Title: Waiting for Dawn
Author: luminare_ardua
Rating: NC-17
Pairing: Dean/Castiel
Spoilers: All episodes aired, mild obvious ones for 4.22
Warnings: Dark!Dean
Word Count: 1179
Summary: Castiel waits in love, hope and faith.
Disclaimer: Kripke and CW own everything here. I own nothing except a laptop and a few weird fantasies.


Castiel can hear them calling.

His brethren, demanding, pleading, ordering him to return. There is no place here anymore for his kind. The soil, air and waters, all fouled and tainted with hellish sulfur and the dark secret rage of the land at the foulness crawling upon it; barren wastes and terrible thorny growth, twisted and debased where once there were fresh green meads and tall trees. The air is an unwholesome broil that twists and warps living things into pale shadows of their former selves, thick with invisible rays of radioactive death that sear and burn but do not kill.

The people lost hope at the coming of the end. They found a false dawn in the darkness of their souls, and with them, the land, too, was lost and Hell came swiftly like a raging fire. It consumed, it burned, it warped and twisted. Even strong oaks, charred by survival of earlier fires, but still green and defiantly full of sap, succumbed at last.

God turned away His face long ago from His Creation, and now His angels follow Him in this.

All save one.

When Dean spits on him, Castiel wonders for a desperate instant why he remains.

Why does he not break free and leave Dean behind, even when all others have?

The chains that hold himself and his vessel imprisoned could be snapped with an exertion of his will. Not all at once, but careful manipulation and patience would see him free, restraining and binding symbols engraved on the cuffs notwithstanding. He still has his Grace; still is an angel, and not the lowest of all the Host. Even after his defiance of all orders and sense, he still has that. It is all that has kept him (and Jimmy, sleeping, buried as deeply as Castiel can make him) alive and mostly unhurt through the days and weeks of pain and humiliation.

Today Dean seems to be content to play with knives alone, which is a relief. Even so, knives and other physical hurts, he can endure. Even if Dean were to pour acid (because his hands now begin to smoke on contact with salt) into the cuts and gouges, Castiel would still endure. Even if Dean were to burn the soles of his feet with coals (and laugh all while doing so) he would endure, and do so no matter what.

Castiel endures. He is what he is, and bodily pain is not important in the scheme of things. Pain is to be noted then set aside, not dwelled upon. The goal is all; his Father's will paramount.

Cas, however, bleeds and screams inside Castiel - that rebellious, traitorous, treacherous part of him that did not exist and would not have but for Dean Winchester, which caused him to turn from his Father's will as the Host has revealed it to Castiel. Cas bleeds with each taunt Dean throws at him. He weeps as bright green eyes darken to that hateful shade first seen deep in Hell, screams in angry denial and pain as Dean willingly slides and falls backwards into the terrible creature he had become before Castiel pulled him from the Pit; a creature maddened with blood and delirious with agony-the agony of others, and the sheer joy of watching suffering in progress. Free to forget the past in blood and fire and screams.

Cas and Castiel both retch and cry for Dean to stop as he tortures others in front of him. But while Castiel retains shreds of detachment from his own plight and the plight of the unfortunate man writhing under Dean's ministrations, Cas feels it. He feels it all, as Dean finally puts the man out of his misery. Cas feels the hurt of the man, the confusion and the despair; he feels his own agony and helplessness-- a helplessness that is there because he could have prevented it, but cannot because to do so would have required him to hurt Dean. And that is something that Cas (and Castiel) cannot bear. He would Fall first. He would welcome oblivion before it happened. It is that which paralyses him and keeps him here.

Castiel still has faith; faith that Dean will somehow still prove the salvation of his kind, of Creation. Even after all that has gone before and the pains of now, he has faith that Dean can stop in his slide into demonhood-that the strength of his righteousness remains undiminished. That even under the terrible warping influence of Hell, the essence of Dean Winchester remains as before. He feels guilty for not shielding Dean enough, for not watching him close enough, for failing to guard him from the insidiousness of Hell's shadow as it came roaring upon the earth in white blinding light, was too damned slow, and chides himself for stupidity. He could not have gotten there in time; not even an archangel could have. (But he still feels guilty all the same; if he had never sent Dean there...) Faith and guilt are almost all he has left to cling to.

He endures out of love for Dean, who loved the world and every simple joy it brought (he once dared wonder if, perhaps, there was room for him too). Castiel remembers this with an ache all-encompassing; it is this that makes him scream for his Father more than anything this twisted, broken version of Dean does to him on the rack. Because it hurts that this is Dean, who he loves with the singleness of purpose that defines his kind, who is shredding him apart, who is shredding others apart, and who is destroying himself with each and every cut and stab and slice. It hurts with the pain of a thousand knife cuts as hope slowly dies.

Cas prays to a Father who makes no reply; prays for deliverance, cries out for salvation, for relief, for escape, for absolution. Not for himself-he is unimportant; but for Dean. Dean of the tousled blond hair and cocky smile. Dean of the bright green eyes and stubborn will. Dean, who loved mullet rock and pie and his Sammy with all the strength of his great heart, and Dean's Sam who meant all good, who is lost now, even more than his elder brother. Sam, who lost himself and broke his brother in the process. Sam, who was why Dean stopped fighting the darkness and let it take him instead.

And as Dean comes, spurting hot wetness in him, ruts into him every nightfall and does not stop in this most intimate and terrible torture until the day dawns, tearing and ripping at his vessel's flesh, Castiel refuses to leave; he refuses to despair, to lose faith, to hate Dean, to stop loving him. Even as he screams at the hurt of being used without care or thought again and again, he cannot leave Dean. He is bound; they are bound together in this weave of Hell and the hope of Heaven- that one day he might see green eyes and not black, and the bright rising of the sun.