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It seemed that purgatory was on their side for the moment, the weak sun peaking in the sky and refusing to budge any further. It made Dean squint for the longest time; his eyesight was probably going to be fucked for awhile. Maybe he should wear an eye patch so one eye was ready for the dark and the other for the daylight, like in that Mythbusters pirate episode.

After Dean’s breakdown (which he never wanted to talk about again, thank you) he and Cas walked side by side when the path allowed, holding hands like children abandoned in the forest by their parents. It seemed silly to stay apart after that first barrier of touch was broken, not when the illusion of safety and comfort was literally within their grasp. He supposed the handholding made it easier to sneak up on them – any restriction of movement was bad during an ambush attack – but Dean didn’t really care. It wasn’t like there was anyone around to see them aside from the occasional fugly under-the-bed.

And that was strange, too: Dean could hear the monsters around them in the bushes and trees, see traces of their passing, but after the rush of Stalker Vamp’s attack they were given a wide berth by all the creepy crawlies. It might have been the determined angel next to him, or the wicked rock blade in his unoccupied hand, or even some sixth sense that told the monsters he and Cas were not to be fucked with.

Or it might have been something else entirely. After all, it was rather conceited to think the whole world revolved around them (even though most of the time it certainly seemed to).

The forest around them started to change, as it did from time to time, the trees spreading out and the bushes thinning. The daylight made everything seem pale and grey, the greens and browns bursting into a variety of shades he hadn’t seen in ages. Honestly, Dean barely noticed purgatory’s costume changes anymore and wouldn’t have noticed this one except that Cas stopped in his tracks, alert like a hunting dog catching a scent. Since Dean was holding his hand at the time – and fuck you very much, Dean’s brain, it wasn’t girly or stupid – he stopped, too.

Cas squinted into the whispering trees to the left of the road. “There’s something ahead of us. It’s not on the path or headed this way but it’s aware of our presence. Something big.” He squinted, frowning, then nodded. “You should investigate.”

Dean shook his head, tugging on Cas’ hand. “Uh, no. The last time I went walkabout away from this thing I wound up catching rides from a Sendak reject. Whatever creepy crawly has your attention it can come attack us like a man…ster. Monster. Whatever, you know what I mean.”

“It’s very bright. Can’t you feel it?” Cas tilted his head, like he was tuning in to a fuzzy radio channel. He looked like the RCA dog.

“The only thing I feel is your sweaty palm. Come on, dude.” He tugged again; Cas wouldn’t be moved.

“It’s not evil, Dean, I can tell. I think it wants to talk to us. To you, specifically. I think it can help. You should go find it.”

“Not evil - are you insane? We finally get a break in the ‘Land of the Lost’ and you want me to wander off in the middle of some unknown’s territory to make chit chat? Fuck that.”

Dean.” Cas grabbed Dean’s head between his hands, stopping his outburst the quickest way possible and forcing him to look him in the eye. His fingers curled in the hair behind his ears. Dean blinked, absorbed once again in the feeling of Cas’ thumbs grazing his temples. He didn’t think he’d ever get tired of the simple grace of being touched. “There is some good here, Dean, we’ve seen it. Remember my oath? I swear I will not abandon you again.”

Dean’s breath stuttered; it seemed his body thought it was important to keep bringing in the scent of his angel, so breathing was essential again. It had been a poor joke - Cas’ palms weren’t sweaty at all.

“This creature doesn’t want me near it but I’ll be watching closely and will come if you need me. I believe this can help us. Do you trust me?”

And there was the million dollar question right there. Dean blinked again, trying to swallow around the lump in his throat. “Yeah, Cas. ‘Course I trust you.”

“Then do this for me. I’ll be waiting here to guide you back to the path.”

Against his better judgment Dean allowed Cas to step away from his desperate grip and went into the woods alone.


It was strange to be on his own again. The hackles on his neck rose for the first time in ages, though there weren’t any warning signs something was waiting to pounce on him. There was something different about this part of the woods. It was a sound, an expectant silence. A flavor to the not-air that put Dean on high alert and made his heart – that unreliable organ - pound double-time in his chest. It was a lot like when he’d found the siren’s lair though there was a different type of tension at work.

It was the feeling of small watchful animals waiting for a predator to leave their patch of forest behind.

The trees slowly bloomed around him, their heavy white buds sagging on the twisted branches until the petals made a soft carpet on the grass under his worn boots. Had he been able to smell them properly, Dean was sure he’d be sneezing from the heavy perfume of pollen floating in the air. The pale sun made the white and purple of the blossoms shimmer like a mirage.

