Title: A Single Feather (follow-up to "A Rain of Feathers") - posted January 23, 2009
Author: Lacey McBain
Pairing: Dean/Castiel
Rating: PG-13
Word Count: ~5300
Summary: Dean can't stop thinking about what happened with Castiel in Arkansas. (If you're asking yourself, "what happened?", you'll want to read "A Rain of Feathers")
Disclaimer: Supernatural belongs to Kripke and Co. I'm just playing. Spoilers up to 4.10, "Heaven and Hell"

A Single Feather

“So, Dean, what’s the deal with the feather?”

Dean looked up from where he’d been stowing his gear in his duffel.

“What?” He tried to sound like the question didn’t matter. As it was, he’d been wondering how long it would take before Sam asked about it. You couldn’t spend 24/7 with a guy and not expect him to notice a change—any kind of change—no matter how small.

Sam zipped up his own bag and slung it over his shoulder. “You’ve been carrying that feather around since Arkansas. You think I wouldn’t notice?”

Dean shrugged. “It’s just a feather, man. No biggie.”

Dean reached under the second pillow on his bed, felt his hand settle on the hilt of Ruby’s demon-killing knife. What he didn’t feel was the item that had been keeping the knife company every night for the weeks since they’d pulled out of Merrimont, Arkansas. The feather. Castiel’s feather. Dean hefted the knife in one hand, lifted the pillow with the other.

“Where is it?” Dean was in no mood for playing games.

“Missing something?” Sam’s voice sounded knowing and smug, and Dean tossed the pillow at Sam’s head.

“Come on, Sam, quit dicking around. We’ve got to get going if we’re going to meet up with Bobby.”

“So you don’t want to tell me about this?” Sam asked, holding up a single golden-hued feather.

Dean tossed the knife into the duffel and plucked the feather from Sam’s hand. “It’s just a feather, Sam.”

Dean tucked it into the long side pocket inside his bag—a pocket he’d lined with cardboard so the feather was in no danger of being broken or bent. He didn’t have many mementoes he cared about—the necklace Sam gave him when they were kids, a faded picture of their mom—but this happened to be one of them.

“It’s an angel feather, isn’t it?” Sam’s face turned reverent for a moment.

“Yeah, Sammy, it’s an angel feather. Figure we can use all the luck we can get on our side.” Dean pushed open the door of the motel room. “Didn’t seem right to toss it out.”

“I guess,” Sam said, following his brother. “Does it help?”

“Help with what?”

“The nightmares. From when you were …” His voice trailed off. Neither of them really wanted to talk about it, no matter how much Sam thought they should talk about it.

Dean pushed his sunglasses on as they headed across the sunlit parking lot. “Lot of miles to cover before dark, Sam. Let’s roll.”


The Impala cruised through the late afternoon sunlight and into the town of Haven where Bobby met them at the town’s hotel and bar. Over burgers and home fries Bobby filled them in on what he’d heard.

“Witches?” Dean asked, his mouth full of fries. “Seriously, Bobby, did it have to be fucking witches?”

Bobby looked over at Sam for some kind of explanation.

“The witches in Arkansas. Dean got kind of … whammied.”

“Whammied?” Bobby asked. “What exactly do you mean by—”

Dean washed his mouthful down with beer, and was shaking his head before he’d finished swallowing. “No, no, no, we’re not going there. Fucking witches.”

“Castiel had to help us out, and it was—let’s just say it was awkward, Bobby, okay?” Sam offered, looking plaintive and uncomfortable. Bobby looked back and forth between the two of them, and figured it probably wasn’t worth the fight of trying to get them to open up; sometimes they were too damn much like John Winchester.

“Alright, but if there’s something you boys need to tell me—”

“There isn’t.” Dean finished his beer and waved for another. Sam shook his head, agreeing with Dean, and Bobby figured if it was important, it would come up again. Or Sam would rat his brother out when he and Bobby were alone. Either way, Bobby knew well enough not to go chasing after trouble; it would find them soon enough.

