Title: A Rain of Feathers - posted November 8, 2008
Author: Lacey McBain
Pairing: Dean/Castiel
Rating: NC-17
Word Count: ~7800
Summary: Sex pollen Angel!Porn with a plot. No, seriously.
Disclaimer: Supernatural belongs to Kripke and Co. I'm just playing. Spoilers up to 4.7, "It's the Great Pumpkin, Sam Winchester."

A Rain of Feathers

It wasn’t the unfamiliar motel room or even his own nakedness that gave Dean pause. He’d woken up before in strange rooms, alone or with strangers—men and women with warm bodies and willing mouths—and he’d never regretted any of it. Sometimes he just needed somebody to lose himself in, somebody who didn’t realize the apocalypse was around the corner and maybe this was their last booty call ever. Those were the best nights, really—he had nothing at all to lose, so he gave everything he had, and he’d never left anyone disappointed. In fact, he prided himself on that. Let it never be said that Dean Winchester didn’t know how to have a good time—even at the end of the world. Maybe especially then.

He rubbed a hand across his belly, felt the crusted stain of semen, and wiped his hand against the flowered bedspread. Usually, he remembered where he was and who he’d been fucking. Or at least by this time—10:03 by the glaring red numbers on the radio alarm—Sam would’ve come to roust him. He’d drag Dean’s hung-over ass back to their room, and feed him coffee and donuts while staring at him with eyes that were slightly disapproving and a lot envious. Poor Sammy—Dean didn’t know when the last time was that boy got laid, but he’d pretty much given up trying to hook him up with anyone. Dean, though, needed it on a semi-regular basis or he went a little stir-crazy. All work and no play tended to make Dean a frustrated boy, and Sam had learned to let him go have his fun, for which Dean was eternally grateful.

This time, though, everything was a blank. Dean shook his head to get the cobwebs out, but he could’ve felt a cool wind blow through the space between his ears. He had not a single clue as to where the last twenty-four hours had gone after they’d ridden into this dumpy little town in the corner of Arkansas. He didn’t feel the usual dull throb of too much Jack Daniels or the bitter aftertaste of lime and tequila. His mouth felt used—his lips were dry, and he didn’t detect the familiar carpeted tongue taste of the morning after a bender. His body was aching more than was normal even after an exuberant night—a pleasantly tired, tingling ache—but Dean just didn’t forget things like this. It wasn’t like him, and he didn’t like it one bit.

He threw back the covers and stood up, getting his first good look at the rest of the room.

“What the hell?”

He registered the broken lamp and its crumpled shade, the striped tie knotted around the bathroom knob, the mound of beige trench coat. Dean felt something sharp jab his foot, and he stepped back, thinking of broken glass and tetanus shots, but it was only a feather. A long black feather, its quill poking his flesh.

Dean practically threw himself across the room, pulling the heavy curtains open to let light leak into the room. What Dean had thought was a hazy pattern of brown and white carpet was a scattering of feathers strewn over the floor. Some black, some white, a very few that shone with an almost golden tone in the weak sunlight.

“Oh, God,” Dean said, feeling as if someone had thrown a glass of ice-water in his face. He sat on the edge of the bed and tried desperately to remember if the Bible said anything specific about the punishment for messing with an angel.


When Dean walked into the Denny’s beside the motel, the first thing he did was scan for Sam. Corner booth with no windows behind him, clear view of both exits, and Dean felt a particular pride that Sam followed the rules even when he wasn’t around. Dean made his way towards his brother, and didn’t miss the startled half-second of fear in Sam’s face, the darting glance towards the exit, eyes measuring the steps to get there, six long strides to escape.

“Coffee, please,” Dean said to the passing waitress as he slid into the booth, then fixed his eyes on Sam and added, “You gonna pull a runner, Sammy?”

Sam pursed his lips, that frustrated little boy look he always got when Dean read him spot-on, and sat up a little straighter, trying not to look at the door.


“’Cause it looks to me like you’re figuring on getting the hell out of Dodge in a hurry.”

The waitress set a full cup of coffee on the table, topped up Sam’s cup without asking. “You want anything else?”

“Pancakes and sausage,” Dean said, his eyes never leaving Sam’s.

“Got it.” The waitress stabbed at her notepad with the tip of her pen, ambled off on her squeaky shoes to give the order to the cook.

Dean reached across the table, mindful of the syrupy plate that held the scraps of Sam’s breakfast, and gripped his brother’s wrist. “What’s going on?”

Sam shifted uncomfortably, but didn’t break Dean’s hold. “How are you feeling?”

“Like I just had a lost weekend.”

“Do you feel like you want to—are you still having…um, urges?”

Dean glared at Sam, hating to see uncertainty in his brother’s eyes. “Urges? What the fuck is that supposed to mean?”

“What do you remember?”

“I’ve got nothing after we drove into this town and—” Dean tugged Sam closer and dropped his voice to a whisper. “And either I’ve started molesting chickens or somewhere there’s an angel with a lot less feathers.”

