Title: I Walk Through Your Dreams
Word Count: ~2,430
Disclaimer: Don't own any of the characters, just playing around with them.
Warnings: Non-explicit dream-sex, unbeta'd
Summary: Castiel dreamwalks through Dean's head. S5-centric.
A/N: Mostly because I had to, also because I wanted to write something with this poem a while back. For ilfirin_estel, because she has been amazing and there's nobody better to moon over Siken with. The excerpt is from Siken's Litany In Which Certain Things Are Crossed Out.
I walk through your dreams and invent the future.
Castiel means it when he says that the humans got things in their Bible wrong. It isn't that they are completely incorrect, but really—humans, such a beautifully-imperfect race, cannot expect to remain true to a single translation even if it were wholly accurate. There are thousands of translations that the original texts of the apostles have affected over the course of the passing ages. He knows this and still, it stings when he reads the words, Love is patient, love is kind.
Love is as patient as a riled-up Winchester—which is to say, not at all. It is as kind as the sharp edge of a blade biting through skin.
The verses depicting the virtues of love should be put to flames.
And because love is neither patient, nor kind, Castiel finds himself lingering in the shadows of a dream that is not his own.
Castiel is pleasantly surprised that he can still do this at all. Certainly the recent trip through Gabriel's reality-bending paradox—feeling power bleed from his Grace as he struggled to find Dean and Sam and defend himself against Gabriel's false jailers—serves as proof that the angel is wilting far more quickly than he is prepared for; and stepping into a dream isn't quite as simple as stepping through the thresholds of space. It should be more difficult than it is, and yet Castiel is here, nestled safe in the confines of Dean's sleeping mind.
The bloom of triumph chokes off into astonishment when he realizes the nature of the dream he stepped into.
Castiel remade that body—he's not certain it's entirely healthy for it to bend like that.
Even as he remembers he should probably leave—personal space, Cas—Castiel cannot help but stare. Dean's bedmate is formless, faceless—a blurred semblance of the many placeholders preceding her. Dean presses light kisses to what should be the slender arch of a throat as he moves under the length of his partner, his own body straining upward in an arc as he grips the woman's waist to try and pull her more firmly against him.
Dean in any form is beautiful; but here his eyes are warm and his body gleams with sweat. His satisfaction of showering another with affection is evident—he gives all he can, because he dares not take what he may not deserve.
Something odd tugs at Castiel, a strange urge to move forward, to participate in what he should not even be witnessing. He resists the impulse, and tamps down the twist in his vessel's chest at the sight of Dean locked so intimately with another.
He should not be here.
The thought plants itself so swiftly and firmly that it meshes with the sensation of his chest growing painfully tight. His wings itch and flurry with the need to flee, and he spreads them wide and then—
—And then Dean's green eyes turn, and stare directly into his.
“Cas,” Dean gasps, and the body moving with Dean's isn't formless anymore. Its eyes are blue and its hair is black and unkempt, and it is Jimmy—no, it's Castiel, his body now since Raphael tore his vessel apart and it is too much, too much. Fear and shame and longing well in him, a molten maelstrom that darts through his heart and his wings and it will burn him to ashes and dust. The white-hot shock of it sends him flying far, far from Dean and his eyes and his sinful dreams.
When he next sees the Winchesters, Castiel cannot meet Dean's gaze. Dean seems confused and asks him if everything's okay. The angel thinks perhaps Dean doesn't recall his presence within the dream, and when he responds, “Everything is fine,” it is in honest relief.
I sink the boat of love, but that comes later. And yes, I swallow
glass, but that comes later.
Castiel looks out across the dreamscape Dean's mind has painted, and finds himself leaning against the Impala under an endless velvet canopy of stars. When he turns his head, he finds Dean leaning against the car beside him, the neck of a beer dangling loosely from his curving fingers. They are on the side of an underused dirt road, grass and weeds caught in clumps of the yellowing earth. There is a cliff face before them, and a cluster of woods behind them. Aside from the radio inside the Impala playing quietly, all is quiet and still.
It is perfect, and that means that it is a dream.
