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06 September 2011 @ 08:05 pm
fic, SPN: on the line where dreams are found and lost (Dean/Castiel), NC17  
Title: on the line where dreams are found and lost
Pairing: Dean/Castiel
Word count: ∼7300
Rating: NC17
Spoilers: for 6x22.
Warnings: angst galore, PTSD (or well, PTSD symptoms), some blaspheming, extremely liberal usage of Christian rituals.
Disclaimer: nothing is mine and I sadly don't make any money out of this.
Summary: Cas won’t ever move on if he doesn’t get closure. or, wherein Dean unconventionally provides it.
A/N: at some point in July I was listening to Bruce Springsteen's Racing in the Street and this happened. Then it took me almost two months to find it a proper ending. *facepalm* I'm totally unspoiled for S7 so there's nothing but speculation in here. Using for the wet/messy/dirty square in my kink_bingo card and for the upset at higher being one on my hc_bingo one. Title from Springsteen, though it's not the same song that prompted this.

She sits on the porch of her daddy's house
But all her pretty dreams are torn
She stares off alone into the night
With the eyes of one who hates for just being born
For all the shut down strangers and hot rod angels
Rumbling through this promised land
Tonight my baby and me we're gonna ride to the sea
And wash these sins off our hands


Racing in the Street, Bruce Springsteen

---

In the end, the solution was easy. The kind of ridiculously easy that makes you feel like an idiot when you realize that what you’re searching for was right under your nose.

All right, it wasn’t exactly under their nose, but still, the second Sam came up with the obvious answer to all their problems Dean felt like punching himself.

They had gone through all the lore and through every single possible option. Dean likes to tell himself that the question they had searched an answer for was, how do you diffuse souls from a god who doesn’t want to let them go?

(He knows, somewhere deep and buried, that there was a back-up question. How do you kill a god? But no one ever said that out loud and Dean pretends that none of them ever considered the option.)

At one point, Bobby had suggested summoning Death again, and Dean had been horrified at the mere idea.

And then Sam had found it in one of those papers from the Lovercraft expert.

Accessing Purgatory meant opening a door. And you couldn’t open that door without the incantation Crowley recited. But that obviously didn’t have to be a real door, since it was currently open inside of Cas. The point was closing it, and to close it you just have to say the incantation backwards.

It was that ridiculously easy.

--

When they find out, the problem becomes finding the incantation in the first place without asking Crowley – if he’s still alive, which isn’t a given. Not as if any of them is itching to find out unless it’s the last resort. Bobby opts to go to Ellie’s house and strip-search it from the carpets to the receipts in the trash bin.

Apparently Ellie had been ahead of them. As soon as Dean gets back to the place where she kept the dragon slaying sword or whatever you should call it, he finds an envelope under the rock. He pulls it out, opens it. The back reads for Bobby, in case I can’t protect myself.

The incantation is inside.

--

They don’t go for it as soon as they find it, though. Cas has been scarce, lately. They know where he is though – there isn’t a day passing by without mentions of random miracles or small conflicts in Africa ending, though they don’t end peacefully.

(The only time Dean saw a report about one of said small civil wars ending, he had thrown up for fifteen minutes.)

He said that he’d give them three months to decide where they stood and they’re almost up.

Dean hopes that by then, if they aren’t ready before, there’s still something of Cas left in there.

Then again they’ll only have one shot at this, since they can’t trap Cas in any way; no one is willing to give it a try if all of them don’t know the incantation by heart first, backwards and regular.

--

When they do learn it, Bobby and Sam start searching for an isolated place, because if it goes wrong then they don’t want to be in Bobby’s house or anywhere near other people. They take one of Bobby’s cars and go on their own, saying that Dean should at least sleep a couple of hours since he has barely done that in the last four days.

Dean doesn’t think he could, but he does need to be at least coherent if they have to do this. He might as well try. He drops on the couch, the piece of paper with the incantation clutched between his fingers.

He dreams that he’s fishing.

Exactly like that time before they met Jimmy.

(Dean sincerely hopes that the poor bastard is dead. Because sharing with all those souls? That has to be worse than being chained to a comet.)

Same lake, same weather, same fishing rod.

He hears a noise on his side and suddenly he knows that someone else is sitting on the dock. He looks down.

It’s Cas.

But he’s not the same as then, or the same as now. He’s – shit. The coat is torn and covered in blood, soaked in blood; his shirt is shredded and as Cas turns in his direction he can see that sigil Cas carved on himself years ago bleeding profusely. Dean throws away the rod and kicks away the chair, kneeling down just as Cas raises his head. Shit, there’s blood in his hair as well. He’s pale, too much even for his standard, and his eyes –

Fuck.

He has seen that look only on the souls he used to torture.

“Cas?” he asks, not knowing what to do.

Please,” Cas mouths, barely audible, sounding like it’s an effort to speak, and then he raises a hand (his fingers are crooked in a way that is seriously creepy, as if he had claws instead of hands), but before they can touch, Dean wakes up on the sofa. He feels chilly, as if his entire body had just turned into ice.

And he knows that he needs to finish this also for Cas’s sake.

--

It goes smooth. Too smooth.

It doesn’t end as well as it could have, though, but then again when your surname is Winchester nothing ever goes according to plan.

The plan consists in Dean calling Cas down and starting to recite the incantation without giving him time to say hi. Which is a crappy plan, but they chose a two-rooms empty barn for a reason. Bobby and Sam can hide in the other room and take Dean’s place if it goes wrong.

But… it doesn’t.

