Title: Burning Up
Characters/Pairings: Dean, Castiel, Uriel, no pairing
Summary: Castiel gets sick and needs someone to take care of him.
Disclaimer: I've written to Santa, but until he gets back to me, none of this is mine...
A/N: Written for a friend's prompt, she asked for Fevered!Castiel, and who am I to deny a girl whose fanfic wishlist is so like my own? Beta'd by anniehow of LJ
A Winchester’s life is weird.
Dean has long ago accepted this fact. Ghosts, vampires, werewolves, zombies… those are the everyday weird. Sometimes though, things just get weirder. And he’s long since given up on thinking that things just can’t get any weirder than they already have. Like the town haunted by fairy-tales coming from the angry inner-child of a comatose woman. Any day he has to stop the Big Bad Wolf, as opposed to some bog-standard werewolf? Definitely weird. And don’t even get him started on the town with the working Wishing Well. Because a 7ft bi-polar teddy bear? Weird, doesn’t quite cover that one. Although what surprised him most was that he was actually surprised. It’s times like those when he wonders if he really is insane.
So when he’s sitting in his motel room cleaning his arsenal of weaponry and waiting for Sam to return from his research run (normal weird) he’s not all that surprised when a pair of angels appear before him in the blink of an eye.
No, the surprise doesn’t kick in until he’s had the chance to take in their appearance, physical as opposed to magical.
Castiel’s right arm is hooked around Uriel’s shoulders, and the dark angel is gripping the wrist with one hand. The other hand is curled tight around Castiel’s waist, holding the blue-eyed angel upright against him. It’s clear from the way Castiel sways on the spot, his free hand catching against Uriel’s shoulder, that he’s probably not capable of standing without support right now.
He looks terrible.
His hair is a mess (more so than usual) his normally sharp blue eyes are clouded and unfocussed, and his skin is deathly pale, coated with a shining layer of sweat. The hand that is hanging loosely from Uriel’s shoulder seems to be shaking from the effort of supporting his own weight. Dean sees all this in a split second examination. A second, more thorough look, registers a steadily blooming stain of red on his shirt, stemming from his lower right side beneath his trench coat.
‘What the hell?’ Dean manages, before Uriel bends his knees and lifts Castiel as if he weighs no more than a kitten, depositing the injured angel on Dean’s bed. Castiel’s eyes pinch shut and he tips his head back, muscles in his jaw clenching and unclenching as though he is fighting not to cry out.
‘An appropriate question,’ Uriel tells him, and Dean might be imagining it, but he thinks Uriel’s tone is maybe not as snarky and superior as usual. Surely that’s not a hint of concern beneath the pomposity?
The wrathful angel pushes Castiel’s trenchcoat open and Dean sees that the blood is flowing from a thin tear in the angel’s shirt. Without pretense or warning, Uriel rips Castiel’s shirt apart, and Dean averts his eyes for a second, unsure if he should really be looking at a half-naked angel. Especially when said angel is the one who rescued him from hell. It feels wrong to see such a powerful being in such a state.
Curiosity wins out though, and his eyes drag back towards Castiel. The angel’s well-defined chest and stomach are perfectly smooth, the only flaw being the thin, blade-shaped wound that is the source of all the blood. The muscles of his stomach are tense, and his chest is heaving as though he can barely draw breath.
‘There was a battle,’ Uriel begins to explain, and Dean is glad for something to take his attention, because he really doesn’t want to think about the way Castiel’s blood seems to be glowing.
‘Another seal?’ he asks, and Uriel nods curtly.
‘This one we won, but it was close. Castiel placed himself between the demons and the intended victim.’
Dean wonders why this surprises him. Sure the angels seem a little trigger happy usually, but if there’s one thing he believes it’s that they take this seal business dead seriously. Uriel sounds both proud of Castiel’s efforts, and mildly annoyed that he risked his life for a mere mortal.
‘The blade that struck him was a demonic weapon,’ Uriel continues. He’s knelt beside the other angel now, his hands pressed to the wound.
Dean’s expecting some kind of glow, one of those mini light shows that they seem so fond of, but there’s no obvious signs of magic. Castiel arches his back, his upper body lifting off the bed as the cry of pain finally forces it’s way past his lips, but when Uriel removes his hands, the wound is completely healed, not even leaving a scar.
