Sooo - 8x23 anyone? Wooo! It was amazing, traumatising, epic and wonderful! And now Dean has to take care of Cas, teach him to be a real-life boy! Ah, so many things happened, I'm still reeling (which is why the first scene of this fic might feel weird)!
Anyway, I instantly thought of something, and had to type it up. I will probably write more chapters :)
Disclaimer: I don't own Supernatural or the characters, all rights to CW and Eric Kripke. All I own are two seasons on DVD.
Enjoy and let me know what you think!
1. Dragonfly's eye
Dean watches as the doctor experimentally moves Castiel's foot, keeping a gentle but steady hold on his ankle, and he bites the inside of his cheek, till the pain overpowers the dizzying nausea he's feeling. It's like walking on a floor made of rubber and breathing air that is too thin, and he's trying to do something about his damn heart that keeps feeling like it's about to flip out of his chest.
It's his greatest nightmare, and it's looming just ahead of him, so close, sneering into his face, and he's standing on the edge of a cliff, just about to fall right into that damn nightmare…
Beside him, Sam coughs, but a glance assures Dean that his brother is fine. He's recovering from all the trials shit, but it's a slow process. Still, he's miles better now than he was when that happened. When the angels fell. He can still remember it, the amazing, terrifying and tantalising sight of fire raining down from the skies, balls of flaming light plummeting to the earth, dripping from the celestial heights. He can still hear the roar of flames and feel the terror of thinking that Cas is among them.
"Hmm," the doctor leans in a bit closer, frowning, and Dean feels a new wave of panic come onto him, ripping him back into the present.
He bites on his cheek again, teeth digging into the soft flesh, and the pain flares up. It's stinging, rough and unbearable, but it grounds him. He's not gonna bend over and throw up, he's not! Even if this is what he keeps feeling like doing.
This cannot be happening. No. No, damn it, fuck it, no! Cas is human, with his grace stolen from him, that he can deal with, but a few things have happened, a few small, but uncanny things. And now… now Cas is at a doctor's, with his foot seriously injured.
And it's 2013.
Dean feels sick.
There is a knock on the door, and a perky nurse strolls in, handing over a large grey envelope to the doctor who then proceeds to pull out an X-ray photo and tuck it into the upper frame of a light screen.
White-and-grey lines, a mangled coil of blurred shapes, and Dean scans it frantically with his own eyes, searching for the one thing he wants most not to find – a bright white crack that would seal Castiel's fate. And Dean's.
Sam coughs again, and Dean feels his brother's hand grip his shoulder. He whips his head to the side, looking at him, but Sam seems calm – worried, but calm, his hazel eyes telling Dean to 'relax, dude'. Dean swallows, barely managing the feat over a tight, hard ball that has formed in his throat, and looks at Castiel. The former angel is sitting on the examining table, very calm, with a slight tension that has entered his shoulders as he was forced to acclimatise to his newfound humanity. Dean can see his profile, and he stares for a moment.
How is it possible? How does he do it, how is it that even though he is human now, his eyes are as celestial, endless, all-encompassing and eternal as they always were? Dean thinks he knows – it's because that was never an angel trait, as he previously thought. No, it was always Castiel.
"Well, the foot isn't broken," the doctor finally looks back into Castiel's eyes. "You've damaged his Peroneus Longus tendon though, but that's mild and manageable, we're gonna get you laid up for two weeks and you'll be fine."
The barely flickering light of relief in Dean is suddenly flooded, smothered by a newly rising wave of nausea, and this time he can't hold it back. He bolts, running out of the room, and doesn't even register a frantic sprint to the bathroom, his legs feeling like they sink into mud as he tries to run.
It's the cold, white faience of the bathroom sink in his grip that makes him notice he's reached it. His hands are clammy, sliding over the slick surface, and he feels something tight and slimy rising up his throat, squeezing his chest, and he leans down rapidly, a gag reflex clenching up his oesophagus. It locks, and he can't draw in a breath, but can't vomit either, and a shiver begins running up his back as he abruptly feels cold.
This is not happening!
Fuck. Fuck, fuck, fuck…
He's frantically trying to push it out, but he's suddenly deaf, except for sickeningly clear, close words resonating in his memory, spoken in a voice that was so familiar and yet so alien.
"Broke my foot, laid me up for two months!"