There’s a second in which Castiel’s eyes narrow, but Dean could say that spell in his sleep and he has gone through half of it in the span of seconds; the hand Castiel had raised falls down, his previously cold eyes widen, his lips part and then – Dean almost stops because there’s a flash of emotion in there, and it’s pure gratefulness, but it’s gone in a second and he can’t afford to lose time, not when Castiel seems unable to move.

And then he says the last word.

Castiel’s knees hit the ground with a dull thud, a hand to his stomach.

“It’s sealed,” he whispers, and then he starts to glow, the light so blinding that keeping one's eyes open isn't an option. Dean has to hunch on himself and he presses his hands against his ears, just before he hears the inhuman screech filling the room and before all the windows in the barn explode at once.

When Dean opens his eyes, there’s glass all over the floor and dust in his face. He stands up, his throat hurting as he breathes, and when he looks at his hand he realizes that there’s blood on it. His ear, maybe, but he isn’t deaf by any mean if the noise he’s hearing is Sam and Bobby moving in the next room.

Castiel is still kneeling, his coat torn and bloody even if not as much as it was in that dream, his head bent – he looks way too similar to a broken doll, right now.

Dean breathes in, moving closer. Everything has gone great for now, right? The souls are gone, Castiel is still there, and Dean knows that Cas had wanted him to do it – he’s sure that he wasn’t just dreaming that night. Now of course he isn’t expecting that everything will be fine. They’ll have to talk and they’ll have to work shit out and Cas will probably be in shock but after this, it can’t be that hard, can it?

“Cas?” Dean asks, cautiously, putting a hand on Cas’s shoulder.

He doesn’t move. He’s breathing though – slow and regular. And he has a pulse. Which means – shit. Along with the souls they probably burned Cas’s grace out of him. Still, they can work with it, Dean thinks as he shakes Cas’s shoulder again.

Nothing.

Dean moves in front of Cas, raising his head gently, moving hair away from his forehead. When he looks at Cas in the eyes, he realizes that this’ll be way, way harder than he had figured, because if he’s not catatonic, then Dean doesn’t know how to call it.

--

That part doesn’t last long, thankfully. Dean calls Sam and Bobby and they decide that they’ll deal with it when they’re back at the salvage yard. They drag Cas out and on the car, and he walks if they push him, but that’s it. It lasts for another two days which Cas spends staring into nothing as he lies on the guest room’s bed. Then on the morning of the third day he opens his eyes and when Dean looks at him, he breathes in relief when he sees that they’re not empty and staring into nothing anymore.

His relief doesn’t last long. It takes two seconds before Cas bolts from the bed and shuts the bathroom’s door. Dean hears him throwing up for the next twenty minutes.

--

If Dean had any doubts about that dream being just a dream, they’re gone in the next four days. Because this Cas is a perfect replica of the one he dreamed of, except without the blood. And he doesn’t talk. But he looks as haunted and lost and guilty as the one in his dream did. It’s not just that he doesn’t talk – it’s everything else. He looks at all of them like he has failed them all whenever he actually meets anyone’s stare, he barely eats and only if Dean forces him to, he takes long showers using all the hot water (and once he had come out of it with his arms bleeding from scratching them too hard) and he’ll flinch away if anyone that isn’t Dean tries to come closer, let alone touch him.

The only way Dean can describe his eyes is that they belong to someone who hates himself for barely existing.

He has rarely felt so useless. He had thought it’d be bad. But he hadn’t realized how much.

--

Then it becomes even worse.

Dean had thought it possibly couldn’t, short of Cas going catatonic again, but apparently it can, because not much later the nightmares start. Dean doesn’t even know when they start, actually, because since Cas doesn’t talk he obviously doesn’t scream. And considering his current behavior it’s hard to see whether he’s more skittish than usual or not. But Dean can recognizes signs of lack of sleep and when he does notice them he can’t just shrug them away.

The next night, he stays awake outside Cas’s room. It takes him two hours, in which he thinks about what the hell he’s even doing, to hear sheets rustling. Then nothing for a bit, and then someone is turning in the bed restlessly.

Dean knocks on the door. He doesn’t get an answer, of course, but it wasn’t the point. He opens the door, slow, and gets inside. Cas is sitting on the bed, knees slightly bent, hands grasping the sheets, breathing fast and deep as if he needs to keep control of his own body as it shakes. Dean swallows, sitting on the bed, forcing himself not to hurry, and then Cas raises his head, slowly, and Dean feels punched to the gut. Cas looks like a mirror of Dean himself three years ago, eyes wide and tear tracks down his face, but at least Dean had let it out somewhat. He used to scream and he used to trash and make a whole damn lot of noise; Cas isn’t doing any of that, and Dean thinks that his own approach was healthier. All things considered.

He holds a hand out. Slow, the palm turned upward, not breaking eye contact. Cas looks at him for a minute or so, and then he moves his own arm, just as slowly. His own hand shakes when it meets Dean’s, but when Dean threads their fingers together, Cas grips so hard that Dean has to keep himself from flinching. He moves closer, tugs just slightly, but as soon as he does Cas moves along and presses along his side, his entire body taut, not looking up at Dean anymore. Dean throws an arm around Cas’s waist and the tension leaves Cas’s body all of a sudden.

Dean stops sleeping on the couch.

No one says anything even if Sam and Bobby seem more perplexed than happy about the developments.

It marginally helps.

--

Marginally, because at least around him Cas isn’t skittish anymore. But it still doesn’t mean that things get better. He still has nightmares, he still doesn’t talk, and the only thing Dean can think is, he’s dying piece by piece and I don’t know how to stop it.

--

One month after defusing the souls, Dean walks out into Bobby’s yard and punches a piece of a truck’s hood so hard that his knuckles start to bleed and the metal actually bends for good.

