salio (to the end) [28/?]
Pairings: Castiel/Dean Winchester
Warnings: [Post!S5 Canon Divergence / Alternate World + Omegaverse]
Summary: After Sam jumped into the cage, Dean finds both Bobby and Castiel beside him at the cemetery: unharmed. Alive. Human.
As they try to figure out who or what took Cas’s grace and for what, Dean struggles to move forward and fulfill his promise to his brother, while Castiel adapts to what being human means, in all the ways that matter.
Dean stared at the ceiling, feeling like he had just been chewed up and spit out by the universe.
His burns pulsed, his bottom half ached— To Hell with it, he was alive.
Struggling into a half-sitting position, Dean gritted his teeth as it sent a spike of pain up his spine. "Cas?" He called, receiving no answer. "Sam?"
Throwing his legs out of the bed, confused, but determined to find out what was going on, Dean moved to stand.
He crumpled to the floor, folding like a lawn chair.
[Read at AO3]
lil birthday ficlet on honour of Jack turning four, set after 15x19, the finale doesn’t exist, Cas is back from the empty (Jack brought him back), Jack zapped himself into a preschooler after the whole saving of the world thing was over with and now he gets a dinosauor themed birthday party. wc:1100
Dean’s hiding in the pantry when Cas finds him. Head down, practically on his knees on the tile, he paints himself into a stark contrast from the fearless hunter he spent his life growing into.
“Dean, what on earth are you doing in here?” Cas asks, confused.
Dean’s not exactly jumping at the chance to lay it all out there so he shrugs and stumbles through a reply. “Just grabbing some supplies, the party’s really getting going. Wouldn't wanna run out.” He doesnt turn around, and Cas doesn’t make him.
“Dean, everything we need for the party is on the counter. Sam did all of that hours ago. What’s really going on?” His tone’s gone so gentle it grates against Dean like more force than should be possible. That anger he’s so used to rumbles just below the surface, and he wants to reach for it because it’s easy, it’s safe, it's comfortable, but Cas used his dying moments to tell him that he was wrong about himself and he’s been trying desperately for that not to all have been in vain.
“I know, it’s hard to believe isn’t it? So many years gone by so quickly,” Cas says almost wistfully. Dean barely hears him.
“He’s four and he’s so little and he needs us so much, and he gets nightmares about the wars he’s had to fight while he’s wearing damn footie pajamas. He’s four.” Dean turns then, sitting down against the shelves with his hands propped on his bent knees, he doesn’t look Cas in the eye.
“Are you thinking about your childhood?” Cas asks as he joins Dean on the floor. They face the same direction, Dean’s glad for it, less pressure to look at Cas.
He scoffs, neither mention how wet it sounds. “We lost Mom when I was four, Dad started carting us all across the country when I was as little as Jack. And I can’t stop thinking, why didn’t he love me enough to take care of me. Why did he turn me into a soldier, why didn’t I get to have the birthday parties and school trips and playtime at the park where I ran screaming from girls because they had cooties. Why couldn’t he look at me and see the same thing I see when I look at Jack? But then I think: how different was I really from him?”
“Dean you can’t-” Cas starts.
“Cas don’t give me that shit. I turned that kid into a soldier the second I could. Sure he looked like a college freshman but he was days old, and I didn't hesitate to use him like my old man used me. But now, now I look at him and that ridiculous gap in his front teeth and how he’s a fucking magnet for stains and I don’t understand how my dad could have seen me like that and decided that I didn’t deserve a childhood.
“Y’know, I read my dad’s old journal. Read it like it was a fucking bible. Seventeen days after Mom died, I watched my dad put a bullet in a shifter’s head, and that was just the start. He felt bad, after I saw that, but it wasn't enough to make him stop.” Dean feels his throat constrict around itself, some scars never fade.
“Dean you are not your father. And I don’t know about Jack but I do not fault you for your actions. Jack aged himself up because he knew the world wasn’t safe, he knew that he needed to be able to fight. As horrible as it sounds, Jack knew his purpose before he was born. Had you and Sam not been there for him Jack would have been lost, easily found by the angels who wanted him dead or the demons who wanted to corrupt him. The fact that you look at him now, now that he’s aged himself down to an average human four year old, and can’t fathom raising him the way you were, proves that you couldn't be farther from your father. You are a good man Dean, despite all the hell that's befallen you. And you did not deserve the life you had or the pain you’ve suffered.” There's such a vehemence in Cas’ voice. It doesn't get rid of the pain in his chest, but it lifts it a little.
They sit in silence for long stretches, the sounds of the party just barely filtering into the small space.
“Kelly would have loved to see him like this,” Dean says eventually, smiling a little. Cas takes the topic change in stride because he’s just good to Dean like that.
“She really would have. To know that Jack brought forth peace like she was told he would, and then to have him get to live a child's life too. It's more than I think she ever could have hoped for for him.”
Cas fidgets beside him as they sit in silence again. Like there's something about that day he knows they aren't talking about. It's not hard to figure out what after talking about Kelly.
“Y’know the hardest thing about that day was losing you,” Dean confesses quietly.
Cas looks at him with his brow drawn down, almost as though he hadn’t expected Dean to remember that in the same moments Jack was born he had to watch Cas die.
“Mary fell into an alternate dimension with Lucifer and you ended up with an adult infant, Dean, don’t be absurd.”
“I’m not Cas, I know that I didn't give you some big speech when we got you back… well any of the times we got you back but you gotta know that it messed me up. Jesus you seriously don't know how much I need you just to function like a normal person. Sam can attest to it Cas. You die and he mourns, sure, but I lose it. I'm sorry I never showed you how much you meant to me back then.”
“It’s alright, you show me enough now. Now come on, it’s definitely not fair for us to leave Sam and Eileen alone with all the party duties.” Cas stands and holds out a hand for Dean to grab. Even after he’s securely on two legs Dean doesn't let Cas’ hand go.
“Let's go see the birthday boy.”
They aren't outside a minute before Jack runs up to them, his wide sticky smile, painted into a dinosaur Dean couldn’t name if his life depended on it, directed right at the two of them rambling on about the bouncy house and his friends from the neighbourhood and the cotton candy machine Dean wasn’t able to talk Cas and Jack out of booking.
He’s small and vulnerable and happy and he’s four and even though he knows the pain Dean knows, he’ll never have to experience it again. Dean vows to make sure of that.
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