[FIC] It Came Upon A Midnight Clear for gedry [Part 1 of 2]
Title: It Came Upon a Midnight Clear (1 of 2)
Warnings: First SPN fanfic in about five years? An absolutely horrible title that may or may not include a double entendre? My first fic exchange? *nervous* But really, as far as actual warnings go, there's a smidgen of angst with a dash of h/c (because I am apparently incapable of writing pure schmoop) and a sprinkling of wing!kink
Spoilers: Set mid season 5 with references to episode 10 and an epilogue set post Swan Song, so specific spoilers for those episodes.
Word Count: 12,436
Summary: They weren't going to have Christmas this year. An unexpected guest changes things. Or, the one where Dean and Castiel do it on the couch.
Author notes: For the prompts 1) making new holiday traditions with each other and 2) the start of a new relationship (kinda). Oh, this fic. This fic was going to be epic. It was going to be so epic that it ended up going completely off the map--I was at 20k and not even halfway done yet. Time ran out and I ended up with this. I'm not exactly happy with it but at least the porn ended up at least halfway decent. Gedry, I know you said you didn't like too much angst, so I tried my best to scale it back. At least the ending is happy! ...kinda. Hopefully this works for you! *crosses fingers*
Dean and Sam are at Bobby’s two days before Christmas. It’s not like they planned it, and it’s not like they were invited, but when Dean starts taking all the familiar turns and bypasses toward Sioux Falls, Sam doesn’t protest; and when they show up at the salvage yard, duffel bags in hand, Bobby just grunts out something about being just in time for an epic snow storm, so planned or not, it looks like they’re stuck.
They don’t talk about Christmas, or celebrating Christmas, or even acknowledge Christmas’s existence. It’s an unspoken agreement: any time something holiday themed comes on the TV or radio, one of them wordlessly changes the channel and the subject. They all have their reasons—if asked, Dean would simply say that he’d had enough of religion to last him a lifetime—but the real bottom line is that the world is ending, and they are running out of ways to stop it. The reality makes the importance of Christmas seem small, in comparison.
Dean likes Christmas, he does—likes the idea of spending time with family, likes getting presents (who doesn’t?), likes hot chocolate and turkey dinners and long nights by the fire. He hadn’t really had a lot of that growing up, sure, but what he and Sam and their dad had done had always been enough. He likes to think he would have been open to the idea of having a little get together at Bobby’s this year, one last hurrah, so to speak, a chance for them to get together and relax and drink eggnog and just fucking chill for a day or two, take a breather from this whole saving the world thing.
Ellen and Jo dying had ripped that tentative enthusiasm into a thousand tiny pieces, and any hope of redemption died when the Devil failed to do so.
Anyway, since Dean had been the only one really even considering the possibility of celebrating this year, the whole fantasy just sort of fell to the back burner, and Dean’s in no hurry to pick it back up again. He’ll take a few days of forced relaxation at Bobby’s, consider it a good opportunity for them to get some quality sleep before diving back in to something that looks increasingly like a hopeless situation.
He doesn’t need all that Hallmark bullshit. He doesn’t need Christmas.
Christmas comes anyway, though, and it brings a surprise guest with it.
It’s the morning of the 24th, and Dean’s outside on the porch, drinking coffee and enjoying the sight of Bobby’s salvage yard covered in two feet of snow, when there is a sound like a jet passing overhead and then loud crash from inside, followed by Sam swearing and a furious "what the hell?" from Bobby. Dean’s back inside the house in five quick strides, though he draws up short just inside the door and just stares, because Bobby’s kitchen looks like a small bomb went off inside of it, cupboards unhinged and fridge door ajar and broken glass from the ruined cabinets strewn across the floor, and amidst the remnants of what was once a sturdy oak table is a huddled mess of dark hair and tan trench coat and—
Feathers. Black feathers. They’re everywhere, floating down like a giant black chicken has just exploded over their heads, littering the ground and the furniture and Sam’s even got a few in his hair, which would be hilarious except that it isn’t because Castiel is crouched on the ground, staring up at them with wide, wild eyes, like he’s just popped in on Satan’s clubhouse by accident, and oh yeah, did Dean mention that he has wings? Impossible huge, bigger than his body, probably too big for Bobby’s small kitchen, should he extend them, and Dean’s mouth is hanging open stupidly but he can’t help it. Two dimensional shadows splayed across the back wall of a barn could not possibly have prepared him for the sheer awesomeness of an angel’s wings.
