You are viewing cloudy_verses

 
 
23 January 2011 @ 06:10 am
FIC: The Trinket, Dean/Castiel  
Title: The Trinket
Author: CloudyJenn
Fandom: Supernatural
Pairings: Dean/Castiel
Rating: PG-13
Disclaimer: These characters do not belong to me. I am making no profit from this fanfiction.
Warnings: none
Summary: Gabriel buys Castiel a birthday present that draws them both into the life of Dean Winchester.
Author's Notes: Part one of this story arc. Not a slice of life verse, so more is definitely in the works. Follow the story on my twitter.




"You look like a man of excellent tastes," the hawker says, his shrewd black eyes set on Gabriel's. "Surely you have a lovely young thing at home that'd be quite...ah, grateful for one of my trinkets?"

He holds out one of the glowing orbs for Gabriel to take. It's silver blue in color and within its glass confines, the contents spin wildly. Like all the rest of the balls placed in decorative containers on the hawker's table, the toy mesmerizes Gabriel.

"No one pretty thing," Gabriel says, the edge of his mouth quirking. "But I've got an uptight brother that could use one of these."

His fingers curl over the ball and he's inundated. A hundred emotions, stronger than any angel could ever hope to feel, pounds into his Grace. Anger, fear, regret, love, jealousy, lust, hunger, pleasure. Such deep visceral aching pleasure.

"This one is especially potent," the hawker explains. "A bit more pricey, but well worth the resulting high, don't you think?"

"I'll say," Gabriel mutters, carefully placing the jeweled globe on the table. He wouldn't be caught dead going into Ecstasy in public. "How much?"

"5,000."

Gabriel whistles. That is pricey. Hell, it's a rip-off.

But it's Castiel. A regular one of these things would barely scratch the surface of his reserve. He tries to remember if Castiel is one of those angels who thinks the sale of trinkets is wrong, but can't.

They really should talk more.

"Well? Shall we make your brother a very happy angel?"

Gabriel shrugs and then grins.

"Why not? Wrap it up for me."

The hawker tucks the ball into a small box and eagerly takes Gabriel's money.

"Here you are, sir. One very fine human soul. No refunds."

**************************

"Go on! Open it!"

Gabriel knows that Castiel's utterly blank expression is a mask for blushing. His little brother isn't given to emotional displays. No angel really is, but even among their kind, Castiel is as cold as rain in winter.

But that doesn't mean he doesn't feel things. And right now, as the center of attention in a roomful of their siblings, Gabriel can tell Castiel is uncomfortable.

"Thank you," he says as he takes the gift from Anna's hands. He unwraps the package with typical care and smiles slightly when he pulls a jar of wing care ointment out of the box. It's the expensive kind that's made from fairy spit and children's tears.

Or something equally ridiculous. Anna always did like her over-priced snooty beauty care products.

"You should use it every other day," she instructs. "You have such lovely golden wings, Castiel, but you don't care for them very well."

The rest of them listen to her lecture Castiel about proper wing care and while Gabriel agrees that Castiel's wings need work, he's relieved when Uriel interrupts her to give Castiel a new set of blank scrolls and a feather quill taken from one of his own violet wings. A rather thoughtful gift for such a stern heartless beast of an angel.

Gabriel supposes family brings out the best even in the worst of them.

Michael gives Castiel a new set of robes. Raphael presents him with a bubble of captured cloud from Earth. Balthazar tosses him a small disc that plays a selection of their Father's favorite songs of the Host.

It's quite a haul for the little snot, Gabriel thinks. But then, that's what happens when you're the youngest.

Gabriel goes last and his smirk when he hands Castiel the box makes his siblings narrow their eyes at him. Castiel is too busy unwrapping the box to get it, but the rest of them instinctively know that Gabriel's gift is about to blow theirs out of the Heavens.

Anna gasps when the shine of the soul pours out of the box, casting shadows across Castiel's sharp features.

"Oh," she breathes. "A soul. Oh, Castiel, I'm officially jealous."

"Ass," Michael murmurs into Gabriel's ear. Raphael rolls his eyes while Balthazar creeps close, probably with the intention of snatching it for a turn. Gabriel gloats without reserve.

That is, until Castiel's bright blue eyes snap up to his face and there's more emotion there than Gabriel's ever seen.

All of it burning anger.

"How could you?" he snarls, leaping to his feet and shaking the box in Gabriel's face. "How could you support this sickening industry?"

All five of his siblings reel back from Castiel's unexpected fury.

"What?" Gabriel says faintly.

"Some unfortunate human sold this soul out of hurt, Gabriel. Your money did nothing, but pay for the pain of one of our Father's blessed children."

"But it's...it's just for fun," Gabriel argues. "It's supposed to make you feel good."

Castiel narrows his eyes at Gabriel. He carefully closes the box without touching the soul and tucks it into his cloak. "They only sell their souls out of desperation," he says quietly, but no less angrily. "That doesn't make me feel any pleasure."

Then he turns on his heel and stalks out of the room, leaving Gabriel confused and upset.

Balthazar claps his shoulder.

"Good job, Gabe."

**************************

Castiel paces from one end of his bedroom to the other. Anger and disgust jumble together in his breast, spreading trembles over his entire body to the tips of his thrashing wings.

How could Gabriel be so unfeeling? His siblings tease Castiel for being the cold one. The detached one. Yet, his own brother pays for the exploitation of human pain. As if the human attached to this soul doesn't feel the loss deeply. Castiel knows how these soul balls work. The human in question sells their soul in exchange for some pressing need and for the rest of their days, they feel the constant press of heightened emotion they felt when they made the deal.

And all so sensation hungry angels can get off on their fathomless emotions.

It's sick.

This is what Castiel's reserve has earned him. Instead of educating his siblings or joining one of the Anti-Soul Sale groups, Castiel has sat aside in a corner and congratulated himself for his enlightenment.

It's his fault as much as Gabriel.

