Pairing: Sam/Dean, unrequited Dean/Castiel and Sam/Castiel and possibly Sam/Dean/Castiel
Word count: ~2,800
Warnings: Spoilers through season 6, fisting, Castiel POV
Disclaimer: Not mine.
Summary: In which Castiel is very busy and important but remarkably inept at prioritizing.
Notes: This is thoroughly ridiculous. I'm sorry.
ETA: Now with a podfic courtesy of chemm80. ♥
There's something off about Rachel's tone. She's known for her serenity and patience but now she sounds like Sam does when Dean wears his last pair of clean socks. She sounds annoyed.
"Rachel," he says in return. Making conversation has never been his strong point.
She huffs out a quiet breath accompanied by an affronted ruffle of wings. "You're needed, Castiel. The war- We need our general."
Castiel knows this already. He's fought wars before and although this is his first time leading an army of this scale, he knows the importance of commanders and their reputations.
Unfortunately, his reputation as a commander will just have to wait. Dean is currently repairing the shingles on Lisa Braeden's roof, which requires Castiel's full attention.
"I'll be there shortly," he informs her and tilts his head to get a better view of Dean sitting on the roof. He has a brief fantasy of Dean falling and of himself swooping in to catch him. He hasn't swooped in a while.
Rachel's wings flutter again but her tone is measured when she says, "That's what you said yesterday, Castiel. And the day before that."
"I meant it," Castiel says. He's been returning to Heaven as he promised but there are vital matters to deal with on Earth as well. Yesterday Dean cut his toenails. It was very important that Castiel was there to witness it. "Return to your post, Rachel."
On the roof, Dean pauses to wipe his forehead with the back of his hand and Castiel turns to look at Rachel for a moment. The face of her vessel is creased in a scowl and she opens painted lips to complain, "But-"
"Enough," Castiel interrupts. He has enough power to keep a demon like Crowley in line; he should not suffer insubordination from his troops. "I've given you your duties, Rachel. Return to your post."
Rachel's eyes narrow but thankfully she retreats. Castiel blinks at the space left behind for a moment, watching the wind rustle the leaves in the Braedens' garden, before he turns back to where Dean is working on the roof.
Just another five minutes.
It isn't just Dean.
Admittedly, Castiel does spend most of his earthly hours watching Dean. He watches Dean sleep and drink and eat and drink and work and drink but there's sometimes a period in the evenings when Dean spends his time sitting in front of the television watching golf. Although watching Dean sleep is eternally fascinating, Castiel has never understood the appeal of golf.
Instead he takes the opportunity to check in on Bobby Singer.
He tells himself it's for the good of the battle; if Bobby Singer is safe and healthy and well-informed, he'll be able to help Sam or Dean out if they're ever in trouble and so Castiel won't need to be disturbed by their requests for help. It's a very practical plan.
It remains a very practical plan when he stands invisibly behind Bobby Singer's couch for twelve Sundays in a row to watch something called True Blood. It contains flagrant inaccuracies about vampires, werewolves, shapeshifters, and the Southern dialect - Castiel spent two weeks inhabiting a waitress from Georgia before he could convince Jimmy Novak to say yes - but is nonetheless compelling.
Castiel views it as an excellent resource for things he should avoid doing while waging a war in Heaven. For example, he now knows that he should definitely not have sexual relations with any vampires.
A couple of months later, Dean temporarily becomes a vampire.
Castiel's resolve falters a little.
Sometimes Castiel comes to Earth to let off steam.
'Fun' and 'relaxation' weren't things that was encouraged in the old Heaven but after learning about these concepts during his time on Earth, Castiel wants to make sure that he uses his newfound free will to make use of these new opportunities, to act as an example for the rest of his troops by embodying some of the things they are fighting for.
He knows that a) Dean tends to experience both fun and relaxation using food, vibrating beds or a combination of the two, b) Bobby Singer is prone to watching certain television shows that he is too embarrassed to mention in front of the Winchester brothers, and c) the current version of Sam just seems to have sex with a lot of people. (Castiel isn't completely sure whether current Sam finds sex either fun or relaxing but he always seems very energetic.)
However, none of those methods really appeal to Castiel. So he makes his own fun.
Sam and Dean are on a hunt for skinwalkers who are killing people and plotting an uprising and doing other nefarious things which Castiel isn't necessarily keeping track of. Finding Purgatory takes time, after all.
(As does fighting a war in Heaven. Can't forget about that.)
While the Winchesters are busy fighting the dastardly skinwalkers, Castiel entertains himself in their motel room. He's now one of the most senior angels in Heaven and is effectively business partners with the ruler of Hell, and he whole-heartedly believes that the Winchesters should show him more respect.
For example, he is the general in a possibly-apocalyptic Heavenly war. He should not just be called down to Earth to identify horns and to put his hand inside Sam.
