Friday, October 24, 2008


Question Mark
By Ebbtide

A hand, burned hot-red into his skin, had left behind traces - a new question mark in his world built of ignorance and mysteries. He found a beautiful symmetry in the new life, this second chance. Saved from the bowels of hell by an angel of god. A sinner reborn by grace.

Poetry had nothing on Dean Winchester.

A low rumble shook the hunter’s chest, a cough working it’s way through his body. Sam was out of the hotel buying cough-drops and other essentials they were running low on. The blonde man groped blindly at the beside table, his eyes closed to the room’s low light, in search of a half-full glass he had placed there earlier. Wrapping his hand around the cool glass, he brought it to his dry lips and took a small sip.

Dean hated being sick. He hated to admit that on occasion he needed help surviving the normal parts of life. It made him feel like a wuss, times like these. He couldn’t even keep down a slice of heavenly pie. He frowned.

There was a slight rustling noise to his left accompanied by a whiff of frigid air.

“How are you?”

“What do you care?” Dean peeked up at the angelic visitor through a hooded green eye. “Can you snap your fingers and heal me? Don’t answer that!” He added quickly.

Dean felt his head begin to throb in congestion fueled discomfort. He clumsily grabbed a Kleenex from the box on his bed and blew his nose. Loudly. Maybe the angel would get a clue and leave. Dean kept his eyes closed, breathing in deeply once his nasal passages were clear.

“You still there, buddy?” He asked after a few moments of dead silence.

“How are you feeling?”

Under closed lids, Dean rolled his eyes. “Peachy.” The man grumbled. “I’m the freaking belle of the ball.”

There was the soft approach of footsteps and Dean tensed as he sensed the presence of Castiel lean over the bed.

“I’m not going to hurt you, Dean.” Castiel’s soft, strong tone made Dean relax involuntarily.

“Yeah?” Dean let his voice harden. “How can I be so sure?”

“You’ll just have to have faith.”

Dean coughed.

“This is most unfortunate. I need you ready to fight. The battle field draws closer and closer each day.” Frustration entered the angel’s voice for the very first time. “But I am not authorized to heal you. There are rules.”

Dean smirked through another harsh cough.

“Hands tied, big guy? Well, that’s too bad. Sorry to mess up your party plans.”

“You will be better soon, Dean. I do not sense a lasting illness in your body.”

Dean adjusted the pillow under his head, moving to a more comfortable position on his side.

“Whatever you say, sparky.” He mumbled.


Castiel looked down at the human. He felt a curiosity burn through his thoughts, begging the cool relief of an honest answer. He was hesitant to speak aloud the subject that was stuck in his mind.
Over two thousand years of watching - not directly interfering with - the human world had left him feeling curious, torn, disappointed and disgusted. He prayed for guidance before opening his hosts mouth, humans were so hard to read sometimes. He would need more practice if he was to connect with Dean Winchester.

“How can you mock the Lord?” There, he had said it. The question that had haunted him throughout his tine on Earth.

Dean chuckled dryly. “Is this the fire and brimstone episode, preacher-man?” He asked.

Castiel took a step backwards at the flippant response to his earnest query. His mouth turned down in a frown. His brilliant blue eyes clouded. He would try one more time.

“Please, I would like to know…to understand.” The human world was still such a mystery.

“Nah, you don’t want that.”

“I think I do.”


Dean stiffened, his eyes widening a margin in fear at the irritation that bled into Castiel’s words. The hunter had learned the hard way to trust no one. Especially powerful figures claiming a story too good to be true. He knew the angel had the ability to do almost anything imaginable - he could bend time! - but that was no reason for Dean to make it easy. He did not trust the angel and he was not in the mood to be liberal with his feelings.

“Why do you want to know so bad?”

“Call me curious.” Castiel replied, shifting his weight from one foot to the other.

Dean grinned, a genuine humor infusing itself with his next statement. “Oh, I can call you lots of things, but since you asked nicely…” He let his words trail off into a dry chuckle.

“I see that you will not be answering my question.” Castiel paused for a brief moment. “Fine, I will leave you. Do not be afraid, Dean, you will be made well soon.”

“Because god’s watching over me?” Dean asked bitterly.


“Protecting his investment?”


Dean coughed, long and hard.

“Bang up job he’s doing so far.”

“I’ll be seeing you around, Dean.” The angel turned away.

Dean looked up then, his green eyes studying the angel in masked surprise. During all of their interactions, the heavenly creature had never once said anything resembling a greeting or a goodbye. He would just appear and disappear in his own time. The Winchester boy felt a little guilty for being such a smart alec. He had been essentially nipping at the hand that had freely fed him a new chance at life.

Dean cleared his throat loudly. “Wait!”

Castiel glanced over his shoulder at the man lying on the bed. One dark eyebrow rose in question. Dean took a deep breath and then spoke honestly.

“It’s easy. To mock the Lord.” Dean began, trying to find the right words to explain. He looked up, meeting Castiel’s intense gaze. “I was raised to believe in the tangible, the…” He grinned softly. “The corporeal. I was taught to only believe in those things which can be seen, experienced and proven. To me god does not exist. How can you offend what doesn’t exist?”

Castiel clenched his jaw. His brothers and he had watched the Winchester family from afar, their importance never underestimated. Over the years Castiel had seen John Winchester teach his boys many immoral ways. The truth of just how much their father was inside each of their characters, attitudes and actions surprised the angel. He had thought humans much more independent than that.

“What, no response?” Dean asked with a cocky half-grin.

Castiel bowed his head. “Thank you. I must go now.”

Dean waved a hand towards the door, coughing again.

“Hey, don’t let me keep you.” He blew his nose again and then continued. “After all, I’m sure that you have so many lost souls to save and …”

Castiel was gone.

Dean groaned and closed his eyes tightly, rolling over in the bed. “Angels!” He muttered in exasperation.