‘I have nothing to say to you, Meg,’ Castiel told her, and tried to knock on Becky’s door once more.
‘I told you, Cas, they’re not there. They took those two humans and are probably in a motel somewhere, pretending the stains on the walls aren’t blood. But we still need to talk.’
‘And I told you, I have nothing to say to you,’ Castiel barked back, now trying to plan how to get to the Winchesters. Would they have returned to the bunker?
‘Then why are you still here Cas? Kind of looks like you want to hear what I have to say.’
Castiel looked slowly at her. And she smirked back at him.
‘You can’t just disappear, can you? What happened? I mean, I was surprised you didn’t go with them, and now you can’t just zap out?’
‘I don’t think we should discuss this in the middle of a populated street,’ Castiel said curtly. Meg opened her mouth to give a short, humourless chuckle.
‘You know, I have a car. I know roughly where the Winchesters camp out, since they go off the map at the same point all the time. I could get you there, help you out.’
‘What’s in it for you?’
‘If we’re in a car together, you’re going to have to listen to whatever I have to say. It’s win-win.’
Castiel knew that there would be some kind of trick, but what option did he have? He was aware of the days ticking away, every single one of them driving him further and further from Dean. Three-and-a-half weeks were much shorter than four, despite only a few days passing. He needed time to convince Dean when he finally saw the hunter again, he knew Dean wasn’t going to just roll over and agree to be with him again. It was going to take work, and energy, and most importantly, time.
‘Fine, but I’m watching you.’
‘I love when you get all domineering.’ Meg grinned, and led him down the street, and around the corner. She headed for a brand new, bright yellow Lamborghini, climbing into the driver’s seat without another word. Castiel slipped into the passenger side apprehensively. He wasn’t sure he wanted to be in a confined space with Meg, especially when she made comments that reminded him so much of Dean. Dean had been so accepting of the idea of Castiel being in charge of their love life, so trusting when Castiel had taken control.
‘Is this your car?’ Castiel asked as she revved the engine and slammed it into drive.
‘It is now.’
‘You’re stealing it?’
‘Hello, demon,’ Meg shook her head. ‘So why aren’t you with loverboy?’
‘We had an argument.’
Meg laughed to herself.
‘Well, well, well, who would have seen Dean Winchester losing his temper?’
‘It’s not funny, Meg.’
‘It kind of is. So why aren’t you zapping out?’
Castiel looked at his hands. He wasn’t sure he could trust Meg. He still wasn’t happy with her, first for the debacle with the carnival, second for helping Vibeke, and lastly because she found it so funny that Dean would be so upset with him. But what option did he have right now?
‘I’m not an angel anymore. Completely human. The other angels stripped me of my powers for resetting Dean’s memory, then left me somewhere in Texas. I need to get back to him.’
Meg sighed, steering lazily as she swept along through the gathering night.
‘What if he doesn’t want you there?’
‘Then I’ll deal with it.’
‘You know, if Winchester doesn’t want you, I’m still here.’
It took Castiel a moment to realise just what Meg was offering.
‘No thank you, Meg. Besides, it’s Dean or nothing.’
‘Way to kick a girl when she’s down, Castiel.’ Meg revved the engine again, and they sank into a silence. Between the quiet, and the low hum of the powerful engine, and the darkness outside, Castiel found his eyes closing, and sleep washing over him.
Castiel’s vision was strange. It was slightly hazy, and almost black-and-white. All he could see was the past few weeks with Dean, with them sitting together in the various motel rooms, talking quietly, heads bent together as they discussed what they could do as they dated. Castiel knew that was what was happening, but it didn’t flow as well as it did in his memories. And things seemed different, the pacing was off, he could only remember glimpses of conversation rather than a full flow of dialogue. As he went through and watched their dates, the words changed. Castiel couldn’t understand what was going on.