Dean stares at the newly repaired skin, then scans Castiel’s torso again, realising there should be scars. Gunshot and knife scars for starters. Not that he feels guilty about stabbing an angel (Castiel has already informed him that the vessel had long since moved on) more like embarrassed in hindsight, but it’s good to know there’s no lasting damage.
He becomes aware that Castiel is speaking, but whatever he’s saying, it’s not in any language Dean recognises. It sounds like a chant, perhaps a prayer, the words oddly beautiful and ethereal. It would probably be more rhythmic under normal circumstances, but it’s a struggle for the angel to get the words out, gasping each line between laboured breaths.
‘He doesn’t look any better,’ Dean points out, and Uriel shoots him a scathing look.
‘You noticed?’ he replies, and Dean is oddly comforted by the familiar edge of sarcasm and loathing in the angel’s voice. ‘The blade was forged in hell fire. It holds a potent poison for our kind.’
‘And you can’t heal it?’ Dean asks, the question unintentionally coming out as a challenge, because even with their usual go-between out of commission, he can’t seem to resist challenging the more aggressive angel.
‘I stopped the spread of the poison. He should recover in due time, but until then, I will be leaving him in your care.’ Uriel sounds far too pleased with himself at the prospect of lumbering the Winchesters with a sick angel.
‘You’re kidding right? What are we gonna do with him?’ Dean demands.
‘The touch of hell fire will burn within him, trying to burn out his Grace. You simply have to ensure he doesn’t burn.’ Uriel replies.
‘So it’s like a fever?’ he asks, needing more, needing clarification, because he’s pretty sure there isn’t a single book, website or woman’s magazine that has a section on angelic infections.
‘This is no mere mortal illness,’ Uriel replies immediately. ‘It doesn‘t matter how you do it, just keep his temperature as close to normal as you can manage.’
‘So it’s like a fever?’ Dean repeats, because come on, he just can’t resist.
‘What you mud-monkeys consider a fever is nothing compared to this. Castiel needs serious attention if he is to survive this.’
Dean would take offence at the condescending tone, but he can’t help feeling oddly proud that Uriel is trusting them to take care of Castiel.
‘So what’s normal for an angel?’ he asks. He’s pretty sure it’s a sensible question, but Uriel shoots him another of his patented ‘silly little mud-monkey’ looks.
‘Keep it as a human should be,’ he replies. It may possibly be the first time Uriel has referred to them as humans as opposed to mud-monkeys, but Dean barely notices. He reaches out, lays a hand to Castiel’s forehead, and discovers a whole new meaning to the phrase, ‘you‘re burning up‘.
He looks back up towards Uriel, but the angel has pulled the ninja move on him, sneaking out as they always do the moment he looks away. He swears they do it just to wind him up. Would it be so hard on them to let him get that last word in for a change?
Castiel is still muttering beneath his breath, the words softer than before, and it takes a moment for him to register Dean’s touch. He opens his eyes and looks at the elder Winchester, and even in his weak and injured state his gaze unsettles Dean.
‘So whose bright idea was this?’ Dean asks, trying to break the sudden quiet tension in the room. Castiel huffs out a laugh.
‘My brothers don’t have the time to do this for me. You were the first option we could come up with,’ he replies, his tone strained.
‘And who, specifically, is we?’ Dean presses, not about to let this go. He wants to know exactly who to blame for landing him with the nursing duties.
‘Me,’ Castiel confesses softly. And Dean can’t really stay mad at a sick man can he? So he shifts his hand from the angel’s forehead, clearing his throat awkwardly.
‘So angels get sick too huh?’ he asks lightly.
‘Rarely,’ Castiel replies, sounding just a tad defensive.
‘How does it feel?’ Dean asks, unable to contain his curiosity.
‘I don’t know. I have no frame of reference,’ Castiel admits, and his tone is almost irritated, but there’s a tremor in his voice that emphasizes his current condition.
Dean presses his hand to Castiel’s forehead again, and he’s kind of hoping that his temperature will have changed in the past few seconds, ‘cause if not he’s going to have to do something about it that he has honestly never considered before. Ever. Honestly.
‘Damn.’ He pulls his hand away. ‘You’re burning up. Literally.’
