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19 December 2013 @ 01:03 am
Fic: Do It So It Feels Like Hell (Supernatural)  
Title: Do It So It Feels Like Hell
Author: anactoria
Characters/pairing: Dean/Cas
Rating: R
Warnings/contains: Mostly non-sexual painplay; vague references to torture.
Summary: Drinking helps Dean forget about the things he did in Hell. So does pain. It's complicated.
Notes: This takes place about a month after 4.16, and before 4.17. Many thanks to alexisjane for the super-efficient beta. :) Any remaining mistakes are, of course, my own.




“You think I owe this to you.”

“You think you don’t?” Dean bites down hard on the end of his sentence, like he can make himself certain if he just sounds it. Like the hard clarity of his resentment can make up for how screwed up everything else is these days—what he’s done, what he is, what his life has turned into. What he’s asking for.

Cas doesn’t reply right away. He looks at Dean like he’s piecing something together. Does that little alien head-tilt of his, a reminder that the guy really is inhuman—not just not of this world, but from another order of existence altogether—and says, “I don’t believe fair exchange comes into it.”

Great. Another of his non-answers. Dean knows what they mean. They mean, sorry, can’t help you. They mean being stuck, flailing around in the mess that his world has become, trying to figure out how to stay afloat, a-fucking-gain. They mean that he’s on his own.

He glares at Cas, but can’t hold it. Drops his gaze, mutters, “Forget it,” his anger draining out of him and leaving that familiar sick empty feeling behind. Because, yeah, he already knew this was a terrible idea. Wouldn’t even have opened his stupid mouth to suggest it if he wasn’t already halfway to drunk and nowhere near numb.

It’s okay, though—by his measure of okay, anyway. In a moment there’ll just be empty space where Cas is standing, and Dean will go back and finish off the bottle and eventually he’ll pass out, and in the morning his head will be sore enough to distract him from what a fucking idiot he is.

Sure, he’s gonna feel like dying of humiliation next time he has to speak to Cas. But Cas—well, he probably won’t even notice.

Right now, though, he’s still just standing there, still giving Dean his I don’t understand the humans look. Dean feels himself tense up under it, wondering if Cas is maybe waiting for him to say something else.

Then comes that low flutter of air and movement, the sound that always signals Cas’s departure, and Dean pinches the bridge of his nose and lets out a sigh. Like he expected anything different.

Only, then, he looks up and Cas is standing in front of him, right up in Dean’s space, and his quiet scrutiny has turned ferocious. It’s not unkind, just—fuck, intense. It’s the difference between torching ants with a magnifying glass and firing death-rays at them. It’s fucking nuclear, it makes Dean feel like he might start to disintegrate around the edges from the sheer force of it, makes his heart do a prey-animal skitter in his chest. For a moment he doesn’t even register what Cas is saying to him.

Which is, “That was not a ‘no.’”

 

----

 



Cas starts by pressing cool fingertips to Dean’s right cheek. For a moment the cold feels almost natural—like Cas has just been standing outside in the chilly night air with his hands out of his pockets, which he maybe has, for all Dean knows. But then it’s seeping into him, working its way under his skin, turning into something else, a tingling that just nudges the edge of pain. He lets his eyes slip closed, and for a moment that’s all there is, and—

“Dean.” The absence of Cas’s touch is sudden, jars him right back into the room, and he opens his eyes to that look still trained on him.

That look—that weird mix of fierce and impassive. It makes Dean shift uncomfortably on the spot, makes him want to crawl right out of his skin, because it’s Cas’s usual creepy-staring thing, only not. Because normally, when Cas looks at him, it’s like he’s seeing something invisible to human eyes—looking at Dean from somewhere in another dimension, or through magic glasses, or with celestial x-ray vision. But right now? It actually feels like Cas is looking at what’s right in front of him.

“You’re afraid,” he says, slowly. “You ask for this, but you’re afraid.”

And normally Dean would make some wiseass crack about when the hell did common sense become a requirement for the job. But somehow, instinctively, he knows that would be a dumb move. Cas is taking this seriously—really seriously, shit—and if Dean doesn’t, then it’s game over, Cas is out of here.

So instead he just looks away and mutters, “Yeah, well. Kinda the point.”

“I will not harm you,” Cas tells him—and it’s slow, tentative, like he’s feeling his way in the dark with his words. “Not really. To do so would be—”

Something tightens in Dean’s chest. “Against orders, yeah. I get it.”

A pause. Then, less uncertain: “It would be against my wishes.”

But Dean can’t think about that, can’t deal with it, not now, and he blurts, “Don’t, Cas. Fuck. Don’t,” and it comes out sounding like a plea.

