He didn’t look like he’d be too much trouble.
Dean’s last roommate had been into playing GTA with his buddies till three am. The one before that let a cat in his window every night, despite Dean’s lease conditions and allergies, and had continued to deny the existence of said cat even once Dean had trodden on a half-eaten mouse with his bare foot one morning. Before coffee. While sneezing.
There had also been milk-carton guy.
We don’t talk about milk-carton guy.
Dean looked down again at the printout in his hand, realizing accountants make way more bank than he’d previously imagined.
“You don’t want a nicer place than this? Looks like you can afford it.”
This guy, his one and only applicant so far, looked around.
“It seems as though you have everything I might need. Importantly, there’s no smell. Some of the places I’ve seen in the past few weeks have had certain odors. Overpowering odors. Literally eye-watering.”
“Awesome. No overpowering odors! I’ll add that on the listing if you decide not to take it.”
The guy, Castiel, wrinkled his brow.
“I thought we’d agreed I’ll take it.”
“Yeah, I know, but c’mon man, that was after seeing just your room. I didn’t know if you’d feel the same after the whole grand tour.” Three rooms. His, the spare, the kitchen-slash-TV room with small balcony. Not the greatest or grandest, but clean and tidy. Just about. Where Dean was on the couch, he could see a stray discarded sock that’d made its way under the chair the guy was sitting in.
“No, I haven’t changed my mind. It’s ideal.”
“Seriously?” It was a cheaply-built shitbox. “Ideal?”
The guy, Castiel, Dean reminded himself again, nodded earnestly.
“It’s a twenty minute walk from my work. I already use the coffee place on the corner for lunch sometimes. My dry cleaner’s a block away, there’s a trail alongside the river that looks like it’d be quiet first thing in the morning, and I don’t want to spend too much on rent as I’m saving to buy. From my last few weeks on Craigslist, I can assure you that your standards of personal hygiene are head and above that of most people looking to sublet in this price bracket. Trust me, it’s ideal.”
Castiel Milton was turning out to be the perfect applicant, only three days after Dean had listed the room. Well-spoken, looked conservative. No hint of party animal. Polite, nice manners that Mrs. L next door would love.
“Great, sounds good.” He put the references and bank statement down next to him on the couch before leaning forward, resting his forearms on his knees. “I think I’ve got everything I need. How about you?”
Castiel frowned, his brows drawing together.
“How about me what?”
“You have anything you need to ask me before you sign? Any questions? I mean, the neighbors all seem okay, not much contact but we all nod and ‘Hey’ to each other sometimes. My landlady’s fine with me subletting so I won’t need you to hide or whatever if she’s coming over. Uh, what else . . . ? I’m friends with the two girls across the hall –”
“There are a couple of things I should disclose to you, prior to signing.”
Uh-oh. He collects creepy old-timey dolls and has tea parties with them. He has issues with his gut, farts constantly and clogs the john every time he shits. He plays the drums like a badass motherfucker, which would be equal amounts epic and unsuitable.
“Okay. Lay it on me.”
“I smoke weed.”
Dean grinned instantly.
“Yeah? Cool. I’ll provide the beer, you keep the bowl packed.”
“Not much these days, y’know, adulting and everything, but on a weekend would be good.”
“That’s primarily when I smoke anything more than a bowl before bed. Would I need to use the balcony?”
“Not for a bowl a night. I mean, I wouldn’t want anyone suckin’ down a pack of twenty a day in here. Just air the place out if you’re really blazing it up.” Castiel nodded in agreement, staring at his hands where they lay flat on his knees. Like he was having to consider whatever was coming next. “Was that it? The weed?”
“No. I’m gay.”
“What? That’s not even worth mentioning.” Dean was pretty sure he pshawed at the very notion that he’d have a problem with a gay roommate. He’d be more sure if he was certain what a pshaw was. Was his internal monologue going on too long? His throat was getting dry. “Not a problem, not even close. Jesus, man, like, I’m pretty sure everyone’s gay after a few beers.”
Castiel sorta pressed his lips together and looked at Dean in a way that wasn’t quite a side-eye and said ‘Okay.’
“Uh. I’m sorry, that was inappropriate, I shouldn’t have –”
“I’m uncertain that your beer theory has any basis in reality.”
“Yeah, no. I’m sorry.” Dean ran his hand over his hair. “It was a joke? I think? The one thing I should probably disclose to you is that I think I have the world’s greatest sense of humor. Everyone else seems to think I’m an asshole.”
Another confused expression.
“You’ve lost me.”
“I make bad jokes. All the time. That was one of them. I personally think I’m hilarious as fuck, but it’s the minority view. I’ll try to keep a lid on it.”
“Oh.” Castiel’s eyes lit up, like Dean had done something good. “I’ve been told, repeatedly, that I have zero sense of humor. I don’t get jokes. I don’t try to, because I won’t. I seldom try to tell them.”
“So I can go on making horrible offensive jokes and you’ll just fail to notice them?”
Castiel nodded, taking a sip of the water he’d requested instead of a coffee or soda.
Dean thrust the sublet agreement towards Castiel across the coffee table.
“Sign it. Right now, right there, and sign and date at the bottom.”
“No, there’s an addendum to my being gay. The primary issue therein.” Another sip of water, which Castiel placed back on the table. Letting out a breath. “I have a lot of sex. A lot, at least by conventional standards. It’s been an issue with previous roommates.”
Ah. A lot of sex. Oh. Well, good for him, at least someone was.
“Define ‘a lot’ for me.”
“Usually, most weeknights. Sometimes on a weekend.”
“Damn. Your boyfriend keeps you busy.”
“No boyfriend. Different guys. Just a couple of hours each time. Strictly no sleepovers.”
“Different guys? Like, five, six times a week? That’s . . .” Dean was never any good at math. “A lotta guys. You keep a head count?”
“No. It’s in the mid-hundreds.” Castiel wrinkled his nose and glanced upwards, mulling it over. “I think.”
“You ‘think’? Wow, you’re a shitty accountant.”
“I know. I should keep a spreadsheet.”
“Because that wouldn’t be gross at all.”
Castiel looked relieved, happy? That Dean wasn’t making a huge deal about the sex. Something that made Dean feel almost bad for him.
“I’d keep it to my room. I’d keep my door closed, which is right next to the front door, conveniently, so you shouldn’t have to meet –”
“The constant stream of, I’m assuming here, satisfied yet dehydrated dudes staggering outta your room?”
“I wouldn’t say constant. . .”
They both laughed a little, like Dean could see them clicking together, how well they both fit in what should’ve been a horribly awkward conversation with a total stranger. It could work, he’d felt it pretty much right away, opening the door to a guy outlined in the hallway light, shining around him, raindrops sparkling over his shoulders, his fluffy hair all backlit and glowing.
“The thing is,” Castiel sighed, like his next words could be a deal breaker. “The guys, they can get, I’ve been told, loud. I’ve had more than my fair share of screamers. I don’t always notice in the heat of the moment. It’s lost me a couple of sublets, and I need you to reassure me that it’s unlikely to be an issue so I don’t have to go over all this again in another six months.”
“Sounds to me like you’ve had more than your fair share of everything. Honestly,” Dean pushed the agreement an inch closer to Castiel across the table. “I have a TV in my room, I’ll just crank up the volume if I need to. It’s not like we’re going to share a wall and your immediate neighbor’s elderly and deaf as a post. I don’t see it being a problem.”
This guy was an accountant. He looked like an accountant. Dean had the word ‘accountant’ appear in his mind before Castiel had stepped into the apartment and confirmed it with a handshake. He did not look like a sex god. Dean was comfortable enough in his heterosexuality to know when a guy was good looking, and yeah, Castiel had something about him. He had a nice face. Great eyes. Broad shoulders. Dean was straight and could still totally see how Castiel might be hot to other guys.
But however active this guy thought his sex life was, however loud, had to be an exaggeration. Sex gods did not wear crumpled Humphrey Bogart coats and shirts with ketchup stains down the front. Dean was pretty sure they had better hair. It couldn’t be that bad.
“And, of course, if you ever have company planned, I’ll take a night off or keep it down.”
“Uh. Yeah. Great.” Dean did not need a spreadsheet. “So, you wanna do this? Ooh, wait, can I get my taxes done for free? Fuck, man, that would be amazing. I have, I dunno, a system. It’s not exactly working out like I’d hoped.”
Castiel’s eyes narrowed.
“You have a shoe box of receipts in the bottom of –”
“My closet, yes, yes I do. Free taxes for me, and your bed partners can scream all they want.”
He held out a hand.
The hand that wrapped around his was softer than Dean’s, uncalloused. Another firm shake.
“Hey. I made some food. You want?”
Castiel was standing in the middle of his floor, glaring at two pieces of the metal bed frame he was trying to put together.
“Yes, please, rescue me. This is torture. Medieval.”
Dean backed off from where he’d stuck his head around Castiel’s door, pushing it open a little.
“Why won’t you let me help? I’m not busy. You at least need to borrow a ratchet hex key, it’ll make it a helluva lot faster. But I should help, it needs to be sturdy. For all the sex.”
“DIY is not my strong point.” Castiel pushed past him towards the kitchen, sniffing the air. “Whatever you cooked smells wonderful.”
“It’s just pasta. Listen, I tighten nuts for a living. Let me put the bed together. We’re totally bros now, I’m supposed to help you out.”
The nuts comment and its accompanying wink earned Dean a definite smirk before Castiel lifted the lid of the pot on the stove, inhaling and closing his eyes. He’d turned up at eight o’fuck on a Sunday morning, wearing mom jeans and a loose Be Audit You Can Be t-shirt that further confirmed him in Dean’s mind as ‘Not a sex god’. His car, which you could’ve stuck a sail on and set course for the new world in, had been stuffed with enough boxes that it’d taken them an hour to drag them all up to Cas’s new room.
It had been okay. They definitely clicked and Cas seemed like he was easy-going enough, easy to talk to, even though he didn’t say that much in return. A little stiff and over-formal, but that was probably appropriate for his work. Stuffy, stuck up, John would’ve called him. John, who was probably rotating in his grave at five hundred RPM at the idea of a fuckin’ fag moving in with Dean, which made the dawning realization that Dean might’ve found himself a future buddy in Cas all the sweeter. It felt like that, like he was already making a friend. It was nice. There was something weirdly pre-school about it.
Then the bed had been delivered, and Cas had spent two hours proving that Dean could hear any thuds, groans and curses coming from Cas’s room with crystal clarity. The apartment’s cheap shitty walls were in no way going to be any help with Cas’s screamers.
“Seriously, man, let me help.”
“I will not allow it to defeat me. That’s what it wants.”
Cas was spooning garlicky tomato spaghetti into the two bowls passed to him, handed them back for a sprinkling of the sharp cheddar Dean had grated.
“So send me in. I’m your ringer. Your secret weapon in the war against flat-pack furniture.”
“I’ll consider it, thank you. I suppose victory is more important than personal glory. This is good, by the way.”
Dean looked down at the bowl in his hand, forking up another mouthful.
“I heated jarred sauce and boiled some water with noodles in.”
And added a few dried chili flakes, fresh basil, a bulb of crushed garlic, chunks of pancetta.
“It’s delicious. The last time I tried to cook dried spaghetti it all stuck together in a big lump to the bottom of the pan, where it burned. In water. I had not known that was possible.”
“You’re supposed to stir it.”
“The instructions didn’t include that. It was my last major culinary attempt to date, so fresh food like this is a real treat.”
“Nah, this is nothing. Hey,” and Dean had no idea why he was nervous to ask. He was, actually was nervous, a waver in his voice afraid his new buddy would turn him down or laugh at him or something. “I, uh, I had an arrangement with a couple of former roommates. I like to cook, I’m not the greatest or anything but it’s relaxing for me, so I’d cook three or four nights a week, and they’d pony up for pizza or whatever in between. If you want, we could try that, see how it works out.”
“That would be wonderful. I’m so tired of takeout.”
“Yeah, I couldn’t face it every night.”
“I couldn’t. Don’t.”
“What other options are there, besides cooking or getting someone else to do it for you?”
It had to be healthy. Cas’s t-shirt was clinging to a flat stomach where he was perched back in the armchair. Didn’t look like too much takeout had been a recent issue. Dude looked pretty built. Dean dragged his gaze up, finding Cas looking right at him. Almost staring.
“Sandwiches. I can make sandwiches without setting fire to anything.”
“I like sandwiches. Difficult to mess up.”
“Well, no. You’d be surprised.”
“How the fuck do you mess up a sandwich? Is that even possible?”
“Three words.” Cas twirled his fork, watching a small nest of noodles grow. “Pickle Mayo Horseradish.”
“Ew. What did it taste like? Regret?”
“Like I’d broken the world.”
Dean commandeered the bed, getting it firmly built and done within thirty minutes, Cas frowning at him across the room the whole time,
“I just . . . I don’t understand how it’s that easy for you.”
“I’m good with my hands.” Another wink, another grin, because Cas’s growing catalog of smirks and quiet smiles were kinda charming, worth earning.
“I can see that.”
“Can I help with the rest?”
“I’d appreciate the assistance. Thank you, Dean.”
They made the bed together. The new mattress was incredible, one of those ones Dean had seen online that came in a box, firm foam with a soft cover. He poked a few fingers in, immediately jealous.
“Aw, I want one of these. I’ve got a cheap eBay knockoff.”
“A decent bed is worth every cent. I spend a lot of time in it.”
“Yeah, I guess. Can I try it out?” Dean gestured with his head towards the bed, freshly covered with a crisp new sheet, a deeply-quilted mattress cover beneath. “Before it gets besmirched? I’m presuming besmirching’s gonna happen.”
“I certainly intend it to. Be my guest.”
It was like sinking into a marshmallow made of awesome. Dean had lay back down on his back, stretching out like a starfish, but the smooth, expensive weave of the sheet called to him and he rolled, stroking a hand over its surface, groaning as he felt ancient knots in his spine starting to pop and melt away.
“Do you need private time with my mattress? I could leave you two alone for a while.”
He could hear the smirk in Cas’s voice. Dean kept his eyes closed. Bliss. Wonderful, firm, foamy comfort.
“Yeah. You need another bed. This one’s mine, I call dibs.”
“It took me two months to decide on that frame.”
“Dibs, Cas. It’s legally binding. Besides, she loves me.”
“My bed is not female.”
“Yeah, she is. Sorry. Happened spontaneously ‘soon as I lay down. It happens.”
A snort, ’If you say so . . .’, rustling noises as Cas continued to hang various crumpled suits and dress shirts in the small closet. Dean knew he had to get up. Rubbing yourself all over your new roommate’s new bed was weird behavior, even for him. But it was just so. goddamn. fucking. Comfy.
“Dean. Dean. I need my bed back.”
Dean cracked an eye, glaring at Cas where he was hovering over where Dean had sprawled.
“No. Dibs. Mine.”
Cas’s lips were quirked up in the corners, his eyes soft and fanned with lines.
“I’m certain someone else might find this charming, but I need you to go because I have to shower.”
“Muh. That can wait.”
“It can’t. I have a date coming over this evening.”
Dean’s other eye opened.
“Already? But it’s your first night.”
“Yes. Is that going to be a problem? Please, be honest.”
“No, no, it’s fine. Fast work, that’s all.”
Cas shrugged, the same way he’d done a few times, sheepish, a little clueless.
“Some people drink to relax. You cook. People fish, line dance, watch soap operas. I have sex and smoke a little weed.”
“That’s fair. Okay, I’ll get out of your hair.”
Which was all standing directly on end after a day’s unpacking in the early summer heat, dark and downy like a chick. A baby crow.
Cas simply continued staring down at Dean, unblinking, till Dean groaned and wrenched himself up, pushing himself up to his feet.
“Okay, okay, I’m done. Arrivederci, sweetheart.” He smoothed out the wrinkles in the sheet he’d left behind. “It’s been real.”
“You can visit it –”
“– another day.”
“Not after you’ve sullied her. She’ll be forever tainted.”
Cas’s sudden smile lit up his eyes, his expression a touch diabolical, a naughty schoolboy.
“Only if I’m doing it right.”
Cas was certainly doing something right. Or someone.
THUD. “Unh.” THUD. “Yeah!” THUD. ”Oh, fuck.” THUD. “Fuck.” THUD. ”Fuck!” THUD. “Fuck, yeah.” THUD. “Unh!” THUD. “Fuck yeah! THUD. “Oh! Fuck!”
Dean frowned and turned his TV up. They’d definitely placed Cas’s headboard too close to the wall. Cas’s rhythm was steady and unrelenting as he apparently tried to pound it through two walls and across the hall into Dean’s room. Maybe he should talk to Cas about potentially moving the bed into a different position.
”Oh! Oh, yeah, right there, oh, oh fuck, I’m gonna, I’m gonna, ooohh, fuck, I’m gonna COME SO FUCKING HARD . . .”
Not a screamer, exactly. Not Cas, whose deep voice Dean hadn’t heard at all, in comparison to his bed partner, who was being very vocal in just how much of a sex god Cas actually was.
”Yeah, Jimmy, fuck it, fuck my hole, you’re so fucking big, unnhn, BIG! Oh! I’m coming, I’m coming, oh yeah, oh yeah, yeah, yeah, holy fuuuh –”
A gasp then almost a scream. Almost, not quite. More like an urgent, garbled cry that went on for a lot longer than Dean’s orgasms ever lasted. The thuds then paused for the shortest possible moment before starting up again, faster, louder, THUNKaTHUNKaTHUNKaTHUNKa . . . Dean was so sure Cas was going to fuck his way through Dean’s bedroom wall that he glanced at it, worried.
A few minutes later as Dean tried and failed to concentrate on his TV, the thuds stopped suddenly. No more noise. Silence. Fifty minutes after it had started. What a goddamn stallion.
He wasn’t sure what’d woken him. It wasn’t his alarm, but Dean opened his eyes and squinted around, lifting his face out of his pillow. It was already light out behind the slats of his blind, so he blinked some life into his eyes, canceling the alarm on his clock set to go off in another hour.
Six forty-five am. The fuck was he doing awake at six forty-five am? He yawned, stretched. Grabbed his phone from his nightstand just as he distantly heard Cas’s shower starting up. Maybe Cas’s alarm woke him? These walls sucked. This was way more of an issue than potential screamers. Dean liked sleep. Sleep good.
But coffee was good, and only a few minutes away. He threw his covers back and forced himself up, tugging his t-shirt down where it had twisted up overnight. Coffee. Mmm, yeah. He smacked his lips together as he moved to his bathroom, taking a piss. Maybe toast. Or eggs. Both? No, toast. Nobody had time to be making eggs prior to eight am. Anything prior to eight am was bullshit.
He’d filled the coffee maker last night as he did every night, only needing to flip a switch with a fingertip once he hit the kitchen then close his eyes and inhale as the scented steam reached his nose. Dean didn’t fuck around with his coffee. He kept it in an airtight jar that had ‘Life Force DO NOT TOUCH’ scrawled across it in black Sharpie, and nobody else was allowed to so much as look at it. A few minutes’ patience and he was fitting his lips around a mug of steaming hot java, leaning his ass back against the counter, beginning to resent six forty-five am a little less by small sips and increments.
“Good morning, Dean.”
“Jesus, what the, ow!” He turned too quick towards Cas, slopping his hot coffee over the rim of his mug and all the way down the front of his shirt. “Fuck! Hot hot hot . . .”
“I’m so sorry, did I surprise you? Here. Paper towel.”
“No, no surprise. I habitually pour scalding coffee down my chest in the mornings. Really wakes me up. Shit.”
He plucked the wet heat of his t-shirt away from his skin, grabbing the handful of paper towel and rubbing ineffectually at it. Cas was trying to hand him more towel and deal with Dean’s coffee mug and direct him away from the small puddle on the kitchen tile and pour more coffee, blotches of dark pink growing across his cheekbones. Flustered and apologetic. Disordered. Another wrinkled suit, tie trying to make its escape. Hair already fluffing up as it dried after his shower.
Not a sex god. Ridiculous flailing dork, perhaps, but definitely not a sex god.
“Don’t sneak up on me in the mornings. I’m awake after two cups of coffee, but only functional after three. You got me? I know karate.”
“Ah. I admit I didn’t expect you to be awake yet.”
“I think your alarm must’ve woken me.”
“I don’t use an alarm.”
Dean threw a skeptical look over his shoulder as he started to refill his mug.
“You wake up automatically at six forty-five? Are you an actual robot? Things gonna go all Skynet now you moved in?”
Cas mouthed the word Skynet silently, but seemed to disregard it.
“I wake at six fifteen. It’s a habit. I go for a – oh. I see what happened. I tried to be quiet but I must’ve woken you when I came in from my run.”
“You run at six? Why? Seriously, why would anybody do that to themselves? I’ll tell you why. Insanity, for one.”
“Six fifteen, it’s good for you, meditative, energizing. Heart health is important.” Cas had given up trying to clean up the coffee spill, placing the paper towel back on the counter. “You ever try it?”
“Fuck, no. I run towards pie and away from danger. Everything else can be taken at a leisurely stroll.”
Cas nodded gravely, staring at Dean out from under his eyebrows. Full eye contact. It was beginning to dawn on Dean that there was more than a little something weird about his new roommate. Not serial killer or milk-carton weird. Quirky. Odd.
“I’m sorry I disturbed your sleep, but I’m glad I caught you before I left. I forgot to explain I’m late at work Mondays and Thursdays. I’ll be back around ten. I’ll probably arrange a date to come over a little after, so don’t wait on dinner for me.” He dug in the pocket of his honestly ridiculous coat, pulling out a business card and placing it down beside Dean. “I have an account at ChaCha Pizza, under Milton. If you don’t want to cook, the account number’s on the back if they ask, so please use it as much or as little as you like.”
Another date? It was going to be nightly, just like Cas had said. The thudding. The cursing. Wails, even.
“ChaCha’s is great, thanks. Uh, before your date arrives . . . you think we could take five minutes to move your bed away from the wall?”
Pink started to stain the skin of Cas’s cheekbones again as he gave Dean a defeated look.
“It was – It was bad, wasn’t it. The headboard. I could tell. I tried to speed things up to get it over with, but it didn’t exactly work out that way.”
“Dude. It really didn’t.”
Dean felt his lips quirk, noticing Cas looking at his mouth. Noticed the corners of Cas’s mouth tilt upward, and Dean felt it bubbling up, a snort, making Cas start huffing out small chortles. Actual chortles.
“That was you speeding things up and getting it over with? How fucking long is it when you’re taking your goddamn time? I mean, holy shit, Cas.”
He couldn’t stop laughing, t-shirt clinging all wet to his chest, dripping down his sleep pants, Cas looking at the floor and chuckling at himself like he couldn’t help it.
“I’m an auditor, being thorough is our blood oath.”
Dean did not giggle. He did not.
“Hey, you said you didn’t make jokes.”
“Yes, I did say that.” Cas was sobering up, wiping under one eye with the back of his thumb as if he hadn’t laughed like that for the longest time. “Sex is the one thing I’m guaranteed to find humorous. It’s just the stupidest thing.”
“Maybe it is the way you do it.”
“I have no doubt. I have to get to work. We’ll move the bed to under the window once I’m back. I’ll try to make it early.”
“The window? Kinky.”
Cas was already on his way out to the hallway with his briefcase but he stopped. Turned.
“Windows are kinky?” He gave Dean a soft smile. “That’s adorable.”
Moving the bed worked. Dean barely heard the next guy, other than a long, drawn-out Ohhh that managed to pierce through Dean’s documentary about cheerleaders.
They’re athletes. Shut up.
The one after that was similarly drowned out, a few excitable Fuck!s floating through the walls between them that suggested he was having as much of a blast as the others. No more jackhammering headboards trying to force their way into Dean’s room.
“YOUR TONGUE IS SO . . . FUCK, JIMMY, YEAH, TONGUE-FUCK ME OHH. . . IT’S SO FUCKING LONG . . . SO SO LONG . . . UNH YEAH . . . OH FUCK . . . SO GOOD . . . TONGUE-FUCK THAT HOLE YEAH . . . NOBODY EVER . . . SO DEEP UNNH”
Wednesday’s guy had a big voice booming through the walls and making Dean realize that his new roommate currently had what was apparently an unusually lengthy tongue stuffed up someone’s asshole.
He caught himself squirming his hips on the bed as his brain helpfully tried to imagine how that would feel. Not Good, Dean’s brain decided, but Wednesday’s guy was still disagreeing, enthusiastically, at full volume.
But eating ass was totally a thing now. Dean didn’t get the point of social media but even he was aware that the subject was becoming almost mundane online and in bars around town. He grabbed his phone, texting and hitting send before he could second guess himself.
u eat ass?
It took only a few seconds.
Charlie: ur already down there
Charlie: its called multitasking
Maybe it was only him who hadn’t. Nobody had ever asked him to. Lisa had been into a little butt stuff, but it had never evolved beyond a grand total of three ass fucks (Dean figured he preferred the convenience and physical charms of vaginas) and an occasional finger rubbed over Dean’s butthole while she blew him. Which had been okay in a wriggly kind of way, but not exactly mind-blowing.
Charlie: omfg dude u got laid and ate ass
Charlie: the drought is over!!! hi5 ᶜ(ᴖᴥᴖ)ᵓﾉ
Charlie: or some1 ate ur ass???? my baby is evolving im proud mama hen
no not that
Charlie: ew porn ?
‘A guy in the next room has been screaming for a full ten minutes without taking a breath because my new roomate’s eating him out’ wasn’t Dean’s information to share.
just wonderin seems gross and like it wldnt feel good
Charlie: not gross
Charlie: like eating pussy
Charlie: feels good2
Charlie: like wow u rly accept me n all my germs
germs thing is gross tho
Charlie: showers exist bro its not dark ages
Charlie: vag has germs
Charlie: awesum magical germs tho
Charlie: u gonna go eat sum ass? need a wingman??
“AHHH!! AAAAAHH! OH YEAH UNNH RIDIN’ IT, RIDIN’ YOUR BIG OL TONGUE, FUCK, AHHHH UNH AHH FUCK!! OH GOD, GOD, FUCK, YEAH, UNHH YEAH, YEAH, I’M GONNA, YEAH I’M GONNA”
Two male chimps were posturing and screeching at each other on Dean’s TV, volume up to maximum. It didn’t so much as take the edge off Wednesday’s guy. A few days was all it had taken before a true screamer had arrived.
no I shud come hang soon been 2long
like srsly need 2get outta here
Charlie: just say the word bromeo
Charlie: do u hear that
Charlie: fighting I think its 27 again
Charlie: could be a tv
Charlie: u heat that?
“I’M COMING, I’M GONNA, OH FUCK JIMMY I’M COMING AGAIN, I’M COMING AGAIN CUZ OF YOUR TONGUE, FUUUCK, FUCK, YEAHHH UNH”
trust me i hear it
Dean covered his mouth with his fingers, smothering a grin. Cas must’ve picked it up at Walgreens on his morning run. A vast box of earplugs was sitting on the kitchen counter with a shiny blue gift bow on top and a post-it stuck to the front, messy black scrawl across it,
Sorry – C
“There’s leftover mac’n’cheese if you want.”
“No, thank you, Dean.”
Cas dropped his briefcase on his usual armchair, unknotting and pulling off his tie with a hooked finger. He looked exhausted. Shadows under his eyes, face drawn and pale against darkening stubble. Lips so chapped they were practically flaking, although Dean suspected the dry lips actually came from overwork in the evenings rather than everyday wear and tear.
“You sure? It’s not from a box, I made it from scratch. Three different cheeses.”
“Oh. Well, in that case . . .”
Dean hadn’t met Jimmy the Sex God, but he’d noticed that Cas the Rumpled Weirdo got a little less weird with each layer gone. The coat, thrown over his chair. Wrinkled suit jacket following. White shirt sleeves rolled up to the elbow as Cas investigated the dish on the stove top and made approving noises.
“Mm-hm.” Cas was eating directly from the dish, cracked lips wrapping around what had been the serving spoon, eyes fluttering closed and a moan slipping out as he registered its flavor. “Ohh, so good. Were you planning on saving any of this?”
Dean chuckled, watching Cas shovel in another mouthful, rolling his eyes back and groaning, sitting down in his chair with the dish balanced across his knees.
“Not now it’s got your spit all over it.”
Cas held up the serving spoon, licking down the underside of its bowl before mushing it into the remaining mac.
“Look at that, it does.”
Yeah, that was a pretty long tongue. Gene fuckin’ Simmons tongue. It’d been two weeks, and Dean still couldn’t get all that screaming over Cas’s tongue out of his head and what that would feel like. The ear plugs were helping when things got too loud in the next room but couldn’t give him a break from his own brain.
At least there was a pause from it all on Sundays. The first weekend once he’d moved in, Cas had surprised Dean by taking up the entire couch for sixteen hours with his bare feet propped on the coffee table, a packed bowl of weed in one hand, a giant stack of work printouts in his lap, lips wrapped around a yellow highlighter pen. Another loose t-shirt hanging off him, dark gray with another slogan picked out across it in white, ‘It’s Accrual World’. Baggy grandpa boxers.
No dates on Sundays. No hiding for Dean in his bedroom with ear plugs and his TV remote. It was good, they’d get increasingly baked together once the evening hit, Cas never laughing out loud but instead huffing out wheezy laughs as he’d put his work away and move over to the armchair to curl up in.
And now with the tongue and the spoon licking. It explained the screaming. Dean would probably scream his head off and run shrieking in terror if anyone came anywhere near his ass with that thing.
“So, hey, before you have to go fancify yourself up –”
“I’ve got an hour. I do need to change the sheets before,” Cas made air quotes around a name that sounded like a truncated skinny-chicken-for-your-big-dick, “arrives.”
“Big dick, huh?”
Dean raised his eyebrows. Waggled them up and down. One corner of Cas’s mouth lifted.
The pasta dish was over Cas’s knees, but Dean attempted a quick look at Cas’s general groinal area anyway.
“Not when I’m flaccid. Larger side of average.”
Dean forced himself to not visibly wince at the F word, and to quit looking at the pasta dish, wondering what leviathan lay in the depths below.
“But when you’re, uh, y’know . . . when you’ve got your motor revving?”
Cas was nibbling mac’n’cheese off the spoon. Working his mouth and lips to get every last morsel off it, turning it back and forth to check he’d got it all before scraping up another bite. It was nice, how appreciative he was of Dean’s cooking so far, over something as simple as pasta and cheese sauce. Then he put the spoon down into the dish and frowned, gazing upwards with a pout like he was really mulling it over.
“I mean, I’ve seen a lot.”
“Exactly. I could probably count the guys bigger than me on my fingers without having to resort to toes.” He looked at Dean and gave him a tight smile. “I’ve had more than a few dates take one look before deciding that they didn’t have the energy and that I looked too much like hard work, before they’d back out the door. So, yes, fairly big. The numbers suggest I’m an outlier, but I wouldn’t say freakish.”
“In your entirely objective opinion.”
Cas placed the empty pasta dish down on the coffee table, rubbing over his flat gut with a happy sigh.
“Naturally. You wanted to ask me something?”
“What, now we’ve definitively settled which of us is the big swinging dick of the apartment?”
A smirk, a lifted eyebrow.
“Is that what we were doing?”
“Hell if I know. So. My brother,”
“Yeah, he has a client or a case or lawyer thing next week, only ninety minutes’ drive from here. You okay if he crashes here? His firm booked him a hotel, but he never visits, I usually go to them, and I don’t get to see him that often so it’d be great if he was just here. . .”
“Of course. Dean.” Cas sat forward, touching his fingertips to Dean’s forearm lightly, once. “This is your home. I wouldn’t dream of preventing your family from visiting.”
“Okay, thanks. But he’ll be here a couple nights.”
“That’s fine. Will he be on the couch?”
“Half on, half off. He doesn’t fit regular furniture.”
“Great. Is it okay to ask . . . ?”
“I think I can manage two nights in my own company.” Stretched out his hand in front of him, long, slim fingers flexing. “It’s just you and me, baby.”
The voice. That had to be Jimmy’s voice, because it didn’t exactly fit with the crumpled accountant sitting in Cas’s chair. Cas’s voice was low, sure, deep as Dean’s, masculine, raspy, nice enough. Friendly, always polite. But Cas’s voice had dropped an octave suddenly, so rough it was almost cracked, all kinds of dark and suggestive. So deep it finally made sense why Dean never heard Cas through the walls.
Cas’s sex voice was subsonic.
“Does he know I’m gay? You should probably tell him if he’s staying here.”
“He does, but Sam wouldn’t have a problem either way.”
“He doesn’t think it’s weird that you have a gay roommate?”
“No. Why, should he?”
Cas shrugged, ducked his head.
“No. But a lot of people do.”
“Then those people are assholes.” Dean reached out, butted Cas’s knee with his knuckles. “Seriously. Assholes. You’re awesome. But I think Sam’s secretly proud of me. We weren’t raised in a, uh, an accepting environment, and I took a lot more of it to heart than he did. My dad would’ve been a major asshole about you moving in with me. I would’ve been, back in the day.”
Cas was staring at him again. That blank, blue stare. Dean gave him a tentative smile in return until it started to feel awkward, which is when he got to his feet and took the pasta dish out to the sink to start soaking it.
“Sam’ll be here from Thursday afternoon till sometime Saturday morning.”
“He doesn’t want to stay the weekend?”
“I dunno, I didn’t offer. You’d be okay with that?”
“It’d mean one or two more nights of solitary pickle tickling.”
Cas groaned as he got up out of his chair, working kinks out of his back, looking too tired for whatever sexual gymnastics he had planned.
“I can always go to their place. I prefer not to but it’s not a big deal.”
“Cool. Didn’t want to cramp your style.”
He’d made his way across the living room towards Dean, and was standing in the doorway between the entrance hall and the kitchen area. Leaning his head against the wood, regarding Dean with another one of those private smiles as Dean puttered around the kitchen, wiping the counter.
“If Sam’s here all weekend, I’ll probably head out Friday night for an hour. Maybe Saturday, too.”
“Just an hour?” Dean was refilling the coffee pot on autopilot. “Way to hit ‘em and quit ‘em, dude.”
“I’m not . . . I don’t usually hit anyone unless they specifically request it. I’m not sadistic by nature.”
“No, no, I mean, you only stay an hour. They’re usually only here about an hour. I’m not trying to, uh, I’m sure you’re a gentle and uh . . . I’m just commenting on how you must not be much of a snuggle bunny afterwards.”
“Oh. No. I’m not.” Cas checked his watch before heading for his room. “There’s a reason it’s not called Cuddlr.”
Fuck. His arm was getting tired, and the fucking ear plugs were making his ears sweat and itch like crazy. Ugh.
Dean let go of his dick, wiping the lube off his fingers onto his thigh before reaching up with both hands to remove the ear plugs and fling them in opposite directions across his room. Shoved both index fingers in deep as he could into each ear to work as much of the itch out as possible. His kingdom for a couple of Q-tips.
His dick glared up at Dean over the slight swell of his gut. All red and mad at him and not as hard as he should’ve been. Dean ignored it, instead covering his face with his hands, rubbing into his eyes, breathing in and out till the bubble of panic deep in his lungs dissipated.
It was taking forever tonight, and that wasn’t the usual problem. He couldn’t give in. Not this, Dean’s one final comfort. A nightly jerk-off, a mostly-unsatisfying orgasm that’d help him sleep, content at least that the pipes were clean and all in basic working order. It wasn’t too much to expect.
One night out in a bar that evening, two drinks with the girls, and Dean felt like he was back at square one. It was bullshit. He frowned up at his ceiling. Breathed in and out. Tried not to fall headfirst into his usual anxiety spiral.
Without the ear plugs, the sound of Cas’s nightly activity was more audible. Not the bone-shattered thuds that threatened to burst through the wall, but instead a rhythmic bumping noise, enough power in those runner’s hips to wring protest out of a two-thousand dollar bed. No screamer that night, but breathy moans and repetitive cursing, all in time with the bumping. Bumping, and groaning, Dean’s dick lying there naked and wet, silently judging him for listening to his roommate’s hook-up with his pants around his ankles.
Maybe a shower.
He forced thoughts of the few women he’d locked eyes with in the bar earlier out of his mind, concentrating instead on the slick movement of his hand, how good it felt to slowly soap up his balls and stomach, his chest, the water a shade warm enough that it felt like a million small caresses. Just the sound of the water, his breath starting to catch as he stroked his hardening dick, eyes screwed shut.
Just concentrate on the sensations. Focus, feel everything. I inhabit my body and it knows what to do.
He came a minute later, one hand gently palming his nuts, the other a blur as he jacked it hard and fast until he quit shooting. Breathless for a second as his climax finished rolling over him. Tried to ignore the heat of threatened tears in his nose as his orgasm faded, reality reasserting itself and everything a little shittier than it had been before he’d started.
Dean laid his forehead against the cool tile, taking a second and glancing down as he pushed the last few cum boogers towards the drain with his toe. He turned off the water, grabbed a towel. Forced himself not to look into the steamed-up mirror before he hit the light.
“– everybody knew Dean Winchester never backed down from a bet. I was at a whole different school and I’d heard that. So my responsible older brother –”
Dean raised his beer.
“In all his glory, long may he reign.”
Sam glared at him,
“Shut your face – ate the whole thing.”
“No.” Cas gave Dean an awestruck look. “That’s not possible.”
“It wasn’t possible and I didn’t, so we don’t need to tell the rest of this story –”
“He was puking all night, like, all night. Sitting there pooping his guts out, projectile vomiting foamy yellow slime into the bathtub. I was scared he might die, for real. He was sobbing between barfs. I remember in the morning he’d fallen asleep with his head leaning against the sink and he was still pooping.”
“Aw.” Cas stuck out his bottom lip, gave Dean a pouty baby face. “Poor tiny Dean. Endlessly defecating school cheese.”
“Oh, no, that’s not the worst part.”
Sam looked positively gleeful, his eyes shining, him and Cas practically knee to knee what with Sam’s legs taking up half the place. Dean had to draw a line in the sand.
“No. I mean it, Sammy. No.” He left them to it, grabbed his beer and phone, making for his room.”I’m calling Jess on you.”
Sam waited the two seconds it took Dean to reach the threshold to the hall, away from them.
“He had a game the next day and he was trying to impress this girl with his super manly baseball skills, so wouldn’t stay home and miss it. Now, don’t let his luscious middle-aged curves –”
Dean stuck his head back around the door.
“Hey! I’m thirty-fuckin’-four and in the medically recommended weight range for my height, asshole.”
“Whatever – fool you, he used to be sporty in school, and it used to get him girls until this one fateful day when everything changed. So, and this is now local legend, Dean was majestically sliding home when he, and everybody around, including the girl, noticed something else, something yellow, sliding down the inside of his –”
Cas groaned loud enough for Dean to hear it all the way down the hall.
Dean slammed his bedroom door. Went to his bathroom to piss. Threw himself on his bed. Sulked. Thumbed at his phone.
cas stole sam
Charlie: omg 4got 2tell u
Charlie: i met cas
Charlie: tues by the trash
Charlie: so cute
Charlie: smol kittn
Charlie: keep him
sams telling him the cheese story
Charlie: lol classic
they been talkin 2 days
Charlie: but sam has all the good dean stuff
Charlie: sam is sacred holder of stories
Dean could hear Sam laughing, Cas’s low chuckles. He wanted to think Sam had almost emptied the humiliation vault over the last two days, but he knew there was worse to come. When Dean had first introduced Sam to Lisa, they’d fallen down a seventy-two hour rabbit hole of mortifying Dean stories.
Charlie: u got sam stories
not many hes golden child always was
There was a pause. Dean figured Gilda was being consulted.
Charlie: g says tell him abt sams powerpoint
tell g shes an evil genius
Charlie: last thing g needs is positive reinforcement
Dean swung by the kitchen on his way back, handing out fresh beers, slapping Sam on the shoulder.
“Yo, baby bro! I thought Cas might be interested in some of your stories.”
Sam narrowed his eyes.
“You got nothing.”
“Wanna bet? How about college stories, Cas? You interested in those?”
Cas was halfway down his fourth beer.
“It’s got romance. And PowerPoint.”
“You asshole,” but Cas sat forward, brow furrowed with interest.
“More romances should involve PowerPoint.”
Dean liked to listen to music while he cooked, usually a random classic rock station on his cell. Yes, sometimes he danced, and yes, sometimes a spatula got subbed in for air guitar. Singing along was non-optional. Sometimes Cas would come in from work to find Dean singing and wailing on a mean spatula, and would just watch him. Staring. Allowed a ghost of a smirk to play around his mouth as Dean pointed his wooden spoon at him, accidentally flinging a few grains of rice at Cas’s face while Dean sang in his best eighties power rawk croak,
“’All of us get lost in the darkness, dreamers learn to steer by the stars . . .’ C’mon, you have to know this one.”
“How? How were you born in seventy-nine and don’t know Rush?”
Cas started his post-work disrobing onto his arm chair, sighing his way out of his trench.
“My father’s a scholar of renaissance polyphony. As a hobby, nothing formal. My family didn’t listen to popular music. The whole house is wired with speakers, he likes to wake us for breakfast by blasting a psalm or two.”
Dean stirred. Turned the music down.
“Were you raised by actual monks?”
“No. Might’ve been more fun. We had monks at school.”
“Monks don’t have a great rep for fun times.”
“I suppose not.” Cas was rolling his shirtsleeves to the elbow, lounging at his usual spot at the door frame. “But, y’know. Monks.”
“. . . Monks?”
Dean’s eyebrows shot skywards as he kept stirring.
“Since when are monks sexy? Wait – is it the sandals? The bald spot?”
“Is this not a . . . there is unquestionably some social acceptance that nuns are sexy.”
“Hot satanic nuns at Halloween, sure, but not monks. Never monks.”
Cas was trying to sneak a finger into the risotto.
“Huh. I’ve always imagined sexy monks were a cultural phenomenon, similar to hot nuns. Satanic or otherwise.”
“I’m not kidding, I will stab your hand. And, no. They’re not. Unless there’s some gay subculture thing I wouldn’t have a clue about.”
Dean ladled a little more hot stock into the risotto pan and started stirring again while Cas seemed to reassess his life choices with a deep squint.
“I know where this came from. Brother Matthew, evening catechesis. He was definitely a hot monk. I was eleven and did many, many sinful things to myself in bed late at night thinking about Brother Matthew. My first full ejaculation came courtesy of thoughts of Brother Matthew and what was beneath his habit.”
“Wow, that’s enlightening, thanks.” Dean stirred. It felt like he’d never done anything else. Fuckin’ risotto. “Can’t say I remember who inspired mine. Although I did have a Cindy Crawford calendar I was majorly fixated on. Poor Cindy was more stain than photo by the time I put her out of her misery and into the trash. They should’ve just sold them with a complementary tube of Jergens and box of Kleenex.”
They lapsed into silence as Dean continued to stir and began to worry he’d gone too far, maybe grossed Cas out. Apparently not, those blue eyes misty with a cloud of nostalgia.
“I shared a room with one of my brothers growing up, and he had a Han Solo poster I coveted. He went away one summer for a weekend camping with a friend. By the time he came back, I’d worn a hole in the poster over where Han’s holster strapped around his thigh.”
Dean started laughing, helplessly,
“You fucked a hole into a poster over a weekend? I don’t know why that even surprises me, you nearly fucked a hole through our wall. And it’s Han, so, yeah, totally understandable. I think this is done. You hungry, poster fucker?”
“Very much so, calendar defiler. What are we having? It smells wonderful.”
Cas was reaching to get two dishes down, moving carefully around Dean to grab them each a glass of water as Dean got forks out of the drawer. It was a routine they’d perfected to the point of no contact, seamless, almost graceful. It was one of those satisfactory things, small but good.
“Broccoli and sweet potato risotto.”
Cas brought the glasses over to the breakfast bar, placed them down while giving Dean a significant look.
“You shut your hole.”
“On a Monday?”
“I’ll kick your ass.”
A head tilt at the steaming dishes, before Cas’s eyes flicked back up to Dean, wide and innocent.
“I’m simply stating that we appear to be having –”
“Meat-free Monday, yes, so fuckin’ sue me. The stock’s chicken and it’s got so much cheese and butter in it that we’re contributing our fair share of cow farts.” Dean forked up some risotto, trying it with more than a little suspicion before it proved itself to be actually edible. “But if you breathe a word to Sam and I get him all smug up in my face because I vaguely listened to him one time, I will end you. Old testament style.”
“Smite my territory with frogs? A pestilence on my livestock? Or, more, a cutting down of my choicest cedars? I feel I’d be okay with the last one.”
Dean could feel his answering grin stretching out his cheeks as he watched Cas shoveling in another forkful of risotto, nodding his head along in approval as he ate.
“The very choicest of your many cedars.”
And it was the worst joke, one that made only the vaguest sense, delivered with a distinct lack of finesse around a mouthful of hot risotto. Cas was correct, he probably shouldn’t tell jokes. It was horrible, the stupidest, coming way too close to an agonizing personal issue Cas didn’t even know about.
So of course Dean choked on his water before they proceeded to snigger into their risotto for five minutes like kids, bumping knees below the breakfast bar.
Holy fuck. It was Jimmy, Cas’s alter ego. It had to be. Standing in Dean’s kitchen in front of the sink, downing a glass of iced water while looking out the window at the night beyond. Ice cubes clinking, no other sound.
It was past midnight. Dean had finished watching a thing about British punk in the seventies, jerked off to a barely satisfying climax, felt shitty about himself for the obligatory five minutes, then remembered he still had to reset the coffee maker for the morning. Cas had gotten home in a hurry around ten, his date following fifteen minutes later, so Dean assumed they’d be long finished.
But Cas, Jimmy, was standing at the sink with his back to Dean.
Wearing orange underpants.
No baggy grandpa boxers. Teeny tiny orange underpants.
Cut low enough that a small shadow at the top of Cas’s asscrack was visible above the thick waistband.
Cut high over Cas’s, uh. Cheeks.
Round, high buttcheeks covered in tight orange fabric that looked soft. Lettering around the waistband that spelled out ‘DREW CHRIS’.
Cas’s hair was wet with sweat as he tilted his head back to drain the glass. Drops of it were beading across the back of his neck, his surprisingly broad shoulders. A stray drop was slowly making its way down Cas’s spine towards the shadow of his asscrack, and Dean swallowed, blinked his way out of it.
“Uh, Jimmy, I presume?”
Cas started a little and turned towards him, smiled, holding out a hand.
“Big Jimmy seventy-nine. Pleased to finally make your acquaintance.”
His hand was hot and damp. Dean tried hard not to think about what it might’ve been doing to get that way and forced himself not to wipe his fingers on his t-shirt.
“Aw, dude. You should’ve put sixty-nine. I’m so disappointed.”
“No, it’d be false advertising. I dislike that position. I’m uncoordinated at the best of times – mutual head is disastrous. I once managed to headbutt one guy directly in the scrotum.”
“Fuck! His no-longer happy sack. Poor him.”
The underwear was cut shorter in the front. High over Cas’s hips curving down low over the front, sharp hipbones visible. A small trail of dark hair leading down from his belly button over taut muscle towards . . .
Jesus bulging Christ.
Dean turned his back to Cas and his attention towards the coffee maker, mouthing ’Holy shit’ to himself. Dude looked hung all to fuck.
“I’ll get back to my room, I needed a cold drink.”
“No problem. It’s your apartment, too.”
“I usually confine my more exotic underwear choices to the bedroom.”
“But then I wouldn’t have been treated to the sight of what is the snazziest banana hammock I’ve ever seen.”
“Snazzy?” Cas looked down at his obscenely huge flaming-orange dick pouch like he was flattered. “These are one of my favorite pairs. I think I have snazzier, though.”
“I guess anything’s snazzier than mine.” Quit saying ‘snazzy’ any time now, asshole.
“There’s nothing wrong with the classics.” Cas rinsed out the glass, leaving it upside down on the drainer. He was a good roommate, all things considered. “I’ll get out of your way. Goodnight, Dean. Sleep well.”
A chuckle floated down the hall towards Dean as Cas walked to his door, tight ass all high and round and soft-looking above muscled thighs. Broad shoulders, muscled back. Flat gut as he turned to open his bedroom door with another brief thin-lipped smile towards Dean, defined pecs moving as he opened his door. Dark, sweat-damp hair in his armpit as he raised a hand towards Dean in one last tired acknowledgment.
A sex god. A porn star. Dean had been living with a total fuckin’ sex god this whole time, whose name was Big Jimmy, who was hung all to shit and who liked tiny underwear. He wasn’t sure where he was supposed to go with that information.
Everything hurt. Everything. Dean was lying on the couch, feet dangling over the arm, contemplating whether or not a trip to his bathroom for Tylenol would be worth the extra pain. Probably, but he couldn’t face it yet.
He reached out to the coffee table for his water, whining like a total pussy when renewed aches shot up his wrist. Yeah, he was pathetic, and stupidly out of shape, but there wasn’t anyone around to see it so Dean sipped his water and wallowed in temporary, pitiful misery. If his dad had been there, if Dean had still been a kid at home, he would’ve been told to suck it up, buttercup. Because expecting a child to ignore physical discomfort by force of will alone made total sense.
The older he got, the more Dean realized just how much of a colossal prick his father had been to him. And yeah, there were reasons, but still. A kid should be allowed to acknowledge pain and want comfort for it. That didn’t seem like it should be totally unreasonable.
He needed to join a gym. Or make space for a punchbag in the corner of his bedroom. Something. He heard Cas coming in from the front door, neck spasming in annoyance when he tried to look back towards the door to say hi.
Dean looked up into Cas’s eyes as Cas bent over the back of the couch to look at him, his hair all fluffed up from where it was windy out.
“I’m sorry. What happened?”
The briefcase was placed in the arm chair first, as usual, followed by the trench and tie. It was weird how much Dean liked that Cas had a routine. Made it seem certain that Cas felt at home, just like he should.
“Nothing much, I’m okay.”
“It’s clearly something.”
“Yeah, I guess. I hurt.”
A head tilt.
“Poor you. Why?”
“Big engine rebuild today, huge old dirty thing, every single component needed pulling and cleaning. I’ve been crawling around on a hard floor all day doing hundreds of small, repetitive movements, and everything hurts because I’m out of shape. So it’s not only painful, but also my own fault.”
“Fault doesn’t come into it.” Cas crouched down besides the couch, his touch firm as he squeezed Dean’s shoulder, his small smile all compassion, no judgment, his eyes kind. “What can I get you?”
“Tylenol? Bathroom cabinet. Once they kick in I can get in a hot shower and loosen up.”
“No problem.” Another warm, sympathetic squeeze. It felt great, easing out an ache deep in the joint. “Back soon.”
It took Cas longer than it should’ve, the reason why placed on the coffee table in front of Dean as Cas also handed him a couple of pills. It was Cas’s pipe, freshly packed, his lighter next to it.
“It’s a muscle relaxant. Might help, it’s up to you.”
“Oh my God. You’re like, you’re an actual superhero.”
Cas was helping Dean slowly sit up, his hand firm against Dean’s spine between his shoulders. There was something so solid about Cas.
