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The union between a human and an angel is strictly forbidden. The risk is too great. There’s the obvious reason, the most commonly used argument, that a Nephilim being created is far too dangerous. The reason that remains unspoken, is that the love an angel will feel will shatter them. It opens their minds to free will, a concept that was designed for the humans alone. Beyond that, the angel will have to watch their love grow old and die. They will likely hold their love and make promises they can’t keep. Promises like: “it’ll be okay, we’ll be together soon,” or “I’ll visit you in Heaven.”

There have been a few angels over the eons that have fallen in love. Their hearts bound to a human’s, their souls intertwined. They were exiled from Heaven as a last resort. Heaven didn’t give in so easily. They didn’t cut their losses. First, they would drag the offending angel back to Heaven and torture them. They would try to drill it into their beings that they don’t belong on Earth. They don’t belong with a human. They don’t belong. Well, they do belong somewhere. They belong with their own kind, in Heaven, following the orders of God and the Archangels.

“We need to talk.” Going to Dean in his dream in the middle of a battle was risky, but they had come for him. The rest of his garrison had cornered him and their battle began. It was hard talking to Dean now that Cas felt… something… for him. He wanted to protect him. He wanted to hold him. He wanted to feel his lips on his. He wanted to stare into those green eyes forever and know that he’s safe. Safe from Hell. Safe from Heaven. 

“I’m dreaming, aren’t I?”

“It’s not safe here. Someplace more private.” He wished Dean would look at him, but even if he does, he can’t stay long. He may have been still in Dean’s head, but outside, he was in a warehouse with an angel blade inches from his face. 

“More private? We’re inside my head.”

“Exactly. Someone could be listening.” 

“Cas what’s wrong?” Now he looks. Now, when Cas was fighting for his life a few hours away, Dean looked at him with those eyes. 

“Meet me here. Go now.” 

He was yanked back to the warehouse just in time to see Uriel’s hand slam into the center of the banishment symbol. Cas screamed as he was dragged back to Heaven by his wings. He reached for the Earth, for Dean, but it was no use. 

The angels sat back and watched, waiting to see if their methods worked. Was Castiel fixed of his affection for the hunter? 

“I learned my lesson while I was away, Dean. I serve Heaven. I don’t serve man, and I certainly don’t serve you.” They congratulated themselves for a job well done, blinded by their own ignorance to hear a lie cross the lips of an angel. His heart still belonged to Dean Winchester. His heart will always belong to Dean Winchester. 

Another tactic that Heaven uses on their disobedient angels is asking them to choose between their family in Heaven and one human. Angles, Archangels, and God’s absent love along with a strong helping of helplessness and following orders blindly against the unconditional, blinding love of a single human hand in hand with every emotion that was denied to angels and a gift-wrapped box of free will. 

Castiel has faced this many times. Each and every time, he wonders why they think Heaven would ever win. Dean is the answer to every question for Cas. Why, amid all of the destruction and loss, does the world still seem like a beautiful place? Dean. How will Cas ever find a way to smile again, after losing so much? Dean. What makes it all worth it at the end of the day? Dean. Dean. Dean. 

Other angels had also chosen their love and their freedom. Some had torn out their grace, singed their wings. Some had been reckless, creating a Nephilim. All had tried to run and hide. All had failed. Angels would come down from Heaven and either drag their lovelorn angel home or kill them. 

Castiel was easier to pluck from the rubble than most. The only angel in purgatory was already a walking target. With Uriel gone, Naomi took the lead, lifting Cas out of the sandbox for monsters and ingrates, and plopping him into his own personal Hell. Surely, a second round of torture would work. The angels would just have to up the voltage and keep from flinching when he screamed. 

Brainwashing is a method of torture that the angels rarely have to use. Physical torture to remind the wayward angel where their loyalties should lie is usually enough. Brainwashing an angel is another level of cruelty that angels don’t pride themselves on. They will do it, but it’s hard on all of Heaven. The start of brainwashing is the hardest part. The resistance and struggle they put up as they squirm in their restraints and scream around their gag. 

The drill whirred and his eyes went wide, tears leaking out the sides as he screamed his muffled pleas. In his mind, he was tasked with killing Dean Winchester, the root of all of his problems, his main affliction. At the start of it all, he resisted. He stared down a perfect copy of Dean and he refused to harm him. 

Castiel was unaware of the simulation at first. This Dean was so much like his Dean. His freckles were all there. His green eyes shone with the same intensity. His hair was just so. His jawline could cut diamonds. His clothes hung from his body the same way. Cas felt his heart pound in his chest. He didn’t know what was real anymore. Maybe he was dreaming. Maybe he was dying in a chair, a drill lodged in his brain as the angels tortured him. Maybe seeing Dean here, now, was his last chance to see him before he expired. 

“Kill him.”