Cas just nods, once. Gentle press of his palm against Dean’s chest. “You should close your eyes now.”

Dean obeys. The relief of it, of just letting go of himself, rushes in on him.

Cas steps in towards him. Hesitates so briefly it’s barely noticeable, and then presses his lips to each closed eyelid in turn. Dean feels nothing for a moment, and—

—and then there is light inside his head, and it feels like—fuck, like this one time Cassie roped him in as kitchen-bitch while she made chilli and he accidentally rubbed habanero juice in his eye and he actually thought he was gonna go blind, only it’s bigger and brighter and colder than that and somehow he knows that if he sneaks even the tiniest peek his head will fucking explode—and he can’t even think through it, then—can hardly breathe—it’s swallowed every thought in his head—

When it recedes far enough for Dean to be aware of himself again, his legs are unsteady. He sits down hard on the end of the bed.

Feels Cas lean down and in close to him. His closeness makes the air vibrate, like there’s a storm coming.

His hands are at Dean’s throat, then, working loose the top button of his shirt. And that’s—that’s weird, isn’t it? Unnecessary. Cas could just zap his clothes off of him, if he wanted. Or, hell, he could inflict pain right through them. The kind of power he has doesn’t give a shit about a few scraps of flannel getting in its way. But he’s so slow, so methodical, as he lays Dean bare inch by inch, and before he’s anywhere near done Dean can feel himself trembling.

It’s the anticipation. It’s fucking psychology, is what it is. Cas is good at this. He doesn’t get sarcasm or Star Wars references or stupid jokes, but he gets that Dean needs to feel helpless.

And that’s kind of terrifying, because it’s one thing to be at the mercy of something this powerful, another thing to be known by it.

Of course, Alastair knew him, too, by the end. Knew parts of him Dean didn’t even want to look at. That’s why he asked for this. To take it back.

Near enough a month since Sam got rid of that fucker for good, since—since everything else, and Dean can’t stop those words from looping endlessly inside his head. It’s not even the revelation that he screwed up even worse than he already knew—that he set the countdown to the fucking Apocalypse rolling—because that’s so big he can’t even get his head around having done it, not really. No, it’s that other thing Alastair said. You left part of yourself back in the Pit. Dean knows that it’s true, and he can’t see any way past it. He’s never gonna get it back, and there’s no forgiveness for something like that. All he can do is hide in the past, ask Cas to make him hurt so he can pretend like he never got up off the damned rack, like he’s still the guy he used to think he was.

And Cas probably should’ve told him to forget it and flown away. Hell, Cas probably should’ve zapped him straight to the nearest nuthouse. But he didn’t, and he’s here, and he’s good.

Cas being good at this, though—it’s kind of fucking unfair, isn’t it? Because if that’s the case, then why the hell couldn’t he do it? Why did it have to be Dean? Why did Cas have to shove him in there with Alastair and show him up for what he is now, expose all the shitty, torn-up, twisted parts he’s been trying to bury since he woke up in his own damn grave?

As if he’s read Dean’s thoughts, or sensed the resentment flaring up in him, the welling-up urge to lash out, Cas tosses his shirt out the way and presses him back against the mattress. His face is very close now. Dean can feel his breath as he says, not-quite-evenly, “This is not the same thing.”

Fuck, what is that in his voice? Hesitation? Is he trying to convince himself?

Dean isn’t dumb enough not to feel a thrill of fear at the thought, and Christ, how fucked up is it that it’s a relief, having that to focus on?

It’s not a relief he can share, though, so he shifts under Cas’s weight and grumbles, “Doesn’t work if you keep pointing that out.”

And after a second, Cas hums in agreement and pins his wrists above his head.

For a moment there, the touch of his hands feels deceptively human. But the air surges with power, and Dean feels his skin prickle with it where Cas holds his wrists, and he knows without even testing that he’s trapped, that he can struggle as much as he damn well wants and he’ll never get free until Cas lets him.

Knowing that, it’s—fuck, it’s like the first swig of a cold beer after a tough hunt, like the first taste of a girl’s lips after a dry spell, like finally laying down and closing his eyes after fifteen hours on the road.

The sigh that escapes him comes out involuntary, unexpected, and he feels the mattress dip as Cas shifts his weight, leaning over him.

He tries to picture the expression on Cas’s face. Dark and unreadable? Distant and curious? Intent and sad? Is he still in his battered trenchcoat, or has he gotten rid of it and rolled up his sleeves? If Dean could see him, would he be incandescent with power, half-man, half-firework display? Would there be dark wings looming over them, blotting out the light from the bare bulb in the motel ceiling? The idea of it—of not knowing what Cas is right now—it takes hold of Dean, makes him ask himself, again, if this isn’t the stupidest damn idea he’s ever had.