“Thanks, I’m good.” Dean threw back the Tylenol, chased it down with water. “It’s a few muscle aches, nothing serious. I’m just tired. I’m good now I can reach the remote.”
Cas stood, his hands propped on his hips as he looked down at Dean like he was making sure Dean was set.
“I’m going to order you pizza.”
“Yes to pizza. None for you?”
“No. Well. I don’t. Hm.”
“Use your words, big guy.”
A grimace, and Cas rubbed over his eyes with both hands, finger-combed his hair back, which just seemed to make it floof up more.
“I was going out, but I can stay, if you think you may need my assistance.”
“What? No.” Dean waved a hand to dismiss the idea, regretted it immediately. “Go out, I’m fine. An actual date this time?”
“The polar opposite.” Cas pouted. “Dinner with my brother.”
“Gabriel. He wants to talk about work.”
“Isn’t Gabriel the only one who isn’t with your firm?”
“Exactly. He usually wants advice on how he can improve his ongoing efforts with legally-questionable fiscal practices.”
Den worked at a crick in his neck. It was too soon for the pills to be kicking in, but a placebo effect seemed to be taking hold already.
“As much as that sounds like a buttload of fun, feel free to use my minor physical ailments as an excuse to cut out, if you want.”
Cas seemed to consider it for a moment, before rolling his eyes, sighing and letting out a petulant,
“No. I should go.”
It was so reminiscent of Sam, age twelve, being nagged by Dean to complete even the simplest chore. Another persona added to his roommate – Cas the rumpled accountant and all-around awesome bro, Jimmy the sex god, and Castiel the pouty baby brother. He contained multitudes. It was great. Dean was just Dean.
“Your pizza is ordered. I’m going to go change, I’ll stay till the food arrives.”
“Thanks. You’re the best. Hey, I don’t get all, y’know, feelings and stuff.” Gilda had recently schooled Dean over the reductive nature of calling anything involving emotions ‘chick flick’. Didn’t mean it wasn’t accurate. “But, uh. Yeah. I mean it. I haven’t said it before, but you’re a great roommate. The best I’ve had.”
Cas blushed. Actually blushed
“Um. Oh. Even with the, uh . . . ?”
“The screamers? Yes, Cas, even with them. I don’t know, I just, it feels like this is working out.”
“I agree. I enjoy your company, Dean.”
Dean felt his own cheeks and the tips of his ears warm.
“Cool. I’m glad.”
“I am. Also. Too.” Cas pointed both index fingers towards his room like a dork. “I’m going to go get showered now.”
Dean nodded in reply, regretted it again, turned on the TV and vegged the fuck out. Barely noticed twenty minutes later when their buzzer sounded and the pizza arrived.
But yet another Cas carried the pizza box through to Dean. No crumpled dress shirt and wayward tie. No baggy mom jeans or grandpa boxers paired with some puntastic accountancy t-shirt. No exciting orange underoos, so far as Dean could tell. This Cas actually owned some decent looking clothes.
There were black jeans, fitted enough that they were almost tight over Cas’s thighs and hips. A pale blue button-down shirt covered by a downy v-neck sweater the color of rain clouds, one that fitted cleanly to Cas’s torso and looked ridiculously tactile. It brought to mind how Charlie had referred to Cas as a kitten, fluffy and soft. He looked like someone’s hot boyfriend. Dean grinned. He looked handsome. His handsome new friend, looking all preppy Paul Newman with his hair damp and freshly combed. He wolf-whistled, winked at Cas.
“Look at you, hot stuff. You’re sure this isn’t a date?”
“Gabriel will mock me for an hour over my comprehensive lack of style if I don’t make the effort. ‘Why couldn’t you be one of the stylish gays, Cassie? My apartment needs redecorating.’ It’s a conversation I’m tired of.” Cas looked down, removing an invisible thread or something from his chest. “The shirt and sweater were gifts from him, so he can hardly complain.”
“No.” Dean blinked at Cas’s sweater-covered chest about a hundred times. “He sure can’t. You look great, man.”
“Thank you, Dean. I’m going to head out. Do you have everything you need before I go?”
“I’m good, thanks.”
Cas had come to crouch in front of him, and was looking back and forth between Dean’s eyes, searching for something. Smiled as he seemed to find it, patting Dean’s knee as he stood.
“Don’t get too baked and fall asleep here. It wouldn’t be good for your back.”
“Nah. Pizza, hot shower, bed. Have fun with your brother.”
“We’ll see.” Cas was eyeing his pipe on the table as if it was the only thing that might make his evening tolerable. “Experience suggests he’s far more likely to have fun with me.”
The next morning sucked ass. Another twenty minute hot shower helped to the point where Dean could stretch out some of his remaining aches, and a couple more Tylenol would probably get him to work at least. It took him ten minutes to get dressed. He felt fifty years older than he was, every step a symphony of niggling pain in his hips, knees and back, especially his back, his neck every time he forgot to move like he was some kind of robot. Coffee would help. Coffee helped everything.
There was a bag in the fridge with a post-it stuck to its front, ‘Dean, breakfast. Feel better – C’ written in Cas’s rushed scribble. It was a seriously fancy bag, made of thick cream paper with handles made of ribbons, fuckin’ ribbons. ‘MANNA’ printed across the front in gold once Dean removed the post-it, and even Dean had heard of Manna. It was unlikely he’d ever have enough money to even walk past the place and sniff the air, and now here was a bag from there with a carton in it and his fucking name on it.
It was pie. Dean covered his mouth with his fingers and grinned as he hugged his chest with his other arm. Cas had bought him pie. It was some kind of dark berry with the most stupidly intricate, decorative crust Dean had ever seen, like handfuls of real dried leaves scattered across the top but made of incredibly thin pastry, and the single slice had probably cost Cas twenty-five bucks.
Cas bought him pie. What a total sweetheart.
“Why do you always have so much work?”
Dean caught sight of the three piles of paperwork Cas had lined up on the coffee table, three different colors of highlighter placed on top. Cas was in weekend mode, t-shirt and boxers, hair whipped up like a cone of soft serve, eyes red-rimmed and heavy where he’d been smoking. He’d come to help unpack the groceries Dean brought in, another of those domestic dances they seemed to perform so naturally.
“I apologize, I don’t mean to take up so much space. I’ll move it.”
“Nah, man, it’s your space, too. But this is a lot. Don’t you have underlings?”
“I do. I prefer the term ‘lackey’.”
“Peon. I have peons.”
Cas fired up his pipe, taking a long inhale, slumping back in his armchair to mirror how Dean was sprawled on the couch. His bare feet were up on the table edge, lightly fuzzy toes curled around it, his legs tan from running, a little hairy, angular calves. Dean regarded Cas’s lower legs and almost laughed at how, even five years before, he’d have been uncomfortable sitting this close to the naked legs of a known gay. Now it was just Cas. Dean probably wouldn’t have minded if Cas had stuck his feet in Dean’s lap and asked for a foot rub. It seemed like the smallest thing he could do in return for that slice of life-changing pie.
“I have this much work because,” Cas sighed, leaning his head back and closing his eyes. “There may be a very small chance that I might have some slight perfectionist tendencies when it comes to my work.”
“But you have flunkies you could delegate to.”
Cas wriggled deeper into his chair, taking another hit off his pipe, his boxers rucking up around his thighs.
“I have the most efficient, knowledgeable and dedicated team within the firm. I personally recruited every position.”
“And you spend every weekend grading their work.”
“I like to keep an eye on progress.”
“So the highlighters aren’t pointing out where you think they’re messing up?”
Cas’s lips tightened.
“I am merely drawing their attention to areas of possible ambiguity or query that deserve a second look. I’m helping to develop their skills, which is a responsibility I take seriously.”
“Wow. Wow.” Dean shook his head, “I guarantee your personally handpicked team hate you.”
“No, they don’t.”
“Yeah, dude, you’re that boss. A control freak, micro manager. Sitting over their collective shoulder like a vulture waiting to swoop in. That would drive me nuts.”
“I’m a great boss. I bring donuts in every Thursday for the team meeting. I provide a variety of teas and tisanes along with the coffee. Mine is the only department that encourages plants, and I have nothing against personal items on desks.”
“I’m just sayin’, if they’re that great and their work’s good enough to justify extravagant professional perks like tea and plants,” Dean gestured at the paper piles, “Maybe you could take a weekend off once in awhile.”
“And do what?”
“I don’t know. See a movie? Do something stupid and healthy like go for a hike? You could actually pay attention to this fascinating documentary about hummingbirds, for example.”
“I am paying attention. Did you know the world’s smallest bird is a Bee Hummingbird? Adults are the size of bumblebees, and their eggs are no bigger than peas. They’re like little flying jewels. Skip back fifteen minutes and you can see them.”
Cas looked so slouched and rumpled, so wasted, curled up in his chair that he could rest his head, that Dean suddenly got an inexplicable urge to go grab a cozy blanket to throw over him. It was ninety-six degrees outside and Dean didn’t own a blanket.
“Only you could watch a thing about birds and make it about bees.”
“Hah. The birds and the bees,” Cas murmured before yawning wide. It was eleven am. Dean was pretty sure he was already getting a contact high, so reached out to snag Cas’s pipe and his lighter.
“The birds and bees. What would be the gay version? Bees and bees?”
Cas was watching Dean draw on the pipe, his eyelids all slitty and wasted.
“Birds and bees as a metaphor describes reproduction, not sexual activity.”
“No? It’s not about birds aka ovulation and bees aka fertilization? Which, as far as I understand it, is definitely sexual activity. Tough to get non-sexual about it, outside a lab.”
“Oh.” Cas’s head tilt didn’t really work out where his head was snuggled up against the armrest of his chair. “Actually, yes, you’re right.”
“I am?” Jesus H.
“Homosexuality is bees and bees.”
Cas said it like it was some kind of epiphany. He was baked. So baked. Dean lit up the pipe again, held a lungful as long as he could before blowing it out.
“If the bird is, as you suggest, about the laying of eggs or,”
He gesticulated vaguely for a second, so Dean finished for him,
“Yes. We’re using the metaphor to describe both heterosexual lovemaking and reproduction.”
“Uh-huh. Also, ‘lovemaking’?”
“The metaphor uses the bird to illustrate ovulation. It uses the bee, a pollinator, to explain fertilization. We use the term when speaking to children about human sexuality, but I am uncertain as to how these children are supposed to make the logical jump required to accept pollinators as being able to fertilize eggs of an entirely separate class.”
“Kids are dumb.” Dean had to lie flat on the couch, ankles hanging over its arm, his head starting to swim. “That’s how.”
“Perhaps the metaphor anticipates the adult present will make the connection for them. If we stretch the metaphor to include male homosexuality, it results in two pollinators. Those two can attempt to fertilize the other as much as they’re able or willing to, but without ovulation, it will not naturally lead to reproduction. So, bees and bees is correct. I never should have questioned your logic.”
“Bees and bees, just pollinating all over each other.”
“So much pollinating.”
“Think of all the stuff you’ve pollinated over the years. I bet you’ve pollinated a face or two in your time.”
“I could probably add another page to my spreadsheet.”
A slow, but huge smile. Wide, so many teeth, so much gum, wrinkled nose, creases around his eyes, his face split in two. Cas’s first big, genuine smile in the two months Dean had known him. It was absolutely blinding.
“I like it.”
“I don’t. I did it by accident a couple of times. It didn’t end well.”
“Both. And I got why they were mad about it, because it doesn’t do anything for me, either, and it seems kinda disrespectful. It’s messy and gross. Lisa was actually upset, I felt terrible. Worst orgasm ever. She liked it on her boobs, though, sometimes.”
Cas sighed and pushed himself a little more upright, stretching knots out of his back. Stared at Dean for a second before taking the pipe back to tap it out.
“Suggesting the act is not in itself disgusting, but perhaps the location.”
“I guess. No, actually, I don’t. Spooge is designed for internal application.”
“But if someone explicitly informed you that they wanted you to –”
“Jizz on their face?”
“– Ejaculate over their face or mouth, or breasts, if they’d made it clear that’s what they desired, that they valued or even fetishized your ejaculate to the point where receiving it in that manner would bring them sexual pleasure? Would that still be ‘gross’?”
Dean rolled his eyes at the quotes fingers.
“Absolutely. And messy.”
“Imagine the object of your desires is on their knees in front of you, begging for your cum because they need it to get off. Moaning when you coat their skin, their lips. Thanking you for it. Perhaps needing it to reach climax themselves. Wanting to rub it into their skin and wear it home. It’s powerful.”
“Wear it home? That’s nasty.”
Cas was packing the pipe again.
“It’s nothing compared to some of the direct messages I get.”
“Yeah? Like what?”
“You couldn’t handle it. You’d never eat again.”
“I would if it was more of that pie.”
Pie was always a safe topic. Dean had been quietly freaking out for a minute there, his dick starting to take an interest in the conversation around the time Cas said ‘on their knees’. Dean hadn’t gotten hard, exactly, but his dick was definitely eavesdropping right up until ‘wear it home’ thankfully killed any arousal. Awkward weed-boners around roommates were to be avoided. But it felt good, the warm throb in his nuts echoing around his body. It felt like a big deal, an achievement. Spontaneous arousal unlocked.
“I kinda want to know.”
“No, you don’t.”
Dean flailed a little at the actual injustice.
“Why would you say anything if you were never going to tell me? Now I have to know.”
“I’ll tell you, if you honestly want me to.” Cas’s eyes were so blue and artless, like there was nothing he could say that could bother Dean. “But you’ll hate me for it. Not as much as you’ll hate yourself for asking.”
Dean glared. It was going to make his imagination go crazy if Cas didn’t spill.
“Just tell me.”
“Don’t say I didn’t warn you.”
“I hereby formally acknowledge you warned me multiple times.”
“Okay. I receive around thirty direct messages a week requesting my used condoms.”
Cas gave Dean a flat look. Raised his eyebrows. Smirked when Dean’s confused expression suddenly changed into one of horror, his body physically cringing so hard he almost fell off the couch.
“No. No! No. I do hate myself. Oh, God. I can never unlearn that. I think I might . . .” He dry-heaved a few times while Cas watched like he was enjoying the show. “There’s guys out there who are turned on by getting a bunch of,”
He retched again, “Used rubbers through the mail from some guy they’ve never met? So they can . . . with the contents? Ugh. I can’t. I’m out. I’m done with this subject. Forever.”
“It simply demonstrates that ejaculating on a sex partner’s face is not automatically gross, disrespectful, or whatever other issues you might attach to the act. For whatever reasons, and I don’t claim to have insight into them all, there are many people who find being a recipient of various bodily fluids arousing and fulfilling, to the extent that they’ll seek out opportunities beyond physical relationships in order to satisfy their needs. I’ve been offered substantial sums of money for my ejaculate.”
“They pay for your old spunk? Jesus. Dudes are gross. I could never be gay. Never.”
“I’m fairly certain there are heterosexual people who exhibit similar behaviors.”
Dean was trying to settle his gag reflex, his cottonmouth not helping. Was he greening out? After a few draws? Pathetic.
“You haven’t, uh, you don’t . . . your stuff’s not for sale, right?”
“No, Dean. I don’t mail my used condoms to strangers on the internet. I’ve had a few people sneak them out of the trash when they leave, which I don’t like.” Cas rubbed his eyes with his knuckles like a sleepy little kid. “Imagine if one was a mad scientist who wanted to clone me. The implications are horrifying.”
It had to be the weed. Dean stared at Cas’s bare knees and found himself agreeing.
“Yeah, that would suck. This is officially the weirdest discussion I’ve had and it’s starting to freak me out how it’s making sense. Can we talk about something else?”
“Of course, Dean. What would you like to talk about?”
“Bees. Hit me with another bee fact. They’re always so,” Adorably sincere. “Informative.”
Cas thought about it, pressing his lips together and frowning.
“Ah, yes. The male honey bee’s penis delivers such a sizable amount of semen at such high pressure during mating that it explodes at the point of ejaculation with a pop audible to human ears.”
“. . . What.”
“As the drone penetrates the queen, he does a back-flip, which seems unnecessarily gymnastic, but I’m not an expert in evolutionary biomechanics. Then he ejaculates,” Cas mimed an explosion going off in his lap with both hands. “Leaving his semen and the remnants of his ruptured penis inside the queen like a plug, preventing other drones from inseminating her. After which he dies.”
“From his exploded dick.”
“I would assume so, yes.”
“When I’m totally wasted, freaking out about the local black market for old cum and asking for a cute bee fact, I’m not asking for anecdotes about their exploding junk.”
A slow, sleepy nod.
It’d be weird and creepy of him to actually press his ear against the wall. Dean did it anyway. He was pretty certain, but wanted to make sure. Nothing wrong with a little curiosity.
“Please, give it to me, I need it! Please! I NEED IT! I’m begging, Daddy, GIMME THAT DICK I’ll make it so good, BABY NEEDS IT IN BOTH HOLES, please Daddy –”
A whiny voice, high, all needy, loud and demanding. Every now and then the voice would keen loud and long, so loud it had forced its way past Dean’s new noise-canceling headphones, which were apparently a pile of shit. But there it was, the other voice, the deeper one, the one that had made Dean wonder and press his ear to the wall.
“Daddy’s got what baby needs. Fuck, sweetheart, you look so good bouncing back on that fat cock, pussy all stretched out, he’s so big for my baby girl, so perfect. Open wide, here comes Daddy’s dick . . .”
Dean got all confused by the ‘baby girl’ thing at the same time as he realized it couldn’t be Cas’s voice. Sure it was lower than the other one, who was absolutely not a girl so far as Dean could tell. The deeper voice was loud like it was coming from the gut, punched out by muscle and want. But it wasn’t Cas. None of the thick rasp that always made Dean want to clear his throat in sympathy.
Cas was in bed with two dudes this time. Two loud and kinky daddy-baby dudes. Dean gave the bedroom wall between him and whatever the fuck kind of threesome was going on in the next room a deeply disturbed look. A cry, a bunch of laughter and then another choked-off whine made him step away from it. It was great, he figured, that Cas was having a good time, but what would be next? An actual orgy next door or what? It was always six nights a week now, more than one date a night on a few occasions. It seemed like the amount of sex Cas was having was escalating.
“OOH DADDY, Daddy, ohh, baby girl’s getting it, HNNG, BABY GIRL’S GETTING IT SO GOOD IN BABY’S WET PUSSY, DADDY”
Dean cursed, thumbed at his phone, hit the first random playlist he found.
It was becoming a problem. The exact problem he’d promised Cas wouldn’t happen. Cas had been living there months now and proved himself over and over to be the greatest roommate in the universe, but all the sex was getting to Dean by a matter of degrees. Of course it was. Dean barely made it through whacking it solo most nights, and months of living next to a constant sex party was wearing him down. He wasn’t jealous that Cas could have all the sex Dean couldn’t. He wanted Cas to be happy, he wanted Cas to feel good. He did.
Two years, soon, since Dean’d had sex with another person. A full year and a half since the last time he’d tried, before admitting to himself that he was broken. That this was his life now and maybe it would get to the point where he could go out like he’d used to, have a few beers, hustle some pool for shits n’ giggles, make eyes at pretty girls without almost passing out with anxiety that they’d see it on him. That everyone in there would look at him and instantly know he couldn’t do the one thing that defined being a man.
He wasn’t exactly a shut-in. He went to work every day. He hung out with the girls across the hall a couple times a month. Tried bar-hopping with them every few months, although he’d only last an hour max before finally submitting to his inevitable anxiety attack and ducking out.
“It doesn’t make me less of a man.” Dean felt his lips make the words, unable to hear them as Werewolves of London filled the center of his brain. “It doesn’t make me less of a person. Fuck.”
He couldn’t say anything to Cas about the screamers, because then Cas might leave. Cas would be so disappointed in him. He’d promised it wouldn’t be a problem.
Dean tugged out his earbuds, making his way to his bathroom because a shower always cut through the noise in his head. The water running over his head and back would help, it would mask external sound, relax him, make him aware of his skin in a way he’d never been back when he was having sex. A shower would help.
Before he made it to the bathroom door,
“YEAH UNCLE JIMMY GIVE BABY GIRL THAT BIG LOAD UNNH UNNH UHNNH”
Fuck everything. He was going to have to talk to Cas.
“Good evening, Dean.”
“Hey, man. There’s stir-fry.”
“Marvelous, thank you.”
Dean was couched and bingeing the stupidest teen drama on Netflix because it had a bunch of seasons and he needed a distraction. He navigated back to the home screen, because it wouldn’t be fair to subject Cas to the stupidity. Futzed around while Cas fetched food, started a nature program about the most dangerous animals in Australia, which had to be hardcore and would have bugs for Cas.
“How was work?”
Cas slumped down into his chair, sleeves rolled up to his elbows, a bowl of noodles in one hand.
“Long. I had a meeting about organizing another meeting to discuss arranging quarterly meetings. You?”
“It was quiet.” Boring, only simple tasks Dean could’ve completed blindfold. Too much idle time to think about stuff Dean didn’t want to think about. “Date later? I’ve melded with the couch so need prior notice before I have to get up.”
“I’m taking a night off. Maybe. I’m not sure.” Cas slurped up his noodles, swallowed, gathering up another mouthful, not looking at Dean. “I’m sorry about Kevin. I asked him to keep it down, he gets carried away.”
“Kevin? Is that Baby Girl?”
Cas looked up at Dean for the first time.
“It is. If you realize that, I imagine you heard rather more than either of us wanted you to.”
“It’s okay.” There was a viper on the show that was crazy pretty, each scale glimmering with iridescent rainbows. “Everyone sounded like they were having a good time.”
“We did. They’re actually very sweet together. Married two years, cohabiting for five. Every time they look at each other or touch, you can see how much they’re in love.”
Dean’s throat tightened at the wistfulness in Cas’s voice.
“Nice for them.”
Cas kept eating while Dean lay there and watched the show, wincing at the description of a sea snake’s venom and wondering why anyone would go to Australia in the first place. Trying so hard to think of a way to open a reasonable conversation with Cas that he was starting to break a sweat. After several minutes’ silence, his brain came up with,
“Did you always have this much sex?”
Any other guy Dean knew would’ve been kinda pissed if he’d asked them something so personal. Cas treated it the same as when Dean had asked about his day.
“Just about. Why?”
“I’m not talking about sexual stamina, but I swear I wouldn’t have the physical or mental strength to deal with so many people coming in and out of my life every day. I guess I don’t know how you do it, much less why.”
Cas put his noodles down in his lap, leaned back in his chair. Tilted his head at Dean for a full second before speaking.
“The why is simple. I like sex and have an active libido. I was in a long-term relationship until two years ago. It was very sexual, even to the end and when it did end, that sexual energy had to go somewhere. My evenings may seem a lot to you, but I’m having significantly less sex than I did with . . . well, I don’t like to speak his name because I’m certain he somehow hears it and knows I’m talking about him. But it was always two or three times a day with us.”
“When we woke up. When we went to bed. Sometimes something in between after work. Weekends.”
“Jesus. I was happy if my last girlfriend and I got busy three times a month instead of twice.”
Dean couldn’t talk about how they’d dwindled from every day to once a week to once a month, to the months before they broke up where he hadn’t tried to touch her. The backs of his eyes burned as he watched the show, at a spider the size of a human hand, its fuzzy fangs an inch long dripping crystal clear venom.
“What made you guys break up?”
“He wanted to explore an open relationship. I didn’t. He explored one anyway.”
“Aw, shit, I’m sorry. What an asshole.”
“Agreed. We’re friends, aren’t we, Dean?”
“Yeah, buddy.” Dean held out his hand for a bro-fist, needing to form and direct Cas’s to return it. “There ya go. We’re bros.”
Bros who got cheated on. Yay for us. How the fuck could anyone want to cheat on Cas? It was obvious why Lisa had needed more than Dean, but Cas had everything. He was hot if you were into guys and obviously great at sex. He was smart, responsible, quietly funny, always kind, always considerate. If Dean was at all into guys and had a functioning dick, he wouldn’t want anyone else.
“I’m at ease with you, which is unusual for me, and sense you feel the same, but we know so little about each other.”
Dean considered it. Maybe it was time to try to talk. All his other sublets had started bugging him about his deal after a couple of months at the most. Cas had been the one guy who hadn’t come at him with ‘Why do you never go out? Quit wearing out your right hand, let’s go to a bar. Do you even like girls? If I looked like you, I’d be dripping in it . . .’
“I guess. What do you want to know?”
“I had nothing specific in mind. But if a question occurs to me, are we now at the level of intimacy where I’m welcome to ask? I wouldn’t want to make you feel awkward or uncomfortable, but I find you intriguing.”
“Me?” Dean scoffed, “Not even.”
Cas gave Dean a faintly patronizing smile, like he was a likable idiot.
“I don’t have many people in my life. Those that I do have overshare, perhaps, in that I know far more about their lives than necessary, but I’ve realized lately how ignorant I am about the person I’m probably closest to.”
Dean thought about it. He was curious about Cas, sure. But there was a line that needed drawing, and Dean didn’t know where it went.
“You’ve got a point.”
“You could ask me something first.” Cas started on his noodles again.
“Yeah? Okay. How long were you with Voldemort?” Cas’s eyebrows drew together in confusion, and Dean smirked at him. “Seriously? Seriously? It’s a Harry Potter reference.”
“I’m aware of Harry Potter.” Cas looked all affronted.
“Voldemort is the main bad guy. The good guys refer to him as He Who Must Not Be Named. Like your dickface ex.”
“No, definitely Voldemort. I read the books.”
“No, my ex.”
Dean started laughing before figuring out it wasn’t exactly polite, smothering it in a small cough.
“Your ex’s name is Balthazar?”
“It’s a family name.”
“And you dated how long?”
It had to be awhile, if the break-up meant Cas only recently started saving for a place himself. While having all the sex in the world.
What. Dean’s chin hit the floor.
“How fucking long?” His voice had gone all squeaky in shock.
“Nineteen years.” Like it wasn’t a big deal or the most surprising thing Dean had ever heard. “We were childhood friends, which started to become more when we were teenagers. We lost our virginity to one another, came out to our families at eighteen, and first started renting a place together for college. I left him two years ago, so, nineteen years.”
“Holy shit. That’s half your life. You were practically married.”
Cas finished the noodles, placed down his empty bowl, took a sip of his water. Visibly pondered.
“Well, no. We were settled, largely happy. He became uncomfortable with the limits of our relationship just as marriage equality legislation was coming into being. Our families expected us to be first down the aisle. He panicked.”
“Oh. Did you want to marry him?”
“No. I was satisfied with what we were. But instead of talking to me about the issue itself like an adult, he made a unilateral decision that sex with other people was the way forward. He got so angry when I said no, that I didn’t want to share. He lied about it, kept lying for months until I caught an STD. He was the only person I’d ever been intimate with.”
Dean’s knuckles ached with how much he wanted to punch someone he’d never met.
“Asshole. I’m so sorry.”
Cas was looking at a spot on the floor, eyes all unfocused. Unmoving as a statue.
“It wasn’t a love to end all loves. But I’m still so angry with him. It started to burn when I urinated and I came out from seeing my doctor wanting to actually stab him, to open up his chest and tear into his heart. We argued for three hours before he left, said he was going to a friend’s. I barely slept. Had a vivid dream where I grabbed him by the back of the head and beat his brains out on our kitchen counter. I woke feeling like that wasn’t the worst idea, so moved into a hotel the same day. I’ve never been a violent person. The things I’ve imagined doing to him terrify me.”
Dean was on his feet and reaching for Cas on autopilot, pulling at Cas’s hands until Dean could wrap his arms around him, drawing him in for a hug. Dean wasn’t a hugger, never had been. Wasn’t raised that way. One-armed hugs, sure, a slap on the back, vaguely bumping against Sam with a hand on his arm, but never a full embrace. It seemed like this was time for him to start. Cas remained passive for a long moment, his arms starting to slowly move to encircle Dean’s torso, his chin propped on Dean’s shoulder. A long sigh. He smelled good, his body so solid, hair tickling Dean’s jaw. Balthazar was a fucking monster.
“Okay.” Dean broke the hug, leaned back, holding Cas’s broad shoulders with both hands. “I need a beer. You want a beer? This feels like beers are required.”
“Yes, thank you, Dean. I would like a beer. I’m going to get out of my work clothes.”
“Sure. Oh, hey,”
Dean blew out a breath, set his mind to it. All determined and shit. If Cas could lay out all that for him, it was the least Dean could do.
“Lisa’s my most recent ex. She cheated on me. There were reasons and I wasn’t mad, exactly, just hurt I guess. She broke it off. I would’ve stayed with her.”
Dean’s heart blipped, an extra beat in there.
“Yeah. Go get changed.”
Cas nodded and turned away, already unbuttoning his rumpled shirt. Dean watched him walk all the way down to his bedroom, and wondered if he should hug Cas again when he came back. Dude looked like he needed it.
Shopping for groceries with Cas was a trip. Dean watched with a widening grin as Cas sniffed fruits, poked vegetables. Got lost in a world of cheese. Squeezed and listened to the crusts of three kinds of fresh bread before he could pick one, announcing he was going to make them sandwiches for lunch. He’d wandered off for pickle slices? Something. Dean was stuck in the junk food section figuring out what he wanted to stuff his face the next day, Sunday, when Cas would get his pipe out and they could hang together, no daddies and baby girls, no screaming about tongues. Sundays were good.
He grinned. Sam’s voice always made him smile. Such a doof.
“Whaddaya want, assface? I’m busy.”
“I’m literally your only family, numbnuts. Be thankful I talk to you at all.”
“So thankful.” Dean decided on Fritos. Got the scoopy ones. Threw another couple bags into the cart for good measure. Made a mental note to get guac and the dip with the layers before they left. “Actual tears of gratitude.”
“Where are you? You’re all echoey and there’s music from this century.”
“Yeah? That’s good.”
“Leave it alone, Samantha. I leave the house every fuckin’ weekday.”
Dean winced and mouthed ‘Sorry’ at a pissed-looking lady passing him by with a two year old standing in her cart eating grapes.
“Aaaand, I just cursed in front of a small child. Your fault.”
“Uh. You better find a quiet spot.”
“It’s Saturday morning, so there are no quiet spots, and I’m not getting into this here. Later.”
Dean ended the call. Kept the phone in his hand and let it ring six times before answering,
“I’ll just keep calling, jerk.
“Whatever, bitch. The answer’s no.”
“I haven’t asked anything.”
“Yet. This isn’t about Jess’s birthday party?”
“. . . So, I’m calling about Jess’s birthday party.”
“I already said no. Weeks back, but also during this exact same call.”
He caught sight of Cas’s coat and directed their cart back towards fresh produce. The coat, even though it was approaching a hundred degrees outside. Cas was reading the bagged salad. One in each hand, examined carefully, put back down and others selected in their place. What was there to read on salad? ‘Ingredients: actual leaves, the ability to suck joy from life.’
“Jess asked me to call and try one more time.”
“She knows I can’t.”
“She knows you won’t. Hey, no, don’t hang up. I’m sorry. I’m allowed to worry about my brother. We both worry.”
Dean watched as Cas narrowed the choice of salads down to two different bags. He’d been there at least three minutes.
“It’s the party. I can’t come hang with a bunch of strangers. And you guys act like I don’t know there’s an issue – trust me, I’m aware. It’s a work in progress.”
“If you can’t talk to me about it –”
“Never gonna happen.”
“– then you should talk to Jess. She loves you, man. She’d totally respect your privacy, you know that.”
“But her good opinion of me actually matters, so no.” Dean smiled at how Cas was reverently placing the salad near the top of the cart where it wouldn’t get crushed. It was spinach and arugula. The newly-crowned champion of bagged salads. “I gotta go. Listen, tell Jess I’ll come up the following weekend. This is not because I don’t want to see her for her birthday.”
“Wait a second . . .” Dean flinched and held the phone away from his ear as Sam shouted to Jess, who was apparently in the next state. “She accepts so long as you bring Cas.”
Which made Dean frown and glance at Cas, which of course Cas noticed, quirking both eyebrows in silent query.
“You met him one time.”
“Jess wants to meet him. She says to remind you it’s her birthday.”
Dean frowned at Cas some more, who raised his eyebrows even higher.
“But he’s my roommate.”
“No kidding. He’s kinda awesome. You’re friends, right? Jess thinks he’s oh em eff gee just completely adorable like a bunny.”
“Why? What, because he’s a – I mean, because he’s gay?” Cas’s face immediately went from vaguely curious to What the Fuck. “That doesn’t sound like Jess.”
“Nah, something to do with his hair. It was all fuzzed up in the selfies we took.”
“Oh. Yeah. It does that. It’s not so much cute like a bunny, more like his hair is borne of the wild and refuses to be tamed.”
Dean looked at Cas’s head. Cas tugged at Dean’s t-shirt, hissed ‘Why are you talking to Sam about my hair?’
“Okay, Sammy, I have to go. Love to Jess, tell her I’ll ask him.”
“Basically we like him more than we like you.”
“I can see that. Talk to you never, nerd.”
“Tell him he’s our favorite!”
It was Jess’s voice at the end, she must’ve stood on tiptoes to yell into Sam’s phone, her laughter cut off where Dean was already ending the call. They were a couple of goobers together. Dean looked down at his phone with his chest full of an emotional mishmash he couldn’t start to pick apart. He closed out his screen, tucking his phone back in his pocket and looking at Cas.
“You don’t want to take a few days off work and come on a long-ass road trip to see my stupid brother and the woman who’s too good for him.”
Cas settled his salad into a more stable position.
“Was that a question?”
“Oh. Because I might like that, depending on when it is.”
“Read the room, Cas.”
Cas had brightened up. The store’s brash lighting made him look so tired when they’d entered, so little color in his cheeks, skin pale beneath the stubble. Shoulders hunched. But now he was upright, small smile, eyes all soft.
“I’ve never been on a road trip.”
“There are not enough words in all the languages in all of the world to adequately apologize for my brother.”
Dean looked up from his book to frown at Cas where his roommate was standing in the doorway, eyes wild. Opened his mouth to ask ‘What?’ He could hear the apartment door slam closed behind someone.
“IS THAT DEAN? Dean! Finally!”
“It was an ambush. He was waiting outside, I couldn’t shake him.”
A shorter guy with the most instantly punchable face Dean had ever seen entered the room and started coming at Dean with his arms flung wide. Dean impressed the fuck out of himself by not putting his back out hopping backwards over the couch’s arm and away.
“Well, hell-o. Who do we have we here?”
Eyes flicking up and down all over him. Dean was stripped to his boxer briefs and a t-shirt as their window unit was struggling to cope with the evening’s heat, and he tried to cover his crotch with his book without being obvious about it.
“You literally just shouted my name. Cas?”
Cas looked so done.
“Gabriel, this is Dean. Dean, this is my brother, Gabriel. He’s leaving now.”
Gabriel was looking at Dean intently, his eyes scrutinizing Dean’s face, something making his lips quirk upwards.
“You were quite right, Cassie. Especially the eyes.”
Cas gave Gabriel the bitchiest look, something Dean hadn’t known him capable of. It was magnificent.
“I’ve said nothing to you about Dean’s outward appearance.”
“Not explicitly. I inferred.” Dean was still being scrutinized, as if Gabriel was figuring out if he was a meal or a toy. “I hear you liked my pie.”
“Your pie?” To Cas, “You stole your brother’s pie and acted like you’d gotten it for me?”
Cas rolled his eyes, all teenage petulance and touchy with his older brother around.
“No. Gabriel mentioned his latest experiment was on the menu that night. I purchased your slice myself.”
“I bake,” said Gabriel with a wide suggestive smile that made it sound like he’d said ‘I fuck.’ “Did you identify the filling?”
Every instinct in Dean told him to say that the pie was shitty and shove Gabriel out the door. But some things were sacred.
“No. I mentally called it ‘not-blueberry’, because it was almost blueberry, but not quite. And there was this, I don’t know what you’d call it, another flavor, like a hint of something earthy, something else almost medicinal? It tasted like the air in a pine forest.”
Gabriel made a surprised, impressed face, turned it towards Cas.
“He’s not bad, y’know. What a talented tongue.”
“And we’re done.” Cas grabbed Gabriel by the shoulder, turned him towards the door. “Let him alone. You can take me to dinner.”
“Dean’s far more interesting. How about it, Deano? Dinner, on me? We must get to know each other now I’ve fought my way to your side. Not even Cassie could keep us apart.”
Dean ignored the invitation, instead inching over towards Cas. Holding his book between him and Gabriel like it was a bible and Gabriel a vampire.
“Your brother’s a strange little man.”
Cas nodded, all glum.
“You have no idea.”
“Are all your family this weird?”
Cas shook his head just as Gabriel cheerfully answered,
“Fuck, yeah. But Cassie and I share a type of strange that’s separate to the family brand of anally-uptight sociopathy. We’re the black sheep. Or, more, I’m the black sheep,” He clapped Cas on the shoulder. “Cassie’s the rainbow sheep. Which all amounts to much the same where our family’s concerned.”
“I’m not a rainbow sheep.”
“I dunno, man.” Dean grinned, elbowed Cas. “You almost rammed your way through my wall that time.”
“You’re not funny.”
“I’m a fuckin’ riot.”
Gabriel was watching them. Dean made the mistake of looking at the guy directly just as his expression shifted. The sly smirk turning almost gleeful. Eyes beginning to twinkle with malice like something out of a horror movie.
“So that’s a no to dinner, Dean?”
“Consider this a no to everything. Ever.”
“Then you won’t want the pie I have waiting for you in your hallway. Freshly baked. Probably still warm from the oven.”
Dean was a weak, weak man.
“Apple.” The insides of Dean’s mouth started to drool, the saliva glands under the sides of his tongue actually aching. Gabriel’s smirk deepened, his voice going all smooth. “I’ve used a new mix of aromatics, and it’s my brown-butter crust with a secret ingredient I’ll take to the grave. Nobody’s tried it, you’re her first. I needed a new set of taste buds.”
Dean slumped, defeated. It was apple. Might as well have been kryptonite.
“Cas? No offense, but I think I hate your brother.”
“Which demonstrates your judgment is perfectly calibrated. Gabe, bring Dean the pie, then we’re leaving.”
“You’ve got legs, get it yourself. I’m busy admiring your new friend. Is ‘Cas’ a new thing?”
“It is! A special name, just for you. How intimate.”
“That’s enough outta you.” Dean had joined Cas on the totally done scale, using the bulk of his body to start crowding Gabriel towards the door. “You can come back once you quit being a dick, so likely never. And yes, I will take the pie. Consider it an asshole tax.”
“Don’t you want to know the flavor of the pie you so loved? Raptures, I heard.”
“I did not say raptures,” growled Cas, physically removing Gabriel from the room. “I merely stated that Dean said he’d found it enjoyable.”
“Ooh. I just bet he did. Farewell, Dean of the grassy green eyes and adorable little legs. Until next time!”
Dean looked down at his legs. He didn’t have little legs? They were regular size?
“There’s not going to be a next time, weirdo.”
Gabriel allowed Cas to manhandle him out of the apartment door.
“The fates cannot keep us apart, Dean. Adieu. Let me know what you think of the pie . . .”
Cas picked up a bakery box, holding it out for Dean to take.
“Again, not enough apologies in the world.”
Dean took the box, sniffed it. Lifted the top by a centimeter, a fragrant waft escaping. Closed his eyes and moaned a little because, fuck, it smelled like ambrosia. Sorta toasty and a touch floral.
“Yeah. Enjoy dinner. I’m gonna go call Sam and tell him I’ve severely under-appreciated how much he’s not the worst brother in the world.”
Castiel: Italian bilberries sweetened with bay-infused sugar
Castiel: a pinch of finely-milled fresh rosemary and drop of truffle oil in the crust
Castiel: I call it ‘Temperature Forest Floor’
Castiel: your comments were pure validation
Castiel: not many people have the ability to appreciate genius
Cas never texted Dean before. Dean gave his phone a shitty look like it’d reach all the way through the ether and smack Gabriel in his stupid, smug face.
figures ud name ur pie
Castiel: all artists name their masterpieces
Castiel: I’m not supposed to why? Humility? Fear of pretension?
Castiel: fuck humility
wheres cas what did u do 2him
Castiel: he’s been in the restroom 5 mins so I’m assuming he’s either laying pipe or sucking off 1 of the waiters
Castiel: I’m keeping myself entertained in his absence, you should see some of the photos on his phone
step away from ur bros private life douchebag
Castiel: he has a ‘private life douchebag’? I suppose if anyone needs one it’d be him
Dean didn’t justify it with an answer. He went back to where he was googling different herbs and spices, flavor descriptions, trying to figure out what the hell that bag of dicks had put in the apple pie. He couldn’t stop picking at it. It wasn’t floral, exactly? It was perfumed, nothing too sweet, dry and crisp like an expensive cologne, with an aggravatingly light hint of something delicately pretty that kept Dean chasing it. He’d already eaten half the fucking thing, inhaled most of the crust.
Castiel: don’t ignore me, darling
Castiel: tis nothing but a lovers’ tiff
Castiel: he’s coming back now
Castiel: looks twenty pounds lighter
Castiel: the pie is called ‘North African Winter Morning’
An hour later Dean was regretting life, perspiration beading across his forehead, stomach aching. Most of the pie was gone. He’d figured out orange blossom and a hint of cardamom, but there was something else he couldn’t pin down. He wasn’t going to say it was the best apple pie he’d had, ergo, best pie ever. He wasn’t going to as much as think it. His phone started blowing up with notifications, one after another, it had to be Gabriel again because even Charlie wasn’t that nuts. Dean didn’t bother to check them till he’d face-planted into bed, fully intending to end the evening by lapsing into an uncomfortable sugar coma.
Unknown Number: I’ve borrowed your man
Unknown Number: a small tax matter I need his assistance with
Unknown Number: he did NOT like me texting you
Unknown Number: such a priss
Unknown Number: grabbed his phone back
Unknown Number: (after I’d memorized your number)
Unknown Number: so territorial
Unknown Number: almost raised his voice in public !!
Unknown Number: Mother would’ve had the vapors
Unknown Number: you have an interesting effect on my brother
Unknown Number: I think you’re looking after him
Unknown Number: someone needs to
Unknown Number: BTW
Unknown Number: bergamot
“Son of a bitch!”
Dean threw the hot tray of biscuits down on the kitchen counter, sucked on his finger. Pulled it out to look at it, sucked on it again. Dammit. Then two hands were cradling his, pulling it away from his mouth.
“Let me see. Did you burn something?”
“My finger. It’s fine, I’ll live.”
“It’s developing a blister.” Cas’s lips parted, his breath too warm as it moved over Dean’s burn. “We should run it under cold water for several minutes.”
Dean let Cas pull him over to the faucet by his finger, let Cas run the cold and hold Dean’s fingertip under the stream. A crease between Cas’s eyebrows like he was for real worried about Dean’s finger and its minutely small scald.
Nobody ever babied him this way, not since his mom, and increasingly Dean’s memories of her were fading, transient and impossible to pin down. John had always been too drunk or mean or hungover, and Dean had always hidden everything he possibly could from Sam. Still did. He’d done the same with Lisa. Over-protective, she’d said, Condescending. Unfair, she’d shouted. Withholding, because Dean never let her in.
“Is it starting to feel better?”
Dean couldn’t help but smile at Nursemaid Cas, all of his quiet concern over a booboo.
“It is. This is nothing, I’m good. It doesn’t hurt.”
Cas’s brows were drawn down, his lips were pursed, all puffy and pink, as he turned Dean’s finger back and forth under the water.
“Keep it under the water. I’m going to fetch a bandaid.”
“Oh, I like him.” Jess clutched at Dean’s forearm a second before taking the dishes he’d been carrying out to the kitchen. “He’s reserved, sure, but,” A happy sigh. “He’s charming. And, ugh, handsome. Those eyes.”
Dean opened his mouth to agree, then pressed his lips together, giving Jess a small shrug. Cas’s eyes had lit up with a peaceful, happy gleam at the dinner table as Sam moved on from embarrassing Dean stories and started painting a verbal picture of Dean as his childhood hero. It had been something to look at, certainly something to distract him from whatever BS Sam had been talking about. He’d barely listened, instead just watched Cas’s reactions, every small smile, every flickering flash of blue as Cas glanced his way over the fancy candle Dean had given Jess for a birthday gift.
“Cas is great. Perfect roommate. He vacuums.”
“Perfect, huh?” She hiked an eyebrow at him, holding out a hand for the dessert bowls, ready to stack them in the dishwasher. “You need to watch that kind of talk around Sam. He’s more than a little jealous of your new bromance.”
“What? No, he’s not.” Sam hadn’t been jealous of Dean in any way since he’d started towering over him age thirteen. “Did he say something?”
“No. You know how he is, tries to hide everything. I swear to God, getting Winchesters to openly emote is like pushing water uphill. But we’re both glad. You needed a friend.”
Dean felt himself frown, shook his head, “Nope, not having this conversation,” and turned to leave but Jess caught his arm.
“Okay. I’m sorry. I’ll butt out, but . . . you know we love you. And you seem, uh, easier? More relaxed? It’s good.”
“Yeah.” Dean allowed himself to be pulled into a brief hug. Jess gave great hugs, her face smushed against against his chest. “I guess. Love you, too.”
The road trip had been so easy. Cas politely offered to drive a couple of times before seeming to understand that Dean truly meant it when he said no. Otherwise, Cas had been fairly passive, body relaxed in his mom jeans in Baby’s passenger seat as he’d listened to Dean’s choice of music without complaint, gazing out the window to watch the miles of highway flying past, hair fluffed up higher than a storm cloud where they had the windows rolled down to deal with the heat. Laughing as Dean cranked up the radio to sing along. Pointing out many obscure and boring geological features along the way, and getting all excited whenever he spotted a circling bird of prey. Filling the tank, fetching gas station coffee and unhealthy snacks while Dean went to piss, turning down the disgusting flea pit motel that screamed bedbugs and paying for the more expensive option a little ways up the road that had central air. He hadn’t even snored, not totally, just a soft rhythmic snurfing coming from the double bed beside Dean’s.
It had been strange to sleep in the same room as someone else again. Easier than Dean had expected, not as awkward, almost comforting. He’d slept easier and deeper than he had done in months, a shared, illicit pipe of weed before lights out fuzzing his head and making the cheap sheets seem less noticeably scratchy.
This was not easy. The small pullout they were sharing in Sam and Jess’s place was barely big enough for one of them, springs screaming every time one of them adjusted their position, Cas’s ankle, solid and furry, brushing against Dean’s toes as Dean held his breath and mentally begged Cas to go to sleep already.
It wasn’t a question. He was obviously awake.
“You need to relax.”
“I am relaxed.”
He wasn’t. He was so tense he was practically vibrating, stomach tight with the effort it took to perch on the edge of the thin mattress without tumbling off. A sigh, Cas’s breath all minty fresh up the side of Dean’s face.
“Yes, this is less than ideal, but I’m tired and we need to sleep. Should I take the floor?”
“What, and sleep-drool all over their precious hardwood? No.”
“There’s a rug. I don’t sleep-drool.”
“It’s thin, and everyone sleep-drools.”
Another pause, then a cacophony of angry springs as Cas rolled onto his back, same as Dean, their shoulders touching. His voice all deep and tentative, no hint of rancor or accusation, a simple inquiry.
“Is the problem sharing a bed with me anything to do with my sexuality?”
“No.” Dean wrinkled his nose in the dark. It was easier to be honest with Cas than anyone else he’d ever known. “I don’t know. I don’t think so. It’s not you, it’s this shitty pullout and I’ve never shared a bed with another guy before, gay or straight. Except Sam when he was a kid and had nightmares. But I haven’t slept in the same bed as anyone, male or female, in years.”
Since Lisa. He sensed Cas blinking up at the ceiling in the dark beside him.
“I haven’t shared a bed since Voldemort.”
Dean let out a quiet hah!,
“No? Because there’s a lot of bed-sharing going on in our apartment and it sure as shit ain’t because of me.”
He swore he could hear Cas roll his eyes.
“I apologize for my imprecision. I haven’t slept with another person. As in, slumbered.”
“So you’re finding this weird, too?”
“No.” Cas flipped back over onto his side, torturing the pullout, facing away from Dean. “That’s all you. Go to sleep, Dean.”
‘You go to sleep if it’s that fuckin’ easy.’
It was just a low mutter, but Cas caught it anyhow.
“You know, I would. But it’s difficult to settle with you pulling the blushing maiden act a meter away from me, as if I’m about to be overcome by an uncontrollable urge to molest you because I find my passions so inflamed by your ratty t-shirt and sweatpants.”
“You’re one to talk, Grandpa Boxers.”
“They’re comfortable. “
They were silent a little while after that, Cas poking a few lumps out of his pillow and settling deeper into the covers, sounding sleepier with a low murmur,
“Do you ever miss it? Someone else there beside you?”
Dean closed his eyes. “Yeah. Sometimes.”
Sometimes so much it ached. It sucked that it probably wouldn’t happen again just because one part of him refused to work right. A yawn from beside him, a slight stretch of the body so close to his. The soft brush of Cas’s t-shirt against Dean’s belly where his had ridden up. He didn’t feel any need to tug it back down.
“Me, too. Sometimes. Goodnight, Dean. Go to sleep.”
“Sooooo . . .” Sam held out a beer for them both before sitting down to dwarf the armchair across from Dean and Cas’s couch. “I need to talk to you about something.”
It didn’t sound exactly promising. Dean gave Sam the hairy eyeball, taking a draw from his beer.
“And it wasn’t something you coulda talked about in the bar? Where we were already talking for, what, three hours?”
It had been surprisingly okay. Low-level anxiety had tightened Dean’s chest for the first half hour the four of them were there, a noisy neighborhood bar with a line for the table, but he’d gradually relaxed into enjoying himself, his old skill at pool coming back to him fast enough that Sam had to work at wiping the floor with him. How stunned they’d all been when Cas turned out to be surprisingly not-horrible at it, slowly picking Jess off one ball at a time before explaining that it’s basically a matter of geometry, a whisper of slight offense in his voice that Sam and Dean had assumed he’d suck at something so pedestrian. Apparently his father had an antique bar billiards table in his office, whatever that was.
Dean had smiled at a couple of girls. Not flirting, not exactly, nothing like how sure of himself he’d once been, but he’d acknowledged their apparent interest as he’d waited at the bar for drinks without curling into a ball of panic or heading to the restrooms to lock himself in a cubicle and comprehensively freak out. It was a tiny spark of hope, maybe Dean could persuade Cas to take a night off pounding ass to head to a bar back home with him. Maybe get back to something like real life.
But now Sam and Jess were looking at him, Jess sitting in Sam’s lap with her sympathetic head tilt, Sam not quite meeting his eyes, like they were about to knock the guts right out of him.
“It’s about Christmas.”
“Uh-huh.” Dean had already bought an ugly sweater so disgusting that there was no way he wasn’t winning the trophy that year. Thrift store maroon, brown and mustard seventies zigzags in plasticky knit so thick it could practically stand up by itself. They’d had a blast together the past few years. Actual happy memories involving family. A Winchester Christmas miracle. “What about it?”
