He never quite understood the meaning of surrealism, nor did he know what it could feel like. But he couldn't escape it now. Lights danced behind his eyes, he heard Castiel's voice a few times but it dissipated into some foreign sound. Cas' body changed too, more than just wings added to his back but every part of him changed. He was enormous; his hands were like mittens that just cupped Dean against what Dean assumed was skin. It didn't feel like normal skin, though. It wasn't as soft or as warm as Cas was supposed to be. It was kind of like hugging malleable clay that started off cold. His face felt like it was slowly sinking into its own pocket shaped perfectly to fit – maybe new memory foam was a better comparison.
But that changed, his delirium caused by the pressures of Hell's atmosphere – if that's what it was, anyway – pushed him further from understanding. Dean didn't know which way was up, down, or whether or not he was even still alive. Cas was holding him, Cas was protecting him and quickly put up some kind of barrier to keep him functioning. It all happened too fast, he was in Purgatory and Cas saved him but now they were in Hell and holy shit Dean wanted to go home. The sounds he heard were horrendous and all but drowned out every other noise until it was just a mess to his eardrums. His nose burned and his lungs felt like they'd taken in a good cloud of miasma.
And then everything disappeared. He felt like he was in some kind of void, curled up in limbo and waiting for life to start again. Was that reincarnation? Whatever, he didn't care.
Dean could barely open his eyes and all he heard was the muffled rumbling sounds of just about anything happening in the distance. It was like trying to hear something with your ears full of water.
Wait, could he breathe?
A quick inhale told him yes, yes he could. "Cas?" His name came to Dean so easily those days, and it just slipped right out of his mouth as natural as the breaths he'd taken. Cas was familiar to him and meant safety. Luckily for Dean it felt like Cas was everywhere.
"Are you there?" Dean waited and didn't get an answer in something as simple as a few words; however he did still get a response. It was a feeling, it embraced him and cradled him in a way only being around Castiel could ever do. "I'm scared," he said aloud and tried to open his eyes again – but they weren't actually closed anymore. "Okay, now I'm really freakin' out…"
He felt around the space looking for something, anything to hang on to. His senses weren't working, he couldn't feel anything and he couldn't be certain that he'd really ever said anything. Death. That's what death would be like. Dean wasn't ready for that; he wasn't prepared to know that he'd be conscious during the remainder of his eternity.
But that weird sensation pushed at him, it the only sense he had and it led back to Cas, consoling him. 'You aren't dead,' he was sure the sensation was telling him – not that he understand how it was telling him. Cas had ways to get inside his mind and do things to him he'd never know until a year later, whatever was happening right then didn't surprise him. It was nice that Cas was there but he wished they could talk; he hadn't had a chance to just talk to Cas in what felt like eons.
The last time was… heck, he couldn't even remember. A lifetime ago, during a time when he just wanted to hold Cas' hand and explain to the strange looks that Cas was actually adopted so it was okay. Kissing Castiel had been the only thing on his mind – well, that and a way to explain it away without being crucified. But now? Now he would have settled for a single word, if maybe Cas could say his name he'd be happy.
Light flashed into his world and burned his eyes just before he covered them. A curse left his mouth but he couldn't keep track of everything going on. He could feel everything. He felt the movement of arms that weren't his, muscles on his back that he didn't have, and something that rushing through his veins. He'd never felt his own goddamn blood before, he had no idea what it was or what it was doing to him. It was part of him, it slipped into his bloodstream and shot through the rest of his system and connected to his mind.
The only explanation that came to him was expelled in the same name; "Cas?"
"Dean, can you hear me?"
"I have no idea how!" Dean shouted and slowly opened his eyes again, something was different. He could sense Castiel; he felt something in his brother he'd never known before. Was this what it was like for Cas? To be able to sense how they were feeling, to know a thought without hearing it? To touch someone else's soul?
"I don't think I can explain either, I'm afraid." Castiel nearly laughed, Dean knew and he wished Cas really had. "Something's telling me my grace has fused with part of your being, I assume from my… well… will to protect you. Uh… it's temporary though, you know, the connection… I'm pretty sure."
"What do you mean by 'grace' Cas?" Dean wanted to ask more about the 'will to protect him,' he wanted to hear Cas say 'because I love you' but he wouldn't ask.
"It's like my soul, but it's also kind of the source of my angelic powers."
"You've learned a lot already," Dean furrowed his brow and tried to focus his eyes. He still couldn't see but it was much brighter, not as depressing. "I just found out you're an angel and you've got all this crazy know-how."
He felt Cas' scoffing despite not really understanding the mechanics of the whole 'sensing stuff' thing, "It just sort of comes and goes, I wish I knew how to control it."
"Wait a second, are you even speaking English?"
"Nope, our connection helps you understand but I have no freaking clue what I'm speaking."