He gasps in a breath, ragged and uneven, and he shuts his eyes closed. No. This is not happening, and it won't. No pain meds, no Croatoan, no Camp Chitaqua. It won't happen, not in any variation.
Stubbornness is his coping mechanism, so he repeats the resolution in his head a few more times, until the image of the dishevelled, scruffy and stoned Castiel finally goes away. He's calm, steady, and he carefully measures every movement as he turns the water on, cups some of it into his palms, and splashes onto his face. He reaches for a paper towel and wipes the water off, focusing on breathing steadily.
He looks up into the mirror and stares at himself with stern certainty and determination. Yeah. That's how it's gonna work. No panic attacks, no fucking weakness. They're gonna take Cas home, put him in bed (and probably tie him down to it, because the fucker won't sit still even if it's best for him), wait two weeks, and he'll be as good as new.
"That's the plan, Winchester," he tells his reflection, and then turns around and strolls out of the bathroom.
"Dean! Dude, are you OK.?" Sam's eyes are wide and concerned, complete with the pained eyebrows and pressed lips. He's in the corridor, clearly looking for Dean, and he has Castiel's arm slung over his shoulders as he tries to support him.
"Yeah, fine," Dean says in a clipped tone that (he hopes) communicates he's not up for any arguments and heart-to-heats, and walks over to the two of them. "Got some prescriptions and stuff? Good to go?" he asks, unhooking Castiel's arm from around Sam's shoulders, and putting it around his own, leaning to the side so as to take as much weight off Castiel's injured foot as possible. He wraps his other arm around Cas' waist, pulling him close and staying like this for a moment.
"Dean?" he hears a soft murmur of Cas' gravelly voice in his ear, but he just glances at him and shakes his head minutely. Later, he communicates, and Cas understands, nodding slowly, large blue eyes attentive and comprehending.
That look – intense, filled with light, and so raw and opened – is so very Cas that Dean feels something lift from his chest. Castiel is still here – human, robbed of his grace by betrayal, ridden with guilt, adjusting slowly, but here. And he's still himself, and maybe even more than ever, now that he no longer questions whether his free will is truth or illusion.
Dean feels the corners of his lips twitch in a smile, and he runs a loving hand through Cas' black hair. He'd kiss him, but not in the middle of a clinic.
"Uh… yeah, got everything," Sam ignores their moment and flips through a few small paper pieces covered in hieroglyphics, showing them to Dean.
"Oh – dude! Why can't doctors write normally?" Dean bitches.
"It's OK., I remember the names. Come on."
"You good?" Dean asks Cas softly as they slowly walk after Sam, exiting the building. Blue eyes flash to his.
"I believe it is I who should be asking you that," Castiel murmurs. "Dean – are you unwell?"
"I'm fine," Dean replies, narrowing his eyes in determination. "Watch it, there's a step…"
"I can see, and don't deflect."
"I'm fine, Cas, drop it," Dean snaps warningly, and then focuses on getting his Cas (that's what he is, he's no longer an angel… he's Cas. He's Dean's Cas.) down the two steps outside the main entrance.
They hobble across the parking lot, and Dean gets Cas into the backseat of the Impala. Sam gets into the passenger seat, and Dean gets behind the wheel and readjusts his rear-view mirror so it frames Castiel instead of the road the car leaves behind.
Catching Cas' eyes through the reflective surface, he starts the engine.
"There you go," Dean steps back and grins. He has to, because Cas looks ridiculously domestic.
He's stretched out on the sofa in the Batcave, his injured foot propped up on the armrest per the doctor's orders, his upper back supported by a few pillows stacked against the other end of the sofa. He has a blanket draped over his middle, most of the fleecy fabric drooping onto the floor, he has a remote control, he has a book spread opened on his chest, and he has a burger, beer, water and orange juice (with ice) on the coffee table. All that's missing is a thermometer, and Dean is tempted to add it just for kicks and then snap a picture with his phone.
Castiel's hair is wild, mussed and sticking out in absolutely all directions, and his eyes are wide and confused – he looks like he's worried he won't be allowed to leave the sofa for those two weeks, and it just makes Dean's grin wider.
"Thank you…" Castiel says slowly, curling it up almost into a question.
"Now you just lie back and get healin'," Dean directs.
"Uh… I'll try," there's such serious commitment in Cas' voice that Dean sighs, his heart warm.
