Disclaimer: Supernatural and BTVS are not mine. I just like to play with their characters.
A/N: The Song Remains the Same-verse (with a smidge of "The End" -Season 5, but no spoilers really). Castiel has fallen. He and Dean are working together.
“Oh Wyoming, how I did not miss you at all,” Buffy frowned. She slammed the car door shut and leaned heavily against the door. The scythe sat on her shoulder, faithful as an old friend. Near her beat up old Vette, a gift from Bobby Singer, an Impala that had seen better days pulled up. One of the doors of that well-loved car was dented, and the window she’d broken last year was still covered with plastic wrap. She shook her head. Times, they were definitely changing. Dean Winchester got out of the car, barely offering the Slayer a glance. He walked around to the trunk to gather weaponry while Castiel unfolded himself from the passenger seat. In the last year of roaming the countryside in Jimmy Novak’s body, he’d managed to find a new set of duds. The khaki trench coat and navy suit had been abandoned for some of Dean’s jeans and a loose black tee shirt. He looked almost human, except for the sadly inquisitive face and the bright, searching blue eyes. Across the hood of the Impala, he looked at Buffy. His head tilted to one side as he studied her. His eyebrows shifted, almost as though he had to tell himself to move them.
“Slayer,” Cas nodded at last, breaking the creepy silence. Dean slammed the trunk and pocketed a container of salt. He carried a shot gun in one hand and Ruby’s knife in the other.
“Thought this was my job,” Buffy shrugged. She pulled a coat out of the open window of the ‘Vette and shrugged it over her shoulders. In November, it was downright chilly. Surprisingly, snow failed to cling to the grass beneath her boots.
“Finished early,” Dean grunted. She looked at him and shook her head. Ever since they’d lost Sam to the Dark Side, Dean Winchester had been more than quiet. He’d been a thick pile of stinking angst. It poured off of him like tar, infecting everything around him with a bit more solace. He was preparing for the worst. Somewhere in his head, he knew he had to kill Sam. He knew it like he knew the back of his own hand. But he couldn’t actually admit it. And he wasn’t ready to do it. The souls of the dead sat on him, waiting to be released to Heaven or Hell or anywhere but here. Still, Sam was the only family he had left. And that meant some serious soul searching.
“Yeah. So here you are,” Buffy sighed. She’d avoided Dean since the End. It wasn’t that anything in particular had gone down. They’d shared one good fight, one good roll, and one brief conversation about death. That was where it had ended. Dean had his own issues to deal with, and since he couldn’t pick up the phone, they had never spoken again. “Just don’t steal my thunder. I have my own shit to deal with.”
“You look well,” Cas sighed, joining Buffy as they followed Dean toward the flaming pile of destruction that lit the way to the Gate of Hell. In the last twenty-four hours, demons had surrounded the place, reopening the doors to unleash those demons that hadn’t escaped the first time.
“You changed clothes,” Buffy shrugged, changing the subject.
“Yes. It was time for a change.” Cas nodded. It hadn’t been so much of a change as an adamant request by Dean. He was sick of the sight of the trench coat. More likely, he was sick of being reminded of the past. Anything that could change it, even something so subtle as a wardrobe element, would be a step in the right direction.
“Well, I like it. I guess you don’t have to worry about being cold, right?” She zipped up her jacket as she asked. Cas’s arms didn’t even shiver in response to the cool wind that trickled over their bodies. In front of them, Dean flipped up the collar of his jacket.
“No. I do not.”
“Must be nice,” Buffy shrugged.
Dean turned to look at them over his shoulder, his eyes narrowed and sparkling with the firelight. That was the signal to shut the hell up, which normally Buffy would ignore. However, the inkling feeling on the back of her neck told her he was right. She wasn’t just shivering from the cold. Demons were out there, circling them like buzzards. Buffy turned the scythe in her hand, bringing the blade up. She held the weapon out in front of her and crouched lower to the ground, ready for whoever might come up on her. Dean walked farther down the chute, standing between two rolling bonfires. Castiel lingered between the two of them, standing tall, waiting.
The action started almost instantly. Demons crawled out of the darkness like pestilence, their black eyes staring out of pasty white faces. It was useless trying to spare the possessed these days. If you spent all that extra time exorcising the demons within, you’d probably have your head served to you on a plate. Instead, it was kill or be killed. Buffy swung the axe and threw a powerful hit into the chest of a small woman. She had bouncy blond hair and wore bright red lipstick. Her low-cut black dress left nothing to the imagination, and her four inch high heels were horribly inappropriate for traipsing through the thick prairie grass. Still, balancing on those clunky shoes, favored by strippers and the incredibly tacky, that demon was a great shot. Buffy rolled to the ground and the demon jumped on top of her. Punching and punning, they rolled toward one of the bonfires, lined with the popping, cracking remains of the recently deceased. A wave of nausea rolled over the Slayer as she watched bits of skin and flesh pop and crackle under the flame.
