Title: Headlong Into My Arms
Pairing: Castiel/Dean Winchester
Warning: Smut. Spoilers for 5×14, “My Bloody Valentine.”
Word Count: 3600
Summary: Castiel is aware of every breath that Dean has drawn.
Notes: In which I hop on the “My Bloody Valentine” coda bandwagon. I’ve named this the Sweetest Downfall series. The title of this installment is from “Breathless” by Better Than Ezra.
It had taken place in the blink of an eye, yet Castiel remembered every moment. How he had filled the veins with blood. How he had willed the heart to start pumping. How he had brought elasticity and strength back to the muscles. How he had turned the cells of the skin over and over, changing them from dried-out, desiccated skin to skin that was newborn-smooth.
And then — he remembered this very clearly — he put Dean’s soul into the body, and the body drew its first breath in three months.
Castiel has been aware of every breath that Dean has drawn since.
Castiel didn’t try to stop Dean as he pushed himself off the wall of the panic room and slowly climbed the stairs. He knew that Dean didn’t stop to talk to Bobby, that he walked out among the wrecks in the junkyard, that he was still swigging from the bottle of whiskey until he stopped and looked up at the sky.
He knew that Dean prayed for help.
In the panic room, Sam was still screaming. “Cas! Cas! Please! Dean! Help me! Guys!” Castiel closed his eyes a moment, then took himself into the panic room.
They had strapped Sam onto the little cot, restraints at his wrists and ankles, and the chains still held him down though he strained against them. The muscles in his neck stood out in cords and his shirt was damp with perspiration under his arms and in a long V down his chest. He stopped screaming when he saw Castiel. “Cas,” he gasped, “help me, let me go, please, please, I won’t hurt anyone, I promise. Please. Please.”
Castiel looked down at him. He was not immune to Sam’s pleas, but he had a different sort of mercy in mind. He said, “Peace,” as he touched his fingertips to Sam’s forehead. Sam’s eyes closed at once and his body relaxed, his hands and feet going slack in their bindings.
Castiel touched Sam’s cheek, wishing him to sleep until morning, and then took himself upstairs. As he thought, Bobby had wheeled his chair to the top of the stairs, his face creased with worry. “Sam’s gone quiet. The last time this happened he was having a seizure.”
“I put him to sleep.”
“Are you sure that’s a good idea?”
“The poison will work out of his body whether he is awake or asleep,” Castiel said. “You should rest as well, while you can. Tomorrow may be difficult.”
“These boys,” Bobby said, and Castiel knew the rest of that thought, jumbled and confused as it was. I love them, and they’re breaking my heart. I love them and I don’t know if I can bear this any longer. “Dean’s outside,” Bobby added and Castiel nodded.
“I will look after him. Rest, Bobby.”
“Can I ask you something?” Bobby said as he turned his chair to go down the hall.
“Why do you do it?” Bobby said. “Why do you do so much for them?”
Castiel frowned a moment. “The same reason you do,” he said. “Because I love them.”
Bobby nodded and wheeled himself down the hall. Castiel watched him a moment, and then went out to the junkyard — on his feet rather than transporting, as he wanted to give Dean some warning he was coming. He did not have to look for Dean in the dark. He knew where Dean was even if he couldn’t sense him from a distance, but rather homed in on the bright and shining light of him that cut through the darkness.
And he was still a shining light, no matter what Famine had said.
He had once told Dean that prayer was a sign of faith, but he thought as he approached Dean that it was now more a sign of desperation. It was fitting, too, that Dean was driven here by concern for Sam rather than himself. Dean had never prayed for himself, that Castiel could recall. It was only when his fears for Sam overwhelmed him that he turned to God.
Hear him, Father, Castiel thought, and he waited a few moments to see if, perhaps, their combined prayers may be heard.
But there was no light or sense of power, or even a gentle whisper in the dark. Only Dean and the bottle of whiskey in his hand, which he took another drink from as Castiel walked to him. Dean didn’t turn to him as he got close, and Castiel was uncertain even as he reached for Dean’s shoulder, thinking he might be rebuffed.
Dean’s shoulder tensed under his hand, but he did not resist when Castiel pulled Dean to him. He even turned his head to press his forehead against Castiel’s neck, and Castiel rubbed his hand slowly across Dean’s back.
“You told me once that lovers talk to each other,” he told Dean as he rubbed, and Dean sighed.
“I was trying to get you to talk to me,” Dean muttered.
“And I would like you to talk to me. Tell me how I can help, Dean.”
Dean shook his head. “Is Sam okay? Has he stopped yelling?”
“He is sleeping,” said Castiel, and decided Dean did not need to know it was a sleep Castiel has induced rather than anything natural. Either way, Sam would continue healing, and this way he would get some rest. “You should do the same.”
“I don’t want to sleep.” The exhaustion in his face, the sluggishness in his limbs, gave lie to that statement.