Metatron stole Castiel's grace two months ago. Since then, in a world riddled with fallen angels, Castiel's been adapting to his compulsory humanity. It has it's ups and downs, but generally he's doing pretty damn good, Dean thinks. He likes eating and taking showers, and he's great with all sorts of weapons – he's spent all of his life as an angel warrior, after all. His love for TV hasn't changed, if anything it grew, and he also loves reading, which of course means he and Sammy have formed a geek book club and swap books and shit.
He gets frustrated sometimes with the slowness of human transportation, human walking and running pace, his human weakness – even though there is some small, residual angel strength in him. But he's getting better with adjusting. Still, it damn near stabbed through Dean's heart to see him walk up to a statue that was sitting on something they needed, and realise he can't push it out of the way.
Dean walks around the coffee table and crouches down before the sofa, levelling himself with Castiel's face. The blue eyes peer at him with some concern and discomfort, but there's also softness of acceptance, and something more, something warm and liquid and open, offered up for Dean to see, and it's so trusting that Dean feels his heart clench as he reaches out, cupping Cas' cheek in his hand, brushing a thumb over his cheekbone. Castiel leans into the touch, eyes fluttering closed, and he breathes a peaceful sigh, like all of his pain and problems and shit went away, and Dean almost can't stand it, because it's not what Cas should be feeling, it's not something Dean is capable of doing – taking his problems away. He wants to, and he does as much as he can, plucking as many obstacles and issues out of Castiel's path as he can, but he… he's just not good enough to make Cas' world right. He's not worthy enough. Cas shouldn't feel like his world is right just because Dean is with him.
It's the other way around.
He leans in, closing his eyes, feeling the warmth of Castiel's face as he inches closer, and he seeks out his lips, kissing them softly, and they part, a quiet, whispered breath escaping from Cas' throat, brushing silkily over Dean's lips. He kisses Cas again, the full, plush lips giving in supply under the pressure, and he slips his hand from Cas' cheek to the back of his neck, angling his head back gently as he deepens the kiss, Cas giving him access. He tastes so sweet and warm, like a Saturday afternoon in summer, with peace and small tingle of excitement, and Dean explores his mouth languidly, tongues sliding together, following known, familiar paths.
A quiet hum sounds in Castiel's throat, reaching Dean's tongue with sweet resonance, and Dean gathers it, moving closer, almost climbing onto the sofa. He pulls away just barely, something pleasurable fluttering in his chest at the sight of Cas – eyes closed, intense bliss as he leans in, following Dean with a small sound of protest.
Dean smiles, pressing a kiss into the corner of his full lips, and lays a soft, tender trail along his cheek, taking in the fresh, enticing scent that is so purely Castiel. Cas purrs, the sound making a lot of Dean's blood rush rapidly south. He nuzzles his throat, before dropping a small kiss in the hollow at its base, Cas' head tilting back, and Dean kisses the soft flesh on the underside of his jaw. It's only the injured foot that keeps Dean from straddling Cas and ravishing those delicious, slender tendons of his throat before taking this whole thing to bed.
Castiel's hand wanders over Dean's back, warm, brushing over just the right spots with just the right pressure, till it makes its way over to his left shoulder, where it slips under the sleeve of his tee. Cas' hand aligns with the mark it had left long ago in the depths of Hell, and Dean can feel a pleasurable, fiery current run through his skin, seeping into his blood – it feels like tiny particles of light are coursing through his system, and he loves when Castiel does it.
He pulls away again and moves over Castiel's head, peering into his face. Large blue eyes open and look back into his, and Dean feels a corner of his lips quirk up.
"Is this what's called 'kissing it better'?" Cas asks, a hint of cheekiness brushing over his lips and sparking a twinkle in his eyes.
Dean huffs out a chuckle, petting through his black hair.
"You bet your ass it is."
"I think I'll need regular dosage," Cas has a very brazen, deadpan and cheeky, screwing-with-your-head sense of humour that's been developing over the years while he still was an angel, and he seems to enjoy expanding it now that he is human.
Dean grins, walking over to the other end of the sofa, and gently runs a hand over the back of Castiel's injured foot. It's been de-socked, washed, treated with painkiller ointment and disinfected for good measure (no one's taking any chances here, and Cas has a small cut on the ankle from the accident – he stepped into a basically invisible hole in the ground and got his foot jammed), and is now propped up. Dean smiles, gently running his thumb over the arch at the bottom of Cas' foot, gingerly tracing the injured tendon.
