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twasadark

This is your brain on Supernatural

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Fic: Bringer of Light
SPN - Dean looking sideways
twasadark
Title: Bringer of Light
Author: [info]twasadark
Rating: PG-13
Words: 3100
Warnings: language
Summary: 4x22 coda; prompt: Dean gives Castiel lessons on why humanity is worth saving (can also be as angsty or funny as you want).
Note
: This is my spn_summergen entry for [info]azewewish. Thanks to [info]irreparable for the encouragement and beta. It was originally published over thisaway.

Sam's hand spasms as it clutches Dean's arm, and it's that little movement, that tiny, involuntary twitch amidst the overwhelming tidal wave of light/heat/sound that is Lucifer—fucking Lucifer—breaking through into this world that rouses Dean from his horror and panic enough to respond to a primal instinct: save Sam.

Dean grabs his brother by both arms and yanks him with all his might, pulling him away from the strength of Lucifer's blasting light. The two of them trip and stumble down the cool stone hallway of the convent, moving dumb-struck and stiff, but moving nonetheless.

Outside, it takes Dean what feels like an entire minute to grasp the Impala's door handle and depress the button that opens it. His hands are numb as they grip the steering wheel, and his head buzzes for two hours straight as they drive west toward middle America.

He drives, because that's what Dean does. He puts the pedal to the metal and doesn't turn on the stereo. His head is buzzing too much to enjoy the tunes. Hell, his head is buzzing so much it's about all he can do to keep the car on the road. Sam slumps in the passenger seat like he's done so many times before. Dean doesn't look at him because right now? Well, right now it's enough that his kid brother is here, with him, and not a smear on that convent floor.

At 3 am, just past Hagerstown, Maryland (hell yeah, Sammy Hagar, dude) they stop at some nameless motel for the night. Sam checks them in like always and Dean roots around in the trunk for the shit they need. He'd better make the salt lines extra thick in case fucking Lucifer has followed them. He stifles the half hysterical laugh at the thought.

In their room, they sit on the hotel beds of their double room in twin silent dazes. They don't speak. Dean's a little shell-shocked still, doesn't even want to try just yet. But then he has to, because his phone rings.

“Hey, Dean,” Chuck says, breathless and quavering. “We have a little problem.”




Chuck looks more fried in person than he'd sounded on the phone, which is really something, Dean thinks. His hair is wiry and frizzed out a la Albert Einstein. His eyes dart back and forth like he expects an axe murderer to leap out from behind the sofa and chop his head off.

“I don't even know how long he held off the archangel because he was standing in front of me – shielding me, you know? I was sorta closing my eyes and, well, I guess the word might technically be 'cowering' behind him--”

“Chuck,” Dean says, interrupting the constant frenzied squawk of the other man's voice.

“Yes?”

“You're babbling. Get to the point, would you?”

“Oh, yeah. Sorry about that. It's just that all of a sudden I'm a prophet and the heavenly host is fighting all around me and--”

“Chuck,” Sam interrupts this time. And these days Sam must sound a bit more intimidating, or maybe it's just his tendency to loom with his muscles bulging out all over the place.

Anyhow, Chuck swallows and says, “He's been like this ever since.”

'He,' being Castiel. 'This,' being standing as stiff as a board, hair mussed and tie askew, eyes wide open and staring into … nothing. Dean snapped his fingers in front of the angel's glassy stare. “Anybody in there?” Dean asks, leaning close.

Castiel just stands there, lips parted as if he'd been in the middle of saying something when he'd been frozen like that.

“What's wrong with him?” Dean asks.

“I—I don't know,” Chuck sputters. “That's why I called you, to take him away so that I can get some sleep. It's too creepy to have a catatonic angel in my living room for me to get some quality z's.”

“Didn't the visions give you some information about him?” Dean asks.

“Nope. They haven't given me anything. As in, zero. Zip. Zilch. Nothing. Nada--”

“Yeah, I get the idea.”

Chuck looks thoughtful. “The whole angelic attack may have burned them out for a while. Good riddance, I say. Oh, hey, whatever happened with Lucifer? I guess you stopped him or you wouldn't be here, huh?”

Dean just looks at him so long and steadily that Chuck blanches a little.

“I don't think I want to know the answer to that, do I?”

