Dean passed from one of his companions to the next, bidding farewell to Gabriel, the now bravest-of-all lions, and Benny, the tin-man with the strong heart, but stopping at Castiel, the scarecrow stuffed with feathers and smarts.
"Cas," Dean said, hoping to coax his friend's gaze upward from the too-large space between them. Dean didn't want to leave without a proper goodbye, and for them, a proper goodbye required eye contact. Generally all of their interactions did. "Look at me."
Castiel shook his head. A few feathers popped out from the seams on his neck. Dean reached out and tucked them back inside. He left his hand there, lingering on the burlap of Castiel's skin.
"Dean," Sam said from behind him. He had already finished his goodbyes. "It's time."
"Just give me a minute, okay?" Dean told him, frustrated. Why was this so difficult? Castiel was just a friend – sort of. A friend who he liked to stare at. And hold hands with. And maybe, occasionally kiss, but that only happened like three or five or fifteen times. And it was on the cheek, thank you – except for that one time it wasn't. It sucked to leave friends, sure, but he shouldn't be panicking. If only Castiel would look up at him. If their eyes met, maybe everything would be okay and this sinking feeling in the pit of his stomach would vanish. Dean clenched his hands into fists.
"We have to go," Sam said with pity, which only increased Dean's agitation. He knew they couldn't stay. They had to go back to Kansas. There were people that needed saving. Monsters that needed hunting. Plus, this place was just weird. He wanted to go home, see his baby, eat a cheeseburger…
Castiel glanced up and their gazes locked. A pain swelled in Dean's chest. He thought he would be happy to see those eyes again, and he was, but damn it, it hurt too. Everything hurt – because this would be the last time. They'd leave Oz, and Dean would never drown in the blue depths of those eyes again.
He felt an emptiness in his heart – a hole that grew within him. He took a step and encircled Castiel in his arms. He pulled the scarecrow against him so roughly, so tightly, that small black feathers puffed out from Castiel's seams. A few swirled through the air, drifting to the ground. Dean cursed, apologized, and, keeping his hold secure, pushed each feather that was stuck on crude stitching back into Castiel's body.
"Dean," Castiel sighed. His wobbly arms reached up and folded around Dean's back.
"I'll miss you most of all," Dean whispered into the seam of Castiel's head where an ear should be.
"I'll miss you, too," Castiel admitted. He placed a soft kiss on Dean's neck.
Dean had to close his eyes to try to control the waves of desperation that licked at his heart's edges and burst outward, encompassing all of him, even to the tips of his fingers that buried into Castiel's loose clothing. He couldn't lose Castiel. He didn't want to.
"Come with us." The words escaped Dean without him ever having meant to say them aloud. But he wouldn't take them back. Instead, he waited, trying to commit to memory the sound of Castiel's hitched breath and the feel of his floppy hands clutching at Dean's shoulders.
"I don't… Won't I be strange?" Castiel asked.
"Dude, you're already strange," Dean said, laughing, hiding his fear with humor. The laughs immediately died in his throat.
Castiel leaned back and met Dean's eyes. His head tilted ever-so-slightly to one side.
"Look, you don't have to, okay? I only thought you might want to," Dean said, backtracking under such intense scrutiny. If Castiel didn't want to come, Dean wouldn't make him. Yeah, okay, Dean might mope a little bit (or a lot) when he and Sam got back, but –
"I want to."
And just like that, everything was right again. Dean could breathe without effort and the hole in his heart filled with happiness and relief. He smiled at Castiel, fully and openly, and the scarecrow smiled right back.
Thank you so much for reading this very bizarre thing that I wrote. I LOVE the Wizard of Oz, especially the book, so I couldn't resist this idea when it popped into my brain. I hope you will forgive me, I know this is pretty weird, hah! I posted this on tumblr yesterday and will cross-post it on ao3 under the same username so you know it's me. I didn't have a beta so all mistakes are my own.
Please let me know if you enjoyed this. If encouraged, I may add some more to it. ;)
Disclaimer - I do not own Supernatural or Wizard of Oz. I make no money from this.