Blood and Fire
Pairing(s): Dean/Sam, Dean/Castiel, Sam/Castiel, Dean/Sam/Castiel
Rating: NC-17 (R for Part One)
Length: ~4k (Part One)
Genre(s): Alternate Universe - Dresden Files AU, Wizard!Dean, Vampire!Sam, Warden!Cas,Action/Adventure, Detective Noir, Succubi & Incubi, Dubious Consent, Early Alternate Season Four-ish
Summary: Dean has ninety-nine problems, but two are about to resolve themselves in the most incendiary way possible.
Author Notes: Originally for The Usual Suspects - Wincestiel Smut Challenge on LJ. SURPRISING NO ONE, I MISSED THE DEADLINE. \o/ For a teeny-tiny primer on the Dresden Files universe, see the end notes.
Blood and Fire - Part One
There's something about a long stretch of hot clear summer days, no rain, no relief, that breeds a murderous kind of boredom. It makes people angry, makes them crazy, slow-building rage bubbling just under the surface like black tar until one small spark can set the whole damn city on fire. It's dangerous, this kind of weather. Dean feels like something big is coming, the way dogs start howling hours before an earthquake.
"Yeah," Sam says, voice coming fuzzy and distorted down the line. "I know what you mean. Sets my teeth on edge."
Precognition was always more Sam's bag, anyway. "So hurry. You've been gone four days, what's the hold up?"
Sam's aggrieved sigh is laden with static. "No fucking clue. I've burned every body in this graveyard, twice, I swear to God."
"Something in the house, then."
It's an office day today and Dean's slumped down in their rickety old chair, balancing on two legs with his feet up on his desk and a case file propped open in his lap, the phone tucked into the curve of his shoulder. The cramped commercial space they rent, up in the attic of a crumbling old brownstone, is warm and sticky despite the wide-open windows and the fans turning lazily on the sills. There's an air-conditioning unit in the window behind him but it's been broken for two or three years; putting wizards and any piece of electronics more complicated than a hand-mixer in the same room is always a mistake. Hell, he's surprised the fans are still working, with all the wards they have on this place and the occasional fitful wind he tries to stir up with a flick of his fingers and a hopeful, "Forzare."
"Don't blow the building down," Sam says, overhearing.
"Oh, ha ha," Dean mutters, watching the mini-tornado stall out halfway across his desk. Sam is— was better with the fiddly little spells, too, the ones that make life bearable when you can't even keep a calculator going for more than a few days. Dean ends up blasting walls out if he isn't concentrating, and it's hard to even focus on the pages a foot from his face when he feels like he's melting. He has his top button undone and his sleeves rolled up, but it isn't helping; sweat beads at his temples and his shirt clings to the small of his back when he moves, damp and disgusting.
"I'm going to go back to the widow," Sam is saying, car door slamming in the background. "See if she kept anything else. You're good?"
"I'm fine." Before Sam can get off the line, Dean asks, "Wait a sec, Sam. What about…? You know. Your, uh. Thing." He winces as he says it. Smooth, Winchester, real smooth. "I mean… it's been four days. You're not—?"
Thankfully, Sam doesn't pretend to misunderstand him. "I, uh, ate," he says, clearly uncomfortable. "Last night. I was careful."
Well, shit. "Careful," Dean repeats. "How careful?"
"She's alive, if that's what you're asking." There's an edge to Sam's voice now. "I can handle myself, Dean."
"Sam, come on," Dean says helplessly. Because yes, it's true that Sam's getting better at handling it, but when they have to measure the difference between getting better and being completely in control in other people's lives Dean prefers to error on the side of caution— and caution is Dean being there, damn it, being able to put a stop to it if Sam's coming on too strong.
"I'm good for another few days," Sam says shortly. "I'll see you then."
Dean won't let Sam guilt him on this. "Oh, for— Sam!"
There's a click, and Dean's fingers tighten involuntarily on the handset. The phone gives a harsh electric sizzle and when he pulls it away from his head, there are thin wisps of smoke escaping through the earholes. Fried. Of course.
Dean throws the phone back at the receiver and it misses, lands on the floor with a clatter—
who gives a shit, it's trash now anyway— and leans further back in the chair, letting the files in his other hand fall closed against his stomach. It's mostly crap, anyway, hoaxes and residual hauntings and the odd poltergeist, stuff he and Sam would have barely looked at when they were really hunting. Now, though, thanks to the Council, Dean's got his wings clipped tight and Sam—
Well. Sam's got his own problems, doesn't he?