“You know what,” he says, forcing himself to look up, “I realize that my dad never won parenthood awards, but at least he came through for me in the end. Best way he knew, and fucked up as it gets, but that’s not the whole damn point. Couldn’t you even bother with giving him something? He doesn’t have to talk for me to freaking get it. He feels like he disappointed everyone, you included, and don’t think I don’t know how that feels. And fine, I fucked up with him, too, but I didn’t mean to! I’m not omniscient, dammit. Are you just gonna perch on some cloud somewhere and leave him wasting there when he was just trying to do what you wouldn’t?”

The sky remains as clear as it was when Dean raised his head. He doesn’t hear a single voice, there isn’t anything that could be mistaken for a sign of any kind.

Sure, Dean thinks. Clearly. Gone. Just as his own father had, and now they need to figure shit out for themselves. Actually, Dean has to figure it out for both him and Cas right now.

Dean feels sorry for having ever resented his dad for putting that load on his shoulders just before dying.

He can’t completely fault him for doing what he did. He gets it now. And thinking about it doesn’t feel that bad anymore – after all, it means his dad had loved him enough to put his life before his chance to kill Azazel, and he has learned to accept it. After doing the same for the exactly same reasons, he had to. And after John Winchester actually climbed his way out of Hell and smiled at them before disappearing forever, he couldn’t even feel guilty about him being dead anymore.

He had felt like that burden had been lifted off his shoulders then. It took that to make him accept it, but if anything he doesn’t have unfinished business with John Winchester and his bad parenting ways anymore.

Then it hits him so hard that he ends up kneeling on the ground, his hand wrapped around the first piece of metal he can find.

Cas won’t ever move on if he doesn’t get closure. Any kind of closure. Possibly something that implies wiping the slate clean – metaphorically, of course. The same kind of closure Dean had when he saw his dad fighting his way out of Hell, and the same kind of closure he felt when he decided for good that he wasn’t going to be anyone’s prom dress.

Point is – how do you do it, with a former god and fallen angel, who by the way has also been human for a short time?

He’s tempted to ask Sam, but he decides that he has to find out on his own. He gets back into the house, deciding that he has to if only to prove this absent God that he can. He pours disinfectant over his hand and cleans it up as best as he can, then gets back upstairs. Cas is lying on his side, staring at the open window. Dean sighs and gets out of everything but his shirt and underwear and wraps an arm around Cas’s waist, and he starts trying to come up with something.

--

He doesn’t reach any conclusion until one day he’s making coffee while Bobby watches some quiz show; it’s the kind that makes Dean wish he wasn’t legally dead because one could do good money there. He's sure that he could have answered half of the questions asked when he was fourteen. Then someone gets asked at which age Jesus was baptized while Dean is about to pour the coffee. He doesn’t pour it on his hand at the last second, but he was too busy realizing that he had one possible answer to at least that one question he has been asking himself non-stop lately to worry about what his hands are doing.

--

After researching a bit (because when you’ve been an atheist most of your life you don’t exactly go learning that kind of information) his head starts to hurt. Too many rituals, too many differences; there isn’t one way to do it properly, Dean finds out, and then he decides that he doesn’t give a damn.

Point is, why should he? Churches don’t mean anything to him, and he doubts they ever meant anything to Cas; it’s the symbolism and the intention that count, not the means.

The only thing he’s sure of, is that there’s no river big enough near here, for what he wants to do.

--

The next day he walks down the stairs and meets Bobby and Sam in the kitchen.

“Me and Cas are going on a roadtrip,” he says.

“Are you sure it’s a good idea?” Bobby asks, because it’s not like Cas has set foot outside the salvage yard all this time. And when he’s in the yard he sits on broken cars staring at nothing.

“It’s shock therapy,” Dean answers. Sam tells him to call and leaves it at that and Dean is thankful that he understands.

When he goes upstairs, he doesn’t miss the way relief floods Cas’s face as he walks back into the room with a cup of coffee.

His throat tightens, but he forces himself to speak as he hands the cup over.

“Hey. Do you feel like taking three days off? Just you, me and the car,” he offers, trying not to sound like he’s about to cry.

Cas stares at him, sips his coffee, stares again, gives Dean a nod.

Good.

--

He heads for California because he isn’t doing to do this in extra-cold water, and he wants to hope that at least they’ll get good weather on the way.

He lets Cas choose the music and when it turns out that he apparently likes U2, Dean figures that there are worse records to be stuck with than The Joshua Tree.

He picks proper hotels every night. He’s done with motels forever, and Cas already sleeps badly enough on a comfortable bed – he isn’t going to subject him to beds that need magic fingers to be bearable.

--

Nothing seems to make a difference to Cas – he spends the time staring out of the window. Once upon a time he’d have appreciated the sight, Dean thinks. Or the change of sight.

He wants Cas back like he needs to breathe – he can’t stand to see him wasting away like this, because as bad as Cas’s choices got, he never deserved any of this. It makes Dean think that if God was in front of him he’d punch him hard enough to break his nose.

--

It’s good that when they get to Monterey it’s night already. Dean chose it mostly because he has been wanting to see it since this one summer he spent at Pastor Jim’s reading his worn out Steinbeck paperbacks, and since there’s sea there, it’s as good as any other place. He checks them in a nice hotel with lavender bags under the pillows, clean sheets and fluffy towels.

He checks his map to be sure – he needs to get to a small piece of shore which the internet assured was made for free camping on the sea during the day and which should be quiet and hidden enough. They could actually walk from here – why not. It might do Dean’s nerves good, because this thing he’s about to do, he isn’t sure that it might work. Still, he needs to try.

