A/N: In the process of the next chapter now, so update will come very soon. I wanted to thank all the readers for sticking with this and for the wonderful reviews. I am just happy so many seem to like it. I wrote a novel for NaNoWriMo (not done yet, but on the way), so I took a break from this story to do that. I loved it. Great experience—highly recommended. So, I hope you'll understand the month-long break for November. If anyone has an interest in an original scifi/romance novel from me (yes with M/M), let me know. We have plans for it. Did I say we? Yes, yes I did. We have some very big plans.
Additionally, if you liked the first installment of my SPN "Time After Time" series, you're gonna be pleased very soon with a continuation of that fun story.
As always, thank you for the amazing reviews (criticism is also welcome). They make my day.
"I didn't even know there was a purgatory."
Patrick raised one eyebrow, then let it drop. "Most humans don't. Bobby does."
Dean rolled his eyes, then lean back into the couch cushion. "Of course he does."
Castiel watched the human's reaction for a moment. The two sat closer on the couch, having moved into the path of conversation which had become natural for them both. The closeness was instinctual now, and even though Cas worn different skin, Dean has even turned toward him and scooted closer now that he was more familiar with this body. The men sat so that their knees brushed occasionally, depending upon what motions they carried through the conversation. Turns out the angel has become quite animated with his hands while talking in his years with Dean, and the hunter had caught several mannerisms clearly learned from both him and Sammy.
The angel watched, nearly as fascinated as he might have been when first experiencing human touching, as Dean's left knee brushed Patrick's right.
Sitting forward again, Dean continued with his train of thought. "I mean, I guess it makes sense. I always wondered where the monsters went because—you know, some are actually okay-ish."
Castiel nodded, his red hair bobbing lightly. Dean was in that in-between stage of having been taught to hate all supernaturals, and the stage of knowing that, like humans, it varied. The Dean who had died in their bed had this knowledge.
Dean's knee brushed Patrick's once again.
"Is there any chance Cas—you—might die from the power?"
The angel's gaze shot straight up to meet the human's. He had been looking at Dean's lap, admiring the youthful curve of his partner's thigh muscle through his jeans. Now was most certainly not the time. No matter how much he felt both his heart and borrowed body ache.
He cleared his throat. "Yes, but I believe only if I hold onto the power for a longer period of time than we plan." Castiel allowed a small snort at Dean's wide-eyed expression. "Just more motivation for you to talk me down."
Dean felt his brow getting heavy as he gave Cas his best "fucking hell" face. He blinked a few times as he looked down to his fist in his lap. He hadn't realized he'd been holding it. The hunter leaned forward and propped his elbows on his knees to support himself.
"I don't like this."
"I know." Cas's voice seemed to soothe. "But, it is the best way to get rid of him now."
Dean nodded. "Yeah. It would be."
The man with the red hair glanced around the room as he considered something. "I don't think we have to do it alone, Dean." He turned back to his human with a small smile. "We do have friends here, you know."
"What? Like Sam and Bobby?" Dean huffed out.
"Yes, and Balthazar."
Castiel felt their legs brush again, and he thought perhaps he should back up. "Yes. I asked him once of he would help me with the time jump to stop the mark. I believe he will stay true to his promise, and he may also be able to help with the doors to purgatory."
"Does he fight with you in the future?"
Nodding, the angel pulled himself back a few inches on the couch. "He did. And he died for his efforts. I would like to prevent that this time around."
"And this is safer than dealing with any attack Raphael would coordinate," Dean agreed.
The human suddenly flopped back into the couch, stretching his arms above his head, cracking his back. Cas watched as his shoulders rotated, the muscles—built from daily work rather than a gym—gliding under the thin tee shirt sleeves. Dean set his arms down at his sides, but kept his head back against the cushion. The long lines of his neck, and the cords of his muscles called to the angel. When he swallowed slowly, Castiel watched the Adam's apple bob up, then down. He turned his eyes away quickly. He had no business letting his mind wander. He was sitting on a couch next to his dead lover. A couch they'd made love on more than once. These emotions and urges were only natural, but that was not his business in the past. He did not come here for a booty-call.
"Hey," Castiel felt Dean nudge his side with his elbow. He turned back to look at the human who was leaning in close, probably to get a good read on his expressions.
"Hm?" Cas grunted.