Sometimes Dean wants to strangle him for what he's done, the burden he put on himself— for Dean, he insists, for the tiny, slender hope that a little hellfire in his soul might somehow get him closer to saving Dean, like that isn't just twisting the knife. If Dean ever catches Ruby alive, the bloodsucking bitch, he's tying her to a pole at dawn and toasting marshmallows on her flaming corpse.
No matter how many times Sam says it had been his choice, it sure as hell hadn't been his idea.
The heat ebbs away as the sun sets, red and sullen against the western sky. Dean wades through their reams of paperwork, all the extraneous forms and red tape they have to deal with now that he and Sam are tax-paying citizens with a semi-legitimate business. There's a kind of satisfaction in that, in having an ad in the yellow pages and a rating with the Better Business Bureau. Even if half the people who call in are looking for a magician for their kid's birthday party and another third just want to know if it's a joke, that last tiny percentage are people who don't have anywhere else to go, people they can really help, and that makes shifting through the rest of the bullshit totally worth it.
It's nice to have that sense of ownership, of accomplishment in something other than the Impala. And yeah, Sam had rolled his eyes at Dean's excitement over the slim brass WINCHESTER BROS that adorns their office door, but then the little bitch had turned around and ordered them business cards with flaming pentacles on them, so Dean figures he's allowed his pride. Hell, when a hunter's got the local PD coming to him first, that's when he's got it made, and Dean enjoys those visits as much for Henricksen's sour face as for the nice government-sponsored paychecks they produce.
Sweet Jesus, though, all pride aside, this paperwork could bore angels to tears.
"I wish you wouldn't take the Lord's name in vain," a voice beside him sighs, and Dean jumps so hard the chair tips under him.
"Shit!" He flails, hands windmilling uselessly through empty air, and he teeters for an endless moment before he falls, papers flying everywhere. He catches his shoulder on the edge of a filing cabinet and bashes his head on the wall and oh holy shit, ow.
He knows who it is almost immediately; it's hard to mistake the way Castiel fills up a room, once you've been subjected to it— the impression he gives of infinite cosmic powers squeezed into an ugly suit and tie. Maybe all Wardens are like that, but Dean hadn't exactly made it a habit to spend quality time with the Council's enforcers before Castiel blazed into his life.
Sturdy shoes and wrinkled slacks pace slowly up to where Dean is curled into a fetal position around his possibly cracked skull and broken scapula, the arm of the chair jammed hard into his aching ribs. "Motherfucker," he moans.
"I would advise against sitting in that position in the future," Castiel says without inflection, and Dean lifts one unsteady hand to give him the finger.
"Oh, fuck you sideways. Am I bleeding?"
"Yes," Castiel says, and leans down to right the chair and Dean in it with one hand.
Suddenly upright again, Dean glares at him, hand going to back of his head to probe gingerly at the lump there. "Remember that discussion we had about knocking? How it was this cool new thing and all the freaky extra-dimensional beings were doing it?"
Castiel tilts his head. "Freaky?"
Dean remembers wings, hundreds of them, empty faces and open mouths and eyes tiered in the thousands. "Horrific. Lovecraftian."
"You find me frightening?"
"No," Dean says mulishly. And he doesn't, really; if he thinks about it too long, he finds him terrifying.
"You should," Castiel says idly, sliding open Dean's middle right desk drawer and rifling through the brightly-colored candy there. "I am more powerful than you can comprehend, and capable of disassembling you to your atoms. Perhaps fear would motivate you to work with more zeal on the tasks we set you."
"Not fucking likely," Dean mutters as Castiel chooses a bite-sized Snickers bar.
Eldritch creatures from beyond have a strong preference for chocolate and peanuts, apparently.
"I'm sorry?" Castiel asks, bright eyes narrowing. He pops the candy in his mouth.
Dean knows Castiel heard him, and doesn't feel quite bold enough to repeat himself. Instead, he draws his hand back from his head and sees that there is, in fact, blood smeared across his fingers. "Damn it."
"I did tell you," Castiel says, voice a bit slurred around his mouthful of nougat.