“We’re going to my parents? And I already checked, you’re more than welcome and there’s this adorable B&B a few miles down the road so you’d have your own space . . . oh, honey. You can’t?”
Dean was already shaking his head, sitting up and over his knees, breathing out the antsy feeling starting up in his lungs.
“No. I’m sorry, there’s no way.”
“No? C’mon, man, you won’t even try? You met them already at the wedding, they liked you.”
He ground his teeth down, fighting the thread of anger heating up the panic at Sam’s words. Ready to spit out something rude in response, until Cas’s hand pressed against his spine, right between his shoulder blades, firmly reassuring.
“Hey. It’s okay. I’m here. Breathe it out.”
“Yeah.” Dean blinked at the floor, eyes burning. Got himself together with a few short breaths. “Thanks, bud. I’m good. But no, Sammy, I can’t just try. I know you don’t get that, but it’s not that simple. I really am sorry,” he forced a thin smile at Jess, “Thanks for the invite and say thanks to your folks from me.”
Her sympathetic head tilt deepened, and she climbed off Sam’s lap, coming to sit on the arm of the loveseat next to Dean.
“I hate that we can’t do it here as usual, but they’re on a cruise at Thanksgiving so we can’t see them then and they’re getting older . . . I feel shitty, I’m so sorry.”
“Yeah.” Sam’s stupid arm was long enough to reach halfway across the room for him to knuckle Dean’s knee in apology. “Sorry. It’s just this year. Maybe you guys could do something back home?”
Dean hadn’t noticed that Cas’s hand was still on his back, fingertips drawing small circles of comfort against Dean’s shirt, until they halted.
“Um. I’m afraid I also have family commitments that I can’t avoid. For Christmas. Dean would absolutely be welcome, but I wouldn’t wish the massed ranks of my family on anyone, let alone my, hm. Closest friend.”
Closest friend. Aw. It almost made up for Dean feeling like the last pickle in the jar.
“I know it doesn’t seem possible, but he’s actually worse at Christmas.”
Which made Dean huff a little with humor, Cas’s eyes all warm empathy as they crinkled around his smile, his hand finally leaving Dean’s back.
“I call bullshit on that. But don’t you guys let the thought of me, sitting all alone, maybe weeping into my takeout, ruin your festivities. I’m tough.” Dean stuck out his jaw and sucked down some beer to illustrate his point. “I’m too fuckin’ manly for all that Christmas shit anyway. All glitter and merry sing-alongs. Bath bombs and TV specials and froofy drinks. What’s wrong with beer? Who needs fancy giftwrap when most stores give you a perfectly good plastic bag for free?”
“Hey, babe, you know how you once said that dumb-ass thing about it being a shame you never got to spend a family Christmas with my dad?” Jess grimaced and nodded as Sam swept an arm towards Dean, who was busy mentally filing ‘babe’ away to throw in Sam’s face at every opportunity going forward. “Welcome to the John Winchester Festive Experience! What do you mean, special food? I got you the sugary cereal, didn’t I? It’s exactly the same as the name brand, they make it in the same factory so you’re throwing money away if you go for the name stuff. I’m not payin’ an extra dollar fifty for some cartoon on the box.”
“You were probably too young to remember the year I got him some nasty-ass cheap body spray and had to endure a twenty minute drunken lecture on soap. Plain soap,” Dean qualified for Cas and Jess, aware Sam already knew everything he needed to about their father’s attitude towards personal grooming. “Girls don’t need a real man to smell of anything but themselves. The words ‘natural musk’ popped up way more than anyone was comfortable with.”
Cas was watching him closely, like he did back home sometimes.
“Perhaps Jess can comment from a woman’s perspective, but as someone who has been known to appreciate a man’s natural musk on occasion, I have to inform you that there are many men who require more than plain soap when it comes to maintaining their more naturally musky . . . areas.”
Jess leaned across Dean to clink bottles with Cas,
“Amen to that.”
“Hey, before you go.”
Sam swung Dean around, swamping him with an arm around his shoulders, ducking his head when Dean glared up at him with a ‘What now?’
“I know I promised I was going to stop –”
“Jumping up my ass?”
“– Trying to get you to talk about whatever’s going on with you, and Jess made me swear to try harder to leave it, so I will.”
Dean waited a beat.
“. . . And?”
“And I’m real glad you are Cas are getting along, he seems supportive and, like, what you need.”
“. . . But? There’s a but coming.”
Sam creased up for a second, a little kid again,
“A butt coming, hah. Yeah, no, there’s a but. I’m happy you’re doing better, but I’d be happier if we could talk more. Even about just everyday stuff. I miss you, man.”
I’m not the one who moved literally hundreds of miles away.
“I know. Miss you, too, bitch.”
“You could show it more, jerk. But I want to you think about one thing, and call me to talk to me about it, or Jess if you don’t want to talk to me.”
Cas had stowed put his overnight bag and was leaning his arms on Baby’s passenger door, listening amiably to a chatty Jess, flashing Dean a goofy little smile, eyebrows raised, lips tight, I’m ready to leave, so ready, argh small talk, rescue me, S.O.S, mayday . . .
“We gotta go, Sammy.”
“I know, just – It seems like you’re kinda reliant on Cas. Like, you’re going to be alone during the holidays because he’s busy? There’s nobody else? We used to have other people in our lives.”
“What are you getting at?” Whatever it was, was making Dean itch under his skin.
“He’s saving for a place, y’know? You said it yourself, Cas makes bank. I worry about what’ll happen when he moves out. Moves on. Gets a boyfriend, whatever. It’s why I bug you about getting out and meeting girls. No, c’mon, Dean,”
As Dean nodded, disappointed in Sam for breaking a promise so easily and quickly,
“Okay, I’m leaving,” but Sam looked at him, all big eyed and heartbroken.
“When I left, I wasn’t leaving you alone. You had Lisa and Ben, you had the guys at the Roadhouse. You n’ me were all we had for so long, so you have to know, I can’t deal with the idea of you all alone like that.” Sam frowned, possibly aware things were getting too maudlin for Dean, too real. “Without me there to bust your balls over it. Cas is doing an okay job of giving you shit daily, but you need a more permanent fixture, or I’m going to worry.”
“About nobody being there to give me enough shit?” Sam nodded, perfectly serious, so Dean poked his ribs hard enough to tickle, stood on his tiptoes enough to noogie over Sam’s head as it turned into a brief slapsie fight. “You’re an asshole, I’m fine. We gotta split.”
“Call me and let me know you get home okay.”
“Sure thing, babe.”
Dean winked, snickered as Sam pulled a face, cheeks flushed pink. He hugged Jess briefly before calling out to Sam to put a baby in her already so she was at least legally bound to him for the next eighteen years. Jess laughed,
“Yeah, we’re working on that.”
Laughed harder as Dean beamed, picking her up to swing her around, “No shit. I’m gonna be an uncle? When?”
“It’d happen sooner if you quit assaulting my wife and let us get on with enjoying what’s left of our weekend.” Sam slapped him on the shoulder. “Think about what I said.”
Think about what I said.
Like he couldn’t stop thinking of it over the next couple hundred miles. Glancing over at Cas, who was alternating between squinting at maps on his phone and trying to pinpoint which boring brown hill was which. It felt like they’d known each other so much longer than they had, and had felt like it might carry on forever until Sam helpfully pointed out that was unlikely. Dean knew they’d remain friends, ultimately, but Cas’s long-term plans involved old houses out in the country on state lines, fixer uppers with land, the type of place that sucks all your time and attention until it’s been a couple of years and you remember with surprise you never got around to inviting your old roommate to come stay and help with the deck.
There’d be a boyfriend, too. Cas was decent, kind, caring, not exactly hard on the eyes, and apparently this sexual wizard with a giant penis in place of a magic wand. People like that didn’t stay single too long. Dean wondered what Cas’s type would be, who he’d pick out of the hundreds coming to his door. Maybe some guy who’d already visited the apartment.
“Do you want to stop soon?”
“Yes. There was something I wanted to ask you, that I wanted to say. It’s been on my mind.” Cas cleared his throat. “I mean, I hope this is appropriate to mention. I felt for you, what you were saying about your father. You’ve mentioned him before, but I wasn’t aware he was . . .”
“A drunk? Yeah. S’okay. Thanks. It was tough, but at least it means there’s not much about him that I miss. Gave me my independence early on.” Dean sighed, staring at the distant vanishing point of the highway. “He was an addict. It came from pain, I understand that more the older I get.”
“Sam loves you. Very much. He owes you a lot.”
“Yeah, he’s not so bad, and he doesn’t owe me shit. How about you and your brothers? They can’t all be as bad as Gabriel.”
Cas hummed noncommittally.
“There’s simply too many of us, in a rigid hierarchy. I’m low in the pecking order.”
“But they love you.”
“In their own way, I suppose. We don’t talk about it.”
“Ahh, you’re that family.”
“We’re very much that family, yes.”
Dean glanced over at Cas. Dusk was falling and the last of a golden sun was dipping into an unspectacular sunset on the horizon, directly behind Cas’s head, leaving him described in light, his long eyelashes lit up, the fuzz of his hair in the warm breeze from the windows. The angle of his adam’s apple, the tip of his nose. He looked like some beautiful saint out of an old painting. Dean swallowed and looked back at the road, flashing Baby’s beams at someone who’d forgotten to switch their lights on.
“I’m planning to inform my mother that I’m unable to make Christmas this year.”
“You don’t have to do that.”
“I know. I’m not certain I’ll be successful – she’s a mastermind of emotional manipulation, so much so that you don’t even realize what you’ve agreed to until hours later. Next exit, please, I’m hungry.”
“Me, too. Don’t piss off your mom, not for me.”
Cas stared at Dean for a long minute.
“Why not for you?”
“Because, in the grand scheme of things, moms are important. I’m not.”
Cas observed him for a second longer before returning his attention to the road, stating with a determined sense of finality,
“Of course you are.”
“You got a charger I can borrow?” Dean held up his, frayed and dead. “Mine finally bit the big one.”
“Of course, Dean. Top drawer of my dresser.”
Cas was eating a bowl of Dean’s slow-braised beef in front of the TV and had already managed to slop some down the front of his white work shirt. His laundry service was going to have a blast with the stain.
“Oh, so I can, just,” Dean hiked his head towards Cas’s room, “You don’t mind me helping myself?”
“Should I? What are you planning on doing in there?”
“I don’t know. It’s your private space, man.”
“My dresser should be safe.”
Dean nodded, started off towards the room as Cas returned to his stew, “You might want to avoid the nightstand, though.”
Ensuring that Dean became intensely aware of the nightstand the second he entered. It looked like a regular nightstand, a nice one, solid hardwood rather than the shitty particle board one Dean had. Cleaner than Dean’s, recently dusted or wiped down. No coffee rings, snack wrappers or discarded earplugs. An innocent looking drawer at the top which hid fuck knows what exotic sexual playthings. Along with all the Magnum XL rubbers in the world, Dean guessed.
Dean’s lungs complained, and he let out a breath he hadn’t been aware he was holding. Dean knew sex was pungent, he remembered that much. He hadn’t thought about it in any detail but apparently his brain subconsciously decided that Cas’s room had to stink because of all the nightly buttfucking. He felt his face heat, Way to be a judgmental prick. But it didn’t stink. Again, it probably smelled better than Dean’s, fresher, certainly less like old socks. A window was cracked against the darkening sky, a cool draft coming in from where it was slowly starting to get colder in the evenings.
There had to be some kind of plug-in thing going on, too, a clean, cottony scent hanging in the air. Everything was tidy, no knick knacks or photos, several piles of small blue hand towels folded neatly and dotted around the room. The only indicators of Cas’s extracurricular activities were three laundry bags stacked beside the dresser, no doubt full of regular sheet changes. Dean wrinkled his nose at himself. When you can’t remember the last time you changed your sheets, it’s way overdue.
Cas’s top dresser drawer was screaming chaos in comparison to the clean calm of his room. Dean reached in and pulled out a tangle of cords, power cables and chargers bigger than his head, smiling to himself. The rest of the drawer was stuffed to the brim with the detritus of everyday life – packets of coffee sweetener and stirrers, rubber bands off bundles of mail, remotes without batteries in, dead batteries of every size and description rattling around in the corners. The mints you get in a bowl by the door in diners, mini hotel shampoos, five dollars in stray pennies.
“Ah. I see you found Medusa.”
Dean held the tangle up to Cas,
“Seriously, dude. What the hell.”
“I said you could borrow a charger. I did not say it was going to be easy.”
It wasn’t going to work. He’d known it ten minutes ago, but Dean kept trying regardless. Kept on stroking, more lube, giving up on concentrating on the physical and trying porn, then dirtier porn, before scrolling through an internal rolodex of women he’d once been attracted to. The semi he’d had wilted fully and Dean sniffed back threatening tears of frustration, his nose burning with humiliation. Fuck this. Fuck all of it. He shifted around on his bed, tugging his boxer briefs back up and his t-shirt down, resisting the urge to tell his dick what a monumental disappointment it was. All damp and slack, shrivelled up to look smaller than usual, reminding him of exactly how much of a failure he was.
He gave in and glared at it one last time, tucking in and resting his head back against his pillow. Took his headphones off, tossing them onto the nightstand he’d finally gotten around to cleaning up. What to do to distract himself? He’d already showered. Already scrubbed his hands and nails clean, cooked, eaten. Said goodnight to Cas, finally put his clean laundry away and changed his sheets. He’d been hoping an orgasm, even a shitty unfulfilling one, would help him get to sleep a little easier. No such luck.
Ten forty-five. Cas’s date usually would’ve left by now, and Dean couldn’t hear any screams of pleasure coming from that direction. Maybe Cas was already sleeping it off. He swung his legs off the bed, figuring he’d get his coffee set up for the morning and take a look on his bookshelf to see if there was anything he could reread long enough to see him through till he was sleepy enough to drop off. He flicked on the hallway light.
“Oh, fuck, yeah. Oh. Oh, yeah.”
It wasn’t loud, but deep and firm, low, not a whisper or a shout but intimate, something familiar about it. Not Cas, Dean didn’t think. He carried on a further few steps, head down, trying to ignore the sexings,
“Jesus, your mouth. Look at you. Unh, that’s so good. Yeah, moan on me.”
Dean paused, frowning. A very familiar voice. He couldn’t place it, hell, he was pretty sure he didn’t want to, but there was something –
“Ohh, you’re so, fuck, that’s your throat. Fuck. Oh, you asshole, your tongue should be illegal.”
Dean froze. Physically froze in place, eyes darting towards Cas’s door. It sounded a lot like him. Like Dean. Or how his voice sounded to himself. Local accent, deeper than most guys. A hint of smartass.
“Shit, ahh shit. Fuck, okay, you win, I give up, holy, unh, fuck. You’re gonna make me come three times, I didn’t think, ohh, fuck. Never before, oh, ohh. How do you – Ohhh, I’m gonna come soon, I don’t even know how but I’m gonna come soon . . .”
Cas was blowing some guy who sounded like Dean and giving him all the orgasms. All of them. Deep-throating him, from the sounds of it, and a persistent throbbing ache drew Dean’s attention downwards to where his dick had decided not only to get hard, but get harder than he’d been since his early twenties. Tenting out his briefs, balls drawn up tight, a hormonal coup in his brain encouraging Dean to press his ear against Cas’s door to listen for more.
This?? Seriously? This is what you’re getting excited over? My fuckin’ roommate? Dean waved frustrated hands at his boner, judging it, judging it harshly. He forced himself to turn and march back to his room, cheeks burning, boner bouncing, nuts throbbing, a strained gasp trailing him all the way,
“Unh, I’m shooting, ohfuck, I’m shooting down your, oh, unh, oh fuck! Fuck. Oh, fuuuck. Your mouth. Fuck.”
There’s no such thing as thought crime.
His dick was lying hard against his belly, poking its head out of the waistband of his shorts to drool a sticky patch there. Sending him internal memos every few seconds to reassure Dean that, no, there wasn’t anything actually wrong with jacking off to thoughts of your platonic friend expertly blowing you. But there was. Dean screwed his eyes shut tighter, knocking his head back against his headboard with a frustrated grunt. It was gross, creepy as hell. It wasn’t like Dean was even into guys. Which only made it creepier. Right? Yeah. He kicked his way under his comforter, flicking off the light, turning onto his shoulder and ignoring his persistent hard-on, when every instinct in him was screaming to rejoice in it.
But Cas is so open about sex. If anyone would be okay with it, he would.
It seemed like crossing a line. Dean’s eyes were suddenly damp and he sniffed, laughed softly at himself as he flipped onto his back and stared at the darkened ceiling above. Crying over actually achieving wood, when somewhere, somehow, his last three therapists were probably metaphysically popping a bottle of champagne.
It’s just a jerk-off. He would never know.
But Dean would know, and his growing friendship with Cas was one of the few bright stars shining in Dean’s clouded skies. Why mess that up over something so stupid and small as jerking off.
It’s not stupid. It’s not small. A five-minute erection is the furthest fucking thing from fucking small. How long has it been since I’ve been half as hard as this, for half as long?
He was so hard he ached. It must’ve been a decade since Dean consciously wished away a boner, and nothing was working, three long years since he’d stayed hard anything like this long. He didn’t dare touch himself. His brain kept allowing flashes of thoughts of Cas’s pink mouth, that tongue, the moans he’d make sampling Dean’s food, ‘Yeah, moan on me.’ His long dark lashes when his eyes were closed. The line of his jaw, scruffed with stubble. Yes, Cas was objectively an attractive person. Yes, he had a great mouth. These were not things Dean couldn’t admit to himself.
But. But . . .
If he could stop it from getting weird, if he just jacked off and forgot about it and didn’t creep out Cas, that’d be okay because, fuck, he deserved it. He did, Dean knew it, he was an okay guy and he hadn’t done a single shitty enough thing in his life to deserve the curse of this broken, impotent dick.
The images wouldn’t go. Dean figured he’d try to simply stroke himself through the arousal and concentrate on the sensations, not think of Cas, not think of anyone blowing anyone, but his eyes closed soon as he’d reached down and started, and he thought about how wet Cas’s mouth would be, how firm those plump lips would feel wrapped tight around him. Like he couldn’t stop the thoughts coming but, fuck, he didn’t want them to. Dean whimpered, hugging himself with his left arm as his right sped up. Fuck, it was good, it was so good. He hadn’t, it hadn’t, not like this, not in so long, and thinking of Cas’s blue eyes staring up at him, looking up at Dean as he swallowed Dean down into his throat before closing his eyes and moan deep around Dean’s cock, which was, God, getting harder, getting close. He was shaking all over, thighs tensing, tears running down the sides of his face into his ears, a hot wave of terrifying intensity building from the tip of his dick outwards. Like it was never going to stop building. Every muscle clenched, his fist a blur working his dick hard and fast. Cas’s mouth on him. His lips, tight, throat. His tongue, waiting, wanting
He came with a cry torn out of his gut, racked with full body shudders with each warm splatter across his stomach, a sob of grateful release. His eyes and lungs burning, jolts and waves of pleasure ricocheting around his insides, a golden glow deep inside starting to pour into his thighs, his belly, up his torso. Incredible. Fast but, Jesus, that had been . . .
Dean opened his eyes, his gasps lessening, drifting back to reality way, way sooner than he’d intended to as the soft thunk and snick of the apartment door closing drew Dean’s immediate attention away from the most intense orgasm he’d had in memory.
It was the apartment door. Dean held his breath, heart pounding as his ears confirmed Cas was walking back along the hallway to Cas’s bedroom. Past Dean’s door. Past one thin wall, which proved over and over that it was incapable of keeping secrets. The hallway light turned off before Cas’s door opened briefly then closed.
Cas had heard Dean jerking off. Cas, and Cas’s Dean-sounding hook-up, probably. Dean set his jaw and waited for the recriminations to hit him, guilt and self-disgust, how totally fucking embarrassed he should probably be.
He let himself sprawl down into his mattress, his legs stretching themselves out, hips rolling to work out his spine, and no, he felt pretty good. Pretty fucking goddamn good, all relaxed and heavy, twitches of pleasure continuing to shiver through him like aftershocks. A grin taking over his face as his hand stroked through what was a way bigger mess over his t-shirt and stomach than usual. Seriously. He was disgusting, and Dean caught himself in a sudden laugh, cum-drunk and stupid.
He finished wiping himself down with his shirt after pulling it off, letting his head fall back to his pillow, kicking his shorts off his ankle where they’d somehow ended up in the few minutes he’d taken to shoot. Cas had heard him, which was going to feel awkward as fuck in the morning, but it was just jacking off and Cas wouldn’t care about that, not with his screamers. Assuming Cas wouldn’t figure out why Dean had been jacking off moments after Cas had finished blowing some guy.
Because Cas might be oblivious in many ways, but he wasn’t dumb. Which could make everything way more than awkward.
He didn’t care. Dean grinned wider at the ceiling and closed his eyes, reaching down to gently smooth over his sensitive dick, “There’s my guy. I’m sorry I called you an asshole. And, yeah, okay, you were right.”
Because that was why songs got written, why empires fell, why people screamed at each other outside of bars, because to get overtaken by one good, strong climax made you feel momentarily top of the world in a way nothing else ever did. Most of humanity chased it and its possibility relentlessly. Cas did every night. Taking it so perfectly for granted. Few people in the world understood that like Dean. So he was going to lie there, enjoy the afterglow, bask in his one minute of being King of Like An Actual Orgasm For Real This Time, and worry about Cas at some later date.
“Oh, this is good. This is really good, Dean. Mnf. Oh, mm, good. Delicious.”
It was a garlicky pot roast, chicken and squash. Three days after The Thing Dean Wasn’t Thinking About, and Cas’s moans and grunts of satisfaction over a simple plate of chicken in gravy were making Dean’s cheeks flare up hot and red, suddenly very aware of a low arousal snaking its way around his junk.
“It’s not anything.” Dean shifted his knee away from where Cas’s was butting up against his. “Prep takes twenty minutes then it sits in the oven and takes care of itself. Glad you like it.”
“Mnm, I do.”
“Good. That’s, yeah, good.”
Cas speared a chunk of squash with his fork and ate it. Although Dean kept his eyes on his plate, his dick still noticed it, Cas’s mouth in action. And Dean had a definite semi going on against the fly of his jeans, sitting on his stool knocking knees with his best friend, his face hot and probably all blotchy and red. More awkward than he’d worried about. More guilty.
He’d been hard again when he’d woken that next morning after a dream he couldn’t remember, but ignored it, showered, dressed, waited and drank coffee until it finally wilted. Popped a boner again a couple of times during the day when his thoughts strayed back to how intense and triumphant that quick climax had been. Just the thought of it would make him close his eyes and shiver, breathing it out and ignoring anything throbbing and getting back to his work. But trying to jack off again in the evening once he’d shut himself away in his room wouldn’t work. If Dean refused to think about Cas, his dick refused to come out and play. Actually sulked. So Dean threw stuff around in frustration, threw his book at the wall when he found himself reading the same page over for twenty minutes, kicked his balled socks at the laundry hamper and missed. Lay on his stomach across his bed and stared at a wall, eyes burning, the thumps and moans of Cas’s evening exertions taunting every ragged breath he took.
It wasn’t a life. Not this. He was simply existing. For a few minutes the night before, hand on his dick, he’d felt like he was flying. One decent orgasm was all it had taken to show Dean how colorless everything else had become. He’d thought he’d made progress. Disappointing wasn’t the word. The weight of it hung off of him, making every minute drag, every breath ache.
Another day at work, another definite cougar as a customer took an instant shine to Dean, two solid hours of ball-busting about ‘bodywork’ and ‘giving her the full Winchester experience’ by the guys as he’d fixed up her fender. He laughed along with it. Pretended to. Always did.
Another night shut away in his room, his hard-on beating angrily with his heart as he curled onto his side and ignored it, ignored all the thoughts of Cas’s mouth that arrived with it. It had taken over an hour to finally get to sleep, hating himself more every second that passed. In the morning, he woke to sticky shorts where his subconscious decided it didn’t need Dean along for the ride, coming in his sleep like a frustrated virginal teen.
And now, sitting next to Cas, getting hard over Cas eating pot roast with Cas right there. It was like he was actually torturing himself over rubbing one, one, singular, out. Dean sighed, ate more chicken, tried to ignore an erection he’d have been turning backflips over a week ago. So his dick was working correctly for once. Of course it had to be over the wrong stuff. Why would anything ever be simple or easy? Something had to change. It felt like it was killing him, death by a thousand cuts.
“I don’t have anyone coming over tonight.”
“No?” Dean dared a glance at Cas. “How come?”
“I have an early start. Got a long drive with Michael in the morning.”
“Yes, exactly.” Whenever Cas had prolonged dealings with his oldest brother, he’d return home in full petulant-little-brother mode, all sharp angles and sullen silences. “I was planning to get stoned out of my gourd if you wish to join me, in the vain hope it’d carry over to tomorrow. Perhaps make the morning trip easier. He has a driver and will want to work for the whole journey, and I’d much rather nap than spend two hours listening to a seminar on performance management.”
“Cool, I’m in.” Dean gave up on his meal, his cock heavy and warm against his zipper. Collected both his and Cas’s plates to take them to the sink. “There’s more if you want it.”
“I will, later. Thank you, Dean.”
“You’re welcome.” He cleared his throat, “Doesn’t your firm have drug testing? It seems, I dunno, reckless to sit in a car with your boss with an intentional weed hangover. Even if it is your brother.”
“We do. It’s under my purview.”
“True. But I wouldn’t skip my turn. It’s randomized, every six months, I haven’t come up yet. The results come directly to me and I file them without reading them. The audit trail is there, and I’d open the files if someone’s behavior or performance merited it, including my own, but people deserve their privacy. It’s not as if I’m anyone to judge what adults should or should not do in their spare time.”
Dean fumbled a glass, almost dropping it.
“Yeah. I guess. Live and let live.”
A real smile, warm, Cas’s eyes all crinkled.
“Good to know.”
“Is it just me?”
A pause while Cas drew deep on his bowl before passing it to Dean.
Dean took his own lungful, holding it for a second before blowing it out, his voice all croaky and dry,
“I mean, it’s beautiful.”
He stared at the TV for he didn’t know how long, a few minutes. Maybe ten. More?
“Like music. It’s like some kind of music. With the dance of all the parts.”
“Yes. It is.”
“Not just me, then.”
“No. It’s not.”
The scene of a bicycle tire factory’s hissing, pumping and dipping machines forming, inflating, checking, folding, packing bicycle tire inner tubes changed out, a title card announcing their next location, a water bottling plant. The jingling of glass bottles herded through rolling racks was a new rhythm, one Dean found himself nodding his head along with.
“Not as pretty. Funkier.”
A huff of humor from Cas,
Dean was thinking more like EDM. Even he knew about EDM.
“Disco? Jesus wept, man, how old exactly are you?”
“Ancient.” Cas reached out, his fingertips brushing Dean’s as he accepted the pipe back. “And there’s nothing wrong with disco.”
“Dude. There’s everything wrong with disco.”
“What’s your favorite part?”
Cas frowned at the screen.
“The orca. I find the beluga fascinating, but I’d weep copious tears of joy if I ever got to meet a wild orca. Orca would be my primary choice if reincarnation turned out to be real.”
“No!” Dean waved a remote frustratedly at the TV, thumbing the volume down further. “Not nature. We were talking about all your sex but you keep getting distracted by David Attenborough.”
“He’s distracting. We were?” Cas’s frown deepened. “I’m sorry, I’m very fuzzy right now.”
Dean glanced at Cas’s bare legs, his feet propped on the coffee table not far from Dean’s face where he was lying slumped on the couch across from Cas in the chair. Fuzzy legs, defined calf muscles. Hairy big toes. Clean toenails.
“I asked if you ever get baked with your hookups. You said no, I said ‘aww, I feel special’, you told me I am special, which sounded like a compliment at the time but now I’m starting to think was sarcastic. You started talking sheer numbers and how you can’t be expected to keep track of who is sober and who might be weed-friendly –”
“Without my sex spreadsheet, yes, I remember. I don’t recall discussing specifics.”
“No. I guess not. I asked what drives it, all the nightly fucking. Your libido, a need for human contact, revenge on Balthamort?”
Cas smiled, nodding, eyes all heavy-lidded,
“Balthamort, yes. I said it was a mix of things.”
“And I asked what’s your favorite part. Of the sex, not nature documentaries. It’s called having a conversation.”
Dean had no idea why he was pushing on such a dangerous subject. He’d introduced the topic in a mindlessly stoned blurt, and Cas getting hypnotized by a huge pod of orca on TV had been the perfect walkback. But Cas put the pipe down, turning slightly in his chair towards Dean on the couch. Baggy t-shirt hanging off his neck, the legs of his grandpa boxers riding up.
“Do you really want to know? It’s perhaps not what you’d think.”
Dean gave Cas a blank look.
“Okay.” He hadn’t actually given it much thought. Lately, all his private thoughts centered around Cas and sex had been directly related to Dean’s own dick. They hadn’t involved anything to do with Cas other than his open mouth. Because Dean was such a Class A human being and friend.
“I like kissing.”
“Huh.” Dean didn’t know what he’d ever thought Cas’s answer might have been, but ‘kissing’ was not it. “How come? I mean, not that you like kissing, because who doesn’t, it’s great, but why that over whatever else?”
“It’s special. Rare, a real kiss. You’d be surprised, not everyone wants or likes to kiss.”
Dean wrinkled his nose.
“No shit. People are weird.”
“Yes, they are. Frequently.”
They packed and smoked another bowl, and Cas fetched them replacement beers, and it might’ve been thirty minutes since Dean had last spoken or five. He had no idea of the time.
“But why kissing?”
Cas sighed, settling deeper into his chair.
“It’s intimate in a way intercourse is often not.”
“Not exactly orgasmic, though.”
“It can be.”
“Absolutely, it can. I can think of three past partners I’ve been with who climaxed through kissing.”
“ . . . No. I don’t believe that.” Dean accepted the pipe. “You’d gotten them all good and ready to pop first, right?”
“Two of them. Oh!” Cas sat up, looking like he’d managed to pique his own interest. He was such a weirdo. “One evening, my sex partner could come from my mouth on his armpits alone. Twice.”
“No.” Dean scoffed around an exhale, “No way. Armpits? Jesus.”
“But for me,” and Cas gesticulated briefly, drawing Dean’s attention to his long-fingered hands, how elegant they were, how expressive. “The kissing, it’s a private, shared moment. Some guys don’t kiss because they save that for their primary partner, some because it’s just not their thing. Others because they know where my mouth has recently been,”
And Cas waggled his eyebrows suggestively, making Dean cough and splutter smoke around a surprised laugh, resulting in a headrush that made the room swim.
“And some like to kiss so much that it’s as if they’re trying to unhinge their jaw and eat me whole, which is not something I find particularly beguiling. But there’s that moment,”
Cas leaned forward, closer to Dean, eyes all dark and serious, voice dropping unconsciously into Jimmy’s porno baritone,
“When you’re first buried deep in someone, and they’re squeezing around you like they can’t help themselves, their knees hooked around your elbows and, before you even move your hips, you lean in and kiss them,”
Cas’s eyes closed, long lashes dark against his skin, and Dean couldn’t have looked away if a purple elephant in a neon ballgown bust through their wall driving a clown car.
“Hot and slow, rocking into them gently so you can swallow their first moan. Connected at mouth and groin, a perfect circuit as you start to move. There’s always something magical about that perfect moment. It seldom occurs, so is special to me.”
Holy shit. Dean squirmed on the couch, reaching down without thinking to adjust his jeans, which were suddenly a bunch tighter. What in the world of fuckery, years without reliable wood and now he’s popping awkward boners left, right and center?
“Jeez, Cas. Warn a guy before you go all sex voice.”
And panicked, immediately aware that he was making actual, physical contact with his erect dick in front of his roommate. Sure, there was a layer of shorts, jeans and zipper between hand and flesh, but still. Cas simply chuckled, leaning back and settling into his chair.
“You’d think you’d be used to my sex voice by now.”
“I never hear you. Just the screamers.”
Which seemed like Too Much Information. Dean forced his hand to remove itself from the general vicinity of his crotch, reaching for his beer instead. Anything to distract him from where his cock had woken from a weed-induced nap and had decided to pay studied attention to Cas’s every breath, how close his bare legs were. Such intense focus on Cas, noticing everything. Dean became almost instantly hard over Cas’s describing sucking face with random dudes while balls-deep in them, deep, which made Dean’s asshole clench in furious alarm, and legs hooked and all hot and slow . . . and Cas knew it. Dean had practically told him directly, and was now beginning to silently freak the fuck out.
If he ever slipped up like that in front of the guys at work, in front of Sam, hell, if he’d ever said anything similar in front of his dad . . . Dean’s eyes felt damp, chest tight. Prayed to whoever that Cas wouldn’t make a big deal over it like anyone else in Dean’s life would, getting all hot and bothered over something another guy said. Charlie would’ve whooped her delight right in his face, thrown her arms around him and called for shots and more information.
“Tell me, truthfully, Dean . . . I’ve lived here for half the year. Are the screamers still bothering you? Do I need to reconsider –”
“– Your living arrangements? Fuck, no, man! I can deal, I wouldn’t want you to move out. I should tell you about milk-carton guy sometime.”
“No.” Cas pursed his lips, making them plumper, pinker, which didn’t help with Dean’s hard-on and its insistent ache. “I wouldn’t want to move again, I enjoy your company too much, but, if the noise was truly a nuisance, I suppose I could limit the regularity of my sexual contact. Confining it to a couple of nights a week wouldn’t kill me. I’ve been considering it awhile.”
“No. No need. Besides, I’d have the gay population of the tri-state area out for my blood at limiting their Big Jimmy time.”
Cas smiled around a sip of beer.
“Trust me, that’s not what they’d be out for. Not with you.”
Dean felt his cheeks heat up. All the conversation so far had centered around Cas. Panic started to flutter around his lungs again.
“Pft, sure, there’s a line of guys around the block waiting for a chance to hit on me. Between that and the many, many women I have hanging onto my every word . . .”
He coughed, suddenly awkward, throat tight. Even with all the therapy, talking about himself was always going to be a physical struggle. At least it had killed any remaining haze of arousal, the weight settling onto his chest again. He had to do something. Try anything, because there couldn’t possibly be anything so bad as the endless purgatory of waiting to find out if his dick would ever let him be close to someone again or if, no, as he had suspected, it was permanent. He ran his tongue around his teeth, trying to will away the cotton mouth.
“You must have, uh, wondered about my deal. I mean, other roommates did, Friends, y’know. Me being so very, extremely single. No screamers from my side of the wall.”
“I did wonder, briefly. But it’s none of my business and you certainly do not owe me any kind of explanation.”
“I know. But six months, we’ve lived together six months and we’re friends now. Not just roommates.”
God, Cas’s eyes could light up the fucking room when he smiled like that.
“I hope I’ll always be in your life in some capacity, Dean. Certainly not just roommates.”
“Uh, yeah, me too. Plus you’re so open about everything with me, anything I ask, and I’m – I’m not.”
“Dean, you don’t have to –”
“But I do! I do.” Dean sat up, pressed the balls of his hands into his stinging eyes. “There’s this thing about me, and nobody knows how completely, how totally,” his breath caught, “Ashamed I am of it. Burning shame. Like it’s branded on me in scarlet letters. But, I don’t know, maybe it’s the weed or, hell, maybe it’s the screamers’ influence, but I’m starting to think maybe being ashamed of it is the problem. Keeping how I’m broken a secret from everyone in my life.”
“Oh, Dean.” Fingertips warm on his knee. “We’re all a little broken.”
“Not like this. Something’s gotta change. I can’t keep on –” Dean bit his lip for a moment, allowing himself to breathe in and out and try to think through the fog in his brain. He pulled his hands from where they were covering his face, sat up, cricked his neck back and forth. Drained the last of his beer. “Fuck it. Let’s go. I’m doin’ it.”
Cas’s voice was wary,
“I’m telling you what’s going on with me and my non-existent sex life, because I’m not celibate by choice or asexual or demi or, I dunno, stuff Charlie’s guessed about me, I get it all mixed up. But I know I can tell you, I don’t even have to ask, because I trust you and, fuck, Cas, that’s huge for me. I trust you like I’ve never trusted anyone other than Sam. And this is not something I can talk to him about.”
Dean didn’t know what he’d expected at that. A warm ‘Dean, wow you’re so emotionally eloquent, good for you, bestest buddy’ and a wide Cas smile, or another bowl, or another beer, some kind of reward for opening up his guts in front of Cas and preparing to spill them. He had expected more reaction than Cas staring at him for a long minute, a slight head tilt indicating Cas was turning over in his mind the eternal mystery that was Dean Winchester’s sexual state of non-affairs. Then the pipe was placed back onto the table between them, Cas sitting up to mirror Dean, upright, hands loosely clasped and eyes on Dean, face all serious.
“Then tell me.”
Oh. Yeah. He’d said he was going to do that. Dean’s face grew hotter and he shrugged his way out of his plaid shirt, leaving just his t-shirt, which he knew had mega pit stains going on.
“So. It was back when . . . when Lisa and I . . . I mean, three years ago . . .”
Cas stared at him more. The patience of a stone statue.
“Ah, shit. Okay, so I have sexual feelings and, y’know, urgings . . .”
“Urges. God, this is so awkward.”
“Not at all,” Cas lied, sweetly. Dean smiled at him for it.
“Yeah, it is. Okay, no shame. I have a healthy sex drive but my, uh, plumbing’s busted.”
Cas’s eyebrows shot up, hands rising in preparation for gratuitous air quotes.
“That was ‘no shame’? Your ‘plumbing’?”
“Yeah, alright. So. My dick doesn’t work how it’s supposed to.”
“Oh.” Cas’s eyes widened. “Oh! Oh, that makes so much sense.”
“Thanks for the support, man. “
Cas shook his head.
“No. You have issues with ED?”
“You know it’s called ED? Most guys wouldn’t call it that.” Impotent. Flaccid. Limp dick. Half-mast. Unmanly. Less than.
“Yes. I, uh,” Cas looked all preoccupied. “I’ve been with a few guys with ED. Thinking on it, more than a few.”
Cas nodded, and Dean barked out a laugh.
“Seriously?! Shit, Cas, only you. I can’t even say it out-loud and there you are, happily knocking boots with a bunch of wet noodles.” He laughed harder, the weed bubbling around in his bloodstream, Cas looking puzzled and a little annoyed but half-laughing along with him. But he’d said it. He’d said – wait, had he? Dean wiped his eyes, calming down, noticing as he did that the weight hadn’t returned. How much lighter he felt. And, okay, no, that was another headrush. Whoa.
“Yes. I. Hm. I have Erectile Dysfunction.”
He waited for the sky to fall, for Cas to laugh and point and mock him. For his father’s ghost to appear over his shoulder, rattling chains and wailing ‘I knew there was somethin’ sissy about you all alooOooOong . . .’
“Dean.” Cas laid his hand on Dean’s knee, curling his fingers around Dean’s kneecap. “I’m so sorry.”
Dean sniffed, hung his head. It didn’t feel like a giant weight off. Didn’t feel that bad, either.
“Don’t apologize. It’s not your problem.”
“I’m sorry that you’ve suffered, and that you’ve been so ashamed of something I highly doubt you’re at fault for.” Cas’s other hand, warm and dry, at Dean’s nape, thumb stroking Dean’s neck. Comforting, so soothing Dean could’ve closed his eyes just to enjoy it. God, sometimes he missed being touched. “I cannot imagine how har– how tough this must’ve been for you.”
“Yeah. Well. That’s it, my deep dark secret. It’s why Sam’s always bugging me, I’ve been hermit-levels of anti-social since it became an everyday problem. He doesn’t know why. Never will, right?”
“Of course, Dean. I’m honored you told me, I’ll never tell another soul.”
Dean hiked a disbelieving eyebrow.
“Honored? Because you now know that you’re rooming with Mr. Floppy?”
“Stop that.” Cas’s hands dropped away, his face set all stern. “You say that as though you believe this somehow makes you less. That’s absurd, Dean.”
Dean sighed. Let himself slump back down to lie on the couch. Cas at his head in his chair like a concerned therapist, only stoned and in his underwear. Which would’ve made Dean’s hellish period of therapy way more entertaining.
“It does. Like you wouldn’t know, you have no idea. Having a dick to fuck stuff with, that’s, like, the dictionary definition of manliness.”
Cas groaned, hung his head to pinch the bridge of his nose.
“No, Dean, it’s not. For the love of – Was your father a literal Neanderthal? All this caveman nonsense doesn’t belong on a man of your age living in the twenty first century. It must be exhausting.”
“Excuse me for exhausting you with my nonsense.”
“No, but –” Cas made a frustrated noise, rubbing at his eyes. “Ugh. I’m too baked to debate the whys and wherefores of masculinity with you in the middle of the night, but suffice to say, I don’t think any less of you than I did five minutes ago. If anything, it’s strengthened my good opinion. Thank you for your honesty and your trust in our friendship, and don’t expect me to ever be okay with you talking about yourself disrespectfully when I’m there to counteract it.”
He could’ve cried. Honestly, in an evening that had bounced around from stoned to half-drunk to aroused to laying himself out on the line like that – Dean’s eyes got damp, all of him a little overwhelmed. Cas was just so kind. Dean had always suspected that his luck was for shit, had been since his mom had died, but Cas walking up to his door and signing on the dotted line had made Dean into just about the luckiest asshole on the planet.
“You’re welcome, Dean.”
And, yes, he was exhausted.
“We’ve both got work tomorrow. I guess me and my broken dick should hit the hay.”
Cas was already gathering up their empty beer bottles, a low mutter,
“Didn’t seem that broken fifteen minutes ago.”
Dean laughed, short and sharp, surprised that he could even find that funny. Jesus, he was stoned.
“There I was, thinking you were going to be too much of a gentleman to acknowledge it.”
“Oh, no. You drew my attention to it, but it could be on my business card – Castiel Milton, C.P.A, noticer of erect penises since nineteen ninety.”
He was following Cas over to the kitchen,
“You started checking out other guys’ wood age twelve?”
“Oh, yes. I was at boarding school, there was a lot of it around.”
“I guess that’s around the age I started to be unable to keep my eyes off boobs. Any boobs. I had this one teacher in sixth grade, I pretty much fell down her shirt every time she got less than a meter away. Poor Ms. Kitson, unwilling spank bank material to literally hundreds of pre-teen boys.”
“And probably more than a few pre-teen girls. I’m sure she understood.”
There was something about the way Cas said it, a twinkle deep in his eyes, something perceptive and gentle. Dean’s good mood dropped again. Stupid emotional rollercoaster bullshit.
“Uh, the other night, when you were in the hallway? You heard. I figured you must have.”
“Ah.” Dean wet his bottom lip. “Sorry? We’d only tested the walls one way before that.”
“Dean, there’s nothing that could bother me less.” The twinkle in Cas’s eyes deepened. “For what it’s worth, it sounded like a good one.”
“Uh-huh.” Fuck, yeah. It really had been.
“I was happy for you. I don’t usually hear anything from your room other than music or TV. It was,” Cas made a moue, obviously searching for the right word. “It was good, hearing that you’re taking care of yourself and how satisfying it sounded. I want you to feel good, Dean. I care about your wellbeing. Please, make as much noise as you want or need to.”
If Dean’s cheeks got any hotter, they’d spontaneously combust.
“Yeah, this conversation is getting way out of hand –”
“– Sounded to me like you had the matter well in hand.”
Dean snorted, thumped at Cas’s upper arm as Cas smiled at himself, all proud.
“Hey, I make the shitty jokes around here. Have fun with your bro, tomorrow, okay?”
“I won’t, but I’ll try.”
“And, thanks.” Dean unstuck his tongue from the roof of his mouth. He needed a glass of water before bed. He moved to fetch one, bumping Cas’s elbow on the way. “For listening. I think it helped. I feel . . . not better, exactly. I know I suck at talking about real stuff, but I feel, I dunno. A little less burdened.”
“I hope you feel you can talk to me about anything at all.”
“Yeah. I do.”
“I’m glad. Thank you for telling me, and for your company this evening. I enjoyed myself.”
“Good night, Dean.”
Dean opened his mouth to say good night back, but Cas took a step towards him and placed one arm around Dean’s back. A small, stiff semi-hug, as if Cas was as out of practise with it as Dean. Hand in the center of his shoulders, fingertips warm on his neck. Dean’s mouth and eyes closed and, fuck, he let himself enjoy it. A microsecond of closeness, Cas all warm and solid and smelling good, weed-smoke and old deodorant, a clean t-shirt and a few traces of his distant morning shower. Perhaps he was touch-starved, maybe it was as simple as that, but that one brief side hug had Dean swallowing down hard on an emotional sigh threatening to escape. Closer to tears. A glow in the pit of his belly that felt a little like happiness.
“You, too. Sleep tight.”
I love you, man. He watched Cas walk off towards his bedroom with a small, dorky wave, Dean returning it with a wink and lazy two-fingered salute. Yeah. He loved Cas. A little like he loved Sam, all fierce, like he’d walk through fire for them both. He’d never realized before that you could love a friend like that.
His dick was out of the count, soft and small, worn out from a week’s worth of boners in one evening. He curled up in bed on his side, reaching down to cup his junk, ran his thumb over the bulge in his shorts.
“It’s okay, bud, you got the night off.” A quick stroke of comfort before he pulled his arm back above his covers. “Cool it with the surprise tent poles, though, okay? We need to work together, not against each other. Teamwork. Makes the dream work, I’ve heard.”
Cas probably had a motivational poster featuring that in his offices. He was such a nerd.
Dean wasn’t aware of even trying to fall asleep. He woke before his alarm, diamond-hard and leaking in his shorts. Sleepily spat in his hand, reached down under the covers and it only took a few strokes, a few flashes of mental memory of Cas’s mouth, before Dean was spreading his legs and building, gasping and spilling, his climax a heavy weight that pushed him down and rolled over him like a wave breaking, leaving him breathless, wiped out. Fast, messy, powerful. It was like a miracle. It felt actually miraculous, like magic.
He wiped his hand off on his stomach, giving himself a couple of minutes to catch his breath before his shower. This was progress. Definite, tangible evidence that he’d done the right thing, trusting Cas with his secret. Coming clean to Cas about moaning too loud while jerking off with Cas standing a couple of feet away in the hallway politely trying to high five or suck face or give a firm handshake to his evening date, or whatever other technique Cas found appropriate for ejecting his hookups.
Dean threw back the covers, grinned at the ceiling, feeling relaxed and cum-happy in a way he’d forgotten about. Today was going to be a good day. He could already feel it.
Includes non-sexy expulsion of bodily fluids (urine, vomit)
It started out pretty regular. Dean’s mood was lighter than usual because he’d managed to jerk one out in a few seconds that morning, which was new and exciting and felt incredible. It was probably because of his good mood that he’d accepted a walk-in in the middle of the day instead of going out for food. But the pitiful, weepy-eyed teenager who’d backed his family minivan into a wall tugged on Dean’s heartstrings, and it’d only take him twenty minutes tops to pop and buff out the dents, no real paint damage other than a few small scratches. He’d have time for his burger. The teen was obviously shitting several bricks over his parents’ future wrath, and if Dean did one good thing today, saving some careless kid from getting chewed out was something he could get behind.
Until the teen sneezed fully in Dean’s face.
“Oh. Gross. Sorry, there’s something going around school.”
By two in the afternoon, Dean’s throat was raw and sandpapery, felt like it was closing up. By three, deep aches and shivers he couldn’t stop. By four, he’d been pushed complaining into his boss’s truck, too feverish and weak to manage getting himself home.
He had no idea what the time was. It was fully dark out. He could barely move his tongue inside his mouth, it felt all dry and swollen, and his head, fuck, his head hurt so bad, the street light outside his window jabbing its light into Dean’s eyes like hot needles.
He needed to piss. His bladder was at red alert, klaxons, flashing lights. Dean tried to sit up, taking the covers with him as he was freezing cold. Sitting up didn’t work. He sorta collapsed. Huh. Okay. Dean lay there, marveling at the number and variety of pains his body was producing. His bladder started screaming at him.
“Gotta . . . ugh.”
His arms wouldn’t work right. Dean gave up on trying to sit up, which just wasn’t happening. Tried to force his legs to dangle off the bed. One did it, Dean managing to get his foot flat on the floor.
One down. Unnh. Fuckin’ teenager asshole. Giving me death plague.
It seemed to take half an hour and all Dean’s strength to get his other foot on the floor. He was going to piss himself, and then have to lie in it until he was well enough to get out of bed. C’mon, get up, man. Don’t piss the bed. With one last-ditch huge effort and a reedy whine, Dean managed to pull himself up into a sitting position.
His momentum carried him forward, helplessly off the bed and onto the floor on his hip, hard, crying out, and he pissed himself at the impact, hot and so much of it that it actually made him feel warmer for one horrifying, grateful moment.
“Dean? What happened? Dean?”
Cas was home, knocking urgently on Dean’s door. Dean managed to let out a groan, hoping to convey ‘I’m sick but disgusting, don’t come in.’
“Dean? Are you hurt? I’m coming in.”
“Nuhh.” Dean swallowed a mouthful of razor blades, tried again, “No. Don’t –”
But Cas was already staring down at him, in Dean’s dark bedroom, his head tilted. “Can I help you up?”
Dean tried to shake his head back and forth, but his body decided for him that it wasn’t a good idea. So he just lay there. Closed his eyes.
“I see that.”
A startlingly cool hand pressed against his forehead, and Dean’s eyes flew open to see Cas’s looking down at him from inches away.
“You have a fever. Probably some type of flu.”
“Nuh. Death plague. Ebola. M’dyin. No, don’t, you’ll get, ugh, so much.”
Cas crouched down on one knee, gently pulling Dean’s arms and shoulders up and towards him until Dean was sitting, then leaning because he couldn’t hold himself upright. Leaning into Cas, Cas’s wrinkled work shirt, probably making a mess of it from where the piss had soaked through Dean’s clothes all the way up to his stomach.
“I’ve dealt with worse. I’m going to lift you back up to your bed, okay? Try to keep your feet on the floor if you can.”
Dean grunted, hoped vaguely it sounded like a positive. It must have as Cas tucked his shoulder into Dean’s armpit and hauled them both up with a small wheeze of effort, ‘There we go, easy now . . .’ before manhandling Dean onto his bed without dropping him. If Dean hadn’t been busy sprawling on his back actually dying, he might’ve wanted to applaud.
“Muh?” God, he was tired.
“I need to get you out of your wet clothes. Is that okay?”
Cas was standing next to the bed, looking down at Dean again, hands on his hips. Shirtsleeves rolled to the elbow. It hurt to look at him.
“I’m going to need a little more than that.”
He had to swallow again before he could talk, and Dean didn’t want to swallow, it hurt so bad and he whimpered a little before he managed it.
“You don’ have to.”
