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Let The Rain Go On And On

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Dean Winchester was six the first time he met the angel. He was playing out in his backyard by himself, because Sammy was getting cranky and had to go in for a nap, and mommy was looking after Sammy, and daddy was at work.

So, Dean was playing on his own, swinging sadly on his swing set, when he saw the angel. It was small, almost smaller than him, crouched just in the treeline that Dean’s house backed onto. The first thing Dean noticed about it was the eyes. They were bright blue, and so so pretty, and Dean was halfway off of the swing before he noticed the rest.

A pair of pale blue wings jutted out from it’s shoulder blades, darkening at the tips already, which was really the giveaway. The creature, for it was a creature, no matter how human it looked, was filthy, covered in mud, with a thin wrap of white fabric tied around its waist to preserve it’s modesty.

Dean stared with wide eyes for a long moment, and then hopped off the swing and ran inside, crying to his mommy about the “scary angel.”

The second time he meets the angel, it’s less than a week later. His parents had reassured him that the angel was probably just looking for food in their trash, and didn’t want to hurt him. So he’d saved some chicken nuggets from his dinner that night and crept outside while his daddy was watching TV and mommy was upstairs with Sammy.

The angel is there again, by some miracle, watching him with big blue eyes. “Hello.” Dean said quietly, still a bit scared. “I brought some food for you. My mommy says you were just hungry, so here.” He held out the nuggets, biting his lip nervously.

Those eyes stared at him for a long, long moment, and then, while keeping eye contact, the angel took the food with small, dirty fingers. It’s skin was warm, much warmer than Dean’s, and the contact sent a wave of prickly sensation up his arm.

The angel ate quickly, small wings arching up and sweeping down rhythmically as it did, and Dean found himself mesmerized.

Before Dean could say another word, he heard his mommy calling his name. “Will you come back tomorrow?” Dean whispered, and the angel -- nodded. The angel actually nodded. Dean beamed, and then his mommy called for him again and, with one last look to the angel, he ran back to his house.

The next day, when he went outside after school, having saved half of his sandwich (ham, his absolute favorite!) and most of his snacks, his angel was waiting by the treeline for him.

“Hey, angel. I brought you more food.” Dean said as a greeting, holding out the half of his sandwich he’d saved for the angel. As with the nuggets the day before, the food is picked carefully out of his hand and wolfed down.

“My name is Dean. Do you have a name?”

The angel looked at him and cocked it’s head curiously. And then, in a soft, lilting voice, it said, “Dean.”

Dean himself frowned. “Your name can’t be Dean. That’s my name.”

Again, the angel tilted its head at Dean. It pointed to itself, and mumbled, “Castiel.”

“Castee… Cash… Cas. I’ll call you Cas.” Dean decided, and the little angel smiled at him. Dean couldn’t help but smile back, and from there, it started a wonderful friendship.

Their friendship blossomed into something beautiful, something strong, a profound bond.

It took a while for Cas to learn how to talk properly, but by then, he was Dean’s best friend. Dean told Cas all about Sammy, about his mom and dad, about school, about everything. He even did his homework sitting at the base of a tree in the forest while Cas sat opposite him and watched.

He was eight by then, and apparently Cas was eight too. He knew that Cas was being taken care of by his older brother, Gabriel, who only knew Enochian, and he knew that Cas’s favorite color was green. He was slowly teaching his best friend to read, but it was hard because Dean wasn’t the best reader in the world.

"And… The… C-Ca... Ca-... Cat…” Cas managed. Dean had finished with his homework, and now he was teaching Cas more words. “The cat… Sat… On the… M-Ma-... Mat…”

Cas shifted his weight, and one of his feathers brushed against Dean’s bare arm. It was April, and Spring was in full force, so it was warm enough that Dean didn’t need a jacket. As always, each touch sent sparks through his skin. He’d learnt to ignore it, though.

While Dean was teaching Cas English, Cas had started teaching Dean Enochian. He was almost as fluent in it as Cas was in English, and sometimes the Enochian words for things started to slip out, because Dean and Cas talked in an amalgamation of both. It concerned his parents, with how much time he spent out of the house, and now this weird new language he seemed to have made up. They tried to send him to counsellor after therapist, but they all said nothing was wrong with him, that he’d grow out of it in time. He didn’t, but he did learn to stop speaking Enochian in front of his parents, and he spent just enough time in the house that it could just be dismissed as a little boy who loved the outdoors.

When Dean was eleven, his parents died. A car crash, some drunk driver. When he found out, it was his Uncle Bobby telling him gently that his parents were gone, that they weren’t coming back. He ran outside, into the forest, and found his angel, and he cried.

Those wings, which had darkened to navy blue, wrapped around him, and he tucked his head into Castiel’s shoulder and let himself sob. For hours they stood there, wrapped up in each other.

“I have to move away.” Dean said, finally, voice rough. “To Sioux Falls, to live with my Uncle Bobby.”

“I’ll follow you.” Cas promised, pulling back to look Dean in the eye. “I will follow you, Dean.”

Dean, age eleven, moved away from the only home he’d ever known, away from his angel, into a house he’d only visited a few times, with no angel and just Sammy ( “Sam! It’s just Sam!” ) for company.

---

It’s now our story truly starts. Dean Winchester, sixteen, the towns ‘bad boy’ and local heartthrob. Dean Winchester, sixteen, the boy who loved an angel.

Cas had, as promised, followed Dean, and showed up not two weeks after Dean had arrived. In fact, with Cas was where Dean usually was after school. Bobby’s house didn’t back onto a forest like his old house had, so it was at least a ten minute walk to the little forested area where Dean usually found Cas.

It where he was just then, too, one lazy evening in June. Cas was leant back against a tree trunk, and Dean was lounging between his legs, back-to-chest.

“I just don’t get it, Cas. They obviously like each other, why can’t they just admit it?” Dean complained, a familiar thing nowadays. The current source of his irritation were his two best friends, aside from Cas, Charlie Bradbury and Meg Masters. The two had clearly harbored crushes on each other since they’d met, but both were refusing to act on it, and it was frustrating.

Cas made a small noise in the back of his throat and shifted a little, pushing his wing up into Dean’s hand. He’d been absent-mindedly playing with the feathers, but he’d stopped and Cas obviously wasn’t a fan of that. “Jeez, pushy.”