“So, if you two are done stuffing your faces, maybe you’d like to hear about the job.”


It took them less than two days to find the “witches”—a haphazard coven that was mostly bored housewives and one really old, really nasty witch who apparently remembered the Salem witch trials and figured hunters had a lot to answer for. It took one shovel to the back of the head and a whole shitload of gasoline to finally send her spirit packing, but by that time Bobby had a concussion, Sam was limping and couldn’t see out of his left eye, and Dean didn’t think they’d ever get the smell of woodsmoke and burnt flesh out of their clothes.

Of course, it was then that Castiel appeared, as the three of them were dragging themselves back to the Impala, flames still licking at the night sky behind them. All Dean could do when he passed him on the way to the car was look at the angel, shake his head at God’s profoundly crappy sense of timing, and shove the empty gas can in Cas’s arms, saying, “Here, make yourself useful while I go pick Sam’s ass up off the ground.”

Castiel said nothing and did exactly as he was told.


Dean dumped Sam and Bobby in one room with orders for them to look after each other while he dealt with Castiel and whatever holy apocalypse was next on the agenda.

“Sam, wake up Bobby every couple of hours. Bobby, make sure Sam takes the fuckin’ Tylenol-3 ‘cause I don’t want to listen to him bitchin’ about how much he’s hurtin’ tomorrow.”

“Where are you going?” Sam muttered, face turned into the pillow.

“To talk to an angel.”


When Dean walked into the parking lot, he didn’t actually expect Castiel to still be there, but he was right where Dean had left him, standing by the trunk of the Impala. He could’ve invited him in, could’ve had him help put Sam’s stupidly awkward ass to bed, or maybe do something for Bobby’s concussion—a guy that age shouldn’t be getting hit in the head like that anymore—but Dean was almost hoping Castiel would show an ounce of self-preservation and be gone when Dean came out to talk. For some reason he couldn’t give a name to, Dean was furious. Every inch of him was barely contained rage, and all it was going to take was one word, one wrong word …

“Witches?” Castiel said, and that was enough. Dean wasn’t even conscious of forming a thought let alone a fist until his knuckles were connecting with Castiel’s jaw, and the angel was stumbling back against the car, a look of genuine surprise on his face.

“Goddamnit!” Dean said, shaking his fist, and he should’ve known the angel wouldn’t have a glass jaw even if his vessel looked like he might. Castiel blocked the second swing neatly, capturing Dean’s fist in his palm; his other hand caught Dean’s left in mid-swing, and held him there, seething and shaking.

“You’re angry.”

“No, really?” Dean sputtered, aiming a solid kick into Castiel’s shin. He winced, but held his ground.

“Dean, I’m afraid I don’t understand.” The angel sounded genuinely uncertain, and Dean had to concede that he probably was. Castiel couldn’t know how much had been weighing on Dean’s mind since Arkansas; how he couldn’t stop thinking about the damn angel and what he’d done for Dean. With Dean.

“No fucking kidding.” Dean aimed another kick at Castiel, but his heart wasn’t in it, and all at once he felt the fight go out of him. He banged his head against Castiel’s chest.

“If I release you, are you likely to attempt to hit me again?”

“Probably not.”

Castiel leaned his head forward and bent so he could speak in Dean’s ear. “Is that the best you can offer?”

“At the moment, yeah.”

Castiel released his hold on Dean’s hands, his own hands moving to touch Dean’s shoulders lightly. “Why don’t we take this discussion inside? People are beginning to notice.”

“Yeah, sure,” Dean murmured, lifting his head. He blinked in the harsh light of an empty motel room that mirrored the one where he’d left Bobby and Sam. “And that’s not going to draw attention? Us just disappearing from the parking lot?”

“No one saw us, I can assure you.”

“And I’m gonna believe that ‘cause you know stealth, after all.”