Sam just stared. “Feathers? Actual feathers?”

“They’re all over the room I woke up in.”

“He’s really got wings? Honestly?” Sam’s voice was reverential. “Have you seen—?”

“He’s a freakin’ angel, Sam. Wings, self-righteous attitude, the whole thing. And I think—I think I might’ve done something to him.” Dean really didn’t know if you could hurt an angel, but he knew something had happened in that room, and he needed to know what.

“Have you seen him since—”

“Since what, Sam? I don’t know what happened last night, or why you look like you’re ready to bolt at any minute. I’ve got a room full of feathers and no memory. What the hell did I do?”

“You really don’t remember?” Dean rolled his eyes, and Sam relented. “Okay, okay. You don’t remember. Castiel said you wouldn’t.”

“He said—where is he?”

“I don’t know.”


Twenty-four hours earlier

The sign said Merrimont, Arkansas, population 7453. They drove past shop fronts with window-box flowers and an ice-cream parlor that promised 32 flavors of wholesome homemade goodness. The local high school football team was on the field practicing, cheerleaders in cherry-red sweaters and short white skirts flipping pom-poms in the air.

“Jailbait,” Sam said when the Impala slowed to a crawl.

“School zone,” Dean replied. “Last thing we need is a ticket.”

“Yeah, I’m sure that’s your main concern.”

“Hey, the last place we were in, the hot cheerleader was an incestuous witch itching to unleash the evil dead on her sleepy little town, so excuse me if I think they’re worth checking out.”


“You remember the cheerleaders?” Sam said hopefully, stirring a packet full of sugar into his coffee.

Dean mumbled around a mouthful of sausage.


“Yeah. Well, no, not really. But they sound hot.”

“Eat your pancakes.”


After the high school drive-by ogling, they ended up at the Merrimont Library, an old brick building in the downtown square. Dean flipped through the current issues of Sports Illustrated and Popular Mechanics, while Sam scanned the local newspapers for clues.

“Why did Bobby send us here again?” Dean asked, his voice too loud in the quiet space, and the librarian glanced over at him with a resigned smile that suggested she’d pretty much given up trying to shush grown men who still seemed to get a kick out of twirling around on rolly chairs.

Sam’s voice was a low polite whisper. “Bobby’d heard from a bunch of hunters that there seems to be a lot of traffic in and out of this town.”

“What sort of traffic?”

“Herbs, hex bags, spell components that are hard to get. Pretty dark stuff, Bobby says.”

“You mean like eye of newt and all that crap?” Dean spun around on his chair and watched the ceiling twirl.

“It’s not crap, Dean. Herb lore goes back to pagan times, and some of the plants—if used in the right combinations—could cause terrible sickness in the community, even death.”

“But we’ve used stuff before—it’s not that hard to yank out of somebody’s garden.”

“Yeah, but you’re talking about things like monkshood, nightshade. Those are common enough. For dark magic, you need rarer herbs. Remember the hex bag our cheerleader had? It had goldthread in it—it was over-harvested in the 1800s, and is virtually extinct in North America. Hard to come by.”

Dean just stared. “Wow - it’s amazing you’ve ever gotten laid.”

“Some women like smart guys.”

“Witches, apparently. So somebody’s growing these old-school plants and selling them to work hexes on people.”


Dean shook his head. “I hate witches.”

“Yeah, Dean, I know.”


“So we ran into a bunch of skeevy witches and they mind-whammied me or something. That it?”

Sam ran his hand through his hair. “Not exactly.”


It was just after dusk and Sam and Dean were hunched in the shadows at the back of Holly’s Herbs and Perennials.

“Are you sure she’s not just growing a great crop of weed in there?” Dean couldn’t tell one plant from another through the steamy windows of the greenhouse. He pushed his nose against the glass again. “Three miles out of town, brother’s the sheriff. Cozy little set-up if you ask me.”

“I told you. She’s got the regular stuff up front, but I’m pretty sure I spotted a door with a hex sign on it. That’s got to be where she’s keeping the hardcore stuff.”

“Tell me again why can’t we just torch the place? No plants, no hex bags.”

“It’s too dangerous. Some of those herbs have different properties when burned, and in combination like that? I have no idea what might happen.”

“So what’s the plan, plant boy? Can’t burn ‘em, can’t bury ‘em. Salt?”

“Only if you’re making a nice vinaigrette to serve with them.”

“Dude, you are so—”

“I’m not the one who just suggested salting vegetables.”

“Fine. Didn’t Bobby give you any idea of what to do?”

Sam paused grumpily and checked his cell phone. “He said he’d get back to me.”

“Great. Well, there’s no point us sitting here freezing our asses off waiting for Bobby to call. Didn’t you see a diner a ways back?”

Reluctantly, Sam followed him back to the Impala.


Dean pushed his plate away, and patted his stomach. “I did not suggest we salt the plants.”

“You did!”

“I don’t remember that.”

“You don’t remember anything!”

“Fine. So what did we do, Einstein? What great plan did Bobby come up with?”

