Title: Look For Me In Between Slurred Words and Lullabies (I Could Be Your Angel)
Word count: 5,761, unbeta'd
Warnings/kinks/contents: sexual content, major character death, spoilers
Disclaimer: I own nothing.
Author's Note: I hope everyone's holidays find them safe, healthy, happy and most of all, loved. 3
Dean's sitting at a bus stop and the sun is warm. People are busily moving around him, their faces pinched down at their phones and thrust into newspapers and books. Others walk pointedly fast, others amble on slowly with no place to be. Someone comes awful close to stepping on his feet. They don't even toss him a sideways glance when Dean curses at their back.
Dean watches quietly, momentarily confused.
He doesn't remember how he got here.
But here he is nonetheless, sitting on the bench, the wood old and splintered and uncomfortable against his thighs. A woman stands to his left, earbuds in and doesn't acknowledge him. Dean takes a moment to look around and wonder where he is when he sees Sam across the street, hands in his pocket, in line at a vendor's for hotdogs.
Dean feels himself smiles because wherever he is, this is where he is supposed to be because Sam is here and getting them food. It's funny, though; he doesn't remember what case they're working on.
There's a fluttering of wings and with speed that momentarily sucks the wind out of the air, Castiel is seated beside him. Dean looks over at him, feeling a lurch in his stomach. The angel regards him quietly, head tilted. He says nothing, not even that gravelly, "Hello, Dean," and Dean finds it unnerving and wonders what news Castiel has come to deliver this time. Another tale of scourge of the battle in Heaven? Leviathans? What now?
But Castiel just stares at him and Dean shifts uneasily.
"What'd we talk about the staring thing, Cas?" Dean doesn't mean to bite the words out so harshly. Castiel's eyes don't waver, and they stay locked on him for some time. And then there are heavy footsteps slapping on pavement.
"Cas?" A voice asks quietly and it's Sam. Castiel's eyes pull away from him and turn to Sam who approaches slowly. Dean leans back and stretches and takes note of the two hot dogs in Sam's hands. His stomach aches somewhere deep. It's not intense, too soft almost, like a memory at your mind's edge. He licks his lips anyways, reaches out to grab one and instead, Sam hands it to Castiel.
"Dude, what the hell?" Dean scowls, but Sam ignores him. Castiel doesn't; turns around and stares at him, brow furrowed. Dean glares at him, "I am offended," He mock growls and Castiel just continues to stare blankly at him and Dean scowls at Sam, "We are getting a single room at the next motel and you and Casanova are sleeping in the Impala." Sam doesn't even flinch, doesn't seem fazed.
"C'mon, I found a case, we better get back on the road." Sam says, seeming to disregard Dean entirely. Dean huffs haughtily and stands, following them. He searches his pockets for his keys and is stunned when he can't find them. His hands come up empty and it feels like a punch to the gut when Sam's hand comes up jingling. Dean makes a snatch for them and Sam conveniently turns away.
Castiel gets into the passenger seat.
"Dude, dude," Dean feels personally scorned and wonders what the hell he did to deserve that, "This is my baby. Only I get to drive her," But Sam doesn't seem to hear him as he starts the car and looks to be leaving without him. Castiel is staring at him through the glass, eyes narrowed slightly and Dean feels anger, hot and boiling, in the pit of his stomach when the engine roars to life and—
blood roaring hot in his ears, heart thrumming desperately against the ribs, beating against a cage it cannot break as breath struggles to fill the lungs
—Dean's sitting in the back seat of the car, feet propped on the center console with arms bitterly folded across his chest. He glances into the rearview mirror and Sam's eyes flicker to the backseat. Dean flips him the bird and Sam looks away with a long sigh.
Dean tries to sleep and can't. He chalks it up to the insomnia as he sits on the end of the bed, glancing at the television every so often and since when do angels sleep? Castiel is buried beneath the sheets, completely covered and unseen. On the other bed, Sam snores softly, head shoved beneath a pillow. Dean doesn't know why he muses how they both seem to have put up a wall; where that thought comes from, he is unsure.
