For Your Records: Found (Part 1 of 4 of a canon au where everything is the same except Cas carries around a sketchbook for the first half of season 9; takes place sometime after the events of 9.03; art credit to mtothedestiel)(Ao3)(Part 2, Part 3, Part 4)
Castiel knows that it’s garbage. The cover is bent and slightly warped from humidity. One sheet of paper still clings to the spiral binding, the rest loose and sticking out in all directions, and the cover indicates that it was originally meant for watercolor paintings. He stuffs it in his bag anyway.
Around here, the Church people help him. Their message is generic, “Love God and treat others as you would like to be treated,” but at least their delivery is non-militant. He sits in the back, waiting for the free doughnuts that sometimes follow the service. Their eyes follow him, but when he meets them they smile.
The pews provide pencils for filling out donation envelopes; small pencils with dull tips that look as if they were sawed in half. It will have to do.
He starts his drawing from the side. A curve of a cheek, the outline of an eye. The lines are messy, and the pencil doesn’t even have an eraser. He can’t say that he really cares. The Preacher drones on about rooting the sin out of their lives, but Castiel draws his with swoops and smears that lead to form one eye, swollen shut and clogged with blood. The other is shining and looks up at him to plead no stop please.
This is the Dean he sees when he closes his eyes at night, involuntarily prostrated before him, the shadow of Castiel’s looming body covering his bruised and bloody face. He fails to protect him; his own hands, grasping an angel blade, throwing the punches every time. Sometimes they are in the crypt, and he feels Dean’s bones break under his fist. Sometimes Castiel watches his own powered-up self beat upon Dean’s limp form. He deserves to see it.
It ends the same way each time. I need you. Weighted down with blood and tears, Dean still needed him, but not anymore. You can’t stay.
Castiel looks up, draping his hands over the sketchpad to cover his work. An older woman sits down beside him, setting her purse between them. “Your name’s Steve, right?”
“Yes,” Castiel answers, slowly flipping the cover closed.
She smiled. “I’m Myra, the Church secretary. It’s always good to see new faces on Sunday.”
Castiel nods, used to the usual spiel by now. Treat the homeless man as if he’s a real person before telling him that it’s time for him to go.
“Anyway,” she continued, “I was wondering if you could help me out? My friend Nora, she’s a sweet lady, and she owns the convenience store down the street. She’s looking for good, reliable help, and I was wondering if you were looking to make some extra cash?”
“I don’t have any cash.” He knows she’s only trying to be nice, but he despises the veiled intention behind her words.
“I see,” she answers, shifting in the pew, “Well if you’re interested, I could set up an interview with her. We could take a walk down there after we get something to eat.”
Castiel nods and slips the sketchpad back into his bag, hoping Myra doesn’t notice that he takes the pencil in the process. The drawing is mostly finished anyway; he could spend the rest of his life trying to get the hurt in Dean’s eyes right.