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Sojourn

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“Man, something’s wrong with Cass.”

Sam looks up from his coffee to stare at Dean who’s clearly expecting some sort of answer. Probably blind acceptance.

But Sam knows different.

Cass is happy; obviously so.

All of them had generally remained in the bunker over the past three months. Sure there were some cases here and there, but nothing that they weren’t used to. A salt and burn in Idaho and a nest of vamps that had been running a strip club were the most interesting things they had come across in a while.

Maybe the peace and quiet was making Dean paranoid.

“I don’t know what to say Dean.” Murmurs Sam, taking a sip of his coffee, “Cass is happier than I’ve seen him. He hasn’t left the bunker much and he always sits with you watching bad movies and Ophra. I think you’re just going a bit stir crazy.”

Dean presses his lips together, making a thoroughly affronted sound. “Firstly, I’m teaching Cas about Earth, okay! What better way than reality T.V? And secondly, don’t you dare try to turn this on me!”

“Whatever you say Dean.”

“Just look at him alright.” Commands Dean, turning back to the frying pan to flip an almost perfect pancake. “You’re not around him as much as I am, but I’m telling you something’s about to go sideways, I can feel it in my gut.”

Sam graciously withholds his comment about Dean feeling the build-up of grease in his gut. He can be a good brother… when he wants.

 

Dean is on high alert.

Sam could lollygag all the live-long-day and ignore Dean’s warnings if he wanted, fine.

Dean’s eyes remained glued to Cass as he sat stiffly on his designated chair. At this point, it’s safe to say that Cass has been twitchier than that little squirrel from Ice Age. His shoulders shift so suddenly sometimes that it jars Dean out of whatever trance he’s in. Other times, his face contorts into what can only be deemed as a constipated expression. Except Cass is an angel. He doesn’t need to drop a load. Not that Dean ever asked. But come on, the dude barely eats anyway.

Slowly, Dean ruled out situations methodically.

No demon deals.

No mind-control from the God-Squad.

No betraying them and becoming a god.

No possession.

Could it be PTSD, from his time with the devil?

That couldn’t have been easy and Dean knew just how bad Sam was messed up. With Cass, it wasn’t 180 years, granted but who was he to judge… he’d broken after only thirty.

Thinking of the hell days isn’t exactly helpful right now, so Dean pushes it down, swallowing it like a hard pill with a glass of straight whiskey.

The only plausible options left were that Lucifer had somehow scarred Cass or maybe Amara had done something. Amara had no reason to hurt the angel though, she liked Dean, had resurrected his mother for God – Chuck’s sake – Amara hurting Cass makes zero sense. However, he knows Cass well enough to know that asking him at this point may as well be like igniting the gas tank in the kitchen.

Meanwhile… Cass notices Dean’s attention. Just like he always has. This time it’s different; not just a brotherly slap on the shoulder that leaves him hollow inside… this time it’s worse… Dean doesn’t trust him. Castiel surely hasn’t given him any reason to, after countless betrayals over the years that not even he could forgive himself for. He doesn’t begrudge Dean from only concluding the obvious; he just wishes that it could be different.

Since his… situation he’s been… compelled… for lack of a better word, to stay in the bunker. And during that time, Castiel has noticed some peculiar things about Dean. The cup of whiskey that would almost always be clutched in his hands had turned to coffee or Sam’s home-made juice. His friend had clearly decided that he couldn’t even allow himself any weakness around Castiel and… it hurt. It hurt more than an angel should be able to feel.                 

He really was a useless, insufferable burden that Dean was forced to bear, just like Amara had said… just as Lucifer had proven as his absence went unnoticed for weeks. Just look, he has successfully taken away all of Dean’s pleasures. Dean no longer leaves to have sex or drink. He waits here in the bunker, not wanting to leave Sam alone and waits patiently for Castiel to betray him. That thought alone makes him curl his shoulders, hunkering slightly in shame.

Castiel knows what he really is to the brothers.

The evidence has been there time and time again. But his mind refuses to accept it. Dean doesn’t really need him. Dean isn’t nice to him… he doesn’t really care. Castiel could die bloody right here and now and the Winchesters would move on. Sam… well Sam is a people person and a loyal man. Whereas Dean is straight about what he feels, he has known Sam to push his feelings aside… suck it up and work with whatever monster they need at the time.

Nobody cares that you’re broken Cass!

Words said so long ago that never fail to haunt him.

You can’t stay.

 The feeling of unending loneliness.

He’ll die alone. Castiel knows it will come to pass just as Amara had promised him.

The claim she laid on Dean was stronger than his own. Their bond even perhaps… more profound. Castiel swallows harshly however his throat feels no relief.

Soon Amara’s parting gift would burn away his wings and grace. Sam and Dean would be none the wiser they’d be free of him. The need to be loyal because he’d saved Dean from hell, or possibly because they were just afraid of his wrath.

I dragged you out of hell. I can throw you back in.

I gave everything for you and this is what you give me?!

I’m the one who will watch you murder the world.

Castiel decides that he deserve it. He deserves to suffer with the cure sitting by his side taunting him.

“Cass.” Says Dean, reaching over to shake Castiel’s shoulder, the angel leans so far in that he almost topples off his chair. Under normal circumstances Dean would find this hilarious but the look on Cass’ face answers questions he’d been too chickenshit to ask.

“You gotta talk to me man.” He pleads, trying to connect with the jarringly distant Castiel.

“Dean…” it’s a baritone grumble that so Cass that Dean bites down on his anger, just for a moment.

“Last time we talked you threw me out of the bunker.”

Heat crawled up Dean’s neck, shame taking residence in his gut.

Is Cass worried that I’m going to kick him out. I deserve that I suppose.

“Cass, I’m sorry about that. You have no idea how much I regret it and the fact that you died afterwards didn’t help any.”

“Don’t placate me Dean.” Commands Castiel, and Dean swears that his voice raised an octave. “If you want me to leave, tell me so.”

Dean snorts, face twisting in rage that reminds him too much of the Mark. After a calming breath he manages to get words out, “So – so what? You think that the last few months I’ve just been buttering you up with movies and popcorn and your own friggin room just to kick you out? Hell Cass, I don’t know if you’ve even noticed but Sam is convinced you’ve moved in with me because I put a recliner for you in my room!”

Castiel remains silent.

He wants to believe Dean. But-

“I’ll be gone soon anyway Dean.” It’s hollow. A confession and not the one he thought he’d be making.

“The hell does that mean?” Dean’s expression can only be described as indignant. It’s an expression Castiel has grown accustomed to. “You’re just gonna fuck off to angel-land or –or- fuck.”

“I’ll be dead soon enough Dean.”

Silence. Castiel half expects a chuckle from Dean. But any mirth – any expression at all is swiped off Dean’s face.

“Are you – is this like what you told me in that motel? After purgatory? That you’d… off yourself?” Castiel smiles gently at Dean’s attempt at communication. His confusion is preferable to any – other emotions.

“Sort of. But not really.”

“Gee. That clears it up Cass.”

Dean throws his arms up then waves a beefy finger at him. “We don’t keep secrets Cass, you know where that gets us.”

“Dead.” Which is what he wants to be.

Gone. A burden unshouldered. The Winchesters would continue to save the world, as they always had, without him – or sometimes even in spite of him.

“I am not letting you do it.” Dean’s voice is stern, not even loud enough to echo off the bunker walls. “Whatever the hell is wrong with you spit it out, or else I’ll go out and find it myself.”

Dean listens, expectantly, hopefully.

Cass sighs, as though expelling his energy. “Amara.”

Mentions of the darkness tears unpleasant memories free: Lucifer possessing Cass, leaving Sam and Cass to unabomber God’s sister with a chest-full of friggin’ souls.

“What?” he chokes out. “She- She had this… um… connection to me. She wouldn’t hurt you. She knows how much you mean to- to me… and Sammy. What happened Cass?”

Amara tilted her head, tired of Lucifer’s screaming and thought back to the old church. Dean’s soul was unwilling to leave his body. That could only mean that he was connected to someone else.

Cass!

In her presence Dean should have only felt overwhelming peace and attraction.

Cass!

“Castiel.” With a wave of her hand Lucifer is pushed aside.

“Do you know what you are?” she asks, circling him… a predator sizing up its meal.

“You’re static.” Amara lets her thorough disdain show, she’s played on Castiel’s insecurities once before and it had worked splendidly. “You are disrupting my connection to Dean. Do you know what humans do when there’s static Castiel?” her glowing fingers press to his temples, her next words are blurred, “They change the frequency.”

Castiel screams. And inside him Lucifer screams too. And Amara grins, feeling Castiel’s grace tremble and tremble. There would only be one way to – reset his frequency. One that would never come to pass.

“Cut the crap, Cass!” Dean knows he’s being insensitive, but it’s not something he’s really known for anyway.

Castiel, oh angel of the lord has not been acting very angely for who knows how long and now when he’s about to spill the beans he just freezes up like a damn car that hasn’t been started for months.

“She – um – well uh, Amara did something to my grace. She morphed it into something mangled and unnatural, this body will soon be unable to contain it.” Castiel’s quiet confession shot through Dean like Michael’s Lance. “She viewed me as a threat to her bond with you. It seemed as though she disliked the effect I had on you. It’s understandable, really. She’s doing you a um – solid – as you say, by getting rid of me.”

Sam’s intentions were pure when he came over to the table to skim some of the new mythology books that that he had collected. Instead he was greeted with a choking sound coming from Dean.

At first Sam thinks he’s just got some pie stuck from stuffing his face, but Cass is there too, calmly regarding Dean who stops choking long enough to pin him with an incredulous stare.

“What’s going on here?” Sam asks, almost scared of getting an answer.

Sparing Sam but the slightest glance, Dean focuses his attention on the sullen Cass once more.

“You – you sanctimonious asshole!” Dean growls, tearing to his feet in a whorl of fury. “Sammy, you have to help us – fix this mess. We have to get Amara – Chuck – the whole shebang…”

Sam’s feels eyebrows shoot up into his hair, baffled by his brother’s sudden desire to contact the dangerous, powerful cosmic entities who could kill them in one fell swoop.

“Why would we do that Dean? Nothing’s wrong. Besides, disturbing them on their family bonding trip would probably just jump start another apocalypse.”

“Son of a bitch!” Dean stomps angrily over to Cass and yanks him up by the trench-coat, completely adverse to his pinched expression. “Cass is dying. They need to fix it – him. Right friggin’ now.”

“Dean.” Sam’s eyes dart over to Castiel who just lets himself hang limp in his brother’s grip. “She can’t undo this.”

“A cure then.” Proposes Dean, latching onto the idea.

Cass sighs, twisting out of Dean’s grip to face him slightly. “She left me with enough grace that treatment would soothe it into it’s natural shape once more.”

“What is it then?”

“What?”

“The cure, you bastard. Tell Sam and he’ll start making a list.”

Cass gulps, turning to Sam for support but Dean senses it and moves to block his view of Sam. Of course, some parts of the great big gigantor remain visible. Big whoop, Dean does what he can with what he has.

“Dean… it’s peculiar actually – unheard of to be precise. I’d feel more comfortable - ”

“What? Dying?” snarkiness seeps into Dean’s voice, and he knows that he should be supportive, calm but – Dammit Cass!

“You wouldn’t do what needed to be done anyway.”

“What’s that supposed to mean.” Dean’s world was slowly tilting off it’s axis. He’d started out with good intentions and the promise to handling this right. Now everything was spiralling out of control. All the problems that they had allowed to fester were stinking and turning the air between them rotten.

He didn’t trust Cass not to betray them and likewise, Cass didn’t trust Dean to take him seriously.

But Cass was dying.

“Please. I’ll listen. Just talk to me.”

Cass’ gulp is audible. “Would you mind leaving us alone?” Cass’ voice is more unsure and timid than Dean’s heard. And despite himself, he feels a hot bout of jealousy searing up his throat. Of course, Dean had managed to ruin things so much between them that he wants him to leave, wants Sam instead. That’s smart, he supposes. Sam is the smarter one and he’ll do ‘what needs to be done.’

His eyes flit up as he tries to find the words to utter his consent. Only Cass isn’t looking at him. His gaze is locked onto Sam like a snipper.

“This is uncomfortable.” Says Cass, “And I’d rather talk to Dean alone. Since he’s the one forcing me to.” The last part is whispered but it doesn’t stop the relief Dean feels. He hadn’t screwed up too badly yet.

“Sure, buddy. But if whatever this is doesn’t work, you need to tell me immediately. Dean’s not the only one who cares about you.”

“Thank you Sam.”

 

 

Dean is silent as his brother departs. Castiel supposes he should be thankful. Dean’s jokes are not usually funny to him but he enjoys Dean’s company and the fact that Dean feels comfortable enough to jest with him as he does with Sam. At this moment though, the silence allows him to formulate his thoughts. If Dean truly wanted to help him he would be uncomfortable with what Amara had implied. Maybe something smaller and less obtuse might frighten him less.

“My wings are an extension of my grace.” He begins, stilling under the inquisitive, green stare. “If you touch my grace it will relax and settle into its rightful place.”

“That’s it?” asks Dean with a touch of incredulity.

Castiel shakes his head. He should be as honest with Dean as possible. Show him that he’s not a liar anymore. Even if Dean refuses to help him, at least he would not have tricked him again.

“In this plane, my wings would be considered somewhat erogenous.”

“Oh.” A gap. “Why me then? I don’t even like dudes.”

“Exactly. She knew you would never do it Dean.” He says, silently pleading for Dean to not draw this out.

Turning away from him slightly, Dean braces his arms on a chair, leaning into it like he can’t support his weight. “Dammit.” He mutters, turning his head to face Castiel, “She was wrong. I’ll do it.”

 …

Dean guides Cass to his room. He figures that he’s less likely to have a freak out session if he’s on his turf.

When Cass ditches his shirt and lays on his stomach the reality of the situation barrels into him. He’s basically going to be jerking off his best friend to cure him.

Cass’ eyes find his in the silence, “You shouldn’t have to force yourself to do this Dean.”

“I’m not. I swear.” Another lie. “Just… it’s weird. Are you even comfortable with this?”

“I trust you.” And the sincerity in those blue eyes reassures him.

Dean claps his hands together once and rubs them together. “Let’s do this.”

Without a word, Cass manifests his wings. They span the entire length of the room and their silver and blue feathers practically exude grace. They eyes dance across them not knowing where to focus. The feathers don’t look hard and dry like some of the birds’, but soft and fleecy. He notes the parts where some feathers were singed off in the fall and where the muscles lay exposed, the spots where new feathers had begun filling the gaps. Most of all though, he admired the full sections the majesty of it all… the honour and trust that was placed in him – that Cass would allow a mere human to see and touch his heavenly form.

These wings carried him out of the pit. His fingers itch to thread through the soft feathers. He wanted things to be normal again. He wanted to prevent Cass’ pain.

“Buddy, these are - ” he swallows, overwhelmed.

Cass mistakes his silence for revulsion. “I know Dean! I’m aware how hideous they are now. How broken.”

Dean shakes his head, inching closer, hating the vulnerability in his friend’s eyes.

“They’re stunning Cass. Better than all the seven wonders combined. They’ve just taken a bit of damage is all.” He knows his breathy his voice sounds, but Dean remains in his trance-like state, not wanting to look away. “Can I touch them now?”

Feeling Cass’ nod of assent, he perches on the edge of the bed and lightly touches the bluest feather he can find.

Cass’ sharp breath and subsequent slackening of muscles is enough for Dean to continue.

Threading his fingers through a bunch of feathers at the base of the wings reminds him that this is an erogenous zone for Cass. His hands still but continue to stroke lightly. Cass trembles from wing to toe. He’s holding back, Dean realises. He’s trying to be a good friend and make this less awkward.

It’s a nice gesture, but Dean can’t fathom not being able to move while getting a handjob. The self-control that it would take to not even moan or grunt… he wouldn’t be able to manage such a feat.

“It’s ok.” He murmurs, “I know you can’t help it. I won’t mind if you moan or move.” Dean leans forward, noting that Cass’ eyes are screwed shut, his breaths coming in shallow pants and his hands dig into the sheets.

Dean smiles, slowly tracing a finger down his jaw. That gets his attention for sure. “Hey. Did you hear me? I won’t make fun of you, not now.”

Cass opens his eyes, and Dean notes with some satisfaction that his pupils are blown so wide that only a small ring of blue is visible.

Dean runs his hands over a different section, enjoying the way Cass tightens his face a small moan slipping out. “I’m good at sex, Cass. Let me make you feel good.”

“Dean.” His own breath stutters, not expecting the angel’s voice to be so rough.

“That’s it.” he murmurs, shifting to straddle Cass.

Dean’s fingers move without his consent. They massage and caress a path along both wings, noting the spots that cause Cass to buck up into him.

“Is this working?” he asks, his tone more intimate than intended.

“Yes. Don’t stop Dean.”

Carefully, he leans forward brushing his lips across the angel’s cheek, gradually moving down to his neck and across the arch of his wing. One hand remains braced on the angel’s hip to prevent him from throwing Dean off with his emphatic movements. His lips brush past something damp and sticky and he yanks his head back. A timid finger presses the spot and Cass yelps, gasping for breath with fingers immediately reaching back to wrench Dean’s hand off.

Dean gulps, “You good?”

“Nngh.”

Like a man possessed, Dean leans in once more, carefully flicking his tongue over the spot again. The tasteless substance coats his tongue but he doesn’t have much time to think about it as he’s flipped harshly onto his back. Blue eyes glare down at him and just behind that, Cass’ wings rise imposingly. Dean flushes; in any other situation this would be undeniably hot.

Lips press against his open mouth with Cass reaching inside to stroke his tongue. His mind shatters, splintering off into different directions. Cass is kissing him. Cass is staring at him with lust filled eyes. They’re just friends right?

But his mouth is otherwise occupied so he can’t even check in.

Cass has his arms pinned securely above his head and he continues to pummel his lips. Realising that he’s not kissing back, Dean forces his lips to move, not wanting to make this more awkward for Cass. If the angel wanted to indulge himself a bit, Dean wouldn’t stop him. Besides, this kissing felt different to the usual sloppy ones where his back was pressed to the wall or he was drunk out of his wits. This felt… safe, maybe even caring.

Next he feels Cass at his neck, nipping and sucking with fervour. A low chuckle vibrates his throat. “You liked me licking there, didn’t you?”

Cass halts his ministrations to pin Dean with a heady yet smug stare. “You seem to be enjoying this quite a bit as well Dean.” He punctuates each word with a slow grind into Dean’s pelvis that has moans ripping out of his throat. Somehow, he’d gotten hard. And Cass had most definitely noticed.

 

It was better than Cass had ever imagined. Staring down at Dean’s dazed expression his erection pressing into Castiel’s thigh, his lips still wet and ripe from Dean’s attack. He’d been so scared that Dean would reject him that he hadn’t considered what would happen if he said yes.

“You seem to be enjoying this quite a bit as well Dean.” Castiel growls, failing to keep the pride from his voice.

That he would make this sexual creature writhe beneath him with just his clothed hips sent a surge through him. When Dean had told him to enjoy his ministrations he’d embraced it whole-heartedly, determined to make the most of the situation and engrave every second… every touch into his grace. That Dean even agreed to his spoke volumes, that Dean could even tolerate the visage of his broken wings was a miracle. Dean would never cease to overwhelm him.

“Cass.” No moan could have sounded sweeter than one that rolled off of Dean Winchester’s tongue. “Casss…” Hands gripped his hips, pulling them back down, harsh breaths fanned his face. He felt his own erection rub against Dean.

“Dean.”

“We have too much clothes on.”

Angel grace was never designed to take clothes off; instead it singed them from their bodies, not even leaving any ashes behind.

Dean gaped at him in shock and everything stopped for a moment.

“Damn. We’re on fire!” Dean manages between deep chuckles.

Castiel finds his own lips tipping upward and his grace swell.

His grace.

His grace was no longer kicking like a bull in a pen and somehow along the way he’d completely forgotten the purpose of this endeavour. Castiel’s smile withered and he felt himself withdraw. He should tell Dean. He never wants this dance they’re doing to stop but he doesn’t want his first time with Dean to be something coerced due to misplaced gratitude.

“Cass, what’s the matter?” Dean is still half-way lost in lust but Castiel immediately feels him tense, staring worriedly up at him.

“My grace has settled.” His voice sounds bitter to his own ears.

Dean winces, and he can practically feel the man draw away. From the way the veil drops over his open, inviting gaze to how his eyes now flit everywhere but to Castiel’s.

“Right.” Mutters the oldest Winchester, “Just leave me here like this then.”

Castiel glares at him.

“You only did this to keep me alive Dean.”

“How do we know it even worked?” demands Dean, once more looking at him with concern. “You don’t even know for sure? Let’s just finish what we started.”

Almost amused, Castiel grins, “Well, seeing as I’ve had my grace for millions of years, I believe my opinion will do.”

“No! It – you – Jesus!” Dean hooks his ankles over Castiel and turns them so fast they almost tumble off the bed. He lays there in silence, trapped between the soft mattress and Dean’s chiselled abdomen. Castiel realises what Dean wants… what he’s trying to do.

He wants this to continue as much as Castiel does. But he’s too scared to ask. Even as Dean hovers above him, Castiel can see the shame swirling in his eyes, filtering back into his brain like poison. Dean will destroy himself over this whether or not it happens, at least going along gives him a chance of finally finding peace with himself.

He brings his lips to Dean’s once more shifting his hips so that the tips of their erections graze each other. “Let’s finish this Dean.”

“Cass.” Castiel savours the breathy tone to Dean’s voice, the vulnerability and trust Dean gives him by allowing him – wanting him – to see him in this state of carnal rapture.

He slowly drags himself lower on the bed, kissing Dean on whatever patch of skin hovers over his mouth. His wings are once more stowed for convenience. Castiel had a plan, something that would distract Dean from his worries about their situation. Despite himself, Castiel feels a touch of awkwardness as he comes eye-level with the pink head of Dean’s penis.

Dean, to his credit, hikes his hips up a bit so that Castiel has some more breathing room.

Almost timidly he laves at the pink smooth flesh eliciting several grunts and a series of shudders from Dean.

“You like this.” Castiel observes, repeating the motion, enjoying the human’s response.

 

 

Dean buries his face in the pillow, biting down on the soft fabric to stop the pitiful sounds that want to escape his throat. Who knew an angel could be this good at BJs. Dean’s legs are barely holding him up now that his hands are clenched in the sheets.

“Hold my hips still.” He breathes, words further muffled by the damned pillow.

“I like the way your body moves when I touch you.” And screw it all, Dean can practically hear the pout in his friend’s voice.

Pushing up onto his elbows he eyes Cass, who has his fingers hovering just below his dick as though he can’t wait to continue

“I can barely hold myself up over here.” He says.

“Let’s try something more comfortable then.” Suggests Cass. “Lie on your back.”