“Wanna go for a walk?” he asks, holding his hand out. Cas is sitting on the bed, wearing a pair of Dean’s jeans and one of his Sabbath t-shirts, both too big on him, and he looks almost frail as he turns in Dean’s direction.

He takes Dean’s hand and goes with it when Dean brings him up to his feet.

Dean really hopes that it works.

--

The beach is lovely, indeed, and it’s a joke to climb over the fence. Such a joke that Cas does it gracefully, and Dean is grateful that he looks confused. At least it’s better than miserable.

The sea is calm, the sand is soft under Dean’s bare feet when he gets rid of his shoes and he glances at Cas doing the same after he discards them. He still looks utterly baffled by the whole ordeal, and Dean figures it’s time to come clean.

“You know… this whole thing actually made sense in my head. I’m not sure I can put it into words, but – well. I thought about some things, lately. And I figured – you feel guilty, don’t you?”

Cas doesn’t even need to nod, from the way his eyes turn from Dean to his pale, bare feet.

“Hey, it’s fine. You’re talking with me. I know how it is. Believe me, I do. Also I’m sure that you’re angry. Both at yourself and at your lovely dad up there, who could have bothered to show up, right?”

Cas gives him a tight nod, his hands reaching up for his elbows.

Dean moves closer, putting a hand on Cas’s shoulder.

“Listen, I know how it is. I went through that, too. Except that my problems weren’t as big. I mean, what’s my dad in comparison to God? And – sometimes you do shitty things, and they pile up, and then you feel guilty as fuck, and then they crush you and you don’t think you can shake them off. When that happens – there’s just one way to deal with it.”

He moves his hand on the back of Cas’s head, tugging a bit so that Cas looks at him while he says that. It doesn’t work and it ends with Dean’s hands on Cas’s cheeks, their faces barely inches apart.

“You let it go,” Dean whispers. Cas shakes his head – it’s too much to let go of, his eyes say – but Dean expected it. That’s why he’s giving this speech here.

“I know it’s a lot to let go of. And I think I have a lot to let go of, too. You don’t think that I don't regret saying no that last time you asked me to stick by? Or trapping you? Or assuming you were against us when you never were? Or what happened with Ben and Lisa? Not the same league as you – but that’s not the point.”

Cas looks up at him again, almost expectant. Then what’s the point?

“The point is that I can do it with you.”

Cas looks at him, then at the ocean, then at him again – Dean can hear the wheels turning in his head, almost, and then Dean sees his eyes widen with understanding. When Cas looks up at him, staring, the I-see-deep-into-your-soul-stare, Dean sees that he got it, completely. His hands are still half-shaking when they grip Dean’s jacket, bringing the both of them closer. Dean can read the question in Cas’s eyes without a problem.

“Yes, I figured we could do it now. And I’m deadly serious about this.” He keeps his voice low, hoping that it doesn’t start to shake and that it doesn’t give out how nervous he feels. Cas looks at him with a dazed expression, as if he can’t process it; Dean grabs his arm and walks closer to the shore. Water laps at his feet, lazily, barely, and the constant noise is almost soothing. Suddenly Cas moves his arm away from Dean’s hand; when Dean turns, he sees Cas slowly taking his shirt off. He drops it on dry shore, his hand trembling as it falls from his fingers. Dean doesn’t lose time – he might be making this up as he goes, but he’s not about to fuck it up now. He takes his own shirt off too, then takes off his jeans and underwear hoping that this is not the day some policeman passes by.

Cas’s hands hover over his too large jeans, and he looks from Dean to his waist as if he needs permission; Dean moves closer, opens the button and pulls the zip down but doesn’t do anything else. Cas finally pushes the clothes off and Dean grimaces when he sees the faint traces of that sigil still on Cas’s chest. It’s not the time to wonder how the hell it’s still there.

Cas bends down and picks up the clothes, and then starts folding them slowly, as neatly as it gets, before placing them back on the sand. Dean’s breath gets caught in his throat – he doesn’t know why, but seeing Cas doing that is making his insides feel tighter than they’ve been in years. He forces himself to smile, holds his hand out, waiting for Cas to take it. Cas does, and then Dean realizes that he has no goddamn idea of how it goes.
He figures that getting into the water would be the point, wouldn’t it. So he walks forward.

The water isn’t overly cold or overly warm – barely chilly, maybe, but pleasant. Which is pretty good as far as Dean is concerned. He walks forward slowly, his hand moving to the small of Cas’s back. He can feel Cas breathing fast and heavy.

“Don’t sweat it out,” he whispers, moving a bit closer. “It’s me, too.”

Cas looks at him and his entire face says I know you’re doing it just to make things easy for me.

“No, it’s also about me. I’m done with not saying things straight.” To you, goes unsaid, and then Cas turns and takes a cautious step forward, his ankle disappearing below the water.

Dean follows, until they’re both waist-deep. When he turns to look at Cas, he’d find him a lovely sight if it wasn’t for his face. But there’s plenty of moonlight and starlight to go by, and Cas’s eyes seem to glow. Dean breathes in, turning, his hands taking Cas’s wrists.

“I don’t – I didn’t go and write down a speech. And I’m just not gonna go and say what a priest would say. I don’t think you need it. I figure we could just go the whole way, put our heads down and keep them under a bit. We can go together and just be done with it. But – listen, there’s one thing I wanna ask of you, and I swear it’s the last thing I’ll ever ask of you as long as I live.”

Cas nods, once, soft.