Off to the side, Dean fired rounds at his opponents, catching one in the chest. He pulled out the knife and ran at the demon, a tall black man wearing silky blue boxer shorts and a thin racer back tank top. He had probably gone to get the morning paper when some escapee demon slipped into his body and redirected him to the middle of nowhere. That was the sort of world Dean lived in now. Demons everywhere, jumping into bodies like parasites. Worse than the damn flesh-eating virus. The knife vibrated and sparked as the demon perished and the body fell uselessly to the ground.
Castiel was faster than his compatriots, at least with taking out demons. He had only to touch them and they retreated to the Underworld with their tails between their legs. But here, at the Gate of Hell, his job was to close the door. More demons guarded the gate than surrounded it. And the sheer strength it took to close it required a supernatural element. That was why it had been Buffy’s job. Looking over her shoulder at Castiel making his way through the onslaught, Buffy sliced off the head of another demon and got to her feet. Two more jumped her almost immediately, and she realized she was glad for the help. This would have taken forever without them.
“Wow,” Buffy shook her head, looking over her latest opponent. He had a thin, stringy mullet and sorely missed six or seven teeth in the front of his mouth. A few had been replaced with silver, but most of the gaps were just gaps. “Who hit you with the ugly stick?”
“A body is only a body,” the demon hissed, catching her across the cheek with a firm hit.
“If I were a demon,” Buffy growled, using the momentum of the punch to spin her body around and throw back a brutal roundhouse kick. “I’d get higher standards.”
“Let us inside, Slayer,” another one grinned, grabbing her by the hair and pulling her to the ground. “You’re just the sort of girl we’re looking for.” It got in two hits, one to her eye, another to her cheek, before she rolled over, grabbing the demon by the shoulders. She reached for the scythe, fingers crawling across the grass in search of the weapon.
“Hey, I’m still trying to retire from my first job,” Buffy shrugged. She slugged him hard across the eye. Another demon sprawled across the two of them, and the tussle continued, rolling them farther away from the scythe. Weaponless, Buffy punched and kicked at her assailants. They cackled and growled, yanking her to her feet and throwing her toward the bonfire. Buffy rolled away just in time, kicking up the ashes and spraying them back at the demons.
“Any luck, Cas?” Buffy yelled over the chaos. She ran back to the scythe, lying in the grass, and ducked down to retrieve it, slicing two heads free of their bodies with one quick motion.
“Almost there!” Castiel yelled back in reply.
“Faster is better!” Dean added from the darkness.
“Need help over there?” Buffy called to him. As if she didn’t have enough problems of her own. Every time she took two out, two more arrived in their place. They seemed to get stronger and stronger, or maybe she was weakening. Streaks of blood covered her clothes and streamed from her hands. There were rips in her jacket and her shoes were melted in places from almost pitching into the fire. Soot soaked into her pores, and the smoke in the air made her lungs ache.
“Just keep fighting!” Dean called back. “Don’t stop.”
“Yeah, Slayer,” a demon laughed. “Don’t stop.” It lifted a hand, lifting Buffy briefly over the crowd. She fell out of the sky just as abruptly, barely avoiding another spitting, crackling fire. Under each one, between the orange flames, she could see the outline of a symbol.
“Dean! Cas! Put out the fires! They’re part of it!”
“It’s too late, Slayer,” the demon laughed again, throwing back its head. “The doors are open. We’ve come out to play. Our Father walks upon the Earth!”
“Don’t worry,” Buffy sneered, grabbing the demon by the throat. “We’ll stop him too.”
Around them, the fires suddenly went out. Buffy looked up, surprised. A sudden fist reeled into her ear, knocking her off balance. She stumbled through the sudden darkness, lit only by the throbbing stars high overhead. The sound of a slammed door echoed. Screams of frustration rose into the night. Buffy heard them over the ringing in her head. She held one hand against her ear and watched as the demons disappeared into the night, back-peddling to form another plan. They’d be back. The fight wasn’t over.
“Guess I should say thanks,” Buffy sighed to Cas. They sat in front of a stubby campfire, an angelic campfire. Dean curled up several feet away in the backseat of the Impala.
“For?” Cas asked. He wiped blood from between her fingers, holding her hand in his.
“For showing up, closing the gate, putting out the fires. All of it. I would still be out there, fighting. Who knows--maybe I would’ve failed…again.”
“Slayer,” Cas frowned. He lifted his hand from hers and pressed the small square of bandage against a cut on her cheek. She stared down at his undamaged hands. “You are not to blame. We all failed. It was written and it came to pass.”
Buffy lifted her eyes, and behind the glittering green irises, Cas could see the guilt and the shame, the self-loathing, the longing for freedom, the strength to fight, and the ache for rest. He found beauty in her, trapped beneath so many layers of unspoken loss. The square of gauze fell from his hand, and he pressed his thumb against the slightly swollen cut that would disappear from her face by tomorrow. In all his time among the Heavenly, Castiel had never once gazed upon a woman the way he now gazed at Buffy Summers. It was different up there, but many things remained the same. Some had desires. Some preferred the male form and others the female, at least here on Earth. But Castiel had always served, and been so busy in that service that all other wants came tertiary. The Father was his entire world.