“I can help,” Castiel said. “There is any number of things I could do.” His hand descended down the front of Dean’s body to gently palm him through his jeans. Dean inhaled, shivering, and looked at Castiel through half-closed eyes.
“Yeah, about that,” he said and pushed Castiel’s hand away.
Dean had another swig of whiskey. “I thought after — you know — at Chuck’s –”
“After Raphael destroyed me,” Castiel said.
“Yeah. That. I thought whoever brought you back just brought you back. I didn’t think he was back, too. I didn’t think Jimmy was still in there with you.”
Castiel puzzled at him, uncertain. “Why is that a problem?”
“Because!” Dean exclaimed, stepping back from him. “Because if he is that means I’ve been raping him all these months! He can’t have consensual sex if he’s not able to give consent!”
“But I give consent,” Castiel said, still confused.
“But it’s not just your body! God, this is so fuckin’ weird.” Dean had another gulp of whiskey.
Castiel felt he should chastise Dean about drinking so much, so quickly, but it would not help matters any to scold him. He leaned against the nearest car and closed his eyes. Before, he had felt Jimmy inside but he had not felt the need to communicate with him. He had not understood what it could have meant then as he did now. But if he searched inside for Jimmy, even just a spark of him, he found nothing.
“I am not certain,” he said slowly, “that he is still there. The body craves what it has always craved, but I don’t know that it is necessary for Jimmy to be there as well.”
“And the body craves a dick up its ass?” Dean said, still in that bitter tone, but Castiel knew it was only his pain speaking.
“I crave you,” he said and clenched his hands in his pockets a moment. Dean stared at him, the bottle to his lips, and Castiel said, “I desire and long for you. The body longs for comfort and love, and I give it shape in you.”
Dean dropped the bottle from his mouth and went to Castiel to stand between his legs. “Cas,” he said softly, and Castiel caught hold of his shirt and pulled him closer. “Cas,” Dean said again and kissed Castiel’s forehead. Castiel pushed himself up and pulled Dean down enough to kiss him, his fingers twisting in Dean’s shirt and Dean’s hands cupping his face.
“Come to bed,” Castiel whispered. “I’ll help you sleep. Any way you like.”
“Okay,” Dean said. “Yeah. Let’s go to bed.”
Castiel knew the exact number of Dean’s eyelashes. He knew the position of every freckle. He had straightened every broken finger, mended every torn muscle, smoothed out every scar. He knew the length and width of Dean’s nose, the set and shape of his mouth.
He had held Dean’s heart in his hands. He had felt such joy with that first beat.
Dean’s mouth had the sharp, woody taste of whiskey as Castiel kissed him, and Castiel backed off and gently pried the bottle from Dean’s fingers before they went any further. He put the bottle on the battered dresser and Dean frowned, watching him.
“Don’t say I drink too much. I know I drink too much.”
“I am not going to lecture you,” Castiel said as he took off his raincoat. He lay beside Dean on the bed and Dean reached for his tie to gently tug open the knot. “But you do drink too much, Dean.”
“Yeah, yeah,” Dean muttered and pulled Castiel closer. Castiel kissed him, intent on sucking the taste of whiskey from his mouth, and he felt Dean sigh and become pliant against him. He touched Dean’s chest, nipples hardening under his fingertips, and pulled up Dean’s t-shirt so he could feel Dean’s skin. Dean shrugged off his flannel shirt and sat up to yank off his t-shirt, then lay on top of Castiel and kissed him, his hands planted on either side of Castiel’s head. His mouth was wet and hot, and rapidly losing the taste of whiskey.
He ducked his head and fastened his mouth onto Castiel’s throat, and Castiel tilted back his head and shuddered. He started to unbutton his shirt, but Dean captured his hands and held them to the bedspread as his mouth moved down Castiel’s neck. Castiel watched him and laughed quietly as he watched Dean pull a button from its moorings with his teeth. He didn’t struggle or try to free his hands, but let them rest in Dean’s grip, let Dean have his way with him. He wanted to touch Dean, caress his hair, trace his cheekbones, but he only toed off his shoes so he could run his toes up Dean’s leg, only press his knee against Dean’s hip.
Dean’s mouth closed on Castiel’s nipple through his shirt, making Castiel sigh a soft, “Dean,” and Dean finally released his hands. Castiel thrust them into Dean’s hair and pulled up his head. He knew his kiss was demanding but he felt selfish — this was his longing, his craving, too. He licked at Dean’s mouth, tasting sorrow and anger and exhaustion, and tried to give him the flavors of love and hope and peace.