“You’re so stealthy, I haven’t seen or heard anything from you in weeks.”

Castiel looked at him, lips half-open, face a mix of confusion and resignation. “I have more to attend to than you and your brother. The seals—”

“I figured that out, fuck you very much,” Dean said, moving away from Castiel to peer out the window. They were about three doors down from where Dean had left Sam and Bobby. He turned his head, caught another whiff from his clothes, and grimaced. “You know, you could’ve shown up while the witch was kicking our asses. That would’ve been helpful.”

“I did not believe you were in any real danger.”

“It was fucking witches, Cas! I hate witches.”

“It was one witch, and there were three of you. All things considered, it hardly seemed the time for divine intervention.” Castiel’s voice gave a slight shake, and Dean looked at him sharply. He was leaning against the bathroom door, his face a shade of pale that Dean wasn’t used to seeing.


“There are other battles being fought, Dean. All around you, all the time. I—I cannot be with you—”

Dean started moving even before he realized the angel was faltering. He caught him around the waist, let the momentum carry them both to their knees.

“—even if I want to be.”

Dean pulled back the beige trench coat, saw the vicious deep cuts of something that could only have been claws, Cas’s white shirt soaked through with blood.

“Jesus, Cas,” Dean whispered, feeling for a pulse. It was steady enough, and Dean figured he probably needed time to recover from whatever fight he’d been through. Not so different from the rest of them, after all. “You stupid son of a bitch,” he said, dragging Castiel to his feet, and working the door open. “Why didn’t you say something?” He half-carried the angel back to the room where Sam was downing a capful of pills, and Bobby was snoring mightily.

Sam looked alarmed when Dean barged in, angel in tow. “What happened to him?”

Dean shook his head and deposited Castiel on the bed that Sam had vacated. “You get to bunk with Rip Van Winkle over there; I’ll keep an eye on Angel Boy.”

“Is he hurt?”

Dean nodded, his face grim. “I don’t think it’s that bad, though. He mumbled something about needing to rest.”

“So why do you get to—” Sam was standing grumpily at the edge of the bed Bobby was half-sprawled across.

“’Cause I’m the only one who didn’t get my ass royally kicked tonight, that’s why. And somebody’s gotta keep an eye on things, so just shut up and go to sleep, Sammy.”

Sam made a face, but lay down on the covers next to Bobby. His eye had turned an alarming shade of bruised, and Dean hated to think how close he’d come to losing the eye completely.

“Dean?” It was Castiel’s soft bass, and Dean leaned over to catch his words. “You don’t have to stay awake. God will watch over us.”

“God, huh?” Dean snorted. “Looks like he did a bang up job keeping you safe.”

“Unavoidable.” Cas’s voice was so quiet, Dean was forced to join him on the bed in order to hear him.

“Thought he was all about the bigger picture. Can’t be watching over the Winchesters all the time, isn’t that what you said?”

Castiel’s hand, colder than human, touched Dean’s lightly. “We’ll be safe. Have faith, Dean. If not in me, in Him.”

“Go to sleep, Cas.” Dean could see the blue eyes weren’t going to close until he turned out the light and made a show of settling down beside him. “Happy now?” he whispered, pulling the slippery spread up and over both of them. Dean rolled on his side towards the angel, and Cas’s hand slipped over his.

“Enough,” he answered, eyelids slipping closed, his breathing shallow, but steady.

Dean thought it was a pretty screwed-up world where he was holding hands with a torn up angel, whispering a prayer to a God he didn’t really believe in, but he did it anyway: “Keep us safe, okay? Bobby and Sam and me and Cas. He trusts you, and I’m—I’m doing my best.”

Somehow he knew they’d be all right, but he also didn’t figure it would hurt to put down a line of salt in front of the door and the windows.