Holy fuck. Cas has wings.
It takes Dean a ridiculously long time to realize that, despite provoking an awe-inspiring first glance, the wings are not at all perfect or pristine. They look ragged, feathers crumpled into strange and painful looking alignments, sticking out like someone has just grabbed a handful and twisted, and Dean swallows a lump in his throat when he takes a closer look at the right one and sees that it is hanging at an awkward angle, held away from Cas’s body, tip dragging along the ground. Dean knows right away that it’s broken; he doesn’t have wings but he’s broken his limbs enough times to know what it looks like when you’ve got no control over your arm, can’t hardly touch it but for the pain, and a place deep inside aches to see such a beautiful and powerful structure so clearly mangled.
The last feather has settled by the time Dean finally gets it together and takes a tentative step forward. "Cas?"
Castiel stares at him, bright blue eyes glassy and listless and frighteningly vacant; he struggles to focus on Dean’s face for several too-long seconds before a full-body shudder passes through him, and it’s the only warning Dean gets before Cas’s eyes are rolling up in his head and he’s pitching forward in a dead faint.
And that’s how Dean comes to spend Christmas Eve tending to an angel with a broken wing. Castiel comes around sometime after lunch and provides them with the whole story: apparently one of his dick brothers had cornered him during one of his hunts for God and tried to drag him back to Heaven for a little celestial reconditioning. When Castiel had fought back said brother had slapped him with some kind of ancient spell that had forced his wings to manifest against his will. Dean listens intently to the explantation, he really does, but a lot of what Castiel says goes right over his head. He thinks he understands the basics though, which go something like this: Castiel’s wings are basically tied to his grace, which means that when his wings are visible his grace is vulnerable to attack, which means that any demon with a sledgehammer could take him down right now, which means that Cas is out of commission until either his wings heal or the spells wears off, which means that Bobby has another uninvited guest for the Christmas party they aren’t having.
It’s all very existential and mystical and way beyond Dean’s pay grade, which is why he mostly lets Sam handle it and focuses on doing something about the wings themselves, because while he may not know how to break an ancient Enochian binding spell he does know how to set bones and correct dislocations. He’s never popped a wing back into place before, true, but he figures it can’t be that much different than fixing a jacked up shoulder, and it’s not like they have a lot of other options besides just sitting around doing nothing, and that’s never been Dean’s style.
When it’s all said and done, Cas’s right wing is realigned and taped securely against his body, Sam has a bloody nose from getting a little too close to Cas’s good wing while Dean had been trying to force the dislocated joint back into place (and really, Sam should know better, because it’s not like Dean’s never accidentally clocked him during one of their rougher first aid sessions), and Bobby is out a few lightbulbs. Pain-wrecked and trembling, Castiel manages a quiet apology for the damage. Sam shrugs it off good-naturedly and Bobby just thanks him for leaving the windows intact.
They’re snowed in, so there’s not a lot to do other than sit around and enjoy one another’s company. They have leftovers for dinner and watch TV for a while, but that eventually gets to be too depressing so they move on to cards. Dean organizes a poker game in the den, clearing their Apocalypse-related research off the big oak desk and pulling up three seats and making room for Bobby’s wheelchair on one end.
"Hey Cas," he says, "wanna play?"
He knows Castiel has to be in a fair bit of pain right now, so he’s surprised when he sits himself gingerly in front of the desk, back ramrod straight to keep from bumping into anything. "I don’t know the rules," he admits, picking up the cards Dean deals to him and looking at them like they’re written in the one language he doesn’t speak.
Dean grins. "That’s okay, neither does Sam."
"It’s a good thing that’s not true, or else you’d still be a seventy-year old man," Sam snipes back, handing him a beer. He offers one to Bobby and takes his own seat. "You still owe me for that, by the way."
"I’ll make it up to you, Sammy," Dean promises, taking a generous sip of his beer. "I’ll buy you a pony for Christmas."
Sam rolls his eyes. "Christmas is tomorrow."
"I know, the pony’s in the garage. Act surprised."
Sam makes a face like he’s caught between laughing and grimacing. "Awesome, thanks. We gonna play, or what?"
