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the island of conclusions

Raveled Sleeves (SPN comment fic)

the island of conclusions

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Raveled Sleeves (SPN comment fic)

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Cas wings
Title: Raveled Sleeves
Rating: pg, gen.
Word count: ~1,250
Warnings: spoilers through 5.14
Disclaimer: Not mine, no profit

a/n: I wrote this last weekend for maychorian’s awesome Castastic comment fic meme. You can find the buckets of amazing fic written for it here. The prompt was: I have a thing about platonic sleep-cuddling. Indulge me. Dean, Sam, Castiel, whichever combination you choose. I have cleaned it up a bunch, because writing fast? is not my strong suit. But it’s still un-beta’d, and I’m not thrilled with it. Still, here it is anyway: a kind of paean to bed-sharing.

Summary: Castiel wasn’t sure why it surprised him to see, on occasion, Sam and Dean curled around each other in sleep.


Raveled Sleeves

Castiel wasn’t sure why he was surprised.

He had watched humanity for millennia and seen comfort given in many unlikely ways and places. He had seen a woman suckle a stranger’s child, bare-breasted by the side of the road, as a long train of refugees trudged past; he had seen a man and a woman offer each other their bodies, spines arched in pleasure, in the middle of a field strewn with corpses.

He had seen comfort withheld as well: parents turning from the hungry faces of their children; husbands and wives abandoning each other in grief.

And so he wasn’t sure why it surprised him to see, on occasion, Sam and Dean curled around each other in sleep.

The first time he’d borne puzzled witness to this scene, Dean had been injured--thrown headfirst into a gravestone, concussed. Dean had been bleary and in pain, but both Winchesters has assured him he’d be fine, and Castiel had left them holed up in a drab hotel near Providence. He’d returned in the wee hours of the morning, unable to shake the fear that they’d been wrong.

When he’d left, Dean had been stretched out on one of the beds, pale-faced and wide-eyed; staring at a fixed point helped with the dizziness, he’d said. Sam had been sitting hunched over his notes at the room’s rickety table. When Castiel returned, they were both on the bed, asleep.

Sam’s laptop was propped on his knees, his head canted awkwardly against the headboard, his mouth slightly open. Dean had shifted, turned towards his brother, his head pressed against Sam’s hip, his fingers loosely encircling Sam’s ankle. One of Sam’s hands lay lightly between Dean’s shoulder blades—reassurance or protection, Castiel couldn’t tell.

He watched them for a moment, trying to figure out why seeing them so entwined surprised him so. Awake, Sam and Dean were jealous of their own autonomy, their own ability to stand and fight on their own; they were impatient with comfort, impatient with rest, impatient with stillness of any kind. And yet here they were, drawing peace from proximity.

Castiel frowned in puzzlement. Sam had said he would need to wake Dean every hour; perhaps he had moved closer to simplify that task. Maybe that was explanation enough.

He satisfied himself that Dean’s breath was even, his pulse steady, and left before he could trouble their fragile serenity.

::::::

After the hideous events in Carthage, he’d seen it again. He’d parted ways with Sam and Dean as night fell, needing, more than anything, some respite from humanity. And returned almost as soon as he’d left, finding that the only thing worse than being with people was being alone.

When he’d said goodbye, the Winchesters had been sitting on opposite sides of Bobby’s shabby living room, staring silently into their drinks, eyes dulled with grief. When he returned, a few bare hours later, they were sprawled shoulder to shoulder on the floor, propped up against the threadbare couch, light snores hitching their breath. Dean had an arm around his brother’s shoulders, and one thumb resting on Sam’s cheek, as if he’d fallen asleep in the middle of brushing away a tear.

Castiel willed himself not to be surprised at seeing the usual barriers fall away. They were drowning in grief, in alcohol, they hardly knew what they were doing, he told himself. He pushed away the odd impulse to join them on the floor, and took himself away again.

::::::

And yet, he had to admit, that there were times when he could not explain it. He would leave Sam and Dean in a hotel room with two beds, have some cause to cast his awareness towards them during the night, and find them both asleep in one: often as not fully clothed, long limbs sprawled out over every available inch of bed, but sometimes hunched tight, facing each other, so close their foreheads almost touched. And Castiel could find no reason for them to be huddled so close—it might have been as much as a nightmare, or as little as a broken heater. Maybe nothing at all. Maybe they themselves were unaware of what they’d done or why.

But looking at their slack bodies, their open faces, it always seemed to the angel as if they’d simply slipped their human skins, followed the same instinct that led lions to doze together in the sun, wolves to join their body heat against the cold.

It was alien to him, something so much of the body--strange to him, who had dwelt entirely in spirit for so long. He always made sure to disappear before they stirred.

::::::

But maybe he began to understand.

::::::

When they’d closed Sam in the panic room, and Dean had left without a word, Castiel had waited, girded with angelic patience. But not for long. His patience, like so many other things these days, turned out to be more limited than he’d remembered.

He found Dean slumped against the wheel bed of a rusted-out Buick, as boneless as if he’d simply landed there when his knees gave out. He wasn’t asleep; his eyes were open, but empty, fogged, somewhere on the other side of coherence.