And damn it, the command just makes him harder.

On his back, knees bent and spread, Dean almost regrets asking to shift. Now he’s forced to see Cass, see exactly who’s doing what to him and it’s scary. He half expects Cass to stare at him throughout but to his shock the angel doesn’t even say a word as his mouth swallows Dean whole. The abruptness has his legs gripping the angel in a vice, his hands reaching for the mop of short black hair beneath him.

Cass doesn’t move. He sucks… like a vacuum and moves his tongue on the underside of his member like a pro. Dean shudders and gasps, legs flailing and muscles trembling violently. He’s too close too soon. Instead of screwing his eyes shut, he lets himself enjoy Cass as he finally starts pumping his mouth up and down.

It’s unbelievably good. Somehow the angel has no gag reflex and doesn’t even graze him once with his teeth.

Finally, when his cock head starts twitching and his hips start moving of their own volition, he tugs Cass’ hair, the universal gesture to get off. Of course the angel doesn’t really get that and continues his mind-blowing – or dick blowing, as some would say – motions. Dean wiggles more, tugging a bit more, he almost wants to just let him continue and blow his load right then and there but if one of them comes then the other will follow… then they’ll go back to never doing things like this again.

As much as he hates himself for it, as much as he wants to go back… Dean can’t help but remember the way he melted under Cass’ touch. The way he lost control under touches that normally wouldn’t have made much of a dent. It was almost like his body thought of Cass as erotic and amped up the pleasure automatically.

Let’s be honest. If Cass came to him in a female vessel they would have been going steady a long time ago. Cass had all the qualities that Dean wants in a partner, strength, autonomy, loyalty… and Cass had come to care about Sam; almost as much as Dean does. He’s already a Winchester in all but name, having kick-started his very own apocalypse by having nothing but good intentions.

Cass looks up catching Dean’s eye and stilling. “You’re close.” He observes, discretely palming his own cock.

“Just give me a minute.”

Cass tilts his head inquisitively. “I always thought the point of this exercise was to achieve an orgasm.”

Dean hears his own gulp, “Yes. It is. But I was thinking let’s draw this out a bit. Make sure all is really well and good with your grace.”

Castiel sighs. Dean was still hooked on restoring his grace as an excuse. It isn’t that surprising to him considering the Winchesters’ extended, toxic history of denial.

Before he has a chance to say anything, Dean pipes up in an overly excited, “Hand-jobs!” then catches himself with a slight blush and a much more tempered: “Face me, on your side.”

This time, it’s Dean who initiates the kiss. It’s slow, relaxed, and Castiel can feel his partner’s fingers brushing up his ribs and occasionally stroking a nipple. His own hands are squeezing Dean’s hips and tracing his cheek bones. While Dean only let’s his eyes flutter open every now and then, Castiel’s eyes are yet to leave the hunter’s form. This is the only form of intimacy that Dean allows himself. The only time he really let’s go from his responsibilities and the guilt and self-loathing he bears. And he’s allowed Castiel to see him like this and relax in his presence.

So Castiel doesn’t let his eyes drift for even one second.

In the back of his mind he knows, just as Dean knows, this is a one-time experience. They will never see the other writhing in pleasure again – at least not as long as there’s evil in the world. He knows Dean’s stance on relationships and hunting: that the two were meant to be mutually exclusive. So he would take what Dean gave willingly, and he wouldn’t ask for more than his share.

“Are carnal relations always like this for you Dean?” the question slips unintentionally.

Dean has his eyes open now, his hands never stopping their caress. “No. It’s never been this… intense. I can trust you. I don’t have to worry about you being some monster sent to seduce me, or hurt Sam. You’re just you. And I’d rather have you…”

“…cursed or not.”

He smiles at the memory, thinking how his heart had soared at the words. If he’d had his wits about him, he would have assured Dean he felt the same. That he would do anything, kill the world and himself for this human.

“How is it? – for you I mean.”

“I love you.” staring at Dean, with his face bathed in the dim lights, his gaze intent on Castiel, looking at him as though he’s sacred loosens his tongue more than a sea of whiskey would. The words are out there, forever. “I always have. I suppose you know; everyone does. The thought of sex has always bored me, except in regards to you. Sometimes, I find myself wondering what it would be like to breach the few inches between us and kiss you. Or to have you open your eyes and the first thing you see is me – maybe, I imagine, you’d love me too.” He breathes, almost shrinking away from the devastated look on Dean’s face. “I know you wouldn’t have done this otherwise. Sometimes I think about taking a female vessel… but that would be selfish and you would never really, truly see me as female. Sometimes I wish you were gay, but I know you’re not, that this form isn’t attractive to you. How is it for me? It’s everything I want for a fraction of the time that I want it. And I’m okay with that, I’ll take anything you give me and I’ll give anything you desire. Just forget the world and we won’t let tonight end.”

“I can do that.” Dean breathes, roughly. Wrapping his fingers around Castiel’s shaft he asks, “Have you done this before.”

“No.”

“Then just follow my lead. Do what I do, and really, whatever you want. I’ll tell you what feels good.”

Following the hunter’s lead, Castiel wraps his fingers around Dean’s head. He figures it’s the same as his mouth, just less wet.

Dean squeezes the top of him slightly, swiping his thumb back and forth over the slit. Pleasure buzzes through him, and he thrusts his hips, trying to get closer, trying to get more friction. Dean lowers another hand, lightly massaging his ball sack while stroking a bit faster, twisting maddeningly when he gets to the top.

“You forgot about me, huh, buddy?” teases Dean, his hands moving faster and faster.

“Dean.” Castiel wills his hands to cooperate with him. To reciprocate, like a good partner. But the pleasure distracts him. He can barely get his hands to stop shaking long enough to give Dean more than a weak stroke. Meanwhile, Dean doesn’t seem to mind in the slightest, as he chuckles lightly and doesn’t let up the assault against Castiel’s dick.

Flat on his back, now, Dean’s face buried in his neck, hands tight around his throbbing member. One of his hands remains tangled in the sheets and the other threaded in Dean’s hair. He’s helpless to do anything but moan against the relentless pleasure.

His breaths come faster, his hips thrust so fast that Dean just keeps his hand in place and lets him buck up into it. His voice becomes shrill, moaning and babbling shameful things in Enochian. He feels himself approaching the infamous orgasm. So close. The imagery of Dean and the feel of his fingers all over his body make him shudder, his hips losing their rhythm; wanting to get closer and escape the intensity of the sensations all at once.

Abruptly, Dean removes his hand. It does the equivalent of drenching him in molten lava.

His hips keep thrusting and twisting trying to find something to grind on. His eyes lock with Dean’s, begging him to continue. Dean only bites his lips and grabs Castiel’s wrists, pinning them above his head and gently kissing his finger-tips.

When Castiel finds his breath again, he pushes out of Dean’s grip, staring at him accusingly. “Why did you stop?” he demands, voice trembling. “Just a few extra moments…”

Dean gnaws on his lips, feeling guilt bubble up. It was truly cruel of him to stop Cass, especially when he was so close. It was a dick move. But Cass had said he wanted this to never end.

“You good?” he asks, feeling the huff beneath him.

“I would have been great if you gave me a few more seconds.”

Dean bristles, “You said you didn’t want tonight to end.”

Cass stills, realisation dawning. “How long can you keep doing this?”

A good question if there ever was any. And Dean has no idea. He always approached sex single-mindedly; the goal was to come, plain and simple.

“I guess we’ll find out.”

Cass frowns, “I don’t know how healthy that is, Dean.”

“Not very, I suppose, but…”

“I know.” Cass captures Dean’s mouth in a bruising kiss. He can feel the trepidation radiating from him, but he knows that they both want this.

“Dean. I want to try something.”

“Sure. Try away.”

“I don’t know if you’ll like the idea.”

Dean looks chagrin, “Cass I’ve had just about every type of sex there is.”

“But never with a man.” Disputes Cass, eyes shifting nervously. “I want to finger you.”

“No!” Dean’s mind races. The indignation… he surely won’t enjoy it. “No way.”

“I’ve seen it done throughout the millennia.” Says Cass, nuzzling into Dean once more, “I assure you, I know how to make it feel good.”

 

Castiel watches the confusion and fear streak across his friend’s face.

Dean shakes his head once more, a slight tremble passing through his muscles. “I can’t imagine how, Cass.” He mutters, “I don’t feel comfortable.”

Nodding slowly, he prepares his next words, “Fair enough. But I want you to try it on me. It’s always been something I’ve been intrigued by and lately, I’ve wondered if would prove to be as good for me as it is for everyone else.”

“But – I – I’ve never – I don’t know how to - ” Dean stutters, fumbling with his fingers.

Castiel lays an arm on his thigh, tantalizingly close to his erection. “I’ll tell you Dean.” A short pause. “Will you do this for me?”

Slowly, Dean nods, his face still tight with trepidation, but now resolute to do this for Castiel.

With a small smile, Castiel releases Dean’s legs, shooting the hunter what he hopes is a sultry wink. “Give me one second.”

The few seconds that he spends away from Dean to steal a bottle of lube from the Lebanon pharmacy leaves him ravenous. He enters Dean’s room with a whoosh and immediately crashes their lips together, taking control of their kiss.

He presses the bottle of lube into Dean’s hands and moves onto his hands and knees – the pose which he observed the most often.

“Usually, the bottom is stroked to hardness. But since I’m already adequately erect you can lube your finger and touch my hole.”

Dean snaps to attention, listing assiduously to his orders and nodding slightly. Castiel listens to the bottle snap open, and the wet sounds it makes as Dean applies it. A shiver runs through him as Dean places one finger against him.

Castiel struggles to figure out his friend’s reaction. What he’s thinking.

Why do people seem to like this position? He wonders bitterly as he twists his head, angling to find a better view of Dean.

What is he thinking? Is he panicking? Doubting himself? Wondering if he will hurt Castiel by attempting this.

“Dean,” he announces, no longer comfortable in the stillness and silence, “I don’t like this position very much.”

Dean yanks his hand away and Castiel sees him glancing at the floor sadly. “Sorry I’m screwing this up for you.”

“You’re not,” he assures, “I wouldn’t do this with anyone but you. I didn’t like it because I couldn’t see you, it felt…”

“Frigid. Disconnected.” Supplies Dean. “Um… I was wondering.”

“Yes, humans often engage in such activities.” Teases Castiel.

Dean pokes his side, moving to cradle his head in his hands.

“Why did you hide your wings? I enjoyed having them around.”

Castile shakes his head. The wings had their time, but he wants to indulge himself in Dean, experience as much as he can before they’re forced to stop. Dean seems to understand his forlorn expression and once more lowers himself, nudging Castiel’s legs open.

Slowly, he breaches the rim, pressing gently and lightly licking Castiel’s erection. After a few minutes Dean’s finger stills and he slowly draws it back, Castiel hisses, arching his back as new nerve endings are stimulated. Dean’s fingers slide past something inside him that makes him screech and fall, boneless, onto the bed. That fingers stills, still resting on the bundle of nerves that Castiel can only assume is his prostate. He keens, swirling his hips, trying to get Dean’s finger closer.

“There.” He breathes, “Rub there.”

Dean watches his, bewitched, making slow circles with his index finger. Enjoying the way Castiel twitches and trembles. Castiel’s cock is flushed and a small puddle of pre-cum is collected near his slit. Dean masterfully swipes it away with his thumb and spreads it over the remainder of Castiel’s erection with ease. His other finger continues to twist and stroke. The intensity of the feeling is overpowering, even to an angel.

When Dean presses firmly against his prostate and swallows his erection, hollowing his cheeks and humming quietly Castiel loses it. Blinding pleasure rips any other thoughts from his mind. He screams like a banshee, his hands holding Dean’s head in place as he sucks him through the orgasm. His hips thrust automatically and his back arches as his body writhes, the lights flicker and he feels as though his grace might explode through his vessel, but Dean holds him throughout, stroking comforting lines on his thighs.

Castiel slowly finds his way back to himself. For a short moment he thought that he’d been banished.

His grace is no longer swelling, but lying languidly in his body. Glancing down, his member twitches as Dean slowly distributes the white globs on his stomach, gently swirling and patting as though entranced.

Abruptly, the languorous feeling stutters into stark fear.

He’d… finished too soon. The night would be over, Dean told him…

“Relax Cass.” Murmurs Dean against his stomach, pushing himself up so that they lay side by side. “I guess I was being a bit unfair to you. This is your first time, it’s not fair that I tease you and don’t let you come.”

Not sure what to say, Castiel tentatively draws Dean in for another kiss. His brain is slowly becoming functional, enough so that when Dean gasps and thrusts his erection against his side he realises how bad a lover he’s been.

“You need to orgasm as well Dean.”

“I can hold out a bit longer. It’s not my first rodeo.”

Castiel observes him suspiciously, he has no doubt that Dean will hold on as long as possible, but he wants the hunter to enjoy this as much as he had. Would Dean cry out when he comes? Moan? Would he tremble under Castiel and beg him for more? Would his eyes be open or shut? He would very much like to look Dean in the eye as he crumbles in pleasure; watch his green eyes mist with pleasure and swirl with satisfaction.

Would Dean cuddle with him after or was he expected to leave?

Castiel indulges Dean for a bit, letting him rut against his thigh only to stop just as he was close. Then he once more wrapped his lips around Dean. His member throbbing wildly in Castiel’s mouth, jerking slightly with every brush of his tongue. Dean’s pre-come leaks freely, leaving a saline taste on the back of Castiel’s throat. The molecules taste like Dean. Once more, Dean pulls away when he feels himself nearing an orgasm, bracing his hands against the wall and screwing his eyes shut harshly. His cock is flushed and swollen, more red than pink now really.

He knows he should talk to Dean, encourage him to stop tormenting himself. But he won’t because all he can think about is that he won’t survive if Dean casts him aside after this. He gives Dean a sidelong glance. The hunter trembles and jerks with every movement, sweat covers his skin and his hooded gaze glances over Castiel’s body.

“Hey Cass.”

“Yes Dean.”

“Do you still want to try it?”

Castiel cocks his head, wondering. Dean’s hands feel around in the darkness and the bottle of lubricant slams into his chest.

“Fingering.” He says, and he can feel himself jolt eagerly

“I mean. Go slow. I want to try it and it seemed like you really enjoyed it.”

Gently, Castiel coats his finger, pressing against Dean’s opening. He sees Dean’s pulse hammer in his throat and his watches the movement of Castiel’s hand.

“Look at me.” he orders, tilting Dean’s chin up with his free hand. Dean obliges, his eyes locking onto the angel’s. Castiel notes the slight wince as his finger enters Dean and moves to kiss his cheek, rubbing at his nipple until he moans once more. He’s almost afraid that a single touch to his cock would send the hunter over the edge so he keeps his hands carefully away. “Don’t worry. You just need to relax and let your body adjust.”

Feeling Dean’s nod, he presses more of his finger in going slowly and noting every flinch that makes it past Dean’s poker-face. Glancing down, he notices that Dean is only at half-mast now and reaches forward to wrap his fingers around him, leaving his index finger to rest lightly on the slit. In turn, Dean wiggles his hips, eager for more friction and shifting the finger inside him slightly.

Feeling Dean’s muscles relax, Castiel creates a steady rhythm, slowly inserting and drawing away his finger. When Dean begins to swivel his hips and his fingers thread with Castiel’s atop his cock, begging him to move, Castiel slips his second finger in.

Dean moans. Moans. Into his neck, his hips undulating.

“Please.” Castiel finds himself glad that he no longer has to focus on his body’s needs and can direct his attention soley onto Dean. “Please C-Castiel.”

Dean’s eyes are screwed shut, but the pleasure is written all too clear on his face, compounded by the mindless pleas from his lips and cemented by the way Dean’s soul scorches beneath the surface of his skin.

Castiel spreads his fingers, searching around. When he finds Dean’s prostate he brushes it lightly and Dean tenses. A few seconds later he applies pressure which causes Dean to scream.

“That- that’s so good. Oh my God!”

“I’m glad you enjoy this Dean.” He murmurs, tracing his fingertips across Dean’s still closed eye lids. “Open your eyes. I want to see you as you come apart under my hands.”

Dean’s eyes flutter open and Castiel is lost in a meadow of green. His fingers continue to move in circles inside Dean. Castiel enjoys watching the various expressions of pleasure dance across his friend’s face. His other hand grasps Dean’s erection, gripping it and pumping him in time with his fingers, taking care to tease the tip ever so often.

“Cass I’m too close.” The words escape, a moan, as Dean presses back into the pillows beneath him.

“Let go Dean.” He encourages, not letting up, “You’ve held out long enough.”

Dean answers with a sharp whine and a subsequent blush. Castiel continues his ministrations, keeping steady eye contact with Dean. He can sometimes see Dean glancing down to where their bodies touch and then back up, the blissful expression never leaving his face.

“Ahh! Cassss.”

He can feel the tell –tale twitch of Dean’s cock and the clench of his muscles on his fingers and he speeds up, stroking a with a bit more fervour and intention.

Heady moans and breathless sighs wrestle their way out of Dean.

“Cass!”

And Dean releases.

The first spurt catches on Castiel’s fist and the second and third shoot off to some unknown location. Dean’s cock kicks and pulses in his grasp as his experiences his release, his fingers caught in a vice-like grip as Dean’s hips spasm up and down. Dean’s head tips back, his legs drawing up a bit to gain purchase on the bed. His eyes though, his eyes remain on Castiel throughout, letting the angel see – everything.

Castiel moves his hands away as Dean bristles from sensitivity, feeling a bit guilty as Dean flinches at the removal of his fingers.

His lips remain pink and parted, eyes still lingering on Castiel.

Castiel stills, unsure of what happens next as Dean basks in aftermath of his release. He lays almost serenely, Castiel thinks, on the bed now; his expression dazed and thoroughly content. His heart pinches, seeing the hunter in what must be a fleeting moment of freedom.

He’s not sure how long he stares at Dean. But he knows the moment his expression shutters, for Castiel feels the sound echo in his own heart. The creases and worry lines make their presence known, his legs untangle from between Castiel’s and his soul… oh his soul – it compacts, folding in on itself, trampling itself in a way only Dean Winchester could figure out how to do. A special type of torment.

Castiel doesn’t make him say it.

He can’t hear the words himself.

He can’t listen to Dean make light of this – of them – of something that should change everything, but he knew would only be forgotten.

Castiel crawls out of Dean’s bed, a numb, ‘sleep well Dean,’ on his lips. Only in the hallway does he realise that he burnt their clothes. Bracing his arms on the door he screws his eyes shut to quell the blurriness. He won’t break. He’d already gotten so much more than he could hope. But how could he go on? How could he watch as Dean flits and has sex with every woman who crosses his path? How would he forget tonight?

Bitterly, he wishes he could change it. To not have this piece of fruitless hope; to not have Dean’s orgasmic expression or the way he said ‘Cass’ taunting him from behind the tip of his eye lids.

He knew, even at the beginning, it was only a matter of time before the cycle started again. Yet, Castiel felt some pride that he was able to sojourn it, if only for one night.

Chapter Text

Sam knew something was dreadfully wrong he knew it the moment Cass told him to leave. But after passing by his brother’s room he was resolute in his decision.

Was this some kind of magic healing cock situation?

How could Dean even let himself be manipulated into something like this? He’s known his brother to sometimes confuse reality with porn but this is a new level, even for him. And Cass. Tricking them once again.

He honestly expected better from the angel.

Sure, he would have to be blind and then some to miss the smouldering looks, soft touches and general tempering in Dean’s presence. He couldn’t imagine their bond becoming any more profound. Dean knew too. His brother was too versed in the art of the chase to not recognise such a blatant attempt at flirting. Sam is sure that Dean doesn’t reciprocate though. Completely disregarding the fact that his brother had only ever been with women and his massive porn collection, Dean had explicitly stated his disinterest in all matters angel-sex.

Sure, he’d teased him at the high-school play but he’d made it known later that any feelings between Dean and the angel wouldn’t bother him in any way to which Dean had huffed and assured him that wouldn’t be a problem. So no. Dean isn’t ‘madly in love’ as the multitude of fanfiction and most of the fandom advocates him to be.

Yet, the sounds coming from his bedroom left Sam bewildered. He shouldn’t judge he supposes; pleasure is pleasure and hell if Dean and Cass would do anything for each other.

Sam was deeply concerned about what this development would do to their ‘Team Free Will’ dynamic. They could all manage with the unspoken affection, as selfish as that sounded; he’d rather have them around than not at all. Affection that Dean insists whenever it’s brought up is only due to some misplaced messiah complex clouding Cass’ view of him. Cass is their brother and he’s not interested in losing another brother.

But, Sam decides, there’s no way he’s trying to talk to them right now.

A rude awakening in the morning it is then.

And rude it is.

On his trek back to Dean’s room he finds Cass standing there, glaring pensively at the door. Sam winces, half in sympathy. This didn’t bode well at all. Dean had obviously kicked the angel out some time during the night in typical Dean fashion and Cass was back trying to mend things in typical Cass fashion. If Dean came out and saw him right this minute there’d no doubt be a fiery dispute ending with things even more broken than before.

“Hey Cass.” He calls softly, trying to hide his real motives, “Let’s make some coffee.”

“I need to speak with Dean.” He insists, unmoving.

Sam purses his lips, shifting in annoyance. Guess where the angel learned his attitude from?

“Don’t you think he’d be a bit more amiable with some coffee in him?”

 

 

Castiel has to admit, Sam’s coffee idea is a good one.

He can also intuit that the younger Winchester has some questions about last night. While he wants to be honest, he isn’t sure what Dean is comfortable sharing with his brother. So, he’d done the barest minimum: telling Sam about Amara’s, his grace and that it could only be soothed by Dean.

Sam assesses him slowly, clearly considering his predicament and the ramifications of the cure. “Cass.” He begins, “You do realise that you can’t use this as proof that Dean wants something more.”

His hackles rise instantly. Part of him understands where Sam is coming from; wanting to protect his brother. But the other part. Oh the other part writhes with indignation. He would do no such thing. The night he spent with Dean would forever remain special to him and as much as he wished for Dean to desire him he had already come to terms with the circumstances of their relationship. He’d never push Dean for more than he was ready to give. But last night was special. Dean had known what it meant to him and gave himself wholly for the duration of their tryst. It was honestly more than he could ever deserve. He wasn’t selfish enough to ask for more. Selfish enough to want it with every fibre of his grace screaming at him to do something.

Castiel keeps telling myself it might be nothing. But the look in Dean’s eyes as he came apart under him…

But friends don’t.

And he will stand by Dean. Even when Dean casts him aside, he won’t see him, but Castiel will be there. Beside him till the day he dies and even after, in Heaven.

“I don’t intend to Sam.” He adds with more bite than intended. “I know what last night was. I know Dean would have never done anything otherwise. Believe me Sam, I have no misconceptions whatsoever about our relationship. I just worry that Dean will feel obligated to change things. I was waiting to tell him just that before you pulled me away.”

