whynot: SPN: all hail (the smell of ozone)
Lassiter ([personal profile] whynot) wrote2011-01-04 01:03 pm

'Bending Towards Babylon' - SPN - Castiel/Balthazar

This is the fic I was writing when I was supposed to be writing my Novakfest. The lure of conflicted angel boyfrenz was just too great.

My love and thanks go out to Team Beta Superstar: [livejournal.com profile] callowyn, [livejournal.com profile] clwright2, [livejournal.com profile] dayadhvam_triad, [livejournal.com profile] gabby_silang, [livejournal.com profile] jaimeykay, and [livejournal.com profile] viridian_magpie. That gdoc didn't know what hit it. High-fives to [livejournal.com profile] affablyevil, [livejournal.com profile] architeuthis, [livejournal.com profile] naatz, and [livejournal.com profile] thegeminisage for being patient and wonderful sounding boards. Basically, it takes a village. <33

Also I just realized this is the first Cas slash I've posted that isn't croatverse-related at all. Milestone?


Bending Towards Babylon
Supernatural. Castiel/Balthazar, Dean. R. Spoilers for 4x21, 6x03, 6x06, 6x07, and 6x10.
His brother is returned not to him, but to himself. ~2700 words


Balthazar has always been prone to grand gestures and symbolic action. He likes to put on a show. When the angels pulled Castiel back to Heaven and tried him for heresy, Castiel hadn't been surprised to see Balthazar rise to defend him, clear-voiced and stubborn as always.

Charisma and a flair for the dramatic. Had Balthazar not been a soldier, he might've been a good politician.

He makes a good hedonist. Balthazar's mouth is on Castiel's neck, and Castiel thinks that once upon a time he wouldn't have been discomfited by this.

The body speaks a language; it asks questions. Once upon a time, Balthazar standing this close would mean little to him. The hand at the small of his back would at most have been odd, superfluous. Now, having spent too much time walking the mortal world, Castiel has picked up a better understanding of the body's vocabulary.

Castiel knows what Balthazar is saying with this lingering touch on his back, that brush of hand. In reply, he turns his head and brushes his lips against Balthazar's cheek. Balthazar only has to turn his head very slightly to kiss him.

+

The last time Castiel found him, Balthazar was sleeping in a Ko Samui hotel between a woman and a man, likewise asleep. Balthazar opened his eyes upon sensing Castiel in the room.

"You don't need to sleep," were the first words Castiel said, wry but curious.

"No," Balthazar agreed. "But it's good fun."

The woman beside him stirred, and Balthazar touched her shoulder. She quieted again, and neither man nor woman moved when Balthazar slipped out of bed.

He refused to give Castiel the weapons. Castiel refused to abandon the war and join him. The old song and dance, as Dean would say.

"This isn't you," Castiel said.

"How well do we really know each other anymore, anyway?" Balthazar asked.

His tone was aloof with the bravado of amusement, but the words grated and, to Castiel's surprise, stung. He mirrored Balthazar, eyebrows raised and smirk dimpling one cheek. "I thought you said nothing has changed between us."

"Everything changes, Cas," he shrugged. "Haven't you proved that, time and time again?"

+

Jimmy and Amelia had honeymooned in Jamaica, and Castiel remembers paging through Jimmy's memories of it when he first possessed him. Jimmy's jackhammer heart, his unsuccessful attempt to unbutton Amelia's blouse, the memory of her throaty laugh, her whisper in his ear, "Let me." Jimmy had been simultaneously wary and impatient, careful and intrigued. The muscle memory takes over Castiel now.

Balthazar's kiss is leisurely but unrelenting, warm, and Castiel reacts in kind, responding to cues to angle his head and part his lips. It's different from kissing Meg. That had been wild abandon, as surprising to himself as it must have been to her: the tug of war between heavenly duty and earthly impulses culminating in this desperate bid to seize something for himself. He was not as repulsed by kissing her as he would have thought, and that surprised him too.