Sam bit his lip. “Actually, it was your plan.”

Dean smiled at the waitress as she topped up his coffee. “Thanks. Could you bring me a piece of pie? Apple if you’ve got it.”

“Cheddar and ice-cream?”

“Oh, yes, ma’am.”

Sam just looked at him with disgust. “I swear we’ve got to get you checked for a tapeworm.”

“Just a healthy appetite, Sammy. So, tell me about my brilliant plan.”

“I didn’t say it was brilliant.”

“It was mine. What else could it be?”


“Whoa, Dean, where are you going?” Sam grabbed for the dashboard as the Impala suddenly did a 180 in the middle of the gravel road.

“I’ve got an idea.”

The car bounced off onto a side road, barely visible in the dark. Sam caught a quick flash of a sign that said “Glaser’s Field, 3 Miles” and a picture of an airplane.

“Airport? What are you—”

“Remember when we were driving out here? We kept seeing those crop-dusters? They’ve got to have that spray they use. That should do it, right?”

“If they’re spraying for weeds, yeah, I guess. If they’re spraying for bugs—”

The Impala hit a bump, and bounced Sam into Dean’s side. “Think positive, Sammy. We’ll grab a barrel of the stuff, drive it over to Holly’s Hex Factory and—”


“And hook it into her watering system.” Dean grinned with pleasure. “She’s got one of those overhead sprinkler deals. That should take care of all of them at once. I’m a freakin’ genius.”

In spite of himself, Sam laughed. “You do have your moments.”


“That’s an awesome plan,” Dean said, forking a piece of pie into his mouth.

Sam shook his head. “Yeah, if it had worked that way.”

“We ran into a snag?”

“You could say that, yeah.”


The system was hooked up, the barrel of herbicide sitting in the back of an old pickup they’d borrowed from the airstrip. A long hose that fed the sprinkler system had been shifted from the greenhouse’s water supply to the barrel. Dean was just tying off the last strip of duct tape on the hose, when suddenly the air was filled with the freight-train sound of wind and every pane of glass in the greenhouse shattered.

“Jesus!” Dean shouted, diving on top of Sam and rolling them both away from the explosion of glass. Shards scattered around them, on top of them, and Dean pulled his leather jacket up and out to protect his head, the back of his neck, and Sam.

“Was that the witch?” Sam said, rolling free of his brother’s grip and getting to his feet. Dean clutched at his ears, shaking his head, but Sam was pointing at an angry young woman standing in the centre of the shattered building, a blue flowering plant in her hands. She glared daggers in their direction.

“Not the witch,” Dean shouted, waving Sam back and reaching for the faucet that controlled the sprinklers and their newly acquired supply of herbicide. “It’s Castiel. He likes to make an entrance.”

“Who’s side is he on?” Sam asked, ducking to avoid a plastic tray that had been swept off one of the tables. The roaring wind crested again and this time the pickup’s windshield blew out too, side windows popping like watery soap bubbles.

“Castiel! Knock it off.” Angel or no angel, Dean was going to kill Castiel if he had to replace all the windows in the Impala. Inside the greenhouse they could hear the witch chanting something ancient, stripping leaves from the blue flowers she was holding, and then Dean’s hand was on the valve and the sprinkler system blazed to life, raining herbicide down on every living thing within the building’s steel frame.

The witch screamed—in frustration or pain, Dean didn’t know. He couldn’t stop thinking of that scene at the end of The Wizard of Oz where the witch had melted when the water hit her. He’d always thought it was a lame-ass ending. Everyone knew you couldn’t kill witches with water.

“Dean, look out!”

The witch was charging towards him, wet hair clinging to her face, her hands full of blue torn flowers. From somewhere in her pockets she withdrew a burlap bundle about the size of a child’s fist, crushed the flowers into the cloth and flung it into the air, her voice rising with the cadence of the wind. She spoke the last word, her hand reaching towards the sky, and the bundle erupted in a cerulean burst of fragrance and light, petals and pollen floating in the air like faint blue stars.


“So Poison Ivy doused us with some witched-up pot pourri?” Dean asked on the way back to the motel room. His mind drifted back to the other room full of feathers. He’d hung the Do Not Disturb sign on the door hoping that would keep the cleaning staff out for a while, but he hadn’t forgotten. He wondered where Castiel was. If he was all right. If he’d ever get an answer to what happened last night.

Sam just looked at him, clearly trying to figure out where Dean even knew the word pot pourri from. “Not us, Dean. Just you.”

“Me? But you were right there.”

“Castiel protected me. Now of the stuff touched me.”

“Well, why the hell did he let me get witch-whammied?”

The door to Room 12 opened in front of them, and Castiel stood there in what seemed like his usual white shirt and pants combo, minus the tie and the trench. Probably because they were still in the other room, and Dean felt heat rising in his cheeks as he looked at the angel.

“Perhaps you would be more comfortable if I finished the telling, Sam” Castiel said, and Dean could see Sam was red-faced too, awkwardly shuffling his feet the way he did when he didn’t know what to do. The only one of them who didn’t seem profoundly uncomfortable was the angel.