Castiel had no intention of coming back into another of Dean's dreams, and so he is surprised that he is here. He supposes that this isn't so terrible, since apparently Dean is the one that called him here. After Carthage, Castiel supposes that Dean calling him at all should be more than enough to dispel his discomfort.
He isn't sure that Dean is aware of his presence, and so he waits in silence. Perhaps Dean's subconscious called for the comfort Castiel seems to provide, the bond between soul and Grace allowing Castiel some of the powers of a guardian though he has always been a more capable soldier. Thinking that this may be the case, particularly so soon after the loss of two cherished friends, Castiel bows his head and focuses on trying to soothe the skittish, nervous energy in Dean's soul. Not for the first time, he wishes he could shoulder more of the burden the Winchesters bear. Who better to lift the weight of the world off these boys than the renegade angel who's called himself their guardian?
Castiel has just decided he'll stay until Dean's dream begins to melt into consciousness when Dean finally turns to him. “Hey, Cas.”
Castiel startles, turns fully to Dean before he allows his gaze to rise to the hunter's face. “Hello, Dean.” He waits, thinking that Dean has more to say. The moment stretches on, but Dean's eyes never stray from Castiel's. Castiel recognizes the hunter's expression, knows that Dean is working through some elaborate thought in his mind and that, in this dreaming state, it will be harder for him to focus on the conclusion he's attempting to reach. Patiently, the angel watches as Dean's expression flickers with some nameless emotion.
Then Dean steps closer, and suddenly the bottle is vanished, forgotten from the dream as Dean's hands draw Castiel into a hug, his face buried in the angel's shoulder.
“Sorry. I'm so sorry, Cas,” Dean says, over and over as his grip around Castiel's middle tightens.
Castiel's arms move haltingly, rising around Dean to awkwardly return the embrace. Dean keeps stammering through apologies, breath hitching on broken sobs. Castiel doesn't know what to do other than to pull the hunter closer, smoothing one hand up and down his spine in a motion he'd seen Jimmy use to comfort Claire during his time watching over them. He tells Dean, “It'll be all right,” though he doesn't know that it will be. He tells him anyway because he wants to make it so.
Castiel isn't surprised when Dean's face turns up and he presses a kiss to Castiel's mouth. He has grown to anticipate the sense of longing uncurling in his belly. But he can't let himself take something offered outside reality, where Dean is fully aware of his actions as well as his desires. Castiel turns his face away, pulls Dean close and tucks his hunter's head beneath his. Dean doesn't recognize it as rejection, fortunately. He curls into Castiel's warmth and only here, only in the safety of a deep dream can Castiel unfurl his wings and wrap them protectively around his hunter, his Dean.
Long after Castiel has fled Dean's dreams and left him with what peace he could offer, Dean calls Castiel on the cellular phone he bought the angel. Castiel answers his question where the hell have you been? with a query of his own, “Do you need me to come to you?”
There is a long pause, then Dean grunts out the location of the hotel he and Sam are staying at.
Castiel's lips curve and warmth envelopes his weakening Grace.
flush against the wall and every part of your body rubs against the bricks,
Castiel has never been angrier at Dean in the entire time he's known him. Even as his fists uncurl at his sides, even as he pushes Dean into unconsciousness, Castiel plunges into the confines of his dream, needs to know what Dean could be thinking, what could possibly make him so stupid and selfish.
Dean's dreams are angry, savage streaks of red and black. Meat hooks and chains and the spiraling terrors of Hell are predominant in the forefront of his mind, and if Castiel had the energy to sweep the images away he would—but as it stands, he is far more focused on the deeper images. Images of Sam—no, Lucifer, dressed in sharp white against the contrasting background of a lush green garden, telling Dean that his feeble hopes were pointless. The garden melts out into the gray, jagged stone of the floors of Perdition—caverns where Alistair built his own lair very near to the final precipice that drops down into the icy cavern housing Lucifer's Cage.
Dean is at the center of it all, and he is not exactly himself. Curled in a fetal position, the version of Dean that was there at the beginning of all this stares up at Castiel through wide, expressive green eyes. The four-year-old is terrified, flinching away from the pulse of angelic wrath Castiel exudes with every stalking step he takes.