He therefore entertains himself using some of Gabriel's old suggestions, namely disposing of their pillows somewhere over the Irish Sea, using their towels to put out two kitchen fires in Rigby, Idaho, and merging Sam's vast collection of shirts together until his wardrobe is fifty percent reduced and fifty percent more garishly colored.
It's the little things.
While he's there, he also investigates the Winchesters' duffel bags in light of Ithuriel's concern that there may be some dark magic involved in light of the number of suits, shirts, shoes and pants which seem to fit into their bags. However, despite finding some questionable lingerie, some even more questionable sex items, and some incongruous jewelry, he doesn't find any hex bags or magical paraphernalia and reluctantly concludes that John Winchester's training also included extremely intensive packing lessons.
Just for good measure, Castiel makes the majority of their underwear disappear. It seems important that they conserve space.
He waits, invisible, until they return to the motel. Judging by Dean's griping, Castiel considers his attempts at reasserting his authority a success. Dean will clearly respect him more in future.
Sam, on the other hand, seems unfazed by the lack of pillows, towels and underwear, and simply walks around the motel room naked while he drips dry.
Dean does not seem as disturbed by this as Castiel would have suspected.
Castiel has just finished staging Crowley's death when the intervention happens.
He's clearing out the building full of monsters at Sam and Dean's request, and is currently tracking a stray shapeshifter baby through the hallways when his way is blocked by a barrier of stern angels.
Rachel steps forward.
Castiel isn't surprised.
"I'm busy," he says levelly. That baby can't have gone far. "Return to your posts."
"We need to talk to you, man," says Temeluchus. "This shit is going way too far."
Castiel privately judges whoever introduced Temeluchus to cable television.
"We have a war to fight," he warns. "I shouldn't need to remind you what happens to the world if Raphael is victorious. Return to your posts and do your duty."
"Yeah…" Temeluchus sighs. "That's the problem."
Rachel shoots him a look and Temeluchus raises his wings in apology. "Right, right, let you do the talking. My bad."
"Castiel, we're your friends," Rachel begins.
Castiel blinks. He was pretty certain that the Winchesters were his only friends. This new worldview is strange and confusing.
"You're our general," she continues, "and we want to support you, but we can't condone this. You're needed in Heaven, Castiel. We're losing this war without you there."
"I'm there," Castiel says firmly. "I'm leading the charge against Raphael but I have responsibilities here, Rachel. The Winchesters-"
"You watched porn, Castiel!" Rachel snaps, feathers audibly ruffled. She huffs out a breath, folds her arms, and sounds calmer when she says, "I know you have business to deal with down here and I appreciate that the Winchester brothers sometimes make important contributions to our defence but…" She sighs. "Next time it might be better to return and to aid our resistance for as long as you can instead of staying here to watch pornography with the humans."
"Also I don't recommend hooking up with siblings," Temeluchus chimes in. "I tried it once and it didn't end well." He leans in and whispers, "Lots of hairpulling. Mostly mine."
Occasionally Castiel doubts the 'free will' concept. Would it really be so bad if he just told people how to exercise their free will?
Rachel aims a glare at Temeluchus. "We'd appreciate if you didn't have relations with the Winchester brothers either," she says to Castiel. "This is an intervention, Cas. All our lives are at risk here. We need you to focus on the battle instead of these petty human problems. The whole world is at stake."
Castiel thinks for a moment. According to the leadership manual the Winchesters gave him for Christmas, he is supposed to maintain a position of dominance at all times but also supposed to acknowledge the contribution of his team members. He wishes humans were less contradictory with their advice.
Deciding it's better to yield rather than protest and possibly raise suspicions about his involvement with Crowley, Castiel inclines his head. "I agree."
Temeluchus raises his vessel's particularly bushy eyebrows. "Wow, seriously? After all that time hanging out with the Incest Twins, I thought you'd be more resistant to advice."
Castiel frowns and corrects him. "Sam and Dean aren't twins." Focusing on the matter at hand, he turns to Rachel and says firmly, "I accept your advice. I'll dedicate more of my time to the battle."
Rachel looks relieved. The crinkles around the eyes of her vessel smooth out as she says, "Thank you. I appreciate that."
Castiel smiles. He is doing an excellent job as a leader. "Of course." He looks around at the gathered angels. "Now return to your posts."
They vanish obediently and Castiel scans the hallway one more time for the runaway shapeshifter before following them back to Heaven. Rachel was right: the fight against Raphael requires his full attention.
Castiel really does fully intend to give the fight against Raphael his full attention.
Right after he gives Dean his opinions on the best place to leave Sam's soul and then watches soulless Sam chase Bobby Singer around the house with an axe.
"You raised your knife in a dramatic fashion but before you could stab Bobby in the throat, Dean caught your arm and knocked you out. They handcuffed you to the small bed in Bobby's panic room where you stayed until Death forced your soul back inside your body against your wishes and against my advice. Then you passed out and I put my hand inside you again."