Sam looks chastised, if not guilty, “Sorry Cass. You know how Dean is though. I just didn’t want things to be any messier than they should be.”

What else can Castiel do, but nod? Because just then, Dean waltzes into the kitchen complete with his ‘dead man’s robe’ and a pleasant expression.

“Mornin’ sunshine.” He calls in greeting, marching over to the coffee immediately.

“Sup Dean.” Greets Sam, finishing his cereal.

“Hello Dean.” He murmurs, eyes widening in shock as a steaming cup of coffee appears in front of him.

“Things still quiet out there?” he asks, leaning on the counter behind Castiel and sipping from his own mug.

Sam catches himself enough to reply, though he still continues looking at his brother as though he has sprouted leaves. Castiel is sure that he mirrors the expression. They’d both expected a massive confrontation that would somehow remain unresolved till they were once more forced to work together. But Dean… Dean was casual, for lack of a better term.

Dean would say: ‘he’s gone native.’

But then Castiel wonders. They’d both known what they were doing last night. And Dean had insisted throughout upon checking on his grace. Maybe his insistence to continue was actually not part of some hidden desire but… simply being thorough. Dean would have thought, more contact equals more healing. Dean would undoubtedly shirk at the thought of repeating their activities. Which in itself made Castiel shudder.

“You okay buddy?” he feels Dean’s concerned touch like lava through his clothes. No. He’d likely never be okay again but that wasn’t what Dean needed to hear.

“My grace is fine, thank you.” he assures, keeping his voice as level as possible. Before he can even open his mouth to discuss last night, the brothers pick up their conversation, leaving him to his thoughts.

What if… last night… everything Dean had done was for his benefit. The moans, the movement his willingness to try things that originally held little appeal to him. And Dean had held out longer than he had, touching him voraciously between almost every stroke. Had that been only for his grace too? To give him a metaphorical bone to curb his desire in real life.

Had their night really been the equivalent of a ‘fling’ in Dean’s eyes?

He’d never know. He’d never be selfish enough to ask. And even if he did, Dean would die before giving him a straight answer.

But he had his answer anyway, he realised, as Dean sat next to him with a nonchalance that he could not reciprocate and stares at him with an unflinching green gaze, asking: “Any news on angel radio?” No. Dean didn’t care. Castiel had become just another one night stand.

 

 

Dean holds his gaze like he would the world’s best burger: unwaveringly, strongly.

Dean knows that Castiel made his intentions clear to him last night when he left without a word. He’d stupidly forgotten somewhere along the way that this was all about Cass’ grace. Honestly, no one could be more ashamed than he was; not even Cass. Well… Cass probably thinks he’s some kind of slut seeing as he almost begged for them to continue when Cass said he was fine. Sure, the ‘want to be thorough’ excuse might have saved his rep a bit but he knew. Dean liked it. He enjoyed it. And it had been entirely unexpected.

And for one damn moment he thought that Cass felt the same. But then he left. Like always. And the moment had shattered. Hell, he really is one stupid son of a bitch.

So he locks eyes with Cass. Everything is normal. No life shattering crises or anything of the sort. He knew Cass at least wanted to continue their friendship and Dean sure as hell isn’t going to let him carry on thinking that he’s some sort of trump card for him and Sam only pulled out to gain a few points then tossed away with the rest of the pack. He’d failed miserably at getting that point across; taking for granted that Cass knew what he is to them.

Dean’s resolve ended up lasting for a whole seven hours. He almost exploded at how fake he felt.

Cass and Sam had been eyeing him strangely all day. Knowing Sam, the grimy little bastard would probably think he was plotting against him and corner Cass. Cass of course, has way too many tells if you approach him just right… now that would be a disaster. Sam finding out what really happened behind those doors and losing all semblance of respect for him. Yea, that couldn’t be allowed to happen.

“I’m heading out. Beer run.” He announces, rubbing his palms on his thighs as he stands. That sounded pretty normal. Classic Dean.

Great! They look even more worried than before. Fuckers.

“Umm… sure Dean.” Says Sam, finding his wits.

Dean gets in Baby, feeling comfort in the dependable, unchanging purr of her engine. Damn, he needs this. Something dependant. At least she wouldn’t fuck him and duck him.

Ouch Winchester, reign it in.

Our maybe not.

Maybe he needed to let loose. Find a chick and get back to his normal at the bottom of a glass. It’s what everyone had come to expect of him anyway. His heart wasn’t really in it though, but he knows that he just needs to force himself out there tonight.

Normal.

Normal.

A mantra

Everything would be normal again.

Cass.

Sam.

Dean and his habits.

Sure screwing around with Cass felt good, but how could he know that Amara’s – whatever – wasn’t messing with him too? Making him just as crazy with lust. After all it all linked back to their bond. Maybe when he’d touched Cass’ wings he’d created some kind of feedback loop that just kept propelling them deeper and deeper into the act.

Dean isn’t gay.

He’s got eyes but he’s never thought about doing things with a guy. Especially not the things that he did last night.

No, Dean decides, he isn’t gay. Sex was sex and touching was touching. It was impossible to not be aroused when Cass was squirming all over him and making those noises. It’s human instinct. He’d have never done that with Cass otherwise. And after that – after, he’s been so shocked that he liked it. He’d been caught up in a new kink (not a foreign concept to him) and he’d indulged for a bit. But that was over now. He tried it. He might have liked it. But that didn’t mean that he was suddenly into dudes.

Satisfied with himself he parks and shuts off the engine, pocketing the keys immediately. Finally Dean Winchester had succeeded in not accepting all the blame.

“Whiskey. Neat.”

“Well you’re certainly in a good mood Squirrel.” Dean almost fumbles the glass.

“Crowley.” He grunts. What is today anyway? Smother Dean Day?

“Now, now Dean, that’s no way to treat a fellow team mate.”

“Temporary team mate.” He retorts.

“Potato. Potato.” He says, shifting to face Dean. “After out little shebang with Amara I realised something about myself.” He waits.

“That you’re a mega-dick?”

“No.” damned Scottish accent, “That I hate Hell.”

That. That has Dean’s interest. “Isn’t that like blasphemy for demons?”

“Ruling was so… boring! The most fun I’ve had is lying upside down on my throne.”

“And you think I’m more interesting?” Ole demon face must be going insane.

“You do remember our time together Dean?” he asks.

For the first time Dean thinks that there’s actually some merit to Crowley’s whole shtick. He looks… rumpled. No fancy suit and shoes. The beard is almost longer than his hair. If it wasn’t for the attitude he’d be practically unrecognisable. Dean’s a fool for even thinking of trusting him. But then again, what’s new?

“I remember Crowley.” Dean says, “And I gotta admit, minus the part where you manipulated me into getting the Mark of Cain and then bailed on us, things were good. You weren’t a control freak like Sam… except near the end - ” ‘you don’t leave like Cass does.’

Crowley rolls his eyes, exasperated, “You were like a disease, ruining my business and killing the livestock.”

This isn’t what he came here for. The talking and reliving the olden days, not that they were anything to brag about, he was a freaking demon. What Dean came here for in the first place was to find a girl; something he seemed to be failing miserably at.

“Look.” He says, hoping to let him down easy at least… less chance of something coming to bite him in the ass. “I get that you’re having your ‘Crowley Reimagined’ phase, but I came here for a reason and no chick is gonna even look at me twice with you all up in my space.”

Crowley gives a mock gasp, pressing his hands to his chest dramatically, “I’ll have you know I’m a treasure to the ladies… the guys too.” Wink.

Right.

Nope.

“Fuck off Crowley.” He snips, “I need to get laid.”

“Don’t get your panties in a twist. Just call me if she wants a threesome.”

“First thing on my to-do-list.” And surprisingly, the grin on his face is genuine, as well as, he likes to think, the one Crowley returns. One drink and he’s already sappy. He must be losing his tolerance.

As suspected. Crowley leaves and not five minutes later a hot chick slides in next to him.

It’s simple really. They both want the same thing. There’s no need for love or bullshit about staying in the morning. It’s a fuck.

Dean grabs her waist, sliding one hand behind her head as he slams them against the wall. Names are meaningless… baggage that would just get in the way of a good time.

He kisses her and she slowly palms him through his jeans.

Thank fuck. He thinks in relief, noticing his dick hardening. At least he still enjoys this with women, at least that hasn’t changed. He brings his lips down to her neck, encouraging her to wrap her legs around him.

She hikes her dress up.

He unzips his jeans.

And they’re off.

The sound of their skin slapping and their grunts are like explosions in the quiet of the night. In the dim light he can barely even see her. Her blue eyes stand out clearly though, his thoughts echoing back to last night in a blink. And soon it’s not her tight channel he’s pounding into, it’s Cass’ closed fist, he’s lifting his hips frantically chasing after his release. He slams his eyes shut, pushing the images awa-

“Open your eyes. I want to see you as you come apart under my hands.”

His hips stutter as he relived the sensations of that moment. The dominant command. The caring blue eye’s that he’d stared up at.

Instinctively, he bites down the woman’s shoulder, muffling the cries of his release. His partner comes soon after, her fingers trembling between them as she continues to rub herself slowly.

Slowly he backs up, letting himself slide out, taking off the condom he’s somehow had the strength of mind to put on and shoved it in his pocket. The girl straightens her dress and walks unsteadily back into the bar.

Dean leans against the wall, almost afraid to shut his eyes and see blue ones staring back. God, he couldn’t even get off the right way now. Everything was fucked to hell.

She’d felt so good. Dean enjoyed it, as much as he had before.

So why? Why did those blue eyes sneak into his thoughts? He’d – fuck – he’d come to the thought of his best friend.

That’s something he doesn’t think he can come back from.

Castiel knows what he’s doing is wrong. It doesn’t seem to stop him though. He’d watched as Dean once more sat on a barstool, fliting with a beautiful woman, as they’d just gone outside without many words passing between them.

Jealousy choked him like a vice; overpowering even the shame he felt earlier.

That mouth had been on his throat. Licking his wings and eventually his erection. The words felt glued to the tip of his tongue, held there only by the promise of Dean’s wrath. If Dean sees Castiel now, watching him with this woman, things would be over between them.

But still, just hours ago he’d been the one Dean had laved with attention. He’d been a good lover, not selfish or concerned solely with his pleasure. Maybe that was the problem. He was too inexperienced for Dean. Maybe Dean had been left so unsatisfied that he’d come out here to find a proper partner. Castiel’s heart sinks.

He turns away as their grunts become more breathy, shutting his eyes in shame. He’d observed many things throughout the millennia, but never had he observed with this mid-set. Selfish. Shameful. Jealous.

With glaring clarity he suddenly understood some human’s need to kill over their loved ones. He would rip Dean off of her and whisk him away… but Dean wasn’t his. They aren’t and would never be ‘together.’

“Cassie. Didn’t take you for the type to enjoy exhibition.” Castiel whorls, almost jumping out of his skin. Crowley chuckles at his rueful expression and Castiel half believes that the demon will call out to Dean, just to get a rise out of him.

He presses a finger to his lips hoping, praying that something will finally go his way.

“Offered to make it threesome myself, but our dear Dean seems quite adverse to the idea. Doubt you’ll have much better luck feathers.”

“I was just checking up on him Crowley.” His voice almost sounds as offended as he wants it to.

“Sure.” He chirps, picking at his nails. “That glare you’ve been giving them for the past few minutes just screams ‘friendly check-up time.’”

The tremble starts in his fingers, and slithers up the rest of his arm, passes his jaw and reaches his lips. “Sam was worried, h-he sent me.” Panic fills him once more, dread at being sold out, although he probably deserves it. He feels tears gather in his eyes, followed by more shame.

Here he is… an angel, crying and babbling in the presence of a demon after watching a human copulate. He couldn’t even hold it together enough to make it through the one lie.

“I have to go.” And before Crowley can respond he’s marching away.

*v()v*

Castiel sighed as he made his way into the bunker. Maybe he could convince Sam to go along with his story. Dean would be likely to believe him then. But would he? Would Dean believe the King of Hell over Castiel, the angel who had given everything for him again and again? He doesn’t know. And it pains.

As he makes it down the stairs he finds Sam standing there, frowning up at him.

“Castiel.” He growls.

Sam obviously isn’t going to go along with anything in such a foul mood. He’d have to think of something else.

“Hi Sam.”

Sam kicks a box across to him, rattling the items inside. Curious, he bends to pick it up and freezes.

It’s his.

His stuff, from the room that Dean gave him.

The trench-coat that he’s left in Dean’s room last night, a jar of honey he licked when bored, his phone, the Continental’s keys, the mix-tape Dean had given him and the scattered collection of keepsakes from hunts (call-cards, pictures of Sam and Dean that were carefully hidden in his room, even bills from the restaurants they went to.

“What’s going on?” he asks in a daze. He knows exactly what’s happening. Its déjà vu. Except this time it’s not Dean’s face he has to stare at; it’s Sam’s.

Castiel feels the despair spreading. He’d hoped that he wouldn’t lose Dean but he’s lost it all: Sam, Dean, the bunker that they encouraged him to call home. He should have let himself die.

He’d known from the start that it was the smart choice… the right choice. He would have died happy at least. Maybe it would have been while he watched old Westerns with Dean, or when he sat with Sam in the library, reading in comfortable silence. Maybe it would have been while the brothers were asleep. Maybe, he’d be able to tell… he’d have a few moments to bid them farewell before death gripped him. Maybe it would have been so slow or so painful that his screams followed him into the light.

He’d take any of those options to what was slowly unfurling before his eyes.

“What are you waiting for?” Sam demands. “Leave now. Before Dean comes back and he’s forced to see your face.”

Castiel flinches, standing slowly with the box gripped tightly. At least he would have some memories of his time with the Winchesters. “I’m sorry.” He says. There’s no chance of redemption, he knows, but he owes it to Sam to at least apologise, “I’m sorry for the part I’ve played and the confusion I’ve caused. If I knew – I – would have just let myself die instead of making Dean - ”

Sam shoves him, effectively cutting him off. Castiel falls onto the edge of the stairs bruising his tail-bone. “I don’t care!” he roars, “Just leave! Death and chaos follow you Castiel and I have to save my family from it. You. You took the one good thing Dean had and you ruined it with your selfishness. That’s what you always do to him. Breaking my wall. Lisa and Ben. He could have been happy!”

Castiel grabs the frail box with his meagre belongings and races to the garage. Sam’s words swirling in his head. He was right. He’s always been selfish when it came to Dean.

His fingers tremble as he struggles to unlock his door. He’s so lost that he doesn’t notice Dean until he feels an arm on his shoulder.

“Hey Cass.” He chirps, grinning widely, “I met this chick tonight, she was so hot. I - ”

“I’m glad you had a good time Dean but as you know, I need to leave.”

“Leave?” he asks, bewildered, “Why – ” Dean cuts himself off with a bitter laugh, “Right, your grace is better. You’re gonna leave. What’s new?”

“You know it isn’t that Dean. Sam told me.” it’s not judgemental, though it does sound pitiful and dejected. At least Dean came to see him off. His eyes roam over his visage, taking note of every ripple his soul makes. He doesn’t need time to memorise it, he’d practically remade him; he already has it imprinted onto his very grace. The mountains could crumble and the sun could implode but Castiel would remember Dean Winchester’s soul.

It seems strange today though, not quite as fluid as last night.

“You’ve lost me.” Dean huffs.

“Sam told me I should leave before any more damage is done to you.” he says, clutching the box almost hopefully. Is there a chance that Sam had acted of without Dean’s consent? He would not stick around to cause Sam any discomfort even if that is the case, but it would mean everything to him: that Dean held no malice towards him.

Scowling, Dean crosses his arms defiantly, “Friggin’ Sam.” He mutters, “Look, I don’t know what the hell’s wrong with him but I’ll figure this out. Okay?”

He can’t help the way his expression lifts at those words, the gratitude that thrums in his very grace, but all is says is a simple: “Thank you Dean.”

“Um… I know this is probably bad timing.” Dean coughs and glances towards the door. Castiel can’t tell if he wants to escape or is just checking to see if Sam is around. “But last night… it made me feel things. Things that you don’t feel for a friend. Especially your angel friend who’s in a dude’s body.”

Green eyes flit to his nervously, carefully gauging his expression. This… this is more emotion – more words – than he’d ever heard Dean direct toward him.

Wordlessly, Castiel reaches forward, grasping his friend’s hands in his trembling grip. He lets himself hope.

“I know you saw me tonight.”

Castiel freezes.

“It’s okay.” Reassures Dean, “I don’t care. Nothin’ you haven’t seen before.”

“Why did you have sex with that woman?”

As the silence stretches on he thinks that his curiosity has once more gotten the better of him and nipped any further conversation in the bud.

But Dean is still holding his hand. He’s holding it so tightly that the tremble isn’t even noticeable anymore.

“You confused me last night.” He admits, rubbing the back of his neck with his free hand, “I wanted to test a theory.”

His eyes darken, feeling the jealousy from earlier rearing its head, “And what did you conclude Dean?”

Dean’s lips meet his in a chaste kiss. “I need you.”

And that’s all Castiel needs to drop his box on the windshield and pull Dean closer, cocooning him in his arms as their kiss turned volatile.

Dean slams him against the door, fumbling behind him for the keys.

They tumble into the back seat with a tangle of limbs and poking of elbows. Castiel never did get over how awkward this form could be.

Hot hands trail down his chest, disregarding his jacket and shirt, immediately heading for his pants. It doesn’t take much coaxing from Dean to get him hard. His tongue laves at his pink head trailing down every so often to tickle his balls. Dean releases him, drawing back to remove his own pants, fiddling around in his jacket pocket.

“Lube.” He explains, finding the slim bottle.

Castiel watches him with hooded eyes, as he coats his hand, swiping it up and down on his erection.

“You like watching me Cass.” He teases, a call back to earlier.

“Not with other people.” He retorts. “Your genitalia is quite beautiful.”

Dean reaches forward spreading some of the clear gel onto him. “Cock sounds hotter. Dick maybe.”

Castiel huffs, letting Dean push him onto his back; his legs spread enough for Dean to get between them. Bracing his hands beside Castiel’s head Dean shifts his so that their cocks line up, one foot on the seat and the other hanging off. His head spins with pleasure as Dean thrusts his hips, their wet members sliding over each other.

“Use your hands Cass” he moans, “Make a fist so we can move.”

Castiel wraps both hands around their cocks, trying to touch as much skin as possible. Dean immediately moans into his neck, hips picking up the pace. Castiel wars with keeping his hands in place and taking the opportunity to squeeze Dean’s ass. He’d regretted not doing it enough the night before.

“Cass ‘m close.”

“Me too.” he whispers, moving to lick Dean’s exposed throat.

The hunter’s hips stutter and his breath grows faster. Just a couple more thrusts and Cass feels his essence shoot out, coating his hands and his stomach. Castiel flexes his own hips, giving himself a few more thrusts before evidence of his own orgasm joins Dean’s on his stomach.

Dean gives him a satisfied grin, sitting up and pulling his pants on.

“Well, that was fun.”

“Indeed.”

Dean looks at him expectantly.

“What?” he asks. Is there some kind of etiquette that he doesn’t know about?

“Why aren’t you gone yet?”

“Dean…” the hurt swells once more, of course Dean would pick Sam over him. “You said you needed me.”

“Past tense Cass.” He says with all the understanding in the world. “I needed you, I had you and now you gotta head out.” Without another word, or even a good-bye pat, Dean exits the car and strolls over to the door.

Castiel though, he stays frozen for quite some time. The only thing that gets him moving in the thought of someone finding him, still sitting here like a statue, and demands that he leave. Again.

*v()v*

Dean sighs, tossing off his jacket as he walks up from the garage.

“Sam!” he bellows.

“What?!” Of course he’s in the library. Dean marches over, half expecting him and Cass to be geeking out over some book. However, Sam is alone.

“Um, you seen Cass?”

“Last I saw he was heading out.”

Right.

His grace now stopped vibrating at the wrong whatever. Dean had made sure of that. And now the feathery little bastard had upped and left them. Again.

“I’m beat.” He says, suddenly feeling just that.

“Night Dean.” His brother calls, clearly picking up on his mood.

“Sweet dreams Sammy.”

The walk to his room is long and harrowing. He’d faced monsters who induced less fear.

The smell is still there. It had been when he woke up this morning and he suspects for some time to come.

Licking his lips, he reaches for the bottle of Jack from under the bed. Something brushes his hand making him pull back sharply. Flicking on the light he looks forlornly at the beige trench-coat lying on his floor. It brings up the thought that the angel is somewhere, basically naked. But worse than that, it reminds him of their night together how free he felt during and even a bit after. Freedom. Something he’d always wanted but could never have.

First he was Sam’s guardian, then his father’s soldier, then Hell’s bitch, then Heaven’s, then the Mark’s slave and Amara had him under her spell. He just never wins.

He forces himself to shut his eyes, pushing it down as he was thought. Someday soon he’ll find that there’s no more room in the inn, no more space for the guilt and shame to be shoved into. He dreads it.

Absentmindedly, he scrunches up the coat and rests it beside him.

Damn Cass for leaving this behind, Dean thinks as he presses his nose to it.

Fucking trench-coat.

Chapter Text

*v()v*

It had taken Castiel ten resets to figure out that what he’s experiencing isn’t real. He still doesn’t know what’s happening … or who has him … but he knows it isn’t real.

Which, in theory should make Dean’s each and every rejection hurt less. But it doesn’t. Because each one is some form of his fears made real, forcing him to experience it over and over. He’d lost count at around three hundred. He honestly didn’t want to keep track of his torment any more. He couldn’t stop wishing that whoever had him here would just reveal themselves. They obviously have a personal tiff with Castiel… if he uses forcing him to bear witness to his greatest fears on shuffle as evidence.

His first clue had been Dean’s soul.

Whoever has him doesn’t know how to manipulate Dean’s soul to sync it with his emotional state.

The second had been the string of prayers that the real Dean sent to him. They proved to be his one and only tether to reality. He’d cherished each one. No matter how short or how angry. Sam and Dean were looking for him. They care.

Dear Cass, I can’t believe you left. You’re a slimy bastard, you know that?

That prayer had reached him just as he drove away from the bunker during the first simulation. But he hadn’t known it then, believing that Dean was… something.

Castiel. I know you can hear me alright. I talked to Crowley. He said you saw me that night. I think I get why you left now and I know I’m a jackass, but please call to let us know you’re okay. You – you don’t even need to call me. Call Sam. It’s been days Cass, and w-we’re worried.

That one had opened his eyes to his predicament.

He’d tried with all his will to push past whatever power that he’d allowed to invade his mind.