The infomercials get more mundane. Who the hell needs a full-length backwards bathrobe? And who the fuck would wear it in public? Seriously.
Hours pass and stretch and Dean doesn't remember many of them and when he's aware again, he's still sitting on the bed and there is steam leaking out from underneath the bathroom door. Sam is dressing beside him.
"Woah," Dean throws up his hands, "How about you ask for some privacy before you practice your strip tease?" Dean snaps, still angry from yesterday's rejection to the backseat of his baby. Sam strides past him without a word and Dean mocks disgust as he dresses.
The bathroom door creaks and Castiel steps from the shower, completely dressed, hair still wet. Dean eyes him fondly, squashing the urge so intense to run his hands through the dark locks that his hands are twitching. He smirks when Castiel's eyes find his. Castiel's face is pointedly blank and Dean frowns. Cockblock, whatever, he thinks to himself bitterly.
"We have another's day of driving." Sam sounds unbelievably exhausted and Dean can see it in his face. It stops the breathing for the barest of seconds. The look doesn't fit his brother's face, a face so usually constricted with hope it's sickening, looking for the best of what he can. This face is tired and so torn and something has happened, Dean knows, but he has no idea what.
"Dude, man, you need to crash. You're not driving my girl like that," Dean stands and stretches, bones popping. He looks to Castiel for confirmation.
"Perhaps we should stay a few more hours. It is only five thirty," Castiel says and Dean does a silent fist pump because thank God someone is finally listening to him. Castiel's eyes have drawn away from him and towards Sam, "We do not need to check out until eleven," Dean looks at Sam whose face draws tight, creasing darkly at the corners and he rubs his face. Castiel's eyes flicker towards the floor, "Or perhaps, I could drive?"
"Oh hell no—"
"What?" Dean all but hisses, the anger buzzing—
buzzing in his ears and creeping across skin in dark lines of red, splattering everywhere, coughing and there's a spray in the air before raining back down and it's black, so very, very black
—deep in his skin and niggling into his brain. Sam reaches into the duffel bag on the floor at his feet and shuffles around inside of it. Dean wants to choke him when the keys glitter, catching the light as they sail across the room. Castiel catches them carefully. He looks down at them, fondling the jagged edge and then looks up, straight at Dean.
Dean's fuming, fists clenched at his side. What the hell did he do that he deserved this? His fingers itched for the leather of his baby's steering wheel, the vibration of the road beneath the wheels humming up into his knuckles. Damn it all, was this some kind of probation or some shit? Did he break some sort of seal to hell and Lucifer was back? Another apocalypse? What the actual fuck?
Dean takes a deep breath and realized his eyes were closed. When he opens them again, he's in the backseat of the Impala once again.
Castiel is staring at him in the rearview.
Castiel speaks to him.
It's felt like years, what with Sam ignoring him, traipsing around him like he doesn't fucking exist and Dean doesn't get it. It's only really been a few days.
Castiel's sitting on the bathroom floor, legs crossed with his back against the cool porcelain of the tub. He's staring at the floor and Dean stands in the doorway. Sam is – somewhere. Gone, that's about all he knows. The case is simple, a stupid salt and burn that's taking far too long for his liking.
But no one's listening to him, even if he's damn near screaming. Castiel stares and Sam walks away.
"Dean," The angel says his name and it sounds so unused on Castiel's tongue and it feels like it's been so long since he's heard it that Dean damn near falls to his knees at the rush of desperation upon it being spoken. Castiel's staring at him, eyes wide now, "Go home," he says and Dean hasn't the fucking foggiest idea what the hell Castiel is talking about. Castiel's eyes grow wider, brow pinching with pain, "Please."
