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Ficlet - Let Me Stretch My Wings

Title: Let Me Stretch My Wings
Author: RackOnInNC
Rating: G
Genre: Hurt/Comfort/General
Originally Published: 10-13-11
Words: 1,291

Summary:  One Shot – Fallen!Castiel and Dean. No Slash. Just a short little thing I wrote for a friend that blew out her knee and needed some cheering up while my plot bunnies are comatose on my other stuff. Fallen!Castiel and Dean. Dean is being overprotective and Castiel does something Dean doesn't expect to prove he's capable of doing some things on his own.

Guilt washed over Dean as he watched Castiel's slow progress across the motel room and he winced with every painful looking step Castiel took. It was his fault that Castiel had been injured on his first hunt as a human…all because Dean wrongly assumed that he needed help. Castiel had finished off the demon and was heading back up the stairs when Dean crashed through the door at the top and sent him careening back down to the bottom. The sickening crunch of ligaments and tendons tearing as Castiel's left knee bent sideways at an unnatural angle told him he had royally screwed up.

"Cas…I'm sorry. I didn't mean to do that. I just thought you needed help when I didn't hear anything and you didn't answer."

Castiel stopped and leaned stiffly on the chair by the bathroom door before shooting a glare at Dean. "I couldn't hear you because the furnace in the basement was running. I'm perfectly capable of exorcising a demon even as a human."

"Let me take you to the hospital. Make sure nothing's broken?"

"There is no need…it will heal."

"But you're in pain…they can give you something for that…maybe bandage it up better than I can."

"I just wish to rest. Please don't concern yourself with me."

Castiel reluctantly let go of the chair and used the door frame to support himself as he entered the bathroom and closed the door. After a few minutes Dean heard the sound of the shower running and he sat listening intently for any noises that would tell him that Castiel had fallen in the shower. Once the water was turned off and Castiel still hadn't emerged after 15 minutes he cautiously knocked on the door.

"Are you OK in there Cas?"

"Yes I am fine. Just go to sleep."

"I'm really sorry."

"Yes, I'm aware. You have told me that many times today. I forgive you…now please just go to sleep. I will be fine."

Not wanting to repeat his mistake by opening the door and knocking Castiel down again Dean sat down on the bed and settled back uneasily. It was so hard to know what to do with the newly human Angel. His hand to hand skills were good, but when not backed up by Angelic Grace were they good enough? Did he have enough strength as a human to fight off the things he used to be able to smite with a touch?  He drifted off into a fitful sleep, dreaming of Castiel being killed by one monster after another. He startled awake just after 5 am to find Castiel's bed empty and the bathroom door still closed. Leaping out of bed without turning the night on, he rushed to the door.

"Cas! Are you still in there?
Cas!"  Dean yelled, growing more panicky as the seconds ticked by.

When knocking on the door got no response he cautiously opened the door to find the bathroom empty as well. Panic rose as he tried to figure out where Castiel could have gone, especially since he could barely walk. He had tried so hard to make sure Castiel's first hunt went well, with days of training beforehand to make sure he knew how to use a gun properly and how to fight without Angelic strength…now he was hurt and somewhere out there alone all because Dean underestimated him.

Dean jumped into his clothes as quickly as possible and left the room, first looking around the motel grounds to make sure that Castiel wasn't somewhere outside, since he tended to want to be outside.  Something about his Father’s wondrous creation.  When that search wasn't fruitful he cranked the Impala and started driving toward town. As he approached the 24 hour diner they had been frequenting he saw a familiar figure through the windows and breathed a sigh of relief.

Entering the diner Dean was surprised to see Castiel's leg sticking awkwardly out in the aisle, now encased in a proper knee brace instead of the elastic bandage Dean had put on it. A pair of crutches lay on the floor by his feet. Stepping carefully over Castiel's leg he slid into the booth and waited for him to look up from the mug of coffee he was nursing. Tired blue eyes looked up a few seconds later and a small smile quirked at the corners of his mouth.

"Hello Dean."

"Hey Cas. So…um…how did you manage to get patched up?  You could have left a note."

"I did leave a note, but I assuming that you jumped out of bed and rushed out without turning the lights on?  Anyway, I wished to disprove your theory that without my powers I'm just a baby in a trench coat, so I went to the hospital on my own."

Dean sighed, realizing that he hadn’t even though to look for note.  "And you got there how?"

"Called a taxi."

”And you paid for it how?"

"Bobby gave me an insurance card, credit card and some money when I first fell. Said you probably wouldn't think I needed those things since you were hovering over me like a mother hen all the time."

"He was right. I'm sorry."

"Don't be Dean. I may be less than I used to be, but I've managed to stay alive for approximately 3,000 years. I'm not helpless."

"But it is my fault you got hurt."

"True, but if you weren't hovering and assuming I'm helpless it never would have happened. In fact you could have gotten yourself hurt by paying more attention to me than what you were doing."

"You're right Cas. I shouldn't be treating you like a little kid all the time. It's just…well…I've always been the one to look after people…you know like when me and Sammy were on our own."

"I know. I also know that I'm not 100% ready for the things we are going to come up against, but if you don't let me…um…stretch my wings occasionally I'll never learn what I need to know."

Dean looked up, surprised that Castiel would use an idiom involving wings when he no longer had actual wings. The somewhat crooked smile that greeted him told him that Cas was finally getting the hang of some of their human sayings…and that he was also probably beginning to feel the effects of whatever painkillers the hospital had given him.

"So you're saying I need to kick you out of the nest?"

"Well maybe not just yet, but eventually yes."

"I get it. I need to loosen the apron strings just a little."

The confused look that crossed Castiel's face told Dean that he still had a few human phrases to learn, but he was at least getting there. Dean leaned over and grabbed the crutches, standing them up next to the table.

"You licensed to use these things?"

"Yes, a very nice young woman gave me the proper instruction at the hospital."

"OK then, get your gimpy ass in the car before those painkillers kick in big time and you face plant in the parking lot."


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