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Blue Skies

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Castiel stared at his scuffed blue sneakers kicking the gravel path leading home. The trees had finally lost their leaves and the air began to chill. Tucking his hands into his green-stripped hoodie’s pockets Cas turned the corner into his family’s yard. Hoping up the stairs, opening the screen door and placing his backpack full of his research assignments books from the St. Benedict’s School Library. Castiel bent over to dig around the front pocket of the bag in search of the house keys, pushing aside coins and a leftover candy bar wrapper. Unlocking the front door he removed his shoes and looked to the cross hanging on the wall.

“Blessed Father, I thank you for being watchful and thankful upon this day and this house. Amen.” Turning from the cross Castiel called out to the house, “Mom! I’m home!” With no response he walked into the kitchen to find a note posted on the fridge.

I picked Anna up at school and went to assist Mrs. Taylor with the Lord’s Lucky Pot Luck Dinner for the homeless. Be home before dinner. Warm up leftovers.”

Castiel scrunched his nose up as he opened the fridge to find last nights Tuna Casserole sitting partially eaten in a glass dish. Groaning and closing the door Castiel trudged up stairs to his room, clunking the bag of books on his desk and flopping down on his bed. With his feet on the floor and back to the mattress Castiel watched the last remaining leaves on the tree outside his window drift out of site. Releasing a sigh, he sat up on the bed and looked down at the grey covered mattress. Picking at the edge of the mattress with his fingers he stared through the mattress to what rested beneath. Worrying his bottom lip between his teeth he got up closed the door and slowly walked back to stand by the side of the bed. Still biting his lip he nods to himself and slides his hands underneath dragging out the hidden magazine. Holding the magazine between both his hands stroking the sides he sits on the edge of the bed. Lifting his head and listening to the silence of the house, reminding himself that he has at least 3 more hours before Anna and Mom return, he takes a deep breath and opens the item. Across the top of the magazine it reads, Men’s Health. If he’s being honest he snatched the magazine from the library and never returned it. On the cover it discusses the articles proclaiming the best fitness regime for “Gym Free Abs” and “WAKE UP! (your sex life)”. But Castiel sits and opens the cover flipping through looking at the men within. Clothed or not, built thick or thin, to Castiel they are all the physical manifestation of what he shouldn’t want. 

His Pastor expressed last spring that in Leviticus 20:13 “if man also lay with man, as he lay with woman, both of them have committed an abomination and therefore shall be put to death and blood will be upon them”. His mother nodded with him and boldly with his community choired amen. As Castiel lightly touches the face of model with plush lips and long eyelashes, he wonders if it is truly wrong when the Lord Saviour himself proclaimed that he loved them as his Father loved him. Would the Father and the Son truly deem him a sinner to the likes of murders and adulaters? How could the heavens truly hate one appreciation for the beauty they created? Castiel lightly followed his fingers as he danced them across the shirtless man’s waist and over his thighs. The twisting of desire laboured his breathing as he began to imagine what the man’s skin must feel like warm to the touch.

Suddenly the glossy image of the beautiful man is torn from his gaze and sharp slap hits his face. Castiel looks up with his ears ringing and eyes watering shocked to lock eyes with the blue of his mother’s. His mother is sharply breathing in and out; pinching her lips and brows together is fury and disgust.

“Why Castiel?! Why have you chosen… chosen this?” she shakes her clawed hand in his face. Her nails have torn a hole across the man’s face. Unable to respond Castiel shifts his gaze from the magazine to his mother’s eyes pleading for the answer he knows she wants to hear. But nothing comes. 

In a rage the magazine is tossed into the corner of the room and his mother grips his wrist harshly, digging her nails into his flesh. Castiel still in terror is dragged off the bed and onto his knees on the floor. His mother begins to drag him out of the room as his knees scrape across the carpet. The pinching of flesh and skinning of his knees prompts Castiel to find his voice.

“Please Mom! Please I’m sorry! I’ll never look again!” His mother harshly pulls him to his feet and drags him through his bedroom door down the hall. Passing his sister crying silently by the threshold. He pleads with his mother, “Mom! Mom!! Stop! Please! You’re hurting me!” He hiccups as his breathing increases, tears and snot begin to coat his upper lip. “Mom!!” His mother bangs the door to the bathroom open and tosses him into the shower. Screaming his shoulder rams into the wall and his wrist send a sharp pain as he catches his fall only to have his ankle slam into the edge of the shower stall. Castiel holds his wrist to his chest and rolls in on himself as his mother finally speaks. 

“You will wash away the filth that has taken your flesh. You will clean your skin of these… sins.” She throws the showerhead on not bothering to check the temperature, “Father Bartholomew will be here when you are done.”

Castiel shivers on the floor as freezing water cascades down upon him and his mother turns towards the door. In a distance he hears his mother speaking to someone, but all he hears clearly is the water pounding on the floor beneath him and his own voice silently trying to calm his heart.

“Blue skies smiling at me, nothing but blue skies do I see.” Staring at the open door in a trance Castiel notices the arrival of a pair of dress pants in the door. “Bluebirds singing a song, nothing but blue skies from now on.” The pants walk towards him turning the water off. The person crouches down to eye level, making his voice stop and focus upon Priest Bartholomew’s face.

Steeling his eyes upon the man of faith Castiel responds curiously in a raspy voice “Hello Father.” Father Bartholomew responds with a tight smile “Hello Castiel my child. Your mother has asked me to speak with you.” Taking a deep breath the Father continues, “She tells me you have fallen to the temptations of the sodomites. Is this true?” Unsure how to respond and not wishing to lie to the man Castiel only lowers his eyes. With a heavy sigh Father Bartholomew stands and places his hands on the boys arms. Lifting him up and turning to grab a towel he drapes it over Castiel’s shoulders. “Come my child. God will forgive you of your sins but you must repent and train your mind and faith to reject such things again.”

Castiel and Father Bartholomew walk down the hall and the stairs to the entrance of the house. In confusion Castiel stares up at the cross he prayed at not long ago then down at his feet to a duffle bag. Rotating around to look at the Father he asks, “Why is my bag down here?”

“Castiel. Your mother has agreed to have you come with me to St. Angela’s Center for Hope.”

“What?” shaking his head he looks for his mother finding her cradling Anna to her side. “Why?”

Father Bartholomew speaks up, “There is hope for people like you. Those that are ill and only need the strength and support to find God and our Lord’s forgiveness.”

Still confused Castiel looks to his mother for answers. She speaks through her teeth holding Anna tighter, “The center will fix you Castiel. Now go.”

The Father picks up his bag, opens the door and tightly grabs his wrist. Castiel screams across the deck and the front lawn, “Mom! Mommy please! Please don’t! I’m sorry! I’m so sorry! I didn’t mean to!” pulling his arm and dragging his feet, “Please Mom! Please! MOM!!”

The father tosses him into the backseat of the Prius slamming the door in his face as Castiel bangs on the window screaming. “Please! Please! NO PLEASE!” The Priest starts the car and begins to pull away.

Castiel takes in a shaky breathe as the house begins to disappear through the window. His mother long turned away, Anna silently waves goodbye. The last thing Castiel sees of his home is his sister’s bright red hair surrounded by leafless trees as the car turns the corner.


 

Castiel opened his eyes noticing that the car had finally stopped. Holding his hands to his head warding off a headache caused by the tears. The Father is no longer in the front seat. Finding the child lock on the door is off Castiel opens the door and stands up to look around. Behind him is a high security gate, around him a parking lot surrounded by lush greenery and in front to him an entrance way that reads, St. Angela’s Center for Hope. Casting his gaze down the entrance he sees Father Bartholomew speaking with a bald man. The Father laughs lightly and walks out speaking joyfully to the man, making his way towards Castiel.

“Castiel this is Zachariah Harrington he is the Head of the Center. Zach this is Castiel Novak.” Zachariah steps forward to shake his hand.

“Hello Castiel. Here at St. Angela’s myself and our staff will do everything we can to make you better. Comfort, Joy and Faith are our principles.” Castiel eyes the man’s hand hesitantly shaking his hand. Zachariah quickly retracts his hand smiling brightly at Castiel and the Priest. “Thank you Father we will take it from here.” The priest tightly smiles at Castiel, nods and gets in the car. “Castiel follow me.” Watching the car pull through the gate and returning his attention to Zachariah, Castiel walks forward with his head down. Stopping briefly at the front desk, Zachariah reaches across to pump hand sanitizer into his hands and grabs the key resting on the counter. “Come along.” 

Castiel follows the man through a lobby and out a backdoor towards the back of the compound. In the back are two small buildings. Between them rests a sculpture of an angel, wrapped in vines. Zachariah leads him towards the building on the left and opens the door. “This will be your home.” Walking into a room full of bunk beds Castiel freezes. Heads from a few beds look towards him, all young men. Castiel thinks to himself 'if this is what he believes it to be, it’s an irony that they all sleep in the same room. A room full of people just like himself.’ Zachariah stops at the third bed, only one away from the far wall and places his bag on the bottom bunk. Castiel stares at his bag. “Dinner is already complete, but one of the girls will be over with a light snack.” Castiel nods. “Get a good nights rest. You’ll be up at 5 in the morning for a run, breakfast then bible studies. After lunch we have Healing with Imagery, Group Therapy, Dinner and Prayer.” Zachariah walks out of the building slamming the door behind him. Castiel faintly hears the turn of a lock. He walks towards his bunk and sits down silently staring at his duffle bag. His fingers pick at the edge of the mattress.

“Alright ladies I’m here for the newbie. Where is he?” Castiel lifts his head to see a small woman with bouncing curls walking towards him with a tray. 

“Well hello there Hot Stuff, I’m Meg.” She places the tray on Castiel’s lap and plops down on the bottom buck across from him.

Castiel looks in her chocolate brown eyes and clears his throat, “Castiel”. Meg smiles, gesturing to the food. Castiel lowers his head and picks up the sandwich, slowly eating through the jam and peanut butter.

Meg crosses her legs on the mattress, “So who sent you to this hell hole?” Castiel quietly replies, “My Mom.”

“Ooo that sucks. Find you with the boy-toy?”

Clicking his tongue on the roof of his peanut butter painted mouth Castiel quickly glances up, “No she saw me looking at a Men’s Health Magazine.”

“Really? That’s it?”

A boy popped his head up from cross the aisle, “My Dad walked in on me not so subtly enjoying porn. I forgot to put the headphones in. Super awkward.” Waving his fingers at the pair below, “Hi I’m Alan.” A slow smile reaches his eyes as he welcomes Castiel.

Castiel glances at the bunk below Alan where a quiet boy puts his book down and smiles at Castiel, “I’m Samandriel, but you can call me Alfie.”

“Alfie?” Castiel scrunches his eyebrows together noting the nickname.

“Yeah Alfie cause Sa-man-driella over there is a mouthful. Hey I’m Andrew.” A dopy-eyed boy from the first top bunk by the door salutes him.

“So Castiel,” Meg demanding his attention once again, “What do you know about Center for the Hopeless?”

“Nothing really.” Castiel finishes his sandwich and places the tray on the floor.

“Well all I can say is rule number one we stick together. The Hens and the Pups,” pointing to herself and Castiel, “we protect each other.”

“Protect?” Castiel tilted his head to the side.

“Protect. That’s all I’m going to say.” Meg bounces up and lightly taps Castiel’s head, “See you tomorrow bright and early Clarence.” Meg saunters out the door. 

Castiel turns his face towards Andrew, “What did she mean by the Hens and Pups?”

Andrew huffs with laughter, “The lesbians are across the way in the other building. ‘The Henhouse’ and we are the ‘Doghouse’” Smiling brightly at Castiel, he continues, “The girls call us Pups.”

“Oh. I see.” With a tight smile Castiel turns his face back to the duffle bag beside him and opens it. On top is his father’s Bible and below a navy blue hoodie with St. Benedict’s silver blades crossed in a crucifix surrounded by a set of white wings. Castiel picks up the Bible running a thumb along the seam, lifting the hoodie out with his other hand. He glances briefly at the hoodie before looking in the bag to find a pair of PJs, his favourite: A grey t-shirt with Bee-lieve across the front and blue pants with a little bee at the hem. Quietly Castiel sends a pray to his mother in thanks because he knows she truly believes she was helping. With silent tears Castiel places the Bible under his pillow, hangs the hoodie on a hook by his bunk, stuffs the duffle under the bed and quickly gets dressed into his PJs.

Crawling into bed with one hand under the pillow brushing the Bible, Castiel silently prays, “Blessed Angels and Saints, please forgive my mother she does not understand. Protect Anna and take care of her.” Breathing in deeply Castiel concludes, “and please blessed angels and saints, help me find a way through this. Amen.” Turning on his side still touching the Bible, Castiel closes his eyes and hopes for sleep.

 

Chapter Text

Da da bum bum da bum

 

“Fucking Hell!!” Andrew yells from his bunk, “Hate this place so much!”

 

Castiel groans loudly, scrunching his eyebrows together and placing his palms over his eyes, “What did I truly do to deserve this?” he drapes an arm across his face. “Was that organ music?” jolting up suddenly to an unexpected touch on his shoulder Castiel looks up to see Alfie.

 

“You better get up and dressed quickly,” Alfie gently smiles down at him already dressed in running shorts and a t-shirt, “We are running in 5 minutes.”

 

The door opens and closes as Alan races outside and Andrew hops into his shoes, “Come on man, you don’t want Raphael in here dragging you out. Trust me.”

 

Castiel lifts himself out of bed takes his bottoms off, replacing them with a pair of running shorts provided by the Centre. They were yellow. He hated yellow. “Why can’t they be green?” He grumbles to himself. Alfie laughs from the door, “Come on grumpy I can see Raphael coming across the yard.” Castiel jams his feet into his running shoes and stumbles out behind Alfie.

 

A group of young women and men talk and stretch around the angel statue. Meg saunters over to him, “Ready for one hell of a morning?” Smirking at Castiel and winking at Alfie Meg pulls them over to another young woman, “This beaut is Gilda. Gilda Clarence. Clarence Gilda.” Cas lifts an eyebrow at Meg’s nickname and reaches his hand out, “Castiel.” Gilda shakes his hand, “Hello.”

 

“In line!” A dark man barks at them. The women and men immediately line up along the front of the statue. Castiel quickly falls in beside Andrew, confused by such military orders. “Alright people lets begin. Dorothy you lead. Let’s Go People!”

 

Raphael steps back getting in a golf cart. The dark haired woman at the front begins to run towards a fenced in area leading to a pathway along the perimeter of the compound. As an avid runner, the morning jog was more a pleasant surprise than biblical punishment, but glancing at the others besides Dorothy, this was clearly not ideal.

 

“Every morning. I hate this place.” Andrew grumbles from the back with a grunt of agreement from Meg and Gilda. Ahead of him is Alan, looking like nothing could bother him and beside Castiel is Alfie. Alfie huffs along keeping pace with him. “How are you not out of breath?”

 

“I was on the track team in High School.” Castiel replies glancing briefly at the young man.

 

“Was?”

 

“I just started my second year of University.”

 

From the front Alan slows down and turns to face him, “What did you study?”

 

“Linguistics. Mainly Latin and I was starting to learn Enochian.”

 

“Oh man Sister Rachel is going to love you.” Meg groans from the back.

 

“Who?”

 

“The Bible Studies nun. She’s trying to get us to read the Bible in its ‘intended language’.” Andrew huffs.

 

“Which is pointless,” Dorothy adds from the front.

 

Meg laughs, “Hey at least she’s not Sister Abbey. That bitch has some serious sadistic issues.”

 

Concerned Castiel asks, “What does she teach?”

 

Alfie very quietly responds, “Discipline and Holy Imagery.”

 

The group suddenly becomes quiet as they run by the second bend around the compound heading towards the gate. Castiel glances at the fence following the vines that run along the top noticing spikes and barbwire. Arriving at the gate the group slows down to a stop.

 

“Hey Dorth do you think you could slow down next time I think I pulled something,” Andrew holds his side as he flops down on the grass. Castiel looks at the gate and the security guard noticing a large German Shepard. He wandered over to the dog and squats down to look at him, “Hey,” he quietly talks to the dog. Suddenly it lungs at Castiel snapping his jaws through the gate making him fall on the ground.

 

“You! Get the hell away from there!” Raphael drags Castiel away by the collar of his shirt and deposits him on the driveway. Castiel is left stunned on the ground. Meg offers him a hand up, dragging him to his feet. Alan checks on him, “He’s there to keep us safe from the religious crazies.” Castiel glances at the top of the fence again, the two follow his eyes.

 

Dorothy walks pass them and snorts, “or keep us in.”

 

The group quietly glances at Castiel’s face. Alan places an arm around his shoulders leading him towards to the main entrance. It occurs to him that he might never get out of here. Looking up at the sign St. Angela’s Center for Hope, ‘Meg is right. The Center for the Hopeless.’

 

 


 

 

Castiel follows Alan into the dining hall and sits at the long table. The group is quietly sitting, not touching the simple breakfast in the center of the table. From the head of the table stands Zachariah, with Raphael and a Nun.

 

“Let us bow our heads,” Castiel inhales deeply and bowed his head, at least some things haven’t changed.

 

Zachariah continues, “Thank you lord for the food we are about to receive and may you bless the lost children on this day through their lessons in the hopes that they too may join you in the heavens rather than continue to follow the path of the damned. Amen” Sitting down Castiel looks up with furrowed brows locking eyes with Alfie. Alfie shakes his head slightly and reaches for the bread placed in front of him. Castiel grabs the orange juice pouring a glass. Dorothy places her glass in his line of sight, as he shifts to pour her a glass as well.

 

From the head of the table an oily-joyful voice laughs, “Now Castiel no flirting at the table.” Dorothy slightly scoffs beside him as Castiel looks stunned at Zachariah. Bowing his head as his ears turn red in confusion and embarrassment, “Sorry Sir.”

 

From a distance he hears Zachariah turn to the Nun, “He is the new recruit. Already showing promise” Castiel furrows his eyebrows further casting his eyes down at his empty plate. Beside him Alan pushes a piece of bread with jam on to his plate. Glancing sideways at him Castiel takes in Alan’s quiet reassuring presence and relaxes.

                                          

Across from him a quiet conversation between Alfie, Meg and Gilda catches his attention, “Where’s Krissy?” Alfie asks Meg.

 

“In the bunk house. She had trouble getting out of bed this morning so Sister Rachel requested that Zaracriah allow her a day to reflect.”

 

Gilda quietly leans in to Alfie’s space, “Have you heard anything about Inias?”

 

Alfie briefly glances up at Castiel and looks back at Gilda shaking his head.

 

“It’s been what- 2 weeks?” Meg’s voice squeaks.

 

“Yeah. Something like that.” Alfie responds quietly.

 

Castiel leans over to Alan, “What happened to Inias?”

 

“Shh! He- he- we don’t talk openly about that here.”

 

“Oh.” Castiel glanced again at Alfie and finishes his breakfast.

 

They all rise as Zachariah gets up with Raphael following behind him. Remaining is the Nun. “Okay you all know where you need to be. Girls with me. Boys to Bible Studies.” Smiling the Nun walks off with the girls quickly following behind her.

 

“Who was that?” Castiel asks as he follows Andrew and Alan to Bible Studies

 

“That was the Sadistic Bitch of the Hopeless. Sister Abaddon,” responds Andrew.

 

“Abaddon?” Castiel looks in shock at Andrew, “As in the Angel of the Abyss? The Destroyer? Abaddon?”

 

“Trust me the irony does not escape us.”

 

“Our Bible Studies teacher is nice- sort of- better than Sister Abbey” Alan assures Castiel.

 

Entering the classroom, Castiel seats himself behind Alfie. Alfie turns around and hands him a new bible, “Here I grabbed you a new one from the bookcase.”

 

“Thank you.” Castiel blushes as another Nun enters with a bright smile.

 

“Hello! Welcome children to a new day! Let us begin with Leviticus as we do every day then we will proceed to the teachings of the Corinthians.” She places her self at the front opening a bible of her own. “OH! A new recruit. Hello! I’m Sister Rachael. Welcome to Bible Studies. What is your name?”

 

Glancing up at her he gulps, “Castiel. Castiel Novak Sister.”

 

“How versed are you with the Bible Castiel?”

 

“Very Sister. I studied Latin and Enochian in University.”

 

Sister Rachel smiles widely, “Perfect! You can begin with the first passage. Please translate it as you go from Latin to English Mister Novak.”

 

Castiel opens the Bible at hand noticing the text is in Latin and begins with the first passage of Leviticus. “The Lord called to Moses and spoke to him from the tent of meeting. He said, ‘Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘When anyone among you brings an offering to the Lord, bring as your offering an animal from either the herd or the flock.” Castiel clears his throat and briefly glances up at Sister Rachael, “if the offering is a burnt offering from the herd, you are to offer a male without defect. You must present it at the entrance to the tent of meeting so that it will be acceptable to the Lord. You are to lay your hand on the head of the burnt offering, and it will be accepted on you behalf to make atonement for you.”

 

“Very good Mister Novak you may stop.” Lifting his head he takes in the chalkboard where Sister Rachael has written Offering, Burnt, Without Defect and Atonement. “Now how can we learn from these words and what could you offer to the Lord as offering? Alan?”

 

“We are unable to offer ourselves for we are defected Sister. What may we offer instead?

 

“Well as a defect you can only offer your time, minds and heart in hopes for atonement. Right?”

 

The boys surrounding him reply in affirmative. Castiel cannot believe his ears, cutting in, “But Sister should we not take the words of Leviticus and also look towards the teachings of Psalm 34:8 where it states, ‘Taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.’ Are we not taking refuge in him, embracing the world he created?”

 

The Nun squints her eyes at Castiel, “That may be so Castiel, but Leviticus is the original set of laws set by our Lord and they are to be abided.”

 

“But Sister if we are Christians is it not just as important to follow the teachings of our Lord regarding tolerance and love?”

 

“We do not reject our Lords words Castiel, but we must remain faithful to the Father as well. For are we not all in his image and must we all remember to respect and listen to His wisdom?”

 

Castiel ponders her statement, but refuses to believe that the words of fear and rejection are the daily words at the Center, “But Sister it’s-“

 

“Andrew you may continue.”

 

Andrew briefly glances at Castiel and continues, “You are to slaughter the young bull before the Lord, and then Aaron’s sons the priests shall bring the blood and splash it against the sides of the altar at the entrance to the tent of meeting. You are to skin the burnt offering and cut it into pieces.”

 

The class continues to read from Leviticus and concludes with an independent study of the 2 Kings.

 

Castiel immerses himself in the readings, taking notes. Savoring in the sense of the expected and normalcy of his actions, he longs for back in the University. Castiel writes in the side margins in the scripture, remembering some of his own thoughts still siting in his book bag at home in his room. ‘How has it only been a day?’ Castiel pauses and looks out the widow at the sun, ‘Classes would be back and running. Monday. Today was Monday,’ sighing he looks at the clock above Sister Rachel’s head, ‘I’d be getting off the ferry heading to the bus station.’ Mournfully Castiel looks back at the passage below, ‘In two hour I’d have been picked up by Gabriel, heading back to the dorm.’ His breathing shudders, ‘Would Mom let Gabriel know? Or would he be waiting for him?’ A hand rest lightly on Castiel’s shoulder.

 

“Breathe. In. Out,” Alan softly encourages. “In. Out. That’s it. It’s okay.”

Castiel clams his breathing only just noticing the tears at the corner of his eyes. He takes in a deep breathe and lets it out slowly. Alan’s hand still lightly touching his shoulder from behind. His lightly thumb strokes back and forth, grounding him. When his breathing is under control he quietly bows his head further and brushes the corner of his eyes. Alan pats his shoulder and quietly retreats.

 

“Okay boys your homework for tomorrow is to find a passage that brings you hope. Outside for a break.” Sister Rachel writes the homework on the corner of the board. Castiel gathers his class Bible and notes, peeking at the board once again. The board burns the words Offering, Burnt, Without Defect and Atonement into his eyes.

Chapter Text

Castiel squints at the as he steps outside into the courtyard that leads to the bunks. He notices Meg lying under a tree, Gilda off by the bunks staring at the statue and Dorothy is no where in sight. He walks slowly over to Meg and sits on the grass, resting his back against the trunk. Meg swivels her head to look at him sighing deeply, “Hey Clarence.”

 

“Hello Meg.” Castiel’s mouth tips up slightly in response and looks up at the blue sky, noticing a bird flying overhead.

 

Noticing the bird Meg responds, “I’d do anything for a set of wings.” Looking over towards Gilda, “You know she has a pair of wings on her back? Tiny but there.”

 

Castiel raises his eyebrows, “Wings? Like Angel Wings?”

 

“No,” Meg laughs, “Dragon fly wings. Like a fairy.” Meg rolls on her side still looking at Gilda’s back off in the distance. Castiel watches her brown eyes, “She got them done while up in Colorado. Living the hippy life, drugs, hemp, orgies you name it the girl’s done it.”

 

“How did she end up here?” Castiel glances at the woman in question.

 

“Her bible thumping parents found her and dragged her here.” Meg lays her head down on her arm and shifts to look at Castiel.

 

“You know you’d look good with a few tattoos”

 

Elevating his eyebrow, “Really? And what would you suggest Megan?”

 

“Ugh don’t call me that.” Meg quietly ponders her options, “OH what about a full back rainbow with a little leprechaun resting just above that ass.” Meg sweeps her hand in the air dotting it at the end.

 

Castiel laughs openly, “Not really my style.” He pauses and looks up at the sky, “I thought about doing that. My brother, Gabriel, said it’d be a solid ‘Fuck you’ to our Mother, but I couldn’t go through with it.”

 

“What would ya get?”

 

Still staring at the sky, watching the bird float overhead, “Something in Enochian here,” running a finger across his rib, “Maybe Angel wings on my back.”

 

“Little puffy white ones Clarence?” Meg teases.

 

“No. Full and black.”

 

“Why Angel Wings?”

 

Alfie sits down beside Castiel, “Cause Castiel is an Angel.”

 

“Woah there flirt, Clarence is mine” Meg lightly kicks Alfie’s crossed legs.

 

Castiel smiles at them, “He’s right. My name is the Angel of Thursday. “

 

“Let me guess” Meg interjects, “You were born on a Thursday”

 

He smiles, “Yes.” Castiel returns Alfie’s quiet smile, “Samandriel, Angel of Light.”

 

“Meg, Total Badass” Meg gets up, “now that we know each other’s names I’m off to check on Dorth and Krissy.” Meg bounces off to the ladies’ bunks.

 

Alfie lightly taps Castiel’s leg, “You okay? Heard Alan earlier in class.”

 

“Yeah, I just got to thinking about what I’d be doing right now” he sighs, once again.

 

“What’s that?” Alfie shifts to lay against the trunk brushing Castiel’s shoulder.

 

Looking sideways Castiel smiles, “Heading back to school. I have an evening class on American mythology.”

 

Alfie smiles, a light blush reaching his cheeks looking away from Castiel, “Where is school?”

 

Still looking at the younger man, “Emmanuel College in Boston. Takes about 2-3 hours from home.”

 

“Boston? So you’re from Massachusetts?”

 

“Hmm.” Castiel looks at Alfie wringing his hands. “Where are you from?”

 

His head pops up quickly looking away from Castiel once again, “Alexandria, Louisiana.”

 

Castiel’s eyes widen, “That’s a fair distance. Assuming I’m still in Massachusetts.”

 

Alfie laughs, glancing at Castiel, “Yeah. Yeah you are. I –“ he clears his throat and gulps down air. “I was visiting family in New Hampshire and- and” he sighs looking back at his hands, “I thought it was just a visit, but it was an intervention of sorts. Mom and Dad thought it was best I get help so my Aunty found St. Angela’s and suggested they transfer me here.”

 

Castiel frowned, “How old are you?”

 

“Seventeen. Just started Grade 12” Alfie laughs, “my applications for college – Emmanuel is one of ‘em- are still in my backpack,” he points off towards the boys bunks. Castiel takes Alfie’s hand, “Suppose that is a dying dream huh?”

 

“Never.” Squeezing his hand, “I’ll help you with the applications if you want.”

 

“Thanks.”

 

Andrew walks briskly by them, “Separate. Zachariah is watching.”

 

Glancing towards the entrance of the main building Castiel notices the bald man glaring their way.

 

Alfie jumps up gesturing towards the entrance, “Come on its lunchtime.”

 

Gilda bounces up beside them with her fingers crossed, “Please have cookies. Please have cookies.”

 

Castiel smiles at her, earning him a wink.

 

Sitting down once again between Dorothy and Alan, Castiel waits for the staff to arrive.

 

Standing at the head of the table, Zachariah begins, “Let us bow our heads – “

 

The lunch table is quiet, no one looks at each other. A heavy feeling settles over the table. Confused Castiel sets his spoon down and leans towards Alan, “Why is everyone so quiet?”

 

“The girls just finished Imagery and we’re next.” Alan darts his eyes towards the two nuns talking, “All I can say is enjoy this moment right now."

 

Castiel frowns and returns to his lunch. ‘What exactly is going to happen in this class? Its just art: like The Last Supper or the Basilica. Right?’

 

Sister Abbey stands with the rest of the staff, Zachariah still eating, “Alright boys let’s go.”

 

Quietly chairs scrape the floor. No one says a word. Castiel stands as Dorothy lightly grazes his arm and walks in the opposite direction. He follows the boys out of the dining room, down another hall and into a classroom. The room has five cubicles with a curtain open at each entrance. He looks up to notice a projector displaying a faint blue light on each cubicle’s white walls. In the centre of the room is a desk and chair, Sister Abbey leaning against the desk.

 

“Samandriel please get the blinds and Castiel follow me,” Sister Abbey walks off towards the back cubical in the far corner. “This will be your station. My name is Sister Abbey. I’m the Holy Imagery Teacher and Discipline Manager. Hopefully this is the only location we will ever interact with each other.” Her red eyebrow arches challenging his compliance.

 

“Yes Sister.” Castiel bows his head.

 

“Now, sit down. Place your hands here.” Castiel sits down noticing the wires running along the wood chair. Sister Abbey places his palms over cushioned bumps on the end of each armrest. “Now it’s simple. Just watch the wall. Do not take your eyes of the screen,” she walks over to the corner and taps a tiny camera, “I’ll know if you do. If you feel sick let me know and I will escort you outside, but I’ll warn you, you only get 3 breaks, one is at the 30-minute mark. Are we clear?” Castiel nods.

 

Sister Abbey leaves clacking her heels and closes the curtains to each cubicle. Castiel listens to her heels along the floor and the rustle of each curtain. “Alrighty boys let us begin. Remember 3 breaks, one is in 30 minutes. Eyes on the wall and do your best. God is watching.” The lights turn off and Castiel is left to stare at the faint blue left on the wall in front of him. He shifts slightly and suddenly the image of a smiling woman’s face is before him.

 

The lighting is soft like an old grainy film, her hair glows as she looks over shoulder. She runs off into a backyard, the camera following her. Her white dress bounces with her steps, a blue sky and flowers frame the image. The camera darts up towards a bird flying above. Confused he is lulled into a sense of peace. The image flickers and shifts to an image of a woman and a man kissing. The camera closes in on their faces, her feminine lips slotting together with the bearded man’s. An images of a cross, and a church full of happy people interrupts the serene moment. The camera flies up to the priest presenting a sermon and lands on the colourful stain glass behind him. Jesus is illuminated in the glass, Castiel’s face painted in blues, purples and yellows. The image starts to show quick flickers of a man and woman naked in bed. In amongst the images of the church and peaceful glow of the glass, fragments appear of the couple touching each other’s naked skin. The man’s hand cups the woman breast and the room starts to project sounds of moaning. Still confused at what they are watching, Castiel shifts in his chair. Suddenly the fragments become more graphic, no longer tasteful, but pornographic.

 

Castiel blushes and looks away, “Castiel eyes up!” comes Sister Abbey’s voice.

 

He returns his eyes to the screen where fragments of the church and a happy family in the yard are projected. The soft glow still lights the screen. The images sharply shift to a dark red when the image of a naked man, alone on a couch flashes amongst the other images. At first it is not clear what he is seeing then a full image of the harshly-lite red tinted image of the man masturbating fills his line sight. The moment the full image takes the wall while moans of ecstasy encase the classroom, a sharp pain hits his palms. Castiel screams and yanks his hands away from the chair. He frantically looks at the armrests, touching the pads. A jolt of electricity hits his fingers. Castiel’s breathing increases and he looks up to see the man throwing his head back on the couch. His hand rapidly moving over his penis, the moans surrounding Castiel’s ears. He looks on terrified, confused and frustratingly captivated. ‘Why are they watching this?’ The man’s muscles tighten around his arm and front releasing a cry into the air as he finishes, the fluids and cry fall while a harsh electrical current runs over Castiel’s back and under his legs. He screams and falls forward onto the floor. Breathing harshly he looks at the chair, his head surrounded in silence, only noticing his harsh breathing and slight groans of pain coming from around the room. He looks back up at the wall, Castiel again sees a happy family with the man and woman from before crowded in the soft yellowish hue. In a trance Castiel sees slight flashes of the man’s face from before licking the come off his hand broken by images of fire and demonic eyes. He hears groans from his peers and the soft crack of electricity. The image ends and goes black, the lights in the room turn on and Sister Abbey’s shoes click on the floor whipping his curtain open. Still on the floor Castiel sees Sister Abbey crouch down in front him and lifting his face in her hands.

 

“Now Castiel you will have to stay in your chair next time or else how will we fix you?” She smiles sweetly at him and brushes her thumbs over his cheeks, wiping the tears he did not notice had fallen. “Come now it’s break time.” She grabs him by the arm and walks him towards the door. The boys are outside all resting on the floor or against the wall, sullen and quiet. Castiel walks out stopping in the middle of the hallway.

 

“Castiel?” Alfie comes up beside him and touches his hand lightly. Castiel bolts towards the bathroom, slams the cubicle door open and just reaches the toilet before he vomits. He falls back onto the floor resting his head on the wall, flushes the toilet, and scrapes the back of his hand across his mouth. Crying, Castiel breathes in sharply. From the cubicle door comes Andrew’s voice.

 

“Breath Castiel. You’ll get used to it soon enough.” Castiel looks up into his face.

 

He points harshly towards the classroom, “That’s torture! It’s illegal! We don’t use that on our worse criminals!” Castiel stands up and pushes Andrew out of the way. Andrew rushes after him and wraps his arms around him. “NO! Let me GO! I’m calling the police!”

 

“They won’t come!” Andrew’s arms tighten.

 

Castiel wails, “Please let me go!” he fights to be released.

 

Alfie walks into the room followed by Alan. He stands in front of Castiel and places his palm on his face, “Breathe Castiel.”

 

“But- How- They can’t- they” Castiel stutters as his voice catches in his throat. “WHY?!”

 

Alfie’s thumb caresses his face. “You know why,” breathing deeply he sighs, “you can’t let this moment get to you. Focus on the good and prepare yourself for the bad. Remove your heart.”

 

From behind him, Andrew hugs him to his chest, “Look for the briefest change in lighting, from yellow to red and exhale before the shock hits. The impact won’t hurt as much.” Andrew rests his head on Castiel’s shaking shoulders.

 

Alan looks at him and nods. From the hall comes a harsh knock, “Let’s go boys the next half is up.”

 

Alfie removes his hand and walks out with his head down. Andrew releases him and follows. Alan offers his hand, “Come on. Remember, we’re here together. We protect each other, to the best we can.” Castiel takes in a shaky breathe and exhales. Smelling like vomit and still silently crying he straightens his shoulder and walks back to the cubicle, Alan only a few paces behind him.


 

 

Castiel stares at his sneakers from his station in yet another classroom. He is not fully aware of how he arrived there, his hands are numb with the constant uncomfortable tingle running along his things, his testicles slightly burning, his back muscle tight. He arches his back placing his palms on his lower back praying the tightness will dissipate. Alfie sits next to him glancing at him and lightly moves his hand to rest on Castiel’s shoulder, grounding him. “Castiel?” he whispers. Castiel snaps his eyes up to the boy’s, “Hey there” he smiles.

 

Castiel clears his throat looking around the room. He notices the circle of chairs where all of the recruits sit. Meg is in front of him picking her nails. Dorothy is talking with Alan and Andrew. A low conversation comes from the door where Gilda helps a young girl into the room with a large man smiling behind them. The man closes the door and claps his hands.

 

“Hello everyone. Welcome back Krissy. Today we will begin with any questions or concerns we have and then will mov- Oh Hello you must be Castiel Novak? Welcome.” The man leans forward on his knees towards him.

 

“Hello sir.”

 

“Yes. Now tell me about yourself, I’ll go first. I’m Uriel. My first name is fine, I’m the staff councelor in charge of managing your mental well being.” Uriel smile does not reach his eyes.

 

“Hello.” Castiel stares at him from his seat, Alfie’s hand still rests lightly on his shoulder. Uriel raises an eyebrow impatiently moving his hand requesting more. “I’m Castiel Novak. I just arrived from Oak Bluffs. I’m a second year University student taking Linguistics.”

 

“Very good.” Uriel looks around the circle, “What are our concerns today? Meg?”

 

“I miss nail polish.” Meg’s eyes still on her hands.

 

Uriel shakes his head. “Anything else Megan?”

 

“Nope…. OH!” Meg shifts her head towards Gilda, “She wants the confetti cookies back. Whines about them all night.”

 

“Is that so? Well I’ll see what I can do” Uriel smiles, “Anyone else?”

 

A brief silence follows, Castiel returns his eyes to his sneakers. Suddenly Dorothy’s assertive voice breaks through, “What happened to Inias?”

 

“Yeah where is Inias?” Andrew straightens in his chair where Alan nods along.

 

“As you all know Inias decided to leave the premises without informing anyone. We went looking for him, but it seems he’s simply disappeared. It’s assumed that he has returned home.” Meg scoffs dragging Uriel’s attention towards her, “Inias is safe.”

 

“BULLSHIT!” Krissy stands up knocking over her chair as she walks towards Uriel pointing, “YOU WERE THERE YOU PIECE OF HOMOPHOBIC SHIT!”

 

“Krissy sit down.” Uriel stands up. Dorothy rises and walks beside Krissy, followed by Andrew. Alan stands by his chair, Alfie’s hand tightens on Castiel’s shoulder warning him to stay put.

 

Meg sits with her knees pulled to her chest watching the exchange, rolling her eyes, “Uriel cut the crap we all know you were there when Inias was dragged back into the compound unconscious.”

 

Krissy fumes in front of the counsellor, “YOU pulled me off the fence! YOU carried me to Abaddon so she could BEAT the Gay away!” She trembles her hands making fists, “If you pieces of Biblical filth can’t make us pray it away you sure as fuck are going beat it out of us.”

 

“You don’t know what you’re saying. All of you SIT DOWN!” Booms Uriel’s voice. They all stand their ground as Uriel walks over to a phone, his voice coming through the intercom. “Security and Sister Abaddon to the Group Therapy Room! Code 2! I repeat Code 2.”

 

“That’s it you bigot call them!” Krissy marches over to him her confidence dwarfing the large man. Uriel reaches up and slaps her across the face. The room pauses before Krissy spits blood on the floor and glares at the man, “COME ON! IS THAT THE BEST YOU’VE GOT YOU DEMONIC PIG?”

 

The room bursts into chaos, the door slams open. Raphael, Zarcharia, the security guard with his dog rushes through. Zachariah grabs Krissy by her hair and yanks Dorothy to his side. Alan and Andrew try to step back, but Raphael has ceased them by their ears. The dog rushes towards Castiel and Alfie, Castiel stands tripping over the chair, pulling Alfie down with him. The dog snaps at them, the guard just restraining it. Above the guards shoulder Castiel sees Sister Abbey calmly enter, “Quiet!”

 

The room falls silent. The nun walks towards the girls grasping Krissy’s face her nails sinking into her cheeks. “Now Miss Chambers apologize for your behaviour.” Krissy hisses spitting in the nuns face. Sister Abbey wipes her face as Alfie speaks from the floor beside Castiel.

 

“Where’s Inias?” Castiel snaps his head to look at Alfie and grabs his hand urging him to stay silent. “Where is he?” Sister Abbey’s lightening sharp eyes fall to their hands while the corner of her mouth lifts.

 

“Alfie” the name dripping like a controlled storm, “You will not corrupt another. Release Mister Novak’s hand.”

 

Alfie’s palm turns up grasping Castiel’s hand; Castiel looks up in shock, his attention dancing from the boy’s profile, the dog and the nun. Sister Abbey’s teeth gleam as her eyes fall on Alfie. She suddenly releases Krissy’s face comes forth and yanks Alfie to his feet. “That will be strike two for you Samandriel, it would be advised that you don’t go for three.”

 

Castiel rushes to place himself between Alfie and the nun, reaching an arm between them. “Please Sister he was just calming me down dogs frighten me.” Castiel lies. She looks at Castiel then release Alfie, smoothing her headdress.

 

“Very well.” With a pleasant smile the nun turns to the room, “That was exciting, Samandriel that is still strike two. It’d be wise to remember that. Castiel that will be strike one, don’t let the heathen taint you.” Walking towards Krissy and Dorothy, “You two will join me for penance and the rest of you pray that no one steps over their third mark.” She walks towards the door, Krissy and Dorothy dragged behind her, “As for Inias his lifestyle,” the words are spat out with a sneer, “will no longer be a problem at St. Angela’s. I’ll see you at pray in 20. Gentlemen.” The staff members fall in line while Uriel remains. Castiel picks up his chair shaking. ‘What hell has he fallen into?’

 

The Group Therapy proceeds with Uriel managing the discussion. No one says a word. At 20 past the group rises and follows the counsellor to the chapel. They silently sit in the pews. Castiel looks around the Chapel, it is simple. There are no windows, only a cross and a podium. Zachariah walks down the aisle and stands in the front.

 

“Rise children,” the group rises and bow their head, “Almighty God and Father of our Lord, Thank you that you have been with us today and that Your presence is with us now.

Lord, we thank you for your strength in Krissy’s, Dorthoy’s, Alfie’s and Castiel’s moment of weakness.” Castiel frowns, “We pray that you would give them great inspiration as they heal with us and turn from Satan’s path. We pray that You would fill them with courage and give them Your guidance. Amen.” The recruits sit as the man walks towards the podium, “Today we will be discussing Ephesians 6, where upon the book states, ‘Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honour your father and mother – which is the first commandment with a promise- so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.’ Now it is clear to me,” he steps away from his perch to walk amongst the aisle, “That here at St. Angela’s Center for Hope we the staff are your legal guardians and therefore should be obeyed. Am I not correct?”

 

They nod along in compliance as Castiel once again stares at his shoes, “Castiel when we indicate that the love and affection between two men is wrong are we not correct? Are we not simply setting you on the path of a long, happy and righteous life?”

 

Castiel freezes, not wanting the attention.

 

“Are you or are you not in danger of being condemned?”

 

“N-No sir. I will obey.” Castiel begs to the heavens that his attention turns elsewhere.

 

“Yes well, remember two more strikes only.” He turns back to the podium, “Now if we continue-“ Castiel releases a breathe continuing to listen to the warped understanding of the book he had chosen to study. ‘They can’t be right? Can they?’ It had only been the first day, but the doubt and the fear was proving a heavy weight on his already questioned faith. ‘I’m not damned am I?’ Meg awakens him lightly pushing his leg at the end of Sermon, “Go Clarence it’s dinner, then bed.”

 

Dinner is a small affair and quiet. The groups walk in silence back to their bunks. The sun long set. Castiel sits down on his bunk and waits for the door to close, a few minutes pass before he hears an already changed Alan perched from the top bunk, “You okay Castiel?”

 

He squints at the young man, “What happened to Inias?”

 

Alan’s eyes dart to the door, however, it is not he who answer, but Alfie. “He tried to escape.”

 

“Escape?”

 

“Yes. He – he somehow got word that his boyfriend was in town and had tried to see him. Krissy overheard the commotion he made and told Inias.” Alfie laughed with no humor, “Told him all about this guy with red eye-shadow and rainbow hair, Krissy called him ‘A walking Pride Flag’” Alfie shakes his head smiling, “Anyways, Inias knew immediately who it was and with Krissy, planned an escape. Krissy ended up being the decoy after a failed climb, but Inias” He looks up to meet Castiel’s eyes, “Inias made it.”

 

Andrew continues, “At least that what we thought, until one night we heard screaming. Not the shocked or frightened screams, but a blood curdling fear for your life kind of scream.” Castiel head turns in Andrew’s direction, “So naturally we all rushed to the window, knowing full well that the doors were locked.”

 

Alan interjects, “They lock the doors around 11.”

 

“Anyways we are all at the window, it’s pissing rain and who do we see, but Inias lite up by the spotlights covered in blood and mud, stumbling away from the Guard and Sister Abbey, Uriel not far behind.” Andrew falls silent.

 

“The last we saw of him the dog had attacked his arm and the guard knocked him out. He was slung over his shoulder disappearing around the corner.” Alan points through the window near his head.

 

Castiel stares towards the window, “But- where did they take him? And how is Krissy involved?”

 

“All we know is Sister Abbey had Inias for a while. He must have let her name slip and well, she had already reached her limit. We all have except you.”

 

“The whole staff gave each of us a strike for knowing he was going to escape. Krissy got the worse of it.” Andrew adds.

 

“Maybe – maybe they sent him home.” Castiel wonders.

 

“Don’t be naïve Castiel. Once you’re in here no one gives a shit about you. You’re here until they deem fit. So keep your head down.”

 

From across the room Alfie sighs, “You are on their watch list for questioning Sister Rachel this morning. You have doubts and already show sign of disobedience.”

 

Alan answers, “Do what we do in class, go on autopilot. Take it in and stay quiet.”

 

Castiel nods, “Okay” he rises from his bed takes off his shirt, grabbing his PJs and toiletries, “I’m going to take a shower.” Closing the door to the small bathroom, Castiel turns the hot water on and lets the steam engulf him. Staring in the mirror he takes out his toothbrush, still tasting the bile. As he lifts it to his mouth Castiel catches his blue-eyes in the mirror, “Day one, you can do this. The Heavenly Father has not abandoned you. Keep your head down.” He brushes his teeth, strips and gets in the shower sighing, “Endure patiently and He will protect you”. Resting his head on the shower wall Castiel begins to cry silently, singing just over his breath, “Blue birds singing a song nothing but bluebirds - all day long.” Castiel wraps his arms around his torso embracing the impending silence and obedience.

Chapter Text

The days seep by following the same pattern each day. The repetition numbing his brain. Castiel listens intently to the recruits around him, but is always mindful of his presence around them. He can be obedient and a good Christian. At night though, when the door is locked, they talk about the day and reminisce about their lives outside. They haven’t seen Dorothy or Krissy in weeks. Andrew got his third and final strike following the first snowfall, he hasn't been seen since either.

Castiel has no new marks, but he has started to flinch away from Alfie when he offers comfort following Holy Imagery. They still speak, but Abaddon’s eyes follow them. Christmas decorations go up and the event passes with a daylong prayer session hosted by Zachariah. The main donator of the Centre, Dick Roman from Roman Enterprise also speaks pitching success stories. His smile crawls upon Castiel’s skin during the modest meal of grape juice, instead of wine, and white bread. Castiel’s mother and sister call under the monitored attention of Uriel. Gabriel was told he’d been offered an internship in Europe and therefore would not be able to contact him. Walking out to the bunk he stops at the statue, the vines frosted with snow and darkened with the cold. Sighing he turns around and runs into Alfie.

“Hi,” the boy smiles shyly.

“Hello Alfie,” Castiel stares at the boy’s face, ‘he’s so young.’

“Umm I got you something.” Castiel glances at the offered gift wrapped in brochures. His lips turn upwards slowly.

“Thank you Alfie.” He opens the gift and finds a twisted name-tag, ALFIE wrapped around the twisted metal. Castiel holds it up and smiles, on the chain hangs a piece of banged gold metal in the shape of a sword.

“From one warrior of God to another.”

“Thank you,” Castiel’s smile falls, “I don’t have anything for you though.”

“That’s okay, your smile is enough.”

“No, it-” looking around Castiel grabs Alfie’s hand and drags him behind the boys bunk and hugs him. Alfie stiffens briefly, but then melts into the embrace. Castiel lifts his head and lightly kisses his cheek, “Happy New Year Samandriel.” Taking a step back Castiel smiles and tucks the necklace in his jean pocket.

Alfie blushes, “Thank you.” The boys look at each other smiling and laugh, neither seeing the stormy face of Zachariah watching the whole exchange and following them outside.

“What is this?!” Zachariah grabs Castiel by his hair and drags him backwards, “I knew you were a disgraceful disobedient boy.” Around the corner comes Sister Abbey, Uriel and the Yellow-eyed Guard. Castiel sends a brief pray thanking God that the dog did not join them. Sister Abbey steps forward and grabs Alfie’s wrist twisting his arm as the boy pulls trying to escape.

“You piece of shit! I told you to stay clear, but no you couldn’t say no to that face could you?” The nun reaches out to grab Alfie’s face, her nails sinking into his flesh.

“Let him go! He’s done nothing wrong. I’ll take the punishment please! Leave him be. I kissed him, he resisted. He’s nothing if not a goo-” Zacaraihs forces Castiel to his knees, scrapping them on the gravel, the cold snow soaking through. Alfie screams as Sister Abbey takes out a baton and slams it down on his head. Castiel watches with tears streaking his face as the previously shy vibrant boy slumps on the ground, blood painting the snow. Castiel begins to struggle yanking his head away from the man’s grasp, yelling as hair is left behind. He flies towards Alfie, “Alfie? ALFIE??” Castiel shakes his shoulders, “Come on wake up! Samandriel!!”

Uriel comes up behind Castiel, “Leave him be Castiel,” the stern voice demands.

Castiel shakes, “No, no. Alfie?!” Looking up at the staff, “DO SOMETHING?!” Uriel grabs his shoulder, “NO NO!” reaching out to find Alfie’s pulse Castiel suddenly freezes. No pulse. ‘Oh god. OH GOD.’

“He doesn’t have a pulse! YOU KILLED HIM! HELP HIM! DO SOMETHING!”

“He brought God’s contempt and punishment upon himself.” Abaddon pushes the boy with her foot. “Uriel grab and hood him, it’s clear that Mister Novak will not be able to be rehabilitated.”

Castiel panics, “What? What are you doing?!” Struggling Castiel dives out from Uriel’s grasp and begins to run. Tripping on his feet he staggers through the courtyard towards the Centre. ‘The phone! He needs to call the police.’ Running full tilt, keeping his eyes forward Castiel reaches the front desk snatching the phone. Dialing 9-1-. Castiel feels a sharp pain on the side of his knee then the back of his head. His world goes dark.

Chapter Text

Castiel wakes up to darkness. He can see slight movement in front of him where light comes through the hood. ‘Stay calm.’ His hands are bound behind his back, his fingertips run across a cold floor. He turns head towards the people moving in front of him.

 

“Ah the boy’s awake,” the hood is ripped from his head, the floodlight blinding him. Castiel looks at the guard in front of him as the man smiles, his teeth pointed and his eyes yellow. From behind the yellow-eyed guard comes the voice of Sister Abbey.

 

“Mister Novak, how nice of you to join us.” Gesturing around the room, Castiel finally takes in the building.

 

“Where am I?” Surrounding him is a crumbling building. Cracked concrete runs up the walls and through the floors. Old lights on the wall hang by wires, glass and garbage litter the corners of the hallway. In front of him is an open elevator shaft, the elevator long gone from the premise. Sister Abbey steps forward.

 

“This is where you go for your final penance.” Pointing to the elevator, “That is where Inais was sent, poor boy is still down there I believe. We tried to put Krissy there, but Dorothy and the bitch ran before Azazel here took care of the dikes.”

 

Castiel’s eyes widened. “What did you do?”

 

“Me? I did nothing. God brought his punishment upon them.”

 

Castiel shakes his head as adrenaline spikes through his system, “YOU not God. He would never harm someone for this.”

 

“Are you sure Castiel? Positive that what is about to happen to you is not simply his plan?” Sister Abbey crouches down in front of him, running a nail over his jaw and lips. “Such a pitty. You certainly are one of the Heavenly Fathers more beautiful creatures. Shame.” Tsking the nun stands up and looks to Azazel. “Pick him up.”

 

The guard hauls the young man to his feet. Castiel tries to pull away, but it becomes clear that his knee had been dislocated and his balance is off. As Castiel whimpers he tries to place some weight on it, even if he could get free, he wouldn’t be able to run fast enough or far enough. ‘Please God, please help me. If my punishment is due to my sinful desires I promise I will never look at another man again. Please.’ The guard begins to drag him to the elevator stopping in front of it. ‘PLEASE GOD No!’

 

“No nonono.” Castiel struggles in the guard’s hands, but gets nowhere.

 

“Castiel be reasonable. It is not that far down. You will understand soon enough that this was the only option.” The nun softly strokes his hair in false comfort and turns around. The guard’s breath whispers across the back of his neck, “Have fun with the others.” Before Castiel is fully aware what is happening the guard pushes him through the elevator shaft opening and he is falling. The darkness rushes past him as lands on his shoulder, knocking his head against the metal boundary of the elevator shafts floor. Time stops.


 

 

Castiel opens his eyes feeling wet liquid dripping over them. A sharp pain rips through his shoulder as he tries to right himself, his screams echoing through the elevator shaft. Lifting his opposite arm he uses the edges of the metal boundary to push upwards. He clutches at his shoulder and looks down at it. ‘Dislocated.’ Breathing heavily Castiel wipes his hand across his forehead and brings his hand out to look at. There is black liquid on his hand. Bringing it hesitantly to his lips, licking to confirm that it’s blood. Taking in a deep breath he addresses the situation. ‘I am in some random abandon building, in an elevator shaft. My left shoulder is dislocated. Likely received two concussions. My head is bleeding. My right knee is also likely dislocated. But I’m alive.’ Looking up Castiel notices the roof above him is open. He can see the moon and snow falling through. ‘Jeans, sneakers, hoody. They took my jacket.’

 

Looking around him he sees a mass in the corner. Squinting the mass begins to take shape. ‘No.’ As his eyes widened Castiel shifts onto his left knee, hugging his arm to his chest and creeps forward to touch the mass. With in arms reach is a decaying body.

 

“Inais,” he gasps flying backwards and slamming his injured shoulder against the wall. Catching a scream in his throat Castiel looks on in terror at the remains of the boy. The warning he did not heed. The boy’s face is gaunt and frozen. Castiel drags his eyes down the body noticing the light t-shirt and shorts, stopping at the his legs. His shins are shattered, pieces of bone poke through at sharp angles around decomposing skin. Old blood dried on the wounds. Castiel begins to shiver, his lip quivering in fear and panic sets in. Looking up at the open shaft doors Castiel begins to scream.

 

“HELP!! SOMEONE HELP ME! HELP!! HELLO!!! HELP!!!” his cries for help continue to reverberate off the walls, but reach no one. His breath hitches in his throat, his voice raw from screaming, the cold setting in deeper, panic sitting at the surface, his eyes fixed on the open doors. A shift comes from beside him. Castiel’s sharply looks to his side, seeing nothing. The noise comes again across from him. Castiel stares at the body, eyes wide, listening. Silence. The noise scratches behind his head and he yelps whipping around to see a rat scurrying across the boundary. Castiel huffs.

 

“Calm down, it’s just a rat.” But the scraping comes again beside him. A cold shiver runs up his arm and caresses the hairs standing on his neck. Castiel slowly looks to his side. Looking straight at him is the gaunt-frozen face of Inais. Castiel breathe catches and he falls back, but Inais follows. His voice barely above a whisper scratches along Castiel’s ears.

“Not safe. Hide.” Inais’ image retreats sharply into the corner. Closing his eyes Castiel begins to shake, ‘You’re hallucinating that wasn’t Inais. That wasn’t him.’ Suddenly the sound of metal banging comes from above, Castiel’s eyes fly open towards the sound, but what greets him is not what he had hoped. Standing with his hand resting on the elevator door is Alfie. His jeans damp, his jacket shoulder stained with blood. His face frightened and staring directly at him.

 

“Alfie,” Castiel whispers, “ALFIE!” he begins to stand up, staggering and clutching the walls. “Alfie! Oh god your oka-” the boy tilts his head and glances behind him, listening to the unknown sound. As he turns Castiel sees the noticeable matted spot where his head had been cracked. Blood still glistening in his hair. The boy’s face turns back to Castiel and his lips move with no sound. “Alfie help. I’m sorry. Please!” The boy’s eyes begin to widen as his jaw and lips continue to move to the words Castiel cannot understand. Shaking his head in confusion Castiel’s heart rate increases, his breathing erratic, “I don’t understand.”

 

A sharp tug comes from his side and the scratching voice of Inais is heard directly in his ear, “Hide!” Castiel falls to the floor, Inais’ hand dragging him towards his body. Turning towards Inais, Castiel sees the gaunt face staring at him. Castiel searches for Alfie, but he is gone. “Stay quiet.” Castiel stops breathing staring in front of him into the darkness.

 

Laughing begins to surround the elevator shaft, echoing off the walls reaching down from the ceiling, getting louder and louder until they stop. He doesn’t move. The dark encases his senses, closing out the moonlight, deafening his ears, weighing down his breathing and body. A pressure is felt on his shoulders pushing him in to the ground. Shaking the cold pressure claws into his skin. Castiel breathes in the smell of sulfur, burning his nose and making his eyes water as a hot-breath falls on his face. Terrified the image of a smiling face materializes in front of him.

 

“What do we have here?” The man searches Castiel’s face. “A fresh one to play with.” He glances to the body beside him, “He wasn’t a quick learner. Didn’t last too long once the infection set in. But you,” a cold hand runs through Castiel’s hair, “You are going to be very entertaining.” The man’s hands cup Castiel’s face as his cold nails claw into his temple, “Tell me boy what is the greatest sin on earth?”

 

Screaming Castiel reaches up to grasp onto the man’s wrist. “STOP!”

 

Suddenly the memory of the long forgotten men’s magazine comes forward. “Ah, there’s that hidden desire. You filthy, filthy fairy.” The nails claw deeper into Castiel’s memories, the grin turning into a snarl, “Let’s see what we can do to fix that.” Through the cold sharp pain a surge of electricity sparks.

 

“AAAAHHH,” Castiel’s eyes widen and search through the darkness towards the outside. The screams claw through the building as the volts surround the memory of the model’s plush lips and eyelashes. Before Castiel knows what is next a new image enters, he sees the muscular back of Alan as he runs in front of him, the young man’s smiling face looking back. The volted pain increases; Castiel no longer feels the pain. His eyes roll back into his head, teeth clenching together and locking, back muscles tightening as he arches upwards unable to move, he begins to pass out.

 

The man’s smiling face fades back into the dark as his nails scrap down Castiel’s body, “I’ll be seeing you later Castiel Novak.” The darkness lifts as the moonlight cascades down the walls once again.

Chapter Text

Castiel awoke to the warm afternoon sun bathing his face. Blinking upwards, groaning he stares through the elevator shaft’s opening all the way up to a crow perched on the roof’s edge looking through the opening and picking at the crumbling exterior. The blue sky illuminates behind the crow, Castiel reaches up to the silhouetted bird. The desire to reach out and pull himself out from the pit draws his attention to the numbing pain in his fingers. Looking down Castiel notices the blue tint of his fingernails, frigid with the night’s cold. The blue seeped through his fingers, arms, in his torso and had blanketed itself upon his back. No warmth was felt except for the sliver of sun shining from above. The warmth of the sun lifts the smells from the surrounding floor of the elevator as the metallic sent of cold metal and absent grey concrete reminded him how far away from the outside he is once again. But beyond all of those senses, the presence and smell of Inais’ body reminded him of the night previous and the reality of his situation. Castiel sighed deeply scrunching his eyes he slowly turns his head, blood long tried on his forehead and temple, snot and tears, dusty with soot blends Castiel into the walls. He opens his eyes to confirm the presence of Inais, his spirit sitting beside it’s own body. Inais’ hollowed face slowly turns to acknowledge Castiel, smiling with missing teeth, the blood lightly painted on the side of the gleaming white canines remaining, ‘What had they done to him? Who had done it?’

 

Above him Alfie sits on the floor of the missing elevator doors lightly swaying his feet back and forth watching Castiel below. Noticing Castiel’s eyes upon him he waves gently, the blood still endlessly and eternally dripping from the back of his head on to his jacket. Once again Alfie opens his mouth, but no words are heard. Castiel scrunches his eyebrows wondering why he can’t hear him. From behind Alfie come two young women. The presence of the two no-nonsense brunette spitfires brings Castiel to his feet. He staggers to stand directly under Alfie’s feet gasping as the numbing cold thaws with minor movement upon his shoulder and knee, reminding him of the needed attention. Castiel calls out to them, “Dorothy, Krissy.” The women’s head peek from above and smile down at him, Krissy, unlike Dorothy has a bullet wound directly in middle of her forehead. ‘They executed her’ He cannot tell where Dorothy was shot, but blood is splatters her t-shirt.

 

Dorothy’s voice calls down to him, “Castiel Novak I see you found Inais.”

 

Taken aback by the reality that he could hear her, but not Alfie Castiel looks between the three perplexed. In response Alfie smiles slowly and opens his mouth, from the distance all that he can see is darkness, but it is with in the emptiness of Alfie’s mouth that it dawns on him, ‘They took his teeth and tongue.’ Tears begin to fall down Castiel’s face, “Oh Alfie, Samandriel I am so sorry. Why did – Who did this to you?”

 

Dorothy and Krissy look towards Alfie, affectionately Krissy reaches out and strokes Alfie’s head. “Alastair took them.”

 

“Who?” Castiel calculates the two boys each missing teeth. From beside him Castiel feels the cold chill prickle up his arm and neck, Inais’ voice scratches through the grey stillness of the elevator floor.

 

“The man that brings the darkness and the rotten hot air at night.”

 

From above comes Dorothy’s concerned voice, “Castiel do you not remember?” shaking his head Castiel looks around the elevator floor and backs up to the sky, the bird long flown away and the sun beginning to set. Time has no meaning in the compressing grey-tones of the building and the encompassing weight of the pit. Castiel begins to panic, looking from the sky, now a light purple, and down to his feet. His sneakers are caked black in mud, his jeans starched from continual dampness, his hoody ripped down the middle and gaping open to show the torn shirt underneath. Castiel drags his hands over the torn clothing and touches his stomach. A burning sensation makes him jolt his hand away and move the clothing aside. On his skin sits four vibrant red scratches, lightly dried blood spotting where the skin broke. The burning flares up in his eyes and mind the reminder of sulfur and heat reaching his face whispering hurtful words. His breathing hitches sharply before the air no longer follows through. ‘Do I even need to breath?’ the passing thought reaches his mind as the air becomes less and less noticeable to his senses and the only remaining thought is of the sneering smile tearing his clothe from his form. Castiel falls on the ground and looks up at the women still standing beside the sitting boy.

 

“How- How long have I been down here?!” Castiel cries out to them as the onslaught of images one after the other assault his memory. Sharp nails scraping his skin, tearing at his belt and lifting it in the air as whip comes down across his arm. Castiel pushes up the sleeve of hoodie to see bruising welts left behind, one running across his palm and intersecting with another in the opposite direction leaving a cross upon his palm and wrist. He remembers the words of the masculine force laughing and mocking his God.

 

“Oh sweet, sweet boy your savior ain’t coming for you. He is ashamed,” the force runs a light finger over the heated welts, “You are a defect after all. The rejected son of Adam, the one who got too close to the serpent and could not turn away.” The hand grabs his wrist and yanks it away forcing Castiel on to his stomach, reaching down to pull his hoody and shirt upwards, “We can fix that. Oh sweet Castiel you better start your Hail Mary’s.” A laugh reverberates through his head followed by a sharp crack that bounces off the walls as Castiel releases a high-pitched screech into the heavy darkness of the elevator shaft. “No one is coming for you heathen.” The hot breath runs along his ears as the strikes stop, the force leaning over his back whispering the words he never wanted to hear “No one loves a sodomite. Not God, Not the Savior, nor the Angels, not even your mother. They’ve forgotten you, you loveless trash.” Whimpering Castiel shakes on the floor scraping the dirt floor as the pain on his back distracts from the old pain of his partially ill-healing shoulder. The sharp crack and heated strike hits his back again, tearing at the shirt that flutters down to protect the boy’s body to no avail. Crack crack snap crack snap! “You’re mine now precious boy.” CRACK!

 

Castiel sobs on the floor as his hand reaches behind to feel the long dried blood that covers his back. Lightly brushing over the marks left behind, his shirt is in shreds. The reminder of time passed prompts him to notice that he can’t remember the last time he truly felt hungry. A gnawing emptiness has planted itself within and will not move until it is satiated. Hunger in the absent of time has made a home within. Shaking with silent tears and unsteady breath Castiel reaches up to his face, feeling the hollowed cheeks and parched lips. ‘When was the last time I drank water?’ He was still alive so he must have been drinking somehow. Castiel looks around the elevator shaft to see piles of melting snow sitting in the corners, not hugged in daily sunlight. But he knows he has not eaten in a number of days, and with the continual flashes of memories from the nights passed, more time than he knows has gone by. Looking up at the company above and then to the corner of the elevator floor Castiel notes his companions of current reality that now encases his well-being. He has known since the first night that Alfie and Inais were dead, Krissy and Dorothy as well. ‘How long before I am one of them? How long before Alastair finally makes me join the rest of them.’

 

“Castiel,” comes Krissy’s voice, “Stay strong, help will come.”

 

“Don’t loose faith just yet.” Dorothy drifts away as the darkness begins to set in along the buildings walls.

 

The sun long set Castiel watches as Alfie stands and waves at him. Inais is crouched in the darkened corner. ‘I have to find a place to hide.’ Spinning rapidly and lost around the elevator floor Castiel notices there is no way out but up. ‘He’s coming and I can’- I can’t go through more.’ Sinking to the floor in defeat the smell of sulfur begins to float through the elevator shaft. Castiel wraps his dusty arms around himself, hiding his cold hands in the sleeves. Crouched on the floor he begins to sing softly, “Blue days all of them gone,” a cold hand strokes down Castiel’s back and runs upwards scraping it’s nails along his spine, “Not-nothing but blue skies fro-from,” the sulfuric hot air melts over his neck and skirts down his throat, tears fall down his face dropping into the dirt below him as he hiccups, “from now on.” The nailed hands reach to cover his eyes and sink in as an image of Alfie’s smiling face comes forth of the last remaining happy moment. Alfie’s soft cheek presses against his lips and his mind jolts with the expected sharp spark. Surrounding his ears comes Alastair’s rotten coloured words singing, “Blue days all of them gone, No blue skies from now on.” Castiel sobs in pain into the darkness as his mind shuts out the world. He’ll be dead by the end of the week.

Chapter Text

 

“Hey ya’ll welcome to St. Angela’s Halfway House in the State of Massachusetts. The crew has been given special access by the state and the Mayor to examine this once busy home. The hunt was recommended by our very own LGBT firecracker and tech-analysis Charlie Bradbury cause of the documented Conversion Therapy techniques in the early 1970s until the day it was closed by the Government in 1998 for mal-practice and abuse reports. So I am your host, Dean Winchester, on camera is my Sasquatch of a brother Sammy, on boom is the ever-sexy Benny and in the tech-truck is Charlie. And this is Ghost Hunters!”

 

“Cut!” Sam lowers the camera smiling at his brother as Dean bounces around to stare up at the abandoned house covered in green vines, the concrete crumbling at the top with rusty water stains streaking the sides around the window edges. The building has two large red-bricked pillars framing the boarded up garden doors. The windows on the main floor are boarded from the inside while the windows up top had clearly been target practice for local trespassers. Along the edges of the building snakes overgrown and dying rose bushes. The only sign of life within the grounds are the two large birch trees at the side, the ground is covered in freshly fallen snow, patches of green grass hanging on to the passing warmth sticking up along the path to the door.

 

“Oh man can you believe we finally got ‘em to let us in?” Dean claps his hands as he looks over the building bathed in sunlight. The blue-sky setting a convincing calm over the building hiding the history within.

 

“Dude you need to chill, the local Church barely allowed it and even then it was only cause the Mayor pretty much blackmailed ‘em into doing it.”

 

“It’s not like the history is unknown.” Dean looks up at Sam scoffing, “Anyone with Internet access could Google this bitch and find out the shit this place did to those kids.”

 

Sam’s hand rests upon his shoulder, “I know Dean, but you have to remember what Lisa at Discovery said, no politics.”

 

“Fuck that.” Charlie’s red hair swings as she places the trunk full of the hunting equipment at their feet, “We came here to tell a story and we’re gonna to rip the band aid off this hell hole.”

 

Dean smiles brightly at the woman dressed in bright rainbow knee-high socks over top of her jeans, with a light blue shirt of Spock and Kirk kissing on the front, a puffy blue jacket keeps her warm. ‘She’s going all out on this one.’ The woman reaches into her pocket and slaps a sticker on Dean’s chest, “Wear it with pride bitch.”

 

Dean looks down to see the purple, pink and blue stripped heart on his white t-shirt, his green flannel swished aside, green army jacket in hand. Laughing Dean nods and winks at the woman, “You know it.”

 

From the side comes Sam’s voice, “The network is going to have a field day. Fine, give me a sticker.” Charlie vibrates with excitement reaching for a multi-coloured bubble lettered printed LOVE sticker. Sam patiently peels the backing off and sticks it to the side of the camera, “Let’s do this. Dean stand at the side and will walk to the door as you talk about the history.”

 

Benny laughs it off accepting his own LOVE sticker from Charlie placing it over his own t-shirt. “Come on Brother let’s get you properly hooked up.” Dean and Benny walk back to the truck where the gear is held and then saunter over to where Sam awaits them at the side of the house.

 

Dean approaches Sam as the floppy haired man fiddles with the lighting on the camera. Glancing up at the windows on the side Dean takes in the energy of the house. ‘It feels empty. Like all hope has vanished.’ Dean stops to put on his jacket and tucks his hands in his jean pockets, scuffing his boots through the dusting of snow. The air is crisp, but they seemed to have missed the last few nights of cold weather, the sun warming the ground, melting the snow away. Looking around the building Dean sees movement in the top window, ‘Already? Action already? Oh man this one is going to be awesome!’

 

“Come on Sam hurry up the ghost already know we’re here.”

 

Sam scrunches his eyebrows together glancing briefly at his brother, “How the hell do you know that? We’re outside Dean.”

 

“Tone the bitchface down a notch there man, I just saw movement up top. It’s goin’ be a solid episode.”

 

Rolling his eyes Sam lifts the camera up on to his shoulders, “Alright Jerk let’s get this done, we’re meeting the psychic at the park in 40 and we still need to book a motel.”

 

Huffing Dean rubs his hands together to warm them up getting into position at the corner of the building, ‘Show time.’ Dean closes his eyes and opens them plastering a cocky grin across his face. “Let’s do this Bitch, count me in!”

 

Sam scoffs, “Ready in 1, 2 -” Sam counts down and points at Dean, walking backwards as the man walks forward towards the door.

 

“St. Angela’s Halfway House for Distressed Boys and Girls was opened by the local Baptist Church in 1910. The Halfway House opened its doors to the mentally ill, orphaned and abandoned children of Massachusetts. The founder, Father Joseph Boecher believed that the infliction of the mind, body and heart could be cured through the implementation of prayer and honesty. However, his wife Lilith Boecher pushed for obedience and a strict regime within these walls.” Dean arrives at the wide stairs and looks up at the doors sighing he looks back at the camera, “In 1986 the Boecher family passed the Halfway house into the hands of physiologist Dr. Alastair Heyerdahl. It is from this point that the general strict abuse of Lilith Boecher prior paled in comparison. Dr. Alastair Heyerdahl was renowned in the United States for his documented methods of Homosexual Conversion Therapy. Much of the horror stories told over the past two decades have been because of him. Psychoanalysis, Drugs, Masturbatory Reconditioning, and Reversion Plans, but above them all his preferred method was Electric Shock. At it’s closing in 1998, 42 men and women sued the Halfway House for mistreatment and abuse. Within these reports, the victims claimed that for those abandoned within these walls, some never left. While it is unclear if or how many people died here, what is clear is that St. Angela’s Halfway House is one of Massachusetts most haunted locations.” Dean walks up to the door and lightly strokes the doorframe. “The Ghost Hunters crew is here to find answers and hopefully help put some of these spirits to rest.” Dean looks down at his shoes and inhales deeply as the energy seeps through the boarded up windows and doors. Panic and hopelessness creeps through his veins causing him to pause. Nodding at his boots Dean lifts his head, looks at the camera with watery eyes, Sam following his every move as he walks back down the steps and away from the building. ‘Tonight is going to be a rough one.’