Even now, Cas wasn’t very talkative, and still preferred their Enochian/English hybrid than any one language. That was fine with Dean, though. He could do enough talking for the both of them.

And talk he did, well into the late evening, until the sun was going down and the air was cooling. “See you tomorrow, Cas.” He called back as he walked away, and Cas raised his hand and waved, wings fluffing.

It wouldn’t be tomorrow evening that Dean would next see Cas. It would be six hours later, at 4am, when Cas screamed his name and battered the back door frantically.

DEAN! DEAN!” Cas bellowed, hammering on the wood, splintering it under his fist.

Dean was, luckily, the first to get to the door, followed by Bobby and then Sam.

“Dean, p-please. He’s- He’s dying. ” Cas’ voice was breaking and there were actual tears running down his cheeks. He was supporting a familiar figure with one arm.

Dean had only met Gabriel a few times, but each time he’d been witty and fun to hang out with. And now he was being barely held up, blood dripping from his mouth and the wound on his stomach. The very tip of one golden wing was turning black.

“Please, Dean. Help us.”

Chapter Text

Dean felt his shoulders slump as the vet finished wrapping up the wound. Cas was a mess, wings flared out and quivering with tension, and Bobby and Sam had both looked at him like he was insane when he’d approached him and tried to calm him down.

“It’s okay, angel. It’s gonna be alright.” Dean hummed, slowly putting a hand on Cas’ shoulder. “He’s gonna be fine.”

Without warning, Cas threw himself at Dean. Bobby and the vet both tensed, but Cas was just hugging him. He just wanted comfort, which Dean was happy to provide. He slowly stroked down the length of Cas’ back, right between his wings. “It’s alright.” He assured again, eying where Gabriel was laying on their couch.

Cas was mostly tame - although Dean had watched him rip apart a deer once so calling him tame was a bit of a stretch - and he knew English, so it wasn’t like Dean had much to fear from him. Gabriel, though, was a completely different beast. Dean knew enough Enochian that it wasn’t hard for them to communicate, but then again Dean had watched Gabriel get into an angel fight, and win.

Angel fights were vicious, and more often than not to the death. It was horrifying for the then-twelve year old Dean to watch. And injured, in a strange place, with his distressed and possibly also injured ward, it wasn’t too much of a stretch to consider that Gabriel would wake up violent.

“Here, angel, come lay down. Go to sleep, I’ll watch over you.” Dean whispered to him in that secret language of theirs, and Cas’ eyes slipped shut the moment he was horizontal.

“Explain yourself, boy.” Demanded Bobby the second they were out of earshot. And Dean? Dean explained everything.

(Well, not everything. He left out the way Cas’ touch felt like lightning, or the weird tightening of his chest whenever Cas got too quiet, or the way he’d jerked off to the thought of soft blue feathers more than a few times. Little things.)

Bobby’s eyes softened with each word, and by the end of it he was rolling his eyes and gruffly saying that the angels could stay until they’d both healed up.

Dean couldn’t help but give his Uncle a hug, and Bobby returned it with a fond “Idjit.” and a backslap.

As fast as he could manage, Dean returned to the living room, eager to check on his angel.

Both Cas and Gabriel were fast asleep, making those little chattering noises that Dean knew meant they both felt safe. It was… Kind of adorable. Or it would be, if the angels couldn’t tear him to pieces.

Which, of course, they could.

He couldn’t help himself. He’d only ever seen Cas sleep twice, both times on accident and he looked so vulnerable and open like this. He slowly, gently, began to pet Cas’ hair, running his fingers through the soft mess.

Angels didn’t have hair, persay. It was actually a thick layer of down feathers, which is why it was so soft. Dean had made no secret of how much he loved it, and under his hand Cas shifted and cooed quietly.

Beside him, Gabriel’s wing twitched, and then an amber eye fluttered open, closed, open again. Dean held his breath, not daring to even move.

Gabriel’s eyes slowly drifted shut again, and he chirped softly and relaxed his wing, folding it back against himself.

Dean blew out the breath he’d been holding and turned his attention back to Cas, starting to run his hands through the messy down feathers--

A car backfired outside.

In an instant, Dean was pinned to the wall, and his vision was nothing but gold. Gabriel’s wingspan was some triple was Cas’ was, and Dean had seen him rip apart another angel with barely any effort.

It’s okay, it’s okay! It’s me, it’s Dean! Cas is right over there. You’re safe. Dean choked out, a powerful arm pressing against his throat. Gabriel was growling, wings flared as far as they could go, but he pulled back a little when Dean spoke . “ That’s it, Gabriel. It’s Dean. You know me.

He dropped Dean all the way and folded his wings up (which Dean still questioned the physics of), before turning to check on Cas, who was sat up on the couch, rubbing his eyes.

The pair of angels cooed and chirped to each other, and Gabriel gently combed some of Cas’ feathers back into place. It seemed soft, and Dean turned his head away, because it also seemed to be something private between brothers and He didn’t want to intrude .

Okay, Gabriel? Cas? It would be good idea for you to stay here with me while you healed. Dean said after a moment, in stumbling Enochian . “ So that you don’t get more hurt.

Cas looked to Gabriel, who nodded, and Dean let out a sigh of relief . “ My… Caretaker and my brother both live here too but I promise they won’t hurt you.

Cas hadn’t said a word, not even to him, and neither had Gabriel, which was odd. He could only hope it was because they were both scared and Gabriel was still healing and that soon they’d be back to normal.

--

A week and a half later, and Dean was regretting his hope, because Gabriel never. Stopped. Talking.

He knew the odd words here and there in English, but for the most part he chatted away in Enochian, to Cas, to Dean, even to Sam sometimes even though he couldn’t understand him.

The only person he didn’t talk to was Bobby, he just bristled and mantled his wings protectively over whatever he was doing at the time.

Angels were weird.

Cas, though, Cas was the same as always. He liked to spend a lot of time outside, so Dean spent a lot of time outside too. They walked around Bobby’s junkyard together and Dean pointed out various old cars and describe how he wanted to fix them up one day. Cas always smiled and tilted his head and murmured “Dean.” in that gravelly voice of his that was a new development that had Dean spending a lot of extra time in the shower.

