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Blow Us a Kiss, We’ll Blow You to Pieces

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Header by nickelkeep, pencil drawing of Dean's chest with the protection tattoo and Enochian characters carved into his skin on his right side.

Castiel’s fall took thousands of years - doubts grown and layered, assuaged and suppressed - cinders in a dying fire, subject to the subtle whims of the elements.

Dean Winchester didn’t ignite that first spark, but he added the tinder. Fanned the flame. Fed the fire until it grew strong enough to immolate Castiel and remake him.

A single year. That was all it took. A blink of an angel’s eye.

If any prophet had foretold it, Castiel would have scoffed. No human, he would have said, could break him so quickly, could ever drive him to such extremes.

But Dean had. More efficiently than the Host’s twisting of God’s burning guidance, that blinding torture that drags angels back to the fold when they’ve strayed.

Dean had shown him a new way, a new loyalty. Castiel had seen in him what his Father had intended - a stubborn passion for creation. Since the Beginning, this is what his Father wanted - life that longed for land so hard that it grew legs and lungs and swung from trees, stood on two legs, learned the use of tools. Dean was dangerous to the Host because he didn’t understand that some things were impossible. Because he drove others to believe that they were more than what was possible.

Others - like Castiel himself. So much so that he’d given his life. Valued the one over the many. He’d taken up his sword against his Father’s children. He’d fallen.

For Dean.

Surely no human who reshaped him this way, who’d been gifted his loyalty and his life, would then decide to give up. Surely, no human given that gift would dare discount it. Him. As if Castiel was some weapon to be laid down, some plaything to be set aside.

He is none of those things. He is an Angel of the Lord. Displaced from his home in Heaven, estranged from his Father, but still, a power of reckoning. And he is going to remind Dean of that before he drags him back to captivity - to Sam and Bobby. Dean is going to feel it in every single atom by the time Castiel is done with him.

Finding him is easy. The human servant Dean has found prays loudly, messily, broadcasting human words across the universe. There is no nuance or thought, there. No planning or consideration or fight. Not like Dean.

And maybe Dean isn’t like Dean anymore, either, and the idea frustrates him. Terrifies him.

Castiel drags Dean into the alley and the anger is clean. He tosses him against the brick like a ragdoll. He holds back just a little when he hits him, takes a dark satisfaction in the resulting give of muscle and grunt of breath under his fists. It is the barest reflection of what he feels.

Dean has the audacity to look hurt. As if he is the one being betrayed. “What, are you crazy?”

“I rebelled for this?” Castiel spits, throwing another punch, feeling him fall, pulling him up so he can strike again. “So that you could surrender to them?”

“Cas, please!” Somehow, Dean seems surprised.

Castiel is disgusted. Furious. He feels used and empty and haunted - Dean doesn’t see.

Castiel gave up his entire world. His entire family. His history and his loyalty. And now Dean wants to give up the only thing Castiel has left.

“I gave everything for you!” Castiel growls. “And this is what you give to me?”

He kicks Dean into the chain link fence at the end of the alley and stalks to where he’s down and gasping. Castiel wants more. He wants to break him. And if he broke every bone in Dean’s body it still wouldn’t match the pain of being cut off from the Host, of being hunted, of having lost his Father, of having given himself to a cause that is now abandoning him.

“Do it,” Dean growls, and he’s not goading, he’s asking. Begging for an end.

The request drains him. He wants to hold onto the fury - it’s so clean, so perfectly angelic, the cleansing strength of righteousness.

“Just do it!” Dean is desperate and Castiel can feel his pain - the deep, bone-, soul-deep kind. His anger had kept it at arm’s length, but now it’s impossible to see past it.

Castiel unclenches his fists slowly, reluctantly, releasing the last of his anger. When it drains away, it leaves him empty.

“Why?” Castiel asks quietly. He needs some answer that will allow him to make peace with it all, now. His fall. His choice. His meaningless sacrifice.