 


 

Dean slams the door to the Impala as Sam hauls his long legs out of the car. Dean looks over the car at his brother, kids screaming in the background on the vibrantly coloured play structure. Sam gazes around the park squinting over at his brother.

 

“Alright Sam who’s the crazy we’re meeting today?”

 

Sam rolls his eyes scanning the occupants in the park, “Pamela Barnes. She said she wouldn’t be hard to miss.”

 

Dean frowns and starts to follow his brother as they meander down the path circling the residential park. Soccer Moms chase after their kids on the play structure and sit on the benches gossiping; Dads spatter the groups as well. In the field a little league soccer game takes place while a tiny woman in white jeans and a mint green sweater sets up a table of juice boxes and orange slices. “I think we stepped into Pleasantville Beaver.”

 

Sam ignores him and points to the shaded bench on the other side of the field. “There she is.” On the bench a dark-haired woman lounges wearing tight red leather pants and a ripped Woodstock shirt and sunglasses. She is looking directly at them smiling, flittering fingers at the men. Sam and Dean saunter across the field and stop in front of her offering a hand, “Ms. Barnes? We’re with Ghost Hunters, I’m Sam Winchester and this is Dean. I hope you didn’t wait long.”

 

The woman smirks as she stands up not taking the hand in front of her and tilts her glasses down to wink at Sam. “Well I knew that tall and dark is my coffee order, but who would have thought today would have offered up two grandes one dark and the other with a dash of milk the way I like it.”

 

Sam blushes at the woman and stutters, “Oh I’m sorry I – I didn’t- Sorry.”

 

“Oh honey, I may be blind, but these globes do wonders for the mystique of the business. So you’re venturing into the Halfway House?”

 

Dean steps forward and follows Pam as she sits back down, “Uhh yeah,” Dean looks up at Sam as the man quickly takes out their portable camera from a satchel, “What can you tell us about the place? I heard you’ve done some readings and cleansing on the premise.”

 

Pam smirks, “Yes, but the on going presence of the owner is keeping most of the young men and women within. They’re stuck.”

 

“The owner? Dr. Alastair Heyerdahl?”

 

“Hmm one and the same. He’s … taken something from some of them.”

 

Sam peaks around the lens, “Taken? How could a ghost take something?”

 

Pam shakes her head, “He’s not a simple spirit trapped. He has become something else: Dark, demonic. Alastair is not gonna leave or let those kids leave at their own will.”

 

Dean frowns and lightly touches Pam’s shoulder to gain her attention, “What happened when you went in there for the cleansing ceremony?”

 

The woman’s lips thin as she quietly reflects, “The last one I did was about a week ago. Wanted to makes sure that if any of them could escape they did before you arrived. Nottin’ like being jumped on by spirits at the door to make sure ya don’t venture in too far.” Pam takes a deep breath and glances towards the children playing in the distance, “I came across new spirits. Ones I've not met before and another that was stuck between two worlds.”

 

“What do you mean?”

 

“The living world, our world and the afterlife. I believe that the house has become a portal of some sort for the souls in the community that pass in a moment of terror. The spirit was unaware of it’s surroundings, but it- ” Pam paused breathing deeply, “the spirit released the most pained and terrorized scream I’ve ever come across in my 15 years.”

 

“So someone in the community is dying and being terrorized without anyone knowing?”

 

“Yes and no. It’s possible that the young man is a residual memory. Time here and in the afterlife is different. They pass each other in a parallel motion intersecting briefly. It’s possible that the pain and terror he felt happened before and if the building is a gateway, his moment of death is so entrenched in the fabric of time that the screams come across as if they are in front of you, yet the image is fleeting, like a broken TV screen.”

 

Sam and Dean look at each other, “Pamela would you be willing to come with us tonight?”

 

“Sorry boys, no can do, got a warning last time from one of the former residents. Besides the Church banned me from the property. Don’t need another mark on my record beautiful, although you do make the offer tempting.” The woman’s bravado returns as she strokes a hand up Dean’s leg. Laughing awkwardly Dean pats her hand and begins to stand. Pamela’s hand grasps on to his wrist jolting him short of standing, “Follow the song. If you hear the song follow it. You’ll have to place yourself between the dark fog to save the song bird.” Dean pulls his wrist from the woman’s grasp frowning.

 

“Thank you Ms. Barnes.” Dean walks back to the car as Sam properly wraps up the interview and scene. Dean slumps down in the Impala. ‘Song bird? Ugh psychic, never know if they’re legit or not. Song bird Ha ya okay lady.’ Sam sits down in the passenger seat as Dean worries his lower lip between his teeth. Sam takes out his phone as Dean starts the car driving away from the park curb.

“We should be able to start tonight, Benny interviewed some local Ghost Hunters, Harry and Ed from Ghostfacers, while Charlie got some more background from some of the locals. Lisa booked the motel on Highway 90 off Pontiac Drive.”

 

Dean nods along tapping the GPS and cranking up the volume, only lowering it as he parks beside the crew’s truck in the motel parking lot. Entering the motel room Dean takes in Charlie and Benny’s gear scattering the room and grabs the keys set down beside the door for Sam and Dean’s room next-door. Dean can hear the shower on behind the bathroom door noting Benny sitting against the headboard talking to Andrea on the phone. The man briefly waves at the brothers before they exit to get settled into their own room.

 

Walking back to the previous room where Charlie is drying her hair with a towel and Benny is playing a game on his phone, Dean takes pizza orders and instructs Sam to go across the way to grab drinks. ‘No drinking on the job tonight. Fuck a beer would be so good right now.’ Taking the pizza from the deliveryman and sitting down at the flimsy scratched table Dean gathers the crew together for a meeting instructing Charlie to bring the camera.

 

“Alright losers huddle in. We talked to the psychic today and she reported we aren’t going to be havin’ some simple slam bam thank you mam kinda deal tonight. There’s something dark and sinister keeping those kids there and it’s our job to figure out how to help, document and get the fuck out. No funny business, no taunting, nothing. If this big bad comes at you, chant those Hail Mary’s high and low n’ get the fuck out. You walkie that shit in and another will go up to check on it. Now, if we come across any manifestations or talking use the recorder, spirit box or that speak-n-spell shit Charlie whipped up two hunts ago. Pam said there’s a portal in that building and the possibility of over lapping timelines. So ask ‘em When they are.” Glancing at Sam he asks if he missed anything.

 

“Uhh yeah, we each have an EMF detector that Dean made to clip on our belts. Keep those visible and check in every 20 minutes.”

 

“We good?” nodding Dean looks from each of their faces, “Good, alright people we are there till sunup, let’s Paranormal Activity this bitch!” Dean beams at the camera.

Chapter Text

The sleek black car rumbled up the road and stopped in front of the pathway leading towards the darkened abandoned building. Around the premises the neigbourhood was getting ready for bed. The streetlights casts a warm glow on the sidewalks, the floodlights of a nearby gated-house sucked the light out of the lot leaving it an empty void. Dean walked over to the truck and helped Benny set up the lights and began hauling the tables and equipment towards the house. The groundskeeper and local community centre offered up the nearby shed as a home base for the crew. The men grumbled to each other about wires, full batteries, spare batteries and their individual hunting equipment. Charlie walked around to each man setting them up with individual EMF devices and personal audio wiring under the watchful eye of the large Cajun.

 

“Testing, Testing, Houston do you copy? kerrrrr, testing.” Charlie spoke loudly into her handheld microphone placed by the computer screens. The men flinched as the woman cackled, “Looks like the earpieces are working.”

 

“Jesus fucking Christ Bradbury,” Dean wiggled his ear to escape the ringing.

 

“Okay boys off you go. Make good choices and if you find any ghosty booty use protection.” Charlie shooed them off with their individual cameras as she sat down to await the set up inside the Halfway House. Dean swung the crowbar they’d brought to pop-open the boarded up doors, placing the plywood off to the side. Sam turned the handle and stepped inside as the others followed closely behind. Looking at their cameras each switched the devices on to connect to the system outside with Charlie.

 

“Alright munchkin, are we hooked up?” Dean asks as he repositioned the microphone to rest comfortably on his undershirt’s collar.

 

“Bitch, I’m clearly a Queen or at the very least a Hobbit. Yes, you’re up and running Handmaiden.” Dean laughed into Sam’s camera recording the preliminary hunting expedition footage.

 

“Okay are we ready to start Dean? I was thinking we could all look through the main floor then depending on the activity divide to the upper floor and main floor.”

 

“Sounds good Sam. Let’s start.” Dean repositions his jacket on his shoulders, shakes out the jitters and smacks his lips, “Okay folks we’re setup in the St. Angela’s Halfway House for the night. Bradbury is in the shed with the equipment and the guys are with me.” Dean lifted his camera up and took in Benny and Sam as they all stared at each other through the camera, “Okay boys I know I’m pretty, but we’re here for the ghost so let’s get go-” THUD.

 

“Already? Shit, Dean, look at your belt!” Sam points his camera down to Dean’s belt and whips around to take in Benny’s and his EMF readers. The blue and red lights flashed rapidly back and forth. Sam fumbles around in his back pocket for the spirit-box.

 

“Come on Dude faster!” Dean reaches forward and grabs the device from Sam’s blundering hands, switching the side button on as static suddenly surrounds them. “Shut up!” Benny and Sam stop moving. The three barley breathe. “Hello?” The heavy hiss continues to surround the dark blue entrance of the building. The door is fully closed and the stairwell is silent behind them. In the corner is an old desk that leads into a living room long absent of furniture. In the living room, tattered transparent white curtains rustle lightly, the top corner of one stapled to the wall. Down the hallway, pass the living area and desk is a swinging serving door, the bottom open to the kitchen. Benny shifts the heavy bag and lightly places it on the floor as he walks down the hallway.

 

“Dude,” Dean warns as Benny walks past him to the backroom, “Benny man stop.”

 

“I’m just going to look De-”

 

“No man, look down. The door,” a set of legs walk back and forth pacing on the tile under the bottom half of the door. The hiss of the spirit-box still in Dean’s hands abruptly goes silent as the legs stop in the middle of the floor. Sam’s eyes widen as he suddenly feels a little hand slip into his own.

 

“Umm guys, someone is holding my hand.” Sam gulps and looks down to see a little girl in a hospital gown wearing little dirty white socks with lacing around the tops. The legs in the kitchen have shifted to face the men in the hallway. The little girl’s hand tightens in Sam’s as a small child’s voice comes through the box, “He can’t find the door.” The air catches in Dean’s throat as he looks at the child. Very slowly Dean crouches down in front of the child balancing the box on his knee, her brown hair covers her face and a soft whimper reaches the men’s ears.

 

“Hey, I’m Dean, that’s Benny and this guy is my little brother Sam.” Smiling softly at the girl and glancing up at his shaken brother, “he’s kind big ain’t he? Too tall for his own good, but he can help you if you want.” The girl shakes her head back and forth as the voice comes through again, her lips are still in front of him.

 

“Can’t. He said that bad little girls don’t get to go home and- and that if I don’t leave the others alone I’ll get in trouble.”

 

“Well he’s not here now. Why do you have to the leave the others? What’s your name?”

 

A sniffle comes through the box as the little girl reaches under her hair and wipes at her eyes, still holding Sam’s hand. The tall man kneels down to be at eye level with the child and his brother. The girl quickly turns and grabs his neck, lacing her arms around him snuffling into his neck as tears warm Sam’s neck. The man’s eyes widen in shock at having the entity attached to him.

Dean and Sam lock eyes as Benny’s voice reaches them, “Try picking her up and rockin’ her Sam.”

Sam slowly brings his arm around sliding it around the girl’s waist, rising and resting her on his hip.

“Mommy left me here cause of what I said about Daddy comin’ into my room. Said I was lying and only God could help me.” Sam tightens his grip around the child and softly asking for her name. “Bella,” she replies.

 

“Okay Bella, Sammy here is gonna keep you company while Benny and I go talk to your friend okay?” The child nods in Sam’s protective hold. Dean stands and turns towards Benny after receiving an approving nod from his brother. “What do we have?”

 

“Nothin’ much. The UV ray on the camera’s light is just showing the man standing there.” Pointing at the screen Benny indicates the dark blue and purple figure shifting back and forth, tilting its head as the men talk. Dean steps forward to the door.

 

“Hey man, Bella over there said you can’t get out so I’m gonna push the door here and direct you to the entrance.” Dean leans forward as his hand touches the panel, pushing lightly. Sam hisses from behind him as Bella appears directly under Dean’s arm. Her arms spread out wide blocking the door as she looks up at Dean, her hair falling back from her face revealing empty eye sockets that are burned around the edges. Dean steps backwards reaching for Benny’s arm. Sam hovers by the stairs picking up the spirit-box as the girl’s voice booms through the speakers.

 

“NO. DON’T TOUCH!”

 

Watching the camera’s UV screen Benny hears a deep laughter ejected from the kitchen as the man behind the door disappears.

 

“Bella, when are you from?” says Dean while her lips curve upwards. “Bella who else is here?”

 

“Blue Skies smiling at me, nothing but blue skies do we see.”

 

Dean glances back at Sam and then Benny, “Is she- is she singing?”

Benny nods shifting the camera to Bella and around the room. Behind Sam a number of figures manifest on the UV screen. “Hey Sam, not to scare you Brother, but an entourage of souls are standing directly behind you and on the stairs.”

 

Sam turns around just as the souls physically appear. The spirit-box pick up their voices,

“Help.”

Please help me.”

“Where’s Mommy?”

“Why did they leave?”

“Don’t let him hurt me.”

“I’ve done nothing wrong.”

“Help him.”

“Leave us alone.”

“He’s coming for you.”

“Dean.”

“Dean.”

“Sin.”

“Abomination.”

“Dean.”

“Please help him.” 

The voices abruptly stop as an ear-splitting scream rips through the foundation of the building. The souls’ direct their attention up the stairs as Bella’s voice once again enters the box.

“Help him.”

She appears in the center of the stairs and looks up at the second floor before facing Dean.

“He’s coming. Help him.” 

The room goes quiet as the eyeless girl opens her mouth. Dean’s eyes widen as he stares into the black abyss where her teeth and tongue are absent. The scream once again appears bringing Dean to his knees as he glances up at the girl and the other souls. All of their mouths opening to a chasm of nothing. The words of the psychic enter his memory ‘He took something from them.’ The scream grows as the souls’ mouths stretch. Bella’s falls to her chest dislocating to hang loosely. When the scream stops the souls and the girl are gone.

 

Benny jumps slamming into the wall behind him, “Someone just stroked my face.”

 

Sam stares at the stairs, “What do you mean?”

 

“I felt a hand stroke my face brother and whisper in my ear ‘mine’.”

 

“What do you mean? As in you are theirs or –‘ Dean stands clutching the banister.

 

“You guys okay? Hello this is Kirk to Spock, boys?” Charlie’s voice comes through their earpieces.

 

“Yeah Char. Did you capture all that?” Dean says.

 

“Oh buddy did I ever. Thought you should know that I’m getting the voice of two women upstairs. And Dean?”

 

“Yeah?”

 

“A tall figure walked behind all of you when the twilight zone show was on.”

 

Dean frowns at Sam turning to look around the room behind them. “What do you mean Bradbury?”

 

“A tall man walked behind you. Smiled at the camera. Stroked Benny’s face then stood over you while you knelt on the floor.”

 

“Anything else?” Dean says as he locks eyes with Sam.

 

“He knows your name Dean.”

 

From upstairs a soft whimper slinks down the steps and a soft voice encompasses the men, “Up Here Dean”.

Chapter Text

The investigators eyes fixate on the top of the staircase. No one moves. The sound of their breathing and hearts encompass the darkened night blue building. Benny’s hands hang loosely at his side with the UV heat camera. The screen is turned upwards, but no one is looking at the screen. Surrounding the blues and purples of the cold stairs and walls comes a cascading wave of black smoke. The smoke seeps down the stairs. Where the red and orange heat of Dean and Sam’s bodies’ join the blues of the staircase, blackness engulfs its borders. Sam turns his head to look at Dean glancing at the camera in Benny’s hand.

“Benny the camera.”

Benny acknowledges the camera as the darkness stays clear of Sam and passes over Dean. The smoke hugs Dean’s body caging him in darkness, dropping his body temperature instantly.

 “Is it just me or is it suddenly freezing in here?”

Benny holds up the camera’s screen while Dean glances around him trying to locate the darkness. He can feel a pressure surrounding him; his brain goes fuzzy as his eyes loose focus. A quiet numbing pressure builds at his temples as a jolting heat scratches his back. Dean reaches his hand to cup his left shoulder, massaging away the throbbing pain that has ignited. As the pressure in his temples builds to a painful spark an image of blue eyes and a flash of a dark bird flies against a blue sky. The image brings him to the floor as his right knee buckles under the black smog’s presence. Sam rushes to help his brother up as Charlie once again comes through the earpiece.

“Hey guys I know you are dealing with something right now, but these ladies on the second floor are still talking.”

“What are they saying Charlie?” Sam holds Dean’s arm as the man rests against the wall, holding his head as the cold dark pressure disintegrates around them.

“They’re arguing about us. They need help with something – I can’t quiet make it out ju- Woah Holy Shit! Okay pull yourselves together bitches cause a seriously fucked up crew of ghost just started yelling Dean’s name.”

Dean. Dean. Dean. Up Here. Help him. Dean. Help. Dean. No more. Dean, please.

Sam takes in Dean still holding himself up by the wall and gestures to Benny as he dashes up the steps two at a time. Dean takes a deep breath as Charlie checks in on him to see if he needs to take a break at the command center with her. Declining Dean rolls his left shoulder and lightly rubs his knee before reaching for the stairwell’s banister. Holding onto the banister Dean pulls himself up to the second floor looking for his brother and friend. The second floor is covered in debris. Cracks run up the concrete hallways snaking their way up the walls and across the ceiling. The roof has fallen in certain areas, long abandoned by the community to rote away. The hall leads into multiple rooms on either side. Dean can hear Sam talking to spirits in the far room by the main window on his right.

“When are you from?”

“When?” comes a young boys voice.

“What year?”

“1974,” the boy responds.

“And you? What year?” Dean hears Sam questioning the spirits.

“1937,” this time a girl.

 “Krissy? When are you?”

“Now,” an assertive young woman's voice travels down the hallway is response.

“No what year?” Sam asks for clarification. 

“Now” comes the response once again.

Dean runs his hands along the banister towards them, but is abruptly stopped by his name being called from behind.

Dean.  

Dean turns around slowly locking eyes with a tall brunette wearing a Wizard of Oz t-shirt. Blood spreads from her stomach and shoulder where two bullet holes have punctured the faded and blood stained yellow shirt. The blood continues to encompass the yellow brick road that winds towards the Emerald City. Where a once blue sky is now died a dark red. The blood has blotted characters away, only allowing Dorothy’s head to show dully through the trauma. The woman smiles at him all her teeth still existing within. She holds out her hand towards Dean.

“Come with me Dean,“ the young woman's eyes beg earnestly.

“Why?” Dean asks.

“He needs help.” her brows crease in concern pressing urgently for Dean to comply. 

 “Who?” Dean shakes his head in confusion taking a step back away from the woman as her hand drops to her side. From behind him he hears Benny ask Sam where everyone went as just as the hair on the back of Dean’s neck stands up. The woman in front of him looks behind him as her smiling face droops in despair. A hand grips Dean’s right shoulder and pulls him back. Stumbling he grabs the railing and whips around to take in the group surrounding him.

A young boy dressed in rags, thin from malnourishment opens his empty mouth and releases a pained moan. From behind him a man steps forward, his head leaning on his shoulder from a fractured neck. Two young girls hold hands and stare up at him. They are dressed in older clothing than their male counterparts, but blood runs down their legs as they walk forward passing Dean. Dean turns to watch them disappear into one of the other rooms and notices the stripes of blood painting their ripped dresses where a belt had hit their tiny backs. Dean inhales deeply and only looks back when the woman in the Wizard of Oz t-shirt steps forward again, another brunette beside her.

“Dean you need to leave,” says the other woman.

“Help him. Please help him,” argues her partner.

Sam and Benny stand outside the room watching the interaction take place as a spirit of young man manifests itself from the opposite end of the hallway. Sam takes out the Spelling Device while keeping his eyes on the spirit. Benny taps Sam’s arm and gestures back towards the staircase where a gangly man leans against the wall smirking. The man sharply turns his head from watching Dean towards Sam. Before Sam and Benny can warn Dean of the man he appears directly in front of them backing them into the room they just left. 

“Can’t have you getting in the way now can we Samuel? And Benjamin I’ve been oh so looking forward to meeting you. A strong Christian man like yourself would do well in assisting me with our little project.”

“Wh- Who are you?” Sam stutters.

“Well you could say I’m the caretaker.”

“Alastair.” Sam hisses the name through his teeth. 

“Your brother, Dean, tsk, such a shame that he’s fallen to a disease that afflicts so many of my patients. We can’t have that spreading throughout the community.”

“It’s not a disease you sick bastard.”

“Whose the doctor Samuel?” Alastair sings his name and tilts his head as he runs his hand through Sam’s hair. The sulfuric heat burns Sam’s eyes as he looks into the black orbs. “Won’t have you two getting in the way.” Alastair releases Sam’s hair and disappears as the door slams close locking Benny and Sam away from Dean. Sam dash to door in an attempt to yank it open as Benny bangs on the door calling for Dean.

Dean jolts his eyes towards the banging door. “Sam!”

Running over to the door he pounds on it and rattles the handle as he growls, “Sam!!”

From beside him the women pulls on his arms. “You need to leave Dean.”

“He’s here Dean leave,” says the spirit in the Wizard of Oz t-shirt.

“What? No! My brother and friend are in there! Open the door!”

He closed it. Run Dean!” the first woman shouts.

The Spelling device lights up from where Sam dropped it.

Faggot.

Dean stops as Sam yells through the door, “It was Alastair Dean, get the fuck out of here!”

Abomination

Mine

Dean freezes as his eyes focus on the device at his feet. He leans down to pick up the box turning around to rest his back against the locked door. The hallway’s dark blue presence seeping into darkness.

Run

 

Sin

 

Help

Run

 

Pretty

Boy

 

Angel

Help

No More

Stop

 

Dean

Fix

Sick

 

Angel

Help

Sam

Drill

Help

Angel

Elevator

Stuck

 

MINE

MINE

MINE

SIN

SIN

SIN

Dean begins to smell rotten meat torching his nostrils. A hot breath brushes past his face making his eyes water and his gag reflex react. 

You will be fixed Dean. Just like the rest of them.”

Dean screams as the intense stinging pain streaks down his back. The pain feels as if someone is striking him again and again. He falls to his knees clutching the ripped linoleum on the floor groaning and screaming through the increasing pain.

“Dean!” Sam’s voice booms through the door as the banging of the trapped men increases in panic.

Dean’s world begins to darken as the pain continues clawing up his neck over his head and face. Nails scrap down his face and enclose themselves around his neck. Dean gasps for air.“Join me Dean. Let me heal you,” Alastair's voice bites through the fog.

“STOP!”

The pain brusquely disappears as air rushes through Dean’s lungs and the pain seeps away into the floor leaving behind a dull burn.

Dean looks up towards the deep voice that had made the entity halt. Before him stands a flickering image of a dirty young man with dark hair. His cheeks are concaved and his piercing blue eyes are damp with fear hollowed around the edges. He’s dressed in a hoodie that is torn around his elbows. He leans to the left off his right leg as his left shoulder hangs limply. Blood cakes his exposed skin; face, arms, hip, and knees. He’s missing a shoe, while the other one is painted black with mud. Dean looks back at his face from his position on the floor. The boy limps towards him,“Leave now.”

Dean stares directly into the man’s eyes, getting lost in the absence of hope in the spirits face. The man turns his head and suddenly falls to the floor and begins to screech. Dean staggers to his feet trying to help the young man as burns begin smoke up from the young man’s temples. The flickering image cuts in and out. One second he is screaming on the floor, the next he’s clawing to get away from something. The last image is of the young man’s mouth being pried open as blood runs down his face. The scream bounces off the hallway. Then the Halfway House goes silent.

Dean stares at the floor where the young man who saved him from Alastair’s grasp suffered. The door behind him clicks open as Sam and Benny rush out. 

“What the hell happened Dean?” Sam yanks Dean around to check him noticing the red mark forming around his throat. 

“He- I was saved.” Dean looks up at his brother and rests his eyes back on the floor where the broken young man was no longer.

Chapter Text

From below the entrance door slams open and the plywood placed to side crashes into the front steps. Sam grips his brother and drags him down the stairs, Benny close behind.

“No, Sam let me go, we have to help him,” Dean struggles in Sam’s grasp as he’s dragged down the stairs, stumbling into the front yard. The front door crashes close behind them in a gust of air. “Sam! We have to help him! He’s in pain! Sam!”

Benny pushes Dean back as he tries to bolt towards the Halfway House, “We’re not lettin’ you go back in there Bother.”

“Get out of the fucking way Benny!” Dean pushes the solid man, growling at him. Benny continues to block his path as Sam bolts towards the shed to get Charlie.

“Not a chance. We need you to calm down Dean.”

“He needs us! I can’t just leave him in there!” Dean huffs shaking his hands at the building, dodging Benny left and right to no avail.

“We ain’t leaving him in there, Brother, but we can’t just go bargin’ back in there without a game plan. You said if we met Alastair that we’re to get out. That’s what we’re doin’. Regrouping. Now calm down.” Benny grasps Dean by his shoulders trying to hold him in place, but Dean continues to push Benny, trying to doge around him.

“Dean Henry Winchester you will calm your ass down and get it to Command Centre Stat!” Charlie’s red-hair blazes its way into the front yard. “Don’t make me call rank Handmaiden!” Dean inhales deeply scrunching his eyes tightly. “That’s better. Now let’s look at the footage cause Paul Bunyan might have a way to get through to him.” Charlie marches back towards the garden shed abandoning Benny and Dean.

“Come on Brother let’s go figure this out,” Benny gathers Dean, swinging an arm around him. Dean nods once again taking a deep breathe. As they walk pass the building towards the garden shed Dean glances up to the second floor where Bella’s hollowed out eyes follow them in the window; behind her stands the outline of two women.

Back in the garden shed, Sam and Charlie playback the footage. From the screen’s angle the crew can see Dean talking to the woman in the Wizard of Oz shirt. His brother briefly directs Dean’s eyes to the corner of the screen where Alastair leans against the wall. Dean bolts backwards as the man’s snarled smile stands directly in front of the camera lens. His eyes go black as his lips stretch across his grizzled face. Sores smatter his face, rotting the flesh away from the bone; his outer appearance projecting his soul’s corruption.

“Well I guess there’s something to beauty transferring outwards, cause the dude’s fugly,” Charlie cringes away from the screen.

Sam rewinds the film and zooms past Dean and behind Wizard of Oz’s shoulder. At the other end of the hall the figure of a young man stands, hesitating in the corner.

“Who the fuck is that?” Dean barks.

Sam rolls his eyes at Dean’s bravado, “I have no idea, but I noticed him earlier. Look at his clothes.”

“What, are we shopping now Samantha?”

“No Dean, look, specifically at his shoes. Those Nikes are new. I was looking at them a few days ago. Those,” same aggressively points at the screen, “those are brand-new, like 4 months, tops.”

“You realize what you’re saying Sam?” Benny interjects frowning at Sam as Dean leans back quietly. 

“Yeah. The guy, at the most, has only been dead 4 months.” Sam frowns at his brother and continues, “Dean, I think we might need to call Lisa about this. It’s possible we’ve come across a recent murder.”

“Oh and what are we going to do Sam? Call the cops? ‘Oh hey yeah we’re the Winchesters with Ghost Hunters from Discovery Channel, yeah we found a ghost with some super awesome kicks and we think you should come check it out.’ Yeah not likely.” Dean scoffs crossing his arms.

“No man, but something seriously fucked up is happening in there. Jesus, you almost died Dean!”

“No. First, we need to get back in there and find that guy. Then we can find the other dude to ask about his sweet kicks.”

“Don't be coarse Dean.”

“Alright boys time to put ‘em away. Sam’s right though Dean the shoes are recent. On the other hand, we currently have activity on the camera Dean dropped.” Charlie passes over the headphones.

Dean pushes one of the earpieces to his ear and glares at the screen where Charlie is pointing. On the screen a pair of dirty laced white socks shuffle pass continuing down the hall. Following the socks is two sets of smaller sneakered feet. One pair follows the socked feet, while the other stops. The camera is picked up jostling slightly as the image of Bella and the other brunette appear on the screen.

Sam taps the screen, “That’s Krissy.”

Dean glances at his brother and returns his attention to watch Krissy and Bella enter a room further down the hall across from a constructed hole in the wall, framed in rusted metal. Charlie shuffles from beside the men and slides over the floor plans for St. Angela’s Halfway House.

“There’s an elevator across from that room. It was boarded up on the main floor permanently in 1986 after maintenance, but the construction didn’t reach upstairs.”

Nodding in acknowledgement the crew continues to watch the screen as the camera gets placed down passed the stairs. The voices of Krissy and the Wizard of Oz woman come through the microphone, along with a deep scratchy male voice.

“He- he took one of my teeth Dorothy. I can’t leave now,” says the man.

“Don’t loose faith. Dean’s here,” Dean recognizes Wizard of Oz’s voice.

“And his brother, Sam and Benny, they’re nice.”

“That’s Krissy’s voice,” Sam interjects from beside Dean.

“I- I can’t fight anymore. It hurts too much.”

“Stop that, you’re so close to getting out of here!”

“How is it that I’m up here?”

“I – don- st- Ca-” Dorothy’s voice cuts in and out.

“Charlie where’s the audio?” Dean reaches forward to fiddle with the volume. Benny bats Dean’s fretting hands away, flicking a few switches before the distant monotonic speech of the Spelling Device comes through the camera’s microphone.

Dean

Help

Now

Dean

Help

Help

Help

Angel

Help

Him

Please

Dean inhales as the spirit continues to plead with him while the new Nikes flash past the screen before the camera goes black. The crew is speechless within the little garden shed.

“Dean. You can’t – You can’t go back in there.” Sam begs his brother as he watches the red marks around his neck slowly begin to bruise. 

“Why not Sam? They know me. We all know when a spirit decides to ask you for help, only that person can help.” Dean stares at the blank screens in front of them.

“But Alastair, he – Dean he’s placed a target you. Not just then, but will continue to target you.”

“So?”

“We can’t risk him following you. We can’t have that kind of energy following us back.” Sam pleads.

From beside Sam Charlie speaks, “Sam’s right Dean. He knows who you are and has clearly declared you a patient. He’s not just going to let you walk in there.”

“I can’t leave him in there Charlie. You saw what that freak did to him afterwards.”

“We’re not sure it was him Dean,” says Sam.

“Oh bullshit we all know perfectly well that was Alastair making him scream.” Dean scoffs in their faces gathering the equipment needed: new batteries, another camera and salt.

“I’m coming with you,” Benny declares, grabbing his own equipment.

Sam runs his hand through his hair, “Fuck, fine count me in. Let’s get this bastard.”

Grinning, Dean ruffles Charlie’s hair and walks back to the House. Benny stands beside him as the three of them look up at the closed door. “What’s the plan Brother?”

“Find Nikes, Krissy, and Dorothy and get them all out,” answers Dean.

___ 

 

Dean braces himself quietly at the top landing, turning his head back and forth down the hall. 

“Krissy? Dorothy? We’d like to talk to you.”

Silence encases the hallway, filling in the void of the rooms. Sam picks up the camera abandoned on the floor by Dorothy and retrieves the Spelling Device. Benny follows Dean down the hallway towards the room where they saw Bella enter.

The room is lined with aging single beds framed by rusty metal and holding rotten mattresses stained yellow with age spotted black with mold. The floor contains the same worn away beige linoleum, but where the hallway had been ripped away in large areas showing the cracked concrete beneath, the empty dorm had a gaping hole rotted away down into the kitchen below. One of the beds had partially fallen in, but remained bolted to the second floor.

The room smelled of mildew and urn. Dean crinkled his nose at the scene before them, Sam coughed as Benny boldly continued to walk into the room staying close to the water stained walls covered in faded flower wallpaper. From the back of the room is a large boarded up window, one window in the far corner has been broken and glass scatters the floor blow it.

Composed and unaffected Benny speaks first, “Krissy, darlin’ you in here? Dean would like to speak to the boy, could you bring him out here?”

The silence in the rotting room continues as slowly the image of multiple children and young adults begin to appear throughout the room. In the far corner stands a tall lanky young man, his flesh around his head blisters and boils away from his temples. His eyes are welded together with hot wax. From the first bed three smaller children huddle together, clutching each other’s mid-century clothing, their hair matted, dirty and greasy around their hollowed starving faces. Near Dean sits a woman with dark brown hair staring at the wall in front of her. Dean slowly walks backwards to see her face and gasps, like Bella, her eye sockets are empty. Blood runs out of her mouth and hangs open slightly where Dean assumes her mouth is missing teeth like the others. The woman tilts her head slightly noticing Dean, causing him to freeze in place. She slowly stands from the bed as her hospital gown falls off her shoulder to show a dark blue bruis and a infected red gash disappearing over her back. The woman walks to stand in front of Dean as the Spelling Device groans awake once more from Sam’s hand.

Where

Make

Stop

Hurts

Why

Dark

Why

Why

Why

Why

Why

Sam steps forward and reaches for the salt in his pocket readying to banish the woman in front of Dean as her distress rises. Before he can act the woman turns harshly noticing him.

Samuel

Fries

Confused Sam stares at the small woman in front of him, “What?”

Salt

Fries

“Fries?” nodding at Sam the woman’s lips rise slowly at the edge showing the bleeding darkness of her empty mouth looking down at Sam’s hand. Sam trembles, “Who are you?”

Ruby

Ruby’s hand lifts and softly runs down Sam’s arm, “Whe-When are you Ruby?" 

99

Sam glances up at his brother, “That’s after the Halfway House closed Dean.”

Biting his lip Dean takes in the other spirits and briefly looks down at his side to see Bella holding his pant leg hiding her face within the jean’s fabric. Bella’s face turns upwards to Dean popping her mouth open and close. Scrunching his eyebrows Dean reaches into his jacket pocket to take out the Spirit Box, tapping it as he crouches in front of the girl.

Bella places her tiny hand, one finger bruised and bent oddly to the side, over Dean’s, “Little time.”

From behind Dean Sam and Benny shift to film as the spirits in the room begin to crowd around him. From behind Bella Krissy rests a hand on the girl’s head, stroking her hair. From Dean’s side Dorothy places a hand on his shoulder lightly squeezing to get his attention.

“Where’s the man? The man from before?” Dean asks the crowd, trying not to show his fear as the heavy twisted emotional energy surrounds him. Dean inhales deeply smelling the decaying room. The scents claw themselves like nails through his lungs; burnt flesh, un-bathed bodies, vomit, urn, rotting sores, old blood and sulfur.

No Dean. Leave.” Dorothy whispers shaking her head.

“It’s too late Dean. Alastair is coming for you. He only delayed it to get you out.” Krissy frowns at him as Bella slides her hand forward to touch Dean’s wrist.

Too late.”

“What do you mean too late? Where is he?!” Dean’s heightened distress frightens the abused group around him. Bella backs up cringing away from the agitated man as another woman flinches. Ruby begins to whimper by Sam and closes in on herself. The tall man scraps his nails through his hair and pulls. Another woman crawls under a bed while others disappear all together. Krissy and Dorothy disappear along with them. Alone on the floor Dean looks at Sam and Benny.

“Where is he?!” Dean rises and stalks towards Ruby.

“Dean! Stop!” Sam shouts at him reigning in his brother’s rising temper.

Benny clears his throat, “The door.”

Sam and Dean turn to look through the door at the remains of empty metal elevator doors. Standing by doors is a young man with light brown hear, glistening wet on the side where dark red streaks run down his neck and soaks his shirt. Beyond his head wound no other signs of injury exist. The man looks healthier than the others and largely unscathed. Dean runs his eyes down to his feet where the lightly used teal blue Nikes sit on his feet.

“Sam?” Dean questions.

“It- It’s him.” Sam walks slowly forward, “Who are you? When are you? What hap-” Sam is cut off as the young man opens his mouth to speak revealing the abyss within.

“Jesus, Sam he’s missing a tongue!”

The young man tilts his head and opens his mouth once again attempting to speak. He glances back through the open elevator doors and huffs. The man turns back as the Spelling Device clicks on.

Sam

Drill

Al

Fee

“Sam Drill?? Al Fee?” Dean shakes his head and walks towards the young man scrunching his face.

Who

Al

Fee

“Alfie,” Charlie crackles through the earpiece, watching the footage from the garden shed.

“Okay, Alfie When are you?”

Now

“You died this year?” Dean asks.

Yes

“How?” Sam interjects.

Head

Alfie reaches up slowly touching the side of his head. His fingertips come away dotted in dark red. His face goes sad as the Device continues to provide his missing voice.

Angel

Kiss

Bad

Church

“Kiss?” Dean says wondering how a kiss and a church could possibly be linked to the young man’s head injury.

Nodding the young man turns and looks down the elevator, Angel.

The men crowd around the door as Dean steps over the threshold into the hallway. Walking slowly towards Alfie Dean watches as he turns his face back to look at Dean. Alfie’s eyebrows are scrunched together in pain, his face pale and his eyes sad. Pointing down through the elevator doors Alfie’s eyes never leave Dean’s.

Too Late

Help

Angel

Help

Him

Going

No

Heart

Stop

Dean frowns as he stands beside Alfie, the rusted metal of the elevator doors frame their bodies. The dark grey and cracked concrete of the elevator shaft runs directly down into a cloud of darkness. Squinting his eyes Dean looks down at the bottom of the elevator shaft.

In the far corner he makes out the frozen remains of body. Movement on the elevator floor catches his eyes as a man stands directly underneath looking upwards. His skin is dark blue and hollowed with starvation. A pained moan flows up the shaft and strokes Dean’s ears curving down his spine. A light hand rests on Dean’s arm causing Dean to lock eyes with Alfie as the man points in the opposite corner blanketed thickly in darkness. The blue man on the elevator floor walks over to the corner and crouches down as his hand lands lightly upon something.

Angel, comes the Spelling Device.

Dean turns around aggressively gesturing to his brother whose been filming from behind his shoulder, “Camera.”

Sam passes over the camera as Dean flicks on the beam lighting. Angling the camera to the far corner Dean’s blood runs cold and his breathing hitches in his chest. The soft breathing of Sam and Benny along with the subtle noise of the night disappears, filling Dean’s head with a void only containing the image of the body clutching itself tightly below. The body twitches slightly as the light hits its face. Dean’s eyes widen as he gasps only to turn around rapidly and yell at the men behind him, “Call 911 NOW!”

Sam glances over the edge and immediately throws himself into action. Benny runs down the stairs to his truck full of the crew’s equipemtn as Charlie’s voice confirms that she had already made the call.

In the distance Dean hears sirens just as Benny comes bounding up the stairs with a rope in tow. Throwing the rope over the edge and fastening it to a steel pipe exposed in the far wall, Dean slides down into the abyss. His hands burn brightly as the rope scrapes his skin away. Landing Dean ignores the rotting corpse and its coinciding spirit rushing towards the huddled young man instead. From above once again comes the faded voice of the Spelling Device.

Angel

Found

Dean crouches down lightly brushing his hand over the young man’s cold face. Dean pauses as the worry sinks in that he is too late. Reaching below the man’s chin he searches for a pulse. Dean stands still praying to feel anything.

The sirens get louder outside of the Halfway House mixing with Sam’s voice as he yells at the Fire Department. From below Dean can make out the added presence of the Ambulance and finally the Police screeching into the front yard on the sodden snow covered grass. Taking a deep breath the smell and feeling of sulfur begins to surround him.

Dean, you bad, bad boy. You shouldn’t be in here. Not yet.” Shaking with adrenalin and fear Dean press his fingers deeper searching for any sign of life.

“Come on Angel. Don’t give up on me yet.” Dean drapes his body instinctually over the young man in hopes of protecting him from the on coming presence of Alastair’s spirit. “Come on, come on. It’s me Angel, Dean, wake up!”

From above Dean hears the arrival of the Emergency Team, their shoes scuffing their way up the staircase. Alastair’s nails can be felt running along Dean’s neck, scrapping down his back while his other hand grips his hair trying to yank him backwards.

Then he feels it. The soft pulse of life beneath his fingers. “He-,” lights begin to fill the elevator shaft as Alastair’s presence cowers away into the house’s walls. Dean releases a breathy laugh of relief and shouts up, “He’s Alive!”

Chapter Text

Castiel gags as the rotten-egged fumes runs through his nose, throat and eyes like oil. He can’t see his hands in front of his face or his own feet. A cloud of silence clogs his ears, only allowing the void to exist. He can’t feel his feet or hands; the flesh on his arms are numb with cold while he welcomes the frost upon his battered face and bloodied back. 

Castiel tries to walk forward and escape the wave of black surrounding him, but he knows he can’t escape. He reaches up to the top floor and suddenly appears there looking down into the elevator at himself and Inais cowering below. Amongst him he sees the smiling faces of Dorothy, Krissy and Alfie. He lifts his hand to lightly touch Alfie’s bleeding head, but his own hand comes away clean except for the present mud tattooed into his cracked and bleeding nails. And then he is falling, again, down into the elevator shaft.

Beep

In front of him Alastair crawls forward on his hands and knees, rapidly arriving in front of his face. His lips slid over his teeth in a sneer, his eyes blackened rack their way up his body.

“Please stop,” Castiel whimpers into the wall, “Please.”

“Oh sweet Castiel, I’m just getting started.” Alastair’s twisted smile turns down as his clawed hand yanks his head to the side, nails digging into he back of his neck. He slams Castiel’s head back into the wall as his world begins to spin. A sharp lightening bolt of pain runs through his left shoulder as a resounding pop echoes through his ears. He screams twisting his body in an attempt to get away.

“Get the fuck back here you disgusting piece of shit,” sneers Alastair.

Alastair raises his hand and tears Castiel’s hoody off his body. In the fog Castiel is hesitantly aware that his pants and underwear have been removed as well. Shaking in the dark the feeling of wet mud runs over his skin, electrifying cuts as the it passes over his back and torso.

“Stop please stop please, please, please,” Castiel sobs into the darkness, praying for a God he knows would not have abandoned him yet. “Please God, oh Lord and Savior please, PLEASE!”

Alastair hisses in his ear, laughing, “You think God will save an abomination like yourself? You? Oh Castiel, you are not so special. If only you had obeyed the laws, but I can and am fixing you. Turn away from the dark Castiel and back to the light!” Alastair’s voice mocks and preaches into the cloud surrounding the young man’s senses.

Beep

Castiel turns onto his stomach and begins to crawl away from Alastair as the man reaches out a strong hand fastening it around his damaged knee. Castiel’s heart races, his blood runs rapidly into frozen hands and feet, burning the flesh as his body spikes with adrenaline.

“No!” Castiel drags his hands over the ground as his hands sting. From behind him the crunching of Alastair’s feet bounce along the walls of the elevator. The sound stops as Alastair flips him around to tower overtop of him. Crouching down coming face to face with Castiel the man reaches up and covers his mouth and nose with a hand. Castiel struggles to breath as tears leak out of his eyes. He reaches up to scrap at Alastair’s arm, screaming into the rotting flesh.

Suddenly the pressure is gone and Alastair disappears. From behind him directly in his ear comes his voice, “We’ll be seeing each other very soon Castiel Novak.”

Beep. Beep. Beep.

Castiel’s eyes fly open as he bolts up in a foreign bed. The bed sheets are snug around his body as they pin his arms and legs down. He screams into a device over his face, scrambling to free his hands and reach up to yank the device off his face. From around him a the consistent Beeping begins to shrill as suddenly an alarm goes off around him. Panicking to flee the bed Castiel scans the room with dancing eyes darting over the white surfaces of the room. Beside him a machine blares as a green line zigzags its way across the screen. His chest and arms are tangled with wires, one leading to two clear bags of liquid. Still puffing Castiel begins to pull out the wires embedded in his arm.

‘He’s coming for me. I have to get out. It’s just a dream. He’s going to run tests. No no nonono. I must get out. I can- No more,’ Castiel’s scrambling brain is interrupted as the windowed door at the other side of the room bangs open. Flinching away, the young man falls out of bed realizing for the first time that he is no longer in his own dirty clothing, but a hospital gown. His left arm is in a sling and bandages wrap around a knee and wrist. His body is littered in Band-Aids, making him look like a patchwork quilt.

Through the door comes a blonde man wearing a deep-v black shirt and a white doctors’ coat. The coat bellows out around the man’s body as he rushes to help the fallen beaten man on the floor. From behind the blonde enters a number of nurses in pink and blue scrubs rushing to assist. In the corner of the room stands a cop, a red-headed woman in rainbow socks, a giant with long hair and a man with plush lips, long eyelashes and apple green eyes. As Castiel locks eyes with the man a flash of muscle memorized pain causes him to recoil and chant under his breathe. 

“Sin, he is sin. Don’t touch. Bad. Don’t touch. Filth. No No NO NO NO NO!” Castiel screams as the nurses and doctor lift him into the bed, their hands turn into claws as they hold him down. “Please stop, Please! I promise! I’m sorry! I repent! I REPENT!” Castiel closes his eyes to the green-eyed man’s presence, once again falling asleep.

The blonde doctor lightly taps him, “Okay, we’ll let you sleep sweetheart. But you’re in the Robinson Memorial Hospital and I’m you Doctor, Balthazar Roche. You are safe. There’s police outside your door, so don’t worry. Sleep well and I’ll be here when you wake up.”

From behind closed eyes Castiel begins to sink back into the mattress. His mind races with the remaining tinges of survival pricking its edges, but his body succumbs to the heavy drug induced calm. In the distances Castiel hears the soft mummers of the Doctor and other unidentified voices.

“It’s unclear how long he’ll be here, Mr. Winchester,” indicates the Doctor.

“What do you mean?” a gruff male voice responds.

“He’s healing slowly, but surely. He’s going to need therapy for his shoulder and knee. His damaged skin is responding to antibiotics and standard cleaning. On top of all of the direct physical concerns, he’s greatly malnourished. His body was knockin’ on death’s door. Beyond the physical, there’s also the mental damage of being tossed into the dark like that. We have no idea what happened before or during that time period.” 

“What can we do?” a softer male voice asks.

“I- I don’t know. Be here. We have no idea who he is or where he’s from. The police put out a scan and came up with nothing. No one’s reported him missing.”

“So, no family,” returns the rough voice.

“No I’m afraid not. Until he fully wakes up and is cognitive, and that is in a best case scenario, we won’t know who he is.”

“Thanks Doc.”

“Feel free to sit in here with him. Maybe talk to him a little, might help.”

“Got it thanks Doctor Roche,” the calm voice responds, as Castiel hears soft footsteps crossing the floor and stopping at his side, another set soon follows.

Unable to open his eyes and slowly sinking further and further into the fake calm, Castiel listens to the tired sigh of air puffing out of the first man sitting next to him. On the other side Castiel hears the soft-spoken voice.

“You okay Dean?”

The gruff man scoffs in response.

“He’ll wake up, don’t worry,” the soft voice assures him.

“Yeah.”

“I’m going to get something to eat. Want anything?” the soft-spoken man asks.

“Coffee.”

“Got it.” The man’s shoes fade away beyond Castiel’s reach.

Before falling asleep completely the gruff man remaining shifts lightly. Castiel feels the light touch of fingertips resting against his own.

“Don’t worry about a thing Angel, I’ve got ya.” Castiel releases a sigh, surrendering fully to the blanketed calm weighing him down. He’s safe. The hand lightly brushes its fingertips over his fingers in reassurance, “I’ve got ya.”

Chapter Text

“Castiel wake up boy, you disgusting abomination.” Castiel senses a hand tightening on his wrist, holding him down in the bed. Alastair’s voice scraps it’s way down Castiel’s spine causing the hair on his arms to rise as he tries to reject the man’s presence. Castiel whimpers sinking into the bed as the sulfuric hot air runs over his face, wet heat caressing his lips. “You can’t run Castiel. I own you, you disgusting sodomite. I own all of you. Mind, body and soul.”

Castiel turns his head away attempting to escape the pressure securing his body into the mattress underneath him. The room around him is dark and empty. The walls slowly close in upon him as the floor sinks away from the ceiling. Cracks snake their way up the greying white walls, once again finding himself in the elevator shaft.

“No,” Castiel whines. From his side he sees Inais’ pained-hollowed-frozen face opening its jaw to show the empty cavern. He no longer has any teeth and his eyes had been scooped out. Inais raises his hands to scrap at the empty eye sockets as he moans in pain.

Then light fills the ground as a bird flies overhead. The sun shines brightly throughout the elevator, the blue sky above welcoming the day. Suddenly the bright man from before fills his few, his green eyes look directly into his own and his hands clamp around his wrists shaking him.

“Come on Angel, wake up! Wake up!” he yells at Castiel.

Castiel inhales quickly, his eyes flying open. All he can see is green, the rest of the world ceases to exist outside of it. A forgotten calm wraps itself around Castiel’s mind and heart, soothing the worries away. The man in front of him blinks as a hesitant smile stretches across his skin. Castiel stares at him as the man slowly moves back to let another with blonde man enter his space. Castiel’s eyes never leave the green-eyed man as he sits back.

Castiel’s eyes study his plush pink lips, the long eye-lashes, gentle cheekbones, sharp jaw, dark-blonde hair spiked without care, green eyes and skin smattered with freckles. From his other side the doctor readjusts his shoulder to properly sit it in the sling the movement causes Castiel to gasp slightly in pain, breaking his attention from the beautiful man sitting next to him. The man that he stopped Alastair from claiming, the man who recused him from the hole and the man who brought light back into is darkening world.

“Alright sweetheart, do you know where you are?” the doctor asks.

“A ho-hospital,” he croaks. The beautiful man leans over slightly to the side table and presents a straw to Castiel’s lips. Castiel shyly drinks from the straw as cold water cleanses his throat of the sulfuric soot that had painted his airway. Nodding his thanks Castiel continues to listen to the doctor’s questions.

“Good. What state?”

“Massachusetts, I think.” He frowns. ‘Had they moved him far from the compounds?’

“Yes, you’re in Massachusetts. Now, what is your name?”

Castiel begins to panic, ‘What if they find out who I am and send me back? What if Zachariah or Sister Abbey come to get him? I can’t go back!” The beeping on the machine picks up as his breathing and heart rate accelerate.

“Woah, woah there Angel. It’s okay we can leave the hard questions for later. No harm no foul, right?” the green-eyed man smiles gently at him, his hand lightly grasps his wrist as his thumb strokes his pulse point. Looking at the man’s gentle face Castiel breathes in deeply to calm himself. “That’s it Angel, one breath in and another out. Good.”

The doctor shifts from the other side, “We can come back to that question at anytime, but for today I’d like to discuss what’s happened since you arrived here and what we’re working towards. First, my name is Doctor Balthazar Roche, but you can call me by my first name,” the blonde doctor winks at Castiel causing his face to flush with the attention and slightly remove his wrist from the green-eyed man’s hand.

“You have suffered a number of bumps, the main ones are your right knee and left shoulder. Both had gone untreated for a number of days, possibly weeks. We popped the shoulder back in place and administrated surgery on both the shoulder and knee to resituate them properly. The reason for the more aggressive treatment was because they had begun to heal improperly. No worries now though good-looking, they right-side up again. Now, the other matters we’ve been tracking are your concussion- all good there we just need to check in with your memory, but a psychologist will be doing that – and most importantly and promising is your nutritional health. We concluded you’d not eaten a proper meal in about a month, and had nothing at all in the last few weeks. You were mildly dehydrated upon entrance, but you’re on your way. We’ve been supplementing you with nutritional fluid bags, full of various vitamins and minerals, and in about an hour lunch service will begin. And finally, hot shot we treated and patched up all of your open wounds, cuts, scraps, welts, you name it they’re on the mend. The nursing staff will be in here over the next few days to change the dressings on your back and put ointment on the welts. Our namesake here at Robinson Memorial Hosptial, Dr. Robinson will be in to talk to you this evening,” Balthazar puffs, “So, any questions?”

“How long- How long have I been out?” Castiel asks.

“About 4-5 days. We’re not sure how long you were unconscious in the elevator. By the time you were topside Mr. Winchester here said you were out cold.”

Castiel turns his head to the man beside him and blinks as the man waves smiling tentatively. Just as he is about to open his mouth to thank him a giant man interrupts Castiel.

“Oh man Dean, you’ll never guess what passes for a salad in here it’s concerning. I mean mayonnaise isn’t really part of a nutritional mea- oh- Holy shit you’re awake,” the tall man points at him.

“Want to keep it down Sam? The dude just woke up,” Mr. Winchester responds.

“What? When? Do Benny and Char-”

“No Sam they don’-”

The tall man, Sam, stubbles back out the door and leans out, “Be-BENNY! He’s up.” Castiel hears a faint voice respond, “Yeah! Grab Charlie! What? No, no Dean’s still here. Yeah, Yeah I’ll let him know.” Sam leans back in and pounces up to the end of Castiel’s bed. “They’re on their way Charlie was chatting up one of the nurses in the cafeteria,” the man grins from ear to ear at Castiel as Dr. Balthazar waves slightly indicating he’d let them visit. “Dude, we’ve been waiting for days! Discovery is flipping out over this, Lisa,” the man looks at Mr. Winchester, “Dean you need to turn your phone back on Lisa’s going nuts trying to get ahold of you. Oh and Benny said you need to shower.”

The man refocuses on Castiel as his energy fills the room, “Shit where are my manners, I’m Sam, Sam Winchester and that there is my brother Dean. The other two on their way are Benny and Charlie. We’re the ones who found you, well actually Dean found you, but oh man it’s so good to see you up.”

“Okay Sam I think that’s enough. Take a chill pill,” Dean directs Sam to a chair beside Castiel’s bed.

Suddenly another large man enters with a small red-head. Castiel is captivated by her hair and smiles a little at the woman’s rainbow socks. Castiel droops in his bed as the sight of the woman reminds him of his sister, Anna. The older sister who he’d last seen on his childhood home’s porch; the home that had sent him to his fate. A cloud of reality settles over Castiel as the group continues to chatter around him, explaining how they’d found him. Castiel only briefly hears about the firemen pulling him out and Dean’s insistence with riding in the ambulance with him. Castiel remembers none of it.

Dean’s hand reaches out and lightly brushes his forearm to get his attention, “You okay?” 

Castiel nods, “Just a little tired.”

“Hmm, well I’m going to go grab that shower just over here,” Dean points to the large bathroom behind him. “Sam will stay here with the others or you could kick us all out. Up to you Angel.”

Castiel blinks up at Dean, turns his head to take in his guest and glances down to stare at his lap, “They can stay.”

“Okay. I’ll be right back. Hang tight.” Dean grabs an abandoned duffle bag sitting by the door and retreats into the bathroom.

“Want to watch some TV?” Charlie smiles at him from Dean’s chair.

 “Sure,” Castiel hesitantly returns the smile and looks up at the TV mounted in the far corner of the room. No one talks further. Lunch comes and Dean exits the room after his shower to call Lisa.

'Girlfriend probably,’ Castiel thinks. 

On the TV are re-runs of a bad hospital soap opera. Charlie informs him that Dr. Sexy is Dean’s favourite show. “All about the boots,” she divulges.

Dean quietly re-enters and stands by the hallway entrance gesturing for Sam to join him in the hall. The men disappear to leave him with Benny and Charlie.

A commercial for a pink toolset crosses the screen and Benny turns to the both of them as he gestures towards the TV, “Went all over the country looking for that thing at Christmas. Lizzie demanded Santa deliver it,” Benny laughs as the commercial turns over to a generic law firm. “Andrea said, we need to be teaching the girl that gender norms are ridiculous. Wants to be a mechanic like Uncle Dean. Lord that girl is going to be the end of me in 10 years,” Benny fondly shakes his head at the memory.

Charlie grins from beside him, “You know Dean would teach her everything about cars in a heartbeat, that and 80s rock music.”

“See that’s what I’m afraid of. I already have to listen to the man blasting bad hair metal at work.”

“You’re in the truck with me, what about Sam? The kid’s been bleeding out of his ears with that crap since they were tots,” Charlie laughs.

“And he’s been made all the better for it,” Dean returns to the room and smiles at Castiel, “Hope these nerds aren’t turning you off of me yet.”

Castiel blushes and shakes his head refocusing his eyes upon the TV. Sam enters again pulling along two other chairs from the hallway.

“Get this, so Lisa said there’s some trouble brewing from some big toppers at the station. The footage from last week and everything revolving around him is never going to air.”

“I’m sorry what?!” Charlie’s voice rises from beside Castiel.

“Yeah for a few reasons. One, the story behind the halfway house is not family friendly, whatever that means.” Sam scoffs.

“We’re a ghost show. She remembers that right?” Benny leans forward. 

“Yeah I know. Two, we apparently didn’t get full consent from the Church that partially owns the building so that’s a lawsuit waiting to happen and finally, we don’t know how old or who he is,” Sam gestures to Castiel.

Dean looks at Castiel worrying his teeth, “How old are you?”

Castiel’s eyes widen as the attention of his visitors focus on him, “22.”

“See legal,” Dean nods.

“But we don’t have legal representation confirming that Dean. The station is going to need some form of ID and he doesn’t remember his own name.” Sam begins to get agitated.

“Dude, come on take it easy, the guy just woke up from God knows what hell. Give him a break,” Dean comes to stand slightly in front of Castiel’s bed, blocking Sam’s path.

“I know I- I’m sorry,” Sam leans around Dean’s body, “I’m sorry man, it’s just, the story and the spirits we came in contact with is So much bigger than a ghost story.”

Charlie clears her throat and solemnly asks, “What about the cops? Did they say anything about the body found in the elevator?”

Castiel begins to shake slightly, the cold entering his pours, ‘Inais. They’re talking about Inais.’  

“Yeah they know all about it. Hell the Fire Department hauled it up, but nothing. No leads.” Sam responds.

“Didn’t you say the Deputy brushed you off Dean?” Benny asks.

“Yeah.”

“Is it perhaps cause the Police Department already knows how the body got down there, but they won’t or can’t investigate it further?”

“Are you saying someone gave them hush money?” Sam asks.

“Maybe.”

“Well fuck.” Dean huffs as he leans his body against the edge of Castiel’s bed. The silence surrounds them, the only voices heard are from the TV. Dean turns around to look at Castiel, “Well Angel looks like this party has turned into a Corrupt Murder Mystery.”

“Dean!” Sam chastises him. Dean winks at Castiel as he walks over to drop his phone in the duffle bag.

Benny claps his hands and indicates that he’s heading back to the motel. Charlie follows out along with Sam. Dean goes to sit down beside him once more. Castiel scrunches his nose at the man’s action, “You should go.”

Dean looks at Castiel, “What? You tryin’ to get rid of me Angel?”

“No.”

“Well that settles it then and besides the TV works here.” Dean toes off his heavy boots and lifts his legs to rest on the edge of the bed beside Castiel’s legs. Castiel looks at the beautiful man beside him and closes his eyes slightly when he turns his face away.

‘Sin, he’s sin. Stop calling him beautiful. He must be disgusted with you looking at him. I’m nothing.’ Castiel’s breath shutters slightly as he refocuses his attention on the screen.

Later a young dark woman with curly brown hair enters the room. “Hello I’m Dr. Cassie Robinson I’ve come to have a little talk with you,” Dr. Robinson smiles softly at Castiel and looks at Dean. “Are you family?”

“Why do you ask?” Dean counters.

“This is a psych eval it would be inappropriate to have anyone outside of the family here.”

Dean shifts to leave the room, but is stopped as Castiel instinctually reaches out for the man, catching the hem of his plaid shirt. “I’ll be just outside Angel don’t worry. Dr. Robinson here will take care of you. Holler if you need me,” Dean exits.

The interview with Dr. Robinson is slow, lasting an hours into the night. When the session comes to a close the psychologist exits the room and speaks to Dean. Castiel hears their voices just outside. Dean re-enters the room once again worrying his lower lip causing Castiel to chastise his eyes as he forces his face to look at the blank wall in front of him.

“So, the Doc says you know who you are and remember almost everything, but you don’t want to talk about it.” Dean says from the front of the room. Castiel nods in response. “Cool. Well not cool but – yeah you know- yeah.” Dean walks into the room and goes to sit back down beside Castiel.

“You know when I was about 4 my Mom passed away in a freak fire. I had to carry Sammy out of the house, Dad went back to get her, but well- anyways it was just the three of us growing up. Sam, Dad, Oh and Bobby and Ellen and Jo, guess it was more than three. Anyways the point of this is, I chose not to speak for months afterwards. I mean I could, but it didn’t feel right like if I opened my mouth all the pain would escape with it,” Dean goes quiet. Castiel sits staring at the wall, sinking in the information.

Dean clicks his lips, “What I’m trying to say is, it’s okay. It’s okay if you don’t want to tell us who you are or what happened. Sammy and I talked about it already and it seems that however you got there, maybe contacting family isn’t the best bet. So you are free to join us when you get discharged in a few days. I’ve got a spare room at my house on the main floor, private bath, everything. 

Castiel contemplates his options, surprised that the man he hardly knows is willing to open his home to him, “Where?”

“Oh it’s a few states over in North Dakota.”

Castiel considers it, ‘He’d be farther away from Anna and Gabriel, from school. But he’d also be farther from St. Angela’s, farther from Sister Abbey and Zachariah.’

“I can’t pay,” Castiel murmurs.

“Woah Angel, totally okay. I’m loaded anyways. The TV gig ads up, especially if you pretty much hoard it away like Sam and I do,” Dean laughs.

“Okay.”

Dean smiles beside him, “Well then, okay.”

Castiel briefly flicks his eyes over to look at Dean’s green ones and blushes taking in the sight of Dean’s beaming face. Castiel smiles down at his lap as they both sit back to settle in. For the first time in a long time Castiel feels the fluttering wings of hope within his chest.

Chapter Text

Dean steps out of the Impala, his boots crunch on the salt leftover from de-icing the the hospital parking lot. The sun’s high in the sky, the air fresh with the crisp wisp of winter upon his newly shaven face. He stretches and inhales deeply welcoming the new day after finally grabbing a decent sleep in a bed at the motel, while Sam took the night watch. Benny had returned with Charlie to Discovery Channel Headquarters in Maryland the pervious night indicating that she was heading back to edit the footage regardless of what corporate had to say about it. Benny had spent enough time away from his family and it was time he returned home.

Dean slams the door behind him and begins to hike his way over the snowy hill towards the front entrance of the hospital. It had been almost 4 weeks since they’d first arrived at Robinson’s Memorial Hospital. Asphalt is charred with tire marks left behind from that early morning a month ago. Dean remembers sprining out behind the paramedics and being pushed aside by the oncoming hospital staff attending to the battered elevator man. Shaking his head at the memory of the young man’s sunken and beaten face Dean refocuses upon the day ahead of him. Today he was signing the Guardianship transfer papers to the rehab center in North Dakota. 

Dean smiles to himself, ‘Things are going great. New friend. A little beaten up, but nothing a dose of tomato rice soup can’t fix.’

He saunters down the hall with his hands hiding in his leather jacket refusing to wear mittens. Dean waves at the front desk nurse turning around the corner towards the young man’s room. Dean walks in noticing Dr. Balthazar talking quietly to Sam. The young man is not in the room.

Suddenly Dean halts in his steps and the room feels cold. The doctor looks up at Dean causing Sam to turn around. Dean expects a smile or a simple hello, he does not expect all 6”4’ of his baby brother stalking towards him pointing directly at his face. Dean shrinks back in confusion as his knees bump into the chair in the hallway, causing him to sink down into it.

“What the Hell were you thinking Dean!?” Sam roars.

“What?” responds Dean.

“Why was he told he’d be living with you in North Dakota?” Sam towers over him.

“Cause the Dude’s got nowhere else to go Sam! Jesus!” Dean begins to feel his own temper rising to match his brother’s.

“He’s got his own family Dean! He’s not a charity case!”

“Family? Oh the same people who likely threw him into that hell? Yeah let’s toss him back to the wolves, great idea Sam!” Dean rises up out of the chair, tired of the confrontation.

“He’s not one of your strays! You can’t just take him in. Besides Balthazar isn’t going to release him for another few days. He’s not our pro-”

“I know he’s not a fucking stray Sa- wait- what?” Dean deflates with confusion as Sam pushes his hand through untamed hair.

“He had a complete mental breakdown last night.”

“What do you mean? Where the hell were you!?”

“Dean- just- come into the room Dr. Balthazar will explain what happened,” Sam turns around and re-enters the room gesturing for Dean to sit in his chair across from the doctor.

“Hello Mr. Winchester. As you know the patient will not be going home with you.”

“Why not?” Dean frowns.

Balthazar sighs, “Last night around 2am he was admitted to Floor 5, which is where we send patients who need a little help with mental illnesses.”

“Why?” Dean looks over at Sam who is leaning against the wall not making eye contact with him.

“It’s been drawn to my attention by Dr. Robinson that his nightmares have increased, not decreased. While it’s not out of the norm nor is a timed science as he could be suffering with PTSD related dreams for years to come. Dr. Robinson believes that your direct presence or rather the tactile way you demonstrate presence, encouragement and affection may be triggering it on an aggressive continual base,” the doctor explains carefully.

“I’m sorry, so I’m the cause of the dreams? The guys literally had the demon-spawn ghost digging at his brain for 2 weeks in a dark hole, alone, of course he’s having dreams,” Dean pushes out of the chair agitatedly.

“We know Dean. Some of the things he's told us are concerning. Limited, but concerning. It’s much more than the isolation however, these particular triggers and thoughts have been presented during developmental years and more recently had been- what we believe- aggressively branded into his self-worth.”

“What the hell are you talking about?”

“Dean, Dr. Robinson believes- and I agree cause he has an electrical burn running over his back- he’d been exposed to some form of electric shock therapy.”

Dean stops in his tracks as he hisses inwards. The doctor continues, “We’re not sure why or how, but we’re certain that the muscle twitches – which I’m sure you’ve noticed- the chanting and flinches when florescent lights are turned on- the electric hum - are all connected. Likely the isolation fed the fear, but the over all mental damage of whatever happened to him before St. Angela’s House is not recent. And most importantly- and we’ve all noticed this, even your friends- his reactions, praying and the nightmares are more apparent when you’ve spent more time with him.”

Dean is speechless as Sam finally speaks, “Last night, about an hour after you’d left, the guy had to go to the bathroom. While he was in there one of the lights went out, sometime within that he began to scream. That same bloodcurdling scream we heard at the House. He’d locked the door, so I ran to get a nurse to open it. By the time they’d arrived with maintenance and the key the guy was cowering in a far corner folded completely in on himself, praying.”

“Praying?” Dean asks.

“Yeah. He wouldn’t let anyone touch him and if anyone tried he started flailing and screaming.”

“What did he say?”

“He was asking God to save him. He promised he’d never look at,” Sam pauses and glances at the doctor searching for reassurance, “He promised God that he’d never have any thoughts about men again. That he’d live away from sin. He called himself an abomination. But that wasn’t the most telling reason why you can’t see him.”

Dean listens and waits for Sam to continue.

“Dean, he apologized to me because he let you touch his hand.”

“Let me? I touched his hand, hell the doc just said I’m touchy! How’s it his fault?” Dean gestures as his confusion and agitation balloons under his ribcage.

“Mr. Winchester, Dr. Robinson and I believe that the boy has been part of some Homosexual Rehabilitation project,” Balthazar interjects attempting to calm the mounting tension displayed on Dean’s face.

Dean frowns, “Like Pray Away the Gay?”

“Yes.”

“So, the guy likes dudes. Fuck I like dudes too, why should that matter.”

“In this hospital, it doesn’t, but you’re not understanding Dean. The torture that he’s endured and the PTSD from it are directly linked to his warped understanding of his own sexuality. He thinks it’s inheritably wrong and a sin in the eyes of God. You are the very embodiment of the kind of ‘biblical test’ he’s been taught and tortured to fear and reject.”

Dean sits shocked. ‘He thought things had been good, I mean I know the dude blushed every time I winked at him, but he had no idea that the innocent flirting was causing him such turmoil.’

“So what now?” Dean asks Balthazar, resigning himself to the outcome. Dean rests his elbows on his knees as he covers his face with his hands.

“We’ve contacted his brother in Boston. He’s on his way.”

Dean’s head springs up, “I’m sorry, his brother? How?”

“Dean, just because you don’t know the man’s name doesn’t mean that we don’t either. Dr. Robinson figured that she needed to prove to him his identity was necessary for medical reasons, as well as good intentions. We promised him privacy and protection. With that we got him to contact a family member he could trust.”

“Okay,” Dean frowns at his boots noticing the remainder of mud from the elevator shaft’s floor. The image of the young man’s face smiling quietly at his bad jokes while his hair reflected the sun with a natural glow of health stroking its strands. The man’s face had begun to show a return of colour in his cheeks and lips. His eyes had started to show a slight sparkle, once in awhile. Perhaps he’d missed the darkening bruises under his blue eyes and the hidden moments of anguish. ‘Sam’s right, he’s not just some stray dog he’d found on the road or a bird with a broken wing. He’s a full grown man that’d gone though hell and back.’

Balthazar reaches into his lab coat pocket pulling out a phone, “Dr. Robinson said he’s calmed down significantly and has asked to go to the chapel. She suggests that the both of you come around to say your goodbyes.” The doctor begins to walk out of the room with Sam and Dean following behind.

The three stop at the entrance of the Chapel. Dr. Robinson leans against the entrance watching the man through the door, waiting for the others to join. Dean rounds the door standing just in front of the threshold, spotting the man kneeling directly in front of the cross stationed high on the wall. Dr. Robinson nods at the both of them allowing them to enter the chapel and take a seat. The men watch the healing broken man, Sam bows his head as Dean stays transfixed upon the image in front of him.

Dean notes how the soft orange light touches his dark hair. The way he leans to one side off his injured knee. The way he hugs his free hand to the hidden one in the sling, desperately clutched together in an embrace. He watches the pain etched onto the young man’s face, the way he scrunches his eyes closed as his lips move silently and rapidly, words here and there floating in the air towards Dean. Some are hateful, practiced words that had been slapped into his memory from poisoned mouths and hearts; followed with vows of retribution and commitment. But most are words of thanks and hope. Thanks to God and the Angels for their guidance and strength. He prays that Raphael rewards the doctors and nurses who have healed him. He thanks Dean’s brother, Benny and Charlie for their company. And he thanks Dean for his compassion, bravery and generosity in return asking Michael to bless him with protection.

Dean barely notices the doctors pass them as the young man unsteadily rises to his feet. Dean stands to help, but is held back by Sam’s warning hand forcing Dean to watch as the experts assist their patient. The man limps up to Dean and Sam within the pews locking his tired blue eyes with Dean’s.

“Thank you for – Thank you for everything,” the sad man smiles weakly at the brothers, expressing gratitude only through the warm gaze stationed on Dean.

Clearing his throat Dean responds, “No problem Angel, anytime you need us, just give us a shout.”

“Don’t worry about your medical expenses Dean and I took care of ‘em,” Sam says.

