skidmo_fic: (Dean-sad)
[personal profile] skidmo_fic
Title: Pay Homage to Everything
Pairing: Dean/Castiel
Rating: PG-13 (for language)
Warnings: Um…none? A wee bit of language, but that’s about it.
Spoilers: None.
Word Count: 2174
Notes/Prompt(s): Written for the [livejournal.com profile] deancastiel Renegade Angels fic exchange for [livejournal.com profile] orandream. The prompt was: Immediate post apocalyptic hurt/comfort preferably with both Dean and Cas hurt but finding their way through together. With or without porn, but definitely with a relationship and wings. I didn’t manage too much with the wings, but I think I got just about everything else in there.
Summary: The world is different now.





If God said,

“Rumi, pay homage to everything
that has helped you
enter my
arms,”

there would not be one experience of my life,
not one thought, not one feeling,
not any act, I
would not
bow
to.


-Rumi



The world is different now.

Sure there are still most of the trappings from before. There are diners and cheap hotels and classic cars and waitresses and pie. There are even strip clubs and dive bars and dusty roads and Metallica.

And in a world far removed from Dean’s, there are fancy hotels and sports cars and French restaurants and politicians. There are universities and baseball games and independent films and supermodels.

But it’s different.

Because once you’ve lived through the apocalypse, things have to change. People who never believed in ghosts now salt their doorways at night. People who used to hire psychics for birthday parties have thrown out their Ouija boards for fear something real might be trying to contact them. People whose families have occupied the same section of cemetery for generations now dig up their ancestors to burn the remains, just in case.

And in a salvage yard in South Dakota, Dean Winchester prays to a God he never believed in anyway.

He prays for the broken body lying on a bed in Bobby’s house. He prays for the soul inhabiting that body. He prays for the angel who’s taken it over.

He reminds the God who doesn’t exist anyway and certainly doesn’t care about Dean if he does that Dean has never once asked for anything from heaven but to be left alone. Reminds the fictional omnipotent being that Dean has been tossed around by the armies of heaven for two years now, and he’s tired, and he deserves rest and happiness and a goddamn, fucking reward for all he’s done.

And all he’s asking is that a hypothetic God take a very real interest in his very real soldier and let him come through this alive. Let some good come out of the horror this last year has been.

But there’s no answer, no sign from the heavens, nothing to even assure Dean that someone is listening, that anyone at all heard him.

There never is.

Because the world is different, but it’s not that different.

***

“I don’t know what else to do for him, Dean.”

“There’s gotta be something!”

“I’m not a doctor, okay?”

“Isn’t there some book somewhere with a spell or a ritual or some kinda rare herb or something we can use?”

“Not a lot of lore on how to fix a broken angel, Dean.”

“Dammit, Sam! After everything he did for us…”

“I know, Dean. We’re not giving up on him, okay? Just…I’ll keep looking.”

“Yeah…yeah, you do that.”

***

Dean finds many things the same in the world that has changed, and it disturbs him. Somehow, he thinks, food should taste different, better perhaps, or tainted with ash and sulfur. The sky should be bluer, or maybe it should be perpetually grey and stormy, crackling with electricity and rumbling with thunder.

And things that should always be the same have changed.

Sam is careful around him, quiet, never pushing too hard or asking too many questions. He and Bobby go on hunts from time to time and leave him alone, and when he comes back, he gives Dean the highlights and doesn’t ask Dean if he’s been eating or if he’s even left Castiel’s room.

Bobby hasn’t called him an idjit since the night he and Sam arrived, carrying Castiel’s broken, bleeding body between them.

There are things that have changed, and some that have stayed the same, and Dean wonders why they aren’t the other way around.

***

“Eat.”

“Not hungry.”

“You’re doing nobody any favors by starving yourself, boy. Eat the damn sandwich.”

“…”

“And get some sleep.”

“Not tired.”

