Word count: 2,085
Genre/Pairing: Dean/Cas (no funny business onscreen though), Sam POV.
Summary: Cas vents his angst through poetry. Then so does everyone else.
Warnings: Monstrously bad poetry.
Disclaimer: I have no affiliation with Supernatural.
“What’s up, Cas?” Sam looked up in surprise. It wasn’t all that often that Cas approached him for conversation. Sure they’d been living in the same car for a few months, but it was still usually Dean that Cas sought out to talk to. It wasn’t that they didn’t like each other. It was just that since the whole crazy-false-God-stabbing incident, they’d been a little awkward around each other. Not to mention that since purgatory, Dean and Cas had been closer than ever, albeit in a more violent, watching each other’s back, pulling knives at sudden movements kind of way. So for Cas to take a break from keeping a lookout while Dean ate his lunch, this must be vitally important.
“Sam,” Castiel said, stepping forward to stand uncomfortably close to Sam, and maintaining eye contact to properly convey the vital importance of what he was about to say. “What is another word for ‘extreme emotional pain’?”
Sam took a step back and blinked. “Uh, I dunno. Despair? Desolation? Anguish? Um, why?”
“Thank you, Sam,” the angel said seriously, and left to return to his position fending off rogue ducks and improperly controlled children while Dean finished his lunch.
Sam shrugged it off and carried on feeding the ducks.
He thought nothing more of it until two days later, as they were on the road to their next hunt. Dean was driving, staring at the road ahead apprehensively, while Sam was sitting in the passenger seat, passing the time by reciting the opening chapter of the first Harry Potter book in his head. Cas was in the backseat, writing in his notebook. Wait, since when did Cas have a notebook?
“Hey Cas,” Sam broke the silence, “What are you writing?”
Cas looked up and frowned at him. “Nothing of import,” he said firmly, which was Cas-speak for “Mind your own business, you nosy bitch.”
Sam sighed and turned back to face the front. Nobody ever wanted to tell him anything anymore.
But then Castiel’s pen paused in its movements, and he said distractedly, “What colour would you say Dean’s eyes are?”
Sam paused to think about it. He would have thought Cas was more of an expert on his brother’s eyes than he was. He sure spent enough time gazing into them. “Greenish?” He ventured.
“They’re hazel,” Dean growled, like he thought hazel was more manly than green, or something, “and I’m sitting right here, dude. Why do you need to know my eye colour?”
But Cas had gone back to scribbling in his little book, and didn’t reply.
At the motel that night, Sam surfed the web for news articles relating to the headless corpse that had been spotted in town, Dean sat with his back to the wall and cleaned his gun, and Cas sat on his bed and violently crossed out everything he’d written that day.
“What are you writing in that thing, anyway?” Dean asked, like Cas would tell him even though he’d flat out refused to tell Sam earlier in the day. Actually, that was a real possibility. Sam didn’t know what Dean and Cas talked about when he wasn’t around, but he was willing to bet there were a lot more eyes brimming with tears than when he was around.
“You should go to sleep, Dean,” Cas suggested sternly. “I’ll watch… keep watch.”
“Fine, don’t tell me.” Dean snapped the clip into his clean gun and placed it on the bedside table where it would be easy to reach in the night. He lay on the bed and closed his eyes.
Cas watched him closely, and then said to Sam: “Can you think of another word for exhausted?”
“Are you doing crosswords?” Sam asked. He got no reply, but went to sleep that night listing all the synonyms for exhausted in his head. Tired. Worn out. Used up. Beat.
He woke in the middle of the night to a dark room. The familiar shape of his brother was missing from the next bed. It took him a moment of sharp worry for his eyes to adjust and catch the shadows of Dean and Cas, sitting up, leaning against the base of Dean’s bed. They were talking quietly.
Sam strained his ears. Everyone always said not to eavesdrop, but the people who made that rule obviously didn’t have brothers like Dean, or friends who carried around mysterious notebooks and might be writing about you in their diary. Although to be honest, if Cas was writing about anybody in his secret diary, it was almost certainly Dean.
“Can I read it?” Dean asked.
“I don’t think you’ll like it,” Cas said dubiously.
“Why do you say that? I do read, you know.”
“It’s private,” Cas insisted. “I only write to express myself. It’s not for publication.”
Dean snorted. “Oh, so you get to read my mind for four years, but I don’t get to read your emo poetry? How is that fair?”
Oh wow. Sam had to get his hands on that book. He could practically see the see the title page, with its perfect script reading “Poems about Dean”.
“Can I ask why you’ve suddenly taken up poetry?” Dean asked.
“I’ve been reliably informed that creative writing is a good method of purging unwanted negative feelings.”
“Does it work?” Okay, this must be a dream. Sometimes it was hard to tell, but if this conversation finished with Dean deciding to take up poetry, that would be absolutely conclusive proof that this was a dream.
“No,” said Cas.
The next morning, while Dean was in the shower, Cas asked Sam if he could think of a metaphor for running for your life. Sam couldn’t think of one, because running from monsters wasn’t really a situation that leant itself to metaphors (in fact, it usually was the metaphor), and anyway, Sam hadn’t written any poetry for since college. Well, okay there was a bit after Jess died, written in the night while Dean slept, and then a bit more after Dad died, and that one free-form verse that was more like an art piece than anything, that time that his purple shirt with the dog on it had ripped all down the front and he’d had to throw it out.
