daylight_darknight: (Team Free Will)
[personal profile] daylight_darknight
For those of us holding on to hope and/or denial.

Title: Feathers
Characters: Dean, Sam, Castiel(?)
Rating/Warnings: PG
Genre: Drama, Action, Mystery
Word Count: 2161
Spoilers: Up to 7x03
Summary: Dean and Sam start finding feathers wherever they go.

By Daylight

Dean finds the first feather on the roof of the Impala when he returns from interviewing the witness of a basilisk attack in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.

He almost misses it. It’s camouflaged black against black, but when the sun hits it, the light gleaming off its edge catches Dean’s eye.

It’s quite a large feather and Dean looks up hoping to catch a glimpse of the bird that dropped it, but the only thing in the sky is clouds.

Examining the feather, he realizes it’s not completely black. When he holds it up to the light, he sees a rainbow shimmer of colours like in a pool of gasoline.

Dean Winchester has never been into birds, but the feather is cool, so he tosses it into the glove compartment and promptly forgets about it.


Sam finds the second feather on the doormat of their motel room in Williamston, South Carolina when he goes out for coffee first thing in the morning.

He only just manages to avoid stepping on it and spends several moments blinking drowsily at the feather as his half-asleep mind comes to terms with the fact it’s actually there.

Carefully picking it up between his thumb and forefinger, he looks the feather over marvelling at its size and colour. He thinks it must be from an eagle, but doesn’t know which kind.

Sam puts the feather in the inside pocket of his coat in hopes of identifying it later, but by the time he returns with the coffee, Dean has found another case and he doesn’t have time to look it up.


They find the third feather in a diner in Oak Grove, Louisiana lying on their table next to a laminated list of breakfast specials.

“That’s funny,” says Dean. “I found a feather just like that in Tuscaloosa.”

“I found one in Williamston,” says Sam pulling out the feather from his pocket. It’s slightly crumpled after being stuffed in there for five days, but it’s obviously from the same bird though the one on the table is slightly smaller.

“Maybe it’s a coincidence,” Sam suggests with a shrug.

Dean raises his eyebrows. “In our lives?”

When they get back to their motel, Sam looks up the feathers on his laptop, but can’t find any matches. The feathers seem too big to fit any bird known to man.


Dean finds the fourth feather under his pillow in their motel room in Abilene, Texas when he goes to hide his gun before going to sleep.

“This is starting to get creepy,” he tells his brother as he shows him the feather.

“I think that’s a covert,” says Sam who has spent much of the past two days learning about feathers.


“Coverts are contour feathers that cover the bases of primary and secondary flight feathers. Have you noticed we only seem to be finding wing feathers?”

Dean rolls his eyes. “No, I haven’t, bird boy. I’m more concerned with what the hell’s been leaving them for us.”

“You know some people believe feathers are left behind by loved ones who’ve passed away,” Sam says, but Dean, who has already gotten into bed, just gives a derisive grunt in reply and turns his back on his brother.


When they find the fifth feather in the trunk of the Impala while parked along the side of the road between Crowheart and Dubois, Wyoming, Dean has had enough and calls Bobby.

“We’re being stalked by a giant chicken,” he tells the old hunter as he explains their situation.

“Do you know how much lore there is on giant bird or birdlike creatures?” Bobby replies. “There’s gryphons, harpies, thunderbirds, alkonosts, simurghs, feng huang, and I could probably name at least a dozen more just off the top of my head.”

“Do any of them leave feathers behind to torment people?” asks Dean.

Bobby sighs though they both know he’d do anything for his boys. “Not that I know of, but I guess I could check it out.”

“Thanks, Bobby.”

“You know some people believe found feathers are the work of angels.”

“Yeah well, all the ones we know who are crazy enough to do that sort of thing happen to be dead,” says Dean and hangs up.

They find two more feathers before Bobby calls back, but he has nothing to tell them.


There are eleven feathers residing in the glove compartment of the Impala when Dean starts hearing noises.

The first time he hears it on their way out of Battle Mountain, Nevada, he thinks it’s coming from the car and spends three hours pouring over the insides of his baby trying to figure out what’s making the high pitch buzzing noise, but doesn’t find anything.

