I'm going to drop some spoilers for the story in what follows, so if you don't want to be spoiled, go read the story and then come back.
First and foremost, this story is not crack, and that's why I didn't tag for crack. Yes, the premise is cracktacular (and it's literally about taking drugs at one point too, I am aware of the irony), but it's only as cracktacular as the premise of the show itself. For me, that's one of the defining features of crack -- that it's something beyond where the canon premise could ever go. Which is not to say I think we'll ever get angelic pregnancy in the show or anything like that, just that my story extrapolates from the canon rules of the show when it comes to how vessels work. It is pretty much canon compliant as of s10.
I know, that boggles me too, but there you are.
Here's the thing. I have long been bothered by the canonical implications of angelic vessels. I know much of the fandom shares this, which is why in the early days of slashing Dean and Castiel, fandom quickly developed fanon that had Jimmy's soul dead and in Heaven due to one of Castiel's many smitings, and Castiel alone in the vessel. This has since become canon, largely because it's the only somewhat ethical solution to the Vessel Problem, with regards to Castiel anyway. As Hannah raised in s10, it remains an issue for other angels.
And that brings me to the "heaven re-population time" prompt that I filled for Nonexistenz. As soon as I read that prompt I knew it was the one I was going to try to fill, because it was something I'd been thinking about for a long time. I've read quite a few mpreg fics in Supernatural fandom, and generally speaking, the ethics of vessels and the reproductive biology of angels are hand-waved away, and the angel baby is conveniently born in a human body. I have no problem with that -- where would we be as writers without the grand tradition of hand-wavium? I've used it myself many times. But this particular example fascinates me, because in a fandom as enormous and long-lasting as Supernatural, fanon hasn't really come up with a satisfying solution to the Vessel Problem when it comes to mpreg offspring. The angel baby is usually just magically born with a human vessel. As long as you don't think about it too hard the born-with-a-body thing works, but once you do think about it, it raises the question of why the angels don't just make themselves a vessel that way too and so avoid the whole issue with needing a "Yes" and trapping some poor human as a ride-along. Anna even managed this canonically, so it's not a leap to think angels could do it on purpose... as long as they were willing to risk their grace.
Grace is really the issue. It's why angels need a vessel in the first place, but it's also why they need a "Yes", and why they don't just plant themselves inside women's wombs to grow their own vessel.
Anyway, when I got the "heaven re-population time" prompt, I wanted to see if I could come up with a solution to the Vessel Problem that wasn't either based on hand-wavium or as creepy as fuck. (Because believe me, I thought about the Steins and their Frankenstein lab a lot while writing this fic, and nearly added a whole B Plot that would have had the angel children ending up in human vessels, but man, that was creepy no matter how I wrote it.) I thought about how I could solve the Vessel Problem for a long, long time. I posed the question as a hypothetical to various people (not naming the show, but giving the ethical conundrum), including my mother, and none of them could really come up with a solution either, other than not using a human as a vessel. In the end, I decided the only viable solution was to choose a non-human host that could contain grace, and with that decision the burning bush of the Bible leapt to mind along with Anna's tree. A bit of research later and I had my Tree of Life and Death grace container. (Believe me, my Google history is pretty damn weird right now -- cannabis cultivation, giving birth, Bible verses about the Tree, how to watch solar eclipses safely, and a bunch of other stuff that didn't make it into the finished story).
The hardest part from there was trying to write a story that was light-hearted and funny, as suitable for a fest, while still staying canon-compliant, and trying to write the cractacular premise without tipping over into full-on silliness. I'm really not sure I succeeded with that, but this story is my very best shot at writing about angelic reproduction while also tackling the Vessel Problem.
Title: the fruit of a righteous man by cupidsbow
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: Recreational drug use, brief mention of non-con
Length: 5,200 words
Relationships: Dean/Castiel, Dean & Sam
Summary: The moment Dean started fantasising about Castiel’s herb garden probably should have been his first clue it was going to bite them in the ass.
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: Recreational drug use, brief mention of non-con
Length: 5,200 words
Relationships: Dean/Castiel, Dean & Sam
Summary: The moment Dean started fantasising about Castiel’s herb garden probably should have been his first clue it was going to bite them in the ass.
