A/N: Yeah, I was attacked by another plot bunny.
When Dean called to ask her to keep an eye out for Castiel, Charlie didn't expect to be the one to find him. She should've known better really; ever since meeting the Winchesters the supernatural has been following her around like a lost puppy.
Speaking of lost puppies, Castiel looks like one the way he's walking along the side of a dirt road in the middle of nowhere, following the line of a forest, not even looking up as Charlie pulls over her (stolen) care alongside him.
Getting out of the car and jogging over to where Castiel has gotten ahead Charlie pulls on the sleeve of his ratty trenchcoat. "Hey, you're Castiel, right?" she asks when she gets him to turn around.
"Yes," he answers a little too readily. Didn't Dean teach him not to be friendly with strangers who somehow know his name? Oh well, guess it works in her favor.
Charlie smiles. "I have been looking all over for you!" she exclaims. "I mean, Dean told me to keep a lookout for you, and here you are. This is perfect. I'm Charlie by the way."
At the mention of Dean the angel perks up. "Dean sent you?" Looking at the way those eyes shine at that name and that voice brightens – not to mention how worried she remembers Dean sounding, no matter how hard he tried to cover that up – Charlie half expects to find 'if found return to Dean Winchester' written on the inside of that trenchcoat.
Once getting Castiel into the car Charlie considers calling Dean to tell him the good news, but she decides against it; she'd much rather see the look on his face when he finds out Cas is alive and well – relatively speaking at least; he can't be spectacularly if he's wandering along the road and hasn't been able to contact Dean or Sam.
From what she knows of Cas from the Supernatural books, Charlie gets the feeling he blames himself for whatever happened to the angels (she got little information on that front from Dean but she gets the inkling he doesn't know much either). And, knowing Dean, and considering the way he clammed up on the topic of Cas last time she saw the Winchesters, Castiel probably thinks Dean is still mad at him for whatever he did. This theory is supported by the way Castiel starts to fidget when she tells him they're about an hour away from the Men of Letters HQ.
In order to distract Castiel, and to find out what all's been happening since Edlund's last book, Charlie gets Castiel to fill in the blanks. It's surprisingly easy; Charlie would've thought with all the time he spends with the Winchester Castiel would've learned a thing or two about evasion. Then again maybe he just wants someone to talk to because there are points in his story where he seems confused about something Dean said or did. Which, of course, is plausible since Castiel has enough trouble understanding modern colloquialisms and such normally, let alone anything to do with Dean.
So Charlie feels for him and has the strong urge to wrap him up to a blanket, cuddle him, and have a relaxing Sunday night in teaching Castiel all the fun, finer points of hacking – which is everything. But she made a promise to keep an eye out for Castiel, and she knows Dean will be worried sick till he sees Cas for himself – though he'll never admit it.
Soon enough they reach the bunker and, hiding Castiel around the corner, Charlie gives the secret knock, trying to suppress her excited giggles so as not to give up the surprise right away.
When Dean opens the door and sees whom it is he grins and gives her a hug, though Charlie can see the underlying exhaustion and worry. "Charlie! It's been awhile. What's up?"
Pulling away Charlie grins back. "I have a surprise for you," she rushes out, unable to hold it in for long, "but we should go inside first."
"Okay…" he says a bit suspiciously.
"Oh and you should close your eyes."
"Dude, humor me, 'kay? It's awesome, I promise."
With a put upon sigh Dean steps back and closes his eyes, letting Charlie enter, who beckons to Castiel urgently and motions for him to stay silent as the three make their way to the sort of dining/living area, Dean going by memory with his eyes shut. Once Dean stops Charlie motions for Castiel to take up his usual spot within Dean's personal space – which Charlie read about and, okay, it's even better in person; she can't wait for the eye fucking – before announcing "Okay, you can open them now!" with no longer contained excitement.
Opening his eyes to his angel Dean doesn't even flinch, just stands there and stares, mouth gaping and eyes searching his face then flitting across his body, checking for any visible injuries.
"Cas?" he finally gets out after a few tense moments.
"Hello Dean," Castiel replies with his usual greeting just before he's enveloped in a crushing hug of his own, one which he almost gladly returns, eager for the rare affection before Dean undoubtedly throws a 'bitch fit'.
Watching from the sidelines Charlie is witness to a pure Destiel moment. Both men clutch tightly at each other, breathing each other in deeply, savoring the moment. It makes her squee internally seeing her new favorite ship with her very own eyes.
The hug ends far too soon as Dean pulls back but keeps his hands on Cas' shoulders, holding him at arm's length. "You okay man?" And that question has multiple meanings: Is he physically okay? Mentally, emotionally? Did he fall along with his brothers and sisters?
And Castiel's response pretty much answers all of the above. "It's my fault Dean; it's my fault all my brothers and sisters have fallen. I set out to shut the gates of Heaven, to attempt to atone for my sins in Heaven and on Earth, and I failed. Miserably.
"So no Dean, I am not 'okay'." And he actually uses air quotes; Charlie didn't think anyone did that anymore.
