There are just certain things that I just wasn’t used to anymore. This was one of them.
Sure, there were the few supremely stupid who thought that The Devil gave a shit about them. However, most of them were silenced quite efficiently by demons making deals, by little, dark, twisted things in suits and ties and fresh Chapstick.
The cage also had a silencing effect.
But I wasn’t really in the cage anymore.
It wasn’t built to keep two archangels in. The walls fissured until they cracked, then I slipped out. The cage locking up behind me, leaving Michael to scream the injustice of it on the other side.
I sorta agreed, but that doesn’t mean I would trade my place for his, so I ran.
Halfway across the universe, and years later, I felt that nagging feeling in the back of my consciousness. Someone was praying to me- not the warped, idealized perception of me, but the petulant, self-righteous, dickhead, asshole, piece of shit perception that was actually me. The prayer was coupled with the mental image of the cold intensity of Nick’s pale blue stare and the hint of consuming, heavenly fire that was me in my true form.
I turned toward the praying creature and was startled to recognize the shining light of a human soul, of the brightest soul I’d ever seen.
There was no second thought, I shouldered through reality and stepped into his nearly empty motel room to find the little thing sitting on one of the two beds, propping his temple up on his fist, clad only in a pair of jeans, an undershirt and his boots. Practically naked if you ask me.
From this proximity, the images in his mind cast were clearer than ever, and I can’t help but see him think of my true form from in the cage -which is the only place he could look upon me and not die. It was mostly a confusing array of bright light, a terrifying bending of time and space that his big, nerd brain still couldn’t understand. But he saw glimpses of Nick in there too. He found one set of my eyes particularly cold and intense, particularly familiar.
His hazel eyes were pointed down at his laptop, but he looked passed it, lost in his prayer. And I heard the words ringing in my head, “I thought I knew, what I was supposed to do, and I said ‘No.’ just like everyone and common sense told me I should…It’s unfair that now I know why I had wanted to say opposite.” He let out a frustrated sigh. “I thought the urge was just suggestion- you were tricking me with some mind bend or something, but my longing for you comes from a deeper place…Maybe it’s fitting that you’ll never know. With all the other things you’ll never know... I loved you before I really knew what love was…”
He’s such a strange boy.
I push off the door and Sam’s prayer cuts short and his eyes go wide as he recognizes me.
“Where- who- how?” he sputters, sitting up straight and pushing himself to the edge of the mattress.
“You prayed to me Sammy Boy,” I smirk and sit on the edge of the opposite bed. “Shouldn’t I get to ask a few questions?”
He makes a prissy face even as his skin pinkens with a blush, “I didn’t think you could even hear me.”
“So, it wasn’t just a social call?”
Sam snorts, and though he visibly relaxes, he stares hard at me with consideration. “How’d you get back in Nick?”
“Oh, made myself a Nick suit,” I shrug, “This one will hold out as long as I will. No need to drink demon blood or anything.”
He kind of looks pissed, “If angels could make your own vessels why do they possess people?”
“I’m an archangel Sam. Not every Tom, Dick and Castiel can create their own vessel. It takes a lot of time and energy and skill. And before you ask, I and my brother needed to wear you and your brother for prophecy.” I leaned back on the bed, pillowing my head on my arm. “We thought we were doing God’s work, and He can be… particular.”
Sam squinted at me, “Mmmmhmmmm.”
I smiled, I really couldn’t help it. The kid knew how to make me smile.
The bed squeaked as Sam pushed away from it, moving to the bed I was on. His long legs bumping against my knees, his skin like fire through both our jeans.
I thought about his prayer from a few seconds ago and my smile faded as I looked up at him. “Stop,” I say before he can open his mouth.
His jaw tightens, and he watches me carefully for a moment. His features soften, and I wish I knew what emotion was written across my face to make his puppy dog eyes so kind yet calm. “You love me too,” he says softly, not at all a question.
I sit up and glare, “You can’t just say things like that, Sam. You don’t know me.”
He frowned. “I think I know you better than anyone.”
I frowned back, “I don’t think you do.”
“Show me who you think you are,” Sam asked suddenly, and the poor brat meant it. He wanted to know.
He just looks as me expectantly, so I look back.
It’s kind of strange to do. He’s so close, and to be fair we have been closer, but this is different. I had expected maybe some kind of fear or apprehension, but all I can see is sincerity, which is annoying.