“You help those who help themselves, right?” Dean murmured as he shucked his shoes, tossed his leather jacket on the chair, and crawled back into bed. He felt better knowing he’d done everything he could. Ruby’s knife and Castiel’s feather were tucked under his pillow, and everyone seemed fast asleep. Dean closed his eyes, letting his hand find Castiel’s once more. Just to check his pulse, of course. Nothing more.

“Keep us safe,” he whispered to the darkness, wishing he could believe that was all it would take.


Dean slept straight through till morning, only opening his eyes when he realized the sunlight filtering through the curtains was strong and bright. It was the first time in a long time that his sleep had been dreamless, and he figured it was probably one more thing he owed Castiel for. Even before he’d been fully awake, Dean knew the angel was still there. He could feel the weight of another body in the bed, the slight warmth radiating from the other man. There was a respectable amount of space between them, and Dean wondered how long it had been before Castiel’s hand had slipped from his in the night, how often they had touched during the intervening hours. He couldn’t help thinking back to his fragmented memories of the night they’d spent together; how Castiel had let Dean do whatever he wanted, whatever was necessary to work the witch’s cursed pollen out of his system. Dean felt himself grow hard with the memories.

Castiel’s blue eyes fluttered open and Dean gave him a rueful grin. He pitched his voice low so only the angel would hear him. “We shouldn’t keep meeting like this.”

“I’m sorry. I should not have come here.” Castiel always looked so damn serious, and Dean wished there was something he could do to change that. “I should have realized my injury required attention.”

“It’s okay,” Dean whispered. “Are you healed now?”

“Yes. The sleep was restorative; it has allowed my vessel to heal completely.”

“Handy.” Dean could feel every ache and sore muscle as he stretched and kicked off the spread. Sleeping in his clothes hadn’t helped his discomfort any, and he groaned with the effort of sitting up.

Castiel laid a hand on his bare arm, bowing his head. Energy radiated through Dean as the angel murmured something soft and prayer-like. It was as if every ache, even the one in his heart that he tried to ignore, was being lifted out of him by strong, caring hands.

“I’m sorry. It was not my intention to burden you.”

“Yeah, getting a goodnight’s sleep was such a burden,” Dean murmured back, rolling his eyes. He looked across at where Sam and Bobby were still sleeping. “Can you blink us out of here?”


“Well, whatever you do. Can you take us somewhere else?”

“You wish to speak in private?”

Dean felt his cheeks heat up, but he nodded. “Yeah.”

“I can do that.”

In the next moment, they were back in the empty hotel room from the previous night. Still in the same positions side by side on the bed. Dean rolled off and shook his limbs out loosely. When Dean turned around, Castiel was standing as well, the blood and the tears in his clothing repaired, colour back in his face.

“There’s something you want to ask me,” Castiel said. It wasn’t a question, and Dean supposed he should’ve known that the angel wasn’t stupid, even if he was occasionally single-minded.

Dean leaned against the door and nodded. He’d had a lot of time to think since Arkansas and the witch and sex with Cas. As much as he wanted to just put it behind him and never think about it again, he couldn’t. It wasn’t just that the sex had been good—it had been amazing, if he was honest—but Castiel was an angel, holy warrior of God and all that jazz. Dean wondered about consequences, about possibilities. Considering he was the last guy in the world who wanted to talk things to death, he found it frustrating to realize this time he really needed some answers and the angel was probably the only one who could give him those.

Dean cleared his throat. “So, you’re supposed to love all men, all people, right?”

“That’s the fundamental teaching of God, yes.”

“And you love everybody equally.”

Castiel’s eyes narrowed slightly; he was always alarmingly astute when Dean didn’t expect him to be.

“I love all God’s creatures.”

“But some of those creatures, you might like more than others?”


“Like you probably don’t love spiders and scorpions as much as you love fuzzy little bunnies, right?”

“Each creature serves a unique purpose. They’re all part of a greater plan.”

Dean kicked his heel against the door. He was going to follow this through to the end even if it made both of them wince. He needed to know.