The man’s eyes widen glistening wet with rising tears, “You didn’t have to do that Sam.”

“Nonsense. Besides we’re loaded and spend none of it. Nice to spend it on something other than strippers and ice cream,” Dean grins as Sam scoffs behind him.

The man releases a huff of laughter, “Thank you Dean – and Sam. Seriously thank you. May God and the Angels watch over you.”

With that the man turns back to Dr. Balthazar’s waiting hand and begins to exit the room.

Dean chews on his bottom lip and glances towards the cross at the front of the room. Shaking his head Dean clamors out of the pews and dashes off after the man.

“Wait!” Dean jogs around the doctors standing on either side of the him and pulls out a receipt, “Look just in case you want someone to talk to or whatever, I mean you don’t have to, but you might want to talk to someone who was there and knows all of that. Also Charlie would kill me if I didn’t give you her contact info so if you ever need someone to chat with about anything- ghost, cars, movies, whatever- You have someth-”

“Dean,” the man smiles as he holds out his hand for the written numbers of the crew, “Thank you.” He takes the receipt from Dean, careful to not touch his fingers and smiles down at the paper.

“Yeah- yeah no problem man,” Dean smirks softly at him releasing a sigh of relief. Dean leans in slightly searching the man’s eyes in earnest, “You take care of yourself, okay?”

“Yes Dean.”

“I mean it.”

“Yes.”

“Things will be okay Angel, I promise.”

“Thank you Dean.”

“Right, okay, well, see you around,” Dean raises his hand to pat him on the shoulder, but recoils slightly as the young man looks on in fear. Dean nods and steps back to let the three pass. The young man disappears through the stairwell door.

“You going to be okay?” Sam asks.

“Yeah,” he responds quietly.

Sam claps him on the back, “Come on, we should head out. Lisa is expecting us in Maryland tonight to talk about everything.”

Dean rolls his eyes, “Oh for fucks sake. Yeah fine, let’s go.”

He tucks his hands back in his pockets and follows Sam out to the parking lot. Stopping to look up at the clear winter sky Dean notices a black raven streak it’s way overhead. He glances back at the Hospital one last time and gets into the Impala the car rumbling to life. As Dean backs out of the parking lot and on to the highway his phone notifies a received message.

May God Bless you and Keep you Dean Winchester ~angel emoji

Chapter Text

Castiel paused in front of the blue-grey door to Gabriel’s apartment, its paint chipped away from age. He could hear his brother fussing his way up the flight of stairs while lugging his own suitcase and Castiel’s small grocery bag full of donated hospital clothe. He never looked inside the grocery bag just let Gabriel pick the clothing for the ride home, changed, walked out of Robinson Memorial Hospital, got in the small cherry-red mini and stared out the window till they arrived in Boston. It wasn’t a long drive from the hospital, but he never spoke a single word. The only sounds that existed came from his brother’s one-way conversation and smacking noises of Gabriel’s pink bubblegum.

Staring at the door Castiel reminisced on the last week since the Winchesters had left, closing his eyes briefly to ward off the subtle memories of Dean. He needed to stop thinking about him. He was a beautiful person, but beyond all of it was what Dr. Robinson called “Trauma Bonding”. It was unhealthy and solely centered around the events in the past not the present or future. She stressed that it was perfectly normal that Dean offered him a sense of security, but along with that safety came underlining anxiety. Castiel scrunched his eyes further, God would be ashamed of him for the way he had caressed the man’s cheeks with his eyes, melted into Dean’s green ones and had momentarily lost himself to the notions of what his lips would feel like upon his own skin. Those thoughts were a disgrace in the eyes of God and Castiel only had to wait for his true judgment day to fully understand how. His sense of faith had been wrong before and he knew that what he had believed before was wrong. He was wrong because the true God and Savior had shown their true intentions towards Castiel’s inclinations with the justified dark punishment. 

Trembling in his place, Casiel jumped as Gabriel gently approaches him, touching his shoulder and softly whispering his name, “Cassie, you okay?”

He refuses to look at his brother, only opening his eyes and inhaling deeply recalling Dr. Balthazar’s breathing techniques that he taught to him after a nightmare that happened one night when Dean had been momentarily absent. Castiel thanked God, however undeserving his gratitude, for that small miracle. Dean didn’t need to see how weak he was because of his unmanaged attraction towards him. ‘He deserves so much more than what my tainted hands and mind could ever give him.’

Gabriel moved forward and opened the door, leaving Castiel to follow. Once he entered the one-bed room apartment Castiel guided his eyes around the room. His brother lived above a tiny bakery that he co-owned with a small red-headed woman, named Rowena. The bakery, named Sugar & Spice, was three bus stops away from St. Emmanuel’s University where Castiel had attended for the past three years. Castiel walked further into the apartment taking in the large window that led out to an unfenced balcony. Surrounding the edge of the balcony were multiple plants, ferns, trees and flowers framing a blue rug covering the concrete. In the living room was a large pullout couch and a coffee table littered with old fast-food wrappers facing a wide flat screen TV. Castiel knew from experience that the piles of DVDs stacked around the TV predominantly contained Gabriel’s personal porn collection; the memory of the discovery allowed the edge of his lips to lift fleetingly.

From the side is the kitchen, open to the living area. Pass the kitchen is a small hall leading towards a bathroom and Gabriel’s bedroom. He knew the bedroom was shrouded in deep burgundy and orange scarves, the mattress still on the floor likely only moderately covered in navy sheets, for Castiel had often found his brother wrapped within them in the morning. From the hallway Castiel could see the clothing that had permanently covered the floor in piles like unconventional pillows. But Castiel knew that where Gabriel was messy and disorganized in his personal living space, he kept a constructed and ordered area in the bakery below. Gabriel only presented himself to be unmanageable, yet in reality he was one of the freest and most put together adults Castiel knew; a long term girlfriend in Kali, a successful business below, a confident caring successful big brother to the core.

Dr. Balthazar and Dr. Robinson sat him down one morning after a nurse had found him shaking in the fetal position having not slept all night while Dean rested in the chair beside him. Both of them had explained the accurate observations about Dean’s presence, causing him panic since his only sure sense of security came when Dean calmed the nightmares down, smiling and telling jokes. On the flip side, his mind was haunted by the images through the day of Dean winking and forcing the flushed heat to rise in Castiel’s cheeks while Alastair’s’ persisting voice, nails and face mockingly punished him for those moments of relief and hope. Dr. Balthazar had indicated that in order to get proper insurance the hospital needed to know his name. They had recognized that they knew Castiel worried about being sent back to the same situation he’d escaped. His anxiety had risen only briefly when Dr. Robinson presented not only a video camera, but a lawyer approved document indicating they would only use his name for insurance purposes and if he wished under documentation to contact a trusted individual they would only contact them. Castiel had sat there for an hour while they patiently waited. It was only after Dr. Balthazar had left him alone with Dr. Robinson’s gentle presence to answer a call, did Castiel agree, offering his full name, University and contact information for his estranged brother in Boston, Gabriel Novak.

His brother arrived a day later, an evening after he had been admitted to the psychiatric ward under surveillance. The evening after Castiel had looked in the mirror as the temperature around him dropped and the unfocused image of Alastair’s dark presence began to materialize behind him followed by the lights going out and leaving him stranded and alone to Alastair’s presence. Castiel remembered screaming, he remembered feeling the vile company and smelling sulfur. His only moment of freedom came when the lights flooded the room as nurses and a doctor on staff flew into the room, holding him down as a sharp pin entered his arm singing him to sleep and tranquility. He didn’t remember what he’d said, but he remembered the pained look of the younger Winchester, Sam and the way the young man’s hand had covered his mouth to the scene in front of him. Castiel once again closed his eyes to the past turning his attention away from the bedroom towards his brother puttering about the living room.

Castiel didn’t speak and truthfully he wasn’t planning on saying a word. The last words he had spoken to his brother were “Hello” when he’d first entered his hospital room in a panic. His brother had begun to cry upon seeing his little brother’s sunken face, Castiel knew that his face looked better than when he had entered, but it was not the face Gabriel remembered from September. It had been four months since he’d seen his big brother, since he’d seen this apartment. His dorm he was sure had been long vacated.

Staring at his brother Gabriel stopped to inspect the pullout couch, the bed partially covered in soft-yellow sheets and one navy blue pillow. Gabriel sighed deeply, his pained expression hidden behind his shaggy blonde hair. Clapping his hands Gabriel looked up at his brother awkwardly standing in the living area, beaming a forced smile of positivity towards him.

“You hungry? I’ve got these leftover muffins from downstairs, failed experiment, but not bad. Beet muffins, fucking hipsters keeping me in business man. Love ‘em!” Gabriel whisked past him towards the fridge Castiel following closely behind. “Got some chicken wings if you’re up for that. OH corn! You want corn? Yeah corn-on-the-cob, chicken wings and beet muffins! Sound good? Yeah lets do that!”

Gabriel nervously and excitedly fluttered around the kitchen preparing a meal for them both. Castiel wasn’t hungry, but he knew he couldn’t and wouldn’t tell his brother no. He was his only family, now. The only one who wouldn’t scorn him for the failure that he was.

Gabriel had sobbed in his lap upon seeing him. Telling him through hiccups that Mother hadn’t told him, he hadn’t known and that he wouldn’t tell. His brother had run his hand through his hair and cupped his face with his hands bringing their foreheads together. He’d promised him that he’d be safe and they’d get through it together like they always had. Castiel had broken down crying with relief.

Castiel takes a deep breath fondly watching his brother in the kitchen. He was safe, he wasn’t alone because he had Gabriel. Gabriel had left when he was 18 with a prestigious pastry scholarship at Le Cordon Bleu. While he had been proud of Gabriel at the time, it wasn’t until he was 12 that he realized Gabriel was not going to come home. He had spoken to him on the phone all the time, but when he started to realize that his attractions were not like the other boys at Sunday School and that his church would not be kind if they knew, the distance between them felt larger. It was that year he missed his precarious brother the most. 

Anna had been a source of comfort, being only two years older than himself, but she was quiet, kind and gentle, the perfect Christian. She loved Castiel and he suspected that she knew he did not have normal affections, but she loved him all the same. However, he always missed Gabriel, so when he turned 18 nearly eleven years later, he applied to the Linguistic Department at St. Emmanuel College in Boston. He was welcomed with open arms into Gabriel’s unconventional life full of sugar and sin. Castiel, however, could never be like Gabriel. He couldn’t rebel like him, or fully embrace the sinful life his mother rejected Gabriel for. He never cut ties with home and had always gone back for long weekends and holidays. Perhaps if he had followed his brother more thoroughly in his departure from Oak Bluff what had happened at St. Angela’s Centre for Hope and the dark abandoned building wouldn’t have occurred. If he had just let go and embraced all that God had to offer in this life, then things might have been different. 

Castiel sat down at the little table stationed partially in the kitchen and the living area staring at his hands clenched in his lap, What if, what if, what if. But that is not what happened and God had punished him for what he had only partially begun to accept under Gabriel’s support. Jesus, the Angels and God did not and could not love him as he had hoped four months ago. He knew that, but the small part of him that had stared at Dean, that had watched the blue sky in that elevator, the feeling that felt blessed that while his hands froze the snow kept him hydrated, the knowledge that he had landed just so in the elevator, the sympathetic staff at the hospital, Charlie, Benny, Sam. All of those moments made him believe that he wasn’t completely abandoned by God, not now or ever. But why had that happened? The only answer he could understand was that while the Heavens had surely protected him, it also felt he needed to be punished. He was confused and scared, but upon smelling the honey garlic sauce boiling on the stove, the corn bubbling in the pot and the chicken wings clanging out of the oven, Castiel found home. Things were going to be okay, not great, but okay. He hoped.

__

 

Castiel sat on a park bench with the sun shining bright above him warming his face. From the bench he watched children on a playground that he’d been on thousands of times growing up in Oak Bluff. The scene in front of him was familiar, a memory long lost.

A little girl with bright red hair giggled up at a small boy with dark hair gripping a tall bright yellow slide. The redhead laughed up at her little brother, “Come on Cassie! It’s not that far! You can do it!”

Castiel watched his younger self’s grip tighten along the edges of the slide, his knuckles turning white. The fear coursed through the young boy’s body as his breathing increased and tears began to pool in the corners of his eyes. Castiel whimpered, as he looked down towards his sister, bright and happily standing below him encouraging him to let go. But he couldn’t. The slide increased in length as it began to rise higher and higher into the sky, stretching itself a universe away from his sister and the ground. Then suddenly two bright pink sneakered feet and long legs slid around his small body.

“It’s okay Cassie I’ve got ya,” Gabriel’s young face beamed down at Castiel. Castiel whimpered again as he looked into the safety of his big brothers warm honey coloured eyes and registered the complete confidence his brother had in the feat ahead of them. Gabriel reached over to cup Castiel’s small hands, slowly lifting his fingertips from the edge. The older boy wrapped his warm hands around Castiel’s and leaned forward to whisper in his ear, “You want to fly Cassie?” Castiel nodded tentatively as his unruly fluffy dark hair tickled his brother’s cheek resting on his shoulder. “Okay. Now we’re going to scoot forward, but when we start going you’re going to spread your arms out with me and we’re going fly. Okay?”

Castiel nodded, “Like Angels?”

“That’s right baby bro, Angels. Now, you ready?” Gabriel smiled down at Castiel.

“Yeah,” he answered quietly, still scared, yet sure that Gabriel wouldn’t let him fall.

“Let’s go,” Gabriel scooted further and lifted his hands up off the side with Castiel’s hands still grasped within them. The wind whisked past Castiel’s face and the horizon rose up to meet them. He was flying. A bright smile burst on his face as he felt weightless and safe in his brother’s arms for a single moment in time. All to soon, Castiel came to a stop as Gabriel firmly planted his feet on the sandy ground.

Anna ran up to him with a bright smile of her own, “See Cassie?! You did it!”

Castiel laughed and jumped down to excitedly run back up the play structure to the top of the slide. He wasn’t scared anymore, he could fly and more than that when he sat down behind Anna with their arms wide open Gabriel was waiting for them at the foot of the slide to catch them.

Castiel watched the memory unfold from the park bench with a gentle smile playing on his lips. He could faintly hear crickets rustling in the grass and the seagulls flying over the boats a few blocks down the road where the harbor sat. Other children ran around the playground as a small family sat on the grass further away having a picnic. It was perfect. From beside him someone sat down. Castiel turned to welcome the figure and stopped.  

Sitting beside him was the smiling face of Dean Winchester. His dark blonde hair reflected the sun as his green eyes shone like fresh moss bring life back to a darkened forest. The man leaned in and winked at him only to stand up and hold out his hand towards Castiel.  

He looked at Dean’s hand and then briefly checked on the memory from before. His younger self was still bouncing around and giggling with his brother and sister. Castiel took a deep breath and placed his hand within Dean’s. Dean’s fingers curled around his lightly, but out of nowhere the wind picked up, the children had disappeared and the sky darkened, threating a violent storm. Castiel felt Dean’s fingers painfully tighten around his wrist as thunder cracked.

Castiel looked back at Dean’s hand yelling into the wind that he was hurting him. He watched the hand tighten further, the well manicured freckled hand began to rot before his eyes. The flesh blistered and fell away, producing a foul odor. Nails grew into jagged claws as they dug into his wrist’s fragile skin, drawing blood. The hand yanked Castiel to a gangly body now in front of him, a putrid sulfuric smell burning his eyes and nose.  

Castiel looked up into black eyes of a familiar emaciated face. It wasn’t Dean anymore.

“Hello Castiel it has been so long,” Alastair smiled.

Castiel screamed and pulled at his hand, but nothing would break the hold. “Ah ah ah Castiel. You have a been a very bad boy since you left the Halfway House, many many impure thoughts have found their way into your untreated head. So much progress lost on that faggot who took you away from me.”

Castiel sobbed as his breathing hitched in his throat preventing him from screaming. His lungs begged for air, while his body trembled to escape. Alastair reached forward and yanked Castiel’s head back by his hair as the entity searched his mind.

“What do we have here Mr. Novak?” A greying hand dragged over Castiel’s temple as the image of Dean’s hand caressed his forehead one night after a nightmare. His soft voice hushing away the terror and the pain while his hand stroked the sweat from his forehead. The event had allowed him to fall back into a dreamless sleep.

“No,” Castiel whimpered at Alastair as the man’s eyes flared backing Castiel up against a tree, the force knocking his head back into the bark.

“Castiel you disgusting faggot. You have learned NOTHING!” Alastair boomed into the air with the rising storm.

“Please I’m sorry I’m sorry Pl-”Castiel begged to no avail as Alastair’s hands dove towards his neck. Castiel couldn’t breathe and the dream world flickered with his conscious.

“Abominations like you deserve to burn like the faggots that you are! Always succumbed to fall to sin of the sodomites’ flesh! God will have you burn in Hell Castiel Novak long before the Heavens even give you a fleeting chance to ask for forgiveness.”

Castiel gasped for air as he scratched at Alastair’s rotten hands trying to push him away. From Alastair’s side stepped Dean.

Dean stood beside Castiel and Alastair watching him take his last breaths. His face was twisted in disgust at Castiel’s form pressed against the tree. “See Castiel, who would ever want to touch filth like you? A disease like you!? The boy doesn’t even want you. He left you cause you made him sick. He saw how you looked at him you fucking heathen! You’re garbage, Sewage on this Earth. The Devil himself won’t even want to touch you!”

Tears rolled down his cheeks as he closed his eyes to the image of Dean spitting at his suffocating feet.

“Castiel!” a familiar voice screamed in the distance.

“Castiel Please wake up! Cassie!!”Castiel threw his head to the side scraping his face on the bark.

“Castiel!!!!”

Castiel gasped for air as his eyes flew open adjusting to the light beaming down over his face. Gabriel sat above him with his hands on his shoulder from trying to shake him awake. Gabriel’s hands immediately sprung up to stroke Castiel’s face.

“Oh my God! Hi! Cassie, come on, come back to me. It’s okay. I’m right here. It’s okay baby bro I’ve got ya.” Gabriel wrapped his arms around Castiel and partially dragged his much larger form into his own. Rocking his body slightly while murmuring, “I’ve got ya bro. I’ve got ya.”

Castiel took in a deep breath, smelling his brother’s body spray, laundry and the leftover residue of icing sugar on his big brother’s skin. Safety. As he released his breath a sob escaped his throat. The sounds that had been drowned out by the storm and Alastair’s presence in his dream came forth violently, clawing its way out of his throat and soul.

Gabriel continued to rock him whispering, his arms tightened around Castiel’s broken form. “I know Cassie. Let it all out. We have an appointment with Dr. Amelia tomorrow afternoon. Things will get better I promise. Okay Cassie? Things will be okay.”

Castiel digs his fingers into his brother’s shirt holding on to the promises and security his brother offers. But he knew no matter how the future progressed, Alastair would always find him.

Chapter Text

Dean sat hunched over with his head and arm resting on the side of a charcoal grey couch. He sat staring at his feet as his opposite hand held a phone to his ear. He’d been on the phone with Lisa from Discovery for a better part of three hours.

It began in the morning after he had received a distraught email from Sam telling him that Discovery had completely banned the last episode from the season under the premise that it was inappropriate to air on the network due to its blatant political agenda. His brother had been irate, spouting legal jargon through the phone at a rapid pace into Dean’s newly awoken ears. On the one hand, Dean was pleased that Sam’s partially completed Law Degree was panning out, but they both knew something out of the norm was occurring and none of it was sounding all too legal.

“I know Lisa, but they can’t just cut the episode without a solid explanation! Charlie isn’t going to stand for this and you know full well that Sam is going to be breathing down corporate’s ass if-” Dean groaned for the hundredth time since he called, being cut off by the same script.

“What the fuck are you talking about Lisa?! It’s a solid episode! The best we’ve ever done,” Lisa continued to calmly explain in a cryptic message that the episode had been pulled and if they weren’t careful the entire show would be as well.

“They can’t do that! We bring in one of the highest viewership for the station – No we don’t stage it! – Oh that’s a low blow Lis now you’re getting personal- Oh fuck you! I had nothing to do with that poor kid getting tossed down ther – No – Charlie? What does th- Yeah – yeah,” Dean sighed into the phone as Sam came around the corner, sweating from his run.

Sam grabbed a glass and filled it up with cold water from the tap, leaning against the counter watching Dean trying to maintain his calm on the couch.

“Lisa, listen we have to air that episode – No I’m not going to tell Charlie, of all people, to tone down the ‘Gay Agenda’ and I hope to God that those are some overly paid Fat Cat’s words and not yours. - Yeah, I know. I know you’re just the messenger but you’re also supposed to be our ally in the boardroom Lis. - You really can’t get this approved? - Then what do we do? We’re an episode shor- Run the season anyway? But episode 22 is shit. - Okay yeah I’ll let Charlie know you’re calling,” Dean dejectedly looks up at his brother still watching him from the kitchen.

“The kid? Yeah he’s okay. Haven’t heard from him since we left Massachusetts 3 weeks ago. - Hmm. How’s Ben? - Good, good. - Okay I’ll let Sammy know. I’ll call you back once Charlie has gotten up to speed with you and us.- Right. I know you did your best. Rock-in-a-hard-place right? Okay talk soon bye.”

Dean stared at his phone as he hung up, the anger bubbling under his skin at the relayed words from the boardroom. ‘Enforcing un-familial values, it’s a fucking ghost show!’

Dean rose from his position on the couch clenching the phone in his hand. He briskly passed his brother, not looking at him and swung the fridge door open banging it on the side of the wall. He reached in and grabbed a cold beer popping the top off and taking a swig. He spent the entire time clenching his fingers around the phone in his hand as the frustration waited to bottleneck itself out of his system.

Dean looked out at the flower box sitting along the kitchen windowsill. Within the box sat three blue irises reaching up towards the spring air. The cobalt pushed his emotions over the edge with a flash of similar blue eyes entering his mind. Dean slammed the beer down on the counter and jerked his hand up to swing the phone straight across the room, smashing it’s screen into a hanging picture causing it to fall on the ground, shattering the glass around the phone on the floor.

“GOD FUCKING DAMN IT!!!” Dean roared, “DAMN IT!”

“What happened?” Sam calmly asked sipping his water. He was unfazed by his brother’s outburst due to years spent around his family’s pattern of suppressing their emotions and unleashing them in fits of violent rage.

“Lisa! Lisa is the problem! No, I take that back. Corporate is the problem. Apparently Discovery refuses to air the last episode with the kid and the Halfway House because of, and I quote ‘harmful information relating to homosexuals in conjunction with educational child development programing’,” Dean fumed.

“It’s a ghost show kids shouldn’t be watching it,” Sam said.

“I know! That’s what I told her! Then she started talking about how she knew it was difficult, but maybe Charlie and I should find a way to tone it down a bit, which I’m pretty sure was a jab at me and her not working out cause she couldn’t handle that I liked chicks and dudes!”

“Dean, I’m pretty sure that’s not it. Should I text Charlie to make sure she knows what’s coming her way?” Sam asked pulling out his phone and briefly glancing over at Dean’s shattered phone on the floor.

Dean sighed and walked over to pick up the phone mournfully looking at yet another broken iPhone, “Yeah let her know.”

Sam tapped out a message to Charlie and placed the phone lightly on the kitchen counter, “What else?”

“Nothing really she said she needed to talk to Charlie about something related, but different. Lis probably needs her other technical skills,” Dean walked into the pantry to grab a broom and dustpan dragging the garbage bin over with him to the broken glass on the floor. “All I know man is that whoever told her to cut the episode was clearly trying to send us a message about not sticking our nose too far into the Halfway House’s business.”

Sam hummed veering the conversation in a lighter direction, “How’s Ben?”

Dean continued to pick up the pieces relaxing into the question, “Ben’s good. Starts Grade 10 next year and bringing home the Freshmen Soccer team trophy in a few weeks. Taking names and doin’ it like I taught him.”

Sam laughed, remembering when Lisa and Dean had been together a few years ago, Ben had just started Junior High. The kid had loved soccer back then and it pleased Sam to hear that the passion continued. Dean had gone to every game until Lisa had moved to Maryland after her promotion at Discovery Channel. Sam knew that Dean would have followed them out if it weren’t for Charlie and Benny accidently revealing that Dean had happily been with women and men.

Lisa hadn’t taken kindly to Dean’s hesitancy to share that information with her, but he’d also never hidden it from her either. She hadn’t been able to wrap her head around being with a bisexual man and even went so far as to say she didn’t sign up to compete with both in Dean’s world. Sam and Charlie had been furious on Dean’s behalf, prompting Charlie to corner her at a bar one night and tell her off for being biphobic. However, it was Dean that asked them to back off and had sat down with Lisa the following weekend to discuss everything. They’d both peacefully agreed to separate with the knowledge things hadn’t been good for a long time and they’d only stayed together for Ben. Dean had stayed as a prominent role model in the boy’s life, but Lisa and Dean ended the moment that slip of the tongue had occurred.

Sam waited with his phone to hear from Charlie while Dean puttered around the living area cleaning up tiny shards of glass here and there. Suddenly Sam’s phone went off.

Sunshine Lollipops and Rainbows Everything that’s wonderful when we’re together! Brighter than a lucky pen-

“Really Charlie? Sunshine and Lollipops for your ringtone?” Sam laughed into the phone.

“I’m the sunshine of your life Moose don’t be hatin’,” Charlie responded.

“Is that Red? Put he on Speaker,” Dean entered the kitchen once again placing the garbage bin under the sink and the broom back in the pantry. Sam tapped the speakerphone button as Charlie’s voice danced its way around the North Dakota home.

“Hey Sugarplum what’s shaken?” Charlie chirped.

“Oh god really Char? Sugarplum?” Dean groaned.

“Meh gave it a try. Anyways I talked to the oh so lovely Lisa at corporate and Dudes things are like Erin Brockovich crazy in there.”

“What do you mean?” Sam’s brow furrowed as he leaned over the counter.

“Okay well, Lisa started the conversation asking me if I’d seen National Treasure and Indy films or what not. And let me tell you boys I was mad confused, but then it dawned on me she kept focusing on the cryptic messages and hidden meanings. Lis was asking me to basically read between the lines. So once I understood what was up I asked her if she’d seen the scene where Indy and his father learn about the Nazis being involved the whole time and yadi yada.”

“She responded?” Dean perked up knowing full well that Lisa was not the type to start a geeky conversation, ever.

“OH did she ever! I started to say how it was super cool how things like that and even with Nicholas Cage movie the Freemasons were involved with the government and then how they’re real people too and are likely in all the companies.”

Dean fidgeted beside Sam anxiously waiting for Charlie to finish, “Get to the point Charlie!”

“Patience Handmaiden. So once I was sure that this was her way of saying something fishy was up in Maryland and corporate I started digging from my end. And guess what I found?”

“Charlie!”

“Okay, okay. Jezz. I went through Lisa’s computer and found out that she’d received an email from the President of Discovery Communications, Inc. requesting the LGBT focused episode be dropped due to a failure with the viewing testing room. Now the thing is that-”

“With a show that has run as long as we have there shouldn’t be viewing tests for our episodes,” Sam cut in.

“Exactly. We’re already confirmed for the next season with corporate’s support and everything. But here’s the thing, I went through the President’s email’s an-”

“I’m sorry, you hacked the President of Discovery Communications?” Dean interrupted.

“Yes and then some. If you’ll let me finish, I found out that some huge financial investor, and I mean Huge, had indicated that they would not support ‘questionable lifestyles being promoted on national television with their dime.’ Now my first thought was rude, but then it just seemed completely odd. I went through that account and found out that the shareholder owns about 70% of DISCA Stock. Not only that, but they also financially owned a number of other business throughout the country. Fast food, schools, grocery stores, you name it they’ve bankrolled ‘em.”

“Who is it?” Dean asked as Sam got out his laptop.

“Roman Enterprises, it’s based in Boston.”

“You’re kidding me?” Dean said.

“No and their fucked up views are associated with some pretty big anti-gay rights activists and politicians as well. They’ve financed a number of Anti-Same Sex Marriage protests and referendums. I mean, Dean, they’re completely in bed with the Westboro Baptist Church.”

“Hey Charlie, is the head of Roman Enterprises Richard Roman?” Sam asked as Dean came around to look at the computer screen.

“Yeah. Why? What’d you find?”

“Well it looks like Dick-

“Fitting,” Dean scoffed.

“Dick Roman personally helped finance a place not too far from the Halfway House. In fact the House and property is technically still owned by them,” Sam continued.

“Whose that?” Charlie asked.

“A place called St. Angela’s Centre for Hope? There’s pictures of Dick with the Massachusetts staff on the site, but it looks like Dick has founded a number of Centers across the country,” Sam pointed at the screen indicating Dick amongst the staff photo.

“Dude isn’t that where we went to get, what was that dickwad’s name Mack? Mi- Zain-”

“Zachariah Harrington and yes it is.”

“Yeah we’ve been to this place Charlie. Benny and I had to get their approval to go on the property, sleazy fuck, wouldn’t let us on the grounds,” Dean scowled at the Centre’s website.

“And get this, they sell themselves on rehabilitation through the wisdom of Jesus Christ. It says that the Centre opens their doors to Christian families in need, families that worry about their children loosing faith in God and ignoring the gospels of Christ.”

“So Bible Camp?” Dean asked.

“Not exactly, see here it’s a fully certified rehabilitation clinic that is managed by a number of nuns, physiologists, physical therapists, like full on Rehabilitation Centre,” Sam scrolled through Centre’s objectives.  

“Hey guys, I don’t think it’s as cozy as it sounds or looks,” Charlie piped up.

“What do you mean Charlie?” Dean asked looking at the pristine photographs of a garden with a statue of an Angel standing tall engulfed in green vines. The site continued to show warm rooms with couches and desks, along with a large dining area complete with a long Oakwood table. Smiling faces and an inviting atmosphere filled the website.

“Hey Dean didn’t you mention something about Blue-Eyes having signs of Electrical burns along his back and a trigger response brought on by physical touch?” Charlie inquired.

“Yeah.”

“We’ll I took a look at their electrical bill and it’s exceptionally high. Furthermore, as far as I can tell there’s no indication of a specific machine generating that amount of energy at intermitting times within the compounds.”

“What are you saying?” Dean gripped the edge of the countertop, his knuckles turning white as the previously lowered simmering anger began to boil once again.

“What I’m saying is that unless someone is constantly turning on and off something like an industrial fridge, the surge of electricity sending their bill so high can only be answered through a high voltage shockwave controlled with a switch.”

“Like what I use to jump start cars?” Dean asked, not appreciating where the conversation was heading.

“Exactly like that.”

“Dean, didn’t Dr. Balthazar say that he suspected the guy had been a part of some Homosexual Rehabilitation project?” Sam asked frowning up at Dean.

Dean’s eyes searched the computer screen in front of him and then glanced down at his shattered phone. The panic had set in along with the bubbling fury.

“Dean do you think maybe that St. Angela’s is connected to how the guy ended up starving and on death’s door in the Halfway House?” Charlie asked from Sam’s phone.

Dean didn’t respond, still trying to put the pieces together and only arriving at one answer.

“Dean if that’s the case then it’s very possible that St. Angela’s put him in the House along with Alfie, Krissy and Dorothy. Plus the other body found in the elevator with him.”

“Charlie do you think you could find a way to prove that the guy had been in the Centre?” Dean inquired.

“I might be able to hack the video system or health records, but I don’t have the kid’s name.”

“You can’t get it?” Dean asked scrapping his hand through his hair.

“I can, but I’m not sure I feel comfortable doing it since the guy clearly didn’t want us to know,” Charlie responded her pitch becoming concerned and icy.

“Right, right. You’re right. Fuck. So we have a Serial murder case surrounded by ghosts that were treated by a Homophobic Religious nut job whose now a demonic entity. Adding to that the house they’re all in is where we found the man barley alive and broken in an elevator shaft is also owned by a Homosexual Rehabilitation Centre. That Centre is financed and founded by Dick Roman the CEO of Roman Enterprises, which is in bed with the Westboro Baptist Church and other Far Right-winged politicians. Moreover, Dick sent a passive aggressive email threatening to send Discovery into Bankruptcy if they didn’t drop the episode where we found said all of that bad in the house that Dick pays for. And to top it all off, due to the amount that Roman Enterprises owns in Discovery’s stalks, he not only pays our bills, but he also threatened to cancel us all together because we represent everything his other endeavours stand against. Did I miss anything?” Dean finished.

“Umm Lisa is on our side, but has to stay on the down low,” Charlie added.

“Right,” Dean walked to the cupboard and reached down to drag out the whiskey bottle.

“Dean it’s barley 2:30,” Sam scorned the bottle as Dean poured himself two-fingers.

“It’s 4:30 here,” Charlie supplied.

“Sam, we just dug up a much bigger piece of shit than we’d originally planned and not only that we saved a guy that could possibly sue them all for massive Human Rights violations and even attempted murder. I think it calls for a drink,” Dean swung the drink back and poured himself another. He reaches up grabbing Sam a small glass tumbler holding it up to him in question.

“Make it a double,” Sam sighs.

Dean set the drink down in front of Sam and closes the laptop, hiding the images away from their line of sight. Charlie was still on the phone, the minutes ticking by on Sam’s phone screen. “Hey Char I kinda threw my phone and shattered it. Do you think you could pull all the numbers off the phone and put them in my new one?”

“Yeah no problem Dean, I’ll order you a new one and program the same information when it arrives.”

“Thanks,” Dean wondered back over to the charcoal grey couch in the living room plunking himself down.

Charlie said her goodbyes to Sam and promised to gather more information. Sam wonders over to sit next to Dean on the couch. Hesitating for a moment Sam turns, “What are you going to say when you call him?”

“I don’t know Sam,” Dean looked forlornly at the blank space where the picture frame once sat sometime earlier.

Sam hummed, “Maybe start with Hello and work from there.” 

Dean smirked at the suggestion knowing full well that the only way to have this conversation was going to be seeing him in person and warning him that the nightmare was far from over.

Chapter Text

Castiel sat in a dim room. The room was clinical; dark blue walls with black panelling reaching half way from the dark green-carpeted floor. The desk in the far corner was a cold grey plastic and aluminum, behind it a large window looking out into the parking lot of the office building currently hidden by a large cream white blind. Beside the desk was a large tin bookcase that was the home of a number of books: Influence: Science and Practice, The Art of Choosing, The Honest Truth About Dishonesty, Seeking Safety: A Treatment Manual for PTSD and Substance Abuse, Trauma and Memory, The Evil Hours: A Biography of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Castiel’s eyes glossed over the row upon row of psychology books, trauma manuals, and child development texts and focused solely upon the bottom shelf where three little plastic ponies were stationed beside a tiny plastic Red Barn. The barn propped up a black-leather bound King James Bible. Frowning his mind became lost in the tunnel vision of the bottom shelf wondering how the out of place pieces found home there and how it was that the Bible was the one book, out of all the rest, chosen to exist amongst that world.

“Castiel, it’s been five session and about a month since you returned home, How are things today? Are the nightmares still coming every night?”

Castiel blinked back into focus and turned his head to the dark-haired woman sitting across from him in a matching plastic navy chair, a chair better suited for a waiting room than a non-profit clinic, “What?”

“The nightmares, have you gotten more sleep this week?”

“Oh umm,” Castiel inhaled deeply as the vague image of last night’s terror flitted across his mind, “Gabe’s been letting me take naps to catch up when the shop is slow so it- it’s been okay.”

Dr. Amelia Richardson quirked a dark eyebrow and pursed her lips as she titled her head to look closer at Castiel’s hunched over form. She was a striking woman, dark eyes with dark hair cascading over her shoulders in swirling curls. Castiel liked the colour she was wearing today: hot pink splashes over a simple white dress. She wore simple tiny gold hoops in her ears and a small gold wedding band donned her left hand. She was gentle and spoke softly to Castiel. All he knew about her was that she was well educated, but preferred to work in the non-profit public sector. She had a niece who often stayed with her during the day, hence the toys. And her husband had returned from his Military duty in the Middle East with Type-A PTSD before committing suicide 8 months later, thus her speciality.

“How long did you sleep last night Castiel?”

Shifting uncomfortable he replied, “Two maybe three hours.”

“On a scale from 1 to 10, how bad was it?”

“9.”

Amelia leaned towards him her eyes shining with sincere compassion, “Do you want to talk about it?” Castiel shook his head closing his eyes as the dim room began to shrink, the shadows pushing in on him from all angles. “What was the scarcest part?”

“Th- The,” Castiel gasped, “I was in the elevator and I saw him petting Alfie’s hair above before- sl-slaming it against the elevator door. I watched his body fall and smack against the floor beside my feet.”

Castiel began to shiver in the chair, his eyes screwed shut as the calm voice of Amelia continued, “It’s okay, Castiel open your eyes you’re safe here. Come on it’s okay.”

Castiel opened his eyes slowly, focusing them upon the warm face of his therapist as she smiled, “See? Safe. Now, tell me if your crazy brother has created anything else outlandish this week.”

Castiel embraced the distraction as his breathing calmed along with his heart describing how Gabriel had blown up the apartment kitchen after trying to make a lava cake with a chocolate filled cherry centre. She laughed as she stood up to open the blinds and allow the natural sunlight to beam through, warming his face.

“Tell me, is there a food, movie or something that immediately reminds you of a warm memory, maybe from when you were a child?”

“Not really. My mother cooked, but it was pretty bland and my Dad left when I was about 6.”

“What about a song then?” Amelia leaned over to grab the notebook stashed under the chair preparing to record their next session.

“Dad used to play jazz music, he loved Frank Sinatra. Had an old record player that sat in his office at home, I think Gabe has it now,” Castiel smirked subtly recalling coming home from school while his little bee backpack bounced on his shoulders as he ran up the stairs. He remembered running into the house, his mother yelling at him to remove his shoes, stop and pray, something he only did to its minimal capacity. He remembered bounding into the office, his father scruffy in appearance, his glasses balanced on the end of his nose as he beamed at his youngest child rushing to crush his side. He loved that man wholly and fully. The entire image is always wrapped up in a mahogany desk and bookshelves, the record player tucked into a corner as the chosen crooner tingled the hairs on the back of his neck.

Amelia smiled, “Why don’t you sit down with that tonight and let the music transfer you to those happy memories. Afterwards or during I’d like you to lay down and try to sleep.”

“Okay,” Castiel knew it wouldn’t work, but he was willing to try.

“Alright, good. So I’ll see you in a few days, be kind to yourself Castiel. Gentle. Have one of those crazy desserts for me,” Dr. Amelia smiled kindly at Castiel as he rose to leave.

He walked outside waving at the receptionist on his way out the door. He gazes up at the blue sky, the edges of the freshly awoken trees blooming and reaching towards the atmosphere above. He hears the return of migrating birds and the small hesitant songs of robins just waking up ready to embrace the arrival of spring. April.

How had spring arrived so quickly? It feels like yesterday that I was kicking my way up the path at home with the leaves rotting around my feet,’ he thinks as he sees Gabriel’s cherry-red mini whipping around the corner with its tires screeching to stop in front of him.

“Hey kiddo, sorry I’m late had a bit of an equipment emergency,” Gabriel peeled away from the curb heading back home. Castiel silently nodded at his brother’s antics, his hands waving in the air about closing the shop and loosing money on the unbaked cakes in the broken oven, as well as, the absent customers.

Castiel still rarely spoke outside of the clinic and the only reason he spoke there was cause at the beginning, talking about the nightmares had helped. Clearly that had stopped.

A week ago, he’d been able to sleep through the night for two days straight, but he awoke to the crackle of thunder in the air one oddly warm night. He’d seen Alastair crawling up the bed towards him as his rotten hands pulled down the covers. Flashes of lightening intermittently showed him getting closer and closer till his breathe cascaded down his face. He smiled in Castiel’s face with one crash of thunder promoting him to bolt straight up in bed screaming. The return of the nightmares promoted another night of Gabriel whispering words of comfort while he kissed his brow as he stoked his hair holding him tightly. After that, the nightmares returned like clockwork. He’d gotten in the habit of keeping himself awake and sleeping only when his exhausted still healing body demanded sleep.

The physiotherapy for his shoulder, now without a sling, was going well, but he was told he’d never be able to lift his arm up fully. As for his knee, it was a slower healing process. Some days he needed a cane to get around, but the therapist admitted it would be close to a year before he would be able to move completely on his own everyday.

When he’d ditched the crutches last week Gabriel immediately went out and bought him a cane. It was possibly the gaudiest thing he’d ever laid his eyes on: gold with red and silver designs and a clear handle with gold flacks, yet it did the job.

Castiel followed Gabirel once he’d parked behind the bakery shuffling behind him.

“Hey kid, I’ve gotta deal with this shit show so why don’t you get some shut eye upstairs and I’ll wake you to help with dinner. Lasagna sound good?” Gabriel bounced as he waited for Castiel to make his way to the stairs, nodding in response. “Great! See you later bro,” Gabriel dashed through the back door of the bakery .

Castiel slowly moved up the stairs and opened the door, brushing his fingertips along the paint chipped surface. Behind him he could hear his brother and Rowena shouting at each other about calling a better repair service.

The afternoon lighting in the small apartment was faint, the blinds had been closed the night before and he hadn’t bothered to open them again. Shuffling his feet along the floor Castiel bent down to pick up a discarded piece of Gabriel’s clothing tossing it down the hall towards the bedroom. He wandered over to the far corner where Gabriel had stashed their father’s record player. The record player sat on the floor with a box containing a few records he’d grabbed upon leaving home those many years before.

Castiel slowly lowered himself down on the floor making sure to keep his knee straight. His foot brushed the wall as he pulled the box over to find a record pulling out the first album, Frank Sinatra. He smiled softly to himself as he ran his fingers over the dusted cover before pulling out the record. He placed it careful on the table and tapped the needle in place. The player likely hadn’t been used in a number of years, only remaining as a passing memento to a now absent father. Castiel reached over to turn the volume dial up, the sound slightly muffled as the air filled with a puff of dust dancing through the sunlight peaking through the gaps in the curtains.

The easy crooning of Sinatra filled the air as he continued to stroke the dusty album cover, Frank Sinatra Blue Skies and the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra. Horns filled the room pausing time around Castiel, a dull lighting and stillness in the apartment transferred him away from his reality. Smiling to himself Castiel remembered sitting in a large leather chair nestled between bookcases in his father’s library and office. Papers scattered the floor and the desk, a light breathe whispered through the open window as curtains fluttered in the air around him. He must have been about 4, his legs too short for his feet to reach the ground. He remembered how he usually hopped up on the chair after spending mornings with his mother in their Church’s day programs. The brief thought contributed to his mother made his smile drop, but the music continued to twirl the memory in his mind.

Castiel caught his foot tapping the wall and huffed a breath of laughter recognizing the happy thoughts filling his mind to the rhythm. He sees his little feet bouncing to the music as his father twirls around the room, dancing with an imaginary partner only stopping in front of Castiel to pick him up. They had twirled around the room as Castiel giggled down at his father’s beaming face.

“Come on Cassie! Sing!”

Castiel quietly sang to the room, “Never saw the sun shinin’ so bright never saw things goin’ so right, noticing the days hurrying by when you’re in love, my how- ”

His skin turned cold as the memory blackened with a different memory jading the old joy for a recent horror. A scraping voice dripping with acid and smelling of sulphur sang the words as Castiel began to remember Alastair holding him against the shaft’s wall with his chest flat against the cold brick while the entity’s nails scrapped over his bareback.

‘Sing for me Castiel. You hellish filth. I’ll start, Blue days, all of them gone no blue skies from now on.’ Castiel had screamed as tears streaked down his face the pain causing him to retch the happy memory and comfort from his mind.

He had whimpered the words into the elevator shaft, “Blue Skies smilin’ a-AH-t mmm-e Ah mnh huh noth-nothing but blue SKI-aah do I see.”

Castiel found himself in a trance scrunching his brows as a sudden pressure was felt along his temples forcing the memory to flash across his closed eyes. The music turned ominous crowding around his ears, sharp metal clashed as nails along a chalkboard scraped over his eardrums. Castiel shuddered as his knees were drawn up to his chest; the room around him became dark as Alastair’s voice faded into the background.

Why did he think this was a good idea?’ he chastised himself. In the distance his brother’s voice became louder as the dual sound of feet pounded their way up the stairs. Castiel shivered in the corner of the room refusing to open his eyes. ‘It’s not real. He’s not here. Go away. Go away.’ Castiel’s internal pleas turned to mumbled words floating in the still air of the apartment.

“Not there. Not there. Boston, Massachusetts. Y-you are Cas-Castiel Novak. You are s-afe. Gabriel your brother is – down-stairs. Boston, Castiel, Downstairs. Boston, Castiel, Downstairs,” moving his hands to his ears and gripping his hair he began to rock.

In the distance Castiel could hear banging from the front door followed by his name, each bang causing him to flinch. A scuffling noise interrupted it, as his words became a shouted mantra. The door flung open.

“HEY, don’t just fucking barge in her- Oh my God Cassie!”

The creaked around him as he continued louder, “Boston, Castiel, Downstairs!”

Castiel’s voice suddenly stopped as a warm pressure folded around his hands pulling on his hair. The warmth encompassed them and slowly began to pull them from their place, causing him to unfold himself from his knees, his eyes still tightly closed. The room was quiet as the warmth lowered his hands slowly cupping them on his own knees as his head rose and his eyes focused in front of him.

Castiel breath stalled in his throat to the image of soft green eyes and a gentle smile, “Hey Angel, How you doin’?”

Castiel’s captured breath stuttered out shaking his chest in release as he pushed out the man’s name, “Dean.”

Dean shifted to look behind him to Gabriel standing awkwardly in apartment with the door still open. Castiel could see Rowena perched on the stairs with the phone lighting up her surroundings ready to call the cops. Gabriel turned back to Rowena, “Go back and wait for the repair service I think we’re going to be okay.”

“Shoot yourself love just let me know if you need anything,” the woman swayed back down to the shop as Gabriel walked forward closing the door tightly behind her.

Castiel turned his eyes back to Dean and down to where his hands were still cradled in his lap. Castiel’s body stiffened as the soft, ever-present, whisper of Alastair came forth, ‘Diseased.’ Gulping he slowly pulled his hands away from Dean’s tucking them close to his chest.

Dean glanced over at his actions a pained expression dashing across his face before looking up at Castiel apologetically, “Sorry.”

Castiel nodded in silence before scrunching his face wondering how Dean had even found him. Before he could muster up enough strength to speak his brother whisked back into the living room pointing at the man sitting next to him.

“How the hell did you find him? You stalking him? Huh? What fuckin’ right do you think you have coming here!?” his brother fumed shifting past Dean’s feet to stand between him and Castiel.

“I’m sorry man, but like I said downstairs it’s urgent.”

“Like Hell it is! Cassie left that place far behind and as far as I’m concerned and from what the Doc had to say You should stay away,” Gabriel harshly jabbed Dean in the chest, “and besides there’s a thing called a phone! Heard of it?”

“Jesus I know, but they could easily have tapped your phon-”

“Who the FUCK could have tapped our phones?”

“Roman Enterprise and possibly the far right-winged faction of the government,” Dean focused his attention on the overly protective force in front of him as Castiel darted his eyes back and forth.

“The government?” Gabriel deadpanned in disbelief.

“Well some of them, but mainly Ro- you know what just let me show you,” Dean reached down to a bag stashed at his feet that Castiel had failed to notice.

Dean dragged out a large folder thick with paper and began flipping through them on his lap. From his angle Castiel noticed the passing of St. Angela’s Centre for Hope’s logo, a flash of Zachariah’s name and then Dean settled on what he was looking for before snapping it up to Gabriel’s face, “Here read.”

Gabriel looked back and forth between the paper at hand, Dean and then Castiel before sighing and reading, “Where did you get this?”

“From the same person that found out where you two lived.”

“And who’d that be?”

“Charlie Bradbury,” Dean replied smugly.

Castiel’s eyes widened at the mention of Charlie’s name and reached up to soothe his brother. Gabriel glanced down at him, “You know her?”

He nodded in response before shifting to unravel himself from the floor and dashing off to get a piece of paper and pen. Returning Castiel wrote down, CHARLIE?

Dean glanced at the paper before refocusing his gaze on Castiel’s, “Yeah Charlie.”

Dean’s eyes never left Castiel as the man once again began to write, WHAT DID SHE FIND?

“She found out why your episode was cancelled and some other dirt about how you might’ve ended up in the elevator,” Dean cautiously mentioned the final part, watching as Castiel flinched subtly before underlining WHAT in the previous message.

“Buddy I think you should sit down first,” Dean sighed, holding the file tightly.

Castiel’s breathing began to pick up as he shifted closer to the man on the couch gripping the paper tightly in Dean’s face. A guttural noise of frustration launched out of his throat.

WHAT

Suddenly Castiel dropped the paper and pen as his hands flew up to his shirt tugging on the neckline. One of his hands reached for his head as nails scrapped down his scalp. His breathing became rapid as his body bubbled over with rushing heat before he felt his knees buckle. A sharp twinge of pain jolted up through his injured knee as it hit the floor. His ears became clogged with a wave of freezing cold air and the blinding afternoon light shocked his system.

In the distance he could hear his brother yelling his name with the dull pressure of Gabriel’s hands trying to refocus his mind, “Cassie come on, come back to me. You’re fine. Say it with me Castiel. ‘Boston, Castiel, Here.’ Come on baby bro with me now, ‘Boston, Castiel, Here.’ Castiel!”

The flash of light made me slam his eyes shut, the darkness flowing in to surround him, cold air reminding him of long winter nights in a dark abandoned elevator shaft. Air refused to find it’s way to his lungs and the darkness began to take the shape of a lanky sneering corpse. The pressure of his brother’s hand disappeared and the ice in his exposed skin was thawed by warmth.

The image began to fade as the familiar warmth refocused him. Castiel felt a earnest pressure on his forehead and the silk comfort of a name, “Come on Angel come back to us. You’re okay. Come on now. That’s it, one breathe in and another out like we practiced. In. Out.”

Castiel slowly opened his eyes as his breathing slowed and the tightness in his skin became a dull itch. Once again the darkness was filled with summer green, “There you go buddy. In. Out. Good Castiel. Good.”

“I think you should leave Dean,” Gabriel crouched on the floor with them, his hand holding his brother’s ankle.

Castiel glanced down at the scattered folder on the floor. Leaning back Castiel slowly raised himself off the floor, shuffling his knee beneath himself and hopping to the couch before reaching down for the folder. Grabbing the piece of paper with the Centre’s logo from the floor Castiel inhaled deeply before pushing his imprisoned voice out momentarily, “What did Charlie find?” flittering his eyes up to lock Dean in place.

“Uhh Let- let me show you and maybe we ca-” Dean walked over to the couch sitting down carefully so as not to sit to close to Castiel.

Castiel waited patiently watching as the man sat forward with his knees close together noticing that he was clearly trying to maintain no physical contact with him. Castiel swallowed remembering that Dean would be appalled if he knew what he thought of him. How the nightmares had begun as something more innocent, usually revolving around him and a life he knew he was not worthy of dreaming about, never mind having.

“Before I start I just have one question okay?” Dean waited for Castiel’s affirmation before continuing, “Do you recognize that logo?”

Castiel nodded as he dully prepared himself for Dean to put the pieces together.

“Okay. Were you living there before?”

Castiel nodded slightly boring his eyes into the paper at hand.

“Did- did they put you in that house?”

Castiel’s breathing froze in his chest as the minimal warmth he’d gathered slipped out of his skin.

“Castiel?”

“yes,” he whispered.

From his side he heard Gabriel hiss as Dean shifted forward looking at Castiel still frozen in place, “Alright, then you need to know all of it.”

Dean gathered the scattered pages placing them on the coffee table in front of them. Castiel listened intently only closing his eyes briefly as the images of Dr. Alastair Heyerdahl flipped by. Dean only stopped briefly on him before tying the property back to the Centre then the Centre to Zachariah and Dick Roman. The sun had set by the time Dean had finished explaining the connections and what Charlie had found on the bank statements, dinner had passed and Gabriel was lounging on the floor by Castiel’s feet.

“So that’s that,” Dean said.

“So let me get this straight here Deano, Cassie is the only person to get out of that hell hole alive, correct?”

“Yes. Charlie was unable to find anyone else.”

Gabriel nodded contemplating the information, “Is he safe?”

Glancing briefly at Castiel’s still form, “I don’t know.”

Gabriel slumped forward, “Shit.”

“I promise you, man, I won’t let anything happen to him,” Dean locked eyes with Gabriel.

“Right. So what should we do?”

“Well considering that it reaches all the way back to the network and since Sam and I paid the hospital bills it probably won’t take much for Roman Enterprise to find him.”

Castiel’s eyes widened as his breathing once again picked up pace, closing his eyes he mumbled, “Boston, Castiel, Here,” With each word he inhaled and exhaled slowly.

Dean continued, “Charlie is working up a plan to start to knockin down a few pillars. Plus I’ve got a connection with a bigwig senator back in Nebraska, Ellen Harvelle, she practically raised Sammy and I so we’re solid. She also believes strongly in the whole liberty for all thing.”

Castiel frowned as he slowly stood up nodding at Dean’s words. He could feel the delayed exhaustion begin to set in, but before his body and mind gave out his goal was to wash away the sharp residue of panicked sweat. Pointing towards the bathroom so that Gabriel knew where he was going Castiel disappeared down the hall and behind a closed door. Not looking at the covered mirror he reached for the shower knobs and waited for the water to warm up. His mind was blank, too much information and too many emotions forcing his soul to vacate his body temporarily.

The water brought back his sense of awareness but his feet began to feel like weighted boots dragging him below the floor like a sailor tossed over board. In the distance he heard Dean and Gabriel discussing things further in hushed tons as he towed himself to the mattress on the floor. Without further thought he crashed on the bed, towel still wrapped around his hip, his wet clothing discarded on the bathroom floor because he had forgotten to remove when he had entered the shower. His hair dampened the pillow below his face as the light from the living room and bathroom highlighted the bedroom around him. Sighing heavily Castiel allowed the weight to pull him under farther knowing fully Alastair would be waiting for him on the other side, but too exhausted to resist.

Chapter Text

Castiel scuffled his feet out to the silent apartment’s kitchen. The pullout couch was noticeably unopened as a pillow was stashed between the armrest cushions while an orange blanket was smashed into the bottom of the couch. Glancing around Castiel searched for any signs that Dean had remained after his departure. His sleep was fitful, gasping awake around three in the morning and dozing off and on until now. He must have dozed off when Gabriel had left to go downstairs to open up or at least check on the state of the oven.

Castiel reached for a muffin in the far corner of the tiny kitchen. Dean clearly hadn’t slept there. Taking tiny bites his spirit dived further as he huffed at his disappointment, ‘Of course he hadn’t stayed Castiel, you idiot. You’re broken. Filth. Nothing. How could he ever tolerate something like you?’ Castiel sighed placing the half eaten muffin on the counter, his appetite lost to his rationalization. ‘So stupid.’

A clanking noise from downstairs caught his attention reminding him that he should get dressed and join his brother in the shop to at the very least offer moral support. Holding onto the towel wrapped around his waist he wondered into the bathroom. The lights were blinding in the white tiled room with its white linoleum floor flacking in the corners from wear. The sink was once white, as well, but had stained over time to an off yellow. Water sputtered out of old pipes as Castiel reached for his toothbrush keeping his eyes downcast on the water running and swirling down the drain. Gabriel had permanently covered the mirror after he had told him that Alastair was going to drag him through it. Absurd he knows, but he had learned that Alastair liked to play visual tricks on him in mirrors, casting shadows in the corners or manifesting behind him. One time he’d been in the shower and had fallen down when he saw the man’s figure standing behind the curtain. He’d whipped the curtain back to nothing dragging his eyes to the mirror to find the man diving for him from where he was standing. After the incident where Gabriel and shoved sedatives in his mouth, apologizing and silently crying along with Castiel’s distress, injuring the healing knee and shoulder in the process, Gabriel had kept the mirror covered. Castiel had barely seen his reflection since.

Castiel hung the damp towel up on the hook behind the door and walked naked to the room to put clothing on. Soft ripped light jeans were dragged over his legs while he awkwardly leaned against the wall for support. He reached down to find his favoured faded black AC/DC t-shirt, where it had come from he wasn’t sure. Gabriel theorized it had arrived with the donated hospital clothe. There was a tiny tear along the neckline and what seemed to be old oil stains darkening random spots. Finally, he walked to the front door and slipped his bare feet into a pair of Goodwill sneakers. He’d picked the once red, now an off pink coloured sneakers. While his brother hadn’t teased him about the choice he did look confused, but Castiel liked them because they reminded him of his big brother’s own sneakers from long ago. Sneakers he remembers his mother burning one day, probably around the last time he saw his brother before he stopped coming home all together.

Walking down the stairs he could hear the continued clanging noise from the kitchen followed by muffled talking mixed with intermittent laughter. Castiel cautiously rounded the bend to see his brother perched on the side of the counter, Rowena sitting cross-legged in a chair with her black dress’ slit flowing over her bare legs and a pair of denim covered legs sticking out from within the oven. A wide chest covered in a black t-shirt caught Castiel’s attention, ‘The repair service must have finally arrived.’ The man’s face was hidden from within, but the chuckled baritone of his voice made Castiel’s ears perk up, he knew that voice.

“Hey Gabe, could you pass me the wrench this nut’s not budgin’ man.”

“Do you think you could tighten a few of my screws afterwards,” Rowena smirked down at the bow-legged man still hidden from view. She flicked her eyes up to giving him a warm smile, “Castiel, love, good mornin’. Did you want some coffee? A full pot was just brewed for the stud muffin there.”

Gabriel bounced down, wrapping an arm around Castiel to drag him over to the full pot, reaching up to grab what he’d designated as Castiel’s mug. Blue with tiny angel wings stamped on the front, he was sure it was originally meant as a joke. Castiel heard a grunt from the oven as Dean straightened himself up to see Castiel.

His eyes connected with Castiel’s as a warm smile greeted him, “Heya Cas, how’d you sleep?”

Castiel glanced at his brother before smiling hesitantly and nodding, dipping his eyes away from Dean’s appealing face to his coffee. The hot liquid clouded around his nose, waking him up further and comforting his nerves.

Gabriel tucked him in closer squeezing his shoulder from his perched spot on the counter, “So, baby bro,” he approached cautiously, “Dean-o here and I were talkin’ last night and we think it might be a good idea to take a little road trip.” Castiel’s eyes widened in panic and confusion.

Dean catches the panic as his smile turns down with worry, “If that’s okay? I mean I could send Sammy or Charlie up here to get ya, but we think it’s best you leave here soon. Hide out for a bit you know?”

Castiel looks around the kitchen frantically, eyes darting over each person as his breathing begins to increase. Rowena steps in to his line of sight cupping his face gently between her long red nailed hands, “Castiel, sweet lad he ain’t going to bite you, but it’s not safe here. You know that, Gabriel knows that and I know that. Dean is the best option for staying ahead of these bampots.”

He knew they were right, but how would they get away? Where were they going? And could they really outrun someone who could find them without any real problems? Rowena patted his cheek before going to check on the inventory.

Dean dusted his jeans off as Gabriel went to follow Rowena into the backroom, “So I was thinking we could head out after I’m done here. Sound good Cas?”

Castiel flicked his eyes up to Dean’s face before deciding that it was safer to focus on the mess behind him instead. Castiel inhaled deeply nodding in reply.

“Okay. Why don’t you go upstairs to pack a bag. Anything you forget we’ll just pick up on the way or you can bum off me,” Dean scratched the back of his neck nervously as the awkward tension floated around them.

Castiel nodded as he turned back to return to the apartment packing his things in a small purple backpack that once belonged to Gabriel. On the front the logo of Cordon Bleu was stitched into a pocket with a tiny bee stencilled in with permanent marker by his younger self decorated the bottom corner. Castiel bounced the bag over one shoulder standing in the doorway glancing around the apartment unable to shake the feeling that he was forgetting something.

Toothbrush? Check. A few pair of underwear? Check. Clothe? I barely have any, but yes. Shoes? On my feet. Phone? Pocket.’ Castiel shrugged his shoulders as he closed the door behind himself slowly walking down with his cane in hand.

From the stairwell Castiel could hear his brother talking, “Sorry we’re closed for maintenance.”

“Oh well you see my wife here was told the other day by one of your employees you were a great place to grab coffee so we’d even take a to-g-” a man’s voice responded.

Castiel froze. He knew that voice. Uriel. They’d found him. Castiel reached the bottom step shaking as he saw his brother standing in the doorway. He couldn’t see Uriel, but he did see a woman with bright red hair poke her face in over Gabriel’s shoulder looking around the building. Abaddon.

Castiel’s world began to enclose around him, ‘There’s no escaping. They had no problem killing Alfie what would stop them from hurting Gabriel, Rowena or Dean? No. I have to run. I have to do something, but what? I can’t go back. I Can’t!

Suddenly the door leading into the shop opened as the image of Dean crawling on all fours reached his vision. Dean ducked under the window before grabbing Castiel by his arm and dragging him out the backdoor. Castiel felt the world speed up, noise returning and air harshly expanding his lungs. The touch lite his body and heart on fire with one thought. ‘Run!’

Dean dragged him outside carefully closing the door behind them and rushed around the side of the building before coming to a sudden stop. He could hear Abaddon aggressively explaining to his brother that they should be allowed in or they’d report them for refusing them. From his side Dean huffed at the comment and rolled his eyes, “Fucking homophobic bible thumpers, like that’s what they worry about?”

Castiel frowned at the comment as the man turned around to face him, their faces inches from each other. His eyes were lite in concentration as a life of cautious action encased his body. The determination and focus of Dean’s presence pressed up against his side reminded him that Dean may be a temptation, but he was a temptation that would keep him safe.

Dean’s head nodded towards a black muscle car stationed on the street, droplets of morning dew dotted the silk black body and fogged the windows. The man dipped his head around the corner before looking back at Castiel once again biting his bottom lip. Castiel knew that if he weren’t shaking with fear and a desire to flee he’d have been transfixed upon the man’s lush lips worried between perfect white teeth.

Dean grabbed his keys from his pocket and slid his hand into Castiel’s. One second Dean was huffing to calm his nerves the next they were dashing down the sidewalk away from the shop. As they reached the car Dean slipped his hand out of Castiel’s whisking around the front to open the car, allowing Castiel and himself to slide into the front seat. Looking up Castiel could see Abaddon’s face contorted with fury whipped around to look towards the loud rumbling of the car as it skirted away from the sidewalk. She smacked Uriel’s arm as they rushed forward to stop Dean, but Dean’s reflexes were too quick, darting the car around the pair causing the backend of the vehicle to sway into the other lane. Castiel could hear a car blaring its horn as he trained his eyes on the rear-view mirror watching Abaddon and Uriel run to their own vehicle.

Dean suddenly jerked the car into a back lane and pulled to a stop behind tall bushes, making sure to turn the car off. Castiel and Dean sat silently in the car holding their breath as the sound of another car roared past down the street and faded into the distance. Dean released his breath, started the car and slowly manoeuvred back to the main road before turning down the next side street. Castiel whipped his head around the car checking each mirror and window, every street and angle to see if they’d found them again.

“Dude relax, were goin’ on the freeway and once we’re there they ain’t catching us,” Dean said.

Castiel stopped to look at him as the man leaned forward looking for the Exit Sign. Once they were on the freeway Dean relaxed into his seat tapping the leather steering wheel. Castiel released a puff of air following Dean’s example relinquishing his hold of his flight or fight instinct prickling at his spine.

“You should give your brother a call so we can toss the phone.”

Castiel looked at him with befuddlement.

“It’s so they can’t track you. I guarantee you they’re just waiting for you to give the pipsqueak a call then they’ll follow us all the way to South Dakota.”

Castiel looked at his phone before dialling his brother, reasoning that a text message after escaping was probably not the best idea. He inhaled in preparation of pushing his unused voice out in order to comfort his brother.

Cassie! You there? Oh my God tell me you’re okay!

“I’m here,” he croaked.

“Shit, okay good. Is Dean with you?”

“Yes.”

“You heading to the safe house?”

Castiel looked at Dean before squinting and tapping the speakerphone, “On speakerphone.”

“Hey Deano, you headin’ out to where we discussed?”

“Yup. I’m grabbing Cas some burner phones along the way so we’ll keep you posted. You still got Sam’s number?”

“Yeah it’s right here.”

“Good. If there’s anything else that comes up give Sam a shout and he’ll let us know. We should be there in a couple of days.”

“Sounds good. Hey Cassie, take care of yourself okay and try to give me a call everyday. Jesus listen to me I sound like a mother hen,” Gabriel forced laughter filled the car.

“Okay Gabriel,” Castiel replied.

“Love you kiddo.”

“Love you too Gabe,” Castiel swallowed.

“Fuck, kay I’m coutin on you Dean. Keep me posted. Talk later,” Gabriel hangs up.

Castiel sighs as he pockets his phone. Wrapping his arms around himself Castiel pointedly ignores the shift of Dean’s weight in the driver’s seat beside him. Dean clears his throat before leaning over to turn the radio on. Castiel flicks eyes nervously back to the side mirror, making sure to not keep his eyes focused for too long.

Time passes slowly as the car races past small towns and farm fields. Nothing is growing yet, but once in a while Castiel watches as groups of workers move about the land checking the soil in preparation for an early planting season. Dean stops to fill up for gas sometime later mumbling about the mileage before finishing the top-up, paying and returning with a bottle of Coke and bag of Doritos for Castiel.

“Uh, wasn’t sure what you wanted, but I figured you should eat something anyways. We’ll stop at a diner before calling it a night,” Dean smiled hesitantly at him notably still unsure about how to interact around him.

Castiel nods forcing a hushed word of Thanks between his lips, the presence of his voice within the confines of the car warms Dean’s eyes, bringing the stormy hunter green to a soft summer moss. Castiel’s breath catches in his throat as he feels his cheeks flush with the man’s attention before lowering his eyes and turning his head back to the window. Dean clears his throat before pulling away from the station and back on to the highway.

Dean opens his window to allow a crisp air to float over his face, the edges of it holding the promise of an oncoming summer. The air and rock of the car beneath Castiel causes him to doze off in the car, the comforting smell of soft leather and oil lulling him to sleep, as the edges of cinnamon and sugar makes him smile. His world and worries seep away from his bones and sleep fully overcomes him.

___________

Castiel opens his eyes from the backseat of the Impala. He’s unsure how he ended up in the backseat; perhaps Dean had moved him thinking that it’d be more comfortable. However, it didn’t truly seem to matter.

In front of him he can see the back of Dean’s head, his dark blonde hair spiked haphazardly in a purposeful carefree manner, his shoulders are wide and strong covered in brown leather. The window is still open and from the radio arises a soft hum, the music is dull, its lyrics intangible to the haze that clouds the vehicle. Dean isn’t alone.

Castiel shifts his attention to the passenger seat. He scrunches his brows together wondering who had joined them. Another ghost Hunter? Maybe a tech-analysis like Charlie? Castiel found himself leaning forward slightly to take in the man sitting before him. Neither driver nor passenger turned around to see him, focused upon the road ahead. The passenger had a slim neck and was wearing a white dress shirt stained yellow from harsh water on the edges of its collar. The man’s skin was slightly greyed, but he reasoned it was the car’s lighting. His hair was patchy from what he assumed was unfortunate patterned baldness. He could see part of the man’s profile: sharp cheekbones with an angular face and a pointed nose. Castiel looked back at Dean shifting to get closer to the front seat, his attention now fully on the beautiful driver. As he brought his head slowly around to the passenger he came face to face with black eyes inches from his nose.

Alastair grinned at Castiel, his yellowed teeth jagged and broken as they rotted from his darkened gums. The smell of rotten flesh and eggs filled the car, overpowering the lingering scent of comfort found prior. His eyes widened as Castiel flung himself back into the backseat hitting his head on the low roof. Alastair fully turned his body around and reached out a hand to stroke down Castiel’s face before lunging for his hair and pulling the strands harshly from his scalp. Castiel released a shriek of terror darting his eyes over to the back of Dean’s head still unaware of the entity before him.

“Oh Castiel, what did I tell you about playing with pretty boys? You are damned. Heaven will cast you away to be thrown for eternity into Hell. Boys like you have a special treatment waiting to show you just what kind of pleasure you truly desire and how demented it is,” Alastair spat in his face.

The fleeting look of glee in the man’s face is rapidly replaced with fury and disgust. Castiel watches as Alastair leans back to undo his belt buckle, Castiel’s eyes flare in terror knowing well what the click of metal meant and precisely how it felt upon his own skin. Alastair brings his hand up with the leather folded in half and raised his hand as high as he could before brining it down swiftly across Dean’s neck.

“NO,” Castiel dives forward trying to block the material from leaving a garish mark upon Dean’s freckle painted skin. Horrified Castiel watches as the unmoving, unflinching presence of Dean’s skin begins to form a welt. The burned skin is a fiery red and bubbling with pained heat. Alastair yanks Castiel’s head back sharply forcing his neck backwards at an odd angle, exposing it to the air.

A rotted heat ghosted over his face and stilled by his ear, “If I can’t have you I’ll just take him.”

“No, please don’t,” he whimpered.

“Tsk Castiel, Angel,” he grinned, “if you think what I did to you was bad just wait till you see what I can do to him. I’ll have him splayed open upon a wrack of thorns whispering in his ear about how you put him there.” Tears fall down Castiel’s face, “and when I’m done with him I’ll give him the knife and tell him to scrape away all the evil from your flesh, your bones, your innards and then finally your soul. Cause he’ll learn that his mangled image in the mirror is your fault, your doing.”

“stop,” he silently whispered to the air.

Alastair pauses as he brings forth the image of Dean’s bowed legs spread on the floor from beneath the oven. The image transfers to a memory of a dream where the same man had been found spread, still clothed, beneath Castiel, his eyes shinning with desire for him.

Alastair snickers in his ear, “What do you think he’d say if he knew you dreamed about him in such a way? What would he say if he learned how your breathing stops when he looks at you? How even though you scream awake in terror the slight hum of previous arousal still causes you to force the sinful thoughts away with ice-cold water? What would he do Castiel, Cas, Angel if he found out who you really are?”

Castiel shudders as he sees from the corner of his eyes Alastair raise his hand before the sharp sting of leather strikes his cheek.

“STOP!” Castiel flies forward slamming his arms into the dashboard when Dean slams on the breaks causing the car to fishtail.

Castiel shrieks, thrashing his body around the car looking for Alastair. He’s in the front seat again, but all at once the car is too small. Castiel fumbles for the door handle, unable to open the door and begins to panic. ‘He’s trapped!’

“Hey, HEY! Okay, okay hold on,” Dean unlocks the door as Castiel flings his body out of the car lands on his hand and knees, the asphalt scraping his hands.

Cold air whips around his bare arms as Castiel retches Coke and Doritos on to the road. The smell of stomach acid sends a shiver up his spine hitching his breath further in his chest. Snot and tears flow down Castiel’s face as he crawls to grassed ditch.

“Cas? Hey man, it’s all good. No one is tailing u- Castiel!” Dean panics remembering not to touch him, but still wanting to offer comfort.

Castiel runs his hands along the cold wet grass, ‘It must have rained here earlier.’ Sinking back on his legs Castiel looks upwards to the darkening blue sky inhaling deeply.

U.S., Castiel Novak, Boston,” Castiel counts his breathing. “U.S., Castiel Novak, Boston,” with each word he pushes air in and out of his lungs. By the seventh chant Castiel is composed enough to look at the man sitting across from him.

Dean was looking through the forest around them. The man watched a raven perched on a large evergreen with wide braches reaching out towards the road. Castiel watched Dean calmly wait for him. Lingering his eyes over Dean’s profile Castiel hesitated over his lips before shamefully looking back at the car still parked awkwardly on the road, the passenger door still open.

