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 posts.
[Chapter 1] [Chapter 2] [Chapter 3]
As soon as Sam was out of earshot, he pulled the Impala to the side of the road and took out his cell phone. He scrolled through his lists of contacts, but found himself hesitating. He wasn't exactly on the best of terms with most of these people, having only encountered them here or there in his travels, not counting the hunters that were more associated with Dean than anyone else. They wouldn't have any information he would need. If they knew about Dean, or even himself, they would be among the first to hunt them down.
Sam knew he should just call Bobby. Bobby's vast library had to have something that could explain what was happening to Dean. He couldn't bring himself to make the call. Sam, in good conscience, couldn't out Dean until he was ready no matter how badly he wanted to call.
Sam paused over Ruby's name. If Dean were being haunted by some black magic, she would be the best one to call. Sam knew that if anyone could help Dean out of a curse, she would be the one.
He sighed and slid the phone in his pocket. Now was not the time to dwell on any of this. Dean would be okay at the motel. Sam had to take care of the Satanists and uncover any link to Lilith. Then they could figure out what happened to Dean.
But at the back of his mind he feared the worst. All he could imagine was Dean ripping and tearing through the motel before finally breaking free and flying away. He saw Dean screeching in pain as the changes took over him, erasing his humanity piece by piece. There was nothing left but a creature driven by instinct. Dean was gone.
Sam swallowed hard. He couldn't let Dean go again. He hated leaving him alone in the motel, but Sam knew he had to serve a greater responsibility.
Dean would be okay, he told himself. The faster he finished the job, the sooner he could find a way to fix Dean.
That was what Sam kept telling himself as he pulled the Impala off the side of the road and headed for the forested land on the outskirts of the town.
Though Sam had only be gone a matter of minutes, Dean felt like it had been hours. He sat at the edge of his bed, rubbing his hands, as he stared at the wall. He felt like a caged bird, musing just how appropriate that saying was right now, and yearned to go out and do something. Staying locked inside just made him restless. It always made him restless.
And scared. He didn't want Sam to know how scared he was. He kept having this nightmare where he'd grow claws and find himself hunting for worms at the crack of dawn and like it. Or that he'd start chirping and preening the friggin' feathers or something equally ridiculous.
Then he remembered he had wings on his back and every insane thought inched closer to becoming reality.
Sam thought it was the angels. Dean could see it in his eyes. And while the wings might be a big clue, Dean was reluctant to buy that theory. It couldn't be Castiel and his buddy. There just was no way. They barely seemed to stand humans. No way they'd go around magically bopping people. There was no point to that.
Instead, he kept trying to tell himself it was just some sick prank from the Trickster. They weren't exactly on the best terms with him after having tried to kill him twice. Maybe this was how he got his kicks. Maybe he saw the angel thing brewing and thought it would get a good laugh and knock him down a peg.
Dean was afraid that was wishful thinking.
He shook his legs and rubbed his thighs, unable to hold back his nervous energy. He couldn't just sit here and wait for Sam to come back. The pain meds were already starting to wear off, bringing back that dull, nauseating ache. Only now that the shock was starting to wear off, Dean had started to actually feel the wings on his back. Not just awareness that they were there. Not just annoyance whenever they reacted to something on their own. Not the smell or the sound they made. Dean could actually feel the new bones that protruded from his back. He felt the skin that stretched over them. He felt the muscles that cemented them to his back. The worst part: they felt as natural and normal as one of his legs or arms.
The damn things had to go. Now.
Dean stood and immediately dove for his duffle bag. He stumbled, forgetting the weight on his back, but quickly recovered so he didn't fall flat on his ass again.
He knew he had some of the supplies stashed in his bag. He always kept a few things ready.
Dean grabbed the candles and chalk, jumping right to work. Within a matter of minutes, he'd crafted the appropriate sigils and signs. Now he just had to wait for Castiel to get his ass over to the motel.
Dean glanced at his watch. Two hours. He'd been waiting for Cas for two damn hours. Summoning never took this long. Where the hell was he?
"Come on, Cas. This isn't funny."