He passed under a particularly gnarled tree to find a clearing filled to bursting with blue flowers. Large bulbs the exact shade of the sky bounced softly in the breeze, their centers a pale cream. The whole place was surreal. There weren’t squirrels or deer or any small game to be wary of him. Flowers didn’t grow in purgatory. Nothing grew there, not the trees, not the monsters, not anything. Static permanency was the nature of this place.

And yet there was sun and flowers and little living things. (There had been day before, but nothing like this. Nothing like summer.) It drew Dean out of the trees and into the clearing, almost against his will.

A flicker of movement in the corner of his eye had him raising the rock blade to slice through the air behind him. The creature trembled, so small it was buffeted off its original course by the rush of breath Dean released at the sight of it. He almost missed it in the brilliance of the blooms around him.

A butterfly drifted lazily along the arch of the blade, so close Dean could see the delicate velvet of its wings. It fluttered in front of him for a moment as if sizing up his mettle and then flew over his shoulder. Dean held very still, not wanting to startle the tiny unlikely creature. He swore he could hear a faint hum as it dithered by his ear – almost as if the little thing were singing as it wandered.

It bounded playfully across the clearing to land on a pale twisted branch rising out of the lavender bushes. It pumped its wings once, softly, and then the branch shook. Dean’s heart stopped. Not a branch not a branch holy fuck –

The beast had been standing so still he’d looked right past it at first. The butterfly, dislodged from its perch, fluttered its merry way along the animal’s horn, down its silver-white mane, and back into the woods where it disappeared.

“No. Freaking. Way.” This was no monster out of a children’s drawing. And Dean was pretty damn sure rainbows didn’t shoot out of its ass, either.

This unicorn didn’t look anything like a horse, or even a goat or a deer. It was its own creature, terrifying in its stillness and pure beauty. It stepped out of the bushes and into the clearing where Dean stood rooted to the spot, images of impaled fathers and bloody billboards romping through his mind. It – she, Dean somehow knew it was a she – stopped a few feet away and took a deep breath full of the scent of him. She sighed, sweet as bells on the wind, and shook her neat mane.

Do not be afraid, Dean Winchester. I will not harm you so long as you do not touch me without my permission. The unicorn’s voice shimmied past his ears and lodged deep in his brain. It didn’t echo as badly as the Wild Things voices had; the knowledge of her speech settled upon him as if it’d always been there. I am curious what a human is doing hunting in my wood. I’ve not spoken to one in a very long time.

“And how is it that you can speak to me? Why do all you nasties get a free pass into my head?”

The language of my race is extinct and meticulous, far beyond what your mortal being can grasp even in this realm of strangeness. But the minds of men are fragile and easily manipulated if you know what you’re doing.

“Hey! I’m not fragile, sister.”

The unicorn turned her neck until she was looking at him from the side, as regal as any royalty. He felt instantly remorseful for his rudeness. Her eyes were the same deep darkness found between the stars. He didn’t dare look into them too closely, afraid he’d fall and be lost forever.

He mumbled an apology and ducked his head. She whinnied, a hint of humor creeping through the connection between them. Well, you proved my point if nothing else. It appears men are still just as irreverent as they always were.

The tone of her voice shifted, gaining depth and density until it dropped heavily itno his thoughts. I bring warning: You walk a dangerous path, Dean Winchester. It is one I traveled myself, a long while ago. You must beware the Red Bull.

“The Red Bull?” Dean blinked. At first he thought she meant Ferdie… but the Wild Thing’s fur had been a calico brown, not red. "Um. The energy drink?"

The unicorn made a small noise in her throat and tilted her head. I have no idea what that means but I feel as if I should be insulted. Mankind has gotten strange since I left it. You've never been very bright as a whole but now you make no sense at all.

Dean smirked and rolled his eyes. It was worse than talking to Cas.

She stomped a cloven hoof, leaving a deep gouge in the flowers. The forest shifted behind her, threateningly, shadows looming in places shadows shouldn’t be. Show a little respect, human. I will allow your impertinence once and once only. I have guarded this forest since before your grandmother’s mother’s mother knew to come in from the rain. Do not mock me.

He held up his hands, palms out, trying to appear as respectful and inoffensive as possible. He’d never been very good at that. “I’m sorry, sorry. It’s just… I’m confused, that’s all.”