He casts his gaze at the box shaking lightly on the dresser. Light seeps out of the corners of the container and it calls to Castiel. He hates himself, but he's not immune to the temptation. The soul had looked expensive. Passionate. The pleasure would be immense.

But wrong all the same.

Castiel starts pacing again, thinking hard. Returning the soul is out of the question. It will just be resold to another angel, who'd suck the emotion out of it until the human was nothing but a shell of his or herself.

But keeping it would test Castiel in a way he's not prepared for. Even now, Castiel finds himself trailing ever closer to it in his pacing.

The obvious course of action strikes him hard in the chest and he comes to abrupt halt.

The soul belongs to him now. It's entirely his choice on what to do with the thing.

He grabs the box off the dresser and shoves it back in his pocket.

He's going to give the soul back to its human.

**************************

The thing is, Castiel doesn't go to Earth very often. His occupation in the Prophecy Chamber keeps him cleaved to Heaven most of the time. There's been the occasional vacation to Earth with his siblings and like any angel, Castiel is fascinated and delighted by the odd light atmosphere and fresh growth of their Father's loveliest creation.

But then, that might be a case of 'the clouds are always whiter on the other side.'

The point being, Castiel's never flown down through the Divide by himself and he's very nervous as he approaches the thick strong line between Heaven and Earth. It should be a simple matter of concentration and forceful flying, but Castiel is used to having his siblings' wings brushing against his own during this journey. As angry with Gabriel as Castiel feels, in that moment when he faces the Divide, he wishes for nothing more than his brother's straight black wings pressed against his golden ones.

Still, he's a fully grown angel now. Going to Earth shouldn't be such a hardship.

Castiel keeps that notion in the front of his mind as he dips his head, takes a deep breath and shoots into the Divide.

It only takes half a minute for him to become totally disoriented. Harsh winds blast against his wings and cloak, nearly tearing the latter from his body. The pressure that builds around him makes it impossible to open his eyes and so Castiel isn't entirely sure if he's moving forward or back the way he came. The only thing he can concentrate on is keeping his senses about him in order to get out of this space one way or another.

So he almost misses it when the soul tumbles out of his pocket.

No," he shouts, his words caught by the wind and carried away before any sound reaches his ears. Castiel struggles to open his eyes enough to direct his wings towards the box turning end over end as it whips away from him. With one hand outstretched, Castiel presses after it, barely noticing when one of his sleeves is shredded right off his body. Something hits him hard in the face and it takes a minute for Castiel to understand it's the empty soul box.

The soul itself whirls in ever widening circles as they fly closer and closer to the edge of the Divide. Castiel reaches the breaking point seconds before the soul falls into Earth space and he doesn't hesitate to curl his fingers around the wayward glowing ball.

And then he's transported.

Falling or flying, Castiel doesn't know. His mind and Grace are senseless with the strength of the soul's emotions. Fear first, then anger and grief. Each so powerful and so sweet, stirring his angelic feelings to a height Castiel never thought possible. His own anger is nothing compared to this human's. His love but a faint impression next to the overwhelming storm of possessive devotion shining in this human's soul.

Memories and faces flow fast in Castiel's mind. Too fast to record any details. Just a collection of beloved souls and behind them all, an anguished voice echoing in Castiel's head.

No! Oh god, Sam, no no no!

He blacks out.

**************************

When Castiel wakes up, he's laying at the base of a giant oak tree. One wing is bent at a painful angle under his body and the other clings to the bark of the tree.

The soul lays in his open palm.

Castiel stares at it without bothering to right himself.

"What are you?" he says softly.

The soul doesn't answer and it's just as well. Castiel already knows too much about it. It's too late for him.

He's already addicted to the taste of it.

***********************

Finding the soul's owner is not any easier than making it to Earth. Castiel rarely deals with souls. Certainly not purchased ones and never the deceased spirits already safe in his Father’s Heaven. Focusing his Grace on the soul only makes the pull to touch the ball harder to ignore. The best he can do is lightly graze the warmth of the soul now and again as he flies and hopes it’s the right direction.

The tree he landed beside is in the eastern half of the European continent. He can't decide the precise location, but it doesn't seem to matter. The soul barely reacts to its surroundings. It’s far from home. Castiel gingerly slides the trinket into his pocket and takes flight.

It's many hours before the soul twinges again. He is flying over the northern section of North America. Below him, miles of land whitened by snow stretch toward the horizon. It's only a flicker of interest, but all the same, it stabs through Castiel's Grace. His hand is nearly in his pocket before his senses return.

He is getting closer and the pull is getting stronger.

Castiel says a short fervent prayer for strength and tweaks his direction, flying due south. As the hours pass, the emotion of the soul grows stronger. It seeks the other half of itself. The other half that's in turmoil and emotional upheaval. Angels never take the full soul, not until death. And a broken soul wants nothing more than to be repaired.

The trinket glows hot and bright inside Castiel's cloak. Even without touching it, he's fed the strength of the human's feelings until Castiel feels drunk with it. His flying becomes erratic and he has trouble seeing what's before him.

He is over a wavering field of wheat when he collapses to the ground. There is no way for Castiel to stop himself from digging the soul out of his pocket and holding it between both palms. His Grace explodes into the bout of Ecstasy he's been edging towards for hours and it's so very good. Castiel doesn't remember the reasons why it's bad to use souls in this manner. He doesn't think about the guilt he'll feel or the extra heightened emotions the human always experiences because of the trinket.

All he does is want.


********************************************

Castiel is ashamed of himself when he rouses from darkness following Ecstasy. In a fit of anger, he flings the soul away from his body.

"Accursed toy," he growls. These souls are dangerous. He'd always heard about angels who became addicted to soul trinkets and lost control of themselves. Who alienated family and friends or were let go from work. Castiel had always told himself that he could never even be tempted by a soul, much less grow enamored of one.

Yet, he's on his feet in less than a minute to retrieve the soul. But a odd thing occurs when Castiel closes his hand around the ball. A spark of curious emotion streaks through to his Grace. He senses pleasure and confusion, but it's a more physical feeling that grabs his attention.

