Prompt: Newly-human Castiel is still figuring out this whole being human thing. Dean gifts him with a very special experience... his first hangover. (Gen)
Genre: Gen / Humor
Characters/Pairings: Dean, Sam, Castiel (Gen)
Warnings/Spoilers (if applicable): Drunkenness
Disclaimer: I don't own Supernatural or its characters - these were created by Eric Kripke - I'm just borrowing them. I'm not making any commercial gain. No harm or infringement intended.
Summary: When a minor coffee-related injury robs Castiel of the last of his grace, Dean decides the only acceptable way to celebrate/commiserate this life changing event is with a bar crawl. Castiel is ill prepared for the morning after.
With many thanks to the Ficwise Writing-Chevra group for reviewing, and gryphon2k for the art work!
They'd expected a fanfare or an explosion or even a column of blazing light. That wasn't the way Castiel lost the last of his grace.
They were sitting in the kitchen, decompressing after their most recent hunt--maybe they'd been overdoing it recently--and having a late, meagre breakfast. "More coffee?" asked Dean, trying to cheer up a morose Moose and a somewhat-fallen angel of the Lord who both seemed to be in competition for most miserable-looking waste of space.
Castiel sighed and pulled himself from his seat. "I'll get it," he offered, not that he really needed to eat or drink, but perhaps noticing that he was nearest to it in any case. As he pulled the jug from the coffee maker, he caught his knuckles against the heated surface.
"Ouch," complained Castiel absently, putting the jug back down and waving his hand briefly to cool down the minor burn.
"Oh," he added in a small, surprised voice.
Something they couldn't explain made the brothers look up at him with a sudden sense of dread, despite the mildness of his tone.
Dean raised a questioning eyebrow.
"My grace just ran out," explained Castiel in a low voice that did nothing to reflect the sheer terror and emptiness that those words made him feel.
"So, what, you're human now?" asked Sam gently, trying to surreptitiously elbow his stunned looking brother into making some kind of conciliatory remark.
Dean seemed to suddenly spring into life. "You know what; we should celebrate!" he announced.
"What?" asked Castiel, not sure he quite understood.
"What?" asked Sam, not sure he could believe that Dean would be so insensitive. Surely now was the time to talk about the implications and share their feelings?
"No, I mean it!" insisted Dean. "Today's, like, the first day of being human, so that makes it your birthday!"
Castiel quirked an eyebrow. "Does that mean I get cake?" His knowledge of human customs was still a little shaky, and slightly skewed, based as it was on the Winchesters' codependent dysfunctional concept of family and the biggest illegal download of pop culture ever, courtesy of Metatron.
He found himself, however, with a sudden overwhelming desire for cake. Interesting.
"Sure, you can get cake," Dean dismissed amiably, "but what I meant is that we should take you out and get you toasted."
Castiel frowned at that. "Toasted?" he repeated. "But you've just had breakfast," he said, indicating the piles of dirty plates beside the sink. His heart sank as that reminded him that he would probably get stuck with the dishes again. He narrowed his eyes in suspicion. It never seemed to be Sam's turn; sometimes he wondered if that ruthless anti-washing up streak was a symptom of the man losing his soul again.
Is this my life now? he sighed to himself.
"No, no," laughed Dean.
Castiel blanched as it occurred to him what this new, more bloodthirsty, version of Dean might mean, thanks to the influence of the Mark of Cain. "'Take out' and 'wasted' in common vernacular-" he started.
Dean's eyes widened, seeing where his friend was going. "Jeez, Cas. What do you think I am?"
Sam snorted, ignoring the glare it earned him from his brother. "What, aside from his enabler? It's not even eleven o'clock!"
Ignoring Sam for a moment, Dean rapped his knuckles on the ex-angel's head. "Did Meta-douche only watch pulp detective films, or what? Who even talks like that now?" He turned back to Sam. "And it might be a little early but it's a special occasion; it's Cas's first birthday. Plus, going out early means we can just take it slow, no need to rush."
Castiel was so wasted.
"I'm toast," he announced, so surprised by the sound of his own voice that his supporting elbow slipped from the edge of the bar.
"Whoa, buddy, you okay there? I don't need to cut you off, do I?" asked the concerned bartender.
"I am already cut off," replied Castiel. "From Heaven" he added in a loud whisper.
"Is that so?" said the bartender in a neutral voice.
"I've been born again," nodded Castiel sagely, "so Dean said we should go celebrate."
