SPN_Things We’ve Lost by ~mad-samurai
“They’re like falling leaves,” says Dean. He speaks without looking at Cas or his feathers, but that doesn’t mean he’s not right, about the shape and heft of them, or the way they fall, swaying slowly, gracelessly to the ground. Still, for some reason he can’t quite name, the comparison rankles Cas.
“I am not a tree,” he reminds Dean.
“And I’m not a bee,” Dean snaps. He fiddles with the safety on his gun, checks the side of the barrel for nicks, and still won’t meet Cas’s gaze. “Yet for some reason you still think I can pull miracles out of my ass.”
Cas shrugs, even though Dean can’t see it. Together they are silent for a long time, waiting out the Purgatory beasts, or maybe just each other. Cas watches the hollow in Dean’s throat bob up and down, as fascinated by the motion as he was the first time they met – in mortal bodies, that is, not in Hell.
“How come I can see them now?” The line of Dean’s jaw tightens and his shoulders hunch, as if he were the angel, not Cas, and he were drawing in his wings like a shield. “Your feathers, I mean.”
“Purgatory must be closing the gaps between our species,” says Cas. “The evolutionary impasse has been breached.”
“The fuck does that mean?” says Dean. Briefly his eyes dance toward Cas’s face—but they don’t quite make it, shuddering away at the last second to settle somewhere around Cas’s chest.
“It means either I’m becoming human or you’re becoming an angel,” says Cas. Another feather detaches and floats between them like a mote of dust. “Though I suppose we could be evolving into some new species of Purgatory beast instead.” Watching the feather for a moment, Cas makes a face. “I prefer that option the least.”
“So it doesn’t mean—“ Dean swallows again, throat bobbing, fascinating, like a bird wheeling against the sun.
“It doesn’t mean what?”
“It doesn’t mean you’re dying.” Dean’s voice is barely a whisper.
“Of course it does,” says Cas. Dean looks up then, finally, and Cas can’t help but inhale sharply at the intensity of that gaze, of those green eyes, human eyes, as beautiful as a forest. “Change is always a kind of death. But we do it anyway. The alternative is worse.”
Dean nods without blinking. “Does it mean I’m dying too?”
It’s Cas’s turn to swallow. “Maybe.”
“Well then. I think –“ Then Dean suddenly, impossibly, smirks, the corner of his broken lips curling in a way that makes Cas desperately homesick for Earth and the soft leather of the Impala. “I think we’ve been through worse.”
Cas smiles back, a soldier’s smile. “I think so too.”
A feather lands on Dean’s foot. He picks it up, holds it between his forefingers for a long moment, and lets it fly away. It vanishes somewhere into the endless, dimensionless night of Purgatory.
“Come on,” he says at last, walking in the direction the feather took. “We should go.”
Cas follows, fearless, as always.