The world had changed so much.
His face tilted to one side, and he closed his eyes to kiss her. His mind coursed over a thousand thoughts at once. He had never kissed before, never kissed anyone and least of all a woman. And yet, here he was. How did he know how to perform this act? How did he know that he was doing it right? Buffy’s busted hands slid up his sides, and her fingertips almost trembled. The thoughts drifted away like feathers on the wind. His tongue met hers as she opened her mouth to him. Warmth radiated from his hands as he carefully removed her jacket, mindful of the way her face twitched in response to pain.
Pain. He could see it in more than just her expression. Her creamy white flesh rippled with each receptor response. Creases of skin bunched around her eyes in wrinkles when she closed them. Under her shirt, her nipples hardened and her abdomen tightened. Breath escaped through her teeth and nostrils. Sometimes the sound of it was barely audible, and other times she sounded like an engine hissing. Gently, he pressed her back upon the ground. She pulled his warm hand back to her cheek, and he cradled her cool face.
“I could take you anywhere,” he whispered hoarsely. “Some place warmer,”
“I like it here,” she replied, shaking her head. Strands of her soft hair fell between his fingers.
His lips found hers again, and the warmth of his skin trickled down into her like the warmth of a furnace. Bloody fingers pulled his shirt up over his head and discarded it on the damp grass. His skin was unblemished, completely devoid of scars. She reached out to trace the musculature. Despite the coldness of her fingers, he remained warm and toasty. Buffy found herself smiling. Like an infection that spread through his body, Cas found himself imitating the look. No, it was more than an imitation. He genuinely felt the desire to smile. And when he did, when the grin played upon his lips like a melody, he truly was angelic.
“Cas,” Buffy whispered, lifting her head to kiss his neck. His thin layer of stubble was almost soft against her lips.
“Buffy,” he replied, sinking down against her. The desire to have her was incredible. It consumed him, overpowered him, even controlled him. Breaking the bond of her mouth to his throat, he pulled hungrily at her lips, sucking at her tongue, pulling at her clothes. She whimpered, the sound so small she probably didn’t realize she’d made it. Gently, but persistently, he removed the low-cut thermal shirt she wore. Though he was warm and she seemed to be warming, her skin instantly pocked with small bumps. Cas ran his hand over the skin of her toned abdomen, gazing at the spots of purple bruises.
“Are you afraid?” He asked, genuinely curious as to the nature of her reaction.
“Nervous, maybe,” Buffy sighed, watching his flummoxed face.
“Well,” Buffy frowned in thought. “I’ve been with two humans and two vampires, but I can’t say I’ve ever slept with an angel.”
“Nor have I,” Cas replied without much thought.
“But you’re not nervous?”
“I don’t…know,” Cas sighed. The thoughts and feelings were vast and overwhelming, but he could not sort one from the next.
“It doesn’t matter,” Buffy smiled, pushing the nerves out of her mind as much as possible. The gooseflesh lingered, perhaps a mix of nerves and the sensation of the cold, but she thought no more about it. It had been a long time since she’d felt this way, this happy, this excited. It was like her first time all over again, and with an angel to boot.
Her skin was at once cool and warm beneath his hands. He had to taste her, to smell her. Whispered sounds trickled from her parted lips as he moved along the length of her body, stopping to stroke the shapely muscle of her bicep, to kiss the darkening bruise forming over her ribs, to trace the scar of a bullet wound on her stomach. He unbuttoned her dark denim jeans and pulled on the zipper. She reached up to do the same to him. He watched her, holding the breath he didn’t really need to breathe. It seemed more than appropriate to act the part of a human. It was necessary. It was right.
“Is this the iniquity that Dean referred to?” Cas asked, looking down at her, his bare thighs shielding her, his pelvis pressed against her.
“Nope,” Buffy chuckled. “We beat back the evil. This is the only reward we mortals seem to get. And usually, it isn’t this rewarding.”
“How do you know that it will be more rewarding than it usually is?”
“Call it my spidey sense,” Buffy smiled.
He sank into her, and briefly, so briefly, wondered again how he knew to do it. The sensation was quite unlike anything he had ever known, anything he had ever experienced. Perhaps this was the reason his brothers were always so miserable and petty, fighting amongst one another. They didn’t know about this-the thing they all called wicked. The Father had given mortals these desires, these pleasures. He looked down at the Slayer through half-open eyes and felt Jimmy Novak’s heart flutter. It took more than a physical body, and it created more than a physical pleasure. The world was suddenly worth fighting for. The guilt and the pain, the ache and the loss, it was all worth it to see that look in her eyes. Her legs wrapped around his hips and he leaned forward to join their lips again.