The curtains made no move. The candles didn't flicker. Everything remained calm and still.
Dean started to pace the room. He didn't care if the motion increased his nausea or back pain. He needed something to focus on before he started tearing up the joint out of frustration.
He knew that the angels weren't there to be his personal servants, to cater to every whim. Castiel had made that pretty clear. But after the whole town-smiting incident, he thought maybe Castiel had loosened up a bit. Dean expected him to actually show when summoned.
He sighed. "It better be damn important," he said to the air.
Resigned to being alone on this one, Dean packed up the candles and the books before he cleaned up the chalk sigils he'd marked on the floor.
Frustrated, he tossed his full duffle on the bed. Dean didn't know what else he could do. The wings weren't going away and it wasn't like he had a lot of intel to work with right now.
The computer was giving him zippo in terms of information. Sam had the Impala so he couldn't go anywhere. Not that he could fit behind the wheel like this, but that wasn't important.
He couldn't walk outside without ending up in a lab. He was stuck.
Dean slipped out his phone and stared at it. He'd run out of options, but dammit, he couldn't sit here and do nothing. If anyone could help him, it would be Bobby. Still, Dean really didn't want to make this call.
He shook his head and dialed. No way was Bobby gonna buy the crap he was about to shovel.
He heard a heavy sigh. "So what trouble you boys in now?"
Dean let out a nervous laugh as he lowered himself onto the bed. "Aw, come on, Bobby. Can't we just call to chat?"
"You never just call to chat." He paused. "How's your rash problem?"
Dean glanced behind his back. The wings flapped twice. "Uh, the rash is gone."
"What was that?" Bobby asked.
Dean swatted at the wings behind him and cringed. "Damn bird hit the window."
"Right. So, ya sure it's all normal?"
Oh, it was far from normal, Dean thought. "Yeah, it's going away. The rash isn't what I'm calling you for."
"I figured as much."
"We're working this job on Satanists."
"You're telling me," Dean muttered. "But while we're working it, we found something weird."
"Weird? Like how weird?"
"Like Pink Floyd does Wizard of Oz weird."
"A little less cryptic?"
"We found some…" Dean took a deep breath. "We found some dude with wings."
There was a short pause. "Okay. And?"
"And? That's it?"
"Wings ain't exactly breaking news, boy. Not with your angel friends hanging 'round."
"No, I'm not talking angels," Dean said, tiring of the angel talk in the worst way. "I'm talking regular old, normal guy with wings."
"Normal don't exactly come packaged with wings."
Dean wiped his face with frustration. He didn't know how else he could broach the subject without full out telling Bobby. No way he could tell Bobby what happened to him. No way.
"Sam and I found this guy. He was perfectly normal one day and then the next he was growing a pair."
"Seriously." Dean cringed feeling the wings flutter behind him. "We're trying to figure out what happened to him. Witches, magic, trickster, something else…and whether it's just some harmless joke or he's gonna change more. You got lore on it?"
"I shouldn't be the one to tell ya this, Dean, but this guy don't sound normal to begin with. Stuff like this ain't never harmless. There's got to be more going on than he's telling you."
"No, Bobby." Dean felt his voice waver. He cleared his throat. "This guy's clean."
"What makes you so sure?" Bobby asked.
Dean wasn't sure what to say. "I just know. I got like a sixth sense when it comes to these things."
There was a loud sigh. "The hell you do. And why are you sitting on this? Why aren't you huntin' it?"
Dean felt his breath catch in his throat. He searched the room as his mind raced to find some kind of excuse. His gaze fell to Sam's laptop. "Uh, Sam wanted to chat with it."
Bobby sighed again. "Dammit, Dean."
"Hey, you know me. Show me something unnatural and I'll kill it." He swallowed hard. "But I'm with Sammy on this one."
There was another pause on the other end, followed by the sound of shuffling paper. "It could be any number of things. Harpy."
"Dude's not a bird-chick."
"All right, then." More shuffling. "If we ain't talkin' angels or harpies, then there's imps or gargoyles."
Dean shook his head. "No, definitely not those."