Castiel feels Dean’s eyes upon him causing him to look back at the man. Their eyes lock together once again, something that Castiel has noticed happening often and too easily. ‘He can’t know. He’ll hate me. Leave me on the road or even possibly give me back to Abaddon.’

“You ready Cas?” Dean asks.

Castiel nods not looking at Dean as he tries to stand. The man stops in front of him offering him a hand up. Castiel hesitates, his own hand balancing in the air between them before a remainder of Alastair’s voice whispers in his ear, ‘What would he do?’ Castiel jerks his hand away rejecting his offer of help and stands uncoordinatedly from the ground. His knee screams in protest as he tries to walk forward before he feels his knee give way causing Dean to rush up behind him.

Castiel gasps as he feels the radiating heat of Dean’s chest against his back and strong hands around his chest and under his arms. Dean holds him closely, not wanting to let Castiel fall, “I got ya Angel. Why don’t you let me help you to the car?”

Castiel could feel Dean’s light smile behind him as he shifts carefully still holding onto one arm, wrapping the other around his waist. Castiel begins to vibrate slightly as the warmth from Dean’s hand and arm set fireworks off beneath his skin. The slight brushing of Dean’s warm chest, solid and soft against his one arm makes him cough away the hindered moan trying to crawl out of his throat. It had been a long time since anyone had held him so close.

Dean directs down slowly to sit in the front seat, Castiel swings his legs around slowly and Dean closes the door behind him.

“We’ll stop in the next town to grab a bite and motel room,” Dean starts the car up and continues forward.

Castiel gnaws on his bottom lip refusing to look at Dean before softly releasing his guilt, “I’m sorry Dean.”

“What? No, no it’s all good Cas. Whatever happens I’ve got ya, capisce?” Dean glances over at him, the presence of his eyes upon Castiel’s face forces the young man to raise his eyes from his lap.

“I capisce,” Castiel sighs as Dean returns his words with a smile.

___________________

 

The sunsets behind them as they pull into a diner. A quick meal paid for by Dean because in the rush Castiel had left with no money. Dean plops a piece of pie down in front of him before excusing himself to popping across the parking lot to get them a room. Before long Dean returns to get him and brings them to their room.

Upon entering Castiel immediately notices two beds in one room. He was sharing a room with Dean. He slowly backs up, bumping into Dean’s chest behind him in the doorway.

“I know it isn't fancy, but I hope it’s okay for the night,” Dean says.

Castiel’s eyes widen watching Dean step around him to close the door before setting his own bag down on the bed closest to the door. Dean unzips his bag before grabbing his toiletry bag while Castiel still stands like a cornered animal by the door. Halfway to the bathroom Dean stops to look at Castiel.

“Uh I’m gonna grab a shower, unless you wanted to have one first, but ya settle in and try to grab some shut eye. We’re on the road before the sun tomorrow,” Dean hesitates before nodding and continues into the bathroom, shutting the door.

Castiel releases a shuddered breath, ‘No big deal. Same room, but separate beds. Not a big deal Castiel. He’ll fall asleep and you can just – try to.’ Clenching his jaw he walks to his own bed setting the backpack on top before grabbing his pajama bottoms, leaving the soft AC/DC shirt on for comfort.

From the bathroom Castiel can hear Dean humming through the door causing Castiel to have a solitary moment of peace. Castiel smiles towards the door.

‘He could do this. Dean had been nothing, but kind and patient. He was risking his career, safety and from what I know about the Centre, possibly his life. The least he could do was make sure he showed his appreciation by maintaining a closed platonic conception of their interactions.’ Castiel sighed as he turned around to pull down the bed sheets climbing underneath.

He can’t know the things I’ve thought about him. He can’t know how I count the constellation of freckles upon his skin. How my hand twitches to stroke the oncoming stubble that heightens his masculinity by covering the feminine features beneath. How his lips had tingled when he had felt his breathe upon his neck or how his skin gets hit with electricity with every minor brush of contact. He can’t know how tormented he is by the knowledge that his sinful, disgusting and unnatural thoughts of Dean’s whole self, mind, body and soul makes him long for his reality and knowledge to not be so. Dean did not, could not and will not ever feel that way about him.’

Castiel turned on his side away from Dean’s bed and the door. As he stared at the wall with a commercialized picture of the forested scenery surrounding them, Castiel heard the bathroom door open followed by the soft tap of Dean’s bare feet upon the dingy carpeted floor below. From his place, Castiel forces his breathing to a shallowed pace, clenching his eyes tight away from the image of the shuffling sound of clothing as Dean changed and then got into bed. The light was turned off as the room went dark.

Castiel knew he wasn’t going to be sleeping tonight already sensing Alastair’s presence at the foot of the bed, no doubt smirking at Castiel’s distress to the unwarranted images of Dean shifting in the bed across from him.

“Night Cas,” Dean softly says causing Castiel to cover his head within the crook of his arms, hiding his eyes and ears from the onslaught of darkness and sulphur surrounding his mind. 

He can’t know.’ Castiel thinks as Alastair’s presence could be felt directly in front of his face.

He didn’t sleep that night nor the next two nights following. Castiel only found himself drifting off to sleep in the car when exhaustion finally lulls him to sleep. When he awakes he makes sure to clench his jaw tightly closed, refusing to let his screams of frustration and terror escape his lips.

Chapter Text

Dean turned past a small creek that ran through an empty park. The streets were quiet with softly lite homes sheltering small families around the neighbourhood; this was where he’d decided to make a small life for himself.

He’d moved into the area three years ago when he had thought Lisa and Ben were going to move in with him. The response had been anything but positive. A few days before they were set to move she’d found out that he was bisexual, a piece of him he never thought would be an actual problem, was. Their relationship was having problems before, however, that piece of information had been the last nail in the coffin. He’d interrupted the distance as simply that physical distance and he’d believed that if he provided a home in which they could find time to be together more often it would get better. Lisa thought he was moving too fast and that his silence on his sexuality was proof that he wasn’t honest.

At the time the dismantling of his romanticized futuristic dream had completely broken him. He’d wandered in and out of random people’s houses, abandoning the home he’d saved for. His brother, still enrolled part-time at Stanford had welcomed him to sleep in his shared apartment with his now fiancé, Jessica. But their happiness and the realization that his baby brother had figured it out didn’t help. He hopped to Ellen’s, then Jo’s, Ash’s, Charlie’s, Benny and Andrea’s; no place felt like home.

The last place he’d landed was his father’s house up in the backwoods of North Dakota near the Canadian border. He recalls one morning after another sleepless night staring out in the wilderness as his father stood beside him before quietly asking him if he wanted a fake ID to settle in Canada. Leave his life and start anew. He’d laughed. Nevertheless Dean knew that his father was trying his best, John always tried his best even when he’d alienated the family when he left Dean and Sam at Bobby’s one spring. John Winchester was a shit Dad, but at the end of the day an okay father. He wasn’t absent just partially removed. It wasn’t until he was an adult that Dean understood what he’d done was probably the best thing he could have done. After their mom had passed away, his father had been aimless, angry and vengeful. Sam and Dean had hopped from school to school and lived mostly in the very car he was driving.

Returning to the present, Dean sighed deeply has he clicked the garage door opener and pulled the Impala up into her space in the house. His visit with his Dad had made him realize he didn’t need a family to make a home, he just needed to allow it to happen on its own.

He looked over at the young man curled up in the passenger seat. Cas had barely slept since they left 3 days ago and he was trying to put on a brave face. The young man had a killer poker face, but you can’t hide deep-rooted terror without others clueing into something being profoundly wrong. He didn’t want to wake the young man, but he also didn’t want him to wake up alone in the car, in a strange place.

Dean got out of the car lightly closing the door behind him before walking around to open the passenger door catching Cas before he fell out. Castiel scrunched his face at the movement and opened his brilliant blue eyes slowly, the flickering of eyelashes reminding him of the first time they’d laid eyes on each other in the elevator so many months ago.

“We’re here Cas,” Dean reached for Castiel’s hand to help him out. Castiel hesitated an action that Dean had noticed him do this countless times before. ‘How do I tell him that it doesn’t matter to me what he is without spooking him? How do I tell him that I know he blushes every time we touch or I look at him?’

Dean placed a gentle mask over his own face resisting the urge to frown and vowing that if he ever got his hands on those two bigots he’d rip them a new one. ‘How dare they convince Cas that he is anything but beautiful and his feelings for other men were bad?!’

Castiel shied away from him, but realized that with his cane in the backseat and the long hour in the car his healing knee would likely not be able to transfer him from the car to the house. The young man placed his hand in Dean’s allowing him to step into his personal space before they both walked into Dean’s small two-story house.

Dean gently placed his arm around Castiel’s waist noticing that while the young man had been eating and looking healthier his waist was more than just simply trim.

‘Going to fatten this kid up,’ he thought as he placed him on the charcoal grey couch.

Dean paused to look at him as Castiel slumped into the couch, too exhausted to resist the plush cushions beneath him and the comfortable heat that engulfed them both. Dean’s house was safety. He’d made sure of that a number of years ago when his ghost hunting expertise was less than lucrative and more dangerous. The odd part about it was that it never seemed to be the spirits, but the people that were the real threat. After one threat too many, he bought this house, and with Ben and Lisa in mind, he added a top-notch security system. It is directly hooked up to the police department where his adoptive uncle, PI Bobby Singer and Sheriff Jody Mills worked. Nothing and no one was getting to this man in front of him ever again. And if they did, God help the person that broke that barrier cause while he was a kickass ghost wrangler he was an even better shot. Cas was going to be safe in his home.

“Right, you sit here, maybe grab some more shut eye while I go get the guestroom set up and whip you up something to eat,” Dean left the room, catching the beginning of Castiel’s confused protest forming on his face. ‘Nope, the kid was just going to have to let this all happen cause he was in his home and he took care of people in his home!’

Walking through the archway leading from the open living room and kitchen, he passed a stairway that led up to the small upper floor. Upstairs was his bedroom: simple with a large wooden bedframe with a memory foam mattress, covering it were simple cream sheets and an old quilt supplied by Ellen. Nothing special. On the wall was a cheap full-length mirror that hung horizontal over a heavy wood dresser. His room was an odd mix of new, old, cheap and expensive. Across from the bedroom was a small master bath, the path between the two covered in plush white carpet. Dean may not be a styling guru, but he was the King of Comfort. He supposed the simple purchases originally were bought with the idea that Lisa would make the house a home, but clearly that had gone belly up.

Shaking his head he continued down the hall to the back of the house. If one continued straight through white door stationed in front of him it would lead to a small porch covered with an old oak tree. The backyard was simple and small and Dean relished in the task of cutting it. Something he hadn’t had since the fire took his home and his childhood. Scoffing at himself he admitted, as he had many time before, Bobby and Ellen had given him and Sam their childhood.

Passing the backdoor and down the adjacent hallway Dean came to a small guest bath stationed under the stairs; again, simple and dated. The sink and showerhead were new, but the bathtub, tiles and terrible yellow-orange plaid walls were the original 1970s delight. It really was ugly, but it was his and he never used it. Grabbing new bed sheets and an extra blanket from the hallway closet Dean set about adjusting the unused guestroom.

The guestroom was small and surrounded by wood paneling. The wood paneling had once covered the entire house, but in preparation for the family he’d never have he’d gutted the house. The guestroom was supposed to be Ben’s room and he’d thought to leave it up to the pre-teen to make his own space. Dean exhaled with his arms full of sheets and blankets as he looked out the large window into the small yard. If someone were to lay down on the bed they’d be able to see the edges of the patio and the old oak tree. Dean set the sheets down on a small old chair next to an old wood dresser; his mother’s. If you looked closely you could see where the fire had singed the large wooden structure. The far side of the dresser had been completely replaced by Bobby as a gift to his Dad, but the gesture hadn’t been well received by the heartbroken man.

Dean looked around the room one last time thinking he should really run a vacuum through it, but it would do for now.

“Hey Cas,” Dean walked back to the living room, the young man still staring into space not blinking. He didn’t respond. Looking at him he saw the dark bruises under his brilliant blue eyes, the pasty pale skin only slightly flushed with colour and the downturned edges of his soft pink lips. ‘Such a beautiful man shouldn’t be so sad,’ he thought as he turned to get him some food going. He believed that some nourishment would awaken the scared man, maybe.

He positioned himself within his modern kitchen to see Cas. Filling a glass with cold water Dean looked at the blue irises wilting in the box outside the kitchen window. It didn’t pass his attention that while the blue had reminded him constantly over the past month of the man sitting on his couch, they were now just as wilted. Scrunching his eyebrows in concentration it was the reality of the flowers state that oddly brought him hope, all he had to do was water them. Maybe that’s all he needed to do for Cas, show him he was safe and had a friend.

Dean completed the sandwich, adding pickles and chips on the plate and accompanying it with a large glass of ice water. He set it down in front of Castiel.

“Cas?” he said softly. Castiel blinked and refocused his attention upon him, his eyes scorching Dean’s insides. Dean smiled at him, “Hey.”

Cas gave him a small smile, never allowing himself more than these minor movements and words to slip pass his self-imposed defence. ‘What had they done to him? Who was this kid before?’

“Made you something to eat, try and get it all in, you’re still way too thin,” he joked.

Cas looked at the food and slowly reached passed Dean’s crouched form to take the sandwich in hand, hesitantly looking at him again before taking a large bite.

Dean relaxed and stood up to clean the kitchen, “So your room is ready we’ll get you set up afterwards, maybe you can grab a shower, you’re kinda ripe man.” Castiel only blinked over at him before nodding and continuing to chew.

Dean picked up the empty plate, the pickles remaining on the plate. ‘Guess the kid doesn’t like pickles,’ he smirked.

He walked to the back of the house showing him the bathroom and then the small guestroom, “So this is yours. Get settled maybe have a nap after your shower. Umm Charlie is calling tonight to chat. I’ll make spaghetti, sound good?”

Castiel sat on the bed and nodded as he looked around. Dean rubbed his hands together before walking in to sit on the bed beside him. Castiel stiffened. Dean sighed placing his hands in his lap to prove he was staying put and keeping his distance.

“Look man, I know this isn’t ideal and that you, well, you have some things bothering you. But I promise I’ll do whatever I can to keep those bastards from taking you again. The house is safe and even if they get here I have a few safe houses set about the country. We’ve got you: me, Sam, Benny, Charlie, hell even Lisa. You’re safe.”

Castiel didn’t answer him.

Dean sighed and patted the bed between them, ”Right, well I’ll leave you be, got some work to do of my own. Sam also wants to know you’re here.”

Dean walked away leaving the door ajar. He tapped out a message to Sam and the crew to update them on their location. At some point he heard the guestroom door close.

Later that evening he brought up Charlie’s contact info for a video chat.

“Hey Charlie,” Dean sighed.

“Hey buttercup! Where’s the dashing damsel?”

Dean glanced over his shoulder listening. No sound. “Not sure. Hold on.”

Dean walked to the back and knocked quietly on the door. Castiel answered the door looking like he hadn’t gotten any sleep with hair wildly out of place at all angles. He noted that after their chat with Charlie he’d make sure to get the guy fed again before lightly pushing him towards a shower. In fact he needed one too. Damn he’d been lazy today.

Well not lazy, I’ve been chatting with Sam about the people involved with St. Angela’s Centre for Hope foundation are within the surrounding government. So not lazy, just stationary.

“Umm hi,” Dean shifted awkwardly, “Charlie’s on Skype she’d like to see you.”

Dean waved Castiel to follow him to the living room and slid down the charcoal grey couch to allow Castiel space to fit into the camera’s view. Castiel stood just out of view before wrapping the blanket he’d dragged out with him tighter around himself and sitting down on the couch. Dean subconsciously pressed his jean cladded thigh against Castiel’s knit covered one. Dean could feel the heat passing through the wool and felt Castiel leaning into it him briefly sighing before going stiff and jerking his leg away.

Damn it,’ Dean looked at Castiel before plastering a smile on his face to look back at Charlie.

“Here he is! See I told you I’d get him out of there.”

“Hey Castiel! Heard you had to do a mad dash with the hotshot sitting next you. How was the road trip?” Charlie beamed at Castiel, her warmth vibrating through the computer screen.

Dean smiled at his best friend, ‘If he wasn’t going to get Cas to understand how safe he was then Char sure would.’

Castiel lifted a hand through the blanket to wave at the screen, allowing that small smile to lift his wide pink lips. Dean watched Castiel, ignoring Charlie as they talked.

How do I get him to smile more?’ he wondered.

“So Castiel, I heard all about the mad dash, it was actually me that found out dweedle-bigot and dweedle-homophob were on their way to you. Oh! Yeah, sorry about finding your location. I know you’d wanted to stay hidden, but they found you so it was either let it happen or get there first. I may have also messed up their reservations with the airlines and car-rental, so you’re welcome Mister-I-Hate-Planes,” Charlie rolled her eyes at Dean.

Dean scoffed at her and opened the messenger so Cas could talk back if he wished. He clicked on the messenger button and softly explained to him, “So you can have a say without feeling you need to talk.”

Castiel slowly reached forward and tapped out Thank you before deleting it to ask more about what Charlie had found.

Dean continued to watch the two interact before his phone began to vibrate. He looked at the screen, LISA. He flicked his eyes up to Charlie and Castiel before excusing himself to talk to her, “Sorry guys it’s Lisa, be right back.”

He answered the phone as he went around the corner to the backyard, “Hey Lis, what you got?” He doesn’t see how Castiel’s eyes follow him around the corner listening to him answer the phone with a sad expression skirting across his face.

Chapter Text

Castiel watched as Dean disappeared around the corner, ‘His girlfriend, again. Of course, men like Dean: beautiful, strong, smart, funny, kind. Of course he’d already have someone and of course he’d be straight. How could he stand having him in the house? He’d have to bleach the sheets in his room when he finally threw him out for being too much trouble.’

Castiel swallowed the rise of acid forcing its way up his throat to encompass the darkness within his heart, the grit of his soul and horror soaked brain. Pushing away the tears of loathing Castiel looked back at Charlie, her bright eyes and vibrant red hair shone through the screen. She was resting her face in her hands folded beneath her chin as a sad smile painted her lips and glossed her eyes.

“What’s up Castiel? What’s going on in that pretty head?” she said.

Castiel shook his head, Nothing, he typed out.

“Bull-cocky you look like a kid whose been told he can’t have cake. What’s up Castiel, really?”

Castiel shook his head as Charlie continued to intervene, “Is it about Dean? You know he’s a really good guy, if you wanted to talk to him about anything he’d be all ears. He’s good like that. Hell, I had a pretty bad break-up with my girlfriend a few years back and Dean was the first one on a plane to see me. He even set me up with a sweet rebound, damn that was a good night,” she reminisced without noticing that Castiel’s eyes had gone wide with fascination.

Did- Did Charlie just admit she like girls? But- that can’t be. Sure there were people open with their desires, but not Charlie. Surely,’ he frowned.

The expression caught Charlie’s attention causing her to laugh, “Yeah Cas you heard me I’m super gay. Like rainbow unicorns, Pride parade float Gay. Is that a problem?”

Castiel’s eyes widened further as he shook his head rapidly from side-to-side, NO.

Charlie beamed at him on the computer screen, “You know- Dean’s been to Pride with me? In fact I think he’ll likely want to go this year. You should come!” Charlie bounced in her seat.

Castiel shook his head again as Charlie deflated, “Why not?”

Can’t. Not allowed.

“Not allowed? Dude, of course you are,” she smiled.

Dean? What about his girlfriend?

“Girlfriend? What girlfriend? Dean’s been single si- oh. Lisa?”

Castiel nodded.

“Castiel, Dean isn’t dating anyone. Lisa? - well- ask Dean about that.”

Castiel frowned as Charlie continued to talk, “Trust me Dean is your biggest ally and if you’ve got any questions or concerns floating through your brainwashed head he’s your guy. Talk to him.”

I don’t understand why would Dean want to listen to me? He couldn’t possibly be okay with it, with me.’ He frowned down at the keyboard as Dean came back into the living room.

“Yo Char, Lisa said she might have another avenue for you to work your magic on I’m sending the info to you now, but give her a call.”

Castiel felt his stomach growl causing him to blush and slump into the blanket.

Dean laughed, “Looks like I need to feed the Angel, talk later Char.”

Castiel blushed as he waved at Charlie.

“Bye guys! And Castiel think about what I said! Bye Handmaiden!”

Dean laughed as he leaned pass Castiel to turn the connection off. Castiel’s blush deepened forcing him to chant a prayer in his head hoping that Dean didn’t know what Charlie was talking about, cause surely Dean would throw him out is he ever found out.

As Dean moved away Castiel could smell the heavy mixture of oil, fresh grass, leather and cinnamon radiating off of Dean’s skin. Castiel didn’t notice that he had inhaled deeply allowing the scent of the man to wash away his fears and calm him from within. Once the scents coated his nerves and settled into the columns of bones he stilled in fear as he remembered how unattainable Dean truly was.

“So,” Dean clapped his hands, “Dinner?”

Dean made them spaghetti with his homemade sauce delightfully surprising Castiel. ‘Whatever woman ended up with him was a lucky one,’ he smiled quietly watching Dean slurp up the noodles as it left a streak of red over his chin and on the tip of his nose.

Dean blushed a pretty pink as he wiped away the mess, apologizing for his eating habits. Castiel shook his head as he hide a full smile that stretched across his mouth and over his teeth.

“You should smile more Cas, looks good on you,” Dean beamed at him when Castiel lifted his head to look at the man’s warm green eyes. A jolt of churning muscles in his stomach and heart left him breathless and frightened causing him to force the joy and wild butterflies causing havoc to the far corners of his mind.

Dean let a small huff of laughter out, “Let yourself enjoy little things Cas, and before you know it smiling will be easier. Promise.” Dean took their plates, scowling at Castiel’s only partially eaten dinner before turning to clean them.

“If you want I can put a movie in or something,” Dean turned around to look at him only to catch him releasing a large yawn, the suppressed sleep of the past few days finally beginning to weigh his body down. He wasn’t going to be able to stay awake for much longer.

Castiel closed his eyes a little jumping awake as Dean’s warm hand rested upon his shoulder lifting them up again to show no harm. Castiel was ashamed at himself for jumping every time the gentle man tried to comfort him, but he couldn’t help it. Every time they touched Alastair’s words or actions reminded his muscles that he needed to push the man away, if not for his own damnation then to protect Dean from what Alastair may do to him to stamp out Cas’ own perversions.

“Go to bed Cas,” Dean smiled at him; always gentle, always encouraging.

Castiel sighed as he moved to the back of the house. He kept his eyes down from the mirror in the bathroom closing his eyes as he relieved himself and got ready for bed. ‘I should get Dean to cover the mirror, but this is his house. I shouldn’t trouble him further.

He reached for the light and halted deciding to keep the lights on. He walked to his room and turned the light on, stripping out of his clothing and getting the AC/DC shirt before grabbing fresh boxers and climbing into bed. He wrapped the knit blanket around himself, protecting his bare legs and arms from the shallow wisp of air coming from the ceiling fan.

The weight of sleep hugged him and dragged him under. It briefly occurred to him that he hadn’t felt Alastair’s presence since entering the home and with that his last thought was, ‘Maybe in Dean’s home, he’d stay away. Maybe I’ll be okay. Safe.’

 

____

 

Castiel found himself in the dark with the blanket draped over his bare legs the knit scratching his skin. He could hear the soft hum of the fan overhead cooling his heated flesh. He kept his eyes closed while the distant sound of rain pattered on the roof above. He was warm to the touch and there was a tight itch felt beneath his skin.

He closed his eyes to the dark, not willing to open them. Not trusting the dark.

Suddenly, the bed dipped as the weight of another person could be felt beside his hip. The person leaned over his body, boxing his hips in place as he lay on his back. Castiel shuddered as he inhaled deeply waiting for the burning scent of sulphur to assault his senses. But that was not what he smelled nor did he feel the sense of dread and tightening of muscle for fear of the shock and scrap of Alastair’s punishments.

No.

He smelled car oil, leather, and cinnamon. The soft notes of sweetness always changed, but the hard masculine scents that defined the man made him instantly aware that it was not Alastair, but Dean.

Slowly he opened his eyes to see the outline of Dean’s sculpted face, soft lips, long eyelashes and spiked hair.

“Dean,” he whispered. The man smiled down at him slowly moving his hand to cup his hip before softly sliding it up over his side, and neck to cup his face.

Dean lowered his face to his, only inches away from Castiel’s. The closeness made him gasp as their lips danced over air between each other. Castiel could feel Dean’s breath upon his lips and instinctually allowed his tongue to dampen them. Dean’s eyelashes fluttered as he looked down to watch the movement, smiling and leaning away from him.

“No,” Castiel found himself gasping.

“Patience Angel,” Dean’s voice warmed him further encouraging the tightness of his skin to burn with a feeling he’d never felt before.

“What’s happening?” he asked.

Dean laughed as he slowly removed the blanket from around his waist. He shifted so that he was straddling Castiel’s thighs, his hands both resting upon his hips. Castiel shivered as Dean’s hands pushed the edge of his shirt up, resting his fingers upon his bare hipbones. Fireworks went off within his heart and a volcano of burning pressure could be felt where Dean’s hands pressed his hips into the bed.

“Dean?”

“I’m here Angel, I’m always here."

Castiel felt tears leak out of his eyes as the reassurance washed over his nerves and relaxing his defensive muscles. Dean slowly pulled his boxers down causing Castiel to jolt upwards with fear as he watched the beautiful man’s hands pull the fabric away.

His eyes widened as he took in his erection standing proudly towards the man above him. He was aroused. Castiel began to stutter, protesting in fear that Dean would be disgusted with his body’s display of attraction, but instead his words were silenced when Dean’s hand moved to wrap around his length and moved slowly over him.

Castiel’s head fell backwards as he moaned into the dark air around them, “Ah-”

He could feel Dean’s other hand rise to cover the head of his penis rotating and smearing pre-come over it. The feeling of physical contact upon his length was new, forbidden and heavenly.

“Oh Dean, ah,” Dean’s hands covered Castiel’s entire length and tightened as they sped up their rhythm.

“Dean!” he groaned into the air, fisting the sheets beneath him. He scrunched his eyes tight feeling the beginnings of lightening sparking at the base of his spine and behind his eyelids. His breathing rapidly increased in earnest as his soul tried to chase the current coursing through his blood.

Then he smelled it.

Sulphur.

Castiel’s eyes flew open as Alastair’s face hovered above him. Dean was no longer in the room and his hardness was held within rotting hands jagged with nails.

“Castiel you filth! SODOMITE! HEATHEN!”

Castiel screamed as he felt the sharp electrical current running through his entire body from where Alastair gripped his neck harshly down to where the entity groped him.

“NO! AHHHH STOP NO! RAAAAAA AHHH” he yelled into Alastair’s face as the pain tightened his muscles while the snarling man moved his hands to hold his shoulder and hips down beneath him.

Castiel tried to thrash against the weight above him, but he was immobile. The electrical current centered itself over his ribcage and scratched its way over to his hips. He thought he could smell something burning, but the thought was interrupted by an animalistic snarl as Alastair raised a fist, smashing it into his face.

Castiel continued to scream, his voice hoarse and scratching with abuse.

In the distance he heard the slamming of a door, but he refused to open his eyes. The sharp bolts of pain coursed through him as his body convulsed on the bed. Alastair was scratching and hitting his body.

“Cas! CASTIEL! WAKE UP! CAS!!!”

“Dean! Make him sto-OOOP AAAHH!” he found the strength to raise his arms and began to push Alastair away, scratching at his rotting flesh. He felt the flesh falling from Alastair’s face as the residue of his corpse stuck to his fingers.

“Cas stop! STOP! Castiel!! Wake up! IT’S ME, Dean. Come on Angel Wake UP!”

Castiel forced his eyes open, the morning light blinded him. His eyes flew wildly around the room, registering that he had been dreaming again. He looked up to find Dean’s face above him, the man’s hair wet as it dripped small droplets of water into his face.

His green eyes shone with worry, brows scrunched together and his hands were wrapped around Castiel’s wrists as they held them close to his chest. Dean’s body was lying across him. As Dean leaned away from him his hips, where they were notably draped over his own, Castiel noticed that there were bleeding scratch marks on the man’s cheek, neck and bare chest. In shock he looked from the scratches to his own hands and noticed the slight red beneath his nails. He’d been scratching Dean, not Alastair.

“Cas?” Dean asks softly. He was still adorned above him, his bare chest brushing over Castiel’s hands as the pressure of their hips assured him that this was real. Castiel gazed into Dean’s green eyes, counting his freckles and savouring in the true heat covering his body. Dean lifted a hand up to stroke his cheek, but his muscle were trained to jerk away and reacted to the touch causing a pained expression to flit across Dean’s face.

In that moment, Castiel realized that no matter how safe he thought he was, no matter whom he was with, Alastair would find him. His dreams were no longer his own, nor was his body as it repulsed the very touch of comfort. He couldn’t bare the dark or his own reflection and even then Alastair still found him through the light and cover. Beyond it all, he knew that no matter what he did, his true sinful desires would remain and it was because of that Alastair would remain and Zachariah, Abaddon, Uriel, and Azazel would eventually find him as well.

Castiel began to shake as his vision blurred with tears and he released the suppressed sound of agony from his heart. Castiel began to sob beneath the beautiful soul above him. He turned his head away ashamed that Dean was witnessing the true wretchedness of what he’d put himself in danger for.

“I’m sorry,” he sobbed into the pillow.

“No, no Angel. Oh Cas,” Dean released his wrists and wrapped his arms around his shoulders pulling him close to the warmth of his body. Castiel shuddered at the memory of the dream, forcing the vibrations to increase and the sobs to intensify.

“I’m sorry Dean. I’m so sorry,” he cried into Dean’s shoulder. Dean tightened his hold around him and turned his head to rest by his ear and neck. Castiel could feel warm air passing over his skin with the brushing of Dean’s nose and eyelashes caressed his neck.

“It’s okay Cas. I’ve got you. No matter what happens I’ve got you,” Dean leaned his wet head against his face as Castiel sunk into his warm bare skin allowing himself a moment to enjoy the comfort Dean was offering.

A while later, Dean arose sliding his arms from underneath Castiel when his tears had slowed and his shivering subsided.

“Thank you,” Castiel said.

“No prob Cas. You okay?” Dean looked at him with apprehension.

Castiel nodded slowly before looking from the room window to Dean. For the first time he noticed that Dean wasn’t just shirtless, he was completely naked. From the corner of his eye he could see a towel draping off the side of the bed. Castiel blushed and flicked his eyes away.

From his side he felt Dean jolt with realization, “Oh shit sorry. I was in the shower and heard you screaming. When I got down you were flailing and the only thing I could think of doing to stop you from hurting yourself or me was lying on top of you. As I leaned to hold your hands down you punched me and the blow kinda made me loose my handle on the towel and yeah. I laid down on you in panic, sorry.”

Castiel nodded forcing his eyes to the window, allowing the stubborn blush to creep over his neck further and causing his blood to heat beneath his skin while it left a tight itch along his skin. Ashamed, he felt his penis twitch with interest again.

He inhaled deeply and scrunched his eyes closed, ‘It’s wrong. Alastair will come back and remind me. I know it’s wrong. Dean will be disgusted, stop Castiel!’

The attention drawn to his crotch reminded him of the slight dampness left on his underwear caused by the beginning of the dream.

Dean can’t know.’ He shifted his knee upwards trying to turn his hip away from the man over top of him.

“Umm I’ll go get changed and uh get breakfast ready,” Dean rose from the bed, no doubt noticing his arousal. Castiel prayed Dean hadn’t, that he’d shifted in time.

As Dean left Castiel got out of bed and removed his shirt and boxers. Looking at the boxers in hand he sneered at them and his softening length in disgust, ‘Abomination.’

It was in his downward glance that he saw the red marks of nails scratched into his skin anew, along with a streak of bubbling burnt skin and the rising of bruises upon his hips and shoulders. Alastair was capable of inflicting physical harm through his dreams.

He was getting stronger.

Chapter Text

Dean leaned over the kitchen sink as his eyes focused downwards at his distorted image within the chrome sink. He puffed air out his lips and sucked it in through his nose in a forced even movement.

Scrunching his eyes he shifted his hips away from the counter’s edge to look down at the towel tucked around his waist. The white terrycloth was damp, slightly hugging his thighs while water droplets skirted down his bare back tickling his skin before soaking into the fabric. Yet it’s not his damp bare skin that he’s looking at, but the marks that Castiel left behind and the tented material hiding his erection.

You goddamn moron, Down! The guy’s clearly been through some shit and you know he’s gay or something, but you just had to drape your naked ass over the guy. Probably gave him another fucking heart attack.’

He sighed into the air above him looking at the ceiling before forcing his eyes to the irises outside; they were standing up taller, after the rain, awaiting sunlight. Dean felt his erection subside as his mind focused not on the arousal felt beneath him before Cas had turned away embarrassed, but of the terror that clawed at his chest and neck.

He’d pinned Castiel’s wrists down in an attempt to stop the scratches, however, his actions had amped the young man’s horror drenched dream causing his screams to erupt like thunder. Frowning Dean turned away from the window to go upstairs and get dressed.

What was plaguing him? Who or what had he been dreaming about? Was it a memory?’ Dean sat fully dressed on the edge of the bed, ‘How do I help him?’

As he began to mix the pancake batter back in the kitchen he received a text from Sam.

Hey, found something about Dick that you and Cas need to know about. On my way. Be there around noon.

As he read the text Castiel shuffled into the kitchen and sat down at the small chairs set along the island. Dean watched as he lifted himself carefully into the chair, mindful of his knee. Castiel quietly reached up to rub a hand along his shoulder, kneading the tension that had been built during the night and the nightmare. He never looked at him.

Dean crumbled a little at realizing that the small gains he’d made with the man had been dashed away in an effort to chase away his demons. He’d have to be more careful, but how could he sit back and watch him thrash around in terror? Dean sighed as he turned around again to the stove to drip the pancake mix onto a hot griddle.

“Making pancakes, hope that’s okay,” he said into the pan below.

“yes,” Cas’ whispered words barely reaching his ears, yet warming Dean’s darkening mood.

Silence surrounded the both of them as Dean focused on making the perfect pancake. He reached for the plates set above him consciously not looking back at the silent man behind him. Dean danced over to the fridge grabbing syrup and orange juice, bracing himself before turning around to Castiel.

Dean’s feet stalled as he noticed that Cas had been following him throughout the kitchen. His blue eyes stared at him, the sadness and worry radiating off the man’s skin and filling the kitchen with a sickening fog of trepidation. Regaining his momentum Dean walked up to Cas and placed the full plate of pancakes down in front of him before reaching for a clean glass by the sink and handing it to him as well.

“Eat up, Sam’s on his way with news. He’ll be here about 12,” he turned back to get himself some pancakes and grab a cup of coffee.

As he sat down beside Cas, one chair between them, Cas stopped eating. Looking over he noticed that he’d barley eaten and only a third of the juice had disappeared. He glanced nervously up at Castiel before looking back at his own meal, not knowing how to react.

“Dean,” Castiel whispered clearing his throat before he continued. “Dean, I- I’m sorry.”

Dean cringed at the hoarseness of Cas’ quiet voice and the words painting Dean’s worries with thick oil.

“Don’t,” Dean snapped at him.

From his side he heard Cas hiss in fear before he felt the man fold in on himself and begin to leave the kitchen.

Fuck.’

“Wait Cas, I’m sorry I snapped it’s just- don’t apologize to me man. Ever. You have zero reasons to. Seriously. Finish your breakfast,” Dean shrugged towards Cas’ plate, his own almost empty.

Castiel frowned as he turned to face him.

“Aren’t – Aren’t,” his words failing him as frustration and fear began to swim in his voice. Dean noticed the panic bubbling to the surface.

“Here. Write it down,” Dean passed a piece of discarded paper to the edge of the kitchen island; Farthest from him, closest to Cas. Dean found a pencil and rolled it as well.

Castiel hesitated before moving forward, picking up the pencil, scowling at the paper and gathering courage to voice his worries. Dean noticed that Castiel’s hand trembled slightly while he passed the paper back so that Dean could see the words transcribed.

Aren’t you tired of me?

What the hell?’ Dean thought.

“No! God no. Cas,” Dean rubbed a hand down his face, “You can stay here as long as you want. I just don’t want to scare you away.”

Frowning he reached for the paper.

Why is Sam coming?

“To talk about Dick,” Dean blushed as he heard his words, “Wait. That came out wrong. Jesus. THAT too. Fuck, okay let me start again. Dick Roman of Roman Enterprise – the bastards that founded and financed that Shit Box you were tossed in, illegally I might add- Sam’s got some dirt on him.”

Castiel nodded standing at the edge of the kitchen island, farthest from Dean.

“Look Cas, I told you before. I’ve got this. Shit, the whole Ghost Hunters crew has your back. So whatever fuckery is bouncing in your head and causing those dreams, they’re going to have to deal with me. Those fucktards ain’t getting away with this.”

Dean watched as Castiel blushed lightly and danced from foot to foot. Pushing his plate away Dean leaned back in his chair sighing.

“You know, I used to get this really really bad nightmares when I was a kid. Everything was covered in these big ass flames. Sometimes I felt trapped in a room with them or Sammy and Dad were trapped and I was outside. But the really scary ones were the ones where I saw my Mom going up in flames,” he huffed at the memory.

“Used to wake up in a cold sweat thrashing about and screaming- Anyways- one day after a really bad night my Dad sat me down on the steps of some dinky ass motel and asked me to talk about it. Just sat me down – must have been five or six- so yeah, he said ‘tell me everything,’ and you know what man? The nightmares weren’t so bad after that. Sure they still happened, fuck they happen now, but they just didn’t have the same power over me cause I knew that I had someone to share the burden with,” Dean smiled softly at Castiel’s hardened face, the man’s eyes casted down.

“So, Angel,” Dean used the nickname fondly as Cas’ eyes finally rose to connect with his, “Talk to me.”

Dean watched as Castiel gnawed on his bottom lip, the pink flesh bruising in the process. Castiel slowly reached for the piece of paper once again closing his eyes as his body stiffened before slumping fully into itself. Castiel glanced back at Dean searching for reassurance, comfort that Dean was fully prepared to offer him at any hour of the day. Dean rose to clean the plates and returned to rest his hip against the counter. Castiel scratched a single word across the page vibrating as he pushed it towards him.

Dean gazed at Castiel one last time, connecting his eyes with the darkened blue before he peered down at the paper on the counter.

Scratched in the bottom half of the page was a name.

Alastair.

Dean looked back at Castiel as a cold shiver skirted over his spine and turned to steel sharpening his protective instinct in his soul.

“Alastair? As in freaky sicko from the Halfway House?”

Dean watched as Castiel nodded, again refusing to look at him. He watched as Castiel’s eyes flitted from each darkened corner in the house and to the stairs. A heavy cold weight slowly laid itself over Dean’s shoulders causing his nerves to tingle with anticipation with the need to fight or run. Dean placed a soft hand along Castiel’s forearm catching his attention; relieved to find the gesture welcomed rather than rejected. Dean could feel his hand warming Castiel’s fear chilled skin.

“Cas, is Alastair just a part of your imagination or – or is it something more?” Castiel looked up with wide eyes at him, his body trembling beneath Dean’s hand.

“I need to know man. Did Alastair follow you or are you just dreaming it?”

Castiel backed up from Dean’s touch sparking further worry within Dean’s bones. Dean followed the frightened man while he backed up against the archway of the kitchen and entrance. Dean kept his hands up high letting him know that he was not boxing Cas in.

“Cas, have you been seeing him while you’re awake? Shadows in the mirror, the brushing of skin or sounds that can’t be connected? Sulphur or remnants of ash around your room in the mornings? - Angel, I need to know.”

Castiel’s breathing hitched as he scrapped his hands through his hair and sunk to the floor shaking. Dean could hear him mumbling, “North Dakota, Castiel Novak, Boston. North Dakota, Castiel Novak, Boston.”

Dean stuttered in his attempts to gain further information realizing that his professional concerns were causing Cas to panic. ‘Fuck Winchester, come on!’

Dean crouched down close to Castiel bringing his hands slowly forward to rest lightly on his shoulders, still far too thin.

“Cas, look at me, Please. Have- Have you seen Alastair outside of your dreams?”

Dean watched as Castiel brought his arms around his waist and rubbed his palm self-consciously over his chest. The pain of Castiel’s actions tore at his heart, ‘This is my fault.’

Castiel’s fingers wrapped themselves over the neckline of the AC/DC shirt he favoured. Dean knew it was his own, a fact he’d yet to tell him. He’d left the shirt behind at the hospital with a pair of jeans for Cas’ trip home. Somehow Dean knew that if he told him then the selfless action may be twisted darkly in Castiel’s warped conscious. Castiel continued to drag the neckline down, an action that allowed the base of his throat to be exposed so that Dean could see the top of a harsh scratch dotted with dried blood.

Dean’s eyes widened as his breathing caught in his chest and his heart went cold, “Angel, look at me. Come on, please look at me.”

Dean moved a hand to cover Castiel’s firm grip on his shirt, forcing Castiel to move it away as he continued to mumble under his breath with closed eyes. Castiel gripped tightly onto Dean’s hand to anchor himself to the warm grip. Dean shifted before moving his other hand from Castiel’s shoulder to pull his shirt down again.

“Cas, who did this?” Dean watched as Castiel froze under the light touch he’d placed on Castiel’s chest.

Castiel looked up at him finally with his blue eyes glistening with as a tear streaked down his cheek.

Dean knew.

He already knew who it was.

Carefully he directed Cas to stand up. Still too shocked and tired to resist he let Dean mechanically and slowly lift the shirt up over Cas’ midriff to his neck as the shirt caught under his arms. Castiel was trembling slightly as the quiet tears continued down over his face. With each movement Dean checked with Castiel before continuing.

Dean’s hand froze over Castiel’s stomach as the bubbling mark of a scalded burn marked its way from his left pectoral to his right hip. The marks of bruised fingertips rested within his hips and garish scratches marked his skin before skirting below his sweatpants and around his back. Dean slowly turned Castiel around scrunching his eyebrows together in an attempt to keep his emotions checked. He was barely breathing. His eyes traced the healed scares of jagged nails and leather beatings, a harsh red and brown electrical burn running along his lower back and disappearing below his pants likely skirting down his thigh, mixed with the tell tale sign of rising bruises on his neck and new scratches. All of them forever imprinted into Dean’s mind.

He reached up to rest a hand along Castiel’s back smoothly dancing over each scrape, new and old, before bringing both his hands up to pull his shirt down. Dean stepped close to Castiel feeling the young man tense beneath his forehead as he rested it upon the nap of Cas’ neck. Dean inhaled deeply as the smell of fresh rain and a strong ocean tide were brought into his soul willing it to calm the rising flare of worried anger.

He knew that at this given moment he had to remain calm as a pillar of strength for Castiel. He did not realize that in an attempt to find his balance and composure he’d rested his hands lightly upon Castiel’s hips or that while the action had sparked a fabric of fear to float into Castiel’s scent the young man had slowly raised his own hands to rest over top of Dean’s. Castiel’s monumental moment of strength went unnoticed by Dean, until the banging sound of a door followed by the rushed stomping of boots snapped Dean out of his trance.

“So get this, not only is Dick financing all the Hope Centres, but he’s also lobbying for further government reform with the Repub-”

Dean snapped his head up as Castiel whipped around within his touch to face Sam standing awkwardly in the threshold of the kitchen.

Dean stuttered as he looked down at his hands resting on Castiel’s hips noticing the young man’s hands tightening with straddled fear, before Dean slowly removed them and took a step back. 

Looking sheepishly up at Sam he watched as his brother frowned at him.


“Dean can I talk to you for a minute. Alone,” Sam’s bitch-face resonated within the room.

Ah shit. Here comes the lecture.’

Dean rolled his eyes as went to grab a beer out of the fridge, “Nope sorry.”

“Dean!” Sam chastised, “It just turned 12.”

“Well it’s happy hour somewhere Sam and besides there’s other things that need to be dealt with first,” Dean glanced at Castiel.

“What?”

“Alastair attached himself to Cas,” he stated.

“Wha- You-” Sam darted his eyes from Castiel to Dean gesturing at the young man, “You mean to tell me you didn’t test him with your EMF reader? Jesus Dean.”

Sam rustled around his bag before retrieving his own EMF device as Dean gestured for Cas to sit back at the island chairs.

Sam calmly walked up to Castiel as they all watched as the device’s red lights and moaning noise went wild reading the poltergeist activity radiating off of Castiel.

The brothers cursed under their breath while Castiel straightened himself in the chair fully.

“What?” he asked quietly.

Dean racked his hand through his hair as Sam answered.

“It means that a spirit has attached itself to you somehow and we need to banish it,” Sam huffed.

Dean frowned as Castiel once again scrunched his eyes closed with fear.

Sam turned off device before looking back up at Castiel, “Castiel, did you by chance lose anything or leave anything behind at the Halfway House?”

Dean whipped his head around from zoning out on the flower box back to Castiel.

Castiel sighed causing the breath to shudder within his pours as he reached for the courage to respond before he looking up at Sam, steel eyes untruthfully depicting composure. Unable to fully answer Castiel just opened his mouth.

From his position in the kitchen Dean could not see, but he could see Sam’s eyes widen with fear and his body tightened with shock.

“When did that happen?” Sam whispered.

Castiel looked around the counter before finding the paper and pencil again.

House. Stopping him from hurting Dean.

Dean felt a shiver of shock bouncing off his heart and painting his soul with dark oil of fear.

This is my fault. All my fault,’ he thought.

Sam refocused on Castiel, “Castiel did Alastair take your tooth?”

“yes,” he whispered.

Dean sucked in a breath of air. ‘No.’

“Dean we need to do this now,” Sam left the room to get Dean’s gear left in his bedroom closet before returning. Dean was frozen in place watching the young man once again silently chanting his location, name and what he could only predict was Gabriel’s location.

Dean!” Sam snapped at Dean sparking him to turn around and grab a mug before filling it with water and pouring a cup of salt within.

Dean walked over to rest the mug by Castiel’s hands and placed a soft hand upon the middle of his back, “Angel, I need you to drink this when we tell you to. All we’re going to do is light a few candles, surround you in a circle of salt and do a little prayer. Okay?”

Sam positioned the candles in a circle in the cleared path between the living room and kitchen before going around closing all the blinds. Once the candles were lite Dean lightly pushed Castiel into the circle. Stopping in front of him he smiled at Cas.

“All you have to do is drink this. You’re going to feel him resist, but you have to drink this. And pray Cas. I need you to pray.”

Dean walked out of the circle and surrounded the man with salt. Sam stationed himself at the South while Dean stood at the North point.

“Ready Angel?” he asked.

Castiel nodded clutching the glass.

“Let’s begin,” Sam shifted connecting his eyes with Dean before opening the book in his hands.

Dean clears his throat, “We call upon our Lord and ask for his presence within and beyond. We call upon our Saviour to deliver this soul from the evils that have taken home within.”

Dean took a deep breathe as Sam continued the exorcism.

“I cast you out, unclean spirit, along with every Satanic power, every spectre from hell and all your fallen companions.”

In unison Sam and Dean spoke as the candles flickered from an unbeknownst wind, “In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ and all the heavenly bodies. Give place to the Holy Spirit by the presence of holy fire and pure intentions. We welcome the Father and the Holy Spirit, God, forever within our hearts to protect our souls. Protect his soul from the child of Lucifer and Judas.”

Dean shifted on his feet as he held himself back from dashing across the salt line to comfort the scared man within. The candles had blown out and gusts of wind circled in the salt circle. Squinting into the rising fog coming off of Castiel’s skin Dean saw a tall figure standing in front of Cas. He could hear Castiel muttering a prayer of his own as the figure reached out towards him.

Sneering at the figure Dean yelled at Castiel, “NOW!”

Castiel raised the salt water to his lips as he kept his eyes closed off from the chaos swirling around him. Sam began to chant louder refocusing Dean to join.

“Depart impious one, depart deceitful one, depart darkness and benevolent being. Depart from the un-wronged and faithful. You have no power here. In the name and giver of the hallowed grounds, the Father, Holy Spirit and Christ. Be Gone!”

As the final words were spoken Dean heard the shattering of glass while the dark fog swirled around Castiel’s head and an hear splitting scream scraped across the windows and walls of his home. Castiel was screaming. He had never wanted to hear that scream again, but here they were.

Dean yelled at the entity terrorizing Cas, “BE GONE!!”

With a sudden rush of air all the oxygen disappeared and the smoke rocketed upwards before crashing down into the floor. The house was silent and Dean didn’t dare breathe. In slow motion he watched in terror as Castiel collapsed to the floor convulsing.

Dean rushed across the salt line pushing the shards of glass hazardlessly away. He didn’t register the scrapes of glass hitting his skin or slicing his hands. Nor did he register the shard imbedding itself within his knee. All he saw was Cas.

“Cas, come on Angel. Sam, call an ambulance!” Dean’s hand shook as he tried to calm the remaining tremors coursing through Cas’ body.

“Dean we can’t do that,” Sam replied.

Shaking Dean shallows over the lump in his throat knowing that Sam was right because there would be too many questions and Cas was supposed to be on lock down. He heard Sam disappear into the kitchen and return with a small glass of orange juice.

“He’ll need this when he wakes up,” he passes the glass to Dean.

The seizure subsided along with the tremors relaxing Castiel only minutely. Dean brushed the cold sweat off of Castiel’s brow as he cradled his head in his lap. His thumbs lightly touched his eyebrows before stroking down his nose, over his cheekbones and resting along his jaw. Dean never removed his eyes from his face as his thumb gently danced over Castiel’s bottom lip.

“Dean, he’s going to be okay,” Sam murmured as he walked around cleaning up the room.

“I know,” he whispered still looking at Castiel, “Cas, it’s safe to wake up man. It’s all over. Come back, Angel. You’re safe here. I promise you this time, you are safe.”

An hour passed and the sun moved beyond the windows of the backyard casting the room in afternoon shadows before Castiel’s dark eyelashes fluttered over his cheeks and opened slowly. Dean’s breathe for the hundredth time in the last few days they've known each other caught in his throat as the cerulean blue stared up at him.

“Heya Cas,” he smiled tentatively.

Scrunching his eyes before groaning Castiel arose slowly, Dean’s fingers brushing over his neck not wanting to let go nor venture far from him.

“What happened?” he croaked.

“We kicked Alastair out. He shouldn’t be bothering you anymore.”

Castiel stared at him in disbelief, “Are you sure?”

“Well- yeah I’d say so. The black smog went caput into the floor,” Dean wishes his hands out to the floor.

The movement catches Castiel’s eyes before he reaches for Dean’s hand, “Dean you’re bleeding.”

“What?” he looked to his hands within Castiel’s own focusing more on the way the man’s elegant hands, once strong now a little frail, wrapped around his own hand gently.

“Oh. I am. Huh.”

Sam walked over to them offering Castiel a cloth to wipe the blood away and the first aid kit.

Without releasing his hand Castiel gently sets about repairing Dean’s flesh, frowning at his work and refusing to look at him.

Dean sighed, “Cas, you okay?”

Castiel glanced up at him as a slight blush stained his cheeks as he noticed that they are only a breath away from each other. Castiel looked down again at their hands before nodding. 

Dean softly smiled as he relished in the gentle touches, Cas’ tentative smile partially hidden from his view and the pink blush on Castiel’s cheeks and neck. He leaned forward to touch his forehead to Castiel’s bowed head causing the man’s hands to still, “I promise Angel, you and me. We’ll be okay. I promise nothing will hurt you. I promise.”

Castiel nods, “Okay.”

Chapter Text

Yawning, Dean found himself sitting on the couch contemplating the last number of weeks. Things had been quiet, almost too quiet, but the moments of peace in comparison to the last number of months were a relief. Shaking the sleep out of his head Dean found himself staring out the window. It was dark, but the oak tree could be seen showing its leaves proudly once again and soon he’d have to get the flowers beds ready around the front of the house. He liked spring, but summer was better.

Less yard work. More sun and more beer. Summer was where it was at and it was just over the hill. A few more weeks of rain, some up and down temperatures then he could bring out the lawn chairs and get some sun. He wasn’t pale, but he’d be lying if the bathroom lights didn’t reflect a little off his tummy when he got out of the shower.

At his side sat Castiel. The young man had gained a few more pounds since moving in meaning that Sam had to sack up in a motel ten minutes away. Dean knew that being away from his fiancé, Jess, was taking a toil on his brother, but staying away and close by was the best option. Charlie was on her way in the next couple of days and Benny was going to meet up with them in Maryland. Dean talked to him earlier today about his covert operation back in Boston last week. He was able to get a bartending job at the joint down the street from the Centre and was waiting to hear something from the local police yet was pleasantly surprised to serve the one and only Guard from St. Angela’s.

The dirt they’d been able to gain under the table was beginning to take fruit and now they just needed to figure out as a team how they were going to use it. Whatever they had planned he made sure to make one thing clear: Castiel was to stay out of it. He was tempted to make the young man stay behind completely, but he’d yet to approach that. Sam had rejected the suggestion stating that out of all of them Cas had the best reason for being involved. But Dean wouldn’t risk it.

Charlie had warned them a few days ago that she’d picked up some activity at the gas station around the corner, spotting Dr. Uriel Wisdom and Sister Abaddon Huffman asking about Dean. However, due to his connection in the community and with the police station, everyone remained tight lipped. As far as the Sioux Falls community knew Dean Winchester didn’t exist and they’d failed to see anyone matching either of their descriptions. Dean was well aware that their time was limited. He just hoped that the take down plan would be on its way before the fuckwads found Cas.

Over my dead body,’ he grumbled.

A gasp escaped Castiel’s lips drawing Dean’s attention back to living room and TV. On the screen one of the nurses from Dr. Sexy M.D. had just slapped Dr. DeLuca for sleeping with a resident. They failed to say which resident, but it was a repeat and he knew what was about to happen in the last few minutes of the episode. The scene, Dean worried, might trigger the poor guy.

“Hey, why don’t we hit the hay? I’m beat,” Dean arose grabbing their empty plates.

Castiel shook his head pointing at the screen, his eyes wide and transfixed upon the final minutes of the episode. Dean looked back and forth between Castiel and the kitchen wondering if he should leave him to ponder the cliffhanger or stick around to offer moral support.

Ugh why is this so complicated?’

In his fretting the chance to leave escaped and Dean watched Castiel stiffen and his face was painted with shock at the scene before him. Dean didn’t need to look at the screen to know that Dr. DeLuca had cheated on the nurse with a male resident and they were currently going at it in the on-call room. He heard the gasps coming from the screen as they scrapped off each other’s clothing and fell into the rickety cots. He knew that the resident, Dr. Robbie O’Neal likely had his hands down Dr. DeLuca’s pants and that the tall dark and handsome doctor was about have his first real sexual encounter with his future husband. The scene had been monumental a few years ago, not surprising, but a major moment for the character. He watched as Castiel shifted slightly in his seat and his shocked blown eyes narrowed into confusion as a small pink tint dashed over his cheeks.

The episode ended with them kissing and smiling at each other in an utterly hot and nauseatingly sweet scene. Dean reached forward to turn the TV off and cleared his throat. Castiel didn’t move as he stared down at his lap.

Slowly he approached the young man on the couch taking in the way his skin glowed with a soft pink blush while his muscles were rigid with apprehension. Cas was sitting on the edge of his seat while his hands were in his lap clicking as his nails back and forth over each other.

His eyes were open, which was good, and he was silent meaning that he wasn’t fully freaking out. But he refused to look at Dean. He wasn't certain if he wasn’t looking at Dean cause he feared his reaction would give him away, his interests would cause a backlash or if he simply had never truly seen two men on screen together. Choosing to take the cautious route Dean moved forward.

“You okay?”

Castiel flinched slightly at the interruption of silence as he flicked his eyes upwards to the screen, refusing to look at Dean at his side, before focusing downwards again.

“Was – was it the last scene with the guys?” Dean carefully asked.

Still silence, but his previously blushed features were blanched. Dean needed to curve whatever venomous words were floating in his head before he was too late and Cas broke down. Or caused a nightmare later tonight. Alastair might have been banished, but the guy still woke up screaming once in a while. If the scars and marks on his back were any indicator the terror was much more than ghosts.

“I know Cas,” Dean watched as Castiel’s paled face turned a soft green and his blinking eyes froze in place at his hands.

“I know about you, I know why you likely ended up at St. Angela’s and I can only predict what those sick fucks did to you because of it,” from his side Castiel began to tremble.

Dean breathed deeply as he continued, “I know that Charlie told you about her and – dude you really don’t have to worry. I get it and it’s okay. Jesus, it’s more than okay.”

Castiel’s head tilted towards him, but his back was still ramrod straight, “Cas, come on buddy look at me. It’s okay. I told you, you’re safe here. I defiantly don’t mind, besides being normal is boring.”

Dean rubbed his face, ‘Jesus Winchester way to make this super awkward,’

“What I’m trying to say here is that I know, it’s okay and I support you. Charlie and I get it. Sam and Benny are super Allies and just – yeah I’m not really good at this, but we’re good.”

Dean looked from Castiel to his own hands, ‘Please be the right words.’

He was uncertain whether he should tell him that he was Bisexual and totally found dudes hot too, but he worried that telling him would send him into a different panic. One that Dean really didn’t want to handle in his home.

“I’m going to go – so - Night Cas,” Dean deflated choosing to slowly rise from the couch and head to bed.

On his way up the stairs he heard a small voice call up to him from the living room, “Night Dean.”

He smiled to himself, ‘Well at least Cas wasn’t freaking out.’

As he got ready for bed Dean thought about tonight and he was pleased that he’d let Cas know that him being gay was nothing to hide in the Winchester home and he not only had allies as they went forward, but also people who understood. Before shutting his eyes Dean thought about asking Sammy if he knew of any Church’s in the area that were welcoming to the LGBT+ community that might offer further support to Cas. He wasn’t sure if he wanted to go to church, but seeing as how the man had grown up around it maybe the familiarity and rebuilding of trust within the congregation might help. He’d ask Sam in the morning.

___

Being the freak that he is Sam had run over to Dean’s house and let himself in when he’d arrived at the ass-crack of dawn. The sun was barley up. Dean could hear him rustling downstairs as Dean opted to flip over and burrow his head into his pillow while ignoring him.

Too fucking early, the freak can help himself to coffee,’ he grumbled.

Yet, in his haze he’d forgotten about the skittish man in the guestroom who’d also likely heard Sam’s entrance into the house.

Dean’s eyes slowly popped open a few hours later to look out the bedroom window shrouded with a sheer white and navy plaid curtain. His duvet had been kicked off hazardly to the side, where it was currently hanging on to the far edge of the bed. Dean could hear birds chirping outside, the distant cars rushing by on the highway a few blocks away and the dull sound of two voices speaking downstairs. Frowning Dean remembered vaguely Sam’s arrival and concluded that the other deep voice must be Castiel’s. Shifting his head to the bedroom door it puzzled him further that he really didn’t know what Castiel’s voice sounded like.

Is that actually Cas? It had to be. Huh. Dudes got a killer growl,’ stretching he arched his back off the memory foam mattress basking in a moment of solitude.

When he was home he rarely wore anything to bed, preferring to feel the sheets against his naked skin and not worrying about twisting and turning in tangled fabric. Looking at his bare stomach Dean reached down and rubbed his hand absently over his naked stomach glancing his fingertips over his hip before hauling himself up. He plopped his feet down on the floor with a soft thud and dragged himself out of the bedroom door into the bathroom.

He reached over to turn the tap on as the water sputtered through old pipes and groaned behind the tiled walls. Dean snapped up the tab switching from the bathtub spout to the showerhead. Kicking the door shut, Dean stepped under the warm water and closed the shower curtain.

He sighed into the warmth as the feeling of his muscles released the nightly tensions causing him to sag forward. The relaxation made his mind wander to the previous night initiating him to run his hand through his wet hair before picking up the shampoo bottle and worrying every strained.

How could I be so stupid? Jesus the kid was tormented for being gay and you just let him watch the dudes on TV going at it. He’s a terrified religious gay man and ,likely, a virgin.’ He smacked his hand against the wet tile walls as the shower washed away the shampoo.

Picking up the soap Dean ran it across his smooth arms and shoulders, over his chest and down his torso, over his legs and then ran the soap within his hands to generate foam. Placing the soap back on the side of the shower Dean puffed air out before quickly scrubbing along the base of his cock and over the shaft as a part of his hygiene routine.

Still the routine’s action didn’t stray away the image of the young man’s unruly thick brown, almost black, hair and his striking blue eyes. Closing his own eyes and relaxing into the spray he allowed his body to react to the suppressed feelings he had towards Cas. He pushed back his feelings of guilt and protection in favour for his base needs. He could lie to everyone else, but he couldn’t lie to himself. He wanted Cas and it was that knowledge that pushed forth the desire. Dean knew that by giving that desire an inch it would likely begin to burn like a fire doused in gasoline.

The water trickled down his back and along his neck, droplets transforming into light touches and making Dean believe for a moment that he had met Castiel in a bar, taken him home and now the beautiful man was joining him in the shower.

He imagined Cas exploring his back, glancing over muscles and skin. He imagined him leaning in and resting his chin upon his shoulder, nuzzling into his neck and soaking in the scent of his soap. He felt Cas’ imaginary hands reach around him and sink into Dean’s own bones to stroke his hardening cock.

Dean gasped at the image of Cas stroking him and following his own hand’s path up to the head, rotating slightly and running the pad of his thumb over his slit. He felt his heart rate accelerate as Castiel’s elegant hand increased the pace, tightening on the upward stroke and twisting down. Dean swore he could feel the ghosted remnants of what would have been Castiel’s own arousal pushing into the flesh of his ass and he allowed himself to think about how it might feel to have the man slide between his cheeks while the head glanced over his hole.

Cas,” Dean whispered into the steam above his head as the pressure at the base of spine increased.

Reaching behind himself Dean rubbed a finger over the tight muscles of his rim, his breath hitching as the sensation of electricity bounced along his spine and brought a flash of light behind his eyes. He bit down hard on his lower lip as his release streaked the bathroom tiles.

Dean’s knees buckled as he rested his temple along the cold wet tiles, the water-cooling above him. Suddenly the glow of his release was replaced with an abrupt sense of sorrow, that the imagined experience was robbed of him and of Cas in favour of violent rage and bigotry.

Tears stung his eyes as the stress of the last few weeks caught up with him. The rush of their escape, the horrified dream induced screams coming from the young man’s pink lips, the raged sobs that racked through Castiel’s body, the scars, Alastair’s demonic presence and the oncoming storm that they were about to fight. All of it broke through his barriers and crashed into him.

Dean turned off the water and reached for a towel, choosing to hold it to his face as he cried. It rarely happened, but when the bottle finally reached it’s max it burst through and the only way to set himself back to zero was to let it happen.

The sound of laughter made him look up and inhale deeply. He needed to start the day. He needed to make sure that Castiel and him were okay and he needed to be the solid pillar of strength. It was his responsibility; always had been, always will be.

Rubbing the towel aggressively through his wet hair and brushing his teeth Dean avoided locking eyes with his own in the mirror, too ashamed of his loss of control on his attraction to Cas. He wrapped the towel around his waist and sighed before going to his room to get dressed.

As Dean passed the mirror he stopped when his peripheral noted a dark figure standing in the far corner of the bathroom. Backing up he looked in the mirror. Nothing. Shaking his head Dean turned around frowning as he walked to his room.

Huh. Must just be the remainder of the jitters.

Dean fluffed his almost dry hair and bounced down the stairs slowly listening to the conversation in the kitchen.

“I’m not kidding Cas, I one-hundred percent believed I could fly. I mean Dean, my big brother, said I was Superman and the cape would make me fly so… I jumped. Off the roof,” Sam scoffed.

“No,” Dean could hear Castiel’s smile as his voice gently stroked his ears. Castiel was still quiet in his volume, but the deep tenor of his voice allowed his quiet voice to bounce off the tiled kitchen floor.

“It’s true! And get this, Dean – dressed as Batman I might add- laughed at me from the roof.”

“He laughed at you?”

“Well - not when he realized I actually was going to jump. I swear his face was greener than mine when I heard the bone crack in my arm.”

Dean walked around the corner when Sam pointed out the scar on his arm where the doctors had placed a metal bar to keep the cracked bone in place. Castiel was perched on the breakfast chairs with his back to Dean, while Sam was completely engrossed in his own story.

“Yeah, I mean Dad was no where to be found and Bobby and Ellen were working so it was just us. He picked me up and rode his bike with me on the front all the way to the hospital. About 5 miles. I was laughing the whole way cause of the adrenaline and my cape kept flapping his face.”

“He biked you both to the hospital by himself for 5 miles?” Castiel was in awe.

“Yeah, cause I’m Batman,” Dean finally sauntered over to the coffee machine.

Sam rolled his eyes, “Yeah you’re Batman.”

Beaming at his brother Dean grabbed his coffee and finally settled his eyes upon Castiel. He was staring at Dean with an odd sense of wonder. Quirking an eyebrow at him, Dean enjoyed how they seemed to sink into their own little world regardless of who was in the room or the occasion.

Sam cleared his throat forcing Castiel to realize that he had been staring. The attention warmed Dean from the inside as the young man looked down at the counter blushing with a soft smile gracing his beautiful mouth.

Dean shook his head, ‘I need to stop talking about him like that. Beautiful? Come on Winchester.’

Glancing up at his brother, Sam’s eyes spoke volumes. He knew.

Sam, no doubt, could tell that Dean was loosing his grip on the situation and Dean also knew that Sam wasn’t going to let this just slide by without some sort of conversation. Frowning Dean sipped his coffee as he shook his head subtly at Sam warning him to leave it till later.

Sighing Sam left the conversation and walked over to his bag to grab a thick folder.

“What the fuck is that?” Dean groaned from his perched position by the kitchen island.

“Research. Charlie mailed it to the motel the other night. Well, not so much mailed as got a friend of a friend on a Harley to drop it off at my motel door at, and I quote ‘Cinderella hour’.”

Sam walked over to the counter slapping the heavy file between Cas and Dean, “You know it’s terrifying that she even found me. I mean I followed Dad and Bobby’s lessons about being incognito, but the woman found me regardless.”

“Dude, when are you going to stop questioning the Queen? She’s got eyes and ears, probably a few toes, in every electronic device in the country. I mean how the fuck do you think she can afford that apartment she’s in?”

“It’s not like it’s anything special Dean.”

“No, but the equipment in it is worth more than most diamond heists are capable of racking in.”

Sam looked at his brother before agreeing and refocusing on the material before them.

“That right there is all the information we need to take down Dick Roman and subsequently imprison a handful of employees at St. Angela’s Centre for Hope and likely the other Centers across the country.”

Reaching for the file, Dean flipped it open to the first page consisting of bank statements. It outlined the purchase of jumper cables in bulk, an additional generator, and the normal necessities such as beds, tables, and food. Yet, it was the porn subscription and the page outlining their drug purchases for the pharmacy that made the statements odd.

Pointing at the list of the drugs under chloroform Dean asked, “What’s this for?”

“Individually, it depends, but as a combination doxorubicin, asparaginase, methotrexate and cytarabine is usually used for chemotherapy.”

“A Cancer treatment? The kids don’t have fucking cancer!” Dean fumed as he ran his had through is dry hair.

“They wouldn’t have given them all to us at the same time,” Cas softly indicated staring at the documents from a distance.

“What do you mean?” Sam narrowed in on him.

“They gave us vitamins at lunch, well the men got them at lunch. The girls got them at breakfast. Before- before Holy Imagery.”

“What in God’s name was Holy Imagery?” Dean continued to boil with mounting rage causing him to place his coffee mug down hard enough for the dark brown liquid to slosh over the side.

Castiel froze as he looked at Dean begging him to not push for an answer he didn’t wish to share. Cas’ eyes made Dean take a deep breath while he heard his brother chastising him for asking.

Closing his eyes Dean refocused on the task at hand, ‘What was it they said… know thy enemy? Focus on that. Ask the other questions later.’

Picking up his coffee mug Dean inhaled the dark roast as the bitter honey aroma calmed his fried nerves and zoned his attention rather than allowing it to stray to the worried corner of his brain that deeply cared for the man.

Being the nerd and much more mature adult in the kitchen Sam brought the group back to what was important.

“What would the vitamins do Cas?” Sam asked as Dean chewed on his lip watching Cas’ body language and the way he gathered his courage to speak. Dean knew he wasn’t going to like the answer.

“Mostly they just made us feel sick. Some of the guys developed mouth sores. For me it was mainly nausea which made me not want to eat,” Dean watched as he spoke of the effects of the drugs.

He wanted to hug him, Jesus, even stroke his head or something stupid like that, but he knew that after their talk last night and his shameful venture in the shower only an hour ago Cas needed to be the first the break the barrier.

Sam continued to listen carefully, frowning as he thought about the list of possible side effects. As Castiel continued to be quiet after his recollection Sam walked out of the room and up the stairs to Dean’s room.

“Hey what you doing man?” Dean walked over to the stairs.

“Grabbing your laptop, hold on,” he muttered from his room.

Dean scoffed as turned to find Castiel carefully looking through the file, “Hey Cas, you know you don’t have to be a part of this. Just go chill and watch TV or something.”

Walking over to the TV Dean crouched down to surf through his DVD collection, “Wanna watch Superman or - OH how about It’s a Wonderful Life? I mean it’s old and totally out of season, but solid.”

Castiel remained silent from his seat.

“Cas?”

He didn’t respond.

Dean began to worry that the memories and trauma were coming back. He wouldn’t be surprised, but he hoped that he knew that the demons, surreal or real, would have to go through Dean first.

“Castiel?”

Silence.

Dean walked slowly to stand beside him at the counter and gently placed a hand over his forearm as he stared at a specific piece of paper.

“Angel?”

His nickname caught his attention as Cas finally looked up slowly to face Dean. Dean stared into his crystal blue eyes, once shaded to a stormy blue only brightened recently to a Caribbean blue.

Within his eyes he could see the darkness creeping in once again, his brightened skin even began to take on its stressed grey blush.

“What is it Angel?” he asked again softly as the words floated between the small space between their bodies.

“It’s me,” Castiel softly responded.

Narrowing his eyes Dean looked down at the stack of papers at Castiel’s fingertips. A few pages had been placed aside, leaving the page on the table in view with a small yellow sticky note where Sam had marked the page.

 

St. Angela’s Centre for Hope Conversion Therapy Clinic

 

Patient : Castiel James Novak                    Sex: Male                  Age: 22

City : Oak Bluff                    State: Massachusetts                       Country: US

Reason for Admittance : Homosexuality, Perversion, Aggression, Mood Swings, and Depression.

Emergency Contact : Naomi Novak (Mother) #: (508) 234- 1248

Warning Attendance : Brother- Gabriel Novak and St. Emmanuel College students

Treatment Plan :

  • Routine Reversion Plan with Sister Abaddon Huffman and Sister Rachel Saloma
  • Vitamin Therapy (Taken with Lunch and Sleep Enabler with Communion Wine)
  • Scheduled Psychiatric session with Dr. Uriel Wisdom (Daily until further notice) 2x week
  • Group Masturbatory Reconditioning with Sister Abaddon Huffman Suggested solitary sessions after altercation with student
  • Increased Shock Therapy with Sister Abaddon

Professional Observations :

Mr. Novak continues to demonstrate a predisposition for the same sex in his relationship with Samandriel Johnston . It is advised that all staff members be diligent in preventing further perversion. (Z.)

