Pairing : Dean/Castiel
Rating and warnings : T (i think) and major character death.
Summary : it’s a deerstiel fairytale au. is there anything else to say.
Note : title from howl (the song). Once again, it’s all Tania’s fault (i sense a pattern). She once said “we are horrible enablers to each other”. We really are. (but really tania is a sweetheart she helped me and beta’d this god what a great)
Once upon a time, there lived a king and his two sons in a kingdom whose woods were infested by creatures : passing shadows, eerie monsters, and scared animals. The king had took it upon himself to get rid of the freaks, as he called them, for the good of his folk. The other reason was that his wife had died at the hands of a disturbingly humanoid bear. He still remembered its yellow eyes laughing at him as he killed it. He spent most of the day in the dark claws of the desolated trees that made up the forests of his lands, and each new monster discovered was promptly hunted and had his head put on a polished wooden base, to be put in the king’s trophy room. This earned him the nickname of ‘the Hunter King’. He had started to take his sons with him and teach them how to hunt at their youngest age. The younger one, Sam, all soft eyes and brown locks, was an efficient hunter, gathering information in the castle’s library before tracking down any monster. It was him who had discovered the magical fountain in which they dipped their weapons to kill even the creatures that were immune to normal wounds. However, he didn’t like hunting very much. His older brother, Dean, with his bright green eyes and sun-kissed skin, followed his father on every hunt of his, and even went on his own sometimes, with a black horse he had called Impala and that had been specially trained not to fear the abominations crawling across the country.
One day, the King calls them to him. He says : “A man has informed me that a creature is murdering villagers. He only said it resembled a deer, for it lures its preys with its apparent innocence, and he begged me to save his terrified town. You will head south and bring its head back to me.” His words have the tranquil fury of a death sentence. When monsters take a break from being their monstrous self to actually kill people, the King’s sympathy with the men who come to him because they fear for their family blinds him with a secondhand thirst for revenge.
The next day, Sam and Dean pack their weapons, including knives with long and sharp blades to neatly cut the creature’s head, and their clothes for the trip. The deer lives in a lush forest with big green leaves on its trees and colourful berries on its abundant bushes. Sam and Dean split, deciding on when to stop the hunt and meet again. They settle on the evening of the next day. But for two days, they don’t hunt; they search. On plenty occasions, Dean thinks he’s close, but then it’s a twig he stepped on, it’s a tree his sleeve grazed, and with the sound of bushes rustling the deer-creature gets away with Dean never even seeing it.
Dean and Sam return empty-handed to their father, whose disappointed frown makes Dean wince and bend his head. They explain that they are too noisy and conspicuous. The king orders for a new hunting gear to be made for his sons, and soon Sam and Dean are on their way back to the forest with clothes made of green and brown fabrics that are close to their skin and tight leather boots and gloves. They make the same arrangement as the time before. Dean explores a new part of the woods where the trees’ bark is damp and the ground almost muddy. On the first day, he finds nothing. However, he finds out when he wakes up that he has chosen to sleep just a few meters away from a pond. He smiles, thinking he finally got lucky, and nearly calls out for Sam. He wisely decides to instead climb into a tree and wait. He waits for so long that he thinks he’s going to have to leave and join Sam so he doesn’t freak out about his absence. But at the hour when the sun shines the brightest and makes the pond glint blindingly, he sees him. It, he corrects himself. But it does look very human. Its lower half, not so much, for its legs are covered in warm brown fur and finish in little hooves instead of feet. But its upper half is that of a human, except for deer ears covered in thin and smooth fur that point to the sides, and antlers sprouting half-behind, half-above its ears and curling above its head like parentheses to its thoughts. From where he is, Dean can’t see his – its – face, only the wild black halo of its hair. The deer-creature goes to sit on the edge of the pond, letting its calves and hooves dangle in the water. It bends to drink the clear water in cupped hands, and then throws its head back, basking it in the sunlight, resting its weight on its hands softly digging in the ground behind him. It. Dean shakes his head. It’s his cue. The pond isn’t large. He crouches and jumps as far as he can, and lands at a perfect angle on the creature, hitting hit square in the chest. It makes a wheezing sound and Dean freezes, believing for a moment that he has crushed its lungs right away. But it starts to breathe again, carefully, by short intakes. It returns Dean’s gaze intently. It has eyes the most intensely blue Dean has ever seen, and long and chestnut-coloured eyelashes. Dean doesn’t move, sitting as he is on its stomach, his knees pinning its shoulders, his hand holding his blade becoming heavy. He feels trapped as they continue to stare at each other, and the creature could turn the situation in its advantage at any moment since its arms are free.
