gloves that stopped the feeling of Dean's skin against his own, but, he just twined his fingers through his hair. "Just this." Dean agreed, murmuring it against his skin, "just this."

The gloves were necessary and wrong, preventing the feel of the prickle of freshly shaved skin, that glorious line of jaw between ear and neck, that tasted of salt and alcohol and under it, the groan Dean made as he licked there. More than anything Cas wanted to tug the gloves away. He wanted to throw them in the lake, but he couldn't, he couldn't even remember why he couldn't take them off, just that he couldn't.

And Dean tasted of salt and desire and want, and he was pressing against him, the two of them leaning against the sleek lines of Dean's black car and against each other, hot and hard and firm, and god Dean was beautiful, though his was a face he hadn't grown into yet, with those eyes and those ginkgo patterned freckles that followed the sun, and that mouth, and he was slim, still growing, so young and yet older than Cas.

"God, Cas," he said into Cas' mouth, that familiar nickname, that shared truncation of Castiel and Caspar and Lucas, that name that he would almost always have in some form or another, and the feel of slim fingers that lifted the hem of his shirt, tugging it up to reveal a stripe of skin, fish belly white from being hidden from the sun, and there skin met skin and Cas groaned.

It was too much, he pulled back for a moment, greedily sucked in air, before he dove back in. Why had he waited. Why had he let Dean think this wasn't what he wanted? When he fantasised and dreamed and daydreamed he saw Dean touching him with those long slim fingers. He saw those bitten nails scraping along Cas' own white skin, but Dean made a game of it, he played and Cas hadn't wanted to be played. He didn't want to be the game. He could drown in him, it wasn't a competition, he knew now, it was a collaboration.

"No." Dean pulled back, gasping, "not here," He said. His lips were swollen, by my kisses, Cas thought, by my mouth. It's my breath in his lungs, Cas knew, my smell in his nostrils. And Cas knew these things to be true because he could feel it, Dean in his lungs, on his tongue, along his skin, against the leather of his gloves. "Anywhere, but not here." And Cas laughed.

Dean's apartment was a second floor walk up, and there were hands touching hands, running along arms, and stolen kisses on every step. At the door, Dean pressed him up against the wood, slamming him in place hard enough that there would be bruises from the fittings, kissing him, even as he fumbled the key in the lock.

But when the door opened it was different. It was like they were different people with a different agenda. They became strangers not sure how to talk or move. Cas scrubbed his hand through his hair as Dean apologised about the state of the immaculate apartment. It was much nicer than it should have been for a post grad, they were paid a pittance, and this was a nice apartment. Cas didn't know how to ask about it. He'd known Dean for the best part of a year and he didn't know this.

"I'll make coffee," Dean said stiffly, skinning out of his coat with a practised motion as Cas tugged at gloves. It was a strange transition from the promise of sex to the inevitability of it. He hung his coat on the rack by the door, where there was a canvas jacket, Dean's summer coat, and a few pairs of heavy boots and a worn out pair of sneakers. There was a heavy leather couch with worn out pillows, and a well hoovered rug. Everything in the apartment was expensive but lived in. It was not a place where someone dipped in and out. It was a home.

There were framed photos on a low side table near the window. There was a cloth over the table and it was a strange anachronism in the apartment and that was the excuse Cas gave himself as he looked through them. It was a family, Dean's family clearly, but they looked strained. Dean's mother was a beautiful blonde and Dean clearly took after her, and then there was his father, a gruff looking man with chocolate eyes and a sexy smile, Dean had gotten that from him, but there was also a young man with floppy light brown hair and limbs that seemed too big for him. They stood in awkward poses, clearly gathered together just for the portrait. "My brother," Dean said appearing behind him, offering coffee, instant with a splash of milk, the way Cas preferred it, "he goes to Stanford, he's studying pre-law." Dean was almost uncomfortable close as Cas took the cup from him.

"You must be proud." Dean murmured assent and then reached past him for a small remote control, pushing the photo of his mother face down. "Your parents especially."

"My father is disappointed that his two sons want to do nothing productive with their lives, apparently academia doesn't count and law certainly doesn't, and my mom died when I was fifteen." Cas apologised quickly, sure he'd hit a sore spot. "I'm not sure she would have approved either, really. She wanted me to learn languages, said that translators would always be highly paid."

Cas huffed out a laugh, but it felt a bit forced even to him. "You look like her."

"And your parents?" Dean asked. It was conversational tit for tat, nothing more.

Cas looked at his gloves, wrapped around the white coffee, "the fire." He said, it was the old familiar lie. "So I live with my aunt and her daughter, I grew up with them, it's just."

"Comfortable." Dean offered.

"Yeah, there's my uncle Robert as well, he lives out of state, but..."