“Dean.” Cas’s voice pulls him back from his speculations, back to now. To what he can hear. What he can feel.

Cas’s fingers tighten briefly round his wrists. Slip down, find his pulse points and linger on the thin skin there, and now Dean can feel Cas looking at him, deciding. A heartbeat passes, Cas just holding onto him like that. Another. And then pain flows into his veins like white fire, slices him apart from the inside out, cuts him loose from thought, and there is nothing else.

He doesn’t know how long it lasts. There’s no time. Just these flashes of consciousness that surface above the pain, these few things he’s half-aware of.

Like the fact that he’s babbling, chanting please and Cas and fuck and please, and Cas maybe murmurs some syllable he can’t make out or makes some gesture he can’t see, because then his voice is just gone. He moves his lips and no sound comes out of him. Fuck, he can’t even yell, can’t even ask Cas to stop. Panic rises up in his throat. And then Cas brushes fingertips over his lips, the softness of the gesture sudden and disorienting as a mirage, and he realises that this is exactly how it has to be. He can’t have the comfort of calling out a familiar name. That’s not what he asked for. Comfort’s simple, and this is anything but.

Like the way that this is nothing like Hell, is a million miles from its red-lit hollows and taunting voices and rusty knives, and the way that that doesn’t matter even a little bit. Screw the external trappings, screw Cas and his denials—it’s all the same thing once they get under your skin. Doesn’t matter if it’s about punishment or sadism or even mercy—and yeah, this damned well is mercy, and maybe he’d laugh at that if he wasn’t already crying—because it unmakes you just the same.

Like the fact he has a raging hard-on that Cas either hasn’t noticed or is ignoring and he can’t even muster up the brainpower to be ashamed, and anyway what did he expect when he asked Cas to take him to pieces? That’s what happens. The bits that you hide deep down, the ones you don’t wanna look at, they get picked up and brought to the surface. And if they get looked at in the harsh light of day and then tossed in the trash, well, that’s just too damn bad.

He asked for this. Dean keeps reminding himself of that. But even with pain washing through him, drowning all of his other thoughts, he’s still here, still inside himself. It’s not working, it’s not fucking working—

At that thought, Cas’s hold on his wrists loosens, and his fingers trail slowly down Dean’s arms. When they find the place above his heart they stop, and for one single beat of it, it all stops. There’s nothing. And then all of it is just more, the cold burn of it curling through every part of him, and he’s not a man anymore, he’s a human skin with an exploding star stuffed inside of it, and he’s shattering every second, with every breath.

It’s a flood tide of light. A purification. Somehow it lifts up the wreck of his self, makes it float again like something whole. Carries him back, past the crawl out of his grave, past all the shame of those last ten years, past the sweet relief that came with wielding the knife and the sickness that doubled him over every time he put it down. Past all the screaming souls whose faces swim endlessly before his eyes. It carries him back and takes it all away. Takes him away. He’s not here anymore. He’s not now anymore. He’s then. Before.

He’s still helpless. He’s still in pain. Nothing but.

Not yet.

He’s not broken. Just drowning. Not broken.

Drowning.

Gone.

 

----

 




It recedes slowly. Inches out. Leaves Dean feeling like he’s been shipwrecked, washed up half-dead on some shore he doesn’t know.

There’s warm air on his skin. The rapid thump of his own pulse in his ears. Breathing, a little too fast for in control, somewhere above him.

Cas.

Dean opens his eyes. Black spots swim in his field of vision. It takes a moment for his surroundings to resolve themselves, and he blinks as he tries to focus. The dim motel room. Cas’s unreadable face, hovering over him.

Watching him carefully, like he thinks Dean is a wild animal about to startle, Cas takes hold of his hands. Draws them, unresisting, back down to his sides. Dean doesn’t have the will, let alone the strength, to resist—even to ask what the hell Cas thinks he’s doing. He will. Just not right this second.

Right now, he just lies there as Cas traps first one hand, then the other, between both of his own, rubbing the circulation back into them.

It tingles. That’s all. There’s no blood, no broken bones, no third-degree burns—no evidence at all of what Cas just did to him. Just this one mundane little thing, like he’s been sleeping twisted up awkward, or spent too long crouched in one position waiting for a monster to show its face.

Just that, and the way Cas is looking at him.

That look. Dean can’t get a read on it, and that means there are a metric fucktonne of possibilities in it. None of them makes much more sense than the others, and so they kaleidoscope in front of his eyes: sorry, indifferent, distantly curious, tender, confused.

Wanting.

