3,200 words, PG-13
Summary: Dean and Cas are deer, and then they’re not. Cas is having angel issues.
There was something cold pressed against Dean’s stomach.
He tried to adjust himself, tried to stretch himself out. Everything was stiff and his joints were locked.
What wasn’t completely numb was filled with pins and needles, and he groaned as he tried to stretch out his arms and legs. The relentless chill pushed at his stomach as he tried to sit up straight.
He attempted to move his hand to shoo whatever it was away, but his hand… his hand wouldn’t move at all.
His eyes snapped open and a long unused muscle in his back twitched. He shut his eyes again, tried to calmly count to three. He was dreaming. He peeled his eyelids open to see a small, dun, vaguely-horse shaped body with long, thin legs where he and his AC/DC shirt once resided.
Bambi. He was friggin’ Bambi.
He had sweet antlers though. He could just about see them, like spindly shadows in his peripheral vision. Sonofabitch.
He looked around, trying to calm his nerves, and saw he was stranded in a barren meadow filled with rocks and sparse little pockets of grass. A mountainside, he guessed. He saw a dense evergreen forest in the distance, and felt mist coat his nose and body, making everything cling wetly to his body.
His deer body.
He closed his eyes, laid his head back down on the weird rocky meadow he was lying on, and tried to figure out what just happened.
He searched his memory, getting flashes of Cas staring at him in worry from across a dark room, an old witch chanting Latin and stirring blood in a bowl, surrounded by candles, and hard thump as he hit the floor.
He opened his eyes again, and tried to move his legs. When he tried to stand up, he slid on the dewy grass and slipped back down, hitting his chin on the ground hard.
He stood up again, his Winchester stubbornness firing up in his chest, and wobbled uncertainly on four legs. He took a cautious step forward, nearly slipping and falling on his ass again. He ground his weird, deer-y teeth together, and took a few more steps in the direction of the rocky patch.
A memory flashed in front of him, and he skidded to an unsteady stop as Sam’s shocked look and a screamed “Dean!” fled across his memory.
If he was a deer in the friggin’ Nowhere Zone, then what happened to Sam? Was he a deer too?
Dean sniggered to himself, a not-at-all musical sound, picturing Sam as a giant moose with sideburns wandering around in the forest, nagging him to eat something healthy for once.
He shook his head and resumed moving, trying to move quickly on the slippery grass, when he remembered Cas. Was Cas okay?
He sat down abruptly like a dog would, squatting down on his haunches.
He shut his eyes, bending his deer neck as far as it would go, and prayed.
Cas, if you can hear me still, show up and change me back into a friggin’ human being.
He peeled an eye open, waiting for Cas to appear somewhere, and sighed when he didn’t.
C’mon, I’m praying here. Help me.
A weird bark sounded in the distance, in the forest, and Dean’s deer instincts took over, making his ears flick in the direction of the sound, his muscles suddenly whipcord taut.
A thought pushed itself at the corner of his mind.
Dean’s body twisted and set off toward the forest, galloping, his thoughts just a mindless repetition of cascascascascas.
The way he ran was majorly freaky, a shifting of weight between his back legs and front legs - he almost stumbled over his own feet (hooves?) several times. He opened his mouth to let out a bark too.
Another startling bark sounded from the forest, and Dean urged his body to move faster, the wind brushing deep into his fur and into his muscles, freezing them up, but Dean ran like the friggin’ wind.
He saw a dark brown figure in the distance, limping its way out of the forest and barking pathetically.
Dean slowed down to a hop and barked again, which the darker brown deer responded to weakly.
Dean danced around the deer, wanting to inch closer but not sure if he was making it all up. This could be some insane dream. Dreaming - or being asleep - would certainly explain why he felt so tired. Or it could’ve been the running. Galloping on four legs logically would tire a dude out twice as fast, Dean figured. His muscles burned hot and shaky, he felt like he was fighting sleep, fighting to keep his eyes open. No, he had to do this. He had to talk to the damn deer, gotta find Sammy, gotta turn back human…
Dean took a step toward the other possibly-Cas deer and its proud pair of antlers, and asked, Is it really you?