“Dean, what exactly are you asking me?” Castiel moved closer, and Dean could feel his own heart beating faster. It was ridiculous and impossible, and none of that kept him from wanting to reach out and drag Castiel closer to him.

“You know what I’m asking,” Dean replied stubbornly. He didn’t want to have to say it. For once, he wanted something to be easy, not this slow drawing out of truth.

Castiel studied Dean with a serious look that quickly turned into a smirk. “Am I to assume that you’re the fuzzy bunny in this scenario?”

Dean rolled his eyes. He hadn’t quite meant it like that. “It’s an analogy,” he said, throwing out something he’d heard Sam say. “You’re supposed to like all that educated talk.”

A genuine smile lifted the edges of Castiel’s mouth. “I will concede a certain fondness for you, Dean.”

“A certain fondness? Swell. That’s great, Cas. That helps a lot.” Dean glared at the angel. “You remember what we did, what happened in Arkansas? You remember how we fu—”

“There’s no need for vulgarity,” Castiel said. “I remember.”

Dean bit his lip. “So, you’re telling me what happened between us was just what you would do for anyone?” Castiel looked thoughtful, which only made Dean more frustrated. “Look, Cas, I’m—I’m trying to understand. What would you have done if it had been someone else? Someone who wasn’t me?”


It was closer to an answer, but still not enough. Dean kept pushing. “Okay, but what if it was someone who was important to God’s mission. What then?”

“What are you asking?”

Dean took a deep breath and asked the question that had been haunting his sleep the last few weeks. “If it was someone else, would you have done what you did? Would you have—would it have been you?”

Castiel lowered his eyes. “I serve the Lord. It was my duty to do everything within my power to—”

“So, you would have offered yourself to anyone in that situation?”


Dean felt a tiny shiver of something inside him. Castiel wouldn’t quite meet his eye, and Dean wondered if it had been on the angel’s mind as much as it had been on Dean’s.

“What would you have done?”

“I would have placed a willing vessel in the person’s path.”

“A willing vessel. Not necessarily your vessel.”


“But you let me—”

“We’ve been through this, Dean.” Castiel looked up, his eyes an inscrutable blue. He looked more resigned than angry, but Dean could tell this bout of honesty was not easy for either of them. “You’re very important, as is Sam. I took the necessary steps to ensure your survival and your safety. I would do it again if I had to.”

“Yeah, yeah, I get the self-sacrificing,” Dean said, pushing off the door and moving into Castiel’s space. “What I’m trying to figure out is if that’s all it was in that bed. You, me, and your martyr complex.”

Castiel’s face darkened. “I do not have—”

“Tell me it didn’t mean anything to you.” Dean’s voice didn’t waver.

“Every action has meaning.”

“Bullshit. Tell me it didn’t mean anything to you. You.”

They stood there in silence, tension inhabiting the space between them. Castiel finally looked away.

“You know I can’t tell you that.”

It was a victory of sorts, but somehow Dean didn’t feel any better. “So what do we do now?”

Castiel shook his head, resigned. “Nothing. I serve God, Dean. My mission is important. I’m not here to satisfy my own desires.”

Dean quirked an eyebrow at the angel. “You’re telling me you’ve got desires?”

“I may not be human, Dean, but in this form I can’t help but experience humanity fully.” He might as well have added and it’s annoying, since that’s what his face was telling Dean.

“So desires, huh? For anything in particular?”

Castiel didn’t speak, but Dean really didn’t need him to—he already knew the answer.

Dean remembered leaving bruises and bite marks on Castiel’s skin. How his flesh had gleamed with sweat in the low lamplight of the hotel room. When he’d pressed his hands into Castiel’s hips, he could read the imprint of his fingers, could trace his progress over the angel’s body by watching the skin erupt with goosebumps. Dean remembered kissing, remembered thinking that it should have felt like plunder, taking from someone who was letting him have his way; except Cas had pushed back, had given him tongue and fingers, had turned into him to get a better angle, to make it something more. Castiel had given him back words—ancient and beautiful, had whispered Dean’s name, moaned it, yelled it, choked it out between ragged thrusts. When Dean had finally collapsed, spent, Castiel had cleaned them both up, tenderly, sheltering them with wings that couldn’t be held back any longer. He’d given Dean a feather when all was said and done, and that seemed like something personal. Something that spoke of what was between them.