The word is so broken—
broken, so broken, every bone, every nerve, cracked and severed and torn apart, so mangled, everything is failing and falling, falling, falling and there's a hand grasping for his, the grip sliding in blood
—that Dean feels the shards pierce his skin when it explodes from Castiel's mouth. The sharp edges dig into his flesh, searing hot. He jerks back in surprise. Castiel stares at him intently and Dean wants to ask what's wrong, what has happened – is happening – because he doesn't understand what Castiel's asking because this is home. It's the only home he's ever known—
"Not anymore," Castiel's words draw off of a long sigh and he turns his gaze away. There's a blip of wind and pressure that sucks the air from Dean's lungs and Castiel's gone.
Dean's standing in ankle-deep snow. Castiel's shivering and Dean wonders why – angels aren't supposed to shiver. Sam's on the other side of him, struggling to keep his coat closed. In the distance, Dean sees the light of a building; a gas station, maybe. It's not too far, maybe another half mile.
Castiel stumbles and Dean goes to catch him. Sam beats him to the punch, grabbing Castiel's arm and hauling him upright.
"I apologize," Castiel says through chattering teeth and Sam smiles softly, nodding and jerks his head towards the lights. Castiel sighs and nods, rubbing his arms. The trenchcoat doesn't look all that insulating and Dean draws the jacket from his back because he isn't that cold, not really, and Castiel's staring at him again. Dean tries to smile and he must pull it off because Castiel grins and shakes his head.
"They better have a fucking phone," Sam groans as they draw closer, turning his face away from the cold—
cold, so cold and it's seeping under the skin, clawing into the skull and reaping through the muscles, unrelenting and with the cold comes the dark, everything is going, going, so close to being gone
—wind and baring his teeth. Castiel nods and shifts closer to Dean and Dean feels strangely lightheaded and warmed by this and wonders if Castiel feels the same. He wants to reach out and touch, but then Sam's speaking.
"Of course the damn thing would break down in the snow," Sam grunts out, "It's been thrown, rolled, fucking ruined and it breaks down in the middle of a flurry."
"This is hardly a flurry, Sam." Castiel chides. Sam shoots him a look, but Dean doesn't notice it because he's looking behind him. Some mile or two back, he can make out the solid black shadow of his baby in a streetlamp, hazards flashing. Oh, Sam is dead, he swears by it. This will never be lived down. Dean will hold it over his brother's head until the day he dies. There's a sudden gust of wind and Dean winces, goosebumps only now flickering up his arms.
It only briefly registers in his mind that there are only two sets of tracks in the snow behind them.
They're at a diner. It's attached to the garage that his baby is currently undergoing some work.
"I told you I could have fixed it." Dean sighs loudly and glances over at Sam who is currently going through their meager stash of cash in his wallet. Castiel is fiddling with half eaten waffles and sighs when Sam finishes counting and calls for the check. He hands the bill to Castiel and goes out the door, heading into the shop next door.
Castiel watches him go and fondles the edge of the check. Dean admires the long fingers for a moment, the delicate twist of the wrist and has the urge to kiss them. He doesn't miss the sudden flush of pink that rises up Castiel's neck and the pleasant twitch of a smile at the corner of his lips just before he looks up at Dean. The flush hasn't touched his cheeks and the eyes are hollow, despite the smile.
"Go home," Castiel says, again.
"This is home." Dean says, watching Castiel lick his lips and follows the wet slide of it against the lower, full bottom.
"No," Castiel says quietly and turns his attention to the check and shakes his head, "No," He repeates, signing his name—
name, someone is shouting his name, Dean, Dean, Dean, screaming it sounds like, raw and scared and lost and he tries to cling to it, tries not to be scared himself, searching in the dark that's swallowing him whole, but the light can't reach him here, not this far away
—as James Milton with a credit card that bears the same identity. The writing is elegant and curvy. Dean reaches out, wants to take Castiel's hand but it moves just out of reach when Castiel hands over the check and stands. He walks away. Dean's head hurts; something distant in the back of his skull.
He closes his eyes and breathes.
"What's going on Cas?" Dean asks. It's well into the early, early morning hours. He's sitting next to Castiel on the bed who has his back to him. He knows Castiel isn't asleep, can tell by how he breathes, how it's uneven and hitches every time Dean speaks, like he's surprised.
