Chapter 1: What Makes a Man
Castiel wakes slowly at first, one eye opening at a time. He blinks several times, adjusting to the low lighting in the room. A throbbing pain in his head is a welcome reminder to his current predicament. Castiel looks slowly at his hands first, noticing the cuts that are scabbing over. He has to summon all his strength to ignore the splitting in his head, as he gazes at his surroundings.
There are books, so many books. Castiel has to almost squint to make out some of the titles. Sam is on his laptop at a large table in the center of the room. Sam's eyebrows are furrowed, and he looks as if he is concentrating. He slides his gaze from the words on his screen, over to the man in the armchair who has been sleeping for days. Sam springs up the second his eyes meet Castiel's open stare. Castiel relaxes only slightly, now knowing who he is with.
"Cas! You're finally awake!" Sam exclaims, his voice soft and gentle. His long strides have him standing beside Castiel in only a moment. He puts one hand on Castiel's shoulder and looks at him, concerned.
Castiel doesn't feel quite like standing yet, yes, he'd like to probably sit more, he thinks. His head is muddled and he's unsure about a few of his senses. He can't seem to remember much right now, but it is comforting that Sam isn't angry with him right now.
This throws up a small red flag in Castiel's mind, but he ignores it for now. Why would Sam be angry with him? He knows there's more to that feeling of relief at being treated as a friend, but he simply does not have the energy to expend on trying to recall what he has done.
"Hi Sam, yeah, I'm...fine, I think" he finally answers, aware that he had probably taken too long to answer Sam's question, judging by the pained expression Sam is wearing.
"God dammit!" Castiel hears a man explain in a loud, aggravated voice from another room. He head is still cloudy but he thinks that is the familiar voice of only one man ; Dean Winchester. Castiel smiles a little bit and looks up at Sam, who has never seemed quite so tall before. Castiel closes his eyes once more, as the pain in his head has reached immeasurable heights.
Sam squeezes his shoulder gently and says he will be right back. Castiel leans back in his chair, noticing for the first time that he is in new clothing. He is wearing plaid pajama bottoms, blue and grey striped, as well as a grey undershirt that is slightly too large on his frame. Castiel feels almost nude for the first time, and wonders if this is what Adam and Eve felt as they first took notice of their naked forms. He smiles, feeling silly, and still very groggy.
He looks upwards as Sam and Dean walk back into the room. Dean is following behind Sam slightly, wiping his hands on a towel. His eyes meet Castiel's, and Castiel feels a distinct and not completely unfamiliar increase in his heart rate. Castiel finds himself unable to tear his gaze away from Dean's eyes, that are so confusing to read.
Castiel wonders again, if he has recently caused some of the pain that he can see in Dean's eyes. Castiel isn't sure how to handle himself, again feeling the unwelcome sensation of body and limb. Castiel isn't sure why he has the notion to stand, that this will somehow make everyone more comfortable, but he does. Without breaking eye contact with Dean, he stands slowly.
A moment passes between them, as Dean seems to have re-assessed the situation. Dean's green eyes soften slightly, and he runs a hand absently along the back of his neck. He looks down quickly, and back towards Sam, who is leaning against the large table with his arms crossed. Dean waits another moment before striding forward towards Castiel, and pulling him into a strong embrace.
Castiel allows himself this human comfort, one that he has grown so fond of. Particularly from this human. He revels in this small human touch, that feels an awful lot like resurfacing from a drowning tide. Castiel meets Sam's eyes behind Dean's back, which are narrowed in contemplation. Castiel feels slightly embarrassed and once again naked. He pulls away from Dean, as he feels his strength failing once again and that now familiar dizziness.
Dean's expression softens even more, as he takes in the damage. Castiel notices him exchange a quick glance with Sam, their words without words. Castiel is no stranger to this, having seen them communicate whole strategic military plans with only their expressions.
"Hey uh, Cas, would you want some food?" Dean asks tentatively, bordering on sadness.
Castiel smiles and lets out a small laugh. "You know this already Dean, angels don't need to eat or sleep..." Castiel says, his voice small and beginning to trail off. The signs were all there, but he had been too preoccupied to really notice.
The scabs, the lights, the headache, and worst of all...the hunger. Castiel felt his world simultaneously crashing down, yet the most complete and sincere sense of salvation. He meets Dean's gaze again, before look at Sam. The Winchester brothers, the great hunters, some of the best humans out there, in Castiel's humble opinion. They were here, regarding him as one of their own, and he felt honored. He was nothing, if he was not an angel, Castiel knew that. Yet here he was, and he wasn't sure he felt entirely sad about it. Not here, not right now.
With a smile, tugging at the corner of his mouth, Castiel nods. He isn't sure he can say it yet, that he is hungry. That word carries such tremendous weight, and Castiel now has a word to describe a growing and gnawing feeling in the pit of his stomach, at the center of his core. He is hungry, and not only for food.
Chapter 2: With a Little Help from my Friends
Castiel is sitting across from Sam, patiently waiting for dinner. He supposed he should be asking more questions, since his memory isn't all there, but he still doesn't feel entirely comfortable conversing with Sam alone. They have a complicated past, a complicated friendship. Though Castiel does regard Sam as a friend, Sam is also a constant reminder of what he has done and the pain he has caused. No, he can't just ask Sam to explain why he is here, wherever this is. He can't ask Sam how he got here, and why he is in his present state. He'd wait for Dean, who was apparently all too happy to cook them all some dinner.
Castiel decides a more polite route than silence, would be to ask Sam about dinner. "Do you know what Dean is cooking?" he asks, aware of his stomach grumbling slightly.
Sam laughs and shakes his head a little bit. "I wouldn't believe if it I were you, but ya, Dean actually like to cook and he's pretty darn good at it."
"Our first night here, he made some amazing burgers, and I was really shocked. I mean, he still messes up sometimes and he always forget to thaw the beef ahead of time" Sam says, laughing a little. Castiel smiles at the imagery as well as he notices Dean walking out of a room in the back, presumably the kitchen. He is carrying 3 plates, balancing them as he walks slowly.
He looks up and his eyes meet Castiel's, and he grins a little bit. He sets a plate down in front of Cas, and then in front of Sam. Castiel watches quietly as Dean sits next to Sam, and he notices that the two of them seem to be at ease and on good terms with each other. This makes him incredibly happy, and slightly hopeful as well for some reason.
"Eat up, Cas!" Dean says, ready to dig into his own burger. Castiel doesn't really need much more encouragement, as he eats his burger in less than a minute. The sensation of hunger is so entirely new, and in the reverse sense, the feeling of satiation is as well. He feels immensely satisfied with the act of appeasing such a carnal urge.
"That was amazing, thank you Dean" he says fondly, aware that he has no experience in making food of any sort.
"Do you want another? I mean, you've been out for four days now, and you know...people gotta eat." Dean says, clearly trying to avoid the topic of Castiel's lack of angel grace...or well, Castiel's humanity. Castiel tries to assess his own needs, that he has never experienced before. His headache has almost evaporated, which Castiel assumes was due to hunger. He is sure he could eat more, and he is reminded of a time, years ago, that he ate hundreds of burgers. That would definitely be inappropriate and gluttonous, he thinks. He looks at Dean, who is standing up, ready to get some more food for them.
Castiel squints his eyes a bit in question and asks, "Are you eating another, Dean?"
Dean laughs and says yes, patting Sam on the back as he says "Three more coming up."