Dean breath is heaving, rasping in his chest.

“What do you want, Cas? What do you want me to say?” HIs voice breaks. “That you were right? That I failed you? Everyone?” He closes his eyes and nods slowly. “I did. I failed, and I’ve tried to get it back and I can’t, Cas. I can’t get away from it - from Hell. From the dreams, the horror, all of it. Can’t think straight.”


Dean looks up and he’s...empty. Tattered. “I’m tired, Cas. I’m weak. It hurts, and it crowds out...everything. Sam doesn’t need me - I thought -“ he chokes, swallows. “Doesn’t matter. All your angel buddies were right. This is what I’m good for. Just this.”

He believes it. Castiel can see that he believes it, and it’s the most insidious weapon the angels have.

“It’s not true,” he says softly, hopelessly. Dean has clearly made up his mind. “Please. I’ve seen you take on Heaven and Hell and the worst of humanity to save just a few lives. Dean, you can’t give up now. You know what this means.”

Dean shakes his head slowly. “I can’t. I’m sorry.”

“You can. I know you can. Underneath your doubt, you are still the man who fought me for a town, Dean. For a few thousand.” Castiel takes Dean’s face in his hands. That fragile face, bones that would snap easily under his fingers. But underneath all that is a heart that could launch a thousand rebellions, and that is what Castiel’s fighting for, now. “I’m going to show you,” he says gently. “I’m going to show you how strong you are. How precious.”

Dean closes his eyes, face filled with pain. “You can try,” he says bitterly. “But what if I’m just...broken? You think you can keep me locked up forever?”

“If I can’t, if you still feel the same…” He sets his jaw and forces himself to meet the pain in Dean’s eyes. “I’ll take you to Michael myself.”

Dean’s eyes flicker across his face and then he gives a curt nod.

It’s enough for now. Castiel presses him into sleep.

Castiel waits for Dean to wake, sword smaller for the delicate work ahead. He surveys the scene - Dean is pinned spread-eagle to a stone table risen from the cement floor of the warehouse. Castiel has molded it with his will - rough and warm. Hell-like.

He and Dean are stripped to the waist and he’s set the rest of their clothing aside, folded tidily in a corner. Castiel is unsure how messy this will need to get.

He steels himself, reminds himself again - he is an Angel of the Lord, and he can do the necessary things. No matter how unpleasant.

Dean wakes slowly. Muscles tighten and shift in his chest as he tests the invisible bonds of will that keep him down. It takes him a few moments to speak, voice low. “You think you can break me with torture? Beat Alastair’s record?”

Castiel is hurt but not surprised. “Of course not. I don't want to break you, Dean. I want to remind you who you are.”

He steps forward and spins the sword once in his hands, testing its modified heft. Dean's face flashes fear and then it's wiped clean and he juts out his chin, daring Castiel to get started.

Castiel looks him over first. Dean’s nerves were trained in Hell for decades. The degradation and the helplessness and the horror of it. Castiel has only a few hours to retrain Dean’s body. Show him a way through.

He’s never done this - never had the stomach for it. Never had the lust for it the way some of the Host did. He has to believe, now, that Dean’s body will guide him. He built it, after all. From the earth, he built it, and placed Dean's Hell-soaked soul back into it, and did his best to fit all the tatters where they were supposed to be.

Now he just needs to finish the job.

He traces Dean's ribs with the tip of the blade, not enough to cut, just for the sensation of it. Dean tenses under it, breath fast and eyes too wide, and Castiel hesitates.

He trusts the reaction and sets the blade aside for the moment, starts with his fingers instead. He smooths the skin where the blade had touched, slipping between ribs and sometimes pressing his whole hand against Dean’s skin, mimicking his mark on Dean’s shoulder. He listens as Dean's breath catches, rasps, pauses. A collection of nerves under his fingers sing to him.

