PAIRING/CHAR: Dean and Castiel
RATING: Swearing, whatever rating that's supposed to have...
DISC: Dean belongs to Kripke, Castiel belongs to God. Same diff.
SPOILERS: up to and including 4.03, even though I wrote this before that and was unspoiled. I just rock that much.
SUMMARY: What Dean sees that night nearly destroys him.
ETA of the I-am-a-complete-douche-bag variety: I forgot to thank MY BETA! OMG! I am so going to hell. mad_server, who is awesome and insightful and pretty and so so so understanding because sometimes I ask her to beta things and then never post them because I am a huge turd, please please forgive me. YOU ROCK.
The creepy, well-manicured angel in the trench coat says “Keep an eye on your brother.” And you tell yourself that’s why you follow him. Why you see a piece of the world fall through your fingers like a slippery minnow.
When he’s fucking her, he calls out her name, his fingers pulling out chunks of grass behind her shoulder blades. He says it again as he presses her up against the back of the bleachers. Like he’s the star quarterback and she’s a horny cheerleader.
And maybe she was. Before Ruby found her, decided this looked like a nice place to squat.
It’s your fault. You were the one who was supposed to stop this from happening. You. No one was doing your job while you were gone. There’s no steno pool for big brothers of the potential Anti-Christ. So it all comes back around to you. You want to feel betrayed, angry. Instead, you just feel like you let him down again. Where did you go wrong? The potential points in time and space form constellations.
You drive with aimless determination around the deserted streets of Ypsilanti, like a starved rat looking for the food at the end of a maze that it thought it had memorized. You’re so messed up you can’t even remember where the motel is. Decide that’s not where you want to be anyway, because you don’t want to be the one sitting up waiting like some pathetic housewife being jerked around by a husband with another wife and another family in the next town over.
You run four red lights just so the sound of the Impala’s engine doesn’t get too quiet. You turn the music up. You try not to hear yourself think.
Nothing’s where it should be.
Stopped at the edge of the Huron river, just as the dew on the hood of the Impala is beginning to glitter flecks of sunrise, just as side one of Appetite for Destruction clicks off, he’s suddenly sitting shotgun.
It really pisses you off, the fact that Castiel scares you like nothing before ever has, that he makes your heart stutter and your palms sweat. And then how he looks at you with the kind of conviction that even John Winchester couldn’t top at his most self-righteous.
He rolls down the driver side window like he’s been sitting in your stuffy old car for hours, and is kind of annoyed you don’t have A/C.
“You knew,” you say, the words bitter like pennies and nine volt batteries on your tongue.
“There are going to be many things I can’t tell you, Dean.”
“Is he… is he turning…” Japanese? Over a new leaf? The record to side B? Into anything that doesn’t involve spilling blood and tears and more fucking tragedy all over the already carpet-stained cheap-ass motel room of your life?
“Like that. I can’t tell you that.”
“What the hell can you tell me then? What are you even doing here?” you demand, forgetting for a moment that you’re not really supposed to be snarky with the dude who threatened to send you back to Hell, and can. Like your soul’s fate comes down to a couple of bad rolls in Snakes and Ladders. You swallow hard, hold your breath, turn your head down and hope he didn’t notice the attitude.
“I need you to stop him from making the biggest mistake since Eve bit the apple.”
“Isn’t that a bit melodramatic?” you ask, but when you turn your head, he’s gone.
You turn the tape over, start the car, and drive back to the motel.
You smell her all over Sam’s clothes, and it makes you nauseous all day.
The flashbacks get worse after that. You think seeing them together broke open some lock-box in your brain labeled “Don’t Go There.”
You hide it from Sam, which is surprisingly easy. Probably because he’s too busy trying to hide his own shit to notice.
You feel it when it’s coming, like a high-pitched vibration down train tracks running through a still forest in winter.