The bunker is in damn good shape for an underground lair that didn't get any maintenance for a handful of decades. Being paranoid types, Dean and Sam checked that out right at the start, and found the whole place was built on top of state of the art warding that discouraged tree roots from growing into the foundations, in addition to keeping out creepy-crawlies of a more supernatural nature.
Even the best warding is no match for tectonic plates if they get feisty enough though. As soon as everything stops shaking, Dean's in his dressing gown and heading out to check the damage. "Sam?" he calls.
Sam calls back right away, "In the library," and Dean's pretty sure he isn't imagining the pouting quality to Sam's response.
There's a patina of dust covering the books spread out over the table, and Sam's hair looks more mop like than ever with its own share of grime, but otherwise he seems fine, and yep, he's sporting a pout that could win gold if pouting were an Olympic sport.
"No major damage in here." Sam says as he pokes at his computer, which fizzles a bit, probably due to the light fitting that's smashed through the screen. "Except for the laptop. I only just got this one how I like it."
Dean wonders if there's any chance in hell they can match the broken light fitting as he pulls out his phone. "Want me to tell Cas to pick up a new one?"
"Yeah, this is a dead loss."
"Dean," Castiel answers. "Are you and Sam okay?"
"Sam's hair has seen better days, but we're good here. How about you?"
"The paint of my car is scratched," he says, sounding irritated.
"Easy fixed, don't worry about it," Dean says, relieved the damage isn't worse. "Sam's computer is cactus here -- it's looking like our only major casualty. Can you pick up a new one on the way home? Do you remember the type?"
"Yes, alright. I remember. I will be back shortly."
Sam calls out, "And bring pizza. No-one's cooking until we've checked the gas."
Cas agrees and Dean hangs up, slipping the phone into his pocket. He bends over and gingerly picks up the largest piece of the broken light fitting. Maybe they can find all the bits and glue it back together. "Do you think the Men bothered to keep spare parts in the vault somewhere?"
Sam stops poking at the laptop, his gaze snapping to Dean's as they both clearly have the same thought at the same time... If the quake was big enough to override the wards, then it might have been strong enough to break some of the seals down in the vault.
Someone is going to have to go down there and check that shit out. Dean wordlessly holds out his fist, and they rock, paper, scissors for it.
"Shit," says Dean.
Sam smirks at him, and runs a hand through his hair to dislodge some of the grit. "Have fun down there, Dean. Scream if you need me."
"Fuck off," Dean says, and heads off to get a flashlight, weapon, and a change of clothes. He's not getting gunk on his kick-ass dressing gown if he can help it.
There's no suspicious sounds when he cautiously pokes his head around the basement door, but he can't see much; there's not even a flicker when he toggles the light switch, so he knows they're going to have to tackle the electrics if nothing else. He gets out his flashlight and gun, and continues on to check that nothing else is broken. He sweeps the aisles methodically, looking for anything out of place on the shelves, and has just about let himself start to hope they're in the clear when he trips over a chunk of masonry and falls into a room he never knew existed. He rolls right back onto his feet and casts the light around on a sea of green that looks like a scene straight out of Breaking Bad.
A bunch of industrial lights are strung across the room on stands, currently without power, and there's the hot, mulchy smell of healthy dirt and growing things. The planters are full of big, frondy plants that look a lot like cannabis.
For a second he thinks the Men of Letters were maybe a bit friskier than he and Sam had realised, but then he finds a bag of potting mix, still marked with the price tag from the local chain hardware store which definitely wasn't trading back in the day. It takes another moment for the cogs to turn and the connections to start to line up in his head, and then Dean has a terrible flashback to Zachariah's little pocket universe, and the pill-popping Castiel he met there. Suddenly Cas' recent fascination with the library's dusty old tomes of plant lore and his suggestion about cleaning up and re-planting the bunker's conservatory with a selection of spell-friendly herbs "so we're prepared next time we need to counter a hex" takes on a whole new and unwelcome meaning.
"Goddamn it," Dean says, and kicks the bag of potting mix hard enough it splits open and spills all over the floor.
"To be fair," Sam says, eyeballing the sea of weed with a critical eye, "we should have known when Castiel started waxing poetic about parsley."
Dean agrees. "No-one could really be that interested in parsley."
"Exactly." Sam nods.