Mr. Novak is a very good student. He often contributes his previous knowledge to the teachings of our Lord. It is however concerning that he continues to participate less and less. It is advised that he be encouraged to see the right way of the Bible and forgo his previous teachings within the ground of his University. (Sister R. Saloma)

Castiel Novak shows improvement with our individual sessions and has learned to keep his eyes upon the screen during Holy Imagery. Within the next view months I will suggest tactile rehabilitation with appropriate visual material. (Sister Abbey Huffman)

Castiel is a gentle and compassionate young man. He will benefit greatly from the program in the coming year. It is however concerning that he continues to speak with Samandriel and have relations with Meg Masters. Yet, I suggest that perhaps Ms. Masters be the subject for his Tactile Rehabilitation. Compassion is important with such events. (Dr. Uriel Wisdom)

Novak continues to monitor the gates during his runs. Be cautious. (Raph) noted by Chief of Security- Azazel

_______

January-

Mr. Novak has opted to leave the Centre at his own free will. It was indicated that treatment was not complete, but he felt prepared to re-enter society. Azazel received his gate pass upon exit.

 

Dean sucked in a breathe of air having not allowed a single molecule to enter his lungs upon noticing the page. His mouth opened and closed like a fish as he tried grasping for the right words, but none could be found. Choosing to close his mouth completely Dean dragged the file closer to himself away from Cas’ view. Running his fingers lightly over Castiel’s name imprinted on the page he found his eyes blurring before his nails clawed into the paper and smearing the ink.

How could they do this to him? He’s essentially a child! It’s more than just malpractice it’s abuse- emotional, physical, sexual! HOW DARE they touch him,” Dean closed his eyes trying to chase away the tears of anger and empathetic pain.

He inhaled deeply and slowly closed the file as he stared at the top of the folder. In the top corner was a coffee stain from where Sam had accidently placed his shitty motel mug. Dean lifted the folder to Cas’ patient information and tugged it out of the file then folded it to place aside. They didn’t need to see that and Cas deserved to not have everyone know every detail. He was on the patient admittance list and that was good enough.

He placed the folded page to the side softly as the air around him seemed to coat his senses in a dull mirage of security. He knew it was ridiculous, but his house felt like a cloud while his body felt like it had dipped itself in a pool of honey; he felt slow, heavy and dirty.

Suddenly his mind went into hyper drive with the touch of Castiel’s hand upon his shoulder.

“Dean, say something. Please,” he whispered.

Dean turned his head finally focusing his eyes upon Castiel. He looked at the man’s worried face; his young features aged and eyes darkened with horror and rejection. Dean saw the guarded manner of his body language, but it was the courage that he produced to simply touch him in a desire to console that made him smile at the young man. Dean refused to allow Cas to ever feel he needed to protect himself from Dean. He may choose to leave them, to leave him and that was okay. But it will never be him that rejects Cas’ as Cas would always have a safe haven with him.

“Want pancakes?”

Cas blinked in confusion before a soft smile fell upon his relaxing face, “It’s past noon Dean.”

“Burgers then?”

“As you wish,” he blushed.

Dean beamed at Castiel’s movie reference and got busy producing a burger feast. During his preparations Sam had returned with the computer asking Castiel about any other noticeable side effects from the vitamins. He agreed that he had lost weight, but it was mainly due to the nausea and rationed food. He further indicated that he might have had bruised easier, but it was hard to be sure. Cas hadn’t notice any hair loss amongst the others.

With that, Sam concluded that the Centre must have had someone with pharmaceutical training to develop a combination that would deliver the necessary limitations on the body without drawing direct visual attention to the treatment.

Dean mostly kept to himself. He prepared the meal, washed the dishes, and promptly decided that he needed to do his and Cas’ laundry, then the lawn looked like it could use a good mowing. Sam gave him a weird look when he was on his way out the door to collect the mail, but chose instead to ignore him.

On the other hand, Castiel only looked at Dean once since the info dump to softly thank him for lunch before Dean saw his face completely fall and voice trail off. Castiel’s walls had been reconstructed and Dean knew that within his own internal freak out, rage and general sadness and pity he’d once again taken a step back with Cas.

All I had to do was put the charm back on and keep moving forward with an action plan, like Sam. I’m sure Benny and Charlie are going to react far superior than me when they get here. It’s just bullshit what the wakjobs wrote about him. Fuck what would mine be? Dean Winchester – confused Homosexual, needs to find the right woman. Fuck that!’

By the time he reached the mailbox on the corner of his neighbourhood’s street, he was huffing and aggressively running his hand through his hair and down his face. In the faded reflection of the tin mailboxes he could see the strands of his dark dirty blonde hair standing in every direction.

“I look fucking nuts,” he groaned to himself. Turning around to head back to house he paused in the middle of street and stared down at the car parked just around the corner. The majority of the car was hidden behind the house’s hedges, but Dean was a car guy and he knew every single damn car that lived on this street and the likelihood of what each neighbor would purchase if they traded in. A black window tinted kid-snatcher van was not one of them.

He slowly crossed the street so as to obstruct his own view from the passengers in the van. Bouncing over hedges and small fences, waving at Tommy playing hoops on the driveway all before slowly and quietly settling behind the large tree just in front of the hedges. Between the fence and the hedge there was a small gap.

He didn’t need to look long before dashing back down the street into his house and slamming the door.

“I think they found us.”

Sam and Castiel froze as Charlie’s perky head popped out of the back room into the kitchen having arrived far earlier than planned while Dean was out playing spy games.

“Who? Dr. Wako and Sister Abomination? Yup we know,” she calmly walked to sit down beside Castiel on the couch.

“You know?! Well come on let’s dash!” Dean grabbed Sam’s bag and tried to jam the material in before Sam tussled the information out of his grip and pointed at the couch.

“Sit down.”

Dean took a moment to look at everyone again. No one was panicking, expect maybe Cas but the man was still not looking at Dean, which just made Dean more angry and confused.

Sitting down he scowled at the group, “Well?”

“Hello to you too Handmaiden,” Charlie rolled her eyes.

“Not now Bradbury, what gives?” Dean shifted so that he was closer to Castiel in case he needed to grab him quickly and flee. He knew the others were able to take care of themselves.

“Okay – tone down the over protective testosterone and think,” Charlie stared Dean down, while taking in the two men’s proximity. Castiel shifted subtly away from Dean under her attention.

Shaking his head, “What Charlie?!”

“Dude, you fort-knoxed your bedroom and additionally your closet acts like an second panic room, not to mention the arsenal you have under your bed.”

Dean stared at Charlie as she lifted a questioning eyebrow at him. “Your point?” he responded.

Charlie sighed, “My point is that your house, specifically your bedroom is the safest place for Casanova to be. We know where they are and Benny’s monitoring them. Not to mention Lisa is in the park with him ready to file a heavy lawsuit and restraining order. And Bobby is ready at a touch of button. Dude. Cas is totally fine. Well- within reason.”

Castiel turned around to look at him, his eyes mixing with awed clarity and the residue of clouded adrenaline. Dean locked eyes with Cas searching for reassurance of his own that the man was going to be safe under his roof and with him. Castiel uncomfortably looked back down at his hands. Sighing Dean closed his eyes and forced his heart to slow down.

“Not to mention you’re pretty much a trained weapon yourself. Dad didn’t raise us to not be able to take a few punches,” Sam added.

“I’m not bullet proof Sam – but thank you. Both of you.”

“Right, so here’s what’s going to happen,” Charlie pointed at Castiel and Dean, “you two are going to go upstairs and get cozy. Sam will give you some stuff to ask Cas about and maybe work through a plan to enter the Centre. Sam and I will keep you posted and connected with Benny and Lis at the park. My guess is that they won’t move until they know they have the upper hand.”

Dean chewed on his lip before nodding and rising to gather some food and drinks for them. ‘Should I grab a few movies? Die Hard? No, maybe not.’

Snatching his laptop back from Sam Dean gathered everything and walked up the stairs to his room. He set the stuff up on the bed and turned around to go gather some of Castiel’s stuff before slamming into Sam’s solid tank chest.

“Jesus, What Sam? Now is not the time,” Dean tired to get around him, but he would not budge.

“We need to talk Dean. About what you saw, how Cas is doing and- “

“Don’t say it Sam. Later.” Dean tried to dodge again. No luck.

“No Dean we are talking now before the poor guy is locked in here with your paranoid ass,” Sam chastised and clearly opting to protect Cas in his own way.

Fine,” Dean waved at him to proceed.

“What’s going on Dean? With you.”

Scrunching his nose he scoffed at his brother, “Nothing man. He’s just been through hell and back and I think we should be a little more wary about the fuckwads that are chasing him down to drag him back.”

“It’s not just that Dean. You don’t see it, nor do I think you are aware of it, but you both look at each other – a lot. Every time you look at him it as if he’s some precious glass or something and him- Dean you’re his hero, but you also confuse him. I mean think about it! He’s been scolded and tortured for being attracted to men and here you are encouraging him. Are you even remotely interested?”

“I’m not su-”

“He can’t just be a one night stand in some shady motel! He needs to be encouraged and shown that it’s oka-”

“I know Sam, would you ju-”

“Fuck Dean did you see the things that happened to him? You also need to stop touching him. Jesus the last time you did that completely melted down.”

“Sa-”

“Charlie said he watched two men kissing the other night on TV! Come on Dean! He can’t just watch that. What if it triggers someth-”

“SAM!” Dean yelled causing his brother to finally close his mouth. “I know. Okay? I know. And yes what happened to him was beyond terrible. And yes I think about it. I think about it every god damn time I accidently bump into him or unconsciously touch his arm to get his attention or offer comfort. Jesus I almost called Charlie to get her ass down here to deal with him when I ended up having to hold him down after a nightmare.”

“Wha-” Sam rose in his height to interject, but Dean held his hand up informing him to wait.

“I think about it all the god damn time Sam. Mostly I think about how mad I am at those fuckers for taking away what must have been one hell of a guy. I am mad that I didn’t get a chance to meet that Cas and I know how stupid it all seems. But I want to be his friend and yes Samuel I am attracted to him. Sue me. I mean look at the guy. He’s a walking wet dream. But beyond all of that and whatever the hell is happening to me around him we will never be because they took that from me. From him!”

“Do you like him?” Sam calmly asked.

“I – I don’t know Sam. It’s – something,” Dean felt his cheeks heating with embarrassment like he was in grade school.

“Okay.”

“Okay what?” Dean looked at his brother who was hesitantly smiling at him.

“Just okay. I mean if Cas needs to be protected and needs someone to show him that all that shit he went through and the crap he’d been told is bull I know that you’ll make sure of it. I also know that you are a stickler for consent so – Okay. But you really should approach Charlie about how to make sure his sexuality is protected and encouraged properly.”

“Dude why’s the lesbian the go to?”

“Cause it’s Charlie and she’s way smarter than your dumb-hick-ass,” Sam teased as he moved to go back downstairs.

“Hey! Your ass is from the same goddamn hick town Samuel!”

“It’s Sam!” he laughed.

Chapter Text

Castiel felt the bedroom door close behind him with a soft click. It didn’t lock and he knew it wasn’t going to unless the alarms were tripped downstairs. Charlie, Benny and Lisa had set themselves up at the motel with Sam. The Ghost Hunters crew had decided two things without his input: One, he needed some time away from all of the “excitement” and two, gathering away from Dean’s house would mean Cas and Dean would have a place to flee to before dashing off across the country again.

He was certain that it was more the first than the latter, which was ridiculous he was fine. Sure the dreams still came, but they weren’t going anywhere soon. And beyond all of that why did he have to move from his room to Dean’s?

He had stayed up all night after Dean went to bed thinking about how Dean could have figured out his sin, chastising himself for not hiding it then shifting over to remembering the TV show in comparison with his own dreams. Dreams that delightfully shimmered with repressed desires and often promptly darkened to mix with memories of the Centre, the elevator shaft and Alastair.

Castiel’s feet were glued to the soft carpet below his bare feet. He could feel every fiber and sense every molecule of air moving within the room. Frowning at his feet he wondered where he should sleep or simply stand in Dean’s room. He felt like an intruder.

I can’t give him more reason to distant himself from me. Things were good this morning, until he had his hands on my Patient File,’ Cas scrunched his eyes tight remembering how Dean had changed after reading it.

Castile found himself muttering from his place at the bedroom door, “Sioux Falls, Castiel Novak, Bos-.”

His words stuttered in his chest as the panic of last night, the voices of self-deprecation, the unearthing of his file, Dean, all of it began to boil over with one realization. He didn’t actually know where Gabriel was; he had an idea but not a sure indication. He’d failed to talk to his brother during the last few days instead enjoying the company of the beautiful man currently puttering around the room.

Dean didn’t notice that Castiel’s lungs were constricting and getting smaller and smaller within his chest. He had no clue that his heart was moments away from dancing straight out of his chest only to surly disintegrate at his feet, staining the white carpet. Dean didn’t know that his eyes no longer saw the dull side table light and the only image he saw was darkness. His mind was swirling in a circle one that was throwing memories and jagged words at him.

He heard his mother spitting on his cold wet form so many month ago while she clenched her fist over the Men’s Health magazine. He saw his older sister Anna cowering away from him as he clawed at the front door’s threshold. He saw Sister Abbey’s face and the joy she took from listening to her students groaning in pain and vomiting with conditioned responses to the desired male flesh. He saw the guard’s yellow eyes and his snapping dog before they mixed with the growls of Alastair. Alastair’s memories made his knees buckle causing a sharp pain to ricochet up his leg from his knee to his hip, lower back and across his rib cage. Dully he felt himself digging his nails into his hair scratching across his scalp only to remind him further of Alastair’s truthful words. All the words melded together from his mother’s lips to Zachariah’s before they settled upon an image of Dean’s impassive face from the kitchen.

He couldn’t breath and his skin felt tight and itchy. He found himself trying to claw at his own skin, moving from his arms to his borrowed t-shirt that smelled too much like leather and cinnamon.

Suddenly, he couldn’t move his hands as a pair of warm hands had them planted firmly upon his thighs holding them in place.

“Cas, stop. Stop,” Dean’s voice strained in his struggle.

The presence of Dean’s honey voice mixed with the over powering scent of leather, oil and cinnamon and the radiating summer warmth coming from his freckled skin made his eyes fly open to lock with his mossy green eyes.

He’s so beautiful,’ Castiel’s awe transformed into fear of tainting Dean’s beauty further with his perversions. His file said he was and Dean had seen it.

The acknowledgment caused him to sob into the space between them before Dean released his hands in favor of wrapping his arms around his shoulders.

“Sto- hic –You can’t Dean- I- I’m dirty stop,” he pulled at Dean’s clothed back trying to pull the man away from him.

“You’re not. Listen to me, Castiel. You are not broken. You are not dirty. You know how I know this? Cause you are Castiel-fucking-Novak named after a fucking Angel of the Lord.” Dean held Castiel’s head against his neck forcing him to slow his breathing to match his own, bumping their chests against each other with each inhale.

Tears fell down Castiel’s face as his hands stopped trying to pull him away and instead grasped Dean closer.

“I can’t stay here in this room with – I can’t,” Castiel tried to explain as his nails tried to dig through Dean’s t-shirt and through his back. His mind was rebuffing Dean’s soothing words, but his body was molding itself to Dean’s as he continued to cry into this neck. All the while Dean’s fingers softly stroked his head and massaged the back of his neck.

“Is it me?” Dean asked quietly as Cas slowly nodded into his skin.

He felt Dean’s throat click before speaking, “Cas, what- what did I do? What can I do, for you, to make this okay?”

Castiel found himself shivering as his body released itself fully from the internal panic, “There’s nothing you can do. I’m damned Dean.”

Dean froze in his grasp as Castiel scrunched his eyes closed preparing for Dean to push him away and out of his home. But instead Dean slowly moved his head back to look down at Castiel.

“You are not damned. Shitty things have happened and evil people have scared you, but you, Angel, are not broken.”

“I’m not an angel Dean,” he moved away from Dean refusing to look at him. Castiel felt a cold shiver of rejection creep over his skin and burn away the comforting touches Dean had left in his hair and shoulders, even along his neck and temple.

“Sure you are. Castiel the Angel of Thursday. Right?” Dean allowed him to witness his charming chestier grin.

“Lucifer was an angel too,” he scoffed refusing to believe he was anything close to an angel.

“Pfft okay grumpy, but you are an angel to me and that’s what you’ll always be. A badass with feathers.”

Dean rose from the floor and offered him a hand, walking Castiel over slowly to sit on the bed. Castiel watched as Dean opened the door to get a glass of water in the bathroom and returned with it and a warm cloth for Castiel to wipe his face of tears.

“Not those fluffy little white ones though, but like big badass black wings you know? Ones that would dwarf the Empire State Building,” he grinned placing the warm cloth in Castiel’s hand.

“Angels are immeasurable beings Dean, they’d likely gulf most buildings. The Bible says that the mere image of them would cause a mortal to loose their sight for looking upon something as pure,” he sipped his water.

Dean smiled softly at Cas, “Defiantly an angel, Angel.”

A soft blush lit his cheeks as he darted his eyes away from Dean’s view.

Castiel felt the bed dip behind him while Dean shifted to sit up against the headboard. He turned around to look briefly at Dean, who was fiddling with his laptop, before he sighed and placed it to the side.

“Look Cas, I have no idea what you’re thinking or what is going on. Fuck I’m not even sure if me being here is helping or making everything ten times worse, but this is the best option. Just – just tell me what I did wrong so that I don’t do it again,” Dean’s eyes remained focused and dejected upon the bedspread between them.

Castiel studied him, watching how his shoulders sagged forward, how his ears were highlighted red with a blush and how the man was biting his lip.

“You didn’t do anything wrong,” he quietly assured.

Dean shook his head, “Bull.”

Castiel stared at the space between them seemingly spreading like an ocean between a sailor as he watched land disappear, but Castiel knew he couldn’t allow himself nor Dean to be stranded from each other. Cas had no one else, but Gabriel and he couldn’t return there without putting himself and his brother at risk.

Deciding to gather the small crumbs of courage he could find within himself Castiel clutched the damp towel in his hand and turned himself to sit cross-legged on the bed.

“You, Dean Winchester, deserve all the magic in the world. I am nothing. I am not the angel here Dean, but you.”

Dean laughed, “I’m no saint Cas.”

“I never said saint, but perhaps savior is more accurate,” he paused before inhaling and forcing the next words out, “I saw how you were with the file. Everything in there is true. I am – a sodomite. Perverted and not worthy of your kindness Dean.”

Castiel dug his nails into the bedspread and the cloth at hand, feeling the remnants of water dripping over his hand to his knee.

“Oh for God sakes Cas, I thought we talked about this,” Dean moved closer to him as his knee bumped with his own softly. The slight touch of his knee should have sent shocks of panic through his bones, but instead soothed his nerves.

Castiel felt Dean reach to tilt his chin upwards and slowly move his hand forward to cup his face, running his thumb over his cheekbone lightly and touching his eyelashes. Castiel melted into Dean’s green eyes as the subtle tightening of his muscle in preparation for rejection or an electric shock melted away to the warmth sparking from Dean’s eyes and skin.

“There is nothing wrong with you,” Dean titled his head to look deeper into Castiel’s eyes making him sigh between them.

For a moment Cas feels himself falling into his eyes, diving into the field of green that promised him days of sunshine and warm nights. He could feel his whole body sinking further into the mattress as he brought his palms forward to rest on either side of his knees sinking his fingers into the soft blanket below. In his mind he saw himself leaning forward to connect their lips, not because of some notion of sexual attraction but because he knew that if Dean ever allowed him the man would seep his whole heart into Castiel’s soul.

He closed his eyes and nodded, still not fully believing Dean, but choosing for that moment to let his mind go blank. No words of terror or anger floated between his ears nor images of ignited passion or tactile longing. Castiel just was. He was in that silent moment of acceptance, simply Castiel.

No. Not Castiel.

Cas.

Castiel felt himself leaning into Dean’s hand as his fingertips grazed across his cheek and the man quietly shifted away from him; taking the soft summer field glow away. Castiel slowly opened his eyes to look at Dean and noticed the man smiling gently at him before blushing and looking away.

He found an interest in a misplaced thread within the blanket below his hands and twirled it back into place. Dean arose and walked over to the wooden draws. Castiel glanced over as the scrapping of heavy wood caught his attention. He watched as Dean flicked out a large cream blanket.

“So I’m going to sleep on the floor,” Dean placed the blanket out beside the bed on the floor. Castiel felt himself begin to panic again.

“No, Dean please it’s your bed,” he rose to let Dean take his own bed, “I can sleep on the floor.”

Dean waved him off, “Nonsense Cas, I’ve slept on many hard floors over the years it’s not too bad. And besides I know Dr. Balthazar would kick my ass to next week Sunday if I didn’t let you sleep up there. It’s all good man.”

Castiel began to stutter in protest before being silenced with a sharp look and a quirk of Dean’s eyebrow. 

The both of them got comfortable as Dean reached over and passed his phone to him, “Call your brother. I’ll just put my headphones in.”

Looking down at Dean as he maneuvered onto his side, Cas found himself staring at the shift of hard muscle along his shoulders and back. The t-shirt he wore flowed over the lines indicating that Dean’s general softness was more to his warm heart than his physical strength. Cas wasn’t sure if that knowledge was comforting or scary, but he found his throat clicking as his face heated with his observation.

He looked down at the phone and moved to call his brother. The call wasn’t long as it was filled mostly with his brother being angry with him for not calling sooner, while the last 10 minutes were filled with the café and Kali. He cut the conversation short as Gabriel began to ask about Dean, finding himself gruffly whispering good night and hearing his brother yell his love through the phone.

Castiel sets the phone on the nightstand before reaching to turn the light off, opting to leave it on at the last minute.

Dean’s breathing was labored with sleep and he could hear the sound of guitar rifts dragging themselves out through the gaps in his headphones.

Knowing that Dean couldn’t hear him he wished the man goodnight.

 

__

 

The clanking of metal awakes Castiel along with the sound of a woman’s laughter; the laughter danced through the door and bounced off the walls before tickling his ears. Frowned as he slowly got up and walked towards the bedroom door, stepping over the crumbled blankets where Dean had slept.

At the top of the stairs Castiel stood in his oversized Led Zeppelin shirt provided by Dean on the first day and a pair of grey sweat pants. He knew that his hair was likely in array and his eyes drooped with remaining sleep. Standing there he listened to the soft murmuring of the woman speaking to Dean.

Castiel walked down the stairs quietly. Hearing the added tone of soft jazz playing in the background. The tune sounded familiar but he couldn’t place it and he was more concerned with the image in the kitchen.

Standing just out of sight, Castiel watched as Dean swayed back and forth with a tall woman. Her long brown hair shone like silk with the morning light, her skin was tan, her figure lethal and petite. She was dressed in a green tank top and tight dark denim jeans. Her feet were bare and her hands brushed the short cropping of Dean’s hair. The woman’s face rested upon his shoulder as a soft smile lite her face.

As they turned in place, Castiel noticed Dean’s own hands placed low on her waist and brushing up her back to wrap his arms around her in a hug. Dean inhaled deeply causing Castiel to feel like he had not only sucked the air out of the kitchen but out of his own lungs. Castiel stood now in the threshold watching as the ridiculous notions remaining from his dreams could never be anything more.

So stupid. You knew he didn’t like men and yet you allowed yourself to think maybe.’ Castiel looked away as the music immediately became apparent causing him to laugh at himself.

Blue Skies. Of Course,’ Castiel wrapped his arms around himself feeling the warm morning seep away to be replaced by a shivered sense of reality.

“Oh. Hi Castiel! I’m Lisa,” the woman chirped steeping away from Dean and coming up to shake his hand.

He cautiously looked at her hand before shaking it in a soft grip. To his further self-deprecation Dean walked up to place a hand at Lisa’s back and smiled at Castiel.

“Hey sleepyhead! So Lis here cooked us up a sweet-ass breakfast, want some?” Not waiting for him to respond, Dean shifted away to make him a plate.

Lisa continued to watch Dean move around his kitchen before ushering Castiel to the breakfast counter “Sit, sit! The crew and I have generated a plan.”

Dean placed a full plate of food beneath his face and smiled at Lisa causing Castiel’s stomach to sink to his feet and his heart to turn cold. Shuttering he lifted the fork and began to eat, choosing to keep his eyes upon his food prepared by the beautiful woman before him and dished by the equally gorgeous man in the kitchen.

He thought he must look so odd in this picture. The disgruntled, broken piece of china in a catalogue. Out of place and ugly.

With every movement and every note of the music playing, his hopes of what could be possible began to fade. Perhaps he should just leave and take his troubles away from them all; Dean has the perfect life with a beautiful woman and house big enough for a family.

Castiel’s appetite had waned and he left most of his food on the plate. Dean had asked if he was okay forcing Castiel to swipe a fake smile across his face.

“Fine Dean, I’m just not that hungry,” Castiel got up and walked his dishes over to sink as Lisa and Dean continued to chatter behind him. Looking up he saw the wilting nature of the fully bloomed irises sitting on the windowsill.

“Dean,” Castiel continued to stare out the window.

“Yeah?”

“Where do you keep the watering can for the plants?”

“On the porch out back. Why?” Dean had stopped eating and he could feel his intense stare upon his back.

“I though I’d go outside for a bit.”

“I don’t think tha-” Dean protested.

“Sure, Castiel, why don’t you go ahead? Just stay in the back,” Lisa interrupted.

Sighing Castiel shuffled his way to the back, grabbed the rusted old watering can from the back corner of the deck and jumped down off the deck; avoiding the stairs. He stopped under the big oak tree that he had spent many mornings in the past month staring up at; watching the leaves bloom and the wilderness wake up.

Staring up into the branches Castiel noticed a nest in the crook of the trunk where a lonely robin was perched trying desperately to make a piece stay in his nest. The sun soaked into Castiel’s skin and warmed his mind while his heart slowly encased itself in a careful sheen of ice. He’s not cold, not the way he was in the elevator, and for that reason he thinks about how lucky he is to be here. To be in the sun, with the feeling of the damp grass beneath his feet, a subtly soft cold wind in his hair and the feeling of the rusting watering can within his clenched fingers. He walked to the side of the house to fill the can with the spout the jutted out of the wall.

Once he had filled the can he walked deliberately to the irises along the windowsill and began to feed them. Slowly he cleaned out the pervious autumn leaves and picked at the one dead bloom hanging on.

As he stood slightly up on the balls of his feet, he could see Dean’s back facing him while he talked to Lisa who was now standing at the island with a notebook.

He shook his head and walked back to the deck where Dean had placed a small tree in a pot, waiting for it to mature before planting. He placed the can back on the deck and quietly entered the house, stopping in the hallway to listen.

“Dean, we have to use him there is no other way,” Lisa chastised.

“Absolutely not. Cas is staying here, safe and away from all of them. Find another way.”

“There is no other wa-”

“There’s always another way.”

A slow silence creeped into the base of the floor before Lisa quietly spoke again. Castiel had trouble hearing her and decided to creep further down the hall to stand just out of sight by the archway.

“Does he know?”

“Know what?” Dean asked just as quietly.

“Does Castiel know about you? Does he know about us?”

“He knows that we used to date, yes.”

“Are you sure? Cause he didn’t look happy when walked in this morning.”

Castiel could hear Dean sighing, “I’m not sure how to bring it up. I’m worried he’ll have some repressed phobia and freak out on me. I can’t have that happen again.” 

“Dean, you know it was more than that for us. We had problems before,” Castiel peeked into the kitchen to see Lisa stroking Dean’s face.

“I know, but still I can’t be the reason he reverts to the person he was when I found him.”

Lisa asked at him, “Oh Dean Winchester, always the martyr. For once take a leap of faith and see what happens. All you have to do is let him know that he truly is not alone.”

Dean nods, “Thanks Lis.”

With a sudden bang Castiel almost jumped out of his skin as Sam suddenly barged into the house. They stopped and stared at each other before Sam walked into the kitchen, Castiel followed close behind.

“We’ve got a bit of a problem,” he said skidding to hault in front of Dean and Lisa, his face stern with worry.

“Oh for fuck sake, what now?” Dean groaned before allowing himself a quick glance at Castiel standing awkwardly between the kitchen and the hall.

“We lost the van. Benny was tracking it and then all of a sudden poof gone,” Sam flailed his hands.

“How is that possible? Charlie had the vehicle on GPS,” Lisa interjected.

“No idea, but one minute they were there and the next gone. Charlie thinks that someone is on to us and reversed the GPS hack.”

“What do we do?” Castiel quietly asked clenching his fists as he refused his bodies desire to bolt out the door. Adrenaline jolted through his legs and heart, he was ready to run, but his heart wanted him to fight.

“You do noth- ” Dean began pointing at him.

“We have to move the raid up. Shit, I have to call Ellen about this,” Sam dug his phone out of his pocket before Lisa stepped forward and grabbed it from his hands.

“I’ve got it. You three figure out what to do,” Lisa walked passed Castiel smiling briefly before exiting the house to stand in the backyard.

He glanced back at Dean and watched as the man dragged his hands through his hair, scrapping his nails through each strand and rubbing his face in frustration before planting them upon the counter of the island.

“When Lisa gets back with word from Ellen, we’ll create a solid exit plan but for now, Sam you’re going to get in contact with Bobby and make sure he’s ready to go with the police van. After he’s notified, him and Jody will get the shelter ready to take them in and hide the kids if needed. Cas will stay here, preferably locked up with an additional set up on my computer so he can see the perimeter of the house and what we’re up to. Char is in charge of getting surveillance on the compound, while Benny and I setup outside of the facility. Now it’s all going to happen really quick, but what we need from you, Cas, is where your friends are likely to be and at what time.” Dean looked up at Castiel.

Cas could see the wearied nature of Dean’s soul, but the fight was ignited in his heart.

“Go after they lock the bunkrooms. There is little security and the guard tended to fall asleep. The staff is usually in bed as well.”

“Right. What time?”

“Eleven. They locked the doors promptly at eleven.”

Castiel found his feet slowly walking up beside Dean and looked down at the notebook left behind by Lisa. On the paper he saw a list of things they needed; bolt cutter, disconnecting the electrical grid, something for the dog and the go ahead from the FBI.

They were taking this out of the jurisdiction of the county of Massachusetts and transferring it up the chain of command to the federal government.

“I could go with you,” Castiel slowly placed a hand close to Dean’s own clenched fists.

Dean softly shook his head, “no Cas, no.”

“But I know the grounds better than anyone and –“

“I said No Cas!” Dean snapped before huffing and leaving the room.

Stunned Castiel found himself staring into the space Dean had left. ‘Why won’t he let me help? I’m not glass! Did I do something? Is it me? Can Dean not trust me to do this?’

“Cas,” Sam shifted from the other side of the counter, “Don’t take it personally.”

Castiel looked up at Sam as his face crumbled from confusion to a slapped state of sorrow, “How can’t I? This is my problem. I should be there. I need to be there!”

“Then tell him that,” Sam sighed, “he’s just worried Cas.”

“Worried?”

“Yeah. He’s worried about bringing you back there.”

“I’m not that fragile. This is more my fight than his.”

“You’re not the only one who society has been known to reject Cas and Dean- when Dean cares about someone he does it completely. How do you think he’d be if something were to happen to you?”

Castiel frowned wondering why he would even truly care.

“Alright, so Ellen has the FBI ready to head out as soon as we are ready,” Lisa prompted as she sauntered back into the house.

Sam shook his head, “Frankly I’m surprised that the FBI is even teaming up with us.”

“The Hunting crew is the cover. The plan is that you are going to go in with the film crew to do an expose for the Right wings on federal spending and areas in which the Church can be further involved with the government. As far as St. Angela’s staff is concerned this whole plan is about promoting their ways.” Castiel watched as Lisa transformed from Dean’s close friend to the producer they all respected, tying her hair up in a bun and squaring off her shoulders.

“So it’s about money,” Sam bluntly stated.

“Oh yeah,” Lisa laughed with restraint.

Castiel fiddled with his hands on the island counter, “I could draw you a map.”

Lisa perked up to the suggestions, ”Please do. Oh Ellen is going to want you to go in with them undercover. We’re going to give you a hat and glasses along with a large camera. You are to film everything. But we need you inside cause the kids need a face they can trust.”

“Dean’s not going to like this,” Sam interjected.

“Yeah well he can take it up with the Federal Bureaus Investigators.”

From the top of the stairs Castiel could hear Dean’s phone ringing, the notes of Aretha Franklin’s Respect ricocheted down the stairs as his honey baritone answered the call. His words were lost through the walls and his absence was felt within the kitchen. He knew that Dean was going to be mad at him for putting himself in danger, but it was a matter that Dean was going to have to accept.

Castiel, in this moment decided that he could not continue to be the victim of his situation and he refused to allow another person go through even an ounce of his own pain. Ever. 

He didn’t know if God or Christ would approve of his sinful nature, but he knew that within all the hatred in his faith it was the shining beacon of hope, love and compassion that was far more important.

If Dean saw him as an angel, then perhaps it was time that he started believing it too. Castiel turned around to face the window once again and stared at the irises once again stretching towards the sun and the blue sky above. As his eyes unfocussed on the windowpane to watch Dean walk down the stairs he spotted a tall, dark and lanky figure float behind Dean just before it rushed towards Castiel and stood just behind him sneering at their reflection before disappearing all together.

Castiel sucked in a breathe of air, realizing that he was going to have to fight this foe on his own.

Chapter Text

Castiel stares into the soft orange glow of Dean’s room as the night begins to fade to morning. The soft blinds are covering windows making sure that both men are able to grab a few hours of sleep, before it all begins in three days.

In three days he will be driving back to St. Angela’s Center with his own temptation sitting, likely pouting, beside him. He tried to move to the truck with Benny in hopes of distancing himself further from Dean. It wasn’t that he wanted to be detached from him, if anything he wasn’t sure he could fully separate himself from Dean anymore, but he knew that being fully in his presence was more painful and frightening than exhilarating and comforting. He knew he couldn’t be that sad presence between Lisa and Dean or any other woman he may love in the future. He deserved something more than a sad and broken man.

The sun crept over the edges of the curtains as the dark corners of the room transformed into a soft blue hue. He could feel the slight change in Dean’s breathing as the man began to wake up with the sun; an internal alarm clock. Yet it wasn’t so much that Castiel had stayed awake because of his thoughts or his need to formulate a plan to keep his new friends out of harms way, it was fear. It always seemed to be fear.

He was so sick of being afraid, but the dark edges of the night brought the voices, the snarls and the subtle throbbing of old wounds. Over the past few days since he’d seen Lisa and Dean dancing in the kitchen, he’d seen Alastair. He’d seen him in the reflections in the windows, in the edges of the mirror and out of the corner of his eyes. He could hear him scraping his nails along the wood panel of the bedframe and feel his breath upon his cheek. The sulphuric smell followed him.

It only took him a day to figure out that Dean and the others did not smell it and were not seeing the same things. He worried that he was going insane, but his heart had learned to accept the impossible, however fleeting they may seem. While his soul was still scratched with dark oozing abrasions, it was also made of fire; not sunshine.

Dean told him he was an angel, so he was going to find a way to be strong, but he wasn’t just scared. He was absolutely terrified. He was terrified that Alastair would find a way to etch his mark into his skin and that he would go after Dean like he had promised. He was terrified that the demons, real and surreal, were going to find them. That not only would Alastair find a way to drag him back into hell, but that it would be the reality of the Centre entrapping him in a state where he was once again prey to the entity that truly brought chills to his skin and sparked white hot heat along the marks on his back and thighs.

Castiel turned his head as the sound of rustling sheets and the groaning of the floorboards notified him to Dean. The man slowly rose from the entanglement of linen as he arched his back towards the day that greeted him. Castiel watched as the muscles in his arms and shoulders flecked with a surge of awakened energy and his spine curved delightfully from the floor into the air. He watched as the man’s long eyelashes fluttered against the bright sun now beaming through the curtains and the green eyes absorbed its warmth. He watched as Dean’s strong hands ruffled through his cropped dark blonde hair, the sunbeams glancing off the strands as they flowed through his touch.

Castiel turned his head away from the dream before him when Dean released a tantalizing groan and followed through with a satisfied sigh. The tone reminding him too much of the sounds the men made during Holy Imagery, and also of what his own desires coveted so strongly. He sighed quietly willing his nerves to calm, his sorrows to quiet and the undercurrent of fear to dissipate. Dean was a beauty in everyway and he had sworn during the past few nights he would never allow darkness to touch him again- even if that meant he must face it alone once more.

“Did you sleep?” Dean’s baritone growled with the morning causing Castiel to drag his eyes from a pillow to the man standing at the edge of the bed.

“Yes,” Castiel replied.

Dean squinted at him before he gave him a small smile and headed towards the door pausing in the threshold. From the door he caught Dean’s exasperated voice, “I wish you would tell me what’s wrong.”

Castiel watched as Dean walked towards the bathroom and shut the door. He swung his legs over the edge of the bed welcoming the warming air of the oncoming spring as it tricked his toes into believing the floor was as warm. He danced his feet off the floor before standing and walking towards the stairs leading to the kitchen. He needed coffee. But as he raised his sleep fogged head up, the smell of sulphur once again reached his nose. Castiel tensed as a nail dragged itself across the crook of his neck where Dean’s shirt opened wide along the neckline. The nail left his skin before black smoke took shape towards the door of the bathroom, stopping in front of the door and turning it’s smiling mangled face towards Castiel. No words could be heard, but a subtle hiss hit the air before it went through the door.

“NO!” Castiel screamed at Alastair as he disappeared into the bathroom, where Dean was singing beneath the shower.

“Leave him alone!” Castiel banged his fist on the door, “Dean! Dean!! Get out! DEAN!” Tears streaked down his face in panic as he slammed his fists against the doorframe. Suddenly the door was whipped opened before him.

Dean stood in front of him with his face scrunched in a deep frown, his eyes lit with worry, his exposed chest once again dotted with water and flushed a light pink. Dean secured the towel around his waist and extended his free hand to caress Castiel’s shoulder. The soothing touch was unwelcomed because all he could think about was finding Alastair before he could hurt Dean.

Castiel pushed past Dean, spinning rapidly around in the small bathroom, clouded with steam and the smell of cinnamon scented shampoo.

“Cas, what’s wrong?” Dean tentatively asked.

“He was here, he came in here,” Castiel finds himself panicking as he turns rapidly in circles searching every corner of the bathroom, throwing the curtain back and forth harshly along the rod before whirling around again to rush out the door and head back to the bedroom.

“Hey, Cas. Cas!” Dean caught Castiel by the shoulder forcing him to face him; green eyes finally connecting with blue.

Castiel’s lungs moved rapidly against his rib cage, his pulse visible upon his neck, as his eyes realized that Dean was facing him unharmed.

“He was here,” Castiel whispered.

Dean’s eyes searched his face, focusing upon his rattled eyes, his reddened lips from worried biting and the pale tenor of his skin, “Who?”

Castiel inhaled deeply as the air exited his mouth with a tremor, “Alastair.”

Dean frowned at him, “That’s not possible Cas we banished him back to hell.”

“No, he’s still here. He follows me. He stalks you,” Castiel’s eyes danced over Dean’s shoulder forcing the man to take a quick look into the hallway and remove his hands.

Castiel stepped away, folding in on himself to escape the oncoming chill that had hit his bones. Scrunching his eyes tightly and straightening his posture Castiel once again focused upon Dean’s freckled face, “Alastair is no longer a demonic presence, but his attachment to this world and to me hasn’t disappeared.”

“For how long?” Dean asked as he walked towards his wardrobe dropping the towel in favor of precision and speed rather than modesty.

While the timing was not welcomed, Castiel was not immune. The flash of pale skin spattered with freckles would be implanted into his mind for years to come along with the image of Dean guiding his worn jeans over his ass and how he turned around while fastening his pants. The final view made time fall still as Dean gave Castiel full view of the light dusting of dark blonde hair that led into the darkness of his denim cladded thighs.

Dean was solely focused on business, while Castiel’s mind splintered from the task at hand to focus on the exposed skin five steps away. He was young and still not fully at terms with his profound attraction to the half dressed man before him.

Does he not understand what he does to me? How cruel it is?’ he could feel his face heating as his heart raced with a rush of confused adrenaline; fear and desire.

“Right, Cas. Come downstairs with me. We’ll grab some coffee then you’re going to spill what you haven’t been telling me.”

__________________

Castiel found himself, once again, on the charcoal grey couch watching Dean putter around the kitchen with a quick cup of coffee. The dark roast aroma hit the air as Dean opened the side window to let a breath of fresh spring air through the house.

Biting his lip Castiel wondered what he should tell him. If he should share all of his worries or only pieces of it. Yet, he proposed that Dean would likely know if he was lying.

Dean sat himself down with the cup of coffee and passed Castiel his own, watching attentively as Castiel placed the cup on the table instead. Frowning further he spoke, “Spill.”

Castiel took a deep breath, “Alastair only left briefly. He- he knows things and he knows what we are planning to do. I see him in the corners of the room or in the reflections of the windows and mirrors. He cannot touch me, but I can smell him and hear him. He- he touched me briefly before outside the bathroom.”

“Where did he touch?” unconvinced, Dean looked at Castiel over the edge of his mug while his lip danced just out of reach.

Unable to fully speak Castiel dragged his own finger down his neck and across his exposed collarbone.

“Why did he go into the bathroom?”

Castiel paused as his eyes focused on the movement of the mug; up and down, then finally resting fully on Dean’s knee.

“Cas?”

Looking up into Dean’s eyes the emotional tremor of fear flowed to Castiel’s fingers and ignited them with a need for action. His breathing labored in anticipation and his heart stilled. He needed to tell him the truth. Castiel soaked his doubts in the warmth that flowed from Dean’s field green eyes before turning his own eyes away back to the mug.

“He was taunting me and promising to fulfill his warnings.”

“What warning?”

The silence encased the gap between them on the couch as time waited for Castiel to commit to his final secret.

“Warning me that if – if I continued to look and think of you as I do, that it would not be me he harmed, but you.”

Castiel waited as Dean watched every embarrassed twitch coming from his body. He watched as the dusting of pink that had stroked up his neck and over his cheeks slowly turned an ash white. The timing placed between them seemed to stretch for hours and thicken. In his waiting Castiel scrunched his eyes closed waiting for Dean to finally understand what he had told him and subsequently throw him out. He waited for the last lash of a belt to hit his heart and the last painful spark of electricity to zap through his soul; fracturing it in the process. 

Castiel jumped as a light warm hand touched his and rested themselves on Castiel’s lap. Opening his eyes slowly, Castiel found a worried face and a pair of kind eyes gazing at his own. 

“How did he tell you this?” Dean asked gently.

“Dreams.”

“What would he do?”

“He punished you like he did me or – or peeled your skin off to fully-” Castiel gulped as tears began to fall down his face remembering the image of Alastair in the car and of how Alastair, only days ago, had peeled away Dean’s face in the window’s reflection. “To fully cleanse you of my disease and sin.”

Dean reached up to stroke the tear tracks away from Castiel’s face. The soft contact against his damp skin caused Dean’s hand to catch and allowed him to place his palm upon Castiel’s cheek, cupping his jaw.

“Anything you do Castiel Novak is far from a sin or disease and besides the bastard has no idea what I’m going to do to him,” Dean’s cheshire grin evaporated the tension floating in the air.

“I’m sorry,” Castiel shuddered.

“For what Angel?” Dean’s other hand shifted to join his palm upon his face.

“For bringing him here – to you. For being me. For- looking at you.”

“You have nothing to worry about Angel,” Dean paused taking in all of Castiel’s presence. “Absolutely nothing.”

Castiel watched as Dean leaned in slowly and tilted his head down. His breath caught as a pair of soft lips pressed into his forehead and lingered before Dean rested his forehead against his own.

“Continue to look at me and think of me however you want Cas, cause trust me you are not the only one.”

Castiel inhaled deeply soaking in the damp smell of cinnamon and ever-present scent of oil and wood upon the man’s skin. He mourned the fleeting touch of Dean’s breath upon his face, lips against his head and strong hands on his jawline as the confident man slowly rose and left the room briefly. But not before Castiel noticed the bright red tips of Dean’s ears.

‘What have I missed?’

Castiel reached up to feel his heated face stroking where the man’s hands had rested and taping where his kiss had branded his skin for the first time. A forehead kiss. Nothing sensual, but it was a promise. A promise that he was not alone.

From the back of the house Castiel could hear Dean rummaging through the cupboard and a loud yelp admitted from the hallway only to be followed by a thud and clanging of metal.

“God fucking damn it Samuel, how many times have a told you not to put the rifle up on the shelf’s ledge?”

Curious, Castiel rose to investigate the sound, “Dean, are you okay?”

“What? Oh, yeah Cas I’m fine the rifle just smacked my head on its way down. The shelf’s angled,” he gestured hastily at the shelving unit in the cupboard.

“What are you doing?” Castiel watched Dean noticing that he still sported a soft blush.

Dean lifted a large iron canister labeled SALT, “Going to ghost quarantine our gorgeous asses in and make a salt circle around the bed so you,” he pointed at him on his way around the house, “can finally get some shut eye.”

“But he’s already in the house,” Castiel followed.

“Yup I know, but I’m taking precautionary measures,” Dean marched up the stairs, causing the wood to creak with forced pressure.

Castiel watched as Dean’s bowlegs bounded up the stairs to their room. ‘His room,’ he corrected.

Bolting up the stairs he noticed that the salt circle did not encompass Dean’s makeshift bed on the floor.

“Dean what about you?” he pointed.

“Don’t worry about me Cas I’m going to be waiting for the fucker,” he lifted an iron rod before placing it by the sheets.

“No Dean,” he shook his head as he walked into collect the blankets on the floor, “You are his target not me. You’ll sleep on the bed, with me.”

“Cas,” Dean stopped to watch him as Castiel plopped the blankets down on the bed and fluffed a pillow up along his own, before reaching down to grab the iron.

Pointing the iron rod at Dean he declared, “You will not sleep outside the circle. We do this together or I will stand guard.”

“But Cas-” Dean’s eyes searched his face and glanced back to the bed.

Pausing to take into account, that given the situation and his demand, Dean Winchester aka Mister-walking-temptation would be sleeping in the same bed as him. Castiel nodded as he realized he’d rather have him close than in Alastair’s reach, “Yes Dean. I’m sure.”

Gulping Dean scratched the back of his neck before nodding and agreeing silently. Castiel watched as Dean finished the salt line around the bed, pausing again once it was complete to stare at the bed and cast Castiel a questionable glance. Castiel stared in fascination as his eyes caught Dean’s in that quick moment and watched as Dean dashed out of the room as his cheeks and neck went from a soft pink to a bright cherry red.

Frowning he wondered what was happening, ‘Why is he blushing? Why did he kiss my head? Why is he acting so coy?’ 

Castiel ran a hand through his unruly hair, opting to sit outside under the oak tree, instead of staying inside with Dean.

Chapter Text

As he snuck around the bend of the stairs to exit into the backyard, he caught Dean gathering equipment and making symbols in the walls and doors.

“Dean I’ll just be outside,” Castiel explained, catching Dean’s brief grumble of acknowledgment as he continued to exit the house.

Castiel walked out on to the grass and soaked the light into his skin, the sun high in the sky and the robins chirping from their home amongst the bow. He placed himself upon the damp grass and leaned his back carefully upon the bark. He could feel the tightness of the scars and burns upon his skin as they stretched uncomfortably across his spine, shoulders and hips. Scrunching his face briefly he inhaled once again and reminded himself to stay within the moment. There was only the blue sky above him, the grass beneath him and the warmth of the sun washing over his exposed skin.

In a few days, the tranquility he had found within Dean’s home would be gone and he was certain that once they took St. Angela’s down he would be returning with his mother or Gabriel. Not Dean.

The air shuttered out between his lips and rattled his ribcage as the truthful sting hit his heart. Dean might have accepted him, although he was still doubtful, but it was a friendship that was not meant to last. Dean would move on and forget him.

Staring up at the sky he decided that for the moment, no matter how unsafe they may be and regardless of the chaos that surrounded, he would treasure them.

Gripping the grass below he watched as his hands stroked and pull at the strands of green, smiling softly in the process at the way the colour resembled Dean’s eyes in the sun. They were not a bright fake green found in slabs of sod, but a truthful earth tone found only amongst the life of the Earth itself.

“Cas?” came a panicked voice from the house. “Cas?!”

“Out here Dean,” Castiel rose from the ground to enter the house only for Dean to bulldoze into him in his panic to exit the house.

“Where the Hell have you been?” Dean steadied himself.

Perplexed by the panic, Castiel’s senses went on alert, “Why?”

He glanced around Dean and watched as a large man stepped out from the backdoor, bending his head to side to make sure that he did not hit the frame.

“Hey Castiel, how you doin’? Dean hasn’t been too much of a mother-hen on ya has he?”

Castiel glanced back at Dean, watching as he inhaled deeply with his eyes closed calming his nerves before he briefly flicked them open to Castiel, “No Benny, I haven’t been. Let’s go.”

Dean walked past Benny into the house leaving Castiel to stand on the steps of the porch looking up at Benny.

“Well you heard the man let’s get ya inside,” Benny expanded his hand towards him, welcoming him inside.

He mourned the absence of the sun’s warmth upon his face, the soft sounds of the spring wind and the small chirps of the robin’s nest. Inside the house the chatter it was encompassing, not unwelcoming, but not free. Standing just within the kitchen Castiel followed Dean, Benny and Charlie as they arranged various equipment on the kitchen counters.

Charlie realized that he’d returned to the house and stopped what she was doing in oder to drag him in for a hug, “Heya Cas how goes the Winchester Panic-Room Extravaganza?”

“The what?” Castiel stared at the fiery red head, reminding him for the hundredth time of his older sister.

“She means being on house arrest with me,” Dean offered as he checked the batteries in the hand held video camera.

“I’m not under arrest,” Castiel retorted.

Dean flicked his eyes up to lock them with his own, “No you most certainly are not, but for now you’re safe.”

“O-kay, Captain Kirk I think Spock’s got the gist. Now flyboy, the Bear and I need you to listen up,” Charlie transformed from her carefree glee to business in a blink while ushering him closer to the island counter.

Castiel jumped as Benny slapped a hat upon his head causing the large man to raise his hand, “Sorry brother. But that’s your disguise.”

Taking the hat off of his head he looked at the lettering placed on the black cap in scrawled lettering, GHOST HUNTERS. The words dashed themselves across the outline of what could only be Dean’s impala. On the back of the hat were a small globe and the words Discovery Channel.

“Welcome to the team Brother,” Benny smiled down at him.

“Thanks.”

“So, now that you’re officially part of the crew you need to learn to look like a cameraman. So this,” Charlie placed the large video camera in front of him, “is Beth. Treat her right and she’ll make sure you get the shot. Either way, the beaut is heavy so you have to rest her on your shoulder. Test her out.”

Castiel stared at Beth wondering how they expected to entrust him with the large camera, ‘It must cost a fortune. I can’t.’

“Here let me,” Dean stepped around the counter and hoisted the camera up to Castiel’s shoulder. “See you place your hand here to steady it against your shoulder and neck. Then your other hand holds on right here at the lens.”

Castiel absorbed every directed touch Dean offered him. Blushing, he waited as Dean molded his hands around the device and rested his own hands against his for a second too long after putting them in place.

“Good?” Dean asked.

“Yeah,” he husked.

“Alright Jasmine step away from Aladdin and the lamp, the boy needs to learn how to treat it right,” Charlie butted Dean out of the way to stand before him.

“Disney reference? Really Bradbury?”

“Hey if he learns to handle it that baby is going to record some freaking magic.”

Feeling his cheeks brighten with colour, Castiel hid behind the eyepiece of the camera choosing to get into the position rather than respond.

“How does it feel Castiel?” Benny asked from his side, while both tech members adjusted the camera on his shoulder and positioned the pieces to better suit him.

“You touch it here to turn it on, give it a whirl,” Charlie instructed.

Castiel tapped the red button and watched as a light flickered in the lens and focused upon Dean. He watched as Dean shifted to look at Charlie’s laptop and a soft smile reached his face when he noticed that the camera was looking at him. He watched as Dean waved at him from the computer before turning it around briefly for him to see what Dean was looking at.

On the screen was a live-feed of the camera. Charlie maneuvered herself to be with her computer as Benny continued to fiddle with the camera.

“What’s the game plan captain?” Charlie asked.

Dean quickly glanced at Castiel before straightening himself up to address the crew.

“Tomorrow morning we are going to head back to the Centre, but the drive will mean that we’re going to have to stop over night at a motel,” Dean responded looking at Charlie.

Charlie pulled up Google Map to begin mapping out the driving route, while Benny started to collect the mess of equipment along the kitchen counter.

“Now, Sam called earlier today to tell me that he was going to follow the Sister and Uriel back to the Centre since they unexpectedly decided to leave, meaning our original plan has been pushed up a few days. He’s somewhere outside of Minneapolis right now. They should be stopping in Wisconsin. I wanted to leave today, but as it was pointed out to me a fresh start with a full day of driving tomorrow is a better plan.”

Castiel watched as each crewmember walked through easily practiced step in preparation for their departure; dashing from corner to corner in the kitchen, making phone calls and packing equipment. Castiel felt helpless for all he could do was stand awkwardly in the kitchen out of the way.

“What’s the driving arrangements Chief?”

“I think Castiel should be with me, I’ll show him the ropes and talk tech so he can look legit,” Charlie popped up beside him and threw an arm around his waist, bumping their hips together in the process.

“No, he’s with me. What else?” Dean sharply interjected.

“Dean, he needs to know what he’s doing or he’ll comprim-”

“I said he’s with me, it’s not a debate. What else?” Dean refused to look at him.

“If I may, I’d like to be with Charlie. I don’t want to go in and ruin the plan just because I’m fumbling over equipment,” he watched as Dean looked at him with a flash of shock before turning his head back to the computer, his posture stiff and guarded.

“Fine. Cas is with Bradbury, Benny you’re with me. We’re on the road at 5, so unless you plan to crash here everyone out and get some sleep. It’s going to be a long next couple of days.”

Charlie turned at his waist and gave him a quick squeeze, “Don’t let his bad mood ramp up your anxiety. He’s worried and a control freak. Enjoy these last few hours, just be all of who you are. Things get crazy tomorrow.”

Charlie lifted her hand and split her fingers towards Dean and Castiel as she walked backwards out of the kitchen “Live long and prosper bird. See ya tomorrow oh Captain, my Captain.”

“See ya Brother,” Benny squeezed Dean’s shoulder before waving farewell to Castiel.

Castiel watched the door as it slowly clicked behind them and stared at the sudden absence of flurried motion within the house. Looking at his feet Castiel listened to the soft puttering of Dean moving through the kitchen, taking out a pot and the clink of rice as it hit the metal.

He turned around to the sound of Dean inhaling deeply and sighing with a great gust of air. ‘He’s stressed and ignoring me. Is he worried? How do I help?’

Dean reached into the open fridge and dished out some hamburger, letting it plop into a heated pan on the stove. Before Dean could reach for the tomatoes and onions set on the table, Castiel reached around and grabbed a knife and cutting board.

“Let me Dean,” Castiel watched as Dean’s green eyes flicked up to finally look at him before a soft grunt left his mouth and he nodded his agreement, leaving the tomatoes upon the chopping block.

“Thanks Cas,” he softly replied before returning to the stove.

The worried silence wove around them, not disturbing their danced movements, but maintaining a distance between them.

Castiel laughed to himself as he remembered his mother once telling him that one should always leave room for Jesus when interacting with the opposite sex. How peculiar it was that the time it proved to demonstrate itself in practice, it was not a girl, but a man.

What would she say if she saw me blushing and stumbling over this beautiful man? Sharing a kitchen with him and – and a bed?’

Dean gathered the tomatoes and diced onions from him, scrapping them into a casserole dish before mixing all of the ingredients with a heavy layer of cheddar cheese.

Remembering Charlie’s words to allow himself to be himself, Castiel watched with slight virginal embarrassment as Dean bent over to place the dish in the heated oven. He watched with the snug fit of denim tugged at his thighs and around his ass. He enjoyed the way he straightened his t-shirt upon rising up, molding the fabric briefly to his shoulders and waist. He watched Dean’s hands as he clapped them together to brush imaginary flour from his palms. And he enjoyed the way he licked his lips sub-consciously before connecting his eyes to Castiel’s wandering gaze. But what he enjoyed the most out of the momentary normalization of his attraction to Dean, was how he was gifted with the sight of Dean blushing at his gaze upon him, likely glazed with subtle arousal, and how a soft smile lite Dean’s features.

“Like what you see Cas?” Dean smiled with bravado.

Swallowing loudly Cas nodded before loosing his momentary courage of embraced attraction.

“If it counts for anything Cas, I like what I see too. When I look at you that is.”

Castiel whipped his head up to meet Dean’s eyes once again.

Flustered Dean began to stumble over his words, “I mean since you got here you’ve been able to put on weight and get some colour in your cheeks. You don’t look dead.”

“Right,” Castiel felt his heart deflate a little, “thank you Dean, your cooking has helped.”

Of course he hadn’t meant it in the way he’d hoped. He was an ill child in the man’s eyes. A charity case.’ Castiel wandered towards the island counter and began to set out plates and cutlery.

Feeling Dean’s eyes upon him, Castiel sensed the need to say something, “How’s Lisa?”

“Lisa?” Dean asked, confused with the topic change.

“Yes, Lisa. Is she well?”

“She’s fine I guess. I haven’t really talked to her since she was here with the file. She had to head back to Discovery for appearances sake. She’s in contact with Ellen in Washington and the FBI is already in Massachusetts waiting for our arrival.”

“You haven’t talked to her since?” confused as to why Dean would be ignoring someone he loved Castiel questioned further.

“No. Why? Did you want to talk to her?” Dean quirked his eyebrow and his once coyly beaming face became shaded with puzzlement.

“No, I was just- just wondering why you wouldn’t be talking to her if- you know,” he fumbled.

“If I what?”

“are together,” he responded quietly.

“Together? Lisa and me? No, no, No. Lisa and I haven’t been together in ages. She’s not too supportive of my ‘lifestyle’,” Dean quoted the air.

“But you were dancing,” Castiel’s head began to swerve with confusion. ‘What did I miss?’ He asked himself for the second time today.

“Yeah Cas, just dancing, that’s it,” shaking his head Dean turned around to retrieve the casserole from the oven.

Castiel wracked his hand through his hair and frowned at Dean, choosing to focus on the answer rather than Dean’s physical form.

“I don’t understand. I thought you were together and how could she look down on your life as a TV producer and host? She works with a television corporation. Your life is uneventful outside of that, and me. You have a house, live in the suburbs, cook.”

Laughing as he began to dish out their plates Dean corrected him, “That’s not what I meant by lifestyle Cas. Although I hate the word choice.”

Dean gestured to the seat beside his own as the steaming lump of Tex-Mex casserole wafted in the air, filling Castiel’s confused senses with chili, onions, beef and melted cheese.

Rising on to the chairs Castiel glowered down at his plate, his fork in hand before turning his puzzled face to Dean once again, “I don’t understand.”

Lifting his eyebrow Dean smirked and watched for a reaction upon Castiel’s face, “I’m Bi Cas. As in the ladies and fellas.”

Castiel’s brain stopped and the rush of blood heated his face with the sudden confession, “As in –“

“As in I don’t judge the skin of my partner, I like both men and women,” turning his face away from him, Castiel watched as Dean took a large bite of his meal. “Hell I’ve been with women and men. A little different every time,” Dean smiled to himself, speaking through the food.

Castiel placed his fork down on the plate before pushing his chair away and walking out towards the back door and into the backyard.

He needed air. It felt like his world had changed suddenly. He began to relook at every thing he had thought of Dean; all the glances, soft touches, worry and the protectiveness. The anger at what had happened to him, what Charlie had said so long ago on Skype and how Dean’s eyes sometimes stayed upon his own a little too long. All of those moments were different. But mostly the words he had thrown at himself from years of learned bigotry for how he felt about Dean, now it was different.

“Cas?” Dean’s soft worried voice came through the screen door, the clacking of the door hitting itself upon the frame as Dean walked out to Castiel standing under the tree looking up at the nest and through the branches to the darkened sky.

“Look I’m sorry if it freaks you out or something. I never meant to hide it, I just don’t usually advertise. That’s more Charlie’s thing anyways.”

Castiel gasped as tears began to slowly fall down his face, he felt freed from months of warnings and ill wishes. Dean may not feel the same way for him, but it would not be because Castiel was a sin, no Dean celebrated and embraced those parts of him. He wouldn’t turn him a way for it and for that realization he was freed.

A soft had came to rest between his shoulder blades, “Cas, buddy, why don’t you come back inside and we can talk about thi-”

Gasping Castiel turned towards him smiling. Staring at Dean’s face he took in every worried crease in his skin, the dark spots where the sun had kissed his face now shadowed in the moonlight. He looked at his soft lips and the stubble brushing his jaw. And he looked at the way the moon reflected in his eyes as the man’s eyes fluttered, allowing Castiel to see moments of sparked hope, confusion and caution.

Slowly he raised his hand up to Dean’s face, “May I?” he whispered.

Dean nodded as he leaned his head slightly into Castiel’s hand to rest it upon his jaw. He felt the warmth under his palm and the soft sharp bristles beneath his fingertips. Moving his hand he traced each feature, softly skirting his thumb over his mouth causing Dean to close his eyes. The movement brought Castiel’s attention to Dean’s long eyelashes, making him dance his thumb up to brush under his eyelashes and then over his cheekbones. He listened to Dean gasp when he lifted his other hand to stroke over his jaw and slowly down his neck, enjoying the feeling of the man’s rough-soft skin. Castiel traced Dean’s hairline upon his temple before brushing his fingers through his spiked soft hair. Engulfed in the wonder that was the man before him, bathed in the light of the moon, Castiel found himself speaking the words that had haunted him through puberty instead with reverent.

“’Let us approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.’” Castiel took a step back from Dean and watched as he opened his eyes slowly, dazed and a little confused.

“You quoting scripture at me Angel?”

“It is meant as a warning to turn away from temptation.”

“Oh. I- is this good or bad?” Dean asked.

“Will you- will you do something for me Dean?” Castiel asked as he worried his hands between each other, hanging on to the joy of the remaining hum found within his skin.

“Sure Cas, what is it?”

“When we go to bed will you- could you hold me?” he closed his eyes.

Castiel opened his eyes as he felt Dean slide his hand between his and began to lightly pull him back towards the house, “Come on Cas, let’s go to bed. Early day tomorrow.”

Confused as to whether this was an affirmative or negative to his question Castiel followed him obediently back into the house and up the stairs; dinner still laid out in the kitchen.

Without words they got ready for bed, brushing their teeth side-by-side in the bathroom mirror and changing into pajamas with the bed between them. Dean climbed under the covers and fluffed up his pillow before raising the sheets for Castiel to do the same.

Unsure on how to proceed or what Dean was thinking, Castiel cautiously got into bed and laid down at its edge in order to make sure that Dean had plenty of space. With his back to Dean, Castiel stared straight ahead and waited for the light to be turned off. But the light did not get turned off. Instead Castiel felt the slight dip of the bed and heard the rustling of sheets as Dean moved.

“Cas, please look at me,” came Dean’s voice, softened with restraint and care.

Castiel turned around to find Dean’s softly smiling face and green eyes looking at him, “Hey Angel, what you doing way over there?”

“I-I-“

Watching as Dean bite his lip then slowly raised his hand from beneath the covers, “Is this still okay Cas?”

Castiel watched as Dean’s eyes danced over his face, and looked at his hand, “yes.”

Dean placed his arm outside of the covers and carefully placed his hand upon Castiel’s waist; the bed sheets separating them from full contact.

Castiel shifted closer to Dean wanting more from him, but still too shy to ask. He didn’t want to take advantage of Dean’s kindness and assume that with this new revelation it meant anything beyond a shared piece of understanding.

Dean slowly began to move his fingers in a calming motion, the movement scratching upon the sheets and smoothing the tension from Castiel’s body. Castiel lifted his own hand to lightly touch Dean’s face again, resting it upon his jaw before his fingers brushed downward to touch the nape of his neck. Castiel gulped before he spoke softly between them, “You don’t need the sheet between us.”

“Are you sure? I don’t want to push Cas.”

Nodding his approval Castiel watched again as Dean moved his arm beneath the covers and cautiously placed his hand back upon his waist, just above his hip. The movement of Dean’s fingers continued causing his shirt to rise a little above the waistband of his sweatpants. Dean’s fingers paused momentarily before pushing the shirt up a little more so he could rest his palm upon Castiel’s bare skin.

The new touch made Castiel’s heart quicken within his chest, sent a fire dancing upon his skin, igniting where Dean’s hand touched and making his breath audibly stutter on his lips.

“You okay Cas?” Dean asked cautiously. 

“yes,” Castiel whispered.

Dean shifted closer causing his hand to weave around the side of his waist and encircle his lower back. Castiel found it hard to breathe as all of his senses and thoughts focused upon the palm laid out gently on his skin. Skin he knew was marred with scars; ones that he could feel the tips of Dean’s hand stroking over lightly.

Hoping that the damaged skin would not be seen as a grotesque reminder, Castiel closed his eyes. Only to have his saddened features once again suppressed when Dean’s palm rose under his shirt to push his body forward; dragging it closer to him.

Opening his eyes he saw light flecks of gold within his green eyes, and the broken blood vessels on his pink lips where he’d worried them between his teeth. Without word or reason, Castiel moved his hand from the nape of Dean’s neck to softly brush the freckles dusted upon his skin.

Dean closed his eyes and quietly leaned his head forward, placing their foreheads against each other, “Sleep Angel, I’ll be here when you wake up.”

“Okay.”

Dean removed his hand from his back and turned to get the light. The darkness engulfed them along with a gentle silence. The cold of the dark was chased away with a moment of residual panic in Castiel’s mind as the warmth of Dean’s arm encircled him once again, lighting his skin and heart in ways it had forgotten and ways it was learning to embrace.

Chapter Text

Knock, Knock, Knock.

Dean slowly opens his eyes as the sound of knocking on the door.

“Time to get a move on Brother, Coffee is brewed with breakfast on the table. We’re out in 30 minutes,” comes Benny’s voice through the door.

Running a hand down his face Dean takes a moment to look down at the young man sleeping next to him. He pulls his arm gently out from beneath Cas’ head to prop up his own and slowly runs his other hand along Cas’ temple, brushing strands of hair away from his forehead and delighting his own fingers with the soft slop of Cas’ ear. Turning his hand he touch Cas’ cheek, in order to wake Castiel slowly, he can feel the light dusting of stubble on Cas' young face, the soft shadow allowing Dean to see what Cas' might look like in a few years.

“Cas, it’s time to go,” he watches as bright blue eyes slowly open, a soft smile resting upon Cas’ face before he realizes where he is and perhaps just how close they are.

“Hey Angel, Benny made breakfast downstairs and we have to be on the road in 30 minutes.”

Dean watches as Castiel nods slowly and rises to begin getting out bed, but not before the soft tan of Cas’ arms and trim waist hidden by a baggy t-shirt causes him to pull Cas back into his arms, snuggling his chest up against Cas’ back. He could feel the expansion of Cas’ chest upon his palms and relishing in the sleepy scent of rain that flowed from the crook of his neck and tussled hair. Dean soaked in the essence of a rainstorm awaiting to unleash itself upon the earth. He could sense the fight itching at Cas’ skin, but also the fear tense within his muscles.

“You going to be okay Cas?” he asked.

Castiel went still within his arms before remembering to breathe and tucked himself gently into Dean’s arms more. Dean watched as Castiel inhaled deeply and closed his eyes, eyelashes fluttering softly upon his cheeks.

“Yes Dean,” came the soft reply.

“You don’t have to do anything you don’t want to. At any moment you say no, you can back down and let us handle it.”

Shaking his head he turned himself within Dean’s arms, their noses lightly touching, as their lips felt each other’s breath upon their sensitized forms.

Dean looked into Castiel’s blue stormy eyes, ignited with a lightening of passion he had never seen in him before.

“Dean, this is my fight and I refuse to let them continue to win. This is my life and I am going to do everything I can to make sure this never happens again.”

He watches as the fire hits within Castiel’s soul and the hurt and pain is replaced with righteous anger. Inhaling the fire escaping from Castiel’s soul and seeping into the very essence of his body, Dean began to smile at the transformed man before him.

Moving his hand from Cas’ back to hold his face between his palms he beams at the man and taps their noses toghether, “Let’s go give ‘em hell Cas.”

Needing his own reassurance that Cas would be okay and wanting to have the same fire encompass his own soul, he found himself breaching the space between them in a chaste kiss. The warm softness beneath Dean’s own lips didn’t move with the lightning fast move of familiarity and care.

Dean flung himself up from the bed and dipped down to grab his jeans, chucking them on quickly and rummaging though his dresser for a shirt.

“Come on sleepy let’s ge-” brushing his shirt over his head Dean turned to find Castiel frozen in place on the bed. His eyes wide and breath shallow.

Freezing he realized what he had done, ‘shit. Jesus fucking Christ Winchester. Fuck.’

“Cas, buddy. Come on I- look- I’m sorry I shouldn’t have-“

Pausing he watched as Cas reaches his hand up slowly to brush his lips and a deep blush reaches his cheeks. He watched as a soft smile stretched across the beautiful pink lips he had just kissed.

“Cas?” he asked quietly, still too scared that he’d messed up.

Castiel slowly rose from the bed, reached for his own jeans on the floor and quietly put them on. Dean watched as the soft smile still played on the man’s lips and in a daze Cas brought the jeans over his thighs, his ass and his hips. Dean’s breathing had stalled in the top of his chest and his tongue flicked out sub-consciously as his eyes narrowed in on Castiel’s hipbones; sharp with health not starvation. A deep-V peeked over the top of the jean’s waistband while Castiel fastened the button and then straightened the ever present AC/DC shirt, now with a small hole in the neckline. Dean’s eyes dragged up Cas’ body as Castiel walked slowly towards him, no sign of panic, but an image of awe as he looked at Dean.

I don’t deserve that look for what I’ve just done.’ Dean thought.

Castiel stopped in front him making Dean realize that Castiel was almost as tall as himself, and that the small young man from the elevator had never stood up to his full height before. His own eyes were locked in the blue focused upon him, only allowing himself to flick his eyes down to the plush pink lips before he focused back upon the face in front of him.

“Please don’t apologize Dean Winchester,” Castiel paused searching for his next words, “I have so much to thank you for so don’t ever apologize to me. Thank you for showing me that the things I have feared are just as beautiful as the grace of God having the sun rise in the east and set in the west.”

“Cas-” Dean gasped at the words.

Smiling Castiel continued, “Let’s go give them hell.”

Dean watched in shock as Castiel walked confidently from his, – no - their room, and caught himself watching Castiel’s hip softly shift before disappearing around the bend to go downstairs.

“Get a hold of yourself Winchester,” he scoffed at himself while he rushed to finish his morning routine in the bathroom, grabbing what both Castiel and him would need for the next few days.

In a dash of hope Dean decides to leave Castiel’s toothbrush behind, and planned to buy one at a gas station, but hoping that by leaving it behind that Cas would return with him when it was all over.

Yet, as he shook his head, he knew well that Cas would likely move back in with his brother in Boston rather than return with Dean.

Running down the stairs Dean stopped at the foot of stairs to stare at the commotion that went in and out of his home. Charlie rushed by as she dragged Castiel around, forcing him to carry heavy equipment to the trailer waiting in the street. From the stairs he could see the trunk of his car popped open along with the back taillights of Benny’s red truck and the tiny trailer on the side of the residential street attached to Charlie’s tiny yellow bug.

“Come on Brother quit quaking, your breakfast is on the island,” Benny whisked by him carrying a light projector over his shoulder.

Skirting around a bustling red head collecting her laptop, Dean sat at the counter with a cup of coffee, black and strong, and dove into the sunny-side up eggs and bacon Benny had prepared. He glanced to side at Castiel’s barely touched plate and decided to collecting Cas’ meal for the road.

“Dean,” the soft deep voice startled him before he turned around to look at Cas.

“Hey man.”

“Charlie told me to tell you ‘to hurry your’,” Cas’ stopped teasing Dean’s vision as subtle blush took his face, “’perky plush ass up’.”

Dean’s eyes went wide at Castiel words, before he recomposed himself placing his hand on Castiel’s shoulder in order to maneuver around him.