“I love him,” Cas argued. It was the wrong answer. Dean lifted his blade and let it come down on Cas with the fury of Heaven. “I love him,” Cas sobbed around his gag, sweat and blood running together on his face in the chair as he looked up into Naomi’s face. 

“No, Castiel. You must kill him,” she ordered. “Again.” And he was sent back. Back to a room where it was just him and Dean. 

Cas lost count. He lost count of how many times he let Dean kill him. He didn’t know how many trials passed before he stopped speaking, stopped crying, stopped. He couldn’t tell what was real and what was in his head. The only thing he knew for sure, was that it hurt every time he killed Dean. His heart would crack and bleed every time he gave in to the orders. He had thought that when he killed Dean, it would end. He would be allowed to return to him. He would be allowed to hold Dean in his arms again and go back to the regular, everyday torture that is hearing the word “buddy” cross his perfect lips. 

Something was different that time. Everything was different that time. “Fight this! This isn’t you!” Dean yelled. Dean. That was the real Dean. He wasn’t in his head. He was hurting the real Dean, the Dean that makes his world bright, his heart beat, his breath catch, and humanity worth fighting for.

“What have you done to me, Naomi?” It didn’t matter how much he fought, how much more aware he was of the line between reality and simulation, he continued to hurt his love. 

“I need you.” Dean was on his knees, half of his face bloody and broken. His hand is limp in Cas’ grasp. The brainwash had almost worked, but it had failed as Cas’ eyes locked with Dean’s. Heaven would continue to lose their battle in keeping their angel from falling in love. They couldn’t stop it because they were years too late. Even if Dean never returned Castiel’s feelings, he was too far gone from Heaven. 

What do you do when you have an angel that is undoubtedly, irrevocably in love and no amount of torture, brainwashing, or weighted ultimatums can’t fix him? The gateway to Heaven was locked. If he wouldn’t learn his lesson, he was cut off, frowned upon, and stuck on Earth with the being he found himself so infatuated with, albeit one-sided. He was doomed to watch his love from a distance, the words he would speak, silenced. The Emtpy, the angels and all of Heaven decided, would figure out what to do with the poor orphaned Castiel. They decided this because even if they had lost their battle with the angel, that hunter would never return his affections. Not aloud anyway. They’re both in love, but they both remain silent, and that is enough for now. 

 

“Can I ask you something?” Dean ventures. Cas lifts his head and looks into the eyes of the only being that has ever held his heart. 

“You can ask me anything.”

“When you were hurt…” he trails off and shakes his head. “Nevermind.” He looks back down at his book and scratches the back of his head. Cas is more aware than ever that Sam is not in the room. Dean looks back up and sighs. “You said you loved us.”

“I said I love you,” Cas says before he can stop himself. He can feel the phantom presence of Heaven’s grip on his wings, threatening to yank him back upstairs to beat it out of him. It doesn’t happen. “I love you ,” he says softer. He wishes Dean would hear him. 

“I love you,” Dean says so softly it doesn’t even count as a whisper. Cas closes his eyes, waiting for the qualifier. He’s a brother. He’s a buddy, pal, friend. “Cas.” His voice is tender. 

Cas remembers the poison eating away at him as he stared up into the green eyes that he had fought for time and time again. He opens his eyes now and looks into those same eyes. His heart is going too fast, but he knows from experience that there’s no slowing it down. Not when Dean is looking at him. Not when they’re alone. Not when Dean looks like that. 

He remembers lifting Dean from Hell, his hands burning into his shoulders. Dean had been torn to shreds, but Cas was healing him as they made their ascent. Dean’s hand on Cas’ right now has all the heat that could burn him, but it leaves no mark. 

“Dean,” Cas says, his voice rough. They move at the same time. Their chairs abandoned, the table stepped around, there’s no space left between them as Dean pulls Cas into his arms and their lips meet for the first time. 

Cas feels like he’s falling. He’s falling from Heaven, forever severed. He’s falling into Dean Winchester’s arms, his kisses a cushion. And Dean is there, with open arms, willing to accept the exiled, fallen angel. He’s there and he said it. He loves him. He loves him and he’s kissing him. Dean’s mouth his hot and urgent, his lips soft and wanting. 

“I love you,” Dean says, his breath coming quickly. He’s shaking and smiling and wow his eyes are bright green when he’s happy. His freckles pop under the bright red blush. He says it like he can’t keep it inside now that it’s finally out. He says it like he’s been holding onto it as long as Cas has, letting it eat away at him over all these years. 

“Dean,” Cas answers in between kisses, running his thumb over the short stubble on Dean’s jaw. It’s the only word that makes sense to say. “Dean.” 

Dean is the answer to every question for Cas. Dean is his reason to rebel, his reason to live. Dean is the reason the sun comes up in the morning and sinks at night. Dean is the reason Cas was pulled from Earth, dragged by his wings into the harmful hands of the angels. Dean is the reason Cas has fallen. Fallen from Heaven. Fallen from grace. Fallen in love.