"Even if it was used by nuns as an anti-possession poultice in the middle ages."
Sam stops rolling a seed pod between his fingers and gives Dean a judging look. "That's the part of his info dump you remember? The nuns?"
Of course Dean remembers Castiel telling them about medieval nuns friskily poulticing people's privates. Who wouldn't remember that? "All I'm saying, Sam, is that if nuns still provided that kind of full-body service, I'd be a lot more likely to attend mass. And eat my greens."
"Of course you would." Sam walks over to Dean and crosses his arms, his nostrils flaring in an epic bitchface. "You realise that's probably why he told that particular anecdote? As a distraction? He told me about how parsley was used to purge evil from the blood."
"Yeah," Dean says, ignoring the stab of betrayal that's churning his guts, "kinda figured."
The thing is, Dean may have indulged in a sweet little daydream about stealing herbs from Castiel's garden and trying his hand at a bit of home cooking -- maybe a savory pie, or a homemade burger or two, or even a salad for Sam -- and it's getting right under his skin that Cas was using the whole garden idea to play them so he could get high in secret.
Come to think of it, the moment Dean started fantasising about Castiel's herb garden probably should have been his first clue it was going to bite them in the ass.
"So," Dean says. "Intervention?"
Sam nods. "You can be good cop."
"Dude, no. Rock, paper, scissors for bad cop."
Sam and Dean are both sitting in the library when Castiel gets back from "the nursery to buy some plants". He's carrying a laptop in one hand, a punnet of perky looking seedlings perched on top of a couple of pizza boxes in the other, and there's some colourful seed packets sticking out of the top of one of the pockets of his trenchcoat.
"Have a good time, Cas?" Dean asks. "Meet any giants selling magic beans?"
Castiel frowns at him. "I dislike dealing with shop assistants. They are rarely helpful." He walks over to Sam and hands him the laptop, and sets the pizzas on the table, while keeping hold of the punnet of plants. "They try to sell me items I do not require and insist on telling me about special deals."
Sam makes an amused sound. "Yeah, they do that, Cas." He nods at the seedlings. "What have you got there?"
"Is that what they're calling it now," Dean says.
Castiel casts a confused look at the parsley and then back at Dean. "Yes."
Sam pinches his nose and sighs. "Is there something you want to tell us, Cas?"
Realisation dawns on Castiel's face. "You found the nursery." His shoulders slump and he drops the punnet of plants onto the table. "Are the Etz haChayim damaged?"
"Etz haChayim?" Sam says.
"The cannabis plants. Are they damaged?"
"No," Dean snaps. "Your fucking weed patch is fine and dandy. But we're going to have to reset the Days Since Castiel Lied To Us counter back to zero."
Castiel sighs and closes his eyes for a moment, before pulling a chair out and dropping into it. "I had hoped to have my tests finished before I told you."
"Yeah, that doesn't sound ominous at all," Dean says.
"Give it a rest, Dean," Sam says; then asks, "What's going on, Cas?"
"Have you heard the saying, 'How many angels can dance on the point of a needle?'"
Sam and Dean exchange a look.
"Sure," Sam says. "It's a puzzle. It's usually 'How many angels can dance on the head of a pin' instead of a needle, but now I think about it, the point of a needle makes more sense. I don't think it has an answer, though. It's mainly used to debunk angelology."
"Needles, pins. Is there a point to all this?" Dean says, and smirks, because he's the Reigning Pun King for a reason.
Sam rolls his eyes.
Castiel ignores the wordplay and says, "That saying is a corrupted form of a myth angels have told each other since the Beginning. The angel version is: 'How many angels are needed to watch over humanity?' The answer most commonly accepted is that at least as many angels as seals are required." He presses his fingers against his eyelids. "I admit, I thought with the Apocalypse behind us, it wasn't of much importance any more, even though the seals themselves remain."
"What happens if there are fewer angels than seals?" Sam asks.
"That is the crux of the matter," Castiel says. "Two weeks ago, a cupid named Miniel was killed by demons. Combined with tolls taken by the various skirmishes since the Apocalypse, Miniel's death means that for the first time since the Beginning, there are now fewer angels than seals."
"Aaaaaand..." Dean waves impatiently at Castiel to go on.
"And there are about to be a lot more angels," Castiel says.