“Think about it as a clean slate. You go underwater, you think about all the crap you did, you tell yourself that it’s done and over with. I thought about how it went enough – it was my fault, too. And at least my dad had the grace of telling me stuff before going, yours didn’t give a shit about that either. I also know that you did some shitty things – well, I tortured souls for ten years, I guess we can try to leave that behind too.”

Cas raises an eyebrow, staring at him. Do you really mean that you’re letting it go, too?

“Guess it was high time I stopped feeling fucking sorry for myself. I’ve got a life after all, I can’t spend it wishing I was dead. So, are we doing it? If you don’t want to, that’s okay, rea –”

Before he can finish, Cas’s arms are around his shoulders, naked frame to naked frame, his head against Dean’s shoulder; well then.

“Okay. Hold your breath,” he says, and then he wraps his arms around Cas’s waist and drags the both of them under the water’s surface.

--

It’s not strikingly cold, but it still comes as a bit of a shock – it’s been literally years since Dean did this. After all he spent most of his life inland; whenever they actually hunted somewhere on the sea there never was time to just go to the shore and take a bath. Before the fire, he never left Lawrence. He learned to swim in pools and at most he took swims in lakes (not counting hunts in lakes). He could count on two hands the times he sat down on a beach and looked at the ocean.

It hits him that it’s nothing short of sad, but it’s not like he has had this happy go lucky life in the first place. Everything is salty, he feels it sticking to his mouth and hair and tongue, and when he tries to open his eyes it burns. But no one died because they kept their eyes open in seawater and at the second try they do stay open. The water is clear, not too dark (they’re barely below surface after all), and Cas’s arms are still around his neck, though his head isn’t on Dean’s shoulder anymore. He squints to get a better look – Cas’s eyes are closed, his mouth sealed, not letting air out. Dean can’t discern anything else, but then he closes his eyes again and tries to concentrate on how the water feels against his skin, cool and refreshing, taking off all the dried sweat he had on him after driving for six hours without a stop. He’s about to raise his head up when suddenly Cas’s eyes shoot open and a hand grabs his wet hair, and he’s brought forward and –

Their lips meet as they both raise up and break the water’s surface. Dean breathes through his nose and parts his lips readily as soon as Cas does the same. He hadn’t planned on this, but Cas kisses him as if it’s the last thing he does, his hands gripping at the back of Dean’s head so hard that it hurts; there’s nothing refined in the way their tongues meet or in the way Cas’s teeth bite down on Dean’s lower lip. When they break away Dean feels salt everywhere inside his mouth and Cas’s hands are still grabbing his hair, though not as strongly. One lets it go and moves down, Cas’s long fingers brushing against Dean’s breast, where his heart is beating hard. Dean’s own hand moves up, covering Cas’s, not sure of how he should deal with this but knowing that he doesn’t want to say no; and then Cas’s eyes open again, slowly, and they don’t seem as haunted anymore.

Then he takes a step backwards and takes his hands away, looking at them, then at Dean again.

Dean stares at his fingers, irrationally thinking that he might see them crooked – they aren’t.

“Dean?” Cas asks suddenly, and Dean tries not to gasp at how rough Cas’s voice sounds.

“Yes?” he answers, trying to act like it’s totally normal that Cas is actually talking to him even if he hasn’t for a damn long while.

“I suppose you don’t see blood on them,” he says, his voice too calm. Between the lines, it says I still do.

Dean moves closer and shakes his head. “No. And – it wasn’t you. Not all you, anyway.”

He remembers that dream and tries not to flinch at the thought.

“You’re talking just about the last months.”

Dean realizes what Cas is about to say before he actually speaks.

“I’m also thinking about the two years before.” He sounds so sad that Dean thinks he can feel something stinging beneath his eyelids, and he has to blink and shake his head to stop himself from losing it. He doesn’t want to know how many other angels Cas had to kill for his and Sam’s sake as well. He isn’t sure he wants to know how it feels, but he thinks he knows what to do.

“You know,” he says as he takes one of Cas’s wrists in his left hand, before reaching down with the right and plunging it into the water – it comes down dripping wet. “Sometimes I think about what would’ve happened if I asked you to stay and not fuck off to Heaven. The day after Stull.” His wet fingers run along Cas’s now half-dry palm, as if Dean was cleaning it. Cas’s eyes widen; he isn’t missing the meaning of the gesture. “It’d have ended with Raphael trying to undo it and having it easier, I guess, and you’d have ended up having to kill other angels all over again, but – I always think that maybe it should’ve been better because you’d have had someone backing you up without secrets and shit and Crowley getting in between.”

He runs his fingers over Cas’s palm, then on the other side of his hand, then along his wrist.

“I asked too much of you. We asked too much of you. I didn’t even try to be nice once because I was either too angry about you disappearing or about Sam’s soul or about everything else. Of course,” he keeps on, taking Cas’s other hand and repeating all the motions again, “you also could have come clean to me a lot before, though it’s not like I ever gave you a crash course in human etiquette. Still. I’d just want you to know I’m sorry for all of that. It was both my fault and yours, but if anything you deserve to hear it. I know that you need closure – I’ve been there.” When he’s done, he grabs Cas’s hands in his own again, his thumbs moving in circles over Cas’s palm, and he can feel Cas gasping. Dean breathes and looks from their hands to Cas’s face – his eyes are so wide and so freaking hopeful that Dean has to breathe deep not to lose it now. He has to finish this stupid speech he’s making up on the spot and he needs to get to the bottom of it. He can worry about the fact that he doesn’t think he’s the right person for this job another time.