“Just go drink yourself into oblivion, okay? We'll take care of Cas,” Sam says, stepping forward to take Castiel by the arm and move him toward the door. Apparently, he walks when you nudge him, although he moves with all the enthusiasm of a rotting zombie and retains the whole slack-jawed yokel facial expression.

Dean halts Sam's progress, leaning forward to hiss, “What the hell are we supposed to do with him? Can't we just – you know – leave him here or something?”

Sam does not look amused. “He got this way helping us, if you remember correctly. He's our responsibility. Now, come on, let's get him in the car.”




Sam leads Castiel out to the car while Dean helpfully opens the car door and makes Castiel duck his head so he won't brain himself while trying to get in the back seat. Sam takes his usual place in the front seat and Dean takes the driver's seat. He starts up the Impala, then turns to Sam.

“So, where are we going?”

“What? I don't know. Why are you asking me?”

“Because you're the only other non-catatonic person in the car, dipshit.”

Sam sighs and massages his temples like he has a mother of a headache. Which he probably does. Neither of them has slept for the past twenty-four hours.

“All right, look,” Dean says. “Let's just go get a hotel room. We all need some sleep.”

“Yeah, okay,” Sam agrees.




Once he decides that they need to crash for a while Dean can't stop yawning. They end up finding a hotel a few miles from Chuck's place, a suitably skeezy dive called the “Motor Inn.”

They lead Castiel to one of the cushioned chairs around the dime-sized desk and nudge him until he sits down. They look at him, then at each other.

“What, are we just going to leave him there while we sleep?” Sam asks.

Dean shrugs. “Why not? Maybe he'll be fixed when we wake up.”

Sam looks like he's going to pitch a fit, then he reconsiders and says, “Yeah, I'm cool with that.”

The both of them barely get out of their clothes before they flop on the beds and are out like a light.




When they wake up in the early afternoon, Castiel isn't any better. He's still sitting on the chair woodenly, his hands resting on his thighs, eyes staring blankly at the opposite wall.

“Well, hell,” Dean says. He's sitting up in bed, yawning. He glances in the mirror on the wall in front of him and sees his hair sticking up in little tufts and a crease mark from his pillowcase's seam on his cheek.

Sam has already showered and dressed, hair wet and wisping into curls on his neck. “Is that all you have to say?” he asks pissily.

“I'm kinda making this up as I go, dude. Cut me some slack. It's not like I'm the one who … uh. Never mind.”

“Never mind what, Dean? Go ahead, say it. It's not like you're the one who unleashed the Antichrist on the world, right?”

“Now, I didn't say that. You're just putting words in my mouth.”

“You were thinking it, Dean. I know you were.”

Well, duh, Dean thinks. But Sam probably wouldn't take too kindly to him saying that. And while Dean could try to soft peddle his response he doesn't bother. He's never been good at that kind of shit. “Look, we're going to have to talk about it sooner or later, right? Might as well get it over with.”

Sam's lips flatten and his eyebrows draw together. “No,” he says.

“What? Did you actually just say that? Sam Winchester doesn't want to talk about something. Hell must have frozen over. Of course we have to talk about it. This is the time when you get all maudlin and emo and say, I'm sorry Dean, I was used and I shoulda known better even though you did tell me so--”

Sam whips around and yells, “Fuck off, Dean.”

And that's a bit blunt. Dean can't help be a bit affronted when he admonishes, “Dude, there's an angel in the room.”

Sam gets this supremely pissed off look on his face, then grabs his jacket and the Impala's keys.

“Sam,” Dean barks. His brother pauses, casting a glance over his shoulder. “Where are you going?”

“Out,” Sam says, clipped and annoyed and then suddenly—he leaves. He just strides off without a backward glance. The fucker. A moment later the Impala roars to life and rumbles right out of the driveway and into the street. Dean watches out the window as it disappears from view.

So, here Dean is in a hotel room with Castiel, who is still sitting in the same spot, with his tie still askew and his hair still rumpled and his eyes still open. Thank God that he actually blinked every now and again or Dean would have been really freaked out.




“How the hell should I know what to do with him?” Bobby asks grumpily. To be fair, Dean shouldn't have expected him to be happy after he'd opened the call with, “Guess what Sam did now?”

Bobby makes an exasperated sound into the receiver. “Try to shock him into coming back to life. Now I gotta go research how to kill fucking Lucifer, okay?”

