spookstiels

“Dean?” Cas calls out from the living room. Dean wipes his hand on the dish towel and leaves the tomatoes on the counter, making his way through the long bunker hallway to where Cas sits on the couch, staring at the TV transfixed.

“What is it?” he asks, concerned, turning to look at the screen. When he realizes what Cas is watching, he sighs his understanding.

“Cas, it’s just a television show,” he explains quietly. “People die on TV all the time.”

“But Ianto loved Jack,” Cas says softly, his voice haunted. He turns to Dean, his eyes half-wild. “What if something happens to you on a hunt? What will I do?”

Dean moves swiftly, sitting down across from Cas on the ottoman and taking his hands in his own. He rubs soothing patterns into the palms of his hand and speaks softly.

“I will never let anything happen to you,” he reassures him. “And I know that you’ll always be watching over me. But this is what humanity is, Cas. People die. They leave, and you’re left with a hole in your heart, and you need to move on or else you’ll be swallowed by grief, and that’s not life anymore.”

“But I don’t understand how Captain Jack could move on from this,” Cas says, tears welling up in his eyes. He wipes them away, frustrated at how easily they come to him now that he has a soul, but Dean leans in and cups his face in both hands.

His kiss is deep and slow and comforting, and Cas sinks into it, sinks into Dean’s hold, his touch, his very alive hands that pull Cas up off the couch and onto his lap. The fallen angel obliges, his knees digging into the ottoman on either side of Dean’s thighs as he wraps his arms around his neck and returns the kiss, desperate and needy.

“I don’t want you to die,” he gasps when he pulls away for air. “Dean, don’t die, okay? I can’t-”

“I won’t die,” Dean interrupts. He reaches up, pulling Cas in so that their foreheads rest against each other. Cas closes his eyes and breathes in Dean’s words. “I’m not Ianto,” he murmurs softly, “and you’re not Jack. We’ll be okay, Cas. I promise.”

And Cas believes him.

For Reem

“You sure you want to do this, buddy?”

“I am sure, Dean.”

Dean shook his head and pushed the glass door to the tattoo parlor open with a firm shove. Castiel strode in calmly, the rancid smell of ink flooding into his nostrils. Cas stood motionless in the doorway, taking in the sights and smells. This human thing was still new to him, you know. 

Castiel enjoyed the way colors became more vibrant; tastes and smells exploded in his mouth and nose as they never had. Maybe being a human wasn’t such a bad thing. 

Humans were keener than he had originally thought. They experienced things in so much color, so much sweetness. Castiel wondered if Dean ever thought to stop and enjoy the color, the sights, the sounds. 

There was so much around them, so much to be seen, to be done. 

Castiel was torn from his thoughts when Dean’s deep, gravelly voice told him to move. 

“Come on, man. You’re holding up the line.” It was true, two people were standing behind Castiel. Cas blushed and apologized, moving so the two customers could pass him. Dean clapped his friend on the shoulder. 

“Let’s go.” He said, then pushed Castiel towards the front counter. 

A heavily tattooed woman with piercings out the wazoo was attending the counter, doodling lazily on a piece of paper. Dean cleared his throat. The woman lifted her head and smiled. “Hello!” She said rather cheerily. “Welcome to Tattoo Palace! What can I help you with today?” She asked, running a hand over her shaved, tattooed scalp. Dean smiled. “My friend wants a tattoo.” He said. Castiel nodded. 

The attendant, whose name tag read Cherie, smiled at Castiel and pushed her doodlings aside, pulling out a huge white binder and setting it on the counter in front of Castiel. The binder was organized into sections labeled: Back, Chest, Arm, Leg, Neck, Head. 

Scrawled across the spine of the binder was the word ‘Tattoos’ with a few smiley faces and hearts before and after the word. 

Castiel flipped to the tab labeled 'Back’. He leafed clumsily through the first few pages before one particular tattoo design caught his eye. 

Castiel pressed the design. “I want that one. But make it bigger. Put it right…” Castiel put his hands on the dummy’s arms, then moved them up, sliding his hands across the back of the dummy’s shoulders. “Here.” He stated firmly. Cherie looked up at Cas with a particularly skeptical glance. 

“Are you sure? Nobody ever picks that one.”

“I am sure.”

Cherie shrugged, then took the laminated paper from the rings of the binder. “Follow me, please." 

Dean had been in many a tattoo parlor before, and none had ever been as clean as this one. Holy Hell, this was going to be expensive. Back at the bunker, Dean and Cas had spent time researching different parlors and artists. They’d read that this was a good parlor, but not THIS good. They offered complimentary drinks, blankets, and pillows to rest on while you were getting tattooed on. If you paid extra, they’d give you morphine…totally legal. 

Castiel had prepared for this for weeks in advance. Eating only salads and extremely healthy foods, going to bed at a decent hour, making sure his immune system was in tip top shape so that he was less likely to get an infection. 

Castiel was ready. He was ready for anything the artists threw at him. Dean was not going to give Castiel the pleasure of Morphine. "You need to learn to be a man.”, He had said at dinner the night before. Cherie got her station set up, then pulled out a disposable needle and ink. 

She had Cas remove his jacket and shirt, then he laid face down on his table, but not after spreading his blanket out over the top. He put his face into the pillow and Dean sat beside him. Cherie rubbed some ointment over Castiel’s bare back, then dipped the end of the tattoo needle into a tub of black ink. 

She hovered over Castiel’s back, analyzing each muscle, determining where she would put the tattoo. Cherie’s staring Drew Dean’s gaze. Dean also analyzed Castiel’s back, each scar, muscle, blemish. Cherie’s voice threw him from his trance. “This is going to hurt, you know.” She said to Castiel. 

“I know.” He said, his voice muffled by the pillow. 

Cherie clicked on the needle, then pressed it to Castiel’s back. 

“Here we go,” she said. 

-•-•-•-
After quite some time, the now familiar buzzing of Cherie’s needle was halted. She had finished Castiel’s large, intricate tattoo. She sat back, then reached for her special ointment once more. She spread it across the tattoo, then admired her handiwork. “All finished,” she said. 

Castiel stood from the table, stretching his aching limbs. His back burned painfully, but the ointment helped cool it down. Dean had fallen asleep in his chair; it had been almost an hour before Castiel’s tattoo was finished. 

“Dean.”

No response. 

“Dean!”

Dean woke quickly, springing to his feet. He tensed, ready for a fight. 

“Dean, look.” Castiel said calmly. Dean stared at Castiel’s back with quiet awe. “Cas, it looks really good!” He said. Castiel smiled in response, then turned to Cherie. Sunlight streaming through the window caught the glittering tattoo, casting the design across the wall behind Castiel. Out of the kindness of her heart, and 'Because you’re cute,’ Cherie had added a splash of color to Castiel’s tattoo. 

Blues and golds and blacks laced the design, making the display on the wall behind Cas all the more beautiful. Spread across the wall, glittering and new, was the design of two beautifully drawn, intricate, wings.