“Aren’t you going to beg for your life ?”, he feels obligated to say.
“Aren’t you going to kill me ?”, it replies. It has a deep voice that makes him think of earth. It’s rich, and ancient, and everything’s rooted in it.
“Am I ?”
“I don’t think so. If you were, you’d have done it already. I think you wouldn’t kill someone innocent.”
“You’re not someone. You’re a freak. And you’re not innocent either !”, Dean spits.
“Ok, I guess I’m a freak. That doesn’t make me a nobody. And what have I done that made you want to kill me, hunter ? I know what you are.” It mistakes Dean’s baffled silence as incomprehension. “So, what made me deserve being killed ?”
Dean finds his voice again. “You killed people !”, he cries indignantly. He doesn’t know why it offends him that the creature doesn’t admit or even acknowledge its fault. He – it – looks at him quizzically for a moment, seeming genuinely confused.
“I haven’t killed anyone in my life.” He says it as if it was obvious, and it makes Dean angrier.
“And the whole town decimated at the north of this forest, maybe that wasn’t you ?”
“I’ve never left this forest. A whole town decimated ? That looks more like the work of Lucifer.”
Dean squints. “Who’s Lucifer ?”
“I don’t know what that is. I think you’re making stuff up so I spare your life.”
“I’m not. How are you so sure it was me ?”
“A villager saw you and reported you to my father, the King.”
The creature doesn’t look impressed. “Maybe it was Lucifer. He holds a personal grudge against me and has a trick to make himself look human. He paints his skin white, pushes his horns into his skull, hides his tail in trousers…” He – it – trails off. “Have you actually seen him ?”
“No, but I trust my father.”
“So it’s my word against the word of someone you’ve never even met ?”
He has a point. However… “Are you saying my father – the king – is stupid ?”
“I’m saying Lucifer is intelligent. And please, royalty is nothing but a question of bloodline.”
Dean closes his eyes tightly, trying to make sense of it all. He doesn’t know what to think. The voice of the creature makes him open his eyes. “Besides, it’s too late now. You’ll have to come back if you want to kill me.”
“I’ve thrown your weapon in the pond. It’s quite a deep pond, actually.” It’s true. He now has his two hands on each side of the creature’s head, careful not to touch his ears. He feels suffocated. The time it’ll take to, at least, come back to Sam and tell him to lend him a blade will finish to convince him, and he senses that the creature knows it too. He swears under his breath.
“It is quite nice having you on me like that” – the creature smiles broadly, showing his two rows of white, if not a little crooked, teeth – “but the sun is settling. You left after the second day, last time.” Dean isn’t fazed that he has watched him. He knows those bushes rustling, on the first hunt, weren’t rabbits. “I’ll still come back”, he says. The creature looks surprised and gives him a second smile, much more gentle, and Dean doesn’t know what to make of it. He gets up, finally realizing their position and feeling embarassement swelling in his chest and cheeks. He looks in the pond as he leaves. It has the depth of a lake, and he barely knows how to swim. No, there is no way he can dive in and retrieve his blade. He suddenly turns to ask the hybrid his name, but he’s already gone. He feels a pang of disappointment and subsequently pinches himself to come back to his senses.
When they come back to the castle, the king tries to contain his fury, but the boys are not fooled. He shouts that while they were away, another town has been attacked. For the first time in years, he touches the yellow-eyed bear’s head, and it’s to move it to the trophy room to make its place above the throne vacant. “You’ll go back until this monster is killed and I can look at its vile, but dead, head every time I enter this room. You are my sons. You do not fail hunting.” Dean thinks back to the creature’s soft gaze, the wrinkles on the corner of his eyes and on the bridge of his nose when he smiled, and he almost sighs exasperatedly.
So they come back a second time. Sam’s getting frustrated; his research, in books and with survivors, has been utterly unsuccessful, and Dean doesn’t like the sheer determination in his eyes and the tension in the line of his shoulders. If Sam finds the deer-creature, he’s going to murder him painfully. How much Dean doesn’t want that surprises himself. He tells Sam to search a part of the forest far away from the clearing with guilt knotting his throat and weighing in his gut. He runs to the clearing as soon as Sam takes off, roots making him trip and branches nastily whipping him. He slows down when he approaches it, trying not to pant and not to look so sweaty. For good measure, he reaches out above his shoulder and unsheathes his sword from the scabbard tightly strapped to his back by thin belts before emerging from the canopy of the trees. He sees with a smile the pond, and the blade still at the very bottom of it. His breath catches in his throat when he sees that the creature’s there. He’s sitting his back to him, and Dean notices for the first time the trail of hair down his spine, leading to a little fluffy tail dotted with white. Since his ears perked up upon his arrival, Dean feels safe to ask the question that has been burning his tongue without startling him away.