"What the hell does that mean?" Dean says. "God immaculately concepted you all or something?"
"Dean," Sam says. "You really had to go there?"
"Where else is this story going, Sam? It's either a mass impregnation, or the pot plants Cas has down in the vault are actually baby angels in their larval form or something. And there's precedent for God doing the rapey impregnation thing, so my money's on that. Although that does still leave the question of what the pot plants are actually for."
They both turn to look at Castiel.
Castiel is smiling fondly at Dean, which Dean pretends not to notice. "Your brother, as usual, has put his finger on the problem, Sam."
Dean preens for moment, but… "Wait, does that mean you've got a bun in the oven?"
"Two 'buns'," Castiel says.
"Holy shit," Dean says, trying to figure out if Castiel has any bulgy bits beneath the trench coat. He cranes his neck, trying to get a good look at Cas's upper body.
"Agreed." Castiel notices Dean staring at him. "You can't see them, Dean. My body is not pregnant. They are growing inside my grace."
Dean isn't sure if that makes it better or worse. On the one hand, he can live without Castiel's magical chestbuster babies exploding all over the bunker; but on the other hand, how exactly are beings of celestial intent born? Do they just waft around burning people's eyes out? Dean is fond of his eyes.
"Congratulations, I guess," Sam says. "Or condolences. What are you going to do?"
Castiel looks pensive as he says, "There are two main options. Either I can go back to Heaven when the time comes, and stay there until such time as the new angels are autonomous and they no longer need me." He glances at Dean as he says, "I have no idea how long that will take. They may be born as fully fledged angels, or it may take millennia for them to mature. There is no way to know."
Dean pulls a face. "Yeah, I'm hating that option. What's behind door number two?"
"I find them vessels so that they can safely stay on Earth once they separate from me."
"Cas," Sam says, but doesn't say anything else. They all know what the problem is anyway.
"I know," Castiel says. "But Sam, Anna's grace safely lodged in a tree for decades, and while a tree is impractical as a vessel in this instance, there have been other cases of plants successfully being used as vessels, at least for a short time."
"That freaky burning bush for a start," Dean says. "I'm guessing it was a cannabis plant given your little science experiment downstairs. The Bible is a lot racier when you find out the Good Bits version of the stories."
"I'm often surprised by what is left out," Castiel agrees. "As it happens, Cannabis is a direct descendant of the Etz haChayim - the Tree of Life. The plants should be strong enough to hold grace, at least for a while, but not so large they are impractical as a vessel. They are also easy to grow, so even if the new angels burn through them after a while, we can have more plants ready."
"I'm hearing a 'but' in there," says Sam.
"But... I haven't tested it yet," Castiel admits. "I was waiting for the plants to be sufficiently mature before I tried touching them with my grace. I was going to tell you once I knew if it was a viable plan or not. I may have… misjudged that."
"Oh, you think?" Dean says, and stomps off to make himself a fresh coffee so he doesn't start a fight he doesn't really want to have.
Sam clears his throat, and Dean looks up from where he's playing solitaire - the old fashioned kind with a pack of cards he found tucked away in a drawer. The backs are decorated with showgirls from World War II, reclining in modest bikinis, all hips and breasts and wavy hair.
"You ever smoked dope?" Sam asks.
Dean shrugs. He's come across it occasionally in his travels, but liquor was easier. Ash used to smoke it, though. Dean remembers the way it made his place smell. Sweet and smoky, a bit like sex. He had a plant growing on his window sill, a short, stubby thing that didn't look much like the neat rows Castiel has cultivated. Dean hadn't even been aware there was more than one kind, until Castiel gave them a proper tour of his greenhouse and started talking about terpenoids and leaf shapes.
"Jess used to sometimes," Sam says. He stops pacing up and down the room and takes a seat at the table. "I was an ass about it."
Dean pauses, jack of clubs halfway to the queen of hearts. "You still miss her."
Sam looks down and watches his hands flex, as though fascinated by the mechanical push-pull of tendons. "For a long time I did." His expression turns rueful. "I still wish we'd had a chance to live that life, but there's too much water under the bridge to feel like more than a might-have-been anymore. You know?"
