“I’ll keep you safe.”
“Close your eyes,” Cas commanded. “Don’t look.”
“But I—“ Then suddenly Dean could say no more, as a pair of strong arms grabbed him from behind. Dean froze, throat tightening. One of the hands clapped firmly over his eyes. The other settled on his shoulder. The angel’s breath fell hot and heavy on the back of his neck, causing the little hairs there to stand on end.
“I said,” Cas murmured, “don’t look.”
Dean could feel his treacherous hands began to shake.
“Okay,” Dean gasped.
For a brief moment, Cas let his chin fall against Dean’s shoulders, fitting there easily in the crook between neck and spine. Then suddenly all was warmth, and power, and screaming.
It took Dean several seconds to realize that the voices weren’t his; that he wasn’t back in the Pit, surrounded by damned souls begging for misery. That he remembered this too, this voice, holy and beautiful, and the song it sang; the paean that once brought him home.
Then, just as abruptly as the song began, it stilled. Silence fell. The warmth subsided.
Slowly, gently, Cas lifted his hand away, smearing wetness across Dean’s cheeks. Dean did not open his eyes for a long moment. When he did, he wheeled around, noticed the bodies around them, and shuddered.
“Are you hurt?” said Cas.
Yes, Dean wanted to scream.
“I’m awesome,” he said, dragging a hand over his tear-streaked face. “Hell of a kick your voice has. Ever thought about starting a metal band?”
To Dean’s surprise, Cas beamed at him.
“You didn’t experience any pain,” he said.
“No. I guess I didn’t.” Part of Dean wanted to recoil from the admission, to flee into the Purgatory underbrush and take his chances with the beasts he found there. Instead, he forced a smirk. “What do you think that means?”
“It means we can change,” said Cas in a voice that made Dean’s chest ache. “Even us. Even here.”
“Awesome,” Dean managed eventually.
Cas nodded. “It really is.”