‘No kidding.’ Despite his obvious discomfort, the angel’s tone is dripping with sarcasm, and Dean can’t help but laugh. It’s not something he’s ever heard from Castiel before, and he wonders if the angel has picked it up from him.
‘We’ve gotta cool you down,’ he continues, pretending to ignore the angel’s comment, because Castiel always does it to him, and two can play at that game. Besides, he wants to keep this professional. He slips his hands beneath Castiel’s shoulders and helps him upright. One hand tugs the knot on the tie loose before he slides both hands up to the angel’s shoulders and pushes the trenchcoat, jacket and shirt off in one swift move. He’s always been good at getting people out of their clothes.
When he releases Castiel’s shoulders, the angel falls back into the pillows with a sigh that turns into a moan as his body impacts on cool sheets. Dean resolutely ignores the sound as he moves down the bed and tugs off shoes and socks. For the briefest moment he considers going for the belt of Castiel’s trousers, but quells the idea before it gets the chance to run it’s course. No way he’s going there. He’ll do the best he can, but if saving Castiel means stripping him to his boxers (does he even wear boxers?) he may just have to let the angel burn.
Instead, he leaves the angel and goes in search of cold water and cloths. There’s a thermometer in the first aid kit and he grabs that too. He presses a damp washcloth to Castiel’s forehead, and the angel’s eyes flutter closed as he sighs softly at the cooling sensation.
He reaches for the thermometer, then hesitates. He really doesn‘t want to be playing nurse here, and the thought of shoving a glass tube into an angel’s mouth sounds so unceremonious and ridiculous that he can’t help feeling awkward.
‘Here,’ he says eventually, holding out the thermometer. Castiel’s eyes open slightly, and he eyes the thermometer suspiciously.
Freaking brilliant. Nurse Dean and the reluctant Angel.
You have to put this in your mouth,’ he explains after a moment of awkwardness. Castiel doesn’t move, and he sighs impatiently. ‘Like this,’ he says, and demonstrates. Castiel’s brow furrows slightly into the usual confused expression, but he doesn’t resist when Dean presses the thermometer against his lips.
Dean gives it two minutes, during which time Castiel’s eyes never shift from his, and the angel’s expression somehow manages to be both pained and put-upon. Eventually Dean recovers the thermometer. The little red line has shot up, counting 109.4°F
Damn, he thinks. Time to get creative.
It takes an hour of inventive uses of ice and water to get the angel’s temperature down to a relatively acceptable level. Castiel falls asleep at some point during the process, and Dean is eternally thankful because there’s only so much awkwardness he can stand. He’s systematically re-wetting the cloths on the angel’s chest when Castiel begins to shake and moan in his sleep.
He panics for a moment, wondering if he’s not doing enough, thinks maybe the angel is in serious trouble, but then common sense kicks in and he realises it’s just a dream. Castiel speaks several times, always in that oddly pretty language that Dean’s never heard before, and tosses and turns in the bed, upsetting Dean’s neat handiwork with the cold watered cloths. With an impatient sigh, Dean grabs Castiel’s shoulders as the angel arches off the bed, muscles tensing and flexing. He cries out again, and Dean presses him back down, leaning over him.
‘Cas! Dude, you’re dreaming, you’ve gotta wake up!’ he orders.
Castiel moans again, twisting under Dean’s grip, but he doesn’t lash out and throw Dean halfway across the room, which Dean takes as a good sign.
‘Come on, wake up,’ he urges the angel.
Castiel’s eyes snap open, and he lurches upright with a gasp. Unfortunately Dean is still leaning over him, and their foreheads collide with a sharp crack.
‘Son of a-’ Dean starts, releasing one of Castiel’s shoulders to rub his throbbing forehead, but Castiel, still in the grip of the dream, reaches out with both hands and grabs hold of Dean’s arms, seeking an anchor to reality.
‘Dean!’ he gasps out, and Dean’s hand instantly drops back to the angel’s shoulder, giving it a reassuring squeeze.
‘I’m right here Cas,’ he says tiredly, unable to stay mad when the angel is so clearly distressed.
Castiel sighs in relief, and sags in Dean’s grip. His shoulders shake beneath Dean’s fingers, and his hands begin to tremble on Dean’s arms. Dean holds him steady as his breathing slows.