She snickered, bobbing her head. Eternity will do that, I suppose. It drains us of our hopes and thoughts and leaves us shadows of what we were. She shook her mane again, snorting, and the light shifted back to the muted glow bouncing off of the petals around her. Time and forgetfulness are your enemies. They lend themselves to the death of spirit. It is this death you court. I have seen it many times since my heart met the sword of one like you.

Something flashed in her liquid-dark eyes. The voice in his head softened until it was nothing more than a sorrowful whisper on his heart. You remind me someone I knew, a long time ago. He was a dangerous fool, too. I miss him.

Seeing you helps me remember… and for that I am grateful. I will grant your request.

A bloodcurdling shriek echoed around the glade; it took Dean the few seconds he used to cover his ears to realize it came from the unicorn’s mouth. She bayed, raised up onto her back legs – and then she was charging, faster than Dean could run away, and the wicked sharp tip of her horn pierced his chest.

It hurt, terribly so. The nerves in his body lit up like he’d landed in a puddle of cold water and electrocuted himself alongside the monster. He felt it in his throat, the terrible mix of leftover phoenix ash and whiskey he’d downed as a last resort. The slice of a blade in his arm and the coppery smell of fresh blood seeping through the air. The crumble of crossroads dirt under his fingernails.

The pressure of her horn was every stupid thing he’d ever done in the name of a hunt, every time he’d damaged himself for something bigger. It drove him to the limits of his perception and pushed him over into somewhere else.

He fell.

His body blazed lava-hot and fiery, consuming the numbness with blistering aggression. The cracked surface of his soul shattered and burst apart. The power surged through him until it was too big, too much, and fell back in upon itself – a supernova collapsing. His awareness narrowed down to the vacuum in his chest, a single point of stubborn contact with the universe.

(a heavy weight gone negligible over time, the tap of warm metal – bronze, it was bronze – against his sternum – the same place, she’d touched him the same place where it used to hang)

For the briefest of moments, the tiniest spec of suspended time, Dean tasted cherry pie.

He choked in a breath, hands flying to his chest, expecting to find a gaping hole beyond even supernatural healing‘s capacity to repair. It was smooth and perfect, the same as always – his shirt didn’t even have any marks.

Dean sat there, breathing, feeling each compulsory contraction of his lungs. He felt solid, like a door had been closed to keep the echo in. The hard knot he’d tied himself into was gone, cut right through the middle. Instead he lived in the space beneath his skin again, filling in the borders of his body. He concentrated, focusing on the strength he knew was inside… and felt it there, brimming, waiting, at his command.

He opened his eyes to find the unicorn a safe distance away, politely chewing on a tuft of flowers and ignoring Dean rather pointedly. “What the hell did you do to me?”

Healed you. As much as I could, anyway. It’s not perfect but it is a start. You’re welcome.

“What do you mean you healed me? There wasn’t anything wrong with me!”

She raised her head, a blade of grass grinding between her blunt teeth. The expression would have been a little like a smile if her face had been meant for that. Oh, there’s more wrong with you than even I can fix, silly boy. I’d wager you’ve always known it, too, so don’t play dumb now.

He rubbed his chest again, feeling the phantom ache of where she’d touched him. “I didn’t request this. I didn’t ask you for anything.”

Of course you didn’t. And if you had I wouldn’t have done it. It’s not for the asking. She bowed her head, shifting her eyes the way Dean had come through the forest to her clearing. He did, though, if you must know. Ask. For this and your safe return.

His brain stubbornly refused to start up again from the jolt of whatever mojo she’d worked on him. “He? What – Cas asked for you to fix me?”

She raised her grand head to scent the edge of the clearing where the lilac trees blew gently in the breeze. He glows very brightly, your angel, waiting for your return. Like a lighthouse. Do you have any idea what you’ve done to him?

Dean sputtered like a fish out of water.

You’ve changed him. He’s different than the rest of his kind and will be forever more. Knowing you has given him the strength to embrace that. Of all the angels who’ve ever been, he was the first of his station to put faith in something other than what he was told. In you. That faith will destroy him, one day.

The unicorn read them so easily. He wanted to protest that he hadn’t changed Cas, that she had it all wrong, but in his heart Dean knew she was right. All this time he’d been guilty and terrified that he’d ruined something good in Cas, that everything bad that’d happened to him was all Dean’s fault. (Real or not, he still remembered pill bottles and guns and the end of everything.) He’d been worried about corrupting Cas without even knowing he had been.