It's nearly quarter of five in the morning, the hours bleeding together, when Castiel finally speaks.
"You don't remember?" Castiel doesn't roll over and instead seems to curl more inwardly on himself, shoulders hunched.
"Remember what?" Dean asks. Castiel makes a sound that is something between a whispered moan and a sob and somehow so much worse. Dean creeps closer and reaches out to touch. The sound is human, oh so human, and is that what happened? Castiel has fallen? Maybe that's what's going on. Maybe Castiel blames him for it. Maybe Sam does too; he ignores him, so angry and tired all the time when Dean speaks, it would make sense.
Dean wants to comfort, wants to feel hot skin, wants to just feel because Castiel is hurting and he wants to take it all away—
away, away, he's moving away and he can't stop and he knows he's not breathing, not anymore and doesn't think he has been for a while, just knows that it is so quiet, unbearably quiet and he hates it, wants to go home because home isn't here
—but Castiel moves away from him when he's so close to touching he can feel the heat of skin press up to his fingers. Dean feels an ache somewhere deep in his chest, feels a sting in his throat that he can't swallow around and when he turns away, he watches the sun come through the window and tries to remember.
Dean loses himself in his thoughts, tries to bring back memories he doesn't remember. He digs and scrapes and pulls and he finds a black shadow somewhere deep, fingers slip-sliding in it like oil. It's hot like fire and burns the inside of his skull, peeling away the bone in layers as he attempts to claw it free. It's too slippery between his fingers, and yet it slices him open, slices open his soul and it still smells of the copper of blood.
He wonders if this is how it feels to raise someone from perdition and puts in a mental note to ask Castiel about it later.
Someone's screaming here, someone's in pain when he thrusts his hand deep into the mesh, lets it lick up his arm and slither up his neck where it pries at his mouth and drains in. He swallows it, lets it fill his lungs and realizes he's the one screaming.
And then it's there, exploding like a supernova and splitting him open, the sky seeming to fracture above him. It goes blank and comes back in waves.
Dean doesn't know when he starts to realize things that aren't happening.
He doesn't eat. He feels the want, feels it stoke like a dying fire in the pit of his stomach when he follows his brother and Castiel around.
He doesn't sleep. Not that he can remember at least, and that's the problem. He'll remember sitting on the bed and then he remembers the sun rise, nothing in between.
He doesn't really touch things. He has this strange feeling that tingles up his fingers and arms. It both feels like he isn't supposed to touch and that he can't quite feel the need to touch. He would like to, doesn't really want to, and yet does – but doesn't.
And then it's the way that Sam doesn't talk to him. It's different than just ignoring him. He says things, deep things, hurtful things, things he know he'd get a reaction out of and knows Sam doesn't have the skill to outright divert from. He doesn't blink, doesn't twitch.
When Dean gets close, Sam moves. It looks like he gets cold, startled almost and then moves. He never moves towards Dean, always away. And Dean can't catch Sam's eyes. They don't track him, but rather slide over him and if they hold where he stands, they don't see.
"What happened?" Dean always asks.
"You don't remember?" Castiel always replies.
And every time, "No," says Dean.
And Castiel will make this choked off noise that makes Dean want to comfort, to soothe. He wants to close the space between them, push and push and push until Castiel is strong enough to open up and take. He feels an empty ache in his chest that he wants to fill, wants Castiel to fill because he's missing something here and it's important and he wishes he knew what it was.
Maybe he does.
It's a few days before Christmas when Castiel and Sam have called it quits for a few days. The motel is small, with one vacancy left and Dean finds he rather adores the wreath on the door and the lights strung up from corner to corner of the room. He's always had a soft spot for Christmas. The woman at the desk is beaming when Castiel stares at it all in awe, next to Sam whose face has gone blank.
"Perhaps we could get a tree?" Castiel asks and Sam's face cuts off and goes stony.
