'Quarter Moon in a Ten Cent Town' for redbells
Any warnings: a few four-letter words but that’s it! Timeline: very early in the angel/Winchester relationship.
First posted here.
Also posted after the cut:
The night was seasonably quiet, it being too early in the year for crickets. Warm enough for shirtsleeves, just cool enough to remind Dean bikinis were still a long month away. Flickering neon fused blue as he passed by the motel office.
Through the window, he tipped a bottle of Jack in salute to long-suffering Howard, the desk clerk, but kept passing on by. It felt a tad disorienting being stuck somewhere without the Impala. Rather like Dean’d had an important appendage amputated. Brutally. But every once in a great while, Sam needed the car. This was one of those whiles.
A pack of shifters had dragged the boys to some little ten-cent town outside of the Wisconsin Dells. Dean wasn’t even sure it had a name; blink and you missed it. That notwithstanding, Sam had managed to snag himself a date. Yep. Every once in a great while, Dean wasn’t the only Winchester to answer the call of the wild. This was one of those calls. A booty call of the wild, Dean so proclaimed. Sam was only mildly amused.
So Dean found himself enjoying his own company this fine evening. He’d exhausted roughly ten dollars in quarters on the Magic Fingers in the hotel room, grabbed a bite and a beer at the Brat Haus Grille because the joint was within walking distance, and now it was time to drink his dessert.
The swimming pool was still drained for winter; a murky soup of brown water and rotting leaves sat in the bottom, stinking up the air. Dean kept walking until the funk had faded, ‘round back where a smattering of picnic tables were thrown about the grounds like old tombstones. He arbitrarily picked one and sat.
As much as he tried to relax, suck down half a bottle of whiskey and enjoy the ‘me time’, his mind kept wandering to where it always went: to his brother. The lanky, mop-headed pain in the ass. Who had no right to be tripping the light fantastic with some chick while—well, okay, maybe he had some right. Dean smiled to himself and leaned back, looking up at the sharp sliver of moon. Wouldn’t it be nice to have…peace? To have the weight of the world sitting on someone else’s shoulders for a change? No black-eyed douche bags, no psychic mumbo-jumbo. Just the car, the road, family, and the occasional slap-and-giggle with a honey, no strings attached. Too much to ask? Really?
He unscrewed the bottle and was taking a copious swallow when the sudden, papery sound of wings sent shivers down his back, prickling the tiny hairs on the nape of his neck.
“Hello, Dean.” The soft, familiar voice still managed to shoot adrenaline through Dean’s system, mostly because it came out of effin’ nowhere.
He choked down the whiskey and exhaled. Hard. “Sonofabitch, Cas. Do I have to put a bell on you?”
“I’m sorry, a bell?” The angel moved into Dean’s field of vision, delicate brow furrowed and lips pinched. She looked no different than she had before, than she ever did, rumpled raincoat and sensible shoes, a modest blouse buttoned nearly to her chin and simple blue scarf, slipped lop-sidedly under the coat’s lapels. Castiel’s chosen vessel might’ve been attractive if she weren’t so, so plain.
“Yeah. Like you do with cats…so that they…uh, never mind. Thirsty?” Dean offered the whiskey.
Castiel stared to the point of Dean’s discomfort. “No. Thank you.”
“Oookay. Yeah, so, Cas. You need something? Or you just happened to be in the neighborhood?”
The angel canted her head, finally dodging her gaze off to one side. “You prayed. I came.”
“What? No I didn’t.”
“Yes, I heard you.”
“Nope. Sorry, not me. You must’ve gotten interference in your halo or something.”
“Then I should leave?”
“No, God no!” Dean said quickly. “‘Alone time’ is highly overrated. Nothing good happens when I have too much time to think.” He scooted and patted the vacated warm spot at the picnic table, becoming more insistent when the angel hesitated.
Finally, Castiel sat, settling her hands between her knees. “Where’s Sam?”
“On a DATE. Can you believe it? And you know where he met her?” Dean paused for drama, shaking his head.
“No, Dean, I don’t.”
“The Goodwill Store. I kid you not.”
“Why would you kid m—“
“I mean, Goodwill?! And she’s hot, too. Hot in that nose-ring, indie, resale-shop sorta way.” Dean turned contemplative for a moment. “I wonder what else she’s got pierced…”
Castiel looked at Dean sidelong, her dark, disorganized hair rousing in the brief wind. Cas had this way of glaring that made Dean quite certain she read the dirty corners of his soul and found them…disconcerting. Thank God her ‘people skills’ were hazy or Dean would certainly get an earful. As it stood, she simply stared, lips slightly parted and bright blue eyes squinched.
“Yeah, well.” Dean cleared his throat and wet it again with more whiskey. The uncomfortable quiet hung between them like the thin sheen of spring pollen, a herald of warmth to come but itchy, regardless. The pause was eventually broken by the angel’s attention snagging on something in the breeze. She sniffed, shifting her gaze.
“I smell something…”
“Yeah, it’s those purple flowers.” Dean gestured with a twitch of his head, back towards a copse of fluffy bushes capped in great handfuls of dusky violet blooms. “Smells like-”
“Smells nice.” Castiel actually smiled, though the gesture was so fast and unexpected Dean wasn’t sure he’d seen it at all.
I was gonna say “like old lady” but hey, whatevs. “Huh. Guess it does.” He rocked off the table and sauntered to the bushes, one-handedly trying to wrangle free a bloom but the plant was too fresh; he struggled with the floral dismemberment until leaves and petals rained everywhere. Growling, he tucked his bottle under one arm, forced to struggle with both hands. Dean returned with one slightly mangled bunch, holding it out, grinning, triumphant.
Castiel frowned. “I don’t know…what….” She took the hank of flowers, giving it a brief sniff.
