You were instantly aware of two distinctive sounds upon waking; one, the lullaby trill of Castiel’s wings, muffled by the wooden door separating your slumbering form from the liveliness of the bunker beyond your bedroom’s confines, the other being the hushed conversation of the angered Winchester brothers with the angel in question. Your mind clarified slowly, like the first blossoms of spring batting a hardened shell of frost to open towards the warmth of the sun. The wing song you’d gone so long without hearing echoed within your mind, diluted as if heard from underwater, the delectable noise of silvery bells pulling you from your dreams with ease, your ears perking up at the whispered argument unfolding beyond the wall. Your eyes shot to the threshold, the tired beam of yellow light from the library’s lamps disturbed by two columns of shadow, the murky obstructions moving with the tinkling of Castiel’s hardware, his footfall a mere whisper against the wooden flooring. A slam, shock absorbed by pages, no doubt, erupted as a book was thrown onto the library’s table, frustrated rage fueling the attack, louder footsteps approaching the guard standing vigilant outside of your door, the tips of his wings scratching against the walls with a musical clumsiness unavoidable in so small a space. Quills dragged against the grain of the wood, splaying themselves outward like a shield. Your ears followed their unseen movements, your mind connecting the formation with an oncoming threat. Castiel was in for quite the chewing-out from your adopted brothers.
“No, Cas, you can’t. It’s out of the question. You wanna tell us that after all that crap you dumped on her plate, you want to stay? After you left?No dice.” Dean’s voice was a violent storm of a hiss, promising of tempests the likes of which the angel had never witnessed. His voice struggled audibly against the undying urge to raise in volume, their assumption of your state of consciousness keeping their voices docked to a furious whisper. Castiel’s wings ruffled, uncomfortable under fire, their song agitated as their owner replied, his breathy whisper painted with his sincerity. The adoration was obvious in his tone. God, how you’d missed that sound, how your heart raced to hear the tenor of his voice after so long…
“You saw what they did to her, Dean, even after I tore myself from her side. They hunted her while she was with me, and they hunted her after I erased myself from her life. They will continue their hunt, Dean, regardless of you or me or anyone. With or without my presence, she has become a target. By affiliating myself with her, I’ve put her in danger. The closer I am, the easier it will be to shield her from harm. I couldn’t see that before,” he mumbled, the sound of his voice bringing the hairs on your arm to attention, your hands gripping the sheets, wrists screaming in remembered agony, your eyes staring down at the long-fingered ink stains left behind by your demonic encounter. The equally grotesque reminders of your experience with Castiel’s more orthodox kin were just now beginning to fade from sight, providing a faded canvas for your more recent injuries to paint over. Castiel’s wings seemed to lilt at your wince as your fingertips trailed along splotches of pain, your emotions transferred through the darkness, your soul relaying your discomfort to him. The doorknob twitched, metal flinching as he laid a tentative hand on the entrance. Sam’s grunt of disapproval halted your angel’s actions before the door could be opened. The wings you so longed to feel between your fingers returned to their protective stance, feathers hushing against your door.
“Sure, Cas, everything’s fine until you have to jet off. What then? Are you going to make her forget again? Cast a spell, toss her in some random-ass hospital battered beyond recognition? We can’t keep picking up your broken toys, Cas!” He docked his volume again, inhaling deeply to calm himself. “Look, I’m all for her safety, Cas, you know I am. Y/n means the world to me, to both of us. But that… that was too much. The poor kid’s been wandering around with fake memories and migraines whenever she so much as sees a book out of place. We’re running around covering your tracks, but we can’t erase you, Cas. You can’t just opt-out of her life. You’re everywhere, and she noticed. She was chewing Tylenol like Trident. So don’t do this, don’t stay, unless you’re absolutely sure you’re here for good. I won’t let you walk if you hurt her again. I’ve killed for her too many times to count. Don’t think you’re exempt. In or out, buddy, you’ve got to choose.” Dean replied, his hands falling to strike the denim at his thighs. The wings went silent, your heartbeat faltering as the tension in the air shivered. Castiel’s hand dropped from the doorknob, his feet progressing towards the other voices, the air practically vibrating with power. A high pitched ringing rang throughout the cavernous bunker, light emanating from beneath the doorway as Castiel’s temper took over his composure.
“You cannot possibly blame me for leaving her, Dean, not after what they’d done to her. You didn’t see…” he paused, emotion choking his stern response to silence. He cleared his throat, continuing his defense. “You cannot imagine what they had done to her. I healed what I could when I sent her to you, and still you were shocked at the extent of her injuries.” He paused allowing the brothers to digest this new information. Surely, if they had known, they would never have confronted the angel. “Do not reprimand me for attempting to save her life. I was given three choices, two of which resulted in her death. You would have done the same. Erasing her memory was the lesser evil. I did hat I could to protect her, but even after all I’d done, she was a flare. Every shade of the spectrum, of Heaven or Hell, wanted her dead regardless of her recollection. Deserting her was the most painful action I have ever taken. I would not willingly do so again. If you force me away, Dean, you force the hand of every executioner calling for her blood.” His footsteps returned to the door, his hand turning the handle. “You should be focusing on finding Ansiel’s location. There are greater evils in the world than me.” The light died down, the brothers silenced by Castiel’s speech, the ear-splitting toll of cathedral bells fading to the shimmering swells of song. The hinges groaned as the wooden entrance swung open, his eyes focusing on your form in the dark, the brothers staggering backward in his wake.