It feels like fatigue. The same kind of fatigue Castiel now feels.

"Are you tired?" he asks in amazement. He's never heard of a soul trinket experiencing the effects of an Ecstasy. The human feels heightened emotions, yes, but Castiel did not realize they could feel a connection with the Angel who abused their soul.

His guilt increases manifold. As does his resolve to return the soul to its owner. His determination helps him fight off the lure of pleasure long enough to touch the soul and direct his flight towards the human.

It turns out Castiel is not far from the human. Once he leaves the field, it's only a matter of moments before the trinket directs him towards a human city. He keeps himself cloaked to human eyes. Most humans are aware of Angels, but Castiel doesn't wish to draw attention to himself. Not with his cloak in disarray and his visage dark with tension.

His journey takes him to a part of the town with shabby buildings. The humans he sees walking and chatting with each other are dressed in clothes that are sturdy, but not expensive. A community of average wealth.

When the pull of the soul becomes nearly unbearable, Castiel decides he's found the proper home. It's a two-story building with a wooden porch extending all the way around the house. Castiel steps up onto the porch and knocks on the door.

The human that answers is obviously the owner of the soul. The strain of abnormally high emotion shows fever-bright in his green eyes. A tension Castiel recognizes holds the human's muscles captive. The area below his eyes is smudged dark with lack of sleep. His face is unshaven and his hair is wild and dirty, as if he hadn't taken the time to bathe himself properly lately.

But even if all that weren't true, the look of shocked recognition in his eyes would make his identity quite apparent.

"How...what the fuck?" he snaps. "How the hell are you even real?"

Castiel holds out the soul ball.

"I've come to return this," he says.

The human slams the door in Castiel's face.

********************************************

Castiel stares at the closed door in bewilderment. The human's reaction is the complete opposite of what Castiel had expected. He’d imagined the human would reach out with shaking fingers and receive their soul back with overwhelming attitude.

Not shut a door in his face.

The soul in his hand is a riot of emotion. Too much and too many for Castiel to identify. But all of it negative.

Castiel sets his jaw. He did not come all this way and risk his own sanity only to be turned away by a reckless ungracious human.

He surges to the door and pounds on it.

"Go away!"

"I won't," Castiel calls back through the door. "I've brought your soul to you and you will come out here and receive it."

"You listen to me, Tinkerbell," the human shouts back at him. Castiel frowns at the odd name. "You mooks said no refunds. I'm not fucking taking it back. I'm not letting you have him."

Castiel's frown grows.

"Him who?"

A long pause makes Castiel fear the human won't answer him, but just as he's about to pound on the door again, the human speaks, though more quietly.

"Sam. You can't have him."

Realization relaxes the tension in Castiel's wings. Perhaps he shouldn't be surprised that a human desperate enough to sell his soul would jump to such a conclusion.

"I don't want anything in return, human," he says calmly. "I'm not here to undo your deal. I only want to return your detestable soul before it thoroughly bewitches me."

The door flies open and the human glares at him, hands crossed over his chest.

"Who're you calling 'detestable'?"

He is clearly angry and upset, but he's facing Castiel and there's relief coursing under his other emotions.

It's a start.

"I'm not calling you detestable. Only your soul," Castiel assures the human.

He doesn't look impressed.

"That doesn't even make sense."

Castiel thinks perhaps he has a point. But he doesn't know the actual shape of this human's personality or the history of his decisions. He just knows that even now his addiction to the soul trinket grows and he must be rid of it.

"In any case, I would like to return the soul and be on my way."

The human's eyes narrow. The relief still glows in him, a sign of his apparent belief that Castiel will not unmake the human's deal. But he is still not feeling the overwhelming gratitude Castiel expected.

"Why?"

"I have no need for it."

"Then why do you have it?"

Frustration digs into Castiel's Grace. These questions are not necessary. He wonders if the human is being difficult on purpose.

"Because my brother purchased it for me. But I don't condone the sale and abuse of human souls, so please." Castiel holds out the ball. "Take it. With no conditions."

An odd vulnerable emotion flickers in the human's green eyes and a matching pulse stabs through the ball. Castiel honestly has no idea what it means and he doesn't care. All he wants is for the human to take the soul, so he can leave to repair the fraying edges of his sanity.

"Sure, fine," the human mutters, holding out his hand. Castiel drops the ball onto his open palm.

Nothing happens.

Castiel had expected the ball to shatter and for the swirling contents of the trinket to melt back into the human. Instead, he's facing a human who is clutching his own soul, but not finding a measure of relief from the amplified emotions he feels.

"That's it? Dude, that sucks."

"This isn't right," Castiel says. "You need to rejoin with it or your emotions won't calm."

What's more, if Castiel doesn't get that soul back in the human's body, he'll continue to obsess about it. Even as the thought occurs, worry over another Angel claiming the unbodied soul swells in his Grace.

As does the concern that Castiel won't be able to leave until the soul is well and truly out of reach for Ecstasy.

"How did you-" The human shuts his mouth abruptly and struggles to take a deep calming breath. "You've been fucking around in my soul?"

Castiel's guilt returns full-force. The price to pay for the highs. He nods.

"I didn't mean to touch the trinket-"

"Trinket?"

"That's what we call them. They're...toys of a kind. A way to produce a false sense of deep emotion."

To his surprise, it's not disgust that crosses the human's face, but rather amusement and a strange kind of superiority.

"You sick bastards," he says.

"Yes," Castiel agrees. "I'm sorry."

"Well, I'm not happy about it," he says and on this point, Castiel senses the human's utter truthfulness. He does not enjoy showing any of himself, especially not a stranger. "But I was the one that sold the fucking thing." He squeezes the ball and looks away from Castiel. "I deserve what I get."

"No one deserves that," Castiel disagrees.

"Whatever," the human says, still looking away.

"What is your name?"