He’d tried and tried for days, through countless scenarios but it wouldn’t let up. He tried screaming at the illusions, but they only talked over him, following some sort of per-ordained script of doom. There were times he got so lost in the fantast that he forgot that it wasn’t real. This his friends were out there somewhere searching tirelessly for him and here he was begging for a minute of fake Dean’s time. There was a clear cycle: Dean comes to him, they are intimate, though not always in a sexual way and then finally, Dean tells him to leave breaking and he shatters… only to be rebuilt for the next torment.

Oh God, Cass. We found your van. We’re coming for you I swear.

The next comes at just the right time. He admits to Dean that he wants to kill himself and Dean – Dean just scowls at him, saying it’ll save me some time.

Buddy, don’t give up. We’re still searching. Just hold on.

“I wish we never met you.”

I miss you man.

“You think I could ever bring myself to love you?” in a disgust filled voice.

I tackled a guy today. He had a trench just like yours… he doesn’t even look like you, but I kept wishing it was. I need you Cass.

“You’re a liar. You’re poison to me.”

It’s been months Cass. Everyone tells me that you’re dead. But you’re not … right?

“Amara was right, you’re useless. You are the greatest burden we’ve had to bear. We’ve only kept you around this long to keep you in check… don’t want you eating Purgatory again do we?”

Cass. I wish you were here. Something happened and I – I’m sorry, I don’t even know if you’re alive. Please.

“I hate you.”

I’m failing you all over again.

“I don’t need you. I never have!”

I can’t do this without you.

“You can’t satisfy me Cass. That’s why I’m seeing other people. It doesn’t matter that you’re a guy, it’s just you.”

We’ve got a lead. Don’t let go. No matter what.

“I’ll always love Sam more than you.”

“You’ve always been a good little lap dog Cass, don’t ruin it now.”

“You’re dead to me.”

Castiel waits and waits. But he never hears another prayer again.

And that’s what eviscerates his last shred of resistance.

*v()v*

“The hell do you mean I can’t go!”

“You know why Squirrel.”

Dean glares at the demon who against all odds has stuck with him on his quest to find Cass. Even when Sam had wanted to give up, Crowley had stood there and bitched until his brother saw sense.

“This is Cass, Sam.” He breaths, pleading with his brother. He has to be there. He has to.

“Dean. It’s too dangerous with you there.”

“One last one before I hit the road.” And it doesn’t even come out anywhere as light as he’d like it to. “This is Cass.” His voice breaks near the end.

If he can’t do this one thing for his friend, then what good is he?

“Damnit!” Sam turns away, “Fine. But you hang back. Stick with Crowley. And you don’t die.”

“Deal.” He mutters, at the same time he prays: Cass. Today.

Castiel is wrenched forward by Dean. He stumbles, confused.

No other simulation had started like this. With him bleeding and weak and Dean screaming orders. The world around him shimmers but he forced himself to look closer, dig deeper into this new reality.

He scoffs, this is the worst one yet. Dean doesn’t even have his soul.

Oh, and Crowley’s here.

“Dean!” the demon snaps, the blood on his face drips into Castiel’s eyes, “You know you can’t lift him. Back off!”

He feels his head loll back as Crowley manhandles him. It turns everything upside down, but gives him an unimpeded view of Dean who is bringing up the rear.

He scans the area with his honed tactical skills, but his eyes flit back to Cass every now and then. The angel can’t help but find it endearing… even though it won’t last. And he can’t help it, when his eyes widen and he lets out a hoarse shout, just as the demon is about to stab Dean. He whorls just in time to parry, but Castiel had never felt such fear. Even now, as he moves further and further away… the simulations almost always took place in the bunker; never in the middle of a battle.

Could this be real?

No.

He’d allowed himself to hope too many times.

But Dean.

The way he looked at him.

It seemed so real.

He’s jarred from his thoughts as Crowley throws him into the back seat, squeezing in next to him.

“Dean?” he calls, still acutely aware of the fighting outside.

“Don’t worry feathers. We’re almost to the finish line.”

The doors open and shut, “Crowley – is he - ?”

“Damnit Dean! Drive!”

Dean shakes his head, reorientation himself and Castiel feels himself lurch as the car peels away.

When Castiel awakens next he finds himself still moving.

Except he’s in the front this time… his head is resting on Dean’s shoulder.

He lifts it off slowly unable to express his groan of pain. Dean shoots him a concerned glance, pulling over immediately.

“How you feeling?”

Castiel wonders how best to answer. Afraid because this could still be another simulation. Panicked because he remembers just what got him here. Or scared of how Dean will react… real Dean, because that’s what this Dean is. He’s never been more sure of it as he stares into his green eyes. Another thing his captor hadn’t been able to get right was the way Dean’s eyes got when they looked at him.

“Like I was boiled and then poured into a wood chipper.”

Biting his lip, Dean looks away guiltily, “Yeah, you look it.” he swallows, shifting in his seat, “I’m sorry. So damn sorry that we didn’t find you sooner.”

“It’s alright.” Dean looked for him. That was enough.

“It’s not.” Dean rests his arm across the seat, close to his shoulder. “Lucifer had you. He was pissed to Hell that Chuck ditched him again. He got a few other angels too. He stole your grace.”

Dean’s eyes lock onto him, watching and waiting for the anger. But he doesn’t show it. He knew his grace was gone… that he couldn’t see Dean’s soul was evidence enough. And right now, he’s still far too numb to register it.

“The angels have probably closed the gates of Heaven by now, to prevent him from getting in.” he says instead. Dean nods in affirmation still eyeing him wearily.

“We’re gonna get your grace back. Sam and Crowely are on it.” he pauses for a breath, “They’ll call me as soon as they find a lead. But… uh, Cass, I’m headed to a place in Minnesota. It’s peaceful and a good place for you to get your sea legs back… there’s even a milk run of a case too. But if you want to go back, help with the search. I’ll turn us around.”

He almost hates how accommodating Dean is treating him. After all the trouble he went through to save his grace… and somehow Castiel had let Lucifer eat it. He expected some shouting, calling him stupid; not this nice façade.

When he doesn’t say anything. Dean pipes up once more, “I prayed to you every day… every day for three months.”

 That grabs his attention. That means that everything he heard was real. Dean had missed him, Dean cared… Dean saw him that night. And while that night was only three months ago for Dean, for Castiel it felt like years had passed. Dean’s prayers had probably stopped as Lucifer drained his grace. Meaning that he’d never been abandoned. And that thought alone, having Dean’s comradery, grace or not, is what prompts his reply.

“I’ll always go with you Dean.”

A song was playing.

On the road again. Like a band of Gypsies we go down the high way… we’re the best of friends insisting that the world kept turning our way –

Dean grins at him. He let his hair grow out so that it’s no longer in a strict buzz cut, but a floppy mass, still shorter than Sam’s, that billows in the wind. “Reminds you of us, doesn’t it?”

Castiel finds that his lips slowly unfurl from their grimace for the first time in months.

Dean seems lighter than he had been. More free. He always was when he didn’t have to constantly worry about Sam. Maybe he’d finally come to terms with the fact that he’d raised his brother and helped turn him into a capable adult… one who no longer needed a babysitter.

“So.” Dean starts, turning to look at Cass. His friend looks battered and not in a good way. It’s like his soul was shredded over and over until the pieces were too small to be put back together. When he’d seen him, strapped to that table, he’d been glued in place; not by the small bruises about his body, but by his unseeing eyes. Once a vibrant blue, they looked so pale so glassy. Now, in the sunlight, they seemed just a bit brighter.

“Dean! Look at the road!” unprepared for such a harsh chastisement, his head immediately snaps forward, taking stock of the empty dirt road.

He chances a glance over to Cass, finding hi gripping the door so tightly that his fingers were turning white. Dean swallows his guilt once more. His new mortality must be the reason for his new found fear. After years and years of driving these roads he knew them well enough to wear a blindfold… which, honestly, probably isn’t what his friend needs to hear at the moment.

“If we crash right now I can’t heal you.” Cass’ voice trembles and his face remains sheet white, even as Dean keeps his head forward and places both hands on the wheel.

“Cass. I know this is a shock for you. But you can’t live worrying about dying. Besides, Sammy’ll get your grace back in no time.”

Growling, Cass points at the road once more, and Dean sighs, shifting his gaze. “You need to pay more attention to your safety from now on. I’m not going to be able to heal you, just so you’re aware.”

“Oh I - ”

Cutting him off as though he hadn’t started, Cass continues his spiel, sounding more like a chastising father than his best friend. “You need to watch what you eat. No more burgers every day, no three helpings of dessert and definitely don’t drink a bottle of Jack every night.”

He rolls his eyes, “Now you sound like Sam. Relax. I’ve been doing this stuff for years. I’m fine, and I’ll continue to be fine.”

“Dean.” He sneers, “You’ve never been fine! Your liver would have failed years ago had I not healed you, you’d have high blood pressure, you’d have gotten fatter than Criss Cringle so if you can’t promise me right now that you’ll start taking some semblance of care with regards to your health, then pull over. I won’t stay with you and watch as you slowly die.”

Mind whirling, he takes in what Cass just told him. He hadn’t known things were that bad. He’d figured that he had a fast metabolism or whatever. But of course it was Cass. Cass had saved him from himself yet again.

“Sometimes I watched over you, waiting for you to fall asleep,” his voice is smoother now, no longer filled with rage and fear, “I waited so that I could heal, stop the alcohol from reaching your liver. Now I can’t do that. So you have to regulate yourself.”

If it was anyone else, he’d just make a joke and brush the entire incident aside, but this is Cass. He’s asking him for this one thing after months of torture, he’d do it. Cut back for a bit. “Okay. I won’t go cold turkey… but I’ll slow down a bit.”

“Good.”

He wants to know what Lucifer did to him. What tortures he’d endured in the time that Dean had failed him… but he didn’t want to force him to face those memories, not yet. And truth be told, he didn’t want to know. Not yet.

“We’ll need some furniture.” He announces as they approach the small town his cabin is near. He’d bought it years ago, when Sam had run off to Stanford. Never in all those years had he told a single soul about it. Not Sam, not his dad, not anyone. It had remained derelict for more than a decade. That cottage was meant to be his getaway. His normal. But he’d never found someone to share it with.

Lisa had her own place and truth be told, he never felt comfortable enough to bring this up.

So it had remained there. Empty.

But now. He couldn’t hunt any more, not wh –

“Why would we need furniture?”

Ah, the real question.

“This is sort of a long term case.” He says, “and the place I’m renting hasn’t got any. I don’t wanna be sleeping on the cold hard floor in the middle of fall for weeks. And I think your newly human ass would appreciate a soft bed.”

Bristling, Cass glares pointedly at the road, “Fine. We’ll get beds.”

“Some groceries too.” Dean mutters, already compiling a list in his mind. He feels bad about tricking Cass, but he wants him to feel comfortable. And everyone loves Dean’s cooking. “A T.V. maybe. And a stove top… microwaves always make food taste funny anyway.”

He looks Cass over. He’s still scowling at the window, wearing his dirty outfit from three months ago. They’d cleaned him up at the bunker, sure, but still, “Some new clothes for you. Something warm to suit the weather.”

Castiel warily observes Dean. He’s obviously lying to him, about something, he still isn’t sure. Alarms are sounding in his head and he’s learned to never ignore them. But, he supposes, even if Dean is lying to him, would he really care? He’s here with Dean. On a case no less. He couldn’t expect a warmer welcome.

Perhaps he was still uncomfortable about their exchange all those months ago.

“Tell me about the case.” He says instead.

“Tomorrow.” Dean assures, “You need to rest after what happened to you.” a silence ensues, one that not even music can soothe, “What – what did he do to you anyway?”

“He played my fears, like a movie, in front of me.” and at the horrified look on Dean’s face he adds, “Your prayers helped alert me to the fact that none of it was real. They gave me a reason to hold on and not get lost in my own mind.”

Heaving a sigh Dean flicks his indicator on, turning into a Walmart. “I’m glad you didn’t give up.” His voice is fierce, “And if you ever need to vent or remember that this is real… tell me.”

“I will.” But he knows in his heart that he won’t need to.

Because simulation Dean’s eyes were never right. Because simulation Dean had never left Sam for him. Because simulation Dean never looked remorseful even as he ripped Castiel to shreds. Because simulation Dean had never cared. Most of all though, simulation Dean would never, ever offer himself as a source of solace to a thoroughly useless, human, Castiel.

Chapter Text

“This is uncomfortable.”

Dean had insisted that Castiel try the water bed. Naturally, he’d asked for something to breathe with which made Dean burst out in boisterous laughter.

Now, lying on its undulating surface, Castiel still fails to see the appeal.

Dean watches him out of the corner of his eye. He’s lying next to Castiel in an all too familiar position. He has to remind himself again and again that Dean is real… he won’t leave him; at least it seems that he doesn’t want to leave him. That’s enough for him.

“You don’t approve.” Observes Dean.

“It has a two year warrantee!” their salesman chirps.

The poor man. They’d tried almost ten different mattresses and Dean had been uncharacteristically fussy about a mattress that he would only use for a few weeks. In fact… it seems strange to even bother purchasing a mattress. He’s known Sam and Dean to get sleeping bags instead or sometimes, even sleep on the floor. He doesn’t bring it up though. He doesn’t want to start a row with Dean so soon. Instead he soaks in the comfort of having Dean’s body next to him. While they may share the bed now, Dean had made it crystal clear that they would buy one from him and another for Cass.

He carefully stands, his stomach churning as the water displaces. How can anyone stand to sleep in such a death trap?

A bright red sign catches his attention: ‘Memory Foam.’

Immediately, he thinks of the bunker and Dean’s mattress. He hadn’t given it much more than two thoughts during their time together, but he knew how fond of it Dean was.

Tapping Dean’s shoulder twice, he gestures over to the sign. His eyes dash to Castiel’s in glee and he almost dances over to the bed. He can’t help but feel a surge of pride. He’d made Dean happy.

“Ugh.” He moan as he settles onto the bed. It’s huge, the biggest one in the room. He takes up residence next to Dean his back instantly relaxing as the mattress moulds to his form.

“How much?”

The salesman perks up immediately, “This is $1599.00.”

He feels Dean shift uncomfortably. Castiel had learnt all about rationing money from his time as a human. Dean had explained to him what the plan was and how much money was allocated to each task and Castiel had mentally taken note:

Food: $150.00

Utensils: $50

Couch and Beds: $1800.00 etc.

Feeling Dean start to rise, Castiel’s hand shoots out, grabbing his arm. “Get this one Dean.”

Smiling wryly, he shakes his head, “No Cass. We still need a bed for you and a couch set.”

“I can sleep on the couch.” He offers.

Snorting, Dean shakes his head once again, “Your back would hate me.”

Castiel scoffs. “I can sleep on the bed then.” Dean’s gaze flickers with uncertainty but he presses on, “It’s huge. We can both fit easily. This way we still have enough for couches.”

“Cass” he drones, flopping back down, “This isn’t fair to you. Mayb – ”

“No.” he interrupts, “If you buy me anything else, I’ll simply refuse to sleep in it.”

A slow smile spreads across Deans’s face as he tells the salesman to ring them up.

Couches are easier. Dean chooses a set with seats covered in black leather. Somehow it’s soft enough to almost swallow Castiel.

He lets Castiel choose the lamps, rugs and throw pillows. Then almost surprisingly, he asks for delivery. Which costs extra.

“Dean, why don’t we just make a few trips and bring it back ourselves?” Castiel wonders.

Nervously, Dean glances around, “Well, I was thinking that we could check out the town a bit… investigate for the case.”

“Of course.”

“Alright.” Dean settles in across from him with two trays of spaghetti and meat balls and a smaller plate with three mini burgers.

His eyes flash up in astonishment. Castiel hadn’t expected Dean to pay his concerns any heed. In fact, he was fully prepared to chastise Dean over his two helpings of burgers and cheese poppers.

Rolling his eyes, Dean pushes one plate across to Castiel. “Don’t look at me like that.” He mutters, “I’m tryin’ here.”

“I wasn’t looking at you.” he retorts, “I was waiting for you to give me one and a half of those burgers.”

A small grin spreads across his face as Dean huffs indignantly, “You wish. Since you’re not giving me the whole ‘salad’ lecture you can get one. One.

“Thank you Dean.”

With his mouth still full of noodles Dean starts talking, “So the case is pretty simple. A haunting from the looks of it. College kid lives with best friend. Friend dies. Kid invites a new roommate and suddenly everything’s haywire. The lights flicker, the walls creak and some other crap.”

Nodding slightly Castiel manages to swallow before speaking, “That does sound like a typical haunting.”

“Here’s the thing.” Dean states sipping something his beer. “The dude was cremated. So we’ll have to case the house; look for any cursed objects.”

“I understand.”

Castile glances at Dean, once more enjoying the air of relaxation that surrounds him. It seems as though Dean shares his desire to not dredge up any of the nasty stuff that had happened before he was captured. Strangely enough, though, it doesn’t bother him in the slightest. It doesn’t fill him with malevolence nor feel as though it’s driving a festering wedge between them.

“You good over there?”

He’s startled out of his reverie. Instantly he looks away from Dean planting his attention instead on his still full plate.

“Your cooking tastes better.” He observes around his first mouthful of food.

Ducking his head, Dean blushes and rubs his neck. He knows how well – or not well – the older Winchester takes compliments.

“I wouldn’t say it if I didn’t mean it.”

“Here’s the deal Cass. When we get to the place you take my laptop and search up some healthy recipes. There’s just two things I need in almost every meal: one, meat and two, no rabbit food. I am not turning into Sammy, not even for you.”

Yet another reason that this Dean is real. The other Dean’s had never changed anything for him, no matter how much he begged or pleaded. They hadn’t changed a single thing. As a matter of fact, they often mocked him whenever he brought something up; whether it was eating healthier, taking more breaks to spend time with Castiel or even wearing days old dirty clothes.

“We can try different recipes.” Promises Castiel, “I’m sure that when we get back to the bunker you’ll be even more in your element. And as for Sam, he only wants the best for you. He’ll understand.” But by the way Dean freezes like a deer in the headlights, Castiel knows that he doesn’t believe it.

Their waitress appears asking if they need anything else and Castiel saw how Dean had eyed the pecan pie on the display rack. It had been the first thing that his eyes had been drawn to.

“Two pieces of pie.” He pikes up, ignoring Dean’s raised brows.

“Sure thing hun.” She scribbles their order on her note pad, pausing only once to peer at them over the edge, “You guys are an adorable couple.”

Whilst he smiles politely he doesn’t miss the way Dean’s fingers grip the edge of the table or the way his jaw clenches.

“We’re not together.” Dean’s tone bodes no arguments and the waitress winces apologetically and practically flees.

Castiel glares at Dean, not pleased by his attitude, “Dean, that was very rude.”

“She was rude. For assuming and commenting on something she could never understand.”

Castiel keeps quiet. He hadn’t given much thought to his love confession. But now he can’t help but quietly panic. Dean obviously held no interest in him. Another reason to believe he was indeed real. It should be easy… to slip back into the role of Dean’s friend – and closest confidant, as he likes to think – but it’s not. Not when he spent what felt like years in an endless loop of falling in love and dismissal. No matter how harsh the rebuttal at the end, he had always cherished every bit of attention that Dean gave him. It was the only thing he’d selfishly indulged in. He’d felt guilty over it but he always tried to savour the moments before he was cruelly cast aside.

Even that was better than outright rejection.

His mood sours and the pie slides tastelessly down his gullet. Dean stabs his own pie in quiet contemplation. He hates how quickly the mood had shifted. He almost hates the waitress for bringing it up… but that isn’t fair; she was just complimenting them.

Dean eats his pie in record time and plants money on the table, “Meet you in the car.”

Castiel sighs deeply. Of course Dean was pissed. This whole thing had managed to bring up all the fears that he’d kept shoved in a closet. He so desperately wishes that they could go back to the cherry attitude brought on by casual ignorance of their problems. But knowing Dean, he’ll simmer for a while. Usually a long while.

“I’m so sorry.” Their waitress, Tija is back, with a sincere expression and some genuine guilt. She must have noticed Dean leave.

“It’s alright.” He lies. Dean had told him that humans lied when emotions were involved. And right now, many of his emotions are involved. “I better go catch up with him.”

Tail tucked between his legs, Castiel walks out of the restaurant, keeping his eyes to the ground all the way to the Impala.

Dean doesn’t seem angry when he gets in. The radio is humming a soft tune and Dean taps along nodding to Castiel as he enters.

“I’m kind of excited to show you the place.” he says, changing gears and pulling off.

“Isn’t it just a rental?” he wonders aloud.

Dean shrugs, once more neglecting the road to look over at him, “Yea, but it isn’t a shitty hotel. You’ll see things will feel a bit different as a human. At least this way it isn’t too much of a shock for your body.”

The drive continues in peaceful silence, Castiel having forgotten his worries as the new landscape rolls into view.

They drive on an old dirt road and the tires splat mud everywhere because of the shower earlier. But it is nice. He can already identify some fauna through the thicket of trees on the side of the road. Even the air smells nicer here. The cabin, when they pull up, is almost camouflaged. It’s made of two stories sleek wood.

The walkway is framed by a path of rocks leading to an open porch. The area around the house is a bit overgrown but for some reason Castiel associates it with home.

“Wait till you see the inside buddy.” Dean slaps his shoulder jokingly.

And Dean is right. Though bare, the inside is spacious; unlike the bunker which had always left him feeling a permeated with cold and solitude, this cottage felt warm. A short glance to his left tells him that Dean is also taking stock. A soft smile plays on his face and his shoulders relax instantly.

“Isn’t it great!” Dean grips his shoulders in excitement, shaking him slightly.

Castiel can’t help but grin as Dean’s excitement seeps from his hands and into Castiel’s shoulders. “Yes Dean, it is.”

Releasing him, Dean roams around the empty room, “Just think how all the stuff we picked will look here.” He grins widely spreading his hands out as he imagines it, “The couch, the rug… damn Cass, it’s going to be – gonna be perfect.”

Castiel tries, he really tries to visualise the room fully furnished, but he can’t get his mind to stray from Dean’s jubilant, exposed expression of child-like joy. He’s never seen his friend like this. Even when he had been happy it always seemed as though he held some small part of himself back. Now it was out in the open, dancing around this empty room, and Castiel.

It’s already perfect.

Dean tells him that the moving truck will be by tomorrow and that he was going outside to repair the heater.

“Take a bath in the meantime Cass.” Suggests Dean, “Just check my bag for some clothes.”

He rifles around in Dean’s duffle absentmindedly picking out the clothes. It doesn’t matter what he wears anyway; it’s only Dean and him. Castiel is still blissfully tucked in the shine of Dean’s eyes as he explored all the rooms. The fact that Dean had chosen to bring him to such a nice place and had considered his feelings.

Castiel had never felt more content.

Then his finger brushes a jagged edge; sparking pain. He yanks his finger back he pushes it in his mouth hoping that he hadn’t stained Dean’s clothes. The object didn’t feel like any knife he’d ever seen. It was unbelievably hard. Thick…

Bone.