Dean hangs up the phone. “Sheesh. Testy.” He considers Castiel, then runs his hand across his suddenly sweating upper lip. Shock him. Okay. Dean sits for a minute, trying to figure out what that means, when he has an idea. He helps Castiel to stand up, which he does easily enough. Then Dean runs over to his duffel bag and roots around in it until he finds what he's looking for.

He approaches Castiel, holding the magazine behind him. Then, at the right moment, he whips it out and in front of Castiel's ever-present gaze, the magazine open to display the centerfold in all her naked, legs-spread-out glory.

Castiel doesn't even blink.

Huh.

Next, Dean tries yelling in his ear. Nothing. Dean then pokes him in the eye like he sees the Three Stooges do in every episode. No response. Dean tries throwing a glassful of cold water in Castiel's face. He tickles under Castiel's arms and at his waist. Nothing. Then, taking a deep breath to fortify his courage, he tries the last thing he can think of. He grabs Castiel by the nuts and yanks. The guy doesn't even bat an eyelash. Un-fucking-believable. How is he even human?

“Shit!” Dean says. Then realizes he may be on to something. “Damn, fuck, piss, hell,” he continues.

And … nothing.

Dean collapses on the bed, frustrated and undercaffeinated and wholly unhappy with existence.

He sets his mind to the problem at hand. Namely, what to do about Castiel. He thinks and thinks some more, to no avail. Apparently, thinking is pretty tiring work, because he ends up falling asleep.



Castiel is sitting at a picnic table in a park, a newspaper spread out in front of him and most of a melting ice cream sundae next to it. He holds a spoon smeared with chocolate. The expression on his face is perhaps a little less stoic than usual, a little more confused.

Dean is somehow standing next to the picnic table. Kids play on the nearby swing set and the sky overhead is very blue. The rhythmic thump of a ball is counterpoint to the grunts and teasing of a half dozen sweaty teenage boys playing basketball nearby.

“Huh,” Dean says. Then, “This is a dream, isn't it?”

Castiel looks at Dean when he speaks. “Yes, you are sleeping.”

Dean gestures to the ice cream sundae. “What's wrong? You don't like it?”

“It's very … cold.”

“Well, yeah. It's ice cream. What did you expect?”

Castiel's brow furrows. “I'm not sure. Not this.”

Dean takes a seat next to him. “So. What do I have to do to get you to wake up? You know, back on earth or … wherever.”

Castiel just looks at him for a long moment. Then he shrugs.

“I don't think I will return for some time. Back in the waiting room, while Sam was closing in on Lilith, I allowed your emotion to sway me into abandoning my race in order to help yours. I am pondering the wisdom of that choice.”

Dean's hackles rise. “'Pondering the wisdom of that choice?'” he repeats. “That's what this is all about? You're having second thoughts. For God's sake, Cas. Shit or get off the pot, would you?”

At Castiel's blank expression, he snaps, “Pick a side and stick with it, okay? It will make this whole apocalypse thing a lot easier to bear. You know, for me.”

Castiel’s face tightens. “You cannot understand the implications of what I have done. I have left my brothers in the garrison to fend for themselves in order that I might dwell here among humankind, where I feel the pain of separation from the heavenly sanctuary at every moment.” He holds up the front page of the newspaper so that Dean can see the headlines – a record of atrocities humans perpetrated on one another both worldwide and local. “To stay in a place where things such as this go on every day. Tell me, Dean, why should I stay?”

Castiel turns the full weight of his expectant gaze to Dean and Dean freezes like a deer in the headlights, his brain stuttering to a stop in the face of humanity’s accomplishments and crimes, the whole of existence seeming to depend on his swollen, clumsy, inarticulate tongue. As Dean stands there, mouth hanging open, trying to form words that don’t sound like gibberish, he sees a man walking across the open grassy area toward them. The man is tall and dark-haired; he walks with his head down and hands jammed in his pockets. He's scuffing his feet in the grass an awful lot like Sam. Dean blinks. Okay. The guy scuffs his feet like Sam because the guy is Sam.

“Hey!” Dean says. “Did you know Sam was coming over here?”

Castiel looks up, unsurprised. “Yes. It's why I chose this location. I hope that watching him may provide me with some sort of inspiration.”