Two days later in Fort Benton, Montana, Sam walks into their motel room to find Dean attacking the tiny fridge that came with their tiny kitchenette.

“It won’t stop humming,” he proclaims. “Even after I unplugged the damn thing!”

“You know I’m the one who’s supposed to be hearing things,” Sam says with a smirk.

“Ha, ha.”

Dean doesn’t complain about the noise again, but Sam often catches him rubbing his ears or swatting at imaginary flies though Sam doesn’t mention it.

Dean doesn’t mention the fact he can’t shake the feeling the noise is familiar. It reminds him of shattered gas station windows and a cracked mirror above his head ready to fall. The noise is similar only quieter, weaker.

By the time they’ve found fourteen feathers, Sam starts hearing it too.


When they have nineteen feathers, lights around them start flickering.

The brothers immediately check for EMF but the detector remains silent.

Other electronic items flicker on and off too. The televisions in their cheap motel rooms are seldom good, but now, static is becoming a regular feature, and the radio in the Impala hasn’t worked well for days.

Then the light bulbs go from flickering to exploding, raining down showers of sparks.

“Do you think angels can become ghosts?” Sam asks one day in Sandstone, Minnesota while cleaning the broken glass of what was once a sixty watt bulb off the floor.

“Don’t be stupid,” Dean replies dismissively as he tries to watch an episode of his favourite Mexican soap through the static.

But Sam refuses to drop the subject. “Well, what if he’s not dead? We only have the Leviathans’ word. What if he escaped and he’s too weak to…?”

“No. We are not doing this.” Turning off the TV, Dean gets up tossing the remote across the room


“Dead, alive, dead, alive, dead…” Dean’s voices breaks before trailing off and he swallows forcefully before continuing. “Just, no. I can’t go through this anymore.”

And he leaves the motel room before Sam can say anything more.

When he returns, Dean has another feather clenched in his hand, but he doesn’t say anything just puts it quietly with the others.


Dean still refuses to talk about it even when they find their twenty-third feather.

He finds it while they’re on the road going nowhere except away from Paulding, Ohio. Their last hunt was barely successful and they are tired, battered and beaten.

Sam, nursing three cracked ribs and eleven stitches in his left arm, is fast asleep in the passenger seat.

Dean has sixteen stitches in his left leg, a mild concussion, and a busted wrist, but he’s still drives staying awake through sheer will and three cups of coffee.

But eventually, his heavy eyelids begin to droop and they drag his head down with them. The warm fuzzy darkness is so tempting, so peaceful. If he was thinking straight, he would have pulled over long ago, but his concussion is a little worse than he realizes and his mind is muddled. All he can think about is getting away. And sleep.

The Impala begins to drift back and forth across the road.

Then suddenly a bright light reflects off the rear-view mirror. It pierces right through the warm fuzz in Dean’s brain and he yanks the steering wheel to the right pulling the Impala off the road.

Sam wakes up when he bangs his head against the window. “What…?”

“I thought…” Dean trails off. There are no cars or anything else on the road that could have caused the light he saw. He looks over his shoulder to double check.

There’s a feather on the backseat and he thinks he hears the flutter of wings.

“It’s nothing. I just thought we should stop here for the night.”

Sam nods drowsily and falls asleep once more. When he wakes up the next day in the cool interior of the car with a blanket casually tossed over him, he finds one of the feathers hanging off the rear-view mirror.

“It’s for luck,” Dean says when Sam asks giving him a look that says he’ll soon regret it if he dares ask more, so Sam stays quiet.


The twenty-seventh feather ends up taking up permanent residence in Sam’s pocket.

He finds it one day at a rest stop just outside of Brookfield, Connecticut when the hallucinations get so bad Lucifer’s voice drowns out even his brother’s. The much abused wound on his hand which he had been using as a failsafe is finally healed leaving only a mangled scar, and he can feel his grasp on reality slipping.

Pain is what worked before. Pain is, unfortunately, the only way he knows how to break through; so when he is sees a knife amongst the haze of rusty chains, dripping blood, and Satan’s smile, he reaches for it with every intention of cutting through his healed scar.