"We don't get many religious types in here," said the bartender, looking a little confused.
Castiel nodded. "Dean's," he waved vaguely in the direction of his friend, "not a big fan of organized religion."
The bartender looked over at Dean, who seemed to be dividing his attention between checking out two slightly-younger-than-the-usual bar-flies and looking over at Castiel to see if he was still okay.
"So, Dean's your..." angled the bartender, becoming interested despite himself and looking for a more informative response.
Castiel leaned forward. "We share a profound bond. But don't tell Sam; I think he gets jealous. It's not his fault he's an abomination."
The bartender took a step back and sniffed distastefully. "Your friend from earlier? Well, he looked fine to me," he declared. "Perhaps you self-loathing religious types should actually try a bit of that love you keep trying to spread to others." He threw his dish towel down on the counter and stomped off to serve another patron.
Castiel sat back so far in surprise that he ended up tumbling off the bar stool.
"Whoa, I gotcha, buddy," said Dean, rushing over to help his friend back to his feet.
"I don't think this bar is happy at all," grumbled Castiel, while glaring at the bartender's back.
"Huh?" Dean gave the ex-angel a quick pat-down for any sign of injuries.
"Sam said this was a happy bar and that we'd fit right in," muttered Castiel, irritated that he couldn't quite remember Sam's exact words and that Dean was quite patently ignoring him.
"I think we should get you home," observed Dean, "you're wasted." He sounded quite the worse for wear himself. "Plus the chicks here don't seem to be really into me," he shrugged. He wasn't bothered, just surprised.
Castiel swayed in place. "I do feel a bit dizzy," he admitted. "I still don't know why we couldn't have stayed at the first place."
"It wouldn't have been much of a bar crawl if we had!" laughed Dean.
"We didn't even crawl," complained Castiel. "Although I may have staggered somewhat when we got here," he admitted. "Sam vomited," he added with a snigger, and Dean joined in.
"Yeah, he might be the size of a moose, but he's got the stomach of a mouse!"
Castiel found that very funny and he laughed long and loudly. "You're my best friend," he suddenly declared.
"Cas, man, you're my best friend too," replied Dean, happily throwing an arm around his shoulder and pulling him in tight. "You're like a brother, just... less pukey," he slurred.
Castiel smiled happily, "I'm glad it was me that got to pull you out of Hell."
"Dude, I never even thanked you."
"No, I mean it," said Dean hotly, "I'd die for you, man."
"And I'd bring you back again," proclaimed Castiel. His face dropped, "Oh, I forgot..." He waved away Dean's look of concern. "Y'know what, I don't care; I'd find a way to bring you back!" he said.
They smiled broadly at one another as they once again declared their undying friendship.
Dean looked around, pleased to discover that the other patrons no longer seemed so standoffish with him, although he'd resigned himself to not getting anywhere with the cute redhead from earlier. "I tried," he mumbled, somewhat incoherently, "but, we need to work on your wingman skills; her friend didn't seem to really think you were into her or something."
Castiel squinted blearily across the bar. "Nah, I prefer a larger wingspan," he leered, as they both exploded into what felt like an almost-deadly paroxysm of giggles.
"Another drink," insisted Dean, passing a shot with one hand and a beer in the other. Castiel nodded happily, tossing down the booze with new, well-practiced ease.
Castiel had never felt so happy in his entire existence.
Castiel had never felt so awful in his entire existence.
There was some sort of loud bass drum being played repeatedly nearby that was making it difficult to think clearly.
He raised his head, practically needing to peel it off from the pillow, it was so sticky with drool. He winced at the bright overhead lights that seemed unusually brighter than normal. He looked around wincing, his eyes screwed up against the glare.
Humans usually slept with the lights off, he considered. No wonder, if this is what it is like in the morning.
He looked around further to get his bearings. It looked like the bunker, in one of the spare rooms. He glanced down at himself, noting that he was only partially dressed, his shoes and most of his outerwear carelessly folded and piled on the chest of drawers on the other side of the room.
His brow crinkled as he struggled to remember the details of the previous evening, a task not helped by the insistent pounding in his head.
Pulling himself to his feet, he wandered the room with an unfamiliar, insistent urge to do something. An almost-unbearable pressure seemed to be building within him and for a terrible moment he wondered if he was going to explode again. He hoped not. This would be, what, the third or fourth time now?
He walked around the room faster, his legs shaking beneath him as if they were made of jello.