“Oh, for Pete’s sake, you really aren’t good with this ‘human’ thing, are you? First, you admire the incredibly generous gift I slaved over, express sincere gratitude, and then you tuck the flower…um….” Dean slipped the bloom from Castiel’s fingers and though his first instinct was to snug it between her tits, he opted to play the gentleman and thread the flower through her hair behind one ear. Dean was quite proud of his self-discipline. Getting his ass smited for touching angel boob wasn’t on the agenda tonight.
She even managed to blush. And in that moment, she looked so very much like a regular girl. A beautiful girl. Fair skin radiant under the ghost of a moon, hair so wild Dean just wanted to get his fingers caught—no, no you don’t, Winchester! Holy Hell.
Dean took a step back and gave Castiel the ol’ double thumbs’ up. Très smooth. “Right. So, um, how goes the war?”
Castiel gingerly touched the flower cluster, her expression turning stormy. “It goes.”
Wow. Way to kill the moment, Dean-o. He sighed and rolled his head, knowing the sort of weight that sat on the angel’s narrow shoulders because it sat on his too, and Dean’s were a great deal broader. Never made it better, though. Never made it easy. He sat down next to Castiel again, almost touching but not quite.
She shifted slightly. “I miss the way it used to be. Believe it or not, Dean, we are individuals, we angels. But we used to be of one goal, one direction. We had such strength in our unity. It was…notable.”
“Notable? That’s something, all right. This notability.”
If Castiel heard his sarcasm, she didn’t dignify it with a reaction. Clearly she had to get something off her chest and her appearance here had absolutely nothing to do with any supposed prayer of Dean’s.
“Now, we’re at war. When you humans say “War is Hell”, you have no idea. War is Heaven, rent end from end. Brothers slaughtering brothers. I’ve…I’ve lost so many brothers, Dean. We’re not accustomed to this. It was so much easier before….” The angel trailed off, staring at her hands which had fallen loosely into her lap. The fabric of her skirt was dotted with wet droplets, but it wasn’t raining.
“Cas?” Dean curled a finger under the angel’s chin and turned it towards him. Her cheeks had glistening trails down them and she bit at her lip to keep it from quivering. “Ah, Cas. God, I’m sorry. Don’t…don’t cry.” Really don’t cry because you’re melting my heart and I’m half-full of whiskey and it’s rutting season and-
The angel choked back a sob, certainly an effect of the vessel’s tender nature. Yes, there was divinity inside, but sometimes Jenny Novac seemed to bubble to the surface and make her humanity known. It was a rare and strange juxtaposition with Castiel’s terse, alien demeanor. But the longer the Winchesters spent with the angel, the more the two auspices seemed to merge into one. A human/angel stew. Dean liked stew.
“S-sorry…” The angel sniffled, her nose beginning to drip.
Dean pulled a face and for lack of a better handkerchief, he tugged Castiel’s blue scarf from under her lapels and dabbed at her leaks. It certainly brought out the care-giver in Dean, a role crafted from years of guiding and protecting Sammy. A role he begrudgingly fell into with practiced ease. “Here, blow. We can’t have all these waterworks messing up-” your beautiful face? Dean smeared away the wetness, noting with some stirring in his loins how the dampness clustered the angel’s dense lashes, how pink crying colored her lips. Stupid Jack Daniels, doing the driving. But Cas wasn’t pulling away either.
Dean carefully leaned forward, hands wrapped in the scarf and cupping the angel’s cheeks in his warm palms. Lightning might strike him dead but dammit if it didn’t just seem like the right thing to do. He kissed her, and no, she did not taste like cherry Chapstick. She tasted like vulnerability and salt and those sweet, sweet lilacs. And trouble.
At first, the angel was motionless, not even breathing. Dean felt her wet lashes flit against his cheek. Then, she kissed him back.
The voice was deep and very close to his ear.
“Oh, Deeeeeeean. Wakey, wakey. Come on, sleeping beauty.”
The voice silenced, only to be replaced by a vexing itch that fussed at Dean’s nose. And no, it wouldn’t go away. His lips felt raw, back stiff, and when he swatted at the annoyance on his nose, Dean discovered to his great misfortune he was on the very edge of his ‘bed’. There was a two-step tumble that bounced him from the picnic tabletop to bench to damp ground.
Someone apparently thought this was all extremely amusing, a someone who was very tall and blocked out the light and extended a hand down to Dean, sniggering all the while.
“Very funny, bitch.” Dean slapped the hand away and squinted up at his brother who was backlit by the rising sun. An empty bottle of Jack sat eye-level with Dean and grass stuck to the side of his face.
Sam crossed his arms, grinning dimples deep into his cheeks. “That’s a good look, there, Dean. Modern American Wino meets, oh, I dunno, Yogi Bear?”
Dean offered Sam a one-fingered salute and dragged himself to his feet. His back twinged yet somehow he felt…good. He should’ve had a raging hang-over but his mind was clear. And his libido was, well, sated. It was going to be truly awesome day.
“You just now rolling in?” Dean asked, scratching away the plant life stuck in his stubble.
Sammy simply shrugged and nursed a smug little smile. He was so damned private about his sexual exploits, the little shit. Not that Dean felt like being particularly forthcoming about his ‘Touched by an Angel’ evening.
“Breakfast?” Sam was still in the same outfit as the night before. But then so was Dean.
“Hell’s, yeah! I’m starved.” Dean clapped Sam on the back and the Winchesters headed off in the direction of the Brat Haus Grille for sausage and eggs. “Dude, you smell like sex.”
“Shuddup, Dean. You smell like…old lady.”
Left draped across the picnic table, like last night’s party streamer, was a plain blue scarf.