"No." Sam says sharply. He pulls a beer from the mini-fridge and there's a flutter of wings—
wings hold him tight, hold him safe, wrapped around him and he can feel the feathers, the warmth and they hold him and refuse to let go and there's a soft familiar hand reaching deep inside of him, touching a flickering light that's fading and ascending
—and Castiel is gone.
"Cas?" Sam asks when the angel returns, feathers ruffling slightly. Dean can see in his face that Castiel had wanted to stay away, to bury himself somewhere far, Castiel looks like he swallowed something bitter and he wants to spit it out.
"Do not speak to me as if you are the only one who lost something precious." Castiel's voice is clipped and Dean is surprised at the anger in it, how it seems to be struggling to keep at bay. Sam's face goes momentarily slack before lighting up furiously.
"You didn't lose your brother—" Sam starts and Dean jolts. Lose? Lose? He's right here, he isn't gone – where did he get lost?
"I have lost thousands of brothers, Sam," Castiel nearly snarled, hands clenched at his side, "I have lost brothers in battle, I have lost them to hunters such as you," Castiel practically spits the word and Dean wants them to stop because god damn it. But maybe they need to fight even if he can't stand it. Castiel is nearly vibrating with contained rage, "I have lost them at my very own hands, most of which I did for you and for Dean. Have you forgotten that?"
Sam has gone silent suddenly, hand clenched so hard around the neck of the beer his knuckles are white. He's not looking Castiel in the eye, doesn't seem to be able to and instead stares hard at the floor.
"You still have brothers." Sam says quietly and it hangs in the air before fracturing the sky and Castiel explodes.
"And yet I have no family in them," Castiel's voice climbs an octave and Sam looks up then, startled. Castiel's face is pinched with emotions that Dean can read in his eyes that he finds to be overwhelming, "We have stood together since the dawn of time, before our Father even had the mind to bring humanity to life and if I were to stand before them now, they would kill me," The words break and Dean finds himself swallowing around a throat that's too tight, but lets it continue because he needs answers though he fears what they are.
"They do not care because they cannot," Castiel grits out, "They do not know the things you and your brother have taught me," Though the words are still fierce, they are quiet now, "They do not know of trust or what it feels to be proud," Castiel swallows tightly and Sam is back to staring at his feet, "They do not know of family though we have been brothers and sisters since we were created."
"Cas, please stop—"
"You and your brother have shown me that family is faith, that family is trust and loyalty beyond blind obedience," Castiel's voice was quavering and Sam had sat down on the edge of the bed, face in his hands, beer bottle discarded, "You both showed me compassion and care and respect," Dean felt each word zip-wire through him, slinking deep to his center, warm and Castiel's voice tingled of something sweet when he spoke now.
"But of all the things you and Dean showed me, most importantly, you showed me love," Sam's head snapped up at those words and if his eyes are wet and bloodshot, Dean pretends not to notice and focuses on Castiel, "And all that I have done, all of what I am, I owe to you and Dean. It has always been you both. Always." Sam gives this choked off noise and shakes his head, looking away.
"So please Samuel," Castiel sounds like he's begging now and Dean closes his eyes against it, "Do not guilt me of the grieving I am more than entitled to."
Dean squeezes his eyes shut harder and prays. He prays so hard until it hurts because he doesn't understand and yet maybe he does and just doesn't want to believe it. Dean prays until he's screaming inside of his own head, possibly screaming out loud, calling God's name, calling for Castiel and prays, prays, prays—
There's a gasp and when Dean opens his eyes, Castiel is flinching, staring at Dean with eyes too wide and too scared.
Dean closes his eyes again and keeps screaming because he knows Castiel can hear him.
Blips of memories come back to him. Not the ones he needs, not the slip-sliding puzzle pieces and somewhere amongst the ripples, Dean sees Castiel's face.
There's warm skin beneath calloused hands in this one. He remembers the bumps of ribs, sees flashes of pale skin that's slick when sweat and arching up towards him. He feels the tickle of a perked nipple, pinches it, bites it. Muscles jump and when he looks up, he sees blue. Dean sees his face in the blue, sees something akin to what looks like love in the depths and he's falling forward into it, drowning.