But sometimes, like now, Cas didn’t want to walk. So they were sat in the shade of a car, side by side, drawing in the dust. It was just stick figures, but it was making Dean laugh at how accurate they were. There was a Dean stick figure, a Cas stick figure, Gabriel, Sam, Bobby, Meg, Charlie, and some other angel figures that Cas refused to name.

Dean was chuckling at the Bobby figure, adding his catchphrase in the dust next to him, when he was aware of the air shifting near him. He looked up and -- Wow .

Cas was barely an inch away from him, their noses almost brushing. “You look pretty when you laugh.” Cas whispered, and Dean swallowed thickly.

“You think so?” Dean whispered back, and he could feel Cas’ breathing against his lips, and they were both leaning even closer, and holy shit this was actually about to happen-

Dean! Cas! Bobby says it’s time for dinner!”

Dammit.

Sam rounded the corner just as they jerked back from each other guiltily, but Sam didn’t seem to notice. “Yeah, we’ll be there in a sec, Sammy.”

“It’s Sam.” He insisted, but ran off anyway. Dean turned back around, only to get a facefull of Cas’ knee. He awkwardly cleared his throat and accepted the offered hand .

Before they could go anywhere, Cas’ wings were fluffing and fluttering, and suddenly there were warm, chapped lips against his cheek. They lingered for a long moment, and then Cas pulled back. “I do think you’re pretty when you laugh, Dean.”

Dean’s cheeks flushed pink, and he reached up to touch the spot that was still tingling pleasantly, even as Cas walked - in a very powerful, angel-like way, definitely not scampering - back towards the house.

He knew he was smiling like a dopey idiot, but as he pressed his palm to the spot, he couldn’t help it.

Things weren’t so bad after all.

Chapter Text

The almost-kiss played on Dean’s mind for days after that. He knew he liked Cas a lot, and he thought Cas liked him back. They still walked around together and Cas still let him pet his feathers, but it felt like something had changed between them. Like there was some kind of electric tension crackling in the air whenever they were together.

Developing alongside this… Thing… were the other angels. Gabriel had flown off some week after his injury, and he’d come back with a dead deer. Normal enough.

Except, about three days after his little trip, another angel appeared. It was small, smaller even than Cas, with the pale wings that indicated youth in angels, and stayed in the junkyard, avoiding everyone.

The little guy had finally approached, sniffling and holding one of his wings oddly. Bobby, who’d been doing some research on birds, had set and wrapped the wing and sent the angel on his way.

Only, the angel didn’t leave. He told them his name was Balthazar, and somehow he’d become as much of a fixture as Gabriel and Cas.

Then came Hannah and Isham, then Uriel, then Zachariah. Others, too. Most didn’t stay long, just took a drink and cleaned themselves off with the hosepipe Bobby had put in, muttering about “Damn angels.”

And the whole time, Dean and Cas danced around each other. Sometimes, when they were alone, Cas would kiss his cheek again, or they’d hold hands, or something. Dean couldn’t put a name to what they had, he didn’t want to, but the whole time he found himself hoping for that almost-kiss to become an actual kiss.

They never got as close as they had that day, but the tension was still electric between them.

Until now.

They were sat side by side, backs against the cool metal of some beat up car, watching Balthazar chase Hester around with a worm in his hand. Gabriel was basking in the sun, his wings spread all the way out, and there were a couple of other angels doing the same.

Cas had Dean’s hand clutched gently in his, and when Dean leaned over to make a comment, he once again found that they were nose to nose.

“Hi.” Dean whispered, eyes wide. Cas blinked and tilted his head just a little, so that their noses weren’t touching any more.

“Hello, Dean.” It was barely a sound, one that Dean felt more than heard. All he could see was Cas’ eyes and the navy blue feathers that rose around him like a shield, blocking the other angels from view.

There were scant inches between them now, and, slowly, so slowly, the distance closed.

When they made contact, it felt like - finally. The electricity that had been building up between them rose over Dean like a wave, crackling over his skin, into his chest, all the way down to his feet. Dean didn’t ever want to stop.

Eventually, though, Cas pulled back, and Dean let his eyes flutter open. “Cas…” Dean whispered. Even though they’d kissed, finally, the tension still hadn’t gone away. “Cas.” Dean said again, a little bit louder this time.

Cas pulled away even further and dropped his wings, and Dean was disappointed, until Cas said, “Later.”

Later didn’t come fast enough for Dean. Most of the angels at Bobby’s slept in the surrounding junkyard, and there were nests of blankets and pillows scattered around, some nestled between cars, some inside the empty husks.

Cas’ nest was, unsurprisingly, inside Dean’s bedroom. It always had been, ever since he’d hit the age where he felt the urge to make one. It was in the corner, and Cas always slept there like Dean slept in his bed.

Except, that night, Cas crept from his nest and crawled into Dean’s bed and kissed him again, and again, and again, and they rutted against each other until they both finished and Cas fell asleep draped over Dean, and for the first time since he was eleven years old Dean didn’t have nightmares.

When they woke, it wasn’t awkward like Dean expected it to be. They just… Did things as they always had. They went down to breakfast together, ate together, and went outside to do the angel count together.

Bobby liked to know exactly how much extra food he had to put out, so he got them to count when they woke up.

That day, there was only six extra angels. Balthazar, as usual, Hannah, Zachariah, Esper, Benjamin, and Ezekiel. Most were adult angels, as proven by their dark feathers, but Balthazar, who was about Sam’s age, still had light, pastel-rainbow wings.

Dean spent some time playing with Balthazar, and even convinced Benjamin and Ezekiel to join in with a game of tag. Things were good. Really good.

Things continued to be good.

Cas kept joining Dean in his bed at night, and they held hands and kissed like any teenage couple. Gabriel teased the hell out of them like all big brothers should, and Sam made over-exaggerated gagging noises whenever they kissed in front of him.

Angels continued to come and go. Balthazar’s wings darkened but stayed rainbow, each feather a different shade. Dean met more angels in those six months than he ever had in his life.

Then came Samandriel. The angel was young, very young. His wings were pure white, not even a hint of color on them, and he hadn’t even fledged yet. He’d been left on the doorstep in the middle of the night, and when Dean had gone to see who, exactly, was knocking at the door at 1 in the morning, he’d seen an angel with bright red hair and beautiful purple feathers look back once and then take off.