He watched the unicorn’s glowing brightness, so different than the gloom he’d known for so long. “But how can you be sure? How do you know it will?”

Because I am him. And it destroyed me. Petals fell from the trees in a wave of sorrow to settle wearily in the grass. The world dimmed as if a great cloud had passed over the sun.

Dean watched the effect the unicorn’s sadness had over the world around her and saw again how tied to this part of purgatory she was. How it was her presence that encouraged living things to linger in a place meant for the unmoving dead. He realized that though there couldn’t be life after destruction… there might be a chance for new growth instead. A sapling rising up through the ash of the woods, stronger for the fire that razed its predecessors.

The unicorn turned her pale body away from him, back toward the safety of her glen and the lilac trees. Remember what we spoke of today, hunter, and go away now. Leave my forest behind.

“I will, thank you, I just…” Dean looked around at the clearing at the trees beyond it, feeling strangely bereft and alone again. There was no sign of his entry, no beacon to point the way; everything looked the same to him. “I can’t see the way back to my friend.”

She shook out her mane and stared into the distance beyond Dean’s shoulder. The great beast huffed a sigh and skirted around him delicately, flicking her tail in his direction. All right. I will take you back to your angel and grant you safe passage as far as I am able. One last boon, for old times’ sake.

They walked side by side back the way he’d come, following some trail Dean couldn’t see. His fingers ached to stroke the unicorn’s soft pelt - just a few inches out of reach - but he curled them into fists instead. He didn’t have permission and after what happened last time any part of her touched him Dean knew not to press his luck.

For her part she ignored his furtive looks and did not speak. Dean got the impression she was lost in her own thoughts.

Soon the road appeared ahead of them, the tan of Cas’ torn trench coat shining in the sun. When he saw the beast escorting Dean through the flowering trees Cas bowed his head briefly; one monarch greeting another. The unicorn bobbed her head and shook her mane, squinting in his direction. I return him to you, unharmed, as promised.

“Thank you. For your hospitality and your patience.”

The unicorn pawed the ground a bit, restless, uncertain. She spoke in a rush, as though in a hurry to depart. Go with grace, Castiel, and may your choices fare you better than mine. Beware the Red Bull. Then she ran, a streak of starlight in the bright day, a wisp of a memory gone in a breath. Blue and white petals drifted in her wake.

Dean and Cas watched her go. It felt as though she took something of theirs with her when she left - some cold immeasurable thing settled on their shoulders with her absence. Dean was sure nothing would ever be beautiful again.

"The Red Bull. She’d said that once before, Cas. We're not gonna run into one of those things are we?"

Cas blinked, as if a waking up from a restless sleep. He shook his head, precise and controlled. "No, it’s just a metaphor. The Red Bull isn't real."

"Then what’s it mean?" The unicorn had told him that time and forgetfulness were his enemies, but he didn’t think Cas knew how to forget anything and every angel Dean ever met seemed to keep time in their back pockets.

Cas shook his head, slowly, watching the space where the unicorn had disappeared into the trees. “The Red Bull is love. It’s blind, and it runs down anyone foolish enough to stand in its way.”


The road rose steadily uphill under their feet. Dean and Cas followed it until Dean’s knees crumpled under the weight of his thoughts and he couldn’t make them move forward any further. He sat quietly on the path, butt in the dirt and feet pointing at the sky. It had whittled down to the barest hint of a game trail and the forest loomed large on either side.

He was aware of Cas taking up space behind him and of the wind whistling through the lilac trees above but found his thoughts too powerful a distraction to really care. He thought about angels and unicorns, warnings and weapons. He thought about what home was and whether or not he should return there.

And then he started to talk.

“I’ve always known there were monsters loose in the world. It was something that… it wasn’t a surprise, you know? If something bad could happen to Mom, and our house, and all my toys - and make Dad so sad all the time - then there must be evil out there. When Dad told me about it I knew he was telling the truth. I don’t think I understood about lies until kids at school started asking why Sammy and me were different from the other families, why we didn’t have a mommy. I couldn’t tell them the truth, so I made up stuff.”

Cas slumped into the dirt next to Dean, sighing deeply, his shoulders drooping. He didn’t say anything, just settled in to listen like Dean was telling him stories again. Cas didn’t reach out to hold his hand but he did press their knees together in undemanding companionship. His silent presence gave Dean the courage to keep going.