I harden my voice and my shoulders, “You wanna know?”
He steels himself too, nodding once.
I grab his hand and vanish us away.
We reappear in dark close quarters. All light put out, the air as dark and as unending as the very pit of hell. Screaming and laughter and singing playing against each other in an epic roar of sound. Sam clutches at me, walks just behind me as I move through writhing bodies that press and reach for us as we pass.
It was dark and loud and even if Sam tried to scream my name in my ear, odds were I would never hear him. But I feel his fearful panting against the sweat on the back of my neck and it makes me smile. Everyone of Sam’s instincts were singing for retreat, but I lead him further, deeper, darker.
His fingers flex and unflex in handfuls on my leather jacket, digging painfully into my shoulders but instead of crying out, my laughter rose up into the mess of noise crashing all around us.
A ringing exploded over the noise, and my pulse finally jumped to meet it. It rung high and tight, resembling the voices of my brothers I used to have between my ears. I felt it in every part of me like a physical pain, like an aching loneliness.
Light splintered through the dark. Search lights into the mass of bodies all around us. Chaos screeching silently in the movement.
Silence wept from all around.
Sam wanted to see, wanted to know. Sam wanted to find me, and I had led him to my heartbeat. To one note singing in a dark room.
I halted us in the middle of it.
Lights burst over the stage.
The band ignited into their first heavy metal song, a wall of sound like nothing before. The crowd around us screamed to meet them.
Sam crashed into me, surrounded me as fully as I had surrounded him all those years ago when I possessed his body. His hands pulling me too close, too hot, too much. His strangely protective hold stifling my breath.
I didn’t understand how he could want to protect me after the hell I put him through, but he did. And it was more than reflex. I could feel it in both the strength of his arms as he crushed me against his chest, and the tenderness of his hand as it cupped my head to his collarbone.
I stay there a moment, letting the wall of noise fill me, let it rival the voices I used to know by heart.
Fingers dig into Sam’s sides, looking for purchase on stirring emotions to all my unvoiced thoughts.
I felt my fingers cling to him for long minutes before I find the strength to pull away, and he stares down at me. He’s glistening with a sheen of sweat, and his soft, startled smile dimples his cheeks. He hadn’t expected this- not the rolling masses or the messy chaos of angry, heavy metal screaming rebellion as I war within myself for control of something I can’t ever hope to control.
Sam tenderly brushes a tear from my cheek and I bite out a playful smile as I snap my teeth at his fingers, he laughs with wide eyes.
I try to pull back the smile, leading him closer to the stage. He followed, bewildered and amused.
I jumped through reality and our feet hit battle ground. It was night out, but it was bright with the dentation of grenades and gun shots. Blood and fire and death and dark and light and noise, glorious noise.
My heart beat coming up to pace with machine gun fire.
He took in the scene with shocking speed, recognizing he was far from home as a language unknown to his ear pitched across the field.
Loud death and brutal destruction were all I had been built to be, to create. I was made to destroy and had done so for longer than he could ever imagine.
However, the horror I expected, never crossed his face. He didn’t turn away or hide his face. He watched the men kill with blood and glory and fire and he wasn’t afraid.
Soil burst up to meet us, as a missile touched down far too close. The blast never touching us though Sam buried his face in my hair as the dust settled, his hands wrapping around me to claw into my back through my jacket.
His breath panted into my ear and as much as I wished it was from fear, it was something else.
He pulled at me until I turned up to him and he clashed our mouths together, his pupils already blown wide. It was hardly a kiss, but my heart ached for it.
But he still didn’t understand! He wanted to know me, but he didn’t.
We slid unto an uneven surface, and Sam stumbled, falling to his knees.
I could see the ringing in his ears as it was met with no noise to combat it. The vacuum of space taking away the ability of sound to travel. Sam struggled to tear his eyes away from me as I knelt down to him, eyes held steady.
He found the strength to look over my shoulder only for his breath to catch as he gazed upon a black hole devouring all that lay before it. Planets, matter, and light falling into it with tremendous speed and slowness.
We are on a planet being sucked into its fearsome maw. Yet, wonderment glinted against his eye at the sheer force of what I laid before him. The power of the cosmos held at bay by me alone.
He turned to me with tears in his eyes, but he wasn’t afraid. Wasn’t afraid of me.