In this one, he hears and tastes. He tastes salted skin of trembling thighs. He feels blunt nails scrape at his scalp and someone moans his name. He sucks a bruise here, a bruise there and finds the jutting hip bones, fitting his thumbs over them and bites down.
It's warm in this one. Someone's lying next to him, someone whose hair is dark and unruly and tickles his nose when he breathes into it. It flashes, this one, jumping like photographs. Dean sees stills of pale flesh pressed to his side, sees long fingers spread across his chest, just beneath the tattoo. Someone is breathing softly into his ear, snuggled and tangled limb with limb. There's a brief flash of the clock, nearly three in the morning. The pictures slide together so fast now; it gives the illusion of movement, like liquid. When he looks down, it goes dark.
He's scared here in this one. There's hot blood gushing between his fingers and someone telling him he's going to be okay. He looks up and sees blue again, but this time, the shadows give way and it's Castiel beneath him, gripping Dean's shoulder, telling him the wound will heal, that the flickers of his grace will take care of it. Relief fills the shattered memory and Dean enjoys remembering the taste of Castiel's mouth in this one.
In this one, it's hot, too hot, but Dean burns for it, feels it curl in his groin and he's drawn to it maddeningly. He's pushing into dark shadows, ripping and tearing them down until the pungent stench of sex nearly suffocates him. Blue is all he sees again and then it clears, Castiel beneath him, this memory not so shattered as he traces a tongue up the long column of the angel's neck and bites down. It's gloriously beautiful, filled with sweat and light and Castiel chanting his name, hips canting back and Dean realizes he's inside of him, bucking into beautiful tight heat that engulfs and swallows him. He needs it, wants it and the way Castiel looks up at him, Dean chokes on words he wants to say but instead won't and fucks into him until Castiel is screaming and coming and clenching so beautifully around him.
And then, one day, it happens.
remembers as the memory swallows him whole, engulfing him in a sudden ferocity that he has no choice but to let it drown him.
It should have been easy, it should have been quick. But they hadn't expected the nest to have known they were coming. Benny's dead, Dean knows that. He knows Castiel should be here, but he isn't, and when he is, it's too late.
He's spliced open by teeth, not to his neck. He's overwhelmed and it's too fast. There's a jerk to his left and a pop and suddenly, he doesn't have an arm, blood spouting from a broken, split, ripped stump. Something tears into his chest, rips open muscle and teeth are snared into the bones of his ribs and snapped apart. There's no pain, too shocked for it really, but there's blood everywhere seeping wetly across his skin.
And then Castiel's there and Sam's the one who is screaming. Sam's leaning over him, hands grasping at him and now it hurts when Sam presses his hands to open wounds too large for his hands. And Castiel's staring down at him, eyes wide and fucking terrified and so lost because this he cannot heal, this is too close to death.
Dean reaches out with what hand he has left and Castiel meets him halfway, grasping tight. Sam's face is pressed into his shoulder and crying, but it's all drowned out with the blood in his ears. And Castiel leans in and kisses his forehead and says,
"You've done so well, you've done so well."
And angels aren't supposed to cry, but Castiel is and Dean pulls him in, wants to fix it, wants to make it better and he kisses him. It's the last chance he'll get and it's weak, but he puts into it the words he cannot get out. Dean puts into it everything he should have when he had the chances to do so before and Castiel tastes like tears and earth and it's beautiful—
And there are wings surrounding him, surrounding them all, and he's safe here, he's safe now, he's home
—"He is here Sam." Castiel cuts him off and Sam stiffens. He glances around the room, hair flouncing around his shoulders. The book binding is creaking in his hands and Castiel's throat works tightly around a lump there. He is still confused by such human body provocations.
It takes Dean a minute to realize that Castiel is talking about him. Dean expects to feel panic at having remembered what had happened, but only feels a strange sense of peace. It's odd.