“I’ll drag you out of here myself and lock you in the panic room if you ain’t asleep in an hour.”

“Fine… Hey…Bobby?”

“Yeah.”

“You found anything yet?”

“…not yet.”

***

They force him out of the room sometimes, to shower or eat or sleep or go outside and get some air.

He leaves only long enough to satisfy them, and then he’s back, sitting by the bed, watching Castiel’s unmoving frame, the slow rise and fall of his chest the only indication he’s still alive.

The angel’s hands are cold when he touches them. His face too. He looks small and frail, dressed in an old t-shirt Bobby had lying around and a pair of Dean’s boxers. Clothes that would be comfortable, if Castiel could tell such things, and easily removed when needed.

Dean bathes him every day, a slow drag of cloth and warm water over Castiel’s naked skin, and Dean feels almost ashamed to notice that Castiel is beautiful like this, naked and pale and relaxed. He’d never seen Castiel relaxed before. There’d been no time for relaxation. He’d never even seen Castiel asleep.

It tugs at his heart and tears at his throat, as he dries Castiel carefully and puts clean clothes on his limp, cool body.

***

“Dean.”

“Cas? Oh, god, Cas, you’re… I’m dreaming, aren’t I?”

“Yes.”

“Are you okay? Are you dying?”

“I am well. I will be well.”

“What do we need? What should we do? How can we help you?”

“Believe.”

“I believe, Cas. I do!”

“I know, Dean.”

“There has to be something else.”

“Just believe.”

“Cas, I…”

“Yes, Dean?”

“I miss you.”

“Sleep, Dean. All will be well.”

***

There is a storm raging outside as Dean sits at the foot of Castiel’s bed, poring over the latest book Sam has brought back from his travels. It’s a proper storm, a good, Midwest thunderstorm. The lightening illuminates the whole room, and the thunder rattles the windows. Dean knows he should unplug the lamp he’s reading by, just in case, but he can’t bring himself to stop. He’s close to finding an answer. He knows he is. He just needs a little more time, just needs to believe a little more.

He glances up at Castiel, so peaceful, and he thinks, not for the first time, that Castiel is only sleeping. Any moment now, he’ll open his eyes, and his lips will curve upward just enough to let Dean know he’s smiling, and Dean will bring him soup or tea or whatever it is you feed to people who’ve been sleeping for weeks.

And all will be well.

Lightning flashes, and in the brightness, Dean thinks he sees dark wings stretching out from the form on the bed, as he had the first time he’d met Castiel.

In the thunder that follows, he thinks he hears words meant only for him.

All will be well, Dean. Only believe.

***

“He’s wearing himself out.”

“I know that, but there’s not a whole lot we can do about it.”

“Bullshit. We can make him get out, send him on a hunt. It ain’t healthy, and he’s gonna be in worse condition than that angel if he’s not careful.”

“He won’t like it.”

“When has that ever stopped you?”

***

Dean puts up a fight. He growls and yells and throws things, and Bobby threatens him with the panic room again before he lets Sam fill him in on the job.

It’s a simple one, just a haunting at a farmhouse a few hours’ drive north, and Dean finally agrees to go.

He hadn’t realized just how much the world had changed until he got there. They drive into town and pull into the parking lot of the first cheap motel they see, and the desk clerk tells them not to worry about paying for the room. Winchesters’ money is no good there.

They’re fucking heroes.

Dean asks if the Magic Fingers are free too, and Sam elbows him in the ribs.

And just like that, things are back to normal.

***

They go back to Bobby’s after every hunt, though they are often gone for days at a time. Bobby watches Castiel while they’re away, and he goes on his own hunts when they’re there to watch the angel.

Life settles into a routine, and Dean very nearly forgets the possibility even exists for Castiel to wake up. He talks to Castiel, reads to him sometimes, when he’s at Bobby’s, and he keeps an eye out for anything that might be able to help him, but for the most part, Castiel lying in that bed have become part of the norm. Part of how the world is different now.