Dean was quiet for a bit, letting himself relax because for the first time in ages he felt safe. "We still flying through Hell?"
"View get any better?"
"Did you ever even look at it? But no, not really. In other news though, I think I look kinda cool."
"No I didn't look at it. And have you even looked at you?"
"No I haven't looked at me. But I feel cool, kinda. A little bit."
"You're cool, Cas." Dean smiled, he missed his brother more than he could really express. But Cas knew that, didn't he? Dean could tell it was a comfort for Castiel, knowing that Dean was mentally at ease. "Flying isn't so bad when you don't know you're flying. Where am I, anyway?"
"Inside me, I kind of… stored you away to keep you safe." Cas was quiet for a few seconds; Dean didn't know what to say. "Is that weird?"
"A little, but thanks."
Cas sacrificed a lot to save him, Dean knew that. He didn't think he was worth it though. It came down to him or humanity, why the hell would Cas go after him instead? Opening Heaven first should've been his priority, right? But he had to ask himself, would he have understood that if he'd died in Purgatory? Those souls were looking to tear him apart and holy shit he didn't want any part of that. "Really Cas, thank you for saving me."
"I wouldn't have been able to live with myself if I hadn't."
Dean felt the gentle caress of Cas' presence, like Cas was nuzzling him mentally. "I love you," Dean meant for it to come out a little more 'brotherly' but it didn't quite make it there, instead it hung in the air as obvious and exposed as he felt. Castiel didn't say anything for a long moment, Dean wasn't sure if he sensed excessive fear, joy, anxiety, relief or anger. Then again he wasn't that good at the whole sensing thing just yet.
"I… love you, too." Cas choked out, even his internal self was struggling to acknowledge it. Dean wanted to reach out to it but instead of touching and consoling Cas he felt like something sucked him in. He'd connected to part of Castiel that showed him something; it gave away pieces of Cas' mind and played behind his eyelids.
The very few kisses they'd shared repeated over and over, those small moments where Castiel looked at him and he hadn't seen it and every feeling attached. Dean couldn't speak, their connection burned brightly on either end as he experienced every thought and emotion that Castiel could have felt during those times. He's been in love a long time. The conclusion crashed into him like a bird on a window, he was stunned and unable to react.
Cas knew it had happened, he wasn't the one to initiate it but he knew. Dean swallowed past a growing lump in his throat, not sure what he was thinking or feeling anymore. "Cas…" he trailed off, trying to find words. "Cas you really… liked me for a long time… I had no idea." He wanted to ask 'why didn't you ever say anything' or 'when you found out I liked you too why didn't you just kiss me' but he knew. Reliving Cas' memories told him, Cas was as unsure as he had been. That moment he spent with Jet talking about it, deciding whether or not he should do something was serious. It was important to him and he didn't want to make the wrong choice, if he'd known that Cas very likely wouldn't have rejected him then he would've done something a long time ago. If he'd known back then he would've done it differently. Part of Dean anticipated saying that when he was forty.
But that was part of life, wasn't it? Looking back and thinking If I'd just known this then things would be different. Except he didn't know then, he couldn't change anything. But he knew it now.
"Even when we thought we were related, yeah…" Cas felt anxious, like it might've been weird. Dean understood though, incest wasn't exactly a commonly accepted thought in the United States, let alone the Bible belt.
"That's okay, me too." He laughed to himself, feeling the warmth that small sound gave Cas. "Man, the day mom and dad told us I was so confused. Like I was overjoyed that it wouldn't be incest if I kissed you, but it was so weird hearing that you weren't with us the whole time, I couldn't even imagine how you felt."
"It was odd for me too." Cas was putting it mildly.
Dean was about to speak but paused for a second, "Are you concentrating on Hell right now or are we going to get skewered?"
"There are a few new things about me, one of which is that I have a new knack for multitasking. Also I have like three heads."
"That'll take some getting used to…" Dean wasn't sure how to respond to that.
"Definitely, but more importantly things are going to be a little crazy for a while. Next time I see you with my normal face I'll kiss you again, okay?"
He smiled though he was worried. "Promise?"
"I do. Though… you know, feel free to initiate if I've forgotten."
Jet leaned against the Impala, hands in his pockets and one foot tapping agitatedly as they waited. A roadblock was set on several routes into town; he figured it had something to do with the original outbreak. The police were still in charge, as far as he could tell, and he bet that they all figured the cause and source was waiting somewhere in Lawrence. They were sort of right, he supposed.
"Oh my god…" Sam groaned from the car, its door open so he could at least get some autumn air. "We've tried every single route, how the hell are we supposed to get back?"
"Other than flying?" Jet mused and Sam frowned at him, "Hey, hey, don't give me that look, I'm trying here." His mood had improved in the last several hours of driving, talking to his mom really made a difference. Maybe he'd have nightmares later but at that moment he felt a lot better.