He feared the unknown, he feared pain, but not me.
He protected, held to, and forgave me.
I felt all of myself shatter. I collapsed into him, knocking together our mouths.
But where I tried to kiss as brutally as I could, he kissed harder. Our lips battling teeth and tongue and sanity. His hands like vice grips on my hips, on my arms, on me.
His mouth stifling my breath. His wrecked voice tumbling into the ether, his soul sung like a full note, like strings wrung tight, like he needed to be unleashed.
I yanked myself away and pulled him up after.
We fell into the pit. It careened passed as the cage rose up to meet us.
Angry, bitter tears rolled from my eyes.
I felt my body tumbling in an uncontrolled tailspin, and I saw the sky drawing farther and further.
Saw all of heaven watching with slack jaws as Michael was pulled in behind me.
Sam and I separated as his whole being rejecting me with a resounding “NO!”
Then, it was all just a blur. Without a vessel to contain me, my true form felt all the flames of hell as we delved deeper. Angry demonic hands snatched at me, scratching and clawing at my unprotected grace.
Then there was just pain, every one of my senses screaming in anguish until I slammed down into the cage.
Sam looked down at me as I came back to my senses and he looked fierce, he looked righteous, he looked like heaven.
All of hell had tried to take a piece of me and as Michael pounded down into the cell, he launched himself at me too. His anger louder and more violent than I had ever felt. I tried to fight back, but I was weaker without a vessel, I was weaker without Sam.
Reality swarmed until we were back in his empty motel room. Sam was breathing hard and I couldn’t pull myself off the floor where I had fallen. My emotions waged epic war inside of me.
He kneeled down to me and held my face in his hands, and I held my breath.
My voice sounded like it had been carved with a rusty knife, “Sam?”
He wrapped me in his arms and I held on for dear life, my face buried in his shoulder. My skin tingled, and I felt my heart beat fading out. I didn’t realize I was crying until tears sept into his shirt, but by then I didn’t know how to make them stop.
This felt like acceptance- like hope -like love- like devastation-
“You hurt me!” I sobbed into him, “I was unrivaled cosmic authority reviling in my rebellion with violence and unyielding power and you hurt me! I thought we were meant to be, and you cast me out, cast me down! Locked me away like my brother- hated me like my father- and wished me dead like everyone else!” I held him so close, angry and terrified that he would reject me again, reject in a newer, more terrifying way.
He buried his fingers in my hair and curled impossibly tighter against me. “Never again,” he promised so fiercely. I wanted to believe him. I wanted to so badly.
No one else in the world- in all the universe could ever understand me- could know me and never shy away. But he had more than shied away.
He had revolted against me.
Had watched my brother slowly destroy me in the cage.
Never cared for me until it was too late to save me.
“I’m so sorry,” I cried, “For everything I’ve done to you. For everything and more.”
His kissed me… so, so softly, just at the corner of my lips. Then rested his forehead against mine. And my tears slowed.
He kissed me just as softly, full on the mouth and I couldn’t reciprocate. “I love you, you bastard.” He kissed against my mouth.
I smiled. I couldn’t help it. The kid had that effect on me.
He pulled away and watched me kindly, “Stay.” He asked.
My eyes turned to the room. The two beds, two duffle bags, the scent of Castiel, the lingering of vampire blood. I wondered what I could ever do to belong here. To belong to him. But the truth was, I couldn’t.
Once upon a time, he was meant for me, was my destiny, but I had learned, that destiny and fate? Reality had a way of rewriting such things.
“Stay.” He repeated. Sam held me close. There are just certain things that I just wasn’t used to anymore. This was one of them.
Being loved. Was one of them.
“I don’t deserve to stay.” But I couldn’t bring myself to leave.
So, I fell heavier into his arms and let him hold me until Dean came back. Let him hold my hand as Dean shrugged and handed me a piece of pizza and a beer as Castiel smiled a tiny smile from the doorway.
And I kept falling into him. Tumbling into him like I fell from heaven, like I fell from grace, fell into the pit. And every time I expect to smash into a cold, hard cage, but I kept landing in the warm, pliant arms of a man too stupid to know to fear me, too lovely to let go, too confusing to understand. With a soul too beautiful to believe.
There are just certain things that I just wasn’t used to anymore. Loving him wasn’t one of them.