“I thought you didn’t know where he was.” Dean turned on his brother angrily.

“I wanted to talk to you first. Make sure you were okay.”

“I assured you Dean was fine. Otherwise I would not have left him,” Castiel said.

“I know. I just needed to see for myself, okay?” Sam stepped towards the door and Castiel turned, allowing him to pass. Dean started after him, but Castiel laid a hand on his arm, and Dean felt an echoing tingle in the handprint-shaped scar that covered his shoulder.

“Let us return to my room. We can speak privately there.”

“Your room?” Dean asked, allowing himself nonetheless to be turned from the door of room 12 and away from Sam.

“I thought it prudent to acquire an additional space yesterday evening given the circumstances.”

Dean stopped walking and stared at him. “I don’t remember what happened.”

“I am aware of that. I thought it best—”

“You thought it best? You did this to me?”

They had reached the door of room 23, the Do Not Disturb sign still hanging at a tilt. Castiel turned the knob and Dean supposed locks weren’t something angels had to worry about. He followed Castiel into the room, closing the door after him. He was surprised to see the bed was made, the floor free of feathers; Castiel’s coat lay neatly folded over one chair, the tie draped on top of it.

“There were feathers everywhere. Your clothes.”

“You did not imagine it, Dean,” Castiel said, as if able to read Dean’s thoughts.

“Something happened here last night. Something—something bad.” Dean looked around the tidy room with the peeling wallpaper, the neatly plumped pillows on the bed. “And you don’t want me to remember.”

“I believe you will be troubled by the experience. I wish to save you from that.”

“So you took my memory away?”

“No. The memories remain; I have merely veiled them for the moment.”

“Then unveil them.”

“Dean.” Castiel motioned for him to sit, but Dean was too full of anticipation, fear nipping at the corners of his mind like a pack of dogs. He stood at the window, watching shadows poke at the edges of the almost empty parking lot. The Impala, windows intact, sat halfway between this room and Sam’s.

“What happened last night?”

“I will tell you the rest of the story. Sam does not know the details, only that you were afflicted and are now yourself again.”

“Afflicted with what?”

“The witch cast a powerful hex against you and your brother.”

“And you protected Sam.”

“Had I been in a position to save you both, I would have.” Castiel looked and sounded sincere, and Dean sighed, trying to remember that Castiel wasn’t trying to make this more difficult. “However, we do not know what such a hex would do when combined with Sam’s special blood, and we could not take that chance.”

“But you knew what it would do to me?”

“Yes, I suspected.”

Dean turned from the window and stared at the angel’s resolute calm. “You need to give me my goddamn memories back right now.”

“I will tell you what happened. Then, if you still choose to have those memories unveiled, I will do so. But only after you are made fully aware.”

Dean swallowed, hating the sound of his options. Either he had to live with having done something awful and having no memory of it, or he had to face the memory of what he’d done.

“Damned if I do, damned if I don’t.”

Castiel simply looked puzzled, and Dean shook his head, and settled on the corner of one of the beds, the one he hadn’t woken up in.

“You might as well go ahead, Cas. I need to know.”


Dean saw the bundle explode in mid-air, felt pieces of flowers dusting his skin, his hair, his clothes. He turned to check on Sam and saw simply a shadow around him, a shadow with a man in a trenchcoat at its centre, and Dean realized with a sense of awe that Castiel was there, wings outspread, standing between Sam and the witch.

“Heh,” Dean laughed. “How do you like that witchy-poo? We got a bonafide angel on our side. There’s gonna be some smitin’ tonight.”

He took a step towards her, feeling slightly light-headed in the fragrant air. His nose tickled and he swiped at it, his skin tingling with silvery pollen. He blinked the flower dust out of his eyes, and reached towards the witch, intending to shank her with Ruby’s knife.


“Then you kissed her,” Castiel said in the same strangely calm voice he always used.

“I what?” Dean sat up and looked at the angel. “You’re telling me in the middle of a fight, I up and kissed the witch-ho that was trying to hex us?”

Castiel seemed to think through Dean’s sentence then nodded. “Yes.”

“Was she at least hot?” Dean couldn’t resist asking.

“I believe so, yes.”


The knife lay forgotten in his hand, and Dean kissed the witch with everything he had. His fingers laced through her wet dark hair, and he thought she smelled like rain clouds and flowers, her mouth red as a rose, and he couldn’t get enough of her taste, her smell, the promises of what lay beneath her clinging white top, her tight faded jeans.

“Seriously, Dean, what the fuck?” Sam’s voice came through the haze in his head like a bolt of lightning, and when Dean looked up the witch was disappearing around the shattered greenhouse, the taste of her still fresh on his lips.

“I—I don’t know,” Dean said, wondering if he’d knocked something loose when he fell. He wobbled on his feet and Sam reached out for him, but Castiel stepped between them.

“Do not touch your brother.”

“What?” Sam and Dean both said, and Castiel remained firmly fixed between the two.

