Author's website: Merqurius ff.net Page
Author's note: No spoilers, but this takes place in an Alternate Universe where Castiel has become human recently.
Dean slammed the door of the Impala shut with unnecessary force. He made his way to the back of the vehicle and studied the damage. Castiel shut his own door meekly and joined Dean.
"Jeez, Cas! Look at that!" Dean pointed at the bumper, that was half hanging off. "You wrecked it! You wrecked my baby!"
"I didn't do it on purpose!"
Dean ran his hand along the black paint, tracing several scratches. "There's a damn big dent in the trunk as well! You couldn't have just nicked the wall? You had to plough it in there, didn't you?"
"Dean, I didn't-"
"Yeah, yeah. You keep saying that," Dean snapped. He tried to open the trunk, but found it jammed shut. "I thought you were paying attention when I talked to you about the gears?"
"I did. I was most certainly paying attention!" Castiel argued, his guilt about crashing the car quickly being replaced by anger at Dean's reaction and his refusal to accept Castiel's earlier apologies.
"It was in reverse! I told you about reverse, right? The gear that makes the car go backwards? Backwards into a brick wall?"
"You neglected to mention that the vehicle was in reverse when I entered it. As I understood, when you leave the motor running and simply switch passengers, it is by far more logical for the car to be either in drive or neutral."
"You've got eyes, don't you, Cas? You could've looked down, seen that it was in reverse and then you could've decided not to floor it into a wall!"
"I didn't decide anything," Castiel snapped back. "I simply assumed that you wouldn't have made my first lesson in the art of driving unnecessarily difficult by leaving the car in the incorrect gear for me."
"Yeah, well, I assumed you had a brain and the capacity to think for yourself."
"It was my first time behind the wheel of the car, Dean!"
"And your last!"
Castiel's gaze shot from the back of the Impala to Dean's face. The anger left his voice and he sounded small and vulnerable. "I thought you were going to teach me how to drive? You promised me you'd teach me!"
"I guess not everything in humanity can be taught," Dean told him cruelly. With one last glare at Castiel, he walked away from the car and into Bobby's salvage yard towards the house.
Castiel was left standing on his own in the dust, staring down at his new faded jeans, trainers and button-down shirt, feeling utterly defeated.
# # #
Castiel eventually decided that he wasn't going to go back to the house where he knew he'd have to face Dean again. Instead, he turned the other way and walked to the far end of the yard, studying the wreckages piled on top of one another. Some of them could barely be classified as cars, Castiel reasoned, as he looked at examples that were missing doors and windows. At last, he encountered a few vehicles that were still in a relatively good state.
He paused at an old Dodge. It was a nice shade of dark blue that appealed to him. Castiel ran his fingers over the paint, brushing away some of the dust. He tried one of the doors and found it unlocked. Peering inside, he saw that, as far as he could tell, everything was in order. He was about to get in, when he registered Bobby's voice behind him:
"Heard your driving lesson didn't go so well."
Castiel straightened back up and closed the door again. "Dean didn't tell me the car was in reverse," he replied. It sounded petulant, even to his own ears. "It wasn't my fault."
"I didn't say it was," Bobby said calmly. He casually leaned on the trunk of the Dodge.
"I just need to practise more," Castiel continued, looking from Bobby to the car and back.
"I'm sure Dean'll see to that."
Castiel snorted and kicked at a stone in the dust. "He is refusing to teach me. Apparently, I'm too much of a failure as a human. He considers me to be hopeless." He cast a pleading look at Bobby. "I'm not hopeless. I'm not. I can do this. I can learn to be human. I made coffee this morning!" Bobby's face contorted in a brief grimace. "I did everything Dean asked. I wore the clothes he got me." He picked at the shirt he was wearing. "And I listened to him when he explained to me about the gears. If I could just practise, I could show him that his time hasn't gone to waste."
"Hey, you're not wasting his time, okay?" Bobby told him sternly. "Don't think like that. You've been trying real hard as a human, Cas, and we all know that. Dean's just being an ass, because that's how he always is when it comes to that car of his. I'm sure that when we've fixed it up, he'll be fine and he'll let you behind the wheel again. Don't worry about it."
"Would it be alright if I practised on my own first?" Castiel indicated the Dodge. "If I could show Dean that I am dedicated to mastering this skill, he would-"
"No," Bobby interrupted him. "Bad idea, Cas. No way you got the experience to take a car out on your own, 'specially not one of these scrap ones. You gotta just wait for Dean to cool off a bit, okay?"
