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Of Grace and Deceptions

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Dean shifts his wings as he stares at the town below him. It wouldn't be long before Sam informed Cas of what happened, that he'd died and Crowley supposedly brought him back. And, as soon as Cas saw him, he'd know that he and Crowley were lying… and that just wouldn't do. They'd probably try to “fix” him or some other crazy idea along those lines.

 

But. But maybe… he'd had a feeling ever since he woke back up. And, while it felt familiar, it also felt like it had changed as well. Maybe… with him? But, what would have been so connected to him that the Mark would have changed it as well as him?

 

…Cas. Cas had said they had a “profound bond”. And his Grace was missing. But, if that was what he was feeling, and he was pretty sure it was, then if he could find it and get it back to Castiel… 

 

Dean's eyes flick black, a smirk beginning to creep across his lips. If he could return Castiel's Grace… well, that would solve several problems, as well as gaining him his angel back, on his side, and all powered up again. Yes, that seemed to be the way to go. 

 

Now, where to go… Dean spreads dark mahogany wings, before disappearing with a quick snap of the new appendages.

 




Cas looks up in surprise as his phone rings. He winces, stretching broken, flightless wings as he checks the Caller ID: Dean. His wings flutter with surprise, eliciting another wince as he hurriedly answers the phone.

 

“Dean? Dean, is that you?”

 

The response is a pleased drawl. “ Hey Cas. You okay, man?

 

Cas sighs, tense form relaxing and wings slumping slightly to resettle into a somewhat less painful position. “Much better, after hearing your voice. Metatron, he said you were dead. Said he had killed you himself.”

 

A low chuckle rumbles over his phone's tinny speakers, and Cas has a passing thought of wanting to hear the real thing rather than distorted through a phone line.

 

You should know it takes more than that to kill me, Cas. Actually, ” there's a pause, and Cas shifts his phone a touch closer to his ear as Dean resumes his sentence, “ actually, I think I may have a lead on your Grace.

 

Castiel's wings drop in shock, and he grimaces as he lifts them into their former position. “You… Dean, my Grace was used in the spell to close Heaven. Even, even if some of it remained, it would be such a miniscule amount as to hardly be worth it, and it would likely be in Metatron's possession.”

 

Well, what if he'd dropped what was left of it in the past, huh? Let it grow and accumulate strength, and it'd have been there so long, no one would've thought to look for it, right?

 

As he speaks, Castiel's eyes widen slowly. “That might actually be a possible situation.” He pauses suddenly, wings drawing closer to his spine with his sudden tension. “Dean, where did you get this idea, this information?”

 

A soft snort barely comes through the phone before Dean answers, “ Had a strange feeling. Followed it to a little cemetery in Mayfield, Kentucky, actually. There's an angel statue hiding in the back that kinda… drew me in. Reminded me of the feeling I'd get around you back when you were at full power. Started thinking about it, and the only thing that made sense was the idea that it was your Grace.

 

Cas releases an unnecessary breath. “I'm at the Portal to Heaven. Where are you? I'll meet you there as soon as I can. Whatever you do, DO NOT touch the statue. I… honestly don't know how my Grace would react to you touching it.”

 

Dean grunts, before speaking. “ Yeah, gotcha. It's Maplewood Cemetery, just outside of Mayfield, Kentucky. See you soon, Cas. It's… it's good to hear from you, man.

 

Cas smiles softly, face tilting slightly upwards, and wings relaxing again. “It's good to hear from you as well, Dean. I'll be there as soon as I can.”

 




Dean tucks his wings as close to his back as possible and hides further behind the tree as Castiel’s Continental rumbles up. The angel climbs out of the car, looking around for Dean.

 

“Dean?” He waits a moment for an answer, before retrieving his phone from one of his trenchcoat pockets.

 

Dean's phone promptly begins to vibrate. He slowly swipes to answer, then tentatively brings the phone to his ear. “Winchester.”

 

Hello, Dean. I have arrived. Where are you?

 

Dean’s lips quirk up on one side as he watches Castiel look around curiously, beginning to border on concerned. “Hey, Cas. D'you come in the main entrance?”

 

Yes.

 

Dean nods, shifting his wings slightly. “Great. There should be a path over to your left. Just follow it on back as far as you can. Pretty sure you'll know when you've reached it.”

 

Cas nods, and begins walking down the path Dean indicated. “ Very well. You will meet me there?

 

Dean lips quirk, the beginnings of a smirk starting to creep onto his face. “Yeah, Cas. I'll meet you there.”

 

The phone hangs up from Castiel's end, and Dean chuckles. The angel's never been good with goodbyes. As Cas rounds the first curve, Dean shakes his wings out and begins to follow the falling angel.


 

 

Castiel's eyes focus on a marble angel statue tucked in the back of the cemetery as he approaches where Dean told him to go. The statue is surprisingly clean, considering the plaque at its base states it to have been erected in 1835. As he gets closer, his gaze scans for Dean and he stretches his wings again.

 

It's only once he gets within a few steps of the statue that his senses begin tingling. Something is… different about his Grace. It's not just that it's more powerful than he's ever felt it, having been absorbing Grace unfettered for centuries, but there's something else. It's still definitely his, there's no doubt about that, but it's also… not.