“He has been infected with the witch’s herbs. There is nothing that can be done until the poison has worked its way through his system. It will not be safe for anyone to come in contact with him for several hours.”

“Poison?” Dean asked, touching his throat. He did feel tingly all over, and the world seemed to have taken on a kind of rain-slick shine. Castiel looked like he had a warm glow around him, and Sam … Dean had never realized how good-looking his little brother was. All Dean wanted was to make Sam happy, keep him safe and protected from all the shit that seemed to happen in their world. He reached out a hand only to have it pushed away by Castiel.

“What’s going to happen?” Sam asked, looking at Dean from behind Castiel’s shoulder.

“The herb enhances the pheromones of everyone around him. He will be in a constant state of aroused attraction for several hours. We should leave immediately.”


“I got hit with sex pollen?” Dean said, outraged. “She got me all worked up and then left me hanging? Bitch. No wonder she ran off. Wouldn’t know what to do with a real man …” Dean let his voice trail off, aware of how ridiculous this all sounded after the fact. “Seriously, the witch made me into some kind of … nymphomaniac?”

“Technically, a satyromanic.” When Dean looked puzzled, Castiel explained. “The male equivalent.”

“How do you even know this stuff?”

“Although sometimes human ways are foreign to me, I am neither ignorant nor naïve, Dean. You would do best to remember that.”


“Are you certain you want to hear the rest?” Castiel’s face was unchanged, yet Dean sensed compassion in his tone.

“Yeah,” Dean said, looking away. “I’d rather know.”

“Very well.”


It took much of Castiel’s strength and all of his dexterity to manoevre Dean back to the Impala and push him into the backseat.

“You’ll have to drive,” he said to Sam, climbing into the back with Dean, using his body to pin Dean into the corner.

“Oh—okay,” Sam said, fitting his long legs behind the wheel, and using his spare key to start the engine.

“Sammy, you be gentle with my baby, now.”

Dean was still struggling with Castiel, although Sam wasn’t sure whether he was trying to get away from the angel or get closer. He tried not to look in the rearview mirror as he pulled away from the ruin that used to be Holly’s Herbs and Perennials. “Where am I going?”

“The motel,” Castiel said.

“Oh, yeah,” Dean murmured. “Let’s get straight to the good stuff.”

Sam pushed the accelerator to the floor and cranked up the radio until he couldn’t hear anything but the steady bass beat of “Living on a Prayer.”


“Bon Jovi? That should’ve killed my sex drive right there.”

Castiel looked confused. “You seemed to enjoy it at the time. You were singing along.”

“Apparently I wasn’t very discriminating at the time.”

“I suppose that’s true.”


They made it back to the Sandman Motel in record time, and Sam parked the Impala in the closest empty spot to the room. He flung open the door, but Castiel motioned him back.

“You must keep your distance.”

“He’s my brother.”

“It will make no difference to the poison in his system. At this moment he is looking for an outlet for release—it does not matter who that outlet is. He can’t help himself, Sam, and that need is only going to grow more insistent.”

“What do you mean?” Sam asked, backing away, as Castiel half-pulled, half-dragged a horny Dean out of the backseat. Castiel kept his arms wrapped around Dean’s waist and tried to speak while Dean nuzzled aggressively at his neck. Sam figured this was what they meant by grace under pressure. Castiel looked unfazed even with his tie askew and his white shirt half-unbuttoned.

“There are two possible outcomes. Either Dean must expel the poison from his system by satisfying its demand for physical pleasure, or he will die.”

Sam looked at him helplessly. “What are you going to do?”

“I’m going to take him to another room where he will be able to alleviate the pressures on his body without harming anyone.”

“You mean he can … take care of it himself?” Sam looked relieved.

“I will ensure your brother survives the night, and that no one is hurt.”


“You lied to him.”

“I did not lie,” Castiel said.

Dean got up and walked to the window again. He could see the curtains twitch in Room 12 across the lot. Sam was probably wondering what the hell they were doing over here, what they’d done last night. Surely Sam wasn’t naïve enough to think a couple of quick strokes of Dean’s own hand would solve the problem? “You knew jerking off wasn’t going to be enough.”

“I assured Sam you would survive without harming anyone. That was the truth.”

“Yeah? And what about what I did to you?”


Castiel pushed open the door of an empty room, grateful they’d encountered no one else in the motel parking lot. He’d sent Sam back to his room, ordered him to lock the door, and not to open it to anyone except him. Especially not to Dean. Just in case. He would come to him in the morning to advise him of Dean’s well-being.

Dean fell onto the bed, dazed and hungry-looking, and Castiel took advantage of the moment to secure the door with its primitive lock. For extra safety, he slid one of the rooms wooden chairs beneath the knob as he’d seen Dean do once. He knew it was supposed to keep people out, but he supposed the correlative must be true as well. It would help to keep Dean in.

Castiel felt hands on his shoulders, warm covetous hands, and then Dean was pulling at his clothes, opening them up and casting them aside as if they were unworthy to touch his skin. Dean’s mouth found his, sweet, demanding, and Castiel understood the meaning of possession, understood temptation and longing and finally, finally, the pure light of ecstasy.