Castiel looked at Dean as if he knew exactly what he was thinking. He licked his lips once, and smoothed out his coat. “I should leave.”

“You’re running away again.”

“Believe it or not, I have other duties and responsibilities.”

“I thought you had free will.” Dean didn’t know much about religion, but free will seemed to be one of those big things like not committing adultery or worshipping Satan. Angels could fall—they might be expected to be obedient, but they could choose to be otherwise. They could choose their actions just as easily as Dean or Sam or anyone else.

“Free will doesn’t mean I can do whatever I want.” Castiel seemed irritated, and Dean stepped closer.

“What do you want to do, Cas?” Dean murmured, his eyes drawn to the angel’s lips. He wanted to reach out and smooth his thumb along the outline of that mouth. Wanted to make him admit he wanted Dean in ways that were absolutely human.

“Must you insist on making things difficult?” Castiel’s voice was dark and low.

“I’m just trying to—”

Before Dean could supply an answer, Castiel had taken his face in two strong hands, and kissed him full on the mouth. Dean’s eyes shut and he felt his whole body straining to get closer to the angel. He took a step forward and stumbled through empty space, his lips still tingling.

“Dammit, Cas, that’s not fair!” Dean shouted at the empty room. He turned around and slammed a fist into the door, not caring that it hurt like hell. His lips still tingled from the kiss, and he knew Castiel, wherever he was, was having to deal with the same lingering sensations. “Damn you!”

Dean stalked out of the room and down to where Bobby and Sam had begun stirring. Neither of them asked why Dean was letting himself in with a credit card or where Castiel had disappeared to. Apparently the look on Dean’s face was enough to discourage conversation, and frankly he was glad. He didn’t want to talk about the angel.

If only he could stop thinking about him.


Things got complicated after that. Bobby flew off to the Dominican to see a witch doctor about a zombie; Ruby sent them after Anna, and none of them had any idea how badly that would end. Dean felt he’d been blind-sided all the way around and the last thing he wanted was more entanglements with angels, but he just couldn’t seem to avoid it. Apparently he had a type and that type had wings.

They stayed at Bobby’s for a while after everyone had cleared out. Dean thought Anna might find a way back from wherever she’d disappeared to, stop by to tell them she was angeled up, and keeping an eye out for them. Sam looked at him skeptically, but didn’t push to leave, so Dean fixed the transmission on the car and Sam made lists of supplies they needed to pick up.

Dean was sitting on the hood of the car, watching the moon rise, when he felt a presence beside him. He didn’t even have to turn his head to know it was Castiel.

“Hello, Dean.”

“You find Anna?” Dean didn’t particularly feel like playing nice, and he could see Castiel flinch at the mention of her name.

“She has recovered her Grace. What happens now is between her and God, but the Lord is infinitely forgiving.”

“What about you?”

Castiel sighed. “It was a difficult situation. I understand your desire to save her, to save everyone. It is not my place to either condemn or forgive you for your actions.”

“You know what happened. Between her and me?” Dean wanted him to know; wanted something in the angel to be hurt by the thought that Dean had slept with Anna.

“Uriel told me.”

“I bet he did,” Dean said. Uriel wouldn’t have minced words, either. For an angel, he wasn’t very nice, but Dean was learning that they weren’t all golden haloes and heavenly choruses.

“Was it your idea to threaten Sam? ‘Cause I would’ve gone back to the Pit, you know. Just to spite you sons of bitches.”