The only reason Dean even knew the little dude’s name was because of the letter he was gripping. “Hey, little guy.” Dean said softly, crouching down to get a better look at him. His eyes were bright, pale blue, his downy head-feathers soft blonde, and he sniffled and reached his chubby little arms up in a bid to be lifted. And how could Dean say no to that?

He scooped the little angel up and held him close, and then, once he’d fallen asleep, he made a small nest for the kid and settled him into it.

Even that didn’t change things much. Samandriel was a ball of joy, his fluffy white wings puffed up in happiness pretty much all the time. He adored Cas but adored Bobby even more, and spent most of his day toddling around after either one of the two.

Then, things changed.

A dark green van with Animal Control printed on the side pulled up to Bobby’s. It was a warm day, and a weekend, so Sam and Dean were both there. It was a popular day for angels too - that morning the count had been nineteen, and three more had joined since.

The two men that got out of the van had rifles. “We’re here to eliminate the growing angel flock.” Said one of them.

Everybody run! ” Shouted Gabriel, and there was a flurry of wings as everyone took off. Everyone but Cas, who was taking Samandriel from Bobby, and Gabriel, who flared his wings and snarled as threateningly as he could.

“What? But - But they’re not dangerous!” Dean protested, not understanding.

Go, Cas! Now!

With Samandriel pressed close, Cas took a running start and launched himself into the air. He flapped once, twice, three times.

One of the animal control men aimed his rifle.

Dean threw himself at the man, hoping to throw off his aim.

The rifle fired.

The bullet hit flesh.

Castiel screamed and fell out of the air.

NO!

Chapter Text

Several things happened in quick succession.

The first thing that happened was Cas hit the ground with a sickening crunch.

The second thing that happened was Dean wrestled the rifle out of the animal control guy’s hands.

The third thing that happened was Gabriel screamed with incoherent rage and with one huge flap threw himself across the few feet that separated him and the animal control people and tore into them with his bare hands.

Within minutes, both men were dead, and Gabriel was covered from chin to fingertips in blood.

Not that Dean noticed. He tossed the weapon aside and ran to Cas and Samandriel.

The baby angel was crying, so at least he was alive, and Dean picked him up off of the ground and handed him to Bobby, who would take care of him.

Cas wasn’t so easy to fix.

The bullet had (thank God) not hit anywhere vital. It had gone through the secondary coverts in his left wing, and the right one was crumpled underneath him from his messed up landing.

“Dean… Dean, it- it hurts…” Cas whispered, and Dean dropped to his knees beside him. His hands fluttered uselessly for a long moment and, to his eternal shame, there were actual tears burning in his eyes.

“I know, angel, but it’s okay. Sammy’s calling the vet for you, they're gonna fix you up, you’re gonna be just fine.” Halfway through the last word, Dean’s voice broke, and he looked away and swallowed a few timed to rid himself of the lump in his throat. “You’re gonna be okay, Cas, I promise.”

Thunder crashed from far off, and a few raindrops hit the back of Dean’s neck. Fitting, really. Cas had always loved thunderstorms. Dean gently pet through Cas’ hair, fingers tangling in the soft feathers, and Cas’ eyes fluttered shut.

“You need to stay awake, Cas.” Dean murmured to him, tapping his cheek. Cas opened his eyes and squinted. The rain was falling harder now, and the water running off of Cas’ wings was tinted red with his blood. The thought made Dean feel sick.

Cas mumbled something incoherent and fumbled in the mud for a second before he found Dean’s hand.

Sitting there, with Cas’ hand clinging to his like a lifeline, Dean was scared. Tears joined the rain dripping down his nose.

Thunder cracked again and the sky lit up with lightning, and Dean sat there in the rain and cried over his broken angel.

--

Luckily, the vet knew what she was doing, and while it wouldn’t be a quick fix, Cas would be able to fly again. Eventually. Samandriel was fine too, just in shock, and Bobby had kept him close and warm enough that the effects were minimal.

Gabriel… Was something else.

He’d gone completely wild. He wasn’t even speaking Enochian, and he was still covered in patches of blood. It had taken the vet ten minutes to move around him, and another five for Gabriel to let her get near Cas. He’d taken to pacing, wings half-outstretched, flicking and twitching with tension. The storm only got worse, and some of the younger angels had returned to Bobby’s to seek shelter from the storm, notably Balthazar, Hannah, and Benjamin, and they’d taken Cas inside to get him fixed up, but no-one had been able to coax Gabriel in.

Not even the promise of candy was enough to get him inside. Bobby had tried for a long while, but got no response except for a fearsome snarl and a wing-flare, and Bobby had backed up after that because the dead bodies of the animal control people were still there, torn completely apart by an enraged angel and Bobby did not want to join them.

Dean stayed with Cas the whole time, holding his hand and gently soothing him through the whole thing. Getting the bullet out of his wing, stitching him up, setting and wrapping his broken wing, and checking him over for other injuries. When he was done, he looked sort of pathetic, nothing like the fearsome angel Dean knew he was, the stark white bandages bright against the dark, bloody feathers below.

Sam !” Bobby hissed, somewhere behind them, and Dean whipped around to look.

Sam was halfway across the yard, candy bar in one hand, walking towards the angry angel. “ Sam !” Bobby called again, but Sam either didn’t hear or was ignoring him.

When Sam got close, Gabriel snarled and lifted his wings higher, but didn’t attack.

“Hey, Gabriel. I bet you’re cold out here, huh? I brought you this, ‘cause you haven’t eaten since this morning.” Sam said, holding out the unwrapped chocolate bar.

There was a long, long moment, where Gabriel was bristled, ready for an attack, and Sam stood, silently holding out the bar.  

Gabriel slowly took it, ruffling his feathers to get rid of some of the water and then folding them in. Sam beamed as Gabriel ate, and then, when Gabriel was done, Sam held out his empty hand and Gabriel took that too.

Sam lead Gabriel inside by the hand.

Gabriel, who, not minutes before, was snarling and murderous and feral, was now calmly following Sam’s lead, chirping and chattering away to him like usual despite not being understood.

When they got inside, Bobby handed Sam a towel and Sam ruffled his own hair dry with it before turning to Gabriel.

With surprisingly soft movements, Sam gently wiped the rest of the blood off of Gabriel’s arms and chest. And Gabriel was letting him.

Once he was clean again, Gabriel climbed up onto the back of the couch that Cas was laying on and perched there, bringing one wing around to preen it with his fingertips.