“I don’t understand your complaint.” Castiel had taken the striped tie from on top of the trench coat and was playing with it idly. Dean wondered if he realized he was doing it.

“We got to the room, you locked the door, we had sex, the end.”

“Essentially. Yes.”

“We had sex.”

“It was necessary to extract the poison from your system. It required the expulsion of bodily fluids in order to free the victim from its toxic effect.”

Dean had a sudden, graphic image of Castiel sucking his cock as he would a venomous snakebite, all in the name of extracting the poison from his system.

“Dean, are you all right? You look flushed.”

“I’m fine,” Dean said, willing the image to a back corner of his mind. “You want a drink?”

“No, thank you.”

“I’m going to get something from the machine by the office.” Dean dug in his jeans’ pocket, made sure he had enough change. “Don’t disappear or anything. We’re not finished yet.”

“I’ll be here when you return.”

Dean walked out into the sunshine, laid a hand on the hot metal of the Impala as he passed by her. He knew everything Sam and Castiel had told him was the truth—knew it in his body, in the core of his being—and yet he still didn’t remember any of it. Everything was filtered through their telling, and Dean didn’t think Cas had it in him to tell him the details of what went down. Or who went down.

Dean fed his quarters into the machine, grabbed the cold can and held it against his flushed face. He’d done a lot of sinning in his time, but he wasn’t quite sure what category this put him into. If God hadn’t just gotten him out of Hell, Dean had a feeling he’d be going right back.

“Hey, Dean.” Sam stood there, three feet away, looking like he didn’t know what to do with himself. Dean supposed he didn’t. The thought that Dean would’ve, could’ve touched Sam last night if Castiel hadn’t been there—the thought was more horrifying than anything he might’ve done to the angel.

“You okay?”

Dean took a drink. “Just peachy, Sammy.”

Sam nodded. “You remember anything yet?”

“Nope. Cas is just getting to the good part.”

Sam flushed high on his cheekbones, and Dean bit his tongue and wished he knew when to shut the hell up. “Look, Sam, it’s not that bad. Castiel’s a forgiving kind of guy. Comes with the job description. We’re cool.”

Sam didn’t look convinced. “He seemed to think it wouldn’t—I mean, that you could take care of it without—”

Dean looked at his brother, how desperately he wanted to believe. Sam had always been the one with enough faith for all of them. “He’s an angel, Sam. Dude wouldn’t lie.”


“Yeah.” Dean fed another round of quarters into the machine, pulled out a Mountain Dew for Sam. “We’re almost done talking. Just trying to convince him to give my memories back.”

Concern flashed across Sam’s face. “You sure that’s a good idea?”

Dean shrugged. He couldn’t exactly say, I fucked an angel of the Lord six ways to Sunday, and I’d like to know how it was. “Wouldn’t you want to know?”

Sam nodded as if he understood, and it didn’t really matter that he didn’t. Dean patted him on the shoulder and headed back to Castiel and the truth.


“You seem refreshed,” Castiel said, when Dean reentered the room.

“It’s the pause that refreshes,” Dean said, holding up his Coke. “Nevermind,” he added, when Castiel clearly didn’t get the reference. Dean noticed the angel had donned his coat and clearly failed in an attempt to retie the striped tie. It hung loose around his neck as he stood in the centre of the room, facing the door.

“Going somewhere?” Dean asked, knowing it might look like he was blocking the way. Maybe that’s exactly what he was doing.

“You have the information you desired. I am needed elsewhere.”

“You’re running away,” Dean said, and the moment Castiel didn’t meet his eyes, Dean knew he was right.


“What?” Dean took a step forward.

“I do not think it will serve any purpose for you to know the details of what happened between us. Is it not enough to know that you survived, that no harm came to anyone around you?”

“No,” Dean said. “It’s not enough.” He took another step closer, wondering if the angel would hold his ground. Castiel remained where he was, the edges of his coat licking at Dean’s shins.

“You had no control over your body. There is no blame to be laid.”

“I assaulted you.”

Castiel shook his head, his grey eyes finding Dean’s. “That is not what happened.”

“It was—it was--” Dean couldn’t bring himself to say the word. He knew what it was. Castiel did too—he had to.

“It was not,” the angel said simply, and this time he was the one who stepped closer, his hand reaching to warm Dean’s shoulder. The shoulder that seemed made for Castiel’s hand to rest there.

“What would you call it then?” Dean asked, embarrassed to notice his voice had dropped to a hoarse whisper.

“I gave my consent.”

Dean closed his eyes. “What about your—your vessel? What about him?”

“He gave his consent as well.”

Dean’s eyes flashed open, looking to catch Castiel in a lie. He saw nothing but sincerity in the man’s face. Castiel laid a finger against Dean’s lips. “I told you, Dean. I have no need to lie to you. God gave all of his creations free will, including his servants, including his angels. I serve the Lord in protecting you, and I have no remorse about the actions I undertook to keep you alive last night.”