Dean gets it; he has his own might-have-beens. Dashed hopes and plans he rarely revisits, nothing left but a profound weariness if he thinks of them at all. He abandons the cards and walks around to where Sam is sitting, clapping him on the shoulder. He's about to suggest they order some food, when Castiel appears swathed in smoke, the seared husk of several small plants in his hands. His expression gives away that the test failed, even before he speaks.
"As I suspected, Ruderalis is not robust enough to hold grace for any length of time." He lays the dead plants down on the table.
"Shit," Dean says, and goes over to get a better look at how badly damaged the plants are.
The burns are extensive -- striations of black running up and down the stems, with mulchy sections that look like they were blown apart from the inside.
"I'm not worried yet, Dean. There are still two other strains to try, both of them more hardy. These were just the first to mature." Castiel starts methodically stripping the seeds and leaves from the stem, making a little pile.
Sam pulls a packet of cigarette papers out of the pocket of his shirt, and starts to roll up joint. He hands it off to Dean to light up.
"To Ash and Jess," Dean says. He takes a pull and hands it back to Sam.
"To old friends," Sam agrees.
The high is light and airy, nothing like booze. It goes straight to Dean's head and makes him dizzy in a way alcohol hasn't in years. When they call it a night, he staggers until Cas's arm slides around him, strong and sure. It's nice. He forgets how strong Castiel is sometimes, but he looks at him now, through the haze of weed, and it's like seeing him anew. All the usual layers of history and expectation stripped away. He has eyes like a puppy dog -- sweet and large and full of affection. The edges of his mouth are curled up the way Dean loves. Like he's just discovered how to smile and isn't sure of his own face. It's a mouth made for kissing. Dean thinks it's a shame Cas doesn't get kissed. That Hannah chick… dude…person... that Hannah was crazy to dump his ass. She should have stayed and kissed Cas's mouth and made it turn up at the edges, just like that.
They reach his room and pause as Castiel opens the door. Dean curls his arm around Cas's neck so he doesn't fall over, and Cas stops and looks at him. Maybe Dean's got a kissable mouth too, because he's pretty sure Cas is staring at it. Weird coincidence if they're both thinking the same thing at the same time. Maybe it's the pot.
"I'm really high," Dean says. He's not quite sure how to get from up here in Cas's arms to down there on the bed. Maybe they should both lie down. That seems easiest. "Do you feel it too, Cas?"
"I feel many things, Dean," Castiel says, and that's okay, as long as he's feeling it too, and then Dean's on the bed -- whoa, magic, how did that happen?
Dean can't keep his eyes open, but there's still something he needs to say. The heavy fabric of Castiel's trench coat crushes in his hand as he holds on as hard as he can. "Don't leave, Cas. Stay here."
"There is nowhere I would rather be," Castiel says.
There are fingers in his hair and it feels so nice. Dean feels so nice.
Dean wakes up with a dry mouth and a dull throb behind eyes that itch like a son of a bitch. Self-medication with a shower, three coffees and a bacon sandwich make him feel human enough to seek out Castiel and make sure he's okay.
He finds him in the conservatory, pottering around planting seeds and looking fresh as a daisy. "Hey, Cas. Whatcha doing?"
"Good morning, Dean. I am planting petunias." Castiel surveys the large tray of dirt he's been working on with satisfaction and then turns to Dean and gives him a once-over. "You look--"
"Rough, I know," Dean says. "It's nothing. Hangover. I forgot you could get that with weed."
Castiel dusts his hands clean of dirt, and then pushes into Dean's personal space and gently brushes his forehead with two fingers. His eyes are unexpectedly blue -- more so than usual -- bright with something more than good health. They're like a relentless sky you could stare into forever, warm and powerful and life-bringing.
Dean wonders if this is the angelic equivalent of a pregnant glow, as the last wisps of his hangover fade. He tucks his hands into his pockets and clenches them into fists, ignoring a sudden urge to grab a handful of Castiel's trench coat to stop him from moving away. "Thanks, Cas."
"You're welcome, Dean." Castiel moves back to the large planter he's been working on, and starts carefully poking in more seeds.
"I didn't think you'd still be doing this," Dean says, nodding at the trays of newly planted seedlings, which are slowly bringing the conservatory back to life. "Wasn't it just a cover for the weed?"