Balthazar was huddled on the floor next to the couch, rainbow wings fluffed up in the cold. Hannah and Benjamin were curled up together to keep warm, wings wrapped tightly around each other. Samandriel had plastered himself to Bobby’s front like a baby monkey and was refusing to let go. The little angel’s wings had just begun to turn, the very tips of them pale brown.

“Looks like we’ll have another tawny, huh, Bobby?” Dean said, breaking the silence because it felt too final.

The other tawny angel that visited was Raphael. It was rare that he came, and only for a few hours, but it made Gabriel brighten. He and Raphael would spend their time grooming each other, chittering and cooing the whole time.

Bobby chuckled and pet down the length of Samandriel’s back. “Looks like it. Let’s hope this one is a little more forthcoming that the other one.”

Out of all the angel’s wings, Dean had to admit that Cas’ were his favorite. Maybe he was bias, but they were so pretty when he flared them and they caught the sunlight, revealing blues and greens dancing along the edges of his feathers, or when he mantled them over his head, on top of Dean late at night, two huge shadows that filled his vision and made him feel safe.

Looking at them now, wrapped up in gauze and bandages made something hitch in Dean’s chest, and he had to look away before he started crying again.

Instead, he focused his attention on the other angels in the room.

Balthazar’s wings were beautiful too, deep red at the bases, all the way through the rainbow into dusky pink at the tips. When they were tucked in, they appeared mostly lemon yellow and lime green, with the barest hint of orange and darker green on the edges. Balthazar rarely flared, he had no reason to, but when he was happy and he puffed his feathers, they caught the light and cast awesome shadows across the dirt floor of the junkyard.

Gabriel’s wings were, quite possibly, the (second) most beautiful Dean had ever seen. They were solid gold, dark at the bases and pale, almost white, at the tips, and Gabriel tended to keep them half-extended most of the time for reasons he refused to talk about. They glinted in the sun, reflected the light onto the cars and the walls, creating spots of golden light everywhere.

Hannah’s wings were blue. Not dark like Cas’, but bright blue. She preferred to keep them tucked in unless she needed them, but when she did fly, they blended seamlessly in with the sky behind her, making it seem like she was flying through nothing but willpower.

Benjamin’s wings were a deep grey that always reminded Dean of storm clouds. Whenever he and Hannah stood together, it always looked like they were part of the sky, like they were truly God’s angels and not just animals with the same name.

Dean let out a breath he didn’t even realize he’d been holding and squeezed Cas’ hand gently. They’d turn out okay.

They always did.

Chapter Text

There were repercussions.

Of course there were. Not just legal ones, either, although the Scrapyard did go through a rough patch that year. No, that didn’t matter to Dean, or to Bobby, really.

What mattered was regaining the trust of the angels that had fled. Cas and Gabriel were huge help in that, especially at first.

Cas couldn’t fly, obviously, but he sat on the grass with Samandriel on his lap and let the angels sniff at his injured wings and the baby, who was slowly coloring a beautiful, tawny brown.

The rain had washed away most of the blood and Bobby had called someone to get rid of the bodies, saying something about “Feral angel colonies,” and “Shouldn’t have gotten so close, you know.” and pretended he hadn’t watched that same ‘feral’ angel tip Balthazar upside down and tickled him until he screeched with laughter.

Things sort of went back to normal. Angels slowly returned to Singer’s. Samandriel started to fledge, and Gabriel took it upon himself to teach him to fly. Cas healed, slowly. Dean and Sam continued to go to school.

Dean’s grades began to slip because every second he was in school he wanted to be back with his injured angel, helping him get better. When he was home, he and Cas were joined at the hip, even more than usual. Where you found one, you found the other, usually close enough to touch.

Sam found himself enjoying the company of Gabriel more and more. He was slowly teaching him more English, but sometimes, after a rough day at school, he’d sit and listen to Gabriel chatter in Enochian and it helped calm him down. He was ignoring the implications of that.

Bobby was doing his best to raise two teenage boys and a baby angel, as well as get his land officially registered as a sanctuary. It was slow going, especially because Samandriel had discovered a new game in snatching the phone from him and running off, pale wings fluffed in amusement.

It was strange, Dean mused to himself as he ran his fingers through Cas’ hair. His angel had been part of his life since he was six years old, and now here he was, helping his uncle run a sanctuary for all angels.

He and Cas were sitting in the sun, watching Gabriel and Balthazar playfight on the grass. It was clear it wasn’t a real fight - Gabriel had his wings firmly tucked against his back and they were both grinning - but they seemed to be having fun. Gabriel had wrestled Balthazar into a headlock, and the younger angel was squawking and flapping and thrashing in an attempt to get out of it.

Under his hands, Dean felt more than head Cas’ chuckle. “What’s so funny?”

“Gabriel used to pull that move on me when I was a fledgling. Step on his foot!

Dean couldn’t help but laugh as he watched Balthazar try to do just that, only to be scooped up and tipped upside down in Gabriel’s ‘finishing move’.

Life went on.

Except, one August morning, things kind of went to shit.

Really, really  went to shit.

Their surrogate aunt, Jody, and her two children had decided that on their way up the country, they’d stop in at Sioux Falls for an unannounced visit.

Only, there were twelve angels on the land that day, most of them outside.

Bobby was sitting in a deckchair with a sleepy Samandriel on his lap. Dean was sat opposite Cas on the ground, playing tic-tac-toe in the dirt. Sam was teaching Gabriel to read, sat side by side on the grass, while Balthazar was curled up in the bigger angel’s lap, using it as a makeshift nest, sleeping the day away. Hannah, Uriel, Benjamin, and Ezekiel were draped all over each other in some sort of cuddle pile. Zachariah and Raphael were having a minor standoff, both flaring and snarling theatrically, and Hester and Ishim where sat further away from the group, picking at the carcass of a deer.

The sound of the car pulling up made them all bristle because everyone remembered the last car that had come. Raphael pulled Zachariah behind him and opened his wings all the way to shield him fully from view. Balthazar scrambled off of Gabriel’s lap and settled into a crouch, prepared for takeoff. Hester actually did take off, flapping as fast as she could to get away.

“Stand down, guys, it’s just Jody!” Dean called back, and the angels actually listened to him.

Jody got out of the car first, and Bobby passed Samandriel to Dean on the way to her.“Jody! Haven’t seen you and your girls in a tick.”