"Jo's great." Dean agreed, "and Ellen's awesome, and I mean that in the old fashioned biblical way, of awe inspiring and epoch ending," he was grinning- that white shark arc of desire and domination, the one that lit him up like a pin ball machine and Cas was the absolute focus of it.

"I'll make sure to let her know." Cas sipped the coffee, it was perfect, rich and smooth and thicker than most instants. Even this was expensive. Dean turned his head to push a button on the remote and the apartment filled with music.

"Like the wings stolen from an angel; like the petals torn from a rose; like a dove caught in a storm, tonight is in the lord's arms" a man sang to them in a voice like silk over a softly strummed guitar and plucked mandolin, and Dean took the opportunity to take the coffee from him, and kiss the mouth before him, and Cas knew that this was it, that this was perfect.

The coffee cups were carefully put between the photos, knocking over the family portrait, as Dean slotted himself between Cas' thighs and pushed him towards the couch, which accepted them with a breathy sigh.

There was moments of touch and skin and smell and taste and soft mandolins before a heavy clunk clunk click had Cas pushing him off him, going "what the hell?"

"CD changer, it's on random" Dean murmured into his skin as another song started up, what sounded like a theramin followed by a conscious drum beat before Michael Stipe raised his voice to cover them as he sang "You wanted a challenge, it's calling you higher, I landed on my feet, I'm falling." "It's on random."

"Oh," Cas said and then took the opportunity of separation to pull Dean's tee over his head as Michael Stipe continued "you say you want me, I'm what you found, I'm upside down, you're in the air, you're in the air and I'm breathing you."

Dean's skin was golden pink and he was slim, not overly muscly but enough to bunch under his skin in a deliciousness brought to touch. And Cas knew what Michael Stipe meant as he sang "I want you naked I want you wild; I want the stars to know they win. Give me that smile just give it me; just turn it on I'm lost again, I'm lost again."

And I believe I'll move the mountains,
I think,
Or maybe I'll drown in the sea.

Three days they spent learning each other, finding those places that had previously been unimportant but were suddenly cast in a new light as fingers lingered against them, or breath gusted over them in dizzying swirls. There was music and liquor, hot and burning against the soft palette and throat, and there was pizza with too much cheese forming strings and determined to fall liquid hot against bare thighs as they ate in bed. There were fingers and tongues and laughter and groans and exhalations and sweat and come and a hundred things besides. It was a wasted weekend, but very little of it was wasted.

Dean had slim hips and a perfect ass that Cas just wanted to worship, even when the flesh demanded succour, because even young as they were there were limits to their stamina, and he lay pillowed against Dean reading, though the words were nonsense and slid away from him, he focussed on the blonde hairs on Dean's forearm, baby wisps and curls, the heat of his skin against Cas' back and the thu-thup thu-thup thu-thup of his heartbeat in the curve of his throat against Cas' ear.

There was no penetration, neither of them seemed ready to take that step- Cas was nervous and Dean was understanding but there were mouths and hands and the grind of muscles and hips straining and laughter.

Throughout all of it was laughter.

"Are we still pretending?" Dean asked and Cas just laughed and pushed him into the sheets to show, that no- he hadn't been pretending for some time now, well other than the important things.

But it ended, not with arguments and tantrums, or even the slow encroach of normality, because how could anything be normal after this, Cas knew, but instead with a series of beeps on a small, pale blue cell phone, the Nokia 3310 that Bobby had given him for Merovingian emergencies.

"Ignore it," Dean said, "it's just a text," but Cas lifted it and opened and read the message quickly.

"I've got to go, it's," he stopped not sure exactly how much Dean actually knew because this was a Merovingian call to arms, not a professor one. "It's about my book, I'm working with the asylum on how religion is assumed into schizophrenia, to see if there is a link. One of my patients," he said, "the family are going to call an exorcist."

"And?" Dean asked, leaving it open for Cas to continue.

"People die in exorcisms, Dean, she's twelve years old, if I can..." he let it trail off, "if I can help."

"I'll drive you." Dean said, pulling his jeans off the floor.

"It's okay, I," Cas started, Dean couldn't see what he did, no one could, or the Morrigan would find him and he'd be forced to run - again. He'd be forced to leave this, to leave Dean and Ellen and Jo behind, just as he had when Karen died.

"Jo's got your car remember, I can wait outside."

And he was so patient Cas had to kiss him, holding his face between his gloved hands. "You are too good to me," he said, "you're more than I deserve." So why was it, Cas thought, that I can smell roses?

Reveal yourself to me
I wanna lose myself

Mendota didn't want to be called an asylum or bedlam, or even a nut house - it called itself a secure facility for mental rehabilitation. They could paint the walls white and bleach clean the floors but the entire place stank of desperation and madness. The nurses could smile sweetly and they could play Beethoven in the public areas but the other things had long since permeated the concrete and glass.