He presses, twists, and Dean's breath quickens, stutters, gasps. Castiel lets go, continues his exploration of ribs, armpit (a sharp stab of his thumb there brings another sound, low and whimpering), shoulder, throat.

Dean's breath is fast, but his voice is carefully bored. “You may want to pick it up a bit there, Tickles. I've got things to do today.”

Castiel meets his eyes, and he can see fear there, like the layers of armor are beginning to peel back. Castiel looks at everything he hasn't explored yet, and nods slowly.

“This isn't Hell, Dean,” he says mildly. “We'll do it my way.”

“Whatever you say, ol' blue eyes,” Dean jokes weakly, and there is a promising crack in his voice.

Castiel digs fingers in under Dean's collarbone until the smirk is gone and his full lips are one straight, strained line. Every muscle is tight.

He continues touching Dean softly, stroking his throat until Dean's breath is uneven, then pressing on another nerve cluster until the stuttering breath is different, the sounds he makes are small and accidental.

The knife comes into play after he alternates the pressure with gentleness, when Dean's pupils are starting to blow. Dean stiffens again when he sees the blade, and Castiel contemplates carefully how much to put behind it, where to place it.

“Trust me, Dean,” he whispers as he slides the knife closer. “Trust me to take you back. Trust me to bring you through.”

Dean’s jaw clamps and he looks at Cas. His forehead is creased, his lips are tight and trembling. Like he wants to ask for help and can’t.

Castiel strokes one finger against Dean’s cheek and Dean grimaces and closes his eyes but doesn’t turn away.

Castiel is careful with the blade, starts with a scratch. Just barely scraping along the surface. Not cutting, though blood beads up sometimes. Just a scratch to remove a few layers of skin. Dean grunts. Tests his bonds. Castiel can feel how hard he's trying not to make noise. Not to sound hurt.

More armor to pierce.

The knife’s point scrapes over the skin once, twice – the same spot – and it deepens the line that runs straight between Dean's nipples, not far enough to touch either one. Castiel adds parallel lines above and below that one, slightly shorter and centered on the longer one, and Dean is starting to move. Not thrashing. More like a steady restlessness, a buzzing tension of muscle. His face is drawn tight, his eyes are closed.

“Look at me,” Castiel says softly, suddenly needing Dean to watch him doing this. “Look how strong you are,” he whispers.

He wants Dean to understand that this is an act of service. Of love. It feels suddenly personal - as vital for Castiel as for Dean.

Dean opens his eyes and there is fear there and maybe awe, and desire, and something dark, like maybe Dean is thinking about what Castiel would feel like under the knife. Or under his body.

Good. They're getting deeper.

Castiel uses his other hand to stay in touch, running it gently along Dean's ribs, higher to his throat, stroking his hair. But his close attention is on getting it right. He hadn't really intended the knife to say anything. Just to make patterns of pain, enough to press Dean back so Castiel could pull him up again. But this. This pattern is specific, and Castiel realizes that maybe it isn't completely about reclaiming Dean for the world, the battle, the greater good. Maybe Castiel has more at stake here than he'd realized.

As he starts the slow process of scraping away the skin for the next character under Dean's left nipple, he's also rubbing Dean's rib line soothingly. “I don't think you understand,” he says. “What Michael is. What belonging to him really means.”

Dean hisses. “I know what I'm asking.”

Castiel stops carving for a moment, meeting Dean's eyes again. “No,” Castiel says. “You don't. You think Michael cares about you? You think he'll fight for you? He won't. He'll use you, Dean. He'll possess you and burn you and-”

It's hard to utter the words.

“Own you and you'll mean nothing to him.”

“Yeah.” Dean sighs, and actually relaxes. Like it sounds like the best idea in the world.

Castiel’s hands tighten and curl in anger. He digs his fingers into nerve clusters in Dean's back, making him arch up against the restraints of will at his wrists and ankles. Dean screams, startled and pained, and Castiel can feel it down to his Grace.

