The lake was quiet. It was also uncharacteristically warm for this time of year, but the birds and the fish didn't seem to mind.
There was little sign of civilisation here; all that had been left behind. No cottage or road or car or human could be seen. The only sign of human handiwork was the small wooden dock he was on, stretching a little ways across the water.
The fish swam, heedless of the rod designed to ensnare them. The birds flew, occasionally sweeping low over the water. Mainly they stuck to the trees guarding the water, or kept to the muddy bays.
It was safe here. Perpetual white, fluffy clouds hung the sky, keeping the warmth in and the harsh sunlight at bay. Aside from the lapping of water and the soft calls of the birds, all was quiet.
The fishing rod hung in Dean's hands, firmly in place, but not firmly in use. Dean cared little whether any fish were caught or not, and if this rate continued, none would be caught at all. That wasn't the point.
This was Dean's escape.
He'd been here once. Back through the woods, a few miles back, his Dad and he had destroyed the ghost that had been haunting the woods. After it was done, John went off, leaving Dean to his own devices for a bit. He'd stumbled across this dock. He'd just sat there for hours, feet dangling off the edge of the pier, just shy of tracing the water. He hadn't been fishing at the time, that was just something his brain added in. Same with the lumpy arm chair he was sitting in.
He didn't always get to go here. He used to, more than he did of late. Usually it was nightmares, dreaded repeats. Some were better than others, and some would stray into those forty years he desperately wanted to forget. When Cas was around, properly around, he would sometimes keep an eye on his dreams, direct them into a more pleasant direction. He hadn't had that luxury for some time now.
The thing was, when he was here, he was always alone. Only once had someone managed to encroach, to invade his lake. Just once.
And now twice.
Dean started, his peripheral vision catching something. He turned quickly, dropping the rod.
"Cas?" Dean looked up to see the angel standing beside him on the deck. As the hunter was seated, the angel towered above him, but that wasn't the only thing that was off. "Is that you?"
"No. Was the simple reply. He did not turn to look at Dean, instead stared out at the water. Dean realised what it was; Castiel, who had been with them for days now, wearing the same dreary suit as he always had, was now wearing the familiar dirty trenchcoat over it.
"Oh." Dean frowned, glancing to the water. "Am I dreaming?"
Dean looked down to the dropped fishing rod before looking back up to the angel. "Well, it's good to see you." He told him. "Up and about, I mean.
Cas finally turned to him, his eyes cold and unfeeling. "I'm the one who gripped you tight and raised you from perdition." A red stain spread over his chest.
Dean blinked in confusion. "Yeah, I know.
The angels face changed suddenly, inexplicably furious, and Dean stumbled back, upturning the once sturdy chair. "And I can throw you back in. You should show me some respect."
Dean stood, chair and fishing rod vanished. Despite usually being taller than the angel, he still found himself shorter, as if he hadn't stood at all.
"I work for God, not man. And I certainly don't work for you."
"Cas, what are you doing?" Dean pleaded. Suddenly, his face changed again, overwhelming terror in his eyes. "What, what is it?" The hunter cried.
"Dean, this is a den of iniquity, I should not be here!"
Despite the situation, the confusion, Dean chuckled, enamoured by the memory. "Oh, I'm sorry, Cas." He laughed.
Castiel's face softened, formed a smile, warm towards Dean. It was unusual for him to smile, yet it fit there like he never did anything else. "Most of the time, I'd rather be here with you.
Dean froze. He'd forgotten Cas had ever said that.
"We do share a more profound bond."
Dean's smile grew wider.
Castiel's face lost its smile, and his head tilted to the left. "What's the matter? Don;t you think you deserve to be saved?" His eyes were wide, the blue searching Dean's soul.
Dean's smile sagged slightly. "Cas..."
"This isn't funny!" Cas replied, suddenly exasperated. "The voice says I'm almost out of minutes!" he cried. Again his face changed, becoming more ragged. He grew stubble, and his hair grew too, falling flat against his forehead. "What? I like past you!"
Dean's smile had fallen now. "No. That didn't happen, we stopped that!"