“Yes, I do. Ideally, I’d get you into a warm shower, too, but I think that’s out of the question for now. But we need to get you in clean sleep clothing and properly into bed. Alright?”
“I peed. Cas,” Dean felt like he was going to cry, “I pissed myself.”
But then he couldn’t hold his eyelids up any more and his head hurt too much to be sad, and cool fingers stroked through his damp hair, the coolness made him shiver again and notice how cold his piss was getting, soaking his jeans to mid-thigh, his t-shirt up to his ribs, shorts clinging and starting to itch.
“It’s fine, Dean. Nothing to worry about. Let’s get your shirt off.”
Dean ragdolled as Cas moved him out of his shirt, holding the wet areas away from Dean’s face as he pulled it over his head, then off each arm. Soon as the room’s air hit his bare skin, Dean started shivering violently, Cas rubbing his bare back with one hand.
“I know you feel cold, Dean, but you’re actually very warm. Is there a sleep shirt you’d prefer?”
“Don’care. So cold.”
“Okay. I’ll see what I can find.”
Dean whimpered aloud when Cas’s hands left him, so he wrapped his arms around his naked stomach, teeth beginning to chatter as Cas searched through Dean’s dresser. Then something soft was being tugged over his head, and Dean cracked his eyes to see a blur of fabric, his old Henley. His skin was warming with every gentle touch of Cas’s hands, working Dean’s hands through the armholes, his head through the neck, covering his back, pulling it over Dean’s chest.
“Dean? I need to get you out of your pants.”
It was the greatest set-up line in history, hanging there. Waiting for Dean to smart-ass something about ‘in your dreams, buddy’ or ‘took you long enough’. All he could manage was a croaked,
“Don’t be. I’m going to unfasten your belt. Okay, Dean?”
It was so slow, so gentle, Cas murmuring quietly to Dean what he was about to do, always seeking out Dean’s permission. Worked his fly down, fingers deft against the soaked denim as he helped Dean shift back and forth to wriggle out of his jeans and shorts. Cock all damp and furled, Dean hunched over and shaking, the hem of his shirt stuck on a small roll of pale belly fat, his pubes curled and darkened with piss. He probably stank of it.
“’M so pretty.”
“You’ll always be pretty to me.”
Cas was crouched at Dean’s feet, unlacing his boots one by one and pulling them off, removed Dean’s socks, finally tugging Dean’s jeans and shorts off him in a damp bundle. Reached over to the bed to grab a pair of Dean’s sweatpants he’d laid out, working them over Dean’s feet and up to his knees. Face set all firm and attentive in the darkness, chin a foot away from Dean’s crotch. Dean couldn’t help but watch him as Cas worked to get the sweatpants over Dean’s hips and ass, the tip of his tongue poking out in concentration.
“There we go. We’re done, you can lie down.” Cas ran his fingers through Dean’s hair again, working it back. “Can you sleep?”
Dean whined, so sore and so fuckin’ cold, throat on fire.
“Can’t. Too cold.”
“Hm. Rest for a few minutes, I’ll be right back.”
He curled into himself, the shivers making his aching muscles and head complain, eyes tight shut and burning, his toes ice-cold. Definitely plague. That teen asshole. Then Cas was back, and something was placed on Dean’s nightstand and Dean meant to look at what it was, he did but his eyes wouldn’t open . . .
The lightest, warmest cloud of absolute awesome settled over him in a rush of clean scent and softness. Hands smoothing it down around Dean’s crumpled figure, a strong hand lifting his head, fingers cradling his skull as his pillow was patted into place around it.
“This y’r duvet?”
Cas hummed an affirmative,
“Um-hm. Take these.”
Dean cracked open his eyes long enough to take whatever pills Cas had handed him and sip the water Cas held to his mouth. The water was so sweet.
“I’ll leave the glass here, try to drink more when you can. Can you eat?”
Dean’s gut lurched, his body hunching into itself tighter.
“That’s fine. Try to get some sleep. There’s, well, a stain on the carpet and I don’t want it to set, but I’ll try not to bother you.”
“Not a problem, Dean. Go to sleep.”
Cas’s bedding was warming Dean, finally, the shivers lessening, aches not as acute. It almost crinkled whenever Dean moved beneath it, like it was filled with real feathers. Its cover so smooth and comforting where it rested against Dean’s feet, arms and neck, not all bobbled with age like Dean’s. It probably still had all its snap fasteners. He was vaguely aware of Cas puttering around in the background, Dean’s shower light and fan turning on, the room a little lighter behind his eyelids. He could feel the hum of approaching sleep starting to buzz around his protesting body, the heaviness growing, finally warming up.
“Of course, Dean.”
Sleep was overtaking him, the pain in his head more distant. “‘Love you.”
He didn’t know if there was a pause or if it was his virus-muddled brain taking its leave, putting its feet up on the center console of Dean’s head office, tipping its hat over its eyes and settling down to nap.
“I love you, too, Dean. Sleep well.”
“Ughh. I don’t wanna.”
Dean kicked out his feet, tugging his sweat-soaked shirt away from him. Cas was back in Dean’s room, glaring down at him all stern, hands on hips, wearing black jogging shorts and a hideously bright blue t-shirt that proclaimed he was a MATH GOD.
“You need to shower, Dean. It’s been three days.”
“But everything hurts. I’m all stuffy.”
“Which a warm shower will help alleviate. You should shower while your painkillers are still in effect.”
“My head’s too big and full of mucus, it won’t fit in the stall.”
“Dean . . .” Cas sighed. Rubbed his hand over the back of his neck, the armpits of his shirt dark from his run. “You’re going to have to trust me, because you can’t smell yourself. It’s becoming obnoxious. You’ve managed going to the bathroom alone already, next step is a shower. You’ll feel better.”
“I also need to shower and change, and would rather assist you prior to that.”
“You’re worried I’ll taint you somehow?”
Cas narrowed his eyes, looking as if he was barely hanging onto the last tattered shred of his endless patience.
“You will, Dean. There will be tainting.”
“Quit bugging me.”
Dean’s voice was a dry rasp, cracking on every vowel. His fever had lessened, pleasing Cas, but all it meant for Dean was constant sweating, alternating between chills and hotter than the fires of hell in comparison to the last day’s feverish half-waking nightmares. Muscle cramps. Nausea and headaches. Coughing like he was trying to force his lungs to exist outside his body.
“I will, I’ll quit ‘bugging you’.” Victory. Dean was too sick to smirk. Would’ve been wiped off his face anyway once Cas continued, “Once you’ve taken a shower and had something to eat.”
“Too dizzy to stand.”
“Which is why I’ve put one of the kitchen stools in there.”
“Can’t get it wet. It’s not ours, it’s the apartment’s.”
Cas gave him a flat look.
“It’s mostly plastic. I’m confident it will survive a quick wash. Up we go.”
“Ughh.” Dean allowed Cas to maul him upward until he was on his feet, unsteady as a new lamb. “Ow. I knew this was going to suck donkey balls.”
He was taking steps, brain woozy and mad as hell that he was upright. There was no way he wouldn’t have crashed to the ground, though, legs all weak-ass spaghetti, if it wasn’t for Cas’s shoulder beneath Dean’s arm, his hand flat on Dean’s chest to help support and guide him across the small room to Dean’s shower, Dean bitching with every other step.
“Torture. Ow. Ugh, my head. Why. Why am I out of bed. Ughh.”
Cas leaned around Dean to flip on the shower light, moved Dean by the hips until he could lean his ass back against the vanity to hold him up.
“Do you need me to stay? I don’t mind if you need the assistance.”
“Nah. I guess I can –” Dean tried to clear his throat, and gestured around the tiny space. He sounded like he had a forty a day habit. “Reach everything to steady myself.”
“Use the stool.”
“Yeah.” Dean scowled at where Cas had already placed it in his shower stall. “I suppose that wasn’t the worst idea anyone’s ever had.”
“Flatterer.” Cas started the shower running. “Don’t lock the door in case you fall, but you should close it to keep the steam in. It should help clear your head.”
“And brush your teeth.”
“I get it, I stink. Thanks.”
Cas was futzing with a small pile on the vanity,
“I’ve brought you clean underwear and a fresh shirt. Would you rather try sweatpants again?”
“No. Not while I’m sweating so much. Ironic.” Dean kicked his way out of sweatpants yesterday, out of his mind with fever and positive he was in a losing battle against some dread creature. Thrashing, naked from the waist down, while Cas stroked Dean’s sweat-drenched hair and soothed him back into sleep. He didn’t have the energy to feel embarrassed about it, only halfway able to remember it at all. “I’m sorry, you’re gonna have to cope with my bare legs another day or two.”
“What wretched agony. ‘I will trust and not be afraid. The Lord, the Lord himself, is my strength and defense.’”
Dean rasped out his first laugh in days. It hurt.
“Sarcastic asshole. Now get the fuck out and lemme destinkify myself.”
A nod from Cas.
“Call out if you need me.”
“Sure. Go on, shoo. I’m not putting on a free show in here.”
Cas’s eyes flickered up and down all over Dean, and somehow Cas managed to not look too disgusted.
“We can only live in hope.”
“Don’t make me laugh, it makes my lungs ache. Get out already.”
Cas chuckled as he closed the door behind him, wafting the steam in the room into curls, the crappy noisy fan struggling to clear it. So steamy that a heady wave of dizziness made Dean waver on his feet as he carefully stood to shuck his shorts. It took him forever to manage getting naked and struggle his way onto the stool, the hot water immediately welcome. The stuff he managed to blow out of his sinuses one by one after a glacial age of sitting under the stream was gratifyingly gross, mouth feeling seventy percent less like the bottom of a birdcage after he’d brushed the little furry jackets of eurgh off his teeth, arm muscles exhausted and shaky with the effort involved. One of his ears popped, he could half-hear again. He was dizzy and tired and sore, but less so, meaning Cas had been right about the shower and the stool, which was genius. Showering while sitting down. A revelation.
“I’m done, I think I need your – Oh. What did you, how did you even . . .” Dean cracked a tired smile as Cas came over to help him from the shower door. “You cleaned? Shit, Cas, you don’t have to do all this. You’re going to get sick if you keep hanging out in here.”
“I don’t seem to catch many viruses, I can’t remember the last time. It’s a family trait.”
Cas had opened a window an inch while Dean had been showering, a cooling breeze battling Dean’s death-plague funk, which he couldn’t smell but trusted had to be pretty fucking rank after all the sweating and coughing up of entire lungs. The blinds were still mostly closed but had been opened enough to let a few slivers of a pale dawn filter through. Cas must’ve been busy stripping all the sweat-soaked sheets off Dean’s bed, because the nightstand lamp was spilling a pool of golden light over fresh covers, pillows plumped, condensation gathering on a tall glass of what looked like iced apple juice on his nightstand next to a steaming mug of coffee.
“Coffee? Oh sweet baby Jesus, you’re the best.”
“It’s not coffee. It’s broth.”
“‘Broth’?” All the grateful thoughts about Cas vanished. Dean flopped down onto his back, everything hurting but Cas’s comforter so thick and light it almost hugged him. “Ugh. You suck so hard.”
“I do.” Cas held out the glass of juice to Dean, thrusting it more forcefully a few times until Dean grunted in submission and took it with a shaky hand. “Sip the juice and try to get some of the broth down before you sleep.”
“I’m not hungry.”
“You need to replenish salts. I’ll pick you up some sports drinks while you’re sleeping. For the electrolytes,” Cas added, like that was in any way going to make up for the broth.
“I’ll be okay.” Dean struggled to sit up an inch and tossed back the pills, his spine and neck complaining. The cold juice, however, was soothing and the best thing he’d ever tasted and Dean gulped down some more, nearly draining the glass. “See? I hydrated. Now go shower and get to work. I’ll survive.”
“It’s no trouble. I’m working from home.”
“Yes, Dean. You don’t recall that I was here with you yesterday?”
Oh. Oh, fuck. Dean coughed, body getting overwhelmed into exhaustion by the virus again, guilt swamping him.
“I don’t. Fuck, Cas, go to work. You don’t have to hang around, like,” He was too tired to think of the right word. “Supernannying me. It’s only a stupid bug. I don’t want to be a pain in the ass.”
His dad would never have missed work over Dean getting sick. Hell, Dean wouldn’t have asked him to.
But Cas gave him a soft smile, holding out the steaming cup for Dean to take.
“I care about your wellbeing, and I’m less distracted from work by being here to keep an eye on you. Drink your broth and let me worry about whether or not you’re a pain.”
“Where do you even find broth? It looks like the stuff I was showering offa myself.”
“Gas’N’Sip. It was in a can. I microwaved it. The broth, not the can.”
“You and your fancy cheffing skills.”
The broth didn’t taste of much and its warmth helped his throat, and Dean managed half of it in small sips before passing out to sleep like he was dead. It was a clear day out when he groaned into wakefulness, squinting, daylight harsh through the gap in his blinds, the air in his room too cold. He curled up in Cas’s duvet and dozed, mouth dry and sour where he was forced to breathe through his mouth between coughing fits, feeling his lips quirk, cracked and sore, trying to smile at Cas’s footfall outside Dean’s room, a quiet knock.
“Dean? Are you awake?” Cas’s head followed by the rest of him appeared around Dean’s door. He was wearing dress pants and a workshirt even though he wasn’t going in. No tie, though, hair in disarray, sleeves rolled up as he carried another steaming cup of bleh over to Dean. “I heard you coughing.”
“Sorry. Didn’t mean to disturb you. I think the meds wore off.”
“They wore off hours ago but you were asleep every time I checked on you.” Cas pressed the backs of his fingers across Dean’s forehead, his hand way less cold than it had been. “Your temperature has started to drop.”
“Good. That’s good.”
“It is.” Cas pressed two pills into Dean’s hand and gave him a proud little smile like Dean had accomplished something amazing. When really it was all Cas. “I think you’re on the mend.”
Cas stumbled through their apartment door four hours after leaving for the day, croaking out “M’sig, Dean.”
Cas fell like a crashing tree into his room and face down onto his bed, fully dressed. Coat and everything. Dean stared at him open-mouthed from the hallway, calling out,
“How’s that whole my-family-are-too-genetically-superior-to-catch-common-diseases thing working out for you?”
The recently deceased on the bed in front of him didn’t move, except the fingers of one hand, which curled until they were flipping Dean off.
Dean hadn’t fully recovered. Almost a week later, Dean was unsteady on his feet, easily exhausted and left with a nasty cough that wouldn’t quit. The effort it took to pull Cas’s duvet off his own bed left him shaking and feeling like he should sit down for ten minutes. Instead he hauled it out to give it back and get his own crappy one back in return. He paused for a coughing fit in the doorway before crossing to Cas’s bed, hugging the comforter to his chest the whole way as it was going to be tough to say goodbye to the enormous cloud of wonderment. Dean looked down at Cas, at Cas’s dark hair blacker than usual, breaking into tiny curls around his hairline where he must’ve started sweating. Cas looked almost peaceful, almost asleep, a pink flush high on each cheekbone, face gentle in repose against –
An identical duvet. Dean dropped the one in his arms and frowned.
Cas groaned against the bed.
“I know, we already established that. I’m sorry you caught it. Where’s my duvet?”
A pained noise before Cas rolled enough so that one eye could glower in Dean’s direction.
“My bedding. I woke up with yours days back so figured you’d swapped it out for mine while I was sick.”
Cas cleared his throat of something extremely gloopy sounding for several long minutes. His voice, when he finally spoke, was more death rattle than words.
“Okay.” Dean scratched at six days’ worth of stubble. “How?”
“Yours cun’ be cleaned so I god ‘nodder one.”
“Why did it need –” Wait. Fuck. It came back to him slow and fragmented as a half-remembered nightmare. Blurred and almost like it wasn’t real, but all of it, every humiliating detail. How warm the piss had felt where he’d been so cold. The fall, which explained the mystery bruise on his hip. The one patch of carpet that was now cleaner than the rest. Dean felt his face burn, “Oh. Well, shit, Cas. Please don’t piss yourself while you’re sick.”
“You don’t need to go right now?”
Dean’s bed seemed like it was a mile away.
“Great. I’m just going to sit for a minute.”
Cas grunted into the bed.
“I’m gonna, uh . . .” He hardly realized what he was doing before he’d lay down beside Cas, closing his eyes. “Gonna take a nap for one second, then we’ll get you into your PJs.”
“Don’t worry, buddy. I’m gonna look after you. Just gotta sleep for one . . . minute . . .”
Cas didn’t piss himself.
He was sitting hunched over, Dean next to him soothing up and down over Cas’s back and sweat-soaked t-shirt while Cas coughed and coughed and coughed until he gagged.
Then yarfed. Like, Exorcist yarfed, all over his chest and the bed and a little splash on Dean’s knee.
“Jesus. Yikes. That happened.”
“M’sorry, I’m so sorry, Dean, I couldn’t stop it.”
It would’ve been a loud wail if Cas’s voice was working worth a shit, more of a desperate whisper. Dean jumped up, trying not to retch at the splatter on his sweats, started gathering up the comforter to strip it out of its cover before anything soaked through. If any of it touched his skin, Dean would probably be adding to it.
“It’s okay, man, I got it, you’re okay.” Reached over to guide Cas’s sweaty hair back off his forehead. “Hey, at least it stopped your cough.”
Cas looked like he hated the world. Hated it.
“This isn’t ‘flu. I think I’m actually dying. Or want to die. I don’t know which. Both.”
“Told ya. Death plague.”
The duvet seemed relatively unscathed out of its cover, Cas hadn’t eaten in three days so it was mainly just. Ugh. Mucus. Dean dry-heaved a bunch of times again, shook his head to get it out of his system before moving to start stripping Cas out of his soaked t-shirt while holding his breath.
“Here we go. You’re not going to like this but I’m going to have to insist on a shower. It's payback time, dude.”
Cas’s BO wasn't that bad. Strong enough to knock Dean back on his feet when entering the room after three solid days of sweating in bed, but Cas had a natural scent that wasn’t totally offensive as it got stronger, not as sour as Dean knew his got. Mixed with a gutful of Satan’s chowder, however, it turned the room foul and Dean couldn’t wait to get out of there. How Cas had managed to nurse Dean for three days in a room stinking of stale piss was beyond him.
Dean dropped Cas’s shirt on the bundle by his feet.
“I’m going to go fetch the stool and a trash bag.” And burn these pants before spraying myself head to toe with bleach. “Be right back.”
Dean paused at the doorway. Cas looked so small hunched over in the center of his bed in only his baggy boxers, sweaty body racked by a few coughs, curled in on himself like existence was agony, as if the air around him hurt.
“I’m so sorry about the vomit.”
“Hey, it’s okay. It is.” Dean sat down on the edge of the bed, reaching out to stroke Cas’s hair as Cas closed his eyes. “I'm here for you. Always."
“Thank you, Dean.”
Dean swung his legs into the bed after bringing their breakfast in. Cas started recovering his appetite two days before, too wobbly on his feet and weak to make it out to the kitchen without needing a twenty minute nap, so they’d gotten into the habit of eating together in Cas’s bed. Dean had probably spent more time in Cas’s bed than his own over the past five days.
He wasn’t sure he’d done as great a job as a nurse as Cas, but he’d been there to soothe and provide juice and homemade chicken soup rather than something out of a can. He’d disposed of a million damp kleenexes, dispensed two full packs of Day-and NyQuil pills and almost an entire bag of honey-lemon drops, when Cas had only bought him the gross menthol ones. He’d sat up talking with Cas all night before Dean’s first day back at work when Cas’s cough had meant he couldn’t lie flat enough to fall asleep. Overall he didn’t think he’d done too bad. Cas was looking better. Healthier color in his cheeks above the heavy stubble. Eyes sharper and more in the moment.
“You think you’ll get out of bed today?”
Cas nodded and ’uh-huh’d around a mouthful of toast.
“I feel much better. I want to shower and shave. And change the sheets.”
“Leave the sheets ‘til I get back.”
Cas grumbled around more toast, making Dean certain he was going to get home from work and find Cas crashed out on the floor, sleeping in a pile of stale bedding where his energy had faded faster than he’d counted on. Dean had been out of bed a week and the recovery continued to kick his ass. He’d been close to useless at work, not even able to man the phone due to a bunch of yeuch settling on his vocal cords making him raspier than ever.
“I put soup and a sandwich in the ‘fridge for your lunch.”
“Chicken noodle?” Cas visibly perked up.
“Dean?” Cas touched Dean’s forearm, his face all serious. “Please tell me the chicken noodle’s not a limited time offer that applies only to sickness and convalescence?”
Cas’s returning energy and subsequent intensifying admiration of Dean’s chicken noodle soup had been entertaining. Yeah, it was kind of a pain in the ass to cook, but not difficult at all, and each helping brought increasing raptures the more Cas’s tastebuds recovered. Dean would’ve made it months ago if he’d known anyone could possibly be into soup to that degree. It was –
It was cute. Cas was cute. Spending so much time with a Cas who’d been stripped down to his barest personality traits by sickness had forced Dean to recognize that his roommate was kind of adorable. Glowering darkly out at Dean over the edge of the covers because Dean was the absolute worst for suggesting he try a little blue Gatorade. Face all screwed up suffering through a sneezing fit. Falling face down onto the bed every time he got close enough and didn’t have to walk any further. Curling his toes around Dean’s socked ankle as he’d lain on his side, pouting and whiny over how much his back hurt until Dean gave in and worked out the knots for him.
“I promise I’ll make you chicken noodle whenever. Just ask.”
“You,” Cas finished off the last of his toast. “Are a very good person.”
“How dare you, am not. Hey, I gotta book.”
“Don’t work too hard.”
Dean laughed, collecting Cas’s plate and cup, stacking them with his own.
“Bobby’s going to put me on my ass if I don’t start getting off it. Says he doesn’t pay me to look decorative and that I’m currently about as useful as tits on a nun.”
Cas’s eyebrows shot up.
“I know, right? Don’t try to do too much while I’m out.”
“Mmn.” Cas was settling down on his side, already sleepy-eyed, hair mussed over his pillow.
“Okay, sleepyhead. Catch you on the flip side.”
He carried the bag of groceries through to the kitchen, stashing away cold items like creamer and the pack of chicken wings required for more soup, before heading down the hallway to see how Cas was doing. It was dark out and there was a little light coming from under Cas’s door but no answer when Dean knocked, so he invited himself in like they’d been doing since he’d got sick himself. Cas wasn’t in bed, and wasn’t sleeping in a nest of dirty sheets on the floor like Dean had expected. The bed had been stripped but Cas had obviously been too cautious, tired or sensible to try making it himself.
The room was empty, the light coming from the shower room doorway, the door mostly but not entirely closed. Dean walked up, knocked.
“Yo, Castiel, you in there?”
The door swung inwards.
“Hello, Dean. I’m shaving, I’ll be out momentarily.”
The air was steamy and smelled like the mint of toothpaste and Cas’s organic shampoo, the clean scent of his deodorant. And Cas . . . Cas was leaning with one hand propped against the vanity unit, making his bare chest and muscled stomach tense and bulk up. Hair wet and combed back from his face. Jaw and chin covered in shaving foam, his other hand lifting a razor.
Dean’s line of sight wandered helplessly down over Cas’s broad shoulders, covered in little drops of water. The line of his spine, his torso a little ribby after the sickness. White towel slung low around tight hips, the soft curve of his ass, towel tucked in lower still over his flat belly, a trail of damp hair disappearing beneath where the towel covered the swell of his . . .
Dean’s throat, mouth went dry.
His nuts throbbed. His finger itched to hook itself in the towel to pull it away. What in the fuck of fucks.
Cas didn’t seem to register that Dean was clearly suffering some kind of aneurysm.
“I was hoping you could help me with my sheets, if you don’t mind. You were right, it was too much for me to manage myself.”
One careful swipe of razor down his cheek, rinsing the razor off in the sink before glancing at Dean in the mirror.
“Uh, sure.” Right after he’d finished ogling his best friend like Cas had unexpectedly turned into 1990s bikinied Halle Berry. “I just gotta . . . uh, gimme a minute.”
He didn’t run, exactly, out of Cas’s room, across the hallway and into his own. Not exactly. Dean slammed his bedroom door shut and leaned back against it. Hard against his fly, his first real hard-on since he’d been sick.
Dean thunked his head back against his door. Throat burning. Cock throbbing in time with his pounding heartbeat.
He rubbed at his eyes with his fingers, slapping his cheeks lightly, “C’mon, man, get it together. It’s just a naked dude.”
Cas. Half-naked, so much skin, water begging to be licked off or sucked –
“No,” Dean told himself firmly. Then down at where his jeans were bulging out, “No. Bad.”
That Cas was objectively attractive was indisputable. He was handsome, had great eyes, what Dean’s dad would’ve called cocksuckers’ lips. The body of a statue in a museum somewhere. Dean knew all that. There was no denying that the guy looked good.
The blowjob fantasy was just that, a fantasy. Nothing to do with Cas, nothing to do with reality. It wasn’t like he actually wanted Cas to –
Dean opened his eyes. Said it aloud in a hushed voice that wouldn’t be overheard.
“I’m not sexually attracted to guys. Or Cas.”
He didn’t sound entirely convinced. He slid to the floor.
“I’m not. How would that be possible?”
Nobody gets to almost thirty-five without realizing on some level that they’re into dudes.
What about Mitchell Broders, a voice in the dusty stacks at the back of his memory asked.
“Was pretty like a girl, every guy in school thought so.”
And you gave him so much shit for it. Almost like you took it personally.
He’d been an asshole. Not the worst of them, but bad enough. Dean would say sorry if he had any idea how. He rubbed his eyes and face again, then sat there with his head in his hands, elbows propped on his knees.
“I’m not into guys. Cas is great. Yeah, so, he secretly sometimes looks like a porn star.” He cleared his throat, emotion clogging it, no voice at all to his whisper. “It’s the sickness and gratitude and, fuck, so long since anybody gave a shit or that I’ve seen a naked body live and in person.”
He wasn’t even naked. His brain cheerfully provided a mental image of Cas leaning against the sink in his low-slung towel, not naked but so much skin.
Dean took in a deep breath, blew it out long and slow. Collected his shit and pushed himself up from his floor, tilting his head back and forth as if getting hard over Cas’s bare torso was a crick in his neck he could work out.
If Cas noticed that Dean was quieter than usual as they made his bed together, he didn’t say anything.
Dean and Therapy never managed to peacefully coexist. Anything that involved talking about himself in detail over hour-long sessions was doomed to fail. He’d tried for over a year. But he’d absorbed a few lessons, and was doing better on owning his shit or understanding when something was meaningful or could be disregarded.
The Cas Situation was meaningful.
Dean wished it wasn’t, but the fact his dick went from listless and apathetic to instantly pumped-up love muscle only when suitably inspired by Cas, nobody else, was too significant to ignore. Perhaps Cas was merely a catalyst and this was another stumbling block along the path of Dean’s journey towards reliable boners. Even just occasional ones. Maybe it was Cas because they’d gotten so close and it was enough to confuse the hell out of Dean’s traumatized libido.
Perhaps a whole self-discovery thing was the price he had to pay to get his dick working again. He’d tried everything else he or the experts could think of, including acupuncture, an appointment Dean turned up for on time even though he was certain it would mean having needles stabbed into his junk. It hadn’t, thank precisely all of the fuck in the world, and the relief when he’d figured that out had been palpable. That was how desperate he’d been. If making progress meant questioning his sexuality and getting the fuck over himself long enough to figure shit out then so fucking be it. The stakes were too high to refuse to engage.
Dean was lying on his back on his bed listening to music on low volume, headphones blocking out anything Cas-adjacent that might distract him. He’d gone through his relaxation exercises, starting at his toes, continuing upwards until he reached his stomach and got way too bored to continue.
It took him under two full songs on his playlist to come up with three other names other than Cas and Mitchell Broders.
Jess and Sam’s college buddy at their wedding, Glynn, floppy brown hair and coke-bottle nerd glasses with enormous hazel eyes behind them. Taller and slimmer than Dean, a little awkward. There had been something about him. Dean wanted to ask after him, ask how he was doing, but he never did.
Charlie’s friend of a friend, Jan-pronounced-Yan. About Dean’s age, hair completely buzzed to camouflage a receding hairline, pale blue eyes with long sandy blond lashes, one dimple digging into his cheek. They’d bumped into him and a boyfriend in a bar back when Dean was attempting to be social, and he’d flirted with Dean all night. Heavily flirted, pressed his thigh against Dean’s under the table of their booth. It was almost like flirting in middle school, all shoulder nudges and eye contact. Jan invited Dean home with them in front of everybody for a fun night of personal discovery. Dean had been drunk but could remember saying ‘sure!’ and raising his glass in toast, and everyone laughed because he was joking.
Mr. Abrantes, Dean’s best customer and a responsible car owner who brought his gorgeous seventies yellow-gold Mustang in for Dean to check over every six months like clockwork, no matter the mileage. Mid-to-late forties. Well-off, white-collar gym-fit type of guy. The first time he’d brought his car in, he’d looked up and down all over Dean and quirked an eyebrow, before smiling and holding out his hand to shake. It made Dean feel tight all over, and he’d felt like that every time since, something squirmy and ill at ease.
Dean gave himself the time to think about Mr. Abrantes in detail, how his shoulders looked muscular underneath the work shirts, how strong his hand felt in Dean’s. How he was little taller than Dean, a little broader. Eyes so dark they were almost black.
The tight feeling hadn’t been discomfort. Dean sighed and opened his eyes. Fuck. Figuring this out while he’d been in therapy would’ve been way more convenient.
Five guys. There hadn’t been exactly hundreds of women in Dean’s life that he’d been attracted to, he’d never been a total horndog, but five guys wasn’t that many in comparison. Not a trivial number, though. He’d always assumed he was like most straight guys in that he could see when a guy was attractive, cute or handsome or built, whatever, but that didn’t mean anything without action. He’d assumed all guys did that, that acknowledging someone was visibly hot in no way impacted on Dean’s actual sexuality so long as he’d never done anything about it and never intended to.
He rolled his eyes at himself. Sure, that was absolutely what totally straight guys did, occasionally looking at other guys and thinking ‘Whoa, hello hotness. No homo.’ Dumbass. It seemed obvious with hindsight.
His dad was the spectre haunting the whole thing. Just when he’d thought he was over his childhood and had started to function semi-normally as a human adult, his dad would come back to figuratively bite him in the ass. John had always been on at Dean as though he’d be able to taunt Dean out of any softness or hints of anything other than out-and-out raging masculinity. Like Dean’s decision to start watching the Food Network so he could learn to feed himself and Sam with something other than brown glop. ‘Food is fuel. Jesus H, son, just slap a steak in a hot pan and dump some A1 on it after.’
Or that time out on the street when they’d been watching their dad pack the car. Ruthie Downs had passed by on the sidewalk and given Dean a shy smile that had him blushing fit to combust, a younger, much smaller Sammy bursting into fits of laughter and singsonging ‘Dean’s got a girlfriend!’ John eyed Ruthie’s retreating figure before calling her scrawny as a boy, flat as a board and questioning why Dean would like someone with dyke hair. Even that, liking a girl who favored anything other than long, girlish locks, was a problem for Dad. It wasn’t surprising that Dean had repressed the hell out of anything other than being attracted to women. Long-haired, appropriately-breasted feminine women. The only surprise was he’d been so effective at it that Cas coming along and obliviously undermining Dean’s carefully constructed sense of self was turning out to be one hell of an epiphany.
He picked up his phone, closing out the playlist and bringing up his contacts. Hit Call before he could second-guess himself. Pulled off his headphones and thumbed his TV on for background noise as he waited for an answer.
“Hey, bitch. Is Jess with you?”
“No, she’s stuck at work. Is everything okay?”
“It’s great, lying here struggling with a personal crisis. You?”
A pause where Dean imagined Sam actually frowning at his phone as if it couldn’t be Dean calling and had to be some kind of elaborate prank.
“Am I being Punk’d?”
“You said you wanted to talk more.”
“Uh, yeah. I mean, yeah! Wow! Okay. You mind if I get a beer?”
Sam was already fetching a beer, Dean could hear the door opening, the clink of a bottle.
“If that’s what’s going to help us get through this.”
He could hear Sam opening the beer, settling into a chair. He could picture it in his head, Sam folding himself into that one armchair that seemed meant for him in their small living room. Hair flopping, brows drawn together in infinite confusion that Dean was going to talk to him about real stuff, about emotions and all the squishy BS Dean couldn’t stand because he’d been trained out of it since he was a kid.
“I’m ready. Lay it on me.”
He could say it. He could, Dean was sure of Sam in a way he’d so seldom been sure of anything. For all Sam’s multitudinous faults, he was on Dean’s side and always had been, always would be.
“I’m attracted to Cas.”
Sam made a smothered choking noise.
“This is brand new information!”
“Fuck you, it is to me.”
“Jess and I got a new couch we can’t afford after your visit because we hadn’t realized the springs on the old one were so loud before it had to cope with your fat ass. We didn’t want to hear it when you guys next visited, having gotten your shit together and started boning in the interim. We were so sure the boning was going to happen that we laid out nine hundred bucks to replace something we already owned.”
Dean’s cheeks warmed.
“Sure, let’s talk about the financial burden I’m placing on you rather than the fact that I don’t know what the fuck I’m going to do about this.”
“I don’t know, man, don’t you have any game at all? Ask Cas out to dinner then play footsie with him under the table. Take him to see a movie then sit in the back row. I don’t know your moves and I’m positive I don’t want to.”
“No, assface.” I’ve never been with a guy. I’m broken in ways you’ll never know. There are so many reasons why he wouldn’t want me. “He’s my roommate. He’s a friend. Do I risk fucking that up? Because this is me and we both know that fucking things up is inevitable.”
“I do know those things and our new couch is available to you for whenever the inevitable comes and you have to get the hell out of Dodge.”
“I’m starting to see why I’ve never called to discuss feelings with you before.”
Cas would’ve air-quoted the word ‘feelings’. Dean smiled to himself.
“Can you continue as you are? Just friends? Friends who get freaky?”
“I don’t know, that’s why I’m asking you.”
“Well, how should I know? I’m not in your head.”
They fell silent. Stayed silent what seemed like a minute before Sam spoke again.
“If it helps, it seems like it’s more than just an attraction or whatever. That’s what Jess says. I can’t say I’ve spent that much time and energy thinking about your sex life.”
“Of course she has an opinion on this. Okay, hit me with the wisdom of Jessica Winchester and her all-seeing-eye. It can’t be less helpful than you’ve been so far.”
“Eff you, douchebag, I’m totally being supportive.”
“Then what did she say?”
“Neither of us has the time to for me to fully recount all the many thoughts my beloved has shared with me about your relationship with Cas.”
“They didn’t teach you how to summarize at that fancy-ass lawyering college of yours?”
“Short version is that it’s an L-word situation for both of you.”
“No. No! No. It's not. I have an inconvenient case of minor hots for Cas, who might not be into me anyway, that’s all.”
Dean could almost hear Sam judging him down the line.
“I mean, sure, I like him. A lot. He’s, uh, y’know. Attractive. There’s, uh, definitely attraction, physically, uh. There. For me. Quit it with the sniggering, I only just figured all this out. And I love him as a friend, which makes it all so potentially messy.”
“As a friend, yeah. Which is totally how he looks at you, too. One hundred percent. I’m being sarcastic if you hadn’t picked up on that.”
“He does see me as a friend. He’s told me.”
Sam groaned all disgusted and loud.
“He does not. He looks at you like, Jess summed it up, quoted Shakespeare at me. Wait, I’m looking it up.”
“I’m good without the Shakespeare, thanks –”
“Here it is. She said, and I agree with her on this, that Cas looks at you like he’s reciting this quote in his head. You ready?”
“‘What a piece of work is man, how noble in reason, how infinite in faculties, in form and moving how express and admirable, in action how like an angel, in apprehension how like a god’. Replace the word ‘man’ with ‘Dean’ and that’s exactly how Cas looks at you. I don’t remember Jess ever looking at me like that. Not even on our wedding day.”
“Bullshit. She looked at you all the time then and now like you’re not totally disgusting-looking, when you’re actually more like a shaved gorilla. Love is blind.”
“And you look at him exactly the same. Same quote, same everything.”
“Do not.” Dean turned the stuff he remembered of the quote over in his head and sighed. “Okay, yeah, I guess that’s possible. Goddammit.”
“So knock yourself out if you want to think this is some man crush that’s gonna wear off, by all means go on ignoring that your best friend probably has feelings for you that you probably return. Continue with the whole Dean Winchester Is Emotionally Unavailable crapshoot, because that’s working out so well for you so far –”
“Jesus, Sam. That’s a little harsh.”
“I’m just sayin’. Fuck Dad is what I’m saying. Fuck him and anything he ever said to make you think you shouldn’t go for it when you’re into someone as clearly as you’re into Cas, who is awesome. Anyway, Dad’s too busy burning in hell for eternity to give any thought to who you’re dancing the forbidden polka with.”
“Dude.” His little bro, coming out swinging for him. “Thanks. For being cool.”
“What are you talking about, I’m always cool. I’m Slurms friggin’ McKenzie.”
Figuring out that he kinda, sorta liked guys wasn’t the magic bean Dean had been hoping for. No giant beanstalks. He’d rolled up his sleeves and got to work, one hand on his dick and the other on his laptop clicking around gay porn on streaming. Thoughts of Cas were more effective. Way less educational, but effective.
There were plenty of times he’d lose his hard. There were climaxes, intense ones, when he’d watch something and imagine him and Cas doing similar. Fantasising about trying to blow Cas, what sucking dick might be like. The idea made him feel equal amounts queasy and aroused.
He’d come hard enough each time to not stress too much over what getting off on the idea meant for his masculinity. But it wasn’t a cure-all, and how the hell was Dean supposed to lay the moves on his friend when he wasn’t entirely sure those moves would lead to anything other than failure and humiliation? He couldn’t. Not with Cas.
He’d tried sticking a finger in his ass. It hadn’t rocked his world. Two made him come faster and distracted him enough so he hadn’t noticed the moment he’d usually start to get overstimulated, but still, it felt weird and he hadn’t tried it again. He was probably doing it wrong.
So he was stuck. Cooking a meal for them both half the week. Sharing the meal when Cas first got home, Dean unable to make small talk or flirt or anything other than notice every single detail about Cas. How soft his hair looked. How often the pink tip of his tongue would poke at the corner of his mouth when he was listening or concentrating on something, how often he licked his bottom lip. How his neck looked like it would taste amazing.
How certain Dean was becoming that there was definitely some emotional element for him. That he wanted Cas on the couch next to him, his feet in Dean’s lap. How he’d wanted to rub life back into Cas’s hands the morning of the first frost when Cas had come home from his run almost blue. He’d slept in Cas’s bed for two nights because he hadn’t wanted Cas to wake alone while he was sick and confused.
Then Dean would sequester himself away in his room and it was starting to feel like lockdown.
“Good evening, Dean. Something smells amazing.”
“Stew and dumplings, ready in twenty. There’s a package for you.”
Cas froze in place, turned and considered the parcel through slitty eyes like he was suspicious it was about to explode.
“Oh. I see. It came.”
Which, in Cas’s somber tones of dread, sounded more like ‘It’s Here. It’s Reached Sentience. It’s Coming From The Basement.”
“Whoa. You need help with that? Want me to bury it in sand or something? Not that I have sand.” Shut your yap, you awkward asshole, stop talking about sand.
“It’s something I’d forgotten about. I ordered it while I was sick.”
Cas picked it up, turning it over in his hands. Considering it carefully. Could still have been a bomb, far as Dean was concerned.
“What did you order?”
“It’s, uh . . . I’d rather not say.”
And now Dean had to know.
“Aren’t we past this? You mopped up my piss and I was in the firing line of your barf. I’m pretty sure we’re at the point where you can share the contents of your mystery package with me. Uh.” Dean felt the tips of his ears go red. “Yeah.”
“I suppose it does concern you. Or did.”
Dean stared at Cas for a second before flailing a little.
“So open it already! Did you buy something for the apartment?”
“No. I have to explain something first.”
“Then get to ‘splaining, Lucy.”
Cas’s brow wrinkled as his lips ghosted the name ‘Lucy’ to himself.
“Give me a moment to gather my thoughts.”
Dean turned to sort through the kitchen junk drawer to fish out a box cutter. Handed it to Cas where Cas was sitting down at the breakfast bar.
“Thank you.” Cas placed the cutter down next to the package. Picked it up. Put it back down again. “It was while I was sick. I couldn’t sleep because of the cough and couldn’t settle to watch or read anything. My mind kept wandering. I had a sister.”
He’d only ever told Dean about his brothers.
“She had a glial cell tumour. Brain cancer. She went into remission after treatment, but then it came back and it was aggressive. I pushed too hard to get her and my parents to try anything, third and forth opinions, painful treatments that had poor outcomes. Experimental management of her condition I’d read about in medical journals at the library. The pressure in her skull built and she wasn’t able to make sense at all over her last few weeks, constant hallucinations. It was like she was a different person. She’d just turned fourteen.”
Damn. Dean covered Cas’s hands with his own, rubbed his thumbs across Cas’s knuckles.
“What was her name?”
“Anna. I was sitting with her in the hospice one of the last times I saw her lucid. I was angry that we hadn’t tried everything possible. She criticized me, so kindly, for trying to always fix everything for everybody. Getting into trouble at school for standing up to bullies. Trying to care for a baby bird I’d found that natural selection already deemed disposable, which died anyway. Trying to get her to heal through force of will alone. This,”
Cas glared angrily at the box, “I fear, is a particularly egregious example of my mission to fix everything. Tilting at windmills.”
“I’m sorry about your sister.” Dean squeezed Cas’s hands before releasing them. “Can I ask what this has to do with me?”
Cas groaned and leaned down to briefly rest his forehead against his arms like his head hurt.
“I was thinking about what we’d discussed. About your ED. I felt so deeply for you, wished I could somehow help. I thought about the men I’ve been with who’d suffered similar and what had worked for them.”
Dean looked down at the package, wondering if he should possibly think about donning a Hazmat suit or establishing a perimeter.
“What’s in the box, Cas?”
Cas sighed. Blushed.
“Have you tried, uh. Prostate stimulation?”
Dean leaned away from the parcel.
“What did you do.”
“Three of my ED bed partners could climax and ejaculate without full erection through sustained prostate stimulation. If you wanted to consider trying it, these should help.”
“. . . The hell did you buy me, man?”
Cas’s blush deepened but he started to open the box.
It was a three-pack. They looked like butt plugs only crooked like they were a beckoning finger. Three sizes going from pinky swear to holy fucking porn. Dean wasn’t sure if his expression was freaked out or intrigued or some nauseating mix of the two.
“There’s also sanitizer and the bigger bottle is the type of lubricant I use.”
“Oh, sure, just toss that personal lil nugget in there, that’s great.” Dean was hopelessly turned on. Cas brought him butt stuff and his favored brand of lube, which immediately brought to mind Cas using the lube, pumping the bottle then using his fingers to spread it smooth and glistening all over his – Dean fought his way back into the room. “You brought me butt stuff.”
“And I apologize.” Cas’s fingers were urgent on Dean’s forearm, his eyes all worried. “I am so, so sorry, Dean. I overstepped.”
Dean looked at the plugs. They were bright purple, turquoise and lime green. He couldn’t stop his smile, didn’t try.
“This is the most stupidest, weirdest and kindest thing anyone’s done for me in a long time. Absolutely the most surprising. You don’t need to apologize.”
“I do.” A squeeze on his arm. “Your business is none of my business.”
“I made it your business when I talked to you about it. Seriously,” He reached out to lay his hand over Cas’s, his pulse jumping at such a small deliberate contact. “Your intentions were good. I’m not mad. Thanks for telling me about your sister.”
Sitting across the breakfast bar from each other holding hands, if you squinted. Cas all flushed and pink but looking happier, hanging his head, eyes dancing when they looked up through his eyelashes to catch Dean’s. His hand fit beautifully in the curve of Dean’s, knuckles warm and dry against Dean’s palm. The touch sang. Cas had to feel it.
But he sat back, smiling as he pulled his fingers from beneath Dean’s.
“Thank you for accepting your gift in the spirit it was intended.”
Dean kicked away from the bar, balancing on his stool’s back legs and trying to school his face into something breezy. Anything to cover up how affected he was by that touch, and how the phantom shape of Cas’s knuckles was warming his hand.
“Nah, man, come clean – you wanted to think about me riding a tiny purple dildo.” Cas laughed, shook his head and Dean grinned. “It’s okay, no judgment. But I can promise you that big green motherfucker’s not coming anywhere near me.”
Dean’s ass clenched in on itself, conflicted and twitchy. It did not like the jolly green giant. Cas reached out to pluck the pack from Dean’s hands. He tapped at some text on the packaging with a fingertip, USB Rechargeable.
“They’re not dildos. They’re massagers.”
“Holy shit, Cas.” Dean cracked up, and once he’d started he couldn’t stop, Cas joining in. “You got me ass vibrators?”
Dean’s jaw dropped.
“You look like James Bond.”
Cas tugged at his cuffs.
“I’d love to have a quote ready for you, but I admit I’ve only seen one of the Bond films and it wasn’t to my taste.”
Dean’s jaw dropped further.
“You haven’t watched all the Bonds? Okay, do this with your hands,”
He laced his fingers together, a couple of them pointed out. Held them up to his face like he was ready for a gunfight. Cas gave him a flat look and didn’t do it.
“C’mon, gun hands, Cas, you know you wanna . . .”
Cas rolled his eyes, sighed and made gun hands as if it was the most heinous chore.
“There ya go. Now, look all suave and say ‘I thought Christmas only comes once a year.’”
“I will not.”
“How about ‘I’m afraid you’ve caught me with more than my hands up’?”
“Spoilsport.” Dean threw a pretzel at him, Cas frowning down at where it bounced off his chest. “But we’re watching all the movies, starting tomorrow. You know that, right?”
“Joy unrelenting,” Cas muttered, smoothing the lapels of his jacket, a quirk at the corner of his mouth where it seemed like he was trying to hide a smile.
He looked like a movie star and it was making Dean a little breathless. A perfectly-tailored tuxedo followed every line of Cas’s body where the coat and rumpled suit usually disguised it. His shoulders were strong-looking, waist tight, the slight curve of his ass, his legs endless. Hair combed and temporarily tidy. A fresh shave displayed his cheekbones and jawline, the soft cushion of his mouth. He looked beautiful. If Dean hadn’t already figured out that, yeah, jackass, Cas was the hottest guy he’d ever met, the tux would’ve been the killer.
I could blow him in that suit one day.
Dean choked on a pretzel. Spluttered, waving Cas away as Cas rushed over to smack him on the back.
“I’m okay. Sam’s always saying I gotta learn to chew my food.”
Cas was looking down at him, one hand on Dean’s shoulder, so close to Dean’s neck that it made his skin smart. He smelled expensive, of cologne and old money. It was all way too much.
“I wish you were coming with me.”
“Nope. No way am I dealing with Gabriel and meeting all the other assorted Miltons while wearing a rented tux. They’d mistake me for a waiter, you and I both know it.”
Cas looked like he was about to say something, but his phone chimed, Dean surreptitiously trying to not stare too much at Cas’s chest in his dress shirt as Cas unbuttoned his jacket, fetching his phone from his inside pocket.
“Meg’s almost here. I’ve been informed that she’s coming up to meet you. I don’t believe we have a choice in the matter.”
“What? No. I’m not ready for company. Look at me.”
“You look fine.”
Dean was still in his work clothes, grease-smeared jeans where a rip in his overalls hadn’t protected them, his big toe poking out of a hole in one of his socks. A few pretzel crumbs down his front he tried to brush onto the floor. He looked like a homeless person in comparison to all the glory that was Cas in a tux.
“Just meet her downstairs.”
“Dean . . .” Cas reached over, and his thumb stroked along the collar of Dean’s plaid shirt, grazing the skin. “Meg’s not family but I’ve known her so long she might as well be. They’re all curious about you. I’ve been informed I talk about you too much.”
Dammit. Dean hated how easily he blushed, always had.
“You talk about me?”
“Of course I do.” Cas hand dropped away and Dean immediately started wanting it back. He had to get a grip. “I’d like you to meet her, if you’re comfortable with that. It would certainly save me an argument.”
“God, alright. Let me change into something clean.”
Cas’s eyes flickered up and down over Dean again, poker face giving nothing away.
“No need. Meg wouldn’t care if you were wearing sackcloth and ashes. She has a way of seeing through to the person beneath.”
“Comforting though that is –”
“Dean. You look great. I should go down and wait for the car.”
Dean threw up his hands, defeated.
“Fine. Bring your fancy friend up to meet the pleb. But I need a photo of you in the suit first. Charlie made me promise.”
It was like a teen going to prom in the first photo, an awkward smile fighting with a rictus grimace. The suit looked good, but he could do better. “Don’t smile. In fact, look at my phone like you hate it.”
Cas’s eyes narrowed, chin dropping. A flawless Blue Steel.
“Like that? I don’t enjoy having my picture taken.”
“Exactly like that.”
Dean looked at the photo on his phone, insides crumbling, lungs tight. That was a keeper. He had a horrible feeling it might (definitely) function as porn before the evening was out, because he was the worst friend. He texted it to Charlie, lifting a hand in response as Cas left to fetch his date up.
Charlie: he cleans up purty
Charlie: send it to jess
Charlie: something like that shouldnt be wasted on the likes of us
‘its not wasted on me’
Dean typed it out. Bit his lip, thumb hovering over Send. It was only a throwaway comment. He sent it, blew out a breath. Not a big deal.
Charlie: WHAT THE FRACK
Charlie: THIS IS HUGE
Charlie: STAMD BACK IM COMIN OVER
cas is bringing his date up
Charlie: GILDAS HEAD LITERQALLY IMPLODED
“Honestly, Clarence, you’d have thought growing up in your family you’d have learned to tie a bow tie by now.”
It looked fine before. Meg’s hands were proprietorial on Cas, who stood there and let her manhandle him, looking down at her with a fond, exasperated expression.
“Simpler by far to make a mess of it so you’ll do it for me.”
“There.” She stepped back on lethal heels, tilted her head. Patted his chest in approval and Dean almost bit through his tongue in annoyance. “And you’re Dean. We were beginning to think you were a product of Gabriel’s admittedly overheated imagination.”
She smirked at him, lips as blood red as the dress she was poured into.
“Castiel tells me you were his first choice of escort this evening. The gala’s quite the hot ticket.”
“Sounds like it. I’m afraid I don’t have a suit.”
“Like that’s even a problem, we’ll arrange one for you one next year. I’m sure you’ll be intimately acquainted with the whole gang by then.”
Her smile and the considered way she looked at him, taking in every detail, triggered a prey response in Dean. He wanted to go hide behind the couch.
“Relax, they’re harmless. Dying to meet you.” She and Cas shared a small laugh. Dean gritted his teeth. “You’re very handsome. Gabe’s absolutely spitting you’re not going to be there to grace him with a dance. He’s always so handsy, but maybe you’d enjoy that?”