"We're probably the only psychos on the road right now," Bobby grunted as he walked by the Impala irritably. "All these cars are empty; demons must've been through here."
Jet glanced at the fields around them, trees in the distance and a few buildings. That was all normal but that wasn't quite what he was looking at. Blood stained the white walls further down the road and he knew he could smell something coming from the ditches and possibly other cars around them. "Ya think?" He added quietly but no less sarcastically.
"They've got more of a fight on their hands than they can handle," Meg said as her eyes were fixed on the flashing red and blue lights in the distance. She was sitting on the hood of the car, her arms folded over her chest signifying she didn't want to open up much. He wondered about her every now and then, she was close to Cas and that never seemed odd until recently. Meg was friends with the 'hot girls' in school, one of the classic Mean Girls trio but never really fitting any role. Tomboy friend summed her up enough, he guessed.
"Wouldn't be surprised if we saw the military soon." Mary added, standing next to John a few car lengths ahead.
"Same," Sam muttered exhaustedly, he was lying across the back seat now with his legs dangling outside the car. Jet noted that the moment of silence and peace was odd and made him nervous. He could see it in everyone's faces; they were all waiting for the calm to end and the storm to rage upon them. Or was it the eye of the storm that they were waiting to pass? He didn't know or care, it all amounted to about the same thing anyway.
He wasn't sure what he was doing when his nerves started to catch fire, twiddling his thumbs or maybe just picking at dead skin on the edge of his fingernail. Regardless it was forgotten in seconds when his stomach tied itself into knots. Something was coming.
Jet looked up just in time to see a mess of bodies, grotesque and mutated fast approaching from the east. "Everyone get the fuck down!" He shouted before dropping to the ground and pulling Sam down with him – if he'd been asked in that moment why he couldn't have answered with anything more than an 'it felt right.'
He saw John and Mary fall nearly as quickly as he had, they trusted his judgement apparently and it was a good feeling. Bobby and Karen took a few seconds longer but seeing their friends hit their knees was some good inspiration. Well, that and the demons speeding overhead.
They stayed low and waited; his breath was caught in his throat for those small seconds. The demons didn't pass by; he felt the small tremor from their landing and wanted to close his eyes. Sam's small hands clenching tighter on him was the only thing that kept him alert, fear shut down and his survivability took over.
Meg was the first person he heard, "What do you want?"
"What do you think you're doing?" He didn't recognize the voice but it was scolding if nothing else. "We're hunting down the angel, why are you sitting around? It's not because you've gone soft, is it? You like that angel boy."
"Fuck off, I don't answer to you." Her response was barely a second before a shockwave nearly knocked him forward onto his face. The ground shook and rocks flew over them, debris from whatever attack she'd made.
It all happened so fast, there was some kind of quick command given by the demons and the best Jet understood from it was 'kill the traitor.' Meg was in trouble but he had no ability to help her and it drove him fucking crazy.
The ground shook again, hard enough to move vehicles several inches. He dared to try and peek out at what was going on, Sam held on tight as he peered through the window of the car. He couldn't see Meg anymore, or at least not the human version. There were two demons that looked surprisingly similar in a stalemate, hands locked together and nearly nose to nose. Azazel, he realized that must've been her father.
For a few seconds the two remained still and the other demons circled around, Jet tried to get himself to move but he couldn't be sure which direction was the best way. How the hell were they going to get out of there in one piece?
The ground rumbled again, Jet barely managed to stay on his feet but he did see one thing; the demons weren't causing that. "Oh for fuck's sake…" he groaned.
And then cars went flying. Hesitation gone Jet lifted Sam up and started running, he heard John shouting "Go go go!" He led the way, Sam in his arms and protectively wrapped up around him. Jet weaved through the lines of cars as destruction waved behind him; he had to make it to the field where it was less likely a vehicle would land on his head.
"Jet!" Sam shouted at him and he really didn't want to know why, but he'd ask anyway.
"Turn around! Stop!" Sam struggled and, against his better judgement, Jet stopped. He turned back around, John, Mary, Bobby, and Karen all skidded past him. John was the first one to come back and try and drag him.
"What are you doing, boy!? Move!"
Jet stared at what Sam was talking about and his mouth went dry. The sky to the east was black and moving, the horizon line shifting strangely as an army headed their way. "Oh my god… Sam why would you tell me to stop for that?"
"That's not what I'm talking about," Sam pointed toward the ground where it had started to swell just off the other side of the road. It shook the earth again and split it open; a high frequency tone pierced their ears.
"And why would you stop for that!?" John shouted back, Jet was starting to stumble along after John's lead. Sam moved to look over Jet's shoulder again, his grip still tight but not scared and a smile on his face.
"I think Cas is coming."