His vessel is fighting for air and Castiel takes a breath before concluding, "Then you woke up."
As he's speaking, Rachel appears behind Sam. She taps her foot impatiently.
Castiel ignores her and finishes his narration, "Then you hugged Dean and Bobby."
He doesn't mention Sam's refusal to hug him. He's not a cherubim anymore. He doesn't need to be hugged by Sam Winchester.
Sam looks pale as he stares down at his hands. Castiel isn't sure why; yes, he's just retold some fairly harrowing recent events but it's not like Sam doesn't remember the gist of them himself. Maybe he just wanted Castiel to give him the details because he values his concise and practical summaries.
"Castiel," Rachel says with a sigh. Now she sounds like Sam does when Dean tries to make too much money during a pool game: annoyed and worried.
"I need to go," he tells Sam. "I have responsibilities."
Sam nods, still looking pale. "Okay," he says weakly. "Thanks, Cas."
Castiel disappears with a final nod, planning to concentrate fully on the battle now that Sam has been re-ensouled.
He only spends an hour or five wondering whether heartfelt expressions of gratitude count as the first step towards hugging.
A few weeks later, Castiel takes a brief leave of absence from battle in order to watch Dean dress Sam up like a cowboy.
He then puts his hand inside Bobby.
He hopes it'll be Dean's turn soon.
Not long after that, it all goes to hell.
(Not literally to Hell, however. Castiel knows from experience that it's very difficult to actually go to Hell; it's not the kind of thing one does accidentally.)
Despite his firm and resolute focus on locating Purgatory and defeating Raphael, he still provides assistance to the Winchesters when necessary.
He doesn't want to downplay their achievements since they have defeated some impressive foes in the past, but they do seem to make ill-advised choices staggeringly often. (The most recent being Dean's decision to poke his finger into a suspicious smear of blood outside the office of a doctor who contacted the CDC and then mysteriously disappeared. He likes Dean, he really does, but he does wonder sometimes how he hasn't died more often.)
He therefore spends some time with Sam, Dean and Bobby in Grants Pass, Oregon, Earth until the Mother of All is defeated, but he checks in again later that day, just to be certain that they aren't in further jeopardy.
They're the Winchesters. Jeopardy happens a lot.
He finds Sam and Dean holed up in the Oregon Trail Motel, thanks to the small tracking chip he borrowed from the CIA and concealed in their bags. Putting angel-proof markings on their ribs was an unfortunately short-sighted strategy.
It's evening on Earth, and Castiel settles himself comfortably in a dark corner of the room to watch over Sam and Dean that night. The floor shakes when a truck passes on the highway and the wagon-themed wallpaper is a little disconcerting but Castiel's spent enough nights invisibly loitering in cheap motels that it takes a lot more than that to faze him.
Unfortunately, a lot more than that seems to be happening in the bed.
He knows that Dean and the souled version of Sam often share a motel bed at night. He'd attributed it to a combination of childhood trauma, abandonment issues, and general codependency - he'd seen some very informative leaflets at the free clinic while invisibly watching Dean's appointment - but as he sees their bodies shift beneath the blanket, he begins to draw a different conclusion.
Dean's head is thrown back on the pillows and he lets out a muffled gasp as Sam does something Castiel can't see. Sam's shoulders are broad and bare and lit amber by the flickering lamp on the nightstand, and Castiel walks closer as he watches the flex and pull of Sam's muscles.
As he gets nearer, Dean kicks the blankets aside as he pants for air and it becomes immediately obvious that they're both naked, limbs entwined on the bed as Sam leans down to kiss his brother.
A strange heat floods through the belly of his vessel. Castiel assumes it is shock and/or horror at observing some very graphic incest and is careful to not give it any further thought.
He hears Dean laugh into the kiss, rough and short, and Sam's lips curve in a smile when he pulls back. Incest is evidently entertaining.
Sam changes position and Castiel frowns. He's aware of the mechanics of human intercourse and he's pretty sure Sam's hand shouldn't be-
The war in Heaven leaves his thoughts completely for a long moment as he watches Sam twist his wrist and Dean arch back on the pillows with a pleased groan.
Castiel exhales slowly. He doesn't experience jealousy often but he can't help but resent Sam for intruding in what is clearly Castiel's niche. If anyone is going to be putting their hand inside Dean, it should obviously be him.
He takes a step back from the bed and waits for his wings to stop twitching quite so much. He has things to do: he should be covering his tracks regarding his partnership with Crowley, or working on finding Purgatory, or trying to locate further weapons, or making sure that Balthazar hasn't really followed through on his threat to masquerade as a television chef for a while.
He's the general in a Heavenly war to prevent the apocalypse, for fuck's sake. He should not be spending his time invisibly stalking the Winchester brothers.
A new sense of resolve settles over him. He's going to do his duty. He's going to defeat Raphael. He's going to win this war and save the world any way that he can.
Right after Sam gets his hand out of Dean.