He raised his eyebrows helplessly at Cas,
“You can jump in whenever, buddy.”
“That’s enough, Meg. Put him down,” like she was a dog and Dean was a chew toy. “We’re going to be late if we’re not careful.”
“Oh, unwad yourself, I’ll make sure we get there in time. Not even I would risk the wrath of your mother. I suppose I should whisk you off to the ball before we both pumpkin. Good to finally confirm your existence, Dean.” She held out a hand and he took it. He couldn’t remember the last time he’d had a girl’s hand in his. It seemed so small. “Try not to let the fact that you’re missing out on limitless champagne and a world-beating dessert table impact on your evening too much.”
“Dessert? You didn’t say anything about dessert.” He turned beseeching eyes on Cas, who smiled.
“I’ll smuggle some out in a napkin.”
“Ooh, yes, contraband.” Meg’s eyes glittered as she tucked her arm through the crook of Cas’s and gave it a conspiratorial squeeze. “A tasty little morsel. Yum.”
They’d been gone thirty seconds when the hammering started on the apartment door. Charlie must’ve been watching through their spyhole to see when Cas left. She exploded through the door and into the apartment soon as Dean opened it, Gilda standing in the hallway, looking Dean over head to ancient-socked toe. She pursed her lips, taking in his aging Zeppelin IV t-shirt with its torn neck, his threadbare flannel. Hair that needed a cut.
“You still look straight to me.”
“I suspect that’s never a compliment.”
“I’m busy, I have to get back. Have fun with Charles. She’s kind of hopped up, even for her, so no caffeine. Or bright lights, contact with water –”
“Food after midnight, I got it.”
Charlie was making meaningful eye contact over her steepled fingers as Dean approached her at the breakfast bar. She looked like Mr. Burns.
“Do I look like I’m here for snack foods?”
But took a handful anyway and stuffed one in her mouth.
“No. You look like the interrogation’s about to start and you’re in need of a bright lamp to shine directly in my face.” The text was a joke. I was kidding. Dean didn’t want to lie but it’d be so easy. Seeing Cas in the tux and vividly imagining himself on his knees undoing its fly was mindfuck enough for one evening. He could do without whatever this was. “What do you need me to say for this not to be a big deal?”
Charlie glared a moment longer before her expression softened.
“You don’t have to say anything. You know that.”
She ate another pretzel. Gave Dean an innocent smile as she chewed. “May I please have some water? These are so salty.”
Dean turned to fetch her a glass, smiling to himself as the silence stretched between them. Handed her the glass of water, watching her take a small sip as she looked around the room like Dean’s kitchen had become fascinating.
“You’re not fooling anyone.”
“God, I know! Ugh!” Charlie slumped over dramatically. “That was like running a marathon. How do people even do that?”
“What, not stick their noses in other people’s beeswax?” She nodded. “Perhaps it’s something you’re born with.”
“Are you saying I’m defective from birth? I’m offended.”
“I’m saying, stay and watch TV with me. We can hate-watch something so we can throw pretzels at it.”
“I don’t know, they’re pretty good.”
The stars aligned and they hit jackpot – a showing of Stealth only twenty minutes in. Charlie catcalled and hooted, “Extreme Deep Invader sounds like a strap-on” and “Number Five is alive!” while Dean flicked pretzel chunks off his knee at the screen, trying to either hit Josh Lucas on his nose or Jessica Biel on her ass. Jamie Foxx got a pass for being cool.
“How late is Cas at his mom’s party? Oh, wait, no, this is so good – they’re so stealthy the Russians found them immediately! I love this movie so hard.”
“You make it sound like she’s wearing an apron having a backyard cook-out.”
Charlie looked down her nose at him.
“Have you been?”
“Then you don’t know. Maybe she is.”
“A charity gala and silent auction doesn’t sound like there’s burgers involved.”
“You’d be there if there were. Don’t those things charge hundreds per plate? Is that why you didn’t go?”
“No.” Dean was running out of his share of pretzels. He’d have to vacuum in the morning. “Cas is expected to buy an extra ticket and bring someone.”
“Ah. Like a date.”
Charlie ate a pretzel and failed to hide how hard she was side-eyeing Dean.
“I don’t have a suit. It’s black tie. Cas’s tux was made for him by the family tailor, which is apparently a thing. He’s got three different ones to choose from for different, I don’t know, tuxedo-appropriate situations, and I’m supposed to show up in a Target special?”
“They have an awesome Stars’n’Stripes suit for fifty bucks. Way to make a first impression. Besides, Cas wouldn’t care what you wore, dummy.”
“Yeah, I know. But I’d still feel out of place.”
“Oh, for sure. I always wear the wrong thing. It’s a talent.”
She stared at the screen, ostensibly watching the movie. Dean could almost hear her inner dialogue. She was keeping it to herself, for him, when all she wanted to do was poke at him until he gave in and spilled. He breathed out slow, lifted his head. Wondered if this ever got easier.
“So. I like Cas.”
Dean looked at Charlie, who continued to stare in the direction of the TV as a sound like a creaky door distantly closing escaped from somewhere deep in her chest. “Jesus, Charlie, let it out before you sprain something.”
Pretzel pieces flew everywhere as she yelped and jumped up.
“YOU LIKE HIM?! Dean! Ohmigod!” She smacked him on his upper arm then slumped onto the arm of his chair, letting out a long, satisfied sigh. “Oh, yeah, that’s the stuff, I’ve been repressing that since I got here. I feel like I need a cigarette. But, for reals, you like him? That’s crazy.”
“And you’re still into girls?”
“It’s purely theoretical at this point, but yes.”
She gasped and grabbed his arm.
“You can come to Pride with us!”
“I went this year. With you. Remember, I let you put that rainbow tattoo on my face and it didn’t wash off for three days, making work super fun.”
“Hah, yeah, that was hilarious. So, you liking Cas . . . does that mean,” She leaned down towards him and lowered her voice, “Intimate relations? Wait, did anything happen yet? The hunka chunka? Assault with a friendly weapon? Goin’ down to Bonetown? Boppin’ squiddles? I have a whole bunch of these.”
“Do lesbians even go to Bonetown?”
“Hell, yeah, we do!” She held up her hand until he obliged and high-fived it. “And quit changing the subject.”
“I’m not, we’re not . . . no. There’s no Bonetown and I’m not planning on taking a trip there any time soon.”
“But why?” She whined, made a sad face. “He’s so cute. He took three trips helping Mrs. L up the stairs with a furniture delivery last week.”
Dean was doing okay. He’d told Charlie that he was attracted to Cas, and the world hadn’t come to a sudden, violent end. He didn’t want to push it.
“It’s not something I’m ready to talk about.”
“Seriously? Ugh, you’re worse than an arcade claw machine. Just when I think I’ve gotten hold of something, you just zwoop! Slip right back out. You realize the Brocode’s in place now? There’s nothing you can say that I’d tell anyone. Even Gilda.”
“I know. Not tonight, okay?”
She elbowed him.
“Sure thing, sweet cheeks.”
Charlie pretended to continue watching the movie, leaning against him, leaving Dean with his thoughts. He didn’t noticed it ending until she turned it off.
“The way you always talk about him . . . you’re in lesbians with Cas.”
She said it like it was a certainty. The sinking, crushing feeling in his chest confirmed it.
“Small lesbians. Tiny baby lesbians.”
“I can see how that would complicate things.”
“Thank you!” Dean huffed, “I told Sam and he was all, ‘uhdurr, take him to a movie’ and –”
Charlie gesticulated so hard she nearly knocked his beer out of his hand.
“You told SAM? You actually came out to your brother? That’s huge lesbians! Gigantic, Empire-State-climbing lesbians, and wow, I turned myself on a little.”
“It is not huge lesbians. Medium lesbians, at most.”
“Wait. I’m lost, I got distracted. We’re both talking about you being –”
“– in a medium amount of love with Cas, yeah.”
It felt like his heart turned over in his chest, ripping everything inside that was meant to hold it in place. Everything was snowballing out of control. Dean allowed Charlie to hug him to her, squeezing him tight until he leaned back out the way.
“It’ll work out somehow. And, if the foot traffic to your door every week is anything to go by, it seems like Cas would at least be down to shaboink.”
“You’ve seen them?”
“Can’t miss ‘em. One guy helped carry my groceries once.”
Dean frowned, unsure of how he felt.
“You haven’t seen them? How is that even possible?”
“Cas deserves his privacy, I stay in my room.”
“Oh, good gravy.” Charlie looked pissed with him, which didn’t seem totally fair. “You’re sitting alone in your room every night longing for your best friend, who is dipping his dipsy doodle in half the guys in town so energetically we sometimes hear it across the hall? Are you preserving your purity for marriage or something?”
“Don’t get all judgy. Cas has every right to sleep with whoever he wants.”
“Bitch, please, I applaud his enthusiasm and commitment to diversity. And he likes you, you’re all he ever talks about whenever I bump into him, Dean said this, Dean did that.”
“Because I’m the only thing you’ve got in common.”
“Dude. We’re both gay. We could spend thirty minutes alone catching up on Buzzfeed quizzes.”
Dean smiled down at the floor.
“Not Cas. It’d take him all of ten seconds to ask you what a Buzzfeed was, and inside he’d secretly be hoping it was something to do with bees.”
“Aww. Look at you. You go all unnecessary when you think about him. I don’t get it. I don’t. He likes you and he likes sex. Jump on that piece of hot accountant ass. Romance him with your penis.”
“It’s not that simple.”
“It really is.”
“It’s not!” Dean finished his beer and used it as an excuse to get to his feet. “Can’t you just trust me on that?”
Charlie followed him out to the kitchen area. She touched his arm,
“Yes. I can. I mean, I’m trying to.”
‘its not wasted on me’
The fall-out from that one short sentence had been spectacular. Dean deleted it off his phone, like that would in anyway force the shell-shocked feeling out of his chest, like trying to unpop popcorn. He rubbed over his sternum. Stared at the dark ceiling of his bedroom as he said it outloud to himself, “I’m in love with Cas.”
The thing, the horrific, terrifying thing, was how good it felt to say. Soon as he said it or even thought it, Dean felt swamped with recent memories of Cas’s smiles, how his eyes would light up, his frequent touches, his smiles, the floof of his hair and rhythm of his sincerity. The warmth and solidity of his body, how good he always smelled. Dean’s brain was the last to catch on after all his other body parts and senses had accepted the inevitable. He was drawn to Cas and it wasn’t going to stop.
“I love Cas. I’m in love with Cas.” Sometimes Cas would smile shyly and duck his head at anything like a compliment making Dean’s chest feel tighter still, his hands twitching with the need to touch. “So this is worse. Great job, self.”
He’d been in love with Lisa. It hadn’t made any difference once his dick started failing, in the beginning after a few too many drinks. She’d been so kind at the start, patient and so sad for him when it hadn’t got better but continued to get worse. Increasingly distant the longer it went on and more frustrated and angry he got. Love wasn’t a cure-all. In the end it did very little but complicate everything and apply pressure where none was needed.
Dean planned to graduate to the turquoise butt massager that evening, almost like a date with himself. He’d been underwhelmed trying out the little purple one, but still way more whelmed in general than he’d been using his finger. The vibrator function confused more than excited his asshole and he’d eventually lost his erection each time. But it felt good, at times intense to the point of near-discomfort when he hiked his hips right. Plus Cas’s lube was genuinely miraculous, a million times slicker and more effective than Dean’s drugstore brand, with an added bonus of the fact of Cas using it on himself.
It had to be on himself. The screamers hadn’t returned, and Cas’s libido must have recovered from the flu by now. The idea of Cas lying naked on his bed, covers kicked off and legs spread, eyes closed and mouth gasping as he worked himself over with a slick hand, maybe two, had seen Dean through more than a few successful evenings alone. The first time he’d allowed himself to think about it he’d shot all over his chest the second he’d imagined Cas doing the same. What that would look like, how exactly Cas would look when he worked himself up to losing it, head thrown back, mouth open and gasping.
But Charlie’s description of Dean pining alone in his bedroom had been so pathetic that Dean knew there was no point in trying that night. His cock had gone to sleep early, probably sick of all the feelings crap and mad at Charlie for inadvertently mocking its capabilities.
There was the sound of a key in the lock. Dean stilled, holding his breath as he heard Cas come in their front door, Dean glancing towards his alarm clock to confirm it was almost two am. It sounded like Cas was alone and Dean let out his breath slow and quiet, disappointed in himself as he realized he’d expected Cas to bring someone home and was happy he hadn’t. One of the waiters. An old college buddy, whoever. If anyone deserved pleasure and a little fun in life, it was Cas, even when it meant he had to get it with someone who wasn’t Dean. He was a selfish asshole for wanting it otherwise.
Cas’s footsteps sounded tired, slower than usual, and they paused outside of Dean’s room. Dean willed himself not to move, his heart beating loud enough that it felt like Cas should’ve been able to hear it through the quiet of the night.
After a beat, Cas’s steps moved on.
“Hooee, look at what the cat dragged in!”
Cas shuddered and growled at Dean,
“Bring it down a notch or three, Winchester.”
He looked awful and fuckable at the same time. Dean was hiding his grin behind his fingers, watching Cas cautiously navigating the kitchen with his eyes mostly shut.
“Sit down, I’ll get you some water.”
His hair looked like a tornado. Dark circles beneath heavy-lidded and bloodshot eyes, the lines around his eyes deeply carved, stubble making his face look gaunt. But he was dressed in a pair of his grandpa boxers and nothing else, and there was a lot of naked skin to avoid as Dean tried to look anywhere else. Busied himself fetching Cas a big glass of water.
“Here.” He’d accidentally stepped into the radius of Cas’s morning breath, which was astonishingly sour that morning and reeked of stale alcohol, so Dean stepped back and breathed through his mouth. “Did you take a pain killer already?”
“I’ll fetch you a couple then we’ll figure out breakfast.”
“No. No food. Please God no food. Or cooking smells.”
“Sure, no problem. I already had oatmeal.”
Cas heaved again and groaned, clutching his head,
“And no talking about food.”
Dean allowed himself one small touch of Cas on his back, between his shoulders. He was so warm.
“I’ll get you those pills, then you should probably shower or go back to bed. We both missed most of the morning anyway.”
“Mm. In a minute.” At the touch, Cas closed his eyes. He was sitting on one of the stools, the whipped swirl of his hair about level with Dean’s chin, and he leaned over towards Dean to rest his forehead against Dean’s collarbone. It pretty much instantly stopped Dean’s heart. “Balthamort was there.”
“Shit.” Dean’s thumb had taken it upon itself to begin rubbing small circles on Cas’s bare skin.
“Quite. I knew he would be, he attends every year. He was in my family’s lives so long that I doubt I’ll ever be entirely free of him. It was easier than last year.”
“I’m guessing because you drank about three bottles of champagne?”
Cas’s shoulders lurched.
“Please don’t. It was Luke and Gabe’s idea. They thought getting me drunk would help.”
Cas raised his head enough to give Dean a snotty look.
“Does it look like it did? I thought you were getting me pills.”
“I was, before you got all snuggle bunny on me.”
“I’m sorry.” Cas moved away, leaned on the bar looking like he was about to drop. “I wasn’t thinking.”
“I don’t mind.”
He wanted to say more. Above all, Cas was his best friend. Saying more had to be okay. “I kinda liked it.”
“Sure.” Dean opened his arms. “Bunny away.”
Cas’s arms slipped around Dean’s waist and he tugged him closer by his hips, wrists crossing in the small of Dean’s back, closing his eyes and leaning his head against Dean’s neck, his hair tickling Dean’s chin.
“Well, thank God for small mercies, because it’s the only thing keeping me upright.”
It felt incredible. Nothing sexy, not even with Dean’s hands helplessly hanging onto Cas’s bare shoulders. Just good, a quiet moment shared with Cas’s head against Dean’s chest while breathing out a giant cloud of noxious gas. The shape and size of him fit perfectly in Dean’s arms, his skin smooth and warm against Dean’s fingers. Dean’s body was humming all over in contentment and he closed his eyes, too, let himself enjoy it. So long as he remembered to only breathe through his mouth.
Cas grunted into Dean’s chest.
“Did you ask me to go with you because you knew Balthamort was going to be there?”
Cas grunted again,
“Why are you making me talk.”
“You don’t have to. I just wondered.”
As Dean started suspecting Cas had gone to sleep against his chest and hadn’t heard it, Cas moved and nuzzled his nose against Dean’s shirt before laying his head back there.
“It was one of a few reasons, yes.”
“You should’ve told me. I would’ve tried harder to be there, I would’ve made it happen.”
“Just tell me next time. When something’s important.”
“We can talk about it later, Dean, but, for now, I beg of you. Shut the hell up.”
Dean smiled against his hair and risked laying his cheek against the top of Cas’s head. Cas sighed and moved his face closer into Dean’s neck like he was settling in for a while.
“Okay, buddy. I’ve got you.”
By Sunday evening they hadn’t made much progress on the Bond movies, because Cas pointing out that sex consented to under false pretences was a form of sexual assault had taken the shine off them, much to Dean’s dismay. Cas disappeared into his room after the end of Goldfinger and cacio e pepe spaghetti, so Dean was lying on the couch trying and failing to re-read Doctor No when Cas came back.
“I’m heading out. I might be late, so I’ll say good night now.”
Cas was wearing his good jeans, a navy sweater and dark brown leather jacket that Dean hadn’t seen before. He looked like he’d stepped out of a J Crew catalogue. Dean just about swallowed his tongue.
“Another gift from Gabe.”
“Are you going out to dinner with him? My condolences.” Cas’s eyes flickered and realization settled over Dean hot and mortifying. “Oh. An actual date. Cool.”
“Not a date, exactly.”
“No dinner and dancing?”
Cas smiled, ducked his head.
“Where could I take him that served pasta like yours?”
Dean tried to return his attention to his book,
“No clue. I’m more of a diner type of guy.”
He could hear Cas fidgeting, so put Bond back down on his legs, looking at Cas over the back of the couch. “Are you not having dudes here because of what I told you?”
It sounded a little belligerent, and that was how he felt. He’d thought Cas called a temporary halt to all the sex for some reason, that he hadn’t got back into the swing of things since the flu. But the flu coincided with their conversation about Dean’s ED and it suddenly seemed humiliatingly clear how wrong he’d gotten it. Cas hadn’t called a major halt to his grand sexual adventure, he’d just taken it outside their apartment because he saw Dean as some kind of fragile invalid who needed protecting from reality. There had been a bunch of evenings when Cas got home later from work than Dean expected, and he was fast figuring out he’d been sitting at home with dinner prepared like a dutiful housewife whose husband was out schtupping his secretary. Yeah, he was pissed.
Cas raked his hand through his hair, crumpling up his face in an awkward wince.
“I suppose so, yes.”
“You don’t need to do that. We agreed it was okay.”
“I wasn’t party to all the relevant information at the time. I don’t mind, Dean.”
He could have said it was cool and tell Cas to get back to normal, to use his bedroom however he saw fit because that’s why he paid rent. He could’ve pointed out how condescending it was. That’s what Dean could’ve done. Instead he shrugged and acted like his book was un-putdownable.
“Do whatever you think’s best, man.”
“Will do. Good night, Dean.”
He threw his book at the floor once the apartment door closed behind Cas, and wrapped his arms over his face, hiding from the world. Fuckin’ feelings. They ruined everything. Therapy and its bastard offspring advice and emotional receptiveness opened Dean’s spongy insides up to the open air then left him like that. He’d have been way better off doing what he’d always done, repressing the hell out of everything and acting like he was fine. Fake it ‘til you make it.
He turned onto his shoulder and started flipping through TV stations without really seeing them. Thing was, Dean knew he wasn’t better off before. Of course he wasn’t. He’d been miserable. His dick literally quit on the job. Every doctor Lisa had dragged him to confirmed that his ED was all in his head, a lifetime of pent-up emotional bullshit that formed some kind of mental Hoover Dam between him and a decent erection.
Perhaps an easy friendship with Cas was going to be collateral damage in Dean’s fight for his man parts. Nothing destroyed him as ruthlessly as impotence had, and being here with Cas, feeling stuff about Cas, was helping him get back in the game, little by little. Maybe it only worked if the cure hurt.
He switched the TV off. Pushed himself up from the couch, muttering to himself,
“In love with your best friend and all pissy about it when it’s not his fault, way to be an asshole.”
Marched through to his bedroom and pulled open his nightstand drawer to reach in to grab Turquoise and the lube. Trying to get off twice in one day would distract him from Cas’s absence, and do wonders for his stats.
“Tonight’s your night, you lucky sonovabitch. Let’s see what you’ve got.”
It was good. Definitely dick-sized if smaller than average, smaller than Dean, and his face heated with how easy it’d been to push into himself. Solid and impossible to ignore as his ass clenched around it constantly. No pain. A sensation of being stretched that made him get harder.
To Dean’s complete surprise and unending amazement, jerking off with a dick-sized dildo lodged securely in his butthole was good, an intense feedback loop between the sensation of his hand and the way his ass kept squeezing around the plug. Dean reached down beneath his balls to turn on the massager’s lowest setting, shifting his hips to reach with slippery fingers. He didn’t get to finding the switch before a shock of intense sensation shot up his spine.
“Ho – holy – oh, fuck.”
The feeling had Dean arching his back and biting down on a moan, cursing again as he hiked his hips and replicated it. Another hot jolt as he repeated it, moving little more than an inch as he rolled his hips and gasped as it happened again, his dick jumping and letting out a little precum.
“What the, oh, God, ooh, I just . . . oh. Wow. That’s. Yeah. Oh, yeah.”
He’d moved up to lean on his elbows, undulating his hips back and forth the smallest amount against the bed so the plug shifted inside of him, rubbing over the same spot until Dean’s eyes were rolling back in his head. He wasn’t jacking off, his dick gently swaying and twitching with his movements, but it felt more all-consuming than he’d been ready for. Hello, male g-spot. Thank fuck for Google.
A few minutes in and it was already close to being too much. He’d broken a sweat while barely moving. He was fully erect, steadily leaking way more precum then usual. Dean pumped out more lube, starting to stroke himself, fucking up into his hand as he moved his hips. He couldn’t keep in the moan, ragged and long. It didn’t feel like he was beating one out, it felt like more, the shadow of someone else in the room with him, the plug a solid undeniable presence. Dean bit his lip and jacked himself faster, humping his hips as a climax started to suggest itself in the tip of his dick and his spasming asshole.
“No. No, no, no.”
He’d recognized the antsy feeling soon as it started, his skin too tight to contain the sensation of his orgasm building, a buzzing in his ears.
“No! Goddammit, motherfuck!”
He’d stopped beating off in the hope he could calm everything down for a minute then continue. It didn’t work, never did. His cock was softening and retreating, already oversensitive when he tried a single stroke.
Dean looked down at himself laid out on his bed, dick furled and soft, glistening with wasted lube. His legs spread out where his asshole was still clenching around the plug. The soft pudge of his stomach where he’d been cooking too much to covertly romance Cas or whatever. He knew better than to let himself put on too much weight, it affected his testosterone level. He cursed in frustration and reached down to remove the plug, because he felt stupid and embarrassed sitting there with a turquoise rubber dong up his ass.
The movement rocked the plug inside him, sent the same jolt of pressure up Dean’s spine as he moved. And it didn’t feel bad. It felt –
Cas said he’d made guys come without a hard-on by doing this. Dean moved his ass again, and gasped a little. Yeah, it was – it was good. Different from jacking off, like a totally different set of nerves involved. This was okay. He started moving again and everything was suddenly new.
The primary challenge of his impotency was always his cock diving head-first into oversensitivity and sending him directly into a refractory period without a climax. It was frustrating beyond belief. He’d be all worked up, ready to pop, his body expecting and needing it, and then instantly unable to do a damn thing towards getting off or feeling good. He’d tried playing with his nuts or thumbing at his nipples until his cock got less sensitive, but the rest of his body seemed to follow his dick into dormancy, every touch a little too much, any pleasure soon turning to irritation.
He’d stroke himself through the oversensitivity, but that just made his dick angry at him. His body would shut down on him and deny him any place to go, any destination for all the desire still clogging his throat and lungs, waiting for some kind of release. He’d jack at his flaccid cock ‘til it felt half-raw, begging himself, his dick, the universe just to give him one puny orgasm to let it out. Angry enough to punch walls afterwards when it didn’t work and he was sore and ashamed and totally defeated.
Dean blinked, surprised to discover he had tears in his eyes, one falling down his cheek, then another. The plug was giving his built-up arousal somewhere to go after his dick checked out. Dean didn’t think he could come from the plug alone, but even switched off it let his arousal flow around his body as he moved, sent enough sensation throughout him that his toes curled, his head hanging back, his mouth open and gasping.
The stupidest thing anyone ever said to him was from a sex therapist Dean had seen with Lisa one and a half times. Dean walked out halfway through their second session. Nothing ever come close to how embarrassing it had been to talk about failure to fuck with a person who looked like someone’s old auntie. Dean tried his best to communicate that, absolutely, he was willing and happy to give Lisa all the head in the world, but it wasn’t exactly what sex meant to him and he didn’t think it would ever be entirely enough.
The therapist had arched an eyebrow at him and said,
“Because God forbid anyone have fulfilling sex without an erect penis being actively involved.”
At which point he’d walked, because fuck that and fuck her. Lisa hadn’t spoken to him for two days after and he’d been so mad he hadn’t cared.
His dick was not actively involved in this. Dean watched in fascination as it occasionally twitched and let out a small gob of precum, but it was completely soft, just hanging out for the ride. The feeling in his asshole came in waves in time with his movements, building and ebbing, nothing like a climax but satisfying all the same. He kept rocking against the bed, closing his eyes, letting his body feel. The amount of sensation his asshole was producing was insane, Dean’s thighs starting to quake.
The pressure seemed to build, nothing climactic, a journey rather than an arrival. Dean slowed his movements, no ejaculation or orgasm, but tendrils of warmth and the same post-orgasm molten honey feelings of contentment curled into his stomach and thighs, making him feel almost as if he’d shot a load. He wasn’t lying there hot with shame and tears of frustration wanting to shoot himself in the head. He felt calm and relaxed. Cas was like the Einstein of sex or something, a genuine mastermind. He’d figured out what Dean needed when Dean hadn’t known himself.
His butt was itchy with lube. It felt like he could’ve lain there and dozed for twenty minutes, a thing of beauty compared with how he usually felt after not being able to come, but he needed to get the plug out because it was getting uncomfortable. His asshole felt too open as he pulled it free, but he was pleased to see that the excess of lube Google suggested meant it was messy but not too gross. Dean grinned at his new best friend, fighting the urge to thank it for its service as he carried it through to his bathroom, his butthole feeling all weird and slippery as he walked.
He looked at himself in his mirror as he washed the plug with sanitizer and waited for the shower water to get warm.
“Looks like we’re into the butt stuff.”
His reflection looked back at him like it didn’t give a single fuck, because that had felt great.
“Yeah. Good point. Stellar.”
The next evening as Dean was bending to stack plates in the dishwasher, he let out a huge fart. Truly ripped one. It probably had nothing to do with his activity the night before, and it was loud rather than stenchy, but Dean felt a huge tide of heat sweeping up his neck and into his cheeks.
“Wow.” He glanced up at where Cas had been finishing his glass of water at the breakfast bar. “Pardon me. I swear that went on for a full minute.”
Cas’s shoulders were shaking, his cheeks going pink, and he finally started laughing when Dean hiked an eyebrow at him, “Really? Farts are that funny? Are you five?”
“If only you could’ve seen your face. Have you ever observed a dog surprised by its own flatulence before? They turn and stare at their hindquarters in shock and infinite betrayal. You had the exact same expression.”
“Excuse me, Dean?”
Dean turned towards where Cas knocked at his bedroom door. Promptly tripped over his own feet and dumped a freshly-folded pile of clean laundry on his floor because Cas was leaning against his door frame, smiling softly at Dean, looking like a rock god.
Fitted black jeans that showed off Cas’s muscular thighs and tight hips. A shirt that looked like silk in a dark silver that made Cas’s eyes shine bluer than ever. A graphite tie, skinny, already loose at the neck but like it was supposed to be like that. Hair tousled, but artfully. Sexy as hell. Dean crouched to pick up his laundry, Smooth moves, Winchester. Re-folded his t-shirts. Tried not to hate whoever Cas was on his way out to see, looking like that in all the flashy shit Gabe kept giving him. Cas didn’t need anyone trying to change him. He was perfect as he usually was, rumpled and nerdy, overfond of accountancy t-shirts, constantly confused by the twenty-first century. He was probably wearing really stupid tiny underwear.
“You need something?”
“It’s more that I have something for you.”
Dean was not in the mood. He’d had a long-ass day. A five-minute phone call from Sam and Bobby resting a fatherly hand on Dean’s shoulder and giving it a squeeze.
Cas pulled his right hand from behind his back like a magician with a bunch of fake flowers. Held a thing out to Dean.
It was a scroll. Dean took it.
Cas rolled his eyes,
“But it has a wax thing.” Dean pointed at it.
“A seal, yes. You’re meant to break them.”
Dean considered the scroll.
“But why –”
“Oh, for the love of,” Cas humphed, irritated, thrust his hand out at Dean and made gimme fingers. “You break the –”
“Back off, man, I can handle my scroll without assistance.”
Dean sat on his bed, turning the scroll in his hands to annoy Cas a second longer. Cas sat next to him, close enough that his shoulder and hip were against Dean’s, the heat of his skin through the fine fabric of his shirt, his breath damp against Dean’s ear.
“It was the only item I bid on at my mother’s auction. I was surprised that I’d won.”
“And you’re giving it to me?”
Dean turned to look at Cas, who was right there. An inch away. Kissing distance.
“I am. Happy birthday, Dean.”
“Wha- How did you– Dammit, who sold me out? Sam or Jess?”
“Does it matter? Open your scroll, Dean.”
The seal was gold wax, a curlicue stamped into it. Almost too pretty to break open, and Cas’s breath on Dean’s neck was distracting him. He slid a finger beneath the seal to crack it and unrolled the thick cream parchment, lettering inside detailed in gold.
“Dinner for two at – whoa. Manna? Dinner at Manna? You didn’t have to get me anything. I don’t do birthday stuff.”
Cas bumped Dean’s shoulder with his.
“It means a lot that you cook for me. You take so much care with it and this is as close as I can get to reciprocating. They’re holding a table for me in ninety minutes, but I’m able to cancel the reservation if you’d like to take someone else another time. It’s for you to enjoy how you choose.”
“No,” Dean swayed into Cas briefly, “Of course I want you there. But, I mean . . . the fuck am I going to wear to Manna? My fanciest jeans that only have one knee ripped out of them?”
“You’re asking me for fashion advice?”
“Looking like that? Sure. We could delay until I’ve had time to go get something suitable. Or, at least, the cheap-and-shitty version of something suitable. And a haircut.”
Cas touched Dean’s thigh. Stood up.
“I like your hair. Whatever you wear will be fine. The thing about true exclusivity is that they know if you can afford to eat there, you also can afford to wear whatever you like. It’s mostly sweaters and khakis, more than a few jogging suits. Have you ever seen anyone you’d describe as a stylish billionaire?”
“Oh, sure, all the time when I’m palling it around with all my banker buddies down at the golf club. How rich is your family, anyway?”
“They’re comfortable. Not wealthy. It’s an old family, we’re well connected.”
“Now you’re making it sound like you’re mafia.” Dean narrowed his eyes. “You’re not, right? It could explain a few things. Oh, God, is your firm a money-laundering front for a giant crime syndicate? Because that would be kinda cool, not gonna lie.”
Cas grinned and nudged Dean’s socked toe with one of his.
“Get dressed, we should leave in half an hour. We’re taking my car.” He was already on his way out of the room.
“I notice you didn’t deny the mafia thing, and like hell we are.”
“Which implies you’ll be happy to hand Baby’s keys to whichever teenager they’ve got working the valet parking.”
Dean should’ve had a snappy comeback, would’ve at any other time. He was, admittedly to his mind alone, the king of snappy comebacks. But Cas’s ass in those jeans as he walked out Dean’s door.
His ass. In those jeans.
It was just how Cas had said. Nobody cared. Dean was following him and their waiter through the dimly-lit room, past several full tables, furtively trying to look at other diners without them noticing to see how many of them were sneering at the small-town hick he knew he must look like. But nobody seemed to give a shit. They were all too rich and too certain of their own importance to pay Dean or anyone else outside their immediate circle the slightest attention. It was like in Ghostbusters when Louis got attacked by the demon dog against a restaurant window, everyone inside barely breaking conversation.
Sitting down, he patted his borrowed tie into place for the hundredth time. He’d cleaned up okay. Yes, he was wearing jeans, but so were Cas and at least three other guys in the place that Dean had noticed, and he did own a couple of decent pairs that he didn’t wear to work so they’d keep nice. An olive green shirt he’d forgotten he had and Cas’s dark green tie, and Cas made a small o of surprise with his mouth when Dean walked out into the hallway after changing,
“You’re sure this is okay?”
Cas cleared his throat, staring at Dean.
“You look. Uh. Look good. You look good.”
And there, right there, it started to feel a small amount like a date. It wasn’t a date, Dean told himself and his libido, it was dinner between two friends. But it felt like a date. The way Cas’s voice turned a shade deeper and rougher once Dean changed clothes. Dinner somewhere special, both of them dressed up, sitting across a small table from one another, looking into each other’s eyes. A room full of people who’d have guessed Dean and Cas to be on a date if they’d bothered to look.
Twenty-five other people, give or take. Thirty-ish, including four waiters and the Maître D’. Dean kept waiting for the anxiety to hit or to start freaking out silently that a bunch of strangers were witnessing Dean only having eyes for the man sitting across from him, which had to be obvious. It felt obvious, he felt obvious. But Cas was the handsomest guy in the room and Dean felt proud to be sitting there with him, that he was worthy of the attention of someone like Cas for an entire evening. For the first time in a long time, Dean wasn’t giving a shit about what people saw when they looked at him, and all that had taken was walking into a room of oblivious rich people with Cas at his side. It felt freeing. Dean relaxed into his chair and had a genuine smile for their waiter who’d brought their drinks.
Sparkling water for Cas, who took drinking and driving seriously. A beer for Dean, something imported. Dean would’ve tried to order wine and probably messed it up, but Cas ordered their drinks without consulting Dean, who’d tried and failed not to find that arousing. Cas in his natural habitat was suave as fuck. Including how he’d noticed Dean struggling with the menu, offering to order for them both.
“Uh, sure, thanks. You probably have a good idea of what I like.” Dean handed the enormous menu back to their waiter, noticing that even the menus here were fancy, nothing laminated or wipe clean.
“I like to think so.”
Cas’s smile was sweet and intimate, and Dean imagined, if it had been a real date, that’s when he would’ve stretched out a leg to rub his ankle against Cas’s.
“To start, I think the guinea fowl with caponata for my companion, oysters and sobrassada for me. Let me see . . . wild boar ragu?” He asked Dean, who shrugged. Wild boar? Groovy. “Yes, I think so. I’ll have the duck breast. A serving of house escargots with the starters, to share.”
“Very good, sir.”
“Did you just order us snails?” Dean wasn’t about to confess he only knew that from an Eddie Murphy movie. Total classic.
“I did.” Cas’s eyes sparkled in the candlelight. “Have you tried them before?”
“No. Are they any good?”
“Not much flavor, it’s more of a textural thing. They depend on the sauce they’re served with, and here it’s,” and Cas rattled off a name in what sounded like flawless French, Dean’s cock giving an interested twitch. “It’s very good. Heavy on the garlic.”
“You speak French?”
“Enough to deal with a menu.”
“Sounds like it’s more than that. Anything else, any other languages under your belt? I’m personally able to ask for directions to a pharmacy, book a hotel room and politely order two beers in Spanish.”
He’d made it seem like he was bragging, watching for Cas’s answering smile to light up his face. God, he was gorgeous. Dean had no idea how he hadn’t noticed for the longest time. He must’ve been blind.
“I speak a few, nothing fluently.”
“Define a few.”
“I’m fairly comfortable in five languages. Surprisingly, Latin has been the most useful. I loathed it at school.”
“Latin? Are you serious?”
“Of course, Dean. ‘Mus uni non fidit antro’.”
“. . . Which means?”
Cas waited until Dean had taken a gulp of his beer.
“The mouse does not rely on just one hole.”
Dean somehow managed not to shoot beer out of his nose and down his shirt, but the spluttering was spectacular.
“So, the tart was amazing, tasted like the air in a fancy store’s perfume department, but it was the creamy stuff –”
Cas paused in unlocking their apartment door,
“Yeah, that. I mean, who knew that fig leaves tasted like that? Apart from your obnoxious brother, who, I hate to admit, is one talented bastard. The whole thing was incredible.”
“I’m glad you enjoyed it.” Cas stepped back to allow Dean to enter first, all gentlemanly, the feeling that this was a date intensifying with every minute. “He originally trained in Paris. Balthamort and I once spent a summer there with him. It’s a beautiful city.”
“I suppose it was, yes.”
Dean sat at the breakfast bar and checked out Cas’s ass in those jeans again as Cas leaned down to grab them each a beer out of the fridge.
“Thanks. Do you miss him?”
“Then how come you got so drunk at your mom’s party after bumping into him?”
Cas leaned back against the kitchen counter, legs long in front of him, crossed at the ankle. He shook his head.
“It wasn’t – He told me he’s engaged to be married. To a woman, not that it matters either way. Wanted me to hear it from him first.”
“Yeah, I guess that must’ve been tough.”
“Not in the way you’re thinking.” Cas’s eyes were focused somewhere outside of the room. “He told me and I didn’t care. I wasn’t angry or hurt. Surprised that I was somewhat happy for him. He invited me to attend and I found myself considering it for a moment.”
“I’d go with you, if you want.”
“Thank you, Dean, but no. Half the eyes in the church would be on me, waiting to see my reaction, rather than watching the nuptials themselves. The scrutiny of my emotional state would be unrelenting blood sport as a group activity. I’d be fine, but would not enjoy the attention. I apologized that I wouldn’t be attending and wished him happiness. Then drank my bodyweight in champagne because I didn’t have to be angry with him any more or worry about him always trying to crowd me into cloakrooms for ‘old times sake blowies’.”
Cas smiled, small and fond.
“Ohh, yes. You’ve still got a couple of hours of your birthday left. Did you want to do something? Watch some TV? Have a smoke?”
“I told Charlie I might hang with them before I knew you had all this planned. You could come too, if you wanted. This was a total surprise, by the way.” Cas was too far away. All evening, Dean had felt an energy pulling him towards Cas, a magnetic tugging somewhere in his chest that was getting desperate for Cas to come closer. Dean stood without thinking about it, finding himself moving to stand in front of Cas in the semi-dark kitchen. “I never make a big deal out of my birthday, so this was unexpected. I had a great time. Thank you.”
“Thank you for sharing your birthday with me.” Cas reached out to snag the fingers of Dean’s hand with his own. “I can’t remember ever enjoying a meal that much.”
Dean couldn’t stop looking down at his fingers tangled with Cas’s. It seemed easier somehow than looking at him up close, standing in a darkened room, wanting to get closer still.
“We should do it again.”
“Absolutely. It’s difficult to get reservations at Manna, but I suppose I could ask Gabe –”
“No, not Manna again, dumbass, just, y’know, dinner out somewhere. Go see a movie.”
He moved a little closer, undeniably into Cas’s personal space. The air hummed between them, Cas had to feel it, had to be able to hear Dean’s heart beating fast at the base of his throat. Dean hesitated, but then Cas’s gaze dropped to Dean’s mouth, and Dean couldn’t hold back.
He leaned in, pulse pounding, the necessity of pressing his lips to Cas’s overwhelming everything else. Cas put his hand on Dean’s chest. It felt like a welcoming touch until Dean went in for the kiss and found the hand against his chest pushing him away.
“Dean . . . what are you doing?”
“I thought that was obvious. I, uh, I want to kiss you. If that’s okay.”
“You want to – Dean.” Cas pushed Dean back by the full length of his arm. “No.”
“We’re not kissing. Go see the girls. I’ll accompany you another time.”
Cas put his beer down on the counter and started to move away. Dean caught his wrist,
“That’s it? ‘No, we’re not kissing, go away’? I don’t get any further explanation?”
His hand was shaken off.
“Of course, Dean.” Cas checked it off on a finger, “You’re not attracted to men.”
“With respect, you have no idea what I’m into.”
Cas looked at him, really looked at Dean, examining his eyes back and forth.
“Apparently not. Secondly, and more importantly, we live together. We’ve both agreed it’s going better than we could’ve anticipated. Introducing kissing, or whatever else you might have in mind, is a glorious way to ensure we mess that up. I’m sorry to have to let you down on your birthday, but you need to shelve this and move on.” He reached out to squeeze Dean’s shoulder. “Can you do that for me?”
“But . . .” Dean sighed and it sounded all sulky and hopeless even to him. “You don’t want to kiss me?”
“It’s not about what I want.”
“It is, though.”
Dean took Cas’s hand in his, but Cas gently pulled his fingers out of Dean’s grasp. He cupped Dean’s face with his palm, cradling Dean’s jaw. Rubbed his thumb back and forth over Dean’s cheekbone, an inch beneath his eye.
“What we have already is too precious. I cherish it, I cherish you. You’re my best friend and I’ve never had a best friend before.” His hand dropped away before Dean could cant his head into it and ask for more. “I’m not good with people, Dean. I have acquaintances in my life where most people have friends. I was with someone for almost twenty years and never felt so much as a tenth of a bond with him as I do with you. I’m not risking that for a kiss, or more or whatever it is you believe you want from me. Please try to understand that.”
“Doesn’t sound like I have much of a choice.”
The reality of Cas stone-cold turning him down flat was kicking in. Dean knew he must’ve looked about as miserable as he felt. Cas tilted his head at Dean, then stepped closer. His legs brushed against Dean’s, his torso, his hands stroking up Dean’s arms. Every part of him touched by Cas lit up, coming alive, and all he wanted to do was grab Cas by the hips and pull him closer. But Cas came closer anyway, his lips dry and whisper-soft as he pressed a small kiss to Dean’s cheek.
“I’m sorry. I hope you’ll agree with me when you’ve had time to think on it. Go hang out with your friends, I’ll see you tomorrow.”
An absolute dismissal. Cas left him there, turned and walked away from where Dean was standing against the kitchen counter with the feel of Cas’s lips on his cheek like a fresh, hot bruise.
“Happy Birthday To – oh. Oh, no, boobear, what happened?”
Charlie had flung their door open, holding a cupcake with a birthday candle in it and singing off-key while Gilda blew long and somehow sarcastically on a party horn. But Dean had managed to fuck up one of the greatest evenings of his life, and it must’ve shown in his face the second they spied him slouching in the hallway after knocking on their door.
“I screwed up.”
Gilda gave him a curt nod,
“I’ll grab the bourbon.”
Charlie led him over to their couch by his shirt sleeve.
“I don’t know what you did, but you did it looking spectacular. I am affronted you’d challenge my one and only stirring of heterosexual desire with this green shirt bullshit. I mean it, I’m legit outraged.”
“I’m no Captain Tightpants.”
“No, you’re not. Don’t forget it.”
She tugged him down onto the couch and let her hug him, leaning his head on her shoulder. A little sad, a little numb. Gilda pressed a glass with a lot of bourbon in it into his hand.
“What’s up, Winchester?”
“I tried to kiss Cas.”
“’Tried to’? Ooh. That does not sound promising.”
“He immediately shut me down.” Dean stared into his drink. “I didn’t get close.”
Charlie was mirroring Dean, soft sighs, downturned mouth. By contrast, Gilda was glaring at him with her eyes narrowed and arms crossed.
“Tell us exactly what he said.”
“I’d rather not relive it just this second, thanks.”
“No, no. You have involved my girlfriend, and by extension, me, in the soap-opera storyline of the week that is your personal life, so let’s do this.” She nodded at his drink before banging back her own and pouring another. “None of us have work tomorrow, and we require details.”
“Yes! Yes, we do.” Charlie poked him. “It might help. Eat your cupcake.”
He’d forgotten to blow out the candle and it’d melted wax all over the frosting. No birthday wish for him. He’d already fucked up the one thing he might’ve wished for, then Dean rolled his eyes at himself for being so self-indulgently morose, grabbed his drink and his cake.
“He took me out to dinner. To Manna.” The girls exchanged a glance, he didn’t know what it meant. “It was a surprise and, I don’t know, it felt like a date.”
He took a bite of the waxy frosting and the cake beneath, spraying crumbs as he continued, “So we get home and we’re standing there and he’s holding my hand, I swear to God, he’s holding my hand after taking me out on a date and laying down a couple hundred for a meal as a gift for me,”
“Probably more, knowing that place.”
“And it felt like he was into it. Into me.” Dean ate another bite of cake and chased it down with a gulp of bourbon. “So I go to kiss him and he pushes me away and gets all, ‘no, we’re friends, go away’ like I’m some annoying kid who got underfoot. It sucked and I feel stupid as hell, and this is good cake. Thanks. I needed it.”
Gilda pressed her lips together, unimpressed.
“I don’t believe he actually said ‘no, we’re friends, go away’. That’s what I’m needing more detail on.”
“So you can live through my humiliation with me?”
He gave himself a second. Threw back the rest of his drink, pushing his glass across the coffee table for a refill as its burn melted away some of the tightness of his throat. Finished his cake in two bites, sucking the frosting off his fingertips.
“I’m making him sound like an asshole, but he tried to be nice about it. Said he cherished me too much as a friend too much to risk it by getting involved.”
“He said he cherished you?” Dean nodded and watched Charlie melt a little. “Aw. That’s so presh. I love him.” Dean gave her a shitty look and she grimaced at him, “Sorry. You can’t help who you stan.”
Gilda was putting way more thought into the situation than Dean had, so far. She was leaning forward, tapping her fingertips on her lips like she was on the verge of solving the impossible. Dean imagined she should have a crime wall up behind her, lengths of red string connecting various photos and pieces of Dean and Cas’s lives, all of it converging on their apartment.
“It makes perfect sense, when you think about it. Cas is not exactly short on people to have sex with. Even if he is attracted to you, your friendship is of substantially more value to him. I have to agree with him – why risk it?” Charlie gasped and frowned at her, “Oh, like we were ever friends first. If I thought my only choices were to kiss you or lose you,”
Her face went all soft, and shy. It made Dean feel like an intruder. “Then I’d have to stop kissing you, and I really don’t want to have to do that.”
She and Charlie were clearly having a moment. Dean got to his feet. Seemed like nobody wanted or needed him around that night.
“It’s getting late, I guess I should head back.”
“It’s ten-thirty.” Gilda stood with him, handed him his glass, topping it up. “It’s your birthday. Stay.”
“No. Thanks. You guys probably want to . . .” Dean raked a hand through his hair, getting pissed at himself. Doing so well with the speaking. “I don’t want to intrude.”
Charlie pulled him back into the couch and started picking at his shirt collar.
“You’re not. It seems like you need to talk about this with someone, and I live for drama. Don’t take this away from me, Dean. Don’t be cruel.”
All four therapists he’d seen had been so adamant that Dean should share more with the people in his life. He hadn’t been able to figure out why anyone would be interested in the mundane shit that got into his head, and it was all too embarrassing to share. But this was helpful, if not exactly comforting, Charlie’s fingers consolatory at his neck, Gilda’s eyes serious and empathetic over the rim of her glass. The bourbon was hitting him. His next words came out with a panicky edge that set his teeth rattling.
“I don’t know what to do. I don’t know, no clue. This feels too monumental, like it’s all too big and I’m going to screw it up no matter what.”
He put his glass down, pressed his head into his hands. Charlie nudged him.
“Can you do what he wants? Just be friends?”
He shook his head, let his hands fall away.
“No. I don’t think so, not for long. Not if it’s lesbians.”
Gilda frowned and opened her mouth, but Charlie shook her head, mouthed Scott Pilgrim at her.
“And you’re sure it’s lesbians?”
“That or some kind of intense crush, I don’t know. Maybe it’d wear off in a year, six months, whatever,” It felt like it wouldn’t. “He’s changed me. Opened me up somehow. I feel like I’m losing any ability I had to keep my shit private, I mean, look at me. Spilling my guts.”
Charlie leaned on his shoulder.
“You know I’m loving every second of it.”
“I guess. So, my options are that I try to be his friend and bottle everything up, which I thought I was an expert at until now. It’d would probably all blow up in my face. Or I try to push it with him, and end up pissing him off ‘til he moves out and I lose him for good.”
A stab of pain shot through his chest. “And I can’t risk that.”
“Looks like you got your answer.”
“What? No!” Charlie looked outraged, “I can’t believe you guys are willing to give up on love that easy. Disgusting. The third option, the obvious option, is that you march your tiny tushy back in there and make him realize that you’re not just after sex, but that you have feelings and emoshes, and that whatever you could have together would be worth taking a risk for.”
“That’s the nuclear option.”
“Which is why it’s the best one. He’s your friend and he’s a sweetheart. Even if Cas doesn’t feel anything like the same, he’d be kind. And it’s better to know.”
He laughed, and it sounded so bitter. Happy fuckin’ birthday.
“In what universe is it better to know that the person you’re in love with doesn’t love you back?”
“In the non-emotionally-constipated universe where adults have actual mature conversations before adjusting their usual courses of action or interaction in a manner that will facilitate items agreed upon within said conversation.”
Gilda held out a hand for Charlie to high-five, which she did before taking up the thread.
“It’s also known as putting on your big girl panties, Winchester. Nut up, go talk to your man and deal with or enjoy whatever fallout occurs. ‘Live now – make now always the most precious time. Now will never come again’.”
It was Trek. Picard, even. She was pulling out the big guns.
“Okay. Yeah. Maybe.”
He sat there, stared into his glass. Sensed some kind of silent communication going on between Charlie and Gilda before Charlie smacked his arm.
“Well? What are you waiting for?”
“What?” He raised his eyebrows, “Seriously? Now? It’s late.”
“It’s ten-thirty-five on a Friday night, Grandma. You got some knitting that requires your urgent attention before bed? No?” Gilda shoved at his knee with her slipper. “Then go talk to him. Quit procrastinating.”
“Ugh.” He didn’t want to. Getting shot down twice on his birthday was a good way to make sure the rest of his month sucked. Dean got to his feet, “Jesus, okay. I’m coming back for the rest of the bourbon when this inevitably goes FUBAR up my ass.”
“Aren’t we hoping things get fucked up your ass?” Charlie looked over to Gilda for confirmation, “I thought that’s what we were going for here. Did I miss something?”
The apartment was as he’d left it. Semi-dark, a glow coming from where they’d left the kitchen counter lights on, everything quiet save a car passing beyond the kitchen window, light sweeping in white to red before retreating. Dean kept his tread light as he walked towards Cas’s door. Paused for a second before knocking softly with a knuckle.
“Cas? You up?”
There was no answer. He almost walked away, but knocked again. Turned the doorknob and let himself in.