Castiel nodded morosely. It hurt him a little to hear that Bobby didn't have much faith in his ability to drive a car either. Perhaps he shared Dean's opinion about how not all aspects of humanity could be taught.
"I'll go check on him, alright? And I'll see whether I can do something about fixing the Impala."
"Thank you," Castiel said earnestly as Bobby started heading in the direction of the house, but he doubted anything would persuade Dean at this point.
Bobby turned back once to see Castiel still lingering at the car. "Don't even think about that touching that ol' Dodge, boy! I mean it. All these wrecks are off limits. Don't let me catch you in one of them."
"You will not," Castiel answered gravely. Bobby nodded in approval, then began walking again. Castiel's fingers found the door handle.
# # #
It took Castiel thirty minutes to pluck up the courage to actually get into the car. He first made another walk around it, checking whether there was air in all the tires and whether both bumpers were securely attached. He even opened up the hood, but slammed it shut after a few minutes of simply staring at the different parts without having a clue what they were for.
He got in carefully. The seats were comfortable and he even found a seatbelt, unlike in the Impala. It made him feel a little safer as he fastened it around himself. He reached underneath the passenger seat and a thrill of excitement made its way through his body as he felt the cold steel of a set of keys. Dean had once told him that Bobby kept a lot of the keys of the cars in the yard underneath their passengers seats in order to have plenty of vehicles to make a quickly getaway with, if that was ever necessary. Castiel hadn't forgotten that.
Carefully, he slid the key in. There was nothing in front of the car for another twenty yards or so. Bobby, Dean and Sam weren't anywhere to be seen. He turned the key and the car started with a satisfying rumble. Adrenaline made his left hand shake as he put it on the wheel. He tentatively put the car in drive, before his foot found the pedal.
He felt a jolt of happiness as the car started moving forwards, crawling carefully along. The corners of his lips quirked upwards in a quick smile as he slowly increased his pressure on the gas. The Dodge started gaining some speed and began rapidly approaching a stack of wrecks. Castiel confidently took his foot of the gas and found the brake. He put pressure on it, but nothing happened. He pressed harder. Still nothing. Frustrated and panicking a little, Castiel started looking down to see whether his foot was in the right position. It was. He stepped on the pedal again, pushing it down to the floor. The only response he got, was a deafening blow as the car ran straight into three wreckages that were perched precariously on top of one another.
Castiel was thrown forward, then jerked backward in his seat by the seatbelt. The blow temporarily stunned him and he could only watch numbly as the topmost wreck started slowly sliding down, before falling and crushing the hood of the Dodge. It came to a standstill just inches away from the windshield which, if crushed, would've showered Castiel in glass.
Castiel slowly took his foot off the brake. The engine had been killed during the crash and he was sitting in complete silence. In a daze, he undid the seatbelt and moved his arms and legs. His chest felt slightly bruised from where the belt had held him into place, but apart from that, he wasn't injured or even hurt. A slow sigh of relief made it past his lips. Perhaps this wasn't as much of a disaster as it had initially seemed.
Just when he was counting himself lucky, there was a voice behind the car.
Castiel rested his forehead on the wheel for a moment, pressing his lips together to avoid a curse slipping out. Bobby's presence was the last thing he needed right now.
"Cas? Are you okay? Are you hurt?" Bobby started pulling at the door and Castiel secretly hoped it was stuck and that he could just stay inside, without having to face the old hunter. Because luck wasn't at his side that day, the door opened almost immediately.
Bobby crouched down at the car and his fingers were on Castiel's neck, seeing whether the vertebrae were still intact. "I'm not injured," Castiel protested wearily, but Bobby first checked his ribs, arms and legs. "I'm fine."
As soon as he was done and satisfied that Castiel wasn't hurt, Bobby straightened up and said coldly: "Get out."
Castiel slowly complied. He found it hard to look Bobby in the eye, but realised that gazing at the damaged Dodge wasn't much better.
"Are you sure you aren't hurt somewhere?"
"I'm fine," Castiel replied, his voice carrying a note of fear he wasn't used to. He added nervously: "No harm done."