Balthazar nips at his chin, tugs at his tie. "Not bad," Balthazar remarks. The tie falls to the ground. He pushes off Castiel's coat, his blazer. "Did your monkey teach you that?"

He shoves into Balthazar, clutching the lapels of Balthazar's coat as he kisses him messily. In an instant, the world shifts and suddenly they are on the bed, Balthazar on his back and gazing up, startled, at Castiel.

"Down to business, is it?" Balthazar asks.

"It's always business with you."

Balthazar's eyes flutter shut when Castiel slides his hands under his shirt. Castiel finds he likes the sight of it. His brother, though giving off the impression of volatility, is a calculated and deliberate creature, and to undo him, even for a moment, is strangely satisfying.

"I prefer pleasure myself," Balthazar continues, sounding a little strained. "However, you don't really come for that, do you?"

Balthazar rises up and presses their mouths together, and Castiel gives himself wholly to the kiss. He fumbles at Castiel's belt, and Castiel finds himself unprepared for the hand that slips into his pants. He gasps, and falters.

Balthazar takes the opportunity to grab him by the shoulders and in the blink of an eye, Castiel is the one on his back.

"Perhaps you'd be willing to change that," Balthazar suggests.

+

"Easy," Balthazar murmurs, and, "Yes," and, "Here, like this." He speaks in unhurried murmurs, like a purr.

"Yes," Balthazar says, one hand over Castiel's and guiding it over the planes of his body: Castiel's palm on his cheek, over his mouth, sliding down his bare chest and abdomen, and lower until Castiel wraps his hand around him. Balthazar's other hand palms the side of Castiel's neck, and he breathes, "Yes."

This is nothing. This is nothing but the vagaries that pass between flesh. Balthazar fucks into Castiel's hands and is shameless for it, but he and Castiel have been closer in Heaven and in a thousand worlds than in this one. His brother is returned not to him, but to himself. Balthazar hums his pleasure into the crook of Castiel's neck, mutters "don't stop, don't stop", warm against Castiel's body, and Castiel has to believe that the whole is more than the sum of its parts.

Balthazar's grip on his vessel loosens. The incandescence rises to the surface, the angel expanding beyond the human. It is not difficult to inhabit a vessel, but Balthazar is sloppy in his pleasure and shaken loose by sensation. Iridescent flares arch up from his shoulders. The white heat of grace follows the movements of the vessel like afterimages, disorienting to watch.

"Balthazar, your vessel--"

"Shut up," he hisses. "Shut up and don't stop, Cas, don't you dare."

The boundaries blur between the physical and the real. On one plane, Balthazar is moaning, wanton and wanting. On another, large wings unfurl from his back and fill the room, brighter than the sun.

"Don't--" Balthazar gasps, and when Castiel pushes up and kisses him, grace sparks against his lips. Heat and light and essence, the sounds and spaces in the universe that Castiel knows as Balthazar, as brother, and beloved.

"Faster," Balthazar gasps, then, "harder," and Castiel obeys.

+

"Who is he, your vessel?" Castiel asks.

Balthazar shrugs as he slips his coat back on. "Does it matter?"

"Yes."

"What about your vessel? Who's he?"

"He's a devout man," Castiel replies. "From Illinois. He has a family. He..." He hasn't thought about Jimmy in a long time. James Novak, a man with a degree in marketing and a routine of going to the driving range once a week, who doesn't like grapes or hummus, and listens to audiobooks. An effluvium of trivia parades through his mind. But who is Jimmy Novak anymore?

"Likes roses and long walks on the beach, does he?" Balthazar says lightly.

"He doesn't have strong opinions on roses one way or the other."

"Right."

"It was for his daughter that he gave himself to me," Castiel continues. "His sacrifices have already exceeded the burdens we gave him to bear."

Balthazar checks his reflection in the mirror. "How terrible for him."

"What did you do to make your vessel say yes?"

