enigmaticblue: (cas wings)
[personal profile] enigmaticblue
Cold Hands (Warm Heart)
Author: enigmaticblues
Rating: PG-13
Disclaimer: I don’t own these characters; Kripke & Co. do. Too bad, so sad.
Pairings/Characters: Dean/Castiel (friendship), Sam
Spoilers: Through 6.07, “Family Matters”
Word Count: ~1550
Warnings: None
Summary: Castiel has never been so cold.
A/N: Written for the [community profile] hc_bingo prompt “cuddling for warmth/snowed in”. This was supposed to be a completely different fic, and then this happened.

By the time Castiel sees the symbols painted on the warped wooden floor of the old barn, it’s too late. He’s on his knees and only just manages to keep from going face-first into the dirty straw someone had scattered to obscure the markings.

“Cas!” Dean’s voice sounds muffled over the roaring in his ears. He feels Dean’s hands on his shoulders, and Dean keeps him from pitching forward when the next wave of pain crashes over him. “Cas, tell me what’s wrong. Is it the symbols?”

He manages a nod and pulls free, drawing his knees up to his chest, hoping that he can hold himself together long enough to break the ward. “It’s—destruction,” he says, knowing that Dean will not understand.

“We have to get you out of here.” Dean glances over his shoulder. “Sam, help me.”

“I can’t cross the lines,” Castiel says, remaining where he is. “I can’t cross them again. It will kill me. Break—you have to break it.”

“Okay, tell me how to break it,” Dean demands, sounding increasingly desperate.

Castiel gasps out a list of ingredients with the instruction to use the mixture to wash away enough of the ward to free him. He hears Dean and Sam talking in low tones, but he’s too preoccupied with the cold to attempt to decipher the words.

He is so cold—in his body, in his grace—and Castiel thinks he might never be warm again. Castiel rocks, doing his best to hang on to his fraying grace, and above his head, he hears Dean cursing angrily.

“Cas? How are you doing?” Dean pauses long enough to ask.

Castiel shakes his head, feeling a shudder run through him.

Dean’s footsteps stop in front of him, and Dean’s hands cover Castiel’s. “Tell me how you’re feeling, Cas. I can’t help if I don’t know what’s going on.”

“I’m c-c-cold,” he says through chattering teeth.

He hears Dean take a deep breath. “Okay. Look, Sam will be back in half an hour, maybe less, with the stuff we need to break this fucking ward. You just have to hang on for that long.”

Castiel doesn’t know that he can hold himself together for half that space of time. The ward has been structured to kill an angel, and it’s luck alone that he’s trapped instead of obliterated.

But being inside the ward hurts—cold fire is eating at his grace, and at his flesh, and he feels alternately trapped and ready to fly apart.

“Stand up,” Dean orders.

Castiel shakes his head.

“Cas, stand up.” Dean squeezes his hands. “Trust me.”

“I trust you,” he manages to say through still-chattering teeth. And he does, but Castiel doesn’t understand how standing is supposed to help, let alone how he’s going to move an inch.

“Okay then,” Dean mutters. “We’ll do this the hard way.”

He hauls Castiel to his feet in one rough motion, and while Castiel is too stunned to protest, slides his trench coat and suit jacket off in one smooth motion. Dean sinks down to the floor, drawing Castiel along with him, between his legs.

“Lean back,” Dean orders in a gruff voice, and the meaning of his actions finally pierces Castiel’s pain-fogged mind. “I got you.”

Dean’s chest is solid and warm against his back, and Dean moves so that his legs bracket Castiel’s. “Pull your legs in,” Dean murmurs in his ear, and when he does, Dean throws both jacket and coat over him, creating a pocket of air that quickly warms with Dean’s body heat.

Some of Castiel’s tremors ease; the physical cold gives way, at least, although Dean can’t do anything to ease the pain in Castiel’s metaphysical form.

“Better?” Dean asks softly.

Castiel nods. “Yes.”

“Pain?”

“I believe—it is bearable. I can withstand.”

“Not much longer,” Dean promises, holding onto Castiel a little more tightly. “Talk to me, Cas. I need to make sure you’re still with me.”

“What—what would you like me to say?” he asks, jerking a bit in Dean’s arms as another wave of pain and cold washed over him.

“Tell me about the symbols. Who would do this?”

“Raphael.” Castiel gives his best guess. “These are—advanced, and not widely known.”