“What’s your name ?”
“I’m not answering that before you put that sword down.” The creature replies calmly.
Dean bites his lip and plants his sword in the ground. He takes a few steps towards the deer-man.
Castiel. Dean has never heard a name like that. Actually, he has never bothered to ask the name of the creatures he has hunted. “I’m Dean.”
He has arrived right behind Castiel, and since he apparently refuses to turn to face him, he crouches and peers past his shoulder.
“Is that… a flower crown ?”
“An almost finished one, yes.”
His long fingers are putting together vivid pink and yellow and purple flowers and their deeply green leaves on pliant twigs that he has shaped into a prickly circle. He’s so focused, his face frozen, his eyes squinted and unblinking, that it unnerves Dean. He plucks a petal out of a small white dahlia.
“You’re gonna make me one, too ?”
“If you want.”
Dean snorts. “I was joking.”
“I’ll still make you one.”
“So you’ll come back”, Castiel says matter-of-factly, and a little smile breaks the marble of his face as he turns it toward Dean’s, and his nose is almost touching Dean’s cheek. Dean falls backwards on his arse. “Wow, don’t do that !’
“Sorry.” He doesn’t look sorry at all. More pleased, actually. He carefully places the flower crown on his head, paying attention not to damage it on his antlers. Dean, balancing himself on one of his elbows, points to them. “Aren’t those inconvenient ? Sometimes ?”
“You mean like this ?” He gets down on his hands and knees – awkwardly, what with the hooves - and pokes Dean’s forehead with one of his antlers. “Ow”, says Dean reflexively even though he’s not hurt. “Why do you want me to come back ?”
“Because you’re the first human I’ve made contact with.” “Ever ?” “Ever.”
Uh, Dean thinks. Well, there’s a first time for everything. For example, making contact with a creature isn’t exactly new to him, but not killing it certainly is a first. He watches as Castiel puts a hand flat against his chest, and his fingers inflict a slow but relentless pressure. Dean stares at Castiel, a bit bewildered, but he gives him the slightest nod and without thinking Dean mutters a “Whatever” and lets himself be pushed to the ground. He feels more than he sees Castiel unbuckling the belts on his torso and taking off his fingerless gloves. “There”, Castiel says. “Breathe.”
What a strange command, Dean thinks. He obeys. Closing his eyes, he lets his chest heave with each intake of breath and presses his palms to the ground, his fingers digging in the earth. He turns his head so the grass tickles his cheek and ear, and the green of it shines through his eyelids. He can smell the strong scent of spring, and the sun bathes his face, and the lush air is ringing in his ears; he feels like stripping naked and he smiles. It’s beautiful, and he’s not even looking at it. A finger touches the bridge of his nose, and others join it and trace mysterious patterns under his eyes, on his cheekbones. Dean laughs low in his throat. “Dude, are you counting my freckles ?”
“The sun does make them stand out”, Castiel says by way of an answer.
Dean hums. “What do you want to do ? I can’t stay too long, the forest isn’t that big and my brother might find us.
“Oh, you’d be surprised about the size of this forest”, Castiel murmurs, secretive.” Is your brother the tall one with the beautiful hair ?”
“I have beautiful hair,” Dean replies in false offense.
“Yes.” Castiel’s fingers creeps to Dean’s forehead and he runs them through his hair. I should stop him, Dean thinks. I shouldn’t give in so easily. But he’s in a haze of heat that liquefies his limbs and thoughts. Dean finally opens his eyes and the first thing he sees is the flower threatening to fall off Castiel’s crown. Castiel goes completely still, lying on his stomatch beside Dean and propped on one elbow, as Dean fixes it and lingers, not daring but eventually deciding to stroke lightly, with his fingertips, one of Castiel’s antlers. He lets his hand fall down back at his side.
“It’s kind of…velvet-y”, he observes.