"Sanare," Dean mumbles without much hope, and there's a slightly cold, fizzling sensation along his scalp. Then renewed throbbing. "Crap."
Castiel frowns, flicks the crumpled wrapper aside. "Hold still, Dean."
Dean's hands come up automatically as Castiel reaches for him. "No. No thank you. I don't want—"
Castiel ignores him, of course. Castiel always ignores him, brushing aside his protests and his pleas with equal disregard, and Dean knows that he hasn't been in control of his own destiny since he sold himself for Sam but somehow, he'd thought that playing on the Council's side would mean more than just being some dickwad Warden's puppet.
"You are not a puppet," Castiel says severely, gripping Dean's wrist and bodily forcing his arm out of the way. "You are the Righteous Man, and indispensible. I wish you had more faith in yourself."
If Dean never finds out what being Castiel's 'righteous man' means, he'll die happy. "Fine, okay, just don't—" he tries again, and nearly bites his tongue off when those two looming fingers make contact.
It lights up his body like raw electricity, heat lightning radiating out through his fingertips and toes, vibrating in his teeth and arcing between his ribs like his chest has become a giant Tesla coil. Dean has channeled storms, called the four winds to heel and led the old gods on a merry chase or three, but he's never felt anything as huge and wild and intimate as Castiel's careful attention. It's over in an instant, never longer, not since that first excruciating touch in Alistair's chambers, but every time he feels stretched to the breaking point, sensation building and cresting on a wave too much too much that has him all but screaming through his teeth until it finally rolls back, vast and inexorable as an ocean tide.
And this, this is why Castiel is terrifying— because his tie is backward and his pants need ironing, he eats candy like it'll run out tomorrow, but it's still the barest effort and the lightest brush of his true self that knocks Dean down, brings him to his knees.
"I spent a great of effort reconstructing your mortal shell after the trials of the pit," he dimly hears Castiel say. The Warden's hand falls to the side, until he's almost cupping Dean's face. Leftover arcs of energy make Dean's skin twitch and hum at the contact. "You should take care better care of it."
"Guh," Dean manages, bent double over his desk. The sudden release of pressure leaves him feeling hollowed-out and shaky, breath coming in shaky pants."You— you goddamn—"
"Dean," Castiel says, a warning and recrimination both. "I didn't come here to be insulted. You have a mission."
"Oh, goody," Dean gasps, forcing his head up to look Castiel in the eye. The Warden's hand is still on his cheek and he pulls away from it, pushing back from the desk. "I can't frigging wait."
Dean does owe the Council more than he likes to admit. He owes Castiel especially, for seeing what Dean had become and raising him anyway, handprint set like a seal over Dean's memories of the rack and the razor red-edged guilt that comes with them. That doesn't mean Dean has to take these 'tasks' at face value, that he isn't suspicious as hell as to what they're building up to. He's too used to being the expert, the ringer to easily accept that as far as the Council is concerned, he's no better than any other uninitiated civilian.
"So," he tells Sam's voicemail— on their home phone, which is encased in silver and warded six ways to Sunday against magically-induced damage. "Apparently there's knight of hell scheduled to pop out of the ground at midnight tomorrow. Make tracks, Sam."
He hangs up and stares moodily at the living room wall, wonders if the water stain shaped a bit like a beet and a bit like Greenland is getting bigger or if it's just his imagination. If it seeps any further down it's going to hit the sigils they laid under the paint when they first moved in, and those were a motherfucker to finish before the blood dried. Plus, Dean hates dealing with the landlord— and least when they'd lived out of motels they only ever had to talk to an asshole manager once. But it's going to be a problem if their upstairs neighbors can't stop splashing in the goddamn bathtub.
He heaves himself up from the couch with a disgusted sigh and slouches into the kitchen. It's not worth cooking without Sam, so dinner is a brief interlude with canned soup and two beers. Their shitty basement apartment is irritatingly quiet beyond the low murmurs from the black-and-white television in the corner, just old enough not to short out whenever he gets within three feet of it. He watches a few Cheers reruns before turning it off and going to lie in bed.
He doesn't sleep. Although he's exhausted from the heat still seeping through the walls, and from whatever the hell Castiel did to him, knowing a freaking knight of hell is on its way topside isn't making for comforting bedtime thoughts. There's a kind of nervy excitement for the coming fight that keeps him tossing and turning, piled on top of his worry for Sam, who's never been too great at 'careful'.