It has been a few days since Sam and Castiel's blow out. It's Christmas actually. Christmas Eve had passed, stiff and quiet. Christmas day wasn't much the same. Dean was tired, oh so tired, but he'd kept praying, didn't take a moment to stop.
And then Castiel cracked, spilling open.
"Cas, where?" Sam slowly gets off the bed, putting the book down on the bed gently. He stands and where Castiel's eyes lock with Dean's, Sam stares intently. Sam moves forward slowly and Dean takes a moment to stop praying as his brother approaches him. He stops not even a foot short and stares.
But he cannot see.
Dean follows the tracking Sam's eyes as they narrow and squint, needing to see, but can't. They are intent, darting and flicking and if only Sam knew he was some six inches away, his eyes level with Dean's. The need is palpable. This crushes him; this literally leaves Dean without air because there's a pain he cannot fix there in those eyes, thick and Dean cannot soothe, at least not now with it so broken and raw. Only time heals wounds like this – or if the dead started walking again and Dean doesn't see that happening any time soon.
"Cas, I can't see—"
"No, you can't." Castiel answers quietly, but Sam doesn't look away.
"Sometimes," Dean's a little surprised at that, figuring all that angel mojo maybe meant that Castiel could see him nearly all the time, if not whenever Dean spoke to him. Castiel clears his throat, "It's when he prays, that I see him," Castiel's voice grows even softer, "I feel him, though, when I cannot."
Sam's face contorts sharply and his eyes close and his face turns away, "Why is he here?" Sam sounds pained, "Why hasn't he – moved on or – or whatever?"
"Because he is stubborn," Castiel says almost fondly. Dean feels laughter bubble inside him somewhere. He would be too bull-headed to leave his little Sammy behind. Castiel hits the nail on the head, "Because he cannot go without the reassurance that all will be well when he leaves."
There's a flicker of resentment at the statement on Sam's face despite a smile, "No matter what I say, he wouldn't believe me."
"That is because he does not want you to be alone."
"But I have you here."
"Sam, this is not the life you wish to lead, and I am not the person to help you with such."
"Don't leave Cas." Sam says so suddenly it even seems to startle Castiel. The angel tilts his head and Dean wants to kiss him again as the brow comes together, bemused.
"I am not sure where it is you believe I am headed. I will always be a part of your life, Sam," Castiel says slowly, confused. They're big words, big, big words with so much behind them despite how blank Castiel's face is and Sam's own washes over with relief, "But I believe my welcome will be overstayed soon."
There's a knock at the door and Sam glances at Castiel who gestures to it gently. Sam takes another glance towards Dean, eyes searching intently and for a moment, Dean thinks he can see, but then he's at the door, twisting the knob and opening it.
"Hello, Sam." The voice is soft and feminine and Dean cranes his neck to look around the door when Amelia steps through the door. She's bundled up tight, scarf tugged tight around her face, eyes peering from underneath her cap and she pulls them both off and shakes the snow from her curls.
Sam stares, open mouthed for a long time and can't find the words to say. He looks back for Castiel, but the angel is gone and Amelia is taking her face into her hands and kissing him senseless, pushing the door closed with her feet.
"He's going to be okay, right?" Dean asks quietly from where he sits perched on the bed opposite from where Sam sleeps, Amelia nestled into his side.
"I will see to it that he is safe, I promise." Castiel says quietly and though Sam stirs in his sleep, he knows that if he were to wake, he would see neither of them. Dean nods slowly and feels strangely weightless, like there's no bone or blood or muscle for gravity to depress.
"And when the day comes that it is his time, I will assure that you will be the first to take his hand." Castiel's words are full of promise and when Dean turns to look at him, he's closer than he expected. Castiel leans into his shoulder, breath warm against his neck. Dean kisses him, feels Castiel melt into it and when he draws away, the room has faded in a shroud of fog, the Christmas lights mere pinpricks of light now.
"And you?" Dean asked softly, brushing their noses together and he watches the smile break across Castiel's face and takes an immense amount of joy in the way it reaches his eyes.
"I'll be here. Always."
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