Dean gives Cas a rundown on the basics and then they’re off. None of them really have any cash to spare (Cas searches through Jimmy’s pockets and comes up with some lint and an old peppermint), so they play for favors. Three rounds in and Dean owes Sam a foot massage, Bobby owes Dean a handle of Jack, and Sam’s up on everybody, the bastard. Cas keeps folding right before they make their final bets, claiming that he can’t think of anything to bet with. Dean thinks he just has crappy cards, but how would he know? Cas’s default expression is the perfect poker face.
They play until the light starts to fade and the cold starts creeping in. Bobby yawns mightily and sets his cards down.
"Well, I think I’ve had all the fun I can take in a night. Better turn in early, get rested for our big day tomorrow."
It’s clearly sarcasm—or at least, clear to Dean and Sam. Castiel shifts guiltily and frowns; his good wing pulls up close to his back like he’s expecting a blow. "I apologize if my presence here has complicated your holiday plans. I realize my arrival was…unexpected."
Dean doesn’t quite know how to tell an angel of the Lord that they weren’t really planning on celebrating Christmas, so he just exchanges a helpless look between Sam and Bobby and says, "It’s cool, man. I’m sure we can find a place for you around the dinner table somewhere."
And just like that, Christmas is back on the menu.
The morning of the 25th dawns bright and cold—so bright and cold, in fact, that Dean wakes up at around six thirty and can’t go back to sleep because he’s somehow kicked off all his blankets and there’s a sun beam shining directly in his face. Swearing under his breath, he pulls on a pair of old sweatpants and a dons what he dearly hopes is a clean Henley from his duffle, wishing he had slippers or something. A pair of socks suffices, and he heads downstairs for a cup of desperately needed coffee.
Bobby’s still snoozing away on the bed in the den, his chair pulled up beside him for easy access. It’s still early, so Dean doesn’t wake him; he tiptoes past the bed as quietly as he can, avoiding all the creaky floorboards between him and the kitchen. He draws up short just outside the door though, his eyes falling on the sight of Castiel curled up in the big armchair in the corner of the den, his good wing wrapped around him like a blanket. A rush of affection surges through him, followed by a twinge of concern, because Castiel neversleeps, and doing so now must mean that his grace has taken a serious blow. Dean has a sudden, overwhelming urge to make this up to Cas somehow, to make it better, although he’s not sure how. He just knows that if he hadn’t convinced Cas to help him, Cas would be with his own family today, and not slumming it down here, in pain, with Dean’s.
He’s extra careful passing by the armchair and into the kitchen, and he tries to make a pot of coffee as quietly as he can, but as he’s measuring the grounds into the machine, Castiel wanders in from the den, rubbing sleep from his eyes.
"Morning," Dean offers, watching him take a seat in a surviving chair (the table still hasn’t recovered from its impromptu use as an angelic landing pad). Castiel nods at him, grunting out an appropriate greeting in return. He still looks a little pale, Dean thinks. "How’s the wing?"
"Painful," Castiel admits, "although better than it was yesterday."
"Yes. I can still feel the broken bones shifting when I move, though."
Dean winces sympathetically. "Yeah, you probably need a splint or something. Don’t know why I didn’t think of that earlier. Sit tight for a sec." He grabs two rulers from the desk in the den and goes to stand behind Castiel. He begins unwinding the bandages wrapped around the top of Castiel’s right wing—there’s a clean break in the top arch, just beyond the joint there, and it’s clearly not healing correctly, if the inflamed tissue around the area is any indication. When they’d patched him up yesterday they’d used a website with step by step instructions on how to properly wrap up a bird’s wing, which had told them to place the wing in its natural folded position and tape it securely to the bird’s (or angel’s) back. Unlike the bird in the picture, though, Castiel’s wings don’t fit perfectly along the length of his spine; the top joint sticks up well above his head, so while their taping job had prevented the base joint from being dislocated again, it didn’t provide much support for the broken bones up top. The website hadn’t said anything about employing the use of a splint, so Dean had assumed one wasn’t necessary. Hopefully it isn’t too late to correct the damage, though.
He aligns the two rulers alongside the break and starts to rewrap the bandages. It’s slow going—Dean’s only got two hands and it’s hard to keep the tape tight while maintaining his grip on the rulers, but eventually he gets it done and steps back. He’s about to move away when he notices that some of the feathers on Castiel’s left, uninjured wing are lying out of alignment, sticking up in random directions and matted in places. He reaches out to touch and stops, fingers hovering over the tangles.
"Does this hurt?"
Castiel looks back over his shoulder to where Dean’s hands are almost but not quite touching. "Not really. It’s irritating, more than anything, but I haven’t been able to reach them without putting further stress on my injuries."