“Can I see what you’ve got so far?” Sam asked, but Cas wasn’t listening, because Dean had just come out of the bathroom, still damp from the shower.
“Can you think of a more poetic word for ‘slightly wet’?” Cas asked later, as they were on the way to meet up with the support group for the people who had seen the headless corpse.
Sam couldn’t concentrate on his interview because he was too busy trying not to imagine what Cas’s poem said.
“Why can’t I read it?” Dean whined. “I won’t laugh, I swear.”
“I don’t believe you,” said Cas. “Eat your dinner.”
Sam frowned at Dean. He could guess why Cas didn’t want Dean to read it. “Why do you want to read it so badly, Dean? You don’t even like poetry.”
Dean ate his burger sulkily. “Why don’t you want me to see it?”
Cas ignored him and crossed something out in his notebook, replacing it with a different word.
It made Sam think. That notebook seemed like a good way of avoiding unwanted conversation, and Cas was right about poetry being a good way of getting feelings out. He could do with that these days. He could remember the time just after college, when he was away from home for the first time, self-righteous but lonely, free but angry, confused and scared but in control of himself. Pouring the feelings out onto smooth, blue-lined refill had released space inside him to let in happiness and romance and learning. He wondered what had happened to the shoe-boxes filled with writing that he’d left in the bedroom of his burned apartment.
When they returned to the motel in the early hours of the following morning, having secured the headless corpse back into its grave with silver spikes, Sam found he was too wound up to sleep. He pulled out the spare notebook he kept in the side pocket of his duffel, and began to write.
“Seriously, what the hell is going on here?” Dean’s voice broke Sam’s concentration, light flooding the room as Dean pulled up the blind. “Is this some kind of curse? Why is everyone writing poetry all of a sudden?”
Sam shaded his eyes against the sun and put his pen down, looking up at his brother. “It’s very cathartic, Dean. You should try it.”
Dean just looked at him.
“Can I read yours?” Cas asked. “I am becoming frustrated with mine, and you are clearly an experienced poet.”
Sam hesitated for a moment. On the one hand, if Cas read it, Dean would definitely find out what it said. On the other hand, he could make a deal. “I’ll let you read mine if I can read yours.”
Cas was nodding, pulling out the notebook.
“Wait,” said Dean.
Dean must have really wanted to read Cas’s poem. Like, really, really badly. There was no other way to account for what happened next. Unless it really was a curse and Dean had just held out longest because he had the most prejudice about poetry writing.
“There, finished,” announced Dean with a flourish, placing his pen down. “Now, Sam first.”
“Uh uh,” Sam shook his head. “You first.”
Dean shoved his paper across the table. It was torn from the middle of Sam’s notebook. On it was written:
There’s a tree outside
It’s green, I think
There’s a monster in it
Okay, so it wasn’t great. Or very long. But it was headed in the right direction, and considering Dean’s abhorrence for a) poetry and b) talking about feelings, it was a good effort. There seemed to be at least some attempt at honesty, which was what Sam had been looking for when he’d made the deal.
“Your turn,” said Dean, flipping the paper over without waiting for anyone to say anything.
Sam opened his notebook, creasing the page so it would stay open on the table. He ignored the slight nervous flutter that reminded him of English class at high school, when teachers had made people read out their work. He hadn’t had time to perfect the poem yet, so if Dean and Cas thought it was awful, at least he could console himself with the fact it was only a rough draft.
He’s always there,
Forked tongue and pleasantries
Fire and tricks of light
When they come back, I don’t know them
I miss my dog
Wet hair on my jeans
I want to go for a walk
Sam looked at the others. Cas looked approving. “This is very much in the style of the examples given in the article.”
Dean just looked confused. He brightened. “Cas’s turn!”
Cas looked reluctant. “Dean. You should know that this poem is not about you.”
“Why would I think it was about me?” Dean asked. “Come on, let’s see it.”
Cas opened his notebook and placed it on the table in front of Sam, so that Dean had to get up and look over Sam’s shoulder to read it.
Desolation in Greenish Eyes
Anguish fills him
I can see it
But green eyes don’t brim
Nor tiredness overtake
He runs forever
He lies awake
And again I’m falling
I did it all for him
He is enthralling
And sometimes, when he’s slightly wet
I’m happy that I did
Because the sight makes me forget
I fell, and all I want to do
Is take away the sorrow
That haunts those greenish eyes
So he’ll be happy tomorrow
There was a moment of silence. Sam fought back the unbecoming feeling of satisfaction that at least his poem was less embarrassing than Castiel’s. Then he thought that maybe he should leave, so Dean and Cas could talk about Cas’s insane stalker crush on Dean.
“I’m just gonna, um, go outside now,” he said. Nobody seemed to hear him.
He took his notebook and pen and made his way outside. The last thing he heard as he stepped out the door was Dean’s voice, saying, “Are you sure it’s not about me, Cas?”
And Castiel’s voice replying, “Dean, I have a confession to make.”
Sam shut the door and smiled.