“Well let’s go. I have our bag ready and that on the counter is for you. Eat it in the car. Let’s go Angel,” he walked out, grabbing his bag at the foot of the stairs and walked out the door, but not before yelling over his shoulder.

“Come on Angel, this perky plush ass ain’t waiting forever,” Dean laughed as he heard Cas trip over the threshold of the door.

Dean placed the house keys in Benny’s large palms as he knew that Benny had a few more things in the kitchen and slapped him on the shoulder, “See you at the next stop in 5 hours, we’ll stock up on some food then head to the motel and regroup.”

Benny nodded in acknowledgment as he walked around Dean and re-entered the house causing Dean to come face to face with Charlie.

“Really Bradbury? You made the kid say ‘perky ass?’”

Grinning widely Charlie bopped him on the nose, “You forgot plush. Have a good ride you two.”

Dean rolled his eyes and walked to the car, slamming the trunk down after chucking the duffle bag in. He stopped to he stare over the hood of the car at Castiel who was looking back at the house.

“What you thinking Cas?”

“I’m thinking I hope to see this house again,” he responded.

“You will. My door will always be open to you. Now enough of the sappy stuff and get your own delicious ass in the car, we’re late.”

Dean grinned to himself as Cas hesitated to get in the car, eventually sitting quietly in the front seat with a bright red face.

“A body can’t possibly be considered delicious, that would make you a cannibal Dean,” Castiel indicated. 

“Oh Angel, you have no idea what you’re missing,” Dean winked at him as he pulled down the street pass the evergreen hedges and pass the park already full with Saturday morning families.

____

 

As they pulled into the gas station Dean waved at Cas to get out of the car so they could walk into the attached diner.

The diner smelled of deep-fried food, coffee and gasoline. He felt the soles of his shoes sticking slightly to the yellowed-white linoleum tiled floor, from could be anything from body fluids to maple syrup. He sauntered over the back booth, their booth that was covered in peeling red-vinyl leather and framed with a cheap yellow wood frame. The off pink-coloured plastic table had a permanent coffee mug ring stain at its corner. A red cup of crayons sat by the salt and pepper shaker, each hidden on either side of the opaque ketchup bottle and large sugar container. He knew that either the ketchup bottle or the sugar container were full, never both, Right now the sugar was at full capacity.

Sitting in the booth, the leather squeaking beneath his weight, Dean watched for Benny and Charlie to pull up in the truck with the attached trailer. He didn’t notice that Cas had begun to fidget in the seat before him, darting his eyes from one person to the next.

“What’s up Angel?”

Castiel stopped moving and sighed deeply, “I- I can feel that we are getting closer.”

Frowning he persisted, “What do you mean you can feel it?”

“I don’t know. I feel this burning feeling in my bones, an itch on my skin and my- my back hurts.”

Frowning briefly, he looked up to see his two crewmates walk through the opening door. Making a quick decision, Dean rose to switched sides so he could sit next to Castiel, pushing the newly arrived waitress out of way in the process.

“I won’t letting anything or anyone hurt you Cas. Not now. Not ever. Do you understand?” Dean peered into Cas’ eyes and searched for the reassurance he needed him to feel.

Grabbing Castiel’s hand beneath the booth he squeezed it tight before releasing it slowly to hold it gently between his hand, stroking his thumb up and down.

“Hey guys! So what are we havin?” Charlie beamed over at them and scooted down leather bench to allow Benny to sit next to her, the old bench groaning at the larger man’s weight.

Recognizing the waitress Benny placed his order, promoting the rest to join.

“I’m not hungry,” Castiel indicated.

“Bullshit, he’ll have the large stack of pancakes with a side of bacon, an orange juice and coffee with two creams.”

“Dean, I can’t eat all of that.”

“Who said you’re eating all of it?” he beamed over at Cas.

As their food arrives the group spoke softly to each other about the plan, allowing Cas to add in his own memories of the place and advice about where they were likely to find everyone hidden when the film crew entered.

Imbedded in a conversation with Charlie about the best camera to use in the dark, Dean almost missed it as Castiel tensed up beside him. Almost.

Pausing his conversation Dean turned to look at Cas’ ashened face. Whispering to him so the others don’t notice Dean leaned close to him, “What’s wrong?”

“Nothing Dean,” Castiel shook his head and looked down at his lap, his partially eaten stack of pancakes sat between them becoming swampy with strawberry syrup and melted whip cream.

“Cas,-“ he pushed softly.

“The song playing. It reminds- it – I can’t listen to it anymore.”

Dean paused to listen as the cords came across the speakers at the corners of the diner.

Bluebirds singin’ a song, nothin’ but bluebirds all day long. Never see the sun shinin’ so bright Never saw things goin’ so right, Noticing the days hurrying by when you’re in love.

“Sinatra?”

“My –umm- my Dad used to play that in the house before he left. But I- Alast- he sang that to me in the elevator as he –“ Cas whispered almost out Dean’s earing range as his final words were only completed with a gentle tap to his own back.

Kneading his lip between his teeth he took in what Cas has told him. ‘That demonic bastard ruined a happy memory. He ruined Sinatra! This can’t be allowed.’

Gently Dean let go of Cas’ hand and brought it to Castiel’s thigh, cupping the jean cladded warmth within his palm. He brought his other hand up to Cas’ hand and pulled it over to his own thigh and leaned in to whisper into his ear.

“Then focus on my hand, and replace that memory with what is right now. I’m not saying you can erase it, but when your brain gets scared of this song, remember my hand right here and my voice. Remember the sugar laden pancakes and the idiotic bickering across from us.”

Castiel clenched his eyes tightly trying to overlap the memory of a darkened shaft, a rapid snap upon his back and the smell of burning sulpher.

Glancing over at the two across from them, he nodded at Benny indicating that they needed a quiet moment before joining them outside. Benny and Charlie quietly slide out of the booth careful not to make the leather squeak. Appreciatively Dean smiled at Benny when without question he grabbed the bill and walked over to the cashier to pay for their meal.

Dean turned his attention back to the man shaking beneath his fingertips at his side.

“I only smell him. I always smell rotten eggs,” Cas jaw tightened as he forced his teeth together, straining to replace the memory and not drown within it. 

Dean rubbed Castiel’s thigh and quietly spoke to him, “Focus on the smells here Angel. Do your smell the coffee? The smell of frying food?”

Whimpering beside him as he shook his head, Dean shifted to wrap his arm around Castiel’s shoulder, reached his other arm across his own body and place it against Cas’ face.

“Come on Angel I need you to focus,” searching for an answer Dean watched helplessly as the confident man of this morning began to violently shake beside him.

“What about that chant? Come on Cas say it with me. Diner, Castiel, Boston. Come on Angel. Din-“

“I smell leather, and cinnamon.”

Not understanding what he was talking about, but preferring it to whatever Cas had going on in his head, “Yeah that’s right, Leather and Cinnamon. Focus on that.”

Castiel turned his head to hide his face within Dean's shoulder and mumbled, “Leather, cinnamon and- Sinatra.”

“There you go Cas. Leather, cinnamon and Sinatra. Focus on that.”

Dean stroked his hand over Castiel’s shoulder and lightly kissed the top of his tussled hair before asking him if he was ready to leave.

Quietly they both rose from the booth and exited the diner, Cas tucked close to Dean’s side. Dean waved at Benny and Charlie, perched and waiting by the truck, signaling to them to continue down the road.

He opened the door and got Cas to slide into the car before walking over to the driver’s side.

Flicking on the radio he found the classic rock station where he knew Sinatra wouldn’t dare show his slow crooning voice upon the airwaves.

They continued on in silence, with intermitted sounds of drums and electric guitar rifts, the scene of north-US flying by the windows, before pulling up to the motel at their first and final stop before heading to Massachusetts in the morning. Tonight it was about finalizing their plans and getting a goodnight’s sleep.

Chapter Text

Dean glared up at the garish green sign of “La Duerme” which was surrounded by a brash neon pink frame as the Vacancy sign sat below blinking its electrical hum into the early evening. He rolled pass the sign and watched as the colours stroked its cheap glint across the hood of the impala. The sign promised the next guest whatever STD that remained on the cheap beds from its less than matrimonial patrons: countless affairs, quick bar hookups and the occasional Ohio hooker.

‘Leave it to Ohio to name a shady motel in Spanish. He Sleep her, really?’ Dean thought.

Spotting Sam’s car and Benny’s truck n’ trailer in the distance, he made his way slowly over to the empty space awaiting their arrival. He stopped in front of their conjoined rooms, cut the engine and watched silently as his brother walked passed the window to his bed and turned to speak to someone else in the room. Sighing deeply to himself he chanced a glance over at Castiel sleeping in the passenger seat.

The worried lines were smoothed out of his face, his cheeks a soft pink and his lips parted slightly in slumber. The desire to brush his fingers over the on-coming stubble and down to the dry soft skin of his lips coursed through his arm. Clearing his throat quietly he forced his head in the opposite direction and opened the door to allow the sharp cool spring air to slap some sense back into his head. Dean groaned as he placed his hands upon his lower back and arched his hips forward looking for release from the last 11 hours. He walked around the side of the car and opened the passenger door quietly, careful not to scare Castiel.

“Cas, come on man we’re here,” he softly whispered to him.

Castiel momentarily startled, whipping his head up from the back of the front bench. Dean watched as Castiel’s bright blue eyes stared ahead before turning slowly towards him, a soft smile lifting at the edges of Castiel’s lips.

“Hello Dean,” he rasped.

“Hey, so everyone’s inside, but you don’t have to join us. I can go and get our key and usher you to the room, whil-”

Castiel shook his head, “No Dean, I need to be there, I’m part of the team.”

Smiling at his words Dean grinned down at him, backing up to let him out, “Damn right you are.”

Grabbing their bags, Dean reached for the door and watched as the team bustled around in front of him. At the small table placed between the door and the bathroom sat Benny with his large legs stretched out under the table. From where Dean was standing he could see Charlie’s bright hair poking out from just beyond the table’s surface. Searching below the table and behind Benny’s feet, Dean could see her bright rainbow sneakers bouncing back and forth to a song playing within her oversized bright pink headphones complete with the Enterprise sticker on the right ear, the other containing a unicorn that had a rainbow dildo stuck to its forehead.

“Heya gang,” Dean nodded to Benny and Vulcan saluted Charlie as the woman beamed up at him in greeting. Before Dean could wonder where his brother had disappeared to he heard his voice echoing from behind the bathroom door.

“What do you mean Ellen?!” Sam growled, causing Dean to turn towards the only other hearing person in the room; Benny.

Dean pointed in confusion towards the door hoping that Benny would have an explanation, but the man only shrugged. From the corner of his eye he saw Castiel shuffling in the doorway, which caused Dean to walk back to the door and place his hand at the small of the man’s back ushering him inside.

“Dude you have got to stop that. Remember, you’re part of the team so that means family. And family doesn’t stand on the outskirts.”

He watched as Cas blushed as he looked up at him through his eyelashes.

Jesus this guy’s going to end me,’ Dean thought.

“Family?” Cas asked quietly.

“That’s right brother, family,” Benny’s drawl danced over Dean’s ears as he continued to watch Castiel take in the little ragtime crew.

“Family!” came Charlie’s shout from the floor accompanied with a fist pump.

“Family,” Cas whispered to himself.

“Yeah man, family – Gabe can be a part of it too, I guess. Su casa es mi casa!” he smiled down at him puffing out his chest a little at the pride he felt watching Cas straighten to his full height once again. He slapped the man on the back pushing him softly towards the bed, “Come on take a load off while I go see what the hell Samantha is having a bitch fest about.”

“Dean, I’m pretty sure the proper completion of his name is Samuel not Samantha,” Castiel mono-toned.

After a pause Dean burst out laughing, “Yeah Cas, yeah.” Looking at the other two as he pointed behind him at Cas on the bed, “The dude’s sassing me. See, nothing good comes from being around y’all.”

“Considering he’s spent most of his time cuddled up to you handmaiden, I’m fairly certain he learned the sass from you,” Charlie responded without looking up from her computer.

“No, I learned it from living with Gabe,” Castiel responded.

Turning back to look at Castiel leaning against the bed, and good lord that shouldn’t look so great – a strip of skin was showing just above his belt. Dean pointed at Cas, “Speaking of Gabe, you should call that nugget to let him know what’s going on.” Dean tossed him one of his burner phones from his pocket, “Here call him. That’s yours, I’ll buy another on our way to the Mayflower State.”

Castiel caught the phone against his chest forcing Dean’s old Led Zeppelin t-shirt to scrunch up further on one side, causing the edge of his hipbones to be exposed. Gulping Dean nodded, looked at Benny and Charlie’s knowing faces and turned to the task at hand; his brother.

“Samantha open up,” he banged on the door.

The door immediately opened, as Sam held up his hand to appease Dean’s oncoming comments.

“Yeah I hear you Ellen, yup. No, no he’s – hold on.” Sam placed the phone on his shoulder, “Dean can I talk to you for a second?”

Sam stepped aside and allowed Dean into the small bathroom before closing the door behind them.

Dean disgruntledly took in the small space, the off-orange linoleum of the tub, the rust wedged into the pipes under the cracked sink, the chip along the far left edge of the mirror and the missing toilet seat. ‘Only the best for a top secret investigation. God Bless America.

Sam snapped his fingers in front of him, his patience clearly already worn thin by whatever Ellen had been telling him.

“What?” he grunted.

“Dean, do you think Cas is ready to talk to Ellen?” Sam’s sad eyes burrowed into Dean’s skull.

“I don’t know, don’t you think that’s something to ask him.”

Giving him a side look, Dean shrugged, “Yeah I guess, maybe I have no idea, but the guy’s set on rescuing the others. So probably.”

“Did you catch that Ellen? – Uh-huh – Yup – Tomorrow? – Umm I think we’ll be leaving Ohio about four in the morning and be there around 3 or 5. – 4 ma’am, we’ll be there at 4. Right – Okay see you soon, here’s Dean.”

Dean gulped in preparation for Ellen’s bombastic mannerisms. Her voice never failed to remind him that at the end of the day he was one of her kids; perhaps not by birth, but certainly by choice.

“Hey Ellen, what’s u-”

“Now you listen here Dean Winchester, at this moment in time and until we get those kids out of that fuckery I am Senator Harvelle. As of today you, Sam and the crew are under the hire and protection of the FBI. Do not confuse that with some sentimentality of protection by the government of the United States.”

Straightening in response to Ellen’s tone of voice Dean felt his vertebrates click into place and his gaze narrow in on the leaking showerhead rusted away amongst the compounds of the aging shower. “Yes Senator, what is the plan?”

“Good, now I will be meeting you with Ms. Braden and Agent Jo Harvelle at the Rodeo Stars Motel just outside Minnesota. Once there we will get ya’ll dressed to look the part. Lisa has swiped some Discovery Channel crew T-shirts and hats for the FBI staff that will be joining you into St. Angela’s Centre. However you will not all be entering the compounds together.”

“Understood. Who will be with who?” Dean asked.

“At this moment we are dividing the tech part of your crew. Ms. Bradbury will be with the FBI tech-van telling everyone how to behave according to your typical cable rules. You and Sam will be with the taskforce entering through the back after Mr. Novak has confirmed the location of the rest of the captured youths. Mr. Novak will be entering through the fron-”

The mention of separation from Castiel set his feet in motion and caused him to pace back and forth across the floor, making Sam take a step back against the door.

“With all due respect Ellen I’m not comfortable with Cas going back into that hell hole alone. Never mind the fact that we have no idea if he’ll panic once stepping foot pass the gates.”

“Dean, honey, that’s why Benny will be with him at every step. But you and Sam are too noticeable and we can’t risk someone from the staff recognizing you both before we even get in the building.”

“But –“

“No Mr. Winchester that discussion is final.”

Huffing into the phone Dean reprimanded her administrative arrogance, “It most certainly is not. The final decision has got to be with Cas himself, not you, not me and certainly not the fucking FBI.”

A silence that followed his outburst allowed Dean to hear a shuffle of noise occurring on Ellen’s end of the line and the soft whispers of opposing beliefs. He scuffed the toe of his boot against the stained tub of the motel bathroom and waited.

Before returning to the phone, Dean could hear Ellen release a deep sigh which transformed her from Senator Harvelle to Ellen his surrogate mother and former barkeep, “Dean, honey, do you think Castiel would be willing to talk to me on the phone?”

Dean glanced up from the floor while he looked for the answer amongst the mold stains hidden in the ceiling and the pealing paint found above the sink. He sighed deeply before opening the door to the bathroom, finding Castiel exactly where he had left him. He watched as his eyes fell upon him patiently waiting to see what Dean was about to say.

He relished in the ease in which Castiel is leaned against the burnt orange comforter and mourned how he was about to disturb the ease of his shoulders.

“Hey Cas?” Dean asked.

“Yes Dean,” Castiel straightened with a soft smile on his face, only to catch Dean’s own somber expression. The change in Castiel’s demeanor was noticeable; he straightened his back, which made the tiny sliver of skin at his hips disappear again behind Dean’s t-shirt, his hands clasped themselves in his lap while his arms collected themselves closely to his torso. He was bracing himself for the news that was about to come.

“Umm, Ellen would like to speak to you,” Dean held out the phone for Castiel.

Hesitantly he rose from the bed and slowly shuffled towards him and reached for the phone. Castiel’s fingers brushed softly against his own as their eyes connected. Dean hoped that his support and apology could be found screaming out to him within his eyes because all he could see in Castiel’s gorgeous blues was confusion, hesitant fear and a spark of trust. It was that spark he hoped wouldn’t disappear after this raid was complete.

He watched as Castiel placed the phone to his ear only nodding softly, his eyes staring upon Dean’s face. He didn’t dare look away or move. Truthfully, he couldn’t even if he had tried.

“Yes Ma’am,” Castiel whispered.

Slowly Dean watched as Castiel’s eyes shifted from Dean’s eyes to his own feet, his shoulders sagging.

“Yes Ma’am, I’ll be ready – No, no I know exactly where they are – The most concerning employee? – Sister Abaddon and the Security Guard. – No, Ma’am – Ellen – Zachariah is just a mouthpiece. – Yes, I would be careful of loosing sight of him – Yes, he will call the local law enforcement – Yes, ma’am they used to patrol the road outside and let the Centre know if there was any suspicious movement within the gates or outside. – As far as I know I think they knew about Inias,”

The phone call went back and forth, but it was the mention of Inias that made the crew pay full attention to the phone call. All eyes were on the shrinking strong young man standing cautiously in front of Dean and shuffling his feet on the compressed shag rug below.

“Ma’am I think it is important to let you know that more than conversion occurs in that building and that they are aware that by removing untreatable sinners from the compounds it then removes the Center’s full legal responsibility of any transgression that occur outside of those fences.” Castiel raised his head and turned his back on the crew, on Dean.

Dean felt the hairs on the back of his neck stand at attention and whipped his head around to look at Charlie, locking eyes with red-head and flicking his eyes to Benny and Sam.

Could he be talking about the others in the Halfway House? The ones that kept telling them they were from that year? If that was the case then it meant that, without a doubt, not only did they leave Castiel in that elevator shaft to die, but they had likely murdered countless other former patients now lurking in the halls of the Halfway House.’

Widening his eyes he took a step forward to walk around Castiel to catch his eyes as he told Ellen what he had seen in the moments before being thrown into the elevator.

“Yes Ma’am, Sister Abaddon and Azazel had me in the abandoned namesake through the woods. – I believe Dean said it was the next building in proximity to the Centre before the town. – No Ma’am I am perfectly capable of doing this. I will be okay going back and seeing them – Yes I am sure, I have Dean and the Crew,” Castiel’s eyes finally lifted to look directly at him.

Dean felt the return of Castiel’s fire. The fire zipped from Castiel’s line of sight down Dean’s spine, causing a stuttering whisper of a breath to leak through his lips, undetected by his companions but surely noted by Castiel. Dean watched Castiel’s eyes skirt down to his lips, causing Dean to self-consciously lick them. The crackling electricity in the space between them made Dean’s cheeks flush, but caused Castiel to furrow his brows in confusion at Dean’s change in demeanour.

Surely, this was completely inappropriate given the circumstances,’ Dean thought as he cleared his throat.

“Ma’am, Ellen, we need to make sure that all of the people I was with are still there. I know that some,” Castiel scrunched his eyes close for a brief moment and cleared his throat.

“Ma’am, Sister Abaddon and Azazel admitted to me that Dorothy Goldberg, Krissy Chambers and Alf- Samandriel Johnston were also” Castiel swallowed before he continued, “dead and I am not sure if any others have been murdered since.”

Dean watched with concerned as the colour drained from Castiel’s face. He noticed that the fire stayed in his eyes, but his body vibrated with the memories. Dean walked slowly forward as Castiel ended the call and handed the phone back to Dean.

“Ellen? Talk to me,” Dean scrunched the phone between his ear and shoulder while reaching forward to lightly guide Castiel back to the bed. Absently he ran his thumb over his shoulders and sat down next to Castiel, placing an arm around the shivering man.

“We have written the names down and we will dig up the rest of the names recorded. I’ll have the list with me when we meet up in Minnesota to debrief. At that time I will ask Castiel to double check and indicate if any are missing from the list. We will get them all out Dean or so help me I personally will dig up every corner of that fucking compound to find them.”

“Thank you Ellen,” Dean nodded into the phone, feeling Castiel sigh beside him and places his head against his shoulder in exhaustion. Dean moved his hand against Castiel’s bare arms rubbing warmth back into his clammy skin.

“You take care of that boy until I get there, you hear me?” Dean smiled into the reciever, hugging Castiel closer to his side as Senator Harvelle disappeared and Ellen returned.

“Yes Ellen. See you tomorrow.”

Hanging up he sighed deeply and looked up at his crew working at the small table. Sam and Benny were keeping themselves busy, yet it was the smiling bright figure of Charlie on the floor that caused him to wink away the tension.

“Whose up for a drink?” he beamed at her.

Charlie bounced up causing her headphone to aggressively snag around her neck and tug themselves out of the head jack of her computer, “Me! Holy space balls Dean, ME!’

Charlie grabbed her purple jean jacket plastered with a unicorn on the back and ran towards Castiel, “Have you ever had a strawberry beer?”

Dean scrunched his nose, “Oh hell no, you are not introducing him to that abomination.”

“I don’t mind them,” Sam responded as he patted his pockets, securing his wallet in place.

“Yeah well you’re an abomination Samantha so that explains everything,” Dean scoffed as he situated his flannel over his shoulders.

Scoffing as he walked out the door behind Charlie Sam retorted, “Says the man who admitted to liking how silk panties felt on his crotch.”

“HEY! I only did that once. Once!”

“That’s all it takes brother,” Benny pushed past winking at him.

“Demons all of them,” Dean mumbled to the ceiling as his hand scrubbed down his face, hoping to chase the embarrassment away before looking at Castiel. “We don’t have to go if you’d rather we stay and have an early night.”

Castiel cocked his head to the side, allowing a small smile to streak across his face, “A drink out would be nice Dean.”

Nodding he waited for Castiel to pass him and lock the door behind them, “Yeah, and you know what they just said about me and you know,” he blushed.

“You liking pink panties,” Dean stalled at Castiel’s straight-laced response.

“He- he never said they were pink,” Dean froze.

Castiel’s eyes widened, “I –uh- I just assumed-”

Closing his eyes in resignation, “Bradbury! You have got to stop telling people that!”

“I plead the fifth!” Charlie shouted as she raced down the street towards the bar a few blocks down.

“That is not applicable in this case,” Sam clearly spoke as he walked ahead of Dean and Castiel with his hands in his pockets, Benny likely texting his wife beside him.

“Nerd,” Dean grumbled.

He startled as a soft hand rested carefully against his wrist. He looked up at Castiel’s concerned face and relaxed into the touch, “It’s okay Cas, we’ve all got our kinks,” he winked.

Biting his lip Castiel’s eyes flowed down his body and looked off into the distance, following the crew in front of them, “Yes I know.”

As they walked under one of the lamp posts along the road, Dean looked over and smiled brightly at the blush that settled itself on Castiel’s cheeks and reveled in Castiel’s growing courage to show who he really was.

In this case, clearly checking Dean out.

Let’s see how many blushes I can make skirt across his face,’ he wondered.

A bounce could be found in his step as they stepped through the noisy bar, enjoying for the first time since the North Dakota, a sense of normalcy in Castiel and Dean’s interactions.

Chapter Text

Castiel could feel the vibration of drums and the roar of a guitar before his feet even placed themselves beyond the threshold of the bar. The walls were covered in old wood paneling; peeling back from the wall where moisture had disturbed the glue. At the bar a swarm of people in leather and ripped denim yelled and laughed with each other. Off to the side there was a pool table with a group of young men and women sharing a cue between them. He followed Dean’s back as the crew grabbed a booth across from the bar, a wideopen space between where a singular middle aged couple could be found swaying back and forth together. The gentle sway of the couple was unmatched by the rumble of music around them; the woman’s greying long dark hair was braided down the length of her back, as she tucked her head the man beneath the man’s chin. Castiel watched them in his peripheral as Dean and the crew grabbed the menus. The man turned his head to the woman and lightly placed a kiss to her forehead causing the woman to tilt her head up towards him with a smile and sharing a long soft kiss between them. They danced in the middle of the floor surrounded by chaos, yet they were in wholly in their own solitude amongst them. Alone they swayed together in their own world.

“Yo space cadet, what strikes your fancy?” Dean bumped his shoulder.

Jolting back to the group before him, he glanced at Dean’s lips remembering the way they had felt against his own forehead in his backyard. He longed for that again. Right now, he found that all he wanted was to be that couple on the dance floor; But it would never be. As comfortable as he was becoming with his attraction to Dean, he still knew that the world was not a welcoming place and he, - they - needed to be careful.

Feeling the blush settle upon his cheeks Castiel focused on the menu below and pointed to the first thing he saw: A Bacon Cheese Burger with Pickle fries. Before he could even register the astronomical price that was about to be spent on his still shrunken stomach, Dean had ordered his meal, along with a beer.

“Dean- I – I’m sorry I should have chosen something different,” Castiel looked up at Dean forlornly.

“Don’t sweat it Angel and besides I’m having the exact same thing. Double the fun!” Dean beamed down at him, reaching for the beer placed on the table.

“Well cheers everyone, this time tomorrow we will be setting up for one hell of a takedown,” Sam raised his glass.

“Fuck the patriarchy,” Charlie raised her pink drink to the center of the table.

“Amen sister,” Benny drawled raising his own non-alcoholic beverage.

Castiel raised his own, “Thank you, all of you.”

“Let’s kick some ass and take names!” Dean cheered as they all clinked their glasses. Charlie’s pink concoction slushing over into Dean’s beer.

“Ugh Bradbury your fruity drink got in my beer,” he grumbled.

“Well we’re both fruity, and besides I know, and you know, that you fucking love my ‘girly’ drinks,” Charlie scoffed at him before winking at Castiel.

Castiel blushed and looked away before sipping his own drink, frowning into the glass.

Dean leaned in close and whispered, “You don’t have to drink it if you don’t like it.”

Castiel inhaled the ever-persistent scent of cinnamon and car oil upon Dean’s skin, tonight it was mixed with the gentle caress of leather. It smelled like an aphrodisiac in the comfort of an old plush leather chair. His eyes flicked over to concerned green ones close to his face. For a split second Castiel thought, ‘I could lean in just an inch and touch his lips upon my own. Finally.’

Frowning, he forced his eyes away from Dean’s and nodded, “It’s okay Dean, it’s just not my preferred gustatory perception.”

“I’m sorry your what?” Dean laughed.

“Taste Dean. He doesn’t like the taste.” Sam intercepted.

“Right well you’re not everyone’s ‘prefered gustastory’ either Samuel,” Dean rolled his eyes.

“Gustatory,” Castiel whispered.

“Oh don’t you start too Angel. Taste. In the future just say taste,” Dean pointed at him seriously, winking at him to make him know we was not displeased with the teasing.

Charlie thrust her pink drink across Dean, spilling some on Dean’s pants in the process, “Here Casanova drink mine, it’s cherry and mango flavoured!”

Looking over at Sam and then Dean, Castiel watched as they waved him forward. He took the glass and gently placed the untouched part of the sugared rim to his lips. He watched as the bright pink liquid sloshed under his nose, reflecting the overhead light. It smelled like one of Gabriel’s pink lollipops and the hand lotion his physiotherapist used to use before massaging his shoulder. As the liquid ran over his tongue, the sharp tang of cherries mixed with the sugar sweet mango liquor made him think of a field of hibiscus on a tropical beach. He felt intrigued, emboldened and happy.

What a strange effect’ he thought.

Smiling he opened his closed eyes to look at Charlie, “This I like, I like it very much.”

Shaking his head Dean pushed him out of the booth.

Thinking he had done something wrong Castiel stood up rejected and watched as the busy waitress stepped around him to place their meals down and as Dean slide past him, walking straight to the bar.

“Come sit next to me McDreamy,” Charlie patted the seat.

Before he could form the words to ask Charlie if he’d done something wrong, two more bright pink drinks were placed in front of him and Dean’s solid body slide up against his side, his thigh directly against his and an arm thrown over the back of the booth; behind his own shoulders.

“Well if you liked them that much I thought I might as well get you something you’d want to drink,” he smirked down at him.

Smiling in response he thanked him and picked the glass up, clinking it against Charlie’s own glass.

“Let’s get wasted!” the woman bounced.

From across the table Sam pushed the untouched burger towards him, “Dig in Cas before it gets cold.”

Nodding he reached out for the burger in front of him and bit down, sinking into the appreciation of salty cheese and apple wood bacon. He felt his eyes close slowly and his body sway slightly before an unintentional moan escaped his throat.

Dean’s breath could be felt close to his ear, the subtle brushing of his lips upon its shell, whispering, “Try the deep fried pickles.”

Keeping a death grip on the burger he reached with his other hand to lift the pickle fries to his mouth. Letting his head fall forward he groaned. The crunch and the warm taste of dill pickles exploded in his mouth and began to mix with the cheese and bacon.

Chuckling beside him Dean whispered, “You enjoying it Cas?”

“Dean, I do believe that if I am ever asked what Heaven feels like I will tell them it is found in Cherries, Bacon and pickles,” he chomped down on a mouth full of burger before jamming a pickle in his mouth.

Dean straightened back to his own meal, leaving his leg beside Castiel’s own while shaking his head, “You’ve clearly never had pie.”

Clearing his throat he moved into Dean’s space, excitedly he asked, “Do they have pie here?!”

“Not that kind of joint Cas.”

“Dean should make you his apple pie,” Sam said between bites of his salad.

“Now that is heavenly,” Benny agreed.

“Hmm yeah I’ll make it for you first thing after we get back home,” Dean mumbled with a full mouth. 

Castiel smiled back at his meal nodding to himself, ‘Dean is going to bake for me after. At home.’

 

_ __

 

With their meals complete and Dean in the washroom Charlie leaned in close and told Cas to go and get them a few drinks.

With a list of shot names in his head, Castiel slowly walked through the now empty dance floor, the couple long retreated home and to the crowded bar. He crinkled the $20 bill between his fingers and confidently waved to the bartender. But before he could gather the full attention of the bartender he felt the presence of another near him.

“He gorgeous, can I buy you a drink,” the rotting velvet of the man’s voice sent shivers down his spine.

“No thank you,” he continued to try and get the bartenders attention, his body ridged at his side.

“I don’t bite, I promise, just one drink.”

Briefly he allowed himself to look at the man leaning on the bar close to him. He was a little shorter than himself, with a salt-and-pepper beard. He had blue eyes and smelled of confidence. In the back of his mind he could hear Sister Abbey, ‘Castiel I would advise you to avoid temptation.’

He quickly gazed back at the table noticing that Charlie and the crew were watching him at the bar, all three lifting their thumbs up in encouragement.

Well maybe one drink’ he smiled at the man before him, “Okay, I’ll take a – sex on the beach-“ he squinted up at the menu above, picking the first one he saw.

The man smiled broadly at him, “One sex on the beach coming right up.” He waved the bartender over easily and placed his order.

Gulping he watched as the man leaned close to him, his whiskey smelling breath clouding Castiel’s own lightly buzzed brain. The previous two pink drinks were sloshing his sense around.

“So tell me beautiful, do you have a name or am I going to have to guess?”

“Ca-Castiel. And you?” he blushed.

“My friends call me D,” his hand passed his drink to him while his other hand leaned forward to touch his lower-back.

The feeling of his palm low on his waist, forcing is shirt to touch a long-healed electrical burn made his senses snap down to the touch.

This is wrong. Alastair will find him. He will be punished.’

But he could not speak and all he felt was a full body chill combing through his spine and sparking a subtle burn on his scars that littered his back. The jolt of his stiff spine made the muscles in his shoulder tighten and ache. He could feel the haunting pain in his knee and remembered the throbbing feeling of his concussion upon his temples. His eyes narrowed in on the drink before him, and all he could think was he needed to leave.

Immediately. But he was unable to move. His breathing picked up, the flush on his cheeks now replaced with the panicked blanching of his face.

No, no no no no.

“Hey sweetheart it’s okay. Relax. I could take real good care of you. Make you feel things you’d never thought were possible. What do you say?” his breathe could be felt along the side of his mouth, his breath once smelling of whiskey transformed into the sour residue of rotten eggs.

Locking his eyes ahead of him, Castiel could feel the man’s hand tug his hip close to his groin and cupping his hip. He could feel the man’s semi-hard erection against his thigh. Feeling more than wrong; it felt like a violation. In the mirror behind the bar he thought he could see the presence of a tall gangly man smirking at him from the back booth. The shadows of the booth were not able to hide the grotesque crack of rotting lips stretching and tearing into a snarl of yellowing teeth.

“Excuse me, but I’m the only one that gets to call him sweetheart,” Dean’s smooth timber made him blink and lean away from the man, before stumbling back against Dean’s broad chest. The touch of Dean’s hands upon his arms steadying and grounding him. “You okay Angel?” he asked close to his ear.

Nodding he took the chance offered to step aside and away from the clear flash of male possessive testosterone flashing between the two.

“Hey man, he was alone and I was only offering him a drink. No harm, no foul,” D.’s hands raised up before grabbing his own drink and stopping to wink at Castiel, “If he’s not satisfying you, here’s my number. I guarantee you we could wake the neighbours.”

“Get lost douche-canoe,” Dean snarled, his hand tightly wrapped around Castiel’s shoulders, the touch warming his cooling skin once again.

They stood close together; Dean’s shoulder brushing his own as both of them refocused themselves and tried to steady their rough breathing. Their breaths caused their shoulders to brush each other in a synchronized movement. Castiel closed his eyes, still noticing the presence off in the distance, one that he was too afraid to name, but one he knew deep in his bones of. ‘I’m safe, I’m sa-’

Dean cleared his throat and shifted away from him causing Castiel’s eyes to pop open, once again feeling the sting of bright lights from around the bar and the blaring rumble of rock music through out.

“What you havin’ Cas?” Dean asked waving the bartender back. Dean took a sniff of the drink D had bought him and scrunched his nose up at the smell.

Castiel stepped back to the bar, squeezing his shoulder past the group of college students now huddled around the bar. His chest turned towards Dean and relished in the slight touch of Dean’s shoulder against his chest.

“Not that,” he nodded at the drink Dean was so distastefully pushing away.

“Thank God. So what will it be?” Dean asked.

“Charlie sent me with a list,” Castiel looked up to the ceiling searching for the drink names in his head. “Smurf Piss, Angel’s Wad, Four Horsemen, Dirty Southern Hospitality, and Purple Nurple.”

Castiel looked up at Dean’s face to find the man smirking at him. His smile turned up slightly at the side before he pressed his lips in a thin line, his tongue sweeping across his lips. Castiel could feel a light tingle at the base of his spine as his body swayed forward, the alcohol already caressing his senses subtly nudging him forward into the cinnamon scent before him. The feeling of the man before dissipated as his own desires surfaced; reacting to the self-conscious mannerisms of one, Dean Winchester.

He turned his head away from Dean and took a small step back looking down at the bar counter. He focused on the reminisce of wet circles littering the counter in a polka-dot fashion, the water reflecting the blue, green, red and yellow lights around the bar.

I shouldn’t have done that. I know that Dean is okay with me looking, he said he was but- but, not in public. This was not the place. Dean, Charlie, Sam and Benny were the few amongst the thousands who did not think him diseased. He should be careful not to show other’s how he had infected this man. And he should heed the warning that was coming from the back of the bar.’ Castiel bit his lip and scrunched his eyes closed thinking of safety, protection and promises made. In two days, hopefully this would all be over.

“I’m sorry Dean,” he whispered.

Slap.

He jolted back to awareness at the sound of three shots being placed in front of him.

“Here Drink, and how many times do I have to tell you Angel? I like it when you look at me like that,” Dean leaned in close, careful not to crowd Castiel’s body with his own, “I feel it too Angel and I know we want the same thing. But I will not pressure you and we are doing whatever this is at your pace. So Drink up and let’s go have some fun!”

Dean’s smile radiated at him as Castiel felt his own lips lift to answer him. Keeping his eyes trained on Dean’s summer green eyes he reached for a shot and slammed it back the way his brother had taught him so many years ago.

Slapping him on the back Dean pounced in place, “There you go! Come on lets get these back.”

Grabbing a few shots in hand he followed behind Dean, tasting sour candies and whiskey on his tongue. Has he rubbed his lips together, enjoying the tingle beneath them, he tasted something he could not place. His brows scrunched together wondering what he had just drunk. He watched carefully as Dean slide in the booth; His jeans pulling around his thighs and his shirt tugging tightly against his broad chest and arms. The taste was cinnamon.

Sitting down lightly on the edge of the booth, careful to not touch Dean, he startled when Dean slide his arm around his waist and tugged him closer to him; their hips against each other, thighs once again touching and shoulders brushing. There was not a space that separated them, except for the clothing they wore.

Before he could object to their proximity Dean’s arm moved away from his hip and over his head, passing the shots around the table.

“Alright crew you know the drill, drink what you want but be ready and sober for 0500 tomorrow. If you take a chick home- Sammy I’m talking about you – wrap it.”

“Hey what about me? We all know I get way more than the giant,” Charlie teased.

“Dental Dam,” Dean smirked as he shot back the warm honey coloured shot Castiel had drunk before.

Castiel watched as the crew around continued to take their shots, clicking the table before cheering in the center. Castiel fumbled to pick up a purple drink, its rim dusted with blue sugar. He carefully placed the drink against his lips sipping the drink.

“You have to shoot that back, no one likes it.” Benny titled his neon blue drink to Castiel gesturing for him to clink their glasses. Winking he rested the glass to his bottom lip before tilting his head back; scrunching his eyes before whistling.

Castiel kept his eyes on Benny and showing him that this was not first drink. In fact his first time taking a shot was when Gabriel had taken him out when he had turned 21. His crazy 21st birthday had ended in him shyly ducking under the leg of a particularly bendy male stripper before dashing home. Tilting the drink back and focusing through the burn of burnt sugar and what seemed like off-blueberries he thought about that stripper.

He had been extremely fit, sharp hips, abs, dark hair and plush lips. But if he was completely honest with himself the man’s eyes were what made him hard. He remembered locking their eyes together as the man’s hips swayed in front of his face and ground down into his lap. Their eyes had met and all he saw in his eyes was the Caribbean. But that heat that whipped through his core frightened him and made him dash out of the club when he had found the first open opportunity.

Picking up the next shot he sloshed it back trying to chase the image of the man out of his head and the deep shame that came from his reaction.

“pathetic,” he scoffed quietly to himself picking up the last shot.

Before he could shoot the drink back another hand grabbed it, “I think you’ve had enough.”

Castiel turned his head to Dean, following Dean’s tongue as it licked the reminisce of Castiel’s drink from his lips.

His eyes felt heavy and his body burned with excess heat, and without reason he realized that his body had been leaning towards Dean, his nose bumping Dean’s own.

“That was mine,” he smiled.

Dean’s eyes blinked down at him. Wide and so very green.

“You’re eyes are so pretty Dean.”

Laughing at him he felt Dean’s hand brush down his cheek, over his neck and settle on his shoulders while Dean pushed him back in the process, “Okay Charmer I think you’ve had enough for the night.”

Giggling he looked at Dean, “I think I’m drunk,” he smiled allowing his eyes to linger on Dean’s lips once again.

“Yeah- yeah you certainly are. Why don’t I get you some water.”

Castiel’s hand moved from the table to Dean’s lap with the purpose of helping his lushed body move backwards, but squeezing Dean’s thigh instead. He could feel the muscle twitch beneath his palm and for a moment he thought, ‘I could move it up briefly. Feel him.’ His breathing was labored watching Dean’s eyes as Dean’s lips parted ever so slightly. Biting his lip he leaned forward once again, wanting to ask him, wanting – simply just wanting Dean Winchester.

“Cas,” Dean spoke softly, “I need to get out Angel.”

Noticing that Dean could not escape the booth without him getting up he shook himself awake at the silly thoughts and swayed out of the booth. Upon rising to his feet he stumbled into Dean.

“Woah their Angel, yeah I’m definitely going to get you some water to sober up.” Dean lifted a hand to his face, cupping his jaw and stroking his thumb just over his cheek, and geared him back towards the booth.

Castiel watched as Dean returned to the bar to get a pitcher of water and glasses.

Blushing he looked away from Dean’s swaying hips, bowed legs and beauty once again hearing the music around him and the conversations.

Looking around him he saw that both Sam and Charlie were no longer at the table. In a panic he darted his eyes around, settling only when he spotted Sam lounging against the bar talking to a petite brunette and Charlie off to the side chatting up the waitress. Benny was still sitting across from him texting his wife.

Feeling Castiel’s eyes upon him Benny glanced up quickly, “What’s troubling you brother?”

“How long have you been married?”

Grinning at his phone before he placed it down on the table and leaned forward, “Going on eight years now.”

“How did you meet?” he asked.

Scratching his beard Benny continued to smile, a soft blush colouring his cheeks, “Well we were sort of star-crossed lovers. Her Daddy had her all marked out to marry this high-classed business exec from Memphis, but that girl has one hell of a taste for spicy food. So her beautiful Greek goddess self on a rainy day stumbled into my family’s seaside Gumbo shop. One bite of my food and I had her won. A few days later I asked her out and the rest is as they say history. Two babies and a dog later here we are,” Benny gestured to his phone, his smile beaming and warming Castiel.

Biting his lip he wondered would he find a love like that. Was it possible for a man like him to have that certainty, that sort of comfort knowing that at the end of it all – good days and bad- someone loved him. Loved his shortcomings, his scars, his desires and his hopes. How could you ever know that the person you are with will be there? Is the one? Was that even a thing?

“How – how did you know?” Castiel focused on the line of glasses before him, absorbing the bright remnants of alcohol staining the table.

“What?” Benny asked quietly.

“That she – that she would say yes or that she would stay?”

“I never really knew that she would say yes, but I remember thinking, if I don’t try then I’ll have never even approached her as a possibility. I knew she would stay in my life when I kissed her for the third time and she reached for my hand, squeezing it. That squeeze felt like she was finally anchoring me to land.”

Castiel brought his eyes up to look into Benny’s watchful eyes. He knew that Benny knew what he was really asking.

“You’ll never know Castiel unless you try first and if it helps any that boy started flying head over heels for you the moment you opened those baby blues back at the hospital. So you just need to figure out if you’re ready to jump or not.” Benny tapped the table getting up to leave as Dean placed the pitcher on the table between them.

“Jumping where?” Dean asked looking at Castiel and turning to watch Benny walk out of the bar.

Taking a deep breath he watched as Dean poured him a large glass of water. 

I have to at least try. For Dean and for me; I must try.’

Chapter Text

Releasing a constrained breath from his chest Dean flopped backwards on one of the motel beds; the springs creaking beneath his weight and the motion wafting up the smell of cheap laundry detergent and mildew.

Closing his eyes he focused on the night they had just returned from, specifically how quickly the hairs on his arms had stood at end and his muscles had flexed upon returning from the bathroom to see Castiel at the bar with another man. At first he thought he acted that way because he was protecting Cas from what was clearly unwanted attention; attention he was surprised to have found in a small town bar, but there he was. At first he had thought, ‘no give Cas some space, he’s a grown man not a child. If he needed help he’d just start looking for it amongst the crowd; looking for us - for me.’ He stood a few steps away leaning against the wall like some sort of stalker, but insisted that it was all with good intention. D., as he had overheard him say before, was pushy and when he had seen the fucker reaching for the small of Castiel’s back and the ridged stance Cas had taken, he stepped in.

Looking back on it now though it wasn’t protection, it was possession. He was staking his claim on Cas, a claim that belonged to no one other than whomever Cas chose. Releasing a puff of air once again he rolled his eyes open to look at the ceiling skirting past the other bed in the process, ‘if he ever chose someone.’

Propping himself up he focused his attention on the door in front of him. Beneath the cracked paneled wood door he watched as the steam from the running shower snuck out into the room. He listened to the patter of the shower hitting the yellowed tub and the sounds of swishing as Cas moved within.

Smiling to himself he remembered how flirty he was with him. How when he’d felt his hand upon his thigh and his forehead had tapped his own for a split second he thought, ‘he’s going to kiss me’. It had taken all his strength to push the drunk man away, sending his plush lips wet with alcohol away, placing cheeks flushed in excitement at a distance and his eyes left to dig into his soul from the gap between them.

He had no idea how he’d found that resistance. Maybe it was the public location, the fact that Benny was directly across from them - although that had never stopped him before. Or maybe it simply was because when Cas finally decided that he wanted him, that he trusted him, he wanted the guy completely there with him.

The sound of a yelp from the bathroom had him bolting to the door and knocking, “Cas? You okay man?”

The weak sound of grunting hit his ears causing Dean to tap his head against the door. Scrunching his eyes he reminded himself that it was more than improper to barge in on someone in the shower. But good god that one sound was going to follow him into his dreams.

“Yeah I’m good, just – the water changed temperature. Fine now,” came the quiet reply.

“Well – if – if you need anything let me know,” Dean responded while reprimanding himself. ‘Need anything? Jesus Winchester that was as subtle as the guitar riff in Crazy Train.’

Behind the door the sound of the water turning off and the pipes clinking made him back up to the bed, almost falling flat on his ass in the process. ‘Why am I so nervous?’

Closing his eyes once again he looked down at his hands, biting his bottom lip in search for tranquility and in the hopes of chasing away the thoughts he had of Castiel’s naked wet skin just behind the door. He scrunched his eyes tighter, causing his brows to twitch with forced pressure. Yet, all he could see was Castiel’s slim body before him, the angle of his hips, and the softness of his skin now tanned with sunlight from the spring. The way he looked so confident one minute and so fucking shy and lost the next. He saw the way his thick thighs would be forcing themselves into Dean’s jeans – Cas’ own no longer fitting him. He saw the way his shirt would fluff his drying hair into that freshly sexed up way it always found itself. He could see it all, and he had no right to.

The sound of the door clicking grabbed his attention, but it was the sight of the way the dampness on Cas’ skin caught his t-shirt, pulling it tight against his skin that grasped his breath and sped up his heart.

Fuck he’s beautiful’ Dean thought.

“Dean?” Castiel asked.

“Yup- What?” noticing that Cas had said something prior Dean blushed deeply as he looked at the small smirk floating across Cas’ face.

Huffing with humour Cas tried again, “Thank you for tonight. I had a good time.”

Taking in the soft glow surrounding the man, Dean could feel his lips lift in response and his cheeks deepen further with heated colour. Clicking his nails over each other, and fidgeting under the beautiful happy blue glaze he inhaled the smell of his shampoo and soap on Cas’ freshly washed skin.

Regarding the man in front of him his eyes slowly lifted from his bare feet wiggling on the dirty flattened carpet of the motel, to the tight stretch of old sweat pants on his thighs and riding low on hidden hips, to an old white shirt thinned and softened with time and wear now clutching the tell tale signs of a growing tummy and widening chest and arms. Cas was growing right in front of him and he had almost missed it. The young boy scared and starving in the elevator had become a man healthy and strong under his guidance and the crew’s support. Cas was his own being.

Taking in the glint of now confused blue eyes he watched as drops of water wilted off strands of Cas’ wet hair onto his shoulders.

Waving him over to the bed he stood up so Cas could sit down, “Yeah man me too, now come here and lets get that wild hair going in at least one direction this time.”

Confused Castiel slowly shuffled over to the bed and sat down, scooting back to cross his legs in the process. Dean walked into the bathroom to grab an extra towel and walked back to the edge of the bed, making sure to watch his feet instead of Cas lounging on his bed. He knew full well that if he did he’d probably trip over his own feet.

Flopping the dry towel down over his head he watched as Cas reached up to peek from under the starchy white towel. Innocent eyes looked up at Dean as he reached forward to yank it back over Cas’ face, more hiding Cas’ eyes from his own blushing face than hiding Cas’.

Scuffing the towel back and forth he moved the towel around Cas’ head and remembered how he used to do this for Sam when they were younger. But while that memory was filled with constant chatter about something the kid had learned at school, the motel room before him was silent. Not a single noise could be heard, except for the casual inhale of air and the distant chatter from a TV within the motel walls.

“Dean?” Cas whispered from beneath the towel.

The sudden interjection of noise, however soft, made Dean twitch gently with surprise forcing him to stop the ruffling of Cas’ hair and step back to peer underneath the towel.

“Yeah Cas?” he responded just as quietly too afraid to disturb the gentle calm in the room.

Dean watched as Castiel’s throat clicked and a shuttering breath was released from his chest. He noticed the way Cas’ hands shook gently with nerves within his lap.

“Can you- Could you do something for me – please,” the final note was barely heard between them.

“Anything Cas, you know that,” Dean assured him wondering what could possibly be sending light tremors beneath Cas’ lightly tanned skin.

The sound of clanking metal hit their ears as a neighbor parked their own car and clicked open his own motel door. A hum from the cheap industrial lights within the bathroom tinged from behind Dean’s shoulders. And the air became tight in Dean’s belly, waiting for the request and praying to God that it would be within his capacity to fulfill.

“Kiss me.”

The two words drifted into the damp air filling the room and stroked Dean’s ears. At first he was not sure he had heard him right, blinking down at the huddled form before him still hidden by the cheap motel towel.

Dean released the nerves that had built within those seconds, evaporating from his mouth in a puff of air. A soft smile played on his lips before he quietly reached forward, his own hand shaking ever so slightly, and lifted the towel up from Castiel’s damp head.

Castiel’s eyes remained focused downwards. His shoulders remained hunched over, lifting heavily with shallow breaths.

Dean reached forward and lifted Castiel’s face up to look at him and cupped his jaw with one hand. He waited to see Castiel’s clear blue eyes– needing to know that not only was the residue of alcohol gone, but also that Cas knew there was nothing to fear with him.

Blue eyes focused upon his own, a sharp clarity of sobriety only strengthened in preparation for rejection. The twinkle of fear spoke to that belief that Dean would say no. As if he could have ever denied Cas this request. Now or ever.

Remaining eye contact with Castiel Dean leaned forward slowly, pausing a breath away from pink lips. His thumb lightly brushed over Castiel’s cheek now bristling with the soft whisper of a five-o’clock shadow. His eyes darted down to Cas’ lips and back to his eyes allowing Cas to back away, but all he saw were closed eyes framed in soft lashes.

Licking his lips and closing his own eyes Dean finally placed his dampened lips upon Cas’ warm dry lips. He felt Cas gasp beneath his fingertips and push forward into him, searching for more contact. Dean’s own brows scrunched together in restraint. It was perfect. Cas was perfect, but he needed to be gentle, slow and patient.

Reluctantly he pulled back, his lips sticking to Castiel’s as their sensitive skin unwillingly parted. But before Dean could back away Cas grabbed his wrist and shook his head.

“Don’t stop.”

Without thought Dean dove forward, pushing forward with more strength and holding Cas’s face between both of his hands. His hands upon Cas’ cheeks simultaneously pulled him forward and held on to the last strain of Dean’s sense of presence and decency.

Between breaths he heard himself gasp Castiel’s name, begging for more, revering his name and whimpering with vanishing restraints.

He moaned into Cas’ mouth as Cas opened to him a little and his tongue hesitantly touched his bottom lip. Encouraging the change of pace Dean opened to Cas and reached forward with his own tongue groaning at the contact. His hand moved from Cas’ jaw to cradle his head, thrilling at the odd change in texture of Cas’ damp soft hair. Clutching Cas’ head he pulled him closer to him, angling his head to connect with him more and groaning at it not being enough.

Releasing a grunt of frustration Castiel nipped at his mouth before his own hand reached forward and dragged Dean down, releasing his legs from their crossed position to place his feet firmly on the ground while forcing Dean’s knees to bend and straddle Castiel’s lap. The sound of huffed air filled his ears and the noises of excitement pushed them both further- grasping for each other.

What began as a gentle timid touch quickly became an eager pull for something long forgotten and desperately needed between them. In the back of his head Dean could hear Sam warning him to be careful with Cas, he could hear his own warnings of hesitation so often repeated as a mantra in his head. But none of it mattered.

Castiel was all that mattered and Dean was willing to give him anything and all that he wanted. In this moment of lips and gasping breaths caught on escaped moans, Dean was prepared to give Castiel all of him. He wanted to give him the world.

A firm hand could be felt sliding down his back and resting just above his belt not daring to reach further down. Releasing his hands from Castiel’s hair Dean reached behind himself and pushed Castiel’s hands down further to rest upon his ass.

“Take whatever you want Cas. Anything,” he whispered between them before his hand returned to Cas’ unruly hair.

Groaning at the feeling of Castiel’s hands gripping him he once again pushed forward, now unwittingly biting down on Cas’ bottom lip before transferring his lips over Cas’ jaw and down slightly to just behind his ear.

A tremor danced down his spine as Cas’ heavy breathing dusted over his ear and his grip pulled Dean closer. Closing his eyes tightly he buried his face into the crook of Cas’ neck as the feeling of his jeans’ tightened in his position and pressed down on his now fully hard cock.

He had planned to keep his clear arousal away from Castiel, allowing the man to finally enjoy and take what he wanted from him without trigger, but Cas was having none of it.

He felt himself begin to fall forward thus forcing Dean to release Cas’ hair and allowed their bodies to fall back onto the bed. The fall pushed his hips down into Cas’ own and caused them each to moan deeply at the contact and pause in the after shock.

The shock was enough to make Dean lift his head in slight fear that this was going to be too much for Cas. He looked down at Cas’ hooded eyes and took a breath in preparation to apologize or stop, but Cas lifted his own hips up and rubbed against him once again.

The touch, while covered in denim, lite up his blood and made his eyes close in ecstasy. Cas reached up and dragged Dean’s lips back to his own, now slowly kissing Dean and bringing him back to him.

He shouldn’t be comforting me,’ he thought, but the next slide of their clothe covered hard-ons brought him back to the only thing that mattered.

Cas.

The soft touch of lips and hands once again took on a frantic pace. Castiel’s hands no longer remained on his ass, but now were under Dean’s shirt grasping at his side and hip.

He felt Cas’ fingers digging into his flesh and then lightly kissing his flesh in gentle touches. The mix made Dean want more, want to be closer without barrier. But he knew they wouldn’t be able to stop for that.

He could feel the beginning of pressure building at the base of his spine and Castiel’s skin at the juncture of his neck was damp beneath his fingers with sweat. No longer able to focus upon their mirrored touches of lips Dean settled along with Cas to chase the feeling of their hips and cocks rubbing back and forth between them.

Cas rutted up hooking one of his legs over one of Dean’s bent knees. Dean gasped as he watched Cas looking down between, watching with aroused awe as their cocks rubbed back and forth.

“Cas,” Dean gasped between them, feeling the pressure building and on the edge of no return. “Cas,” he said again, begging for him to look up.

Cas’ eyes dragged upwards from the sight of his cock, the tip peeking from beneath his waistband as it moved back and forth with their rhythm. Once Dean’s eyes found Cas’ own he smiled down at him and released a huff of delighted laughter.

“I got ya Angel,” he assured Cas before leaning down to firmly kiss him as the lightning shock of his orgasm hit him.

Gasping he rested his head upon Cas’ own, their lips touching but unmoving. Dean smiled too himself with his eyes closed as he felt Castiel’s brows scrunch and a pitched gasp was felt upon his own lips, finally falling over the edge with him.

Opening his eyes slowly he looked down into the relaxed blissed face before him. He leaned down quietly and gently pecked Cas on the lips, responding tiredly to Dean, before flopping down beside him on the bed.

The feeling of cooling come could be felt stiffening in his jeans and underwear, making him thank whoever that he always packed an extra pair of jeans in the trunk of the Impala. Only took a few dirty ghost hunts before you realize that it’s a good idea to pack an extra pair.

Noticing that Cas had yet to move or say anything Dean began to worry, ‘maybe it was too much too fast. Jesus Winchester you never learn.’

Tentatively he turned his head to look at Cas’ face.

His face was turned away from Dean, his body still slacked and unmoving. Propping himself up on to his elbow Dean cautiously reached forward to touch Castiel. He felt his heart begin to freeze with worry, feeling like he had ruined any potential repair that had been made in the past few month within the matter of a few minutes of passion.

But before he could say his name Dean heard the sound of a soft puff of air and watched as Cas turned his body towards him. He watched as Cas instinctually curled towards him moving close to his chest.

A soft smile graced his face. He was asleep. Gently. And truly.

Smiling at Castiel Dean slowly got up and stripped himself of his dirty jeans and boxers, before going to his duffle bag by the door.

He returned to the edge of the bed and reached forward to brush a stray unruly strand from Cas’ forehead. Turning his head he looked forlornly at the extra bed in the room, and decided that he should sleep in a separate bed from Cas for the night because he did not want to scare him in the morning.

“Dean,” Cas’ brows furrowed as his hand reached for Dean in the empty space of the bed.

“Right here Angel,” Dean once again reached forward, running the back of his fingers lightly over the shell of his ear.

Castiel turned his head to look up at Dean and grabbed his hand, pulling Dean weakly back to bed with him.

His plans forgotten Dean focused on finding Cas’ comfort in the seconds of slow wakefulness. Dean quietly pulled his hand away and returned to his bag, digging for an extra pair of clean boxer shorts.

“Come on Cas get up and out of those pants. Trust me you don’t want to sleep in those,” returning to the bed Dean placed the extra boxers by Castiel’s hand and turned away as Cas sat up on the bed and began to remove his soiled sweat pants.

The grunted noise of Cas resettling on the bed signaled him to turn around and return to their bed. The thought of a their brought another smile to his lips. A common occurrence he noted when he was with Cas. Dean turned off the side lamp and got beneath the covers, feeling Cas do the same beside him.

“Let’s get some sleep - the alarm will go off before we know it,” Dean settled down on to his side of the bed facing Cas.

Cas shuffled a little closer to Dean, his fingertips just touching Dean’s hand between them beneath the covers. The shy touch boosted his own courage, prompting Dean to lift his arm and place it lightly upon Castiel’s back.

It didn’t escape Dean’s notice that with his touch Cas sunk deeper and closer into him, peacefully falling back to sleep within Dean’s arms.

Shutting his eyes Dean leaned his head forward wondering when it was he began to be such a sap.

Chapter Text

Cool water collected in the palms of Castiel’s hands, the chill waking the tips of his fingers and slowly shaking the night’s sleep out of his skin. Opening his eyes he peered down into the water, watching as the bathroom faucet dripped to gently rippling to pool. Closing his eyes once again he sloshed the water over his face.

Inhaling deeply he straightened to watch as the water trickled off his dark eyelashes and skirted over his kiss bitten lips. Reaching up he placed his fingertips upon the bruise that blossomed just at the edge of his bottom lip and blushed as he looked down to see the small hint of a bruise nipped into his collarbone. Smiling softly to himself Castiel enjoyed the feeling of being desired and accepted, the warmth of it thawing the fear from his heart and adding fire to increasing courage.

He looked well kissed. His hair was wild, his lips a ruddy red instead of their normal soft pink. His cheeks held a light blush and his blue eyes twinkled in a manner that they hadn’t in many years. He looked happy, truly happy.

Castiel placed his hands on the edge of the sink and lowered his chin to his chest before closing his eyes, too embarrassed to continue looking at his reflection. The careful stroke of calloused warm hands brushed over his hips startling his attention back into focus.

“Come back to bed Cas,” Dean whispered kissing along the nape of his neck from one shoulder to the next.

Leaning into the warm body behind him, Castiel reached down to touch Dean’s hands and dragged one around to his stomach. He sunk further into Dean’s body and smiled wide as Dean’s other hand came around his chest to hug Castiel closer to him.

Slowly he opened his eyes again to look at the image of the both of them content in their presence; peaceful and happy.

“I want this everyday,” he said quietly to the space surrounding them. In his happiness he noticed that even the stained spots in the walls of the motel bathroom ceased to exist and the once garish yellow of the walls and floor gave a gentle glow to the room. The sun warmed the room further as it peeked through the slight chip in the window. Smiling once again he hummed at the careful warmth around him.

“Me too Angel, me too,” Dean softly kissed his jaw before hooking his chin over his shoulder, pulling him closer, sharing in the desire to be as close as possible to each other.

From one blink of his eyes to the next the soft glow of the bathroom shifted to a dull colour before the final image forced Castiel to take note of his surroundings once again.

The crack in the window, once softly curved in its imperfections, was now jagged with aggression. The sun had disappeared from the sky and the warmth around him slowly seeped away. The warmth remained at his back while the cold wind whisked in front of his chest, cooling the tip of his nose, his toes and his exposed skin. The light flickered above him. From one flicker to the next, the moments of blinded darkness increased.

Something was not right.

From one thought to the next Dean’s gentle hands surrounding him in love and safety began to grow in size, loosing their softness in favor for gangly bones and claws. The sharp edges of nails latched onto his hips and dug into the growing flesh at his stomach. Castiel watched in horror as his breath chilled in the air, the fog flicking with the lights.

Focusing his eyes upon the mirror in front of him he watched Dean’s face become unfocused, and then smudged in its reflection.

Whimpering Castiel called out to him, quietly, shuddering in fear. The pain of the frosted air chilled his fingers as they reached to hold his weight upon the sink only to find it crumbling beneath his hands.

Castiel gasped as his head smashed into the mirror, disorienting him further. The only thing that kept him from disintegrating into the ground were the jagged nails that had embedded themselves into his flesh. The jolt of movement from his fall tore the flesh at his stomach as the nails dug further into him.

Crying in pain he reached for the decaying hands at his hips panicking for his freedom, “Let go, let go, let go.”

In terror he dug at the hands on his stomach and hips, watching as the greying decayed skin tore away, releasing a putrid smell of rotten meat into the room around him. He watched from the corners of his eyes as the walls cracked, drywall falling off and hitting the floor only to cause the tiled floor itself to fall into earth below. Leaving nothing in its absence.

He could hear his breath huffing rapidly into the air, drowning out his own rapid heart. He heard his gasp and hiccups charging the air.

Then without warning the lights completely went out.

In the darkness he felt the hands drag up the side of his waist, bone catching on his sensitive skin. His breathing became labored in fear, wondering if this was what he deserved? If he had been wrong in forgetting his place?

The hand reached his neck and closed lightly over his windpipe, enough to keep him in place, enough to keep him alive. He felt something step up behind him, its breath ruffling his hair and cooling his back causing his body to stiffen further and blood to run cold.

With his eyes wide open to the darkness before him he could feel the way his own tears tracked down his face and dashed off his chin and jaw landing on the hand below. He felt the cold stillness of his surroundings and noticed that beyond him and what was behind him nothing remained.

Nothing, but the cold and the smell he knew in his soul would find him tonight.

Sulfur.

“Tsk tsk tsk Castiel, you’ve been very very naughty. What should we do with you?” Alastair hissed into his ear, digging his sharp chin into his shoulder.

“Let me go,” Castiel hissed back.

Running a nail over his chin while squeezing tightly on his throat, the air now fully blocked from his lungs.

“Now now Castiel, you know that’s not going to happen and besides I think it’s time that you see exactly what your transgression is going to bring your sweet sweet Dean.”

The lights flared on in the dungeon of the elevator he knew so well. Flames with no known origins flared up the walls of the dark shaft, permitting no heat only the sharp cold he could still remember, embedded into his bones.

Grasping at the hands on his throat Alastair released him only to let him fall hard against the rubble of the shaft floor. Castiel listened as Alastair’s mutilated feet, and broken ankles jerkily walked way from him; releasing creaking groans between the shift of the rubble. Looking up into the glowing burnt orange dungeon he spotted a crumpled mass in the far corner.

Shivering Castiel hoped that it was Inais, or simply fallen rocks, but as Alastair grinned back at him and grabbed the mass’ hair he knew that the face that was yanked up to him would not be the answer he had hoped.

A startled gasp escaped his lips as he watched in horror as Dean’s beautiful eyes connected with his own.

Alastair smiled at his reaction reaching down to stroke a single nail over Dean’s cheek, skirting the daggered point just over his eye.

“Tell me Castiel, what is it about this faggot that you find so appealing? Is it his lips?” Alastair dragged Dean up by his hair to look him straight in the face, Dean crying out in pain.

In terror Castiel watched as Alastair, almost gently, ran his dirty rotten finger over Dean’s blood stained bottom lip, “They would look good around a cock wouldn’t they Castiel? Is that what you dream about at night curled up so close to him?” Alastair moved his hand to grasp Dean’s jaw and forced his mouth open to thrust two fingers into his mouth, making him gag. “These lips locked around your cock? Hmm there might be something there Angel, but really such sins should be ripped out of existence.”

Before he knew what had happened Alastair yanked his hand down tearing Dean’s jaw from his face leaving behind a gapping hole where it once connected.

“NO!!!” Castiel screamed rushing forward to Dean only to have himself slammed against the wall, as he watched Dean crumble to the floor gurgling and touching his face in agony.

Castiel struggled against Alastair and prayed while looking on at Dean, begging a God he had stopped believing in to stop the pain and horror in front of him.

“Don’t you see, this is what You do to people Castiel. With your fornication and sin. God abandons not only you, but everyone you touch. Look what you’ve done to him Castiel,” Alastair growled into his face.

“No, Stop! God wouldn’t, he couldn’t,” Castiel stumbled clawing at the rotting flesh holding him still.

“Oh he will and has Castiel,” he spat.

Alastair slammed his face into the jagged edge of metal surrounding the base of the elevator shaft making him cry in pain as his cheekbone shattered, the crunch echoing in his ears. Alastair threw him on the ground at Dean’s side, allowing Castiel to scramble towards him just in time to watch as Alastair once again yanked Dean’s head back.

“After some thought maybe it wasn’t his lips, but his eyes. Do they tempt you Castiel? Do you like the way this confused deviant undresses you?”

“Don’t,” Castiel reached for Dean as Alastair began to dig his nails into each eye socket pulling them out and tossing them at Castiel.

Dean released a gargling scream from his open throat, reaching up to push Alastair way, to no avail. Castiel began to sob into the air as he looked on at the gapping holes left and blood seeped down Dean’s cheeks.

“Stop, please stop! I repent please!”

“No, that’s not enough anymore Castiel. Sodomy is a sin and you have sinned too many times. No. The only way to get rid of the stain you leave on their souls Castiel, oh great Angel of Thursday, is to scrap is away,” he snarled.

Gasping for air Castiel watched in disbelief as Alastair dug his nails into Dean’s hairline and began to pull his skin away. Castiel’s ears bled as Dean screeched into the elevator, the walls bouncing the sound around them over and over again. He watched as Dean’s freckled skin was tossed aside like garbage just before Alastair threw his screaming, bleeding body at him.

Castiel reached down trying to sooth Dean’s pain, not knowing where to touch or how to comfort him. He refused to look into Alastair’s face as it appeared directly in front of him; the foul smell of sulfur and rotten flesh falling over him.

“See you soon, Castiel.”

____

 

Castiel flew up in bed gasping at the air in horror. His body was drenched in sweat cooling upon his skin. Gulping in air he looked around the motel room softly illuminated in an early morning glow. Just outside the window he could hear the morning song of birds welcoming a new day to the warming spring air outside. His heart calmed and his skin soothed itself as he registered the gentle heat radiating from Dean beside him in the bed.

He looked down at Dean’s peaceful face, young with sleep. Tears slowly fell down Castiel’s face as he took in the beauty of his freckled dusted nose and cheeks, adoring the long dark eyelashes resting on them. His dark sandy blond hair, almost brown in the dim lighting was pushed up from sleep where it rested on the pillow. Castiel reached up to Dean’s cheek and brushed it down to his sharp jaw, ruff with morning stubble.

Castiel cried softly as he remembered his dream and took in his current surroundings.

How could God say this is a sin? How could He ever condemn the beauty of Dean that he was revering in, the beauty He created? How could it be so wrong, if every piece of this moment was composed by God Himself? How?’ he reflected.

Castiel laid himself back down beside him and snuggled up close to him, placing his arm against Dean’s and brushing his finger over his cheek, before reaching down to touch his plush lips soft with sleep.

The feeling came unwarranted by the previous nightmare and experiences, but marinated nonetheless in this peaceful moment.

I love you.

Shuddering at the realization that he had finally found that feeling he never dreamed would be granted to him, certainly not after and certainly not in the chaos that would follow them in the next day. But there it was.

Stroking Dean’s face and brushing his hand up to Dean’s hair he whispered to the air between them, to the air chilled with night and warming with the soft spring sunrise, “I love you Dean Winchester.”

A quiet tear fell down his face into the pillow beneath him. He only had one more day with Dean, one more night just the two of them and then they would go their separate ways. He had no right to expect more, and so he could not allow himself to dream of it. He watched with a quiet sad smile as Dean’s gorgeous green eyes slowly opened to sparkle at him, reflecting a bit of light back at him. Never a moment in his life has there ever been more a demonstration of God’s presence than there was with him now. That He had, perhaps, delivered this warrior, his savior, and righteous man to him. To find him. To help him heal. To protect and fight for him.

“Morning Angel,” Dean’s morning voice scratched.

Before he knew what had overcome him, Castiel leaned forward and softly placed his lips upon Dean’s. Dean groaned into the kiss and pushed forward, only to be met with Castiel’s equal enthusiasm. The soft kiss quickly became desperate.

Castiel gasped between each caught breath, while tears streaked down his face. ‘One more day, one more night,’ played on loop in between his heart surging to hold onto any and every moment it could, ‘I love you, I love you, Oh God, I love you.’

“Hey, hey,” Dean’s palms stroked at his cheeks while pushing him back groaning as Castiel’s teeth dragged his bottom lip with him. “Breathe Castiel, breathe.”

Blinking slowly at Dean beneath him Castiel shifted back on his side with Dean’s hands remaining around his face, stroking his hair and running a single finger over his brow willing him to breathe. Quietly Castiel watched as Dean’s moss-green eyes once again reflected the morning light, and flicked back and forth over his face.

Not a word was spoken, only the silence of their breathing and the soft song of the birds outside could be heard. Slowly Castiel shifted closer to Dean placing his forehead against Dean’s and tapping their nose together before he once again gently, slowly and longingly searched out Dean’s lips.

The desperation in the moment before placed on pause in the back of Castiel’s mind. Their bodies warmed each other and slowly Castiel pulled his lips away in favor of removing his shirt and waiting for Dean to do the same. The view of naked skin in front him enthralled him, his heart reached out to each constellation upon Dean’s skin and his lips drew themselves once again to Dean’s. In the slow touch of hands upon each other Castiel felt Dean smile between their kisses.

“God you’re beautiful,” he proclaimed like a pray upon Castiel’s soul.

The previously desperate mantra of ‘I love you, I love you, I love you,’ slowed to a soft prayer in answer.

I love you.’

His hands flowed down Dean’s side to rest upon his hip just above his waistband, pulling Dean closer to him until he felt his own hard cock brush against Dean’s. The slow morning glow that settled over them would not allow for the rushed desperation found in last night’s newly found touch, but slowed each minute and each brush of skin and contact.