With breaths trembling past his lips he shifts the clothes aside.

He’s expecting the First Blade. Dreading it as he always had.

Instead he finds a bone, not the First Blade, but a human bone. Coated in a layer of drying blood. But… it isn’t blood. Dried blood isn’t that shade… it’s not blood.

Paint?

Tomatoes?...

Castiel’s heartbeat thunders in his ears and he’s trapped in the simulation all over again.

Chapter Text

Castiel ‘played it cool’. He took a shower, put on Dean’s clothes and lay on the cold floor just a few feet away for the entire night. He’s severely sleep deprived his head pounding even as Dean rambles on about their cover and their house call.

This had to be the grandest illusion yet. The escape, him losing his grace to take the strain off his captor; creating Dean’s soul couldn’t have been easy. But he’d been so sure. This Dean is more like his Dean than any of the others before him. None of the others had endured his presence for this long. He wouldn’t let them win this time. Even if everything had been a lie. He wouldn’t let them have the pleasure of breaking him so completely. He’ll ride it out and try not to get anymore attached than he already has.

“Remember.” Coaches Dean, “You make an excuse to use the bathroom and search the place. Look for anything our ghost might be attached to.”

He nods absentmindedly; not really listening.

Dean rings the doorbell and motions for Castiel to take his badge out. This time he’s well aware of how he’s holding it.

“FBI.” Dean greets, flashing his badge. “Can we come in?”

The young man, Elis, who answers the door fumbles through a response, shuffling aside to let them pass.

While Dean goes through the standard questions about Elis and the recently departed, Joaquin, Castiel does as he’s told and excuses himself. Half-heartedly, he searches the bathroom coming up empty. Despite his new knowledge he can’t bring himself to disappoint Dean on purpose. He’s contented just drawing this good spell out as long as possible.

The bed room gives him nothing of import other than Joaquin clearly had no interest in material things. The only mention worthy detail he finds is that, from the pictures at least, Joaquin always wore a small gold bracelet with one half of a heart attached. Just as he’d seen Sam and Dean do many times, he passes his hand under the small worktable. He stops as his finger brushes a small bag.

Bending down, he inspects it. Hex bag.

Dean had been so sure that it was a ghost. What if Joaquin was a witch?

Castiel glances around the room again. No. Nothing that suggests witchcraft.

He carefully rests the bag on the table, slicing open the small piece of rope that holds it together. It’s larger than the usual hex bags… about three times the usual size. The first thing his eyes zero is the bone. The exact same one from the duffle. Dean’s duffle.

Immediately he just thinks that paranoia is controlling him. What reason would Dean – even simulation Dean – have to plant a hex bag during a case; a haunting at that? It makes no sense. Nothing feels real anymore. Not him. Not this house. Not Dean. Not that shitty bone!

He crushes the bag in his palm feeling the other contents crackle in his tight grip. Shoving it in his pocket, along with his anger he strolls back downstairs just as Dean is finishing up.

‘All good?’ his eyes ask.

Castiel nods.

Castiel looks. He looks hard… intently. But he can’t find the cracks. Usually Dean would do something strange… something so un-Dean-like that caused Castiel to snap out of whatever trancelike state he’d been it. This time it doesn’t come. This is his Dean. He knows it. He’s so sure. But the doubt trickles in. Doubt in the form of painted bones.

At first he’d blamed it on paranoia, but he knows, he remembers the bones he’d found in Dean’s bag. He couldn’t understand why.

It just made no sense.  Had the simulation somehow managed to mimic Dean flawlessly? Had it put him in a case but got some noodles crossed in the process?

Castiel would usually talk to Dean about something like this. Get a new perspective. Dean had even offered to help him figure out what is real. But he can’t risk the simulation knowing that he knows.

“The moving truck says they’ll be by in a few hours.” Comments Dean. He’d ditched his suit jacket as soon as they’d drifted away from civilization. Such a Dean thing to do. “Man, I hope they don’t get lost… or stuck in the mud. That’s the only downside to this place.”

Humming his agreement, Castiel keeps watch, noting everything about Dean, from his crow’s eyes to the way he sits and holds the wheel with one hand.

Dean’s duffle sits pretty in the back seat, his jacket carelessly thrown over it. Castiel wishes he could just dump the contents and look for the bone. He doesn’t know what it would even prove. Whether it’s there or not, the mere existence of the bone proved that something wasn’t right with Dean.

But if it is still there, he could just chalk it up to one of the unhealthy secrets that the Winchesters kept from each other.

Stopping the car, Dean gets out and grabs his things from the back while Castiel wonders how he can get some alone time with the bag.

“Hey.” Calls Dean. “This place has a bathtub.”

Frowning, Castiel tilts his head. He’d of course noticed it while he showered last night. He hadn’t thought much of it; most humans had one.

“I always wanted one.” Says Dean, “When I was a kid. Sure, the hotels had them but they looked so dirty, I was afraid I’d catch something.”

The bunker doesn’t have them either. It was made as a base for a professional organisation who had bigger concerns than having bubble baths.

“Just, y’know.” Dean glances around, as if looking for someone out in the woods. “I brought some bubble bath. I’m going to soak for a bit. Later – if – if you want, you can have some.”

It certainly isn’t like Dean to be flustered over soap. “Why are you so nervous?” the question comes out without his consent. If anything it makes Dean clam up even more.

“Um… it just – the thing about b – bubble baths,” he pauses, looking away once more, “Mom used to do it when I was a kid. But a grown ass man taking a bubble bath… it’s kind of – you know - ”

Castiel doesn’t know. As usual he has no clue.

Dean looks at his feet again, “Girly! So don’t tell Sam.”

That – well it sounds like concerns the real Dean would have. Castiel is certain that Sam won’t care how his brother bathes but decides not to mention it. If this is Dean… his Dean… then he just shared something personal, something that made him vulnerable to Castiel. The least he could do is offer support. Solitude.

“I don’t believe that bathing is ‘feminine,’ Dean.” He says, noting the way Dean hangs off his every word. “If you show me how to make it.”

Dean laughs, seemingly satisfied by his response. “Sure Cass, but it isn’t exactly rocket science. Just pour it in and turn the water on.”

“The whole bottle?” he asks suspiciously, that seemed a tad wasteful.

Leaning against the porch railing, Dean laughs again, “Not unless you want a houseful of suds.”

Castiel couldn’t see how that would be bad.

“Wooden floors, dude.” Says Dean, as though sensing his uncertainty.

Dean and Castiel stand near the tub. Dean is in his ‘dead guy robe’ as he shows Castiel how to measure out the correct amount of bubble bath. It’s surprisingly small and by his guestimate the bottle will last them almost sixty uses. Plugging the drain, Dean pours it in and starts the tap.

“That’s it?” he wonders, peering over his friends shoulder. There aren’t even that many bubbles.

“Hold on Grumpy.” Jokes Dean. He bends once more, shoving his hand in the water and swiping left to right about a dozen times.

A pile of new bubbles appear and continue to grow; Dean grins in victory.

The appeal is lost on him. It’s not like this method of bathing is even efficient.

“Alright,” says Dean, clapping his hands together. “Scram. I’m about to get naked.”

Like he hasn’t seen Dean naked before. Images of their first time flash behind his eyelids. How good his hands felt, how attentive Dean had been. The expression in his green eyes as he’d come.

Castiel waits until he hears Dean get in until he bolts for his bag.

Empty.

Castiel’s heart falls, along with the last piece of hope he had of salvaging the situation.

How can one human bathe for so long? An hour had passed and Dean still sat in the bathtub, surrounded by a fleet of bubbles. Castiel knows that, because he’d peeked in, worried that Dean had managed to drown himself. Instead all that he saw was Dean, sitting there with one hand languidly stimulating his penis.

So he just lays on the bed, waiting for Dean to finish so he can confront him.

That takes another half-an-hour and when Dean emerges, bright red from the water and his orgasm probably, Castiel can’t find the words to start the conversation.

“Pro tip,” Calls Dean as he dries his hair with a white towel, “Bubble baths plus jerking off.” Dean clicks his tongue and winks.

Castiel forces a smile, standing immediately, “I shall test your theory.”

“Say it don’t spray it.” Dean barks another laugh; Castiel can’t remember a time when Dean had laughed freely so often. “You’ll definitely need to spray it though.”

His cheeks darken as he picks up on the implication.

Swiping away the condensation on the mirror Castiel takes stock of his ‘new’ human appearance. Something catches his eye though. He screams in horror.

Bursting into the bathroom with one hand still gripping the towel at his waist, Dean scans the area for threats before asking what’s wrong.

Sputtering, Castiel wonders how Dean hadn’t seen it. They were huge and disgusting. Red beyond belief like a Rougarou who’d changed. And they had definitely never… ever, been in the simulation before.

“How could you!” he shrieks, feeling tears of shame gather in his eyes followed by the shame of his tears creating a sickening feedback loop of leaky eyes.

“What’s wrong Cass.” Dean’s voice is calm, despite having been screamed at. “You’re okay. This is real. I am real.”

And that’s it. The breaking point. He doesn’t care if his captor knows. He just wants out. He wants to stop feeling this way.  

“No you’re not!” he screeches shoving Dean away. He hits the ground hard but stays put.

The lack of response calms Castiel. By now the simulation Dean would be ripping him to shreds; verbally and physically. But Dean just sits there; socks and track pants soaking in the excess water from the tub.

“This is real buddy.” Assures Dean, still making no move to get up, “How can I prove it to you.”

He doesn’t need to. It’s undeniably real now. But he still needs answers. He doesn’t want to live with any doubts. “Stop lying.”

Dean shakes his head in confusion.

“Stop lying to me!” his voice raises once more and he stalks over to Dean, crouching beside him, “I found the bones and the hex bag at that house. Tell me what’s going on right now or – ” ‘Or I’ll leave.’ Those words don’t come out. They aren’t true. As long as Dean wants him here, he isn’t leaving.

Dean winces, a caught expression settling in. He bites his lip, looking away… looking at the toilet of all places. Maybe for some more shitty excuses.”

“Tell me about the bones!” he demands, and because he’s in the mood for a tirade, he doesn’t stop there, “Tell me why you bought furniture for a place we’re staying at for a few weeks! Tell me why we’re at this cottage in the middle of nowhere when I saw at least four motels in town. Tell me the truth!”

Harsh breaths escape Dean. He’s panicking, Castiel realises. But what right did he have to panic? Castiel is the one who had been deceived.

“Please – ” Dean grips Castiel’s shoulder tightly, “I’ll tell you the truth. Please – don’t leave me here.”

And like that his anger is swept away, not gone but pushed aside for now, because Dean is hyperventilating, gripping Castiel’s shirt and uttering a string of unintelligible pleas that just about break his heart.

“Calm down.” He places his hand, in what he hopes is a comforting manner, on Dean’s head, stroking his hair softly, “I’ll never leave, unless you tell me to.”

Slowly Dean’s breaths even and Castiel hoists him to his feet. Dean opens his mouth but Castiel stops him, “It can wait a few more minutes.”

After seating Dean on the bed, he fetches a glass of water for him to drink. By the way Dean eyes it, Castiel can tell he wishes it were something else.

Chapter Text

TILL DEATH DO US PART

“I’m sorry Castiel.” Is the opener. Pretty shitty opener, Dean thinks, but the angel stares at him raptly, Dean feel like a shit for his little break down. Cass had been the one who was tortured. “You have to know… everything I did, I was trying to help you.”

Cass promised he wouldn’t leave.

“I – when you told me you wanted to be a hunter the first time we should have trained you. Shooting and researching. This time around, even though we’re getting your grace back, I wanted you to – I didn’t want you to be helpless.” He gulps, afraid to look at the angel, “So I asked Crowley and Rowena to help out. Crowley made a deal with that poor sap, Elis. Perfect grades for a few days as his meat suit. Rowena taught me how to make the hex bag and I gave to Crowley.”

“What was the hex bag for?” Castiel’s voice is even. Not angry or disappointed. “What about the bone” I know what dried blood looks like.

Dean looks up. “You’re not pissed.”

“I’m pissed you lied. It caused me a great deal of confusion.” He announces, “but I think I understand why you did it and I won’t be angry. As long as you tell me the truth I won’t be angry.”

Relief floods through Dean once more. He’d been so worried that Cass would abandon him. Head back to Sam and the bunker and leave him here to rot. “I didn’t want to confuse you.”

“I know.” The angel lays a comforting arm on his shoulder, “You were trying to train me.”

“You were too good for my training apparently. Found the damn hex bag and all.” he mutters. Words become harder and harder as Cass’ fingers linger, but he doesn’t have the will to shrug them off; not right now.

“The bones were for a glamour spell. Rowena said: ‘soak them in beetroot juice boy-o… it’s a all about the nutrients.’” He rubs his leg gently, still shaken from the fall. He couldn’t even get up… he couldn’t even – “Truth is, Sam came here a few weeks ago and salted and burnt the corpse. The glamour was for the pictures with the half a heart thing. I was just going to let us burn that, have Crowley shake the floorboards at the house a bit, and call it a day.”

Castiel heaves a great sigh, “After all the times I’ve lied to you and Sam… this is probably fitting pay back.”

Dean winces. He’d long since forgiven Cass for all those things.

He sucks his lip, staring out at the damp pathway outside and trying to figure out how to get the next part out. He doesn’t want to be deceptive.  But this is different… personal to him. He’s not sure he’s ready to admit it… not all of it anyway.

“Cass…” he trails off, unsure. All he’d asked of Dean was honesty. It should be easy, he trust Cass with his life. But how can he tell Cass about something he hasn’t even admitted to himself. It would do more harm than good really, Cass would somehow find a way to blame himself. It’s the Winchester way really; blame yourself for things you have no control over. It’s one of the things he wishes Cass hadn’t picked up from them.

“This – I shouldn’t be forcing this out of you.” Cass steps away, “Something obviously happened in my absence. Something to do with why you panicked – in the bathroom.”

His eyes roam over Dean and he ducks his head, suddenly self-conscious, “Yea.” He admits, “I haven’t really admitted it to myself yet. But it won’t affect you in any way.”

“Ok.” His friend seems to consider things for a moment, “You can talk to me too. About things that bother you – even things that you enjoy. When you talked about the bathtub earlier it was nice – it helped me keep my grip on this reality.” he takes a deep breath, his eyes pained, “In – in the simulation … Lucifer never got your eyes right. Or your soul. There was always something off. I always knew it was the real you but…”

The bones and the lying had confused him. Dean feels the guilt building inside him, like a lego tower. He’d done that. He’d left his friend off-kilter and doubting himself. “Damnit.”

Castiel smiles lightly, the sun catching the blue of his eyes, and Dean knows that he’d forgiven. Forgiven way too easily but he won’t look a gift horse in the mouth.

“This place is mine.” He blurts. Dean had wondered how long he would get away with his home decorating spree. “Like, the deed is on my name.”

“Like a safe house?”

That would be the easy way out. Go along with the safe house theory and save himself from looking stupid and dredging up all the shit that he wanted to keep buried. Dean finds himself shaking his head slowly, “No.” his voice is scratchy as hell, “No.” he repeats in a stronger voice, “It’s mine. My house. My… normal.” Admitting this makes his skin itch and his insides bubble, “I’ve had it for years but never really lived in it.”

“Why not?” The question comes with a dose of genuine confusion, “This place is wonderful and rustic… there isn’t a more perfect place for you. I saw the way you looked around… like you had everything planned out already. Why would you deny yourself such a simple pleasure?”

His mood darkens. The conversation is headed into uncharted territory, “Hunters don’t get to have things like this.”

And it seems to dawn on Castiel then. He inhales in astonishment, drawing away slightly.

“You retired.” The shock on his face is evident. Shame burns his cheeks once more. Now he’ll think that Dean had given up on finding his grace and ditched everyone to have his apple pie life.

“You were my last case.” He watches Castiel carefully for his reaction; expecting questions, revulsion, maybe even some violence. He rubs his knee trying to ease his nerves.

‘Why?’ ‘When did you decide?’ he expects those questions and more. Dean braces himself trying to figure out the answers that he knows he won’t be able to give. But, as always, Castiel shocks him.

He flings himself at Dean, almost slinging him backwards on the bed. He feels warm arms surrounding him, gripping at his shirt. His shoulders knock against Dean’s and he feels Castiel’s chin against his neck as harsh breaths tickle his ears. “Dean, I’m so happy for you.”

Say what?

Somehow finding his wits, Dean manages to reciprocate, wrapping his arms around Castiel trying not to focus on how human he really feels now.

Continuing breathlessly, Cass doesn’t let up on his bear hug. Not that Dean minds. It’s the most human contact he’s had in a while. “I’m glad that you’re finally putting yourself first. This is important Dean… thank you for sharing it with me.”

Cass pulls back, full on beaming at him. “Is Sam getting out as well?”

He rubs his knee, “Nah.” He tries for nonchalance, “Says he’s still got a few good years. Then he’ll be like Bobby… running the phones and research from the bunker.”

“What?” he demands, noticing how shifty Cass now is.

Nothing.

“Spit it out.”

“I’m surprised that you didn’t stay.”

So was Dean. He’d felt the words coming out of his mouth like he wasn’t even in control. ‘Time for me to hang up my hat, Sammy.’ His brother hadn’t expected him to stick with his decision and truth be told, Cass played a large part in that. He couldn’t imagine wanting – or even enjoying – staying at his cottage all alone. If Cass had wanted to head back, Dean was almost sure he would have followed.

“All good things.” He murmurs, caught up in what had almost been.

“Well, in any case,” says Castiel, “I’ll stay with you as long as you’ll have me.”

“Right.” He snorts, “You’re staying here forever. Then I’ll bury your bones in the back yard.”

“What if you find someone… to settle down with?” his expression is unsure and Dean almost harrumphs at the thought.

“That isn’t in the cards for me man.” He rubs his knee, “I don’t want that hassle. I’m content with just you and me here. Maybe Sam if he comes to visit.”

“I’d like that.” He says slowly. “Till death do us part then?”

He knows it isn’t true. Not really.

Cass might be happy with him now. But as soon as he got his grace back, he’d go out, hunt Lucifer… punish him. And Dean wouldn’t be able to follow him down that road – not any more.

“Till death do us part.” He whispers back numbly.

Chapter Text

Castiel stares at Dean. He can tell that he doesn’t really believe in their promise; Castiel will prove it to him, by staying with him no matter what.

A loud rumble from outside breaks them apart. Dean gives him one last glance before peering out the window. “Moving truck.” He sighs, “Forgot about them.”

“C’mon Cass.” He beckons him forward with his hands, “You can tell them where to put stuff.”

People.

Castiel remembers suddenly what had sparked his outburst back in the bathroom. He wonders if Dean had noticed. He never gave any indication of doing so. Dean hadn’t looked at him any different or treated him with disgust. Maybe if he looked again they wouldn’t be so bad.  Either way, he couldn’t face anyone again, not until he knew. Had they been there all along? Why hadn’t Dean said something when they were out in public… the stores, the diner… the witness’ house! He’d been parading around the city like this and no one had made a comment.

Maybe it isn’t not as bad as he thinks.

“I – um – I don’t feel like it.”

Dean fake pouts at him, “You’ll be fine.” He says, drawing out the ‘e,’  “Just don’t put the couches next to the sink and we’ll be dandy.”

He cracks a small smile at that. Dean never ceases to amuse him.

“I think I just need a bath Dean.” He mutters, “A few minutes to myself.”

He’s reminded of a time when the tables were turned: Cass, we talked about this. Personal space?

Who would have thought that he would want – much less need – personal space?

Seemingly following the same line of thinking, Dean nods, deepening his voice, “Dean we talked about this. Personal space?”

Dean’s laughter follows him into the bathroom.

Castiel mixes the water first and pours in some bubble bath. He wants to check in the mirror again but fear stops him every time he gets close. Mirror? No, full bathtub. Mirror? No, urination. Mirror? No, brush your teeth. Mirror? No, no.

Running out of things to distract himself, he finally gathers enough courage to swipe away the layer of condensation and look. The image is still distorted but to be honest it probably make things look better. Red, splotchy, raised lesions cover his face. This had never happened when he was human. About ten in total, dispersed over his cheeks and forehead mostly. Looking closer, some were red and some were purple. There were even some that had flattened and turned a brownish hue.

Dean had surely noticed. It’s near impossible not to. How could he stand looking at him? Castiel could barely maintain eye contact in the mirror. With great care and precision, as though approaching a demon he grazes his finger across the tip of one. It stings sharper than a bruise but less than a torn muscle. Yanking his hands away he wonders what he can do to make himself more presentable.

There was obviously no case and no need for the guise of investigation but that only meant that he would be trapped here with Dean. Dean whose soul is just as beautiful as his face. As an angel he was never insecure or unsure of himself. Now though, as a human, everything feels out to get him. Which is ironic because the last time he was human he’d been homeless, tricked into having sex and then murdered; now he is in a nice cottage with the human he loves more than anything, so he has no real reason to feel the way he does. Except last time he’d felt some drive, some urgency to retrieve his grace and redeem himself. Now he’s barely spared two thoughts to his grace. At the moment, though, it would prove an invaluable asset in ridding him of these horrible bumps.

Maybe he can rub them off, like dirt. Rubs his palms firmly across his face… nothing. By heaven, it’s made it worse! Castiel feels his breathing pick up. What if it doesn’t go away? He wishes it would go away. Almost panting now, he presses the soap and tries that washing with cold water. Nothing!

Castiel decides that he needs to calm down and think clearly. What did humans do when faced with an unexpected growth? Right. Cut it out. He scrambles for his angel blade before realising that he doesn’t need it. He’s human now, anything will do.

Almost gleaming, the scissors call out to him. With shaking fingers he positions it near the reddest part of his face.

“Cass! Help me get the bed frame – ” Dean makes a gurgling sound and almost trips over himself trying to get the scissors away from Cass. “What are you doing!?”

Dean’s eyes are wide as he stares at Castiel in absolute horror. He rolls his eyes, “Dean, stop over reacting, I’m just trying to make myself more presentable.”

Mouth opening and closing wordlessly, Dean finally catches himself and rips the scissors from his grip. “This isn’t the way… this is mutilation.”

“I don’t want to look this way Dean.” The drawl is ever present, now coated with a layer of sarcasm.

“This is normal.” Dean insists, “Human!”

“No it’s not.” The bite in his voice is slowly being eroded by share shame at being caught like this.

“Cass this isn’t anything to feel embarrassed about.” Dean says gently, “Besides, if you went at it with those scissors you’d just make it scar.” Dean holds a finger up, like he’s giving a lecture, “The key to this pimply problem is to not touch it. Don’t irritate it and it’ll go away.”

Castiel feels uncomfortable again; purposefully avoiding the mirror. “I don’t like this.”

“I know buddy.” Dean admits with a sigh, “No one does. There’s actually something I can give you… it helps me when I was a teenager. Oh you’re going to love it.”