Bobby's eyes narrowed and Castiel knew he'd made a mistake. "We'll see about that, boy," Bobby growled. His hand found Castiel's collar and when he'd gotten a tight grip on it, he started hauling the former angel towards his house.
"What do you mean?" Castiel asked, instinctively raising his own hands behind his head in an attempt to pry Bobby's fingers off his collar. He was unsuccessful and had no choice but to keep moving wherever the other man was taking him. "What are you going to do?"
Bobby remained silent and though Castiel did his best to struggle and delay their going as much as possible, they quickly reached the house. Sam and Dean were nowhere in sight and Castiel was grateful for that. He was unceremoniously dragged to Bobby's study and finally placed in front of the desk, which Bobby started clearing for reasons not obvious to Castiel.
"What did I tell you about that car?" Bobby asked angrily as he put a few books to the side. When he didn't get a reply, he raised his voice: "Castiel, answer me!"
Castiel sighed, then said reluctantly: "You had forbidden me to drive it, but
"That's right! And what did you go and do?"
"I did drive it, but-"
"Exactly. You didn't listen. What do you suggest I do with you now, boy? You disobeyed me and you put yourself in serious danger. I can't just ignore that."
Castiel cringed when Bobby glared at him, having cleared a large open space in the middle of his desk. "I apologize?"
"Not good enough. Do you know why most cars in the scrap yard are here?" He waited for Castiel to shake his head. "Because their owners need me to fix them, you idjit! That Dodge had no brakes. Do you have any idea what could've happened if you'd just gone a little faster?"
"I'm sorry," Castiel said for the umpteenth time that day and he tried to put as much sincerity in it as he could. It was hard to regret his trip in the car, though, seeing as he hadn't gotten hurt, yet managed to get the vehicle moving in the right direction.
"That's too easy. In this house, if you go against my rules, you get punished. It's been like that ever since Sam and Dean came here as little kids."
"Punished?" Castiel eyes widened and he tried to mask his fear by surprise.
"Did the seatbelt bruise you?"
"Yes," Castiel answered hesitantly, thrown off by this apparent non-sequitur.
Bobby got a blanket from the couch and threw it over his desk, creating a soft underground. "Bend over that."
"Because I told you to, boy!"
When Castiel still made no effort to do anything of the sort, Bobby grabbed his arm and guided him in position. Castiel didn't struggle as his chest met the blanket, but tried to keep his eyes on Bobby as he saw the hunter taking a large wooden ruler in his hand. "Are you going to hit me?" Being new to humanity, he didn't have much experience with pain. The thought of it put a slight tremble in his voice.
"I'm going to spank you. There's a difference."
When he heard that, Castiel started to struggle in earnest. "That is a punishment suitable for children! I am not a child!"
"You acted like one today," Bobby snapped.
"You wouldn't do this if I were still an angel!"
Bobby laughed and easily kept Castiel steady with a hand at the small of his back. "Believe me, boy, I'm not taking advantage of your humanity. And if you was an angel, I'd get Balthazar or Gabriel down here and at the end of the day, you'd still walk away with a sore ass."
Castiel was silenced, but still craned his neck in order to keep his eye on the ruler.
"You can put your head on your arms, if you want. More comfortable that way. Or I can hold your hands for you," Bobby told him and Castiel reluctantly averted his eyes, folded his arms on the table and rested his forehead on his wrists. Struggling and talking hadn't gotten him anywhere. Resignation was his next step. Bobby probably wouldn't hit him very hard anyway.
The first strike with the ruler immediately made him abandon that notion. Castiel gasped at the sting the wooden instrument produced and tried his best to twist away from Bobby's restraining hand in his back.
"Stay still," Bobby growled and the second strike was even harder than the first.
"This is unpleasant," Castiel told him loudly. "If you would just cease-"
"I'm gonna make it real simple for you, Cas: you struggle and I spank harder. Your choice."
When the next three times the ruler made contact with his backside proved without a doubt that Bobby wasn't bluffing, Castiel forced himself to remain still. The blows became a little less hard, but the constant onslaught created a lasting stinging sensation.
Castiel decided he didn't like this. He didn't like the sound the ruler made as it swept through the air just before it hit, he didn't like the sudden flare of pain each strike caused him and he didn't like how the whole process made him feel small, powerless and deeply contrite.
After the ruler had landed about fifteen times, Castiel cried out: "I'm sorry!"
"And what are you sorry for?" Bobby asked, not lessening his swats.