Castiel resumes his carding through Dean’s hair, sometimes grazing his temples. “I don’t know what velvet is.” He shifts uncomfortably and accidentally scrapes Dean’s scalp with his fingernails.
“Oh. Yes.” Dean pauses. “You’ve really never left this place ?”
Castiel looks at him severely, as if doubting his word is the worst of insults.
“Well, tell me more about you, then.” Castiel frowns again, his lips pursed. “How old are you ? Who or what are your parents ?” Dean continues.
“I was born from a tree some three hundred years ago from now”, Castiel answers dryly.
Dean gapes but quickly closes his mouth. “Wow”, he says laconically.
“So you’re not really a hybrid, you’re more of a…I don’t know…”
“A being of elemental magic ?” Castiel fills in.
Dean shrugs – well, not really, but the intention is there. “You could kill me if you wanted.”
“Are these the hands of a killer ?” Castiel asks rhetorically. They’e cupping Dean’s head and caressing it in the most calming way, and Dean decides that no, they aren’t, and starts to doze off.
“Well, you don’t look too bad for your age”, he whispers, and he doesn’t notice the brief faltering of the stroking hand. But just as he is about to really fall asleep, his brain kicks in and drags his consciousness up to make him ask, “Wait, is Lucifer like you, too ? I mean, as old as you ?”
“Then how come I didn’t know about him before – and I’m pretty sure my dad doesn’t either - ?”
“Because we trapped him in the bowels of the earth so he could do no evil.”
Dean raises an eyebrow. “I really don’t see how he could have gotten out but clearly he did.”
“There is a…passage, that was supposed to be sealed. I only know that it’s under a stoppered well.”
Some part of Dean registers that it’s an important information and that he should remember it, but the lush air is inviting him to drift off to sleep again, which he doesn’t do before he asks a last question.
“You said ‘we’. Were there – are there others like you ?”
Castiel falls silent.
Dean is awake and chuckling now, but the lines of his face are still blissfully slack and his crinkled eyes still only half-opened. Castiel is leaning right over him, casting a fresh shadow on him, the outline of his silhouette blurred by a holy light, sun raining on his back and dripping from his shoulders, a halo hemming his antlers and crown. He’s plucking petals out of some wildflower and letting them fall on Dean’s face – sometimes one gets caught in his eyelashes or lands right on a nostril and then he blows delicately on it to cast it away, but mostly it seems he’s trying to cover Dean’s face in flower petals. Their light touch tickles but Dean appreciates their softness and their sweet scent.
He doesn’t know, but at one point, when he was sound asleep, Castiel kissed him on his brow, tentatively, as if tasting the gesture more than the feeling behind it. He also unbuttoned the collar of Dean’s shirt to watch the sweat glisten on his collarbones. This sort of things never happen to Castiel. For someone living out in the open 24/7, his skin is too pale, for someone living in the woods, his hands are too unblemished. Dean is unaware of the turmoil, of the agitation his mere presence causes within Castiel’s skull. As he gazes up at Castiel’s kind face, all trace of sunshine leaves it, like the ripples of light on the surface of water would be broken by the throw of a stone. He cranes his neck and, with a wide-eyed horror, sees Sam at the border of the clearing, drawing an arrow on his bow, ready to shoot. With a yelp both get up very quickly, speed of an animal and a hunter, and Dean faces Sam, his hands up and his body a shield, turning his head to shout “Run !” at Castiel, who’s already doing so. Dean makes sure he’s right between Castiel and Sam until the former has safely disappeared, even when Sam tries other angles to get the human-deer. He eventually lets go of the string out of frustration and the arrow flies by Dean’s shoulder to plant itself deeply in the bark of a tree. Dean’s head spins at the thought of the same arrow burying itself in Castiel’s flesh.
“Dean, what the hell ?”. Tone angry, expression incredulous. “I really hope you have an explanation for this.”
The sun has given Dean a headache and parched lips and his on-and-off nap has made him more sleepy than anything else. He’s thirsty and exhausted and doesn’t want to have to deal with this.
“Oh, cut it out, Sam. As if you haven’t bonded with some of our preys before.”
“We didn’t throw flowers at each other’s face !” Sam approaches Dean. “And they weren’t mass murderers.” His voice is slow and punctuates viciously the consonants. “And I always ended up killing them, because I had to do it. You, we, killed creatures for less than what this monster did, and you protect it ?”
“He didn’t do any of it ! He’s never even left this place ! It was this Lucifer guy. He explained it all to me.” Silence. “Do you really think he could fool me ?”