Castiel is still furious, but he cannot frighten this child. Not this one. He slows his steps and schools his features so that anger does not pinch his brow, does not darken his eyes. The child that has always lived deep within Dean's soul, the child that loves his father and his mother and his brother with fierce devotion, uncurls himself slightly when Castiel kneels before him. Castiel's wings wrap around them, blocking out the sights and sounds of the rest of Dean's ferocious dream.
“Come here,” Castiel says, and the child crawls into his lap, tiny face burrowing into his chest.
“I'm scared,” Dean admits, tiny and muffled.
Castiel tucks the blonde curls under his chin and sighs, weary and worn. “I know. I am, too.”
In a moment, he will do his best to clear Perdition's afterimage from Dean's mind and he will take Dean back to Sam and Bobby. Just for now, though, Castiel needs this—he needs it more than Dean does.
Because watching the man he's sacrificed so much to save fail—not through weariness of endless effort, but through simple surrender—may actually destroy Castiel.
I'm getting to it.
Hours ago, Sam Winchester plunged himself into Perdition to save the world.
Dean wants to drive straight through to Bobby's, put as many miles between himself and the memory of his brothers falling into the Cage as he can, but Castiel is more than capable now—again—of making him stop and rest.
Castiel senses that Dean is likely to ask him to leave once he wakes, and he knows he loves Dean too dearly not to honor the request once it's made. So it's really—as Dean would say—just for old time's sake that Castiel steps into the world of Dean's dreams one last time.
Dean dreams of his childhood home, his mother's kitchen. Mary Winchester is checking an apple pie in the oven, and Dean and Sam are sitting at the table with John, discussing something quietly amongst themselves. A girl that Castiel recognizes as Sarah Blake has her hand intertwined with Sam's against his thigh under the table. Dean casts a knowing look upon the pair, and Sam rolls his eyes and glares at Dean in response. Then Dean's eyes glance past Sam to catch Castiel's gaze.
Castiel expects scorn from Dean when he wakes, but here his hunter's expression lights up and he pushes up from his seat to cross the room to Castiel, “Hey.”
John's gravelly voice murmurs something that sounds teasing as his eyes flick in Dean's direction, and Dean blushes while Sam laughs. “C'mon, Cas,” Dean says, catching Castiel's cuff and tugging it pointedly, “we don't need to take this abuse.”
Mary calls after them, “The pie will be ready in a few minutes, don't be long!”
They head out the front door, and the scenery is immediately different—instead of the Winchester home, they now stand in the Roadhouse. Ellen and Joanna are there, along with others who have fallen in this long fight. Sam and Adam sit eating cake at a table with Gabriel—and that is certainly an image Castiel has to digest for a moment, watching his brother and Dean's engaged in what appears to be a deep conversation over chocolate cake. Ellen and Bobby are teaching Chuck Shurley how to play a proper game of cards, and Joanna is chatting idly with a man Castiel knows as Ash as they mix drinks together. The biggest surprise is Jimmy Novak, sitting at one of the booths in back with Amelia and Claire.
Dean's hand on his cuff tightens, then slips down so their fingers intertwine briefly.
“None of 'em got what they should've. This should've gone differently,” Dean intones thoughtfully.
Castiel nods in silent assent, and watches as the edges of the bar blur, then fade to a glowing white. The white bleeds inward, superimposing the scenery and the faces within it until only the Righteous Man and his angel remain, standing side-by-side in the nothingness.
Everything is still for so long, Castiel doesn't know whether or not Dean is fully unconscious any longer. Then, the hunter whispers, “Cas.”
Castiel turns to face Dean, watching Dean's downturned face until Dean's eyes peer up at him through his lashes. “Stay,” Dean begs, then leans in, leans forward until his face is pressing into Castiel's neck—a gesture of vulnerability Castiel has grown used to in dreams, but will never see when his hunter wakes. Dean breathes, and says again, “Stay with me. Please.”
And again, Castiel has taken advantage. He reaches up, cups his hand to Dean's face, and says, “Ask me when you wake, and I'm yours.”
And Castiel withdraws from the dream to await Dean's decision.