"For being ouch for being a disappointment as a human!" Castiel managed, twisting his fingers in the blanket on the desk. He wondered why Bobby was making sure the bruise on his chest didn't hurt, but was also doing his utmost to inflict as much pain as possible on his backside.
"You are not a disappointment, Castiel, and that's not why I'm punishing you. You know that. Tell me why I'm doing this."
"Because you derive pleasure from it," Castiel ground out sarcastically. "You are apparently intent on torturing me."
"Being a smartass won't get you anywhere. Didn't you learn that much from Dean by now?"
The blows started falling on his upper thighs and Castiel couldn't help a whimper escaping his lips. "I'm sorry, I'm sorry. I damaged your vehicle. That's why you're punishing me. I'm sorry."
"Wrong again," Bobby told him. "I'm spanking you for having taken the car, boy. It was dangerous and stupid and you're lucky you didn't hurt or kill yourself with it. Next time, if I tell you something, you're gonna damn well listen to me."
"I will, I promise!" Castiel said frantically. The next blow made him throw his hands back in an attempt to protect his behind from more abuse. Bobby pinned his arms behind his back with ease and Castiel was once more immobilised.
The last ten times the ruler fell, were even harder. The wood landed diagonally, reigniting the dull pain other strikes had left. Castiel was surprised to find himself sobbing hopelessly into the blanket. He had as little experience with crying as he had with pain, but the unyielding ruler and the sensation of the being held down on the desk, made the tears impossible to stop.
"If you ever stupidly risk your neck again or disobey my orders, you're gonna find yourself back in this position, Castiel. Maybe without your jeans to protect you. You got that?"
"Yes," Castiel sobbed softly. He sounded pathetic, but he was in too much pain to even care. "Yes, yes, I understand."
"Good." And then, suddenly, the spanking stopped and Castiel could hear the ruler being set down. He had to resist the urge to snap it in half. The hand Bobby had used to restrain him, moved up to stroke his back and he could hear Bobby saying: "There, there. You're okay. Just breathe, Cas. All done now."
Castiel quickly got up and stifled his sobs. He didn't yet turn to Bobby, but wiped his eyes and nose first, desperately trying to regain his dignity. "I'm sorry," he said stiffly, not making eye contact.
"Don't worry about it anymore. Why don't you lie down on the couch for a bit?"
Castiel nodded, mostly to himself. He grabbed the blanket from the desk and lay down on the couch on his stomach, his head turned away from Bobby.
"You did good, Cas," Bobby told him gently. "It's forgotten now, you get that, right?"
Castiel didn't reply and waited for the old hunter to leave. He was ashamed of himself. He'd been an angel of the Lord, he was supposed to be able to take a punishment without crying like a baby. He hated the thought of what the other angels would say if they saw him in his current state. Then again, he was also angry at having been punished this way in the first place.
# # #
He'd been lying on the couch for almost an hour, steadily feeling worse and worse about himself when he heard someone come in. He raised his head for a moment and saw that it was Sam.
Sam came to an abrupt halt when he saw Castiel. "Cas? You okay? Are you injured or something?"
"What happened?" Sam hurried to his side and knelt down. "Where are you hurt?"
"Bobby hit me."
"What?! Why did he do that?"
"He was angry at me."
"And he hit you?" Sam asked incredulously, searching Castiel for obvious signs of damage. "Where? What happened, Cas? Why was he angry at you?"
"Bobby was pissed at Cas, because Cas was stupid enough to get into the old Dodge in the yard after he was told not to and was then stupid enough to crash it. Bobby spanked him for it."
Castiel looked up again to see Dean lean casually against the door post, smirking down at the pair of them.
"I heard them yelling at each other from the living room."
Sam's expression went from concerned to annoyed. "That true, Cas?"
Castiel's silence was admission enough. Sam glared at him, then quickly swatted Castiel once, hard, with his hand. Castiel couldn't help but squeal in surprise and pain. The smack completely reignited the sting Bobby had left. He turned away from Sam and his large hands, giving him a hurt look. He'd expected kindness, not further punishment.
"Don't scare me like that!" Sam told him angrily. "Spanking is very different from hitting and you're sore, not injured. And believe me, Dean and I can give you plenty of sympathy if you need it, because we know it sucks, but you shouldn't twist it into some sort of abuse, because that's not fair."
