songs to sleep to - 641 words, PG
Dean/Cas, post-apocalypse curtain ficlet. When it's all over, Dean sleeps.
An AU of the end of season 5. Sam said yes to Lucifer, but gets rid of him some other way and nobody dies. Cas becomes human.
- When it’s all over, Dean sleeps.
Bobby had made coffee this morning, stale grounds in a stained carafe. Dean thinks in an over-tired, punchy sort of way that it’s the only cathedral he would ever worship in. Stained glass colored in coffee-oil browns and yellows instead of the bright depictions of saints and – he thinks with a snort – angels; the java inside could be made of actual holy water for all he knows. Hell, at the end of the world, blessing the well had probably been the first thing on Bobby’s to-do list.
The first sip burns away all of his taste buds, which was probably a good thing, because this stuff is so strong you could stick a spoon in there and it would stand straight up. Just the way he likes it.
Dean pours another mug for Sam and douses it with milk. It curls its way down to the bottom of the mug and then blossoms at the top, turning Sam’s coffee a creamy brown. Kid always wants to cover up the bite.
Sam’s sitting up on the couch, talking to Bobby, when Dean hands over his mug. Sam smiles, and that’s when Dean knows it’s really all over. That smile is all Sammy.
Two cups of coffee and a few hours later, the caffeine buzz drops way too soon – a lifetime building up a tolerance – and Dean crashes. He doesn’t need any alcohol to fall asleep this time. Bobby offers him the bed (Sam doesn’t need it anymore) and Dean just sinks into sleep, deep and dreamless.
The shifting mattress wakes him hours later in the gloom of night, and it doesn’t take long for his eyes to adjust. Cas is sitting on the edge of the bed, toeing off a pair of Dean’s old boots. Jimmy’s old clothes didn’t hold up so well at the end of times with no angel mojo to fix them. When he’s wearing only boxers and a cheap gray undershirt, Cas slides into the bed, his hair a dark shock against the pillow.
Dean feels weightless and restless like he hasn’t felt for a long, long time, back when a simple nightlight out in the hallway made him feel safe in the dark. Safe and trusting, when the monsters in the dark were only imaginary. Nightmares. Angels are watching over you.
He shifts to his side and reaches out, wraps his fingers in the hem of Cas’ t-shirt, soft the way new clothes are, a contrast to the way Dean’s old battle-worn clothes feel, washed dizzy in countless quarter Laundromats.
Cas’ eyes are closed, just shadows in the darkness, but he’s not sleeping.
“Hey,” Dean tries to say, but there’s no sound. He clears his throat and stretches his legs down to the cool part of the comforter. Doing so earns his arm a fraction of an inch closer to Cas, knuckles brushing against the smooth skin underneath. Dean settles his hand onto the flat plane of Castiel’s hip, passes his thumb over the skin there. Cas’s eyes are dim in the gloaming light when he finally opens them.
“You should sleep,” Dean says around his sleep-thick tongue, feeling like he could still take his own advice.
When Sam was tiny, still only a baby by rights, he could never settle down. Dad said the kid never learned how to put himself to sleep, always letting the rocking of the car or sheer exhaustion pull him under during a time when most kids are just learning how to sleep through the night on their own. Dean remembers, like trying to see through the fog, sitting up and telling Sam nonsense stories until he slept. His voice was rusty then, too, silent unless he needed to say something to Sammy.
Cas doesn’t know how to put his new human body to sleep.
moats & boats & waterfalls - 482 words, G
Dean/Cas Sam. There's only one vacancy at the motel.
I'm not sure where I was going with this, but I wanted a D/C fic where Sam wasn't shoved off to the side.
- The door to the office is propped open by a squat, concrete ashtray, letting the stale air inside where it feels fresh and even cool, wrapping around the doorway. Sam smiles at the bored looking woman behind the counter, taking his wallet from his back pocket.
“Hey, can I get a couple rooms, open tab?”