The question surprises them both. When the man's eyes turn back to his face, Castiel feels a thrill of pleasure and he thinks maybe this action was the desired result of his question rather than the human’s answer.

"Dean."

"Oh." The trinket glows a deeper blue in Dean's hands, calling out to Castiel. He pulls his wings closer to his body, a feeble protection against the addiction. "I'm Castiel."

"Right. Well, c'mon in."

"Excuse me?"

Dean is half-turned. He looks back at Castiel over his shoulder. "I need help getting this thing back in me and I haven't got a clue how to do that. So get in here and tell me."

Castiel had not expected to stay. He had not expected the human to invite Castiel into his home or his life.

But he can't refuse. He must care for the soul until its back in its proper home.

********************************************

"I could summon my brother. He may know more about this," Castiel offers. Gabriel is a Messenger. His job carries him to Earth often and near humans frequently. He should know more about the soul process than Castiel.

"Sounds good. I'll call mine. He studies all this supernatural crap," Dean adds.

Dean goes to his telephone.

Castiel shuts his eyes and shouts through his Grace to Gabriel.

Dean is still talking to his brother when Gabriel shows up, black wings fluffed up from the difficult crossing.

"Loud much?" is the first thing out of his mouth. "Why are you on Earth anyway?" is the second, but his eyes are falling on Dean as the words slip past his lips and his eyes pop wide.

"Are you kidding me?"

********************************************

Gabriel's disbelief annoys Castiel.

"The soul is mine to do with as I please. I wanted to return it to its proper owner," Castiel says, his wings raising defensively.

"It's a toy," Gabriel hisses. "If you didn't want anyone using it, you shove it in a drawer. You don't come down to Earth and just hand it back. Did you think you should just shove it in his chest and go along your merry way?"

Embarrassment flushes through Castiel's Grace, but he doesn't give it his attention. So he'd been reckless. Perhaps for the first time in his long existence, but the deed was done. Castiel wouldn't snatch the soul back from Dean now.

"I know!" Dean suddenly snaps into the phone. "Look, just get your ass over here!"

He slams the phone down in its holder and turns a heated glare on the two surprised Angels staring at him.

"What?" Dean snarls. "Never seen real emotions before, assholes?"

"You shouldn't have the soul," Gabriel says.

"Excuse me? It's my fucking soul. Cas gave it back and I'm keeping it!"

Castiel frowns at the way Dean shortens his name, but Gabriel's reaction is far more severe.

"Oh great and now he's giving you a nickname," Gabriel says, his anger covering a great deal of worry. He whirls on Castiel. "Did you go into Ecstasy?"

This time, it's not so easy to dismiss the embarrassment. "I didn't mean to."

"Dear Father," Gabriel mutters under his breath. "Look...what's your name?"

"Dean," Castiel answers for him.

"I can speak for myself!" Dean shouts, his emotions obviously growing out of control.

"Shut up, both of you!" Gabriel snaps. "Dean, give me the soul."

"What? No!"

"You can't touch your own soul, doofus. It's driving you mad. Give to me before your brain explodes out your forehead."

Dean casts distrustful eyes on Gabriel and gathers the soul closer against his chest. "How do I know you don't just want to take it for yourself?"

"I bought the damn thing. If I wanted to keep it, I would have," Gabriel explains, but Castiel can see that Dean won't believe him.

"Dean," he says softly. "Let me have it."

"Castiel, I don't think that's a good idea-"

"Dean," Castiel says again, interrupting Gabriel. He'll be drawn and quartered before he lets another Angel touch the trinket. Even his own brother. "It's hurting you. Let me have it."

He steps close to Dean, slowly and carefully, holding out one slim hand. "I'll only hold it for you until we can figure out how to put it back. I promise."

Dean's feverish eyes flick from Castiel's hand to his face. The ball's contents spin so fast, they appear a blur of solid color, a dark midnight blue.

"You gave it to me," Dean says as if trying to convince himself.

"I did. I will again," Castiel says, now close enough to touch. "I swear it on my Grace."

A long tense moment stretches between them, utterly silent but for the shuffling of Castiel's anxious wings. Even Gabriel is still and quiet, his breath held in anticipation of Dean's decision.

And then suddenly the soul is back in Castiel's grip and Dean is slumping to the floor.

"Whoa, hey," Gabriel says, springing forward to catch Dean.

Castiel is too busy fighting off Ecstasy to help. Keeping the soul is not going to be an easy task. But as he sees the madness retreat from Dean's eyes, he thinks it'll be worth it.

********************************************

When Castiel blinks awake, there is a tall broad-chested human male leaning over Dean's body on the couch. The trinket is laying in the crook of his arm, the contents now swirling lazily, a mix of green and gold and blue that mesmerizes Castiel.

"It's okay," he hears a low voice murmur. "I'm here now." A pause and then in a very fond tone, the voice adds, "Jerk."

"Bitch," is the scratchy reply.

Castiel sits up. The trinket's contents whirl faster and darken to a rosy mauve. The color of Dean’s affection for this person.

"Dean?" he says.

"Yeah, I'm okay," Dean croaks and with the other man's help, he lifts himself into a sitting position. "Sorry about earlier."

Confusion turns Castiel's head to an inquisitive angle. "But you couldn't help that. Why apologize for what you can't control?"

The unfamiliar man snorts.

"Castiel, Dean. Dean, this is Castiel," he says with some measure of sarcasm.

"Shut up, Sammy. Cas, this is my snot-nosed little brother, Sam."

"You say little," Gabriel jokes from the doorway of Dean's kitchen. He's holding a plate with a piece of pie on it. Dean scowls.

"Quit eating my pie."

Gabriel shoves half of it in his mouth and then grins around the mess. "You want it back now?"

Castiel sighs and stands before Dean can begin his inevitable response. "Stop it, please. We have a problem. Gabriel, do you know how to get Dean's soul back in his body?"