“You let me fuck you,” Dean said, and there seemed to be something so very wrong in saying those words to an angel.

“And I would do it again.” The words hung there for a moment and then Castiel’s pale face reddened for the first time in Dean’s recollection. “I mean, if I were called upon, if your life were in danger, I would be willing to—”

“I know what you mean, Cas.”

Castiel nodded gratefully, and Dean could feel the angel’s warmth seeping into his shoulder where Castiel’s hand remained.

“I still want my memories back.”


“There were feathers.”

“Dean.” Slightly more exasperated, but still kind, and Dean knew the angel would keep his word. He would let Dean have those memories back, for better or for worse. They would both have to live with it now.

“Forgive me for being selfish, but I don’t like not knowing what I’ve done. No matter what I’ve done. I don’t have a lot of regrets, but it’s mostly ‘cause I own what I do. I live with those choices, I remember them. I need to know what happened.”

“I told you.”


“All right.” Dean felt wood beneath his back, and didn’t know when they’d backed up into the door. Castiel raised both hands and gently cupped Dean’s face. Dean was filled with an overwhelming sense of peace, of well-being. It was like being in his mother’s arms, in the Impala with a full tank of gas and the stereo pumping, like watching Sam walk across that stage at graduation knowing he was getting out, heading for something else.


“It’s all right, Dean. Just let the images wash over you. There is no blame. There is nothing to forgive.”

Then Dean felt a tiny movement in his mind’s eye, like a bandage being pulled back to reveal a healing scar, and the images were all there, spread out like a deck of cards. And he’d been right that the story was only partially true. Sam couldn’t have known how Dean had wanted to stop and buy him ice-cream when they rolled into town, how sometimes he just wished Sam was his little brother, no special powers, no cloudy destiny, nothing. Or how proud Dean was of thinking of the herbicide, beating both Sam and Bobby to the punch on that one, being the smart one for a change, the man with the plan.

The airplane—a big yellow crop duster with a rotary engine—carried memories of looking across Kansas fields and seeing similar planes make their passes. At some time, a time so long ago in memory Dean couldn’t trace its origin, he’d wanted to be a pilot.

“I’d forgotten I wanted to learn to fly,” Dean said.

“I’ll take you some time,” Castiel murmured, his hands still holding Dean’s face, his breath ghosting against his cheek, and the fact it wasn’t a lie made Dean shiver just a little. He could swear there were feathers touching his arms, but Castiel hadn’t moved an inch.

The images flickered past, like a strange movie of himself, and the story was familiar, although now there was understanding, emotion, all the things that connected him to the events and made them real.

The greenhouse shattering, and Dean’s first thought being to protect Sam. The witch and her creepy blue flowers, how she smelled of herbicide and decay, and how Dean couldn’t do anything to stop himself from kissing her.

“I hate witches.”

“I know.”

Then there was the innocent pawing in the backseat of the car, like necking with Linda Somners the summer he was sixteen, losing his virginity on its black vinyl seats while Pierce Brosnan shot bad guys in his tuxedo. Castiel’s mouth tasted like sweet milk and honey, and the press of white cotton under his hand smelled like line-dried laundry, lavender, fresh hay.

“You tasted like—”

“Redemption,” Castiel’s mouth murmured against his. “Innocence. Hope.”

“That too,” Dean said, and kissed the angel deeply.


Dean’s mouth apparently had a mind of its own, and he wondered if there was some of the witch’s toxin lingering in his system. His fingers wound through Castiel’s short hair, bringing him closer until their bodies were pressed together from shoulder to groin.

He lost track of things then, what was real, what was fantasy. Castiel, standing naked in front of him, Dean’s hands tracing every contour, every muscle, wanting him with an intensity he’d never felt before. He kissed his way down the lean muscular body, made sworls in the light chest hair. He left hickeys sucked into neck and shoulders, deeper wet kisses marking hips and thighs. Maybe it was the lack of resistance, Castiel’s body pliable and willing, his lips rising to meet Dean’s whenever he wanted, but Dean wasn’t so far gone he’d forgotten that pleasure went both ways. He sucked Castiel until he was hard and writhing, until he begged for release, and then he slowed down and did it all over again, all the while ignoring his own aching erection, his driving need.

The memories became more fragmentary. He came, brilliantly, in a flash of light. There was wind and thunder rumbling, and somehow Dean knew he was hearing Castiel’s real voice, a whisper in his ear. There were words in Latin and something that might have been Hebrew, words that were older than time and felt like music in Dean’s ears. A pair of soft knowing hands touched his body, reverently tracing the handprint on his shoulder, kissing its outline until Dean could almost forget where it came from, what it meant.

Dean came and came again. Against Cas’s thigh, in his mouth, on the end of his long dexterous fingers. He came inside him, Castiel on his knees, hands pressed against the wall, knuckles white with exertion. He came with the angel on his back, knees stretched up and flung over Dean’s shoulders, their weight solid and warm like a pair of wings.