Instead, he watches shadows sweep across the wall and lets his consciousness expand to fill the room, then the apartment, counting each protective glyph they'd painted like sheep as he drifts in and out of consciousness.
Once, he thinks he sees the door crack open, and he yawns out, "Sammy?"
No one answers, and he slips under again, dropping off for good in the grey light of predawn with every bird in creation chirping happily outside his window.
The Impala is parked outside when Dean drags himself into the kitchen sometime after noon, the coffee in the pot stone cold when he pours himself a sloppy cup. He drinks it over the sink, smiling at the sliver of his baby's tires just visible through the high window, and wonders if it might be about time for an oil change.
He hears the front door open behind him and gulps down the last of the mug, setting it aside as he turns around with a grin and a quip about early birds.
And damn near swallows his tongue.
Sam, oblivious, steps into the room in the middle of peeling off his shirt, arms up above his head and the long exposed lines of his torso slick with sweat, flushed pink with exertionand Dean has to swallow, hard. Sam's put on muscle in the last year, broad shoulders tapering into the kind of abs that make Dean self-conscious about his own softer midsection, and every mouthwatering inch of it is on display as he arches into the stretch with a groan, shirt balled up in one hand while the other almost brushes the ceiling.
Objectively, Dean knows Sam's attractive. He'd been a cute baby and a halfway decent-looking kid— skinny and sulky, yeah, as soon as curse you as look at you, sure, but he was Dean's brother first and foremost and it kept Dean's appreciation academic, the occasional what-if thoughts relegated to dark bars and lonely nights on the road.
There's nothing academic or objective about the way Sam's eyes catch his and the room goes hot and arctic and airless, heady pulse of arousal sinking its velvet claws into Dean almost before he knows what's happening. "Fuck," he says, strangled, clutching the counter behind him for dear life because the other option is jumping his little brother right there in their fucking kitchen.
Sam seems frozen mid-motion, bright hazel swiftly darkening as he takes in Dean's bare chest, his wide eyes and white knuckles. "Sorry. Didn't… didn't know you were up."
"Right," Dean says, voice shading high. He watches a line of sweat roll down Sam's stomach and wonders miserably how it tastes, how it would feel to follow it back up with his tongue— or down, fuck, yes, down and dipping past the edge of those fucking tracks pants and—
Dean bites down hard on a moan and grits out, "Can you please—?"
"What?" Sam looks down at himself, absently rubbing his shirt over his side and Dean can't quite swallow the noise of pure want he makes, sound pulled out of him like it's on a hook sunk deep in his gut.
And that, that was a mistake; he can almost see Sam's ears prick forward, the alien interest that always idles just under the surface rising up, something strange and dangerous peering out at him through his brother's eyes. It laps at Dean's skin like warming water, threatens to pull him under completely when he sucks in an unsteady breath and Sam edges closer, like it's drawing him in.
"Sam, come on," he says, as firmly as he can when his body's already reacting, the sweatpants he slept in doing nothing to hide it. "Cool it."
"Uh huh." But Sam doesn't move, doesn't blink and if anything the air between them gets even thicker.
Dean, hands vised on the edge of the counter like a tight enough grip on the physical will help his weakening grasp on his self-control, rasps, "Sam." It comes out sounding weak, desperate.
"Sorry," Sam says, even as he takes a step forward. "Sorry, Dean, I—" Another step, and Dean's eyes dart frantically around the room, looking for any chance of escape and it's all the distraction Sam needs to close the gap between them.
Sam's eyes are suddenly, completely black.
"Sorry," he says again, huskily, and he might be sorry but he's crowding into Dean, big body bleeding heat into the air around them as his hands hit the counter on either side of Dean's hips and his head dips down into the curve of Dean's neck, the barest brush of his lips there hot as a brand, making Dean shudder uncontrollably. "Please," he murmurs, and breathes across the line of Dean's jugular. "Please, just a little, Dean, smell so good."
"Sam," Dean starts, "sto—" and Sam's tongue is running up his throat, stopping the word in its tracks.
It scares him how easy it is, to let his head tip back and feel Sam's fangs graze his skin, let Sam's mouth seal over his pulse and suck and feel the pull at his core. It hurts and it's so, so good, teeth not even breaking the skin but still there, like a promise or a dare, and Dean almost doesn't feel Sam's hands on him, gripping his hips to lift him easily onto the counter, so he can grind in between them. Almost.