Like when Dean was laughing his way through one story, about a time when he was nineteen, and drinking in a bar with an older woman, who kept reaching out to touch his leg, his arms, to run her hands through his hair. Who would take mouthfuls of wine before kissing him, so that they were kissing around the tang of grapes. And suddenly, Dean was looking him in the eye.
‘This is the kind of thing I want, Cas. We need to have dates like this, okay?’
It was only a moment, and then Dean went back to the story, but Castiel felt disjointed. At this point in their talking, Dean was still adamant for one single date. Wasn’t he? The point of the story was so Castiel could know what went on with a date, so that they could plan what to do with theirs.
And then everything skipped forward, into their actual dates. Dean was peering through a crack in a wooden door, and Castiel was standing behind him, feeling out of sorts as Dean watched for the other men playing paintball. Dean was teasing him, just like Castiel remembered, and then the hunter was turning around, his expression serious.
‘I like the eye-sex, Cas. Don’t stop it.’
And then he was turning back around, asking Castiel if he had the flag.
There was a jump again, to the next day, when they were kissing in the Impala, touching each other, both of them shirtless, and Dean was telling him they had all the time in the world.
‘You want a second date?’ Castiel heard himself say. Dean chuckled quietly.
‘Don’t you get it, yet, Cas?’
Castiel found himself staring up into Dean’s brilliant green eyes as the hunter smiled back down at him.
‘I never want it to end.’ He clarified, bending down to kiss Castiel once more.
And then it was like an onslaught, the memories flickering quickly, but each one the same. An echo of the brief time they spent together, and Dean stepping out of the moment to say something he never would. Was it wishful thinking on Castiel’s part, or was this what Dean had been thinking, and never found the words to say?
Like arguing in the car, when Castiel tried to call it a day: ‘Cas, I said yes because I want this. Please don’t call it off now.’
Or when Dean was tracing his fingers across his back, he suddenly changed course, his fingers trailing down Castiel’s chest, and he was leaning closer, nuzzling his nose against Castiel’s ear: ‘I can’t remember the last time I was this happy, Cas.’
Kissing in the kitchen of the bunker, Dean bearing down on him with a passion that Castiel hadn’t experienced before. And then he pulled away slightly, to breathe at the ex-angel, ‘I can’t get enough of you, Cas.’
Laying on Dean’s bed, legs tangled together, Castiel trying to explain just how he felt and what it was he wanted from Dean, knowing that he was getting it wrong somehow. He had just said about how he wanted to show Dean everything he loved, when the hunter looked up at him seriously. ‘So we’re doing the same thing, huh? Showing each other the things we care about.’
Or when they’d just had sex in the bunker, and were laying together, and Dean was holding their naked bodies together, clammy and sticky yet somehow desirable, he heard the words he’d been hoping for. ‘I do love you, Cas. I wouldn’t have said yes to going out if I didn’t love you. You know I love you, right?’
Something in Castiel’s stomach jolted, and then Dean disappeared completely.
‘Castiel! Wake up!’ Meg’s voice pierced Castiel’s thoughts, and his eyes flickered open slowly. He’d been asleep again? Then what was with the strange memories? ‘I thought we should stop for the night. And I think I saw a cop a few streets ago, running the registration for the car, so we’re going to have to ditch it. You go check into the motel, I’ll get rid of the car.’
Castiel made himself sit up on the seat, and undo his seatbelt, before climbing slowly out of the expensive car. Meg pulled away with a tyre squeal that Dean would have been impressed with, the passenger door still flapping, and Castiel watched until she was out of sight, before walking into the motel, his head still feeling fuzzy from what had happened in his sleep. Was that a dream? Did dreams play upon real life like that?
He checked in without paying attention, and headed for the room, hoping to grab a shower. His vessel was filthy and smelly from the wait in the bus stop, and the bus journey. It was disgusting how easily humans became dirty. He had no idea what to do for his clothes, they were also smelling badly, and he’d torn the knee of his slacks when he’d crash-landed from Heaven. The knee underneath still hurt. While Meg was gone, he decided, he would wash his clothes in the bathroom too, and leave them to dry somewhere else. And she wouldn’t be allowed in until everything was dry.
