Category: Gen, Drama, Humor, Angst, AU, wing!fic
Spoilers: Through It's the Great Pumpkin, Sam Winchester
Series: Playing the Angel - While Sam and Dean continue fighting to prevent the Apocalypse, Dean inexplicably manifests a pair of wings. The brothers must work together to figure out what is happening and reverse the act before the changes overtake Dean completely.
Summary: Dean manifests wings for the first time, which complicates the case the brothers are investigating.
Word Count: 32,244 (Total)
A/N: This series is obviously AU, but will follow show canon as closely as possible. Each story can be read as stand alones, but it might make more sense together. I may occasionally post out of order.
Disclaimer: See previous post.
[Chapter 1] [Chapter 2]
Not only were the wings useless, but also they were a pain in the ass.
Dean pounded his fist onto his pillow. Sleeping while straddling a chair didn't make for the best night's sleep. He'd slept in worse positions – in his car, on park benches, standing up in a closet – but those had all been by choice. This fiasco sure as hell wasn't choice, and it was seriously pissing him off. He couldn't even wrap himself in the dingy motel blankets because the damn wings flapped around as soon as anything touched them, like they had a mind of their own.
Sam said it was probably some involuntary mechanism built into the wings, sort of like blinking. Dean didn't care if the wings were programmed like streetlights. He wanted them gone so he could feel normal again.
He started to doze, but like the other five times before, the wings flapped for God knows what, and woke him up again. Dean swore and threw the pillow on the floor. If he couldn't sleep, he was going to do something useful.
He glanced to Sam's bed. Sam was asleep. His position was just as awkward: he was on his side, facing Dean, his shotgun resting right by the table. It didn't take a genius to guess what was on Sam's mind. Dean couldn't really blame him.
Dean figured he'd go take a leak, but even something that simple filled him with anger and frustration. He needed to make it several feet from his chair to the bathroom. That was going to take work.
But he really had to pee.
Dean grabbed onto the table. The ache in his muscles radiated over his shoulders, worse now than the night before. He bit back the pain and pushed himself to his feet. Dean immediately felt the weight tugging him back. Whether it was a good thing or not – he wasn't sure – he had started to get used to the strange weight on his back, so that when he did stand, he knew to lean slightly forward.
He kept his pace very slow as he walked to the bathroom. Luckily, Sam had had the foresight to keep the trash bags out of his path. He did his business and washed up, trying to pretend the unwanted gift on his back wasn't there. It was hard. He'd figured out that the wings reacted to certain things, like emotion – happiness, anger, sadness, pleasure. It was like the stupid things wanted to be noticed.
He'd notice them, all right. He'd rip them out feather by feather if it meant he could get some peace.
Dean stopped and stared at his reflection in the mirror. Sunken eyes, colorless face - he looked like he'd been hit with a truck. Or he looked dead. Maybe he was dead again.
He winced, gingerly touching the bruises on his arm from where he'd hit the dresser. He had some scrapes on his chest and neck, probably from the end table or something else he'd smacked before he'd blacked out. Hell, he even had some rug burn from the carpet.
With a sigh, he turned away from the mirror and searched the sink. He grabbed a bottle of painkillers and chucked a few back, chasing them down with three large gulps of whiskey from his flask. He knew it was pointless; the ache and throbbing soreness would just come back in an hour, but the whiskey would take the edge off for now.
After standing immobile for a minute, feeling the slow soft burn of the whiskey as it traveled down his throat, he forced himself to look back at his reflection. As much as he tried, he couldn't avoid the wings. They were still there, hovering behind his back, mocking him.
One rested flat against his back, and Dean wondered vaguely if he'd managed to break it or if the stupid thing was defective. The other wing was arched, not over his head, but just above his shoulder, the feathers along the edge partly fanned out. The thing looked stuck.
Dean pivoted his body so that his back was almost facing the mirror. He looked over his shoulder for a better view. He couldn't really see anything more, just a bunch of friggin' feathers, but he could still feel the ache where the wings had cut through his skin and muscle, even if that same ache had been dulled by the drugs.
He didn't like looking at them. They reminded him of birds' wings, and he was no bird. Thankfully, they weren't fluffy and cute or anything more ridiculous. They looked white, but sometimes not. They were light, but heavy. They weren't super long and only went down to his thighs, but they were long enough. They were simple and slick, and even looked sharp at the tips, though no way he was going to touch them to find out. That was plain wrong.
Sometimes when the light hit them just right, he thought they were made out of light themselves. He knew better. Light didn't feel like a sack of bricks.
"Go away," he said to his reflection. He waved his hands back to shoo them or to see if he could make the damn things react.
He tried again, this time pushing his hands up, then down, then side to side before trying little swirly motions. He wished he could just make them disappear.
Dean stared again at his reflection. No such luck.
"Get the hell down," he told the one that was stuck in a semi-arch behind him. "Down, stupid."
"Are you talking to your wings?"
Dean jerked. The wings finally reacted and flapped twice. He groaned, wondering if this was some sick cosmic joke, and glared to his right.