Perhaps it is some sort of witch's curse, or some side effect of being newly human? He worked through the options in his mind with increasing desperation, eliminating the first dozen thoughts almost immediately.
Ah! That was it: elimination, he thought as his pacing of the room brought him level with the doorway to the ensuite bathroom.
The relief was almost immediate and palpable. He did look down with some concern at the length of time the process appeared to be taking, but the stream that initially seemed so strong, and mostly fairly accurate, eventually petered out.
He sighed with relief, stumbled back to the bed, and collapsed with exhaustion, finding just enough strength to bury himself under the covers as the pounding seemed to grow ever louder.
Groaning pitifully, he burrowed deeper and for a brief, perfect moment found some kind of peace.
The door to his room flew open with a resounding crash.
"Come on, you slug-a-bed," hollered Dean. "It's a beautiful day, time to get up and at 'em," he declared brightly.
Castiel glared at him with all the intent, if not the power, of a two-thousand-year-old, demon-smiting warrior angel of the Lord.
Dean blinked. "Cas, did you just hiss at me?" he asked, unperturbed.
Castiel sobbed and threw himself back under the covers, crying out as the soft impact sent rippling waves of pain and nausea through his body.
"Leave me," he begged. "My body is breaking down without my grace to keep it in check; it must have been all that was keeping me going. I'm dying... leave me to go in peace and remember me as the angel that I was, not the wretch I am now," he declared.
Dumbstruck, Dean stared until a small smile chased off the scowl of concern twisting up his chiseled features.
"I mean it, Dean," said Castiel, as another wave of nausea threatened to pull him under. "Think well of me," he gasped, releasing what he was sure was going to be his final breath. He reached out a shaky hand, only to overextend and tumble from the bed in a twisting torrent of sweat-soaked sheets.
"Dean, are you there? Oh, I've gone blind, I can feel myself slipping away," he moaned.
"Cas, you've just got the sheet twisted around your head," laughed Dean, stepping forward quickly to release his friend from the linen clutches of his latest nemesis.
"Ah, that's somewhat better," said Castiel a little stiffly as he sat himself upright. "Thank you." He attempted to regain some dignity by arranging the sheet more neatly around himself.
"But I fear that I am not long for this world," said Castiel. "Perhaps I have succumbed to one of the many plagues and illnesses endemic to your kind? You should keep your distance."
"Nah," laughed Dean. "I think you're just hung over."
"Hung over what?" replied Castiel, confused.
"Just hung over, you know. You've had too much to drink."
Castiel frowned in displeasure. "You don't seem to be as "hung" as I am and we drank the same last night." He considered his recent memories. "Well, from what little I can still piece together from last night's events. The details do seem a little-"
"Raucous?" smirked Dean, still chuckling from Castiel's inadvertent double-entendre.
"-Blurry," continued Castiel.
"Don't worry about it, big guy. I've been drinking heavily since before I was a teenager - experience does count for something you know," Dean added with a wink.
Castiel just stared. "I'm never drinking alcohol again," he vowed vehemently.
Dean chuckled. "Yeah, we'll see. Come on, I'll even make you some breakfast. How does that sound?"
Castiel's stomach twisted at the thought and he groaned in pain. "I'm not sure that has quite the allure you think it does," he groaned, holding his stomach.
"Here," said Dean, miraculously placing a glass of water and a bottle of aspirin in Castiel's hands. "Take these and you'll soon feel better."
Castiel took the bottle with a nod of thanks and tipped the contents into one palm. One or two of the pills escaped from his grasp and made a break for freedom. Castiel scrabbled around on the floor before giving up their retrieval as a lost cause.
Dean took a belated double-take. "Er, don't take too many of those, yeah?" he countered gently.
Castiel was confused by his friend's awkward expression, until it dawned on him that without his grace the medicine, like the alcohol, would now have a normal impact on him. Avoiding eye contact, he took a couple of tablets and somehow managed to choke them down by chugging most of the water. "I don't feel any better," he complained while grimacing at the acrid taste in his mouth.
Dean laughed. Again. Unamused, Castiel noted that he seemed to be the focus of much of the elder Winchester's mirth so far this morning.
"Got to give 'em time to do their thing. Come on! Breakfast of champions coming up," Dean chuckled and led Castiel from the room.