The darker brown deer sighed and flopped down on the grass.
Dean stood beside him, and nudged Cas’ back with his nose. Cas lifted his head and managed a very human look of exasperation, then slumped over again. Dean nudged Cas again.
Where’s Sam? Are you okay?
I’m fine, Dean. My leg got injured trying to run through the forest.
Dean swung his neck to peer at the outstretched leg, leaning onto his front legs to look it over carefully. And Sam?
Cas stretched out, giving Dean a better view of his leg. I haven’t met another deer I can talk to like this. I assume he’s human still.
Dean gave Castiel’s leg a good last look over, and turned his gaze back up to where Cas’ head was lying, flopping down next to him. He remembered their antlers at the last moment and jerked his head away to avoid a clash. Cas observed Dean’s swerve and seemed to repress a smile. Dean huffed. God, he was tired. Lying down, he finally let his muscles relax; his legs felt weak and far too thin to support a fully grown deer. He was not suited to this whole deer!Dean thing at all.
Man, they’d better be trying to find us. Don’t think I could stand this too long. Dean paused, gazing into the middle distance and watching weak sunlight dance on swirls of mist. And not being able to drive forever. Hell, I’d miss my baby. And sex. And pie. Do deer eat pie?
Cas inclined his head and tucked his injured leg under himself, and adjusted his awkward deer limbs so his body lay parallel to Dean’s. I don’t know. Being a deer is… liberating. It allows freedom that the human body doesn’t.
Dean snorted softly, flicking his tail and moving his head to face Cas. You’re saying you like being naked?
Cas flicked his tail and thumped his head down onto the ground with a soft whisper of damp grass. I enjoy being in animal vessels.
That’s right, you’ve probably been Bambi before. Probably could write a handbook. Dean straightened up and nudged Cas’ head. Right?
Yes. Cas said simply, and inched his body so he could lay his head on Dean’s back. Dean stiffened, and arched his neck to look back at Cas. He took a moment to consider how much he was willingly touching the deer-ified angel. Nuzzling seemed like a completely natural method of communication. It felt like the equivalent of eye contact, like folding and unfolding arms, like a nod of acknowledgement when Cas spoke. But Cas’ head on his back? That was strange. Good strange? Bad? Dean was divided.
What are you doing, Cas?
I apologise. Cas’ head didn’t leave Dean’s back though, and Dean sighed, moving closer to Cas. Cas’ deer body was warmer than his human one, an animalistic sort of wild heat that Dean could curl up in and doze for a couple of hours. He snuggled into Cas’ side. He felt Cas start to lick his back softly, which creeped him out, but he let it happen, feeling even more drowsy as Cas’ tongue messed up the fur along his back.
Hey, Cas? He thought, sleep permeating his thought-speech, and Cas paused his licking to answer, Yes?
Can you still use your angel mojo?
Cas’ answer was a sheepish, Yes.
Dean would’ve rolled his eyes - he managed a slight sideways shift before giving up. Deer eyes were not as easy to roll as human eyes. He tightened his jaw instead.
Good. I’m gonna… nap for a bit. Take us back when I wake up, ‘kay?
Cas nodded and started his licking again. Dean dug his head into Cas’ side and sighed, letting the rhythm of Cas’ tongue over his fur lull him to sleep.
Resting as a deer was less hazy than resting as a human - it was nervous, Dean felt like he could snap out of it at any moment, dreaming of his surroundings like his eyes were still open. He could see and feel everything - the wind, the mist - which disapparated quickly once the sun hit them… He listened to the rustle-swish-swish of the copses of trees surrounding where they lay, let his senses overtake him and let a real sleep descend.
He hardly noticed the rush of air as they flew through the time-space continuum, angel-mojo-style.