***

Sam is at the library in a tiny town in western Pennsylvania, and Dean goes for a walk, needing air and sunshine. He’s thinking of finding a bar for some pool, maybe pick up a little extra cash if the locals don’t recognize him right off the bat.

He passes a little, white church near the motel and stops, drawn to it for reasons he can’t articulate, even to himself. There’s no one inside when he enters, and he simply walks to the front of the church slowly, standing in front of the altar. He doesn’t even know why he’s there.

“Can I help you?” The voice is soft, but it startles him just the same, and he tries to come up with an answer to that.

“I don’t know,” he says eventually.

The man, a middle-aged priest with salt-and-pepper hair, smiles. “Sometimes it helps to have a friendly ear, even when you’ve got nothing to say.”

Dean nods, and the man sits in the front pew, just watching Dean.

After a moment, Dean says, “Do you think he’s listening? God, I mean.”

“I wouldn’t be much of a priest if I didn’t.”

“But do you think he really cares? I mean, maybe he’s listening, but he just never does anything.”

“Do you really believe that?”

“Sometimes.” He’s seen too much to have written God off completely.

The priest is quiet for a moment. “You know, sometimes I think that’s part of our problem down here. Maybe he can’t do anything unless we believe he will.”

“Maybe,” Dean agrees with a shrug, and he turns to leave the church.

“Dean?”

He turns back. “Yeah?”

“All will be well.”

He smiles. “Just believe. I know.”

***

A few days later, he’s sitting at Castiel’s bedside. Sam and Bobby have left on another hunt, and Dean had needed to reassure them several times that he was fine, he just wanted to take a break for a while.

“I don’t really know how this works,” he whispers, his fingers curled loosely around Castiel’s. “I’m not big on praying, but I guess you know that already, huh? I think I figured out the problem, though. With before. I was asking ‘cause he believed, you know? And I figured you owed me something. And maybe I still think that, but that’s not what this is about.”

He’s quiet for a long moment.

“I’m not sure what it’s about, really. But the thing is…I might think you’re a douchebag of epic proportions, but to be fair, you haven’t given me much reason to think otherwise. But I still…I guess with all I’ve seen, believing in one more weird thing shouldn’t be that hard.

“I never believed before ‘cause it seemed like…well, it’s a pretty shitty world out there, and if you created all that…not the kinda God I want to believe in, you know?

“But that’s not all you made, is it? ‘Cause you made him. And he never saw you, but he still believed, and…and sometimes I think he believed because you made me, and maybe it was stupid of him, but he thought I was something special, you know? And that’s what kept me going all that time. He believed in me even when I didn’t.

“So now…I gotta believe in him. And you, I guess. I don’t know if I believe in you all the way just yet, but I’m working on it. Got a lifetime of resentment to get over first, you know? Heh…I guess you really do know.

“The point is. I believe, okay? All will be well. I don’t know what that’s gonna look like, but I believe it.”

He wonders if he should say ‘Amen,’ but it doesn’t feel like that sort of prayer, so he doesn’t, just squeezes Castiel’s hand and starts to stand.

“That is the most I have ever heard you speak at once,” Castiel says, almost smiling up at him from the bed.

Dean can hardly see through the tears in his eyes, but he manages a gruff, “I’m not dreaming again, am I?”

“Not this time.”

Castiel sits up, still looking tiny and frail in his oversized t-shirt, and Dean sits next to him on the bed.

“You’re really back, right? I’m not gonna leave for a sandwich and find you passed out in bed again?”

“I am really back,” Castiel assures him, and Dean reaches out to touch his face, his hair, his lips.

Carefully, as though Castiel might break if he’s too rough, Dean folds his arms around the angel and pulls him close. Castiel lays his head on Dean’s shoulder and whispers, “Dean?”

“I know,” Dean murmurs back. “All will be well.”


fin
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