“Okay, so what are we going to do about it?”

“Assuming that Sam returns with the necessary ingredients,” Castiel begins.

“He will,” Dean growls. “He’s coming back. He doesn’t have any reason not to.”

Castiel tries not to think about what the absence of Sam’s soul means, tries not to think of how careless, ruthless, merciless Sam has become. Sam is completely divorced from his emotions now, and he has lost much of what makes him human.

But Castiel believes that Dean is correct in his assessment—Sam has no reason not to help.

“What are we going to do?” Dean prompts after Castiel falls silent.

“There is nothing we can do,” Castiel replies. “There is civil war in heaven, Dean, and although I would not have chosen this path, I must see it through.”

“What would you have chosen?” Dean asks.

Castiel can feel Dean’s warm, moist breath on the back of his neck, and he closes his eyes, thinking of all the things he might have done.

“I think I would have chosen to stay with you,” he finally breathes. “If I’d had any choice at all.”

The silence stretches out so long that Castiel is afraid he’s said something wrong, offending Dean in some way, but then Dean breathes his name. He’s holding onto Castiel tightly—so tightly he would leave bruises, if Castiel were human.

Castiel grips Dean’s hands and hangs on, thinking that if nothing else, they have each other to cling to in the face of all that has gone wrong.

The silence stretches between them, broken only by Castiel’s harsh breaths. He’s warmer now, but the pain is still nearly unbearable. Strangely enough, he also feels more at home than he has since beginning the impossible quest to bring order in heaven.

“Why don’t you stay?” Dean asks, his voice hoarse. Castiel wonders if he’s imagining the longing he hears there. “I could—it would be good to have you around more, Cas.”

Castiel thinks this is Dean’s way of admitting that he needs a friend, that this poor copy of Sam is not enough. He wonders if Dean feels as alone as Castiel often does now that his brothers have chosen to go their own way.

“I can’t,” Castiel finally says. “I wish that I could.”

Castiel grips Dean’s hands a little tighter, and Dean sighs, a warm puff of air on Castiel’s ear. “Yeah, I get that.”

Castiel thinks he probably does.

Another wave of pain crashes down over him, and Castiel tries to muffle the pained sound that he can’t help making.

“Not much longer,” Dean promises.

Castiel doesn’t bother to reply, focusing instead on Dean—his solid chest, well-muscled legs, and corded arms. He rebuilt Dean’s body from the ground up, and Castiel knows every inch, but being held like this imparts a different kind of knowledge.

He hears the scuffling of feet, and Sam appears with a plastic bucket and a rag.

“Break the ward, Sam,” Dean orders. “I don’t think Cas can hold on for much longer.”

Castiel wonders if he imagines Sam’s momentary hesitation; he knows that in his current state, Sam might allow him to suffer out of sheer intellectual curiosity.

Sam does not make Dean ask again, however. He scrubs at the wards on the floor, and Castiel knows the moment the ward is broken; power and heat rush into him, and Castiel breaks free of Dean’s grasp, and with a thought, his suit jacket and coat are once again in place.

When Castiel turns, he sees the brief hurt that flashes across Dean’s face before it’s hidden behind a smile and a shrug. “I guess you have to be going,” Dean says.

“Yes, I do,” Castiel replies, and he does need to go. He has a score to settle with Raphael, he has to assess how many of his brothers and sisters have flocked to Raphael’s side, and how many have defected entirely.

Still, Castiel wishes he could stay. “Thank you, Sam,” he says, because as little as Castiel trusts Sam right now, Sam broke the ward.

“No problem, man,” Sam replies carelessly.

Castiel turns back to Dean, and sees past Dean’s carefully blank expression to the despair. “I will return soon,” he promises. “And more often.”

“Sure, whatever.” Dean shrugs off the pledge. “I know you’re busy.”

Castiel frowns, and then touches Dean’s shoulder, wishing to offer what comfort he can. “I will not be too busy for you in the future.”

Something in Dean’s face shifts and softens, and the ghost of a smile touches his lips. “See you next time.”

“Next time,” Castiel confirms, and he’s gone in the next breath, already missing the warmth of Dean’s touch.

(no subject)

Date: 2010-12-04 01:19 am (UTC)
dossier: castiel (Castiel)
From: [personal profile] dossier
Oh, I wish we'd see more of this on Show! I can't decide if I love or hate to see Cas broken and powerless, but I do love how it gets a reaction out of Dean. :)

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