“Hey, Bobby. Looks like you’ve got some new additions, huh?” Jody returned his hug with just as much vigor as always, and Bobby chuckled.

Balthazar had rapidly relocated to Cas’ lap, and the other angels had all closed ranks around him. He was still injured, although the bullet wound was healing up nicely, and he couldn’t fly at all. Gabriel and Raphael placed themselves between Jody and Cas, and Hannah, Ishim, Uriel, Benjamin, and Ezekiel all formed a tight circle around the back of him. Samandriel was taken from Dean and plopped beside Balthazar in Cas’ lap. It was done so smoothly it was almost practiced, and Dean pretended not to notice that he’d been included in the protective circle too.

“You remember Sam and Dean, of course. Dean brought a couple of friends with him from Kansas, and things sort of took off from there.” Bobby was explaining to Jody. “That’s Gabriel and Raphael there, in front. Castiel is the one sat down with Dean, then that’s Balthazar and Samandriel in his lap.” Bobby started to introduce, pointing to each angel in turn. “Then that’s Benjamin, Ezekiel, Hannah, Uriel, and Ishim.”

Jody looked more than a little bit confused. “So… You… Own angels now?”

“Own them? Hell no. I don’t own any of the little bastards. They own themselves. They’ve just decided they like it here, and I can’t turn any of them away.” Bobby ruffled Gabriel’s head-feathers as he walked past, and Gabriel swiped at him playfully. Dean knew it was playful because the swipe didn’t catch on anything, and if Gabriel had wanted to hit Bobby, he would have hit him. It still made Jody’s breath hitch a little, though, and she hadn’t let the girls get out of the car yet, which said a lot.

“They aren’t dangerous, Jody. Really.” Dean piped up, leaning against Cas’ side. “Here, let me show you.”

He picked up Samandriel from Cas’ lap, making him chirp unhappily, and unceremoniously dumped him in Jody’s arms. The angel trilled and chattered for a moment, before squirming and getting himself comfortable, little wings fluffing up as he settled his head on Jody’s shoulder.

“Oh…” Was all she said, shifting her grip on him. Samandriel was probably the sweetest angel they had staying full-time - Gabriel was an all around little shit, Balthazar was definitely taking after him, and Cas was wary with strangers - so he was the best choice to show Jody that angels really weren’t that bad.

Speak of the not-devil, Gabriel was right by Dean’s shoulder all of a sudden, wings half-mast. “This is Gabriel.” Dean introduced again with a small gesture towards, ending it with a flick to Gabriel’s forehead. It was a suitable enough distraction that Gabriel lost interest in Jody and instead took to chittering angrily at Dean.

Jody stared at them for a long, long moment, arms full of baby angel, and the only thing she could say was, “Wow.”

Sometimes Dean forgot that their normal wasn’t quite as normal as everyone else’s.

Chapter Text

Dinner that evening was something of an awkward affair. As per usual, three or four other angels outside of their usual party had joined in, hoping for Bobby’s cooking.

Bobby’s cooking they got, and then some. Jody had insisted on helping, and everyone, human and angel, appreciated it. Except, well… Sitting around a dinner table with seven or eight angels turned out to be something Jody and her girls weren’t exactly used to.

And Gabriel didn’t exactly have the best table manners.

“So, Dean, Sam, how’s school going?” Jody asked after a long minute of awkward silence. Dean shrugged and shovelled more mashed potatoes into his mouth, but Sam beamed at her.

“It’s great! I’m gonna be a lawyer when I grow up.” He said decisively with a nod of his head. “I’m gonna help angels get proper rights and stuff.”

“Sam, angels are animals, aren’t they?” Jody said gently, hoping not to break the boy’s heart, but Sam just shook his head fiercely.

“They’re not just animals, Jody! They’re proper people. Cas knows English, and I’m teaching Gabe and Balthazar, and they’re teaching me their language. Dean taught Cas to read and everything.”

Bobby ruffled Sam’s hair proudly, and even Jody looked impressed. “You can speak English?” She asked Cas, who nodded and flattened his wings against his back shyly.

“I can.” The angel’s accents were very strange and impossible to place; somewhat delicate, almost song like, but rough around the edges.

Jody seemed surprised, but she smiled after a moment. “And the others?”

“Gabe knows enough to have a conversation and Balthazar understands more than he speaks. Samandriel can say Bobby and up, but he understands English well.” Dean explained between bites. “Ishim and Hester are the only two who don’t know any English, but Cas and I can translate for them.”

Gabriel, sat between Sam and Claire, looked up at his name and chirped, tilting his head. Claire and Alex, sat sandwiched between Benjamin and Hannah, both looked somewhat uncomfortable. “ Nothing, Gabriel, go back to your potatoes. ” Dean told him distractedly, not noticing the way the women startled somewhat at hearing him speak Enochian.

After dinner, it was a matter of getting everyone settled. Cas, with his still-injured wings, was refusing to let anyone stay in the room with him and Dean, and Gabriel was equally possessive of Sam, but Jody said she’d sleep on the couch and the girls could share the spare room.

That became slightly problematic in that seven or eight angels were nesting in there, though none of them were using the bed. The girls would just have to suck it up and deal with it.

“Hey, Cas?” Dean asked in a whisper, late at night, when he was sure everyone else was asleep. He got a sleepy hum in response. “Do you think… Do you think this is weird? What we’re doing? What we have?”

“No. Why would it be?”

“Well, I’m a human, and you’re an angel. I don’t… We could never really be together. Not properly.”

Cas leaned up to kiss him, dispelling his doubts. “We can be together. We’re together right now, aren’t we?”

Dean huffed, amused. “That’s not what I meant and you know it.”

“You mean human marriage.” Cas’ tone was abruptly serious. “Dean, you know that doesn’t mean anything to me. Your government and it’s laws don’t apply to us. They never have.”

“I know, I know, I just… I want to be able to marry you, y’know? Get a house together, have a dog. That sort of thing.” Dean sighed and ran a hand through his hair. “I don’t know. It’s dumb.”

Cas was quiet for a long moment, and then, “You want to marry me?”

“I… Yeah. Yeah, I do, Cas. I really do.”

Another long moment, and then Cas wrapped his pinkie finger around Dean’s. “Pinkie swear.”