"You doin' alright?" Dean asked. "Are you smiling?"
He realized he was indeed smiling. "I was thinking about how far I have come with slang terms."
Dean's eyebrows rose. "Yeah?"
"Yeah," Cas met the human's eyes. Before he realized what he was doing, his rather large hand was cupping the left side of Dean's face, and the green irises were rimmed by white on all sides.
Castiel stopped smiling and dropped his hand.
His partner's expression softened, his gaze narrowing but without suspicion.
"This must be rough," the human supplied.
Castiel lowered his eyes and nodded. "It is. Incredibly." He sighed.
Dean shot a glance around him, as if to make sure no one was watching, then turned back to the angel. "Would a hug help?"
A stifled huff of a laugh fell from Castiel's mouth, as he looked back up to the man.
Dean sat perfectly still without changing his expression.
Cas stopped laughing, and sat up straight as if he were being evaluated. "You are serious."
"If it would help, then yeah."
Castiel swallowed. "I would appreciate that."
"Okay," Dean scooted closer until their knees were once again touching, then held out his arms. "Come here."
The angel eyed the offered embrace—which really looked like a child asking for a hug from an adult—then turned so he could bring his torso closer to Dean's. The larger man bent so that his forehead rested on Dean's shoulder, and he wrapped his arms loosely around the familiar body. Dean's arms closed over his shoulders and ribcage, pulling him in even tighter.
This is fuckin' weird, Dean thought.
Though the size difference was reversed and more severe, Castiel found himself falling into his love's arms regardless of the strange and unfamiliar interaction. Dean's arms didn't meet around him, and he was used to them being able to over-lap, but he didn't mind. He was home again here, even if that home seemed a bit more crowded than he remembered.
Dean clutched onto the larger man, feeling strange because he very rarely hugged Sammy or their father, and there were no other broad built and tall males in his life would he would consider holding like this. Castiel, though a bit shorter than him and slighter built, always seemed pretty equal to hold. It was very weird dealing with such wide shoulders. He wondered if he would feel shielded if the roles were reversed with this Castiel's body.
Cas breathed out slowly, but heavily, then turned his mouth into the crook of Dean's neck as he squeezed his middle. Dean felt his body tighten at the brush of hot hair on his skin in such a sensitive place. His lab began to feel a bit tight in his jeans.
There was another sigh, which didn't freakin' help his situation, then a low and rumbly voice filled his ear.
"Is this okay Dean?"
It was undeniably Castiel's voice. Even in the new body, Dean would be able to recognize that glass-shard texture anywhere. It was the first time he really felt and connected with the concept that this person was his Cas.
It was like someone flipped on the "instant boner" switch.
He winced and tried not to groan against the red hair.
Dean's arms were suddenly empty, and he blinked as he discovered a panting Castiel standing across the room.
"I am afraid my ability for professionalism is gone," Cas gasped into the space between them.
"Uh yeah." Dean grabbed a throw pillow and covered the obvious bulge in his pants, that was way too hard to attempt to tuck away at the moment. "Me too."
The admission from the human caused the tall angel to gasp out a held breath once more. "No matter how much I—I—" Castiel stammered, and Dean was pretty sure it was a first.
Castiel blinked, seeming to compose himself. "I am not here for that."
"Right." Dean nodded curtly.
"And amongst other things; I do not have Patrick's permission."
Dean nodded again and sighed, feeling his teenage-like raging horniness slow down slightly. "That actually helps me," he laughed nervously.
The two stared at each other for a moment, but nothing was said. There was an awkward space between them, with nothing to fill it that would not cause guilt later. The two wanted each other, the one desiring to reclaim a dead love to top it all off. There was no way around it. They were adults—well an adult and a celestial being—so they should have been able to handle these feelings. But in this situation, at this moment, the two knew they could not.
Castiel looked down at his feet. "I will find Balthazar and prepare for the ritual."
"Sure," Dean agreed.
"Pray to me, or call, and I will come." He glanced back up to the human who remained on the comfortable couch.
"Sure." It was all Dean could say.
Patrick's hazel eyes gave Dean one last look that might be called "longing," or even "smoldering," but Dean wasn't a romance writer so he liked the term "fucking hot" instead.
Then the angel was gone with the familiar sound of wings flapping, which was identical no matter Cas's form.