“Dean,” Castiel gasped into his mouth begging silently to be closer to him. To find a way to at least have a few memories to hold when this was all over.

“I got ya, Cas” Dean groaned quietly between them, his hand flowing from his face, down his neck, shoulders and over to his back.

The sensitive touch of Dean’s fingers upon his newly formed skin where jagged scars were etched into Castiel froze his mind. Castiel stilled his lips upon Dean’s and scrunched his eyes closed, refusing to see the remembered disgust that would surely be found on Dean’s face.

He was damaged.

Dean might have been a gift made by God and sent to him by Him as well, but Castiel shouldn’t forget that God allowed his punishment to leave this reminder. He was revolt-

“Cas, sweetheart, look at me,” Dean nudged his nose against his cheek, encouraging him to open his eyes.

Green eyes warmed to his attention and looked at him for all that he was and is.

“Angel, you are so much more than these scars,” Dean leaned in and kissed his nose.

“You are strength.”

Kissed each of his closed eyes.

“You are every moment that you defy those bastards.”

Kissed his neck.

“You are light and fire.”

Kissed the corner of his mouth.

“You are the most beautiful thing I have ever seen.”

Castiel shuddered at each statement and melted into Dean, allowing the hand at his back to pull him close once more. He found himself blinking back tears as he opened his eyes to look at Dean once more.

“You are a motherfucking Warrior of God, Beauty, Strength and all kinds of a badass- an angel, my Angel,” Castiel released a pitched noise as his throat constricted at Dean’s words.

Never has he ever felt so cherished and worshipped in his life and it took every ounce of his being to not tell him the words he so desperately wanted to.

Dean’s mouth found his once again, the press of skin lighting a soft glow between them. Dean’s mouth opened to Castiel, their tongues touching and teasing of desires tamed in the morning light.

Dean’s hand fell lower on Castiel’s back causing Castiel to moan into his mouth and arch his back slightly, wanting more.

Dean’s hand instead left his back, much to his dismay and touched Castiel’s hand just at his hip, “It’s okay to touch Angel, anything you want. Like I said last night. Anything.”

His courage sparked with intrigue as Dean’s hand gently pushed it under the waistband of Dean’s boxers, pulling them down in the process. The feeling of Dean’s bare cock could be felt between them, smacking obscenely against his stomach.

“Anything,” Dean whispered between kisses once more.

Removing his mouth from Dean Castiel looked down between them under the bed sheets and slowly moved his hand from the side of Dean’s leg to wrap his hand around Dean.

Dean’s moan of ecstasy vibrated between them, causing Castiel to want more, to hear those sounds again and again, until all that remained was his name upon his lips. Because he knew that while he would never forget Dean, Dean might, except for the possibility that his name spoken on his lips in such a way might remind Dean of him just a few times more in the unknown future yet to come.

Castiel released Dean quickly as Dean groaned in protest, making Castiel smile at the sound. He would remember this in every waking moment. No longer wanting a barrier between them, wanting the memory of Den’s skin upon his own, the memory of safety and gentle touches, he pushed his borrowed boxers down.

Before he knew what was happening Dean’s hand found his penis, solid, hot and aching beneath the sheets. The touch of calloused hands moving up and down him, pulsing in strength as it slide over him. Dean’s thumb flicked over its head and caused him to buck forward, releasing an embarrassing yelp in pleasure at the movement when he accidently felt Dean’s own penis upon his.

No longer able to return the favor to Dean, Castiel’s pleasure spiked higher when he felt Dean move his hips closer and released him only to close his hand over both of them. The combined feeling of Dean’s penis upon his own and his hand stroking him in a circular downward direction only to follow up once more smearing their shared pre-come at his sensitive head caused Castiel to recall that feeling he felt last night. A feeling of electricity building at the base of his spine, and his lower stomach tightening with knots getting tighter and tighter with each passing movement.

“Dean,” he gasped in fear, reaching his hand back to Dean’s hip and thrusting up into his hand.

“Yea, I feel it too Angel. Come on,” Dean bumped their foreheads together and looked up into Castiel’s eyes.

Castiel slide his hand down over top of Dean’s, causing Dean to release his hand placing Castiel’s upon both of them covering his hand with his own, tightening their grip.

“Just like that Cas, ya, oh god,” Dean nudged his nose against Castiel’s searching for his lips and once again smiling into a kiss.

“Dean – I, oh Dean, oh God, it- I - Dean,” Castiel struggled for words, feeling his soul vibrating with energy and his heart pounding roughly against his chest.

“Mhm yes, sweetheart, keep going, follow that, Fuck, let go babe,” Dean gasped between them, running his thumb over their tip once more just before he tensed up beside him and stopped moving.

The pulse and the feeling of hot release upon Castiel’s own skin forced him over the edge, causing him to moan Dean’s name in a rushed release of air as his own body tightened just as the building electricity burst causing the knots to unravel and blind his mind to only the exotic feeling of what he could only describe as what heaven must be.

Castiel slowly returned to the touch of Dean’s hand at his hip once again, his thumb rubbing back and forth in comfort. Opening his eyes he rested his sight upon divine perfection and only could say one word.

“Wow.”

A burst of laughter left Dean’s chest and caused Castiel to pull back, smiling at the jubilant look upon the man’s face.

“Yeah Cas, wow. Fucking Wow is right,” he smiled at him.

Leaning forward Dean lightly kissed Castiel once more before Castiel pulled back and looked at the clock.

“We should get ready we need to leave in 10 mintues.”

Dean pulled him back down beside him and snuggled into him, “Sammy can go ahead of us, first we need a shower.”

Throwing back the sheets Castiel shivered as Dean dragged off his own underwear and sauntered naked to the bathroom pausing at the door, “Well hurry up Cas we ain’t got all day.”

Watching as Dean turned around into the bathroom, his glowing bare skin and perfect backside disappearing with him, Castiel could only find himself doing one thing: following.

As he walked into the bathroom and heard the patter of water upon the tub floor and Dean’s humming just beyond the tattered curtain, he caught his reflection. 

One more day and one more night,’ he sadly thought before shaking his head and stepping into the shower with Dean.

Chapter Text

Closing his eyes Dean relished in the warm water flowing over his face as he listened to the light shudder of the ripped shower curtain moving aside alerting him to the company joining. Smiling to himself as he rubbed water out of his eyes and down his face before turning around to look at Castiel.

He smiled gently at Castiel’s naked body, allowing his eyes to take in Cas’ crossed arms over his chest and down to his hips and cock, where Cas’ hand tried to keep his modesty, and finally down his legs to his feet. He laughed in his chest at the way Castiel’s toes wiggled in the water pooling between them, remembering how they had done just that last night on the dingy carpet. Slowly he approached Castiel and raised his hands to touch his arms, stalling in the space between them until Cas’ eyes finally flicked up to his own. Looking into Cas’ eyes he found his approval to touch and the soft smile given allowed him to stroke his thumb over the dampened skin pulling Castiel close to his own body and flipping their position.

Dean slowly backed Castiel’s blushing body back into the warm water at his back and watched in awe as Cas’ body visibly relaxed beneath his hands. Still smiling softly to himself Dean enjoyed the view in front of him. He memorized the way Castiel closed his eyes and leaned his head backwards letting the water flow over his hair, face and down his neck. He watched as the water cascaded over his throat and down to his collar bone before glancing off his shoulders or down his chest. The moment however ended as Cas sputtered and coughed at the water that had snuck up his nose a little making Dean laugh at the disgruntled face staring back at him before sharing in a quiet gleeful smile with him.

“Assbutt,” Cas lightly scorned him.

“Assbutt?” Dean laughed, the sound tapping the linoleum of shower walls.

Clearing his throat Cas moved slightly to turn around in the shower, stalling along the way to bashfully, in shame, glance over at Dean.

The warm laughter died in Dean’s chest as the bashful blush from uncertain bravery, and small juvenile teasing ended and twisted into shame in the creases of Casteil’s brow. He patiently waited for Castiel to speak his worries, dragging his hands down to release his grasp from his skin; giving him space.

“Can – Can you turn around while I wash- please?” the stain on his cheeks aggressively painted his neck and ears with suspended indignity.

Confused at the request Dean felt his head jerk back slightly as he continued to watch Cas fidget in his own skin.

“I- I rather you didn’t look at -,” Cas nodded his head over his shoulder, his eyes still fixed off to the side, staring at the tear in the ratty shower curtain.

Gasping with realization Dean immediately stepped out of the warmth of the water to hold himself away in the corner of the shower, giving what he hoped was enough space for Castiel to bathe. He smiled hesitantly at Cas before turning his body around to stare at the mold jammed into the corners of the broken tile and linoleum in the shower walls.

“You know Cas, I’ve seen them before and I – I – it doesn’t change anything about how I see you. I mean- I think- ,” Dean scowled at the wall and tilted his head up, cursing at his father for his inability to express his emotions.

Why the fuck did Sam not have a problem? When did he miss that lesson growing up? Okay Winchester nutt up. Feelings. You can do this.’

“Who you are has got nothing to do with the shit those fuckers put on you, the shit they say or even the scars that twisted fuck left behind. Especially the scars. I don’t give a flying fuck about them. I mean – scars are your battle wounds- they are strength- and fuck I don’t know what I’m saying just that I don’t care man.” Dean huffed into the space between the cool tiles, shivering at the small loss of heat from the showerhead.

“Okay.” Castiel whispered behind him.

Frowning at the silence that followed he contemplated getting out of the shower to leave Cas in peace. His mind whirled in circles about what to do next and concerned itself with the thought that perhaps he had pushed too far once again and had finally chased him off too.

The small touch of on his shoulder made him jump in surprise causing him to whip around and come face-to-face with Castiel’s timid eyes dancing around the edges of him. Cas’ eyes focused on stains in the walls surrounding him but never in his face. Dean watched as Castiel darted his eyes to his own finally looking at him again before nodding quietly and turning slowly back to the shower’s warmth.

Nothing could have braced him with re-encountering the damage done to Castiel’s back; scars long healed from the last time he had seen them. The burns on his hip and chest only a slight mark were barley visible, yet it was the scars on his back and the glaring jagged edges of the lashes he had obtained in the elevator shaft that raised his skin in an uneven mazes. The electrical burn scars, still quietly angry, surged down from his mid-back and over and down to just behind his knees. The ivy like pattern branched out from one branch to the next. Dean noticed how the branches intertwined just above his lower back, before skirting to one side over his hip and down the side of his thigh while the other seared its way over the left globe of his ass and straight down to the soft flesh behind his knee.

He held his breath behind his teeth and allowed the tears prickling at his eyes to gently flow over. He knew from the untouched places on Castiel’s skin that he was once, before everything, encased in soft unmarked tanned skin. His chest in this moment was largely untouched except for the healed burns at his hips and scratch mark at his collarbone, along with the healed surgery scar left from his shoulder surgery. Dean knew that his thighs in the front were dusted with soft dark hair, except for where the scar remained from his knee surgery. The man in front of him was once untouched, uncertain and unbeknownst, but now was scarred with reality, hesitantly confident in his truth and closely acquainted with the darkness in every shadow.

But this moment was not about him, he knew that whatever he did now would determine not only how Castiel approached him, but how he would brave the world outside of this chaos as well. Without saying a word Dean stepped up behind Castiel, and slowly reached around to raise the temperature of the water. He watched as Castiel’s skin froze with the movement, watched his hand turn the heat up and slowly retract to just behind him once more; their skin never touched in the kind silence.

Dean waited for Castiel’s shoulders to relax once more before leaning his head forward to brush his lips gently over a lashed scar just at the base of his neck. He savored the small gasp of surprise before moving his lips to the small surgical scar at his shoulder blade and then placed his lips just behind his ear, remembering how Castiel had ridden the shocked pleasure from that spot the night before.

Castiel’s hands were braced on the shower wall as Dean slowly raised his own hands to rest loosely and gently at Cas’ waist. He leaned down to touch his lips over the highly raised scars where he had endured the lashes of his own belt over and over again at the hands of Alastair. He continued to press his lips upon each scar on Castiel’s skin only pausing briefly when he came to the scars inflicted by the people his family had entrusted him to. Dean knew from the reports that the burns were older and could have only been inflicted by the electric shock therapy induced by St. Angela’s. He skated his hands up the side of Cas’ waist and over his back to gently dance his fingers along the ivy branches. Once his hands had returned to Castiel’s waist Dean stepped close to Castiel feeling the warmth of his skin upon his bare chest. He felt the way Castiel’s skin vibrated with the attention and his breath was shallow beneath it. He could feel the small space of hesitation within the air as Castiel waited for Dean to reject him.

As if I could ever turn away from you Angel,’ he thought, brining his lips to kiss the shell of his ear.

“You are so beautiful,” he whispered, resting his head against Castiel’s and listening as Cas’ breath shuddered with the release of his hesitation.

Stepping back once again Dean leaned down to kiss down the red ivy branded into his skin and lowered his knees to the floor of the tub, the warm water still dancing over Dean’s skin. He paused when he reached where they entwined themselves at the dip in Cas’ lower back and leaned forward opening his mouth slightly to press an open kiss upon the mark. He slide his hand over Cas’ ass where it branched out over the globe before stopping behind his knee. Slowly he followed the path with his thumb, while his mouth kissed along his hip and down the side of his thigh.

He stopped his movement back up when he felt Castiel twist under his own adjacent skin and the feeling of his hand brushed through Dean’s wet hair.

“Dean,” he whispered.

He could hear the slight tremble in his voice and feel the shudder on his skin. Whatever his touch had done he was still unsure. Yet whatever Castiel would give him in this moment he would take and more than that whatever he wanted Dean would give until nothing remained, but to another time to give again.

“I’ve got you Angel, I’ve got you,” he hushed into the skin at Castiel’s hip before slowly turning him around to face him completely.

He scanned his eyes up to Castiel’s asking him in the silence if he could take what he wanted to give. Without a word passing between them Dean inhaled the steam surrounding their bodies, and returned his eyes to Castiel’s hip, while his thumbs dancing over the sharp edges. He looked at the hard cock before him, reddened with denied desire and glistening just at the tip.

Without further thought Dean leaned forward once more and placed his lips upon the head, the residue of Castiel’s pre-come sticking to his own lips. Dean allowed his tongue to sweep across his lips to taste the saltiness left behind. The gasp emanating from the Angel above him, encouraged him to do more for him, to show him what he had been missing and what embracing his truth and a future of trust and love could possibly give him. If not with just him, than at least Dean could make him remember that this sort of pleasure was nothing, but heavenly.

I am going to rock your world beautiful,’ he smirked at himself before opening his mouth to encompass the tip fully.

He skirted his tongue over the tip and flicked at the slit beneath it, yet it was the slight suckling motion he made with his mouth that caused Catiel to gasp his name into the steam and reach forward to Dean’s shoulders in order to hold himself up. Dean opened his mouth further and began to slowly take Castiel fully into his mouth, enjoying the way Castiel’s hand squeezed his shoulders in response. The weight upon his tongue pulsed with heat and he knew that Cas was not likely to last long. Closing his eyes he began to pull back on his length and sucked, hollowing his cheeks in the process. Once he returned to the tip he flatted his tongue over it and sucked hard before bobbing down once more. He set upon a rhythm of a slow downward path before sucking hard as he popped off before resuming the process again.

He could feel Castiel’s blunt nails digging into his shoulders and glanced up to lock eyes with Castiel. He groaned as he took in the debauched image of Castiel before him, fully embracing the pleasure and looking at him in awe. Groaning to himself Dean could feel his own cock leaking between his thighs, hard, hot and a little painful from the lack of attention. But this was all about Castiel. He placed one of his hands around the base of Castiel’s length and began to move at a faster pace, flattening his tongue over the sensitive skin before sweeping it over the length and around the edge of Cas’ head.

The pace caused Castiel to moan between them releasing a warning groan into the mist before Dean placed his hands just at Castiel’s hips, holding him in place before he felt the skin against his tongue pulse one final time before a spurt of hot liquid shot down the back of his throat. Dean’s gag reflex almost set into to place, but this was not his first time giving head and he knew that if he just breathed through his nose and swallowed he would be fine. His toes curled beneath him as he tasted the hot salty-bitterness of Cas’ come in his mouth. He sucked until Cas softened and began to whimper above him with over stimulation. Dean leaned back and released Castiel’s cock from his mouth with a quiet pop; the sound obscene and private in the silence.

Castiel huffed and whimpered with the afterglow as Dean held Cas’ hips up and lowered him to the shower floor with him. Castiel’s legs slid along the edge of the tub and encompassed Dean’s own kneeling form.

Reaching up to brush Castiel’s hair from his face, Dean hesitantly waited for Castiel to return to him. Hoping that he would be okay in the aftermath.

“Cas, buddy- you okay?” Dean asked.

Smiling the man laughed before brushing his hand over his face and looking up into the water now cooling as it fell over them. Castiel nodded before looking back at Dean.

Dean watched quietly as Castiel took in his face, his own cheeks flushed in the glow and lips red from biting them. He watched as his blue eyes fell from his face to take in Dean’s own body with no shame. Watched as Cas’ eyes fell over his chest, strong from work, and down to his stomach, softened with diner food. He watched and shifted slightly beneath the glances as Castiel took in his own hard cock leaking between his thighs. The attention caused Dean to shift self-consciously and clear his throat, forcing Castiel’s pretty blues to return to him.

“I can help,” Castiel shifted awkwardly in the small space between them and reached forward to touch him.

Dean caught his hand within his own and smiled, “All good Angel, and besides we don’t got the time.”

Dean shuffled uncomfortably backwards and reached for the edge of the tub to stand up before extending his hand down to help Cas up. They were now both shivering beneath the cold water, the hot water long run out, and leaned forward to turn the water off.

He followed Cas out of the shower and reached for the scratchy motel towels hanging just off to the side of the door.

“Come on Cas time’s awasting and we have to be at our rendezvous by nightfall to meet up with Ellen.” Dean ruffled his hair quickly with the towel and threw it off into the corner of the bathroom. He watched as Castiel scrubbed his own hair, casually blushing once again beneath the towel over his head.

Oh no we are not having that,’ Dean stepped forward and pulled Castiel in by his towel resting around his head and placed a kiss upon Castiel’s lips.

Castiel melted beneath him and groaned as his hands reached up to hold Dean’s own still gripping the towel. Dean knew that if he didn’t keep it semi-PG, as much as two naked dudes in a bathroom could, that they were never going to leave this room

Stepping back he smiled at Castiel, once again standing tall in front of him, “There. Now lets get a move on Sunshine, that burnt complementary coffee isn’t going to drink itself.”

Chapter Text

Castiel opened his eyes to the arrival of a bright red sign framed in the glow of a setting sun as Dean slowly turned the car into the parking lot of a small town gas station. The sign once clean in its originality was now marked with rust, old cobwebs and what looked like a splattering of a particularly large bug. He knew that was ridiculous, but he wasn’t certain how a splatter of mud could have reached so far up and if not that then it was likely a person who had tossed mud up there. His pondering on the sign forced a frown to edge its way into his brow.

His ponderings over the large small detail above him disappeared and was interrupted by the cutting of the engine, and the onslaught of the impala’s tangible silence. He wasn’t sure why Dean had ceased speaking to him once they’d reached the car, or rather if perhaps he had done something wrong in their engagement that morning. He had enjoyed it, a lot, and while Dean clearly liked it too the silence was deafening.

“You hungry?” Dean asked his face was scrunched up as he looked at Castiel’s profile.

Too nervous to turn towards him Castiel only nodded his response.

“Right, so I’ll go get some snacks. If you need to take a piss now’s the time cause I don’t want to stop before we reach the Massachusetts border.”

Castiel nodded silently again as he reached for the door handle and got out of the car. He silently walked towards the side of the gas station, consciously aware at every nerve that Dean was directly behind him. He glanced nervously behind him as he went along the edge of the small corner store, the walls patched with miss-matched paint, only to find Dean still following.

He slowed to let Dean pass him and reach the washroom first, but was surprised when his hand was encased in Dean’s instead and pulled just out of view from non-existing onlookers.

“Look Angel, I – I don't know what is floating in your head, but I’m here for you. Okay? So if I did something wrong. Or spooked you this morning- you got to tell me –please.” Dean’s eyes scanned his face, his green eyes glistening with self-deprecating worry.

Smiling slowly he raised his other hand and stroked Dean’s cheek, allowing his jaw to rest in the palm of his hand. He smiled down at the way Dean’s smooth cheeks felt beneath his hand and laughed silently to himself at the small patch of rough whiskers just in the dip of his cheekbone where he had missed in his hast to shave this morning.

“I should be the one asking if I did something wrong, not you,” Castiel flicked his eyes back up to look directly at him.

He felt the gush of air hit his wrist as Dean scoffed between them, “We’re a couple of dumbasses aren’t we?”

“I prefer Novices of Trust. Less dumb. Less ass,” he smugly responded.

“Eh a little ass isn’t so bad,” Dean grinned boyishly igniting small butterfly within Castiel’s stomach.

Bashfully Castiel looked away from Dean, “Maybe.”

Embracing the flutter of wings within, Castiel lifted his eyes back to Dean’s before focusing on the bowed lips before him, ‘it has been too long.’ Castiel pulled Dean towards him connecting their lips to each other.

Dean groaned into his mouth and backed him up against the wall, gripping his hips tightly. Dean’s lips left his own, desiring more skin in the small amount of time they could provide. Castiel’s head fell backwards and tapped against the wall behind them, he flitted eyes down the path to where the bathroom sign swung gently in the spring breeze, warming with the approach of early summer. He blinked back to the air above him as he gasped at the small nick of Dean’s teeth against his neck, before a soft open-mouthed kiss joined the same spot. His world began to spin in the same manner it had when he’d kissed him the night before, this morning in the soft morning glow with the first thrust of their hips meeting and certainly in the shower when Dean’s mouth had touched the head of his penis. It was the jolted beginning of what he had only recently come to recognize as arousal; More precisely, arousal only found in the arms of Dean Winchester. It was something electrifyingly positive instead of negatively scarring.

The whishing of ideas and confusing messages swirled in his mind in the direct beams of the sun, setting just off in the field reminding him of past teachings. They reminded him the arousal’s and hopes’ possible beautiful debauchery; one of sinful damnation instead of glowing ecstasy.

‘Is this wrong? Dean is beautiful and heavenly. His touch, warmth and patience is nothing short of a miracle, but where do I fit into this image? What about what Mother told me year after year? What of Father Bartholomew and his warnings? Or even Sister Rachel and Zachariah’s convictions? Would God not have protected him from the demon in the elevator if he had just followed the right path?’

His heart knew that this was a beautifully stolen moment, one that was nearing an end. It knew that there was nothing wrong with what was happening, but his mind still thought otherwise. His mind didn’t know what to do and the clashing of biblical teachings, past failed encouragements by his brother, the fear of what could and had happened aggressively collided in his mind with who he knew he was and what he desperately dreamed would be. His mind knew he wanted Dean, that he loved Dean. His touch. His kindness. His bravery. His righteousness. His eyes. His lips. His heart.

But man shall not lay with man.

In his confusion Castiel had frozen in place. No longer gasping and reacting, but staring without seeing into the world around them.

“Cas?” Dean lifted his head to look at Castiel, whispering his concern.

Blinking his eyes back into focus Castiel looked at Dean and felt the flutter of his heart creak with uncertainty.

“Are you okay?” Dean asked.

Castiel looked down at his feet, too ashamed to let Dean see his confusion and began to worry that he might see the wrong moment of conflicting ideas.

“I just need to pee,” he lamely stated.

“Right- right.”

Castiel watched as Dean stepped back, his hands dragging along his hips trying to maintain contact as long as possible. The feeling of shame knotted in his throat as Dean scratched the back of his neck a tell-tail sign of his nerves following the stolen moment.

Closing his eyes Castiel diverted his attention down to Dean’s hips noticing when his hand dropped limply beside him and turned to walk away. All he could feel and think was that he had done something wrong, again. He listened as Dean’s feet brushed along the gravel disappearing back around the corner of the front of the store.

Biting his lip Castiel scuffed his shoes against the dust at his feet, watching as it painted his black sneakers. His chest tightened as he walked to the bathroom, the corners of his eyes tingling with oncoming frustrated tears and his heart cracking with the lost moment that was only one of a few that remained.

His eyes followed the path to the bathroom, stopping just outside the door. With a jolt Castiel froze in place as his eyes connected with his desire sign poking just above the trees.

His soul hummed with the desired lost comfort and shook slightly with damaged nerves. In the distance stood a small white pointed roof and at the edge of it stood the honored beacon of a simple wooden cross. A church.

Seeing the image as a sign from God, one he had asked for continuously for months, Castiel walked quickly back to find Dean just stepping out of the door.

“Dean, I would like a few minutes to worship,” he stated plainly.

Shock flicked over Dean’s face at the unprepared direction of the day.

“Uh yeah,” Dean paused to look at his watch and scrunched his eyebrows as he twirled around looking for the supposed place of worship. “Where are you thinkin’ Cas?”

Castiel smiled quietly reaching for Dean’s hand, dragging him behind him as he walked just to the edge of the store. Pointing into the distance at the church in the distance Dean nodded and returned to the store.

Castiel stood stupidly in place watching as Dean disappeared without another word. His heart began to quiver with an impending no, but held tight reminding himself that he had done just the opposite.

Exiting the door, the bell chiming in unison with the door, Dean walked purposely back to the impala.

“Alright the guy inside said we got to get back on the highway here, turn around and head on to a tiny side road just past the bear sign. Once there he said we’ll see the church just down the road.” Dean waved him forward as he reached for the door and slid inside.

Jolting to life Castiel jogged to the car and felt his feet jump in place as he followed Dean’s lead into the car. With the squeal of tires Castiel’s body lurched back into the seat watching the trees rush past him.

A slight thought passed his mind as they roared past the tall coniferous trees broken up by stretches of farm fields. He has been past here before. Frowning over at Dean he waited for the opportune moment to ask.

“Ah see, there’s the bear!” Dean smiled over at him.

Feeling the encouragement at his fingertips he asked, “Dean, have we been here before?”

“Huh?” Dean glanced briefly at him before turning off onto a small gravel road, cursing a little under his breath as the stones jumped up from the tires and clicked against the painted body of the car. “Oh yeah. We drove through here when we were heading home. We stopped just back a ways when you, - you needed a moment.”

“When I threw up?”

“That. Yes.”

Castiel noticed how Dean’s eyes flitted over to him before returning to the road, ‘He’s nervous I’m going to relapse.’

Castiel searched for the right words to appease Dean’s hesitation, his mind swirling with mixed messages; Ones of concern, hope and hostility. But before the right words could be found the church was in view.

Around the bend of the road sat a small white-sided church. Its steeple rose into the sky reaching for Him, reaching for salvation and signaling to the perish and wary travelers that this was a place of worship and sanctuary. Dean parked the car just on the outskirts of the church road in front of a rusted rickety iron fence. Castiel’s hand floated to the car door and slowly rose from the seat as his soul was pulled to the small wooden doors topped with a tiny triangular window.

Castiel walked slowly, hearing the crinkle of stones beneath his shoes and the soft twitter of birds in the trees around them. His eyes never left the doors and his soul transcended into the soft glow of light within. He didn’t hear Dean close the impala doors, his own left open behind him. He didn’t hear Dean call his name either, for all he saw was the hope of lost acceptance within the reflection of a tiny peekaboo window just to the side of the entrance. Castiel’s hand froze upon the door-handle; the fear returning to his fingertips, turning his lightly warmed skin to a hesitant cold. Praying for strength he looked up at the tall steeple towards the cross standing high in the sky. At the top he saw gentle movements of birds fluttering against the steeple window before he was startled by the creek and push of the door beneath his hand.

The push of the door caused Castiel to step back and down a step to watch a dark bearded man step out into the dimming light of the day, “Hello? May I help you?” came the soft timber of his voice.

Castiel looked at the smaller man before him, his demeanor kind, gentle, inquisitive, and self-assured. It did not escape Castiel that the plainly dressed man in a kaki jacket, dirt scuffed light washed jean and muddy shoes held a bible within his hand. This was the priest.

“Son, are you in need of assistance?” came his voice once again, calming his nerves.

Clearing his throat Castiel stepped back onto the main landing, “Yes Father I would like to seek confession, if it is so permissible.”

Frowning at him, Castiel watched as the man took in his attire: the frayed shirt, scuffed jeans and dirty sneakers. His eyes darted over Castiel’s shoulder to Dean resting against the impala smiling as Dean gave a slight wave.

“You are welcome and your friend too,” he nodded towards Dean.

“Nah I’m all good sir, just the Angel there today,” Dean piped up from the where the car was parked.

Humming to himself the man moved aside to let Castiel enter.

The shuffle of feet echoed throughout the empty narrow plain hall with rows of old wooden pews before him. Front and center of the room stood a simple wooden cross and a wood carved podium. All around the place glowed with soft warmth from aging lights stationed on the walls. The paint was chipped in places and the wood was cracked, but as he walked he could see the wear on the pew seats and backing where generations had sat to worship before him and where hands had rested against the backs in prayer. The oil of their hands was set into the grain of the wood and the scuffs of their shoes stained the floors in a well-worn path. The small simply framed windows let the last of the day’s light fade in the room before the coming of night.

“You are not of this Church I believe,” came the priest’s words from one of the windows where a small potted plant rested.

“No Father I am not,” he replied cautiously.

Nodding as he continued to examine the plant before him, green and healthy, “And what is your name?”

“Castiel, Father.”

“All children of God are welcomed here, even the Angel of Thursday,” the man looked over his shoulder briefly to deliver a playful smile before returning to the plant. “But maybe call me Pastor Joshua or Joshua. I never cared for the title too much,” he clicked as he gently patted the plant before sitting down at the pew closest.

Castiel walked slowly to sit a few spot away from him, before the older man laughed at him, “Come now I don’t bite. All you wished for was to seek guidance and regardless of the dominion, Mainline Protestant,” he gestured to the church around them, “ or Catholic,” he motioned to him, and smiled, “Atheist, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, or Pagan. This church welcomes all. There is no closed door to those that seek love from the Lord or others.”

The gentle smile washed over Castiel, his nerves still present, but silenced into a subtle hum instead of a harsh yell against his heart.

“Fath- Pastor Joshua,” Castiel paused, and watched his hands as they worried together listening to the grinding of his teeth and the way he swallow down the black liquid of his fears clogging at his throat. “Pastor – I have sinned. I have sinned a many times and I am unsure whether it truly was a sin or if maybe – if maybe I have been taught something faulty.”

He refused to look at the Pastor beside him, listening to the even breathing of the man and the creak of the old building.

“What do you speak of Castiel?”

Castiel closed his eyes tightly before lifting his head upwards and opening them to rest upon the cross once again. Simple in its promises, comfort and beauty. Feeling the strength of the faith he had lost in the darkness, and through the torment of whispers, he opened his mouth to release the words.

“I have fallen in love, - with a man. A beautiful man. A righteous man.” Castile smiled at the second time he’d voiced the truth and found a powerful elation in admitting it in the house of worship. To God and His son.

But his mind had a funny way of brining him down to earth, of reminding him of his fears and twisting his thoughts into jagged words. The silence filled the space between him and the Lord. Closing his eyes once more and shrinking into himself he prepared his heart for the Pastor to tell him words of truthful rejection.

“I do not understand, child?”

“I have sinned Pastor, I have dreamed of his skin and his smile for months now. I have touched his lips upon mine. I’ve shared skin with him. I’ve felt him worship me in a way that could only be sinful. I- I want him more than I truly understand, but I know it is wrong. I’ve been told time and time again that it is wrong. But Pastor how can something that has dragged me from the dark abyss full of pain and hatred only to deliver me to love, acceptance and kindness be anything but sanctioned by God? Would the Lord let me suffer what I have, only to give me a taste of how beautifully right the sin is? Am I damned if I choose my own personal Eden instead of returning to the faith that burned and threw me away? I don’t know what to do, and I fear I will never find this again unless God and our Lord have an answer. But I know there is no answer other than rejection. I – I don-”

“When did you last read the word Castiel?” Pastor Joshua’s voice cut through the panic rising in the air.

Stumbling Castiel searched for the answer wrapped up in the heavy feelings within, “A number of months ago,” he frowned over at the man sitting next to him.

Smiling Joshua lifted the bible from its resting spot between them and licked the edge of his thumb before flipping through the well-worn pages of the book. Clearing his throat he shuffled a fraction closer to Castiel and passed the book over to him, leaning over to tap a spot on the page.

“Jeremiah 1:5,” he stated.

Castiel’s eyes roamed from the soft lines of the pastor’s face to the soft leather in his hand; the edges of the pages folded and creased while the leather lifted slightly on the sides. He read the passage and swallowed, he had never seen or read this passage before.

“I believe the words of God are best spoken out loud, don’t you?” came the soft rumble beside him.

Swallowing once more Castiel took a deep breath and cleared his throat, the twinkle of tears itching at the corner of his eyes and raising the pain slowly from his heart.

“ ‘Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart’.”

“Good now,” Pastor Joshua leaned over once more and flipped the pages, “this one.”

“ ‘The Lord your God is merciful; God will not abandon or destroy you’ Deuteronomy 4:31.” Castiel’s throat became congested with pushed down darkness, and rose from his heart with hope. ‘How have I never read these ones in such light before?’

Turning the page once more Castiel watched as the Pastor turned the page once more and tapped at a passage by Matthew, where he had written in another connected passage by John.

He stared at the first three words stunning him in a moment where he forgot to hold his breath from the rising change within. Gasping for air he released a broken sob and felt the wet tracks of tears release upon his cheeks and the slow stitching of his broken heart mending.

With the slight tap of Joshua’s finger on the passage encouraging him to read out loud Castiel smiled hesitantly down at the page, at the smudged ink beneath his thumb.

“ John 3:16 and Matthew 8:3,7 ‘God loves us- and sent Jesus. Jesus came to earth to heal us, not condemn us.’”

“The first line again Castiel,” the pastor gently encouraged.

“’God loves us.’” Castiel closed his eyes and clutched the bible to his chest as the pain broke through his soul.

A comforting hand rubbed gently between his shoulder blades smoothing the hurt upon his soul and skin.

“But they said, Father Bartholemew told – Mother told me that God destroyed the Sodomites for their soiled souls. She said there is a place in hell for those that speak against the intended descendants of Adam and Eve. God will burn our souls and damn us to the level of hell meant for such thoughts. How? Why?” he turned his head to search the pastor’s face.

“Dante has nothing to do with the words of our Lord so do not worry of the levels of Hell Castiel. Remember what Ezekiel taught?” he asked.

Frowning he searched is mind for answers, “ ‘The one who sins is the one who will die’?”

Shaking his head and laughing softly to himself the pastor corrected him, “No Castiel, that is only part of 18:20 you must read it all not the parts that only fit one intended purpose. For the last part of the passage reads ‘The righteousness of the righteous will be credited to them, and the wickedness of the wicked will be charged against them.’ But no Castiel it is not the one I meant but rather Ezekiel 16:49 ‘Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy’.”

The lines within Castiel’s brow deepened in misunderstanding, ‘What am I missing? What of my own parish? Were they wrong on everything?’

Pastor Joshua came closer to him and placed his hand on his shoulder holding him up and in place, “Ezekiel and the teachings of Sodom and Gomorrah do not teach of what many unfortunately have associated it with, but rather warn that it is corruption, rudeness and inhospitable nature of the two that angered God. That beyond anything from our Lord it is the message of compassion that is the most important and that we must strive for tolerance and love in everything we do.”

“But Father Barth-”

“ ‘Some churches are misguided and don’t teach God’s true message of love’ Castiel, but we must forgive for that is within our duty and for those we cannot coexist with I say don’t allow them to warp that love of God and our Lord for you.”

His eyes widened as he took in the words spoken in the grains of the wooden pews and looked down once more at the words beneath him, ‘God loves me.’

“But what of my future sins?” he whispered, stroking his thumb over the pressed ink of the page.

“John 4:7,” the man smiled in return.

From behind him came the creak of the old wooden doors, forcing both parties to turn their heads in response. From behind the door came Dean’s face, hesitantly smiling towards them and nervously glancing at the cross in the center.

“Hey sorry Father, Pastor, Dude? No, sorry – Cas we really have to header man,” Dean glanced down at his watch and back to the darkness behind him.

Sighing Castiel rose from his spot in the worn pew and turned to walk down the aisle. He paused at the edge of the bench and smiled at the man quietly smiling back at him, “Thank you Pastor, I will – you have helped. Thank you.”

“Look for the open hand Castiel not the closed fist,” he responded.

Nodding Castiel glanced at the cross once more and walked to the doors, pausing before opening the door and turning back. At the entrance he looked back at the simplicity of his faith on display in the old church. Quietly he lifted his hand to his forehead, then to his chest, his left shoulder, then the right, and finally his lips.

‘Thank you Lord for your blessings.’

Walking into the cooling night air he jogged lightly back to the car and joined Dean within. As Dean pulled away Castiel watched the movement of his face, his hands and body.

Catching him staring Dean looked over to him to lock his moss-green eyes with his and beamed his private smile back, “What?”

Shaking his head Castiel leaned over the bench of the front seat and placed a soft kiss upon his lips, his hand softly stroking Dean’s cheek before holding his face and turning it back to the road before them.

As he watched the blush form on Dean’s cheeks and placed his hand within Dean’s own resting on the bench he remembered the words immortalized by John.

‘Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.”

Chapter Text

Dean pulled up to crackling lights flickering outside the dark rooms of the motel. His window was turned down a little to allow the cool air to stroke across his face and through his hair, keeping his tired eyes alert. Silencing the rumbling of the impala Dean turned the window up and reached to take the keys out of the ignition. The bone-deep exhaustion of the night drive ate at his skin and clawed at the back of his burning eyes. Releasing a rush of air Dean looked down to the fluff of dark hair resting beside his leg.

Slowly he ran his finger down Cas’ cheek feeling the dark subtle catch on his own skin. He watched the even fall of Castiel’s breathing, the slight blush from sleep and delighting his eyes to the soft parting of his plush lips chapped from the air. Dean slowly lifted his hand from his jaw back to Cas’ hair brushing it aside as he leaned down to place a soft kiss on his temple.

“Cas, we’re here,” he whispered into his skin.

Dean watched Castiel shift softly beneath him, his blue eyes glowing in the soft light flickering into the dark front seat. Not wanting to let go of him just yet, he left his hand on Cas’ shoulder to let it brush over his back gently as Cas rose to sit up. Smiling lightly at the disgruntled post-sleep squint Cas had on his face, he stroked his thumb over the back of Cas’ neck and gave the man a little push.

“Come on let’s go check in with Ellen and get our key before catching some shut eye.”

Slowly Dean stepped out of the car and turned his head to take in the parking lot of the state border motel before reaching in the back seat to grab their shared duffle bag. He allowed himself a moment to watch Cas observe the small parking lot of the cheap motel over the roof of Baby. His hair laid flat on the side of his head and ruffled on the other where he’d run his fingers through Cas’ hair throughout the last two hours of the drive. He loved the way the weak lighting danced along his cheekbones, and the way his eyes squinted from remnants of sleep. Dean caught himself smiling back and Castiel when he turned to look back him over the roof. Without notice he released the air he’d sucked in from the glance with an indulgent sigh. ‘Fuck he’s perfect.’

The warmth within his chest was interrupted with the sound of a someone clearing their throat. Closing his eyes Dean resigned himself to judgmental glare eating at the back of his head.

Plastering his best knee-melting smile, he faced the music of the small ball of condescension dressed in soft red plaid, boot cut jeans and hiking boots.

“Ellen, how are you? Were you waiting up for us?” he walked to embrace the woman finding himself halted in place with a hand pushed against his chest, “Oh come on I phoned you to tell you we’d be a little late,” he whined.

“Don’t you use that flashy smile and puppy eyes on me Winchester, it didn’t work on me back when you were a young buck it ain’t working now.”

“But Ell-“

“It’s Senator Harvellle to you for the remainder of this mission. And when I set a time you are supposed to be there, your Daddy taught you better,” she bopped a finger over his nose to soften her words.

“Sorry,” Dean blushed as he gazed down at his boots scuffing along the broken pavement. He looked up from under his lashes at Ellen, before smiling in response to the soft smile spreading along her face.

“You Winchester boys, I never did really know how not to forgive you. Come here you buffoon and give me a hug,” Ellen spread her arms wide to embrace him tightening her arms around his back, holding him close.

“Hi Ellen,” he whispered into her hair, kissing the top of her head as he inhaled the notes her floral shampoo, letting it wash over his tired muscles.

“Hello Dean,” slapping his back Ellen leaned back to hold him by the arm while she looked him over. “There’s hot coffee, cold beer and burgers in the main room. You both can eat while I catch you up with the plan before I let you head off to get some sleep.”

Grinning he stepped back to hold her against his side, and introduced Cas standing awkwardly by the front of the impala, “Ellen this is Castiel, Cas come meet the coolest woman you’ll ever have the luxury of meeting.”

Ellen scoffed beside him and pushed him aside as she stepped forward to shake Castiel’s hand.

“Hi honey, welcome to the family. We’ve got lots to talk about.”

“Hello,” Castiel softly responded as he allowed Ellen to lead him into the motel room directly behind them, now lit with a small side lamp.

Dean scuffled his way into the room sighing deeply when he found Sam in the corner tapping away on his computer. The silence previously filed with the warmth from sleep suddenly chilled with their arrival. Sam rose to clasp him around the shoulders, noticing the tension between his blades and slapping his hand over its path as if to banish the worry from Dean’s mind. The smell of comfort and familiarity found in Sam’s arms calmed his anxiety to a small simmer, but his weary mind would not allow him to find tranquility until this was finished.

On the bed he found Charlie with her bright red hair poking out from beneath a blanket with an obnoxious image of Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy getting graphically busy on the fleece material. As he placed the duffle lightly on the floor near the entrance he could hear the intermittent rumble of loud techno escaping the cups of her headphones. In the broken down chair repaired with duck tap by the far window sat Benny and Bobby, each taking their turns at a card game in front of them; likely gin by the amount of coupons collected by Bobby.

Quietly he walked over to alert them of his arrival with Cas, lightly slapping Bobby’s back and sending a nod towards Benny. Both looked up at him with their own wariness creeping through the corners of their eyes, behind the gentle welcoming smiles on their lips. The click of the bathroom door dragged his eyes back to the bathroom to find Ellen’s daughter, and his unwanted little sister by choice, Jo step out from the room. His feet led him to her arms already stretched out to hold him tight to her body, welcoming him and sending any interval of her perpetual confidence his way as well. They’d have time to talk later because right now he needed to hear the low down from Ellen about tomorrow.

In the adjoining room, identical to the first room; two double beds with faded blush comforters, a brown stained carpet worn out with age and use, and the smell of damp stale water mixed with a cheap lemon detergent. On the wall over the beds was an oil canvas painting of a non-descript field with trees. All the colours matched, while simultaneously blending into a muddled hue of nothing. The walls were poorly painted with a few mystery stains he did not want to think much about.

On the table, accompanied with two mismatched but functional chairs, was a scattering of pages. Most noticeable part was the large map printed and taped to the wall directly beside it. Ellen and Castiel stood in front of the map, Castiel’s shoulders were tight as his fingers moved the scattering of pages, and glanced at the aerial view of the buildings before him. He watched as Ellen’s own, hand tried to smooth out the tension, and spoke gently to Castiel.

“Anything you can tell us about the compound Castiel will be extremely helpful. I’m also going to want to have you sit down, either now or after, to record your own story. For the records only. I want to offer you a choice here, but you have to know that any information you give us will only stay with me and the FBI, as your name will only be known by approximately five people. From there you can choose to live a quiet life. The government will help in any other way it can, let it be rent or school – if you choose to re-enter St. Emmanuel College.”

Dean joined Castiel’s other side, allowing Castiel to absently reach out for his hand grasping it tight between his fingers. Dean squeezed back in response pulling his hand close to his thigh and moving his body closer to Castiel’s trying to seep any hurt or worry from his skin.

Castiel continued to move pages aside, stopping minutely at a patient’s page. Dean glanced down to read the name flowing on the top and held his breath as Cas ran his fingers over the indented print of the ink. Samandriel Johnston.

The shuddering breath that escaped Cas lips and the click of his throat reverberated into Dean’s own body. His throat closed tight in anticipation and gut twisted with the knowledge that the name matched one of the spirits they’d met in the Halfway House. The name of the young man who directed Dean to Cas. The man who saved Cas.

“This is where they kept us.”

He followed the direction of Castiel’s eyes and looked at where he was pointing on the map. Tucked in the middle to the back of the compound stood two small squares that looked like garden sheds. Neither of the buildingd touched, but they were secluded enough from the main building and just off from view of the main entrance that unless one knew where to look, it wouldn’t raise any suspicions.

“Who were in these buildings?” Ellen asked.

“People, like me,” he stated bluntly before indicating one and then the other, “that one held the girls and young women and that one the boys and young men.”

“What is in the buildings? Would you be able to draw a floor plan?” Ellen reached for a notepad and a pen, placing it in front of Castiel.

Dean watched as Casiel nodded subtly and picked up the pen with shaky hands, he cleared his throat and frowned before putting pen to paper. He watched as Castiel moved the pen into a small rectangle, and then marked three rows on each side of smaller squares. In the far corner by a marked door he indicated a tiny bathroom and ticked off with small points where the room had windows.

“It was a bunk shed. I never saw the women’s, but I assume it was similar. The doors were in the same place,” Castiel returned to the map to indicate where on the women’s the door could be found.

“Thank you Castiel this will be very helpful for the evacuation plan,” Ellen stuck the note between the two buildings.

“Do you need anything more?” Castiel shyly asked as his head sunk low in his shoulders.

Dean’s eyebrows scrunched together in worry glancing at Ellen to tell her to shed lightly with her next few questions. Subconsciously he found himself running his thumb back and forth over Castiel’s hand trying to calm the tension and memories from his mind, but likely only soothing his own worries in the process.

“We need to know what each room does. If there are any rooms that are likely to have people in them and if you know of any additional security.”

“Ellen, it’s getting late we can do this -” Dean interjected only to be cut off by Castiel as the man turned his back to Dean and released his hand.

“But Ca-“ Dean stepped forward only stopping short of touching him as Castiel answered precisely and effectively.

“To the left of the entrance are the classrooms, with only a few one-on-one rooms near the hall connected to the chapel. This is where they hold religious studies. That room has the Visual Imagery classes, it – it likely has live wires connected to the room and cameras. That room is for group therapy. The one-on-one rooms each have internal and external locks on the doors and are equipped with cameras. The first room only has a bed, while the others have special – special equipment. The room closest to the front desk is the infirmary. The walls are lined with medication that is given to each person with their meals. They make us feel ill. There is a deadbolt on the door. The chapel is nothing out of the ordinary. The doors across from the main entrance lead to the back. That plot is a communal garden. The bunks are there. And over in the far corner is the security office that also holds the office for the physical trainer. The entire property is surrounded by a well with barbed wire on the top except for one area where a gate opens up to a large field. We never could see over the fence enough to see what was beyond the neighbouring property line.”

Dean stood shocked into place at the precision in which Castiel managed to describe the building and especially concerned himself with the lack of emotions feeding into the air surrounding them. He could hear the scratch of a pen running across a notepad and the ripping suction of sticky-notes before she placed them on the appropriate rooms.

“Is that gate ever used?” Ellen asked pointing to aforementioned gate.

“Only if the student isn’t to return.”

The dread set low in Dean’s stomach at what was about to be asked and the answers he already knew. He knew exactly what the building was that was beyond the property line.

“Do these students get released or are they escorted to their families?” Ellen asked her eyes still on the page before her, ignorant to the hardlines around Castiel’s prematurely aged young face.

“No. They are taken somewhere else. We don't see these students afterwards.”

Clearing his throat Dean leaned over and pulled out his own phone. On his phone he opened up a Google map image of St. Angela’s Centre and dragged the aerial image over the large expansion of empty field and forest before hitting a large building. The hunch that had stilled his brain was affirmed as his eyes noticed the image of the grounds underneath his index finger. Tapping the building to allow an address to apprear, a shiver zipped up his spine settled into the fear nestled at the base of his neck.

“The gate leads to the abandoned St. Angela’s Halfway House,” Dean placed his phone gently on the table before them pointing to the building and allowing Google to load an old black and white photo of the institution. In the far corner of the image stood a lanky man.

“They take the kids there.”

The silence that filled the room weighted heavily on Dean’s heart, and the presence of a cold shiver ran between Castiel and his own skin. Castiel stared down at the picture, a haunted look in his eyes as he saw the image of Alastair whole and healthy before him.

“Is it possible that any of the patrons might be there tomorrow?” Ellen asked.

“Yes,” Castiel whispered.

Dean continued to watch Castiel, watching the flicker of remembrance skirt over his eyes before he remembered to blink, to breath and that he was alive. He watched as Castiel inhaled deeply and squared his shoulders with the strength as he turned Dean’s phone off and pushed it back to Dean, before turning to Ellen fully.

“What do you want us to do?”

Biting his lip Dean waited for Ellen’s words to give him some sense of direction, but his eyes never left Castiel. From behind him he could see the subtle red marks peaking from beneath the neckline of his t-shirt. He could see the light tremor in his hands as they clenched against his jeans. He was putting on a brave face. A very brave face.

In that moment, the bravery that stood between him and Ellen awoke something within Dean. He cared deeply for Castiel, and he would cherish him if he was allowed to afterwards, but tonight, tonight they would need each other. Dean would allow Castiel to shed his remaining hesitations and fears into his own skin. He would transfer his own sense of confidence and assurance in return for Castiel’s last remaining essence of shame and doubt.

“At noon today, we will begin to get ready. In the morning a few of my folks are going to replace the image on the trailer and the truck with decals displaying a fake Alt-Right media company along with the Discovery Channel. We’ve already made a website and a few videos to add to the claim. Don’t be fooled it’s run by the FBI as a tracking center. Before leaving, all those who will be entering through the front entrance will be donning a t-shirt and hat that display the Discovery logo.”

“Wait, isn’t Discovery going to be pissed about being associated with that?” Dean claimed.

“No, because there are people in the company that have been vetted and approved, and are working closely with us to take down not only this organization, but also any rats within their own headquarters. Discovery, Disney Media Networks and TimeWarner all have individuals at different locations on the corporate ladder who have been working with the FBI in favor of protecting America’s Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Now are you going to let me finish?” Ellen looked over Castiel’s shoulder at him, her eyebrow cocked.

Shaking his head and looking at his feet he gestured for her to continue.

Ellen returned to the map and began to indicate with tacks where each group was to be located.

“Now, you, Castiel, will be going with Benny and the designated FBI taskforce posing as members of the film crew. Jo will be talking directly with the main donor from Roman Enterprise, Richard and the Head of the Centre, Zachariah. In order to hide your identity Castiel you’ll be wearing a hat, holding a large camera over your shoulder and donning some further facial hair. Thankfully Dean’s been feeding you so physically they likely won’t recognize you anyways. Benny is unknown and so will be wearing what he would normally throughout the ‘interview’. As they show the grounds to the first task group Jo will indicate that they want images uninterrupted of the grounds. It’s at this point that Jo along with a few other members will ask to conduct personal interviews inside. Castiel, Benny and another member, Special Agent Cesar Cuevas will calmly walk to the two buildings you noted to get to the kids. Once there you’ll open the camera Castiel, to find a makeshift bolt cutter. You will identify in each building if anyone is missing. You will be instrumental in gaining rapid trust with the individuals. Once the first building has been opened,” Ellen turned to include Dean in the conversation pointing at him.

“You, Sam, and three FBI members from Special Agent Jesse Cuevas’ team, including Jesse himself, will climb the fence and cut the bolt on the gate. That field will be your exit. Special Agent Jesse will be in charge of getting everyone out of that gate. Sam will meet them just on the other side of the wall to move across the field, another Agent will also be there to help with collection and evacuation. You will be in the compound just hidden here by the wall. Your job, Dean, is to watch for security and to signal to Agent Cuevas at the house to the one at the gate. Do you understand?” Ellen paused.

“Yes Ellen,” he responded with accuracy, feeling his father’s old military training setting into his shoulders.

“Once Castiel has given the clear to the team at the house, the Special Agents will radio to each other that it is clear. Castiel will be the second last to leave the compound, because he is the only one that knows the place. And Dean before you interject, Castiel has already given his blessing and Agent Cesar is one of our best, he will not allow Castiel to remain behind. Once Castiel reaches you, both of you will run across the field at an angle to reach the back road that runs just off to the side. The kids will already have been loaded into a bus and taken from the property to a safe location where medical staff will be prepared and waiting. Both of you, with the Agents, will be getting into your car, Dean, and following Agent Jesse’s instructions to the rendezvous point.”

Ellen placed her hip against the rickety table to watch their faces, carefully watching Dean’s face in preparation for him to reject the plan. But the only thing he wanted absent from the plan was Cas, yet he wasn’t about to tell him what to do.

His eyes danced over the map, noting his own lime green marker at the corner of the building and Castiel’s blue by the far bunkroom. Running his hand over his mouth he worried himself over the distance. Even on paper it looked far. From his vantage point he would be able to see Cesar at all times, but Cas – he would be loosing sight of him until he saw him running towards him at the end of the mission. Tonight would likely be the last time they had together before it went down and their world changed. He didn’t like it; At all. But he saw no other way. He was a pawn and if he was being granted the gift to be in the compound, he would use that as his own justification.

“What if it goes south while they’re in there?” Dean asked his face hardening to the possibility.

Sighing Ellen nodded, “If it goes south at any point, we are prepared to turn this into an armed evacuation and it will be all hands on deck. The neighbouring police force is part of the mission, and along with the FBI in the state, will act. The main objective will be saving the kids. Jo and the others will abandon the mission, arrest those they are in contact with and Jesse will radio to the rendezvous point to send in the cavalry.”

“And Cas, what of Cas in all of this?” he asked holding his hand up to silence Castiel’s objections.

“Castiel will be covered by the Agents and will be included amongst the evacuees. His role will be abandoned for the sake of safety.”

“And me? What do you want me to do if it goes south?” he squared his shoulders.

“You will get your ass out of the compounds and run with Sam to the rendezvous point immediately.”

“I will not be leaving without Cas, neither would Sam,” his voice rose as he sidestepped Castiel, trying to reach for his arm.

Ellen rose in her height to look Dean directly in the eye. Her small frame disappearing to be replaced with a controlled fire of authority that had granted her political position. It dwarfed him.

“Dean Winchester you will follow this order because it is for your own safety. Yours and Sam’s,” she stood toe to toe with him.

Feeling his guttural response to a show of dominance, similar to that of this own father, caused his blood to simmer, “No, Ellen, I will not be allowing some cityslick-”

“Dean,” Castiel spoke trying to interrupt.

His vision and mind began to blur to his only objective, he was responsible for Castiel and there was no way he would leave him behind, “If shit goes south, you bet your fucking ass that I will be run-”

Shocked Ellen met his rising rage, “Dean Winchester you watch your mo-” 

“Dean.”

“I’m going to get him the fuck out of th-”

Absolutely N-”

“This is not your fight!” Castiel yelled beside them.

The statement slapped him in the face, as he turned to see fire within Castiel’s eyes. The blue glowed with determination, with righteousness, with confidence.

“Thank you Ellen, Dean and I will be ready to leave at noon. Right now I think we need to get some sleep.” Castiel reached for his hand and tugged him out of the room walking to stand beside Sam’s sitting form.

“Sam do you know where Dean and I can get some sleep?” he asked.

Sam glanced back at Dean taking in his stunned face and the change in Castiel’s own. His hands froze on the keyboard before he cleared his throat.

“Uh yeah, here take this, the room is next-door to the left,” he smiled weakly at them, his brows scrunching together.

“Thank you Sam,” Castiel squeezed his hand and pulled him through the door.

Outside the sun began to rise, delivering a gentle glow to the parking lot. The broken lights of the night were now off, taking with them the uneasy feeling and delivering a tender calm to the shabby motel. Dean followed Castiel to their door.

He followed Castiel into the room to find the same colour scheme of nothing, gently lit by the new morning light. He watched Castiel’s shoulders heave and his body shake. He watched Castiel remove his shoes and stare at the bed before them.

Thinking back to their night in the car, the way his heart warmed with each passing road stop and sign for the next exit. The way the strands of his hair had run through his fingers and transferred Cas’ soul to his own veins. Dean closed the door gently behind him and moved silently to stand behind Cas, raising his hands to gently touch his shoulders, feeling them finally sag in relief washing any hidden worries away within Dean’s own skin.

“Cas?” he whispered.

Castiel shuddered again beneath his hands, turning to face him with his eyes casted down.

“Angel?” he tipped Cas’ face upwards, searching to find his eyes with his own. “Talk to me.”

Castiel’s chin shook as he finally looked at him; his eyes rimmed with unshed tears. The worry that all of this was too soon, and too much turned his gentle worries to angered protection. Yet they were doused immediately as Castiel’s own hands cupped his face between them.

He tried to decipher Castiel’s eyes, searching for the answer to his worries and becoming confused as Castiel’s face mixed with warmth and sadness.

“Thank you Dean, for everything,” his thumb skirted over his cheekbones, “you have no idea in how many ways you’ve saved me.”

Dean gasped as Castiel leaned forward to place his lips upon his own. His eyes closed as his body sunk into Castiel’s, scrunching his eyes as they moved towards the bed trying to vanquish his own worries and fears between their lips. Castiel’s knees touched the edge of the bed, halting them in their movement backwards and signaling Dean to release Castiel’s lips for a moment.

He watched the warmth transfer from Cas’ soul to his own. The answer to every fear, worry, unspoken loneliness was found within the gentle glance. The warmth clawed at his throat, at his skin, tightening his lungs and ignited his heart and soul. Dean knew that what he had been feeling for the past number of weeks had found its clarity. It was much more than a familial infatuation or platonic allegiance. This raw warmth could only be described as an appreciative tender worshiping of passionate devotion.

Dean’s world narrowed down to the space that they had captured for themselves as he watched Castiel gently smile at him before speaking.

“I love you.”

Chapter Text

The words escaped from Castiel’s lips as his mind tumbled over itself with the realization that by this time tomorrow night he would likely no longer be with him. The words fell from his mouth reaching with all hopes granted to him that they would be heard. He did not seek an answer, but only the dignity of allowing the words to have life.

His lip quivered in the aftermath for he knew that those three words would never find themselves back in the same place. They had been spent; spent with no expectations only a desire for their existence in reality. His lungs had released them to the air from the trapped place he had kept them under lock-and-key close to his heart.

For a heartbeat he wondered whether he had done something wrong. Whether he had judged Dean’s touches and glances inaccurately. Whether perhaps, the kisses they had shared had been nothing more than pity. Had he found faith in himself and God once more only to find that that was all that awaited him? Faith. And nothing more. Would he not be granted a chance to fill their remaining hours with the love he wished to share. Had the words spoken in their escape soured the remaining hours?

Castiel squared his shoulders, and prepared his heart for a rejection. Not one that would shatter his heart, but rather place him in a subdued state of resignation. He did not regret the words and he knew he never would.

He blinked down at the floor before lifting his head once more to confirm with Dean that by allowing him the chance to say it, it was a gift he never thought possible.

“Dea- ”

Without warning Dean’s lips crashed into his own as his unprepared limbs toppled them backwards onto the bed. The spring bounced back at them, whining in protest at the sudden weight. The movement caused their lips to collide with each other and their teeth to hit the sensitive skin.

Groaning from the impact, Castiel’s breath was vanquished from his lungs, the sudden fire touch making his brain forget even the most basic of tasks. He watched as Dean raised his head and touched his own lip looking down to see if it left a mark on his fingertips. Castiel couldn’t move his limbs, keeping them in place where they were resting on Dean’s shoulders. He licked his own lip to see if any blood was left behind, wincing at the slight sting that sung back at him. The sting woke up his movements and prompted his brain to remember what was happening and who was lying on top of him.

His fingers tightened along Dean’s plaid shirt and his arms pulled him down a little causing Dean to take note of him.

Before his own conscious could weave dark thoughts through his mind, Dean smiled down at him; A smile that was both inviting and heated. The look caused him to gasp for air forcing a small tremor to run up his spine. Dean leaned down and caused his heart to stall for a second before speeding up, trying to jump out of his chest towards him.

Dean brushed his thumb over his cheeks where his hand still held his face, and slowly moved back down to place his lips on Castiel’s. He closed his eyes, waiting for Dean but nothing happened.

Opening them once more, his eyes were filled with the green looking back at him. Dean’s eyes were no longer simmering with heat, but rather were hesitant. He wanted permission. Unable to speak Castiel raised his own head up to connect their lips once more. The heat flowing form Dean’s own body into his as Dean groaned into him and pressed himself fully against Castiel.

Dean slanted his head slightly begging Castiel to follow his lead; One that he granted willingly and fully. Dean’s hand skirted down from his cheek to his neck, cradling his head, while Dean’s other hand found its way to his shoulder pulling his chest against Castiel’s own. Castiel’s hands dug into his shoulder and with the spark of arousal spiking into him he rolled his hips and frantically began to pull at the plaid shirt wrapped around Dean’s back. He wanted it off, he wanted more, he wanted Dean’s skin against his own.

Dean’s tongue licked at the edge of his mouth warranting permission to enter. Castiel responded by opening a little, but enough that the movements of Dean’s tongue alone against his tongue and at the roof his mouth caused Castiel to moan obscenely into Dean and pull at the collar of Dean’s plaid shirt.

Dean pulled his head up as he situated his knees on the bed, straddling him in the process. Continuing to kiss him as he pulled the shirt off his body he released his lips for a second before diving back to Castiel. Castiel’s hands found their way to Dean’s skin, dancing over his arms, shoulders and along the side of his ribs to place his hands at Dean’s hips. The hold prompted Dean to roll his hips down, his jean cladded thighs rubbing against Castiel’s penis; Now hard and demanding attention.

The hardness pressed against his jeans and his thighs tested the strength of the fabric. In response to the movement above him his body rolled up to rub against Dean placed above him. Dean’s teeth nipped at his lips as he gasped; his breath teasing Castiel’s lips.

“Cas,” he gasped.

Castiel heard his name, but could only think of the skin beneath his hands and the lips no longer touching him. His brain screamed at him, ‘More, Lips, More. Why aren’t you kissing me? Dean, please!’

“Cas,” Dean repeated, pecking Castiel’s lips but staying away.

“Dean,” he groaned in protest.

“Your shirt, take off your shirt.”

Castiel pulled Dean against his chest, his muscles tightening as he responded to his heart’s claim to Dean’s. Dean’s words spoken and heard, but not understood.

In frustration Castiel dove into the crook of Dean’s neck, kissing gently at first before his teeth dragged over his collarbone. He felt the gasp against his chest and under his hands.

“Cas, please,” Dean gasped as Castiel continued to nip at his skin along his jawline, “I want to feel you too Angel. Your shirt. Off.”

Feeling Dean dragged his nails along his ribs he stopped, as his brain finally understood the words demanded of him. He yanked the shirt over his head and dove back to capture Dean’s lips. He brought his hands to Dean’s back cupping his shoulder blades as he pushed their chests together; feeling their rapid breathing pushing against each other.

Dean’s lips pushed him backwards causing Castiel to relinquish some control and fall to hit the mattress once more. When his back hit the bedspread, Dean removed his hips from his own.

“No,” Castiel groaned reaching for his hips to pull them back together.

“Shh, I don’t want to rush this Sweetheart,” Dean pecked his lips, his chin and the side of his face, slowing their pace down.

“Dean,” he whimpered.

A soft laugh swished over his face as Dean smiled at him, “What do you want? You have to tell me.”

Closing his eyes he swallowed a groan before opening his eyes once more and speaking his wish, “You. All of you.”

He watched as Dean licked his lips and looked him up and down. ‘I must make one heck of a sight,’ he thought feeling the way his body twisted to find friction otherwise displaced from him.

“Can I remove your pants?” he asked.

The blush of arousal zipped up from his chest to steady itself high on the crests of his cheeks; Such a request never asked of him before. Nodding he watched as Dean began to chuck off his own pants; boxer-briefs remaining.

His eyes froze at the sight in front of him at the foot of the bed. Dean’s broad chest and strong shoulders were dusted in freckles while his briefs rode low on his hips plush with the protection of his small tummy. He would have smiled at the adoring display of sexuality if it weren’t for the proud image of Dean’s penis tenting in the material hiding it completely from Castiel’s view. The secret was only hidden for a moment as Dean rapidly pulled them off, leaving him bare to Castiel’s eyes. A shuddering breath released itself from his lips as the apprehension set in once more, the confidence and need settled into a low simmer behind his ribcage.

He had only ever seen an aroused naked man the one time Gabriel had spammed his computer with mislabeled porn videos and his time spent in Holy Imagery at the Centre. His mind was firing at all ends as he watched Dean shift awkwardly smiling lightly down at him as Dean’s own embarrassed blush danced over his chest. He was everything Castiel had dreamed of. The thoughts he had had over the last number of years, the ones he had been told were wrong only recently realizing that was not true, could all be summed up into the beauty before him. His eyes followed each freckle like a set of constellations helping him map Dean’s body. He looked openly at Dean’s hips, the softness of his stomach and the hardness pointing at him, glistening at the tip. His breath stuttered as a jolt of arousal settled at the base of his spine, his own penis thickening further, almost painful in its desire for Dean.

Dean’s movements caused him to snap out of trance to realize that it must be seen as strange behavior if not out right off putting. But Dean’s hands gently found their way to his own hips, his thumb softly rubbing along the indentation of the V. His eyes found Castiel’s own and his smile still gentle, still soft, still caring reminded him what he wanted. Castiel wanted his body, but mostly he wanted Dean’s heart and soul carved into a place on his own skin and heart.

“You doing okay, Angel?”

Following Dean’s tongue as it self-consciously licked his lips, he rose slowly to place a soft kiss upon Dean’s pulling back to look at him once more, “Yes, Dean. I’m fine.”

Green-eyes momentarily clouded with worry were now twinkling as he leaned down once more to place a hard closed mouth kiss against Castiel’s before placing soft kiss along his cheek. Castiel could feel Dean’s breathe upon his ear and against his neck.

“Anytime you want me stop let me know and I will. No hesitations. I will do whatever you ask of me Cas.”

He gasped and released a stifled moan as Dean began to place small kisses to his neck and moved down towards his chest. As his lips moved down so did his hands. The fire on his skin followed along the path that Dean’s hands were taking only raging up to his heart, sending his beats to an exaggerated level as one of Dean’s hand moved to open the button on his jeans and begin to push the zipper down, returning to his waist to begin pushing them down. Castiel tilted his hips up allowing Dean to push his pants down. He noticed that Dean left his underwear on, but it was something he wanted off as well. He wanted to feel everything, because he was not sure that he’d ever have this chance again.

Dean stopped and leaned away from Castiel as Castiel frantically reached down to push both pieces of clothing off, awkwardly kicking the material off the side of the bed. Dean’s hand returned to his hips rubbing his side gently as Castiel’s own breathing started to increase in pace border lining on hyperventilating.

“Easy, Cas,” Dean leaned down to kiss his forehead and his temple before finding Castiel’s searching lips.

Castiel reached for Dean’s hand at his hip, shakily pushing his hand down to touch him more. Castiel’s hand froze as it guided Dean, not knowing how to proceed. Dean looked into his eyes and nodded, knowing that while Castiel was in control, he needed help with leading.

Castiel looked down to watch as Dean’s hand smoothed over his side and then moved to gently guide the back of his hand up his inner thigh. His throat clicked as he closed his eyes and opened to stare above at the ceiling. He could feel every brush of Dean’s hand on his skin, the way it tried to smooth away his nerves and how Dean’s eyes continued to watch for his reactions. His skin was dancing was with each passing second, calling for more, calling for Dean. He gasped as the feeling of Dean’s hand encircled his penis and began to move up and down. He groaned and turned into Dean, resting his forehead upon his shoulder as Dean’s hand sped up in a loose grip, twisting down.

Dean leaned down and kissed the top of his head, “What do you want Cas?”

Gulping he replied, “I want you in- in me.”

The deep blush burned through his body as Dean released him and shifted away to get the packets of lubricant in his back pocket and condoms from his wallet.

He placed them beside Castiel’s head, and opened the lube with his teeth before asking Castiel to lift both his legs up. Castiel jolted as Dean’s finger began to circle his hole; The puckered skin sensitive and untouched.

“Dean- I” he huffed, as his body shook with the rising of his arousal.

Slowly Castiel began to breath through his nose and relax into the mattress beneath him, Dean’s finger still slowly circling him keeping his arousal ignited, but not scorching him.

Nodding he urged Dean for more and felt his hips pushing down to try and capture Dean’s finger. Dean shifted further and motioned for Castiel to shuffle up the bed a bit more. Reaching for the pillow he placed it under Castiel’s hip propping them up before returning his lubed fingers back to his hole, while sitting between his legs. He felt exposed and vulnerable. He tried to find a place to look, anywhere than at Dean.

“Cas,” Dean called as his finger began to push a little at his hole, encouraging him to relax more.

His eyes darted to find Dean, blushing more before swinging his eyes to look at the bedside lamp. Dean’s finger almost breached him before he stopped completely.

Castiel felt cold. He wanted more. He wanted to be more for Dean, but he couldn’t stop thinking about how he wouldn’t be enough for him. How every time the lightening of arousal hit him he still expected someone or something to show up and punish him. He was damaged and in this position he knew Dean could see the scars on his hips and the burns that ran down the back of his thighs.

He wanted Dean so badly. But being this for him was not something he could do.

Dean moved to the side of the bed and reached for his jeans, getting ready to put them back on.

Castiel’s heart panicked and tears started to form on his face, ‘No! No no no. He can’t, oh Dean please no.’

“Don’t go please,” he reached for Dean his hand resting on his bare back.

Dean stopped his movements and looked back at him, “I’m not going anywhere Angel. I – I don’t want to push you anymore than I have.”

“No, you haven’t,” Castiel shuffled to rest his chest along his side, “I just, I can’t stop thinking about – all of it. With every touch I think someone will come and take you away, I can’t stop thinking.”

Castiel tucked his face away from Dean as he placed his forehead upon Dean’s shoulder.

Dean turned his body to place his hand upon Castiel’s face and forced him to look at him, “Would it make a difference if I- if you,” Dean gulped as a blush took over his face, “would it make a difference if you were the one in me, above me. Completely in control?”

Castiel stared at him with wide eyes, he had never thought about that. He thought about having Dean underneath him, with his legs hiked up around his waist as he moved slowly inside of his heat. He thought about hearing the noises that he might push out of him. He thought about marking his skin with love-bits the way so many Romantic Comedies had before.

Scrambling for the suggestion granted to him to fix what he was not ready for, but the desire to be with Dean wholly, he grabbed Dean’s face and kissed him. He worked his tongue into his mouth and pulled him back on the bed, allowing Dean to shuffle them back to the pillows and turn them so Castiel was on top.

He ground his hips down against Dean, as his legs bracketed Dean’s hips. Feeling Dean’s penis fill once again and bump against his backside he leaned into capture his lips. Except this time he wasn’t nervous. He wasn't ready for Dean to be on top of him, but oh my god was he ready to have Dean and to accept this offer.

Dean shifted beneath him groaning as Cas’ teeth pulled at his bottom lip before they rearranged themselves so that Castiel was between Dean’s legs. Dean reached behind himself and searched for the lube, once again biting it open and coating his fingers. Castiel stopped kissing Dean’s skin to watch as Dean lifted his legs and began to slowly circle his own hole.

Dean scrunched his eyes and began to speak, “It’s important that you learn this Cas. Fuck. – and that you- oh - know how to do this for your partner and if your ready, for yourself.”

Castiel watched enraptured as Dean’s breath hitched when his finger began to move in and out of his hole. He watched as Dean lifted his legs into the air and began to push a second finger in. He listened as Dean explained what he was doing.

Reaching down Castiel placed his hands at the back of Dean’s thighs and lifted them up further, resting them on his shoulders as he watched closely the way Dean’s fingers moved in and out of himself, and began to spread with each movement.