Castiel is just about to inquire about Dean’s magic remedy, but he’s rudely shushed. “It’s a surprise.” Dean casually slides the scissors behind his back, Castiel pins him with a glare to let him know that he hadn’t missed that action. Dean flushes, “Look. You’ve been trapped in a cold, dank sweat box without your grace for months. You’re stressed about what’s real and what’s not. You – honestly – can’t believe I’m saying this – but your eating habits ain’t exactly the picture of health.”

“You’re blaming me for his!” Castiel’s voice is incredulous. How could Dean blame him for something like this; clearly his body is rejecting him without his grace.

“Cass.” Says Dean in a dry voice, “Whatever you’re thinking… no. Just no. I’ve got to get back downstairs but when you’re done in here we’ll talk okay. Just hold off a bit before you start hacking.”

“Fine.” He spits, still frazzled.

“Don’t worry.” Dean mutters as he’s leaving, “No one even notices. You notice, because you’re looking for something to be wrong but no one else cares.”

“Do you?” Castiel gulps, dreading the answer, “Care? I mean.”

“No Cass, you’re still you.”

“Thank you Dean.”

Dean gives him a small smile.

Castiel closes his eyes, relaxing into the water. He has to admit, the steam does well to numb his face. He suddenly understand why Dean had remained in here for so long. Thinking of Dean, his mind leads him along a dark path. One where he realises that he’s now sitting in the exact spot Dean had been in when he’d –

Trembling, Castiel moves one hand down to touch his hardening member. With images of Dean as fuel, he strokes slowly, imaging hands that are not his own. In the dream he’d been with Dean many times but they always ended badly, immediately dissipating any afterglow. Even with the real Dean; he’d been kicked out almost immediately. And had sulked most of the night before taking up vigil outside Dean’s bedroom door.

Sounds of pleasure spill from his lips as his hand moves faster and faster. He feels himself getting closer and closer but he can’t seem to send himself over the edge. He moves his hands faster, wincing as it almost burns. It hadn’t felt like this before, then again, Dean had been the one doing most of the touching. Had it felt like this for him? Is that why he left to seek out better company? Castiel’s throat suddenly feels clogged and his arousal wanes.

He sits silently in the bathtub, thinking too many things all at once.

Banging, on the door, causes him to bolt upright. Water sloshes around in the tub as he peels back the shower curtain.

“Dean?” he calls.

The door opens a crack. “You still alive in there?”

“It would seem so.” He mutters.

“What?” Dean opens the door a bit wider.

“Nothing.” He repeats loudly. Actually… “Dean, can you come in?”

Dean’s grip tightens on the door frame his eyes darting left and right in indecision. It takes more than a few seconds before he grudgingly enters and stands near the shower curtain. His eyes remain pointedly away from Castiel though.

“It’s not like you haven’t ‘seen the goods.’” He does air quotes at the end.

Flushing, Dean darts his eyes over for approximately one second. Castiel huffs at the stupidity of humans and their obsession with ‘nakedness.’

“I’ve um, tried the – ”

“Woah.” Holding up his arms as a shield against his words, Dean backs away. “Cass, you’re not supposed to tell me.”

Well isn’t that hypocritical? “You told me.” he points out.

After!” he stresses, “Not as I was doing the deed.”

“It does not seem to be working.”

Dean’s mouth tumbles open, “What?” he demands, confused, “Of course it’s working.”

“It doesn’t feel right.”

“It’s like – damnit Cass – urgh!” he stammers some more, pulls at his hair and eventually lowers himself onto the mat outside the tub. “It’s the same as that night.”

It was the first time Dean had even acknowledged their night together. Castiel can’t stop the upwelling of triumph inside him.

“Was it bad for you?” he wonders, thinking back to how his hand had felt like a grater.

Sputtering once more, Dean can barely look at Castiel. Turning away in shame he knows he’s got his answer.

“Dean, I –”

“Yeah.” It’s a whisper coated in a blanket of shame. Dean has to clear his throat before continuing, “It was good Cass.” He laughs, “It was awesome.”

Looking up, Castiel examines his face, searching for any traces of a lie. ‘Then why did you make me leave?’ but the question never sees the light of day.

Taking advantage of his silence, Dean snaps the curtain back all the way and leans over the tub, brushing aside some bubbles. He huffs in annoyance, pinning Castiel with a glare. “Cass.” It’s almost chastising, “For a guy who’s been watching sex for bajillions of years… you were awfully selective.”

He wants to argue that he hasn’t been watching sex, but humans, but Dean’s expression seems teasing. He hopes. It’s still hard to discern jokes from something serious in regards to Dean.

“Grab that conditioner.” He orders. Some of the last words Castiel had expected to hear, but he complies.

“Okay.” Dean takes an exaggerated breath. “Water… it isn’t really wet you know. Use the conditioner to slick things up down there.”

“Like lubricant.”

Dean nods, “Yea, so you don’t rub yourself raw.”

Castiel squeezes a dollop from the bottle, keeping eye contact with Dean all the while. He swipes his hand down slowly, spreading it around. Licking his lips, Dean almost leans closer.

“I should leave.” Castiel maintains eye contact, but doesn’t reply as pleasure takes his voice away.

Swiping his hand across the head he moans at how good it feels now. Belatedly, he notices Dean swallow and shift in his spot.

“Twist your wrist when you get to the top.”

A jolt of pleasure causes his hips to snap up; his eyes never leave Dean’s. Castiel continues his rhythm, tightening and twisting near the head every couple of strokes. His hips undulate in the water sloshing out bathwater. Some falls onto Dean who seems utterly indifferent, his eyes are locked onto Castiel’s, his breath hitching in tandem with Castiel’s.

“Dean.” It comes out more a plea than a moan his free hand gripping the edge of the tub closest to Dean.

Fingers thread though his and the new sensation has the hand on his dick working even faster. “Mhh… good.” Dean’s voice seems to have fingers of his own, sending a new tremor of pleasure shooting though his body.

“Keep goin’ Cass.” His voice is low and intimate.

Breaths coming out in pants, he feels his eyes unfocused, his grip on Dean’s hand go from normal to bone-crushing. “Dean! Dean, I’m going to orgasm!”

His hips twist as the pressure releases his eyes fall shut and his mouth drops open in a wordless cry as the beginnings of his orgasm roll over him. His hips thrust up into his fist frantically trying to draw out the pleasure. All the while he feels Dean’s unwavering gaze and the fingers that stroke his like clockwork.

Coming down from his high leaves him almost boneless in the tub. If he tries to move his legs would no doubt buckle.

“See.” Dean’s voice breaks though his bliss, grounding him in reality once more. “Told you. Bathtubs am I right?” With that ‘I told you so’ Dean awkwardly stands.

It’s utterly impossible to miss the bulge; especially in sweat pants. Dean knows that he knows, Castiel ensures that he stares at it, just to make sure he isn’t imagining things. Coughing, Dean turns tail, pressing his palm into his erection in a way that doesn’t escape Castiel’s grasp.

“You’re aroused.” The instant the words come out, he regrets them. It spurs Dean into action as he practically stumbles to the door.

He laughs; or tries to anyway. Castiel can see how forced it is. “Twice in one day its like…” Dean let’s his little joke drift off his eyes darting to the door. “I’ll be outside.”

When Castiel emerges later the last thing he expects is Dean standing there with a bottle of honey. He smiles when Castiel comes into view and holds up a finger.

“I can’t wait to show you the place.” his tone is one of genuine excitement, as with most things to do with the house. He dabs honey with one finger and holds it close to Castiel’s face, “Can I?”

Right.

He’d forgotten all about his face.

Flushing in embarrassment, all he wants to do is turn away from Dean, but he nods nonetheless.

A hand is placed on his forehead to smooth his hair back and Dean’s nose is almost in Castiel’s eye. They’ve never been closer. But Castiel hates every second of it. The only redeeming aspect of the entire situation is that he gets up and close with Dean’s freckles.

“Done.” Dean announces stepping away. His easy expression falters as he seems to pick up on Castiel’s misery.

“Your turn.” He says, offering him the bottle of honey. Castiel take it uncertainly. Dean gestures to his face.

“Oh.” He mumbles. He doesn’t get as close as Dean had, but looking at those unjudging eyes settles his nerves a bit.

Petrified couldn’t quantify how he felt walking out of that bathroom. Usually, simulation Dean would lay into him, tearing him apart. But Dean had greeted him like a friend. And it means the world to Castiel.

“Thank you.” he really doesn’t know what he’s doing. Dean’s skin is pristine. Castiel just dabs though, not wanting to stomp on his gesture. It might not have been the most well thought out, he Dean is clearly trying.

Smiling softly, Dean stills his hand by gripping his wrist lightly. His tongue snakes out, swiping the last bit of excess honey from his fingertip. Castiel stands frozen; trapped in uncertainty. What if Dean was just teasing him? He hadn’t forgotten what Dean had witnessed in the bathroom either. Things were getting confusing again. Lines all jumbled together.

Dean walks throughout the house, pointing out the things that Castiel had chosen and commenting on how nice they look. And they do look nice. Dean isn’t just buttering him up.

The lap goes perfectly with the floors and the couch. The rugs and coasters he’d bought all made the cottage even more homely.

“This looks like a home, Dean.”

Practically beaming, “Mission accomplished.” Then after a beat of silence, “I’m glad I’m here with you.”

Castiel stands at the edge of the bed, “What about the pillow cases?” he wonders. They’re a goldish colour and he doesn’t want to ruin them on the first night.

“It’ll wash off man.” Dean groans, “Just get in here and turn the light off. I’m tired as hell.”

Sighing, Castiel shuts off the light and climbs into the right side of the bed, closer to the window. It took up most of the wall and Dean had wanted to draw the curtains but Castiel had convinced him otherwise. He misses the moon, the stars and the warmth of the sun. He to be woken up by the sun in all it’s glory and serenaded by the sounds of nature, singing and chirping to welcome the new day. Animals were hardly ever sad. They lived in the moment and were satisfied by what they could have. They knew their place. Unlike Castiel.

Glancing to his side, he notes that Dean’s body is as far away as possible. A single pillow acting as a buffer between them.

“Dean?” he calls.

Another groan.

“What are we doing?”

“Well.” Dean hums, “I’m sleeping. Don’t know what to say about you though.”

“No.” he presses, “We’re living in the same house, sleeping in the same bed.” He pauses, wondering whether bringing up their foray in the bathtub is a good idea. “The bathtub.”

Dean is silent and he hates it. All his expressions are lost in the pitch black. He hears a gulp, “I’m trying.”

“I know you are.” He says, “And I truly appreciate it.”

“But sometimes it’s hard for me too.” he whispers, as though sharing as secret, “All my life I’ve always done three things: taken care of Sammy, gone hunting and slept with women. Now – now I’m doing none of those things. Sometimes I wonder if this is real. Us. This place. And it’s hard because I don’t know what you want.”

“Anything you give to me, I’ll cherish.” Castiel reaches out, finding Dean’s shoulder in a comforting gesture, “You don’t have to do anything that you can’t handle. This. Right now, it makes me happy.” Because Dean isn’t pushing him away, because they don’t have the weight of the world on their shoulders, “We’re free Dean… free to be you and me.”

A warm hand covers his, “We are.” He affirms, “And if you every feel yourself forgetting what’s real… I want you to know. We are.”

Chapter Text

Dean wakes up stupid and… horny as hell. It feels so good. The warmth of another person next to him… the lack of stress and responsibility. A small moan slips from his lips.

“Hello Dean.”

Stiffening, he suddenly remembers where he is… and who he’s with.

“Hey Cass.” He drawls, slowly ascending from his sleepy fog. Cass has his hard dick pressed flush against Dean’s pant leg, the knee from his other foot rubbing teasingly over his own morning wood. His fingers trail a path over his collar bone. A glance to the side tells him that the angel watches him, just as intently as always.

Finding purchase on his shoulders Cass continues rutting against him, his hands tracing his dick through the sweats. Between the pleasure and the fogginess of sleep, Dean isn’t really sure what to do. If anything at all. He’d be content like this.

But as Cass trails his fingers down, closer and closer to his left knee his hand clamps down on it, harder than he’d intended. He tries to play it cool by shoving Cass onto his back and leaning over to kiss him.

“I wanted to touch you in that tub yesterday.”

Cass shivers. “Why didn’t you?” it’s almost a dare.

“I was being stupid.” He mutters, letting his hands wander. “Think I can fix that today.”

Doing this – being together – in the sunlight makes everything so much more real than in the darkness of his room. The mattress is an added bonus. “Dean, please.” Blue eyes shine pleadingly up at him.

“How can I refuse when you asked so nicely?” Dean dips his hand into Cass’ pants, slowly trailing his finger along the hard length.

“Your hands feel better than my hands.” Dean shares the feeling.

They have time, so he moves unhurriedly, determined to wring out every last of pleasure from his friend.

“Faster.” He begs.

Dean laughs, “Patience young grasshopper.”

Cass growls unhappily, shoving his own hand down Dean’s pants. He hisses at the unexpected contact, but manages not to lose control of his hands.

“I wish – ” Cass gasps as Dean twists his wrist, relishing in the fact that he can render him speechless. “That I could just burn our clothes away.”

Well. His hand stills slightly. It’s a good thing he can’t.

“Wait!” he practically shouts as Cass reaches for the band of his pants. No. Bewildered eyes stare up at him.

“What’s wrong?”

Dean can barely get his breathing under control enough to even try to reply. He hates thinking about it… having to worry about Cass seeing… anyone seeing. Because it’s a weakness; as vulnerable as a hunter could get.

“We’ve only ever done this in dim lighting.” He immediately feels bad for his omission… and the fact that he’d once again killed the mood.

Cass almost glares at the sun. “Oh.”

Dean curses himself. Cass had opened up to him, shared his insecurities. Dean should have no problem doing the same. In fact he trusts Cass more than anyone. Maybe that’s why he doesn’t want to seem weak in his eyes.

Turning to face the angel, he nudges him with his good leg, “You still want to do this.” He wouldn’t blame Cass if he doesn’t. Getting off in their pants like a couple of teenagers isn’t anyone’s idea of romantic, especially when they had a perfectly good bed and an endless supply of privacy.

“Of course I do.” Cass says with conviction, “I won’t leave you.”

Dean breathes a sigh of relief.

“I liked this morning.” He says, his eyes gravitating towards those blue orbs like always, “This. Waking up to you.”

“As did I.” he replies, “I’m glad I can still watch over you.”

Chucking, he wriggles his fingers, “Ready to get back to business?”

Cass’ only response is to stick his tongue down his throat.

That’s the attitude, Dean thinks.

Only a few minutes later, he can’t take it much longer, “Faster.”

Cass smirks in satisfaction and Dean wants the earth to swallow him. “One of my friends told me that patience is a virtue.” Dean feels the blood, well, whatever blood isn’t in his dick, rush to his face. It doesn’t stay long though, Cass speeds up anyway and Dean follows suit.

Somehow it’s different this time. Not rushed like last time with no expectations. Not that their first night together wasn’t nice, but it was shadowed in pretence. Saving Cass. This time it’s just them.

Doors had been opened that night and Dean wants to let the light in. He wants to try to be… something… with Cass. For as long as it can last anyway. He’s got nothing left to lose by pretending. The months without Cass had been the hardest. They had made Dean realise just how much he relied on his friend… not just for his powers but just his presence made Dean feel more at home, especially after a difficult hunt.

Cass is different this time around too. Maybe it’s the rawness of being human, everything focused on needs and wants. His face is more expressive this time, his moans sweeter and his kisses deeper. Dean loves it.

They’re both panting by now, hands moving frantically under their clothes, hot breath mingling in the small space between them. Dean knows he won’t last much longer.

“You almost there?”

A moan follows and a barely there nod, yes.

Dean lets go, feeling the pleasure creep up his spine and release into Cass’ hand. He keeps stroking him through it and Dean cries out, incoherently. He comes back down slowly and watches, entrances as Cass licks some of his come off his hand. It’s easily the hottest thing he’s ever seen.

Getting back to work, he grips Cass tightly, enjoying the way he rocks his hips up into Dean’s fist. Soon enough, he feels the warm wetness spurt onto his hands as the angel’s eyes cloud over with the best type of pleasure. Satisfied that he’s still able to elicit such delicious moans he slows his stroking leaning over to kiss him as they both bask in the afterglow.

“That was a nice moment you had upstairs.” Crowley’s voice almost makes him drop the pancakes. Heat scalds his cheeks.

“You were watching us?” He can’t describe how violated he feels.

“Well, to be fair, I did just want to check on why the bloody hell you haven’t continued with the case.” He shrugs, “Then I waited around hoping you might want to indulge in a threesome later.”

“What is it with you and threesomes?”

He holds his hands up defensively, “A demon wants what a demon wants.”

“Right.” He says, “Well Cass figured out the case is a ruse, so feel free to skedaddle.”

“Squirrel, you hurt me.” he strolls around the counter, “I’d like a ride back to the bunker. I call shot gun.”

Dean smiles, despite himself. Crowley had apparently meant it when he said he’d leave behind his demonly ways. He wasn’t completely reformed, but it was enough. Dean had grown fond of his company. He’d been instrumental in finding Cass and that’s something he can never repay.

“Me and Cass want to stay here for a bit.” He admits, almost dreading Crowley’s reaction. He steps forward, eyeing Dean like a meal… not that it’s far off-base.

His eyes dart back to the bedroom and he thankfully lowers his voice: “So you and hot wings over there are just going to sit pretty and play house while we do all the hard work?” he shakes his head, “Typical. I hope you haven’t forgotten about our deal… I have every intention on collecting.”

No, Dean hadn’t forgotten. Not for one second.

Dean almost jumps out of his skin for the second time in as many minutes as Castiel’s gruffly shoves into the kitchen. Dean holds his breath, hoping that he hadn’t heard that last part.

“What is he doing here?” it’s beyond clear that the angel want to kill him on sight. Dean had once felt the same.

Thankfully, Crowley saves him from answering: “I’m here for tea and cakes. Dean and I are besties, am I right?”

“We’re not besties.” He snaps, “But we are friends.”

Cass looks at him, incredulous, “Dean! This is Crowley!”

“Sounding a bit jealous there angel.” Crowley drawls. Dude doesn’t know when to leave something alone. “Dean and I don’t have such a close friendship like you two do.”

The stony expression sets in and Dean claps his hands, not wanting a fight to break out in the newly furnished house. “Okay!” he says, loudly, “See you round Crowley, tell Sam I’ll check in later.”

Rolling his eyes, he stands, “Squirrel.” Then he nods to Castiel, “Acorn.”

He glances over to Cass to assess the damage, “C’mon man, don’t pout.”

That just makes it worse. He winces. He never says the right thing. “Without Crowley we’d never have found you.”

Cass sighs, “I know. He just… he saw me that night…”

That night, when Dean had screwed some no-name woman and Cass had been there to witness it all.

“I’m sorry.”

A curt nod greets him.

“I was confused.” He reminds his friend, setting a pancake out (like a peace offering) “I just had some of the best sex in my life… I just wanted to make sure you hadn’t broken me.”

“And now?” he demands, “Are you going to test if I’ve ‘broken you’?”

Dean swallows. Low blow, but he deserves it.

“No.” he breathes, “I want this.”

The soft smile he gets and the warm arms around him lets him know that he believes him, “I want this too Dean.”

“What are we then? Boyfriends?”

“Maybe? But does it really matter?” Cass wonders. “We’re together.”

“That’s enough.”

Chapter Text

Castiel pretends that he doesn’t see Dean sneak away during breakfast to chug whiskey just like he pretended he hadn’t overheard every bit of the previous conversation.

“Typical. I hope you haven’t forgotten about our deal… I have every intention on collecting.”

He shudders. A deal, of course Dean had made a deal. To save him if he guessed right. He’s too numb to feel angry or to even place blame. But things have become abundantly clear. Dean has a limited amount of time to stay on this earth and he’s chosen to spend the remainder of his life in this cottage with Castiel. It would warm his heart if it didn’t also shatter it to pieces.

After breakfast he makes an excuse saying he wants to go for a walk and Dean offers no resistance other than he come back in time to make some pie. He snags a burner phone from Dean’s bag before he goes and tries to act as natural as possible despite the phone burning through his pocket.

When he’s a safe distance away he calls Sam first. If anyone knows how to help Dean, it would be Sam.

“Cass!” he says joyfully, “It’s good to hear your voice man.” Upon hearing his friend’s voice, Castiel is rendered speechless and Sam seems to have an abundance of things to say, “When Dean said he was taking you on a case I was kind of worried. Maybe you’d want to look for you grace? I don’t know. But if you do I’ll come pick you up.” He stops, waiting for an answer.

“No. No, Sam. I’m content here, but – ”

Sam cuts him off, “Good, good. How is domesticity treating you? Dean gone into dad mode yet? Man, I can’t wait to come visit you guys.”

Now, there’s a good idea. “Why don’t you?” he asks, “Come visit I mean. I’m sure this is the longest you and Dean have been apart.”

Sam answers in a less enthusiastic voice, “It’s pretty up there.”

A short silence ensues where Castiel wonders whether he should tell Sam now or wait until he got here.

Finally, Sam breaks it for him, “I’ll bring Rowena. She and I have been doing some bonding.”

“No.” he blurts, then winces, “There’s something wrong here. Crowley is involved.” He lowers his voice despite being completely alone in the middle of the woods. “Come alone Sam. I think Dean needs you.”

“Alright.” His voice is now tight and soldierly, “I’ll be there soon. I need to make it organic or else Dean will notice.” A short pause, “Does Dean know that you know?”

“No.” he replies, feeling the tiniest bit of pride, “I ‘played it cool.’”

“Okay. Good.” Sam huffs then, “You know I thought they were too buddy, buddy. I should have known something was up, but we were just so caught up in – everything.”

‘Finding you.’ the echo of Sam’s unspoken words reminds him just whose fault it really is.

“Sammy’s coming to visit in a couple of days.” It’s hard to miss the look of genuine excitement as Dean talks about his brother.

While continuing to vigorously stir the caramel sauce Castiel nods, as though he knows nothing.

“He says that they’ve got some leads on your grace. Rowena is getting the ingredients for a special tracking spell.” He adds. Castiel stills. He had forgotten about his grace the entire time he’d been talking to Sam. His main concern had been Dean. Thinking about it, Castiel hardly misses his grace at all. He can’t fly, but that’s not new. He wants to be useful and maybe heal the Winchesters if they get injured. He misses the way it usually keeps his vessel in impeccable condition. But he does enjoy the bathtub… and Dean assures him that his face will heal with time and honey.

So the question lingers… does he really even need his grace?

“It’s burning.” Dean quickly shoves him aside and pulls the pot from the fire quickly stirring.

“Dean I’m sorry.” He feels his face flush in shame. Even a simple caramel sauce seemed too complicated for him.

