Soul to Soul
Cas could barely believe his arms were around Dean again, to feel his warmth and smell his skin. It was different than it had been before; Dean had gone through a rough few years to get to where he was. Cas' eyes burned with tears knowing it was his fault, and if it wasn't a fault to blame then he should have tried harder to stop it from happening. "I'm so sorry," he whispered with his mouth nearly pressed to Dean's head. "I should have-"
"Shut up," Dean laughed and kissed him, "If you're about to tell me you should've done better or some bullshit like that then just kiss me instead."
Cas couldn't argue or suppress the laughter bubbling up from his throat. "You're impossible," he smiled and took flight again, Dean wrapped in his arms.
"Whoa! Cas hold on, I still don't like to fly!" His boyfriend shrieked and grabbed onto him for dear life.
"I know, but we can't do nothing." He dove back over the wall and landed on the ground again, wide eyes from both his parents as a greeting to him. Cas let Dean go and he immediately hit his knees, mumbling something about goddamn flying and nearly killing him. "Hi mom, hi dad."
"Cas?" John's tone was one of disbelief and Mary didn't hesitate to rush up to him and squeeze him tightly.
"My baby," she cried against his shoulder, one hand pressed against his back and the other against his head. She leaned back and looked at his face, "You're okay, I'm so happy and relieved that you're okay."
Cas didn't try to stop himself from crying and just let it flow down his cheeks, "I'm sorry I'm late," he croaked out the words with a stuttered laugh, choking on a sob already.
John walked over; eyes watering and a strained smile pulling on his lips. "We're just glad you're back at all, son." He hugged them both because he knew he'd never get Mary off of Cas to give one just to him.
Castiel closed his eyes and rested in their arms, he'd been unconscious that whole time but he missed them terribly. Separating during such a rough time wasn't something he ever wanted to do, and the fact that demons were attacking only made it harder. "I love you," Cas kissed them both and stepped back, his cheeks red and his smile wide. "I need to keep you safe, I'll be right back."
"Wait," Dean caught him again, holding his hand from the ground. "Cas, wait," Dean's voice shook and his eyes were wet. "Where are you going now? You just got back."
Cas knelt down and hugged him again, "Don't worry, I'll take care of the demons." His wings curled around them both and he held Dean as comfortingly as he could. There were so many tangled emotions inside him that Cas wasn't sure where to begin on Dean's mind. He did his best to soothe it and smooth out the lesser wrinkles. With every attempt and gesture he found that it only made Dean more anxious and more worried. Dean didn't want to lose him again; Cas could see the fear swimming through his mind like a nightmarish shroud on his judgement. Tears fell down Dean's cheeks and Cas couldn't hold back his own.
If he took off again, even for a short time, Dean would be more stressed. He'd do more damage than good and really; Cas didn't want to be apart at all.
"Unless…" he trailed off and wiped tears away from freckled cheeks, "Unless you wanted to fly with me?" He asked softly and watched the emotions dance behind his boyfriend's eyes.
Dean looked at him intently and bit his lip, he wanted to go but he didn't at the same time. Cas could see the fight in his head, Dean wanted to be with Castiel no matter what but he couldn't bring up the courage to say yes. Knowing he'd be flying through the air without any kind of safety equipment scared the shit out of him, and going through Hell the same way really didn't help.
"Cas…" Dean choked out and fidgeted, "I don't know if I can…"
"I can carry you like I did once before," Cas cupped Dean's cheek and kissed him another time. There was a strong spark between them, the hairs on the back of Dean's neck stood on end and Castiel could feel the heat rising in both of them. "Just like before," he repeated and stood up to step back to give himself space. His body shifted and slid into a human-sized angel form; it felt a little weird but he kind of liked it. His hand glowed and he touched it to Dean's, "You'll only be part of me for a little while, is that okay?"
"Yeah," Dean smiled and wiped his eyes. In seconds he disappeared and Cas could feel him closer than he had in years. It was an immediate comfort for both of them, Dean's soul started to rest and Cas' mind could relax knowing that Dean was safe and not getting crushed out there somewhere.