He walked to your side, his wings molding themselves like liquid to the door frame before expanding within the bedroom, feather strokes matching the charcoal smudges on the ceiling, his eyes lifting to the markings he’d made. His cheeks glowed a soft rose at the memory, heat radiating from his body, carrying the delicate scents of him on waves of warmth. With a roll of his shoulders and a gust of air created by the tremor running through his feathers, the door was thrown closed behind him, his wings sighing as they stretched for you. You wriggled beneath the covers, your body sore and slow, every movement a tedious, excruciating ordeal. Your body was anxious to feel the touch of his hand, his warmth, of anything after being deprived for so long a period of time. His wings refracted the limited light in your darkened bedroom, bending the shadows about him like a cloak, a thin veil of luminosity mingling among the ebony of the artificial night, the masses of feathers moving like a canopy, shrouding your figure as his arms wound around you. His palms were glowing before his body met yours, his hands moving to ghost over your attacker’s fingerprints, the familiar healing hue bursting over your injured flesh. His wings sighed as his breath left his lungs, his exhale disturbing your hair, his face glowing in the light he had summoned. You melted into his chest, your eyes glued to the prisms shattering over the fabric of his trench coat, small diamonds traveling across the cloth as his wrists bent, his fingers gracing each minor wound, every scrape, his hold on you never decreasing in strength or fervor. When he had finished mending your wounds, his hands went still, intertwining with your fingers, holding your hands suspended between your chests. His head raised, eyes drawing yours from his work to meet his stare, sapphires molten with passion, concern, and relief.
Surprisingly, there was no need for conversation. His eyes spoke a thousand phrases, including the apologies he need not offer. His wings shuddered above you, feathers brushing against your cheekbone, leaving a trail of sparks in their wake, his hand soon following suit, a human gesture replacing the otherworldly elegance he so easily possessed, adding a sense of affection more potent than the touch of his celestial extensions. It was… strikingly simple, these encounters, the pad of his thumb sweeping down from your cheek to your chin, pulling your face closer to his, his eyes flickering closed as his lips met yours, serenity blossoming behind your eyelids. The air shimmered against you with peace and bliss as Castiel’s lips pulled against yours, wings sighing sweet melodies as you twined together. His kiss was tender, sweet, and slow, tasting of a joy he had lived without for too long, his vibrancy returning in waves, the withered form he had taken without you swelling back to his former brilliance. His tongue swept over your lower lip, his hand moving from your chin to tangle in your hair, pulling you closer still, your head tilting as his kiss deepened. This was an angel testing the limits of his vessel. There was no restraint, no shield between you now. You were, in a way, experiencing Castiel for the first time. Your tongue stroked against his, braver now that you’d known loneliness, the affectionate trill of his wings masking the suctioning sounds of your lips as you separated, his forehead bending to rest against yours, his hands trailing to your torso. You smiled, warmth flooding to your cheeks, likely painting them a far more violent shade of rose than Castiel had exhibited, your fingers reaching into the canopy of feathers that had swaddled you. Castiel’s chest rose at the delectable contact, staring down at you in what could only be described as unadulterated relief, his skin speckled with borrowed light as his feathers shattered the darkness like crystals. It was a pure light, a colourless light, the simplest form of his wings you had ever seen. And he was beautiful.
“I take it you’re in, then?” you breathed, his lashes brushing against your brow, his lips turning upward at the sound of your voice. He smiled, ducking his face to your hair, his feathers tracing the formerly sore ridges of your spine as he chuckled, his hands squeezing around your waist, a simple pulse, sending thrills to your toes. He nodded, wordless at first, shifting so as to support you as he laid himself down, taking you with him, your head resting against his chest, wings forming a shimmering sky above, locking the source of their warmth beside you in the most brilliant cage to ever exist. His arms secured you to his side, your fingers tracing what little Enochian you had picked up from his mindless scribbling onto his abdomen, your touch light as air, his breath stirring your hair, cooling your skin. His hands traced down your back, holding you firmly to his chest. He inhaled slowly, seeming to relish the last of the silence before tainting it with his voice.
“There’s no place I would rather be,” he whispered, his wings collapsing to cocoon around you, feather tips roaming your skin with a soft integrity. His lips pressed into your forehead, your eyes drooping to the softest of songs, Castiel’s feathers whimpering an angelic lullaby. You found peace in sleep for the first time in far too long, a whispered “I love you,” the last sound to grace your ears before you surrendered to the dreamworld now so like your reality, your angel watching over you.
It was twenty-five minutes until closing, and Louis was wondering whether he could convince Harry that playing with all of the cat toys while on his back would be a good sales technique again, when the door chimed open.
It was two lads who looked around his age, early twenties or so. One of them immediately looked over at the kittens who were all sleeping in a big pile of fluff in the cage nearest the door. “Look, Liam,” he said, pulling the other boy over.
“Perrie would kill you if you came home with another cat,” Liam said, but he let his friend lead him over.
“Are you in the market for a cat, then?” Louis asked this Liam fellow as he made his way over. Paul had gone for the day, and whatever Niall or Harry might say to the contrary, Louis did take his assistant manager title quite seriously. Or at least he did when there were two fit blokes around to potentially impress.