So my original plan was to have this fic finished and published on Thursday, but then real life reared its ugly head and it didn't get completed until today. The title comes from the quote from the "Lilo and Stitch" movie, which I do not own. Nor do I own Supernatural.
This is my family. I found it, all on my own. It's little, and broken, but still good. Yeah, still good.
"Lilo and Stitch"
"A little help here?" Castiel asks in a pained voice, and Dean springs into action. Sam's watching, looking a little dazed, as Dean goes over to the angel and tries to help him to his feet. Castiel lets out quiet moan as Dean tries to pull him upright.
"What's wrong?" the hunter asks as he notices that Castiel looks very pale. It's almost as if he's lost a lot of blood, but there's not that much on his face (well, there's a lot, but not enough for him to be showing signs of extreme blood loss), so there must be another injury.
"I was shot," Castiel groans. Dean's eyebrows go up. "It's a long story. I'm not healing properly."
"Shit," Dean swears as Castiel shifts slightly to show him the bloody mess that the angel's stomach is at the moment. "What the hell happened?"
"I can tell you later, but…" Castiel's voice trails off feebly and jerks Dean into reality.
"Yeah, right. Come on, let me help you to the car." Dean tries to get Castiel to his feet, but it's clearly not going to happen. He can tell that much. With no other options, he bends down and gathers up the angel in his arms, bridal style.
"What are you doing?" Castiel asks weakly.
"Carrying you to the car," Dean replies in a slightly gruff voice. "We'll stop at the next motel we get to, but we'll need to drive for a while to get there."
"I can handle travel," Castiel tells Dean candidly, though the pallor of his face makes Dean unsure it's true. "I am an angel, Dean. I'll be fine."
"Your shirt is bright red," Dean counters. "You've lost a lot of blood, Cas."
"I am an angel, Dean," Castiel repeats. "What was your original destination?"
"The Men of Letters bunker," Dean replies automatically as he goes to the door of the Impala. Sam opens the back door and Dean helps Castiel in. "It's in Lebanon. About another hour's drive."
"I can handle another hour," Castiel replies. Dean doesn't believe him. "I can, Dean," he adds in an exasperated voice. "If I need help, I'll tell you. I promise."
"Fine," Dean sighs. "But if you need anything, you tell me immediately." Castiel nods. He barely has enough energy to do so and Dean feels this isn't a good idea, but then again, Castiel is an angel. He can probably handle this.
Dean gets in the driver's seat, angles the rearview mirror so he can see Castiel in the back seat, and drives off. The angel's trying to get comfortable, but as he shifts, he lets out a pained gasp and a hint of bluish light escapes his stomach. He quickly places both hands over it, as if trying to staunch the bleeding. "You alright, Cas?" Dean calls back. The angel nods.
"I'm trying to repair the damage to my true form," he replies. Sam frowns.
"You mean, whatever hurt you went all the way down to your true form?" he asks, speaking for the first time since Castiel's entered the car.
"Yes," the angel gasps out. He sounds bad. "But I'm healing. Slowly."
"So was this from another angel, then?" Sam asks, turning in his seat. Castiel shakes his head.
"Crowley," he corrects. Dean almost crashes the car.
"Crowley?" he and Sam both demand at the same time.
"How?" Sam asks. "That's a bullet wound. There are bullets that can hurt angels? And Crowley has his hands on them?"
"He melted down an angel blade," Castiel replies. His voice is a bit stronger, so Dean guesses he must be healing. "Then he made the material into bullets. He killed one angel, scared Naomi off, and wounded me."
"Why didn't he just kill you?" Sam asks. Castiel looks down.
"He wanted the angel tablet," he replies. "And…he has it."
"Well, shit," Dean says after a pause. "That's not good, is it?"
"It's very bad," Castiel replies. "I was protecting it the best I could, but…"
"Where were you hiding it anyway?" Sam asks. "Is there some sort of special, super safe place? Cause we could use that for Kevin and the demon tablet. They're safe for now, but we could use a better place."
"I don't think it would work," Castiel replies. "I, um, placed the tablet within me."
"You what?" Dean demands. Castiel looks embarrassed.
"I hid it within me. I sliced open my stomach and placed the tablet in there, then healed over it." Dean feels faintly nauseated, and from the look on Sam's face, he does too. Then a horrible thought occurs to Dean that makes his blood run cold.
"Then how did Crowley get it?" he asks. Sam's eyes go wide as the same thought occurs to him.
"He, um, dug it out," Castiel replies. "That's why he shot me. I have no doubt he would have killed me afterwards if not for whatever trouble Kevin Tran had caused. Instead, he left me alone with an angel that had allied himself with Crowley. I managed to overpower him and get out."
"How did you get here?" Dean asks. If Castiel escaped at the same time Kevin did, then he got out a good hour and a half ago. Has Castiel just been lying on this stretch of road the whole time?"
"I've been gathering energy," Castiel replies. "I knew that, once I found you, I would have to move quickly. I was attempting to land directly in the car, but I…miscalculated."
"I'm not surprised," Dean mutters. With the condition Castiel's in, he'd have been more surprised if he had landed properly.