“It’s fine.” Dean assures, blowing a dollop of the golden sauce on the wooden spatula. He takes a lick and spreads it around his mouth. “It’s still edible.” He thrusts the spoon at Cass next who leans forward to lick it off. Hmm. Maybe he hadn’t ruined it after all.

“It’s very sweet.” He observes.

Dean shakes his head, “That’s kind of the point.”

“Maybe we should practice making some healthy dishes.” He suggests, “So that when Sam gets here he’ll have something to eat.”

Rolling his eyes, Dean swipes some more caramel from the pot. “Sure thing.”

“Dean.” He chastises, but his friend only grins.

Embolden, Castiel dips his own finger into the pot, feeling Dean’s eyes on him the entire time. He brings it to his lips and spreads it across them, grinning at Dean. After a short moment of indecision he leans forward using the tip of his tongue to trace Castiel’s before smoothly transitioning into a full kiss. The caramel is still sticky and sweet between them and Castiel feels like Dean is deliberately pushing it into his mouth, but he enjoys the kiss.

When they break apart Castiel finds himself panting and a short glance at Dean tells him that he’s also having a hard time controlling his breathing.

Dean gives him a wide-eyed stare. “Since when are you Mr Smooth, buddy?”

Castiel grins, proud of himself. He has to admit, that was immensely fun.

“What are we doing Cass?” Dean’s voice is now devoid of laughter and he stares at him like a deer caught in the headlights… moments away from being slammed into by an un-survivable force.

“Whatever you want.” He reiterates, laying a comforting arm on Dean’s hand.

Dean huffs, ripping his arm away. “I don’t know what that means.”

Cocking his head, he tries to think of a way to diffuse the situation, “It means, Dean,” he begins, “That I enjoy being with you… in any capacity.”

Maintaining his gaze, Dean opens his mouth in an attempt to reply, then closes it. This continues a few more times before he manages to get more than a gurgle out.

“Dean.”

“Cass.” His voice breaks. Castiel is close enough to see his pulse thrumming, “I can’t – you have to say it. I can’t – I can’t – ”

He feels his heart break. Dean is so convinced that Castiel doesn’t want him, that he still can’t have something. “You know it Dean.. There was never any doubt about how I felt… it’s like it said: I love you. I always have. Everyone knows it. The thought of sex has always bored me, except in regards to you. Sometimes, I find myself wondering what it would be like to breach the few inches between us and kiss you – like it did just now, but without fear. Or to have you open your eyes and the first thing you see is me – maybe, I imagine, you’d love me too.”

The words that he’d once said flow freely. “I know you. And sometimes I think that you love me. Despite my vessel. I’ve had this for a fraction of a second and now I’m addicted. And I’m not okay with that… but, I’ll take anything you give me and I’ll give anything you desire. Just forget the world and we won’t let tonight end. We can be together – it doesn’t matter what you call it.” Castiel gulps. The first time he said these things he was an angel, with so much more to offer than he does now.

But the last time Dean was a hunter who could never consign ‘the life’ with any sort of permanence. Now they are equal. “Things don’t have to change between us. I want you. You – want me?”

With bated breath, Castiel waits for Dean to respond. He can see the emotions fliting across his face; it’s almost dizzying for him, he can’t imagine how it must feel for Dean. “I feel – things.” Dean says slowly, “That I know I’m not supposed to feel for you, my best friend. And here with you in this house – our house – I want to be with you completely more than anything. But I know that I’ll just fuck it up… and maybe you’ll stay.” Dean swipes a hand through his hair. It’s longer than Cass has ever seen it. “One day though, you’ll o[pen your eyes and see that there’s a whole world out there. One where you can be happy without me yelling or drinking or not talking about my emotions.”

Tears fill Dean’s eyes and Cass fights the instinct to reach out. Dean is determined to get through this speech and be won’t be able to if Castiel is all over him. He swipes frantically at his eyes and his hand reaches down to finger his knee. It’s strangely reminiscent of his panic attack in the bathroom.

“And I’m lying to you.” Voice cracking in shame, Dean hides his face. “I’m still lyin’, even after you begged me not to. I’m still doing it because I don’t learn. Cause I’m so ashamed. And - ” Castiel watches in horror as the first stop breaks free and with it the levee. Dean tries to speak again but it comes out a sob and Castiel can’t hold back any longer. He wraps his arms around Dean. Just holding him silently as he finally lets his emotions out.

When Dean stills, his shoulders no longer shaking violently with the force of his sobs, Castiel strokes his hair softly, “My whole world is in here with you.” Dean sniffles and holds him tighter, “I know you’ve been lying and … and I’m sad, but I’ll help you. Even when you won’t tell me what’s wrong I’ll help you, because I trust you enough to tell me when you’re ready. I want to be with you more than anything.” And for the real problem… the real reason that Dean had held back for so long. “I’ll never leave you. Death never do us part.”

Maybe Dean needs a new promise. Maybe he can believe in this one.

Dean leans forward, pressing his lips softly against Castiel’s and whispering against them: “Death never do us part.” And this time he believes it.

Dean startles awake. Hand going for the gun that he keeps under the bed. Crowley appears beside him tutting him and Dean glances across at Cass, making sure he’s asleep.

Damnit Crowley!

He throws the covers off and carefully pads across the wooden floors, trying to be silent. Thankfully nothing creeks as he makes his way down to the kitchen.

“Can’t you just leave us in peace for a day?” he demands.

Crowley sighs, “I’m not trying to screw with you Dean. It isn’t in my interests. But you’ve kept me waiting since this morning and I’m getting antsy.”

Dean blows out a harsh breath. He’s still worn out from the emotional upheaval from earlier; all the things he had said – and didn’t say.

“I’ve come to collect on our deal.” The demon almost looks regretful, eyes darting left to right in a twitchy, almost in a crazed manner

But Dean knows it has to be this way. He takes this for what it is, an addiction

“Just be quiet.” Dean whispers, resigned.

“You’re usually the one who can’t keep quiet.” He retorts.

Dean shuts his eyes as Crowley presses his lips to his neck, biting and moving and sucking rhythmically.

Suddenly the room is engulfed in light. Dean’s eyes spring open in panic, a hand flying to his neck in an attempt to cover the evidence, but there he stands: “Cass.”

Chapter Text

He might throw up.

It’s horrible.

Disgusting.

Unnatural!

For God’s sake!

“Mother!” he yells, snapping the loving couple out of their trance. “What do you think you’re doing with Moose?”

The room had been dark but he’s seen all too much. It certainly doesn’t help that his mother is in the exact same vessel as when he was a child.

“Nothing.” The giant moose says just his mother says, “A woman has needs.”

He needs out of this hell hole. Weeks and weeks spent toiling beside them, all in the hopes of finding poor Castiel’s lost grace. It was like an episode of Dora the explorer.

Have you seen Castiel’s grace?

Luci no swiping! Luci no swiping! Luci no swiping!

Except it was worse, because they hadn’t even found a bloody thing. No devil. No grace. And he’d been forced to sit around and watch their budding romance. It was sickening. A demon of his class has much better things to do than watch his mother get it on with a Winchester.

“I’m going to… gouge my eyes out… fall onto an angel blade… maybe even sell myself to the devil.” He mutters, “Please don’t carry on in my absence. Mother,” he gives her a poined look, “I expect you to take a vow of chastity after my death. Fifty years or so would do.”

With that he vanishes, hoping to find some kinship with the older Winchester… maybe freak him about his brother snogging a witch.

Only, Dean is in a love fest of his own. Like his very own porno.

Gugh.

He feels his skin crawl.

He’s certainly not sticking around for the ending of this movie.

It does take him back to his days at Dean’s side. Best friends roaming around no name bars. Fucking and singing and carrying on like teenagers.

It had been freeing; a wanted vacation from the machinations of running an entire kingdom.

The only bummer had been Dean’s drunken rantings about his angel oh, and his utter defiance and inability to understand simple English.

How quaint. Wanders around the living room. He can barely stand it, which means that it’s exactly the kind of things humans like. Warm, cosy, homely.

“That was a nice moment you had upstairs.” He announces, purposefully making Dean fumble.

 “You were watching us?” Crowley is always happy to do his demonly part and creep out the humans.

“Well, to be fair, I did just want to check on why the bloody hell you haven’t continued with the case.” He shrugs, “Then I waited around hoping you might want to indulge in a threesome later.”

“What is it with you and threesomes?”

Maybe I had a nice time when it was just you me and that girl. “A demon wants what a demon wants.” He says instead

“Right.” Dean says, “Well Cass figured out the case is a ruse, so feel free to skedaddle.”

“Squirrel, you hurt me.” he strolls around the counter, “I’d like a ride back to the bunker. I call shot gun.” Of course dear Castiel took precedence. No heed should be paid to the demon who saved his snivelling ass from satan.

Dean smiles and Crowley feels the slightest bit appreciated.

“Me and Cass want to stay here for a bit.” Offf course they do, their practically newly weds. He’s just about to tell them to enjoy the honeymoon phase when Cass barrels into the room.

“What is he doing here?”

“I’m here for tea and cakes. Dean and I are besties, am I right?” he gives Dean a flirty wink, if only to see the angel simper.

“We’re not besties.” Dean growls, obviously picking up on his intentions, “But we are friends.”

Cass looks at him, incredulous, “Dean! This is Crowley!”

“Sounding a bit jealous there angel.” Crowley drawls. He almost feels bad. But not enough to stop. “Dean and I don’t have such a close friendship like you two do.”

“Okay!” Dean announces, slamming the pan down, “See you round Crowley, tell Sam I’ll check in later.”

Rolling his eyes, he stands, “Squirrel.” Then he nods to Castiel, “Acorn.”

He teleports away, satisfied with his quip, but utterly peeved that he hadn’t had a chance to eat. Sam’s blood had been nice, but he was slowly purified by the ritual, leaving his blood… mundane. Dean on the other hand; well his blood has a tinge of hell, a splash of angel and a sprinkling of purgatory.

The deal… or rather arrangement, since he’d ripped up the contract, was that Dean would give him a sip every once in a while, just to quench his appetite and he’d help find dear Cassie and his grace. Dean hadn’t taken much convincing… offering himself up as a literal sacrificial lamb to stop Crowley from eating the other humans.

It made him feel powerful. Almost as powerful as when Ramiel had handed him hell on a plate.

Ramiel.

The other princes of hell were still alive, as far as he knows.

Ramiel, Dagon, Asmodeus.

Ramiel had ordered him to never come back and finding Dagon would be a bitch. Asmodeus had always been the most power hungry of the three. He had openly opposed Lucifer many times, he could be the piece they had been missing in their rebellion all this time.

He’d have to go to him from a position of strength… offer something worthwhile…

He knows exactly what to bring.

Castiel wakes alone. The curtail billowing in the cool night breeze, but Dean noticeable absent from his side. He hears noises down in the kitchen and immediately thinks that Dean is just sneaking a few bites of the pie. He plans to sneak down and tease him, maybe get in a few bites himself.

“Just be quiet.” Dean whispers.

“You’re usually the one who can’t keep quiet.”

Crowley’s voice immobilizes him. Is this… sex… the deal that Dean made?

But no, it’s worse, as he looks around the corner, he finds Crowley, his lips pressed to Dean’s neck, blood flowing freely. He dips a vial near his collarbone, aptly catching the drips. Like he’s done a thousand times before, Cass realises in horror.

“Dean.” He snaps the light on.

Dean shoves Crowley away and slaps a hand onto his neck, trying and failing to ebb the flow of blood.

“Well, I’m not sticking around for the end of this.” Says Crowley and in an instant, he’s gone, having healed Dean’s neck.

Castiel knew, but he had feared so much worse. That Dean had sold his soul or something equally horrendous. This… is still bad, but nowhere near as catastrophic as it could have been.

“Okay.” He breathes trying to let his voice remain calm, “You are going to sit here and explain to me what the hell is going on.”

With Dean’s blood firmly in hand he appears in Asmodeus’ mansion. His lungs  grow heavier with each step and his vessel seems to lock up.

“Now, what it Hell’s name are you doing here?” drawls a southern voice.

“I’m here to offer you a deal.”

“That is what you do isn’t it. Demon deals make hell go round.” He waves a hand and Crowley is back on two feet. “I don’t got all day boy.”

“Dean Winchester’s blood, fresh from the tap, in exchange with your help with Lucifer.”

“My, my, you must be really smitten to think that Dean Winchester’s blood means horse shit to me.”

“Oh but it’s delicious.” He insists, letting his voice ring out. “Tangy, angel zest. That boy’s been to Hell, Heaven and Purgatory. He tastes like a delicacy of power. You’d be honoured to have a sip.”

Nimbly, Asmodeus plucks the vial from his grasp and swallows in one gulp. “Mmh. De-licious. Too bad though, not even this sweet nectar is enough to make me stand against Lucifer.”

Then Crowley finds himself locked in demon cuffs.

Asmodeus carts him off to the basement where he tosses him in like a sack of garbage.

Which is stupid because the crashing noise from the fall gives him enough cover to break his hand cuffs off. Stupid. He’d been drinking human blood all this time, he’s more human than demon.

He pushes himself up, prepared to make a quick getaway, when he sees the prone form in a cage a few feet away. It draws him in, like a moth to a flame. The figure sits, tattered, clothes are barely rags draped across his shoulders. Crowley inches closer, unsure what kind of monster it could be.

A face turns to him suddenly, muffled sounds filter through the cage bars… made by lips sewn shut.

Chapter Text

When Castiel finds Dean lying flat in the dirt cursing he rushes over fearing the worst.

“Dean!” he calls, “What happened?”

Dean laughs wryly, “I slipped in that friggin’ mud!” he huffs, “I told you Cass I don’t do gardening.”

“Dean you’ve slipped before.” He say wanting to placate Dean. A sulking partner is no good. “Let’s not make a big deal out of it. Get up and let’s get back to work.”

When Dean remains on the ground Castiel realises it’s because he’s crying… sobbing actually. His heart skips a beat. It isn’t the kind of crying that comes with a physical injury… but an emotional one.

Crouching next to Dean, he lays an arm on his shoulder to let him know that it would all be okay. That Castiel would never abandon him at his most vulnerable.

“Whatever’s wrong Dean, I promise you that we’ll fix it.”

“No one can fix this.” He sobs.

Castiel feels his heart wrench.

“Tell me what’s wrong.” He commands. He could fix this, for Dean. Whatever it took.

Dean just takes his hand and places it on his knee. “I’m not in the mood.” He counters. He’s sure that Dean isn’t up for anything either after expending all his energy on crying. Dean just trails his fingers past his kneecap – the one that he always rubs when he’s nervous – and down to his leg.

Something hard lingers under the surface and Castiel gasps in audible distress. He hadn’t seen Dean fully naked since they’d come to the cabin. Everything had been done above the clothes or with half their clothes still on. He thinks back to Dean falling in the bathroom and not getting up, the way he clung to the walls lately when walking down the stairs.

He fingers the hard, unpliable wood under his fingers with despair.

This is the one thing he can’t fix.

“When did this happen.”

“On a hunt.” Dean whispers, “I – I always thought that if I lost something on a hunt… it would be a finger or a toe. Not my entire leg.

“Dean I am sorry.” And he is. If his powers were still operational he would be able to mend this instantly. Now all he can offer Dean are simple, useless platitudes.

Sam cringes as mud splashes onto his car. He can’t fathom how Dean gets in and out of this place so easily. Although, he supposes, that’s the point of picking a remote cabin. He guesses that Dean barely leaves. From what Cass had mentioned his brother is in some serious trouble. He’s construed some sort of deal, but with what he’d come to know of Crowley, deals were in his past. Maybe Cass had misinterpreted Dean and Crowley’s friendship as something it isn’t.

Which brings him to another point.

Cass and Dean living together in an isolated house. He remembers what had happened with them both while he was just a few rooms over. What could happen in a desolate, cosy cottage? Right now he knows that Cass needs someone like Dean to help him reintegrate into society and that Dean needs his closest friend.

A bright patch of purple flowers greet him as he pulls into the makeshift driveway. At least they’d found a constructive way to fill the time. Sam had been beyond worried that Dean would use this space to return to hunting, with Cass at his side. Rowena had actually been the one to convince him to let Dean go without a fight. His brother had given enough of himself. He deserves some rest… peace.

He cuts the engine off, half surprised neither of them had come out. The Impala parked to the side lets him know that they’re definitely home.

“Sam!” Cass’ jovial voice breaks him out of his musings.

“Cass!” he calls, barely shutting off the engine before hopping out of the car to embrace his friend. He can’t help but notice that Cass looks more human than ever. A line of sweat on his brow and a small bit of stubble lining his jaw. “It’s so good to see you.”

“It’s good to see you too Sam.” He says sincerely. “Let me show you inside.” He says politely, gesturing to the teak door.

“Wow.” He mutters, “I can’t believe Dean found a place this great for rent.”

Cass looks uncomfortable, “He didn’t.”

“Are you guys house crashing then? Some family’s vacation house?”

He huffs, “Nothing illegal.” He assures, “Dean – uh, Dean actually bought this house for himself a while ago.”

Sam raises his eyebrows, he never knew that his brother owns any property. That Dean had kept this a secret for all these years. Dean had wanted a life… planned for it in fact and Sam had always thought that Dean was just too in love with hunting to quit. Maybe his injury was a blessing in disguise, he thinks as he walks past the clearly newly planted flowers.

“Dean is in the bathroom.” Cass says, shouldering Sam’s bag. “I’ll show you to the bedroom in the meantime.”

Nodding he crosses the threshold into his brother’s house for the first time. A sense of holiness and security entices him, drawing him further into the house. The smell of something baking permeates the air, and knowing Dean, it’s probably a pie. Everything looks perfect, down to the damn rug. He never, ever thought that he’d find his brother anywhere near a place like this.

“Dean picked all the décor.” Cass supplies, noting his interest. “I uh, even picked a few rugs and other things.”

He feels his eyes go wide, “This is amazing Cass.”

“Thank you Sam.”

“Mhhph.” Pity claws up into his chest.

Poor little angel in a cage with his lips sewn together. Heaven knows what Asmodeus had been using him for.

He can’t afford to waste time removing those stitches now though. In fact, he should just leave him here to rot. But the look in his eyes brings Crowley pause. He’d never seen an archangel look so lost… closed in on himself to the point that he doesn’t even try to retaliate.

Approaching the cage cautiously he cracks it open, curing vehemently at the screeching sound it makes. Gabriel cringes too, apparently having enough of his wits about him to realise when something isn’t good.

“Don’t make a sound blondie.” He whispers as he hefts the angel’s vessel up.

Silence, thankfully greets him.

Using his powers he teleports both himself and the angel back to the bunker.

“Wait here and let me get my mother to get your lips freed up.”

“Mph.” He shakes his head, no.

Crowley shrugs but continues to walk away, “That wasn’t a question.”

“Mmph.”

“Damn it.” he rolls his eyes. Why does he have to look so pleading and lost?

“I guess we’re doing this mano y mano blondie.”

The strangest thing happens though, when Crowley approaches him: Gabriel jumps out of his skin… and straight off Sam’s bed.

“I thought we’d established that I’m not going to hurt you.” he tries in the most placating tone he’d ever used. “Just stay still and this will be over before we know it.”

Gabriel shuts his eyes but remains relatively still as Crowley slowly separates the metallic thread from his lips.

Sam stares slack jawed at the king sized bed. The singular king sized bed.

“Where does Dean sleep?” he asks dumbly.

“Here.” Cass says with a frown.

“Where do you sleep?”

“Here.” This time Cass’ voice is almost timid.

“Oh.”

Oh.

Imagine all the things that they do on this bed.

“Yeah, I don’t know if I can sleep here.”

Cass’ face falls. “You still think I’m using your brother.” he stammers, “Nothing has changed between us.”

Sam lets out a breath.

“Okay.”

“Sammy.” Dean tackles him from behind, engulfing him in a tight hug.

The first thing he notices about Dean is his hair. It’s so long… almost like when he was in his twenties.

“You look good Dean.” He teases, secretly enjoying how happy his brother looks. “Cottage life suits you.”

Dean scoffs, but doesn’t make any jokes.

“I missed you.”

“I missed you too.” Sam replies, stunned, “But I see you and Cass have done a hell of a job fixing this place up.”

He shrugs, ducking his head to hide his blush. His eyes dart to Cass and they both exchange a look.

Sam scoffs, things are really the same between them.

“You must be hungry.” Dean surmises, “I know I am.” He pats his belly and winks to Cass so casually before he trots down the stairs that Sam is left reeling.

“Wow.” Sam breathes.

“Uh.”

Right. Cass is still here.

“Let’s go down there.” He says, trying to act natural, “Before he eats all the food.”

“We’re making some progress with finding your grace he says as they head to the kitchen. He sees Dean perk up, abandoning the potatoes for the salad which makes it easier for him to hear them.

“Thank you Sam.” He says seriously, “Call me as soon as you find anything definite. I’ll be there as soon as possible.”

“Yup.” He assures, keeping his eyes pinned to Dean, whose shoulders drop.

Sam… he thinks he understands what’s happening here.

Dean had reconciled himself with the fact that Cass is human for the foreseeable future. And he’d set down roots, roots that had wrapped themselves around the angel. If he left… Sam can’t imagine what Dean would do.

Why would Cass seem so eager to leave though? From what Sam had gathered, a scenario like this is something the angel had always desired. There doesn’t seem to be any bad blood between him and Dean… no tension… nothing. Everything works like a well oiled machine. Easy conversations. Companionable silence. Light hearted teasing. Dean had grown his hair out. Castiel’s dress code no longer consists of just a suit and coat. They seem healthy… thriving even.

Dean boasts that they made the pie together and Cass blushes like a scandalised school girl. Oh, how he wants to ask. He wants answers and – and … pictures. Proof that he isn’t hallucinating Dean’s happiness… the way he doesn’t down every drop of alcohol in sight or eat enough food for four people.

Sam wants to wish him well too. But the last thing he wants is to make Dean feel self conscious or cause him to pull away.

Seeing them like this is proof enough and Sam will just have to accept that.

Though a few pictures before he leaves won’t hurt anyone.

Chapter Text

“There.” Crowley belated wonders whether he should pat the angel’s head for doing such a good job at staying still. He takes a closer look, well, he looks like he’s just about to jump out of his skin in fright, so maybe not. “All done.”

Gabriel skitters away from him, curling into himself on a nearby wall.

Crowley sighs. Maybe mum would have better luck clawing this creature from it’s shell.

He turns his back with a sigh only to whip around as a whoosh echoes through the room.

Damnit. He should have left the angel cuffs on.

Sam wakes to someone continually poking and tugging his hair. “Sammmy.” Dean croons. “Wakey wakey, eggs and bakey.”

“Ugh.” He shoves Dean’s hand off.

“Fine.” His brother teases, “I’ll eat your eggs and bakey then.”

As much as Sam’s on a diet… he kind of… maybe… misses Dean’s cooking.