“I know.” Castiel said, his voice hard. “And no, it was not my idea. Uriel took it upon himself to ensure your cooperation.”

“So it was all Uriel, huh? Big bad Uriel. And where the hell were you?”


“No, seriously, I want to know.” Dean turned his head and met Castiel’s eyes for the first time. “Doesn’t he report to you? And don’t you guys know when this kind of stuff is going down, anyway?”

“I’ve told you, we’re not omniscient.”

“Got that right. Uriel seems to think he knows everything about me, though. Knows Sam’s my weakness, and apparently he thinks I’m yours.”

“What do you mean?”

“Uriel. He told me you like me, that it’s your weakness.” Dean stared at him. “Guess he was wrong about that, though. ‘Course, you guys don’t know much about human emotions, so I can see how you’d confuse those things. Caring. Weakness.”

Dean was flat against the hood of the Impala with a pale hand at his throat. He hadn’t seen Castiel move, but he knew there was no point in fighting him. He was completely immobile.

“For your sake, I did not correct her lies. I thought it would be easier for you to remember her fondly, but make no mistake, Dean, she was an abomination.” Dean pushed up, but it was as if an invisible force field held him prone. Castiel’s eyes glowed strange and golden, and Dean realized it was the first time he’d seen the angel truly angry. “I was not present when Uriel spoke with you because I was healing from her blood magic. She sought to destroy me because I did not join her when she fell.”

“You and she—”

“We are creations of the soul, Dean. She wanted more, and worse, she wanted others to seek the temptations she herself craved. I could not follow that path.”

“She said you didn’t feel emotions, that you couldn’t.”

“She said many things that were untrue. God’s greatest commandment is to love. Why would he create beings to serve him that were incapable of such feeling? Why give us free will if we are not capable of discerning the cost of our choices?”

“And what about me? What’s the cost of choosing me?”

“I don’t know yet,” Castiel said, releasing his hold and rolling back to a sitting position. Dean continued to lay on the hood, considering the stars. Angels. He really needed to stop getting mixed up with witches and angels.

“I’m sorry,” Castiel said, his eyes casting heavenward as if seeking forgiveness from someone other than Dean. He rubbed his hands through his hair, strands sticking up in all directions.

“Me too.” Dean reached out a hand and tugged at the back of Castiel’s coat, pulling him down beside him. The metal was cool and not entirely comfortable underneath his back, but Dean didn’t care as he cupped the angel’s face and kissed him. Castiel’s eyes fluttered closed and his hands clutched the collar of Dean’s leather jacket, drawing him closer.

“It’s okay,” Dean murmured, his lips forming the words against Cas’s mouth. He kissed him again, deeper, try to pour everything he felt into the press of his lips, the way he stroked his thumb down Castiel’s jawline. Between breaths, they fumbled closer, legs tangling, coats bunching around them. Castiel met Dean kiss for kiss—lips closed, mouths almost chaste, and yet, each taste offered forgiveness, compassion, a promise of redemption.

Castiel would never send him back to the Pit. Cas knew what he had done and wanted him anyway, loved him anyway, and even if he loved all humanity, it didn’t matter. It didn’t take away from what they’d been through together, the choices they’d made. Dean understood in that moment that what Anna had given up was so much greater than what she’d gained. She’d had love and free will and all of those emotions to make her own; she just hadn’t been able to experience them without believing there was something more, something better waiting for her as a human. Castiel and Dean both might be confused about what they felt, about what was happening between them, but suddenly that seemed like a good thing—an honest thing, and Dean thought for the first time that maybe God did know what he was doing after all.

“Castiel.” Dean kept his hands tight in the fabric of the other man’s coat as if that would prevent him from disappearing. “Whatever this is, we’ll figure it out. Just stop running out on me, okay?”

“I’m afraid,” the angel murmured.

“Yeah, me too,” Dean admitted, something he never thought he’d do, but somehow, here, underneath the stars with all of heaven watching, it seemed important.


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