The room was dark and it took Dean a moment to be able to see anything but black. There was a Cas-sized lump in the bed, and Dean’s shoulders sagged as he figured out Cas had to be sleeping. He went to leave, halting as he heard movement from the bed.
“I’m not asleep.”
“Yeah? Me, neither.”
“No shit, Dean.”
Dean grinned down at the floor – looked like he was a bad influence.
“Can we talk?”
There was a heavy sigh from Cas’s direction a second before he clicked on his bedside lamp and effectively blinded them both. Dean blinked the spots out of his eyes, a vision swimming into place of a shirtless Cas sitting up in bed squinting at him.
Naked skin all the way down beyond his waist where his covers had settled, the start of the upper curve of his ass at his hip. Dean swallowed hard, “Uh, maybe you could put on a shirt?”
Cas waved him away, back towards the door.
“Go, sit. I’ll get dressed.”
“Sure. You want another beer?”
Cas was rubbing over his face with both hands like he’d actually been asleep and was trying to wake up, his voice a dark mutter from between his fingers,
“Alcohol. Great idea. That’s bound to help.”
He looked so soft when he joined Dean in the living room. Cas was wearing his MATH GOD t-shirt, his hair fluffed and asymmetrical, bare feet, baggy boxers. He looked so tired, older, a world away from how he’d looked at dinner only a couple of hours before.
“So. Couldn’t sleep?” Dean handed him a beer and sat down on the couch, the seat closest to Cas’s chair.
Cas closed his eyes for a long, exhausted yawn as he placed his beer on the coffee table.
“I could not, no.”
Dean’s mouth was dry, so he drank a little of his beer. Thumbed at its label.
“I’m sorry I made you uncomfortable.”
“It’s not that I’m uncomfortable, Dean. I’m . . . well, I’m surprised. I didn’t expect . . .”
“Your straight roommate to try and kiss you.”
“Yes.” Cas lifted his pipe and his lighter, pausing to lift an eyebrow at Dean. “That. Very much that. Big surprise. Lots of questions.”
“Then don’t send me away. Ask the questions.”
Cas smoked, a couple of long draws, holding the smoke in on each. Staring at Dean the entire time. Dean managed to sit there and look back.
“You’re attracted to me.”
It wasn’t a question, but Dean wanted to answer it anyhow. Had to say it aloud, the words rising up his throat like they were stuck there and it’d be the biggest relief to finally get them out.
“Hell, yes. So much.” The physical sensation of the admission almost made him dizzy as a rush of relief, heat and want warmed him through. “All the time. It’s been building since we first met, took me awhile to realize.”
Another long, considered drag on the pipe.
“Is this the first time you’ve been attracted to another man?”
“No. First time I’ve wanted to do anything about it. What else?”
Cas tilted his head at Dean, eyes heavy, regarding him steadily as he reached out to pass the pipe.
“Why now? Why do anything now, if not before?”
“Because it’s you, Cas. You’re not just some guy.” Dean flushed to the roots of his hair, “I have, y’know, feeli – I care, about you, and it feels like if you wanted me like a fraction of how I want you, it could be . . . I don’t know. Good.”
He had the pipe in his hands. Dean stared down at it, struck mute and motionless as he waited on Cas to speak.
“What would you do if I told you I’m not interested? Where would that lead?”
Whatever small spark of hope he’d carried in his chest all the way down the hall from Charlie and Gilda’s sputtered and started to die out. He laughed, sniffed, rubbed his nose.
“I guess I’d ask if I can at least get a pity handjob,” Dean winked at Cas, who finally cracked a smile. “Then I take my lumps, go to bed alone, jerk off all sad and sorry for myself, manfully cry myself to sleep into my pillow, then act super awkward around you for a month or two before we get back to whatever’s normal for us.”
He touched Cas’s knee, lightly, not wanting to push. Cas’s eyeline dropped to his fingers immediately before Dean removed them. “So tell me. I could take it, if you said you’re not interested. I’d have to. If you tell me that you’re not into me, then I guess I’ve got to live with it.”
He gulped down a breath. Every word felt too dry. “But I need you to know that it’s not just an attraction thing. I want more. Dinners out holding hands across a table. Giving you a foot rub once you get home after a shitty day, and I have been told my foot rubs are legendary. Slow-dancing with you in a dark kitchen. I can’t keep all that in, Cas. Not until you tell me it’s not what you want.”
A silence stretched on forever.
“I’ve never lied to you, Dean.”
Dean hung his head and waited for the blow to fall, the rejection he was certain was coming. He couldn’t remember being this willingly passive before. He could barely breathe.
“May I tell you how this all seems from my point of view?”
“Yes! Please. Anything, man, I’m floundering around in the dark here.”
Cas’s face was all pinched, everything clenched tight. He’d never been the most emotionally-expressive person, but it seemed like Cas was on total lockdown and Dean had no clue what was going on in his head.
“I know you’re not going to like what I have to say, so may I request that I’m permitted to get through it without interruption?”
“Yeah, sure. Of course.”
Cas frowned at him a second longer. Opened his mouth as if to speak, then closed it again. Frowned.
“I don’t believe that it’s me you’re attracted to.”
Dean opened his mouth to protest, but Cas shut him up in glorious technicolor bitchface, “It’s not been five seconds, Dean.”
Dean hung his head and gestured for Cas to continue.
“I think that you’re attracted to the idea of what I represent, which would be unfettered sexuality. It’s a crucial part of yourself you’ve not been able to reliably access. If I’d realized, I’d have known from the start, then it wouldn’t be fair of me to subject you to an almost literal parade of, well . . .”
Continual buttfucking. Dean hadn’t meant to say it aloud. But Cas sighed and raised his eyebrows all pissed at Dean. Straightened his shoulders like he was reminding himself to stay on track.
“I understand why you felt unable to disclose your ED to me initially, of course I do. But this was a recipe for disaster.”
“Oh.” Dean’s spark fizzled out. “This is a disaster? I’m a disaster?”
“No, see, this is why, if I can just –” Cas rubbed at an eyebrow all frustrated. “I don’t see you or our living situation as it stands as a disaster, the furthest thing. The problem is, I simply cannot trust that your attraction to me has anything to do with myself as an individual. I don’t believe you want me. I believe you want me to fix you.”
“Who fix what now?”
Cas gave him a sympathetic look.
“Your behavior towards me started to change after our discussion of your erectile dysfunction – you’ve touched me more, watched my mouth more. You have been visibly aroused at times, and seemed irritated with me for continuing to seek out multiple partners for sex, where it hadn’t appeared to have any emotional impact on you before, beyond the noise difficulties. I wasn’t certain until this evening when you tried to kiss me, but you did, and I realize now that I have to speak up. I should never have informed you that I’ve been able to assist partners suffering with ED in reaching climax. It was irresponsible to not consider how my saying that might affect you. And, and,”
He held up a finger as Dean went to interrupt, “It seems to me that you’ve fixated on me as a possible solution to a critical problem. Which is why I misjudged it so badly when I ordered you the massagers. I was adding fuel to the fire, and I apologize.”
Dean simply stared at Cas with his mouth hanging open. Closed his mouth. Glowered.
“. . . Have you any idea how totally fucking patronizing that sounds?”
“I said you wouldn’t like it.” Cas’s voice dropped and it was horribly kind, sending Dean’s mood plummeting further down. “I can’t fix you, Dean. I’m nobody’s savior.”
“I didn’t ask you to, asshole.”
Dean got up to put some distance between him and Cas, grabbing his beer and walking to the balcony doors to stare out into the night. Unbelievably pissed.
“I can’t believe this. I’ve been eating my heart out for days about what I’m going to say to you about this or how the hell I’m supposed to . . . I’ve had, like, personal epiphanies to get through, in addition to knowing all the way down into my fucking bones that even if you did want me back, my stupid fucked-up libido and semi-functional junk would probably screw things up between us anyway.”
His eyes felt hot as he stared out the windows at a street lamp. Cas was unmoving in his chair behind him.
“I get that I’m not a good prospect.”
“I didn’t intend to –”
“No, just let me – I know being impotent means I’m not a great catch. I understand it means most people wouldn’t want to be with me, I get it, I do, because who wants to start out a relationship with problems in bed, when that’s the one thing that’s supposed to be great at the start? I don’t want you to fix me, Cas, because I’m well aware you can’t. Nobody can. I just wanted to be with someone who cares enough to see beyond what parts of me don’t work like they’re supposed to. There’s never a guarantee with me that I’m going to be able to get hard or come, and let’s face it, I’m thirty-five now. It’s all downhill from here, only gonna get worse. I thought I was more to you than that, though. That we could be more. Y’know?”
It was easier saying it to his reflection. His breath was clouding against the window, and he could see Cas getting to his feet, coming towards Dean before warm fingers touched the center of his shoulders, the nape of his neck.
“I wouldn’t have a problem with your ED. I have the utmost respect for people’s bodies and find only joy in their differences, that’s not the issue.”
Dean closed his eyes, concentrating on the feel of Cas’s fingertips on his skin.
“I know. You wouldn’t judge me. You’re the only person I could trust to see me fail at being a man and not judge me for it.”
“But, please, put yourself in my position. I’ve had one relationship. That’s it. One where I thought I did everything right, until it became apparent everything I had done was wrong. My entire life blew up in my face. I can’t do that again.” His fingers dropped away. “I can’t look into your eyes across a room, Dean, and find myself hating you and wishing you dead. That would destroy me. As much as it would if I took a chance to be with you, only for you to discover after another few short weeks that I wasn’t who you thought you wanted after all. I know I want to continue being your friend. I’m uncertain that will happen, should we change the parameters of our relationship. I’m unable to justify the risk without being sure and surety is the one thing nobody can ever guarantee.”
Cas stood next to him for a second longer then left him by the windows, Dean turning to watch Cas snag the pipe and lighter off the table. Watched him sit in his chair, bare toes hooked on the coffee table’s edge as he tapped the pipe out in his little pot of ashes. Starting to pack another bowl, his expression too dark and inward for Dean to start to translate. Cogs were turning in Dean’s head the whole time as he searched through everything Cas had said and didn’t find the one thing he’d expected to hear.
Cas looked up at him while drawing on his pipe. Held in the smoke as he croaked at Dean,
“You haven’t said you’re not into me.”
Cas blew out his smoke, blue eyes all guileless like he’d never guiled a day in his life.
“No. Are you?”
“Am I what?” Cas shifted in his chair.
“That’s not the point, Dean.”
“Maybe it’s not the point, but it’s definitely a point.” He moved to stand next to Cas’s chair, directly into the cloud of smoke. Tried to waft it out of his face. “Are you attracted to me or not?”
“If I’m not intending on acting upon any attraction due to our friendship, what difference could it possibly make?”
“Of course it makes a difference! Jesus, Cas, just tell me.”
“It’s not –”
“Yes or no, it’s that simple.”
“No, it isn’t, it doesn’t matter –”
He wanted to throw his beer at the wall.
“It matters to me! Am I alone in this? Am I risking fucking things up between us because I’m some creeper with boundary issues, or is this a mutual thing? Because it feels like it might be. I wouldn’t be standing here if it didn’t. You need to be honest with me, you said you would. Are you attracted to me at all?”
Cas groaned and rocketed out of his chair,
“Of course I’m attracted to you!” He waved his hands at Dean repeatedly like he was trying to indicate all of Dean at once, his voice a hoarse roar, “Have you looked at yourself? You’re the most beautiful man I’ve ever seen!”
It was the nicest thing anyone had ever screamed at him. Dean paused to process it. Flailed so hard a muscle pinged in his back,
“Why am I only hearing about this now?”
Cas looked like his head was about to shoot off the top of his neck with frustration.
“You were off limits! And now you’re saying you weren’t? Goddammit, Dean!”
“Then why won’t you kiss me? You’ll do whatever with half the guys in town, but won’t even try kissing me? The fuck is up with that?”
“Because it would not be just a kiss! Not between us, and it’s absolutely wonderful to have you confirm that you’re angry with me over my ‘continual buttfucking’ of ‘half the guys in town’, so if you’ll excuse me . . .”
Cas made to push past Dean, trying to rabbit out of the conversation. Dean grabbed his arm, swinging Cas around to face him. His mouth was right there.
“We have to try.”
“No, Dean. We don’t.”
“You can’t say you don’t want to kiss me, or it wouldn’t be good.”
Cas looked down at Dean’s mouth.
“I haven’t been able to think about anything else since you left. It’s why I couldn’t sleep.”
He put his hand around the nape of Dean’s neck again, looking Dean in the eyes for a long second, Dean’s pulse picking up at the thought that maybe this was it, maybe Cas was going to kiss him. But Cas tugged him forward and rested his forehead against Dean’s instead. Dean could smell the smoke on his breath as he spoke, rough as gravel, “If you have any respect for me at all, you’ll give me time to think about this.”
Dean’s spark fluttered.
“So it’s not a flat no?”
Fingers stroked into the hairs at Dean’s neck once before Cas pushed himself away.
“It was supposed to be. I’m angry enough with you that it should be.”
“But it’s not.”
“No.” Cas gave him a bittersweet smile, lifted a hand to thumb at Dean’s chin affectionately. “Not yet. You’re a brat.”
Dean could feel his grin taking over his face, because, yeah, Cas was pissed, but he was into Dean so the world looked rosy.
“You like me.”
“God help me, I suppose I do.”
Dean woke before dawn. The TV was still on, a trio of Real Housewives bickering on-screen. The skies outside the window were lightening, the air in the room too cool where he’d forgotten to close the drapes. He wasn’t cold, though. He was awesomely warm all along his side and down one leg, and he smiled huge to himself as he looked down to see one of Cas’s thick thighs hiked over his hip. The rest of the warmth was from Cas’s torso, which Dean had been using as a pillow, one of his hands splayed across Cas’s ribs over his shirt, Cas’s arm flung over Dean’s shoulders. He looked up further to where Cas had his head leaned back against the couch cushion, his mouth open, soft snores interspersed with vague mumbles. His neck stretched out like an invitation.
The details of how they’d ended up wrapped this tight together on the couch were a little hazy. They’d gravitated towards each other, Cas directing Dean to the couch then sitting down next to him for the first time as they’d smoked and watched shitty shows and barely talked, both a little shellshocked. Dean let himself slump down ’til he’d been leaning against Cas’s shoulder, then everything got fuzzy and baked for awhile before Dean realized Cas had put his arm around Dean at some point, fingers playing in Dean’s hair, and it had felt incredible. They must’ve fallen asleep like that.
He was so relaxed, sleepy and lazily turned on. He nuzzled into Cas’s chest, filling his lungs with Cas’s scent, letting his head droop. It’d be stupid to wake them both this early. He’d close his eyes and doze awhile. Wait for Cas to wake up, see if he was less mad. Try again for that kiss.
He was warm, the room was darker. Dean opened his eyes and his senses woke enough to figure out Cas was no longer under him, that he was on the couch alone. The drapes had been drawn against the low winter sun, a duvet tucked in around him. Dean sat up a little, scratched at his chest and noticed he’d gone to sleep in his restaurant outfit, tie and all. He hooked a finger in to unknot it, discarding the tie onto the coffee table, unbuttoning his collar and groaning his way up to his feet. Thirty-five was too old to be sleeping on couches. His back was pissed.
He bundled up his covers, taking them through to his room and throwing them in a heap onto his bed. Left to knock gently at Cas’s door,
“Hey. You in here?”
Opened the door and stuck his head around it. No Cas. The bed was made, the shower room’s door hanging open with the light off. Dean leaned his head back against the door frame and chewed on a hangnail. No Cas in the apartment on a Saturday morning in baggy boxers and gigantic shirt. It had to be too late for his run.
A sense of real dread was skittering around his head as Dean made his way back into their kitchen. His heart sank to his knees when he saw the folded piece of paper propped against his coffee machine, ‘Dean’ scrawled across the front.
He must’ve stared down at it five full minutes, more than a little afraid of what might be inside.
I hope you have managed enough sleep. I tried not to disturb you. You looked too peaceful.
Please do not take my absence as an immediate rejection. I’ll be gone a few days. I am serious in my intent to consider the prospect of our being physically intimate. I can’t begin to make progress while I’m around you, you being close by muddles my thoughts to the point where I find myself lost in possibility. You and I are too enmeshed for me to see how best to proceed. I’m hopeful time away will allow me some clarity.
I have not been entirely honest with you, and I’m ashamed of it, especially after your insistence that I hear you out last night. You were so brave. I was not, and should have been more forthcoming. I’ve given you the impression that Balthazar was largely to blame for our split. He was not. I drove him away. Even with someone I loved more out of habit and circumstance, I was too much. I love too intensely. I am jealous and possessive, I’m overwhelming. It is why I’ve not sought out a relationship since and it is the root of my concerns. The problem lies entirely with me.
You are only recently aware of your attraction. I’ve been living with mine for months. Is there any way for me to be certain that you’re ready to step into a hurricane with me?
Because it would not be something easy. After all this time with you, I know I would not be able to slow dance with you in our kitchen without imagining dancing with you at our wedding.’
Dean’s eyes went wide. Wedding? Whaaaaat.
‘Do you see? I have built a wall inside me to hold back the weight of what I feel for you. If you’re going to pick away at that wall, you must first understand that the resulting landslide could crush us both.
I know, I’m a “drama llama.”
Be sure of what you want. We will talk more, and you’ll be in my thoughts until then.
Dean refolded the note. Looked down at his hands, at the paper, his name scrawled across it. Tried to feel angry.
“Holy shit. I’m in love with a secretly crazy person.”
Five days and Dean hadn’t gone full heartbrokenly batshit. It had, however, been a slow downward stroll towards it. By Saturday evening he’d texted Cas once, not expecting an answer. Didn’t get one. He cleaned the kitchen and living room, airing out the stale smoke. He cooked in batches, stashing single portions of pasta and stew in the freezer compartment, aware he’d bought too much fresh food for one and that Cas being away for a few days meant he’d better start using it up.
He’d figured out that jacking off with his turquoise plug turned on low, fantasising that Cas was fucking him in the ass and growling into his ear ‘I’m jealous and possessive, Dean’ and ‘My love is like a hurricane, Dean’, worked spectacularly fast and he’d come hard as his ass spasmed around the plug, wanting to crawl out of his skin with the power of it. It worked three times without fail. Which was Sunday taken care of.
By Tuesday morning, Dean had texted five times, no answer. Had kept it friendly, breezy. He spent Wednesday night sitting in Cas’s chair alone in the dark, drinking hard liquor and desperately wanting some weed, sure as shit that Cas being away from him meant Cas discovering that Dean was actually pretty fucking easy to live without.
He tried calling. Cas didn’t answer.
“Cas? Yo, Cas, that you?”
Dean wouldn’t say he ran down the hall from their front door to Cas’s room. A light jog, at most. The door was open with someone moving around in the room beyond, so he rapped on its frame, poked his head around it into the room.
“Cas? If the person in here is not my roommate, I should probably warn you that I know karate.”
It wasn’t Cas who came through the shower room door holding an electric toothbrush charger and bottle of shampoo. Gabe’s eyes danced as he smiled slow.
“Karate? If you insist, Dean, but wouldn’t you rather wrestle?”
Dean was already on his last fucking nerve. Frayed around the edges.
“Is he with you?”
Gabe was stuffing random shit into a weekend bag on Cas’s bed, but paused to be an asshole and look around the entire room.
“Not so far as I can see.”
Dean clenched everything. Fingers, teeth, shoulders.
“Is he staying at your place? Is he okay?”
Gabe was digging through Cas’s dresser. He turned towards Dean, tilting his head, dangling a purple transparent mesh jockstrap from one finger.
“Think he’ll be needing this? There must be a hundred in here, a many-colored window into my baby brother’s psyche. Talk about taste the rainbow.”
Dean marched over to Gabe. Smacked his hands away from Cas’s dresser. Managed through pure force of will alone not to grab Gabe by the front of his shirt and slam him against a wall.
“I asked, is he okay?”
The gleam in Gabe’s eyes died down.
“No. You appear to have broken him. My formerly-robotic sibling is malfunctioning.”
Dean hung his head. Slumped down to sit on the edge of Cas’s bed. Too busy worrying about Cas being somewhere and hurting because of him to protest when Gabe sat directly next to him, way too close, thigh to thigh. Patted Dean’s knee.
“Agonies of conscience have always been Cassie’s speciality. And he’s so bad at them, too, always comes to entirely the wrong conclusion. It’s painful to watch. I haven’t enjoyed it nearly as much as I thought I would. But he’s gotten himself stuck in an endless loop of wanting to martyr himself for you, but somehow protect you from it at the same time. Because you’re, what, delicate? I told him you look like you’re of hardy peasant stock and could probably take whatever he can dish out.”
“Gabe, you assbag, I’m not interested in your bullshit. Tell me how I fix this.”
“Me?” Gabe’s face lit up like Christmas. “You’re inviting my involvement?”
“I don’t know what else to do.” Dean shrugged helplessly. “I said I’d give it time.”
“Because you are, and I say this with only love in my heart, dumber than fungus.” Dean shoved him off the bed, Gabe laughing as he picked himself up and dusted down his shirt. “Ouch. The truth hurts.”
“Get out. If you’re not here to help, then, by all means, fuck the hell off at your soonest convenience.”
“Oh, Dean.” Gabe reached out to ruffle Dean’s hair, drawing his fingers back with a smirk as Dean cut him down with a glare. “Okay, I get it, hands inside the vehicle at all times. And, yes, you are the proverbial bag of hammers in this scenario. Both of you. You, sitting here alone with your thumbs up your ass giving Cassie the time to convince himself he’s no good for you. Him, exhausting himself at work then falling into bed to weep over how his love is a tempest. Honestly.” Gabe looked disgusted, “It’s so mundane.”
“There’s the door.” Dean pointed at it. “I’m serious. Don’t let it hit ya where the good Lord split ya.”
“I’m trying to help. In my own way.”
“By grabbing a bunch of Cas’s stuff for him so he’s got more reason to avoid me? So entirely helpful.”
Gabe gave him the driest of dry looks.
“I know you and I are sadly at the barest of acquaintance so far, but do I strike you as the sort of person to voluntarily assist with,” He gave a shudder. “Luggage? No. I’m here to see you. It’s time to tap in, Deano, I’ve done what I can. I even brought Balthamort over one evening to persuade Cassie that being with him wasn’t entirely disagreeable, and that you might even enjoy that level of attention. And yes, the name’s inspired and I’m calling Ballzy that to his face from now until the end of time. He didn’t get it at all. Castiel refused to talk to him.”
Dignity had mattered to Dean, once. He couldn’t remember what that felt like.
“What do I do? Now you’ve finished helping me out by inviting over the one guy Cas was actually in love with for twenty years.”
“Eh. Not really. He was always more in love with the idea of love. How he sets his mind to something and it takes the full force of the world to shift him off-track. That’s what’s so terrifying to him about you, Dean of the grass green eyes. He was so certain of his future direction and you’ve come along and derailed him. Barely lifted a finger to do so.”
Gabe sat again, poked at Dean’s stomach pudge conspiratorially. “It’s honestly very impressive. I wasn’t sure you had it in you. Color me surprised.”
“Quit touching me or I’ll break your fingers.”
“Dean, we’re practically family, you wouldn’t.”
“Sure I would, and what now? I tried calling. He won’t talk to me.”
“Fucked if I know, sweetheart. I’ve usually found a strippergram’s good for getting anyone’s attention. I sent one to surprise Michael on his birthday once. He was at a conference, key note speaker. Mother withdrew my Christmas invitation the very next day. It was wonderful.”
“What I’m hearing is that I shouldn’t take advice from you.”
“But you already knew that.” Gabe patted Dean on his knee again. “Buy him flowers. Sing him a song. Do a little dance, make a little love, I don’t know. Trust that whatever you do will be better than sitting here waiting for him to figure out how he’s going to fit himself back into his comfortable rut of mediocrity with his perfect platonic life partner at his side. He’s rattled. Almost as much as he was when he was a kid and fell in love with a fat monk.”
Dean felt his lips tilt upwards at the corners.
“Yes! That was it! Brother Matthew. The most sexually-null person in all creation, and Castiel falls for him in front of the entire school. Freud would’ve had a field day with that boy’s head.”
It was huge. Glossy. Intimidating. So much glass. A bunch of twenty-somethings in sharp suits striding back and forth with poise and purpose they had no right to at that age. Dean wasn’t intimidating or sharp-suited. He looked around the lobby of Cas’s offices, very aware that a haircut, sports jacket and his least worst jeans weren’t cutting the mustard.
“Maximus! How’s the wife?”
The enormous security guard at the front desk looked about as pleased to see Gabriel as Dean had been twenty minutes ago when he’d pulled up in a town car outside the apartment.
“You know I can’t allow you up, Mr. Milton. Your access remains on temporary lockout until I’m told otherwise.”
Gabe waved a hand as if it was all piffle and beneath him.
“Relax, Maximus, I have more interesting places to be this morning. I’m merely accompanying my good friend Mr. Eastwood, here.” He hiked his head at Dean. “Until I’ve handed him personally into your capable hands. He has an appointment with Castiel. Pima assured me it’s in the book.”
The guard frowned at Dean. Dean would also glare daggers exactly like that at anyone described to him as Gabe’s good friend. He gave a wan smile.
“I’m due at twelve.”
“Yes, I see you, Mr. Eastwood. Identification, please.”
“I’m sorry, I didn’t realize I’d need ID. I think I left my wallet at home.”
He made a show of patting his pockets. Gabe sighed as if it was all the biggest waste of his time.
“I’m sure Maximus understands and will wave us through without it.”
“Again, it’s just Max, Mr. Milton, and I need to see ID. No, please, Mr. Milton, I have to insist, not the phone . . .”
Gabe went around the desk like he owned it, taking the phone and jabbing at a button,
“Pima, sweetheart. I have Mr. Eastwood downstairs for you. Maximus is making such a fuss over ID that I’m worried we’ll be late for Cassie, and you know the mood he’s been in this week . . . yes, if you would.”
Gabe handed the phone handset to the guard a smug smile that made Dean’s teeth itch, twitching his head towards the elevators further into the lobby, the guard starting to stammer into the phone as Gabe ambled off. “We’re to wait out there, Pima’s on her way down.”
There was a lot of marble. It was walking into a tomb.
“Is Pima Cas’s assistant? He never really talked about work.”
“Oh, yes, that’s right, you wouldn’t know. There’s been drama!” Gabe looked beside himself with glee over the chance to deliver gossip. “Cassie inherited our father’s last PA. Lovely woman, warm, loyal. She’s worked for the family for over thirty-five years. She walked out after handing in her immediate notice last Wednesday morning because he threw this huge bitch fit over a typo. I’m hearing this from Raph, of course, so it’s probably ninety percent bullshit. End result is, however, that Pima’s an experienced auditor who is now stuck printing out Cassie’s emails all day because he ‘prefers paper’ and won’t apologize to his assistant or hire her replacement. So you see, Dean, your actions have already had real world consequences.”
“I’m here to try to fix it, aren’t I?” Dean hugged his laptop to his chest, trying to settle his nerves. “Still think this is a shitty idea.”
“Better than your last.”
Dean tried sending flowers. He’d walked three blocks to the nearest place from work, convincing himself with every step that it would be romantic and that it might give Cas a nudge in his direction. He’d stepped into the shop and hadn’t had a clue which flowers to buy. He’d walked around for ten minutes sniffing at various blooms trying to figure out what Cas might like, before he’d noticed something that struck him as so perfect he’d started laughing like a nutjob. He’d written ‘This reminded me of you. Call me – Dean’ on the little card that went with the delivery. Hoped it’d make Cas laugh, too, and then think about how often they’d laughed together over the stupidest shit. How good it always felt and how much they’d connected. It had to mean something to Cas, because Dean was missing it like crazy.
It had been out for delivery five days ago. Dean hadn’t heard from Cas in almost two weeks.
“Mr. Milton, Thank you so much, I’ll take Mr. Eastwood from you. Mr. Eastwood, here’s your visitor’s pass and if you’ll come with me . . .”
Pima turned out to be a harassed-looking woman around Dean’s age, obviously familiar enough with Gabe to immediately steer Dean away from him and into a waiting elevator. Gabe called through the closing doors,
“Balls to the wall time! I have faith in you, Eastwood!”
“I’m sorry. He’s a little, uh, eccentric.”
“Yes. He’s a frequent visitor to our floor, so we’re all well-versed in Mr. Milton’s . . . quirks.”
She gave him a chilly smile. The elevator halted, the doors sliding open.
“We’re through here. I’ve set you up in Conference Room Four with a screen as requested. Can I get you a glass of water, a coffee?”
Dean smiled in spite of his churning stomach.
“I’ve heard you have tisanes on this floor.”
Pima’s smile faltered the smallest amount, as if one more stupid request below her pay grade was going to tip her over the edge.
“I guess? You want a tisane?”
“No. God, no, sorry. Private joke. Water. Would be great, thanks.”
She was whisking them both along a narrow corridor, one of its walls entirely glass. The floor beyond it was much the same, busy people talking about numbers in glass-walled offices. A sign announced they were entering the domain of the ‘Senior Auditors’ and Dean’s heartbeat started pounding because he was there, right there where Cas was, breathing the same filtered air. His steps almost stuttered to a halt as Dean noticed the cactus on the desk in a nearby office, an empty one that looked unused.
It was gigantically phallic, rearing out of its earthenware pot a full foot into the air. Its little note reading ‘This reminded me of you. Call me – Dean’ no longer tucked between its spines. Cas hadn’t wanted it in his office at his desk. He’d abandoned it. It was a living thing rejected by Cas because it’d come from Dean. He’d known he’d sent the wrong fucking thing the second it was too late to cancel. He felt bad for it, their big spiky penis baby. Dean wanted to grab it and run out of there.
This was going to be a disaster. It felt like pending disaster was looming over him and Dean started to plan an exit strategy as he followed Pima deeper into the offices. Maybe he should try throwing his laptop through the nearest external window before following it. They were only four floors up. But Pima was taking it and plugging it in for him, efficiently setting it up with Dean’s desktop coming up on the sixty-five inch flatscreen on the far wall. The entire back wall of the room was glass and anyone passing outside it able to see in. Dean mentally patted himself on the back for remembering to hide his porn and change out his Doctor Sexy wallpaper, and tried to prepare himself for what was now not only going to be a crushingly humiliating experience, but a public one, too.
“If you’ll excuse me, I need to –” Pima was frowning into the office suite beyond. She closed her eyes and looked like she was counting under her breath. “He’s disappeared again. I don’t know how he does it. I’m swear I’m gonna staple that man to a wall . . .”
She managed to summon her calmer facade back into place, but her eyes were screaming. “I’ve lost our Mr. Milton. Let me go track him down, and then I’ll fetch you that water.”
“Oh, you don’t need to, uh, the water. I’m fine. Thanks.”
She left to find Cas, and Dean turned his back to the glass wall, his heart clogging his throat. His thrift-store tie felt too tight and Dean was pretty sure a musty smell was coming off of it. He could barely swallow, his hands shaking as he turned his laptop towards him to check his file. Cas was probably on his way to meet Mr. Eastwood. Could maybe already see Dean through the window, and Dean had no idea if he’d be recognized from the back. Or if Cas would call Max the giant security guy to throw Dean out. Dean was going to stab Gabe in the nutsack with his Santoku knife for putting him through this.
“My apologies, Mr. Eastwood. I believe Pima’s made this appointment in error, as new business is usually my brother’s department, but I can’t seem to track him down . . .”
Cas walked into the room without looking at Dean, flipping back and forth through a couple of pieces of paper he was reading. He looked like shit. He looked like he hadn’t eaten or slept or combed his hair since Dean had last seen him. His tie was flipped over one shoulder and he hadn’t noticed, his shirt’s buttons were done up wrong. He was wearing glasses, thick nerd glasses with heavy frames. It took every last ounce of Dean’s internal strength not to just grab Cas and toss him over a shoulder in a fireman’s hold and march him back home.
It seemed like Cas had pissed Pima off, her posture threatening murder as she reminded him in a dangerously polite voice that it wasn’t her who’d made the appointment. Cas was still frowning at his printout,
“Then may I suggest you go find out who did instead of wasting both mine and Mr. Eastwood’s –”
Cas finally looked up at Dean. His jaw physically dropped half an inch. Dean made tiny jazz hands.
“Dean? What are y– Why are –” Cas’s mouth moved wordlessly until his brain caught up. “You’re not Mr. Eastwood.”
“No.” Dean shifted uncomfortably as Pima turned in the doorway to look him up and down with actual interest. “It’s not Pima’s fault, there’s no Mr. Eastwood. Gabe thought it was time we talked.”
“You’re Dean? The roommate?”
Dean raised a hand in apology to Pima.
“Yeah. Sorry about the subterfuge.”
“No, no. Castiel may not understand this, but we’re all aware there’s an issue in need of resolution.” She gave Dean an intense look that seemed to cover despair, cautious hope and blame in equal quantities. “So I just want to say good luck. We’re all counting on you. Like you have no idea.”
“Pima!” Cas hissed, outraged, but she was already on her way out the door.
“Whatever, boss, sit down and listen to the nice man or we’ll lock you in here together. I’m going on break.”
“Going on break!”
The door slammed behind her and Cas turned to Dean, a storm brewing across his brow.
“This is my place of work, Dean. It’s inappropriate for you to be here. Apparently I’m already the subject of enough tittle-tattle.”
Dean wanted to kiss him. He wanted to take the three steps needed to take Cas’s face in his hands and lay one on him. Push Cas back against the glass wall and kiss him on and on until everyone else got bored of the show and went home.
“Eleven days, Cas. No goodbye, not a line in a text, no calls, nothing. That’s not cool.”
Cas looked furious.
“I’m not – we can’t do this here.”
“Then where? And when? What else do I have to do to get you to talk to me?”
“I said in my note that I’d be in touch.”
“Yeah?” Dean pulled the crumpled note out of his jacket pocket and pointed at a line, “‘A few days’ is not eleven.”
Dean saw the instant Cas shut down on him. Face going blank, lifting his chin as he grabbed his papers more securely and shifted on his feet. Turning to leave.
“Not here. We’ll do this another time.”
“Don’t leave. Cas, please. Pima’s going to be pissed if you walk out.”
“Go to work, Dean. Or go home, just go. I’ll call.”
Cas looked more discomfited than annoyed as he opened the door to leave. He looked like Dean being there was hurting him. It was horrible. Dean called out in desperation,
And noticed that Cas paused in the doorway. Turned his head a fraction towards Dean.
“You said more romances need PowerPoint. C’mon, man, you gotta give me a chance. I worked on this.”
The corner of Cas’s mouth tilted upwards such a small amount Dean wouldn’t have sworn on it happening at all. But it grew into such a small, shy smile that Dean’s spark of hope came charging through his chest to deliver a flying kick to his lingering sense of dread. Cas closed the door with him on Dean’s side of it.
“You made a PowerPoint presentation for me?”
Cas’s cheeks had gone pink. His long eyelashes lifted a second to allow eye contact with Dean before dropping again.
“What’s its title?”
“‘Ten Reasons Why You Should Date Dean Winchester’. Plagiarism’s a nasty word, but I may have lifted some elements from the original.”
“Sam gave you a copy of the one he’s so embarrassed by? I find that surprising.”
Dean managed to smile.
“My sister-in-law really likes you.”
“I like her, too.” Cas slid into a chair, not looking Dean in the eye. The set of his shoulders was so tired, and Dean’s hands ached to smooth over them and work out some of the stress. “Will family be one of your ten reasons?”
“May I take notes?” Cas produced a yellow legal pad out of a side table.
“Uh, sure? I’m, uh, I don’t know if there’s anything you can do about this glass wall. I’m kinda aware we’re going to have an audience and it’s all safe for work. But it’s personal. Definitely personal.”
Cas grabbed a remote off the conference table and pointed it at the wall over his shoulder without looking. A low whirring noise accompanied pale cream blinds easing themselves between the wall’s two glass panes. Dean whistled under his breath, “Okay, hidden blinds, yes. Fancy. This whole place is not at all how I’d pictured it.”
He futzed with his laptop. He couldn’t believe he’d gotten this far. “I’m going to make a start.”
The carefully blank expression on Cas’s face was making Dean more nervous. Pencil poised, watching the big screen through his thick glasses as if Dean was about to outline a legitimate ten-point business plan. Dean clicked on the presentation, smothering the impulse to groan once the title page came up.
He looked like a doofus, he knew it. Sam’s original started off with the title text over a color photo of Sam making this huge goofy grin while winking at the camera and firing double finger-guns. So Dean had replicated it. It’d taken six tries before Charlie quit laughing long enough to stop the picture blurring.
“Thank you for meeting with me today, Mr. Milton.” Dean practised this over and over in the mirror, but he hadn’t counted on his cheeks burning hot and his throat getting so dry. Should’ve held out for the water. “As you can see from the screen, I’m here to present to you ‘Ten Reasons Why You Should Date Dean Winchester’. Please raise any questions you have at any time, and I’ll ask again at the end of my presentation.”
His note cards felt damp from where his hands were sweating. “So unless you wanted to ask anything now . . . ?”
“No.” Cas lifted his pencil in readiness. “Continue, if you would.”
The first slide read ‘1. Dean is a Good Guy’. There were a few small photos, and Charlie had gotten overexcited, giving each person’s quote a different font and color.
“I have some testimonials here for you. From Sam and Jessica Winchester, ‘Dean is adequate and we mostly tolerate him’. From Charlotte Bradbury, ‘Dean helped us with our plumbing in an emergency once and, no, that’s not thumbnail text from porn’.‘From Mrs. L down the hall, ‘Which one’s Dean? That young man, oh, he reminds me of James Dean. He fed Poptart for me while I was having my hip drained even though he’s allergic’.”
The accompanying photo was of a baleful-looking Burmese. Dean glanced at Cas, who had made actual notes. He didn’t look very entertained so far. He’d hoped it’d be charming and a fun way to start, but didn’t seem to be having the desired effect. Dean cleared his throat and moved onto the next slide.
‘2. Dean is a Great Boyfriend’
He’d argued against putting it so close to the beginning, because this was one of his major points. This one had cost him. Having to contact your ex in order to ask for help romancing someone else of unexpected gender had been an exercise in awkwardness and regret. Charlie and Gilda ignored his concerns, saying it was better to start strong.
“To illustrate this point, I reached out to the only person in recent history qualified to have an opinion.”
The photo was one of him and Lisa. It was the first selfie Dean had ever taken when he’d gotten his first smartphone, Lisa’s arms tucked around his neck and they both looked so happy. Completely carefree, cheek to cheek smiling at Dean’s phone. It had been his phone wallpaper for over a year.
“Ms. Lisa Braden provided us with the following,” Dean took a breath before starting on the text. “‘I fully endorse Dean Winchester as boyfriend material. He’s the only one of my exes who I know I could call any time, day or night, and he’d be there for me. Wherever I needed him or whatever I needed, he’d knock himself out trying to provide it without any expectation of reciprocity. We are not close friends or romantically involved these days but Dean’s one of the people I love and trust the most. I doubt that will ever change. He will always try to put your needs first. He will always try to do the right thing. He will never let you drive his fine-ass car, but he’s easy on the eyes, makes the most awesome blueberry pancakes, and nobody’s perfect.’”
Days after she’d replied to his email, he’d get misty-eyed reading it. Knowing he was loved even after he’d screwed things up so bad between them. Maybe it meant that if he fucked things up with Cas, he wouldn’t lose Cas entirely. Anything would be better than the last week and a half of being terrified he’d never see Cas again.
Cas hadn’t reacted a great deal. He nodded a couple of times, made a note. Dean glanced at it. It looked like a single word, underlined. Pancakes
“Slide number Three.” Dean moved the presentation on. He didn’t much like this one but Gilda had insisted. It read ‘3. Dean has Good Prospects’
“I thought I’d appeal to the fiscal nature of your professional experience. We met because I needed someone to sublet a room in my crappy cheap-ass apartment. I realize that doesn’t initially say much for my sense of financial responsibility. However, I’d like to draw your attention to the following . . .” There were bullet points for authenticity’s sake. Sam had gone crazy with the bullet points in his.
“As you are aware, I’ve had several years of, uh, medical issues, requiring tests, different medications and therapies. As my medical bills got bigger and I unexpectedly found myself having to handle them on a single wage after losing the cover of my ex-fiancée’s insurance, I created a budget and stuck to it. I don’t buy new clothes or belongings. I don’t eat out or go to the movies, I read library books and I don’t drink much. I save wherever I can, including sharing my living space. I’ve managed to bring down my debt by close to forty percent and am on track to pay in full within my budgeted time. I also have a separate savings account that I contribute to monthly. My future plans include offering to take over my boss’s business, which I’m saving a deposit for month by month. I’m willing to change or forget these plans if I need to, but feel that having them in place demonstrates a maturity and commitment to,”
He’d lost his place on the cards. He almost dropped them in his fumble to find where he was.
“Ah, yes, okay, a maturity and commitment to future-proofing relationships against monetary conflict.”
It was Gilda’s wording and, hah, it’d actually grabbed Cas’s interest. He was leaning forwards slightly, an approving look in his eyes. It made Dean’s chest hurt with how predictable it was.
“This is useful information.”
“Good! Great, yeah, that’s.” He coughed. “Next slide.”
Dean was reading from his cards, “Next up is –” He looked up. Frowned at the screen. Frowned at his cards.
“– is not the slide I was expecting.”
It was titled ‘4. Dean Winchester Is Freakin’ Adorable’ and its first line read ‘Note from the I.T. Department: We realize Dean will be unhappy with our edits, but he neglected to take our advice and include some important points. We have therefore taken it upon ourselves to include them for him.
“What the. Shit. Moving swiftly on –”
“No.” Cas was gazing at the screen, brow furrowed. “Let me see.”
It was a bunch of different photos of Dean. Two screenshots from when Charlie had him try out the puppy and flowercrown filters on Snapchat. A photo from Pride that year of Dean looking drunk and cheerful squashed between three towering leather bears, Dean with a rainbow stamp on his cheek, wearing an Ally t-shirt and a pink plastic tiara, the bears looking hungry. Dean wearing a medieval tunic and carrying a sword looking seriously pissed and covered head to toe in mud where he’d slipped and fallen into a puddle. Dean in his rented tux with glassy eyes and a tear spilling over onto his cheek as he watched Sam reciting his wedding vows. Dean making a stupid face caught mid-sneeze, holding Poptart at arms’ length while Poptart glared at him like he was planning when to make his move and claw Dean’s eyes out.
“Yeah. Well. Not sure what point they were trying to make . . .”
“I get it.” Cas wasn’t smiling, but his face and posture were softer. Less abruptly business.
“Then let’s see what the hell waits for us next – No! Goddammit. This is not what I had planned at all, I swear.”
‘5. Dean’s Mouth’ was a collection of cropped pictures of Dean’s mouth. Smiling. Grumpy. Licking his lips. Not so much eating a hot dog as inhaling it whole. Drinking a beer. Pulling a face with his tongue sticking out the side. Wrapped around a Tootsie Pop, and Cas made a strangled noise, made a note on his pad. Dean couldn’t see what it said. He ground his teeth,
“I swear I’m gonna kill Char– No! Jesus. Just when you think you trust someone . . . I’m so sorry.”
‘6. Dean’s Ass’ was a gallery of just that, his ass, mostly in jeans. Bending over under the hood into Baby’s engine. Standing at the bar. Leaning over a pool table. That one time he wore jorts. In swim shorts in the summer, freckles darker than usual trailing up his spine. His actual buttcrack from where he’d been crouching in sweats to change a flat on Charlie’s car.
“Why the hell do they have so many photos of my ass?”
Cas was blinking wide-eyed at the screen.
‘7. In Case We Need To Remind You How Again How Adorable Dean Winchester Is’ was a single photo from Sam’s birthday years before. It was Dean passed out drunk on a couch he didn’t remember. Someone, probably Sam but he’d never had proof, had drawn an ejaculating penis pointing at Dean’s mouth across his cheek in eyeliner, and his mouth was hanging open like he was welcoming it. He was wearing a couple of solo cups like horns and another two like a bra. Someone else, very likely Charlie, had covered his eyes with pink paper cut-out hearts. Dean ignored Cas’s rumble of protest and immediately forwarded to the next slide, already dreading it.
‘8. Dean Has Come Out to 9 People and a Cat as Not Entirely Straight and Survived Emotionally Untraumatized’. Dean cringed, feeling like this had to be going as wrong as he’d feared it would, his face fiery tomato and extra spicy.
“I worked on this, Cas. I did. I thought it’d be . . . I don’t know, but more than this. I put my heart into it. I didn’t mean for it to turn into a joke.”
Cas didn’t say a word in reply or give any other sign he’d heard Dean. He was reading every word on the screen, another note from Charlie. ‘The I.T Department would like to inform you that Dean has been open and honest with the following people about his recently diversifying sexuality: His brother. Your brother. His sister-in-law. Two gold-star lesbians. His boss and reluctant father figure. His ex-fiancée. Mrs. L and Poptart. The florist who sold him your adopted son Spike the Succulent Phallus.’
There was a soft intake of breath from Cas.
“You named it?”
“Him, not it.”
There was a prolonged pause, and Dean was about to move to the next slide because, dammit, he was getting through this even if it was going to kill him.
“Wait. I need to –” Cas was getting to his feet, “I’ll be one minute.”
“You promise you’re coming back?”
Cas looked at Dean as if he’d said the most idiotic thing he’d ever heard.
“Why would I miss points nine and ten?”
“Because it’s been a mammoth shit show so far that I’ll never emotionally recover from?”
Cas’s mouth lifted in one corner.
“It’s going better than you think. One minute.”
He returned shortly after with Spike the Cactus’s pot cradled cautiously in his arms. Carried him over to the conference table where he’d been sitting to listen to Dean, positioning him with care.
“As soon as you name something, it becomes your responsibility.”
“The girls named him, not me. I showed them Spike’s photo.”
“Still . . .” Cas touched Spike’s pot with reverent fingertips. “I thought he could listen the rest of the presentation with us.”
“Uh. Sure. Welcome to the slaughter, I guess. Next slide.”
Dean’s shoulders relaxed.
“Okay, this is one of mine. I think we’re back on track and I will be firing the I.T. Department. Preferably out of a cannon.”
There was a photo of Sam and Jess. They were each grinning, wearing white t-shirts with ‘TEAM CAS’ sharpied onto their chests, and together they held a sign that read ‘We love you Cas!’ Jess had drawn hearts all over it and a note in Sam’s handwriting along the bottom asked Cas not to leave them to deal with Dean in his approaching decrepitude alone, #adultdiapers.
“My family loves you. They want you in their lives.”
A photo of Gabe, who’d decided it was appropriate to text Dean a shirtless pic when asked for a photo. It made Dean shudder every time he’d looked at it. He and Charlie had played around with it in MSPaint, adding devil horns, glasses, blackened teeth, a curly beard and abundant chest hair, plus a knife stabbing Gabe in the ribs with dripping blood that Dean was particularly proud of.
“I know I haven’t met most of your family and figure they might not approve of a down-on-his-luck grease monkey, but for some reason I seem to have formed an alliance with your brother. I didn’t mean to, I didn’t want to and God knows I tried not to. But I haven’t been able to shake the little turd, and he’s actually been helpful this week.”
Dean looked away from the screen and dared to look at Cas, who was looking at the slide and smiling to himself.
“The point is, we’re already in each other’s lives. You’re my family, Cas. I think I’m that to you. It makes this bigger than both of us. The two of us together fit into this larger structure, and I can feel that it works. We’ve already got what most couples are working towards the first year or two and we’d be crazy to disregard that. We have people rooting for us.”
Cas nodded, looking down at his notes.
“And the last slide?”
“Uh, yeah. Here we go.”
‘10. Full Disclosure’
He’d had to write it down in black and white because Dean knew he’d chicken out of it otherwise. The slide was just the text, nothing else, no bullet points or photos. Cas frowned at the screen before looking directly at Dean.
It felt like the atoms in the air were vibrating as he moved to stand in front of Cas and held out his hands. Cas slipped his into Dean’s after a moment’s pause, warm and dry, his beautiful long fingers wrapped in Dean’s, and that small amount of skin-to-skin contact was enough for Dean to take a deep breath and throw himself off a cliff.
“I’m in love with you, Cas. Like, I want you forever kinda thing. I’ve been thinking about everything you said, and I get that you’re worried that this is some kind of whim of mine, temporary insanity, whatever. But wanting you and falling for you are the most sane things I’ve ever done. I need you to understand that, if you decide not to be with me out of some misguided sense of protecting me, then you’re going to be breaking my heart.”
Dean sniffed, squeezed Cas’s hands. “Ripping it out and stomping on it. There’s no way to avoid it. I’m all in. So,”
He let go, skin smarting from the sudden lack of contact. “I know you gotta do what you gotta do and I trust you. I won’t blame you or stay mad too long, and I’ll always be your friend no matter what. Nothing will change that. But I can’t pretend that you’re not everything to me. And that’s all I’ve got.”
He rubbed his nose. Cas stood and cupped one of Dean’s elbows with his hand.
“Thank you, Dean. This has been very informative and given me much to think about.”
“I hope not enough for all the thinking to take another eleven days.”
“No. I’ll come to the apartment tonight.”
Cas’s thumb stroked Dean’s arm, and Dean almost crumpled into Cas’s chest, wanting to push himself into Cas’s arms and not let go for a long time. Instead he just stood there.
“Will you email me a copy of your presentation?”
“Sure. I’ll include the original slides if I’ve still got a copy.”
“Please. Yes. Thank you, Dean.” Cas retrieved his notes from the table before sweeping Spike up into the crook of his arm, taking care to lean away from the spines, looking for all the world like he was planning to carry Spike around his offices for the rest of the day. “I have to get back to work. Not that I imagine I’m going to get any work of note completed after this.”
“I’m sorry. I guess I should’ve been more worried about disturbing you, but I was getting desperate and Gabe swore he could get me in to see you.”
“No.” Cas carried Spike over to the door, moving to leave, but his eyes were shining when he looked back at Dean. “I’m glad you’re here. Thank you for my PowerPoint. Whatever happens, please know I’ll always treasure the memory of this day.”
“Goodbye, Dean. I’ll see you later. I’ll ask Pima to accompany you out.”
“Okay.” I love you. Please love me back. “Laters, dude.”
Dean was sitting at the breakfast bar. Numb all over after a day that had been an emotional rollercoaster ride, dangerous highs when a heady, exhilarating hope dared blossom inside of him, followed by lows where Dean was sure he’d ruined any chance he’d ever had with Cas, cursing himself every minute for being such a monumental fuck up. He stared down at his phone, wondering if Cas would bother to call if he wasn’t coming after all. Maybe he’d only been humoring Dean by watching his stupid presentation.
What a pile of stinking crap that’d been. He was furious with Charlie and Gilda, he’d worked on each point for a couple of days, writing notes to himself at work when a new thought would occur and he’d scramble to get it down before he forgot about it. Even it had been dumb and a piece of shit, it had been authentically his dumb shit, nobody else’s. Not just a bunch of photos of him looking like an asshole.