"Dean, I'm all but useless."
"God..." Dean whispered, realising. "No. That won't happen. We can fix this!"
To that, Cas snapped back to normal, though once again furious. "Dean, it's not broken!" He yelled.
Dean stumbled forward a little. "Cas, no, stop it. Please, stop it!" He begged, but Cas's hand snapped out, shoving Dean back against a wall that hadn't been there a minute before. His back slammed hard against it. Cas pressed him against him, holding him up against the wall with ease. He leant in, hissing in his ear.
"I gave up everything for you, and this is how you repay me?!"
Dean coughed, and the memory of long bled blood spat out.
Cas turned him around, slamming him against another non-existent wall.
"Cas," Dean choked out. "Please?"
And he was gone. Dean stumbled forward, feet unsteady on the creaking wooden planks. He wheezed slightly, testing his chest, before looking up.
"Cas?" He called. "Where are you?"
He turned around, seeing the angel standing a few meters off. He stumbled forwards.
"Cas." Dean whispered. "I'm sorry, I'm so sorry. You're right, I've been a complete... Cas?"
Dean felt a gnaw of worry building inside him as he looked at the angel. He was hunching slightly, chin dipped a little too low. And then Dean saw it. Starting at the hands, a drip. One black drip. And at the mouth too. The ears, soaking the underarm of his trenchcoat.
"No!" Dean yelled. "Not this one!" He ran forwards to Cas, ready to catch him when he fell, but instead Dean felt his own feet fall, slipping off the dry boards and into the water below.
He tried to break the surface, but found himself sinking. He tried to swim up, but he couldn't find 'up'. He was getting tugged down, his air was running out fast, the pressure to breathe was becoming overwhelming. His body began to shudder, his arms and legs spasming as they tried to find a way out, and his eyes stung when he opened them to see. The water was murky, and he couldn't see a way out.
And then there were hands. He felt it, one hand with a strong grip on his right forearm, gripping almost painfully right, tugging him inexplicably up, up, up and breaking the water. Sucking in a huge lungfull of air, he opened his waterlogged eyes, trying to make out what he could see.
It was Cas. Dean was lying flat on his back on the desk, and Cas was above him, looking down at him anxiously.
"Cas?" Dean choked out.
"I'm here, Dean. The angel replied, his hand still on Dean's arm.
Dean looked up at him, taking him in. "Which time are you now?" He groaned, and Cas cocked his head, looking confused.
Then Dean looked again. He looked the same as ever, the scruffy hair, the wonky tie. But no trenchcoat. The black suit jacket sat alone on his shoulders. Dean reached up and gripped it, gripped his arms, and sat up, instantly pulling him into a hug so tight he wasn't sure he could let go.
The angel was confused, at first. His arms hung loose by his side, scraping the deck, one awkwardly folded where it had been on Dean's arm, but slowly he lifted them and placed them around the hunter, and squeezed.
They stayed like that for a few seconds, stuck in that tight embrace before Dean pulled away, looking Cas deep in the eyes that the angel had done to him so many times.
"Cas." Dean whispered, taking him in. "I am sorry, man, I am,"
"I know." He replied, unsmiling, but with warm eyes.
"I've been a complete..." Dean's voie trailed off as he moved his hand from Cas's shoulder to the back of his neck, gripping slightly, and before he knew it, he had leant in, closer than Cas had ever breached Dean's personal space, and lips met lips.
At first it was clumsy, teeth clashing and Cas's mouth still, questioning, unsure. But Dean's eagerness made up for it, and soon their lips were moving together, finally doing what they had been denying for so long. Dean's other hand moved under Cas's arm, resting on the centre of his back, pulling him closer to him, and that's when Cas really started to participate. Virgin and inexperienced as he was, he had watched humans for millenia. Hands moving from where they had been previously, he lowered them, one pulling the hunter closer to him, the other skimming down the hunters side, then gently, teasing, began to toy with the line of Dean's waistband. Almost tickling, he skirted lower, over his jeans to palm at Dean's-
He sat bolt upright, shocked into consciousness by Sam's voice.