He rolled Dean beneath him and kissed his chest, then knelt up and undid the buttons on Dean’s jeans, his gaze fixed on Dean’s. Dean’s eyes were dark as an angry ocean and there was a flush in his cheeks, and his hands lay limply on the bedspread. Castiel stopped, the fly halfway undone, and Dean’s breath caught. “Cas –”
Castiel ran his fingertips over Dean’s chest and let them linger over his protective tattoo. “I know the names of every bone in your body,” he said softly, “in every language that has ever been. I know the story behind your every scar.” He undid the last few buttons as Dean’s chest rose and fell in sharp, uneven breaths, and Dean lifted his hips as Castiel gently pulled down his jeans and boxer shorts.
“Cas,” he breathed again, and then turned his face away as if ashamed of the need in the little word.
“I am here,” Castiel whispered and kissed his hip. “I am always here.” He tongued across Dean’s low belly, avoiding Dean’s hard and leaking organ for a moment longer and lavishing attention on his navel, his hips, the salty-sweet skin of his inner thighs. “I know every pore of you,” he whispers to the inside of Dean’s knee. “How could I not love you, when you are so precious to me?” He kissed the bottom of Dean’s foot and ran his tongue over Dean’s toes.
Dean made a keening sound.”Cas, please, just — just –”
“What?” Castiel held himself over Dean and stared down into his eyes. “What do you want, Dean? What do you crave?”
Dean clasped his hips and pulled them together. “You. Fuck me. That’s what I want.”
“Dean,” Castiel breathed and kissed him before he hastily took off the rest of his clothes. He went back into Dean’s arms and kissed him, gentle and lingering, as Dean stroked his back and raked his hands through Castiel’s hair.
He wanted to be gentle — he wanted to show Dean how loved he was, how alive — but Dean’s kisses were desperate and hungry, and his hands clutched at Castiel as if he couldn’t bear any distance between them. Castiel followed his lead, and so kissed him deeper, touched him rougher, pushed into him as Dean’s legs shook in his hands. Dean’s fingers dig into Castiel’s biceps, and he pushed up to meet each of Castiel’s thrusts forward. His eyes were closed and he breathed hard through parted lips, and Castiel dipped his head to kiss the lids, unable to resist.
“I love you,” he whispered and licked Dean’s mouth. Dean pulled him closer and thrust his tongue into Castiel’s mouth in response. That was all right — Dean did not say ‘I love you’ often, which made it all the sweeter when he did. Castiel let Dean’s leg slid from his shoulder and pushed the other up higher, and kissed him as hard and deep as he could reach as he shoved into him.
He could feel Dean jerking against his stomach, but Dean didn’t touch himself and Castiel left it, his hands busy with pulling Dean to him. He watched Dean’s face, waiting for him to open his eyes, but Dean didn’t even when Castiel was moaning his name.
Castiel let himself come, shivering in Dean’s arms, and dropped his head onto Dean’s shoulder. He kissed Dean’s neck and slid from him, tossed aside the condom and knelt on the floor, between Dean’s knees. “Cas,” Dean whispered as his fingers knotted in Castiel’s hair, and Castiel kissed the head before he slid the length into his mouth.
He watched Dean’s face the entire time he sucked him, but Dean didn’t open his eyes. It was not until Dean came, hot and salty in Castiel’s mouth, his voice ragged as he said Castiel’s name, that Castiel realized why. He crawled up Dean’s body and kissed his face, and it was also hot and tasted of salt. “Dean,” he whispered and kissed Dean’s face again, licking up the tears, until Dean buried his face in Castiel’s neck.
Castiel stroked Dean’s hair and watched him breathe. His hand hesitated only a little when Dean said, “Go ahead and say it.”
“Whatever you’re thinking. That’s I’m too broken and empty for you to handle, whatever, and you’re wondering how to let me down gently.”
“That is not what I am thinking,” Castiel said. He traced the rise of Dean’s chest, the fall of his stomach. “What I am thinking,” he went on, even though Dean didn’t ask, “is that I know you have a soul. I put it there myself. And whatever emptiness Famine sensed inside you, I don’t understand it.”
“So you’ve seen it,” Dean whispered.
“Seen it,” Castiel said, “held it, breathed it into you. I suppose,” he added thoughtfully, “technically, that was our first kiss.”
Dean huffed. “It must have been nasty.”
“It was beautiful,” Castiel said. “You breathed in like a baby just pulled from its mother’s womb.”
“And then I called for help,” Dean said. “You left me in a grave, Cas.”
“Which I had to dig my way out of.”
“Yes,” Castiel said again. “When you break the shell around a hatchling, the chick will die. A chick must peck its way out on its own in order to live.”
“I’m not a baby chick, Cas.”
“No. You are not fuzzy enough.”
Dean finally opened his eyes and looked at him. Castiel smiled hesitantly — jokes were still something he was feeling out, and he was not certain he’d made it correctly — but then Dean quietly laughed and pulled Castiel to him, his hand on the back of Castiel’s neck. He kissed Castiel’s forehead. Castiel looped his arms around Dean and quietly sighed, letting his own eyes close.