"Can it really be done?" Sam adds. There's no mistaking the hopeful tone in his voice. Gabriel swallows heavily and Castiel tries not to feel amusement when he chokes lightly for a moment.

"Yeah, but it's not a simple matter. You gotta find the person who made the deal in first place."

Every pair of eyes in the room land on Dean's face.

"Uh...he didn't tell me his name."

"You gave your soul to someone and didn't even ask their name!" Sam explodes. "Were you even sure he was an angel?"

Dean nods, but Castiel sees the hesitation. He hadn't known. A demon could reasonably imitate an angel, even the wings. And Dean wouldn't have had any idea.

"Dean," Sam says in dismay, obviously having caught the hesitation as well.

"You were dead," Dean growls and though there is obviously more to say, he snaps his mouth shut and swallows the words and the emotions that accompany them. It can't be healthy.

"Whatever," Gabriel breaks in. "Obviously it was an angel and we need to find him because only the one who cut the soul away from the body can repair the tears."

There is a brief silence.

"Well, shit," Dean says.

Castiel nods his agreement.

********************************************

"Alright, kid," Gabriel says. He turns one of the dining room chairs around and straddles it, his inky black wings pouring down to the floor on either side of his body. Castiel watches both humans’ eyes tracking the movement of the wings. The insides of the trinket spike to a vivid kelly green. Dean's curiosity. They obviously don't see wings very often. Angels are plentiful in Heaven, but generally uncommon on Earth.

"Tell me about this angel who made your deal. Anything you can remember." Gabriel's voice is uncharacteristically serious. Gratitude warms Castiel's feathers. He doesn't think Gabriel really cares that much if Dean gets his soul back. But he knows Castiel cares.

"He was shorter than me," Dean begins, rubbing at his temples.

Castiel frowns. He must still be in pain from holding his own soul.

"What color were his wings?"

"Oh, um, just brown. Dark brown, I guess," Dean says. "I gotta say I wasn't really paying that much attention."

Gabriel and Castiel exchange a worried glance. Brown is by far the most common color of wings.

"Alright, well, anything else?"

Dean shakes his head. Something very like dejection overtakes his features and before Castiel can think better of it, he's out of his chair and next to Dean. It's odd how normal it feels to slide his wing over Dean's shoulder. It's not a very intimate embrace, nothing more than a friendly squeeze in angelic terms, but Dean melts into his side as if he'd been holding on just long enough to give Castiel time to reach his side. Castiel's grace reaches towards what's left of Dean's essence still resting safe within his body.

"It's alright," Castiel says, his eyes on the dark blue glow now slowly rotating within the trinket. "Just think carefully and tell me anything you can remember. What was he wearing? Was his voice light or deep?"

"He didn't say anything," Dean admits. "I was too fucking desperate to care. I just found him in the street and demanded he make the deal. It only really took about five minutes and then he was gone. I don't remember what he was wearing. A suit maybe."

Castiel can tell by the expression on Gabriel's face that this information isn't terribly helpful. Castiel would have no hope of finding this mystery angel on his own, but with Gabriel's work taking him to Earth so often, he might be able to follow the trail. But it will take a lot of effort. Castiel will owe Gabriel a great deal.

"Okay, so I'm looking for an angel with brown wings and a suit. Awesome," Gabriel sneers.

"Stop it," Castiel says quietly, pulling Dean in closer.

"Alright, alright. Can you at least tell me where you made the deal?"

"Corner of Westwood and Crescent," Dean says dully.

"Right, well, I'll let you know if anything turns up," Gabriel says. "Castiel, I'll see you at home."

Then he's gone, leaving an awkward silence in his wake.

"It may take him some time," Castiel says. "I should probably return home."

He knows he should remove his wing from around Dean's body. There's no reason for Castiel to remain here. In all likelihood, it will be days or weeks until Gabriel tracks down the right angel. And then, they will have to convince him to undo his deal. It won't be an easy task.

"Okay," Dean says. The forlorn note in his tone freezes Castiel's grace. The blue of the trinket lightens to a sickly yellow. Unhappiness.

"Well, actually," Sam blurts, grabbing Castiel's wrist before he can leave the couch. "Do you have to go right home? I think Dean's calmer with the soul nearby. I mean," he falters, probably remembering that Castiel is unknown to them. "Not that you have to, I mean, I was just hoping, but if you have-"

"I'll stay," Castiel interrupts. Between them, Dean remains silent, his eyelids heavy with sleep. Castiel catches Sam's eye and nods towards Dean, pleased when his message is clearly received. They help him lay flat on the couch once more.

"I'll make us something to eat," Sam offers.

Castiel stays by Dean's side.

********************************************

Castiel sits on the floor beside Dean's couch while he sleeps. His wing draped over Dean's body provides warmth and perhaps a measure of comfort. Something about Castiel's presence soothes Dean's spirit. He suspects it's because Castiel's embraced ownership of the soul trinket. When Dean gave it up, the soul had lost its anchor. One that it didn't regain until Castiel had purposefully taken the trinket back from Dean. And now that Castiel owns the soul, Dean craves closeness with him.

But that doesn't explain why Castiel desires closeness as well. This journey has awakened an agony of motion in his Grace that is only stilled by close proximity to Dean. The threat of constant Ecstasy found in the smooth glass of the trinket eases from Castiel when he is focused on Dean.

"He looks better than he has in weeks," Sam comments. He is sitting in a chair across the room, eating one of the turkey sandwiches he prepared them. "His color is a lot more normal."

"It helps being near the soul," Castiel says. His own sandwich lies abandoned in favor of keeping his fingers loosely clasped around Dean's wrist.

"Uh huh," Sam says. The odd note of disbelief in his tone tugs at Castiel's attention, but Sam is speaking again before he can question him.

"So why'd you do it? Bring Dean's soul back?"

"It's not right, what we do. Taking souls and using them like this," Castiel answers. His ardent belief in that truth is vastly strengthened by the still form under his hands.

Dean shouldn't suffer this way.

"I'm glad you do it," Sam declares with intense conviction.