Castiel sank wearily, but thankfully, into the kitchen chair. His vision was blurred, his heart pounded, and his hands were clammy from where he gripped the edge of the table for dear life. He wondered fleetingly if the spatial dimensions of the bunker had changed overnight. He was certain the kitchen was not so far away before; getting here had felt like quite the trek.
"Whoa, you're looking a little green there, buddy. You're not going to barf in my kitchen, are you?" cried Dean in sudden alarm. There was no doubt in anyone's mind that, despite the phrasing, the last part was most definitely a statement and not a question.
Castiel concentrated on taking deep breaths. "I'll be okay in a moment," he ground out, trying not to think about how the room was beginning to spin quite alarmingly.
Mollified for the moment, Dean turned back to the stove. "Well, it looks like we may need to do a grocery run, thanks to Sam's midnight munchies," he growled. "But there's enough here to keep us going for now."
Castiel didn't care. He rested his head on the table top, the cool surface soothing some of the pain in his suddenly too heavy head.
The clatter of a plate beside him roused him from his all too brief slumber.
"Kill or cure," urged Dean, pushing the plate closer.
Castiel took one look at the greasy fried eggs and ran from the room, clutching his mouth.
Dean chuckled as he tucked into the breakfast himself. "Kill it is, then."
"Come on," gestured Dean. "It's time we got Sam up," he added with a more wicked grin than perhaps was warranted.
"Shouldn't we knock first?" Castiel asked while surreptitiously leaning on the wall, hoping that Dean wouldn't notice he was still unsteady on his feet. He had an awful thought that Dean was going to be collecting damning evidence for teasing that would go on for years.
"Nah, where's the fun in that?" Dean pounded on the door, immediately pushing it open. He looked back at Castiel with a twinkle in his eye. "Wakey, wakey!" he bellowed.
Castiel grimaced and instinctively put his hand to his head; he felt sorry for Sam being in the blast zone. If the angels ever needed a replacement for the Last Trumpet, they'd do worse than to ask Dean to stand in.
Castiel crinkled his nose at the stuffy odor, but there was no sign of Sam. "He's not here. Maybe he didn't come home?"
"Nah, look, the bed's all messed up," observed Dean.
Castiel had noted that both of the brothers were quite regimented in their demeanor and would always make their beds with military precision. He looked around in surprise. "What are you doing?" he called in alarm, as he noticed Dean about to open the bathroom door. "Surely he's... engaged."
Dean grinned, holding up a finger. "Listen."
Castiel did as he was told. Despite the thickness of the door he could hear Sam's distinctive rumbling snore.
"He's probably passed out after puking again," sniggered Dean. "We should check he's okay." He tapped lightly on the door before going in.
Castiel looked around the door curiously for the source of the blaspheming to find Dean staring in horror at Sam fast asleep and sitting upright on the toilet. Stark naked.
Dean prodded his brother on the shoulder. "Sam, wake up." There was no response. He prodded again and then shoved a little harder. "Dude, wake up."
Sam stopped snoring for a second before starting to list to the left. Dean managed to catch him just in time before he headbutted the side of the washbasin.
"We can't leave him like this, Cas. Take his feet and help me carry him back to bed."
Castiel did as he was instructed and struggled to lift the younger hunter by his ankles.
"Jeez, I didn't realize he was so heavy," groaned Dean, straining under the bulk of the weight.
"And I never really noticed how big he was," panted Castiel.
Dean paused and squinted at his friend suspiciously. "I think we should swap places," he growled.
Castiel shrugged; either end was equally heavy, but possibly easier to maneuver via the shoulder end. And despite what Dean might seem to think, he wasn't interested in the view. Somehow they managed to drag Sam out and onto the bed, only dropping their load a couple of times. Sam had mumbled but hadn't woken, so Castiel surmised it wasn't too bad, but that possibly they'd all have a few extra bruises later.
"Well, that was a pain in the ass," complained Dean as he pulled a sheet across Sam to preserve what little dignity his brother still retained.
Castiel tried to recover his breath; the whole exercise had made him feel quite green. He pondered the expression - looking in the mirror, he decided that ashen was more appropriate. "Certainly, I've seen more of Sam today than I have in all the years that I've known him," he added, distracted by his pale color. He wondered if it suited him.
Dean chuckled. "It was a whole other side, yeah?"
"Both of them," Castiel added dryly, his eyes crinkling. He groaned and leaned against the wall. "Oh, I think I need to lie down."