"I'll be back," He looked at John and Mary again as they tried to come to terms with what they just saw. "Don't worry, he's safe."
"You're just so stunning," Mary shook her head, her lips slowly pulling up as she studied Cas' entirely different body shape. She'd seen it once before, it was massive and impossible to make out details of his face – or in Cas' case, faces. "You're beautiful, sweetheart."
"Take care of your brothers," John added and cocked his gun again, "Come on Mary, we got work to do."
Cas smirked and left them with a parting few words; "Not for long."
He flew to the sky and let himself grow to his full size and full strength. A sharp angelic cry was sent in a shockwave over the immediate area and echoed far beyond any normal being's reach. It was a warning to the demons on Earth; Castiel was coming for them. It wasn't just a warning though, a message followed the original call. To the demons seeking repentance, like Meg, he'd do the same for them as he'd done for the ones in Hell. They would be spared his wrath as he flew overhead, every demon in his path would be purified. If they were nothing more than evil, and there wasn't anything left but a grotesque shell, then they would not survive the process. The rest he'd make into souls, humans, and angels depending on their level of malevolence.
Castiel didn't expect much more than souls to escape to Heaven, but he'd always give an option if he could. When he'd purified Hell majority of the creatures there were beyond saving. They'd spent so much time in such a twisted world that they themselves became nothing more than twisted husks. Cas had sent a handful of souls to Heaven with the purification but not very many, a minimal percentage. He hoped it would be different for the ones on Earth but his hopes weren't as high as he would have liked them to be.
The sky lit up like fire and he spread his wings, eyes fixed on the battle raging below. Other angels looked up to where he was, awestruck and uncertain of themselves. With just a thought and his will, the demons started to fall in waves, rows of them crumbling to the ground without exemption. He didn't worry about Meg; he knew she'd be fine. He could see her from where he was; she'd been locked in a fight against Azazel, her father. She was winning despite his hateful words and Cas couldn't have been prouder of her strength.
She watched Azazel hit the dirt, confused until she felt the pulse of energy wash over her too. Meg looked up at him and tried to remain standing; he could see her concern and gently wiped it away. She would be fine. Meg slowly let her trust for him come through and nodded as her knees felt weak and she too crumpled down to the ground.
Cas felt Dean's amazement and smiled. He had always wondered about what he was doing, his mind was aware of his capabilities, what he could do and what he couldn't. He didn't know if what he did was the right thing, he didn't know if it was wrong but he did know that it felt like what he should do. Maybe that wasn't right but he didn't care. He had to do something, and in his experience if he didn't do anything then he was inevitably going to be wrong.
Castiel took the wave of purification with him as he flew, his speed was tremendous but everywhere he went he left a trail of collapsing demons. Circling the world from pole was a task that he undertook and it though he knew it would take its toll on him he didn't care. Cas had a bad habit of giving too much until he didn't have enough for himself, so why should he change his ways after so long?
"Are you going to hurt yourself again?" Dean asked suddenly and loudly, it was like a gong in Cas' head.
"Not so much hurt myself as drain my energy again." Cas replied honestly, he felt the sudden rise of anger in Dean and wished he could quell it. "It won't harm me-"
"But you'll be unconscious again!?" Dean demanded an answer, his emotions were screaming for him and Cas wasn't sure if he could explain himself with words. Dean's soul burned against his, a raging fire in his skin with nothing but the purest intent. He smiled and instead of talking he gave Dean access to his mind. It showed the significance of his strength, his power source and how quickly he could regenerate. He'd purified Hell all at once; his body had taken that energy and recycled it into himself. His being held the life force and grace of Lucifer, powered Heaven, and gave strength to other angels.
It showed Dean the efforts he'd made and the experiences he had while away. Cas hadn't relived those thoughts and memories but he could do it through Dean as he flew around the globe. Everything replayed on a whim for Dean, Heaven's beauty and its pain, the angels and their sickness, all of it. He even got to see God, though it was almost too blinding for him to take.
Dean was silent as he witnessed it until Castiel's mind could no longer show him anything, his six years of unconsciousness. "I prayed to you…" Dean whispered and Cas' chest hurt instantly. "I told you things, like what we were doing, how everybody was. I wish you could have been there."