"They all like this?" Dean asked, ramming his fists into the pockets of his leather coat.

"More or less," Cas answered, "the ones here in Wisconsin at any rate." He had been admitted with barely a glance to his security pass, and walked through to one of the wings by a small woman in white scrubs. The mother wore a black dress with a worn pink cardigan, belted at her waist and the father loitered by the exit, stinking of cigarettes, hands rammed into the pockets of his suede jacket. That wasn't unusual. People dealt with the madness of a family member in a few distinct and heartbreaking ways. This was just one of them. Dean slumped down into one of the benches.

Cas steeled himself, tugged on his gloves, before he spoke to the nurse.

He should have realised just then that it was all going to go wrong.

The girl was tiny, in her stained kitten pyjamas with her black hair slicked back and lashing like snakes - and he didn't look at her like the anthropology professor but instead as the Merovingian, he could see the demon that overlaid her form like a sort of inky wrongness, it was a stretching of something incoherent and vile. It wasn't much of a demon, a hint more than anything, but it was clear what he had to do.

"Merovingian." The creature hissed through her mouth, lashing against the restraints that had already been stained with sweat and other things. She had probably tried to chew her way through them. Demons didn't care what they did to their hosts, or how they hurt them.

Cas sighed and tugged on his gloves, using the motion to calm himself. "Do you have a name?" He asked as he pulled off his coat and put it on the table, "we can be civil about this at least."

The demon laughed with the child's throat. "Civil?" it sneered. "You are filth," and then it continued with a stream of obscenities in a cliché as it pulled and fought at the restraints with the child's body. It was a demi-vile, one of the least of the demons, one of the most common. Cas was convinced that at least on some levels they thought that they were in The Exorcist and wearing Linda Blair.

"I'm sorry," Cas said and touched it's leg. Even through the leather of his gloves he could feel it- the power of the Merovingian rushing through him- as the child bucked and tried to throw off his touch. Still obscenities frothed from the small mouth, catching on her small tongue and crooked teeth. She would be fitted for a brace soon. Cas found it easier if he focussed on the minutiae, or it overwhelmed him. The power was like touching Dean. He wanted more and more of it. There were times he wanted nothing more than to be surrounded by demons, true demons, not like this fledgling thing, and to use the power and let it rein free, because it felt like orgasm and sleep and a hundred wondrous things all at once.

The girl bucked once, twice, and then went still.

She had been dead for days, that much was clear. The only thing that had been stirring her heart was the demon and without it she was gone.

That, too, was what it meant to be the Merovingian.

He wanted nothing more than to lower his head into his hands, his gloved traitorous powerful hands, or to fall into Dean's arms and sob. Instead he scrubbed his hands through his hair, and then straightened his gloves. "I'm sorry," he said again and just like he had the first time, the second time, and all the times after that, he really meant it.

He was sorry that the girl had a chink in her armour for the demon to slip through.

He was sorry that he hadn't been quick enough.

He was sorry that they had had to move her here to him, that his own safety had weighed more than hers, and that he had taken what little life she had gotten from the demon.

He was sorry that ultimately he was glad she was dead, so she couldn't know what it had done with her body.

He was sorry that she was a child and she'd never be anything else.

He spoke to the doctors, to the nurses that had accompanied him, he spoke to the priest that the church had sent to watch over him. He said the words carefully, trying to explain that the demon had killed her, that her bones were broken, that there were torn muscles and that it had served only as the glue holding her together.

"I'll tell the parents," the doctor said, his voice calm and even. He had seen this before, they took the verified cases here to the Merovingian, even though Cas knew it was a risk. The Morrigan was vigilant. The Morrigan would know. It had killed his mother. It had killed his grandfather. It had chased him once before. Because killing Merovingians was what the Merovingian did.

The door opened into the sterile white of the corridor, the parents waiting, the mother with her hands fisted in the fabric of her husband's shirt and the doctor shook his head so slowly. She looked at Cas, who looked so out of place there, so young amongst the nurses and doctors and the priest and she clenched her hands tighter. She slipped her hand into his coat.

Everything played out in slow motion.

Dean saw something he hadn't, he stood up, putting himself between the parents and Cas, the doctors quietly placating.

The mother lunged, something bright in her hands and Dean caught her. Blood spattered the wall and for a long moment Cas thought he was dead, as the orderlies and nurses pulled the woman away- it was a screwdriver, something left in his coat from whatever he was doing before, some menial task that he had occupied himself with, and her husband was horrified as it clattered across the floor leaving blood in it's wake.

The mother was screaming but Cas couldn't hear her, all he could see was the blood, and there were nurses leaning over Dean and gauze pulled from god knows where and they were dragging her away and Cas stood there, useless, as it happened around him; because of him.