“No.” Castiel's voice is flat with anger. Righteousness. “I brought you up from the pit. I marked you. I sacrificed myself for you. You are not Michael's. You never were. You're mine, Dean, and he can't have you. If you need something, I will give it to you. If you need to suffer, if you need to be owned, then that is for me to do.”

Dean is gasping in pain, but his eyes are shining with...something. Something that makes Castiel's chest tight. Surprise and some sort of dark want, and Castiel is surprised as well, because Dean is his. Has been from the moment he was raised up; how had Castiel not seen it before? Nothing else matters. Despite the fall, he wasn’t wrong to choose his Father’s creation over his Father’s children. This is the thing that he was created for – to pull this soul from Hell and to hold it. To guide it. To love it - deeply and selflessly. Whatever is needed, he will do it.

And maybe that’s why this is so easy, maybe it’s all right that it is.

He's not Uriel. He likes his justice swift and sure. He can smite with the ease of centuries, but this – causing pain over time, pinpointing each nerve, each sensation for effect – this is new. It’s beautiful. This is reverence. Holiness. The pain strips away the posturing, the masks, and leaves the reality of Dean. A truth Castiel hasn't seen since he pressed the earth around Dean's soul into his new body, sealed it with his will, branded it with his essence. The core of Dean, the Beginning, shivering and moaning with something that isn't just pain anymore.

This is visceral. Primal.

Castiel’s body shakes as he watches Dean and scrapes, scrapes layers of skin away. Dean is shuddering and moaning and making gorgeous soft whimpers that inspire Castiel to touch him again. He sets the knife aside and uses his fingers, digging more often, pressing into those perfect clusters of nerves that cause such pain, and so much more.

Every time Dean cries out, Castiel comes more and more undone. He is gasping with Dean, his skin is cold and warm and he wants. Wants Dean - wants to press through his skin and into the heart of him. Protect him. Hold him. Own him.

Dean is making beautiful, breathy noises that are pleading and incoherent. Not quite, “Please,” not quite, “Cas” - something that evokes those and more.

When he smooths the skin on Dean's belly, stroking each small hair, he notices the tightness in Dean's jeans, and feels an answering tightness of his own. His heart is beating in his vessel hard enough to be felt in his limbs, his digits, in the ground at his feet, in Heaven itself, and he's suddenly afraid of what he's started because he promised –

He promised to let Dean go, promised to let him decide, and now he's not sure he can.

He presses his mouth desperately to Dean's throat, the pulse there as fast and heavy as his own. The whimpering sounds Dean makes drive through Castiel’s ears, and turn his thoughts to static.

He leaves his lips there, presses them close, then slides them along the column of Dean’s throat to his ear. He has to force the thoughts first, before the words can make any sense.

“Dean,” he murmurs finally, and it's so hard to get the words past his lips. He feels like he's drowning and he never for a moment thought it could be like this. Never thought he could be so taken apart, so out of control. But then, Dean has already remade him, hasn’t he? Why would this be any different? It was foolish to think he could rebuild Dean without being rebuilt himself. He has tied himself too closely to this soul, this force, to come through untouched.

Castiel’s voice is so quiet, throat so closed and dry, that when he finally speaks he has to try twice, mouth against Dean's ear so he can be heard, so he can be felt. “I don't want to stop,” he finally manages, and Dean gasps in a way that electrifies him.

His voice is unsteady when he continues in a rush, speaking low into Dean's ear, hoping he understands. “I can't take you against your will, Dean. But I want to. I want to possess you in ways Michael never can. I was made for this. For you. All you have to do is say 'Yes,' and I will never leave you.” His voice is a hoarse whisper. “Say yes to me, and Michael will never have you. Hell will never have you. Just me, Dean. Always, me.”

“Cas...” The sound of his name in Dean's mouth brings a sound from Castiel's throat. A growl, a whimper – something full of need and desire.