He and Sam have been killing vampires since they were teens, and Dean can't even get his head around it sometimes, that this is them, now. Sam is a vampire. Not Red or Black Court, either, but White, all his lanky awkwardness transmutedinto the kind of restless, predatory grace Dean associates with tigers in zoos, barely leashed and always hungry. His hands are still braced on the counter but it doesn't matter, because Sam's are everywhere, on his back, tight in his hair to stretch his neck out a little more, cupping his ass to drag him closer.
A sudden sting clears Dean's head for a moment and Sam groans low like a growl, mouth open and wet against the hinge of Dean's jaw, and shit, shit, oh fuck—
Dean puts a hand on his chest, as firm as he can make it. Immediately Sam presses closer with a raw, unhappy sound.
"That's enough," Dean says, tries to mean it. "Enough, Sam."
He pushes, then, leans back and tries to get an arm up between them. Sam's hands dig into him like claws and he snarls, sound sending an icy shiver down Dean's spine. It isn't even remotely human.
Dean takes a breath, holds it and slowly raises his other arm. His hand glows orange, runes like live coals where he'd had to recarve them after Castiel raised him smooth and unscarred.
The word, or maybe the heat distorting the air around Dean's fingers, makes Sam blink slowly, shake his head as if clearing water from his ears. The white begins to bleed back into his eyes.
"Dean?" he says, sounding confused.
"Oh thank Christ," Dean breathes as the steady stupefying pull fades back to bearable levels.
"Shit!" Sam stumbles backwards, hand over his mouth like it can hide the fact that he's sporting a row of two-inch fangs, top and bottom. "I'm— shorry. Sorry."
"S'fine," Dean says faintly, and thinks that by their warped standards it almost fucking is. "Nothing happened."
"You're bleeding," Sam says, and Dean touches his neck, winces at the slick mixture of blood and saliva he sees when he looks at his fingers.
"It's fine," he says again. "It would have been fine, Sam. Didn't you eat? I mean, that girl, I thought you…?"
"I couldn't— more than a sip, I was already…" Sam takes another shaky step back, turning his head away. Ashamed. Dean wants to reach out, to tell him that it's okay, but he still feels slow and stupid, dick still leaking at the sight of Sam licking his lips clean. Fuck.
"She wasn't…" Sam trails off again.
"Wasn't?" Dean prompts.
"She wasn't enough," Sam says, anguished. "God, Dean. No one is."
And with that terrifying pronouncement he vanishes into the hallway, bathroom door slamming shut a second later.
The last of the thrall dissipates and Dean's body sags back against the counter, throat wet, his hard-on tenting his pants, so frustrated he could kill something. "Fuck," he says into the empty room, letting his head fall back against the cabinets. "Fuck!"
**Please note that the text below is just a guide to the canon Dresden Files, not a blow-by-blow description of how that canon is used to inform this alternate universe!**
From the Dresden Files Wikipedia page:
The Dresden Files is a series of contemporary fantasy/mystery novels written by Jim Butcher. He provides a first person narrative of each story from the point of view of the main character, private investigator and wizard Harry Dresden, as he recounts investigations into supernatural disturbances in modern-day Chicago. ... In the world of The Dresden Files, magic is real, along with ghouls, vampires, demons, spirits, faeries, werewolves, and other mythical monsters. Harry Dresden works to protect the general public, who are ignorant of magic and the dark forces conspiring against them. ...The White Council, the recognized governing body of Wizards, has decreed the Seven Laws of Magic, which all magic users are expected to follow. Breaking any of the laws carries a death sentence except under very rare and special circumstances.
... [The White] Court is the most human-like group of vampires. They are similar to succubi and incubi, feeding off the emotions and life force of their prey. [They] are sexual predators, using their supernatural good looks and psychic aura to attract both men and women
... The Wardens are the White Council's enforcers. Their primary role is to enforce the Seven Laws of Magic, and they are empowered to deliver summary judgment when confronting a violator of the Laws. This can be anything from advising new practitioners of the Laws, to delivering suspects to trial in front of the Senior Council, to simply beheading criminals in the field. During times of war ... Wardens also serve as the White Council's primary military force.