The car is mostly silent after that and a half an hour into the drive, Dean's thinking that the wound must have looked worse than it actually was, or maybe Castiel's mojo has started to heal him again, or maybe he really is strong enough to handle this. Yeah, the breathing he hears from the back seat isn't all that even, and the peeks he takes of Castiel in the back aren't all that heartening, but at least he's alive and awake.
"Dean," Castiel says softly, his voice weak. Dean's heart clenches painfully because this can't be good. "Dean I believe I…I believe I'm losing consciousness."
"You have to stay awake, Cas," Dean warns, his heart feeling unpleasantly constricted. "Come on. We'll be there soon." Dean's foot presses down harder on the accelerator and he's going far beyond the speed limit, but he doesn't have much of a choice.
"I…" Castiel's voice trails off. It's breathy and weak and not at all the strong, constant voice Dean's used to. "I've lost a lot of blood, Dean." Castiel's hands aren't strong enough to put pressure on the wound to stop the flow of blood and the red liquid is still sluggishly escaping, occasionally accompanied by pale blue light that Dean knows is Castiel's Grace.
"Come on, Cas," Sam says as Dean practically floors the gas pedal. He turns in his seat and looks back at the angel. Sam doesn't look too hot either, but he's putting that aside to help Castiel. Dean cannot articulate how awesome his little brother is. "Listen to me. Concentrate on me, okay?"
"Sam, I don't know if I can," Castiel replies, his voice cracking from either pain or weakness; Dean can't tell and he doesn't want to know.
"You can do it," Sam replies. "Have you ever met Metatron?" Castiel shakes his head. "Well, Dean and I just met him." The rest of the car ride is spent with Sam telling Castiel stories of hunts they've had since they saw him last and tales of childhood that come to Sam randomly. Dean manages to cut down the half-an-hour trip to a little over fifteen minutes and soon, they're pulling up to the bunker. Castiel's barely conscious, but he's still stubbornly holding on. Dean carries him in while Sam stumbles in after them. The younger Winchester shoots Dean and Castiel a regretful look before making his way to his bedroom to pass out.
"What's wrong with Sam?" Castiel mumbles, and it's so like him, to be asking after someone else when he's dying slowly of a gunshot wound.
"The trials are kicking his ass," Dean replies as he puts the angel on the couch. Castiel's not even able to hold himself upright and he's slumped back against the cushions when Dean comes back a minute later with bandages. "Crowley really did a number on you, didn't he?"
"Naomi got to me first," Castiel groans. "She wanted to find the tablet and was willing to resort to whatever measures to get it. And then, when Crowley got his hands on me…" Castiel lets out a dry chuckle and Dean seriously cannot believe that he's laughing at a time like this. He wonders if it's the shock. "He reached inside me and pulled out the tablet through a bullet hole. It was less than pleasant."
"How the hell did you get out of there?" Dean asks, trying to get Castiel to stay awake as he bandages him. The wound looks like it might need stitches, but Dean can't deal with that tonight, so he decides he'll leave it for now and reevaluate in the morning.
"Crowley was distracted by whatever Kevin did and left me with Ion, a traitorous angel that chose to ally himself with him. I dug the bullet out of my stomach and pushed it into Ion's skull through his eye." Dean's not sure whether to be disgusted or really impressed. He settles for a little of both. "I was able to escape before Crowley or any demons returned." Castiel's voice is weak and he's clearly about to lose consciousness, and Dean's not sure there's anything he can do anymore to stop him. "You and your brother were the first people I thought of to go to."
"You can stay in my bedroom for the night, if you want," Dean offers, scooping Castiel up into another bridal-style hold that feels surprisingly not-awkward. "And once you're healed up, we can make you up a room of your own."
"I don't need a room," Castiel informs Dean drowsily. "I'm an angel of the Lord. I don't have to sleep."
"We can talk about it tomorrow," Dean bargains gently, because he knows Castiel's fading fast. Sure enough, by the time he's gotten to his bedroom, Castiel seems to be out. With a bit of work, Dean manages to extricate the angel from his shoes, trench coat, suit jacket, and tie. Castiel looks surprisingly young and vulnerable without the outer layers of his clothing, which seems to be almost like armor for him. Dean feels the strange urge to pull the blankets up over him and he does just that.
But apparently, Castiel's still holding onto some last vestiges of consciousness, because he whispers Dean's name as the hunter's about to leave. "Yeah, Cas?" Dean asks, turning around and returning to the bed.
"Did you really mean what you said last time?" Castiel whispers. Dean frowns. "When you said you needed me?" the angel adds.
"Yeah, I did," Dean replies. Castiel smiles, just a tiny bit.
"I need you too," he mumbles almost indiscernibly, but Dean understands. He passes out fully right after that. Dean smiles, smoothes Castiel's hair out over his forehead, and leaves the room. Then he goes in to check on Sam, who's passed out across his bed with a low-grade fever. The clock on his bedside table reads 12:17, and Dean realizes that it's officially May 2nd, Sam's birthday. "Happy birthday, Sammy," he whispers to his brother, brushing a gentle kiss across his forehead, just like he used to do when Sam was little.
Then Dean settles himself at the table in the main room, reading up on how the hell you cure a demon anyway, waiting for the first member of his family to wake up.