Dean inches closer, licking his lips unconsciously. "Can I—do you want me to—?"
Castiel hesitates a fraction of a second, then nods. "Please."
Before he can question the sanity of it, Dean’s got his fingers buried knuckle deep in the feathers of Castiel’s left wing, straightening the bent and twisted plumes into alignment with his fingertips and smoothing the frayed edges under his palms. He works without comment, and Castiel offers nothing, so he takes it to mean that he’s not hurting him and doesn’t stop at this one patch—he works all the way through the wing, correcting and soothing until he’s got it looking almost perfect again. He’s down to the long flight feathers at the very tip when he feels the wing start to—hum, for lack of a better word, and the feathers, which have been as soft and sleek as real bird feathers up until his point, start to feel sort of insubstantial, like Dean’s running his fingers through a patch of warm, heavy air. His skin is buzzing and he feels—strange. Peaceful, rejuvenated, whole and complete and contended in a way he hasn’t felt in months—years—and Dean doesn’t want to stop, doesn’t want to let go, and it’s only when Castiel makes a small, soft sound and shifts the wing restlessly does Dean realize that this might be kind of inappropriate or something.
He yanks his hand back like he’s been burned. "Shit—sorry, did that—?"
Castiel shakes his head. It might be Dean’s imagination, but he thinks Cas’s cheeks look a little red. "No. It felt. Um. Pleasant, actually. Are you all right? I didn’t mean to lose control."
Dean shakes his hands out—they have that weird tingly feeling whenever you sit on them for too long. "What the hell was that?"
If he didn’t know any better, he would say that Castiel looks embarrassed. "My grace. It’s tied intrinsically to my wings and your touch…brought it to the surface."
Dean blinks at him. "Dude. You just groped me with your grace?"
"You were the one groping me," Castiel says sourly, and yeah, there’s no doubt about it—he definitely looks embarrassed. Dean wonders if this is like, the angelic equivalent to popping a really inappropriate boner, and he’s about to open his mouth to say as much when Bobby’s growl from the doorway cuts him off.
"If you’ve gotta do that in public, do you think you could find a better place for it than the kitchen? I eat in here, you know."
Dean just splutters for a few seconds, unable to come up with an explanation that doesn’t sound completely sketchy. Bobby’s already gone by the time he gets it together, so Dean just clears his throat uncomfortably and excuses himself. Really, he should just be glad it was Bobby and not Sam. He’d never hear the end of it otherwise.
All told, it’s a pretty pathetic Christmas, as far as tradition goes. No decorations, no elaborate food, not even a single present.
Or at least, not until Sam ambushes him after breakfast with a month’s subscription to Busty Asian Beauties Online, purchased on his laptop with one of their many fake credit cards.
"You sly dog," Dean praises, examining the screen with definite approval. "When’d you think this up?"
"This morning," Sam says, grinning with a mixture of pride and sheepishness. "I couldn’t exactly pop off to the nearest gas station for some skin mags, but I figured this would probably do."
"It does, it totally does," Dean says, admiring the model on the home page. She’s startling bendy. "Now I feel bad for not getting you that pony."
"You don’t have to get me anything. I just…well, what’s Christmas without at least one Christmas present, right?"
"Thanks, Sam." And he means it. Trust his brother to come up with something like this, just to keep tradition alive.
The presents keep coming, and apparently this year there’s a theme, because Bobby’s yuletide gift to them is a string of condoms, each.
"Well, it ain’t like I’m gonna be using ‘em," Bobby says with a shrug. Sam’s makes a face like he’s not sure which is more appropriate—laughing or vomiting, and the end result is so hilarious that Dean almost spills his beer.
"Merry Christmas, Bobby," he says, toasting him. "You always give the bests gifts."
Bobby’s glare is tinged ever so slightly with mirth. "Oh yeah, smart ass? Let’s see you do better."
"Uhh…" Dean racks his brain, coming up with the one thing he knows he’s the best at. "I’ll cook dinner tonight. I’m pretty good at scraping together something from nothing, right Sam?"
Sam grins. "Best chef since Boyardee."
"Well, in the meantime I suggest we all sit around in our pajamas and drink till we can’t see straight," Bobby says, downright cheerfully, and Dean raises his glass in agreement.