“What are you doing?” he croaked.

“Ah, that’s” Dean huffed with laughter before groaning, “it’s called scissoring it helps to loosen the muscle – fuck - so you can slide in with- without hurting me.”

His head jerked up to look at Dean, who was watching him, “I don’t want to hurt you Dean.” He frowned deeply and began to move away.

“No,” Dean’s legs hooked his shoulders back in place, “No you won’t because we’re going to go slow.”

Dean’s fingers popped out his hole after he moved a third finger into himself for a few pumps, letting his legs fall loosely to the side. He reached for the condom by his head and held it out for Castiel.

Staring blankly Castiel got up on his knees allowing Dean’s heels to slide down his side. He took the condom and stared at it.

The sound of groaning caught his attention as Dean’s heels pushed into lower back, “Put it on.”

Nodding Castiel opened the packaging carefully and placed it on the tip of penis, remembering how Gabriel and taught him one summer how to do this with a banana. He pinched the tip and rolled it down.

Dean sat up a little and reached for his penis encircling it once again in order to rub the excess lube on the condom. Dean slumped back, breathing quickly.

Castiel reached for Dean’s hips as his hands shook, not from nerves but from an over abundance of arousal that had been sitting and waiting for Dean’s acceptance.

Castiel leaned forward, his penis sliding over Dean’s perineum and getting caught for a moment at his opened hole before brushing back up to slide beside Dean. He watched as the touch caused Dean to close his eyes and moan while biting his bottom lip. He placed one of his hands to the side of Dean shoulder and kissed the center of his chest.

“Dean,” he whispered kissing his Adam’s apple, his chin and then finally finding Dean’s lips waiting for him.

He released Dean’s lips as his hands moved down to pull his hips closer to him and shifting himself to align with him perfectly. He placed his own face against Dean’s cheek before whispering once again the words he needed to say, “I love you, Dean Winchester.”

Dean’s own breath got caught in his throat as Castiel pushed in to him. The feeling encompassing his every being, stopping time and cutting out every fiber of the molecules dancing around him; except for the man beneath him.

From a distance he could hear Dean’s voice shudder out to him to stop for a moment, allowing him to adjust. He noticed with Dean’s words of caution that he had forgotten to breathe once he’d entered Dean. His eyes had closed and every muscle was ridged, holding himself back until Dean said he could move again.

Dean’s words of encouragement to continue washed over his spine, following each vertebrae as the feeling of the tight heat sparked each joint and bone. He went slow, focused solely on Dean’s breathing and voice. By the second time Dean whispered his name in caution he began to hear the small hikes of his breath that told him to stop or slow down. Once the light dancing along his spinal cord stopped at the base of his spine he found his hips coming flushed against Dean; His hips lightly bumping into Dean.

His body shook with the strength to hold back, stopping his base instinct and pure want to move. But his brain was, quite honestly, freaking out. It didn’t know which nerve to focus on or which corner of his mind to notice. Scrunching his brow and clenching his already closed eyes tighter, he forcefully pushed away the long taught worries and the still raw fear hiding in the dark corners of his conscious.

“Cas,” Dean whispered up at him, “look at me Angel.”

His breathing began to pick up, the dark corners of his mind swished forward, and the overwhelming reality of finally embracing the desires within started to rumble. The rapid breathing took his nerves from the pleasure to the concerned. But all suddenly found themselves silenced with the warm gentle touch running up one of his arms and cupping his face.

Dean’s fingers danced on his cheekbone while his thumb brushed over his eyelashes, placing his own soul’s tenderness upon his skin to be soaked into Castiel’s beneath.

Opening his eyes he looked down to find Dean’s smile, the same smile that greeted him in the hospital when he’d first laid eyes upon him. The same smile that fed him nourishment and confidence. The same smile that greeted him in the mornings.

He was with no one else, and all that existed or mattered was the moment frozen between them.

“You got to move, buddy, for this to really become something awesome,” Dean softly laughed between them as his heels once again pushed at his lower back.

Blinking down at him Castiel leaned forward and gently kissed Dean, leaving his lips lovingly in place as he began to shift his hips back.

The movement rippled up Dean’s skin and allowed Castiel to feel it upon Dean’s exhale against his lips. He watched as Dean’s face shifted when he brought his hips back towards Dean once more.

The slow rhythm allowed the small spark to simmer within his bones, but his soul cried for more. Closing his eyes briefly he swallowed down the sound that wanted to escape form his chest, only to have Dean yank his lips back down to him, kissing him roughly and biting his bottom lip.

“God Cas, m- move, please just- fuck– faster,” Dean’s hips squirmed beneath him begging him for more.

The feeling of desire rocketed through him, his hesitancy swallowed within to be replaced with an all surrounding feeling of Dean. Castiel awkwardly shifted himself up as his hand slipped slightly on the bed, before Dean helped him levitate while huffing with laughter.

Grunting with the incoming feeling of embarrassment and failure at his clumsiness, “Sorry I-”

“Oh no, you don't say sor – yes, right there,” Dean groaned, his eyes scrunching as Castiel shifted his hips to settle above Dean.

“What?” he huffed as his hands closed around Dean’s thighs and shifting his hips in once more.

His eyes became wide as he watched Dean’s back bow from the mattress and release a moan that caught his breath.

Without thought Castiel shifted back and angled himself in the exact same way watching Dean carefully and feeling Dean tighten around him.

The feeling of Dean calling out to him in every way ignited the sparks and forced the swallowed sounds from his throat. For the first time in his life he allowed his body in all of its abilities to enjoy what he’s wondered about since puberty, what had been demanding its existence and what Dean was gifting to him.

Castiel’s knees bounced on the mattress beneath him as he shifted again, hooking one of Dean’s knees over his shoulder and snapped his hips towards Dean. The position and reaction caused Dean to call his name in reverence and scrap his nails along to cheap bedspread. He may not know truly what he was doing as his hands slipped on Dean’s skin as they became sweaty nothing about what they were doing was truly coordinated nor beautiful to outside eyes. Yet, the sounds he heard melding together, the feeling of Dean around his penis, the way he looked into Dean’s green eyes as the light between reached out. To him, it was beautiful.

His heart began to feel like it would burst from his chest from the exertion or love he was not sure. Castiel let Dean’s leg fall to his hip once more as he uncoordinatedly fell down on top of Dean’s chest and reached for his hands. Smiling at the way Dean’s palms immediately turned to find his own, he squeezed them tight and followed Dean’s lead as they rose to rest beside Dean’s head. Castiel moved forward and kissed Dean hard relishing in the feeling against his own lips and the way the harsh instinctual snaps of his hips slowed to a steady pace.

In the heat of novel desire the frantic claim calmed to allow their hearts to speak within the last few thrust between them.

“Dean,” he groaned into Dean’s cheek.

“I’m right here Ang- Angel. Yes. Ri-ght here.”

“I love you,” he sighed into his skin, the feeling of fire while for a single second slowed to a simmer suddenly bolted through him sending a deep rooted pressure to the base of his spine and a tightness knotting in his gut and around his hips.

“That’s it sweetheart,” Dean groaned, “Ke-keep moving – oh fuc - ”

Castiel turned his head slightly to the side to watch as Dean’s body clenched in his release. Dean’s eyes squeezed shut, his jaw slacked as a breathy noise was released into the air, his hands tightened within Castiel’s own and his hips raised while his hole squeezed him tight.

The feeling of Dean tightening and rhythmically releasing around him, caused the ball of energy at his spine to finally burst within him, tightening his hip muscles and releasing the knot in his stomach. Castiel knew that he did not close his eyes cause he could clearly see Dean’s eyes blinking gently back at him, but his mind went white.

The spark of pure pleasure, safety and love felt from that one feeling shared with the man beneath him cast out all the darkness remaining in his mind, silencing them to the far corners of his mind.

In his haze he felt Dean push at his shoulders gently, moving him to the side, their shoulders overlapping a little in their post bliss position. Castiel’s face was smooshed into the bedspread as he was unable to move, all of his energy was zapped from his body. He could smell the cheap soap upon the linen and the smell of Dean and him within the air. His eyes fluttered open with the feeling of movement brushing of his hair, the touch calling him to look upon Dean again.

He turned his head to find Dean looking back at him, his fingers still running through Castiel’s hair. Dean’s body shifted slightly, causing Castiel to notice the feeling of the condom on his penis and the mess that must be leaking out from the gaps no longer filled out in the rubber. Castiel cleared his throat and rose to pull the condom off, looking around him with it in his hand not knowing what to do.

“You have to tie the end, here give it to me,” Dean reached for it.

Castiel frowned as he noticed Dean wince a little as he tied the condom and tossed it to the ground. He glanced at Dean’s body beside him noticing the shiny residue of both of their come upon Dean’s thighs and stomach. He could see red marks where his hands had held onto the top of his thighs and where his scruff had chaffed his cheek. Castiel shifted to the edge of the bed and rose to get something to clean up the mess, and also distract him from what he had just noticed.

Dean did not say the three words back.

As he ran the scratchy hotel cloth under lukewarm water and squeezed the excess out he looked up at his face in the mirror. His hair was a disheveled form Dean’s finger, his lips were bruised, and while the realization should logically make him feel sad, it didn’t. In the mirror he saw the same person, but mostly he saw a man that had finally embraced a piece of his own heart and soul. It wasn’t life changing, but reaffirmation.

He returned to the bed to find Dean frowning at him, the small smile still on his face. Castiel allowed his feet to walk back to the bed and kneel on the mattress, wiping down Dean’s stomach and thighs gently before cleaning himself up as well. His eyes continued to look up at Dean’s, not shying from them but beginning to become uncomfortable with the stare.

“Umm, I can- would you prefer if I,” he stumbled over his words, unsure how to read Dean’s face and wondering if maybe Dean needed space.

Dean watched him shift on his feet, before reaching up to drag him back down on the bed moving them both to drag the bed sheets down and placing them over top of them. Castiel found himself snuggled up against Dean’s chest waiting for Dean to speak.

A deep sigh washed over his head before he heard Dean’s voice quietly ask, “Are you okay?”

Castiel frowned and lifted his head to rest his chin at Dean’s chest. He made sure that Dean’s eyes were connected with his own before responding, “Yes. I am more than okay.”

A slow smirk twitched at Dean’s own kiss reddened lips, “Oh really? Care to share with the other participant here. I’m sorta freaking out.”

Castiel snuggled back into Dean’s side tilting his face to kiss Dean’s chest, “I feel free and cherished.”

The click of Dean’s throat ticked at his cheek, “That was okay then? Nothing too much.”

“No, my penis felt better than I thought.”

His head bounced as Dean let a bark of laughter out, “Oh God. Okay first of all Cas, don’t be so clinical call your penis something different like dick or cock. Second, I’m asking about more than just your pleasure bits, man. Did you at least enjoy it?”

Smiling Castiel closed his eyes, “Very much. Now go to sleep Dean we have much a head of us when we wake up.”

Before his body fully embraced the weight of sleep he felt Dean’s lips upon his head and Dean’s reply lovingly etched into his heart, “Me too Angel. Me too.”

Chapter Text

The heavy warm weight on his shoulder shifted, running its rough jaw along his arm gently and pulled Dean slowly out of his deep slumber. The once early morning glow from when they’d fallen into each other had been vanquished with the rising of the full morning sun. He should have felt stifled in his warmth, but he wasn’t. The only feeling that could be felt was safety.  

Clicking his throat he looked around for his phone in search of the time; only to spot it on the floor where he’d left his pants a few hours before. Inhaling deeply he craned his neck to look down at Cas resting on top of him. Smiling he watched as Cas’ warm body shifted to get closer to him. His hair was a tumble of chaos and his eyelashes brushed lightly upon Cas’ cheeks, while his lips laid soft in sleep. He was glowing against him, causing Dean to nuzzle his nose over Cas’ forehead taking in his scent and relishing in soft skin. Blinking into the distance he thought about what the day may hold for them both.

He stared off finding his eyes unfocused upon the blind covered window that looked out into the parking lot. By the afternoon, with the sun turning to side of the earth in decent, Castiel would be deep in the mix of chaos, back where they had harmed him, back where Dean had tried so hard to keep him from – hiding him in his home, in his bed and in his arms. But it hadn’t been enough. Looking back at it all from the moment he had told Ellen of the connection, the moment that he had fled with Castiel in Baby and the moment they had found themselves coming back in the same direction, his and Cas’ story was always going to end back where it started.

He was naive to think he could have sheltered Cas away from all of the monsters that haunted him. He found pleasure in the fact that they had not heard from Alastair in many days. Yet, he did not take pleasure from watching Castiel flinch or stare into dark corners, waiting for him to appear. He knew that every time they touched a shadow passed over his face for a brief second. Dean hoped that the memory of last night was lost between them and no other darkness would find its way between.

He smiled while blinking tears away at the memories of the night or rather this morning. He pulled Castiel closer, resting his cheek along his head and remembered how Castiel’s hands had shook with nerves, and how his blood spiked to ignite his skin with a deep blush of pleasure as Dean had offered him his body. A small tremor of excitement zipped up Dean’s spine in a fleeting sense of arousal remembering how Castiel’s face had contorted into a pure animalistic sense of gratification as he embraced the instinctual calling of his body. He smiled at the memory of Castiel, his Angel, embracing every part of himself in Dean’s embrace. The memory of their bliss afterwards being paired with the clinical way Cas had explained his enjoyment brought a soft chuckle to his chest. Yet, the reminder of his current and future reality doused his happiness with a bucket of cold water forcing him to recognize that they would never have this again.

Castiel had said he loved him, and if Dean were honest and brave he’d admit openly to him that he felt the same. However all he could muster for the reality of their situation was two words of agreement spoken into the blue morning light and into the skin of the sleeping man wrapped around him.

For all of his posturing, in truth, he was not a brave man. Last night while watching Castiel’s bravery fill the room with Elllen and even before when he’d watched Cas walk out of the Church with his head held high, he knew he was in love. He’d never felt this way before. If you’d asked him a week ago if he’d ever been in love he might have said yes; twice. Once with Cassie Robinson and once with Aaron. But he’d be lying. He’d never truly been in love, not like this. It was warm and all encompassing. It seeped through his pours to share his energy with the man in his arms. It filled his soul with light and his heart with an unfortunate sense of longing already lost in the hours that ticked by.

Sighing deeply he kissed Cas’ head and slowly unwrapped himself from Castiel. He sat on the bed and reached down for his phone peeking out from his jeans on the floor. The time shone back at him 10:00 am. Two more hours before they needed to leave and begin preparations for the raid. He got up and chucked his jeans back on and threw on a t-shirt from the ground. As he looked down at his chest he smiled realizing that he’d put on his old Zep shirt with the holes along the bottom that Cas had been wearing. The fondness of knowing that Cas preferred to wear his old shirts to the new ones they’d bought him prompted him to watch Cas sleep a little more in the bed. Shaking his head at the warmth filling his heart.

Wiggling his toes into the starched carpet he searched the room for his shoes, only finding Castiel’s sneakers by the door. He jammed his feet into the shoes, folding the backing down in the process, just shy of too small. He knew there wasn’t a diner in sight around them, Ellen chose the motel for its seclusion, but Jesus he needed some form of caffeine before the day was going to start. As he walked out of the room, latching the door open behind him in the process, he thought about the things he needed to do before waking Cas.

He could probably use a shower as he rubbed his stomach through the shirt. His skin was slightly itchy from the remaining residue from the come on his skin. Cas had wiped him down, but he really needed to use some soap to get the gunk fully off of him. He smiled at his reflection in the glass of the drink machine just around the corner of the rooms.

Digging around in his pockets for a dollar bill he wondered what caffeinated liquid he was going to get for Cas too. In his absent thoughts he accidently dropped some quarters, casing him to crouch down and find them just under the machine. As he dug around a pungent smell drifted into his nose. Something under the machine or around him had seriously gone rancid. He looked around himself wondering where the decaying animal smell came from, he thought perhaps he could clean it up or at least let the staff know about it. The smell got stuck in his nose as he straightened up and placed the coins in the machines.

Staring into the machine his eyes adjusted from the line of drinks to the figure behind him. At first it looked like a simple man, but as his eyes focused further on the reflection he noticed that it was anything but. The image of the tall rotting corpse caused his blood to run cold and his spine to stiffen. The smell of decay once more forced its way into his nose and mouth, clawing at the back of his throat. The stillness of his breath caused the entity to grin at the fear now filling the small hallway. The figure’s teeth ripped at oozing sores along the man’s mouth as it smiled, his cheeks hollowed with grey skin stretched over thin bones. From the reflection Dean could make out the man’s empty eye sockets where signs of further rot lined the edges.

Slowly Dean began to chant an exorcism under his breath only to have the entity charge at him and slam his head into the glass cracking it and un-focusing his own mind. Disoriented to his surroundings Dean began to run. This was much more than a ghost; this was something powerful and so much more than he was capable of handling. Stumbling out of the side area he was unsure what direction his room was and which was to the back of the building. From behind him he heard a snarled laugh close by.

“What do you want?” he asked, tripping on his feet and running his hands along the brick edge of the building, tearing the skin.

The entity only laughed at him, watched as he tried to find his footing and clear his swimming vision. Dean was going the wrong way.

“How are you here?” he asked instead, feeling warm liquid begin to trickle down his brow where the impact had broken the skin.

You should ask the sodomite,” he hissed.

“Alastair,” he proclaimed while forcing his body to stand firmly in place.

Smile the while you kiss him sad adieu, when the clouds roll by I’ll come for you,”Alastair walked closer with each passing scratched lyric of a song long forgotten.

With each step and word Dean watched in horror as his body creaked, his bones snapping with use and a scratching gargling nose reached his ears as the putrid smell of rotten eggs and fouled meat stretched through the air. Not knowing how to run, or move away Dean found himself frozen in place as Alastair smiled at him once more.

Give me a little smile Dean,” he ran his hand along Dean’s jaw, “Salvation will finally be yours.”

Dean watched as black eye sockets shifted to look behind him before returning to him once more and leaning into his space before disappearing all together.

Salvation,” Alastair’s voice whispered into the air.

Breathing harshly Dean bolted towards the room, needing to get to Castiel immediately. He was going to place him in a circle of salt and ward them from the demon. This was not just any spirit this was something more. Something powerful. Something dangerous. And something clearly attached to Cas. Still disoriented from his head injury and panic he was not paying attention to his surroundings.

He ran around the corner of the building back to parking lot where his body abruptly slammed into another’s only to find himself restrained by strong arms from behind. Before he could rebuff the restraints a gun was raised towards him sending a bolt of barbed pins into his skin and a jolt of blue electricity. The taser aimed at him was attached to a snarled smile paired with ecstatic yellow-rimmed eyes. Dean had no idea who this man was, but what was bluntly and painfully clear was that he was not going to reach Castiel in time.

Whimpering in pain and at his inability to protect Cas, he slumped into the arms holding him and saw darkness overtake him when the yellow-eyed man placed a black sack over his head. Just as the electrified heaviness began to take over he felt his body being dragged over to a vehicle and placed inside; Cas’ shoes falling off with a thud onto the concrete. He listened intently to the men in the vehicle as the door closed behind them.

“Need to warn the boss about them and get this sack of shit somewhere they’ll never find him.”

“What about Novak?”

“Don’t worry about the cocksucker ain’t nothing, but a scared kid without this pillow biter. He’ll be easy enough to finish off.”

Groaning Dean tried to fight his mind once again by kicking at the door, “Don’t touch him you fucking bastard!” 

His outrage and newfound energy was cut short as sharp electricity from the gun once again entered his skin, officially rendering him unconscious.

________________________

                                                                  

Blue skies all of them gone no more blue skies from now on.”

The hum of a scratchy voice bounced around his mind. It wasn’t clear to him what was happening, where he was or if he was even alive. The numbness of his body and his brain confused him so tremendously that he failed to realize that his hands were tied and his feet bound; that is until something pulled on them. The tug awoke the neurons in his brain, causing them to adjust in their slumber and realize the pain pounding in his head.

Blue birds singing a song, of those blue birds are long gone.”

Rolling his head to the side he searched for the source of the song, unable to find where it was located. He scrunched his nose allowing it to run along the fabric still over his head, turning his cheek to run the fabric along the rough walls of his encased surrounding and pull it up over his face. He continued to shrug off the fabric slowly only for it to fall off completely, but not deliver any relief to his eyes.

The small room he was in was completely black. There was no light to be found and nothing for him to see. He was just as blind with his eyes open as he was with them covered.

He had no idea how long he’d been where he was, but due to the cramping of his back crouched over in the small space he estimated it must have been at least an hour. Slowly he unwound his legs, bound as they were, only to feel his bare feet touch the jagged edges of a bricked wall. His shoulders were already against the other wall as he could feel the cold stone against his thin t-shirt and he was aware that the ceiling was not far above his head. It was very obvious to him that he was currently stationed in what could tentatively be described as a coffin.

His breathing picked up as the realization started to fully sink in that the sick fucks had put him in a small cellar space to die. The blackness surrounding him became heavy upon his chest as his muscles tightened further and began to cramp while the cold prompted a dull throb of pain on his exposed freezing skin. The tips of his fingers brushed along small stones beneath him, their sharp edges dug into his skin and his backside. The twinge of the ache from the night before was not helped by his current reality and with that he remembered with a great panic that he had no idea where Castiel was or what had happened to him.

Grunting he whipped his head from side to side as he tried to break his hog-tied arms free from the plastic bindings. But the struggle was futile.  

Where was Castiel? Had they caught him as well? What did they do to him?’

“Cas? CAS!” he began to scream in panic his breathing at full tilt once more as his body screamed for freedom and a demand to protect the one he had been forcefully torn away from.

Suddenly a darkly scratched chuckle filled the space and a weight fell upon his body. Dean shuttered a the movement of a chest brushing over his knees and forcing them apart while his ankles stayed tied. The smell of rotten meat and sulfur filled his face while the hot air encased his cooled skin.

What do we have here?” the voice scratched over his ears.

Gritting his teeth, Dean snarled at the form before him, “Get off of me you motherfucker.”

Now now Mr. Winchester, that’s no way to treat your host.”

With those words his heart cooled, all his fire and rage froze in place. He wasn’t just in any coffin or stoned enclosure. No he was somewhere in St. Angela’s Halfway House and the being before him was none other than Dr. Alastair Heyerdahl.

“It can’t be. I banished you.”

The breath punched over his face as the entity laughed at him, “Oh Dean, you should know better than to think that a simple banishment would work on me. Did the physic not warn you?”

Thinking back to months before all of this had begun he remembered the image of a woman cladded in red leather pants, a physic who had warned them of the dark entity in the house that refused to let the deceased go and the singing bird. The bird ended up not being a bird, but rather a broken young man named after an angel. The entity on the other hand had been the very being on top of him, a deranged homophobic doctor that refused to let go.

“Why are you following him?” he asked.

A nailed finger stroked over his cheek making Dean sink further into the cold stone behind him in a failed attempt to escape.

His treatment is not yet complete and unfortunately he has passed the disease to you. But you can be saved Dean. Diseases can be cured.”

“It’s not a fucking disease you sick fuck. How are you still following us? Him?” he snapped.

Tsk, Mr. Winchester let’s not show one’s teeth. I am simply here to help.

“Stay awa-” Dean’s air was cut short as a pair of clawed boney hands came around his throat and began to squeeze.

We are going to have so much fun.”

Alastair’s claws dug into the flesh of his neck leaving marks in his skin. The pain of the jolt of lightening that shot down his spine caused him to freeze up and release a voiceless scream. His mouth opened to release his silent cries and allowed one of Alastair’s hands to removed itself from his skin and force his jaw wide open. Struggling Dean moaned in protest while Alastair grabbed one of his back teeth and began to pull with great force. The sharp pain of his tooth being removed, the pulling of his gum and the disconnecting of its nerve made him whimper and screech in agony. At its extraction a dull throbbing feeling remained where a tooth no longer stood accompanied by Alastair snarling in delight.

One more.

“No No NO,” he mumbled around the entity’s rotten hands, his protests falling on silent ears.

The sharp tug of another tooth exiting his mouth made a high pitched scream exit his throat, just before Alastair’s hand decided to discard the tooth out of his mouth and try to force its way down his throat to keep him quiet. Dean could feel his hands wiggling into his throat and towards his airway where Dean tried to protest, but only released a gargling noise.

Is this not how you like it Dean? Having something shoved down your throat? Has the sodomite not done this? I know you enjoy it when you touch him Mr. Winchester. I can see your sins. Let me teach how to get rid of such thoughts. Let me cleanse you.”

Alastair’s nails reached into his air way and scrapped along the soft tissue along his throat making Dean unable to breathe completely and pass out.

When he woke up again he was alone. His throat was raw with the torture and his mouth was swollen, blood stained and throbbing with the absence of his two teeth. In his dulled state his fingers ran along the small stones beneath him and picked a few up. Within the small space and in the dull sounds of his hearing he was drawn to the soft sobs of children and the harsh screams of others within the small space.

From around him he could feel their eyes upon him, not demonic, but not alive. He knew, even with his oxygen-lacked brain, that the others that had been abandoned before surrounded him. He knew that at his shoulder was the sound of a crying girl and at his feet was the screeches of a man. Blinking slowly his thoughts turned absently back to the stones within his still tied hands and his mind thought back to Castiel.

Was he with him in the Home? Was he safe? Where was Alastair? Would Ellen and Sam find them?

Shaking his head he lulled it to the side and turned his focus solely upon the stones in his fingers. There was something off about them. Familiar. Unique.

As he ran the shape through the pads of his fingers he noticed a sharp dulled angle at one side then a long pointed area of the other side. The same shape could be felt in the others beneath his fingers and their shapes were similar, but slightly different in shape at the dented dulled edge. 

As he ran his tongue gently over his own gaping wounds in his gums it dawned on him with great horror what lay scattered all around on the floor.

Beneath him in the cellar it was not littered with small stones, but teeth. Human teeth.

Chapter Text

Scratching his lightly scruffed face against the rough sheets of the cheap motel bed, Castiel stretched and smiled at the feeling of the sun upon his face. He was warm in the bed and comfortable in his skin. For the first time in his whole life he felt fully at one with himself. In the moments of awakened lethargy nothing mattered, but the understanding that he was wrapped amongst the sheets that smelled of the love shared between himself and another man. A man he loved, fully and completely. As he reached his hands out to sweep them along the bed he noticed the cold spot where Dean should have been.

Frowning at his mind sparking concern he opened his eyes slowly to see the emptiness of the bed and while sweeping his eyes around the room he realized that the room was vacant.  In his bones he cold feel the absence of a body, one that should have been in the space with him, but was oddly missing. It wasn’t the same feeling one got when in their hearts they knew it had not been long, nor that they were near by and returning. No. It was a deep heavy feeling of dread that pulled his heart down to the pit of his stomach.

Something wasn’t right.

Although he could still feel the warmed sheets wrapped around his naked waist and bare legs, the chill in the room found its way to his wary learned nerves. ‘Where was Dean?

Frowning he began to get up to inspect the room, but was halted by the aggressive banging of the door.

BANG BANG BANG

“Dean!”

BANG BANG BANG

“For fucks sake we are leaving in –“ Sam roaring voice stopped suddenly as he realized that the door was not fully closed, jumping back and forth with the pounding of his fist.

Castiel struggled to pull the sheet up his body once more as Sam barged into the room, his face full of furry and body tensed with the belief that his brother was once again ignoring him and the clock.

Sam’s eyes dashed over to Castiel still within the covers of the bed and realized his mistake. Quickly he turned around to allow Castiel some modesty and laughed at himself.

“Sorry Cas. I shouldn’t – I – oh my god I’m so sorry.” Sam cleared his throat and shifted upon the balls of his feet with nerves.

“It’s fine.”

Clearing his throat once more as his neck blushed deep with embarrassment of seeing his newly found friend naked in the bed he shared with his brother, “Right umm still sorry. Have you seen my brother?”

Shaking his head Castiel frowned once more at him and glanced around the floor at their discarded clothing, “No.”

“Shit,” Sam dashed out of the door with the bolt banging the doorframe behind him.

Panicked Castiel swept the sheets aside and grabbed at the clothe upon the floor. He chucked on a pair of his jeans from the day before and grabbed a shirt, realizing as he swung it on that it smelled distinctly of Dean; oil and sandalwood. As the smell registered he looked down to realize that it was not his own commandeered shirt, but rather a newer one worn by Dean the day before. Frowning again he ran his hands down the material and looked around for his own shirt, noticing its absence along with the absence of his own shoes. Dean’s boots however, were wilted against the bathroom door where they had been tossed hours before in their excitement. Not knowing what else to do he slammed his bare feet into Dean’s boots and hastily tied them tight around his ankles running after Sam in the process.

As he ran out the door, he saw a flurry of activity within the parking lot and coming from the room next-door. Ellen was yelling out instructions while Sam was gathering all of their equipment. At the truck he could see Benny popping back and forth between the placed equipment in the parking lot and Charlie rapidly running across the lot to the front desk, the door swinging aggressively behind her.

His eyes darted amongst the chaos, as he stood frozen in place. The most striking thing missing from the scene was the boisterous boyish beauty of Dean Winchester. His breathing began to hike in response. Long gone was the feeling of dread and now fully in his heart a feeling of ice set fear. His iced mind and limbs moved him back towards the safety of what was their haven, but his feet jolted to a stop as he saw just off to the side of the parking lot.

no.’ he thought as his legs carried him in a trance towards the discarded items.

Crouching down he picked up one and then looked towards the one further away.

“no, no No, nononononono,” Castiel began to shake as he recognized his own sneakers, scuffed with dirt and marked with tire marks upon the fabric.

“Dean, Dean!” he began to scream in the parking lot hoping with fleeting yearning that the man’s smiling comforting face would appear amongst the crowd.

From his position, still holding one of the shoes, he heard Charlie yell loudly across the lot.

“ELLEN!”

Without thought he dashed towards Charlie as he saw Ellen running full tilt across the lot towards the front office.

As he arrived at the office he saw Charlie’s bright red hair blocking half of an old TV screen, the screen behind glitched as the small speakers hissed with poor quality. Jo also stood over her and watched whatever was on the screen, pointing out something to Ellen.

“Play it again,” she instructed.

In their focus to find whatever they were looking at they had failed to notice Castiel standing within the doorframe of the office. He was too scared to make himself known because he knew that once they saw him, he would then see what he knew was on the screen.

“Stop. Pull up the license plate,” Ellen instructed.

At Charlie’s side sat her computer with a program dancing across her screen. Rows upon rows of text flew by on the computer and stopped abruptly with bright red letter declaring CLASSIFIED in its final result. Charlie frowned and pulled up a screen full of misplaced letters and numbers, the code unknown to Castiel’s mind. Once she was pleased she tried again and the Classified warning disappeared, delivering a registration number, ownership and an image of the vehicle; A black van that registered under the Government. Once more Charlie worked further within the web of tangled information to delivered a photograph of the person within government that had registerd the Government Classified vehicle. The man was nicely dressed in a suit with a slimy snake grin. He knew that man and with those two pieces of information he knew exactly what had happened. The Centre had Dean.

The shoe within his hand dropped upon the floor releasing a loud slap as it hit and notified his presence to others.

“Cas,” Charlie gasped.

“Show me.”

“Cas you really don’t have to, we know where he likely is,” Jo interjected trying to keep him from seeing what they had, but he needed to know what had happened to Dean.

“Show me.”

Ellen placed her hand upon Jo and Charlie’s shoulder and pushed at them lightly, “Let him take a look. He might know more that could help us.”

“But Mom, Dean said that he shouldn’t se-“

“Joanna Beth,” she warned.

Nodding Jo moved aside to allow Castiel to step forward and see the static image of a black van.

“Play it from the beginning, please” he asked feeling his nerves once cold with fear begin to heat with something else.

“Are you sure?” Charlie kindly asked.

Smiling brokenly at her he tried to reassure her and nodded in confirmation.

Sighing Charlie pressed the rewind button and stopped just at the image of Dean in front of the vending machine. As she pressed play Castiel held his breath and watched as the colour-faded security camera picked up the edge of Dean’s body dancing in front of the machine. Castiel smiled at the playful image of Dean clearly trying to make a discussion about what to get. He watched as he bent down to pick something up, and continued to watch him freeze as he looked back at the machine’s glass. His back was ridged and his muscles were bunched ready to strike at whatever it was that had grabbed his attention. Castiel twitched violently at the image of Dean’s head being slammed into the glass of the machine, what had done that was unclear as nothing was around him, but something clearly had violently smashed Dean’s head forward. They watched as Dean started to run, staggering out of view of the camera.

“Where –“ Castiel began to ask only for Charlie to point back at the screen.

From the security camera’s vantage point he could see the lights of the black van flash against the side of the building while it backed up and came into view of the far corner of the screen. The lights lit up the dark corner, hidden from the sun, in a haunting red light. He could see two men enter the screen and the dull sound of metal doors closing. One of the men, pale and thinner than the other, began to walk towards where Dean had run, only to stop and have Dean run directly into him, stumbling along the way. The thinner man’s arms came up to hold Dean’s panicked body by the shoulder and allowed Dean to look up at him. He could tell that while Dean was having trouble focusing he knew who was in front of him. Then the second man entered, larger than the first and darker, that man Castiel knew. Uriel. Which meant the other man was also from the Centre, the size and shape of him could only have been one person. Azazel. He watched as Uriel wrapped his arms around Dean’s body, who was struggling to no avail, as Azazel came forward and placed a black bag over his head. Much to Dean’s credit he struggled against the restraints, but his fight was dashed as the image of a tazer gun entered the picture and shocked Dean’s body.

Castiel released a pitched whimper at watching the man he loves convulse in pain while the electric current, Castiel knew himself so well, ricocheted down his muscles and made him limp. The tazer zapped the fight out of his body. He watched as Uriel reached down and began to drag Dean’s body towards the back of the now open van, Castiel’s shoes upon Dean’s feet scrapped off in the movement leaving his feet bare. The door of the van was then slammed closed and the two men got into the car and sped away.

The blank screen left the parking lot empty and peaceful in the morning sun; The pavement heating with the coming warm day. The image left behind showed no signs of what he had just watched. Except for a pair of lost shoes scattered upon the pavement.

The screen stilled with time as Charlie cut the image and returned to the live feed from the parking lot showing the rush of people moving around the area. It took only a split second for Castiel’s body to respond to its soul need to protect the man that had vanished. He whipped around and stormed out of the small office leaving Jo’s voice shouting for him trailing behind as he dashed towards the motel room he’d been sleeping in only 30 minutes prior.

Once he arrived he swung the door open aggressively, the hinges creaking in protest at the abuse and the door handle slamming into the wall, leaving a dent and chipping the paint. The smell of their love making still softly wafted up from the crumpled bed sheets while Castiel jammed clothing into the duffle bag abandoned where Dean had left it. Spotting the impala keys on his way out by the motel room window, he swiped them and quickly walked towards the car parked in front of the room. Without stopping his bad shoulder checked Sam as he passed him causing Castiel to suck in air between his teeth at the spark of pain. His focus was on Dean and nothing else. Upon reaching the car he opened it and threw the bad into the seat while getting behind the wheel. From around him he could hear the shouts of people moving and others calling his name. Benny came into view and grabbed the hood of the car while Sam came up beside the driver’s side and knocked on the window while trying to open the locked door.

“Open up Cas,” he sternly requested.

Ignoring him Castiel placed the keys in the ignition and turned the car over listening to roar of the engine that was simultaneously associated with the beautiful man he had had in his arms only hours before.

“Castiel!” Sam roared.

From the hood came the banging of Benny’s fist upon the black silk body, “He wouldn’t want to you doing this alone Brother. Stop the car.”

Not knowing what to do, especially as Jo appeared at the passenger window with a metal contraption that she was forcing into the window in an attempt to unlock the door. While in the rear view mirror he could see Benny’s truck blocking his path out, Charlie’s red hair peeking from the edges of the higher windows. Castiel began to panic as the feeling of claustrophobia reached his sense. He needed to get to Dean, now.

Knocking once more Sam grabbed Castiel’s attention, “Stop the car Cas, we need a plan and I can’t, we can’t let you go on your own. Not back there. Please Cas. For Dean. Please listen to us. - Trust us.”

Shaking with his eyes wide open he looked up into Sam’s gentle face, “But I- Sam I know what they are doing to him and I – It’s my fault.”

“Open the door Castiel,” came his calm voice.

From beside him he heard the click of the passenger door and felt the door whisk open as Jo reached in and turned the engine off.

“Please, we need to get him now,” he looked at Jo taking the keys away.

“I know hon, but we can’t let you go by yourself. We will get Dean, but this is also so much bigger than just Winchester. It’s for the other kids too.”

Nodding he quietly let Jo reach over and pull up the lock on the driver’s door which allowed Sam to reach in and unbuckle Castiel’s belt. He looked up at Sam’s face in front of him, the closeness allowing him to see the soft tan skin upon his cheekbones and the stubble that reminded him of Dean. Sam’s eyes turned to him and looked directly at Castiel, Sam’s eyes had dashes of green in them, the same green of Dean’s eyes. The realization made him tear up.

“We have to get him Sam,” he begged softly.

“I know Cas, but we have to stick to the plan. At least part of it. Come let’s get you into the truck with Benny and get the son-of-a-bitch.”

Taking a deep breath he gathered his fear, anger and love into a ball and smoothed it out upon his heart, allowing the strength and fire of it to go to sleep and be used as a pointed essence of power rather than the erratic pattern he had momentarily succumbed to moments before.

Following Sam out he got into the truck where Benny was already stationed, his Discovery Channel shirt on and hat in place. Once the door was closed behind him, Benny pulled forward and out of the parking lot as he followed an unlabeled black car in front of them.

“Let’s go get the bastards,” Benny grumbled into the silence between them.

The drive to the Centre was silent, tense and allowed Castiel to smooth his energy into pure controlled rage. They had taken everything from him because of their hatred. They had taken his innocence, his ability for pure joy, his hopes, his dreams, his freedom, his faith and his love. He would be damned if he allowed them to continue to take from him and from others. This was ending today.

As Benny pulled around the corner he could see the Centre come into view. The gates were pulled tightly across the area and the small building that housed the guard, Azazel, was within view. Beyond the gates and over the barbed wired fence he could see the edges of the roof of the compound and the undeserved cross standing tall upon where the chapel was stationed. He knew that a tree stood in the middle of the compound. The tree was where he had first gotten to know Samandriel, had begun to gently love him for his companionship; the branches of that tree hide beyond its roots the bunkhouses.

“Alright brother I’m going to give the Senator a call, just hang tight.”

Castile’s eyes dug their way into the car in front of them, watching as the lanky disgrace of a man stepped out to talk to Agent Cesar Cuevas in the front seat and shake his head, waving them away. He knew without hearing Ellen’s voice upon the phone, that they had just been denied entry. From the side window he saw Cesar display his badge and Azazel turn his back away from him, denying him even his attention.

“Back up the car,” Castiel growled.

“What?” Benny looked at him.

“Do as he says Lafitte,” Ellen’s voice agreed.

As they backed up so did the car. They each moved just enough to allow the unmarked government car that Senator Harvelle was currently in to tuck itself away from the gate and the road, allowing for Benny to aim the truck directly at the gate.

“Hang on Brother,” Benny warned as he shifted the gears and roared the engine taking off directly at the gates.

Castiel’s hands dug into the edge of the door and the seat as the impact jarred him forward. The loud scrapping crash of the metal bars once attached to the fence dragged across the front of the truck, releasing sparks into the surrounding air. The bang of metal upon metal told him that the plan had officially begun.

The truck roared forward to come to a screeching halt in front of the Center doors. Before the truck could completely stop Castiel was out of the vehicle. His feet danced upon the moving ground beneath him and continued forward into the compound. The doors he had seen last in the dark were closed tight upon his arrival as the sound of other cars came screeching into the open entrance parkway of the Centre, carrying the tactical squad hired by the Ellen. Agent Jesse came dashing forward with a government issued battering ram, swinging it fully backwards before slamming it into the metal enforced door. The thud left a dent, but did not open the door, with one more great swing backwards and release of a grunt from the effort, Agent Jesse Cuevas slammed the ram into the doors and bashed it open to allow Castiel and the rest of the operative team to enter the compound. Castiel did not wait to receive his orders; his only concern was finding Dean and getting the rest of the people trapped out of the compound.

From behind him Sam, Jo, Agent Jesse and Cesar Cuevas followed his lead. Castiel’s eyes were upon the open garden area now bright with colours and newly grown vegetables. His feet stomped into the ground below him, leaving heavy prints of Dean’s combat boots in the soil. He could feel the soft wind of summer upon his face and in his hair as his eyes flamed with purposed rage towards the girls’ bunk.

“Open them,” Castiel sternly pointed at both bunkhouse doors.

Form behind him came the rush of people instructed to evacuate the back of the compound. He felt the rush of their bodies lining up behind him and dashing to the corresponding bunk beside them. The Agents both bellowed out to the members inside of the rooms to back up from the doors as they swung a small battering ram at the doors. The loud crack that radiated off the broken wood of the doors’ frame sent shards of wood flying outwards. Agent Jesse didn’t waist a single moment as he barged into the room.

“FBI. FBI. We are here to evacuate you leave everything behind and follow!”

Castiel forced his way into the room looking around frantically a sign of any of his friends he’d made over those months within the compound. Suddenly out of nowhere came the mad rush of curly brown hair.

“CLARENCE!” Meg crashed into his chest knocking him back against the flimsy wood walls of the bunkroom.

Grabbing her shoulders he pushed her away in order to see her face, releasing a rush of momentary relief, ‘She survived.’

“Meg,” he smiled warily down at her pulling her tight against his chest while looking around the room. None of the faces looked familiar.

“Have you seen anyone new come in here? Another man perhaps? Dark blonde hair, green eyes?” he urged.

As she shook her head his attention was pulled back to the outside where he could see young men dashing out to where a number of officers were lined up to evacuate them out the side gate as originally planned.

A panicked chill went down his spine, ‘Where was Dean?

In a trance he walked outside to go into the boys’ bunk. As he walked in through the doorframe, the door smashed on the floor, he could see Agent Cesar talking to two young men unwilling to move as they yelled and pointed at a figure on the far lower bunk.

“Are you fucked?! We’re not leaving ze behind just so you can go to sleep at night after calling our shit pile of a government and tell them you succeeded.”

“I understand, but we are here to free him and nothing else.”

“Ze. Not he,” came the soft voice of the other.

Dean’s boots upon Castiel’s feet clunked against the wood floor promoting all three heads to turn towards him; the young men’s eyes widened in shock at his presence.

“Castiel?” Alan softly questioned as Andrew bulldozed forward to hug him.

“Oh My God, Novak! Where the hell have you been? We thought you were dead,” Castiel could feel the gush of exasperated air upon the crook of his neck as Andrew released him to look back at his face, tears peeked over the man’s eyes.

“It’s a long story for another day, first we need to leave. Now.”

Andrew looked back towards the bunk where Castiel could see a pair of bare feet sticking over the edge of a bunked mattress. Standing in front of the bed still staring at him in awe was the gentle face of Alan. From the bed crouched Cesar.

“Cas, you’re going to have to get out of here, take the guys and go to the designated area out of the side gate,” grunting Cesar’s attention fell once more upon the bed.

Moving forward, Castiel’s feet dragged once more against the grains of the wood flooring chipped and worn down by years feet passing through. As he drew near he noticed the image of a young man about Samandriel’s age. He was crying as he looked up at his restrained wrists, shackled within iron cuffs chained around the bed. He was completely bound to the bedposts of the bunk beds. From the side he could see Cesar trying to shimmy the metal frame away while Alan held the top bunk up a little. As he moved forward he saw Andrew follow suit to place himself where he was just moments before, also holding the weight of the empty bunk above.

“Jesus, look boys you’re all going to get out of here while I help – sorry hon didn’t ask your name,” Cesar smiled softly down at the boy below. 

Gulping the young boy’s dark eyes quickly dashed towards Andrew and Alan in panic, before a comforting nod from Alan encouraged them to say their name, “My name is Johann, but I pre-prefer Hannah.”

Cesar smile widened as he nodded his recognition, “Well Hannah, my name is Cesar and that kid over there is Castiel. He used to be here too you know and right now what’s going to happen is all three of these boys are going to lift this bed up with me. When they do that and you see a gap right here where the screw is – which I’ll pull out- I want you to slide the chains out from both sides. Comprende, chiquita?”

All Hannah could muster was a little nod of affirmation.

“All right, on the count of three – One. Two. Three!” Castiel rushed forward to lift the bed up as all four of them lifted while Cesar ripped the loose screw away and Hannah quickly dashed the chain through the opening, freeing themselves from the metal barrier that had kept Ze away from freedom.

Cesar immediately waited for Hannah to jump out of the bed before all of them dropped the bed, releasing a loud bang as the bed fell down onto the one below. Castiel huffed and looked once more at the two other young men standing wondering what to do next. He still wasn’t sure where everyone he remembered was, but he knew that while all of the members in the bunks were free his main concern now was finding Dean.

Grabbing Andrew he asked, “Have you seen anyone new in the compound? Someone with blonde hair, about this high – name’s Dean?”

Shaking his head Andrew turned to look at Alan, prompting Castiel to follow his gaze. No one knew what to say.

Not wanting to wait any longer Cesar moved towards the door once more ushering for them to follow, from over his shoulder he could see Sam and Benny dash across the field towards them.

“Dean’s not here!” Sam yelled.

Castiel’s momentarily mellowed burning rage spiked with panic. ‘If he wasn’t here, where was he?’ His eyes dashed around the small room as Cesar grabbed his arm and dragged him out of the compound. All around him came the yells of the operatives with them. As he followed Cesar out the man pushed Castiel’s stunned body into Sam’s arms who forced him forward to the side gate where he could here the sounds of ambulances. Amongst the sound came the noise of yelling angry men and one very angry woman. But he wasn’t done. Dean was somewhere. They had Dean. Surely someone amongst the panic knew where he was.

As his eyes scanned the chaotic scene before him, he spotted a line of the center administration staff standing in the entry loop of the parking lot where he had abandoned the truck just moments before.

Without thinking he shook Sam off of his shoulders and dashed a balding man sneering at the crowd, barking distasteful ill-tempered words of God at those trying to free the young people from their grasps.

Without much thought Castiel’s rage fully took over as he ran at the man and slammed him up against the police car behind him.

“Where is he?” he sneered

Zachariah spat in his face, “You! You filthy heathen! You damned all of them to Hell right with alon,”

“WHERE IS HE!?” Castiel slammed him once more, the movement causing Zachariah’s head to hit the car. No one stood in Castiel’s way or objected.

“God will punish you for your sins. You Sodomite. You pillow bitter your fucking Faggot!”

Righteous fury took over Castiel’s mind at the foul words thrown at him and the incorrect accusations of God. He would not allow another soul to bring him down to their level, to drag his faith through mud and wrap it in pain and anger.

“God, is utterly indifferent to sexual orientation. So I suggest you stop hiding your misguided hatred and bigotry behind his name. Now, Where is Dean Winchester?” his grip strengthened further pulling the man’s shirt and tie tight around his throat.

At the patrol car next to them came the deep chuckle of another staff member, “You ain’t never going to find him.”

Casteil’s eyes shot to him as he slammed Zachariah’s body once more against the car, stepping aside to allow the FBI to handle him into the backseat. With fire in his bones he prowled his way over to the hunched form of the gatekeeper sitting on the concrete.

“Where is he?” he growled, the sound vibrating form his chest.

“I guarantee it’s too late now. Even if you did find him, where we stuck him, he ain’t likely to have any air now,” yellow-jaundiced eyes sparkled up at him with malicious glee.

Diving forward he ripped his air back and forced the man to stare him straight in the face, “Tell me where he is!”

Grinning Azazel just laughed once more, “The darkness has him now, Angel.”

With wide eyes he knew exactly where Dean was and if they didn’t work fast, Dean very well could become one with the darkness never to rise again.

As he released the man chuckling below him back to the concrete, he looked up to find Sam watching him and swirled around to look towards the open gate, where blue and red lights danced along the worn iron gate. Over the wall lined with barbwire, past the meadow and through a forest peeked an old abandoned building, the roof caved in and rotten.

With his eyes filling with tears and the cold reality of where Dean was, his internal fire of rage became doused with cold fear. He looked at Sam and clearly stated what they both already knew.

“Dean’s at the Halfway House.”

Chapter Text

As the shivers set into his bones, the fire of rage and love moved his feet. He found himself dashing through the officers scattering the grounds of the Centre, dancing from side to side as he directed himself towards the open gate. At the gate he pushed through the confused faces of both the Cuevas Agents, as Sam’s voice yelled at him from behind, however it lost its urgency amongst the blockade of bodies and quarantined chaos that came from the raid.

He heard the shout of Ellen from far beyond asking Sam where he was going and to drag him back, but absolutely nothing could have stopped him from running towards the House to save Dean.

The grasses of the field between the barbwire fence and the forest swayed in the oncoming storm, dark clouds hazed the sunlight out of focus and the honey wheat grasses became painted in a shadowed blue grey. Each grass became caught upon the fabric of his jeans, tugging him back from the forest, as if nature itself was warning him of what would be found beyond its edge into the borders. Cautioning him of the man made horrors rotting just through the jagged trees.

The cooling air clawed at his throat and made him huff looking for warmth. His breath puffed out in front of his eyes as his feet began to pick up in pace. The dread set into his soul with the worries that his love was somewhere within the darkness and slipping away from him. From the corner of his eyes he saw a flock of dark birds dash in front of him causing him to sharply stop at the forest’s edge, only an arm’s reach away. Panting in panic he watched as the birds, as nature, tried to block his path. Yet he had little time to spare as raindrops began to fall upon his head. Franticly he looked on as the birds began to circle violently around him ushering him away, their wings never touching him, but the warning still there. As his eyes dashed back and forth he felt the hair on the back of his neck begin to stand as if electricity had suddenly zipped through his spine. Someone or something was looking directly at him.

Slowly he turned around and saw a tall woman in an old dress with matted stains from the earth. Her hair limp clawed at her face from the wind and became tangled in front of a face. Her eyes were unseen behind the dirty strands of hair, yet so clearly focused upon him.

“Who are you?” he yelled amongst the squawks of ravens.

In a slow jittery move, the woman began to walk towards him, her back leg dragging just slightly behind the front. The grasses were pushed down into the earth with each footfall. The birds dashed out to deter her movements, but no talons, or beak would stop her. His eyes widened as she came closer and closer, accompanying his rising panic at the feeling of more eyes upon him. As he looked back and forth from each side and even behind him back to the forest line, he saw the added company of further people; children and adults. All had older clothing rotting upon their forms. Some had hair clinging to their scalp, others either were missing it all together from past sheers, but most it was from missing pieces of skin and exposed bone. Limbs were notably absent from a few of the young men, however the absence was accompanied with dried blood on the sleeves of old yellow stained dress shirts. A little girl and boy held hands, as they stared at him from the forest line, their skin was greyed wit death and sunken while their mouths were accompanied with weeping sores from neglect along their edges and their eye sockets empty.

His breath stopped as the birds suddenly became quiet when they dashed up towards the sky and cleared the way for him. Yet their evacuation was escorted with the sharp chill of the presence of the woman in the ratty dress directly behind him. Her hand touched his shoulder, with cold and boney fingers. The touch made his skin cringe back into his bones and his teeth clench from the cold while his breath stalled in its place when his ears hummed with silence. Not even the rising wind could be heard. Scrunching his eyes closed to the horrors around him he gathered his remaining determination as his courage waned and turned to face the woman.

As he stood before her, with his eyes still closed, he could smell the putrid smell of rotting flesh, a smell he knew faintly from the cold of the elevator shaft with Inais’ own corpse. But the difference was the added combination of new earth and sweet rain. He knew that he needed to open his eyes. With a final brush of strength he quickly he opened his eyes and came face to face with the woman before him.

Her hair was dark with rot and blood, tangled on one side and missing where her head had been pushed in by what he could only imagine was the cause of her death. Blood stained her decomposing flesh, and was accompanied by a large slash along one eye. The eye itself still sat within, but was clearly sliced open, the grey liquid oozing out. But it was not the state of her face but rather the increasing sound of gurgling coming from an open pit where her jaw should have been. She had no teeth and all that remained were fragments of old dried tendons where her jaw had once been able to open and close. Her mouth was no longer there just openness. Terror fully and completely took over Castiel’s soul.

People often think that within initial terror, the flight or fight instinct demands attention. But that’s a lie. At first, trying to flee or aggressively fight back are not your first instincts, your first reaction is nothing. Castiel’s feet were frozen in place, his brain silent in disbelief, his skin chilled with rejection, and his stomach was uncertain whether it needed evacuate. Within, his heart sped up so quickly that his beats could be mistaken for one. His breath was violently stuck in between his lungs and throat, just beyond his vocal cords. Should he yell in terror or ask for help? His eyes perhaps were the only things that did something, as tears unknowingly began to slowly fall down his cheeks.

Her hand tightened forcing boney fingers into his skin as he stood before her. When he did not respond she began to scream in front of him. The sound was high pitched and brought agony upon his eardrums, causing a sudden start of his instinct’s decision.

He ran.

Tripping on his feet he ran into the forest, leaving the others standing within the field. Castiel fought to find his footing upon the soil, watching as the ground briefly and almost rushed up to him. As he righted himself away from the sound screeching at him in the field he saw the children at the edge of the forest move to the side causing him to look down at them briefly before slamming his recovered shoulder into a tree trunk, setting him back onto a path towards the House.

In his peripheral he saw the presence of others around the edges of the trees, a young man reached for him as he ran forward, trying to stop him or grab him he wasn’t sure. Amongst the decay of the forest he could make out a cross peaking through the brush, with a few fallen blocks of carved wood; a graveyard. His feet began to stutter in place and stall as he searched for an answer or salvation within the rumbling chaos reaching for him. From beyond the overgrowth he could make out the brick walls of the Halfway House calling him and forcing him the start running once more.

Without knowing what else to do he began to pray, with each fall of his feet running and tripping along the darkened path, surrounded by the spirits of those left and damaged behind he prayed, “HeavenlyFather, allow Your Son Jesus to come now with the Holy Spirit, the Blessed Virgin Mary, the holy angels and the saints to protect me from all harm and to keep all evil spirits from taking reven-”

Castiel’s words faltered as a body dropped with a halted snap before him from an arched tree just in front of the forest’s exit. With wide eyes he stared up at the young man hanging above him, the body swung back and forth and circled above him in the rising winds of the on-coming storm. His clothing were new, his pants missing along with one running shoe. His feet were bleeding and broken as noticeable deep burns vined up his thighs and left a noticeable lightening strike mark upon his skin. As Castiel looked up at him, tears still streaking down his face in horror, he looked up into the soft face before him, blinking down at him, looking at him. The man’s eyes were a bright green, his skin darkened by the sunlight’s love and was now greying with fatality. His once lively and gentle mouth opened and began to screech with a terrible shrill of pain; his teeth were missing from his mouth.

“Castiel!” came a woman’s voice.  

Castiel jumped as his eyes fell back to the path before him and away from the man above. Beyond the forest line and before him stood Krissy and Dorothy. In seeing them he thought for a brief moment that Dorothy and Krissy had survived. That the memories of them bleeding and in pain was just a delirium that he had made. But, there they stood before him, just as drenched in blood, in the same clothing and with the same pain.

Unable to speak for shock, his name could be heard upon the wind once again as Krissy’s mouth opened amongst the wind.

“Castiel!”

Darting his eyes around him, he could see rows upon rows of entities standing, and watching him. He knew who they were. These were the others that had come before him. The others that had been targeted, abandoned, abused and forgotten. They were who he almost was. He had been close to becoming one of them. Hell, he was one of them until – until Dean.

Upon the air came the cry of his name once more, except this time it was not Dorothy calling his name, but rather Dean.

“Cas!” his name was yelled upon the air causing him to spin upon his feet trying to catch where Dean’s voice had traveled but his search was interrupted.

A crack was released into the air from the tree above while its trunk groaned and a sudden snap of the rope followed. When the body fell behind him he felt the whoosh of air upon his back and the thud of the body beneath his feet. As his eyes stared straight ahead at the two women standing beyond the tree line he was once more frozen with fear. Once more an entity stood behind him, but this time it did not touch him nor did it release a gargled scream of pain. All it did was softly groan his name.

“Cas.”

Shaking his head he realized whose voice it was, “No, no, no, please no.”

Upon his hand he felt a brush of cold air and a fragment of a feeling that would have been if the entity’s body were true. Quickly needing to see him before it disappeared Castiel turned around and faced the simulation of the man he was desperately in love with. When his eyes caught the image of Dean behind him, a weak gasp became tangled with a sob that was encased heavily in his chest and tapping at the roof of his mouth.

Dean stood before him, eyes unfocused. He was half dressed with electrical burns still angry upon his flesh while blood painted his usually soft pink lips a brilliant red. His face was bruised and his head showed signs of a gash upon his temple. Castiel’s eyes danced down his arms to see signs of a struggle still found on his shirt where the cloth had ripped and threads were trying to stitch it back together. The bruises upon his wrists dragged Castiel’s eyes down to the broken nails caked in blood; an injury only found when someone had been trying to dig. Dean’s thighs were marked with a similar pattern to his own and his feet; one was covered while the other was bare and dirty with coal dust.

Castiel reached forward trying to take Dean’s broken hands into his own, yet there nothing he could hold. The image so clear and solid before him was nothing more than a fragmentation of light and shadows. Dean’s eyes were still impossibly bright with love and displayed a gentle tenderness that had bathed him over the past number of month since he’d left the house behind him. He stood frozen in time looking at him, and for the briefest of moments he thought if Dean is dead, then let him stay here with him and be taken by the demons. Slowly he watched as Dean quietly shook his head at him and glanced downwards to Cas’ hand. As Castiel followed Dean’s eyes he saw a small hand being placed within his own.

With a sudden tug his hand was caught and he was being pulled back to the Halfway House. Reacting to the sudden movement that pulled him away from Dean, he noticed the little girl trying to pull him to the path once more. She wore a dirty hospital gown with little white socks, the laces on top blackened with mold. Her head whipped around to beckon him forward, thus allowing him a startled moment to see the empty sockets of her eyes, brunt around their edges. She pulled sharply at his hand and dragged him further away from Dean, yet in a panic he turned his attention back to where Dean was, but he was too late. He was gone. In fact, as he stood on the pathway of the forest he noticed that he was completely alone except for the little girl guiding him back to the horrors that held Dean captured. Whether Dean was alive or not Castiel need to find him and finish what had started only a year before.

Chapter Text

The Halfway House showed true signs of abandonment. The pillars were crumbling and collapsing into themselves glaringly showing signs of what was and what the House had become. The windows were boarded up on the main floor nevertheless, small signs of time could be seen where local youths had pulled them aside looking for their own thrill within the walls. Flying amongst the bushes lining the property, there was bright yellow police tape stuck their in sickly snapping branches; a contrast of bright colour against the browning grey of the property’s exterior. The little girl continued to tug at Castiel’s hand, cooling them further. When the wind blew upon them both, it pulled at her hair hiding and exposing what the Halfway House had done to her long ago; the form the house had trapped her in for eternity. Castiel hurried to keep up with her, jumping the steps two at a time, but he was stopped in his tracks part of the way up to the top when she dropped his hand and turned to look down at him, the eerie reality that even without eyes she saw him. Whatever made her drop his hand and pause to look at him, made him falter in his resolve.

What was he going to find beyond the door?’he thought, slowly ascending the final step to stand before it.

The little girl slowly walked forward, paused for a small fraction of time to look back at him and disappeared. Faltering he stared at where she had vanished, wondering what he was supposed to do next. The wind that had so violently been chasing him stopped. The girl, it seemed, took the storm with her. As his eyes focused upon the plywood left against the door, he saw the darkness within peeking from the edges of the board.  He stepped forward to investigate when Castiel noted that the police had just placed the board back against the door; it wasn’t bolted down. It was simply there to deter mischief in the decaying crime scene with no answers.

The boards below his feet croaked and groaned in protest to his weight, yet it stayed strong despite years of associated abuse. Castiel slid the board back, pushing it just enough to allow him to duck into the already open pathway behind. When he stepped forward he was hit with a faint feeling that something was wrong. From one blink of his eyes to the next the decay disappeared and was replaced by a warm entrance; the floor was shined to perfection, the drapery still ironed crisply upon the windows and the staircase that led upstairs still had the green vined pattern carpet that cascaded down the stairs. When his eyes finally blinked once again, the truth returned. There was nothing perfect, crisp, or comforting about the deterioration of the house, the years had absorbed the evil into its bricks and mortar. The one lonely sign that the house had once held children was a small moldy wooden toy truck that sat at the base of the stairs.

Slowly he walked forward creeping into the space with reluctance and a sensation that he was trespassing into its secrets. He took only a few steps beyond the entrance towards the kitchen when he heard someone upstairs. The sound of a sniffling child, and then another child shushing them to stay quiet reached Castiel’s ears. Thinking it might be the little girl that had helped him find his way, he started up the stair, being careful not to step where the wood bowed inwards. At the bend of the stairs that led to the upper floor lined with rooms, sat a little boy with his face in his hands and a little girl leaning close to him whispering at him to be quiet. Their feet were dirty and bare, but their clean clothes were stained with blood on one side where their shoulders touched, dripping into the white smock of their hospital gowns. Slowly Castiel leaned down to check on them, he knew they were not alive, but he couldn’t just walk past and forget them. When he was able to see why their faces were so close he suddenly wished that he had just continued on his way. Upon each of their cheeks were a tight line of stitches connecting their faces together and the shoulders as well. The stitches ran down their arms and forced them to hold hands. With revulsion he looked upon each child as they continued to ignore him, not noticing him kneeling before him with his eyes wide in shock. Why the Doctors before had done this to these children he had no idea, but he knew that this is what had killed them. With revolt to the reality of the situation he had entered, he backed away and walked back just enough to almost loose his footing upon the stair. The jolt of almost falling brought his focus back into his own body, he needed to stay sharp. He couldn’t get distracted.

Gasping for air he looked back up and down the hall noticing how the shadows played with the faint light leaking in from outside. In the far corner he could see a woman dragging herself down the hall, her jaw pried open by a piece of metal and locked behind her ears. He legs hung loose behind her where he hips and been violently broken in hopes of rehabilitation. A tall man walked listlessly out of a room and into another, going through each as if looking for something or someone. A few children dashed down the halls, sickly and thin, but smiling back at each other all the same; playing in their deaths and exuberating a sad commitment to an ingrained sense of play.

As he stared at the scene before him, the hair on the back of his neck stood up and his shoulders tightened with worry. Someone was watching him; waiting for him.

Stepping into the hall fully he looked down, and noticed a young man standing at the end of the hall, his build slight in stature. The young man walked towards him while another entity at his side took his hand into their own. Looking over he saw the beautiful strong face of Dorothy, blood still splattered her face and from a close view he could see that her wrists had been slashed open. Beyond her shoulder stood Krissy and Gilda. He felt the stretch of his eyes as they widened in shock and his breathing stalled for a second. Gilda shouldn’t be here. She should be with the other girls. Why was she here?

“Gilda? Wha- Why are you here? Why- why are you all still here?” he asked them looking from each face, thankful that neither of them had suffered the same disfigurements of the others within. That their end, while unwarranted, had been quick.

Krissy walked forward and reached up to stroke her had lightly against his cheek, leaving only a passing chill as a mirage of touch upon his skin. Her eyes were sad as she opened her mouth trying to talk, yet only a gurgle exited. Her tongue was missing. What had she done to deserve that? Yet, his attention was brought back to their faces as he realized that all of their eyes were focused on another behind him.

Turning his feet first so as not to loose sight of them because he could not trust that his reality wouldn’t shift again. However, he had to turn his head in order to see what they were looking at. Focusing on the young man that had been walking towards him, now directly in front of him, he realized that the man was none other than Alfie.

Gasping for air he could feel tears falling down his face once more as he processed his emotions upon seeing him once more. Castiel’s hand rose to touch him, but stopped short of solidification before returning to his own lips, as he tried to make sure to his pained shock and fragmented whines of protest stayed in his chest. Samandriel smiled at him, once more showing him his mouth, where his teeth and tongue had been removed. The gash on his head still poured from an open wound that would never close, and never heal.

Without warning a sharp shriek bounced down the hall and was accompanied by the sound of a drill. With a start he realized that all of the entities in the house were already damaged, that there was no sense of action or further disfigurement that could be done to them, yet someone was hurting.

Without much thought he ran down the hall to the sound, not caring that he should be running from it not towards it. He needed to protect Dean, and as far as he knew the only things in the house that could be harmed further were Dean and himself. There was nothing more that Alistair could do to him that would hurt more than harming Dean further or by loosing Dean all together.

The hall groaned when he dashed over the broken planks on the hallway floors, warning him as he neared the sound. The walls were dark and stained, where water had leaked through the roof destroying the skeletal structure of the house. Broken sockets swung above his head with a dangling lights reminding him that life once filled the house. A life of horrors, but a life that still had breath. In the far corner of the hall some of the rooms had caved in, leaving large dark spaces. His bones shivered as his skin crawled as he kept walking towards the sound. But he stopped as he saw a large archway where darkness dragged its way down into nothing. From the side of his tunneled vision he saw Alfie walk past him and over to the archway, looking down and then back up at him. Their eyes locked for a brief moment. It was Alfie’s eyes gesturing casting downwards that he understood what his body had already figured out; what the ache in his shoulder told him, and what the phantom sting in his head and burns on his back retained. That void was the elevator. His eyes locked on to Alfie’s blue eyes, dulled with the loss of a future.

“NO!” rang a man’s voice.

Castiel sharply inhaled as the shriek of protest electrified the silence in the darkness and forced his mind to remember why he had ventured so far into the house once more. He brought his attention back the sound of drilling whirling in the oncoming night of the hallway a few doors down. He looked back to where Alfie had been and as he looked at him Alfie began to quickly and sharply move to stand directly in front of him his eyes locked with Castiel’s. Castiel froze in terror to the realities of what he was seeing; it was something he already knew existed within, yet so much time had passed. At with the constant reoccurring terror and known surprise time presented its biggest weakness, it can lull the mind into a false sense of security. Alfie stood with his nose an inch away from Castiel’s own, his mouth opened as he anticipated a desire for sound.

Groaning in protest to the silence that had caged him in the house, Alfie pushed his desired sound out  to call Castiel to action, “Run.”

Without further thought Castiel felt his feet and muscles snap out of their still places and jog to the room that imprisoned Dean. To where he believed he would find him and save him. However as he rounded the wall and came through the doorway all he saw were the memories of pain etched into the plaster of the walls.

His eyes were not sure of what they were seeing. His eyes told him that all there was were empty broken bedframes, a broken window and peeling paint. But his mind was showing him images of young men strapped to those beds, screaming and withering in protest, trying to break the straps that held them in place. His mind saw the image of a little girl being held down in a wooden chair as her teeth were extracted from her mouth, the clink of teeth sounding amongst the screams and rattling of chains. From one side of the room a tall naked man walked directly past him, his tattered dress shirt hung from his starved frame. Castiel noticed that a steady stream of blood came from one eye as he looked onwards, unblinking and unfocused. The tall entite’s mouth hung open allowing drool to drip over his lips. However, Castiel’s mind was most focused on the bloody welts that ran over his back and the burns that festered on his thighs and his exposed castrated genitals. Castiel recognized those scares and he knew exactly who gave them to him. As the man walked past him and out into the hall Castiel stepped back so as to avoid the nurse that ran after him. Yet the image of the staff and even the patients that walked to and from the room passed right through him. They were fragments of time, nothing more. In the far corner there were two erected medical dividers, a tall man walked back and forth as he talked to the patient beyond the screen. It was from there that he heard the shrill of the drill once more.

Quickly he walked to the dividers, not knowing what he was going to do until he found himself forcefully moving the dividers out of the way and coming face to face with the tall lanky man he never wished to see again. The man looked back at him and smiled, before returning to the patient strapped to the bed.

“You’re just in time Mr. Novak,” Alastair replied, his words dripping though his ears like a wet rot.

Castiel looked down at the table to find a familiar face. Yet it was not Dean’s that he saw, but his own. He watched in horror as he saw his own blue eyes vacantly looking up at him. He saw the way his mouth opened slightly in pain and dulled to its motor senses. Although his body was not tensed Castiel could see the pain that was coursing through his mirror’s body by the way his feet pointed directly outwards and his finger arched up. He watched as Alastair kept talking to him, bring the drill closer to his mirror’s face once more.

“Now Mr. Novak, what we have here is our final treatment. The problem with the sodomites, is that they are often unable to resist their unnatural sickness and so when all other treatments fail, or when it is most highly recommended by a trained physician, we prescribe a lobotomy. What you are about to witness is a true cure. First, what we must do is place this small pin into the eye socket like so,”

Castiel’s stomach turned as he watched Alastair place the metal drill bit into his mirror’s eye and push. A suction sound caught his ears and forced a guttural stutter of air to pass over his vocal cords. He could not restrain the horror of what he was seeing. Soon blood began to pool outwards as Alastair hit bone and then jammed the instrument further inwards the mirror’s brain.

“… and then we turn the drill on,” the shrill of the drill filled the room once more.

Castiel curled in on himself and vomited on the floor. His mind became unfocused and his center of gravity shifted forward. He was loosing consciousness. His breathing at some point had stopped completely. It was not because he had realized that all these horrors had happened, but rather that he knew fully that this was what was going to happen to him if Dean had not found him in time before. He would have been stuck for eternity in the horrors of the Halfway House.

Stumbling out of the screened room he crashed into the metal divider, causing the loud bang to jolt his mind to focus upon the real danger at hand. The startling sound vanquished the screened image of residue horror and only left the decayed empty room behind. There were no patients only broken beds, and windows. However, his mind could not ignore the chains that sat empty on the headboards, nor the broken wooden chair in the far, or the crumpled fabric of a long gone shirt. His feet stumbled on and over themselves as he tried to run from the room. The remaining items were all the signs of the a truth of the images he had just witness, which meant that Alastair was still in the room with him as well.

He froze in place as watched the door crash against the old wood frame and blocking him from the hallway. Rapidly he turned around trying to find something to defend himself with, or even a possibly a way out. As he turned in the dark, he heard a song he had not dared to sing since he last stepped foot in the house.

Blue Skies, smilin’ at me. Nothin’ but blue skies do I see. Bluebirds singin’ a song, nothin’ but bluebirds all day long,” Alistair’s silk voice snarled the song at him from every corner of the room.

Oh sweet sweet Castiel. My sweet Cas. Dean’s poor Angel. I told you to be a good boy and yet here we are. Your filth and rotten thoughts have brought all this pain upon you. I never wanted to hurt you, but you just wouldn’t repent.”

Castiel’s eyes jerked from side to side looking for any sign of Alastair, trying to prepare himself for a fight he could not win.

Tell me, did it feel good when you sodomized that disgusting excuse of a man? Did you like the way he grabbed your arms and held you tight?” his voice sneered the memories back at him.

“You know nothing of what Dean and I have,” his fist tightened as his eyes focused in the dark and was able to see the minor gaps of shadow in the darkness.

Tsk. It’s okay Castiel. I can still save you, but Dean- Well Dean made his choice.”

Castiel stopped and stood still as he realized what Alastair had just told him. ‘No it couldn’t be. Dean was alive. He – He. No.’  

“Stop filling my heads with lies! All You and YOUR kind have ever done is bring horror, shame and Death upon people, young people – CHILDREN. NO More! I will not allow you to touch or harm another for the sake of your misguided faith!”

Suddenly he spotted the darker shadow he was looking for; A hole in the floor, his escape. He did not know where it opened to, but anything was better than remaining with Alastair’s rotting form slinking towards him. With his balance returned and his resolve reestablished he dashed across the floor and jumped upon the broken plank of wood that stuck out over nothing. The snap decision for survival had him once again falling into the unknown.