“God, your wings,” Dean mouthed, and Castiel hushed him with a kiss, teased his mouth open and slipped his tongue inside.

Dean remembered them unfolding in a gust of air, filling the space above them, around them both. It was the only thing that made Dean pause, and it wasn’t until Castiel said, “yes,” the word a soft hiss against his chest, that Dean reached out his hand and stroked the feathered edges. They were like silk and velvet, everything about them soft and supple, the hues varying from centre to wingtip, from black to dove grey, lustrous white, a gold so subtle Dean thinks this is what sunlight is made of.

“It’s difficult to hold this form sometimes,” Castiel whispered, and Dean nodded as if he understood, and time slows, changes. There are moment of darkness and pure light, when the room is filled with a rain of feathers, soft as winter’s first snow. Everywhere is skin and salt, the taste of an angel, an unbelievable warmth that seems to flow through him like blood.

They fuck on the bed, in the shower, against the shabby chest of drawers made from something that isn’t real wood. Every time they finish, Dean is hard and aching as if he’s never come, and he wonders if this is just another version of Hell, never being able to fully enjoy the moment of pleasure.

His heart races around his chest, and he can hear Castiel’s beating too, like the wings of bees, a low fluttering hum. They move together as if made for each other, as if their bodies had only been waiting for this moment. Touch, release, the unmistakable burn of pleasure pumping out of him, and sometime after dawn, Dean is well and truly spent, his body finally weak and drained of passion, his body his own again. He starts to apologize then, tries, but Castiel kisses his mouth, kisses his eyelids closed. Dean knows he is falling asleep, but there is warm water washing over him and everywhere the most incredible light, as if he’s died and gone to heaven. If he believed in such things.

“I’m sorry,” Dean murmured, and Castiel was still holding his face, gently wiping a lone tear from Dean’s cheek with the flat of his thumb.

“It wasn’t a sacrifice, Dean.”


When the knock rattled the door, it startled them both. Dean had no idea how long they’d been standing there, memories silencing them. Dean didn’t know how it worked, this memory thing, but Castiel had shared the unfolding of those memories, had seen and experienced it all again just as Dean had. He should be embarrassed, he knew. He should feel bad about what had happened, but he couldn’t bring himself to feel guilty when everything about Castiel was telling Dean this was an act of love.

“Go away,” Dean said without thinking, conscious of the fact that Castiel was looking at him curiously from very close-up.

“Dean? Are you all right?”

Sam. Dean had almost forgotten, and that was so unlike him it startled him into action. Castiel let go, although Dean was sure he would feel the imprint of those hands in his dreams.

“Yeah, Sam. Hang on.” Dean unhooked the chain and swung the door open. The light had changed to late afternoon, and Dean honestly didn’t know where the time had gone. Sam hung out in the doorway, looking reluctant to cross the threshold. Dean supposed it was a little like visiting the scene of a crime.

Castiel looked the same as always, as if they hadn’t just been reliving carnal pleasures in their minds. Dean’s lips still hummed with the angel’s last kiss.

“I apologize. Human time is not a concept with which I am completely at ease.”

“It’s okay. I was just starting to wonder.”

Dean sat on the edge of the bed and scrubbed his hands through his hair. He wondered if he’d ever be able to look at Castiel again without remembering those hours. It didn’t matter the impetus had been a witch’s poison, the bodies, the emotions had been them. Both of them.

“Everything okay?” Sam asked, looking from Castiel to Dean. His eyes lingered on his brother.

“Everything’s fine, Sammy.” Dean got up and patted him on the shoulder. “And I’m starving.”

“You’re always starving.”

By the time they’d made it three steps out of the room, Castiel had disappeared. Dean shrugged it off as no big deal.

“When you’re working for the Man, sometimes you’ve got to go on short notice,” Dean said.

“Doesn’t it freak you out? The way he can be there one second and gone the next?”

“Sometimes,” Dean admitted. “You get used to it.”

“So, are you okay?”

The question seemed casual, but Dean knew it was anything but.

“Yeah, I’m fine.” It didn’t even surprise him to realize it was the absolute truth.


They settled back in Room 12 for the night. After hours of crappy TV and a shared bottle of Jack, they decided to call it a night. Sam’s feet were hanging off the bed nearest the door; Dean couldn’t quite get comfortable on his scratchy sheets that smelled like …

“Lavender?” Dean mumbled, catching a whiff of something that was not one-star motel laundry detergent. Maybe Sam had started using that girly shampoo again.

He rolled over, preparing to punch one fist into the neighbouring pillow, but he stopped himself when he caught a dark outline against the white pillowcase. One single golden feather lay lightly on the pillow. Dean would have sworn it wasn’t there a moment ago.

He touched it gingerly, let his fingers trail along its spine, his mind recounting each vertebrae on Castiel’s back, the softness of his skin.

“Goodnight, Cas,” Dean murmured, tucking the feather underneath the pillow beside his knife.

Outside the wind blew softly, and a faint roll of thunder ushered Dean towards sleep.


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