“When Sam found out the monsters were real… It was all new to him, then. Like he was on an adventure or something. Everything could be possible, every story he’d read about could actually happen. If werewolves and ghosts were real then why not the tooth fairy, or Santa Claus? What about opening doors to Narnia? Could we try, Dean, he used to say, just this once?” Dean watched the swaying flowers bobbing in the breeze. He took a deep breath before slowly letting it out through his mouth. “Sammy believed in happy endings until the demons took Jess. I think he still does, deep inside.”

He rubbed his eyes, chasing away the moisture gathered there. “I ain’t the hero of this story, Cas; I know my ending’s gonna be bloody and sad. But…” The words left him, dried up in his throat, and he looked out at the desolation of purgatory creeping under the blossoms like makeup on a corpse. He swallowed, wishing for the remembered taste of whiskey sloshing in his flask. Wishing it would make a difference. “God, Cas. I don’t want it to end like this.”

Cas remained silent for awhile, eventually lifting a cautious hand to Dean’s shoulder. It rested there, heavy through all of Dean’s layers. He squinted into the sun, expression familiar and contemplative. “If we’ve done our jobs right then the world moves on without us. There are no endings because nothing ever ends. The stories just… change after awhile.”

Dean snorted, sad for reasons he couldn’t name. “And what happens to the characters when the reader closes the book? We’re in a story, too, Cas, or did you forget? Chuck stopped writing the Winchester Gospels ages ago.”

Cas nodded and pulled his hand back, clasping it loosely in his lap with the other one. “And like I said then: we’re making it up as we go.”

The breath left Dean in something between a sigh and a sob. He felt his face crumble – only for a moment – and he rescued Cas’ hand from where it’d wandered away to hold it tightly in his own.

He remembered that day very clearly: Chuck’s dirty apartment, the archangels bearing down on them, Cas determined and shining with it. He’d helped Dean before, pointed him in the right direction a few times, but that was the first moment Dean realized how far he was willing to go for what he knew was right. He saw the strength at the heart of him that day. Cas had been so… so fucking grand standing up to their destiny that way.

It still took Dean’s breath away just thinking about it.

“Cas. The unicorn said… she said love was gonna destroy you.”

“Dean.” He tugged on their joined hands, turning Dean so they could look at each other. They were so close Dean could count Cas’ eyelashes. "Of course I love you. Was there ever any doubt?” He said it casually, as if he’d come to the conclusion ages ago and didn’t see anything remarkable about it anymore, if ever. The corner of his mouth dented inward, that trying-too-hard-to-get-the-joke grin. “I don’t bend the laws of heaven and earth for just anyone, you know."

And there it was, the elephant in the room, the source of all the tension between them when they touched. He’d known Cas loved him; he’d have been a fool not to figure it out before now. And of course Dean loved him back. They just never talked about it. It wasn’t like everyone else thought, though, all those demons and angels assuming they were boyfriends or something. It was just… hard to see the edges of something so big.

It wasn’t like with Sam. His love for Sam was buried deep inside his gut, as necessary as breathing used to be. Their love was like oxygen. There wasn’t any choice in the matter. John and Mary had been the same. Bobby, too, for all his faults. But Cas…

Cas was so different than Dean, a glowing ball of contradictions wrapped in a trench coat. He’d seen everything, was eons old but still experiencing human stuff for the first time. He was like a kid with a bomb in his backpack, or the Hulk; a force of nature that told bad jokes. He was passion and repression, guilt and the early stirrings of laughter. He smelled like ozone and hamburgers.

And god, he was glorious. He was the hint of something remarkable in the set of his vessel’s shoulders, the shadows that lived in the thin skin under his eyes. A radiant burning presence in the joints of his hand, the thinness of his legs. Cas’ passage through the air was what created the ramshackle mountain range in Jimmy’s hair.

His effect on Dean was just as strong, almost as if he’d been living inside Dean, too. Being around Cas made his shoulders tense, his stomach tie itself into origami, his hands drop things. He made him smile and sigh and hope for something better and want what he already had. Cas made him want anything. He made him—

He made him want.

Oh, hell. Fucking… fucking hell.

Dean loved Castiel. Not just loved him but loved him. Like with the flowers and the candy and the throwing up and the feelings and the never-wanting-to-be-apart. Like he was crazy, head over heels for the guy. Only Cas wasn’t a guy, he was just squatting in one and that messed with Dean’s head all over again. And messed with his body, too, because he could feel the meatsuit around himself again, a struck bell trembling, and he was sitting so close to Cas that he was breathing in what Cas was breathing out.