Sam stood beside him and leaned on the bathroom doorway, arms crossed, as he watched Dean with mild amusement. "I don't think they're going to talk back," he said.
"Glad you think it's funny," Dean muttered.
"I don't like it any more than you do, Dean, but making a big deal about it isn't going to make it any better."
"Wings, Sam. Wings. I think that officially counts as a big deal." Dean flipped on the faucet, scooped up some water, and splashed his face.
From the corner of his eyes, he noticed Sam steal a glance at the pill bottles before his gaze returned to Dean. "I'm not the one in denial."
"Oh, I'm not denying they're there. Believe me, I'd sure as hell like to." Dean glared at the wings before he splashed his face again. "But I'm not gonna joke about them and pretend everything's a-okay."
Sam sighed. "I'm just trying to make it easier on you. You're obviously upset."
"Upset?" Dean straightened and cringed, feeling the wings bristle. "I have feathers growing out of my back. What do you expect? You won't even look at the damn things. Who's the one in denial?"
"I just--" Sam sighed.
Dean didn't need Sam to say it. He knew. "You think I'm nuts or something? You think I'm compromised."
"No. No, it's not like that."
"Then, what's it like, Sammy? Huh?"
Sam shook his head. "Look, never mind. We just need to figure out how to fix it so we can tackle Lilith."
"Right." He grabbed a cloth from the sink and wiped his face. Because if it wasn't Lilith, it was running from monsters. And when it wasn't battling monsters and demons, it was avoiding the apocalypse. He was getting damn tired of it. "So, what do we know so far?" he asked.
"About the same. Ritualistic murders right outside of town. Could be Lilith trying to break a seal."
"Do we have any intel to go on?" Dean didn't like that Sam kept assuming anything could be Lilith-related, though at this point, he couldn't really blame him.
"Just the lead that you chased away this morning."
Dean glared at Sam and felt the wings stiffen. He tried not to think about what kind of idiot he looked like by remaining focused on Sam. Frustration and impatience marred his brother's face, leaving Dean to wonder just how sore he was about that morning. It wasn't his fault that the chick wasn't talking. And it wasn't like Dean asked for the wing problem on top of everything else.
"If she's in on it, she'll probably be running off to her buddies as soon as she thinks we've backed down." He tossed the cloth on the sink and turned to fully face Sam. "Find anything in the woods?"
Sam shook his head. "Just the regular harmless pseudo-occult stuff from the local teens."
"Junk," Dean muttered. That kind of garbage did nothing but get in the way of a good investigation. "Where was all this supposed to have gone down?" Dean asked.
"The appropriately named Devil's Creek." Sam reminded him.
Dean rolled his eyes. What the hell was with people? Did they even watch movies?
"There's gotta be something out there," Dean said.
Sam nodded. "True Satanists are really good at covering their tracks, but they can't erase all the magic traces they leave behind."
Which meant they had to act fast to find them before nature took care of the rest. "We gotta get out there."
Sam stared at him.
Sam let out a short, derisive laugh. "Look in the mirror lately?"
Dean set his jaw. Behind him, he felt the feathers bristle as the wings reacted to his anger. He didn't need to be reminded about the baggage riding on his back, but he also wasn't going to just sit around inside the motel all day.
"Don't puff those out at me," Sam said. "You can't go out like this, Dean. You know that."
He didn't care if Sam was right. What was he supposed to do? Just sit around and twiddle his thumbs? They were on a job. The more he could work, the more he could ignore the images that assailed him as he slept. The more he could pretend what had happened to him over the summer didn't exist.
"I'm not going to sit and do squat."
"I'm not saying you have to." He motioned over his shoulder. "There's always research."
Dean made a face. He was wrong. This wasn't some sick joke. This was punishment.
"We could always call Bobby."
Dean's head shot up at the suggestion. "We're not calling Bobby."
"Come on, Dean."
"No, I don't want him knowing 'bout this."
"Dean, he could help."
"I said no. Did you tell him about the demon blood?" Sam fell silent. "Yeah, didn't think so."
Sam remained quiet, unusually quiet, to the point where Dean felt himself squirming under his brother's glare. Finally, Sam broke off and marched back into the double room and started gathering his stuff.
Dean frowned. "Where're you going?"
"To end this," Sam said. "And unless you can find a way to get those under control or make them disappear, you can't go out there."
"I got it under control," Dean mumbled, stepping forward to meet Sam. He was promptly knocked back as the wings slammed into the doorframe. He hissed and took a step back, feeling the pain flare through his back.
"Dean, you can't even walk out the door." Sam sighed. "Let me handle this one. Work on figuring out what's happening."
Sam didn't wait for Dean to reply. He turned his back, grabbed his jacket, and snatched the keys to the Impala. Dean was positive he was just going to walk out without another word, but he hesitated at the door and looked back, his face an unreadable mix of emotion.
"Promise me you won't leave, okay? Just wait until I get back."
Dean shrugged him off and turned back to his reflection. He was so lost in his own frustration and anger he almost missed hearing the door click behind Sam.
Then he was on his own again.