Castiel picks up the watering can and wets down the dry earth. "Have you considered what it will be like for them to live here if they are envesselled in the Etz haChayim for any length of time?"
Dean hasn't really. He's been more focused on the possibility of Castiel having to go back to Heaven, maybe for good. He thinks about it now, what it would be like to be encased in wood and sap and loam, even with the benefits of angelic senses. Imagines the flex and sway of a sapling-thin trunk, and the satisfaction of light on broad leaves. Then he looks around with new eyes and sees the herbs, fresh-smelling already, and the flowers, not even sprouted yet, but with bright-coloured packets carefully attached to each tray. "It's a nursery," he realises.
An odd feeling blooms in Dean's chest, something he doesn't want to push away and ignore. He goes over to Castiel and slings an arm around him. He doesn't know how to put it into words, how to tell Castiel that it's good, that he's doing something good for these unexpected children of his. He presses his forehead to Castiel's temple, breathes in the electric smell of him, feels the soft crinkle of his hair. All he can see of Castiel's profile is his nose and the curve of his mouth, and a smattering of stubble over a smooth expanse of skin.
At first, Castiel is a statue beneath his touch, not even breathing. When Dean doesn't pull away, Castiel puts down the watering can, and his hand creeps around Dean's waist, coming to rest in the small of his back.
"You'll be a good dad, Cas."
"You cannot know that," Castiel says, but a pleased smile is flirting around the corner of his mouth. "But I plan to try my best."
"That's why you'll be good." Dean is so close he can't help but notice Castiel has a mouth made for kissing. He thinks it's a shame Cas doesn't get kissed.
"Whoa," Dean says, "deja vu."
Castiel turns to look at him, breath warm against Dean's lips, mouth opening in a question, and then Dean's lips are skating across his, barely anything, hardly a kiss at all. It almost catches up with him then, what the hell he's doing, but before he can pull away Cas surges against him, hands gripping him so tightly he couldn't get away if he wanted to, Cas's mouth hungry, desperate; like he's been waiting for this, dreamt about it, can't get enough.
He bites Dean's throat, as though he knows, and Dean shudders and shoves him up against the wall, sliding his leg between Cas's and that's when he feels it. A hard length poking the crease of his thigh, and there's something about it -- the way Cas is moaning and grinding against him -- that makes Dean's skin go tight all over, tingling all the way up his scalp and down to his dick, so good it's unreal.
Cas clutches him tighter, some of his true strength leaking through, moving Dean's body just where he needs it. "Close your eyes," he gasps out. "Don't look, don't…"
Through his eyelids, Dean sees the world go supernova, so bright he buries his face in Cas's shoulder. The feeling of Cas's orgasm has his own balls giving it up and he comes in his pants while Castiel shakes apart in his arms.
"Holy fuck," Dean says weakly, once it's over.
Castiel snorts, and when Dean cracks an eye open, he's grinning, cheeks stretched wide, happiness spilling out of him.
Dean is pretty sure he's never made anyone that happy with one of his crappy jokes before. He thinks he could get used to it.
The moment Castiel enters the library, Dean knows. It's written all over his face.
"It worked?" Sam asks, also picking up on the vibes Castiel is giving off.
Castiel looks indefinably relieved, a tension Dean hadn't even realised was there now gone from his body. "Yes. The Indica strain contained my grace for several hours without damage."
Dean thinks, I'd like to 'contain your grace' for several hours. He's starting to get used to having those kinds of thoughts about Cas.
Sam says, "That's great, Cas. We should celebrate!"
"Good idea." Castiel's gaze meets Dean's, and he's pretty sure it's not his imagination that Cas's eyes are glowing.
Dean is also pretty sure Cas isn't replying to Sam.
Dean wakes up in the middle of an earthquake, with a dark shape looming over him.
Castiel stops trying to shake him awake as soon as his eyes open. "I think I'm going to give birth," Castiel says.
"Shit," Dean says.
"I feel like I have consumed too many hamburgers."
Dean rolls out of bed, and gropes around for his robe and slippers. "How many did you eat?"
Castiel scowls. "None. I just feel like I have."
"Ah," says Dean, wise enough not to make any further comment. "Just let me grab my kit and we can head down to the plant room."
Down amongst the grove of Indica plants, they'd set up a cushioned platform for exactly this event. Castiel frowns at it and then starts pacing up and down the rows of plants.