She shakes her head. “I got one room left, think you guys can squeeze in there?”
Her eyes have drifted past his shoulder and Sam turns to look out the picture window, half-obscured by vinyl blinds. Dean’s got the trunk open, grabs Castiel’s duffel bag and hands it to him, grinning at something Cas must have said.
“Give me a second?” he asks, and the woman nods around the snap of her bubble gum.
Sam takes a few steps back and leans out the doorway. “Dean?” he calls, and Dean cuts off whatever he’s saying to Cas. “There’s only one room left.”
Dean makes a face like this is one more thing he can add to the list of the great injustices in his life and starts toward the office.
“Really?” he asks once Sam has stepped sideways to let him pass, ignoring Sam altogether and raising his eyebrows at the clerk instead. “Nothing else?”
“There’s not even, what, what about like a honeymoon suite?”
Sam flattens a glare in his direction, because really, as if a place like this would have a honeymoon suite. Dean shuffles toward the counter, dropping his duffle to the floor and opening his own wallet.
“Nope. There’s a Super 8 in Sagebury, but it’ll take you another 3 hours.”
“At least tell me this room has two queens.”
She pops her gum and reaches for Dean’s offered credit card, smiling a little. “You’re in luck,” she says and begins typing the phony card information into her computer.
Dean looks heavenward and mutters a heartfelt “thank God,” which Sam finds pretty ironic considering. But Cas is smiling a little, the corner of his mouth turned up in fond tolerance where he’s standing just behind Dean’s shoulder. Sam catches attention and then rolls his eyes. They share a look between them like old friends – solidarity against Dean’s dramatics -- and Sam realizes, grinning a little now, that maybe he and Cas are friends.
For so long it was just him and Dean, and now it’s him and Dean and Cas, and it should maybe feel a little strange or cramped to have someone else stepping into their life. (Life, like it’s just the one, SamandDean’s instead of Sam’s life and Dean’s life.) But instead it just feels right.
It’s not going to be, he thinks, following the two down the walkway to room 5A, Sam’s life and then Dean and Cas’s life. It’s just the three of them, Castiel acting like a buffer that stops Sam and Dean from clinging too tightly.
the hallow bright, ~1,700 words, PG-13
"Time is linear for us, we’re shepherds of the Earth. Dean is something else. As you know.” Sam nods, throat tight. “An archangel.” “Yes.”
My doc for this one is just called 'angel Dean.' This was based partially on a weird dream I had once, but mostly I was trying to come up with a reason for all the strange things that happened to Dean at the end of season 5 that were never explained - why he was able to kill the Whore of Babylon and wield an angel sword; why his eyes lit up so strangely when he killed Zachariah. So the idea here is that Sam said yes to Lucifer and killed Michael, and then Dean became archangel in his place. No, I don't have any explanations for that, but it's fun to explore.
- Sam writhes. The feel of his own skin is suffocating; he’s digging his fingers into the soft earth, clawing, grasping, trying to anchor himself in the reality of it – his body, just his, too small and too confining and threatening to split at the seams. He gasps, dragging in the burning air, and darkness crashes heavily; recedes again to the dull grey of the sky overhead, leaving him reeling between conscious thought and surrender. His legs curl in, the heels of his boots dragging through the earth.
His body twists sideways of its own accord and this time when the world comes back into view, it’s Dean he sees, or the afterimage of him, eyes wide in surprise and maybe fear and then his hand grips onto Sam’s thrashing forearm and everything stills.
Dean’s voice is a hush in the silence, the eye of the storm. Sam breathes in slowly, the first sweet breath of a drowning man. He can only stare at his brother, at the concern there on his face. “Sam,” Dean says, reassuring. “You’re okay. Got it? You’re okay.”
You’re not, Sam wants to say, and you’re different, but he just breathes instead, like this sudden clarity of the world is Dean’s doing. He breathes in, out. He watches Dean and settles into the extraordinary comfort of his own head, as if he’s new born.