But when he picks it up, he sees that what he thought was a knife is in fact a feather. He’s so surprised it takes him several minutes to realize the visions and voices have stopped.

So he leaves the feather in his pocket and whenever Lucifer returns to taunt him, he reaches for it running his fingers over its soft barbs.

He tries to keep it from Dean, but it’s hard to keep secrets when you’re constantly together, and one day when the hallucinations come on so strong he even forgets about the feather, he suddenly wakes up to find Dean has placed the feather in his hand.

After that, they both keep a feather with them just in case.


By the time they find their thirty-second feather, they’ve gotten used to them, as well as the buzzing, the flickering, and the static.

They don’t bother to do any more research. They see no malevolence behind the odd occurrences and there are always more pressing concerns to occupy them. It becomes just another part of their increasingly abnormal lives, one that, like many things, they don’t talk about.

They don’t talk about the time Sam catches Dean talking to the high pitch buzz like there is someone else in the room or that it almost seems to grow louder in reply. They don’t talk about the time Sam and Dean get into a bad argument and the television explodes, its innards sparking, the shattered remains of its screen covering the floor, or the time Sam finds a feather while doing research in a library in Liberty, Illinois and immediately knows his brother is in trouble.

Then one day they come across a pair of demons in Chetopa, Kansas. Demons have been scarce since the appearance of the Leviathans, so these two come as a surprise and actually manage to get the drop on the brothers.

The fight goes well at first but then a bad blow sends Dean reeling and he’s left vulnerable on the floor at one of the demon’s feet. Sam cries his name, but he’s across the room too busy dealing with his own opponent to help.

The demon, currently residing in an Asian woman with short spiky hair, looks down at Dean, an arrogant smirk on her face. “Who’d have thought I’d be the one to take down the oh-so-mighty Winchesters?” she says.

“Please spare me the speech,” Dean chokes out with a roll of his eyes.

The demon’s smirk turns into a scowl and she takes Dean’s own gun aiming it at his head, but before she can pull the trigger, a force suddenly strikes her. It blows through the room like a tempest wind scattering loose objects before knocking the demon away from Dean.

By the time the demon regains her feet, Sam has dealt with his opponent and dispatches her too. He makes his way over to his brother and helps him to his feet.

“You okay?”

Dean nods. He’s breathing heavily and is a bit shaky on his feet, but he’ll be fine. He looks over to where the demon’s former body lies.

“Thanks, Cas,” he whispers quietly to the air.

As the brothers return to the Impala, a single feather flutters to the ground across their path.

(no subject)

Date: 2011-10-30 03:03 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
All the tears...

(no subject)

Date: 2011-10-30 03:06 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I'm actually crying here.

That was BEAUTIFUL!!!!

(no subject)

Date: 2011-10-30 03:38 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
This was heart-wrenching. The ending really packs a punch, with the way that it doesn't tell exactly what's going on with Castiel--is he a ghost? Is he still alive? I think that my favorite section was the one with Sam using the feathers to keep his flashbacks at bay. There's a sort of balance there, with Castiel helping Sam, even though it was his actions that caused the pain in the first place.


Date: 2011-10-30 01:03 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
That was beautiful. I loved the counting of the feathers, and how Sam and Dean slowly accepted them as something good.

Cas really is their guardian angle, and he clearly tries to make up for what he did while heading for Godstiel-ness.

(no subject)

Date: 2011-10-30 01:23 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
If Cas' vessel was destroyed, which having monsters exploded out of it--yeah possible, then it would make sense that he could not manifest as more than than his true voice, power, and feathers (a manifestation of his essence if you will). I loved the story.

(no subject)

Date: 2011-10-30 09:44 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Perfect. I want this so very very badly.

(no subject)

Date: 2011-11-02 09:08 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Oh god, oh god. This is wonderful! And you have Dean perfectly - too hurt to let himself believe it might be Cas at first and hiding it with anger. Love it. Thank you, this is like a balm to my soul right now ♥

(no subject)

Date: 2011-12-04 02:44 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Don't suppose you'd consider a sequel?? Love the idea and would love to see you develop it further!

(no subject)

Date: 2012-03-24 01:28 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Seriously. HOW SO AMAZING?!?!?!
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