"I don't understand."

"I thought I was going to kill Dean when I realized what happened," Sam admits. He sets his plate aside and runs long fingers through thick brown hair, messing it into a wavy clump. "I'd rather have stayed dead. A million times over, but Dean would have found a way. If angels didn't take souls, he'd have sold his soul to a demon. I know he would have."

Castiel turns his gaze from Sam's upset expression to Dean's sleeping face. What could make a man so desperate? Not even erasing death is worth an eternity of flame. Surely Dean must understand that.

"Why would he do such a thing?" Castiel murmurs, his thumb stroking over Dean's pulse point.

"We don't really have anyone else," Sam says quietly. "Dean raised me when our mom died and our dad couldn't deal with us. He doesn't really know how to be without family."

On that point, Castiel thinks he can attempt an understanding. His emotions are not easily roused, but separation from his family would cause great distress.

"My brothers care for me in this manner," Castiel confides. "Perhaps not to the point of hellfire, but I can't say for sure. It's not been tested."

"I can tell Gabriel is helping Dean for your sake," Sam says with a nod. "You have no idea how unbelievably grateful I am."

Castiel inclines his head in silent acknowledgement and then returns to watching Dean's chest rise and fall.

"We'll find a way to return his soul to his body," Castiel vows. "But you must promise me not to die again."

Sam chuckles. "I'll do my best." He's silent for a long moment and when he speaks again, there's a kind of thoughtfulness to his tone that Castiel can't decipher. "It'd help if his family were larger."

Castiel frowns at him. What a very odd thing to say. Growing a human family in numbers must surely be an undertaking of some years.

"Indeed," he finally says, if only because Sam seems to require a response. His answer is a curt nod and a satisfied look in Sam's hazel eyes.

"So, I was thinking," Sam says, jumping to his feet. "It must be hard to travel back and forth and we don't know when Gabriel will find the angel and I know you wouldn't have come all this way if you didn't care and since Dean does so much better when you're here, I mean, the trinket's here, I think you should stay," he says. All on one breath.

"I'm sorry?"

Sam huffs a frustrated breath. "I'm asking you to stay here with Dean until he gets the soul back. I could pay you. I mean, in money, if you guys use that-"

"Not human money," Castiel interrupts, his thoughts whirling hard and fast. There is danger in leaving Dean's side for them both. The temptation to engage Ecstasy is far greater away from Dean's calming presence. He risks draining Dean, both through Ecstasy and by Dean’s general deteriorating condition when the trinket is far from his body.

"Oh," Sam says in disappointment. "Well, I don't know what else I could give-"

"I don't require payment," Castiel assures him, his decision made. He hitches his wing further up Dean's body and squeezes his wrist. "I'll stay."

Sam's bright happy smile isn't quite enough to distract Castiel from his amazement at his own actions.

He had no idea when he left home that he would end up moving in with a human.

********************************************

"I swear, he'll be fine," Sam says as he actually reaches out to physically push Castiel towards the door. "Go now and you might get back before he wakes up."

Castiel doesn't want to leave, but he recognizes the logic in Sam's words. He can't stay here without his own clothing and wing care products. One trip back to his family home is necessary and leaving while Dean is still unconscious makes good sense.

It's just...Dean is unconscious. Vulnerable to attack and drawing on the comfort of his soul owner's.

"Dude, Castiel, you gotta calm down," Sam says, but his tone is teasing.

It will be difficult to live among such effusive creatures.

"I am calm," Castiel says, though he's not entirely sure that's true. "You will stay here?"

"Yes, of course. I'll probably stay the night anyway. I haven't really been going home much lately," Sam says, scratching at the back of his neck. There's a break in his cheerful expression. Only briefly, but enough to show Castiel how Sam's worry has worn on him. Castiel doesn't know how this has felt for him. It's impossible to imagine Gabriel or Michael or any of his siblings in the same situation, but he can see it must be very difficult. Perhaps his addition to Dean's household will lessen the strain for Sam as well.

"Then I'll be as quick as possible."

********************************************

Flying home is easier than flying to Earth. Castiel places the trinket under his cloak, close to his skin where it's less likely to be ripped away from his grasp when he passes through the Divide. Having a bit of experience with crossing over alone makes the task less daunting. Castiel is still buffeted to and fro by strong winds and he very nearly loses another bit of his cloak sleeve, but it takes significantly less time than the previous trip and when he lands on his feet again, Castiel instantly recognizes his surroundings. It's a trip of only minutes to the family home.

He is in the middle of packing when Anna finds him.

"What are you doing?" she asks curiously, eyeing the half-filled bag on his bed.

"I'm going to stay with Dean and Sam Winchester," he answers.

"Who?"

He explains the situation quickly as he continues to pack. Cloaks, shirts, trousers and boots. Plenty of wing care product and soap. There's a bag on a string tucked in his dresser that's meant to carry angelic coins. Castiel tosses it around his neck and carefully inserts the trinket inside it.

"You're going to live on Earth?" Anna asks in shock. Her emotions always were closer to the service. Like Gabriel's or Balthazar's to a lesser extent.

"Yes."

"What about your job?"

Castiel hadn't even considered his position at the Prophecy Chambers. Interesting.

"I'll have to take a sabbatical," he muses. "Or quit."

"Quit? Are you serious? Castiel, you've been working there for over three hundred years," Anna says. She doesn't sound disapproving. Not like Castiel would if Anna had made the same decision. Instead, her voice is full of simple surprise.

"This is more important than my job," Castiel says, buckling his now full bag shut and mentally calculating whether he has everything he needs.

"This human must be very impressive," Anna says.

"Impressive?"

"To gain your loyalty so quickly, I mean," Anna clarifies as she sits on the edge of his bed, her slender brown wings crossing over her lap. "Is he handsome?"

