Summary: There were times that Dean felt like he couldn’t control his own body. His hands would tremble a bit, he might feel weak or he might get a sudden headache that made him have to lean against a wall for support. He felt out of place in his own skin, like his mind couldn’t trust his body to do as told, to be real. He always stopped that train of thought as soon as possible because it just wasn’t normal, or rather wasn’t supposed to be normal. Yet, so many things about him weren’t supposed to be normal.
Word Count: 3461
Characters: Castiel, Dean Winchester, Samandriel, Naomi, Sam Winchester, Mary Winchester, Alastair
Pairings: Castiel/Dean Winchester/Samandriel
Tags: Fairy Tale AU
The grass was cool against Dean’s cheek as he lay under the old oak, he knew he’d have to return to his family soon or else they might start to worry, but he’d wanted to explore the forest and Sammy was too little to come with him. Dean was already almost seven years old and Sammy was still only almost three, but Dean had a feeling he wouldn’t like the venture anyway; the dirt and crunching leaves scattered around making secret places for tiny creepy crawlies to hide, his baby brother didn’t even like grass, which Dean thought was a crime. The closest Sam came to nature was pointing to trees and plants while saying ‘itchy yuck’.
Dean breathed in the fresh scent of the outside and stretched out under the warm flickering sunlight that seeped between the leaves high up in the hard to reach branches, and even though he knew he shouldn’t, he drifted off to sleep.
“Dean.” He could hear a soft voice whisper in a sing-song tone as he slowly started to rouse, but he desperately wanted to ignore it and keep napping.
“Dean, wake up, sleepy!” another voice chirped, more loudly and with unrestrained excitement. Dean slowly opened his eyes while mumbling ‘Mom? Sammy?’
“I can’t believe it! Are those really freckles?” Dean started, blinking awake with his eyebrow quirked as a dark haired boy with wings started chattering away a mile a minute, saying how pretty his hair was, knocking his forehead against Dean’s with a light ‘thud’, and ignoring Dean’s small ‘ouch’ in favor of calling over the other boy with lighter hair. “Samandriel, look how green his eyes are!”
“Ooh! Castiel, this is fantastic, just feel how soft his skin is!” only then did Dean realize that the smaller boy with gold twitching wings had been sweeping his hand quickly over his neck and arm, and his hand was raised to gold dusted lips, a gentle kiss pressed to his skin. Dean blushed because he’d only ever seen boys kiss girls like that, but he didn’t try to pull away. The boy that kissed him had wings like a dragonfly, shining and long. His skin was gold, shimmering subtly like it had been coated in glitter. His eyes, though, weren’t gold. They were blue like the sky. This one, Samandriel, Dean thought, reminded him of a sunrise with all his colors.
Dean felt his other hand being lifted and the dark haired boy just held it, smiling a shy toothy grin while absently stroking his thumb over the back of Dean’s hand. “Hello, Dean.”
Maybe he should have been scared by the sharp pointed teeth—the only things he’d ever seen with sharp things were scary and mean like Dracula or Jaws—but he wasn’t scared at all of the boy with shimmering blue and silver wings. They weren’t at all like Samandriel’s, they were like a hummingbird, and his skin was darker and blue instead of gold. If Dean hadn’t been able to feel how warm he was, he’d have worried the other boy was freezing to death. The blue one, Castiel he realized, looked like the cool evening to Samandriel’s warm sunrise.
“H-hi, um, I’m Dean. But, you-” he tilted his head a little and scrunched his face in confusion, “already know that.”
The fairies looked at him in awe for a second before looking at each other and bursting into fits of giggles. Dean was about to ask what is so funny when he heard the frantic call of his mother. He turned towards her voice, but by the time he turned back to the fairies, they were gone.
Dean remembered when the word therapist was first thrown around. Shrimpy little Sam, with all of his twelve years of wisdom, handed him a small, pale yellow card with the name of a psychologist, a specialist.
“What’s a damn therapist gonna do for me, huh?” Dean threw the card out of his fingers and watched as it sliced through the air like a knife through warm butter.
With tears brewing in his eyes and a broken laugh Sam had replied, “They’re gonna help you get better, jerk.”
Now, sitting in the stuffy chair of Doctor Naomi Brigitta, he didn’t believe it.