But it's not 'yes', and he needs to make good on his promise.

“I don't want to stop,” he finally says softly. “Do you want me to?”

Dean shakes his head, barely. No.

Castiel shudders in relief. “Then I need you to say it, Dean. If you want to belong to me, you have to say it.”

“Please,” Dean whispers.

“Tell me.”

Dean's voice is too low to be heard properly, but Castiel swears he hears him whisper, “Yes.”


Dean turns toward him, expression feverish and desperate. “Yes,” he manages, voice low and dark.

“Yes,” Castiel repeats. Mine. He takes a long, shuddering breath and his voice is harsh. “This is going to hurt,” he says, finally, and there's a 'whuff' of breath from Dean's mouth that stabs heat through him. “It will take some time.”

“Yes,” Dean whispers, nodding curtly, and closes his eyes.

Castiel still balances it, so carefully, but now he's reading Dean better, knows when that strain, that gasp, that guttural sound means, 'too much' and when it begs, 'more.' Still alternates the knife with his hands, the sharp cuts and the gentle caresses, and sometimes he lets his hands drift low over the denim – not quite where he knows Dean wants him, not yet.

He presses harder, slices deftly where he's already scraped away the skin. He finds himself desperate to finish, to mark the truth in Dean’s skin with something ancient and eternal. To possess Dean in every meaning of the word. Castiel slices the long line between Dean's nipples and Dean arches, screams, and it's as if Castiel has finally reached the heart of him. God, the sound cuts through him and he feels like he's on fire.

He continues to slice, Dean's blood rising and running in slow lines, and he's carved a delicate thin line of skin, leaving a small gap that bleeds rivulets. Dean gasps as he stops cutting, and Castiel kisses his temple. “Beautiful,” he whispers. “You're so perfect like this, so strong,” and Dean’s face is suddenly open and vulnerable. He’s panting, forehead creased with pain, face flushed.

Castiel brings the knife back down for small cuts, now, deepening the lines, making them perfect. Nothing less than perfect for Dean.

He speaks softly in Enochian, tries to keep himself from seeping out of his earthly body as he speaks the ritual phrases.

“Dean Winchester. With this I call you.” He finishes the carving of the first sigil.

Deepens the next, below the left nipple. “With this I claim you.”

Carves again, across Dean's chest under his right nipple. “I mark you now with the name my Father gave me at the Beginning.” Finishes with a flourish, listens to Dean's scream-rough moans. Castiel opens his mouth and the wind picks up dust and paper and rattles the windows of the warehouse. He sees Dean shiver as the wind rises.

Castiel fights for control, to hold his form as he says his name in Enochian, “Castiel,” and brings the full force of his Grace to bear, cauterizing and raising his Name on Dean's chest for every Angel to see.

Dean writhes and screams pure pain and truth, sounding as if he's about to blow apart. He's screaming, screaming, screaming, toes curling, hands into fists, every muscle tight and straining, and Castiel is gripping Dean's body and using that anchor to force his wings, his light, his voice back down, underneath the skin of his fragile human vessel before he burns Dean away.

Everything is silent except for their harsh breathing, Dean's moans of pain.

Dean's body is relaxed, boneless, and Castiel smooths his fingers over the scars the Grace left behind.

He waits until Dean’s eyes flutter open and fix on his. Castiel smiles. The look is naked. The purest he’s seen in a human expression. Pure heat, pure emotion, pure want.

“There you are,” Castiel murmurs, and Dean’s lips curve, ever so slightly.

Castiel leans In to kiss him. Softly. Tests Dean’s lips with his tongue. Waits to see how Dean will respond, and it makes him shiver when Dean’s lips part and slide just slightly, until Dean’s lower lip is between his own, Dean’s tongue is tentative just inside his upper lip. Asking.

Castiel hasn’t kissed anyone before. But he has all of mankind to reference, all of Jimmy’s experience imprinted in his vessel, and all the near-silent guidance of Dean’s body - now utterly his, now desperately wanting.

