It’s the kind of cold that cuts through Castiel, as if tiny holes are being drilled through him and that’s what’s sending vibrations shivering through his bones till his teeth are chattering so violently that his jaws are beginning to hurt.
Listen, buddy. Um… You can’t stay.
Dean’s voice creeps, unbidden, into Castiel’s mind, looping the eight syllables for the three-hundredth-and-fifty-seventh time since they’d first been said. Cas casts his gaze down to the cracked paving underfoot as something like hurt or shame or both bubbles and bursts within him, and he’s so preoccupied with trying to pinpoint when exactly what he’d done to upset Dean enough to warrant being kicked out that he doesn’t notice the first drop of rain exploding on the ground.
The second drop hits him on the back of his neck, icy and needling, and while he most certainly notices that one, he ignores it in the hopes that no more will follow. Castiel’s weak optimism finds its admonishment in the form of drops three, four, five, six and seven splattering down around him and a darkening sky growling its annoyance.
A weary breath escapes Cas and he ducks into an alley between two graffitied buildings; the rain continues to wash down around him, heavier with each passing moment as if every drop that stains the ground dark boosts the clouds’ motivation. The buildings provide little shelter from the knife-like wind, which still steals after Castiel like a hound intent on tracking his scent, but at least the brick walls rising up around him catch most of the raindrops before they can hit him. He tugs up the hood of his raincoat anyway.
Cas lowers himself to the ground, leaning back against the brick wall behind himself as he gazes up at the sliver of storm clouds visible between the roofs above him. A sense of nostalgia aches within him: once upon a time, he’d crafted clouds like those, made them fat with rain like overripe fruits ready to burst. He’d once been the one to make the earth rattle with rumbles of thunder—but now, when lightning strikes bright and loud, all Castiel does is wince and look away.
Perhaps this is why Dean doesn’t want him around: before, Castiel had been useful. He could heal Dean, smite demons for him—even when he was insane, Castiel had been able to at least supply the Winchesters with the blood they needed to kill the Leviathan leader. But now, he’s useless, barely able to survive on his own; maybe seeing how easily the Reaper had tricked and overpowered him finally made Dean realise—
Cas is jolted out of his thoughts by the small sound; at first, he thinks he might’ve imagined it, because looking around doesn’t reveal a source. Then he feels the light nudge against his leg, and he’s met by a pair of big, yellow eyes.
“Hello,” Cas says softly. The kitten mewls again in response and blinks at him. Its little form shivers, wet black fur clinging tight against its body and showcasing delicate ribs “Are you cold?”
As if to agree, the kitten hops up onto his lap and slips into the shelter of his coat. It sits back and looks up at Castiel once more. Carefully, Cas lifts his hand and strokes his finger gently across the kitten’s head. It bumps up into the touch, damp fur cold to Cas’ touch.
“I’m Castiel,” he tells the kitten, then asks, “Do you have a name?”
It tilts its head curiously at him, like this is a concept foreign to it. The kitten then reaches up a tiny paw to bat at a lock of hair hanging in Castiel’s eyes.
“I assume that’s a no. Would you mind if I called you Winchester? It’s a good name—the name of two brothers who saved the world.”
The newly-christened Winchester peers up at Castiel as if thinking over its new name, then it releases what Cas interprets to be a pleased meow and stretches out its little form before curling up right against his stomach. He can feel Winchester’s purrs buzzing against his torso through his shirt.
Castiel strokes Winchester’s fur again, feeling the kitten’s bones bump against his fingers through its fatless skin. “I suppose it’s just us, then,” he murmurs, and if a couple of teardrops drip down onto the small pile of black fur—well, Cas trusts Winchester not to tell anyone.