I wanna lay you down on a bed of roses
For tonight I sleep on a bed of nails
I want to be just as close as your holy ghost is
and lay you down on a bed of roses

"He lost the use of his eye," Cas told Ellen as she offered him a brandy in one of their primary coloured coffee mugs. He was shaking. There was still blood spattered all over his shirt. "God, Ellen, he lost his eye." Ellen was fussing about around her large kitchen, opening and closing cupboards without obvious choice, she was looking for something to do and finding nothing. Jo was sat at the table, drinking coke noisily through a straw, trying as uselessly as her mother to find something else to do that would allow her to be here for him. Even Bobby stood at the kitchen door, driven in from South Dakota just for this. "He lost his fucking eye and it was my fault."

She came up behind him, wrapped her arms about his shoulders and laid her head upon the crown of his head but all he could think was that these were not Dean's arms, and this was not Dean's chin resting on his head. These were parts of him that Dean had touched and, leaving the coffee cup of cheap brandy on the table, he half turned and accepted her embrace. Ellen was not given to such obvious displays of comfort, and he sobbed into her hair, into the rise and fall and softness of her breast. Jo came then, and wrapped her arms about them, she was quicker to give such gestures of love and murmured nothings into his hair as he racked and sobbed. "I fucked up," he managed through the sobs and the fabric and mucus, "I should have had the parents sent away, I should have seen," he stopped, "it was for me."

"Shush," Ellen murmured softly into his hair, half crouched beside his chair, "shush."

This was a tripartite hurt she knew, and Dean was just the strongest arm of it.

Her arms were in the places Dean had touched and he rested his head against her where he had rested his head against Dean and Dean had lost the use of his eye, for him. What could he do but beat useless fists against her shoulders as he sobbed and she murmured "shush" into his hair.

Bobby had driven in when he had heard of it, and he stood at the kitchen door, "it wasn't your fault, boy," he said in that way of his that was simultaneously despairing and fond. He was an older man with a gray beard and a trucker cap over a flannel shirt, so completely inappropriate for what he was. "He wouldn't blame you."

And the worst of it was that Dean hadn't blamed him, he'd sat there in the hospital bed, his brother, all long limbs and floppy hair with his sour mouth fussing, flown in from California in the twelve hours that they operated and tried and failed to save his eye, and Dean had smiled, that wonderful megawatt grin that was like the sprawl of the milky way over the Mediterranean and said. "She did it, Cas, not you, I got in the way and I'd do it again." And that hurt just as much, and Ellen had been there, in the hospital, trying so hard to pull Cas away, so he could heal away from this place, away from the small hospital room and the shining beautiful boy in the bed there.

"Shush," Ellen murmured into his hair, "shush," as he sobbed and racked and railed and wailed. "It's all my fault." The woman had taken the screwdriver, a small useless thing, a tool forgotten in an inside pocket, and gone for Cas.

She had done it because he had failed her, because he had failed her daughter, who lay a dead lump in the room behind her, still in her restraints because a demi-vile had killed her and not had the common decency to let her die.

"Shush," Ellen murmured, "shush," and in her arms, wrapped in her and her daughter, brandy still on his lips and burning the taste of Dean from his tongue, he sobbed.

Everything about you pains my envying
Your soul can't hate anything
Everything about you is so easy to love
They're watching you from above

"Go to him," Ellen had said, "tell him." And Cas knew he had to. They had spent a year match making, he knew, they weren't going to put a little thing like an accidental blinding drive them part.

He drove, carefully, respectfully, in his old Ford, to the two story walk up where Dean lived and sat for perhaps twenty minutes with the engine idling.

There was a pot with a rose bush outside. The wood was cut down for the winter so it looked like an angry hand thrust through the soil, but even the sight of it gave him the phantom scent of roses.

It had been a week.

Every night he had had the dream of the rose garden and the wind carried away the words as the figure lifted his hands and he knew he had smiled but with the light behind him he was just a figure. "So for now, I'll just let you go."

Cas shook his head, pushing it away, pushing it down. Dean had been so understanding in the hospital, but it had felt like he had been the one hurt, he was the one who should have been.

Dean was waiting.

The funny thing was today was the first anniversary of their meeting. A year today Dean had coaxed a coffee out of a machine that still wouldn't work for anyone else and first grinned that shit eating mega watt brilliant grin and offered to take him to Canada. It was funny how quickly a year flew by. "So for now, I'll just let you go."

Shaking his poor mood from his head and pasting on a fake grin, one that felt so small and insignificant in comparison to Dean's own, he opened the door to the apartment building and went inside. "So for now, I'll just let you go."

He met Sam Winchester on the stairs.

Sam had a different beauty to his brother. He was young- so young- in his first year at college, with soft floppy hair and a crooked smile. His eyes were curious and there was a mole on the side of his nose. He was tall as well, perhaps six four or five, certainly taller than his brother who had half a hand's breadth on Cas. "Hey, you must be Lucas." He said, taking Cas' hand and shaking it, seemingly overjoyed to meet him. "I'm just popping down to the market, he'll be glad to see you."