“How are you feeling, Dean?” she asked. She had a yellow notepad in her lap, a pencil lax in her hand but ready to write any moment.
“How would anyone feel about all of this?” Dean waved his hand in an aborted sweep across the room.
“You know, therapy won’t work unless you want it to,” Naomi started, “I can’t help you if you don’t want me to help.” At this, Dean said nothing; he crossed his arms over his chest. “I hear you’re suffering from hallucinations.” She waited for his response, but Dean knew she was assessing him, reading him.
Sam’s sad puppy dog eyes flashed through his mind. With a sigh, Dean relented. “Yeah.”
“Can you tell me the nature of them? Do you see things, hear or smell them?”
“I see things, mostly,” Dean admitted, picking at the sleeves of his jacket. “I hear things, too, sometimes.”
“How about right now?”
“No,” Dean replied automatically. “The fairies don’t like the industrialization. They’d rather kick it natural.”
At this, Naomi sat up, pencil poised to scribble her thoughts. “The fairies?”
His throat felt dry all of a sudden, sapped of all moisture. He forced a small, “yeah.”
“Tell me about them. The faeries.” And Dean did.
He told Naomi how he only saw the fairies outside, how they’d sit in the trees beside his bus stop, sing songs, fly from branch to branch, attempt to feed him honey from their fingers. He didn’t tell her how well he’d gotten to know them, especially Cas and Alfie, who he renamed because Samandriel just wasn’t a good fit. Instead he told her how they’d watch the children while they were at recess and join their games. No one save for Dean would ever know their mischief; they’d beckon him from the forest edge while he stood in the yard, and he’d yearn so much to go to them, but he never could bring himself to, no matter how much he wanted to. Something always kept him from following the urge, something was missing.
Dean told Naomi about his headaches, how they usually abated when he breathed in the fresh air of the outside world, how nothing ever made them go away. The sugar sweet voices that lulled him to sleep from his open window; he spilled everything to her.
After some questioning on her part, Dean told of how he couldn’t make any friends for fear of them calling him insane, how angry he got at all the stares and whispers that followed him in the halls of his bass ackwards high school.
He laid it all out for her to pick apart and with every thought he spoke out loud, for once in Dean’s life, he wasn’t looked like he was a crazy psychopath; Naomi looked at him as a thing that needed fixing, but not a thing to be afraid of.
“Let me speak to your mother,” Naomi said, “and we’ll go over some options.”
In the end, Dean was given three bottles of pills: two antipsychotics and one pain reliever. They didn’t help any—not even the pain reliever—but he swallowed each pill his mother placed in his hand without hesitation.
Maybe they’ll work this time, Dean would think. Maybe this time.
The face smiling from the other side of the window snarled, “no… it won’t”.
The nightmares were back full-force, late at night under warm blankets was where he should have been able to dream a little dream of better worlds and the occasional naked woman sprawled on the hood of a vintage car, but even the sweetest ‘good-night, don’t let the bedbugs bite’ couldn’t save him from the darkness in his own mind.
Dean had always had colorful dreams, to put it mildly, but none of them struck terror in him the way these nightmares did. He could feel his skin ripping away only for there to be more skin underneath. Sometimes he was alone, racing through the labyrinth of urban living for… for what he wasn’t sure. But he found peace beneath the forest canopy. He’d wake up just before he could truly take stock in his surroundings.
Naomi would make more notes on her pad and in his file, talking to him calmly and asking him to explain these dreams to her. Explain? How was he supposed to explain? Where were the words to describe the faces he saw? Some of them had horns, others had eyes almost entirely black. Yet another group had red eyes. Those ones tried to kill him. He’d wake up, chest heaving and throat clenching with the phantom feeling of a hand wrapped tight around his neck squeezing harder and harder, digging their sharp claws into his flesh, sweat and tears blurring his vision as he tried to calm himself down.
He’d lay shaking for hours, humming to himself in an attempt not to further fall apart. He’d recall more faces and eyes, the bright ones. They used to come to him when he was a child, the ones with honey on their fingers in Spring. He hadn’t seen them in nearly three years.