 

“Dean?” The soft call echoes, and Cas suddenly realizes that the cemetery is oddly empty. He'd seen no one as he passed through, and no other vehicles, except the Impala, at the entrance either. Alarm bells begin to ring in the angel's mind and he spins around, putting his back to the statue, but by this point, he's waited too long.

 

Dean steps out of the shadows from beside the path, but Cas can immediately tell that this is no longer his Dean. The dark mahogany wings not quite hidden behind his back speak to that, and Dean--not Dean--spreads them as the angel's eyes stare at them.

 

“Hey, Cas. What do you think of the wings?” He curves one around as if to show it off. “They're new, but certainly useful.”

 

Cas shakes his head slowly, trademark squint taking form on his face as he moves his focus from Dean's-- not Dean's--wings to his face. “You… you are not Dean.”

 

Dean pauses briefly, wings fluttering for a split second, before a smirk crawls onto his face. “Ah, but see, Cas, I am. Now, I've brought you to your Grace. You gonna take it back?”

 

Castiel's frown deepens, head cocking to the side and wings twitching. “I… Dean… what hap…” his voice trails off as realization dawns. “The Mark. Dean…”

 

Dean snarls, flaring his wings. “Don't pity me!” He forces himself to loosen some of his tension when he notices Castiel's wings flare defensively. “I’m stronger, and look, I helped you find your Grace.”

 

Cas squint again, focusing his gaze on the demon’s slowly relaxing form and allowing his own wings to fall, in sync with Dean's, from their defensive posture. “Dean… why are you so focused on me taking back my Grace? And… you are surprisingly unhostile…”

 

Dean shrugs, wings rolling out and back in with the movement. “What, Meg can like you, but I can't? Can’t I just want to help, want you safe with me?”

 

“Dean…” the angel breathes, blue eyes going wide. There's a moment of stillness where each of them waits for the other to do something, before Cas lets out a breath, a surprisingly human habit he's acquired. 

 

“Dean, I think there is something… wrong, with my Grace. It…”

 

Dean frowns, green eyes flicking between Cas and the statue. “You sure? What seems wrong?”

 

Cas shakes his head, a wing flicking almost dismissively. “I… I don't know, Dean. It is definitely mine, but there is… it is almost as if the wavelength has been altered, or… possibly warped? I am uncertain as to details, I just know it is no longer the same.”

 

“Cas, couldn't that just be from how long it's been here, separate from you? Based off that plaque, it's been here almost two centuries. Couldn't that have been enough time to mess with what you're feeling?” 

 

Cas sighs, wings swaying and conveying an almost indecisive air, before he speaks. “Possibly. I just… when is our luck this strong? You seem unaffected by your transformation to a demon, Heaven is under control for the time being, you found my Grace, and we've had no trouble since you called?”

 

Dean grins, arms and wings both spreading wide. “Don't we deserve some luck? Finally?”

 

Cas nods slowly, seeming to accept this. “Dean, I don't know what will happen when I absorb my Grace, particularly now that you're a demon.”

 

Dean nods and begins backing away from Cas and the statue. “Yeah, yeah, back away and cover my eyes. I know the drill.”

 

Cas nods, before turning back to the marble angel. He glances over his shoulder once more to ensure Dean’s distance is satisfactory, before facing forwards again, and reaching out to place his hands on either side of the statue. Castiel's wings snap out to their full span and his head falls back as Dean snaps his eyes shut, his own wings curling protectively around his body, and Grace-light flares bright and blinding.

 




Dean opens his eyes and lowers his wings slowly after the light dims down. His angel is standing in front of the statue, head bowed and wings ever so slightly flared. The aura surrounding him indicates the angel has successfully regained his Grace. 

 

“Cas? You okay over there?” He hesitates before taking a cautious step forwards, but movement from Cas brings him to a halt.

 

“Dean?” Castiel's voice is soft as his wings fold back and he turns slightly to the demon.

 

Dean takes another step forward. “Yeah, I'm here, Cas. Are you… you good?”

 

The angel blinks, before shaking his head and his wings. Blue eyes snap up to meet green, and the flare of connection that ignites along their previously quiet, though profound, bond surprises both angel and demon.

 

“I… I am alright, Dean.” The gravel in the angel's voice is more audible than usual, as if the recovery of his Grace had had the equivalent effect on his throat of gargling rocks. 

 

Dean grins. “Great. So, what now, flyboy?”

 

Castiel frowns, wings flicking in frustration. “I… do not understand that reference.” Dean waves his hand and dips his wings, a soft rumbling chuckle emerging from deep in his chest, before Cas continues. “I… is your mental state truly the same as before, Dean?”

 

A smirk crawls onto Dean's face. “Dunno, angel. Depends.”

 

Cas frowns and squints at Dean. “Depends on what?”

 

“On how you're really feeling, angel.” The smirk blooms fully, almost closer to baring the demon's teeth rather than grinning. “So tell me, how’re you feeling, Castiel .”