"How is he?" Cas asked, "really?"

"Oh, you know, he's not the kind to show that he's hurt. He's talking about getting a seeing eye dog. He always wanted a dog and now his landlord has to let him have one. Then he decides he wants a seeing eye monkey, apparently you can get those too." His smile was bashful. How odd it was, Cas thought, that this boy could be so bashful, and almost embarrassed by his brother's vagaries, when Dean burned like the death of a thousand stars.

" Maybe I should have brought him one of those instead of the papers he's missed from the department." He gestured to the leather satchel at his waist, his cover for doing this- The impetus he had needed to push him. "So for now, I'll just let you go."

Up the stairs, behind this bashful giant, Dean was waiting. "You know he's missed you, I'm to get tea just for you." He smiled again, and although it was small and crooked it was like the sun peeping from behind a cloud and he flicked his head to get his bangs out of his eyes before he said "make sure you're still here when I get back, okay, I've barely seen Dean in well over a year, I want to meet his friends."

"I'm not his friend," Cas thought but did not say aloud, "I'm his lover. I'm the one who blinded him. Would you look at us the same way if you knew that?" Instead he said, "I look forward to it." But it was a lie that felt like ashes in his mouth. "Take care." He wasn't sure why he said it, just knew that it was the right thing to say.

He carried on up the stairs and stopped outside the door. "So for now, I'll just let you go."

He knocked and Dean opened it, and smiled at him. "You came," he said and then under the bandages that held the pad of gauze to his ruined eye he smiled. And how much easier it became as Dean just leaned forward and kissed him.

He tasted of old coffee and breath mints. He tasted of promise and desire and antiseptic. He didn't think about the neighbours as he pulled him, hands proprietary on his ass, into the apartment. "Fuck, I've missed you." Dean murmured into his skin. "Come in, we haven't got long before Sam gets back."

The couch welcomed them back with the same breathy huff noise as the cushions exhaled their last under them, and Cas so nervously touched his gloved fingertips to the bandage on Dean's cheek. "Not your fault, love." Dean said and then kissed him, forcing his mouth open despite his own misgivings, until there was no gloves, no bandages just hands skimming his chest, tugging off his satchel and throwing it across the room with his jacket fast behind it. And Cas was as determined, there had been too long since skin touched skin and god how beautiful Dean looked with his arms stretched over his head, caught in the long sleeves of his simple tee. Beautiful enough that Cas had to kiss his neck, his collar bones, his supra sternal notch, even the dips and folds of his armpits with their scant coarse blonde hair.

And Dean breathed words into the kisses, fuck, love and other monosyllabic nonsense as Cas peeled open his jeans murmuring words he didn't know where they came from, words like sorry, my fault, and so sorry, even as he kissed the skin he revealed from it's fabric prison. The elastic of his shorts had left a webbed pattern on the skin above his pubic hair and Cas had to run over it with his thumb, so close but so far from Dean's cock that Dean cursed and swore and bucked and Cas smiled, a soft sad broken smile and murmured those same words of love and sorrow and luxury, and the skin there smelt of roses. "So for now I'll just let you go."

"We should take this to the bedroom," Dean said in a broken voice, broken by Cas' hands and mouth and Cas just looked at him like he was speaking in tongues. "Sam only went to the market."

"He thought I was your friend."

And then Dean grinned even as he pulled himself off the couch, taking one of Cas's gloved hands in his, "you are." He said. "and so very much more."

The bed was freshly made with white linens that seemed out of character. Dean grinned, scratched at the bandage over his eye almost absently, ignoring the stab of guilty hurt that flashed through Cas at the gesture and pulled his hand down. Then he pushed, with a hand to his breastbone, Cas to fall unto the bed with an oof not entirely unlike the couch and Dean laughed, a low dark chuckle. He wondered how he must look, topless with his arms up, gloved, and his pants open. But Dean obviously approved. He fell on Cas like a starving man, holding his hands up over his head as he showered his chest and belly with kisses, as he rubbed, through the fabric, the erection that was fast becoming painful.

Could love be any more wonderful than this? than this beautiful forgiving man. Cas thought, and bit back the words he wanted to say. Part of him wanted to exult, "to Canada, avaunt." And he knew that Dean would laugh into his skin. Dean climbed over him, all thin arms and legs and rose scented body wash as he opened the drawer of the bedside cabinet. Cas didn't see what he took out with the condoms, and didn't even think.

Dean looked hungry, kneeling over him, Cas wanted to help him but if he did he would lose contact with Dean's skin. Dean's skin was golden and the fabric was so dark and rich and his lips were kiss swollen too and his eye, apart from his bandage and under a spray of dishevelled hair, were like a jade bead.