Dean actually looks like he doesn't know what to say for a moment, so Charlie takes her chance to fill in a necessary detail. "Actually, it was more Metatron than Cas; he stabbed Naomi in the back of the skull after she warned you guys then took Castiel's Grace before completing the trials to cast out all the angels.
"So yeah. Please don't be mad at Cas; he blames himself enough as it is."
Castiel starts to object, "Charlie -"
"Cas, man, she's right," Dean interrupts. "Did Metatron give me the jeebies? Yeah. Did I find him suddenly being all buddy-buddy with you suspicious? Hell yeah.
"But Cas, man, like I told ya before, you gotta stop blaming yourself for all the problems in Heaven."
Castiel snorts, actually snorts. "I believe this is the moment one would point out you are a kettle."
Chuckling, Dean says, "I think you meant 'the pot calls the kettle black'."
A head tilt and an eye squint. "Yes, that."
And here goes the eye fucking. Holy Rowling it's even hotter in person.
They actually don't look away from each other, forgetting Charlie is even there, until Sam walks in – more stumbles really – and comes to a halt with a surprised "Cas!"
The two reluctantly look away from each other, Cas turning a genuine, slightly dimmer smile on Sam. "Hello Sam," he greets warmly as the younger Winchester comes closer, if a wobbly.
"You okay man, we've been looking for you ever since -" Sam comes to an abrupt halt, highly conscious of what he was about to say. "Are you – Did you -" he attempts to try to find a delicate way of asking, but obviously is hard pressed to find one.
"I am… human. Graceless. Useless." The last word is said so quietly it is hard to hear, but being so close Dean does and he protests.
"Come on Cas, you're not useless."
"I seem to recall a time during our fight against the Apocalypse when I had lost the last of my Grace and you stated I was 'as useful as an infant', or something to that effect."
Charlie remembers reading that line and she still cringes, more so when she sees the hurt Castiel is trying to hide from that memory.
Dean cringes as well. "Cas…"
"And while last we conversed at the bar you did not mention my transgressions not just with the angel tablet but all my others as well, I am aware you are no doubt still angry with me so I will not stay and become a burden once again." He turns to Charlie. "If it is all right with you I would like to accompany you to your next destination and then we can part ways once I can find a means to support myself while I try to find a way to restore my brothers and sisters to Heaven."
"No way, no fucking way," Dean objects immediately, indignant. "You are staying here, and we are helping you get your mojo back."
"That isn't a request or a suggestion," he interrupts again. "And this time you can't just flap out."
Sam feels the need to add something to counteract Dean's usual harsh brashness. "Yeah Cas, we'll do everything we can to fix this," he says before he starts coughing for a minute.
Perhaps grudgingly and a bit bashfully Castiel ducks his head in acquiescence. "If you insist," he mutters in his gravelly voice.
"We do," Dean says firmly.
A small, almost imperceptible smile crosses Cas' lips, in turn making Dean smile – and there goes the eye fucking again. Man, how can Sam handle this every time he's in a room with these two? Glancing up, Charlie sees a long suffering look on his face and she knows they're in accord that Dean and Cas just need to fuck already and leave everyone else out of it.
Almost like they communicated telepathically, Sam and Charlie leave the room as quietly as they can, heading to the kitchen so as not to interrupt the 'moment'.
Meanwhile, as they share soft smiles in the dining/living area, Castiel and Dean unconsciously gravitate that last little bit of space still left between them, Dean's gaze flickering between Cas's eyes and his lips, giving Cas the chance to back away. Only Castiel surprises him and does the exact opposite, leaning forward that last centimeter to bring their lips together in a chaste kiss that quickly turns a tad desperate, conveying the worry they've felt since they last saw each other, Castiel determined to consume Dean's essence as Castiel twines the fingers of one hand in Dean's hair and the other hand clutches Dean's hip tightly. The urge only intensifies when Dean runs his tongue along Cas' bottom lip, Cas immediately opening his mouth to take in the tongue and suck on it, drawing a broken moan out of the other man.
Far too soon for either of their likings, Dean pulls back and Castiel takes the opportunity to lean their foreheads together, nuzzling Dean's nose with his own.
Chuckling at how ridiculously adorable and affectionate that is, and how hot that kiss was, Dean clutches Castiel closer to him by the hands that are on his lower back and handful of trenchcoat.
"I missed you, man," Dean mutters quietly, less hesitantly than usual. "You have no idea how fucking happy I am that you're okay – well, alive."
Castiel hums in acknowledgement, his eyes closing contently. "I think I do," he says, tightening his grip briefly, gently.
"Wanna head back to my room, get more comfortable and… I don't know, horizontal?" Dean offers, uncharacteristically hesitant about his proposition, hiding his face in Castiel's neck, kissing the pulse lightly and nosing behind his ear at his hairline. As Castiel answers in the affirmative Dean can feel the vibration of his voice in his throat against his lips, a not unpleasant feeling, making Dean smile and pull back, leading Castiel down the hall by the hand that is suddenly clasped firmly in his own.