It seemed easy enough to do at first, to take his clothes off and put a towel around his middle the way he’d seen Dean do. He even managed to tuck it in, feeling proud of himself for figuring it out. And getting the trench coat, the slacks, the jacket, the shirt, the tie and the underwear wet was easy. So was coating them in the shower gel provided by the motel, working up the lather and rinsing. But then they just sat there in the bathtub, wet and slippery and still marked with dirt. How did Sam and Dean handle this?
There was a loud bang on the door, and Castiel felt stressed. He hadn’t even begun to wash his clothes, or step under the shower spray himself like he wanted.
‘Just a minute!’ he called out, and made sure the bathroom door was locked. Then he took off his towel, and had his shower anyway, hoping some brainwave would give him some other way of cleaning his clothes. He missed being able to think them back to being pristine.
He didn’t enjoy the shower as he’d been hoping to, because he felt he had to rush it now, and let Meg in. He grudgingly accepted that he needed her help. He tied the towel back around himself, and crossed the room again, checking through the spy hole and inching the door open for the demon.
‘Nice chest, Castiel,’ she purred, and reached out to touch him.
‘Don’t touch me, Meg,’ he snapped, stepping away from her. ‘I rushed my shower to let you in.’
‘I’m so damn lucky,’ she smirked, and sprawled across the bed. ‘Nice double. You know, I’m getting mixed signals from you. You get us a bed to share, you walk around in an iddy-bitty towel, but then you’re standing there saying you just want Dean. What’s a girl to do?’
‘You can leave.’
Meg smiled at him, knowing it was an empty threat. He needed her help with his clothes, and he needed her to get to Dean. And she knew it.
‘I could leave, but I thought you were like a Winchester with a dumb idea? Not letting go of your Dean, isn’t that it?’
Castiel double-checked that his towel was tied on tightly, and sat by the pillows on the bed, as far away from Meg as it was possible to be in that room.
‘You said you needed to speak with me.’
‘I do. It would have been better in the car but you fell asleep on me. It’s about Vibeke.’ Castiel scowled, and Meg’s smile grew. ‘With our history Castiel, I thought I should do the right thing and tell you that, after that little scene in Sam’s girlfriend’s house, she’s out for revenge. Ran straight to Heaven to sell you out. You need to watch your back. And if you want to play her at her own game, I am more than ready for that. Bitch screwed me over.’
‘You’re too late, Meg,’ Castiel said sadly, looking down at his knees. The one that was hurting was bruised, a mess of black, purple and green blotches on his skin. He touched it experimentally, and winced in pain. ‘She got me stripped of my powers. Why else would I be in this room with you right now?’
‘So let’s play her at her own game! You know all about angels, and I can be deviant when I have to be. Let’s team up and-‘
‘No.’ Castiel said firmly. ‘Right now, what matters is that I get to Dean.’
‘Really? Castiel, I’m no idiot, I know he was waiting for us to leave to yell at you. And I can figure out that he broke up with you too. So why does it even matter? Especially when you have someone right here who would gladly be with you.’
Castiel kept his attention on his bruised knee.
‘I am not interested, Meg.’
‘You keep saying that, Castiel, but like I said, your signals can really confuse a girl-‘
’Stop talking. You already nearly ruined us once, I won’t let it happen again. As soon as I’ve had some rest, and my clothes are dry, I’m leaving for Dean.’
‘I am so sick of hearing about that pathetic human-‘
‘If I could still smite you, I would.’
There was silence in the room for a while, and then a pile of clothes appeared beside Castiel.
‘I get it, Castiel. Believe me, I do. You want to be in a stalemate? Then fine. But we both know how this will play out.’