The question startles Castiel. He's never been one to evaluate physical differences among his kind. The angelic population is great enough that Castiel was never expected to take a mate. The idea of physical intimacy appeals to his sense of curiosity, but not enough to suffer the emotional familiarity required. His fellow angels have always found Castiel physically interesting, but emotionally repugnant. A fact that never bothered Castiel in his life.

"I hadn't noticed. Why do you ask?"

The slight smile that quirks Anna's lips is rather more sly than Castiel likes.

"We have long wondered if you'd take a mate," she says.

Castiel lifts an eyebrow at her.

"What does that have to do with Dean Winchester's physical appearance?"

"Well, let me put it this way," Anna says, rising up and coming to rest her hands on Castiel's shoulders. "I knew I wanted to take Nathaniel as my mate when he sacrificed his position with the messenger cadre in order to stay here in Heaven with me."

"I don't understand the connection," Castiel says. Nor does he understand this conversation. He came home to pack his belongings so he could move in with Dean. Not discuss mating.

Her smile widens and she leans in to hug Castiel.

"No, I don't expect you would. Good luck, brother," she says into his ear.

He watches her leave with a frown on his face.

What a very odd angel Anna is, he thinks before dismissing her from his mind to continue packing.

********************************************

Dean is thankfully still sleeping when Castiel returns.

"Oh hey." Sam stands and inexplicably takes Castiel's bag out of his hand. "Was your trip okay?"

"Yes. I had a strange conversation with my sister, Anna, but otherwise, the journey was uneventful."

"Strange conversation about what?" Sam asks, tossing the question over his shoulder as he walks down a long hallway. Castiel supposes that means he should follow, so he does.

"Mating."

"Oh yeah? So angels mate?"

He opens the door of a small bedroom and leads them both inside, dropping Castiel's bag on a narrow bed covered in a thick yellow quilt.

"Yes. It's a rather more serious matter than human mating. Or so I gather," he says absently, his gaze turning over the quaint little room. Besides the bed, there is a sturdy wooden dresser and matching nightstand, a floor lamp and a tiny television with a large metal contraption on top. "This is where I will sleep?"

"Yeah, it's the second bedroom," Sam explains. "Dean set it up for me when I got my apartment near the school. It's not much, but it's a place to sleep."

Castiel's bedroom in his family home isn't much bigger. The only item that's significantly larger is his bed, which is large enough to accommodate his wings. But sleeping on this smaller bed won't be too problematic. Castiel will simply have to sleep on his stomach.

"It's fine. Where will you sleep?"

"Oh, I can take the couch."

Castiel frowns at him.

"Your limbs are too large for that couch," he points out.

"Tell me about it," Sam says with a laugh. "But I'll probably only stay tonight, so don't worry about it."

"You won't be staying?"

"If Dean needs me, then yeah, but I think he'll have his hands full," Sam says. Rather cryptically, Castiel thinks. "Besides, I have places to be. My classes won't teach themselves."

"So your occupation is teaching," Castiel says as he moves to unpack his clothing. "What is Dean's occupation?"

"He's an airplane mechanic."

For some reason, that makes Castiel smile.

"So he fixes machines that fly?"

Sam grins. "Yes. The great irony being that he's terrified to fly."

That statement jerks the smile off Castiel's lips.

"But flying is a very desirable activity," Castiel says. It's hardly an adequate description of the freedom that flying affords. Or the awe that strikes hard at the Grace as you soar over God's amazing creation. Flying isn't fear. It's bliss.

Or at least the closest to bliss Angels can achieve without a trinket.

"That's easy for you to say. You have wings. Humans have to herd themselves into a metal tube and hope a pilot they can't see won't crash them into the ocean," Sam reasons. "Really, it's an incredible leap of faith and Dean's never been good at those."

Put that way, Castiel can see that human flying doesn't have the same appeal.

"Maybe I'll take Dean flying the angelic way," Castiel decides.

Sam snorts. "Good luck with that."

He leaves Castiel to finish unpacking. Once his possessions are arranged to his liking, Castiel returns to Dean's side. Warmth seeps out of the trinket bag around Castiel's neck. Returning to Dean has pleased the trinket. Castiel is tempted to pull it out and watch its spinning contents, but he resists. Dean's subconscious pleasure at Castiel's proximity is strong. Right now, touching the soul trinket would make Ecstasy nearly impossible to avoid.

Instead, Castiel drapes his wing across Dean and settles down for a wait that lasts past the evening meal. Sam is in the kitchen washing the supper dishes when Dean groans lightly and begins to stir.

"Dean?"

His eyelids rise very slowly, as if they weigh more than usual. The green of his irises is even more shockingly vivid beside the red fatigue in his eyes. He will need more rest, but for now, Castiel is relieved to see him awake.

"Cas?"

His voice sounds painfully rough.

"Would you like some water?"

"You're still here," Dean rasps, instead of answering his question.

"Of course, I am," Castiel answers.

Dean's expression confuses him. A frown drags at his mouth and his eyes darken with something decidedly negative. Yet, the warmth against his chest is now almost blazingly hot. Castiel knows if he pulled it out, the contents would be a blur. There can be no doubt that Dean feels pleasure at Castiel's presence.

Yet he looks upset.

"Why?"

"Because I am needed here," Castiel explains.

"Don't you..." He swallows roughly. "Don't you have shit to do at home?"

Castiel assumes Dean means his job. He shakes his head. "No. I've taken care of my obligations at home and have settled my possessions in your second bedroom.

Surprise rockets through Dean's tired eyes and he struggles to sit up. Castiel’s much stronger wing holds him down.

"You what?"

"I moved in. Sam asked me to do so," Castiel says. The heat against his breastbone flares once so hot that Castiel flinches. Worry spikes in his Grace.

"Enough questions," he snaps, unable to understand or cope with these odd strong feelings. "You will drink water and go to bed."

Dean flattens himself under Castiel's wing, but he also scowls at him.

"Okay, shit. What crawled up your ass and died?"

Castiel ignores him in favor of fetching water.

This living arrangement might be more trying than he realized.
 