He’d forgotten to invite Cas for dinner the next day, too blown away by the power of standing there and admitting to his best friend that he was in love with him. It was Thanksgiving tomorrow, and in a fit of optimism, Dean bought two turkey legs and everything he needed for a semi-decent meal before realizing Cas probably had plans that didn’t involve him. The idea of cooking the whole thing all then sitting and eating alone was beyond grim. Dean stared down at his fingers and tried to will into himself the energy to get up and throw it all in the trash. At least it wouldn’t all be waiting there for him the next day like a grocery-based metaphor for how shitty things were going to get now he’d forced Cas away.
His heart skipped three beats then went crazy when Dean heard a key in the lock. He looked up, unable to breathe or speak or do a damn thing as Cas let himself in through their apartment door. Dean forced himself to smile and raise a hand.
“Hey. You made it.”
But Cas didn’t say a word. He didn’t pause to close the door, instead stalking down the hallway towards Dean fast and focused, his coat billowing out each side of him. Dean found himself rising from the bar stool, getting to his feet, cut off as Cas charged up to him.
“Cas? What’s – Wait. You okay? You look freaked out.”
Cas hadn’t spoken yet, staring into Dean’s eyes. He cupped Dean’s jaw with both hands, his voice desperately cracked.
“I need to – I want to – Dean . . . please, Dean. Please.”
He seemed stuck, unable to move. So intense that Dean grabbed his coat to anchor them both. Took a breath, stepped off the ledge. Kissed Cas.
Cas immediately kissed Dean back. His lips were dry and firm, and Dean’s senses swam with how close Cas was, the sensation of his mouth on Dean’s. How much taller and broader he was than Dean was used to, crowding Dean back against the kitchen counter, fingers strong and sure along Dean’s jaw, moving to cup his neck and brush into the short hairs at his nape. It was perfect, all kinds of insistent and desperate, and Dean pushed back harder a moment before Cas opened Dean’s mouth with his own, shoving him against the counter in a rush to get closer.
It was dizzying. Cas groaned at the first taste of Dean’s mouth and Dean followed it with a gasp of his own as Cas got hungrier and more demanding, cupping Dean’s jaw with his hands and pulling him into it as he took over the kiss to explore deep. Dean’s hands fisted themselves in Cas’s coat, trying to tug him closer as Dean submitted to the kiss of his life, Cas’s body a solid wall of heat and muscle against him, his tongue against Dean’s. The noise of them both, little moans all slick and wet, pausing to take a ragged breath each before they dived back in.
It was, without question, the greatest kiss of Dean’s life. Different because he was kissing another guy, because he was kissing Cas, Dean didn’t know. Maybe because it was the first time he’d fallen so hard before the first kiss. He grabbed at Cas’s shoulders, tried to get him closer, trying so hard to kiss back with as much love, want and naked need as was rushing through him.
Cas broke the kiss first, breathing hard against Dean’s face, his skin hot and damp where he laid his forehead against Dean’s jaw.
“We need to talk.”
“Nooo,” Dean whined, “No talking. There’s been enough talking. More doing,” as he wrapped a hand around Cas’s nape to pull him back into it.
Cas pulled Dean’s hand away, bringing Dean’s knuckles up to his lips to press a kiss against them with spit-smeared lips.
“I hope there will be doing, but there are things that must be said before we go further.”
His face was red and glowing with a little sweat. His hair spiked and damp. Dean’s desire-addled brain started to catch up with his eyes,
“Why are you all sweaty? And what – what happened to your face?”
Cas tilted his face into Dean’s palm as Dean rubbed his thumb over a pink mark on Cas’s cheek.
“Which now guarantees I’m going to. What happened?”
They were fitted together hip to hip, Cas’s arms around Dean’s waist, and Dean allowed himself to get thoroughly distracted by Cas’s nose brushing along his jaw, a dry kiss placed beneath it against his neck.
“I’m sweaty because I ran here.”
Cas pressed his mouth to the skin under Dean’s ear, and Dean felt Cas’s body tremble against his.
“Did you run directly into a wall or something? And don’t stop doing what you’re doing.”
Cas smiled against Dean’s neck, then he bit softly on Dean’s earlobe to worry at it with his teeth.
“Mm, yes. God. All of it. Your face, Cas.”
Cas sighed, and the feel of it shivered up and down Dean’s neck, lighting up his skin as Cas nuzzled there, his five o’clock shadow something new and definitely of interest.
“I was arguing with Gabriel. He was too close and I pushed him away. He raised a hand, shouted ‘You have driven me to literally smacking some sense into you’ and then, well, it was much like the slap wars we had as children. There was a glancing blow to my cheek.”
“Gabe hit you? That little fucker, I’ll kick his ass.”
“No.” Cas leaned back enough to look Dean in the eyes. His looked so tired, so bloodshot, red-rimmed and circled with shade. “It worked. He got my attention. Even after all the wonderful things you said to me today, the fear that I am not and can never be good for you overwhelmed my ability to act.”
It had been too long without contact. Dean pushed his way into Cas’s arms tighter, breathing him in, pressing a kiss to his hair, hugging him close.
“But you’re perfect.” He felt perfect. Tasted, smelled perfect, fit exactly right in Dean’s arms.
“No, I’m not. I’ve found it impossible to moderate how I feel for you and it is going to break me into a thousand pieces when I inevitably drive you away with the obsessive nature of my desire. Gabe shook me and said it didn’t matter, that you’re as blind to my faults as you are to my unfortunate face, and that you’re devoted to me either way. Said what wouldn’t he give for his very own hot little Winchester acolyte to follow him around hanging off his every word.”
“Asshole. He makes me sound like a stalker. Plus your face is my favorite.”
Cas started kissing and nipping at Dean’s neck again, Dean leaning his head back with a low moan to give him room, sincerely hoping that the talking part of the evening was done with because this was, fuck, Cas was amazing. But Cas was talking again already, talking about Gabe, which was confusing the fuck out of Dean’s incipient boner.
“He pushed me out of his apartment. He pointed out that I was making us both miserable and I finally realized he wasn’t wrong and how that’s the antithesis of everything I wish for you. Told me to go to you and not waste another second with existential bullpoop when I could be taking full carnal advantage of the pretty idiot I’d somehow managed to trick into loving me. I ran all the way here.”
Dean laughed, leaned back enough to shove a hand into Cas’s face and push him away.
“Hold up there, pardner. I’m a pretty what?”
It was the first time Cas had smiled at him like that in two weeks, and Dean’s knees got wobbly.
“Your mind is as beautiful and brilliant as the rest of you, and I’m in love with it all. I can no longer remember when I wasn’t. Or why I shouldn’t be telling you.”
Hurricanes. And dancing at our wedding. Those reasons, Dean thought, but what came out was an uncertain, croaky,
“You love me?”
A solemn blink, eyes burning so bright blue it hurt to look into them so close. Cas. Cas.
“Of course I do, Dean. Beyond what I thought was possible.”
Dean had to kiss him again, taking Cas’s sincere, sweating face between his hands to kiss Cas like he’d wanted to back in the glass-walled room. Shifting to press Cas back against the counter, trying to fit as much of his tongue in Cas’s mouth as humanly possible as Cas sucked on his and made Dean think of a million and one dirty things that had him grinding up against Cas’s hip. Muttering ‘I love you, I love you, Cas, I’m so crazy about you’ against Cas’s mouth until Cas moved and all of a sudden the thick, enormous fact of Cas’s hard dick was pressing at Dean’s. All of Dean’s words and actions stuttered to a halt, and he gazed at Cas, eyes wide.
“Oh. Welp, that’s definitely another dick. Touching mine.” He looked down at his pelvis shoved against Cas’s. “I have a feeling we’re not in Kansas any more.”
“Yes, we are.”
Dean laughed into Cas’s neck, his cock moving against Cas’s and, ooh. That’s. Yeah.
“We need to get horizontal because I feel like I should be exploring this dick-touching thing in more depth.”
Cas shook his head,
“We haven’t finished talking,”
But Dean didn’t give him the chance to finish, pushing his way out of Cas’s arms and snagging his wrist to pull Cas across the kitchen.
“Sure we have.”
“But there was more I wanted to say.”
“Which I’m sure you will. After. Will you come the fuck on?”
Cas was grinning, wide and kiss-rumpled, and Dean had to pause to lay another deep kiss on him, sliding his tongue against Cas’s, strong hands grabbing at his hips as he cupped Cas’s sandpapery cheek.
“Your place or mine?” Dean thought about the state of his bed and immediately disregarded it, trying to shove Cas towards his bedroom door. “No, yours. Your bed’s better.”
Cas was mouthing across Dean’s jaw to his earlobe, and it didn’t seem at all fair that Cas had already figured out one of Dean’s erogenous zones before they’d even gotten their clothes off.
“My sheets are almost two weeks old and will be stale.”
“And I’ve been miserybating for over a week into mine.” Cas leaned back to look at him, his eyes narrowed and gleaming all hot and aroused, and Dean made a disgusted face at him. “Seriously? Hell, no. If my crusty-ass sheets are actually something you’re into, we’ll talk about it at a much later date as that’s way too much information right now.”
“It’s more about you stimulating yourself to orgasm in a bed a few scant feet from where we stand.” It was Cas’s sex voice in all its rough, rock-salt glory. “I hope one day very soon you’ll allow me to watch you.”
“You’d be into that?”
Dean pushed Cas into his bedroom, flicking on the overhead light as he went because he was certain naked Cas was going to deserve floodlights and it was the best he could do. Cas was already shrugging out of his overcoat, a comically-huge bulge immediately obvious in his pants, and the simple act of losing one article of clothing had Dean’s cock twitching against his fly. At least it wasn’t going to take him long to know if he could get through this without losing his hard as he already felt halfway to whichever end was waiting.
“Very much so. The one time I heard you, I could think of little else for days. I made several embarrassing mistakes at work after not being able to get the sound of your climax out of my mind for more than a few minutes at a time. It has haunted me. I believe my desire to witness it in person may be approaching the level of permanent kink.”
Cas grabbed at Dean, his hands tight on Dean’s hips, fingers sliding up underneath Dean’s t-shirt. Dean shivered in response, grabbing at Cas’s shirt buttons and making about as much of a mess undoing them as Cas had managed with doing them up that morning. He couldn’t think, the sensation of Cas’s fingertips on his bare skin forcing any thought out of his head, words tumbling out of his mouth unthinking.
“Then we lucked out, because that’s probably the one and only sex act I’ve got more experience in than you.”
The touch of Cas’s fingers retreated an inch. The body against his moving away, the huge ridge of dick that felt to Dean about the dimensions of a softball bat unhumping itself from Dean’s thigh.
“Ah. I wanted to talk about this. One of my concerns is that the amount of my sexual experience troubles you, and that you don’t feel able or free to be honest about it.”
Perhaps this was one of the reasons it was easier to fall into bed with someone when you didn’t give too much of a shit about their feelings. Half the arousal burning its way into Dean’s lungs suddenly got dumped out and replaced with concern for Cas, his Cas, irritation at himself for saying anything that could possibly hurt him. It sucked. Dean gathered Cas to him in another hug, nuzzling into Cas’s hair as Cas touched Dean’s t-shirt over his heart with one hand.
“I need to you to believe me on this. On everything I say because, shit, Cas, I’ve been more honest with you than I’ve been with myself most of the time.”
Cas pressed his mouth to Dean’s throat, nosing in there like he planned to settle for awhile.
“Then I trust whatever you say to me next is the truth.”
“It is. I don’t care about the screamers. Not like that. I got a little jealous of the time they got from you, because I’m sappy and gross and would happily be with you every spare minute of every day.” It felt weird stating all of it into Cas’s hair, which was so soft, and smelled so good. His hand felt huge on Dean’s back. “But I wasn’t jealous of the sex. Maybe that I wasn’t capable of having anything like it, never that you were having it with other people. You being so awesome at sex that you made hundreds of guys scream is hot as fuck.”
Dean swore he could feel Cas’s blush against his neck, a small smile. “You’re, like, my own personal porn star. Or, I’m hoping you’re going to be. I need someone to teach me the ways of,”
Everything that came to mind had the pollution of his dad to it, ’the gay, the homo, How to Fag 101. The best he could come up with was, “How to navigate two dicks in the bed, and I went and got myself a bona fide expert.”
Cas lifted his head from Dean’s throat, tilted his head at Dean and examined his eyes back and forth, which were probably as dark and dilated as Cas’s were.
“Yeah? You’re gonna be my sex Yoda.”
Dean’s fingers knotted themselves in Cas’s shirt front.
“And we’re done talking? Because I’m close to asking if you have a gag in your nightstand and am not sure how I’m gonna feel about the answer.”
“I have three, but I want to hear your every word and will have plenty to say myself.”
Cas leaned out of Dean’s hands long enough to pull his dress shirt up and over his head, a few buttons clinging on for life, and his shoulders were so broad and bare and hot under Dean’s fingers that his dick jumped and blurted out a gob of precum in his briefs. It did it again as Cas grabbed his plaid and manhandled Dean extremely efficiently out of both it and his t-shirt.
“Fuck, don’t listen to me, whatever I’m saying has to be bullshit, because I have exactly zero blood cells circulating my brain right now.” Cas had moved in tight and was kissing across Dean’s collarbone, the muscles in his arms bunching under Dean’s hands, the heft of his cock pushing into Dean’s belly. “Given the size of whatever monster you seem to be packing, I’m impressed you’re able to stay upright.”
“Mm.” Cas mouthed at Dean’s chin as he started to walk them backwards towards the bed. “M’not. Better lie down.”
Dean wanted this to go well, desperately hoped it would. He’d thought over how this might go a hundred times, usually with one hand in his shorts. He’d wanted to flirt and charm like had once been so simple. To ease and flatter Cas into sex so Dean could pretend like he had some modicum of control over the whole thing. Instead, Cas said one three-word sentence implying they get into bed, and Dean found himself whispering all harsh and urgent, ‘I fuckin’ love your brain’ like he’d forgotten how to word at all, before shoving his way into Cas’s mouth with his tongue and tackling them both down onto the mattress.
Together they wrestled Cas out of his undershirt and then Cas was half-naked and underneath him, tongue deep and hungry in Dean’s mouth, legs and hands grasping at Dean to relocate Dean’s hips into place against his. The shock of his skin, stomach flat and hot against Dean’s gentle curve of belly, hands gliding down Dean’s chest to brush briefly over Dean’s nipples forcing a gasp out of him, down further to rest on his belt buckle.
“If I may?”
Dean grinned down at Cas, his mouth wet, his hips moving where his dick was slotted like a tugboat alongside the super tanker of Cas’s. So far the disparity in their sizes hadn’t seemed to faze him at all, which was something of a surprise. He’d imagined that he’d feel too inferior and instantly get soft. Instead he was so aroused by it he felt it everywhere. So happy he couldn’t stop smiling.
“I’m not used to all these good manners. It’s like being in bed with Mr. Darcy.”
“‘You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you’.”
It was oddly hilarious, what with Cas’s huge dick obscenely grinding at Dean’s, and he found himself laughing helplessly.
“That’s what you got quotes for?”
Cas tugged at Dean’s belt impatiently,
“And how urgently I’d like to rid you of your remaining clothing.”
“You’d think I’d remember that part.” Dean leaned down to nip and lick at Cas’s lips again. “Yes, please, m’lord.”
“Darcy wasn’t a lord.”
“Oh, for the love of – Ooh. Fuck. Okay.”
Cas was unquestionably an expert at getting dudes out of their pants. His fingers were deft and fast where Dean was pretty sure he’d be all thumbs, pushing Dean’s jeans and the waistband of his boxer briefs down ‘til they sat tight across his asscheeks. Reaching into Dean’s open fly to to lift out and palm Dean’s hard-on, his voice husky and dry as he breathed into Dean’s ear.
“Oh, Dean. You are perfect.”
Dean was absolutely still, shaken, eyes screwed tight shut as he tried to minimize his response. Anything too much, too soon could be disastrous.
“Hey, Cas.” Dean moaned all shaky as Cas expertly stroked his thumb over Dean’s slit and sucked at Dean’s neck. “Go slow. And, uh, if I lose my, uh, if I go flah, I mean –”
“If you go flaccid?” Cas said helpfully, slowly stroking down Dean’s cock with his hand.
“Yeah, that.” Dean tried not to whimper as Cas circled his dick with longer, thicker fingers than he was used to, mostly failing as Cas drew them upwards in a firm, slow tease. “Don’t take it personally. I’ve never wanted anything like I want, mm yeah, like I want you, and I’m a little, oh, ooh, worried that I’ll get performance anxiety and mess everything up.”
“Perhaps I should try to distract you.”
Cas’s thumb flicked over Dean’s frenulum and Dean promptly lost the ability to speak.
Cas’s efforts at distracting him started out genuinely, fantastically well, his strength a distinct turn-on as he hauled Dean onto his back and dived in for a toe-curling kiss that left Dean aware that beard burn was an actual thing. How he sat back up and used the same fingers that had recently been all over Dean’s dick to unbuckle and unfasten his pants, unzipping halfway before reaching out with a groan to start tugging Dean’s off like he couldn’t wait. Getting more frustrated and red in the face as he realized Dean had been too depressed to make the effort to take his boots off earlier and Dean’s jeans were thoroughly wedged and unmoving at his ankles.
“What is this sorcery, they’re stuck,” Cas bellowed, throwing up his hands, pissed as all hell at Dean’s feet. Dean couldn’t believe how fond he felt, how blurry with love as he grinned at Cas, who rolled his eyes and huffed. “I’m overjoyed you’re finding this so amusing.”
“I’m sorry, I thought this’d be different! I figured you’d get all,” Dean hiked an eyebrow, tried to look suave with his jeans around his ankles and dropped his voice lower, “‘Hey, I’m Big Jimmy, certified sexpert, and I only have to look at your pants in the right way for them to whip themselves off and fly out the window’.”
Cas pouted. Actually pouted, the big baby.
“Then I’m sorry to inform you that you’re stuck with me instead of him. I have imagined this countless times and it never once went this disastrously. I can’t simply – this is different.” His voice cracked with emotion. “This matters.”
Dean pressed a kiss against Cas’s grumpy-cat face, then another, feeling it melt away with each one.
“Of course it does. You’re what I want. You. Just you. I don’t think you have any idea how happy I am to see your grandpa boxers because that’s the you I was hoping for. I don’t think I’m ready for interesting underwear and smooth moves. Take your pants off.”
Cas sighed and Yes Dean’d against Dean’s mouth, and allowed them both to get distracted by kissing for a full two minutes before Dean struggled out from under him. “Take off your damn pants, already. And keep your mouth to yourself, hot lips, I gotta deal with this whole mess down here.”
Dean was crouched over, dick managing to hold its hard against his gut, briefs pushed down under his balls, lifting everything upwards as he tried to get at his boots. He probably had his tongue clenched between his teeth with concentration, could feel where his stomach was generously wreathed in belly rolls from his hunched posture. The moment was more about problem solving than seduction. But Cas paused standing next to the bed as he dropped his pants and hooked his thumbs into the waist of his circus-tented boxers, gazing at Dean with so much affection that Dean felt his face heat up worse than it already was.
“I’m so afraid that I’ll never find the words to tell you how beautiful you are, no matter how long or how hard I try.”
Dean was pretty sure he was at his least beautiful. Something deep in his chest folded into itself into a knot and his throat burned.
“Dude. You can’t just say stuff like . . . Yes, finally!” as he managed to toe off one boot and then the other, wriggling out of his jeans and trying not to gawp at Cas’s cock once the baggy boxers hit the floor.
He failed. Good lord, the man was a beast. Dean had seen thicker cocks in porn, he’d seen longer cocks in porn. He leaned his head sideways and, mouth going dry, figured out he hadn’t seen one both that long and that thick at the same time. Not freakish exactly but, yeah, it probably generated its own gravity due to sheer mass. Dean’s asshole took notice, threw in the towel and tapped the fuck out, clamping itself furiously shut, possibly forever. Dean’s dick, however, gave a happy little jerk as he squirmed out of his underwear and pulled his socks off one by one, throwing them down to open his arms to Cas, already beckoning him close and in a hurry.
“Shit. That took us way too long.”
“Yes. It has.”
Cas was looking down at Dean as he moved to lie over him, eyes adoring, cheeks pink, hair fluffed, making Dean’s chest ache in the exact same way as before as he figured out a double meaning he hadn’t meant to include. He sat up towards Cas, wrapping his fingers around Cas’s neck to draw him closer.
“This, us. You . . .”
Dean looked down between them at Cas and all his nakedness, reveling in how damn much he wanted to look at Cas’s incredible body, to drink it in, his broad, tight chest, a tuft of dark hair at his armpit. His taut stomach and its thin line of fuzz that led to his beautiful big dick and tight nutsack, all of it surrounded by neatly-trimmed pubic hair compared to the more au naturel scene Dean had going on. He was dark and different. Familiar and wholly unknown. The feel of him as he lay down against Dean and how good it was made Dean’s eyes begin to feel damp.
“I’m already at the limit of what I can handle. You gotta quit romancing me, man. You’re killin’ me, here.”
Cas drooped, his head, his shoulders. Even his dick seemed to sink downward a half inch.
“It’s what I’ve been trying to talk to you about. I’m too much, I know, I warned you in my note –”
Dean shut him up with a closed mouth kiss.
“Dial it back. I read your note, you know that. I’m in, I’m here and waiting to get beaten into submission by your gigantor penisaurus, or whatever the hell we’re about to do. I’m ready, Cas.”
Twenty four hours later, he’d be cooking and suddenly cursing at himself for failing to utter the greatest line that fate had ever handed him,
‘It’s Hurricane Season.’
The ‘forecasts predict someone’s getting blown’ follow-ups practically wrote themselves. Instead, Dean saw his fingers tremble as he touched Cas’s face,
“I can’t talk about it now, I can’t. I just need us to get through this before the wheels come off my boner and I ruin everything. But one day I wanna think about dancing at our wedding, too. I want all of that.”
It was like flipping a switch. A rumble started deep in Cas’s chest and he thrust himself at Dean, all of him, all at once. His tongue into Dean’s mouth. His hips against Dean’s, his dick rutting against Dean’s in a building rhythm. His hands, possessive and needy, touching Dean all over, his hip, his waist. His chest, the base of his throat, every touch like he was precious. Dean’s name a constant prayer on Cas’s lips.
It was already too much and everything, the taste of Cas, the touch of his skin everywhere, the heavy weight of his cock driving a pointed, pulsing need already stirring deep in Dean’s nuts and at the tip of his dick. Cas’s balls were a fuzzy repetitive caress against Dean’s, and Dean hadn’t had any clue that balls could be anything arousing or something other than background décor after a quick fondle. He liked it, fuck, he loved it. He was totally into how they felt pushing against his own, and how did that become an instant thing? It was blowing his mind with how easy it was.
Cas shifted against him, moving away, a hand leaving Dean’s throat to stroke down across his chest, but Dean was already desperate with pleasure. He clutched at Cas’s hips to keep him close.
“No! This, this is perfect. Don’t stop. Please, Cas.”
He sucked hard at Cas’s tongue, bit down on his plump bottom lip to tug at it, begging in his head the whole time. Fingers digging themselves into Cas’s hot round ass as it pumped away on top of him, almost as if Cas was fucking him while grunting words of love into Dean’s neck all low and dirty. Dean’s voice, broken and needy,
“Please, fuck, please, fuck, please, Cas, yeah, please . . .”
“Dean, are you close, I’m close, I’m so close, Dean . . .”
“Nuh, I can’t, fuck –”
Because if it was going to happen, and he was going to lose his wood, it was going to happen soon. If Dean didn’t get to come after all this, with Cas naked and hot and perfect and hard, thrusting against Dean like their survival depended on it, then he was shit out of luck, relationship fucked over before it had a chance to begin.
The familiar antsiness hadn’t started, any hint of it shoved out by a fiercely-building coil of heat, sharp and electric. Dean grabbed Cas’s neck, pulled him closer, kissed him and moaned against his mouth, allowed himself to hope.
“I’m gonna come, Cas, fuck, gonna make me come so hard –”
And it was enough for Cas, who groaned Dean’s name, closed his eyes and gave a full body shudder, his cock jerking and a warm, wet sensation flooding Dean’s belly as he shook to pieces in Dean’s arms.
It was cum. Pulse after pulse of Cas’s jizz, slicking his movements as his cock continued to thrust against Dean’s, and it was the pure, simple fact that Cas shot his load all over his dick that had Dean crying out in surprise as his orgasm hit him like a punch in the gut. He came until his nuts and his asshole ached, came with his fingers and toes curling, throat raw from shouting curses he couldn’t hold back with each jolt. Cas kissed his neck all the way through it, slowly circling his hips ‘til Dean’s cock quit shooting and allowed his body to finally relax. Afterglow draping itself all over him warm as summer sun, Cas’s breath uneven against his ear for a second before Cas detached himself from Dean with a squelching sound, flopping onto his back next to Dean with a satisfied groan.
Dean didn’t have the wherewithal about him right at that moment to lift his head to look down at the carnage they’d wrought. He was out of it all, levitating in mid-air, waves rippling around his thighs and stomach.
“I guess I was theoretically aware there’d be more spooge than I’m used to . . .”
Cas propped himself up on his elbow, his face coming into Dean’s view. Skin bright red and sweaty, hair damp and sticking to his head in some places, tufted up in others. Lips pink and kiss-swollen smiling down at Dean, tired eyes surrounded in creases. He’d never looked more handsome.
“It’s quite an impressive mess.”
“You’re an impressive mess.” Dean slapped Cas’s hand away from his stomach when he trailed a fingertip into their cooling cum, “Quit it, Tickles, you’re harshing my buzz.”
Cas was inspecting his fingertip.
“I would very much like to put this in my mouth so that I’m able to taste you, but am concerned you won’t allow me to kiss you afterwards.”
“Guess you won’t know ‘til you try.”
Cas grinned and stuck his fingertip into his mouth. Tilted his head and ran his tongue around his teeth, and Dean started laughing, post-orgasmic high hitting him hard.
“Does it meet with Sir’s approval?”
“It does. You’re delicious.”
Their kiss was long and drawn out, Dean’s hands drawing Cas down towards him, all of their earlier urgency temporarily spent. His dick gave a half-hearted twitch against his stomach when he recognized his taste on Cas’s tongue and he chased it for a moment with his own, even though he doubted it’d ever be a flavor he’d enjoy. Just the fact of it, though. His cum in Cas’s mouth. It was important in a way Dean didn’t fully understand, as he’d never thought about it that way before. He’d always done his best to avoid kissing after a blowjob.
“My instincts were wrong.” Cas looked happily smug. “You kissed me.”
“Oh, buddy. I hate to break any illusions you have about straight sex, but I’ve tasted spunk before.”
“Your own, I presume?” Dean nodded, letting his fingers play in Cas’s damp hairline. Cas smiled down at him, “But this wasn’t just your own, was it?”
“Huh. Guess not. Hey, you could say it was a literal cocktail.”
Cas chuckled, tracing Dean’s jaw with his thumb. Dean smacked his lips together. Licked his lips and tongued around his mouth, Cas’s eyes tracking every movement. “My palate’s not refined enough. It just tastes like jizz to me.”
Dean felt his eyes closing as he floated. Cas’s breath was damp against his ear as he whispered ‘one moment’ to Dean, Dean lazily reaching out and managing to pat Cas’s naked butt cheek by accident. It was so soft. “Where you goin’? I’m gross, I have to shower. In a minute. But I do.”
It was on his stomach. Moving around, wiping him clean. Well, clean-ish. It felt great, not sexual but so considerate, lazy and warm. Dean forced his eyes open into a squint, raising his head.
“So that’s what all your tiny towels are for.”
Cas paused to look down at the little blue towel in his hand where he’d been gently scrubbing a sticky patch out of Dean’s pubes, his hand casually intimate with Dean’s dick lying soft against his wrist.
“I wouldn’t say I have that many.”
“No, but – There’s so many reasons why falling for you was inevitable. Stuff like how you have the most organized cum-rags known to man when most guys are happy enough with an old sock.” Dean traced the line of Cas’s bicep with one finger, turning towards Cas and stroking down his back as Cas threw the towel to one side and reached for Dean to bury his face in Dean’s neck and breathe him in. “I’ve never met anyone so unique before. And how you seem to have no idea at all of your effect on me, it’s crazy.”
Cas’s voice was muffled by Dean’s jaw.
“Was it good?”
The slightest suggestion of uncertainty. Dean nosed his way to Cas’s sweaty forehead to press his lips there.
“It was amazing. You’re amazing. I plan to demonstrate more just how amazing I think you are but, unlike some of your other recent conquests, I’m in possession of a refractory period and am thirty seconds from nap time.”
There was a soft, small kiss at his jaw, and Dean’s arms tightened by instinct.
“I should get you into bed.”
“You already did. Took your sweet-ass time about it, too.”
He was already slurring his words. He couldn’t remember ever feeling this good before.
“Wouldn’t you like the covers over you?”
“No.” Dean rolled onto his side, pulling Cas’s arm across him, shifting closer as Cas’s leg curled around his. Little pops and shivers of sensation were chasing themselves around his veins, at every touch of Cas’s skin against his. Cas’s fingers tracing lazy circles between Dean’s shoulders guaranteed sleep was going to knock him out in a matter of seconds. “You’ll keep me warm.”
He didn’t know if he’d slept or was in the process of getting there. It was all hazy. Maybe he was already napping and only imagining he was forming actual words.
“It won’t always be like that.”
Cas’s mouth was soft at his shoulder.
“Wasn’t sure I was gonna be able to come ‘til, like, a second before.”
“I’m so glad that you did, Dean.”
“Me, too. I get mad, real mad when I don’t.”
“I can imagine.”
“No.” Dean sighed, yawned. Maybe he wasn’t quite asleep yet. “You can’t. Not yet. S’gonna be worse cuz it’s you.”
“Sleep, Dean. You can Prophet of Doom at me all you like after you wake.”
“‘Kay. ‘Love you.”
He was out before he heard Cas’s answer.
Dean had no idea how long he’d been out. He was splayed across Cas’s bed on his stomach, bare ass upwards, one of Cas’s legs thrown over Dean’s thigh. The main light was off, one of Cas’s bedside lamps on. Cas there next to him in a long lean line of smooth skin, lying propped up against his pillows, doing something on his phone with a fat chub of an erection lying all the way up to his belly button.
Dean rubbed his face into the bed, lifted his head.
“Are you watching porn?” Cas smirked and turned his phone’s screen towards Dean. Dean blinked at it, trying to wake up. “Okay. So you’re either way more into Freecell than I’d realized, which, knowing you, isn’t unlikely, or . . . ”
“Or I have you naked in my bed. It’d be a miracle if I wasn’t aroused. It’s been my only fantasy since we first met.”
“Yeah?” Dean propped himself up, smiling at how Cas draped his leg across Dean’s ass to draw him closer. “That’s BS. There’s no way you didn’t fantasize about a single other thing in six months.”
“I suppose it’d be more precise to state my fantasies began with you naked in my bed. Or, you naked. They may’ve developed from there.” Cas threw his phone to the end of the bed, not seeming to notice when it bounced off onto the floor with a thunk. “Do you require further detail?”
“Hell, yeah. Immediately.”
Cas wiggled across the bed to draw close to Dean, up against him as Dean lifted his face for a kiss, breathing out in sudden surprise as Cas’s erection pushed against his hip.
“Gonna take awhile to get used to that. I like it, though.”
He pressed his hip back against it, slid the fingers of both hands into Cas’s hair, slanting the cant of Cas’s mouth against his to get deeper and fit perfectly. He could’ve kissed Cas forever and resented having to break for air as they nuzzled against each other. Cas was cupping Dean’s jaw with his fingers, all care and consideration as if Dean was treasured. It was slow, and good, and Dean didn’t want it to ever stop. He grunted in complaint as Cas pulled away.
“I said I liked it!”
“May I touch you?”
“Oh. Yeah. Knock yourself out.”
Dean was already impressively hard. It couldn’t have been that long since he’d come. Every touch of Cas’s hands against his skin, every kiss, was sending bolts of heat straight down into his guts and his balls, his pulsing cock, along every nerve. Cas brushed over both of Dean’s nipples with his thumbs, watching for Dean’s reaction, and Dean gasped, his dick straining towards Cas with a clear drop of precum already gathering at his tip.
“I have a private bathroom at work, adjoining my office.”
It seemed like a weird thing to say at that minute, but Cas was weird, awesomely weird and hot and Dean was having trouble concentrating as the pads of his thumbs circled around Dean’s nipples.
“I returned to work after my first visit here, after we met and I signed the rental agreement. I went directly to my bathroom and came within minutes of first touching myself thinking about the beautiful straight man I’d foolishly agreed to reside with.”
“You –” Dean moaned as Cas mouthed at one of his nipples, finally thumbing over the other as Dean’s dick lifted up off his belly in need. “You were attracted to me right away? You didn’t show it. At all.”
Cas’s tongue rolled over Dean’s nipple, teasing it to a point, his lips a damp murmur against it.
“I was. I could barely look at you without wanting to shove you up against a wall and put my mouth all over you. I’ve imagined you naked a thousand times. Imagined what this body would feel like against mine, how it would react to my touch.”
Cas raked his stubbled chin over Dean’s nipple as fingers slid down over his stomach to palm his cock, and Dean groaned loud, arching into it.
“I’ve thought about sucking you, swallowing around you. I’ve dreamed about it.”
“I’ve, I’ve thought about that.”
“You have? Tell me.”
“Didn’t figure out I was into you ‘til I heard you blowing some guy who sounded like me.”
Cas snorted against Dean’s nipple, making his entire body jolt.
“Greg. Or Craig? He did sound like you, I couldn’t leave him alone. All I had to do was close my eyes. He could barely walk by the time he left.”
“Yeah, I heard.” Dean started rolling his hips into Cas’s hand as Cas licked and nipped his way over to Dean’s other nipple, teasing it with his teeth, making Dean hiss. “Holy – Oh – fuck, that’s good. I jacked off thinking about you blowing me, and I shot my wad so fucking hard. It was that time you heard me.”
“Oh!” Cas lifted his head from Dean’s chest, his fingers going slack, not noticing that Dean frowned at him and thrust at his hand some to try to get things going again. “I couldn’t figure out for the life of me what you were so embarrassed about the next day, after everything you’d heard through the walls.” His voice dropped, all dry and dirty, husky in a way that made Dean think of his throat. “It was because you were masturbating to thoughts of me fellating you?”
Dean blushed, which seemed ridiculous considering Cas’s hand was covering his cock and patches of Dean’s chest were going pink with beard burn.
“Oh, yeah. Big time. I thought you figured it out.”
“Dean . . .”
The growl of it set Dean’s nerves on edge, Cas crawling up over him like a predator. A starving kiss so intense it left no doubt that anything to do with him beating off genuinely seemed to drive Cas nuts. Cas started stroking Dean’s dick again with skilful fingers, his thumb collecting Dean’s precum to smear it around the tip with a flick of his wrist that had Dean panting. “I would love to fellate you now, unless there’s anything else you’d rather I do for you.”
The enthusiastic way Dean’s dick jumped against Cas’s palm probably answered for him, but Dean found himself nodding frantically, because nobody should be able to say the word ‘fellate’ and have it sound like pure porn.
“Fuck, yes, God, are you shitting me?”
“I shit you not, Dean.” Tongue and mouth against his neck. Cas’s hand moved from Dean’s cock as he shifted his position, kissing Dean’s throat. “I believe I desire this more than you do.”
“That’s, uh, doubtful.”
Cas was trailing his lips down Dean’s chest in a path of fire, nibbling and sucking, and Dean’s cock lifted entirely off his belly before falling back with a wet smack as he realized Cas had moved, was moving downwards, kissing down Dean’s torso slowly. This was happening. His literal wet dream. Dean bit his lip and tried not to groan too loud as Cas’s fingers wrapped around him again.
“Please, don’t stifle your moans.”
“Tryin’ to turn me into a screamer?”
“Certainly, now I no longer need worry about aggravating my roommate.”
Cas’s eyes twinkled at him up from where Cas was positioned with his mouth so close to Dean’s cock, his fingers holding it upward, lips mere inches away. Dean licked his in hunger, watching as his dick let loose another spurt of clear precum, how it welled up to run over his tip and down his length towards Cas’s thumb. Cas glanced up at him, dark eyes intense and aroused, before lowering his mouth toward Dean, who closed his eyes and let his head fall back. Having Cas blow him was one thing (one awesome, miraculous, indescribably fan-fuckin’-tastic thing), but watching Cas blow him was another, too much, too hot, too consuming.
Dean’s eyes flew open as Cas’s mouth fastened instead over where his cock had been drooling on his stomach, sucking at the small sticky patch there as his fingers continued to spread Dean’s precum in firm strokes. A contented ‘Mmm. You taste incredible’ before Cas’s mouth moved again, lower, Dean gasping as Cas started to nuzzle into his nuts.
“And the smell of you,” Cas shoved his nose into the crease where Dean’s thigh met his groin, drawing such a deep, shuddering breath in that Dean felt his cock pulse and leak again. “It’s intoxicating. I’m drunk on you, Dean. What you do to me . . .”
It had been a long day, full of anxiety and panic sweats, and Dean was pretty sure he smelled mainly of ball stank. He raised his head and looked down at a stoned-looking Cas closing his eyes just as those pink lips opened, that long tongue snaking out to lay itself flat against Dean’s right nut. He hissed at the feel of it, wet and heavy dragging across his skin, swirling in the hairs there, his cock throbbing angrily where Cas wasn’t stroking it nearly fast enough. More tongue moving across all of him, heavier, and Dean’s voice was already rough, sweat breaking across his forehead.
“Please, Cas. Please. Don’t take your time.”
Cas’s lips moved against Dean’s balls as he spoke, and even that had Dean’s toes curling.
“I plan to savor every moment, every taste of you.” He laved his way up to the base of Dean’s twitching cock, mouth brushing against Dean who moaned, dropping his head back again. “I will catalog every flavor, every sound that you make. Each movement of your body beneath mine. I will make study of it all until I have learned you and mastered you.”
“Mastered me? The hell? Jesus, Cas, can’t you just suck a guy’s – Oh. Oh, oh fuck.”
The tip of Cas’s pointed tongue had caught the latest line of precum as it dripped down Dean’s cock, and then Cas’s tongue was wet and heavy on him, Dean groaning in relief as Cas licked up the mess of it to wrap his lips around Dean to suckle at him like Dean was a melting popsicle.
“Oh! Fuh – oh, fuck.”
It was like an out of body experience. Dean was aware he arched his back, he knew he’d instantly grabbed at Cas’s head, fingers combing through Cas’s sweat-damp hair. He knew he was already rocking his hips gently and that he probably shouldn’t. He was aware of it, but his nerves did not give a flying fuck as they were concentrating on his dick alone, how warm and wet and wet Cas’s mouth was. How Cas moaned around him as he pushed down on Dean’s dick all tight and hot, humid muscles twitching around him, tongue lazily swiping back and forth. How Cas moved his hand out the way to brush fingers over Dean’s balls as he pressed the circle of his lips and mouth all the way down to bury his nose in Dean’s pubes.
The sound Cas made as Dean bottomed out in his throat, all raw and animal, was what started the acute knot forming deep in his taint where pressure was already building way too soon. Dean wanted to hold back, he wasn’t watching the porn show going on right there on his dick in order that he might stand a chance at lasting more than sixty seconds. But Cas pulled off, wrapping tight fingers around Dean’s balls and sucking him back in fast and so strong that Dean felt the tug down deep in his nuts, working his tongue in ways Dean didn’t know existed. Mouthed at Dean’s tip, licking into Dean’s slit before flicking his tongue back and forth hard and fast across Dean’s frenulum in a move that felt like electricity before sucking him all the way back down.
“THE HELL WAS – Oh, shit! Just, ungh,” Cas did it again, and Dean’s hips flew up so fast he almost launched himself off the bed. “WHAT IS, What. Oh, fuck you and your ridiculous tongue, you sexy-ass mother–” A gentle tug on his balls, another flicker across that one spot, “Fucker!”
He was going to shoot. Dean screwed his fingers closed in Cas’s hair just to hold on, trying to think of something else, anything else but how Cas’s mouth felt, the grunts and moans around him that made it sound like Cas was having the time of his life sending Dean into orbit. The fluttering of Cas’s throat around him as Cas swallowed on Dean and coaxed another harsh yell out of him,
“Please, please, I’m gonna, fuck, Cas –”
One more wicked shock of pleasure across the tip of his dick and the knot tightened, pressure building unbearably as Dean shook and swore and thrust up off the bed into Cas’s throat to unload with an undignified, desperate death rattle he felt all the way down to his toenails. Cas kept sucking, taking it all, drinking Dean down and pumping his head, fingers stroking Dean’s jerking hips, his nuts, pressing a few kisses against Dean’s dick as it twitched one last time.
It took a while for Dean’s brain to come back online as pleasure bounced around his body. He finally managed to take a few uneven breaths and lift his head, following with his shoulders as he propped himself up on his elbows to find Cas sitting up by his ankles, rubbing across his spit-smeared lips with a thumb, staring down at Dean’s softening dick with a confused expression like it was a firecracker that went off spontaneously without anyone lighting a match. He noticed Dean looking at him, meeting his eyes before returning to stare at Dean’s dick with a puzzled tilt of his head.
“Are you certain it’s erectile dysfunction that you suffer from?”
The satisfaction from somewhere hidden in Dean’s gut turned into a laugh somewhere around his lungs then into Dean cracking the fuck up, taking one more look at Cas’s expression before breaking into fresh peals of raspy-sounding laughter that caught up with the aftershocks of his climax and turned everything happy. He shoved at Cas’s thigh with his foot, grinning at him, unable to feel bad about a single fucking thing right at that moment in time.
“If you just added premature ejaculation to my grocery list of psychosexual issues with that lil whosit you do with your tongue, then you are the worst. We will have words and they will be harsh.”
Cas immediately looked worried. Dean grabbed at Cas’s arm.
“No, c’mere, seriously, get over here.”
Cupped Cas’s face with the bowl of his hand, tracing his upper lip with his thumb as he thought about how intensely he’d just come in that mouth, how much of him Cas had swallowed. Dean made up his mind fast and leaned in to kiss him, softly at first, deepening it slow as Cas sighed into his mouth and smoothed a warm hand up over Dean’s chest. Yes, absolutely, he tasted of Dean’s spunk and a musky hint of what Dean’s balls tasted like after a stressful and wonderful day, but he tasted of Cas. That was all that mattered. Dean broke away, rubbing his nose across Cas’s cheekbone to murmur in his ear.
“Trust me, you’re a miracle worker. What can I do for you? You want me to touch you? Where’s your lube?”
Cas’s breath stuttered at Dean’s suggestion, his shoulder quaking under Dean’s hand.
Dean cast a wary glance in the drawer’s direction.
“Do I dare?”
There was a pause where lips were nibbling across his eyebrow, and since when did that feel good?
“Perhaps I should retrieve it.”
Dean laughed as Cas lunged for the nightstand drawer, drawing a hand over Cas’s ass where he was stretched across the bed because, damn, it was such a nice ass, round and soft. A faint tan line around his hips where he must’ve gone shirtless in the summer. On his run, Dean guessed, once the sun started coming up early enough. He traced it with his fingers before an enormous bottle of lube was eagerly thrust into his hand.
“You’re sure? I don’t want you to feel you must reciprocate.”
“I am sure, and yeah, I do. Get comfy.”
Cas’s cock slapped against his stomach as he lay himself back against the pillows, pushing them into shape and propping himself up a little like he wanted to watch. Jesus, that thing was massive. Dean laced his fingers together and stretched his arms out, cracked his knuckles. Worked out his neck and shoulders like he was getting ready to vault a wall.
“Let’s do this. How do you like it?”
He pumped some lube into his hand, Cas’s dick rising off his belly.
“Anything. A touch, that’s all it’s going to take.” There was an unstable note to Cas’s voice, rougher than usual after attending so thoroughly to Dean’s cock. Dean looked up to see Cas’s eyes glassy and full of tears. “That you’re next to me, that you’re here. That I’ve had you in my mouth. Dean . . .”
“It’s okay, I got you, sweetheart.”
“Here goes nothin’.”
The touch of a dick against his palm was instantly familiar. It was magnified due to Cas’s size and how it was Dean’s first dick that wasn’t attached to him, but he recognized the heat of it and how the frantic heartbeat pulsing at its thick pink tip showed how desperate Cas was, how much he’d been repressing his need while he took care of Dean. Dean knew how to do this. He watched himself smear the lube around Cas’s tip as Cas groaned and shook beneath him. He tightened his fingers until they could just about touch around Cas’s girth and started to stroke how he liked it himself, harder and faster than if they’d been starting out cold. It was not weird. It was fine. It was actually pretty fucking cool.
The effect was immediate and astonishing. He’d never seen such an all-consuming response to his touch, Cas writhing against the bed, fingers tightening on Dean’s forearm, almost a gnashing of teeth as Cas fucked into Dean’s hand for less than thirty seconds before crying out and shooting. Up to his neck, cock pulsing against Dean’s hand and letting fly with another shot that caught Cas directly on his chin. Dean tightened his fingers in shocked response and Cas yelped, dumped another small spurt onto his belly and over Dean’s hand.
“Holy shit. You weren’t kidding.”
Cas had his eyes closed, neck stretched back taut, and Dean continued to jack him slowly as he moaned and shuddered, starting to shiver. He pulled his fingers away, wiping them on the bed. Wrapped his arms tight around Cas and grinned into Cas’s hair as Cas breathlessly threw himself against Dean’s chest and promptly got warm spooge all over him.
“That was . . . that was remarkable.”
“You were. I don’t feel like I can take that much credit.”
“You can. It’s all you. All of it.” Cas was searching out smudges of his cum across Dean’s chest and neck to gently clean them with his mouth in a manner that was equal parts endearing, hot and gross. “I would not complain if you were to call me sweetheart again, but should warn you that it unquestionably guaranteed a fast climax.”
“Yeah?” Dean’s grin widened against Cas’s mussy hair, and he honestly couldn’t remember a time he’d been happier. “What else might work? Baby?”
A shake of Cas’s head against Dean’s chest where he’d apparently finished cleaning Dean and was just kissing for the hell of it.
“No. That’s your car, Dean. Given your work, it would be unwise for you to foster an association between sex and cars.”
“Pervert. My love for Baby is pure.” Dean rubbed at Cas’s leg with his toes. He’d missed this so damn much, lying there touching and being dumb together, after. Having it with Cas made it unbelievable, something he hoped he’d remember forever. “Sugar tush?”
“How about angel face?”
Cas propped his chin against Dean’s chest. Lying next to him, gorgeous ass on show, legs long and stretched out, arms tucked around Dean’s sides. His dark lashes, the endless magnitude of his eyes, the shadows beneath them, the tip of his nose. His perfect mouth that was the same beautiful blush pink as the head of his cock. Dean felt cross-eyed with love for him.
“I liked sweetheart.”
“Yeah, I noticed. Thanks for keeping up with my speed record.”
“You’re welcome, Dean. I was happy to oblige.”
It didn’t take them long to crawl under the covers together and for Cas to turn out the light. Less time still for Dean to big-spoon up against Cas with all his heat and muscle and sink into sleep with his mouth at Cas’s nape.
They woke at some point during the night and turned to each other automatically like they’d done it a million times, but Dean’s cock refused to let itself be roused from a well-deserved sleep, even with Cas’s mouth on his heavy and slow, hands reverently touching Dean until Dean had to admit defeat and push them away. But it was okay. It was, no real sense of shame or failure, not after earlier, and Dean took over the kiss to lean over Cas, spitting into his hand to stroke Cas and continue to kiss him as deep as he could get as Cas ground out a sleepy orgasm against his palm. Hot splashes of Cas’s cum on his thigh was proof that it was enough and it was good. Proof that naked Cas all over him was never going to be a chore.
Everything worked just fine in the morning. Real fine. Dandy, even. Neither of them had work due to the holiday, and stuff worked out great in the shower once they managed to rouse themselves out of bed several hours later than usual. Dean meant to get around to cooking the dinner, he did, because God knows he had reason to be thankful, but Cas was more interested in getting Dean onto the couch where they necked like teens. The day passed by in measures of stroking, kissing, smoking. Eating sandwiches in front of the TV, bare legs twisted up in one another’s, instead of turkey and sitting fully dressed at the breakfast bar. It was the greatest Thanksgiving Dean could remember having. It was unbeatable. Nobody in the country could possibly be having a better Thanksgiving than Dean.
“It’s Hurricane Season! Goddammit!” Dean smacked himself in the forehead with his spatula. “Jackass.”
“It is no longer hurricane season, Dean.”
Cas was lying on the couch, smoking a bowl. All Dean could see of him was one bare foot hanging off the nearest arm and a cloud of smoke rising above it.
“I’m aware, thanks.”
He flipped a pancake onto the stack next to him and poured out the batter for another, dotting it with frozen blueberries from a small bowl on the counter and fighting a sudden urge to place them in the shape of a heart. Pancakes for Thanksgiving dinner because now he’d experienced Cas in action and could no longer deny him a damn thing. Not that he’d been that great at it before.
“Kansas is more prone to tornadoes and local depressions than hurricane landfall.”
“Uh-huh. Lived here all my life, man.”
Another huge plume of smoke rose above the couch. Dean grinned to himself, flipping the pancake and listening to the blueberries hiss as they hit the hot pan. Screw it, he was totally making a heart on the next one. His exes would’ve acted charmed but teased him over it, so he’d quit doing stuff like that. Dean knew Cas would be enchanted by something so simple. He’d be an idiot not to. Especially if it got him blown again. That tongue whosit was outrageous, and Dean felt he owed it to himself to try to last a little longer this time.
Dean placed the last pancake on Cas’s stack, adding a pat of butter directly in the center of the blueberry heart before drowning it all in syrup. He could feel how his face was working itself into a stupidly besotted expression as he watched Cas rise up from the couch and walk naked over to Dean, his soft cock almost bigger than Dean’s was hard. He put his arms around Dean’s waist, fingers plucking in annoyance at Dean’s boxer briefs.
“If you’ve finished, we could finally lose the clothes . . .”
“Do I not get to eat? Those are all for you. And I told you, no naked cooking. Splash burns are real and I’m not currently willing to admit how I know that.”
He felt it the second Cas noticed the heart. The arms loosened around him, a hushed ‘Oh’ teasing the back of his neck.
“Don’t make a big deal. I thought it’d be cute.”
Cas hugged the crap out of Dean for a moment.
“I don’t deserve you.”
“Get a grip, Cas. It’s a pancake.”
“We still need to talk.”
“I know.” Dean dropped a kiss on Cas’s bare shoulder and passed him the plate, pushing him away with his hip. “Go eat. We’ll talk later, I swear.”
Dean led Cas into his room while stripping out of his clothes, and Cas’s eyes got heavy-lidded and hazy as he looked at Dean’s freshly-made bed. The old sheets had practically crunched as he’d stuffed them into his laundry bag.