"Hear, hear!" He takes a long swig of beer and kicks back on the couch, feet propped up against the coffee table comfortably. Sam turns on the TV until he finds something relatively innocuous (a football game) and takes a seat in the armchair, long limbs contorted until he’s neatly settled in, and Dean thinks that so far, this is probably their best Christmas in a long while, maybe ever. The Apocalypse is still going strong, of course, and Lucifer and Michael are still out there, waiting to jump their bones, but for some reason all of that is easy to forget right now, all of their troubles swept neatly under the rug today, and for Dean, that’s enough.
He’s got his eyes closed, head reclined against the couch back as he listens to the sound of the game in the background, but he looks up when a shadow falls over him. Castiel stands in front of him, and he doesn’t look happy.
"What’s up?" Dean asks, frowning. "Your wing bothering you again?"
"I didn’t get you a present," he says, and Dean gets it.
"Cas," he says, touched. "It’s fine, man, I don’t need anything."
"You and Sam and Bobby exchanged gifts. I should have something to give you," he insists. Dean shakes his head.
"It’s cool, really. And I didn’t get you anything, either, so we’re even."
"You’re making dinner."
Dean raises an eyebrow challengingly. "You gonna eat it?"
"I will if you make it."
A funny feeling uncoils in Dean’s gut, like he’s just swallowed something warm after being out in the cold, and he’s grinning without really giving his face permission to do so. "You can pay me back later, then, if you feel so bad about it."
Castiel nods like Dean’s just done him a great service. "I’ll do that."
Then he sits on the opposite side of the couch, intense gaze focused on the TV, although Dean gets the feeling he’s not really watching the game. He’s in good company—Dean’s not watching it, either.
Dinner that night is a mixture of about eight kinds of themes, from breakfast (eggs and pancakes) to mexican (burritos with ground up hamburger meat) to home-made casserole (boxed macaroni topped with three layers of cheese), and although it would probably make Martha Stewart cringe and run away screaming, Dean’s pretty proud of it. Anyway, it’s enough to feed four people, because true to his word, Castiel does make up his own plate and eat with them. They sit around the TV and watch the holiday programming, because Dean thinks that if Cas has to be stuck down on Earth for Christmas, he should at least see all the classic Christmas movies.
They’re about halfway into A Christmas Story when Bobby breaks out his stash of hard liquor—apparently he hadn’t been exaggerating when he’d planned to get drunk past the point of coherency, and by the time the movie ends he’s made up a batch of eggnog with so much rum it could probably strip the paint off the Impala.
In other words, it’s some really good shit, and Dean drinks a lot of it.
He doesn’t know how they end up cuddling on the couch, but he suspects it has to do with the six or so glasses of said eggnog swimming around pleasantly in his stomach, keeping company with the whiskey and beer he’s been consuming throughout the day, because when Cas slumps against his shoulder halfway through It’s a Wonderful Life, his eyes at half mast and his breathing peaceful and even, Dean casually slips an arm around his waist and draws him closer, completely indifferent to the fact that Sam and Bobby are sitting in the same room, that Sam is sitting on the same couch. It’s a far cry from his normal, sober reaction, which probably would have involved clamming up and blustering out some excuse about personal space and inappropriate touching, but Dean can’t seem to bring himself to care about stupid shit like that right now. He’s warm, comfortable, contented, and more than a little drunk, and Cas probably doesn’t even realize that this is cuddling, anyway, so it doesn’t count. It’s probably easier on his wing to sit this way. Dean’s just trying to be accommodating, that’s all.
It’s late when the movie ends, late enough that the only things on TV are infomercials and religious nut-jobs talking about the true spirit of Christmas (which is dumb, Dean thinks, because technically Christmas ended an hour ago). Bobby grunts out something about getting his beauty sleep and rolls into the den, brushing off Sam’s attempt to help him into bed ("What, you think I just sleep in my chair when you boys ain’t around? I may be an crippled old man, son, but I ain’t helpless.") Sam retreats back into the living room, looking sheepish.
"Looks like Bobby’s got the right idea," he says around an immense yawn and a spine-cracking stretch. He used to do that when he was a kid, too, the hems of his perpetually too-short pajamas riding up around his stomach and ankles. Sam’s all grown up now (and all his clothes fit properly), but Dean can remember it easily, especially now, the combination of rum and damn fine whiskey and a big dinner making him all warm and fuzzy inside. "I think I’m done for the night, too."
"Wuss," Dean says, grinning stupidly. "Your movie marathon-ing skills need work—it’s only one o’clock."