 

Cas stares at Dean for a moment, before his restored wings flare almost dominantly and he bares his own teeth at the Knight. “I'm thinking Crowley's had control of Hell for too long, and a Knight would be able to take it easily. Especially with a partner.”

 

Dean's eyes light up, wings flaring, yet remaining just beneath the angel's, just barely close enough to the other's for the tips of their wings to brush. “Why, Cas, that sounds like an awesome idea. You have a plan?”

 

Castiel narrows his eyes and folds his wings back down, clearly pondering the logistics of waging a two-man---creature? being?---war against Hell, before he meets Dean's gaze again. “Demons always respond well to a good show of force. How do you feel about kicking in the front doors?”

 

Dean lights up, eyes flicking demon-black, wings fluttering at his sides enthusiastically. “Dude, I am always up for kicking in doors.” He pauses briefly, before glancing behind them, wings settling at his back. “We've gotta keep offa Sammy's radar until we've taken over though, and leaving both our cars here would be kinda suspicious.”

 

Cas nods, following Dean's gaze down the path back to the entrance. “How do you feel about following me somewhere I think we could stash them for a while without anyone noticing?”

 

Dean grins. “C'mon, Cas, haven't you figured it out yet? I'd follow you practically anywhere.” He punctuates the statement by popping the angel's shoulder with his wing.

 

The angel simply smiles. “And I you, Dean.” They state for a moment, before Cas shakes his head. “We should go, before someone comes to investigate the light.”

 

Dean nods, and both spread their wings. “Race you to the front?”

 

Cas smirks. “Dean, I've been flying since before Creation. You've had your wings, what, a week? What makes you think you have any chance?”

 

Dean shrugs. “Worth a try,” he quips, and with that, takes wings and vanishes. Cas, eyes flaring with competitive delight, is quick to take off after him.




Cas smirks from where he's leaning against the Continental as Dean touches down at a walk a few steps in front of him. “What was that you were saying?”

 

Dean rolls his eyes, flicking a wing dismissively at the angel as he stops by the Impala. “Har har. I believe it was you who gave me an excuse however?” His voice drops to mock Castiel's, “You've had your wings, what, a week?” then pops back to its normal register as he continues, “So I don't exactly call that losing , per say. More… ah, stretching my wings ,” he concludes with a smirk to rival his companion's.

 

Castiel's smirk quirks up further on one side, wings flicking at Dean. He’s really quite fond of his charge, human, or demon, apparently. “Whatever you have to tell yourself, Dean.”

 

Dean huffs, wings shifting at his back, before glancing at the entrance of the cemetery. Cas admires the way the setting sun lights the red in his wings, making them take on an almost blood-tinged gleam, before tuning back in to his words.

 

“You wanna fly, or drive? How far is this place, anyways?”

 

Cas shakes his head, rustling and adjusting the lay of his feathers with a soft flutter of his wings, before he meets Dean's eyes, returned to the shade of green he can't quite ever remember seeing anywhere else in his Father's Creation. “Fly. It's not too far, but I'm appreciating the choice, after the past few months of not having my wings.”

 

Dean nods, turning to prop himself casually against the Impala, facing the angel, mahogany wings relaxing to fan along the ebony frame. “Cool. I understand. You take point, ‘n I'll be right behind you, yeah?”

 

Cas nods shifting his weight off the Continental and instead resting a palm against its frame as he spreads his wings. He glances back to see Dean has assumed a matching position against the Impala, and raises a questioning brow. 

 

His curiosity spikes when the demon shivers almost unnoticeably, before answering the angel's look with a nod. Cas shelves the almost-shiver off for another time, before turning back forwards and taking off, the Knight close behind.

 

 





Epilogue

 

Dean presses his phone to his ear as he and Cas share a smirk, before his attention is redirected by the person on the other end of the line.

 

Hello? Dean? Is everything okay?

 

“Hey, Sammy. Yeah, I'm good. Found Cas's Grace while on the hunt, so I waited for him to get down here and take it back.” The demon stretches out a wing to Castiel, who brushes one of his own, restored, wings against it, causing Dean to grin.

 

Really? That's great!

 

Dean nods, attention redirected back to his brother. “Yeah. Thing is, he could use my help for something before we head back, and that may take a few days. We may not be able to get in touch for good spans of time, so don't start worrying about us unless we don't call within a week.”

 

You sure you'll be okay?

 

Dean smirks at Cas, who grins back eerily, both sets of wings flaring briefly. “Yeah, Sammy. We'll be fine. Cas'll make sure nothing happens to me, and I'll watch his back.”

 

Okay. If you're sure you guys will be fine, then I'll hear from you in a week.

 

Dean’s smirk morphs into an almost crazed grin to match his angel's. “Yeah, Sammy. Call you in a week.”

 

The demon hangs up and tucks the phone back in its pocket, before looking up at the angel. “You ready to go raise some Hell and raze Hell?”

 

Cas huffs, then nods, wings spreading to their full span. “Ready. It's time Hell knew what we are capable of.”

 

Dean laughs, his own wings spreading to mirror Castiel's, before both vanish in a wingbeat, leaving the hilltop where they've parked the Impala and the Continental almost eerily silent.