Again, he moves slowly. This is the way back. Time again to grip Dean, raise him up, bring him home.

Slow and gentle, their tongues languidly rub and press and lick, and sometimes it feels like he and Dean bleed together so that he forgets what is his vessel, what is himself, what is Dean. He can feel sensations in his entire body - tingling and swirling and burning like fire, like Grace, like creation itself. And of course he knows how this will end. How it has to end. He has promised possession and they’re both desperate for it. But he needs to take his time.

He trails kisses across Dean’s jaw, down the line of his pulse, and he reaches out to touch his wrist gently. “Okay?” he asks. “Do you need-”

Dean stiffens, tugs slightly. “No,” he says. His voice is sharp with alarm.

“Shhh,” Castiel soothes. He grips Dean’s wrist and presses it into the stone until Dean hisses and starts to relax. He leaves the bonds in place.

He resumes the exploration of Dean’s body with his lips. He opens his mouth against the lines of his name, just a thin pink scar now, and licks curiously over Dean’s nipples until they begin to firm and Dean shivers. He uses his fingers lightly against Dean’s ribs as he licks the blood-salt-sweat flavor from his chest. It’s not meant to hurt, now, just to remind him he’s there. That he’s not going anywhere. Strokes gently at the waist of Dean’s pants, dipping underneath with his thumb and enjoying the roughness of the hair there, the smooth jut of Dean’s hipbone, the sharp intake of breath as he lets his forearm skim over the straining denim further down. Traces the line of hair with his tongue, enjoys the resulting squirming and panting.

He pauses at the button of Dean’s jeans until Dean curses, groaning, “Fuck, Cas...” and he smiles. Pulls the buttonhole up and over and slides the zipper down with the tip of his finger and thumb.

He stares for a few moments at the V of fabric he’s exposed. The length of Dean presses long and slightly curved, straining and twitching with each gasping breath Dean takes. He glances up to see Dean watching him with blown eyes, half lidded, full of desperation and need. Something answers in him, curling low in his stomach, and he has to close his eyes for a minute to quell it.

When he finally presses his hand against that firm flesh, Dean bucks off the table with a sharp cry and Castiel stops to press the heels of his hands against either hipbone. He waits until Dean’s breath slows slightly before he commands, “Control yourself.” He needs Dean to take it slowly, too. They can’t rush this. It needs to be built precisely. As much as this is comfort, it is ritual. As much as it personal, it is infinite.

Dean nods, breath hissing through his teeth, expression tight and pained.

Castiel nods back and resumes his careful attention, rubs slowly through the boxers to get a feel for what Dean wants. Adjusts the pressure and movement until Dean is moaning again, high pitched and fast, and then finally removes Dean’s pants, pulling them down as Dean lifts his hips away from the table, and then pulling Dean’s legs together to take them off before pinning him back, legs spread.

Castiel strokes Dean - the hard length of him, the tight sac underneath - the raised seam of skin that leads him back deep between Dean’s legs. He presses behind Dean’s scrotum, and Dean cries out softly. Perfectly. Castiel moves one finger back further, touches the tight muscle there and rubs gently until Dean is twitching, squirming.

Castiel adds some slickness with a thought, and presses carefully, watching Dean’s face tighten, his mouth open and slacken as Castiel’s finger works in slowly, draws out at the same pace, crooking slightly as he pulls out, taking his time until Dean’s moans are more pleasure than pain. Castiel adds a second finger, adjusting speed and stroke as Dean’s breath hitches painfully and then softens. Before adding another, Castiel grips him and strokes slowly - base to tip and back down, until Dean is hard again and straining against his bonds as Castiel’s fingers press, curve and spread inside him, pull and squeeze around him.