Castiel curled his lip in to bite it and hold back more tears, "Me too, but you can tell me some of it now, if you'd like?"
Dean laughed a little and stared at the empty space where Cas' mind experienced nothing and showed darkness. "After you were gone we stayed in that shelter for a while. Dad was hurt pretty bad, Meg was healing up fast, and Jet was… well he was Jet. He was pretty hurt but he didn't want to be so he acted like he was okay until it was true.
"Sam was worried, he was scared you'd get hurt. I was scared… We were just kids, Cas. We fought monsters and killed men, Sammy saw so much that sometimes I wonder about him. I wonder about Jet, and me but mostly I think about you. I always think about you and really those six years are such a blur now that you're back. I thought about how you kissed me and how it sent lightning down my spine. I thought about you every day, about your smile and your eyes. I thought I knew it all perfectly but sometimes I'd close my eyes and I'd have to try harder and harder to remember how beautiful you were.
"Your eyes were the wrong shade of blue and my heart felt like it was breaking. I saw your smile but it was wrong and I couldn't put my finger on why. Maybe it wasn't wide enough, or you weren't happy, maybe your teeth were wrong or the colour of your lips? I didn't know and it drove me fucking crazy, I should have known.
"Your hair was soft but I didn't know how soft it was, I didn't know the exact mixture of brown and black and light brown either. There were so many things I wished I'd taken the time to pay more attention to, like your voice. I could hear it in my head but sometimes the tone was wrong or the way you used your words wasn't right. I wished I'd paid attention to beautiful you were because I didn't understand it until you were out of my life. You disappeared for six years and I realized just how big an idiot I was.
"Cas, I love you. You've been my brother, my best friend, and the source of my affections. I love you every way I think is possible, but I can't even remember the details of your face or your voice. I missed your laugh so much, Cas…"
Cas' body continued on its given mission but he turned attention internally and took a form in his soul. Without words he went to Dean and connected to him, a hug, a kiss, whatever a soul could do. "I love you too," he cried softly and nuzzled his face against Dean's, "Everything I've done is for you, it's for all of you. I can't stop until you're safe, that's why I was gone for so long, that's why I hurt you like that… It sounds backwards when I say it." He sobbed out a laugh but didn't move from where he clung to Dean, keeping his cheek pressed against Dean's cheek.
Dean's laugh came out the same way his did, a little painful but impossible to stop. "I understand why you did it, and none of that was your fault. You couldn't help falling into a coma after saving Heaven, you couldn't come here any faster than you did and I get that." Dean rested his head against Cas' and it felt so natural. "But I can't stop myself from wishing it was all different… like if we'd gotten the chance to keep going to school and graduate, go to college together… I don't know, maybe it's okay. I don't even care about that anymore, you're here now and it's all going to be okay."
"So you still want to be my boyfriend?"
"Don't ask stupid questions," Dean pulled back and kissed him feverishly, holding the back of Cas' head and guiding him gently through it. Cas melted into it; a quiet gasp escaped him when their lips parted. "Of course you're still my boyfriend, I didn't go through that embarrassing explanation to mom and dad for nothing."
Cas just shook his head with a scoff, "Like I wasn't embarrassed?" He smiled and gingerly brushed fingers through Dean's hair, it was the same despite being six years older. "Do you think we can ever live normally together again?"
"Sure," Dean grinned, white teeth shining at him and Cas fell in love all over again. "Normal might have changed from what it used to be, but we can have whatever we want."
Cleansing the planet felt like nothing with Dean along for the ride, Cas' energy was drained but he already felt light headed. His mind was lost in Dean and his heart didn't need anyone else. He circled back to Dean's home base after some days had passed. It almost felt too soon. "We're here."
Dean hadn't needed rest within Castiel, they could talk and laugh and tell stories for hours and it was like seconds. Dean looked a little upset that they'd taken so little time, despite the actual amount that had passed. "Can we… just hang out a little longer?"
"They don't know I'm here yet so we can take as long as we want." Castiel snuggled next to Dean's soul and relished in the warmth it gave him.