“Will you sleep now?” he whispered, stroking Dean’s chest as soothingly as possible.
“Yeah. I’ll try.” Castiel went on stroking him and Dean slowly breathed. After a few minutes, Dean whispered, “Cas?”
“I am here, Dean.”
There was a long silence before Dean whispered, “If what you say is true, that I’m not dead inside … what do I need to do to feel … alive again?”
Castiel wished he could say he didn’t know. But he had stopped withholding information from Dean long ago, and this was something Dean deserved to know. He said, “I believe you will be filled the moment you understand you deserve it.”
Dean frowned at him and muttered, “Right.” He turned onto his other side, his back to Castiel. Castiel looked at him a moment, confused, and then fitted himself against Dean’s back and lay his arm over Dean’s chest. It took a few minutes, but eventually Dean lay his hand over Castiel’s.
Even in his sleep Dean sought out Castiel’s heat and was wrapped around him, his head on Castiel’s shoulder and his palm flat on Castiel’s chest. Castiel held him loosely, brushing his thumb over the nape of Dean’s neck, when he felt a jolt in his being and sat up, frowning.
One of his brothers was near.
He closed his eyes a moment, then slipped from Dean’s arms and dressed in some of the clothes Dean had bought for him months before: jeans, t-shirt, boots, wool coat. He knew it was a gesture more for himself than anyone else, but still it was a statement he wished to make.
He stepped from the bedroom to the junkyard. In a moment he found Gabriel, who had, probably to remind Castiel of their last meeting, lit a campfire and was warming his hands over it.
“In the old days,” Gabriel said as Castiel approached him, “I’d also have a hobo playing harmonica and another cooking a can of beans. Atmosphere’s important. Scene-setting. You know. You ever eaten beans straight from the can?”
“No,” said Castiel.
“They taste terrible that way, but it’s still food.”
“Indeed,” said Castiel.
“This is selfish of you, you know,” Gabriel said. “You’re supposed to encourage him to obey us. That’s what I heard.”
“You are now part of them?” Castiel said calmly and crouched down at the other side of the fire. “You are no longer running?”
“We’re both a part of them, Castiel,” Gabriel said. “We’re family. And the family needs you to play your role as much as it needs those two to play theirs.”
“If Sam says yes to Lucifer, he will die.”
“And if Dean says yes to Michael, you lose your lover.” He smiled at Castiel without humor, eyes glinting in the firelight. “See what I mean about selfish?”
“Then I am selfish,” Castiel said. “I wish to keep my lover and I wish his family to remain whole. There was a time when love one another was our first and only rule.”
“Those days are over,” Gabriel said. “Nothing is that simple anymore.” He looked at Castiel with something like sympathy. “If you continue rebelling, Castiel, our brothers will kill you. You know it as well as I do.”
“I know.” Castiel rose and twitched his sleeve, and the silver sword was in his hand. “And yet I am not afraid.”
Gabriel looked at the sword, then up to meet Castiel’s eyes. The set of his mouth was grim and not a little disappointed.
“Go from this place,” Castiel said. “Our brothers may hunt me, but until they destroy me I will protect Sam and Dean.”
“Why? For what purpose?” Gabriel said, rising too. “Out of loyalty? Out of fear? Is the sex that good?”
Castiel squinted at him, wishing he could say it in words his brother could understand. “For love,” he said and Gabriel shook his head.
“You’re making a mistake, Castiel.”
“Probably,” Castiel agreed. “Yet it feels right.” He took a step close to Gabriel, his grip tightening on the sword, and Gabriel glared at him and disappeared into the dark.
Castiel exhaled and put the sword away. He went back to the bedroom where Dean slept, took off his coat and boots and got back into bed with him. Dean hummed in his sleep and moved closer to him, and Castiel coaxed Dean’s head onto his chest and wrapped his arms around him.
“You’re cold,” Dean mumbled.
“I’ve been outside.”
“Blankets.” Dean pulled the bedding over them. “What was outside?”
“Nothing,” Castiel said. “I just wanted to walk a little.”
“Mm.” There was a long pause. Dean flexed his fingers against Castiel’s hip. “Cas.”
“Sorry I was pissy earlier.”
“You’re allowed to get angry.”
Dean sighed. “And you forgive me, just like that.”
“Of course. I would like very much to fill you. Not like that,” he added when Dean smirked.
“You fill me just fine like that, babe,” Dean said and kissed him, and then lay his head on Castiel’s shoulder again, his arm over Castiel’s chest. Castiel held him loosely and slowly traced shapes over his back, old letters from languages long lost. “Stay the night,” Dean whispered, words starting to slur together.
“I will,” Castiel replied. Dean only hummed, already asleep, and Castiel pressed his lips to Dean’s hair and listened to him breathe.