“Then you’ll get fat.” Sam retorts stretching and yawning loudly.

“Unless you came here to eat me and Cass out of house and home.”

“Right.” Sam replies, still somewhat groggy. “What other reason would I have to visit my big brother.”

“A wee bit of a trim Samuel.” Dean says in a very bad impression of Rowena.

“You’re one to talk.”

Dean doesn’t reply.

“Good morning Dean. Sam.” Castiel calls grumpily as he enters the room. He doesn’t miss the way he squeezes Dean’s hand on his way to the table.

“Morning sunshine.” Dean says with a smirk.

“Hey Cass.”

“I don’t understand why I’m up this early.” He grumbles, slouching over the coffee that Dean brings him.

“Same here man. Dean’s got some newfound obsession about rising before the sun.”

“I just want the three of us to hand out.” Dean grumbles, “Before you get called away. Sue me.”

“I might.” Sam jokes, “I’d be happy with even half of this cabin.”

Cass scowls at him then. “Don’t you dare.”

“I’m joking.” He clarifies.

“Yeah, don’t joke about that.” Dean warns, “Cass is more in love with this place than I am.”

Right. Sam’s pretty sure it isn’t the cabin Cass is in love with.

Crowley wedges his way past the grinding, sweating bodies of the snivelling teenage humans, cursing all the way. Of course! Of course, he’d get stuck with the one angel in the friggin’ garrison who isn’t an obedient bitch.

He finds Gabriel sitting at the bar; two girls by his side feeding him drinks almost continuously.

“Wow.” Crowley drawls, leaning close to the girl on his left. “You’re better than a Ferrari; from silent pip-squeak with his mouth sewn shut to Mr Party Central.”

“Look.” Gabriel waves the girls away and turns to face Crowley with a cocky grin that looks too fake. “Thanks for the rescue and all. But if it’s all the same to you, I’d rather get back to my welcome home party.”

“Small… miniscule detail…” he presses his fingers together to illustrate. “Your big bro is out and about. Once he hears there’s another archangel around his pants won’t keep up with him given how fast he’ll hunt you down.”

“He’ll never find me.”

Crowley scoffs, “I found you. In less than half an hour. And I don’t even know you.” he hadn’t really wanted to bring this up but… “Asmodeus is probably half out of his mind scouring the earth for both of us. It’d really be nicer in a safe, warded bunker rather than out here in the middle of the street.”

That seems to sober him.

“Okay.” He says, still trying to maintain his ‘tough guy, I don’t give a flying fuck’ attitude. “I’ll come with you, but the minute anything – and I mean anything – comes up, that I’m not down with. I’ll haul ass so fast that my own father would never find me.”

Raising a brow, Crowley leans in, “Does that sound like a dare?” The angel smirks.

“Got time for one last drink?” Crowley asks, already snapping his fingers to alert the bartender.

“You tell me, warden.”

It’s been a while since he’s woken up pants less but he finds this immensely enjoyable.

“Aloha cowboy.” Crowley whips his head to the side. Gabriel smiles almost giddily at him.

He remembers last night vividly – last night, consisting of mostly an endless orgy.

“Never guessed you guys had such stamina.” He says casually.

“More than you know.” Gabriel smirks back. He tosses the blanket aside and approaches Crowley predatorily. “There is one item from last night that I’ve just been dying to sample.”

“Use your words angel.” He teases.

 “How about I use my mouth.”

Crowley doesn’t get much more warning before he’s shoved deep into his pillow. Gabriel dominates his mouth, letting his hands roam, yanking at his hair and scratching up and down his torso. “Ugh.”

The angel laughs. “Who’s gonna be the star on top this Christmas tree?”

“If you need to ask then you –”

Crowley swallows the rest of his sentence as Gabriel slams himself down on his cock, swallowing it in one thrust. He almost forgot how much fun sex can be with supernatural creatures who can heal instantly.

“It’s been a while since I’ve had a truly good shag.” He bites out as the angel remains stationary.

“Ditto. Fergus.”

“Are you trying to kill my boner?”

Gabriel grinds down causing Crowley to snap his hips up, desperate for some friction. “Feels alright to me.”

“You look good taking my cock.” He purrs, taking initiative and running his arms up the angel’s torso and tweaking his nipples. He’s treated with a loud moan and Gabriel’s hot channel clenching around his cock. He slides up and lowers him back down smoothly, savouring the tight wetness.

After that, Gabriel pins his hands over his head and being moving his hips; slamming them up and down in a rhythm that drives Crowley completely bonkers.

“I hope you take this for what it is and nothing more.” He grunts out.

Gabriel moan on top of him but pins him with a smirk. “You clearly haven’t met me before. The only problem I see is you crawling back when you find yourself missing this hot piece of ass.”

“We’ll see.”

Gabriel’s breath hitches. “Faster.” He pleads.

Crowley turns them over in one swift motion and positions his legs above his shoulders, angling to his prostate with almost every thrust. The angel’s moans turn frantic then, mixing with whimpers and hair tugs that only serve to amp up Crowley’s own arousal.

“I’m close.” He grounds out driving into Gabriel’s heat rapidly.

“Ugh. More!” He moans. “Ah! I’m so close.”

Burying his face into the angel’s neck he lick and sucks, marking him, if only for a few minutes. He braces himself with one hand, maintaining his angle and speed and using his other hand to reach down and stroke the angel’s dick. It makes his cries grow louder and Crowley speeds up even more, feeling his own orgasm fast approaching.

“Ah!” Gabriel slams his eyes shut, twitching and moaning under him as his cock kicks, spilling into his hand. Crowley pants as he feels his orgasm creeping up his spine. Gabriel’s ass clenching in the aftermath of his orgasm makes him shoot almost instantly and he comes with a moan, filling the angel who still trembles with aftershocks.

He’s just about to make a joke when the room starts shaking. They’re in Cali so earth quakes are pretty common; this isn’t an earthquake.

“Luci.” Gabriel murmurs, still dazed from his release.

“Damnit.” Crowley grinds out, snapping his fingers and sending them back to the bunker.

He pulls out quickly, waving the mess away. “He knows you’re out.” Crowley growls. “We’ve lost the element of surprise.”

“Oh!” speaking of surprises. Gabriel snatches his pants up. Crowley glances at his ass while he bends. Any sign of their dalliance, healed completely. “I think Cassie will freak when he sees this.”

Naked, he turns, holding up a vial of grace – Castiel’s grace – and beaming proudly. But that’s not what Crowley’s eyes are focused on… it’s the hickey that he left on his collar bone. The hickey he hadn’t healed after all.

Chapter Text

 

“Cass?” Dean’s voice careful, in a way that it hasn’t been in a long time.

He rolls over to face Dean. He looks beautiful, with his skin bathed in the morning sunlight and his eyes sparkling. But his face is pinched with worry. Castiel runs a finger across his forehead, smoothening out the wrinkles.

“What’s on your mind Dean?” he asks simply.

Hesitating, Dean shuts his eyes, his hand reaching out to cup Castiel’s neck. “You… like it here, right?”

“Of course Dean.” He assures. “There’s nowhere I’d rather be.”

Dean nods but still seems uncertain. “How about I show you just how much I want to be here?”

“You know how stubborn I can be?”

“Then I’ll just have to be very convincing then.” His hand drifts under the blanket, cupping Dean’s morning wood in his hands. Castiel feels so much more confident about touching Dean, now that he’s learned the ins and outs of his body. The power of knowing just how to bring Dean apart with his own two hands is exhilarating.

At his side, Dean pants, his hands grabbing at Castiel’s arms. “Cass.” He moans.

Another sound Castiel will never tire of hearing. His eyes are crinkled as he grins up at Castiel. Castiel startles as he feels Dean’s fingers wrap around his own erection, taking the lazy approach and stroking him gently, letting the pleasure build up.

“Dean.” He hisses after about five minutes. “Move.”

Dean chuckles softly but presses a scorching kiss to Castiel’s lips as his hands speed up. He’s barely aware of his own hands moving past Dean’s cock. Castiel comes first, his dick spilling onto Dean’s hand. Dean strokes him through it, kissing his cheeks and his neck until his body stops trembling.

Immediately, Castiel flips Dean onto his back, licking a path down his stomach until he reaches his dick. He sucks gently at the head first, enjoying the way that causes Dean to  squirm. Then he leans in, swallowing down around him using his free hand to hold Dean’s hips in place.

“Shit.” Dean hisses, his eyes slamming shut. “I’m close.”

Castiel undulates his throat so that the ridges massage his throat in the way that Dean likes. Dean makes a strangled noise as his cock jumps, shooting his ejaculate down Castiel’s throat. He swallows around him, sucking the last of his orgasm down before pulling off and kissing his head.

“Good morning.” He murmurs, reaching forward to press a kiss to Dean’s forehead.

His chest shakes with laughter. “Good morning indeed!”

Castiel is watching Dean sip on cranberry juice when a burst of power splits the air.

He knows who it is before he whorls around with his angel blade in hand. He’d been expecting Crowley for some time. But who he hadn’t expected was the archangel Gabriel.

“What are you doing here?” he demands, moving to shield Dean.

He knows that Dean explained his deal.

He knows that Crowley should be back yet. But Castiel had been expecting some sort of deceit from the demon and had prepared himself.

“This isn’t the deal.” He hisses.

Crowley steps back with his hands up. “I wouldn’t dare take advantage of Dean. He’s my friend.”

“Some friend you are.” He growls.

Crowley could have healed Dean ages ago, yet, he’s just hung around, preying off of his weakness. He isn’t Dean’s friend, no matter how much he has Dean fooled.

“You could have healed him.”

“So can you.” Gabriel pipes up.

He sighs. Obviously no one had bother to bring him up to speed.

“Gabriel.” He says. “Lucifer took my grace. I c-”

Gabriel smirks. “What?” he says, producing a vial glowing with grace. “This grace?”

Castiel feels his jaw go slack. His fingers itch to pluck it from Gabriel’s grasp. Use it to heal Dean. But he knows what seeming over eager will get him; a steaming pile of nothing.

But Gabriel just passes him the bottle, forcing his fingers to grip it tightly.

“Your choice Cassie.” He says in a more serious tone that he’s ever heard from the trickster.

Dean’s face is the picture of impassiveness. His voice, when he speaks, is harsh and tempered as though addressing him with barely veiled anger. “Like he said. It’s your grace; your choice.”

His fingers shake as he releases the cap on the vial. His grace heads straight for his mouth, as though being called home. Power fills him once more, like a bone that was splinted into position; stinging pain for a minute before being dulled by the rightness of the position.

“You’re back.” Dean comments.

He lifts his hand immediately, wanting to press his fingers to Dean’s forehead – to do what he should have been able to from the start.

Make Dean whole again.

Put an end to his suffering.

“No.”

Dean pulls back, knocking into the sink. “Save it.” he says. “You’ll be drained if you fix me.”

Gabriel is suddenly beside Dean, laying a hand on his shoulder. “But I won’t be.”

A bright flash drowns out the colour in the room.

“Ta da!” Gabriel says, stepping back.

Dean swallows, looking more frightened than relieved but hikes up his pant leg to reveal the new smooth skin.

“You’re back too.” Casitel says cheerfully.

The forced smile Dean gives him is disappointing. He wants to talk to him. Find out what’s wrong. But he sees a familiar expression fall onto Dean’s face.

It’s the mask of calmness and dissonance he always wore as a hunter; while hiding his emotions.

Dean claps his hands together. “Now that the band is back together… I guess we go hunting.”

“Hunting?” Castiel echoes. He feels a chill in his bones, which is impossible, because his grace is back.

“For Lucifer.” Dean says seriously. “There’s nothing holding us back now. Let’s just get it over with.”

Crowley corners Gabriel outside of Dean’s cottage.

“You shouldn’t have done that.” He says darkly.

“What?” Gabriel chuckles. “Are you referring to the three pies I ate or the sex we had.”

“Neither.” He says briskly. “You shouldn’t have healed Dean.”

It twists Crowley’s insides to even say it, but he knows Dean, despite everyone thinking otherwise.

He knows that the only way that stupid wanker would get out of the ‘saving people hunting things’ mentality was some grave injury. Besides death, losing that leg was the only thing Dean could use as an excuse to build something for himself.

And Gabriel had taken that away from him in a flash.

“Why? Just because he’s your play thing doesn’t mean I have to do what you say.”

“Don’t be jealous.” He warns. “That isn’t what this is about.” He shakes his head. “Dean had something here… something special with Castiel. And we’ve managed to ruin it in less than twenty four hours.”

Understanding dawns and Gabriel loses the smug expression. “Crap. I didn’t think.”

“Cass was going to do it anyway.” He says with a sigh. “Dean is different now.” He muses.

He’s back to his hunter persona. A macho man with no attachments and an unhealthy obsession with the well-being of his brother.

“What should we do.”

“I don’t know.” He says. “Besides, I think Castiel is the best person to talk some sense into him. Failing that, Sam will have to drag his ass back here.”

Chapter Text

Dean is different now.

He moves with great purpose. Not just because his legs are back, but because he can’t stand being in the same room as Castiel. It’s not something that he decided on lightly, but three days of constant avoidance is enough to show a pattern.

Dean is up and about for most of the day and at night, when he finally allows himself to rest Castiel finds him sprawled across the entire bed. It had hurt, knowing that he was no longer welcome in Dean’s bed, but Gabriel had prompted him to talk to Dean.

Sure, Dean had spared him a measly minute to tell him that angels don’t sleep. So Cass has no use for the bed.

Dean’s expression when he had said it was the real knife in his chest though. It pains him to his core to have someone he had slept with, shared himself with, to treat him like he would an enemy – a stranger.

Where Dean once looked at him with concern and openness, his gaze is now filled with veiled animosity and a burning desire to get away as fast as possible.

Was that always there in Dean’s gaze? Had Castiel, as a naive, vulnerable human, seen only what he had wanted to – only what he could bear to see?

He doesn’t want to believe that. But the way Dean is acting has him doubting himself more and more with each passing second.

Castiel finds himself clinging to the walls more often than not, trying to remind himself that this is real. That this Dean isn’t a simulation. This Dean cares about him and won’t destroy him with a venomous tongue.

The only thing anchoring him to this reality is the way Dean’s soul trembles in his presence. Simultaneously calling out to him and begging him to leave him alone.

He sees Dean’s eyes from across the room. He sees his soul stretch to the furthest limits of his vessel, as though begging Castiel to reach out and touch it. Only for Dean to turn on his heel and march away, leaving Castiel in stunned silence.

Crowley has been strangely sympathetic about the entire situation. Laying a hand on his shoulder when Dean would inexplicably vanish, calling Dean out on his sour mood in a way that seemed to piss Dean off even more.

Resorting to dirty tactics is what he has reduced himself to.

Pie.

Castiel is baking Dean a pie. Crowley even summoned a mini fan to push the smell throughout the house. At this point, he’s pretty sure that even the flowers in the garden are exuding a scent of pie.

Still, no Dean.

Crowley almost bangs his head against the wall at the pathetic attempts of a dopey angel to get the attention of his petulant human.

Does he have to do everything in this house?

Gabriel suggested that he throw Dean and Cass into a fairy tale world until they admit their untimely love. It has a certain flare to it, but it’s not what the two lovebirds need right now.

They just need something – or someone – to remind him about all the reasons why they should.

Which, in their current situation is counter-productive, seeing that they have a devil to catch.

But, if the universe wants Crowley to play love connect, then so be it.

Cass chuckles wryly at his side, shutting off the gas before marching outside, running a frustrated hand through his hair.

Crowley zaps himself to Dean’s room, scaring the crap out of him if he doesn’t say so himself. The beer bottle he’s holding almost flies out the window.

“Back to day drinking I see.” He says, strolling over.

“Get out of my room Crowley.”

“Your room?” he raises a brow with interest. “Last time I came here, this room was very clearly occupied by two people.”

Dean remains silent.

“One of whom had their dick down your throat.”

Dean glares at him then.

“Does that ring a bell?”

“That’s over now.” Dean says sternly.

“And who decided that?” Crowley wonders. “You? Dean, I don’t know if we told  you, but everyone you’ve ever known has come to the unanimous decision that you shouldn’t be allowed to make any decision whatsoever.”

Dean, at least, seems mildly amused by that.

“What are you really doing here Crowley?”

“I came to check up on you.” He admits. “Feathers baked you a pie but you didn’t show. He thinks you hate him now.”

“I don’t.”

“They why are you acting like a mega bitch.”

“I am not.” Dean protests. “But Cass knows what’s what. He knows that angel grace and Dean’s new leg means that were ‘back in friggin’ business.’ Saving people, hunting things…” Dean drains his beer. “The family business.” He finishes, throwing his hands up.

“And did you perchance tell Castiel that?” He asks, “That what you have is over?”

“I don’t have to.” Dean says with a small frown. “Cass knows.”

“I’m telling you he doesn’t.” Crowley insists, cutting off any protests. “Now, you two may think that facing the devil is going to be a walk in the park, but some of us have a real stake here. Things we want… things we can lose. So we can’t afford your drama with him screwing us.”

“By ‘we’ you mean you right?” Dean bites out, rolling his eyes at him.

“By we, I mean me, you and your broken hearted boyfriend.”

There.

He pops out of the room.

Good deed accomplished.

Now, it’s in Dean’s hands.

Crowley shudders… filthy, unwashed oven mitts of hands.

Chapter Text

Who thought that Crowley of all people would be the one to lecture Dean on right and wrong. He’s wrong.

Of course.

He’s accepted that ages ago.

He hands his head, inhaling deeply. Pie.

The smell of that pie had been the biggest slap to his face. He taught Cass to bake pie. When they were together. When Cass had time for him. But was it time, or rather, being stuck with Dean?

That’s one question he actually doesn’t want answered right now.

Inhaling once more he forces himself to his feet.

Suck it up,  he reminds himself, it’s what you’re good at.

As he makes his way to the kitchen, the scent of the pie becomes more prominent. It’s some damn good pie; his nose never lies.

“Cass?” he calls as he approaches the kitchen.

Empty.

Dean is about to whip out his phone to call him when he notices that Cass’ phone is out on the counter. “Damn it.” he mutters.

Then it hits him. Cass is an angel now.

“Cass?” he prays. “Hope you’re listening buddy. I’ve been a dick to you. And… and I know you don’t owe it to me, but I was hopin’ you’d come back. Hear me out.” He pauses. “It’s totally okay if you don’t.”

Cass will come right. He usually does when Dean prays to him. But as the minutes drag on, Dean finds himself believing it less and less. In fact it reminds him of the time when they’d gotten into a fight, then Cass had disappeared for months… held captive in a lucid dream by the devil. It reminds him of all the promises he had broken and the trust he had absued.

What if it’s happening all over again.

Dean bolts, he makes a dash to the coat rack and flings the door open, completely prepared to march out and save Cass.

The door, doesn’t seem very complaint with his plans, as it rebounds off of something and smacks him in the cheek.

“Son of a bitch!” he yells.

“Ditto.” A voices comes from behind the door.

Dean catches himself quickly. “Cass?”

He pulls the door in, and, sure enough, it really is Cass.

“Man, you’re okay.” Dean says in a rush, pulling him in for a quick hug.

Cass moves into his grasp with trepidation, standing stiffly in Dean’s grip.

“What’s wrong?” he demands.

“What?”

“You were leaving.” Cass says. “What’s going on?”

“Nothing.” He says quickly. “I was… looking for you actually.”

Cass nods, his shoulders falling. “I was taking a walk.”

“I’m sorry that I just checked out.” Dean blurts, not wanting to wait any longer.   ‘I know I promised to be straight with you and help you believe that this is real. But you got your powers back. You’re back to your angel ways. And as an angel Cass… you always left. This time, I just wanted to be the one to check out first. That isn’t the point though,” Dean ends sombrely, “I fucked up. I’m so sorry Cass.”

Cass considers him for a minute. “Why didn’t you talk to me?”

“Because…”

Cass blinks in understanding. “You didn’t know what I would say… you think my powers being back… that it would change me.”

“Yeah.” Dean admits. “But I should have talked to you anyway. We promised to be friends.”

“We did.” Cass says reassuringly.

“You understand right?” Dean babbles on. He should be happy. He’s said his piece and Cass seems content to remains as friends. Yet, Dean had hoped for something… something else. “That hunting and relationships don’t mix. That’s it’s too dangerous. It’s a weakness.”

“I understand.” Cass says gently, laying an arm on Dean’s hand.

They stare a moment. Cass looking at Dean just as he always had, and Dean, staring back at him, trying to figure out why he feels like reconstituted garbage.

“I presume you still want that pie?” Cass says almost teasingly.

Acid fills his mouth at the mere thought of pie.

Break-up pie.

But he can’t shove this offer in Cass’ face. So he does what a Winchester does best.

He sucks it up.

Cass lays the plate out in front of him with a huge, gargantuan slice. Then he sets another plate out for himself.

Dean raises an eyebrow. “You eat pie now.”

“Some habits, you just never let go of.” He says fondly.

“Glad to know that you got something worthwhile out of this.”

“Dean, I got more than pie.” Cass says seriously. “Being with you… it was perfect.”

Forcing his expression to remain neutral, Dean takes another bite of pie to avoid replying.

Cass seems persistent though and he raises the slice of pie, mostly balancing on his palm with the insides leaking out. “To us, Dean.”

Despite himself, Dean feels a sile splitting his face. “To us, Cass.” He says, raising his own slice in reply.

The dinner they have is nice. Oddly reminiscent of what they used to be, but Dean feels hollow throughout it all.

Him and Cass are good. Cass wouldn’t sit here smiling with him if he wasn’t. But it isn’t enough.

Dean had it all.

And now, that he doesn’t have it, he doesn’t know what to do with himself.

“Good night Dean.” Cass says as Dean feels his eyes drooping. “It’s best if you get some rest.”

“Yeah.” He agrees, rubbing at his eyes. The gang is getting together tomorrow to discuss strategy. He suspects that he’ll need all of  his energy for that one. “Night Cass.”

Dean’s legs carry him as far as the door. Then he stops. Held immobile by his unfulfilled expectations.

His talk with Cass was everything he could have wanted. He’d gotten to explain his point of view. Cass had conceded that they could still be friends. Every topic had been covered.

Though, Dean hadn’t heard the one thing he wanted to.

Cass had taken his words in stride. As though they had no bearing on his life anymore. As if his time with Dean was already cut from the cloth of his existence.

Sure, the way he handled things left a lot to be desired, but he went into that kitchen with the intention of … something more.

Maybe he would discover that Cass still cares. That he still wants to be together.

All Dean had gotten were toasts to their time together. A sign that Cass was closing that chapter of their lives. Cass is moving on. Moving on from Dean and from this little cottage.

He had wanted him to fight.

To say that Dean was wrong. That they could hunt and have a life. That angel grace or not Cass would still want him.

Dean feels the pie churn in his stomach. Goodbye apple pie life.