Castiel waits until Dean is pressing up and back on his fingers, until the pain has given way to pleasure, and then he releases his grip on Dean to undo his own pants. As Dean hears his zipper, he makes a sound that nearly ruins all of Castiel’s careful planning. He clenches as the sound reverberates deep in his stomach, tightening his scrotum against his body, making him twitch hard against his boxers and belly. He removes his fingers from Dean slowly and pushes his pants down to his knees. Everything aches and he takes a few deep breaths before he steps forward between Dean’s legs, adjusting the table to give him the access he needs.

He slides himself against Dean’s body, forward and back over his opening, giving them both a moment to get used to the sensation. Then he stills against Dean, not yet pressing. He strokes his thumb just behind Dean’s scrotum as he waits, and Dean is pressing against him as much as his restraints will allow. Castiel’s hips are rocking forward and back without conscious effort, and finally he gives in so they don’t lose themselves before the possession is complete.

They gasp in unison and Castiel is compacted again into a body, a vessel, immersed and enclosed and his world is dark and filled with sensation. Dean is making inhuman noises and writhing under him in ways that are impossible to comprehend.


This is utterly beyond what he could imagine of the human experience. This connection of desperately firing nerves and synapses, this explosion of sensation and Grace, of being one and being apart - this makes him want to unfold again, to become himself. Instead, he presses his Grace down inside his vessel, himself deeper into Dean, lets the gasps and the sharp sounds - ‘Yes,’ and ‘Fuck,’ and ‘More,’ - keep him grounded and inside.

He reaches out to grasp Dean again as he works to move slowly and gently, loses his focus when Dean lifts his hips in desperation, burying him to the hilt. He works Dean with a hand as he moves inside him, short thrusts that allow him to keep some control. His touch is more sure, now, firmer, the rhythm more even, more confident, and even as he feels sensations rising in his own chest and stomach and lower, pulling his scrotum tight against his body and winding him tighter and tighter, he can feel it too, in the way Dean is pressing up more frantically, into his fist, onto his flesh, abdomen tight and hard under Cas’s knuckles as he strokes him and the world threatens to explode.

“Please, Cas,” Dean begs, and Castiel is gripped by that sound, the revelation of another element of humanity, of divinity, of power. “Please. Let me come for you.” He is breathless, straining, panting. “I wanna come for you.”

Castiel almost can’t speak, it’s so torturous, so blissful a sound.

Not. Yet,” he grates out, and Dean whimpers beautifully, head thrown back, face screwed up in something that defies description.

Castiel can feel he’s close. It’s like the familiarity of that moment before being freed from a vessel, like Grace rising before it’s restoration, and he knows he’s right there.

His breath comes harsh and low, the rhythm of his hand falters, stutters, resumes. “Now, Dean,” he hisses urgently, lengthening his thrusts, pressing deeper and harder, hips pounding against Dean with the ferocity of his need. “Now,” Castiel whispers. “Come for me.”

It rips moans from Dean’s mouth as Castiel possesses him, owns and raises him. Again. Forever. Dean’s cry is wordless. Older than man. Older still than the world. Castiel feels the first wave of it grip him, the first primal spill of seed over his fingers, and then the tension in his own body is unraveling, spilling, falling. Now he’s the one moaning and calling out and losing control. He holds his vessel but loses the restraints, the table he’s raised, the careful setting he’s created, and for a moment he and Dean are hanging together in the darkness of in between before he regains himself and brings them back.

They’re in a dark room, the last hotel room they stayed at before going to Bobby’s. The best Castiel could do in the moment. Dean’s breath is still harsh and fast, they’re both wet, warm, sticky. Castiel pulls back slowly and they’re no longer one entity, but are still tied together.

“Are you all right?” he whispers against Dean’s neck. He wants to ask, Did I hurt you? But he knows it’s a foolish question.

Dean curls into him wordlessly, and Castiel kisses him - his forehead, his cheek, the gorgeous dip where his shoulder curves into his neck.