When he woke up, he was human, naked, and curled up with Cas in the middle of Bobby’s living room while Sam took pictures of them with his phone. He stiffened, and tried to wiggle away, but Cas squeezed him closer and let out a contented, “Dean,” before digging his head back into his neck.
Dean squirmed, uncomfortable. He didn’t like that one of the first things his brain registered was that Cas’ arms were pleasantly warm where they circled his waist.
That is, right before he noticed Sam’s phone - shutter clicking like a roulette wheel, Sam grinning like a madman. “Sam! Put that piece of crap away and get me some clothes,” he snapped, withdrawing his arms from Castiel’s embrace. Sam said nothing but he chuckled, and the grin never left his face as he padded out of the room. Dean glared at his back. Sam was far too happy about this.
Dean shook Cas awake. “Cas. Cas. Wake the hell up, man. We’re too friggin’ naked for this. And since when do you sleep, anyway?”
Cas blinked, bleary-eyed. He hadn’t slept in longer than was comprehensible to human understanding. It was an unsettling feeling, waking up and seeing a stubbly human face where some time ago there had been a rather more fluffy deer face. He had no idea how long he’d been unconscious - but he knew exactly why he’d gone to sleep in the first place. It had seemed physically irresistible at the time. Everything about turning Dean back into a human was exhausting. Zapping them back to Bobby’s was exhausting. Everything he did drained him, and he was so worn thin - he always knew that the first thing to get caught up in this mess was always going to be his vessel. Its humanity was seeping into his angelic being, driving out the power and the strength he always had. It wasn’t falling, per-se. But he had a quality of newfound emptiness that would never again be filled with angelic grace. Frankly, it didn’t bother him nearly as much as it should.
“Cas, for the love of all that is holy,” Dean said, slowly, gripping each of Cas’ shoulders in a grip like a vice. “Please. Stop. Hugging me.”
Cas had barely registered his arms twisted around Dean’s waist. Dean’s lower back was flat on the floor and Cas’ chest was settled between his legs, his own lower half sprawled over the worn rug beneath them. Cas startled and released Dean, pulling back to kneel with his hands covering his crotch. He may be what remained of an angel, but it was the basic understanding of being a human that you generally had to maintain some level of modesty.
Dean’s face was flushed pink over his cheeks, drowning the colour of his freckles. Seeing nothing else handy, Dean seized the rug beneath him and pulled it up to clutch over his legs. Despite his discomfort, he didn’t feel it was within his power to look away from Cas as the other man stared him down with those sharp blue eyes of his. Dean swallowed and was about to speak, when Sam promptly sauntered back in, handing Dean a pair of scuffed jeans and a ratty old t-shirt that Dean was sure he’d thrown out about half a decade ago. And the same went to Cas; an even older shirt, and a pair of jeans that Dean had most definitely thrown out when he’d grown out of them at age 19. He knew they were his, as Cas shook them out and unravelled the crumpled legs - the bloodstain from his first vampire beheading, which never quite came out.
“What, Cas can’t mojo his own clothes?” Dean asked Sam with a small helping of disbelief. Sam shrugged with his face and one shoulder, made significant conspiring eye contact with Castiel, then turned to exit the room. Something was up there, and Sam knew something he didn’t. But Dean pushed it out of his mind. He needed to say something else first.
He glanced down at the clothes in his lap, watching Sam leave out of the corner of his eye. “Take it you guys don’t want venison for dinner?” he said as he left. Dean didn’t dignify that with an answer.
“Cas,” Dean said, not making eye contact. He kept sitting, fussing with the hem of his folded jeans with his slightly grubby fingernail. He’d get dressed in a moment.
Cas stood up and began putting on the jeans, turning away. “I apologise for touching you inappropriately,” he began, guessing what Dean had been about to bring up. Dean sucked in his lips and turned his head toward the blackened fireplace. Cas continued: “Seeing as we were deer at the time, I didn’t think that it would be - ”
“Look, it’s not a big deal, Cas. It’s not. It was okay at the time, I don’t see why we should make a fuss now, right? I mean, other than Sam being all creepy about it. But that’s…” he tipped his head down and stared long and hard at the Led Zeppelin logo on the front of the flimsy shirt in his hands. “That’s Sam. He’s nothing to do with… you and me.”