"Look, you want my help or not?"
Dean clapped his free hand on his side. "Yeah."
"All right. You got Sam's computer nearby?"
He gave a forlorn look at the computer on the table. Damn, it seemed so far away.
"Yeah, yeah. I'm going."
After he pushed himself off the bed, Dean dragged his body to the table. He lowered himself into the chair and turned on Sam's laptop. "What am I looking for?" he asked.
"Tengu. They're Japanese spirits. Or demons. Take your pick."
"Fantastic," Dean muttered. He typed the name into the search engine, ignoring the ripple of pain through his back muscles.
"Whoa." Dean grimaced. "Dude's ugly."
The things were hideous. The pictures he was staring at had horribly deformed people with claws and beaks and crazed eyes. The others, the more human looking ones, had noses that made Pinocchio look normal.
Dean rubbed his nose.
"What do you expect? A beauty contest?"
"No, but bird people? Come on, Bobby."
"Sometimes they can pass as human if they're masking themselves," Bobby said.
"What else you got?" Dean asked. He backtracked to get away from the pictures. He didn't want to see that.
"There's always garudas or suparna, but those things tend to be more bird than human. Intelligent, beaked creatures linked to Hindus and Buddhists. I doubt you'd be seeing one of them, considering how huge they are."
Dean stared at the pictures. The beaks were officially freaking him out.
"Ya find them?" Bobby asked.
"Not that," Dean said quietly. "Nothing on people growing wings?"
"Not in common lore." Bobby paused in a way that started to make Dean uncomfortable. He was thankful for once he wasn't in the same room with him. He wouldn't need the wings to show for Bobby to see right through him. "What are you and Sam messin' with?"
"Just your normal freak of the week stuff," Dean said, ending with a nervous laugh. "So, nothing?"
"Chinese deity. Lei gong. He started off normal, so they say, before he ate a peach from heaven and grew wings. After that he became a god of thunder. So unless you're tangling with Chinese gods now…"
Dean clicked through the pictures and the description. He didn't know how the hell Bobby and Sam knew all this stuff.
"Huh. Apparently, he's a freakin' prude." Dean shut down the browser. He'd rather die again than go monkish.
"Don't know what to tell ya," Bobby said. "You got to give me something more. And what the hell has this got to do with Satanists?"
"Been asking myself the same question."
"Ever think you should leave your little monster distraction alone and focus on the main event?"
Dean scowled at the monster mention, but he held his tongue. He wondered if maybe the whole wing thing was a distraction, something tossed at him to throw them off the trail. Whatever it was, he'd gone beyond being just pissed about it. Dean needed to be out there doing something.
Then he remembered something Sam had said: find a way to get the wings under control or make them disappear.
"Bobby, you got some spells that help camouflage?"
"Camouflage? Where'd that come from?"
"Sam and I think we've found where the Satanists are getting their thrills, but we need a way to get to 'em."
Dean winced. So, it wasn't exactly the truth, but it wasn't exactly a lie, either.
"What about your normal sneaking around?"
"We need something more."
"The hell you do. What's going on?"
Dean jerked. "What? I told you. We're working this job."
"You're a lousy liar. I should know. I lie for a living." Bobby paused. "You ain't protecting Sam again, are you?"
"No." It was the first honest thing he'd said this whole conversation. "No, this don't have nothing to do with Sam."
He heard the start of shuffling again and another heavy sigh. "I got some spells that can camouflage. Like a glamour spell."
"Sweet. That's perfect." If Dean could look normal, than this whole job would be a helluva lot easier.
"I don't need to tell ya them kinds of spells are dangerous," Bobby said. "They're addictive and can really mess with your head."
"Yeah, I know. You know I wouldn't be asking if it wasn't an emergency."
"Promise me you won't be abusing this crap, Dean."
Bobby grumbled in defeat. "You be careful. Those spells are unpredictable. Could wear off any time, and you'd be none the wiser."
"I got it."
"Okay, but you better spill when you're done."
Dean nodded. ""I'll tell you later. Promise. Now what's the spell?"