Cas wondered how it was possible to not love him.

For a moment Dean even looked vulnerable, the white bandage suddenly stark and vicious, and Cas reached up to cup Dean's face between his palms. He stared at him and smiled and it was a soft smile, the one that sparkled in his eyes and played at the corner of his mouth. The one Jo teased him for.

Dean smiled back, that special smile that was like universes ending and then pressed down and kissed him.

Cas loved to kiss, to kiss as if he could, by very virtue of spit and spirit, become part of Dean and Dean was content to let him as his palms stroked the plains of his stomach, never reaching up to his nipples or down to the bowl of his pelvis. Like the song that played in the other room it was slow and sweet and Dean was softly sucking on his tongue, and he didn't mind the way that Cas raised his hand along his sternum, feeling the hairs crinkle and crunch there under the pads of his fingers.

Dean was a heavy weight between his thighs and that was where Cas wanted him to stay forever. There was a curious mix of sensations, of skin and heat and weight and velvet and crisp male hair and the wondrous sucking on his tongue and Cas rocked up into it, into the answering bulge in Dean's jeans and Dean let him.

He came with a gasp but Dean didn't, he just raised his head, pulling away from the kiss by sucking out the lip and smiled, before he began to kiss along his jaw, his hands starting to work on the belt as Cas lay boneless beneath him.

When his trousers were opened Dean pulled them down gently, gathering up his briefs at the same time, and then lowered his mouth to the evidence of Cas's orgasm. He had never done this before. He'd sucked him off, but never like this, never after.

His tongue was hot and torturous as he slowly lapped away the sweat and semen staining his thighs and into the pubic hair, with long slow strokes and all Cas could do was press the back of his hand to his eyes and feel as Dean lapped and hummed and his thumbs made cooing circles on his stomach.

Cas had never known anything like this.

He felt cherished and precious and it was too much and he wanted to be aroused, because surely that was the point of this, but it was too soon and he was too tender, to open and all he could do was lie back and feel.

Dean nuzzled the flesh with his nose, even as he lapped and Cas was falling, falling into this. How could he not when it felt so good and he felt so cherished and worshipped and Dean's tongue was hot and soft and his thumbs firm in the divots of his hips. Cas felt new under his hands even as his cock hardened and Dean looked up at him and smiled and began to use more determined licks, and his breath parted the dark curls and Cas just arched and felt.

His hand, his left hand because his right was currently bearing down against the bridge of his nose, was making scrabbling motions trying to find purchase in the bedspread but his own weight against it prevented it.

Cas could be naive, he knew that, and he had a basic education in the aspects of man on man sex, that he had garnered from listening to girls on the subway, but nothing, even hours of rather detailed lecture could have prepared him for the moment where Dean opened his mouth and took the very head of his cock inside.

Cas thought he might die.

He thought he might want to.

He wasn't sure he hadn't, but the image of Dean's dark head was burned into his retinas. Dean splayed his hand on Cas's stomach and looked up at him and chuckled and Cas wanted to arch, to pull back, to laugh, to cry and he didn't know what to do so he simply trusted Dean and against his own instinct moaned.

Cas knew, rather than could see Dean smile.

Dean got up then, and opened his trousers and Cas didn't know whether to look, whether he was meant to, what he was supposed to say, suddenly the comments he had garnered from the Gore Vidal novels really didn't feel appropriate and Dean just leaned forward, ignoring his obvious inability to make a decision and smiled against his lips fondly then kissed him.

Cas knew how to react to that. He kissed him back.

He was aware of Dean reaching into the bedside cabinet but really didn't care. He was aware that Dean was hard against his stomach, and that it was larger than he had thought it would be, and he couldn't see it and he wasn't sure that didn't make it worse. But Dean was hard and hot and he pressed down and Cas wanted this, didn't he?

He wanted Dean to put his mouth back. He was quite sure of that.

Dean's mouth burned a trail down the side of his face, along his neck, which felt much better than it should have, chuckling against his nipples but lavishing them with attention, which confused Cas because he wasn't a girl and you kissed a girl's nipples. Dean sucked on one of them and Cas wasn't confused any more, he just didn't care. It felt that wondrous and new he would be quite content if Dean never stopped.

He didn't hear the cap being popped open, but he was aware of Dean's finger suddenly being cold and slick and there. Dean had touched him before there, and it felt good so he relaxed into it.

Dean lowered his mouth the same time he slipped his finger inside Cas causing him to buck up into that hot warmth with the surprise. Cas just opened his mouth a little more and groaned. So Dean fingered him and bobbed his head and Cas just surrendered to those strong fingers, he was quite sure there was two, when had that happened? did he care? and that wonderful mouth.

He reacted with a soft scream he couldn't quite control as Dean touched some place inside of him that ended the world.