“You never should’ve ended up with Purgatory inside you because Crowley fucked with you and you thought it was the right thing. Most of all you don’t deserve to spend eternity in Bobby’s guest room feeling guilty about it even if you should feel guilty for not telling us anything. I’m also pretty sure that if it was someone else saying this to you it’d probably make you feel a whole damn lot better. But – as far as I’m concerned, you aren’t damaged goods. Not for good, at –”

Cas lets out a sigh of relief, interrupting him, and then moves. Before Dean knows it they’re falling back into the ocean, Cas’s lips on his; Dean’s hand reaches up for Cas’s hair, slowing the kiss, stroking wet strands. The sound Cas lets out when they part makes Dean’s knees go weak, but he can’t dwell on it because Cas is pressed against him again, and suddenly Dean is all too aware of Cas’s cock pressing against his thigh, not exactly hard but not disinterested either.

“Dean,” Cas breathes out, “you don’t – you don’t get – if you mean it then it’s all I need,” he says, his voice quiet, almost shaking. “Why should I want to hear it from God? He hasn’t cared in far too long,” he adds.

“I mean it,” Dean manages, the words feeling heavy as they leave his mouth, his voice this close to cracking, but it's enough.

The next kiss is the contrary of the previous ones – Cas’s lips tremble as they meet Dean’s, but while that remains chaste, the hardness against Dean’s thigh isn’t suggesting any chaste thoughts; Dean can already feel his own blood rushing downwards. He runs a hand along Cas’s wet backside, his hands slippery with seawater. Cas moans against his lips and then the kiss isn’t chaste anymore. Then it’s hands everywhere; each bit of skin Dean touches is warm and slippery and wet, and he shivers when Cas’s hands run across his hips and reach out underwater to run along his ass. They don’t get farther though, and at the same time Cas keeps on moving so that his cock is rubbing against Dean’s thigh, searching friction. Dean moans, bringing Cas closer – he likes how the water feels; Cas hangs on to his shoulders, as if the water makes them too slippery. Then Cas kisses him again and drags the both of them down at the second time and well – Dean is pretty sure that he has never kissed anyone underwater, but it feels good in a weird way. Weird because everything is muffled and tastes salty and because there’s no air whatsoever, but good because it makes his entire body shake, and when Cas’s tongue meets his own Dean doesn’t hold back.

They have to surface after, the both of them coughing though not that much; Cas’s hands don’t move from Dean’s back and Dean doesn’t move as he regains breath.

“That was something,” he manages, his voice hoarse. His entire mouth tastes of salt – he can feel his lips burning.

Cas doesn’t answer, but hums against his shoulder, and Dean can feel him getting harder against his thigh. Dean shudders, feeling himself harden as well, but there’s no way they can do this properly. He hasn’t even brought towels and he hadn’t expected to do this; and he doubts that moving to the shore would be a good idea – if only because if someone sees them there then they’d be in trouble for good. And as nice as the idea of doing it in the ocean is, he isn’t about to do things half-assed especially when he has nothing that could pass for lube.

Well then. He’ll have to settle.

He reaches down with his hand after moving them both a bit farther, enough that the water covers them up to half of their frames. When he wraps his fingers around Cas’s cock Cas lets out a gasp, and it stiffens further. Dean wouldn’t know if it’s already spilling or not, with doing it underwater and everything, but he makes sure to go slow, if only because it means hearing small, delightful moans coming from the back of Cas’s throat which sound nothing short of sweet. Not after not having heard Cas say anything for that long.

“Dean,” Cas breathes out against his shoulder, his frame shaking, his hips pushing forward, meeting Dean’s touch. Dean starts going faster, with smaller and quicker strokes, his thumb brushing under the head – Cas sounds as if he’s about to fall apart right there, the way his hands close around Dean’s shoulders.

“Feels good?” Dean asks, not even trying to say it properly.

“It’s – I can’t, it’s so much, too –”

“That’s okay, just let it go – that’s how it’s supposed to be.” Dean isn’t sure that it was what he had meant to say, but he keeps an arm around Cas’s waist and his hand keeps on stroking, keeping the same pace, until Cas goes still. His lips are half-parted as he lets go and comes against Dean’s hand, but he doesn’t make a noise as Dean keeps on stroking him through his orgasm. His grip on Dean’s shoulders loosens a bit, and Dean tries not to think about the way his own cock is aching. This isn’t about him, right now – and when Cas’s head leans on his shoulder, Dean moves his other arm up so that it joins the first around Cas’s waist. At least there’s no worry about clean-up.

“Well, I hadn’t thought we’d end up like this, but as far as I’m concerned I’m not complaining,” Dean says, one of his hands moving in circles on Cas’s back.

Cas doesn’t answer, but he kisses Dean’s shoulder instead. And Dean would like to stay here, but he’s half sure that he can’t push their luck much longer. And he should find himself a shower – he has to get off at some point, but he doesn’t want to do it now.

“Cas? I think we should – I’m not sure that if we keep on staying here someone won’t see us.”

Cas moves away then, half-reluctantly, but it’s obvious that he realizes it.

It feels slightly strange, being back on shore; Dean curses himself for not having folded his clothes since now they’re all covered in sand, but he wasn’t exactly thinking about that, was he. When he’s sure that he can’t shrug sand off anymore he puts them on. Cas is already done, and Dean decides that while he likes his clothes on Cas, it might be the case of finding him some that fit.

“I was thinking,” Dean starts, moving closer, his hand closing around Cas’s again. “We could get back, have a shower. And tomorrow you could get something that actually fits you. You should have your own things, not my hand-me-downs.”

“I’d like to keep these though,” Cas replies, and Dean knows better than refusing.

“Sure. I told ‘em we’d be gone for a week – we have time now.”

