Hammer to Fall

[Battle of the Fandoms: Supernatural--- Jk, it didn't make the cut. Replaced by "Close Your Eyes"] Season 4 Cannon divergence: Saving Dean from Hell was difficult, but Castiel didn't regret the bond that they had forged during their time in the Underworld. Upon returning to Earth, much of Dean's memory of Hell was destroyed, including how he had fallen in love with the angel who had come to rescue him. Castiel, on the other hand, remembers everything, leaving him with the decision to either let Dean live his life, or try to win him back once more.

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1. I've Been to Hell and Back

 

    “We’re so close, Dean,” Castiel said, his voice low. “Just a little farther.”

    “Cas… I can’t,” Dean said, clutching his side with a wince.  “Just give me a sec.”

    Castiel tugged at Dean’s hand where it was clutched in his. “Come here. Let me heal you.”

    Dean resisted. “Cas, it’s too hard for you down here. I don’t-“

    Castiel pulled him close, laying his hand on Dean’s side. It was true, healing was harder for him down in Hell, but nothing could be worse than seeing Dean in such pain. Castiel could feel Dean’s tissue knitting together under his hand, and when it was smooth and unbroken again, he let go. Immediately, his legs gave out, and Castiel crumpled to his knees. The dark world spun, then went fuzzy.

    “Cas…” Dean’s voice drifted through to him. “Cas, man, come on. We have to move. There are demons coming.” 

    Castiel struggled to his feet, swaying until Dean’s steadying arm was wrapped around him. Trying to brush it off, he protested in slurred speech, “I’m okay.”

    Dean cursed. “I told you not to heal me. We might not have time for you to recover.”

    “Love you,” Castiel said, smiling in a daze at his Righteous Man. When he had been assigned the task of delving into hell to fish out one tortured soul, Castiel wasn’t exactly thrilled. Hell was a rough place; there was constant fighting, constant screams, constant pain… But, of course, he didn’t say no. 

    Never had Castiel been so grateful for following orders, he thought as he gazed at the man with whom he had fallen in love during the fight out of Hell. Dean’s soul was a bright, white light in the dark and desolate place. He and Castiel had clung together, fighting side by side for weeks, before Dean had spontaneously kissed Castiel after slewing a horde of demons. It was enough to make this whole Hell trip worth it, and Castiel was determined to get Dean out even if it killed him.

    “Cas, duck!” Dean shouted, pushing him down and swinging Castiel’s angel blade at the demon trying to sneak up behind them. He caught it in the throat, and it collapsed into a writhing mess of limbs.

    That was enough to draw Castiel out of his stupor. He straightened up, feeling a sudden tingling sensation in his extremities. “Dean,” he said. Dean beheaded another demon, then twirled the blade and slammed it into the chest of a third. “Dean,” Castiel repeated.

    “Little…busy,” Dean growled.

    “Dean, the portal! It’s over there,” Castiel said urgently, pointing to the source of the his odd feeling. It shimmered in the air, and if Castiel couldn’t feel it, he certainly would have missed it.

    Dean finished off his demon and looked up. “What?”

    “Come on,” Castiel said. “Let’s get out of here.”

    They scrambled over the black rocks and sharp, glass-like sand and towards the portal. There were demons chasing them, but they were still a little ways off. Just before they reached their destination, Dean grabbed Castiel’s arm. “Cas,” he said, voice thick with emotion. “Thank you. For rescuing me, and for… everything else. I…I love you.”

    Castiel looked at him sadly, for he knew what he had to do now. He had known for a while now that Dean’s soul was too damaged to manifest again on earth. He also knew that his only chance of repairing it was to do so in a spirit-based realm; to even attempt to heal it on earth would prove disastrous. “I love you too, Dean. I’m sorry.”

    “Sorry for what?”

    Castiel pulled Dean in for a deep, hungry kiss which was far too short, but the demons were closing in. “For this.” 

    He touched two of his fingers to Dean’s forehead and he instantly passed out. Castiel laid his hand on Dean’s bicep and could feel his raw soul, tortured and writhing, and he used his grace to soothe away much of the hurt from their journey out of Hell - as much as he could. His hand left a mark on Dean’s skin, raised and blistered. Castiel could have wiped it away, but he didn’t. Something about it told the world that Dean was his. Only his hand would fit that mark, and only his hand should. The moment he let go, Castiel pulled Dean’s unconscious form into the portal and they were swept away, back to the land of the living.

    DEAN WINCHESTER IS SAVED, Castiel broadcasted the moment he returned to the land of the living. There was immediate chatter from the other angels, but he tuned it out. He wasn’t yet finished with his mission.

    Castiel situated Dean as he had been told to, noting that the portal had blown away a ring of trees above Dean’s grave. He hesitated in leaving, worrying that maybe Dean wouldn’t be able to make it out of the earth. Willing himself to go invisible, Castiel stayed by the grave until Dean’s hand broke through the soil, and he emerged disoriented, but unscathed. 

    When eventually Castiel flew away, he followed Dean for a little bit. It was with a heavy heart that he watched Dean wander down the road, for Castiel knew that by wiping away the pain of their fight to get out of Hell, he was also wiping away the bond that they had formed -the love. Dean no longer knew who Castiel was, nor how he felt for him. Dean didn’t know what they’d shared in the Underworld, and he didn’t know that Castiel was still hopelessly in love with him.

    And there was nothing Castiel could do about it.

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