‘It was just a dream,’ he murmurs softly as Castiel shifts one of his hands to the back of Dean’s neck in order to hold himself steady.
‘A nightmare,’ the angel corrects him shakily.
Dean wants to say more, wants to comfort the angel (though that’s a little out of his usual range of angel interaction) or at least get him lying down again so he can re-apply those damn cold cloths, but all further interaction is put on hold when the door to the motel room clicks open and Sam walks in saying ‘Hey Dean? I couldn---’
Dean jumps back instantly, and Castiel tilts his head with a look of confusion as the brothers stare each other down. Sam is frozen in the doorway, his mouth hanging open and his brown eyes wider than Dean has ever seen them, filled with shock, confusion and the slightest hint of amusement.
Dean takes approximately two seconds to assess the position he’s been caught in, the fact that he’s sitting kneeling on a bed with a shirtless angel (shirtless male angel) and Sam’s expression to conclude that this? Is awkward on an epic scale. If not for the humiliation potential, he would burst out laughing at the look on Sam’s face, but for some reason he feels a mad urge to explain himself. To make sure his little brother knows damn well that there’s nothing questionable going on.
‘Sam. Dude, this is so not what it looks like.’
Title: Not What It Looks Like
Rating: PG 13
Characters: Sam, Castiel, Dean
Summary: Sam is left to watch Castiel, and the two wind up talking.
Disclaimer: Santa failed to bring me the rights, so Supernatural and all the characters are Kripke's for another year....
A/N: Sequel to Burning Up. Please be aware there is some discussion of homosexuality and biblical views, so anyone highly religious may wish to steer clear. Beta'd once again by anniehow of LJ.
A Winchester’s life is weird.
Sam Winchester has long ago accepted this fact. He deals with ghosts, vampires, werewolves and zombies without even batting an eyelid. He has just spent the better part of the afternoon sitting in a library searching local records for a young man who fit’s the traditional angry spirit profile (died a violent death, has a beef with somebody still living…) and that’s not weird at all. Not by Winchester standards.
So when he opens the motel room door, calling out to his brother to tell him that the four hours in the library were four wasted hours that he’d really like back, it’s not the presence of an angel in his room that stops him short and steals the words from his mouth.
It’s the fact that the angel in question is half-lying, half-sitting on Dean’s bed, holding on to his brother as though he’s afraid to let go. It might also have something to do with the fact that Dean is holding the angel too. It could be that they’re sitting so close together that all it would take is the smallest movement for them to be doing a whole lot more than just sitting. It might even possibly have something to do with the fact that the angel? Is half-naked.
Weird, Sam decides, doesn’t really cover it.
Dean pulls back from the angel the minute he registers Sam’s presence, but he doesn’t move far. Castiel’s hand slips away from his neck, but the other is still gripping Dean’s arm, and Dean’s hand is still resting on Castiel’s shoulder.
‘Sam. Dude, this is so not what it looks like,’ Dean tells him instantly, such a predictable response, and Sam furrows his brow as he glances between the two of them, trying to work out what else it could possibly be.
It takes a couple of seconds for him to become aware that he’s staring, that his mouth is actually hanging open, and he shuts it abruptly, at the same time averting his eyes from this scene of questionable morality.
Dean pulls further away from Castiel, and the angel closes his eyes, sagging weakly in Dean’s grip. Sam watches as his brother eases Castiel back against the pillows, studiously avoiding Sam’s gaze. The angel allows himself to be pushed back into the bed, his only acknowledgement a low groan that Sam doesn’t really want to consider the meaning of. Dean glances at Castiel, green eyes lingering on the angel’s face, dragging down his body before rising back to meet Sam’s.
‘Dean,’ he begins carefully, reaching behind him to shut the door and keeping his gaze on his brother as though he thinks maybe they’ll do… something, while his back is turned. He hesitates for a second, not entirely sure how to phrase this next part, eventually settling for the old classic, ‘What the hell is going on?’
Even as he says it, he winces at the tone of the question. He really doesn’t want Dean to know that he’s actually thinking what Dean thinks he’s thinking, and he doesn’t even care if that thought makes no sense because dammit this is a little outside his usual range of experience.