But Dean didn't stop, even as he thrummed and panted and clutched at the coverlet Dean raised his hips in his hands and pressed something hard and blunt and larger than fingers against his ass and then with a sound, he had rather thought would be a pop but was more of a ngh, Dean pushed inside him.

It didn't last long. They were both primed for a quick release. Dean pushed inside him and just sat there, trying to control his breathing and his hair fell across his forehead and he looked a little lost for a moment so Cas reached up to touch his face and then he moved.

Dean came on the upstroke and Cas seeing his control waver, seeing a hearty red flush spread across his chest and throat came too.

When he caught his breath, and Cas was wondering how me managed to stay so calm, Dean's thumb wiped away tears from his cheeks he hadn't known he'd shed and hushed him, and tangled together, covered in sweat and saliva and semen, Cas slowly fell asleep with Dean's thigh a hard length pressing him into the Manchester as Dean softly sang under his breath, but Cas didn't recognise the song.

You'll never see - the courage I know
Its colors richness won't appear within your view
I'll never glow - the way that you glow
Your presence dominates the judgements made on you

Later Cas would maintain he hadn't noticed as he dressed, pulling on his jeans and the tee over his head, that the gloves were gone. He was so used to wearing them that it never occurred to him that he might be without them. He toed on his boots and then without fastening them up he went into the parlour where he expected to be met by Dean and his brother.

The sorcery rolled over him like a great tidal wave.

Gone was the comfortable apartment with it's expensive furniture and magnolia and vanilla air scent in it's place was a rose garden with a metal arch leading deeper into the dark. The roses were wild and blood dark, thrashing about in a wind, blocking his exit.

Dean stood leaning against the wooden slats of the old church. "So it comes to this," he said and he might have sounded sad, but Cas wasn't sure, "it comes down to me, and it comes down to you."

"Dean," Cas tried to speak but the words were gone, elusive aphorisms vanishing like bubbles from his lips. One word remained firm, "Morrigan."

"I know," Dean grinned and that shit eating grin which one devastated him was now, he could see, cruel. "Imagine my surprise that day, there I was burying a body and who should wander in, for no apparent reason, than the Merovingian, I suppose I should have killed you right there. But where's the fun in that?" His beauty was gone now. It became hard edged and shark-like. This wasn't the same man who had less than an hour before let his lips linger against the curve of his hip, was it?

He was a predator.

"So I marked you," he stepped across, lightly across the grass, quick as a snake, and lifted Cas's hands which he could see now were bare, "here and here," he kissed the palms and under his lips a design formed- three triangles in a circle, the brands hot and painful, "to find you, and we made our twisted little bargain. Of course, I should have planned for the Order to hide you away. I didn't look for you," his grin was an open wound of cruelty. It was a dark hollow and his eyes glittered like jade beads in the half light in this illusion. "But I found you anyway, my pretty little pet Merovingian. Not even their sorcerous gloves could hide my own mark from me."

Cas felt like he was locked in place. He couldn't move. He'd let this man... he had loved him – he did love him. "I," he said.

"Don't remember, of course not, love," he said the word, lingering on it like a bonbon in his mouth, rolling it around on his tongue so it mocked even as it flayed. "I didn't want you to, but here," he pulled him tight and kissed him and the memory surged back.

Karen had wanted him to come back. He had run off as much out of a desire to see the roses as it was not to be punished for forgetting to feed the dog. The boy had stood over the body holding a shovel and then he grinned, "well this is awkward," he said, and stepped forward. "Such an innocent soul," his motions were ophidian as he dropped the shovel and lifted Cas' hand, "let's make a deal, you and I, we'll met again, you and I, little Merovingian," he'd laughed. It had echoed around the roses, catching in their whiplike branches and heady black roses.

"Of course I know what you are, I can taste your innocence and love calls out to love. Until then, my little love, and in that time I will give you a single year, and you have that year to make me feel like something a mortal man fells, because it's a shame to waste such innocence, if you can make me feel something, if at the end of that year you stir a single emotion in me I will let you live, but so I can recognise you," he kissed his palms and burned the mark there with his lips and his magic, "so for now I'll just let you go."

Within the week Karen was dead and Caspar Singer had become Lucas Harvelle and Sioux Falls was a memory and Cas wore the gloves, just as he always did.

"Of course," Dean continued, still holding Cas' hand in his and using it to cup his face. "It didn't work, I couldn't care less if you lived or died, it's the problem with being Morrigan, we don't care." He jerked his hand and the wrist he was holding snapped with a terrible noise and Cas was aware of the pain as if it belonged to someone else, "look, I just broke your arm and I might as well have held a twig for all the care I have, so I'm just going to have to kill you, such a disappointment."