“Dean,” Castiel said, “Come inside. It’s cold.”

Dean raised his head at the sound of the angel’s voice but made no move to get up. Stung into sympathy by the boundless misery in his eyes, Castiel crouched and touched his hand.

“Come inside,” he repeated, gentle now.

Dean didn’t seem to have the will to disobey. Still silent, he heaved himself to his feet, moved slowly back towards the house, carrying himself as if his bones were made of glass.

The few yards to the door of Bobby’s house were one of the longest journeys Castiel had ever made. He hovered behind Dean, worried he might stop again, collapse; he refrained from touching him, anxious not to stop his fragile forward momentum.

Somehow, he managed to steer Dean into the spare bedroom. There, the hunter sank abruptly onto the bed, staring at his boots as if he’d forgotten how to get them off his feet. Castiel resisted the impulse to kneel and undo the laces for him, just said, as firmly as he could, “Lie down, Dean. Rest.”

Dean did, executing what amounted to a slow fall across the bed, boots still on. He curled in on himself a bit, crossed his arms across his chest as if for warmth, grew still.

Castiel watched him, sorrow pounding at him, a compassion so intense it frayed his edges, made him lose track of the borders of his soul.

When he moved, he wasn’t sure whether it was out of a desire to help Dean or out of his own need—a yearning for the kind of comfort given to animals but denied to angels. He lowered himself onto the bed, and slowly, tentatively, curled his body around Dean’s, slipped an arm around his ribs. It felt odd. His trench coat pulled awkwardly against his shoulders, and he was almost too warm, being so close to another body. Dean did not move. Castiel thought he might already be asleep, his breathing long and slow.

But then Dean slid a hand over Castiel’s, intertwined their fingers, pressed his head back against Castiel’s cheek. The rhythm of his breath flowed into the angel, steadied him, anchored him in the body he inhabited. They stayed like that for a long time, until the human, at least, fell asleep.

fin
  • Breathtakingly beautiful!
  • Oh, lovely. Love Castiel's POV here, reflecting on the strange Winchester cuddling - and also loved the image of the brothers taking comfort in each other. <3
    • I'm so glad you enjoyed it! It's fun trying to write Castiel's POV--but also hard not to make him sound like an alien or something. Thanks for reading and commenting!
  • This is the first platonic!cuddling fic I've read, and I adored every moment! I could feel Castiel's curiosity and how much he wanted to join in, whether he realized it at first or not. This was really really gorgeous to read. I want to say more, but I fear I would start repeating myself.
    • I'm honored to have been your first platonic!cuddling fic! *g*

      Thanks so much for the lovely feedback--I'm so glad you enjoyed the fic!
  • Eee, this was EXACTLY what I needed to read today. it's beautiful and sad and sweet and I love it.
  • That was just amazing! Well done!
  • Aw! Poor boys. I like the way you used Castiel as a witness here. I'm not as huge a fan of his as many others are (though I like him), but the way he is incorporated into Sam and Dean's relationship here works well for me. Well done.
    • Yeah--I've come to like a lot of Cas!fic--even some Dean/Cas--but it's tricky. It's hard not to have him sound like a Vulcan ("what is this strange Earth practice you call cuddling?"--headtilt)--so I'm happy and relieved the POV worked for your here!

      Thanks so much for reading and commenting!
  • Bed sharing is bulletproof for me, and this is a slice of heaven. I don't end up reading much Castiel fic as Dean/Castiel is not something I ship, and there is not so much gen Cstiel fic out there. But this, this was beautiful. I loved his POV here - touching, awkward, yearning - you never lost that sense of other from him, and you also made his observations and his efforts to connect resonate so strongly. Absolutely lovely.
    • Oh, yay, I'm so glad you enjoyed it--I have a thing for bed-sharing, too--or really any time characters say things unconsciously through touch that they can't say out loud.

      I've come to really like some Dean/Cas stuff--but it's tricky--he's other because he's an angel--but he's not an alien--he's seen a lot of humanity. So I'm happy and relieved the POV worked for you!

      Thanks so much for reading and commenting!
  • This was lovely. I really liked Castiel's confusion and growing humanity.
  • I'm not too proud to admit to a sniffle or two. Beautiful.
    • Oh, those boys, eh, what can you do? *hands you a tissue* Thanks for the kind words--I'm really glad you enjoyed it!
  • (no subject) -
  • So perfectly sweet, however much I dislike the idea of anything Dean/Cas, platonic or otherwise!

    Lovely piece. :)
    • Oh, your icon! *dies*

      I'm so glad you enjoyed the fic--thanks for reading and commenting, especially since it's not your usual cup of tea!
  • Jeez, how odd: someone just recced this to me and I read it, went to comment and realized who it was by! It's gorgeous and just what I needed after reading through mine again! I feel content now… ;-)
  • I love Castiel's POV here, how he's trying to understand and the way he figures out what Dean needs.
    • Yay--I'm really happy (and relieved) that the POV worked for you--it's a tricky one!

      Thanks for reading and commenting--I'm so glad you enjoyed the fic!
  • Awwwwwwwwwwwwww.

    Seriously adorable. Very well done. :)
  • I love platonic cuddles and snuggling! This was awesome!
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