He resolutely ignores the treacherous little voice that whispers, it’s not that far out of your range of experience, in the back of his mind.
‘Funny you should say that,’ Dean replies, trying, and failing, for a humorous tone. His voice is too hoarse, too anxious. ‘Castiel showed up with Uriel about an hour ago.’
Sam immediately makes a second check of the room, half-expecting to see the dark-skinned angel smirking at him from the corner. It takes a few seconds to reassure himself of Uriel’s absence, during which time Dean continues his explanation.
‘Apparently there was a battle and he got hit by some demon weapon that poisoned him with hell-fire. Now he has the mother of all fevers, and I… we, have to keep his temperature down or it’s going to burn him out. Literally.’
Sam tilts his head towards Castiel, and blue eyes meet his gaze. On closer inspection, Castiel’s appearance certainly seems to back-up Dean’s story, and he really wants to believe that the reason the angel is breathing hard and coated in sweat is because he’s sick, and not because he’s…
‘I required assistance, and my own brothers were too busy to give it,’ Castiel confirms Dean’s statement and Sam is oh-so relieved that the angel spoke before his mind could follow his thoughts to their logical conclusion.
He breathes out a sigh that sounds a little too relieved, and Dean’s eyes narrow.
‘Dude, and you accuse me of confusing reality with porn? Get your mind out of the gutter,’ he says. This time the humour is less forced, and when Sam laughs most of the remaining awkwardness lifts.
Most of it.
Because sick or not, Sam finds it hard to believe that it was necessary for Dean to hold the angel that close to him. Or that Castiel felt the need to fit his hand to Dean’s neck the way you do before pulling someone in for a kiss.
But Castiel has closed his eyes again, and Dean has already turned his attention to soaking washcloths in a bowl of water and applying them strategically to the angel’s pulse points. Whatever Sam thinks he felt in the air when he walked in has evaporated, and they seem to be merely nurse and patient again. Sam quells a grin at the thought of Nurse Dean, then shouts in surprise when a wet cloth slaps into his face.
‘Sam. Save the dirty thoughts for later and give me a hand,’ Dean orders.
‘Dean, we’re still working a case here, or did you forget?’ Sam retorts, but he throws the cloth back at his brother and heads for the freezer in search of ice.
Dean glances up, a startled expression on his face, and Sam realises that he has forgotten. Before he can comment though, Dean’s expression turns businesslike.
‘Well, did you find anything?’
‘I couldn’t find anyone who died violently in the past twenty years, but I did find a lead,’ Sam replies, head buried in the freezer as he empties the ice tray into a bowl.
‘Eighteen years ago some kid called John Webster committed suicide. Cops were always suspicious of the circumstance, but there was never any evidence of foul play.’
He emerges from the freezer and crosses towards Dean and Castiel, setting the ice on the bedside table and glancing down at the sick angel.
This close to Castiel, it’s easy to see how sick the poison is making him. His eyes are cloudy and far dimmer than Sam is used too. From, you know, the whole three times he’s actually seen the angel before. Still, with the way Castiel’s chest is rising and falling as though it’s taking a monumental effort just to draw breath, the way his skin is soaked in sweat and his limbs are shaking, it doesn’t take an expert in angels to see that something is very wrong.
‘I was going to suggest we follow up,’ he adds softly. Then, not wanting to sound like he’s that concerned for Castiel, he adds, ‘but obviously you’re kind of busy.’ He raises his eyebrows in a teasing expression, and Dean throws another cloth at him.
‘Whatever dude. I’ve been stuck here for hours waiting on your geek boy ass. How about you stay here and watch the angel, and I’ll go do the interviews?’
Sam scoffs, scooping a small heap of ice into a dish towel and bundling it up. He knows Dean way better than his brother wants to admit, well enough to see the reluctant glance towards Castiel, to hear the hesitance in his voice. Dean wants to stay with his angel, he’s only throwing this at Sam to try and prove otherwise.
Castiel, on the other hand, doesn’t know either Sam or Dean very well at all. As Sam passes the bundle of ice to Dean he lies on the bed between the two brothers, blue eyes flicking back and forth between them, his usually calm features twisted with pain.