There was something about how Dean said “you and me” that surprised even himself. Maybe there was another level to this that he wasn’t expecting. Clearly he didn’t know his own mind well enough.
Cas paused halfway through pulling his t-shirt on to look down at the hunter, kneeling naked on the rug with a pile of clothes in his lap. “You’re… implying that you want - ”
“I’m not implying anything, Cas.” Dean looked up and met Cas’ eyes with his own, and looked at him far more intensely than he’d intended to. “I’m saying. I’m saying that I want…” Dean coughed embarrassment. “The touching was nice, okay?” he said, eyes closed.
As he opened his eyes again, he watched as Cas pulled the rest of his shirt on and plonked himself down onto Bobby’s couch. He looked so different than normal, wearing Dean’s old clothes. He looked weirdly tired, kinda vulnerable. It wasn’t something Dean was used to. As it was, he couldn’t seem to let his gaze settle on just one part of him. He jumped between the tight cloth at his knees and the ragged flare of denim toward his bare feet; the way the worn cotton shirt was stretched thin over Cas’ wide chest, looser on the flat of his stomach. The way his hands were clutching at his own knees for support as he considered Dean’s words.
“You want to touch me.”
Dean blanched, feeling blood rush through his head like lightning. If he was blushing like a beetroot right now, god help him. He screwed his eyes tight shut and bit down on his own teeth, fighting the urge to panic and back the hell out of this cesspit of a conversation.
“I - ” he tried to say, but it came out as a squeak. “It’s kind of a two-way street, y’know,” he said, finally. His focus skittered around the man on the couch before landing straight back on his returning gaze. Cas squinted at him. Dean realised he had to clarify. Man, that angel was dumb sometimes. “I mean, I wouldn’t be opposed,” he began, one hand in the air, “if at some point in the near future, you felt like you wanted to…” he took a silent breath in, mouth open. “If you wanted to touch me. As well. Together.” He swallowed, frowning deeply, conscious that his nose was flaring. His voice had been dropping decibels like gas from a speeding drag race car. It was little more than a hoarse whisper now.
“You mean sex.”
“Yeah. I mean sex.” He could only just hear his own voice, but he knew Cas could hear him.
Cas was silent for a moment, eyes searching the floor, side-to-side. He scrubbed a hand over his mouth, thinking. It was a movement that Dean would have recognised from himself, not from Cas. It began to settle in Dean’s mind that Cas was mimicking him more often; mimicking a human. Trying to act like a human would.
But then Cas pulled his hand away and Dean saw the ghost of a smile on his lips. Their eyes met and Cas nodded ever so slightly. That was a yes. A yes to the sex. Oh, god.
Dean burned up again, but this time with a rush of excitement or adrenaline, he didn’t know. But he felt heady and sharp all of a sudden, and he grinned at Cas. Cas smirked ever so subtly, then got up and left the room, not looking back. Dean watched him leave, jeans tighter on his damn thighs than Dean thought was socially acceptable.
He let out a terrified huff of air. How did he get from waking up in the wilderness as a friggin’ deer - to this? It took another deep, deep breath and a frantic wipe of nervous hands on the shirt in front of him, before he felt the panic subside a little.
Gradually he stood himself up, testing human legs once more. He dressed himself, making a mental note that Cas was in need of underwear.
Dean scrunched his eyes up and tried not to think. If he let his mind get too deeply into it he’d end up fretting over the fact that he’d just requested and consented to a sexual relationship with his male friend. Angel friend. Who seemed newly disinclined to use his magical angel powers.
Okay, that was definitely something to freak out over. He clutched his face in his hands and let out a long sigh.
He’d deal with this later. Right now, he needed pie.
Did deer like pie?