Sam sits at a park bench about thirty feet from Dean and Castiel, facing the raucous basketball players. He looks huge and ungainly, the bench dwarfed in comparison to his height and breadth. Damn, but when had Dean’s kid brother gotten such a pair of shoulders? Sam rests his elbows on his knees and lets his head hang. Dean wonders what he’s thinking. More than likely, he’s angsting over pretty much singlehandedly starting the apocalypse. Which, Dean has to admit, is probably the most angst-worthy thing the kid has ever done.

“Sam!” Dean shouts, but Sam doesn’t betray any sign of hearing him. Oh, yeah. It’s a dream. He turns to Castiel. “Is Sam really here?”

“Yes, he is, but he cannot hear you or see you.”

“So, I’m kinda like the ghost of Christmas present.”

Castiel sighs. “Dean …”

“Yeah, yeah, I know. I’m trying to come up with a good answer here.”

The basketball game has stopped, and voices are rising as the players separate into two groups over a dispute. One wiry-haired boy seems especially agitated. Amidst the stream of profanity spewing from his lips, Dean hears the words “foul ball” more than once. Then the wiry-haired boy lunges forward, shoving and threatening.

Sam launches himself off the bench and into the fray without hesitation. “Hey, come on,” he says, separating the two groups. “Knock it off. Now, what’s the problem?”

“There!” Dean crows, jabbing a finger at Sam. “That right there is why you should come back to earth. Because despite the fact that my brother had freaking demon blood dripped into his mouth when he was a baby, despite the fact that he saw me ripped to pieces before his eyes, despite the fact that a demon manipulated him into setting Lucifer free to roam the earth, despite all this, he does his best to do the right thing, to be good and kind and willing to help. I know that you’re not used to having a choice, Cas, but you have one now and I’m asking you to use it the right way. Use it for good, just like Sam is trying to do good, despite everything.”

Dean stops, catching his breath. He hasn’t given a speech like that since … well, he can’t remember the last time he gave a speech like that.

Castiel sits still for a moment. Then he gives a brief nod. “Very well. I have made my decision. I will stay and fight on the side of the Winchesters, come what may.”

Dean does a double take. “You will? Damn. I’m good.”

Castiel gives him a gentle smile. “Yes, you are. That is why I have decided to stay, because of your goodness, Dean. Not Sam’s.”

“Not that I want to look a gift horse in the mouth, but what? I don’t get it. I’m not all that good, dude. I drink and bang chicks and--”

“And you display such love for your brother, such forgiveness and empathy and faith as can only be divine in origin. You are correct. Choice is difficult, but you always seem to choose rightly, and that is perhaps something I can learn from you.”

Castiel makes a gesture toward Dean and suddenly Dean is back in bed at the hotel, looking up at the ceiling. He sits up quickly.

Castiel is stirring in his chair, blinking and shifting.

“Welcome back, sunshine,” Dean says, smiling.

Castiel blinks again. “It is good to be back. Except that my eye appears to be injured.”

“Oh,” Dean says, clearing his throat. “About that …”



End


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(Deleted comment)
LOL - great minds think alike! :-)

I liked it! A LOT!

and I lol'd, probably to the surprise of my neighbors!

Yay!! Thanks for reading and commenting and lol'ing. :-)

Lovely! I really loved Dean in this, he was just so Dean. Great job, sweetie! ♥

Thanks! When I'm not focused on teh angst, I like to have fun with Dean's character. :-)

eeee, this is great! ahahaha, i lol'd so hard at dean whipping out the magazine. :D also, i think, what i most loved about this was that it was sam who played the he helped us, we owe him card - it's a very sam thing to do, and i love it when sammy's being sammy. ♥

Yay!! I'm so glad you liked this piece! Thanks for letting me know. &hearts

Dean shrugs. “Why not? Maybe he'll be fixed when we wake up.”

I can SOOO see Dean reacting this way.


(Deleted comment)
Thank you! I'm so glad you liked it. &hearts

Excellent.

I think you had an great handle on Chuck and his mannerisms and a very thoughtful insight to your Castiel, which was very funny when he was catatonic but most of all I liked the resolution you came up with and why he chose to stay with the Winchesters.

Thanks for sharing. :)

Thanks so much! This story was a struggle to write, so comments like yours are cherished. :-)

Finally got a chance to read it, yeay!

This was really good.

It's too creepy to have a catatonic angel in my living room for me to get some quality z's

lol, poor Chuck. :)

Yay!! Thanks for reading!

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