Cas doesn’t answer that, either. They climb over the fence again – from the other side, the ocean doesn’t look any different. Dean swallows, and then he puts an arm around Cas’s shoulder as they head back to the hotel.

He doesn’t know what will happen now. He knows they’ll get back to the hotel, they’ll wash the salt from their skin and share one of those comfortable beds with clean sheets and lavender under the pillow. Tomorrow he’ll drag Cas to buy clothes so he doesn’t have only Dean’s old ones, and maybe Cas will actually pay attention to his surroundings. They’ll have to get back at some point, and he knows that what they just did doesn’t erase anything for good – but it was enough for now. He feels Cas breathing in and out, slowly.

“Dean?” Cas asks when they’re maybe a couple of minutes away, quietly.

“Yeah?”

“You know that I can’t – I’m not the same. You told me to never change once.”

“Well, I still like you. And believe me, at the core? You haven’t.” Dean has to force himself to keep his voice even.

“I wish I could believe you,” Cas replies, but he’s leaning into Dean’s side as he speaks.

Dean moves his arm so that it’s around Cas’s shoulder and doesn’t move it until they’re back in their room. He wonders if the highway back home is as bright as the street they’re in right now. It doesn’t matter, he figures –if it doesn’t get better than this, they’ll cope. Maybe it’s the warm summer weather that’s tricking him into thinking that he picked the right timing and that things will sort themselves out, but if that’s the case he’ll let himself be tricked for a while.

When he draws the covers above the both of them and as he falls asleep with Cas’s back against his frame, he can still smell salt.

End.
 
 
feeling: indescribableindescribable
on rotation: racing in the street - bruce springsteen
 
 
 
cassiopeia7: &hearts!cassiopeia7 on September 6th, 2011 07:43 pm (UTC)
This is perfect and you should be writing for Show. That is all. :)
the female ghost of tom joad: supernatural + nick cave = otpjanie_tangerine on September 6th, 2011 11:03 pm (UTC)
Believe me, I'd totally be okay with writing for Show. Surely it'd earn me more than enslaving at the uni library. ;) thank you! :D
Annwyn: Ann WIN BRannwyn on September 6th, 2011 07:46 pm (UTC)
Ok, I did not read anything yet, I can't tonight, no time, busy etc. but :

OMG I'm so excited to see you wrote something. I already know it's gonna be awesome.

Te amo <3 (it's the only thing I know in Italian :p)
the female ghost of tom joad: h50 konojanie_tangerine on September 6th, 2011 11:04 pm (UTC)
Hee, I hope you like it when you get to it! ;) and awwww, thank you. <33 (that's totally enough italian!)
I want another pony: Dean Cas ring of fireverucasalt123 on September 6th, 2011 09:04 pm (UTC)
Oh, that was beautiful. I totally understand how that particular song could inspire something like this. An amazing story of faith and redemption and forgiveness.
the female ghost of tom joad: supernatural dean/cas swan song #1janie_tangerine on September 6th, 2011 11:36 pm (UTC)
I'm so glad that you liked it this much. :) I was sort of wanting to see if I could write this whole thing just based on that bit, and I might like that song too much for my own good, so it's awesome to know that the relation is more or less tangible. Thanks so much! :D
laura_iskralaura_iskra on September 6th, 2011 09:33 pm (UTC)
wow, e' bellissima! sono un po' innamorata del tuo dean, mi piacerebbe proprio vedere nella prossima serie un discorso simile a quello che fa a cas.. :p

e complimeti per l'inglese, non avrei mai detto che non eri madrelingua se non da un commento qua sopra!

(e' triste che mi riesca piu' difficile commentare in italiano che in inglese?!??!)

the female ghost of tom joad: supernatural + nick cave = otpjanie_tangerine on September 6th, 2011 11:06 pm (UTC)
Ma ciao! :DD e grazie mille, sono contentissima che ti sia piaciuta :DD (e eeeh. ci firmerei col sangue per un discorso simile. uno ci spera? XD)

eee ri-grazie! sono cose che ti fa molto piacere sentire ;) ;)

(se è triste puoi essere triste insieme a me, scrivere in italiano su LJ mi fa sempre stranissimo XD)
twisting_vine_x: Dean/Cas - Don't Ever Change v.2twisting_vine_x on September 6th, 2011 09:51 pm (UTC)
Oh my god, this is stunning. Can you please write season seven?
the female ghost of tom joad: supernatural dean/cas angstjanie_tangerine on September 6th, 2011 11:12 pm (UTC)
If it was up to me I'd totally do it! Life, how so unfair? Anyway, thanks so very much! :DDD
wickedvirtue on September 6th, 2011 10:01 pm (UTC)
Y'know, this is a concept you just don't see enough in a fandom that has a show that plays with religious themes (and mythologies) constantly.

That said, this was just beautiful. Haunting and hurting and with spot-on Dean-voice.
the female ghost of tom joad: supernatural dean 2.0janie_tangerine on September 6th, 2011 11:30 pm (UTC)
I'm actually half-surprised at that too considering how the show is wired, yes. Maybe it's because of the difference between confessions that make the whole thing more complicated? But in this case I really wanted to go that way.