Castiel gives a small snort and his foot twitches – he's ticklish, and is now grinning, giggling on an involuntary reflex, his eyes shining. He's got a serious bedhead, he's wearing a mangled T-shirt from Dean's band collection (this one is AC/DC with tour dates on the back) and jeans washed over and over to the point of comfy softness, and he looks so devastatingly, damn precious that Dean's seriously afraid his heart will legitimately melt.
Breathing a soft chuckle that may or may not almost involve a sob, Dean gently wraps his hands around Cas' foot, keeping it in place, and looks into Cas' face, taking it in – eyes sparkling, white teeth peeking in a small, peacefully fading grin in between lush lips, mussed hair, book on chest.
Of course, this is the moment when Sam has to stroll in, carrying a tray of food and meds and some other stuff, and he stops before the sofa, looking at the two of them, and a shit-eating grin spreads across his face. Dean rolls his eyes and walks to the other end of the sofa again, perching his ass on the armrest and dropping his hand to card through Cas' hair.
Sam's been supportive of his and Castiel's… well, whatever the hell it is they have. Point is, Sam's been supportive since day one, a little over a month ago, when Dean, in Sam's words, 'finally pulled his head out of his ass'. Sure, Dean's glad Sammy is okay with him and Cas, but he seriously could do with a little less of all the bragging about how it was 'so obvious' and how Sam 'always knew', which Sam felt obliged to spread around for the first week or so.
"Got the pain meds, Cas," Sam informs the new member of the human club. "They should help."
The phrase 'pain meds' sends a flare of returning unease through Dean. It's like the nice moment from just a few seconds before is now distant in time and dulled. Story of his life, actually.
"Hang on, lemme see," he demands, getting off the sofa and snatching the two pill bottles from Sam. He quickly but thoroughly reads through the ingredients, and feels a cold lurch grab at his stomach when he reads two of the substances. "No. Throw this shit out," he demands.
Glancing at Cas, Dean grabs Sam by the arm and drags him out of the room and out of earshot. Once there, he holds up the bottles before his brother's face.
"We're not giving him this," he mutters in an instinctively quieter voice. "Stay with him, I'm gonna go to the Wal-Mart or something, he's getting nothing else but ibuprofen or paracethamol or other supermarket shit, and not even one pill above the recommended limit."
"The hell, Dean?" Sam looks incredulous. "The doctor prescribed this!"
"Screw the doctor."
"Dean?" Cas' voice comes from the other room.
"Hold on!" Dean calls back, and turns to Sam again. "Just – trust me on this, man, OK.? Just trust me. How are you, by the way?" he nods at Sam indicatively.
Sam just shrugs.
"Normal, I guess. Cas said it would be a slow trip. But yeah, I'm doing OK."
The night the angels fell was one of the worst nights of Dean's life. Sam was dying in convulsions in his arms, and when Castiel finally showed up, guided by Dean's frantic shouts, he confessed he's human and cannot mojo Sam back to health. Right then, Dean felt as if someone yanked the earth from under his feet.
But angel or not, Castiel still knew all there was to know about Enochian sigils, symbols and medicine, and even though he was human, he still was able to coax some power out of the angel language, simply because Enochian was power on its own. With a lot of effort, a lot of scribbles and some ingredients, with a lot of symbols done in a marker all over Sam's arms and chest, Cas and Dean had managed to get him stable. Helped with the Enochian sigils, Sam was slowly put on a reverse course of his trial sickness – from worst to bad to better. Two months in, he's doing OK., just still coughing a lot, but the blood went away two weeks ago, and he now he gets feverish just sometimes in the evenings. Another two months or so, and he should be fine.
"OK., good," Dean slaps a hand on Sam's shoulder and nods. "So, stay with Cas, I'll go get the meds."
"Nah, it's OK., I'll go," Sam says. "You stay with him."
"You sure?" Dean frowns. "You're up for it?"
"Dude, it's a ride to pharmacy or supermarket, I can handle it," Sam rolls his eyes. "You go stay with your little boyfriend," he smirks, and Dean rolls his eyes, but can't stop his ears from burning. Sam, being the little bitch he is, of course notices it and grins.
"Fine, go," Dean grumbles. "Take the blade, just in case," he reminds.
"Yeah, yeah, I know," Sam raises a hand as he retreats.