The second wave of magic rolled over them, washing away the roses with their hypnotic scent and replacing them with the white walls and magnolia air freshener. He jerked back. "Looks like the game's not quite over yet," Dean said, "that'll be my brother, back from the store, and here I thought I still had time. Oh well, away you go," and then he leant in close and whispered in his ear, "I'll most likely kill you in the morning," he offered that galaxy bright million mega watt grin and now it felt like death, "so for now I'll just let you go." Then he pushed him hard so Cas fell on his ass on the wooden floor.

"Hey," Sam said opening the door, he had two bags of shopping in his arms. "What happened?"

"Cas just fell," Dean said, and he sounded so concerned, "he tripped over the table, but I think his arm is broken, can you, I mean will you take him to the ER."

"Dear God," Sam said putting his hand on his good shoulder to help him up, "shit, I, I mean, Dean have you got any ice? I mean."

"I'm good," Cas said, "just, well, I need to get to the ER, and have you seen my phone."

"It's all right," Dean purred behind him, "I'll call Ellen and take care of it."

"You do not know
Silence like a cancer grows.
Hear my words that I might teach you,
Take my arms that I might reach out you."
But my words like silent raindrops fell,
And echoed
In the wells of silence.

The nurse had baby fat hands, it was what Cas would later remember as she took him through to the x-ray. Sam had been called away as soon as he got there, and Cas wasn't surprised and if he hadn't been in the nurse's capable hands he would have made a call. He knew that his next of kin was listed as Ellen so the hospital would call her, he hated the idea that Dean would... Dean was the Morrigan.

Dean was the Morrigan.

His Dean, who had wormed his way into his heart and bed with smiles had done it just because and said so.

The nurse seemed to believe his simple story of a sex act gone wrong. It explained his dishevelled hair and his badly wrinkled clothes and the spiral fracture, one you couldn't get from falling and told him to take better care even as she splinted his arm. The doctors would laugh about it in their lounge but that was better than the truth.

Dean was the Morrigan.

The figure Cas had dreamt of for all those years, the one in the roses – that had been Dean. How could it have been Dean but he could remember it clearly now, the illusions gone from his memory. He was a trained Morrigan, and Cas was just a Merovingian moved from pillar to post to protect him, they had offered him no training, and what gifts he had he had learned through trial and error. He suspected that he had barely scratched the surface of what he was capable of, but Dean had dominated him without magic, and then used that magic to try and kill him, and only the inopportune arrival of his brother had stopped him.

Whilst he waited for the doctor to sign him out he called Ellen's to talk to Bobby. He had to tell him that he was compromised. He had to get out of Wisconsin as soon as he could. He was the last of his kind. He had a duty to survive.

Ellen met him at the entrance with the car, Bobby was in the passenger seat as the story poured out of him. She told him that Jo was staying with a friend until this was taken care of. He expected tears but there was none. He was cold inside, just like he imagined the Morrigan to be. He went into the house and climbed the stairs to go to bed, but instead just sat on the edge of the bed and stared at the floor trying to process what was going on.

Dean was the Morrigan.

Dean had tried to kill him.

Dean had fucked... no it wasn't fucking, if it had only been fucking it would have been months since, whatever it was it wasn't fucking, but it sure as hell wasn't love.

He flopped back on the mattress with an oof noise that reminded him of Dean's couch and wondered if he would ever get over this, and if he ever really could, it was still too new, too raw to process.

When Bobby came up he looked tired. "He's gone, kid," he said sitting next to where Cas lay half on half off the bed. "His super says he went back to Kansas to be with his family to get over the accident." Cas didn't say anything, just tracked the crack on the ceiling over and over, it kind of looked like a lightning bolt. "The order is arranging new papers, how does Illinois sound?" Cas didn't answer. "They'll set you up with a house, a job, you know the drill."

Bobby had been his first care taker, the one he came back to again and again and the Order was sure he hadn't been compromised but now Cas wasn't so sure. It didn't matter - Cas was compromised anyway. He lifted his hand as if blotting out the sun to look at the design on his palms. It was a pair of concentric circles, one set within the other, and inside that was three smaller triangles, each touching the outer circle, which in turn made a larger triangle with an absent fourth in their centre. The symbol of the Morrigan, he thought.

"It's a mess, kid," Bobby said putting his hand on Cas' chest in a reassuring fashion. "We'll get going in the morning."

A week later when he pulled over on his way back from the supermarket to his empty new house in Pontiac Jimmy Novak made a call from a call box to the Madison police department "the body you found, the one in the news. I have some information. No, sorry, I don't want to leave my name. I, I know her, I mean," he stopped, "I didn't know her well, but I know who she is, I mean," he stopped again letting the operator talk. "I know her name," he blurted it out. "It's Jo, her name is Joanna Beth Harvelle." He hung up then and rested his arm for a moment on the call box before he realised the arm he was doing it with was the one which Dean had broken.