Castiel looked at the clothes that Meg had gotten for him, and then at her. She shrugged as though she didn’t really care.
‘You know all your clothes are ruined now, right? Don’t worry, I didn’t steal them from anyone who mattered. No poor people are doing without. Just a few faceless multinational corporations who must be coming due soon on their deals with Crowley.’
‘It’s still stealing. It’s still wrong.’
‘You know, in a lot of cultures, it’s wrong to have sex with another man? Just so you have some perspective on right and wrong.’
‘Oh, sweetie, humans have been misinterpreting your daddy for years. Try again. You know you want the pyjama pants on, at least. And for the record, I don’t care if you did the nasty with Dean.’
Castiel shot her a venomous look, before pulling some thick cotton plaid pyjama pants from the pile and slipping them on before removing his towel. They were soft, and caressed his skin, and he was grudgingly thankful to Meg for procuring them for him. He flicked his fingers through the other clothes, which were nothing like his usual suit and far closer to the jeans, shirts, and plaid that Dean and Sam preferred.
‘So I’ll guess, if you’re human now, you’re going to want food?’ Meg sniffed, catching Castiel’s attention.
‘That would be nice.’
His stomach grumbled to punctuate that thought.
‘There’s a Chinese a half a block away. Want to order in?’
‘No, I’d like to go there myself. Get used to being a human.’
‘If you want to get used to being a human, Cas, you order in.’
‘I’ll see you soon.’
Castiel shrugged on a grey pullover, and some sneakers that sat beside the clothes, before he grabbed his wallet that he’d left with his cell phone on the side table, and headed out of the door. He realised as he made his way out of the motel complex that he hadn’t checked the direction he needed to go in. He decided to just enjoy the walk around the town, knowing that he’d find somewhere to eat soon enough. And then he’d just have to find his way back.
He hadn’t been walking for long before he stopped, blinking in surprise. Because there was Dean, in his Fed suit, looking around the area with little to no interest in the view. But Castiel couldn’t make himself care about that. All he could care about was that there were still just over three weeks to go, and Dean was right in front of him. It would be nothing at all now, to win him over, to prove that he was human and on a more even ground with the hunter. They could just concentrate on their relationship, and each other.
His feet pounded the ground, the pain in his knee practically non-existent as he removed the stupid distance between them. Dean turned to watch his progression, with hardly a flicker of emotion on his face. But it was hard to even care about that, because at least he wasn’t scowling, shouting, rejecting Castiel. It was as though he couldn’t believe that they were going to be reunited either.
Castiel threw himself at the hunter, their bodies thudding together, his arms wrapping around Dean’s waist as he breathed in heavily. Dean had a new cologne, something woody that caught Castiel’s imagination. He squeezed hard, nuzzling his face into the nook by Dean’s collarbone, revelling in the feel of his firm chest. And then Dean’s arms were around him, solid and sturdy and unwavering, and Castiel could have cried.
They said nothing, but stood there and held each other close for countless minutes. Castiel didn’t care, because surely this was a sign that the hunter wanted him back, wanted another shot at their relationship? They were beyond words at this point, but Castiel could practically feel every thought in Dean’s head just by the feel of his arms. Dean had missed him too, Dean loved him. And Castiel was falling in love all over again, but this time it felt different. The thud of his heart in his chest, the buzzing sensation that made him feel hot, the fluttering motion of his stomach, they all outweighed anything he had ever felt before. He put it down to becoming human, and sank into the feeling, knowing that there was no way he could have loved Dean this much as an angel, he didn’t have the capacity. He never wanted to be an angel again, not if it meant losing this feeling when Dean was around.
Dean leaned his head against Castiel’s, and the ex-angel closed his eyes blissfully. They would talk later, obviously, but for now, the hunter was saying everything he needed to without any words. There was something beautiful in the way they were holding each other, with no other expectations except to keep hold of each other, and not let go.