Dean smirked with all the smug self-satisfaction of one who regularly dodges the hangover bullet. "I've got just the thing," he said, ushering Castiel from the room. "The Men of Letters might have had some cool stuff, but we've got something even better." He waved to the cozy lounge area just off the main library. "Netflix."
Castiel spent the rest of the day working through Dean's list of suggestions. It was interesting to note that Metatron's viewing habits hadn't often strayed to the action flicks that Dean seemed to prefer.
"How about this one?" Castiel asked, indicating one of the suggested box sets. "It might be... educational?"
Dean shuddered. "No, I do horror in real life enough, plus I feel like it's only a matter of time...." He lightened the mood with a grin. "Anyway, if I wanted to watch the Walking Dead, I only need to look at you or Sam," he winked.
"Mainly reclining rather than walking," replied Castiel. "Although, I'm feeling a little better."
"Then I think you must be ready to eat," announced Dean, getting to his feet.
"Oh no, I'm fine," said Castiel, only to be betrayed by a long protracted growl emanating from his stomach. He looked down in amazement. "Is it supposed to do that? Is it intelligent?"
"Possibly," said Sam in a weak voice from the door. "Some say that Dean is just a stomach on legs, so the jury's still out on that."
"Bitch," said Dean, with no venom in his voice, unexpectedly flinging a cushion in his brother's direction. He snickered as it caught Sam directly in the face.
"Uh, jerk," groaned Sam as he eased himself into Dean's vacated spot on the sofa. "So, what are we watching?"
"We hadn't decided yet," Dean said.
"Oh? So you won't mind if I choose something then," said Sam reaching for the control, only to lose it in a brief tussle with his brother. "Hey, I thought you were going to make something to eat?" complained Sam.
Dean returned an unimpressed look, but a moment later he caved under the force of puppy-eyed pleading. He sighed and tossed the control back to his brother. "Go knock yourself out," he muttered.
After busying himself in the kitchen, Dean returned about forty minutes later to find the two men fast asleep and sprawled across each other; Castiel apparently was quite the drooler, more's-the-pity for Sam's shoulder.
Chuckling under his breath to avoid disturbing the sleeping pair, Dean retrieved his phone and took a couple of snaps, not because they looked cute as a couple of puppies, of course, just purely for future blackmail potential. With that thought in mind, he decided to check his brother's phone.
"Yeah, I've still got the moves," he chuckled under his breath as he made sure to delete a video of himself strutting his funky stuff on the dance floor while pulling Castiel along behind by his tie. There were a couple of candid photos he had to turn upside down before he could figure out whatever it was he was doing, although in the end he decided to play it safe and erase them all. But not before forwarding on a couple of Sam's more embarrassing selfies.
"Grub's up!" yelled Dean, making a poor attempt of disguising the joy he took in watching the two men collide as they tried to leap to their feet despite being tangled up together.
Sam and Castiel exchanged a look of weary defeat.
"You learn to pick your battles," sighed Sam, as he followed meekly in the wake of his brother and towards the delicious smell of food emanating from the kitchen.
"Cas, man, could you pass the salt?" requested Sam. A guilty expression crossed his face in response to him noticing Dean's glare. "What?"
"You haven't even tasted it yet," scowled Dean.
"So I like a little salt on my food. What's wrong with that?" asked Sam, with a defensive edge clear in his voice.
"And I thought you were the health food nut," muttered Dean, darkly.
"Well excuse me for liking condiments in moderation," said Sam, snippily, "It's not my fault you don't add enough seasoning."
"I'll give you seasoning..."
Meanwhile, Castiel had been trying to lean across the table to the salt cellar that was just out of reach. He rolled his eyes at the stupidity of the brothers' argument, only to blink in surprise to find the salt now in his hand. Bemused, he handed it to Sam as requested.
"Cas," said Dean, the sense of deep betrayal obvious in his voice.
"Cas!" said Sam, who'd caught a glimpse of what had happened out of the corner of his eyes.
"I think," stammered Castiel. "I think I might have gotten my grace back!"
"That's really great, Cas," said Dean, patting the angel on his back.
"Yeah, but how?" asked Sam. "You seemed so sure it was gone."
Castiel shrugged. "I think it just needed time and rest in order to regenerate," he surmised. "This really is most fortuitous."
"Forget that, it's damn lucky is what it is," declared Dean. "Hey, you know what?"
Sam groaned and dropped his head to the table with a dull thump, while Castiel looked on with bemused befuddlement.
"We should celebrate!"