“Pinkie swear what? That I want to marry you?”

“No. I’m pinkie swearing to you that we’ll get married someday.”

“Oh.” Dean said, and curled his finger more firmly around Cas’. “Pinkie swear.”

The next morning was a little less awkward, since most of the angels didn’t tend to join them for breakfast.

Halfway through the sleepy meal, a car pulled up outside. “We expecting anyone else?” Dean asked, mostly curious. When Bobby shook his head, Dean frowned.

Samandriel was still fast asleep in the little nest they’d made for him in the kitchen, and Gabriel was drowsy, almost falling asleep in his lucky charms.

“Huh. Weird.” Dean commented, shrugging.

Sam piped up with “Could be a customer?” but Dean, ever ready to correct him, shook his head. “This early? No way.”

There was a sharp knock on the screen door, and Bobby stood up to answer it.

“I’m Special Agent Miller, this is my partner, Special Agent Smith. We’re here to investigate the growing feral angel colony in this location.”

“You must be mistaken, boys. There’s no feral angels here.” Bobby said, but of course Samandriel had to pick that moment to come stumbling down the hall.

“Bobby, up!” He demanded, raising his arms, and Bobby couldn’t very well say no. Once he was secure in Bobby’s arms, the little angel rubbed at his eyes and yawned.

The agent raised an eyebrow at him.

“They ain’t feral.” Bobby protested. “Not one of ‘em.”

“They killed two men.” Pointed out the other agent. “We put down dogs for less.”

Bobby grit his teeth. “One of those two men put a bullet through the wing of our most advanced angel here. He’s fluent in English and can do simple math.”

“So they should have died?”

“I’m not saying they should have died, I’m saying that Gabriel was well within his rights-”

“Angels don’t have rights, Mr. Singer. You of all people should know that. We’ll be seizing the angels here and taking them to a facility where they won’t be able to hurt anyone again.”

It all happened so fast. One moment, they were all eating breakfast, and Cas was talking to Claire about school, and then next Samandriel was screaming.

They all stood up, and Gabriel leaped across the table, but before he could get far something hit him in the neck. He screeched in anger and went to pull it out. He hit the ground the moment his hands got near it.

“Cas!” Dean clung to his angel. “What’s going on?”

“Dean-” Cas started, but one of the agents caught them, grabbed Cas around the waist, and tore them apart. “Dean! No! Dean!

Cas’ bright blue eyes staring at him in fear would burn themselves into Dean’s eyelids as those agents threw him into the back of their van, along with baby Samandriel, a passed out Gabriel, a terrified Balthazar, Hannah, and Zachariah.

Cas! ” Dean screamed and tried to run after the truck, but it was no use.

He watched the tail lights disappear down the road and felt tears well up in his eyes. It seemed like a failure.

 

Chapter Text

Angel Sanctuary.

The words glared up at him from the newspaper, mocking him and everything he and Sam and Bobby had built. He hadn’t been sleeping, he didn’t want to without Cas. Nothing seemed worth it without his angel.

The words were coupled with an in-color picture of baby Samandriel mid-take off, his little wings fully extended. They had colored almost all the way down, now, so that even the tips were pale brown, and Dean felt a pang of fear that maybe he wouldn’t get to see Samandriel’s wings when they were fully darkened.

Angel Sanctuary! First ever angels in captivity! Come and see our six angels in their brand new zoo!

Dean wanted to rip the paper in half, tear it up into little shreds, but he controlled himself. Bobby was going to be taking Sam and him to the ‘Sanctuary’ the day after, so he could see Cas.

All he could think about was his angel’s eyes boring into him, begging him to help. And Dean had failed. He’d failed at saving his angel, and he’d broken his promise. There was no way they could get married when one of them was in a zoo.

Dean huffed and threw the paper down on the table. Stupid FBI agents and their stupid badges and--

Wait a second.

“Hey, Bobby?”

It was the first thing he’d said to anyone all week, and Bobby’s head jerked up in surprise.

“Those FBI agents… They showed you their badges, didn’t they?”

There was a pause. “... Now that I think about it, they didn’t.”

For the first time since he watched those tail lights disappear down the road, Dean felt something like hope. “What do you say we go rescue our angels?”

It wasn’t quite as simple as that, obviously. The next day couldn’t come quickly enough, and Dean and Sam piled into the truck at five in the morning. It was with disappointment that Bobby had to tell them no, they couldn’t leave so early, the place wouldn’t be open yet.

Finally, though, at seven, the boys could wait no longer, and they set off.

It was a long drive. Too long. Neither of them were happy about it, and they both complained when Bobby stopped for breakfast, but they got there eventually, paid the entry price (with a dirty look from Dean), and then they were in.

It was, in a word, awful. The six angels that those ‘FBI agents’ had caught were in seperate cages in a ring around the paved circle. And each one of them looked miserable.

Samandriel was crying, fat tears rolling silently down his cheeks, Gabriel was pacing in a tight circle, his wings tucked in close to his body, Balthazar was shaking the bars and crying too, Zachariah was pressed to the very back of the cage, and Hannah’s cage was obscured by a crowd of people who were ooh ing and aah ing and it made Dean sick.

The final cage in the row made Dean’s heart shatter into a million pieces.

His angel was sat with his back pressed to the bars, wings drooping weakly, repeatedly banging the back of his head against the metal.

“Isn’t this illegal? Can’t we do something?” Sam whispered, hands over his mouth, tears in his eyes, but Dean only had eyes for his Cas.

In three short strides, he was in front of his angel, and he reached his hand through the bars and whispered “ Cas .”

And Cas turned and his eyes went wide and he threw himself against the metal and tried to reach for him and chanted his name over and over and over again and Dean was crying, sobbing, trying to get through the bars too.

“It’s gonna be okay, angel, we’re gonna get you out of here - we’re gonna get you all out of here, you understand?”

“Dean- Dean- I knew you’d come for me, I knew you would.” Cas babbled, pressed tight against the bars, and Dean was just as close, the two of them clinging to each other despite the metal separating them.

“I love you, I love you, Cas, I love you so much.” Dean whispered, bumping his forehead against the cage, feeling his face crumple when Cas did the same on the other side. “We’re gonna work out a way to get you out of here.”

“I know you will, Dean, I know it.” Cas whispered back, and then Dean had to pull away because he was getting some weird looks. Cas whimpered and tried to reach for him again.