In a truck-stop bathroom. A broom closet in a Ranger station. Behind a big green dumpster in the back of a Dairy Queen. In the shower. You make sure you’re alone when you curl up into a pathetic whimpering ball, when everything starts to bleed and burn. You make sure there’s no one around when you can’t stand up anymore because you’re remembering what it felt like to have the flesh ripped off your legs down to the bone.
Sam knows you’re hiding something. You know he is. And you sit in a booth at a diner in Wisconsin, and eat spaghetti with meatballs together.
That night, you sneak out of the motel room and drive to the edge of town with a six pack of Leinenkugel. By the time you park at the edge of the woods, you’re already on your third. You really should think about how you’re going to get home after this little excursion, but you don’t. You stumble through the brush until you feel isolated enough to be able to yell out his name at the top of your lungs.
You chug down half of your fourth bottle and take a deep breath, finding your internal volume control.
“Castiel, you bastard!”
The bottle slips from your hand onto the moss and roots and long-dead pine needles and you watch the foamy liquid pour out at your feet. “I need you,” you whisper.
You lean back against a tall pine tree, the kind that doesn’t have branches until hundreds of feet up, arms that no one can ever reach.
You close your eyes and feel the scratchy, uneven bark dig into your back through layers of flannel and corduroy as you slide to the ground.
“I’m not busy trying to save humanity or anything.”
He’s standing over your spilled beer, looking unimpressed. He’s pretty good at looking like that.
“I can’t do this…”
“Yes you can,” he says, rolling the bottle experimentally under his foot. You hate how certain he sounds. Resent him for reminding you of your father. At least Dad was human, at least he could lead by example.
“You don’t know what it’s like! I… I remember,” you say, not having to explain what. Not feeling the need to elaborate beyond the jagged, deep tremble in your voice, and the finger you jab down into the earth.
Then Castiel gives you that look. Like for an instant, he actually cares; And maybe by proxy, God. And you take some comfort in it despite yourself, because you are so damn desperate to have the plain hardship of your life just fucking recognized by someone.
Honestly, it should be more than enough that that someone is an Angel of God. But it isn’t. Because it isn’t Sam. You sit there miserable in the dirt and sod and all you can think is that it should be Sam.
You feel the pressure building in your chest. Feel it at the back of your eyes and nose like the Gulf of Mexico pressing down hard on a Louisiana levy. “I… fuck… ”
Time to call in the National Guard.
“I’m sorry. That… must be… difficult for you,” he says with his hands in his pockets, as you swipe the salty wet stuff that-will-remain-unnamed off your face. When things aren’t so blurry anymore you look up at him and at the forest around him and he’s taller and further away than he’s ever been. Like a helium balloon that escaped some careless kid’s clumsy fingers.
“What the fuck is your problem? Aren’t you supposed to be an Angel? You can’t even…”
“I can’t erase your memories, Dean. I’m sorry.”
“No. I mean you just… you just stand there. And say you’re sorry,” you say, wiping your nose on the sleeve of your jacket, which makes you feel about six years old; but you’re sitting on the ground in the middle of the woods crying in front of an Angel and you’re pretty sure asking him for a Kleenex would ruin the moment.
“Forget it,” you say, but without even seeing him move, he’s suddenly crouched next to you and his hand is on your shoulder, soft and light and warm. Spreading some primitive feeling of safety through your entire body. And you look into his eyes, and he says “I am sorry,” and pulls you into his arms, and this time you believe he really is.
Now it’s your turn to seek forgiveness.
A/N: The title is taken from the hymn "Come thou Fount of Every Blessing", The Sufjan Stevens version of which is just beautiful. Despite all that, I actually listened to Elliot Smith's "Needle in the Hay" a preposterous amount of times while writing this. I think that's the soundtrack, but the Sufjan song is definitely the closing credits. If you want me to upload either song for downloading, just holler. In the meantime: YouTube:
Come thou Font of Every Blessing
Needle in the Hay