Sam grimaces. “No”, he admits. His unwavering trust in Dean tugs at the latter’s heart. If their roles were reversed, could he have done the same ? “But I want to speak with him, to be sure .” Well, he certainly picks up on the pronouns faster than Dean did. “Ok”, he says. “But next time.”
They sleep under the stars and wake up before the morning dew has time to settle. They ride hard, feeling the thumping and the muscles rolling beneath the skin of their horses between their thighs. They are strained by this unusual effort and Dean refrains himself from stopping their race to soothe Impala.
But when they arrive, they don’t get the time to say a word. The king yells, and yells, until his voice is hoarse and even then he keeps on yelling. Sam yells back. Dean locks his face in what he wants to be a strong stance but he blinks too much and his eyelashes are clamped together by a wetness.
The king says that there has been more kills. The monster is slaughtering the kingdom’s population and it is their fault. He slaps Dean to make his point. He sends them back the very same day. They are to camp in the forest and not to rest nor return to the castle without the monster’s head.
It’s just a person, thinks Dean. A half-human and half-deer person who was born from a tree and who is older and wiser than his father. Dean has never doubted his father. And then his father slaps Sam. The king has been hard on them all their lives, but he has never laid a hand on the boys before. Dean sets his jaw and packs the equipment as fast as he can.
Sam and Dean are sore from riding. They set up their camp not far away from the main road. It’s late in the night and they’re tired, tired to move all the time and tired of this situation they’re suddenly stuck in. They sleep in the tent even though they would prefer to stay huddled by the campfire – nights are chilly, and Dean’s heart is rubbed raw and naked by the longing to see Castiel again.
The next day he takes Sam to see Castiel. They sit face to face and start talking in a very polite manner, and Dean looks at them both with fondness filling his chest and tenderness pumping through his veins. Their discussion is so long that Dean has the time to go pick flowers. He comes back and waits that they finish, and when they do, Dean gives the bouquet to Castiel, telling him it’s for his flower crown. He had intended the gesture to be casual but Sam’s stare makes him feel self-conscious and he stumbles over his words. He punches Sam on the arm on their way back to the camp, but that doesn’t stop him from grinning, and Dean’s feeling giddy too.
“He seems so kind”, says Sam as they’re laying at night waiting for sleep to take them.
“Mhm”, Dean agrees wordlessly.
“I think we both know that if we want to solve this we have to capture Lucifer. If only I could go back to the castle’s library, I could do some research for this well, but here I’m helpless.”
“We’ll figure something out”, mumbles Dean before falling to slumber.
It goes on like this for a month. Most of the times Sam hunts animals for food and looks for comestible fruits and berries, but from time to time he joins Dean to meet Castiel in the clearing – where a carpet of flowers has bloomed – and falls in deep conversations with the creature in which they exchange knowledge and stories, and Dean, although he feels awkward, tries his best to leave these moments to them.
But Dean’s meetings with Castiel are a lot more frequent. At some point he starts calling him “Cas”, because he likes how he can exhale in this single syllable all the affection he feels. They don’t talk much when they’re together but they like to say the other’s name in all the possible manners, murmured, secretive, drawn out, and more and more often, mouthed against the other’s skin. They say it more for themselves than because of a need to call out to the other, liking the way it takes shape in their mouth, rolls on their tongue, and slips out of their lips. They like it so much that it’s only a matter of time until they try tasting their own name in the other’s mouth, and they spend afternoons sprawled over each other, kissing lazily, almost sloppily, and Dean especially likes to make Castiel lie on the ground, spreading his hands over his ribcage or his waist to hold him, and kiss and lick every inch of salty skin from his jaw to his chest. When Dean learns of Castiel’s healing ability, he permits himself to be rougher, sucking bruises and scraping red slashes as they tightly hold onto each other, fighting to be the one on top of the other. It’s inevitable; one time, Dean gets hard. Castiel doesn’t spare a moment for thought and takes him in hand, wich makes Dean gasp and reduces him to a moaning mess, pushing his forehead against Castiel’s shoulder, gripping Castiel’s upper arms too hard, shivers sliding along his spine, and he comes undone under the slender fingers. They’re both breathing heavily afterwards, staring at the other through their lashes, not quite able to move. Out of some unspoken agreement, they never go beyond that (Castiel only because Dean doesn’t want to, but he doesn’t tell him that).