Time doesn’t pass for angels like humans. It could be minutes or hours or days that Dean remains curled against him, where his shoulders shake with unshed tears, and then fallen ones. Castiel rubs his back and arms as he relaxes again. Castiel needs nothing but this.

He can see Dean reassembling slowly, pulling the layers of himself up and over, letting each settle in before grabbing another, and when he finally rolls over and meet’s Castiel’s eyes, he is no longer naked though he wears no clothes.

“Cas,” Dean whispers finally. “What...did you do?” He touches the light scar on his chest, traces a line of it. What does it mean?

Castiel touches it, too, fingers tangling with Dean’s. “It’s my name. It..connects us. Cosmically. Divinely. Eternally.”

“So, what?” Dean quips gingerly. “We’re dating?”

Castiel considers. “No. Nothing so trivial as that. Connected,” he repeats, lacking a better human word. He meets Dean’s eyes, and they are deep and beautiful and a little afraid. He tries to explain. “Through all eternity, in all space, in all incarnations, this mark will tie us together. You will still be mine and I will still love you.” He presses a touch of Grace into the mark and Dean closes his eyes, grips Castiel’s hands. Castiel kisses his forehead.

Dean’s shoulders slump slowly, and his fingers loosen over Castiel’s. There is a long pause before he speaks.

“We should get back.” His voice is low and determined. “If I’m not going to Michael, we’ll need another plan.”

“I understand.” Castiel kisses him once more before he sits up and pulls their clothes to the room from the warehouse.

They dress in silence, and then Dean limps over to him, slides hands under his coat and curls his face into Castiel’s shoulder.

“Are you ready?” Castiel asks gently as Dean loosens his grasp.

“As I’ll ever be, I guess,” he says quietly.

Castiel throws Dean’s arm over his shoulders, holds him up and pulls them both back to Bobby’s. Back to time and judgement and the end of the world.

“What the hell happened to him?” Sam asks when he catches sight of them.

“Me,” Castiel says. He moves Dean to the cot in the corner of the room, and then turns back, answering Bobby’s questions and then waving Bobby and Sam away. “He needs to rest,” he tells them. He’ll let Dean decide what he wants them to know. “You can all plan later, but he needs sleep.”

Bobby’s eyes are narrowed, but he finally turns to leave. “Come on, Sam. I’ve got some texts in the other room that might help.”

Sam shoots Castiel a curious look, then nods at him before following Bobby out.

Castiel turns back to see Dean watching him.

“Will you-” Dean voice catches and he won’t - or can’t - finish. He clears his throat and looks down.

Castiel moves closer. He doesn’t reach out, but makes sure he’s within arm’s reach. “Whatever you need,” he promises softly.

Dean pulls him down wordlessly on the narrow cot and Castiel slides his limbs into the spaces of Dean’s, turns his head into the curve of Dean’s shoulder until they fit smoothly into one another.

Stardust combining again into something blessed and divine.

He whispers to Dean as he drops off to sleep, can feel fear and horror as Dean begins to fall into the familiar nightmares, twitching and whining.

“I’ve got you,” he promises quietly. “They can’t have you.”

And Dean quiets slowly - his limbs calm, fingers loosen, breath deepens and evens out.

For the first time since Castiel has raised him up, Dean appears truly at peace.

For this, he realizes, he would do it all again.

He’d give his life. Take up his sword. Fall from Heaven.

For a moment of respite.

For Dean.

Art by nickelkeep.  A black background showing Cas from the back, wings spread out into galaxies.  He's naked and Dean's legs are wrapped around him as they kiss. Castiel feels the first wave of it grip him, the first primal spill of seed over his fingers, and then the tension in his own body is unraveling, spilling, falling. Now he’s the one moaning and calling out and losing control. He holds his vessel but loses the restraints, the table he’s raised, the careful setting he’s created, and for a moment he and Dean are hanging together in the darkness of in between before he regains himself and brings them back.