Dean shouldn’t even try to understand it. Trying is gonna drive him crazy. It’s gonna make him hope, and if he knows one thing, it’s that that’s always a fucking terrible idea. He’ll end up doing things like—like remembering the undeniable ache of lust he felt, earlier, in the middle of it all. Thinking about other ways there might be to do this, other ways to stop thinking, other ways that Cas could take him apart.

He’ll end up wanting to replace the missing piece of him with something he can never have. Thinking that maybe Cas can help him fix himself up, and feeling like crap when he has to remember that he’s just one little damaged-goods human and Cas is Heaven’s bitch.

Cas is still holding his hand. He brushes his thumb over Dean’s upturned palm, caressing, like he can’t see the blood there, the stains beneath the skin. Or like he can, and he just doesn’t care.

It breaks the moment. Dean can’t do this. He fucking can’t.

He snatches his hand back. Curls in on himself, turning his back to Cas.

“Don’t,” he gets out. “Cas. Just. Don’t.”

“Dean—”

“Please.”

A moment’s silence. The ghost of a touch on his bare shoulder.

He wants to lean into it. Wants it so fucking much. He doesn’t.

The sound of wings.

 

----

 




After what feels like forever, but might just be five particularly shitty minutes, Dean gets up the energy to glance over at the clock. Sam’s been gone for over an hour. He’ll be back soon.

Any minute now, Dean will get up and go shower, hide the half-empty whiskey bottle, maybe sober up with a coffee from the vending machine in the corridor. Or, screw it, just shuck off his jeans, crawl under the covers, and pretend to be asleep until morning.

And in the morning, he’ll find them a damn job to take his mind off of all this shit.

He won’t think about the Apocalypse. He won’t think about the bits of his soul that Alastair hacked off and trapped downstairs. He won’t think about Cas. Head down, tunnel vision, focus on what’s right in front of him.

Yeah. He’ll do all of that. Any minute now.

But for this minute, he can’t quite manage to do anything but lie there while his mind drifts, staring at the palm of his right hand, still feeling the echo of Cas’s touch. Washed up on the bare shore of the real world, feeling like he’s just thrown his lifeline back into the sea.
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( 14 comments — Leave a comment )
caranfindelcaranfindel on December 19th, 2013 02:08 am (UTC)
Wow. Just wow.
tiamaria: the foganactoria on December 19th, 2013 09:24 am (UTC)
Thank you! ♥
♔beenghosting on December 19th, 2013 03:40 am (UTC)
Omggggggg can't wait to read this flails EVERYWHERE.
tiamaria: the foganactoria on December 19th, 2013 09:24 am (UTC)
Yay! Hope you enjoy it. :D
♔beenghosting on December 19th, 2013 06:34 pm (UTC)
I DID. I like Dean fighting with himself about the whole situation, even while it's happening, and Cas's uncertainty. It felt very them. <3
tiamariaanactoria on December 19th, 2013 09:27 pm (UTC)
Aw, thanks so much! <3 <3 I'm glad you thought it felt right for them.
Alexis Jane: Dean looking downalexisjane on December 19th, 2013 03:27 pm (UTC)
I know I've said it twenty times already but I do love this!
Thank you so much for letting me get my grubby hands on it early and for letting me fangirl at you in the process : ) x
tiamariaanactoria on December 19th, 2013 03:46 pm (UTC)
Not at all -- thank you for betaing it! The fangirling was muchly appreciated. ;)
Mayalaenmayalaen on December 19th, 2013 05:56 pm (UTC)
This was... amazing! The flow of the writing itself was interesting and it felt like it was taking me along for a rollercoaster of a ride!

I've been into BDSM for years, and what Dean experienced sounds like the ultimate scene -- the wanting to get away from yourself, you can't quite make it because you're still there inside your own head, and only someone skilled can help you with that -- and now I want my own Cas :D

Very good fic!
tiamariaanactoria on December 19th, 2013 09:27 pm (UTC)
now I want my own Cas

Who wouldn't? ;)

Thanks so much for reading, and for leaving such a lovely comment! I'm glad you liked it. (It's especially nice to get comments like this from people who have an understanding/experience of BDSM, so thanks again. :D)
Hike: Deansidehikinggirl70 on January 7th, 2014 07:54 pm (UTC)
Loved it!
tiamariaanactoria on January 7th, 2014 09:22 pm (UTC)
Thanks! :)
borgmama1of5borgmama1of5 on February 23rd, 2014 07:33 pm (UTC)
Wow.

I have no words for this...just wow.

Your really are in these characters' minds!
tiamariaanactoria on February 23rd, 2014 07:36 pm (UTC)
Thank you! ♥ I'm glad you liked it.:)
( 14 comments — Leave a comment )