With a lot of fallen angels around, an angel blade is right about the most valuable possession for a hunter nowadays. And lucky for them, Cas kept his when he was pushed down to the earth.
Moderately calmed, Dean veers off into the bathroom, struggles a little with the caps on the bottles (damn child-proof shit!) and shakes the pills out of both bottles into the toilet, making sure they all get flushed. Satisfied, he throws the bottles into the bin and heads back to Cas.
"Hey, what's up?" he asks, maybe a little too light-heartedly.
"Dean," Castiel shifts a little on the sofa, trying to half-sit up, and Dean knows the look on his face – they're gonna talk, and Dean's not gonna get out of it.
"Hmm?" hell, that doesn't mean he's not gonna try.
"Dean," now there's this firm steadiness that sort of just forces Dean to look at Cas. Huh. That's another thing he used to attribute to angel mojo and stuff. "I know why you threw out the medication."
He just stands there, looking at Cas, because he doesn't really have anything to say. He's the one who started the talk, so he's got to be the one to make sure it keeps going. Dean's not inclined.
"There's… nothing to be worried about," Castiel says, and Dean looks at his foot. Slightly swollen, and though the angle doesn't allow him to see it right now, he knows there is a bruise where the injured tendon is hidden under the skin. "It's a variable."
Castiel's statement is simple, emotionally indifferent and colourless, and it makes Dean look at him, slightly puzzled. Castiel sighs, and reaches out with both arms, almost like a child wanting to be hugged, but Dean reads his language very well, and knows it's an invitation. So he walks over closer, sitting sideways on the edge of the sofa, facing Cas whose hand lands on his thigh, touch warm and reassuring. His eyes – even more so.
"Have you got… any idea how many variables Zachariah had to establish to conjure up that vision of 2014 and Camp Chitaqua?" Castiel asks in a soft voice. "How many alternatives? And how generous he was to himself in his assumptions that things would happen one way and not another? How very untrue to many characters he drafted those events? How many choices he made others make just because it suited his visions, not because they were true to those people's personalities, situations and ideals? How much he tampered with 'what if'?"
Cas reaches up and gently runs a hand through Dean's hair, letting his fingertips trail down his neck as he lowers his hand back down. The caress is soft, placating, soothing.
"You don't," Castiel answers calmly for Dean. "But I do. Zachariah was very self-obliging in assuming that certain people would act certain ways. This," he points to his injured foot, "is a variable. Not connected to his schemes. It's an isolated event now. It has no bearing on what will happen."
Dean bites on his lower lip, frowning and looking down at the sofa. In his line of sight, there is Castiel's blanket, his hand on his thigh, and a hint of the dark grey T-shirt draped over his slender torso.
"Cas… I have to," he looks up, almost apologetic. He slowly shakes his head. "I have to."
I have to make sure you're OK. That you will be OK. I have to make sure that thing never happens. I have to look after you. I have to make sure you're as happy as you can be.
I love you.
Castiel nods, slowly, and Dean knows he's received all the things he didn't say out loud. But the communication between them never was just words. It always had more.
He puts his hand over Castiel's, and squeezes it.
"Of course," Cas nods. "And it will be fine, Dean. It's just a variable. Without others, it's meaningless in the grand scheme of things."
"Dragonfly's eye, huh?" Dean smirks, remembering cross-legged Cas preaching orgy to a handful of eager girls.
Castiel's lips twitch minutely, a brazen gleam passing through his eyes.
"Yes. And because I know you found it interesting… when I'm well, I can teach something about the tantric methods."
Dean's jaw drops and he feels his face burn. Though he wonders how, because he's fairly sure most of his body's blood is currently gathered in his groin.
Cas is wearing this half-smirk that sometimes appears on his face and reminds Dean that his once-angel can be a really sneaky son of a bitch when he wants to. He clears his throat.
"Well, uh… not to be self-serving, but get better, Cas," he grins.
Castiel smiles and turns on the TV. Dean makes himself more comfortable. They wait for Sam, watching some soap opera, Casiel warm against Dean's side, Dean's hand petting through his hair.
And, like quite a few times over the last two months, Dean thinks it's going to be OK.
Ah, I wrote this thing in one sitting! If I add more chapters, there will be a lot of fluff and Dean playing doctor to both Cas and Sam, but also I might venture into the threads of Crowley, Kevin and the fallen angels.
Again - epic season finale, anyone? :D
Anyway - reviews are beyond cherished!