Dean’s hand shakes slightly when he lets go of Sam’s wrist, holding it out like he’s placating a monster, only there’s no weapon in his other hand ready to strike. Sam feels a shiver go through him. His chest feels open and hollow, like seawater has cleansed everything and scrubbed the edges clean, still stinging of salt. Dean’s hands are checking him over, looking for wounds, a practiced ritual.
“Dean?” he says.
“You said yes.”
Dean’s face is back within sight, brow drawn. “I…”
Sam closes his eyes. The ground is hard at his back. “Sam?” Dean says, clutching at Sam’s jacket and giving it a quick shake.
“’M okay,” Sam says. Dean’s grip relaxes, and neither of them say anything for so long. There’s a shifting sound and a shadow falls over them; Sam opens his eyes and Castiel is there, one hand on Dean’s shoulder.
They make it back to the Impala somehow, and when Sam turns around the cemetery is just an old graveyard, crumbling headstones and the twisted, naked branches on the trees. Sam lays his hand on the hot metal roof of the car. He wants to laugh, wants to drive off with spinning tires and Lonely is the Night blaring out over the sound of the wind, Dean singing along off-key. He turns around to look at Dean instead and says, fondly, “’Bye.”
Dean all but yanks him into a hug, a fierce one-armed grip around his neck, hand twisting into the back of Sam’s jacket. Sam doesn’t return in kind, wraps his arms slowly around Dean’s ribcage instead and listens to the mumbled “God dammit, Sam, Sammy, god dammit,” his name over and over again until Dean stumbles back and turns away, both hands shoved hard into his hair.
Sam smiles over at Cas, who hasn’t said a word, not one word since the last of the harried Enochian he’d been shouting at Dean right before the light was gone and Lucifer with it, and Castiel nods once. He settles a hand between Dean’s shoulder blades and then it’s just Sam standing there, alone in the cemetery. His hands don’t shake when he starts up the engine, and he turns the volume on Rock of Ages up so high that he can’t hear anything else, not even the ringing in his ears.
[Sam decides to settle into a house, and one day Anna shows up, heralding news that Dean is coming to talk to Sam.]
“I don’t understand.”
Anna opens her mouth, presumably to speak, and then closes it with a note of frustration. “You couldn’t understand, Sam. I’m trying to say this politely, but I can’t think of a way, so to be blunt: your human brain isn’t able able to understand how time works for an angel. Ivy League educated or not.” The last she says with a gentle smile, trying to soften her words.
But Sam is still standing at the bottom of his staircase, hand on the bannister, because he was halfway to turning down the hall to grab himself some lunch when an angel had decided to drop in unannounced, so he wasn’t exactly long on patience right now.
“So try. Put it in terms my feeble human brain can understand.”
“Sam.” Anna stares at him, pleading with her eyes in that way she has of being silently judgmental until her quarry catches on to his own pigheadedness. Sam sighs, rubbing at his eyes with one hand.
“Sorry, I’m sorry, it’s just… hard. I was prepared not to see him for ages, and now he thinks he can drop in and leave again and it will just be fine? I already said goodbye.”
Anna’s expression softens and she nods, just a slight tilt of her head. “I know, you’re right. But I’m trying to tell you, he doesn’t see time that way anymore. It’s been… well, think of time not existing at all. You could do so many things, and it would feel both like no time had passed and like eons had passed all at once.”
“That’s what it’s like? For you?”
Anna shakes her head. “No, not for me, or for Cas. It’s linear for us, we’re shepherds of the Earth. Dean is something else. As you know.”
Sam nods, throat tight. “An archangel.”
“So he’s been doing whatever up in Heaven and now he wants to visit me.”
“Or, he wants to visit you before he gets to work and loses track of Earth time. Either way, or both ways. It’s complicated. Anything I need to do has to happen within the confines of time, you see? It’s been two months since Lucifer’s destruction for you, and in a way, for me. But Dean…” She laughs. “Dean does whatever he wants with two months.”