One memorable time, Dean sleeps snuggled with Castiel, only to wake up alone at dawn, and when he confronts Castiel about it, Castiel only replies, “I wanted to show you that I am not tamed.” Dean lets a little “Oh” escape his lips and he comes to value the time they spent together even more.
He then asks him why, every time he asks him when he would get his flower crown, Castiel answers “Next time”. Castiel says “So you’ll come back”, and they both know it’s silly, so Dean says, bittersweet, “I think you’re the one who has me tamed, then”; Castiel laughs.
One day, when he comes to the clearing, he finds Castiel sitting very quietly, tearing grass out. Dean wants to laugh at the odd sight of Castiel sulking, but he goes to take his hand and asks him gently, “Why the long face ?”
“I’ve lost my crown”, Castiel answers.
“Well, we’re gonna make another one.”
And so they do. There are plenty of flowers to choose from, and since Castiel doesn’t really need help to make his, he takes the opportunity to coach Dean through making his own, kissing the cuts Dean makes to himself. Just as he’s done putting the flower crown on Dean’s head and is letting his fingertips linger in Dean’s hair and his thumbs stroke Dean’s cheekbones, Sam bursts the bubble by tumbling in the clearing, tripping over his own feet as he runs to them. He’s shifty and breathes unevenly and his hair is ruffled; Dean takes it all in and understands in one glance that Sam’s in serious distress and that something is very wrong.
“It’s dad. He’s here. I was trying to lead him the wrong way but I lost him and I don’t know where he could be at the moment.” He then runs back under the canopy of trees and disappears.
“You have to run, Cas”, Dean quickly says before he can regret it. “You have to leave this place and never come back”. He kisses him.”Please !”
“I can’t !” says Castiel, despair making his bottom lip quiver.
“Why ?” Dean kisses him again, pleading.
Castiel opens his mouth to answer but they both hear bushes rustling behind them. Someone’s coming. The Hunter King.
Without thinking twice Dean puts his hands to Castiel’s throat and presses. Castiel stares at him in horror, and Dean returns the same terrified look as he continues to crush Castiel’s windpipe, not feeling how tightly Castiel clutches his forearms and digs his fingernails in his skin. He feels like his limbs don’t belong to him, aren’t responding to him but to a reflex instilled in him in his childhood, when the presence of his father made him do the stupidest thing to please him without even being prompted to.
Castiel’s mouth is wide open and convulsions shake his chest, and he kicks the air but Dean has his weight on him, overcome with the killing instinct drilled into his brain.
“Dean, what the hell are you doing ?!”
It’s Sam who falls to his knees beside them and grabs Dean brutally, prying him away from Castiel, who goes limp. Sam slaps Dean, his broad hand almost dislocating his jaw.
“Fuck,” Dean realises, thunderstruck. “Fuck !”
He takes Castiel’s head on his lap, fingers hovering above his face.
“It’s okay…I can…” He doesn’t know what he’s saying. Dean places his hand on Castiel’s ribs, slotting his fingers in the space between them, slowly massaging to try to get the air back in his lungs. Castiel starts making wheezing noises. He isn’t dead yet. He isn’t dead.
Until a dagger comes to bury itself to the hilt into his heart. Dean and Sam look up so fast their neck crack and they see, at the border of the clearing, their father. Of course that throw has been perfect. How could it have been differently ?
“No”, Dean says in a small voice. “No.” He holds Castiel tighter, shakes his shoulders. “Please, you can’t…” There are sobs in the back of his throat and now it’s him who’s choking at the sight of the red pooling on Castiel’s shockingly pale chest. He stammers non-words, spluttering the tears running down his face. Don’t die, he whispers over and over in his head, because he still feels as if he can’t ask anything of this beautiful ancient creature, because he still can’t quite believe his existence, even now as he is so heavy in his arms.
Castiel’s eyelids flutter and Dean sees, with a leap in his heartbeat, the slimmest slit of blue, and Castiel’s hand stirs as if he wants to raise it to Dean’s face, but then everything stops. Castiel’s hand falls back on his stomach, his breath falters, he splutters blood that runs from the corners of his mouth down to his ears, and his whole body goes eerily still and light as it shuts down.
Dean’s mind sort of does, too.
He is vaguely aware that the king takes Castiel’s body from him like a slab of meat, cuts his head unceremoniously, and, splattering blood everywhere, holds it high for them to see, the flower crown still perched atop of it. Dean doesn’t look up. He doesn’t want to throw up on the small white dahlia that has fallen and that his numb fingers have somehow retrieved.