"It hurts," Castiel protested softly.
Dean laughed. "As far as I can tell, you really had it coming. Should've done it myself after you crashed the Impala this morning."
"Dean, save it," Sam snapped. Dean gave Castiel another smirk, then went on his way. Sam turned back to Castiel. "I know it hurts. But it's going to fade pretty quickly. In a few hours, it won't be as bad anymore. Try taking a shower later. It'll help."
"You've gotten spanked too?"
Sam snorted. "More times than I can count. I wasn't really an easy kid, Cas. Way too curious about Bobby's books and guns."
"But I'm not a child anymore," Castiel said dejectedly.
"I started the apocalypse. You really think Bobby simply patted me on the back for that?" Castiel's eyes widened and Sam laughed at his expression. "Welcome to the club."
# # #
Bobby had just opened a bottle of beer and looked up to see Dean enter his workshop. "Yeah, you could say that. Had to spank Cas."
"I heard. He didn't take it well?"
"He took it fine," Bobby replied wearily. "Just don't like having to do it."
"Well, from what I caught, he really had it coming," Dean said with a shrug, before lowering himself on the work bench.
"Yeah, you think so?"
"He didn't listen. He didn't listen to me this morning either."
"And you played no part in that?" Bobby countered, taking a swig of his bear. "You were the perfect teacher? You didn't blame him for something that was barely his fault and then left him feeling like crap and as if he had something to prove?"
"What are you talking about?" Dean jammed his hands in his pockets and tried to look confident.
"I think you had a lot to do with why Cas ended up over my desk today. He took that Dodge, because he wanted to show you that he could do it. The idjit risked his life, just to get into your good books."
"I didn't tell him to do that!"
"You're not just his friend, Dean," Bobby said. He sounded tired. "You're his teacher too. He looks up to you, he copies you and you damn well know it. So if you think you did good today, you can go grab yourself a beer and join me. Or you can get my ruler from the study and bend over the table."
# # #
At eleven o'clock that evening, Dean stumbled into the room he and Castiel shared and dropped face down on his bed with a groan.
Castiel was in the same position and lifted his head to glare at Dean. "There is no need to mock me by mimicking my distress."
Dean laughed humourlessly. "Believe me, Cas, this is not me mocking you, this is me suffering from very much the same thing you're going through."
Castiel turned on his side and stared at Dean. "Bobby spanked you too?"
"Because I've been a crappy teacher and friend to you, Cas," Dean admitted, hugging his pillow and meeting Castiel's eyes.
"What are you apologizing for?"
"For getting you punished."
"Dude, I just told you it was me who's been a dick today," Dean said, smiling wryly at Castiel. "I should apologize for getting you spanked. Sorry, man. I wasn't very nice to you."
"I crashed the Impala," Castiel pointed out.
"Not on purpose," Dean sighed. "And it was kinda a stupid move to leave it in reverse. Anyway, we could apologize to each other all night. Let's just forget it, okay?"
"Okay." There was a moment of silence, then Castiel started tentatively: "Dean, don't you feel ashamed? For getting spanked?"
"No, not really. I mean, when it's happening, it hurts too much for me to worry about shame, you know. And when it's over, well, I'm just sorta glad I've got someone who cares enough about me not to let me get away with shit. And yeah, it hurts like hell and it sucks, but I don't regret it. Does that sound weird?"
"Yes," Castiel replied thoughtfully. "But I think I get it. Excuse me, I just need to find Bobby."
# # #
"Yeah, Cas?" Bobby looked up from an old manuscript he'd been studying.
"For what?" Bobby asked him slowly.
Castiel's eyes lingered on the ruler for a moment. "For not letting me get away with shit."
Bobby snorted. "You talked to Dean."
"Yes. He explained it very well."
"Yeah, well, he has plenty experience with it. You good, Cas?"
"Glad to hear it. Sleep well, son."
# # #
"Hey Cas?" Dean called through their dark room. "You still awake?"
"How'd you feel about getting back in a car tomorrow for another lesson?"
"You'd teach me again?" Castiel sounded hopeful.
"Yeah, course I will. I mean, even today, I could tell you had potential. You could've just nicked that wall, you know, but you floored the car right into it! Really, as far as driving into a wall goes, it was great. In fact, I've never seen anyone-"
His next words were cut off when Castiel threw a pillow at his head.
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