“May I watch you touch yourself tonight?”
“Uhh, sure?” It was incredible to Dean how fast Cas’s cock would start thickening and lifting, considering how much there was of it. “I was kinda hoping I’d get your mouth on me again.”
Cas didn’t look disappointed. He licked his bottom lip and Dean’s cock twitched.
“Of course, Dean. I’d love to.”
“Wait. No. I mean, it’s okay, if that’s what you want.”
“I do. I can’t explain how much it would mean to me, but there’s so much more I’m happy to do with you.”
“But you want it?” Cas looked all sheepish and nodded, and Dean grinned. “Then you got it. I want to give you anything I can. You want to lie down next to me or the end of the bed?”
But Cas had looked around and settled on Dean’s ratty old computer chair, the one he’d cleared of a meter-high pile of dirty clothes earlier.
“If you’re sure, I’d prefer here, if it would be acceptable. It would assist in the illusion that I’m watching something private.”
“Yeah?” Look at that. Dean was already halfway to hard as he swiftly processed the new and surprising fact that the idea of giving Cas a private show was turning him the fuck on. Nobody had demonstrated an interest in it before. Dean would’ve assumed he wouldn’t be into it anyway. Who the hell would get off watching him all red in the face trying to fap himself into his usual shame coma? “You want me to . . . like I normally would? I can try to be, uh, sexier if you want.”
“No. Please, no.” Cas’s voice had dropped by an octave. “How you normally would.”
“First off, I wouldn’t have the overhead light on, and I always listen to something.”
“You don’t need to involve me at all. As if I’m not here.”
Cas looked all pink-cheeked and solemn-eyed in the semi-darkness, Dean’s bedside light throwing his face into contrasts of angle and shadow. His cock was already fully hard, one hand curled around it without stroking. Dean figured out Cas didn’t want a description of every damn thing, so he sat down on the edge of his bed and thumbed at his phone, choosing something to play that wasn’t self-consciously hot or porny, anything to listen to other than his own sex noises, which would ensure failure.
He hit on shuffle in Recently Played, snorting and skipping forward when ‘Owner of a Lonely Heart’ was first up. ‘Black Velvet’ was next and Dean grinned, aware that he’d never, ever, on pain of death admit to liking it to anyone else, but that Cas would probably barely register its existence or have any clue who it was.
Dean placed his phone on the nightstand, closing his eyes for a second to breathe out any nerves as the first few notes of guitar washed over him. He kicked his duvet to the bottom of the bed, opening his nightstand drawer to grab his lube. His cheeks flared hot as his fingers brushed against his turquoise plug next to it. Cas wanted Dean to replicate his usual routine, which for a couple of weeks had always featured his new buzzy buddy, and the idea of Cas watching Dean jerk off with a fat plug buried inside him made him feel squirmy and uncomfortable in a way that wasn’t entirely unarousing. It was equally hot and shaming, and the plug definitely helped face off any threat of boner collapse, which would be a hundred times more humiliating if Cas was watching.
Fuck it. He grabbed it and put in down on the bed next to his lube, his dick jerking at a sharp exhale from across the room. Sounded like someone approved. Which got him harder. Jesus H.
Mississippi, in the middle of a dry spell . . .
He settled back against his pillows and stretched out his legs, spreading them enough that he felt comfortable. The first stroke of his lubed fingers on his dick made him shudder involuntarily, already way more aroused than he’d have been if he’d been alone. Dean stroked slow, a tease at first with loose fingers, reaching down with his other hand to brush over his nuts. He could see Cas out the corner of his eye, starting to stroke himself with his other hand laid flat against his stomach, knees spread wide, eyes fixed on Dean. The weight of Cas’s gaze made him shiver, and Dean’s hand tightened as he stroked himself a little faster and let himself moan.
The sun is settin’ like molasses in the sky
Dean jerked himself lazily, thumbing over his tip, spreading his knees wider and reaching down beneath his balls to rub over his asshole with a dry fingertip. Doing that didn’t qualify as hot, exactly, too strange a sensation that he wasn’t yet accustomed to, but it seemed to be the catalyst these days for what would start him leaking precum, a slow throb building around his asshole, nuts and cock. He let the clear droplet sit at his slit long enough for Cas to be able to notice it, swiping over it with his thumb and fucking up into his hand with another moan. Bit at his lip and squeezed his eyes closed as he worked at his asshole heavier, his mind swimming with how Cas was watching every touch and how he was getting off fingering his own asshole while someone watched him. This was unlikely to help demonstrate that Dean was capable of any sexual stamina at all. This was going to take minutes, if he was lucky. With his hand on his dick, two fingertips rubbing at his butthole and Cas naked and stroking himself across the room, Dean couldn’t find it in himself to care.
The boy could sing, knew how to move ev’rything
He picked up his lube, pumping some onto his fingertips, blushing for a moment over what he was sure was going to be an amateur application of lube to his ass compared with what Cas was used to. Maybe there was a correct technique he was supposed to know about. He’d always wondered if he’d been taking the turquoise plug with too much ease, his subconscious whispering around his ears that it shouldn’t be that effortless. Dean stroked himself faster as he reached down to rub lube over his clenching asshole, very aware that Cas’s breathing had turned uneven across the small floor.
That was all he needed. Dean was hot in the face as he reached for the plug to slick it up. He wasn’t putting on much of a show. But Cas wanted Dean’s unadorned honesty in how he did this, and this was what worked right from the first night he’d tried it. He spread his legs as wide as they would comfortably go, swallowed hard and willed his embarrassment away as he pushed the tip of the plug against his hole and started to slowly twist it in.
A new religion that’ll bring you to your knees
The song almost masked Cas’s heated moan as he watched Dean fuck the plug into himself millimeter by millimeter without pause. The sharp ache wasn’t pain, nowhere close, purely concentrated in the way Dean would get when he’d been hunching over an engine too long and took a second to stretch out his back in exactly the right way. He gasped a little and felt himself shuddering at the intensity of pressure, his cock leaking and jumping against his hand and his asshole clenching and squeezing on the plug as soon as it closed around its base. He rocked his hips once, twice, and threw his head back with a groan, heard himself say,
“I’m not gonna last. Not with you watching me do this.”
“Would you like my mouth now?”
“Yes! Fuck, Cas, please.”
It was a whine, all needy and wavering as Dean moved his hips and felt a live current shooting up his spine every time the plug hit right. The bed dipped as Cas sat down next to him and then a hand that was not his own was pressing against the base of the plug, pressing it harder into Dean and he cried out, his back arching off the bed as he jacked himself faster. His hand was brushed away and replaced with Cas’s mouth, immediately tight around him, soaking him, taking him all the way down as Cas shifted the plug deep inside Dean’s hole.
Dean looked down at him, once, instantly regretting it as he watched Cas’s gorgeous mouth stretch around him, the movement of Cas’s throat as he worked it against Dean’s cock. How one of Cas’s hands was reaching unseen to grip the plug and tilt it exactly right to hit Dean’s happy spot hard, Cas’s other arm moving as he jacked himself fast because Dean putting on a show had gotten him all riled up.
The way he moved, it was a sin, so sweet and true
“I’m close, Cas. I’m so close. S’good, so good.”
Always wanting more, he’d leave you longing for
Cas was moaning on Dean, none of that crazy tongue, just deep and wet, sounding like he was getting close, too. It was building too much too fast, Dean’s body coiling in on itself, his head and shoulders lifting from the bed as Cas shoved the plug deeper and sucked hard and hungry.
“I love you, I fuckin’ love you, I’m gonna shoot so hard, Cas, please, I’m coming,” Dean was whimpering, desperate, hands clawing at his sheet, “S’too much, I can’t . . .”
It pulverized him, every muscle clenching until he released with a howl, quaking, the pressure radiating outward in sensation so acute that it barely qualified as pleasure. A storm breaking over him, sweeping him away and out of control as his ass clamped down hard on the plug, his dick unloading down Cas’s throat as a garbled grunt and rush of wet heat against Dean’s ankle screamed out that Cas had come, too. That they were in this together and Dean was shaking, still coming, his asshole aching where it kept spasming around the plug long after he’d stopped shooting.
“Take it out, it’s too much, I can’t stop –”
His hands were shaking as he knocked Cas’s fingers away to tug the plug out, sending one last agonizing bolt of pleasure through his asshole and up through his cock, which twitched against Cas’s tongue one last time. He could barely breathe, lungs struggling to deal with the intensity of it. Cas crawled up next to him, torso sweaty and trembling as he pushed against Dean and covered Dean’s breathless mouth with his own. Panting harshly into Dean’s mouth as they gasped for air, the taste of Dean’s cum thick and bitter across Cas’s tongue as he pushed into Dean’s mouth for a hot, messy kiss before collapsing back onto the bed.
Dean lay there and tried to steady his breathing as his brain continued to flatline. The opening riff to ‘(Don’t Fear) the Reaper’ started up next to him on his nightstand, overriding the buzzing in Dean’s ears and he groaned,
“No, phone, why,”
Trying to grab it and pause it before the cowbell started. Nobody needed post-coital cowbell. His fingers were lubey and too unsteady, dropping the phone on his face and he cursed, stabbing wildly at his phone with a smeary fingertip before the Tao of Shuffle took pity on him with a rendition of ‘Free Fallin’.
“Finally, thank you.” Dean looked over at where Cas was lying on his back, staring wide-eyed at the ceiling. “I’m never going to be able to listen to that song again without popping wood.”
Cas stretched like a cat, voice all broken up.
“My heartfelt apologies.”
“You don’t get it. Its on rotation in every grocery store I’ve ever been to. People are gonna think I’m getting excited over breakfast cereal.”
Cas turned his head to smile at Dean, eyes lit up all cum-happy, so beautiful that looking at him had to be eroding Dean’s retinas.
“I wouldn’t kick Cap’n Crunch out of bed.”
Dean laughed and his asshole clenched again, turning it into more of a hiccup.
“No? Ooh. Fuck.”
“It’s the uniform. And he has an impressive mustache.”
“Hey,” Dean wiped off his hand as best he could on the sheet, “Ugh, lube. Can I take our picture? I won’t if you don’t want me to.”
Cas’s smile went all soft and he turned onto his side towards Dean, tracing his fingers along Dean’s collarbone.
“Do you want to preserve the moment?”
“I do. I really do. I wish I thought about it yesterday. Is that weird? Plus, so long as it’s pg-rated, I owe my I.T. department some positive feedback before I tear myself away from all your stuff long enough to go kick their asses. Smile and say ‘happy turkey day’!”
Dean’s heart faltered as he looked at the photo. Christmas was coming up and he immediately knew he’d get Charlie to print it out small on the correct paper so he could get it framed for Cas’s nightstand. They looked blissful, sweaty, fucked out. Heads tilted together and touching. Dean’s upper chest pink and blotchy, Cas’s throat gleaming with perspiration. They looked so happy. So happy. They looked like a couple.
happy thanksgiving mines been v thankful sofa
He’d meant ‘so far’ but accurate typo was pretty fuckin’ accurate.
“I love it. I love you.” Cas nuzzled into Dean’s ear. “Please text me a copy.”
“Sure. I’ll do it in a sec, it’s sending to Charlie.”
A couple of minutes later, as Dean realized he had cold spunk all over his ankle, and tried not to get grossed out as a rapacious-looking Cas cleaned it up orally or kick Cas in the face every time it tickled, their shitty walls did absolutely nothing to to block out the sudden deranged shrieking coming at them from across the hall.
Dean wasn’t feeling festive. A driving rain flattened Dean’s hair to his scalp as he jogged down the street awning by awning, cold enough for Dean to trust the forecast of snow over the next few days. The other shoppers out were hiding from the weather under huge scarves and colorful knitted hats, all of them clutching stacks of shopping bags with gloved hands. Dean blew on his fingers and flipped the collar of his soaked jacket up, sending a shot of frigid water down his neck, cursing and shaking off the shivers before he tucked his head down and dodged cars across the street.
The door to the florist store closed behind Dean with a jingle and he was immediately hit with the scent of greenery, resinous pine and fir. There was Christmas music playing, less Mariah or the Ronnettes and more like something Cas’s dad would be into, ‘Oh, the holly she bears a berry as green as the grass . . .’ There were stacks of seasonal foliage covering most of the store in wreaths and garlands with twinkle lights in them. Branches of glossy holly and tangles of mistletoe, which made Dean wonder if maybe he should buy some for the apartment. He’d pin it over the kitchen door where Cas stood to watch him cook.
“Season’s greetings. Can I help?”
It was the same guy who’d sold Dean Spike the cactus. The first and only stranger he’d come out to, sort of. Late fifties, bearded, stocky and gray-haired, wiping his hands on a cloth before tucking it into the pocket of his purple apron. Dean was looking around, but everything had moved since he’d been there a few weeks before.
“Succulents? Or is it all Christmassy shi– stuff now?”
“I remember you.” The guy let his eyes wander over Dean like he hadn’t tried hard to forget. “Did he like the cereus Peruvianus?”
“Yeah.” Dean felt himself blush as he looked down at his boots and smiled. “Eventually. I thought I might get it a few,” siblings. “Smaller buddies. Something that would be okay in an office.”
“Oh, I see. He liked the cactus so much that you’re already moving your influence into his professional space.” Florist Guy made an approving nod. “A power move. Although I’m sure you’ve given him plenty of other reasons to think about you during his working day.”
Dean’s blush got fiercer.
“Come take a look.”
They walked towards the back of the store to a small display of gift bowls and bows with cute little cacti planted in groups. There was one bowl that matched Spike’s, filled with tiny pebbles and three small spiky plants in varying shades of green and gray.
“That one. I think he’d like that.”
“Great choice for office lighting so long as there’s a window close by. I have to say, you seem smitten already. Considering my small role in your success, I feel something of a fairy godmother.” The florist lifted the bowl out of the display and started off towards the cash register. “Is he hot? You got a photo?”
Dean flicked right past the post-coital selfie. Not for public consumption. He found the James Bond one, his expression turning proud as he showed it to the florist.
Whose indulgent smile dropped away as he turned furious eyes on Dean.
Dean backed up a step.
“You’re the reason that Jimmy’s off the market? Well, on behalf of my frustrated homosexual brethren and several of the straight-identifying ones, fuck you very much.”
It was not what Dean had come to expect from customer service.
Florist Guy indicated Dean’s phone.
“That’s Big Jimmy.”
Dean nodded some. So confused.
“He deleted his profile weeks back. That was you and cereus Peruvianus? An apt gift, by the way, if memory serves.”
“Oh.” Comprehension dawned. “You, uh, dated Jimmy?” Of course he had. Mid-hundreds of guys had.
“Not sure I’d call it dating. He’s a sweet guy, though.”
“Yeah. He is.”
Dean stuck his hands in his pockets. Watched the guy ringing up his purchase. Uncertain what if anything he should say. Except a big fat ‘Told you so’ if the subject ever came up with Cas.
“Listen. I’m sorry, that was unprofessional of me. And rude.” Florist Guy gave Dean a sympathetic smile, like he was only just getting how this could be super awkward for Dean. And how it was going to continue to be awkward anywhere local with Grindr coverage. “I’ll throw in a free gift bag if you promise not to mention the ‘fuck you very much’ in a Yelp review.”
Dean didn’t care. Wow. It was unexpected, but he didn’t. He looked Florist Guy in the eye and didn’t give a flying rat’s ass that he’d slept with Cas. He internally poked at any potentially sensitive emotions or hurt feelings, but there were none, no matter how hard he tried to feel bad about it. So Cas banged this guy and probably gave him the night of his life. Dean was now, he hoped, going to be the sole beneficiary of Cas’s planet-sized libido, so the least he could do was be gracious.
“He’s amazing. I guess you already know that, but there’s way more to him than his,” Dean winked, “Footlong.”
The guy laughed.
“I’m sure there is. Screw giving you freebies, I should charge double for this. A penalty fee.”
“More like a penile-ty fee, am I right?”
Florist Guy gave him a thoughtful look before opening his eyes wide.
“Oh, my God, plot twist. You’re the roommate with bad jokes.” Which was around where Dean started to take offense. “You are. Fuck me sideways, we all thought you were straight.”
“Sorry I’m late. I had to pick something up after work.”
Cas was leaning over the dishwasher unloading it, his work pants pulling tight across his ass. Dean stood in the kitchen doorway and admired the hell out of it ‘til Cas stood up and came over for a kiss. Several kisses.
“We have twenty-two minutes until our pizza delivery arrives.” Cas bit at Dean’s bottom lip. “May I suggest we retire to my bedroom to make full use of them?”
“I can’t believe I’m gonna say this, but,” Dean kissed his way down underneath Cas’s jaw where he always smelled so good. “Can it wait a couple minutes? I got a gift for you.”
“Yes, but if you keep distracting me, you’re not going to get it.”
Cas immediately stepped back, hands raised like someone was pointing a gun at him.
“No arguments here. I want my present.”
Dean held out the gift bag by its purple straps.
“Christmas is in three weeks.”
“I know, but it’s not something I want you to haul out to your folks place and it needs looking after, so you should probably open it now.”
Cas looked like he had something else to say, but he pressed his lips together.
“If you insist. Thank you.”
He opened the bag, looked inside. Shoulders hunching in emotional response.
“Oh. Dean.” He lifted the bowl out with careful fingers. “Hello, new friends.”
“I thought they’d be company for Spike while you’re stuck in all your boring meetings.”
Cas placed the bowl on the kitchen counter and touched each plant with a fingertip.
“They’re so intricately constructed. What a thoughtful gift.”
“There’s a care pamphlet in the bag. I got us something else, too.” Dean lifted the bunch of mistletoe above his head and leered suggestively. “Tis the season.”
“It would appear so.”
The first press of Cas’s body against his would forever be extraordinary, as slim fingers caressed Dean’s jaw and drew him into a long, slow, thorough kiss. How Cas would move his hands to cup Dean’s neck, thumbs stroking over his throat, the touch and taste of his tongue, his chest solid against Dean’s. The way he’d moan approvingly into Dean’s mouth as Dean gripped his belt to pull them closer. There wasn’t a single moment in two weeks when Cas’s touch seemed unnatural or anything other than exactly what Dean needed. None of it was complicated. Dean was falling into it too easy, forgetting to wait for the other shoe to drop.
“We’ve probably got time before the pizza arrives.” Dean rolled his hips against Cas’s. “Wanna fool around?”
“Yes. But . . .”
“Dammit, why is there always a but?” Over a thousand miles away, Sam was probably laughing without knowing why.
“While we’re on the subject of Christmas, I have something to ask you.”
“Ugh.” Dean sighed, leaned his forehead against Cas’s in defeat. “Fine.”
Cas took Dean’s hand and laced their fingers, tugging him towards the living area.
“Come and sit.”
“This is a couch discussion? Sounds serious.”
They hadn’t talked about anything, yet. Cas tried on a few occasions, but Dean was finding out that Cas was seriously distractable. All he’d have to do was to reach down and cover his crotch with his hand, rub his thumb over his fly, perhaps bite his lip. Cupping or touching himself, even fully clothed, even immediately after climax, could’ve distracted Cas from full nuclear detonation directly outside. It was Dean’s new super power.
They sat together on the couch and Cas leaned against Dean, rubbing his thumb against Dean’s palm.
“I want to invite you to come to Christmas with my family.”
Dean’s heart sank.
“Oh. Uh, yeah, no, I’m not sure . . .”
“My mother’s proving intractable when it comes to the concept of my spending Christmas here.” Cas squeezed his hand. “But I hate the thought of leaving you alone. Even if I’m only gone a few days.”
There were few things Dean hated more than being pitied.
“I’ll be fine. I think we can survive a couple days without each other.”
“But . . .” Cas pressed closer to brush his lips over Dean’s cheekbone. “I’d like to introduce you to them. As my partner. If you’re amenable to that.”
Why couldn’t they have just fooled around? Dean wasn’t sure how to be diplomatic about this, and didn’t want it to turn into their first fight. They’d squabbled before as roommates, stupid little things like when Cas vacuumed up Dean’s stray sock from under his chair and broke the vacuum cleaner. Their heated discussion at the end of Dean’s birthday had been the closest they’d gotten so far, and that had sucked. The best way to solve arguments, the Winchester way, was to avoid them entirely. Or shout, wave your hands around, punch a wall or kick over a chair and leave, but he wasn’t quite there yet.
“I don’t do Christmas. Or I didn’t. I tried when Sam was a little kid but, ‘soon as he turned into a moody teen, we gave up on it, at least ‘til he got together with Jess. Jess loves Christmas. It’s fun, but I won’t miss it.” He pushed up against Cas, sliding a hand into Cas’s hair, starting to nibble around his mouth. Not to distract him or anything. As if. “I’ve got three days off work, so we’d have plenty of naked time if you stayed here.”
“I intend to inform my family of our change in relationship, which would be far simpler with you there. And I want you there.” Cas returned Dean’s attentions with a small, closed mouth kiss. “I’ll miss you if you’re not there. I don’t like the idea of you alone in an undecorated apartment, acting as if the holidays don’t exist. You asked me to tell you when something was important to me. This is important, Dean.”
“Yeah, okay, but I said that before we were . . . whatever we’re doing.”
Cas looked irritated.
“Whatever we’re doing? Are we not in a relationship? Because, if not, I’ve misunderstood the last two weeks to an overwhelming degree, and the need for a discussion about where we both expect and hope this to lead is well overdue.”
Dean was starting to feel twitchy. He moved away from Cas by an inch.
“It’s not . . . yeah, we’re together, you know that. This isn’t like your family gala. We weren’t together then. This is Christmas and meeting your family for the first time. Who are going to look down their collective noses at me and know I’m not nearly classy enough for you.”
“They’re not snobs. I think they’ll like you very much. Gabe certainly does.”
“Plus it’s in three weeks, you can’t spring a house guest on your mom three weeks before Christmas without it being a pain in the ass, so she’ll hate my guts already before we even get there. I gotta say thank you, but no freakin’ way.”
“She has a housekeeper and the meal is catered. Including you at short notice would not be an onerous task.”
“I can’t.” Cas leaned his forehead against Dean’s shoulder with a groan of frustration. After a second, Dean tilted his head to rest against Cas’s. “I’m sorry. But it’s just another day.”
“It means something to me.”
“It’s totally arbitrary. It’s not like most people actually believe it’s Jesus’s calendar birthday. Like, party hats and piñata time in Nazareth.”
Cas looked genuinely sad as he pulled back and thumbed at Dean’s chin. Dean felt like an asshole.
“Then I truly can’t persuade you.”
Fuck. Dean hated talking and words and honesty, but had to admit they’d worked in his favor over the last few months. He took Cas’s hand between both of his, sandwiching it between his. Putting on his big girl panties. Nutting up.
“I’m not fixed by this. I’m happier, you have to see how much happier I am since we –” He gritted his teeth, fighting his way through it. “Now you’re my, y’know. Boyfriend.”
It felt like the universe twisted as he said it, and Cas’s huge answering smile almost knocked Dean off his thread, but he kept going. Had to get it all out.
“But I’m not good with a crowd of people I don’t know. You saw how I was with the invite to Jess’s family’s place for Christmas, and this is worse. At least I’d met all of them before. It’s not that I don’t love you or want to be with you because, shit, Cas, I’m not that crazy. And I’m not saying I’m never going to meet your family, but I can’t deal with the whole bunch of them while trapped in the middle of nowhere in a house I’m not familiar with, or castle, whatever the Milton family mansion’s like. I can’t. I’m not fixed, I can’t deal . . .”
“Hey, it’s okay. It’s okay,” Cas wound his arms around Dean and pulled Dean into a hug, sitting up to guide Dean to lay against him. “I understand. Thank you for explaining.”
Dean stiffened for a moment at being snuggled on like an upset kid, before realizing fast how good it felt, allowing himself to thaw into Cas’s embrace, slumping against him. Closing his eyes and nestling into Cas’s shirt and the gorgeous chest underneath it. Cas’s arms a solid weight around his shoulders. It was almost as if there was a bubble around them and that nothing could touch them. He felt protected. He’d felt comforted in the arms of his exes before, in their softness and boobs and delicate strength, how Lis tucked her head under his chin and sighed against his chest like she needed him, her shiny hair smelling of coconut. How he’d felt a thousand feet tall, like Superman. He hadn’t figured on how incredible it’d feel to be the one doing the head tucking and sighing.
“Thanks for listening.”
Cas nuzzled into Dean’s hair, laying occasional kisses there.
“I’m going to miss you.”
“You could try being a self-actualized adult and tell your mom that it’s up to you where you spend your holidays.”
“When you finally meet my mother, you will understand that it’s not that simple. Even Gabe toes the line. It’s why she’s so effective at separating their wealthier friends from charitable donations. You could say nothing but the word ‘no’ to her for an hour, then come out of her office believing you’d happily acquiesced all along.”
Their buzzer sounded. Dean moved out of Cas’s arms.
“No offense, but your mom sounds terrifying.”
“None taken. She is.”
“I’ll run down while you get drinks. I’d kill for a beer.”
“Of course, Dean.” Cas was holding onto Dean’s wrist as they stood, looking down at it. “We have so much more to talk about. It is a constant concern to me.”
“I know.” Dean nudged against Cas’s side before tugging his wrist out of Cas’s fingers, heading off towards their front door. Leaving Cas by the couch, staring at Dean from under his lashes. “We’ll get there. We’ve got plenty of time, right?”
“Okay.” He hiked a thumb at their door. “Pizza?”
Cas nodded once. He didn’t look mad, but he definitely didn’t look happy.
Sidestepping serious conversation turned out to be easier than Dean expected. Later that evening, sated and sleepy after Dean climbed on top of Cas and humped against his cock ‘til they came within seconds of each other, they’d made out so long Dean was pretty sure they’d fallen asleep attached at the mouth.
Cas got home late from work the next day. They didn’t make it to a bedroom after Dean couldn’t stop himself racing to meet Cas at the door to grab him and kiss him. They fucked up against each other in the hallway, pants around their ankles. Kissing like they were furious with each other, clashing teeth, biting and grunting into each other’s mouths. Cas was rougher with Dean than he’d experienced with anyone else, grasping his arms tight and holding him against the wall, thrusting against him hard and fast, fingers in Dean’s hair controlling the angle of their kiss. Biting marks into Dean’s neck and using his weight and strength to pin Dean there and grind. It was awesome. Dean’s climax had been so explosive he’d made a mess of Cas’s ugly-ass coat. They didn’t talk. Except for Cas being in a temporary piss over having to get the trench dry-cleaned.
One look at Dean’s neck above the collar of his overalls the neck morning confirmed to the assholes he worked with that Dean was getting some. Apparently with a vampire. A super hungry one that they assumed was a woman. Dean didn’t correct them, then felt shitty about it all day.
Funny how a little thing like dodging the Big Relationship Discussion could throw a monkey wrench directly into the workings of Dean’s psyche. Or, not funny, not at all. After the most successfully sexual three weeks of his life, the first time Dean lost his hard was while rocking up into Cas’s lubed hand with Cas’s dick heavy and hard alongside his. He’d been so closing to coming, feeling the build starting as Cas told him how beautiful he was. How wanted, how desired, how Cas had to start jacking off in his private work bathroom because thoughts of Dean would be driving him to distraction by mid-morning. Dean was gasping into Cas’s neck and well on his way to shooting in under thirty seconds, when the familiar sense of all-over tightness swamped him and started to drain away all sensation except oversensitivity.
“No. No, no, no, no, fuck. Fuck! Fuck and shit and motherfucking assholes!”
Dean shoved his way out from under Cas, marched through to his bathroom with his face burning, slamming the door closed behind him. He looked at himself in the mirror, dismay writ large all over his face, then looked down at where his dick was flaccid. Wet with lube and looking all betrayed and vulnerable. Pain pierced through his chest, heavy disappointment and an ugly shame that he could see marked all over him.
Hot tears sprang to his eyes and Dean scrubbed them away angrily as they overspilled. Fresh ones instantly took their place. There was a soft knock at the door and Dean scowled at the mirror, trying to wipe up his cheeks with his fingers.
“Dean? May I come in?”
Dean leaned over to pull the door open.
“Whatever you’ve got to say, I don’t want to hear it. Any of it.”
He immediately expected the usual platitudes. ‘It happens all the time. It happens to every guy. It’s not a big deal.’
Instead Cas stepped up behind him. Wrapped his arms around Dean from behind, one hand splayed across Dean’s heart, another low on his side as Dean warily watched him in the mirror. Cas pressed a kiss against the base of Dean’s neck. Laid his head down on Dean’s shoulders and simply held him, dick hard and hot at Dean’s hip. He didn’t say a word, just held on.
They stood there long enough for Dean to watch the reflection of Cas’s wood eventually soften and for Dean’s tears to dry up, all his fury slowly mutating into self-indulgent hopelessness. When Cas eventually led a mute and numbly-docile Dean back to the bed, it wasn’t to try again, which he’d been dreading. Instead, Cas big-spooned up behind Dean and continued holding him, cock soft as velvet against Dean’s asscheek, soft kisses at Dean’s nape, hand soothing down Dean’s arm and back up in an unmistakably non-sexual touch that seemed to drain the last of Dean’s self-recrimination out into nothingness. Dean drifted for he didn’t know how long before he felt ready to turn over and face Cas.
“There’s no need to be.”
“I could help you out, if you wanted.”
“Lying here and holding you is perfectly satisfying. That you trusted me enough to let me in the door to try to comfort you was rewarding beyond any physical pleasure we might’ve shared.”
“To you, maybe.”
“You’re not enjoying our embrace?”
The man had a point. It was a damn good snuggle now Dean was feeling slightly less pitiful. Their legs were tangled together, Dean’s face mushed against Cas’s chest, his head supported by Cas’s arm with Cas’s hand drawing random shapes over his back. Cas’s scent surrounded him, all his warmth, so much beautiful bare skin. His thick cock soft and warm at Dean’s belly, Dean’s junk pressed up against Cas’s solid thigh. The corners of Dean’s mouth ticked upwards in an unwilling smile.
He knew Cas was waiting for Dean to take the lead in whatever happened next. Every caress and gentle kiss was a lesson in patience, none of the hurricane Cas predicted would sweep them both up and away. Every day he’d been waiting for Dean to simply make himself available for a little honest communication, and every day Dean let him down. Three weeks of it.
“The reason I’m avoiding our big talk is because I don’t want anything to change.”
The hand kept smoothing over his back, fingertips tracing mystery doodles. Dean had understood it whenever his therapists lapsed into silence in an effort to encourage him to speak up. He’d gotten all stubborn each time and waited them out, aware he was racking up huge bills sitting there mulishly refusing to budge an inch as the clock ticked his money away. He was in the red for thousands, and that didn’t worry him halfway as much as the idea of what his silence could be doing to Cas.
“What if you were right? In your note. What if you’re too much? Because that makes me the idiot who forced you into something that’s not right for either of us, and it feels right with you. It does. More than I figured it would and, trust me, I thought about it a lot.”
Cas leaned down to kiss Dean’s forehead.
“It’s the same for me. You didn’t force me into anything.”
“Feels like I did.”
“Do I strike you as an unwilling participant in our time together?” Cas rubbed Dean’s ankle with his toes. “Am I your prisoner of love, Dean? I’ve got some handcuffs somewhere.”
“I don’t doubt it, you degenerate.”
He flicked one of Cas’s flat brown nipples with his finger and thumb, grinning as Cas rubbed at it in outrage before wrestling Dean onto his back.
“I will have my revenge, Winchester.”
“Not if it’s going to include handcuffs, you won’t. Lisa once tried to blindfold me on Valentines. I accidentally elbowed her in the tit trying to get away.”
Dean spread his knees enough for Cas to lie between them. It’d made up most of their sexual repertoire so far and it was hot as fuck each time, the slim thread of awareness that he wasn’t in the most traditionally masculine of positions actually helping him get off faster. The first time they’d been together at all Dean lay down and spread his legs for Cas without thinking, and it’d been better than anything in his imagination. This was the first time it wasn’t sexual, though, and Dean couldn’t remember a time he’d felt more defenseless. Cas was using both hands to brush back Dean’s hair, cup his face and gaze deep into his eyes.
“If my nightstand drawer distresses you, I will happily burn the entirety of it. I will never desire or push for anything that you cannot freely give me, Dean. I have played out every single sexual fantasy I could think of over the past two years, and there’s not a single one that compares with waking next to you and holding you in my arms.”
The hell was he supposed to say to that? He settled for tweaking the tip of Cas’s nose.
“You’re being all romantic, but I’m worried there’s one thing that’s an issue, and I don’t know how to say it.”
“Are you afraid I’ll be angry? Or hurt?”
“No. Disappointed, I guess.”
“Then disappoint me.” Cas dropped a small kiss onto Dean’s lips, then another. “I can take it.”
“Okay. So. I’d entertained the idea of you fucking me one day,” Cas’s cock jumped against Dean’s, making it all the more difficult to continue as Cas growled and buried his face in Dean’s neck. “There’s no freakin’ way. Seriously, I know you’re super into that and the idea of it gets me going, but, I mean, you’d rip me in half. I’ll never not be terrified of having that thing near my ass.”
Dean didn’t know how Cas would react. A small part of him was scared Cas would simply push himself up from the bed, grab his clothes and walk out of Dean’s life. If a girlfriend had ever told Dean he wasn’t permitted vaginal access for his favorite body part, he’d have hit the road and been laying rubber in five seconds flat. Sure, Cas was a way better person than Dean, but everyone had their limit.
“Then we don’t have intercourse. Or perhaps you’d consider making love to me. Either way, you can’t possibly believe I’ve been left sexually unfulfilled the past few weeks.”
The wheels on Dean’s train of thought screeched to a halt.
“I can fuck you?”
Cas grinned, his cock growing warmer and thicker against Dean’s.
“Of course, Dean. I was hoping you would. It is not something I need, but it is certainly something I want.”
The idea of it, Cas’s beautiful ass under his hands, his hole tight and flexing around Dean, that big strong body underneath his, Cas’s wrecked porno growl crying out as Dean slammed into him . . . it was a thrilling thought but Dean’s dick gave a pathetic twitch against Cas’s and reminded Dean in no uncertain terms that nobody was fucking anybody or anything for at least another hour.
“I figured you weren’t into that. I don’t think I, uh, heard you – uh. Being into that.”
“I’m not, outside a relationship. Enjoyable penetration requires a certain amount of trust on my part. I trust you.” Cas smiled down into his eyes. “But I can promise you that the lack of one single type of intimacy will in no way detract from everything we already have, and everything we’ll build together.”
Fingers in his hair, blue eyes looking deep into his soul. Dean rubbed his face into Cas’s palm, held onto Cas’s wrists to keep him there. Happy to simply watch Cas’s face as he continued.
“I was too much for Balthazar because he found my efforts to care for him irritating. I wasn’t permitted to fuss, or coddle, or express concern. It was difficult to live that long with someone who not only failed to value a key part of my personality, but who actively resented it.”
“I hate him, by the way.” Dean chuckled as Cas looked sour and shook his head, “I know, it’s not all his fault, but I will be frosty as fuck if we ever meet.” He rubbed his thumb over Cas’s wrist. “I like how you look after me. I want to look after you, too. Isn’t that how it’s supposed to be?”
“Yes! Finally. Blessed validation.” Cas gave Dean a brief, fierce kiss. “That is exactly how it’s supposed to be.”
“Hell, Cas, I fell for you in part because of how you cared about me. You hit me right in my warm, squishy parts. Maybe you won’t be too much.”
“And perhaps I will, I don’t know. It’s very possible that the traits you value in me now will be those to drive you to future distraction. But look at us – We spent so long running from each other because we were too afraid of what opening up would bring. It’s not just you, the fault is primarily mine,” As Dean opened his mouth to disagree and apologize again, “I ran from you for eleven days, Dean. But I believe we’re learning and I trust in our capacity to continue to learn. If I’m too much, you will talk to me about it. If I begin to find myself frustrated by anything I feel our sex life lacks, although I cannot for the life of me imagine what,”
“Complex machinery? Local livestock? A monks robe? Although I’m not shaving a patch in my hair, not even for you –”
Cas huffed in annoyance and slapped a hand over Dean’s mouth.
“Then I will talk to you about it. If one or the other of us feels emotionally unprepared or unable to hold a conversation . . . I don’t know. I don’t. I’m certain we’ll face challenges, but there’s not a single challenge we couldn’t conquer, so long as we faced it together.”
It’d taken three weeks for Dean to start thinking in terms of when they’d get married, rather than if. Whenever it happened, Cas was going to crap all over Dean’s lame attempt at writing vows. He drew Cas down into a kiss, something inside his chest settling into place as smoothly as a key turning in an oiled lock. Losing his hard sucked, it always did and always would, but it was over with now and Cas dealt with it way better than Dean ever managed to. Then he’d gone and said all this wonderful stuff that made Dean ache in all the best ways.
“Hey. We should come up with some sort of signal.”
Cas’s chin was propped on Dean’s chest, his stubble prickly and pressing in painfully, but he looked so ruffled and relaxed Dean didn’t have the heart to make him move.
“Hm? A signal for what?”
“Say you want to discuss something deep and meaningful, but I feel five seconds from grabbing Baby’s keys and high-tailing it out of here. Or I miraculously manage to be the less fucked-up out of both of us and your emotions chip shorts out. We should figure out something to say to clue the other person in that we’re not bailing, we’re just scared.”
“Bear with me on this, because I realize it’s an audacious suggestion,” The sarcasm was ramping up in Cas’s voice to impressive levels. “But we could try saying ‘I’m not bailing. I’m just scared’.”
“I was thinking of like a sign we could hold up, a picture of Dr. Phil in a red circle with a line through it.”
“Perhaps some type of sign language. How about the distress signal from the movie with puppets you made me watch?”
Dean shoved at Cas’s leg with his foot.
“Now you’re gettin’ it. Or like in Monty Python, we could just start shouting ‘Run away, run away’ . . .” The wrinkle was back between Cas’s brows, and Dean gaped at him. “Are you freakin’ kidding me? You haven’t seen Holy Grail?”
“No. They were British? I seem to recall that my father liked them but my mother did not, which would be why I’m unfamiliar with their work.”
“Well, thank God we didn’t tire ourselves out doing something stupid like having sex, jeesh.”
Dean crawled across Cas, his junk dragging over a laughing Cas’s torso and Cas’s hand happily exploring Dean’s ass as he retrieved his laptop from the floor next to his nightstand. “Tell me you’ve seen Life of Brian.”
“I have not.”
“Oh, bud, you’ve been missing out. The fuck did they teach you in that expensive school of yours? Latin? How the fuck is Latin useful? Holy shit, they even have a Latin joke in Brian. We’re watching that first.” Dean settled into the bed next to Cas, firing up his laptop and squeezing Cas’s thigh. “And they have monks in Grail! I don’t think they’re sexy monks, but still. The gaps in your cultural knowledge are unforgivable. You’re so lucky to have me to attend to your education.”
Cas kissed Dean’s shoulder. Leaned his head against it.
“I know. I am.”
Dean’s dick recovered enough to wake them both before dawn when Dean started sleep-humping Cas’s thigh. They’d jacked off together in the dark, Dean eventually using both hands on Cas because one seemed seriously inadequate. He held his fingers clasped in a tight, lubed ring, Cas fucking into it, his increasingly hungry kisses sending Dean’s senses rolling. That Cas was fucking into Dean’s anything was not so much pushing Dean towards climax so much as enthusiastically drop-kicking him directly into it. His limbs convulsed so hard when he came over Cas’s fingers that his hands tightened reflexively, forcing a shocked ‘Oof!’ out of Cas along with a gush of wet warmth over his stomach.
“Does it bother you that I don’t do any of the gay stuff?”
The puff of breath Cas let out managed to sound both annoyed and amused as he tossed his tiny, spunk-daubed hand towel off towards the end of the bed.
“From personal experience, I’d say everything we’ve done together so far has been,” It was just about light enough for Dean to see the quotes coming, “‘Pretty fucking gay’.”
Dean shoved at his shoulder with his.
“You know what I mean. Potty mouth.”
“You can’t fuck me. The idea of fucking you gets me way too overexcited and it’s going to take me a while to work up to risking it, because I don’t want to set myself up to fail and put a whole chain of events into motion that ends with me being unable to get off. Which is absolutely a possibility. And the idea of sucking your dick is something I want to explore, but it’s coming up a month and I dunno, I’m too intimidated. I suppose it must be super tame compared with what you’re used to.”
“I’m ejaculating four times a day, Dean. Any more than that and everything’s likely to shrivel up and drop off through chronic overuse.”
“Why would you even say that, thanks for my future nightmares, and I guess I’m asking if you think you’ll ever need a return to the screamers. I need to know if that’s a possibility. If so, there’s a florist in town who’s first in line.”
Cas rolled over onto his shoulder to face Dean in the darkness, his fingertips finding Dean’s chest.
“If there is one solitary fact that I need you to accept, it is that you are enough. You will always be more than enough. As long as we are together, for as long as you want to be with me, I will never have sex with another man, whether or not you’re willing or able to be sexually intimate with me. Sex is not a condition of our continuing relationship. I will not cheat on you. I will never cheat on you. I will never need anyone other than you, because that is how I love. If you require me to inform you of this on a regular basis until you’re able to accept it, I am happy to do so.”
“Yeah.” Dean rubbed his nose into Cas’s neck. “Yeah. Me, too.”
Cas stroked over Dean’s chest. Hummed deep and all pleased as Dean sucked and nipped at his ear.
“You mentioned a florist? Should I ask?”
“The guy who sold me Spike and his sisters. He’s in his fifties, I think. Five ten? Beard, a little chunky? Think hot younger Santa.” The blank silence coming from Cas confirmed Dean hadn’t narrowed it down nearly enough. “He’d slept with Jimmy. I showed him your picture on my phone.”
“Ah.” Amazing how Cas could fit a world of worry into one vowel sound.
“I didn’t care, Cas. It was insane. I didn’t give a single fuck.”
“I thought perhaps you would. I admit I’ve worried about how you’d react when it inevitably happened.”
“I know, right? But I didn’t freak out, it blew my damn mind with how totally okay I was. It makes sense, though.” He poked Cas gently in the ribs. “You’re mine, now. They can all suck it.”
Cas sighed all despondent.
“Not any more.”
Ducked laughing out of the way as Dean bared his teeth and pounced.
It was snowing out and too cold for a walk. Christmas Eve Eve already, a month since they’d first kissed and Cas was heading out to his parents’ place the next morning. Dean’s gift of the framed selfie was already wrapped and sneakily tucked into Cas’s bag along with a love letter. He’d wanted to stay home with Dean that evening, for them to go to bed and stay there until the last possible minute, but Dean insisted they went out. It’d been dark for a few hours, not too many people out on the sidewalks and Dean reached out to take Cas’s gloved hand in his, grinning when Cas blinked down then back up at Dean with a little astonishment.
“Yes. Am I permitted to know where we’re heading?”
“It’s just a diner. My version of Manna. It’s a few minutes’ further. While we’re walking,” Dean swayed into Cas’s side. “You mind if I asked if you want a family?”
“Oh. I’m not sure.”
“No? Seems like something anyone in our age group would’ve thought about at some point. You don’t have to answer, just thought I’d ask.”
“It’s not that I mind the question. It wasn’t relevant to my life for a long time. When Balthazar and I were leaving college, it wouldn’t have occurred to anyone that we might think of starting a family. It was assumed, by us as well, that we’d live a happily child-free existence, traveling and, I don’t know. Owning boats. Going on adventures.”
“You’re an accountant.”
“I know. Being openly gay was far more unusual back then, at least by the standards of my family’s social circle. We were something of a sideshow. Nobody seemed to have any idea how excruciatingly dull we were at home. But by the time the relationship was coming to an end, it was the first thing people asked about, when did we plan on having kids and how friends of theirs used a wonderful surrogacy or adoption service, would we like the number . . . Everything’s changed so much.”
“Lis has a kid. Ben. I was going to be a stepdad.”
Cas stared at Dean for a long minute as they walked along hand in hand.
“I had no idea. You must miss him.”
“I imagine you’d be an excellent father.”
“I dunno, I really screwed things up. I think I’d like a kid, though. One day. Not for a million years.”
“We should probably find a home with more than three rooms in it before we consider reproducing.”
“Yeah? You want to start looking? Like, together, for a place?”
“Yes.” Cas smiled, rubbing his thumb over Dean’s. “I do. Perhaps in the spring.”
The snow was coming down thicker, coating Cas’s hair, the tip of his nose glowing pink with cold in the light of the store windows they were passing. A taller guy in a fleece beanie bumped into Dean’s arm hard, grunting ‘Fuckin’ fags’ at them as he passed. Cas tried to pull Dean along with him.
But Dean couldn’t stop the shout bubbling up in his throat as he turned.
“Hey, jackass! What did you call us?”
Cas tugged at his hand harder as the taller guy turned back towards them, already looking pissed. He wasn’t that tall. Dean figured he could take him if he needed to. Tall didn’t scare him. It was just a bigger target. Plus, Sam was way taller and about as threatening as a Labrador puppy.
“Dean. Don’t allow the large bigot to spoil our evening.” Cas was murmuring into Dean’s ear, gripping his hand. “Please.”
The thing was, Dean was figuring out that he loved in a bigger, way more stupid way than Cas. Cas worried that he’d be too much for Dean, but Dean wanted it all, wanted more. They’d been building to this, their lives so twisted up in each other’s that Dean was screwed if he fucked things up. Heartbreak involving Cas wasn’t something Dean would ever recover from. Like he couldn’t live in a world that didn’t have Cas in it, somewhere there close by. Maybe he was the crazy one. It felt like it.
There was a ring box burning a hole in his inside pocket. Righteously breaking some asshole’s nose wouldn’t be the greatest start to the biggest evening of his life so far. He hadn’t given Lis anything like the proposal she deserved. It’d taken him this long to figure out how great it was she got another chance at something better. Everything he’d been through was worth it now he got to be with Cas. Like they’d fought their way to each other.
Cas was leaving tomorrow without him, and Dean wanted to send him away with concrete proof that he was right there with him, caught up hand in hand in a hurricane with no idea where they were likely to land. It wasn’t as if he was ready to get married right away. Another year or two would give them a chance to find a home. Dean had no clue if he’d ever be comfortable with Cas’s family, but it’d give them the chance to get acquainted one by one over coffee or lunch so it wouldn’t be some total stranger dragging their kid to the altar with him.
He’d found himself checking out the ring box in his bathroom after he’d bought on a whim, seeing it in a store window while trying to find something shiny for Sam and Jess. He’d locked the door behind him so Cas couldn’t walk in. Dean laughed at himself in the mirror out of disbelief, aware he had to be out of his mind. It should have felt insane to even think about it. It didn’t. They’d been together a month now, but it’d taken so much longer. It’d been over half a year, building since the second he’d opened the door to some random guy in an old trench coming over to check out his spare room.
Fleece-Beanie seemed to size him and Cas up as he stepped closer.
“Well? You got something to say?”
Dean narrowed his eyes and Cas cursed beside Dean, starting to pull his hand away. Dean grabbed onto it, held onto Cas tighter. Took a breath and forced himself to do the right thing, because he was gonna propose later and this homophobic fucknut wasn’t going to screw it up for him. Not when Dean’s entire life was on the line. “Merry Christmas! Peace and goodwill to all men. Even you, good sir. Enjoy your evening.”
He whipped back around and started dragging Cas up the street.
“Is he following?”
Cas looked back over his shoulder.
“No. He called you a very bad word and is flipping you the . . . ?”
“The bird, Cas, he’s flipping me the bird.”
“Yes. What was that back there? Honestly, Dean.”
Dean rubbed the snow out of his hair. He’d known he’d fuck this up.
“I know, I’m sorry. I’m not used to this stuff. I wasn’t prepared.”
“And I was?”
“I don’t know! You’ve been out twenty years, I figured you’ve had more practice.”
Cas managed to look impressively pissed even with a fluffy cloud of snow coating his hair and his nose all aglow. He glared at Dean.
“This is the first time I’ve held hands in public.”
“You’re kidding.” Dean laughed and stopped walking. Laughed again, squeezing Cas’s hand. “Seriously? I get to be a first? I didn’t think you could possibly have any left.”
“I’m not sure what you’re –”
“I’m popping your hand-holding cherry! That’s awesome. I feel like such a stud.”
He tugged Cas towards him and out of the way of an elderly couple doing their best to cope with where the snow was settling. There was a golden glow coming from the window behind them, lighting up Cas’s face, his eyes bright. Dean could hear the familiar clink of silverware, subdued chatter beyond the glass where dinner service was starting, everyone tired of the cold and starting to think about enough food to sustain them through the hell that was last minute Christmas shopping.
Dean kissed Cas on the cheek, watching Cas’s smile grow as he moved in to press another small one against Cas’s chapped lips, tucking his gloved hands into Cas’s lapels, aware anyone inside could glance out there and see them. Once they got home, he was going to surprise Cas at their front door where they’d first met. One knee, a real proposal, a bottle of something that wasn’t close to being champagne waiting in the fridge.
Then Dean was going to take Cas to bed and suck his cock, dammit, even if it killed him. Which was possible. The man was a monster.
“C’mon. This is the place.”
“I’ve never been here.”
“I didn’t think so, I can’t imagine your family hauling ass over here for all-you-can-eat-shrimp night. This is what I can offer you. This, not Manna. Greasy burgers rather than wild boar and oysters. But I wanted a do-over on our first date.”
“Your birthday wasn’t a –”
Dean silenced Cas with another soft kiss.
“It was, to me.”
“I wish I’d known.”
“You do now. You romanced the fuck outta me without even trying, you smooth bastard.”
Inside, there were little candles in red glasses flickering on each table, waitresses in elf hats, twinkle lights strung in every window. Mariah on in the background reminding Dean that all he wanted for Christmas was Cas. Like he’d ever need reminding. Cas looked at it all with as much wonder as Dean must’ve when they’d walked into Manna. Tucked himself against Dean’s shoulder as they followed the hostess to a booth, pressing his ankle against Dean’s as they sat opposite each other. Made orgasm sounds as he bit into his cheeseburger and slopped ketchup down his shirt. Dean could see them doing the same thing in twenty years, thirty or forty. This could be their booth, the one where the cute couple always sat with eyes only for each other, playing footsie underneath like they thought nobody would notice. They were building memories every second, he could feel it.
A busboy clearing a table next to theirs kept looking at Cas, surreptitious glances, his cheeks turning pink as Dean paused in stuffing fries in his mouth long enough to ask,
“You okay, man? Can we help you with something?”
“Uh, no. Sorry, enjoy your meal.”
The guy blushed deeper and held up a hand to give Cas an awkward wave. Cas choked on his burger and turned horrified eyes on Dean, who caught on and started laughing before the obnoxious, oblivious busboy even spoke,
“Oh, hey, Jimmy. Long time no see.”
A huge thank you to everyone who commented while I was posting. For anyone living under a rock for the last twenty years, the title comes from the song "I'll Be There For You" by The Rembrants, the theme tune to Friends.