‘I am right here,’ he notes a little indignantly, and Dean glances apologetically down at him, a hint of regret in his eyes that Sam might not have noticed were he not suddenly so tuned to everything that occurs between his brother and Castiel.
So tuned in that he can’t help seeing how especially gentle Dean is as he lifts Castiel’s head from the pillows and slides the bundle of ice beneath the angel’s neck. Castiel eyes them both with a combination of curiosity and suspicion, until Dean presses him back into the mattress, and the ice touches the back of his neck. With a sharp gasp of surprise the angel tries to pull away, arching his back and tensing his shoulders in an attempt to escape the freezing sensation, but Dean’s hand is still curved round his shoulder, and he is too weak to escape.
‘Easy dude,’ Dean says, and Sam recognises the tone of ‘I’m trying to comfort you but it’s kinda awkward and goes against my rule of no chick flick moments’. Only his brother could say so much in so few words.
‘Dean, I’m pretty sure I can handle the hunt on my own,’ he begins. ‘Besides, you seem to have everything under control here, you don’t need me too…’ he trails off, gesturing at the little scene before him. It suddenly occurs to him that he’s never been alone with Castiel. He’s never spent much time in the angel’s presence, and the thought of being left alone with him for so long whilst Dean leaves to investigate their case suddenly feels very awkward.
Dean’s eyes flick between Sam and Castiel, and Sam has the uneasy feeling that his brother knows exactly what he’s thinking as the hazel green shines with a mischievous light.
‘No, I’ll do it. You just stay here and take care of him,’ he says in a tone that brooks no argument, and Sam sighs impatiently, rolling his eyes as his brother offers up a huge grin that says ‘I’m chucking you in the deep end little brother.’
‘Fine,’ he says, wincing slightly at the reluctance in his tone and glancing apologetically at Castiel. The angel’s eyes remain fixed on his brother though as Dean pulls on his jacket and heads for the door, pausing only to pat Sam on the shoulder and say with barely disguised glee:
‘You two play nicely now.’
Sam rolls his eyes at his brother’s back, waits for the door to slam shut and then turns to Castiel. The angel’s eyes take a little longer to slide away from the door and meet his gaze. He shifts on his feet, offering an awkward smile, and Castiel merely fixes him with the usual look of perpetual curiosity.
‘So.’ Sam begins, searching desperately for a sentence to follow that will not come across as naďve or offensive to the implacable being currently laid out on his brother’s bed.
Castiel saves him the trouble.
‘Why did you immediately assume the worst when you walked in?’ the angel asks, his usual head-tilt of curiosity not working quite as well when the head in question is resting on a pillow. Angel or no, seeing him laid up like this somehow robs Castiel of some of his mystique. It doesn’t help that his voice is so hoarse and cracked that Sam finds himself automatically reaching for a glass of water, even as he sputters out an incomprehensible response, part laugh, part scoff, part apologetic sigh. Castiel merely watches him, patiently awaiting a coherent reply.
‘I just, well you know, it was kind of… and you were… and he had… it just…’ he stops himself stammering, not because he’s worried about annoying the angel but because it’s starting to annoy him. College education and this is the best he can do? He takes a deep breath and tries again. ‘It looked like something else,’ he admits.
‘I understand how it looked,’ Castiel tells him patiently. ‘What I asked is why you assumed it to be bad.’
Sam’s not quite sure what Castiel is getting at, so he settles for furrowing his brow and tilting his head in a confused manner, vaguely aware that his expression is somewhat similar to Castiel’s perpetually confused frown. The angel gives a sigh that is equal parts pain and impatience, and struggles to pull himself up against the pillows. Sam reaches out to help him, hands meeting bare skin before he’s had the chance to reconsider the action, and he suddenly finds himself truly appreciating what Dean meant by ‘burning out’.
He loads up a new bundle of ice, and Castiel watches him work, regarding Sam with deep blue eyes that leave the younger Winchester pretty damn certain that the angel doesn’t just look at people, but through them, into them and around them all at once.
‘You assumed Dean and I were….’ Castiel says after a moment’s uncomfortable silence. He trails off, glancing round the room as though the words he wants will be written on the walls, before returning his gaze to Sam. ‘You greeted it as though it were a bad thing. Why is that?’