Sam frowns, wanting to ask her what exactly he should be prepared for, here, but before he can even gather the breath to speak, she’s gone. With the rush of feathers, a gentle flap of wings – nothing to do with ethereal whiteness or ground-shaking presence – Dean replaces her. He’s wearing his usual jeans and jacket, the green one he was wearing when it all happened, and a wry smile.
“Hey, Sammy,” he says. He shoves his hands in his pockets.
“Hey.” There’s silence. Dean looks casually at the walls, the ceiling, the door, taking it in with the slightest of approving head nods. Sam looks at Dean. “So, uh. Anna said you could bend time. That’s pretty cool.”
“Yeah,” Dean agrees. “It’s that thing you were trying to explain to me, spacetime? It’s kind of like… like time is indelible. Or… well, not. It’s supposed to be, but it wears out. It’s fading away but it lasts forever, so…” He trails off. “I still have no fucking clue.”
Sam finally laughs, eyes closed, and lets out all of his tension with it. The nervousness that had burrowed beneath his skin settles into a low, accepting warmth in his gut, and it feels good to laugh it all away. When he’ done, with a shake of his head and an eye roll – it’s probably disrespectful to roll your eyes at an archangel, he thinks, but Cas had never punished Dean for his disrespect anyway, and doesn’t Sam have the right?
Dean’s still looking at him when he finally settles down, still with that wry half-grin, and it’s ageless. Dean is comfortable in his own skin, Sam notices. (And it is his own, and it will always be his own.)
Finally pulling in a breath, long and slow, Dean reaches into the pocket of his jeans with one hand. He pulls it out a fist, one long black cord escaping from his fingers.
“I modified it,” he explains, still clutching the amulet, then looks up at Sam. He reaches up to pull the cord over Sam’s head and Sam has to bow it a little, swallowing against the way his heartbeat is now thrumming in his ears. Dean settles the amulet around his brother’s neck and touches a finger to the pendant briefly. “When I’m around…”
Sam nods. “I’ll know.”
“Now listen,” Dean commands, stepping back, “Don’t expect me to show up and save your ass whenever you screw up, you got it?”
“And don’t give me that attitude.”
Sam snickers. Dean rolls his eyes heavenward and sighs long-sufferingly.
“Don’t be so damn dramatic, you jerk.”
Dean doesn’t miss a beat, like he had been waiting for it. He probably was. “Bitch.”
They grin at each other across the foyer, and in that moment it’s just them. Not the boy who beat the devil or the man who would be archangel; just Sam, just Dean, just all they’ve been through and all the battles they’ve won. Together.
“So that asshole Cas,” Dean says sarcastically, “always flapped off without warning. He really sucks at goodbyes, you know that?”
“Is this your warning, then?”
“Yeah. Cas ‘sends his regards’, because he’s a son of a bitch who’s too busy for a real greeting.”
The fondness in his voice has Sam grinning. Dean will wear down Castiel one day, he’s sure of it. They’ve got plenty of time.
Dean lifts a hand, palm up, and says, “See ya around, Sammy.”
Dean grins, and then he’s gone.
I still have vague ideas of maybe finishing this one day, but I make no promises. I thought about Dean there still being shenanigans up in Heaven and the other angels (Rapheal & Co., probably) needing Dean to help with their plans for a new apocalypse. And Dean's reaction:
- Understanding hits Sam then. “You’re going to fall.”
Dean shrugs, hands still deep in his pockets. When Sam just sighs the same sigh he does whenever Dean comes up with an exasperating, insane, probably-going-to-save-their-asses plan, Dean grins. “That’ll piss ‘em off pretty good, don’t you think?”
But for now, I'm still labeling this as an abandoned WIP.
There will probably be another version of this post later, but J2 AU-flavored.