"I told him the truth." Balthazar goes to the minibar, pours out a finger of whiskey in two glasses. "I find that's easier, don't you think?"

Castiel hesitates. "Not always."

"I find it's easier to get people to do things if they're scared."

"You assume people are frightened of the truth."

"Well." Balthazar turns around, a glass in each hand. "Yes."

+

A couple of months ago, Dean had called again and Castiel was unprepared for the scene that greeted him. Dean, sitting on the floor against the far wall, his arms resting on bent knees, his expression stony. Around him, blood and ichor and the cloying pungency of another religion. At Castiel's feet, Sam.

"What happened?" he asked. Castiel knelt and brushed the hair from Sam's face. His fingers came away bloody.

"Took you long enough," Dean muttered, then Castiel transported them all to the Winchesters' current base, where Dean told him that Sam was a monster.

Dean's insistence startled him: Sam was different, he was crazy, he was hurtful, he wasn't Sam. No, don't put him on the bed. Tie him to that chair. Castiel held Sam still as Dean tied double knots, and he watched Dean watch Sam, watched the cord of muscle in Dean's neck work, tell-tale sign of distress.

"Dean," Castiel said, as he paced around the room, "what's going on?"

"I don't fucking know," Dean snapped. "Okay? I don't fucking... All I know is that that thing..." He pointed at Sam, bloodied rag doll tied to a chair too small for him. He didn't finish his sentence.

"Your brother is--"

"That's not my brother."

"Dean."

"He isn't, he can't be. I know my brother." Eyes blazing, voice roughened with desperate anger. Castiel recognized this. "Cas, I raised the guy. Okay, I went to Hell for him, I'm the one who... And he wouldn't ever—I know what he—"

"How much you sacrifice for someone is no indicator of how well you know them."

"Fuck you."

Silence like a lightning flash. They held their breaths to hear the roll of thunder.

Castiel resisted the urge to step closer. He learned his lesson, the 'personal space' talk. It had been less of a talk and more of Dean picking a fight. After he made Dean swear to the angels two years ago, Castiel had drawn close, on the verge of offering some reassuring words, but Dean dropped his gaze and snapped at him. Do you have to do that, he demanded. Dean was angry, perhaps frightened, and Castiel saw his body tense even as Castiel asked, Do what?

Dean's skittishness made sense to him in an abstract way. There are rules that govern human interaction, learned signifiers of intimacy and relationship. It made sense to him in the same way he knows and two plus two does not equal three, so he relented. Castiel left him to his misery in Bobby Singer's salvage yard, stepped back and flew away. The last thing he had seen before disappearing into the night was Dean hollowing himself out with one quivering exhale, shrinking in the gloom.

Now, in Calumet City, with Sam out of commission and Dean out of hope, this impasse felt familiar.

"Seriously," said Dean, "fuck you."

Castiel wanted that conviction. He envied Dean his surety. He wanted the reflexive simplicity of a world where the logical conclusion was as obvious to him as it was to Dean. So, Sam was not acting the way Dean remembered, or wanted, or needed? Then it must not be Sam. QED.

Castiel asked, "What would you have me do?"

Dean looked away. He was always the first to look away. "Fix it."

"Dean, I don't even know—"

"Cas." The voice quavered and cracked. "Please."

For a few seconds, Castiel considered saying no. He had the strange impression of being too small for his vessel. There was a certain apprehension that always arose at his willingness to bend for Dean, and it cut through him now, sharper with new wounds. Dean was not the only one whose family was slipping through his hands, and Castiel was tired.

He said, finally, "I'll try."

Dean's shoulders relaxed in relief. "Thank you."

For all that had changed, nothing had. Hunted by above and below, their brothers falling, their options crumbling, and never enough time, never enough words, never the right words. They were still asking each other for impossible things. There was always the feeling like Castiel was on the verge of understanding this strange creature he dragged out of Hell, only to be distracted by the next catastrophe.

"You should get some rest," Castiel said. "You look terrible."