“I’ll come back. I’ll come back for you, Cas, I swear.”

He had to drag himself away from that cage, towards all the other angels. Bobby was crouched next to Samandriel’s cage, reassuring him that he was okay, and next to him Balthazar was straining through the bars to get to Bobby too, eyes wide and full of tears.

Gabriel was just pacing, and there was blood on the floor where he must have just continued to walk and walk and walk without end. Sam was standing nearby, trying to talk to him, but he wasn’t responding.

Dean kept on crying, wiping his cheeks every few seconds in a futile attempt to make it less obvious.

All he could see of Zachariah was his wings, silvery-grey, wrapped around his frame to hide himself. He couldn’t even see Hannah, hidden by the crowd as she was, and Dean wanted to go to both of them, reassure them, but he was frozen in place.

It wasn’t fair. It just wasn’t fair! Cas needed to have his bandages changed, were they even bothering to do that? Samandriel didn’t know how to get food on his own. Were they even feeding them? They had to be. Right?

He didn’t dare to look at Cas again, afraid that if he did, he’d run over there and never be able to leave his angel ever again.

“We’re going to get you out of here.” Dean whispered, wiping his cheeks again. “Just you watch.”

Chapter Text

Of course, it wasn’t quite as simple as ‘break the angels out and we’re home free’. For one, the place was locked up tight after the day ended, and for two, it would be hard enough to get one of them out, let alone all of them.

But Dean had a plan. Well, he had the barest bones of a plan. He was going to go back the next day, and pick the locks to Gabriel’s cage, and only Gabriel’s cage. Gabriel would get the others out, and then they could fly away. Where they would go, where they could go, Dean didn’t know. They couldn’t go back to Singer’s, those “agents” would just come back and steal them away again.

Dean sighed and rubbed his hands over his face. Sam was already asleep in the bed next to him, and in the room next door, Dean had no doubt Bobby was asleep too, but every time Dean closed his eyes, he just saw Cas, trapped in that tiny cage, all alone. He huffed and rolled over. Even after a week and a half without his angel, the bed still felt too empty.

It was times like this that Dean really missed his mom. She would surely know what to do.

Eventually, Dean did drop off, but he woke up early, wanting to put their plan in action already. He sat cross-legged on his bed and stared at the clock, watching as it ticked past six, then seven.

At seven forty, Dean just couldn’t take it anymore. He woke Sam up, to much grumbling, and dressed himself in record time.

Bobby made him change, because he was wearing the same clothes as yesterday, so it wasn’t until eight fifteen that they actually left the motel.

Silence reigned in the car. Dean was chewing on his fingernails and Sam was drumming his hands on his legs nervously. This could either go incredibly right, or incredibly wrong.

Dean prayed that it was the first.

They pulled up, and Dean took a breath and gripped the lockpick in his pocket with a sweaty palm. He couldn’t help but look nervous as Bobby paid for their entry, and he tried not to be awkward as he slipped away from Sam and snuck around to the back. He had to hop a fence, and he refused to look in the direction of Cas’ cage.

Hey, Gabriel. I’m here to help you, okay? I’m going to open your cage, and you have to get the others out later. ” Dean hissed, jamming the lockpick into the lock. His hands were shaking so badly he could barely get it in. Luckily, though, he got a agreeing grunt from Gabriel, and after a long, long five minutes, he managed to unclick the padlock. He quickly arranged it so that it still looked locked but wasn’t, and then tossed the pick into the bushes.

He just hoped no-one bothered to check the locks. It was weak, and it could so very easily fall apart. For the first time since his parents died, Dean prayed.

“It’s done.” He whispered to Bobby, and the three of them got the hell out of there. Dean couldn’t help but glance at Cas, and his heart broke all over again. He’d taken up a similar position to Zachariah, curled up in the back of the dirty cage he’d been forced into.

It took all of Dean’s willpower to turn away and walk out of that place. They’d be fine. They would be fine. Dean had to believe that.

That night, as Dean lay in the shitty motel bed, staring up at the shitty motel ceiling, he felt something almost like hope.

He’d just slipped off into sleep when there came a knock at the outside door. Dean grumbled and got up, shivering as the cool air hit his bare legs. Whoever was knocking at two in the morning better have a good reason for it.

Dean swung the door open.

And he stared.

Standing right there, right in front of him, right at that exact moment, was his angel.

“Cas?”

Shamefully, Dean felt tears rise to his eyes, because it was Cas . Standing right there, looking downright ethereal in the moonlight, his wings arching high above his head.

“Dean.” He said, and Dean fell into his arms and clung to him and cried, and Cas held him the whole time, nuzzling at his hair and his shoulder.

“Cas.” Dean whispered, and Cas squeezed him, and Dean felt like everything was going to be okay.

Another little voice distracted him. A little voice that shouted “Bean!”, coupled with little hands patting at his leg, and Dean laughed and reached down to scoop Samandriel up.

“Did you get everyone out?” He asked, and Cas nodded. “The others all started to make their way home, but Samandriel can’t fly that far, and neither can I now.”

Dean couldn’t help himself. He leaned in and he kissed his angel, and his angel kissed back. It was kind of salty with his tears, but it was perfect.

A week apart didn’t seem like that long, looking back at it, but at the time, it had felt like an eternity. And they’d done it. They’d really done it! They’d gotten them out.

“Dean.” Cas said, but it didn’t sound right

“Dean. Dean! Come on, wake up!”

That was Sam’s voice, wasn’t it?

Dean jerked awake, and his hands scrabbled on the sheets to find Cas.

“Dean, come on, we’re leaving now. Bobby said we have to.”

Dean wiped his face. “What time is it?”

“Eight. We let you sleep as long as we could. I even packed your stuff for you.”

With a sigh, Dean sat up. “Do-... Did they make it? The angels?”

Sam shrugged. “We won’t know until we get home.”

He just had to accept that, and he got up, got himself dressed, and curled up in the passenger seat of Bobby’s truck. He’d really thought that Cas had shown up at his motel. How would Cas know where they even were?

It was raining, and Dean huffed. Cas loved the rain, but it made it harder for them to fly. He wondered what Cas would be doing then. Would he have gotten out already? Would he be hiding in a tree until it stopped raining? Would he still be flying?

Not knowing was killing him.

He just had to keep hoping.