He didn’t know if it was the pills or the fact that there had been more development in his neighborhood, but even when he set out cream with honey, they wouldn’t come. In the end, Dean decided to stop taking his pills all together. They didn’t help anything, just made the headaches worse. He still hadn’t told his mother about vomiting black after the last change over.
Naomi told him to remember his coping skills, to breathe and focus on something else. The fairies weren’t real. Dean knew that was a lie, he’d read enough books to know.
The worst dreams weren’t the ones where he was chased and killed, though. The worst were the kind when he could see and feel himself. Under the peach-pink of humanity there was a darker grey, almost green in hue. Water would show his reflection, his eyes white as snow, no pupil or iris to speak of. And his head, God his head would feel like it was splitting apart. Horns sprouted from his skull, growing out and curving back like a ram. The very tips of them peaked out from underneath his ears, sharp as razors.
This was where he felt like a real freak. Most people would wake up screaming, thanking whoever was listening that they woke up human again instead of as some monster. But to Dean, his human face was the monster. He’d look at pictures of his father and he’d wonder if they were ever related at all.
In the same dreams where his skin peeled away and bone formed thick horns he would see another face. It wasn’t kind, but it had eyes like his, pure white. The figure’s horns were darker than his, not brown like the Earth. Instead they were coal black and in the curves of them he could see death.
Every time, at the end of the dream, the man spoke to him. “I know what you are, Dean, I can set you free. Come find me.”
That was when Dean decided to run away.
He probably should have left his family more than a note scribbled with ‘gone camping be back later’ on the fridge under Sammy’s honor student magnet, but he had to know what it all meant. Somewhere in the woods behind his house, the figure was waiting for him.
When they were little, Sam and Dean used to play out here. Dean could remember being more at ease here, even then. This was the first place where he met the fairies from his childhood, the bright ones with gold and blue wings. Why hadn’t Cas and Alfie visited him?
The night didn’t scare him, even when he was alone out here. Somehow he knew that wasn’t really the case. There probably wasn’t a single time in Dean’s life when he’d been truly alone.
Flowers were just starting to bloom in the day, no longer drowned out by the cold of winter. The grass was softer, too, not crunching with frost under his boots. It reminded him of falling asleep at the base of an oak tree and waking up to wings and gentle touches.
Eyes were tracking him as he walked through the trees, but they always moved when Dean made to look. He shook his head and muttered to himself, “typical.”
The days were growing longer, the sun retreating behind the horizon later and later as they neared Spring. That was the time of the seelie, the light courts that fed on the cycles of life and birth. Castiel and Samandriel would have reign over these woods soon, able to go about as they pleased. No longer would their wings cramp from the cold.
Samandriel hovered just above the thick oak branch on gold dragonfly wings, subtle hints of red and white turning pink with the motion. Castiel himself had strong hummingbird wings of electric silver and dark blue. They were both beautiful to their kind, both sought after as mates. Not for anyone’s lack of trying, but they could not be had. Eyes green as a sapling had captured them and taken their love from the beginning.
They still remembered Dean when his ears had points like an arrow and his skin was colored like stone, though they’d not seen his true form in many years. He’d been hidden shortly after birth, a necessity when the unseelie court underwent turmoil and his father feared for his son’s life. It was rare Alastair cared about anything, but Dean was truly beautiful. Lucifer kept reign of his court, but not without assistance from Michael. The price of that assistance was the young man tromping through a new layer of fresh flowers and grass.
They hadn’t been able to see him for three years, driven out by combined forces of unseelie and human medicine. When Dean was small they used to play. They would drip honey into his mouth and plant kisses on his forehead where horns would soon grow. Some of the rebellious forces of the unseelie had entered Dean’s dreams to terrorize him, but so far they’d been beaten back by Alastair himself. Only Dean’s own blood was able to finally break through to him, to tip the scales of his will and call him back to himself. It might have been Dean’s father that drew him to these woods, but Castiel and Samandriel would be the ones waiting at their tree.
“Do you think his eyes will be white like his father’s, Castiel?” Samandriel’s voice was quieter than the breeze.
“What color do you think his horns are, Samandriel?” Castiel chewed on his lower lip with pointed teeth, worrying the skin to the rhythm of the butterflies in his stomach.