But Dean was already shaking his head. "Let's just do this," he said, as Castiel knew he would.

+

"Why do you come back?" Balthazar asks. "Is it me? Or is it this?" A lazy kiss on Castiel's collarbone. "Is it this?" Six wings curving down to envelop them, drawing Castiel closer to him. "You don't have to fight this war, you know," he says, soft against his neck. "I can see Heaven taking its toll on you, brother, and don't think that I don't care."

"Then stop caring only about yourself."

"I can see Earth taking its toll on you, too."

"Like the way Earth has taken its toll on you?"

"No. I'm different." Balthazar shifts, moves his hands to cup Castiel's face. "Brother, this has always been your problem. You care too much, and too often about the wrong things."

It's not quite a kiss - Castiel slides his parted lips along Balthazar's jaw, and Balthazar turns his head, a coincidence.

"Is it wrong to fight?" Castiel asks.

"Is it wrong to live?"

"You were never so cowardly."

"You were never so bent on oblivion."

"I'm not seeking oblivion."

"Of course."

Castiel breaks away. "You're the one who keeps offering it to me."

Balthazar quirks his lips. "Is that all I am to you now? Oblivion?"

Castiel slides his hand up Balthazar's neck, curling his fingers in his hair, and leans in close, cheek to cheek. He says in Enochian, "Brother, fight the war with me."

Balthazar laughs. "You ask me to join you every time."

A kiss on Balthazar's cheek. "What is your answer this time?"A kiss on the edge of his mouth.

"I'm not going to change my answer," Balthazar murmurs, then kisses him, shifting to cover Castiel's body with his own.

It is a curious symbiosis, the way an angel inhabits a vessel. An inhabited vessel can be numbed to the physical world, unmindful of bullets and blades, but just as the body can be a shield, so can it be a gateway, a catalyst. The veil between the worlds can be thinned. Balthazar takes his time fucking Castiel with sharp steady thrusts, and Castiel gives himself up to the rhythm of it. With every thrust, the pleasure roils through him and he feels himself rising to the confines of Jimmy Novak's body. Caught between the light of Heaven and the volatility of flesh, Castiel is sensitized to both. He savors every sweat-slick grip, the way Balthazar exhales sharply as he pushes in, and he is undone by the shards of the divine that cut through him.

The body is to be harnessed to help move through this world. This is the world Balthazar has chosen, and the vessel chosen for him. This is what he chooses to share with Castiel anymore. You are beholden to your decisions, and Castiel knows this acutely and intimately.

The room dims; Heaven shines. All around, the world is grace and the beat of wings. Castiel can feel it, he can feel everything: this world, this body, this skin, this fire, the light, the light, the light.

"Castiel," Balthazar says hoarsely, and Castiel closes his eyes and lets go.

+

"The war waits for no one, hmm?" Balthazar asks, watching Castiel dress himself. Balthazar is still naked under the sheets, lounging back against the headboard with a cigarette in hand. "It's a shame. I was thinking dinner soon at a trattoria in Naples. I was going to invite you."

"Were you," Castiel deadpans.

"Everyone enjoys a good pizza margherita." Balthazar slips out of bed and goes to him, swatting Castiel's hands away from his tie. "Don't begrudge me my freedom, Cas," Balthazar says gently, cigarette hanging from his mouth as he ties a perfect Windsor knot.

"That's not what I'm trying to do."

"What are you trying to do?"

"I," Castiel begins.

Balthazar raises his eyebrows. "Well?"

"I," he repeats, but is distracted when Balthazar trails one finger down Castiel's cheek, light enough to make him shiver.

Balthazar leans in close. "That's what I thought."


[personal profile] gwenbasil 2011-01-06 05:58 am (UTC)(link)
I love all of this but I love especially the end.
ariadnes_string: (Dean-Castiel)

[personal profile] ariadnes_string 2011-01-06 06:12 pm (UTC)(link)
oh wow--what awesome angel!sex! and the scene with Dean? so painfully true!