"There’s only so much mind-numbing, wholesome family programming I can take. I didn’t even think you liked It’s a Wonderful Life."
"It’s a classic," Dean says, frowning. "And as Cas’s sole instructor in the complex study of popular culture, I felt it was my duty to school him in the classics."
The angel in question speaks up, somewhere from Dean’s shoulder. "It was inaccurate, long-winded, and overdramatized. Hardly what I would call a classic by human standards."
"You’re just grumpy cause they made angels out to be wimpy little shoulder-perchers with comb overs."
"And the idea that we somehow earn our wings by helping human with their problems is just ridiculous." Cas continues as if Dean hadn’t spoken, lifting his head so stare at him sternly, like a teacher delivering a lecture. They’re so close, Dean could count individual eyelashes if he wanted to.
"Lucky you met me after you’d already earned yours, huh?" Dean says, totally ignoring his point. "You’d never get around to flying if you had to solve all my issues."
"That’s putting it mildly," Sam says helpfully. Dean throws a pillow at him.
"Very funny, wise guy. You staying or going?"
"Going," Sam says. "You guys have fun. I’m gonna get some shut eye."
Dean shrugs. "Suit yourself. Do me a favor and put in Christmas Vacation before you go? I don’t think I can stand without falling over."
"Wow, Dean. How much of that eggnog did you have?" Sam says, fumbling around in the half-light for the requested DVD. Dean’s pretty sure it’s a rhetorical question, but he answers it anyway.
"Not as much as Cas. He was knocking ‘em back like a seasoned pro."
Sam finds the play button and stands back, smirking. "And yet he’s still more sober than you."
Dean makes a face. "He’s using his angel powers to cheat, obviously."
"Or you’re getting to be a light weight in your old age—"
Dean is unfortunately out of pillows, so he just talks over Sam in his loudest, drunkest voice. "Thought you said you were going to bed? Night’s not getting any younger, Sammy."
Sam raises his hands in the universal symbol for surrender. "All right, all right, I know when I’m not wanted. Just keep the volume down, all right? My room’s right over you."
"Uh-huh, sure thing. Night."
"Night, Dean. Night, Cas."
"And God bless us, everyone," Dean says, in his best Tiny Tim impersonation. Sam throws the pillow back at him ("Jerk." "Bitch.") and tromps upstairs. His footsteps have just faded out when he hears Cas say something indecipherable, feels him mumble the words against his neck.
Cas’s eyes are even bluer in the weird half-light, the white-bright radiance of the TV giving his skin a ghostly glow. "I was just echoing your sentiment, Dean." He repeats whatever it was he said, and Dean feels a little better for not having understood him the first time, because while he is pretty impressively drunk, he’s still sober enough to understand English when it’s spoken to him, and the sounds spilling from Castiel’s mouth are definitely not. Cas must have noticed his perplexed expression, because he takes pity on him and elaborates. "It’s Enochian. A prayer to my father to bless this house and everyone in it."
Normally such a declaration would make Dean scoff and roll his eyes (because despite the threat of an literal biblical Apocalypse hanging over their heads, Dean still doesn’t believe that God exists, and if he does, he certainly isn’t doing much blessing), but his blood-alcohol level is at dangerous levels so he just smiles and says, "Thanks, Cas."
Cas shifts against him, feathers rustling softly. "I’d like to give you my present now, if that’s all right."
Dean is surprised; when he’d said that Cas could make it up to him, he’d assumed he meant later, as in, after he’d healed enough to fly off and grab him a beer or something. But whatever, this worked, too. "Sure, okay. Hit me."
Cas moves again, twisting an arm behind him. Dean only catches on to what he’s doing when Cas’s body gives a sharp jolt and he hisses in a breath. The feather he presents to Dean—the feather that he just pulled out of his own wing—is long and sleek and oil black, light and insubstantial in Dean’s hand and yet incredibly heavy.
"Cas—" He really doesn’t know what to say. This seems like a much more meaningful gesture than cooking someone dinner or buying a subscription to online porn. Dean’s not sure what it means, but he’s pretty certain he doesn’t deserve it.
"It’s all I have to give," Cas explains somberly. "If you cannot accept it as a gift, then consider it a thank you for helping me. Please accept it."
"Thanks, Cas," Dean whispers. It’s all he can say.
"Merry Christmas, Dean."
Dean thinks he’s being very mature by resisting the impulse to point out that Christmas is over. "Merry Christmas, Cas."