And I'm really glad that it worked for you, thank you so much! :D (and that it felt haunting too - I was hoping it'd feel a bit like that at least.)
morganlucas41morganlucas41 on September 6th, 2011 10:01 pm (UTC)
Hi! I'm here via the deancastiel comm...and just wanted you to know that I love this! I actually used to be in Lost fandom too, and I remember reading some of your stories back then. I'm not so good with commenting, but I did want to let you know how much I enjoyed this. I'm so, so apprehensive about S7, and not nearly optimistic enough to think we'll get something like this - but this is perfect. I love how you write Dean/Cas, your voices are so perfect. And given the angst-fest that was 622, something like this would just be amazing. Sigh. I love the idea of this fic, and your writing is impeccable, as well. Anyways, great work!
the female ghost of tom joad: lost -> generaljanie_tangerine on September 6th, 2011 11:15 pm (UTC)
Oooh, but hi! :DDD and awww, Lost was so my very first fandom where I wrote in English, I'll never not wish the show was still airing so that we'd have more canon to headdesk at. ;) (and to give me excuses to write Boone fic endlessly. ;) ) Seriously, thank you so very much! :) I'm really glad that this worked for you and that you found them IC. And re S7... yeah. I didn't... well, dislike S6 and I think that the finale did leave a door open for a good storyline, but I don't know if I trust them to bring it where I hope. :// We'll see I guess? *crosses fingers* if not, there's fic in place of canon anyway, right? ;) and no one is bad at commenting, thanks for taking the time to leave it here. :D
(no subject) - morganlucas41 on September 7th, 2011 12:42 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - janie_tangerine on September 7th, 2011 11:18 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - morganlucas41 on September 7th, 2011 05:13 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Jamesdarkestnight01 on September 6th, 2011 10:03 pm (UTC)
oh my god this was so beautful and heartbreaking and sad and hopeful and wonderful and and and... *speechless*

I have a lump in my throat and my eyes are burning. it moved me to the core ;____;

<33 *clings*
the female ghost of tom joad: misha is my favoritejanie_tangerine on September 6th, 2011 11:38 pm (UTC)
*hands tissue and clings back*

Also the words you used are.. sort of the same I'd use to describe the infamous song inspiring this, so it's really so awesome to know that it made you feel like that. <33 thanks so very much! I'm so glad that you liked it this much.
harmonyhelmsharmonyhelms on September 6th, 2011 10:46 pm (UTC)
Oh I loved this SO SO SO SO SO MUCH! Perfect ending :)
the female ghost of tom joad: supernatural + nick cave = otpjanie_tangerine on September 6th, 2011 11:17 pm (UTC)
Aw, thanks! :D I'm so glad that you did. (And I'm sooo glad you liked the ending - it took me one month to decide how to end it, so hearing that it worked for you is pretty great. ;) )
hotforangelshotforangels on September 6th, 2011 11:50 pm (UTC)
THIS! Ahhh! LOVE!

I think that your Castiel is perfect! I can totally believe that this is how Cas would be if this happened.

Gah!

I am sending major love your way.
the female ghost of tom joad: supernatural cas ;_____;janie_tangerine on September 7th, 2011 05:40 pm (UTC)
Ee thank you! :D I was trying to be as realistic as possible so it's good to know it felt IC. :D I'm so glad that you liked it. <3
stainedhartstainedhart on September 6th, 2011 11:51 pm (UTC)
This piece is heartbreaking and yet so healing to the soul....right when I needed it the most. *insert bittersweet sigh here* You are amazing and I should buy you a thousand varieties of cookies! *snugs*
the female ghost of tom joad: supernatural dean/cas the rapturejanie_tangerine on September 7th, 2011 05:41 pm (UTC)
Thanks so much! :D I'll be glad to accept any cookies you want to offer - cookies are good for the soul too. ;) seriously thanks again, I'm really glad that you liked it. And it was supposed to feel bittersweet so it's good to know it worked in that sense.
slinkymilinky: Dean/Casslinkymilinky on September 7th, 2011 12:01 am (UTC)
Awesome! Loved the idea of the baptism, and it was SEXY! :D
the female ghost of tom joad: supernatural dean/cas finale #2janie_tangerine on September 7th, 2011 05:42 pm (UTC)
Idk how I got there but I'll just go and thank Bruce over there for putting baptism symbolism in half of his songs. ;) much glad you liked it, thank you! :DD
gunsrlovegunsrlove on September 7th, 2011 12:20 am (UTC)
This was amazing. I'm joining in the chorus of those who think you ought to write for Show. I loved the way you didn't just have the fault of wrong decisions all be loaded onto Castiel, but instead had Dean admit he was wrong in not being there for Cas, that he had failed Cas in some ways as well.

I loved the gentle, loving way Dean handled Castiel and the determination he had in getting Castiel to let go and move forward. I always get excited when I see that you've written a new Dean/Cas fic. This one was just beautiful.
the female ghost of tom joad: supernatural castiel #2janie_tangerine on September 7th, 2011 05:46 pm (UTC)
Aww, but thanks so much! I totally wouldn't mind writing for Show if they'd have me. I could remind them that if they want to make S7 like Butch and Sundance, B&S was a threesome for half of that movie. ;) thought seriously, I'm really glad that this worked for you. And I'd really just like for Dean to acknowledge that the fault was 50/50 (or that's how I see it anyway) in canon, but I guess we'll see.. *eyes the writers* I just don't see how it was just Cas digging his own grave here. :/ thanks again!
alyssia333alyssia333 on September 7th, 2011 02:50 am (UTC)
<3 <3 luvs it so beautiful u should totally be writing for the show ^_^
the female ghost of tom joad: supernatural + nick cave = otpjanie_tangerine on September 7th, 2011 05:48 pm (UTC)
Aw, thanks! :D I totally would be okay if they wanted to hire me. Though considering what I'd write for it, in order to pass they'd have to move to hbo. ;) ;)
(Deleted comment)
the female ghost of tom joad: misha is my favoritejanie_tangerine on September 7th, 2011 05:49 pm (UTC)
Aww, thank you! I'm really glad that you liked it that much. *hands tissue* :)