Cas’ lips were chapped again, like they were when they’d first met. Only he and Cas had known each other before that time in the barn, hadn’t they? They’d traveled so far together it was hard to remember where the road began.

(And if he loved Castiel, then shouldn’t he love him? Properly, and with everything he had?)

Dean kind of wanted to bite those chapped lips, feel the loose skin tear off between his teeth and lick the salt that came after. And he kinda wanted to get Cas some chapstick, too.

Damn, but he was one fucked up Winchester.

“Dean?” Some of his thoughts must’ve showed on his face because Dean could see the whites in Cas’ eyes like when they’d visited that whorehouse years ago, though there wasn’t any fear lurking in them this time. Instead Cas looked surprised and nervous and unsure, as if he’d tipped the balance on some scales very carefully tended.

The little line appeared between Cas’ eyebrows and what it did to Dean’s heart was too much, too terrifying, too encompassing for him to be alone with his thoughts any longer. He silenced his mind by closing his eyes and brushing their mouths together, the lightest touch he could manage and still feel the shock of pressure against nerves long atrophied. Cas gasped against him and it melted into a proper kiss, full of stubble and dry lips getting moist. They leaned impossibly closer to each other, stiff in the neck and jaws working, just enough give and take to make Dean’s eyes water. It was…

Well. Kissing Cas felt heavenly. He wasn’t sure what else he’d expected.

Then Cas pulled away with a choked out “no” and it felt like falling from somewhere high. Like being pushed.

“Right, sorry. Sorry. I know that’s – sorry. I haven’t brushed my teeth in awhile and you don’t – sorry.” Dean squeezed his eyes shut harder, his breath stuttering. What had he been thinking? He untangled his fingers from where they’d wandered to the back of Cas’ head, stroking through his hair completely without Dean’s permission.

Cas stopped him from withdrawing further, pressing Dean’s palm to his hairy cheek. His other hand cupped Dean’s neck and his thumb settled in the soft dip behind his ear. Slowly, ever so slowly, he tipped their foreheads together until they were leaning on one another, noses bumping. Dean opened his mouth – a sigh, an invitation, a word – but Cas beat him to it.

His voice was softer than usual, an intimate murmur Dean wouldn’t have heard if they weren’t pressed so close. “I’m not a sexual being by nature, Dean. I’ve done it before and it’s been pleasurable but... Being with you would be different than being with someone else. You identify as male, for one, much more so than I do, and I know how conflicted you feel about that. And second… it’s you. If we do this it could ruin everything.”

And then Dean was thinking about what doing this meant and how he was talking about more than kissing, about having sex and it was really hard to respect the millimeters Cas had forced between their mouths.

God, he wanted to feel that too, to feel Cas around him and over him and beneath him, and any combination of those he could get. Maybe even wanted to… Cas could be in him, a part of him, and he’d never thought that was appealing before but goddamn it was now. His mouth was watering with the want of it, lips quivering, trying to make himself ask for it but just not able to.

Cas gasped in a breath, lightly thumping their foreheads together. He turned his head a little so that his mouth pressed into Dean’s wrist. His voice was muffled, his wet lips and the hint of teeth scraping over the thin skin above the veins there. “I want to be with you, Dean, however you’ll have me. I never thought you’d want something like this. That I would. It’s… overwhelming. I need some time to think about it. Don’t you?”

The yearning pinged around inside Dean, bouncing off his ribs and fluttering against the underside of his skin (like a butterfly in the breeze). He sucked his lower lip into his mouth and chewed on it, in lieu of biting Cas’. The tiny jolt of simple pain sparked through him, bringing a little bit of clarity with it.

Cas was an angel living inside a guy. Did he have the right to ask Cas for any kind of – he hesitated to even thinking the words in his own head – physical relationship when they weren’t even the same species? How different would he feel if this were happening anywhere besides purgatory and the weird disconnect between his soul and his body? Was it the right thing to try and make this work?

They weren’t saying no to each other, just… not yet.

Dean sighed and nodded, his forehead rubbing gritty against Cas’ with the movement.

They stayed slumped together in the dirt of the path until the sun finally set in a riot of color. They parted when the hunter’s moon rose again, the mobius of their bodies sore and stretching, working blood back into tired muscles and listening to the night-creatures waking around them. When they were ready it was Dean that led the way down the road.



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