 
Current Mood: accomplished
 
 
( 25 comments — Leave a comment )
LadyBirdlady81bird on January 23rd, 2011 01:48 pm (UTC)
Very nice.
I love that you gather your Twitfics here - I do not have a Twitter account (Twitter conversations/ things make my head ache - to hacked) and this way I can read your writing which I truly enjoy.
CloudyJenncloudyjenn on January 24th, 2011 08:43 pm (UTC)
Thank you! Yar, it's way easier to keep track of these things on LJ. For me and for people who read them. I'm pleased you like my stories!

aliassmithaliassmith on January 23rd, 2011 03:16 pm (UTC)
Every one of your verses is so original... so addictive... I really am in awe of the worlds you create.
CloudyJenncloudyjenn on January 24th, 2011 08:43 pm (UTC)
*blush* Well, that's a very nice thing to say! I have so much fun with them all; it really makes me happy to know someone else does too!

Thanks!
bballgirl3022bballgirl3022 on January 23rd, 2011 06:33 pm (UTC)
I can't help but love everything you write. It's so lovely!
Kevin Jonesmulder200 on January 24th, 2011 01:01 am (UTC)
Man! I love the amazing AUs you create.
Mandie Cakes: smileshisou_eimin on January 24th, 2011 01:52 am (UTC)
idk how you do it, but i'm always in awe of everything you write. Each verse is just so creative and I'm just like, really in love with this. <3
pavl0vs_d0gpavl0vs_d0g on January 24th, 2011 02:56 pm (UTC)
I'm Loving This!! Gabriel being a good brother for Cas is so sweet. please continue!
thehobbitgirlthehobbitgirl on January 24th, 2011 04:40 pm (UTC)
I love the new take on what Heaven's like. How's it not really like the show at all. And the idea of the trinkets is very neat too. And Cas being all cute and oblivious. I can't wait for more.
devilhunter0413 on January 24th, 2011 04:42 pm (UTC)
I love your brain :p
Giuliae0wyn on January 24th, 2011 07:55 pm (UTC)
I love this verse! Please write more when you have the chance ^__^
sarkywomansarkywoman on January 24th, 2011 10:40 pm (UTC)
I really enjoyed this! What an interesting premise.
mesophile: Misha's runmesophile on January 25th, 2011 10:35 pm (UTC)
This is an absolutely delightful and very imaginative AU. I wish some of the metal episodes in SPN would be based on your fiction!
Castiel, the trinket, Dean, Ecstasy, Sam, Gabriel, Anna, are all perfect here.
bolozi: Hair Pullingbolozi on January 30th, 2011 06:56 pm (UTC)
*flails about*

YOU! I'm horribly squirming in my sit, this is just killing me. Sweet, lovely, and adorable all basic contents of cloudyjenn.

With an extra bonus of awesomeness.
full moon pills got me out on the street at night: ♥swing_set13 on January 31st, 2011 12:41 am (UTC)
This is amazing! ♥ Can't wait to read more :D
valkyrie4clex: blue rosevalkyrie4clex on February 2nd, 2011 05:00 am (UTC)
Loved this fic too- very interesting world you've created. I can't seem to get past your post. I go to the link for a story and can't leave it until I finish reading the story-instead of downloading and reading later.
Thanks so much for sharing - and now i know what twit-fics refers to- I saw it in comments on another sotry of yours and i wasn't sure what they werew referring to. I don't tweet so I'm glad you've brought your fic here to LJ.
erasmus_friederasmus_fried on February 14th, 2011 07:23 am (UTC)
Oh pretty, pretty please write more!
Disterra: destiel_gazedisterra on March 11th, 2011 06:43 am (UTC)
Oh wow, another stunning AU story which I have helplessly fallen in love with.
It's so beautiful and I think the most appropriate word to describe my reaction right now would be 'mesmerized'.

The concept of the trinket is brilliant. What a way for Castiel to learn about the existence of someone as singular as Dean Winchester! And I just love your characterizations so very much, as always.

I am very excited about what will happen next and this one goes to my Memories (again)!
laurapetri: dean/castiellaurapetri on July 29th, 2011 10:30 pm (UTC)
so I pretty much adore all your fics
Ne invoces expellere non possiskijikun on August 29th, 2011 06:32 am (UTC)
I do so hope you finish this.
smokiquartzsmokiquartz on September 11th, 2011 09:21 pm (UTC)
*whimpers*
please tell me there is more.
Cause this is just way too good!
I love it!!! And it's such a neat and original idea!!
<3
may I have some more????!!!?
heathyr_iltp on September 28th, 2011 09:41 am (UTC)
Oh, this is so lovely! Hope you decide to write more some day. I don't think I could get enough of this.
Tinamemnoch on November 24th, 2011 08:57 pm (UTC)
very interesting

It's a really nice idea to have an angel trying to give back deans soul.
Is there more of this story? On twitter?
I tried to read more on twitter but you have to grant me access if I understood it correctly. How does that work? I only use twitter to follow Misha :-)
JagfanLJ: Boyz in da Impalajagfanlj on November 25th, 2011 05:19 am (UTC)
*hugs fic & smishes Dean/Castiel*

I am thrilled to have found this fic! Such a wonderful 'verse and you've managed to keep the angels in character for the most part. (That's not a flaw; all complex AUs have a ripple effect on the characters.) I adore the way you've written Castiel, and the idea of ANGELS buying souls is a completely new -- and very distubing -- idea. I can't wait to read more of this tale and the 'verse you've created.

I do have one minor bit of criticism. You didn't mention in the header that this was an AU, so I was totally lost until I figured that out. You might want to add a note to the summary.

Eagerly anticipating more,
Janie
Gabs: avengersgabs186 on July 24th, 2012 01:53 pm (UTC)
I honestly love everything about this. From Cas being the spoiled youngest sibling, to the clouds always being whiter on the other side... ;) An insanely creative idea executed brilliantly. I really, really hope we get to see more of this.
( 25 comments — Leave a comment )