Sam is startled into laughter, though he’s not sure what he’s laughing at. Maybe it’s the look of apparently genuine confusion on Castiel’s face, as if he can’t understand why two men on one bed could possibly be considered bad.
‘It’s just, you know, it’s…. I mean, some people…’ he’s really not sure if he wants to come across as homophobic or pro-homosexuality here, and damn, that has to qualify as one of the most surreal moral dilemma’s of his life. ‘They think it’s wrong. Unnatural. You know. A sin.’
Castiel considers this for a moment, brow furrowed, head tilted and blue eyes cast towards the ceiling, and Sam starts to suspect that the angel genuinely had no idea about the prejudice that has raged out of control for so many centuries. He laughs again at that, because he thinks if he doesn’t the stupidity of it all might drive him crazy.
‘It is not a sin,’ Castiel begins, and Sam’s eyebrows shoot up immediately, because unlike Dean he has read the Bible and it seemed pretty darn clear on the subject. ‘Sex is not…..’ he breaks off again, searching the walls and ceiling for the words. ‘It’s not inherently a sin, Sam, not for humans nor angels.’
Eyebrows disappear beyond Sam’s hairline, as another involuntary laugh escapes him. The dish towel he is holding is starting to leak freshly melted water over his fingers, so he leans forward to press the new ice bundle to Castiel’s forehead and makes the obvious point.
‘I thought the Bible said-’
‘The Bible is not the word of God,’ Castiel cuts him off, wincing at the sensation of ice against his skin, but not pulling away. He takes a deep breath and looks Sam straight in the eye, as though willing him to understand. ‘Parts of it are accurate, and other parts….’ he trails off, and Sam isn’t sure if the look on the angel’s face is anger, sadness or amusement. Possibly all three.
‘Okay, but what about…’ Sam makes a sweeping gesture towards Castiel, as the question dies in his throat, and suddenly this conversation, this whole situation is anything but funny. In fact, he thinks he wants to just stop it right there, because he’s pretty sure he doesn’t want to know what Castiel might say on that subject.
Unfortunately, Castiel chooses that moment to develop an understanding of the human race.
‘This body?’ he guesses, and Sam swallows and nods, barely able to meet the angel’s eyes.
‘Is there still someone in there? Or is he… is it… you know?’ Sam struggles to articulate the words, the concerns that have never really stopped nagging at him.
‘There is no-one here but me,’ Castiel informs him quietly, and his tone makes it clear that there will be no more questions on the subject. ‘I’m alive…. this body is alive, and for as long as I inhabit it, it belongs to me alone. There is nothing..... evil, about it. No crime, no sin involved.’
Sam wants to believe that it’s understanding he hears in the angel’s voice, because suddenly this is so not about Castiel anymore. He can tell that this conversation is becoming a struggle for the angel, each sentence requiring longer pauses and careful consideration as he attempts to piece together a coherent reply. Nevertheless, he presses his final question, wanting, needing to know the answer.
‘And what about Ruby?’
He barely manages to whisper the question out, doesn’t fail to notice the way Castiel’s eyes darken slightly at Ruby’s name. The angel closes his eyes for a moment, and Sam could almost believe he’s praying. When they open again, Castiel fixes him with an intense stare that seems to demand Sam’s trust.
‘It is not… advisable. But it is not a sin,’ he repeats once more, and his words cut right into that seething mass of doubt and guilt that Sam has become so used to and tears it apart. His heart lifts for a moment before other regrets, different guilts, come crashing back down. But Castiel’s words are enough. There may be hope for him after all.
He nods the gratitude he cannot voice, and Castiel closes his eyes again, settling back into the pillow.
‘I need rest,’ he informs Sam, and his voice is suddenly so tired, so human. It startles Sam back to reality, back to the situation at hand.
He soaks yet another washcloth in cold water, and when he presses it to Castiel’s sweat-soaked forehead, the situation doesn’t feel even half as awkward any more. For the first time ever, he feels almost comfortable in the angel’s presence.
Still. He hopes Dean will hurry up and get back soon, because Sam Winchester, the boy with the demon blood, playing nurse to an angel? He can practically see the smirk on Ruby’s face. And funnily enough, it’s almost identical to the one he imagines for Uriel.
I do have a sequel in mind for this if anyone is interested. Thanks for reading! :hug