"How're you feeling, Cas?"
"Like my grace needs to take a shit. It is very unpleasant."
"I bet it is."
A second later, Castiel's hand is wrapped in Dean's shirt. "Do you think this is funny?"
"Nope! No, nu-uh." Dean keeps his expression completely straight, and tries not to think any incriminating thoughts about how hilarious this is going to be in hindsight.
Castiel narrows his eyes, which are definitely starting to glow, and not in a sexy way. He lets go of Dean and starts pacing again, and Dean takes the opportunity to pull the welder's goggles (NASA approved for solar events) out of his kit and put them on.
After another few rounds of pacing, Castiel sits down on the platform, elbows resting on his knees, and face resting in his palms. "This is terrible. It's worse than being smote."
Dean crawls onto the platform behind him, and starts kneading his shoulders. "I know, buddy, but it'll be over soon, and you'll have two bouncing bundles of light to dandle on your knee."
"Muriel and Sofiel."
"You already picked names?" Dean says, a little hurt. He'd kind of hoped to help with that.
"I didn't pick their names. They just are Muriel and Sofiel."
"Oh." Dean bites his tongue on a comment about God being an overbearing ass, and instead says, "They're good names too. Soph and Mary. Catchy. They could start a folk band."
Castiel moans in pain, and tugs at his hair until it's standing up in spikes. "Of course you have diminutives for them already. You're ridiculous. Those goggles are ridiculous. This whole situation is ridiculous."
"Yup," Dean agrees, and uses his thumbs to get that spot Castiel really likes just behind his ears.
Castiel moans again, and folds up so his head is between his knees. "Dean? I think it's time. I think they're coming."
"Okay. You can do this. Deep breath."
Castiel obediently takes a breath, and there's one long moment of calm. Then his eyes and mouth open, and there's so much light it hurts even through the goggles. The air whips up into a vortex, stirring Castiel's hair even more, tugging at Dean's clothes, and making the plants whip back and forth.
A sound like thunder but a thousand times louder rends the air and the glow pulses even brighter, hurting Dean's exposed skin like sunburn. A second crack sounds, another pulse of light.
Through the ringing in his ears, Dean can hear the limbs of the plants snap back and forth in a frenzy, bringing with it the smell of sap and marijuana smoke and ozone. He thinks this must be what living through a twister is like.
After the wind dies down, Dean cautiously opens his eyes. For a second he panics, thinking he's blind, and then realises that the glasses are just dark, because there's no bright light anymore. He takes them off and looks around. Two plants are standing straight and tall, while the others are ruffled and bent out of shape.
"Hello," Castiel says to them.
Both plants wave their fronds. If a plant can be said to look excited, it's these two. One of them has a crown of flowers and the other looks a bit like a dancing baby Groot.
Castiel goes over and touches them both, a gentle brush of his fingers along their leaves. "Sofiel," he says to the one with the flower crown, "and Muriel," to the one who's dancing. "It is good to finally meet you."
Muriel shakes all her leaves, and it sounds just like laughter. Like existence is the best thing that's ever happened to her. Sofiel leans forward into Castiel's touch, almost falling out of her pot and flailing to regain her balance.
"That is freaking adorable," Dean says, and he can already see the future, and his role as doting uncle to a pair of growing weeds.
"You two are a freaking menace!" Dean says, as both remote controlled toy race-cars barrell down the main corridor of the bunker, each carrying a plant that waves as they sail by, looking completely unrepentant for nearly knocking him over.
"It's your own fault, Dean," Sam says. "You spoil them rotten. You're the one who built those cars for them."
"You say spoiled, I say provide valuable prosthetics."
"Whatever you say, Dean."
Dean gives Sam a look, because he knows Sam is working on an interface so Mary and Soph can use a voice synthesizer. "You say potato, I say the kettle's black, bro."
Castiel comes out of the conservatory, trailing a piece of bailing wire that's tangled up with his belt. "Dean," he says. "Could you help me with something for a moment?"
Under his breath, Sam mutters, "That's what she said," and Dean elbows him in the ribs.
"Sure, Cas," Dean says, because Castiel's mouth is still sadly under-kissed, and Dean has made it his mission to fix that problem, no matter how long it takes.
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