Rating: G (Shocking, I know.)
Characters: Dean Winchester, Castiel, mentions of Sam and Bobby
Pairings: None, but I guess you can claim Destiel if you drink long enough.
Summary: South Dakota has the darkest nights, and the whitest snowfalls.
Castiel had always appreciated all of his Father’s creations. It was perhaps a unique love that set him apart from the other angels in his barracks. Animals were drawn to him, whether by curiosity or his own aura, he could never tell. He could still remember Gabriel telling him to keep an eye on a certain fish very long ago.
Singer Salvage didn’t normally lend itself to wildlife save the occasional nest of opossums and rats that liked to hide in the car bodies, but Castiel didn’t mind.
Tonight, however, he was on watch, and the animals were abed.
The night was quiet, and the stars were out, winking in the impossible black that only the sky over South Dakota seemed to have. The air was clear and cold and his breath misted in a white cloud as he strolled along the towering hulks of the wrecks that Bobby liked to keep around for scrap.
He mused that he didn’t need to breathe, but his vessel had done it for years out of habit, so why stop now? It was comforting, like knowing your barracks were trained to come to your aid if need be. He listened to the crunch of the gravel beneath his vessel’s shoes as he paced the silent scrapyard in his nightly vigil.
He had no use for sleep, and this way he wouldn’t ‘be creepy’ sitting up all night in the house. Dean was adamant in Castiel being ‘normal’, for some reason.
Castiel didn’t understand what Dean meant, only that the angel’s presence awake in the house kept Dean on edge, and so he paced outside. The yard knew his footsteps more than anyone else’s in these recent days; he had lost count of all the paths he had taken to the ends of the property and back. Again, he had no need to walk, but he found it soothing for some odd reason.
He still relished the little things, such as the taste of a cheeseburger or the feel of gravel beneath the soles of his dress shoes. The air got colder as he walked, the temperature dropping below what should have been comfortable, even for a man in an overcoat. The angel was unaware that he should feel discomfort, lost in thought as he was.His walk took him farther out than he had meant to go, his mind on other things besides where he was going.
The war with Lucifer’s host and the hosts of Heaven took its toll on them all, but none more than Castiel. His eyes, older and more careworn than the rest of him somehow, swept unseeing over everything as he contemplated what he had done. He had rebelled; he was dead if he did not fight with everything he had. But he believed in the Winchesters. Something deep within him that hadn’t been coaxed to life since he had last felt his Father’s touch flared up in his chest when he saw the conviction in Dean Winchester’s face.
He was faithful, not just to his Father, but to the Winchesters. He believed Dean when he said he would find an alternate way to save the world.
Still, Castiel was restless, and he ranged farther than he would have under normal circumstances.
This was an older, more dilapidated section of the scrapyard; the cars rusted away to powder in the South Dakota weather. The passage of time was far more visible here, the cars much older and far more worn. Blank eyes gaped where headlights once sat, and jagged grills formed toothy mouths in the darkness. Castiel passed by them without a thought. An old DeSoto perched on rotting tires as he rounded a corner, and he would have continued on, save for the small noise he heard from the back seat.
It was dark, but the dark had never bothered Castiel much. He could hear them mewing in the back seat, and he found them with ease. Two kittens, one black with white accents on the feet, chest, and chin, the other a scrappy orange tom. He plucked them from the seat of the DeSoto, cradling the furry forms close. They were hungry, cold, and full of fleas, but Castiel’s roughened fingertips passed over them and soon the little balls of fur wriggled in his hands and mewled to be let down.
The stony face of the fallen angel cracked with a small smile, and he seated himself with his back to the old car as the kittens swarmed over him, begging for attention. He ran his fingers over one small head, then the other, noting with amusement that the orange tom pushed his brother out of the way when it came to attention from him.
“You are a lot like some humans I know,” he said, chucking the tom under the chin as the little cat purred and slitted its golden eyes closed in pleasure. The larger black kitten was satisfied with curling up in Castiel’s lap, but the tom wound himself around his arm and rubbed itself against the angel’s fingers as he mewed for attention.
Castiel busied himself with the care of the kittens, petting the demanding tom and stroking the soft ears of the larger tuxedo kitten. He was almost unaware of the clouds that rolled in until a fat snowflake landed on his hand. The tom settled himself next to his brother, content now in the warmth and safety of Castiel’s coat to yawn and doze off.
Castiel watched the snow, his eyes following the flakes as they fell around him and covered the world in a gradual blanket.
He was not sure how long he sat there, but he started when he realized he could hear the crunch of boots in the newly-fallen snow.
“Cas?” Dean called. His voice was muffled in the quiet of the cold, but Castiel replied.
“I’m here, Dean.”
“Geez, Cas, it has to be close to fifteen degrees out here.” Dean chafed his arms as he rounded the corner and stopped short at the sight of the serious angel sitting tailor-style with two kittens sleeping in his lap.
“The cold doesn’t bother me,” Castiel said. He ran a gentle finger along the tuxedo’s ear. “It’s quiet out here.”
“You’re going to freeze your ass off out here,” Dean said. He moved closer until he was on one knee in the snow in front of Castiel, and regarded the kittens with the wary eye of someone who had no real like for cats. “Where’d you find them?”
“They were in the car,” Castiel said, and the little orange tom yawned again, stretching in the warmth of Castiel’s lap as he snuggled closer to his brother. Blue eyes met green over the furry little forms, and Dean shook his head, shrugging further into his leather jacket.
“Come on inside, Saint Francis. I don’t need any of you turning blue on me.” He crunched away through the snow; Castiel could not help but smile as he tucked each kitten into a pocket of his trench coat and rose to follow.
He had, at long last, understood a reference.