They hopped and flew from tree to tree, keeping perfect pace with Dean as he hiked. Even without being guided his feet carried him to the proper place. The tree was larger now, the bark and trunk thicker. They watched Dean walk up to the oak slowly, hands splayed wide across its mossy skin. It wasn’t fully Spring yet, so his breath still made a cloud when he huffed in surprise, able to feel the pulsing of the Earth being reborn through the false skin of his palms.
Castiel left the tree first, lowering himself down silently to stand in the grass. Samandriel stayed above, watching curiously as Dean closed his eyes and took time to feel the Earth moving around him.
Once again, Castiel took some initiative. “Hello, Dean.”
Dean shouted and turned around, flattening himself against their tree. It was only a moment before some recognition spread across Dean’s mind, his face falling slack with his relief. “Cas?”
Castiel smiled and nodded, looking pointedly up to the branch where Samandriel perched. Dean followed his gaze and barked out a joyous laugh when he spotted Samandriel on the high branch.
He turned back to Castiel, eyes wide and disbelieving. “Where have you guys been?”
Samandriel landed on the ground at Dean’s back silently, fingers fidgeting over one another nervously.
Castiel stood tall and tried not to let his voice waiver. “We were unable to reach you, we’re sorry, Dean.”
Samandriel cleared his throat and gave a sheepish smile. “We’re here now, though.”
Dean looked between them. “Wait, were you calling to me last night?”
Castiel shook his head. “No, that was your father. We needed his help to get you here. He was also the one that fought off the attacks against you.”
“Attacks?” Dean’s brow furrowed, freckles falling into the creases. “You mean the nightmares?”
Castiel nodded, his expression somber.
Samandriel picked a flat, fist-sized rock up from the ground and tossed it to Dean, who turned it over in his palms to examine it. “What’s this?”
He turned back to Samandriel, who stepped in close and pointed to a natural hole in the rock that went all the way through. “If you look through it, you can find your true self.”
Dean frowned at the rock. “My true self, what do you mean?” Castiel and Samandriel looked to each other, giving small smiles. Dean gaped. “Wait, I’m…?” The fae nodded and Dean exhaled sharply, fingers curling around the stone in his grasp. “So, I just look through it, huh?”
Castiel smiled and approached Dean as he seemed to debate whether to look through or not. “You’re from a noble line, very powerful. You’re meant to be with us, Dean.”
Dean turned the rock until he held it between two fingers, the hole clear of any obstruction. “My family—”
Samandriel cut him off. “We’re your family, Dean. We always have been.”
Castiel laid his hand on Dean’s shoulder. “They’ll be fine, Dean. This is your time, now.”
“Guess it’s now or never.” Dean held the rock up to his eye and stood still for a moment.
Castiel and Samandriel watched the glamour slowly melt from his skin, the pinkness of it fading. Just like Alastair, Dean’s skin was colored like green slate, his ears pointed sharply and his eyes white as bones. Dean gasped, finally spotting the apparition of his true form standing across from him. Horns faded into view, brown instead of black with subtle hints of moss growing along the outer curve. His teeth became pointed, subtle serrations lining their edges. He was beautiful.
Dean dropped the rock and looked down to his hands, watching talons grow from his nail beds. He shifted from foot to foot, grimacing until he finally reached down and tore his shoes off, surprised to find that his toes had grown longer. He wiggled them and used them to tear into the dirt beneath his feet, a gentle grin finally curling his lips when claws grew from those digits as well.
Castiel cupped his jaw and turned his head, smiling when he could finally see that Dean still had his freckles, smatterings of gray and black making him even more uniquely beautiful. Samandriel lifted himself from the ground with his wings and hovered just behind Castiel.
Dean smiled to the golden fae and laughed when he surged past Castiel for an excited kiss. Castiel smiled and shivered when Dean’s hand touched his left wing, the touch cold like flakes of heavy snow.
Samandriel pulled back, landing once more. Dean brought them both within the circle of his arms and leaned into Castiel. “He tastes like honey. What about you?”
Castiel’s eyes fluttered, skin singing to finally touch Dean without barriers. He lifted one hand to trace along Dean’s right horn, following it to the point just under Dean’s ear. “An ocean breeze.”
The grey fae grinned wide, sharp teeth looking so much more natural than his human ones ever had.